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Everything posted by Laurie

  1. Laurie

    Norma powders

    Apparently so. The word I hear is that RUAG tried to get premium prices initially and generated little interest among retailers as a result, but has now dropped its prices enough to persuade a fair few outlets to stock them. 203-B grade which appears to be identical to Alliant Re15 now sells for a bit less than its US sourced equivalent, so is a good buy for any users of that grade. I've looked closely at the current Norma range (but not tried anything in actual loads to date) and it does have a lot going for it although it is more or less as it was many years ago with one significant addition. They are very 'competent' propellants that combine high specific energy values with good density so allow a great deal of energy to be packed into the case where space is at a premium. All grades are double-based, but with three exceptions the nitroglycerin content is under 10%, and in many cases down at around 4 or 5%. Norma 204 is an excellent replacement for the now gone IMR and Hodgdon 4350 grades and will match or more usually improve on their performance in suitable applications. So this is one that users of the popular mid-size 6.5s ought to look at, as well as 'traditional' 4350 users (30-06, 7X57mm, short 300 magnums etc). The sole recent addition to the range, Norma URP (Universal Rifle Powder), is a little faster burning than H4350 / N204 but is one of the three grades with higher nitroglycerin levels and is an impressive performer in its bracket, so is an alternative to Reload Swiss RS60 / Alliant Re17, H4350, Viht N550. I've not seen anybody say so to date, but I suspect that being a little faster burning than N204 / H4350, it may be extremely well suited to the 6.5X47 Lapua. The downside of the older Norma powders - can't comment on newer grades - is that they have a reputation for being temperature affected. Norma 203-B / Alliant Re15 is notorious in this respect. Bofors in Karlskoga, Sweden which manufacturers these powders and is part of the same industrial group as Norma, has introduced some apparently very impressive high-performance and as good as Hodgdon / ADI temperature stable grades, but which have so far been restricted to the Alliant range, notably Re16. I'm hoping we will see this bofors product whether in Alliant or Norma form soon as it is getting rave reviews in the US particularly from high performance 6mm and 6.5mm smaller cartridge users.
  2. Laurie

