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exbiologist's picture
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Working up a .30-06 load

I've been working up a load in my buddy's .30-06, and it's been interesting to say the least. It's supposed to be a deer and antelope load, but after what happened last year with 125 Ballistic Tips, he wanted to try a tougher bullet. So we're going to try some 130 TTSXs. Before I got too far, I wanted to test whether or not I should try a magnum primer, so I loaded up a near max charge of Big Game (only ball powder I was planning on trying).
I don't have many fast burning powders on hand, but had a handful of powders faster than 4831: Varget, IMR 4064, Big Game, 760, IMR 4350, H4350, RL 17, IMR 4007SSC, RL 19, Hunter, RL 17, N160, Hybrid 100V. I eliminated the two 4350s and Hunter because they were on the slower side and we would be looking at pretty compressed charges. Same thing with 100V, N160 and RL 19. But I had to try RL 17 becuase I had heard some pretty outrageous velocity claims. I ditched the 4007 because I couldn't find any data with velocities approaching the mid 3200s. Ditched 760 because Big Game seemed a more modern version of the same thing. I used IMR 4064 last summer in the 125 gr loads and 100 gr 270 loads and knew I could get good velocity and accuracy out of it. So I settled on Varget, RL 17, Big Game and IMR 4064.
This is in a Ruger 77 Stainless, 22 inch barrel.
61.6 grs, winchester cases, 130 TTSX, 3.3 inches
Fed GM210M:3198 3199 3236 3215 3207
Fed GM215M: 3188 3274 3263 3276 3198

Decided to go with the standard primers due to the weird inconsistencies in the magnums.

Anyway, took Big Game up to 63 grains, but saw no real velocity improvement over 62 or 62.5 grains at 3260. The IMR 4064 was already showing pressure signs at 56 grains and 3230 fps. Varget seemed excessive at 58 grains and 3230, but 57.5 grains and 3200 fps seemed fine. However, despite having to seriously compress the charges, RL 17 seemed to blow away any published velocities with any powder in any 125-130 gr bullet listed in any manual. Now, that's supposed to mean dangerous things, but RL 17 is working on a different playing field due to the retardant technology (from what I understand). I had seen people report up to 67 grains (no published data yet for 130 grain bullets), but I got a little scared to go beyond 65.5, which is extremely compressed. But get this: velocity was 3390 and NO pressure signs! Although there wasn't much improvement in velocities from 64 grains at 3360, so I will probably use that for my accuracy testing load.

This was just yard testing with the chrono, I'll take the gun to a real range for the accuracy test in a few weeks. I think I've settled on 62 grains of Big Game, 57.5 grains of Varget and 64 grains of RL 17. I'll load up 6 rounds of each, for two 3 shot groups before I settle on a load. The 130 grain bullet is so short that I'm not gonna try to play with seating depths to further refine the load.

So that's how I do it for anyone curious about one person's thought process on load development.

Don Fischer's picture
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Working up a .30-06 load

I don't know about Big Game but I've always heard that ball powder's work better with mag primers due to some king of coating used on them. Recently I bought 8# keg of H414, powder was hard to come by. First time I'd ever used it. Started out with standard primers and it wasn't bad at all. Then I found a partical box of Fed 215's and tried them with the same loads; cut the group sizes in half! Have only used it in my 243. With powder loosening up I'll probably stick to powder's that always worked for me but might try some in my 25-06 with 100gr SMK's.

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ball powders

Don Fischer wrote:
I don't know about Big Game but I've always heard that ball powder's work better with mag primers due to some king of coating used on them. Recently I bought 8# keg of H414, powder was hard to come by. First time I'd ever used it. Started out with standard primers and it wasn't bad at all. Then I found a partical box of Fed 215's and tried them with the same loads; cut the group sizes in half! Have only used it in my 243. With powder loosening up I'll probably stick to powder's that always worked for me but might try some in my 25-06 with 100gr SMK's.

Most reloading manuals show that they use mag primers with ball powders, I guess they are harder to light in colder climates and a difference in the coating on the powder.

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Working up a .30-06 load

I had a light weight 7mmWSM built. Tried IMR7828, RL19, RL22, and H4831 with Nosler Accubonds in 140 and 160gr, Barnes 140TSX. Was not satified with any of the results. Then I saw an ad for RL17. So i finally got a pound and decided to try Hornady 154 interbonds. Bingo. Very happy with RL17.

I used 4064 with 150gr interbonds in my '06 load.

Looking forward to your results.

exbiologist's picture
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Working up a .30-06 load

Don,
I saw that post. It seems like the old "over 60 grains of powder, use a magnum primer" axiom might not always be the way to go. I haven't tried them on a target, but I gotta assume that the more consistent velocities will help the accuracy with Big Game.

exbiologist's picture
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Re: Working up a .30-06 load

So I finally got around to shooting these loads. I went with 58 gr of Varget, 65.5 gr of RL 17 and 63 gr of Big Game, loaded 6 rounds of each for two 3 shot groups. But first I cleaned the bore really well and fired a fouler. This was in a bone stock Ruger 77 MK II stainless with a terrible trigger and my friend said the gun never grouped a factory load better than 1.5 inches, with 1.75 to 2 being about the norm. Anyway, group 1 with RL 17 went 1.5 inches, group 2 with Varget went 1.5 inches, group 3 with Big Game went 2 inches. Let the barrel cool for about 15 minutes (50 degrees out today), then shot a 2 inch group with RL 17. Group 5 with Varget went into 0.6 inch, then group 6 with Big Game went into 1 inch. So assuming the Varget load wasn't a freak occurance, I have to assume the gun shoots better with a fouled bore. And I was disappointed with the RL 17 accuracy.

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Im betting you get better

Im betting you get better rifle performance with more bullet. When I have a bullet that wont shoot I change to a differnt bullet with Opposite Ogive. If its secant I go to tangent or vise vera.

What is the twist, Im guessing its 1:10 so its going to shoot 150-180 grain pills much better then 125 gr. I have crazy good luck with Hornady in my 30.06`s

Word of advice on Rugers, dont float the barrel, they are made to have 4-7 pound up pressure at the forend and have trigger cleaned up, they shoot well but trigger on new ones can feel like sand in em. That alone will tighten ones groups alot.

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