    K98 8x57 Mauser

    QuickLOAD also says 2,500 fps or thereabouts for 47.8gn SO62 under this bullet in a 23.5 inch barrel (actually 2,540 fps from 49,728 psi, right where you want to be). However ........... I was dipping into the 1,000 plus page compilation of the late Ken Waters' Handloader magazine articles over some 30 or so years of his handloading tests and lit upon his 8mm Mauser IS article originally published way back in November 1975 and mostly using the then Dupont IMR powders including 4064. (SO62 used to be called AAC-4064 in its old Accurate Arms persona and was sold as an alternative to the venerable US manufactured product. QL confirms this with 47.8gn of IMR-4064 computed to produce 2,549 fps / 50,950 psi PMax.) Now, Ken Waters found using two different K98s (1933 DWM and Czech VZ-24) back in 1975 that his actual results were WAY down on what loading manuals prediced from their maximum loads - as much as 200 fps with 150 grainers for instance. On the other hand RWS sporting ammo chronographed very close to what the manufacturer claimed - and at much higher MVs than his handloads produced. Waters was so concerned by this he paid for the H.P. White laboratory to independently chronograph the RWS ammo and some of his handloads and they confirmed his findings. He worked loads up to higher levels than in any of the manuals to reach the expected MVs (and what the German commercial stuff gave) and with the US IMR version of the powder got up to 50.0gn 4064 with the 196gn Norma RNSP for 2,539 fps MV. Waters did warn this was absolute maximum based on measuring case expansion! (QL predicts an over-CIP max pressure result from both SO62 and IMR-4064 for this with the 196gn S&B. For SO62, it says 2,654 fps and 58,065 psi) There is then an addendum to the Handloader article saying Dupont had got in touch after it was published advising some of his loads were over-pressure in their pressure test barrel, so he warned readers about being very careful in using his data. But he couldn't explain the dicrepancies between the loading manuals / Dupont loads / MVs and his findings, finally putting it down to maybe throat wear on 40 year old used military rifles. I suspect it is more to do with how barrels were throated. The Germans developed the 7.92X57mm IS heavy bullet loading during WW1 as an MG cartridge, but it was marginally unsafe in rifles. When the WW1 era rifles/carbines were redesigned into the KAR98k in the late twenties/early 30s a decision was made to use the 198gn sS (Schwerer Spitzgeschoss) MG round as the universal German military loading and the rifle chamber was redesigned with a long tapering throat to reduce pressures - 1 3/8 inches according to Waters. (Wow! That IS a 'freebored' chamber!) Those countries / factories that produced K98 type clones were also designed around the sS round and presumably copied the German chamber. I suspect the powder manufacturers' test barrels do not have anything like this degree of freebore. QuickLOAD's equations rely too on the bullet being at the rifling at whatever COAL is input and its results overstate pressures and velocities for those that have been 'freebored'. (To use a now out of fashion term in its original sense of having a massive designed inbuilt jump to the rifling. It was also an integral part of Ken Weatherby's 'magic' to achieve his cartridges' claimed MVs within high but acceptable pressures. My first ever loading guide was ICI Nobel's little paperback and I remember wondering what this 'feebored chamber' was in relation to one of the Weatherby cartridges. Nobel warned the data was only applicable to 'freebored rifles' and had to be significantly reduced for those with 'normal' chambers.) So, all this leaves you just where? Where you are is that you need to beg borrow or steal a chronograph and see what you are actually producing in your barrel / chamber. If, like Ken Waters' findings, you're a couple of hundred fps down on what the loading guide says, you can carefully work loads up a bit using a chronograph throughout the process. Without such data, you have to stick to Explosia's maximum for safety.
  3. The 167 Scenar is a high drag bullet by today's standards. It's an excellent design for shorter distances. (There is a whole generation of older 308 bullets in this weight bracket from Sierra, Hornady, Speer, Lapua, Nosler that were designed primarily with 300 metre shooting in mind as hard though it is to imagine now, the 308 was the primary cartridge in the western world in this and similar disciplines before the 6BR Norma arrived in '96 and swept them all aside in ISSF and elsewhere.) I doubt very much if safe MVs from an AI will see it supersonic at 1,000, and certainly not a chance for staying out of transonic speeds. With a 10-deg tail angle it's a better design in this respect than the 168 SMK and similar that run at 12 and up, but is still sharper than optimal. (7 degrees is now widely accepted as ideal here.) The 185 Scenar produces even more drag and isn't a competitive LR design for this reason. There is still a lot to be said for the better 155s in this role, in particular the outstanding Berger 155.5gn BT ........ but that price nowadays, ouch! The newer 155s have short bearing surfaces so can usually be driven fast within acceptable pressures and RS52 will likely give another 50-100 fps over most other available powders, albeit at some wear cost on the barrel at top loadings. The 168 and 175 Sierra TMKs need 1:11 twists ideally, although the 168 will no doubt 'work' at long range in 12 especially in warm conditions. These are completely new designs not modified MKs and are actually pretty VLD-ish in their shapes and with aggressive secant ogive nose sections may or may not prove finicky to 'tune'. The 155, 168 and 178 Hornady ELD-Ms look possibilities on paper, the 178 getting just a tad too long for 12 twist though. I've not heard any feedback on this trio and sadly ELDs of either variety are priced as premium products now. Likewise the new Nosler 175 RDF looks a possibility on paper at any rate, but how it would do in practice? Like the 178 ELD-M, it's a little over-long for 12 twist barrels. The Berger 185 Juggernaut is an outstanding 308 Win LR bullet, marginally stabilised in 1:12 so it loses a little of its potential BC value. Being a popular Berger model, availability and cost issues arise again of course. Of the old 7-calibre radius nose true tangent ogive form Sierra MKs, the 175 will work but only if driven fast enough and it will be transonic at 1,000. RS52 would likely be an excellent propellant for this model producing the neceessary high velocities. The 190 is long known for good transonic speed behaviour and is usually a good choice for the occasional long-range shooter who wants a cheaper bullet.
  4. If you look at Lapua's factory loads for the 6.5X47L, they are mild, so I presume the aim was to run the cartridge at lower pressure levels than the 6BR for 300 metre competition. A bit of modelling on QuickLOAD suggests they are loaded to around 56,000 psi. Barrel life depends on so many factors when dealing with custom rifles and handloaded ammunition - pressures, propellant flame temperatures, rate of fire / barrel heat, and barrel material - that prediction is almost impossible. Is it for instance better to run a larger case cartridge at lower pressures than a small very high intensity one? If so 6.5X55mm would give a longer barrel life than 6.5X47L / 6.5CM / 260 Rem. (In Swedish Mauser loadings and with chrome moly barrels it does so by an enormous margin over most users' handloads of the smaller numbers in stainless match barrels.) The other factor few people take into account is barrel material. Chrome moly steel erodes much more slowly than stainless and within stainless, people are finding that some makes and/or batches of custom match barrels have apparently been 'soft'. Some factory rifle owners of the 6.5s with their very hard hammer-forged barrels may get a shock when after eventually wearing them out find they get half the life or less with its custom replacement.
  5. The BR4 is a 'magnum' primer - that is it comes with the thicker (0.025") stronger cup, the sole criterion for SR primers. Having said that, some models are more vigorous than others especially those intended for use with 5.56X45mm milspec ammo and/or ball powders, and within models, there are often large lot to lot performance variations. FWIW, the lot of BR4s I have, several years old now, give higher MVs and pressures than most others, considerably higher MVs and larger ES ranges / groups in my old 223 Long-Range Re15 loads compared to say the Murom SR 'Magnum'. It also produced slightly higher MVs than contemporary CCI450 SR Magnums, but I've seen that relationship reversed with other production lots. Whilst the BR4's aggressiveness proved a severe downside in 223, the same lot of this model has worked very well for me in 308 Win Lapua 'Palma' brass and much heavier charges of N150 and RS52 powders. The more I see of SR primers, the more inconsistent some makes / models seem to be and also the importance of primer choice in many SRP using cartridges can hardly be over-exaggerated. So before writing a load off, see if a primer change improves matter. Conversely, if you find the dream combination for a rifle, buy as many of that model and production lot as you can get hold of / afford.
  6. Laurie

    Firing Pin Bolt Bushing

    ................ and I've no doubt that AI doesn't offer a 6.5X47L (or 6BR etc) variant because of this very issue. At its heart, AI rifles are designed to be used in the roughest and dirtiest of conditions and still give 100% reliability. Dealing with finicky small primer high-pressure cartridge designs doesn't come into that and what suits this cartridge might degrade the rifle's reliability and longevity in its primary role. Producing a special bolt and firing mechanism for those who want to use the rifle in unintended roles is actually the RIGHT answer to the conundrum; changing the standard design, the wrong one. Unfortunately we have a raft of specialised match cartridges (and variants of non-specialised older designs such as 243 Win and 260 Rem) now being produced in SRP form and many of the people who end up using them are either unaware of, or underestimate, the potential pitfalls. Once 243 SRP brass becomes common, I'm waiting for the unwary / unwise to start shouting ............. It didn't work in minus 20-deg C temperatures on my deerhunt. Why do half my primers have holes in the middle of the cup after firing? I've lost lots of velocity with my XYZ powder load and my zero was miles off at 300 yards. (I've already seen an American match shooter say that Peterson SRP brass simply doesn't ignite compressed Hodgdon H1000 loads properly in any temperature levels in 243 115gn bullet loads giving an MV drop and large ES values.) What! You mean I've got to retune my load and have two have two different charges, one for LRP brass, one for SRP and the zero might vary?
  7. At 40/41gn that sounds like N150 ?????? The 139 Scenar remains an excellent and dependable performer in the calibre as does the antediluvian 142gn Sierra MK and both cost a lot less than the newer designs. The new heavier Hornady ELDs have impressive form factors / BCs and this is backed by Bryan Litz's tests so isn't a case of OTT claims from the manufacturer as would almost certainly have been the case some years back. Price and availability though? Ouch! We are also seeing a new generation of 'Super-VLDs' - impressive BCs, but at the expense of very long projectiles that are inherently less stable than older designs and which have 'aggressive' secant ogives ......... and when I say 'aggressive' I mean really aggressive, a much sharper transition than that of the original Berger VLDs of a generation ago. Some of these designs have to be the very devil to 'tune', albeit as always individual barrels and rifles will vary enormously in their tolerance or otherwise. Another issue with these super long, super-VLD forms is that they don't suit the 260 well in magazine use as they end up seated so deeply in the case at the required 2.800-2.880" COALs demanded by magazine dimensions. No issue in suitably throated rifles in single-shot mode, but many people are buying or fancy PRS type rifles or that evergreen object of British shooter lust, whatever is the latest AI model. The shorter case 6.5 Creedmoor must be seeing 'issues' here too with the newest designs and probably only the yet shorter 6.5X47mm Lapua remains unaffected (but only if it has the 'freebore' to suit the longer bullet designs). A couple of thoughts on alternatives. First for seriously COAL constrained set-ups especially with the 260, have a look at the 130gn Berger Tactical OTM AR-Hybrid. This is a superb design that combines good BC with a shorter nose to suit 2.8-inch COALs and the 'Hybrid' form ogive that allows it to be jumped considerable distances and yet stil perform well. They are unfortunately not plentiful on the market, and certainly not cheap - quite the reverse in fact! (Also many people say - I can't finds these bullets listed anywhere. The reason for this is that Berger has them in its small 'Tactical OTM' section not 'Target' and many people never look at this listing.) Second, there is another older but superb design available which is well known to US 6.5mm aficionados, but I rarely if ever hear mentioned this side of the pond - the 140gn Berger Target BT Long Range. This is the 6.5 equivalent to the 185gn 308 'Juggernaut' - a long-nose tangent ogive and easy to tune bullet with a good but not exceptional BC. It also has a short bearing surface allowing it to be driven faster than many competitor designs within safe pressures. This is my favourite 6.5 long-range bullet for the 260 and 6.5X55mm. Again, they're not common largely because few handloaders here know of them never mind order them ........... and they don't conform to the common Hybriditis disease condition that is like an epidemic causing great wallet sickness. Being a Berger though (of any vintage or type) it's good but never cheap. Lastly, do you have to have the highest possible BC design? .... or even one in the top half of the rankings? A lot of CSR type shooters like the 140gn Nosler Custom Competition and there are sources around for bulk buys from Europe at bargain prices if what is said on UKV is correct. Ah, but it's a blunt, 'low BC' bullet, surely? Yes, it is by 6.5 standards, but is way ahead of equivalent 308s and will remain supersonic at modest MVs to 1,000 yards. Sure, if you're competing seriously in long-range F-Class or similar, you want the best you can get and afford ........ but for occasional long-range or days on a Bisley electronic target on Stickledown. And at 300-800 yards most shooters won't notice a difference from the ELDs etc, especially as they are very easy to 'tune' and seem to suit most barrels. I used these old-fashioned bullets in a 1,000 yard BR comp a couple of summers back in an out of the box Savage 12 LRP with 26-inch barrel at a mere 2,710 fps MV (Creedmoor - this load with RS62 shot quarter to third inch at 100) and got a half-MOA group as best of four. (At a G7 BC of 0.281 from Litz, 2,710 fps MV saw an estimated 1,000 yard retained speed of 1,379 fps still comfortably above the transonic speed range on Diggle at nearly 1,000 ft ASL on a warm day.)
  8. Laurie

    300 Win Mag loading

    N165 is a very easily ignited powder grade and even though you'll be running charges around the 70gn mark, it doesn't need a magnum primer for match use. In fact as Andrew and others say, some LRMs will most likely increase groups, ES/SDs. LRMs are routinely specified for cartridges like this in US manuals and sources as their primary use is 'hunting' often in (low) temperature extremes we would never see in the UK, and certainly not in range use. A primer that is perefectly adequate at say a low 5 or 10-deg C, can struggle at minus 20 or 30 and even if the cartridge goes 'bang' OK may see such a large MV reduction that anything other than very short distance shots strike low as well as producing reduced terminal energies and bullet expansion. LR Primers though are a really mixed bunch. My tests have shown some standard LRs (eg Remington 9 1/2) as being 'hotter' than other makes of LRM (eg the Russian KVB-7M that works very well in match use in much smaller cartridges). The Federal 215 and 215M alongside both versions of Remington are the ones to be wary of. I'd try CCI-BR2s and Fed 210Ms, both match jobs if you can find any, plus the Murom KVB-7 / PMC LR. The S&B primer gave very good consistency for me in 308 tests and would likely do so even in this larger cartridge. Ball powders in the 70gn plus charge range may be a different matter as some older types need a more vigorous primer to provide consistency in all temperatures. It's difficult to be prescriptive in this matter as many manufacturers have made great strides in making this type of propellant easier to ignite and cleaner burning in recent years given that their main clients are military ammunition suppliers and the military become ever more demanding on reliability, reduced bore fouling, wanting anti-coppering agents, and most demanding of all temperature stability. P B Clermont's Ramshot powders seem to have few or even none of the traditional ball type downsides other than a narrower efficient chamber pressure band. Conversely, although a recent introduction, I found that Hodgdon's CFE223 simply doesn't ignite properly with the reduced primer power of Lapua 308 SR primed 'Palma' cases.
  9. Laurie

    Reloading the 22BR with CFE223

    You may see ignition issues in the BR with this powder David. In 308, I got 48 hangfires and two misfires in 50 Lapua Palma small primer brass rounds loaded with two bullet weights. The BR with its smaller charges may be OK, but this is undoubtedly a harder challenge for primers than most, even the older ball types. 308 in Lapua standard large primer brass was fine with CFE, just the usual ball powder issues of a very narrow operating range - charges too low and you get wide velocity spreads, hit the pressure area it likes and you see a large MV jump allied to tightened ES, go not much higher still and you're into over-pressures. The 'hotter' Murom 'SR 223 Rem' primer was introduced for American AR High-Power XTC shooters under its local Wolf and Tula brandings a few years ago reportedly because some new ball powders didn't ignite well with the existing SR 5,56 Magnum model. I have a suspicion that the 'problematic powder' was CFE. If so, and if it sees potential ignition issues in the 223 with ~25-27gn charges ............
  10. Don't forget the T3X Varmint if you can live with a synthetic stock, available in 260 and 6.5X55mm with a 600mm barrel length option. Alan Seagrave has used the older T3 Varmint / 600mm / 6.5X55mm to frequently win the 1,000 yard Factory Rifle Class in benchrest matches at Diggle for some time now and has shown it is competitive against rifles like the Savage 12 'Precision' in its 6.5-284 F-Class and 6mm BR Benchrest versions at this distance. (The Savage 12s are another option for 1,000 yard out of the box performance, the two mentioned above, 12 FTR in 308, and LRP (Long Range Precision) in 260 or 6.5 Creedmoor. Sadly they're nothing like as cheap as they were some years ago when we first saw them here. The F-Class, BR, and FTR are single-shot jobs with 30-inch barrels; the LRP a DB magazine with 26-inch barrel.)
  11. Laurie

    Straight .284 Bullets

    Several people including many on this forum swear by RS60 in the 284. When it works, it gives excellent results and high MVs. I also know of cases where it has proven to be inconsistent - great results for a while, then nothing good and unable to find the sweet spot again. So, it's certainly worth trying. I've no experience of RS70. An acquaintance who tried it got very, very high MVs but couldn't achieve the desired precision. As that's a grand sample of one, others may have tried it and got satisfactory results. After some early experimentation with hotter powders, I settled on Viht N165 which will give the 175/180 SMKs 2,800-2,850 fps MVs from a 30-inch barrel. N165 has a repuation as being a very cool-burner and hence an aid to barrel life, and it has worked very well for me in both straight 284 and the Shehane. With a 0.327 G7 BC, a relatively mild 2,830 fps MV with the 175gn SMK sees 1,580 fps retained velocity at 1,000 and 1,372 fps at 1,200 (still above the transonic zone) in unpointed form and at 59-deg F at sea level, higher still on upland venues.
  12. Laurie

    Straight .284 Bullets

    The old 175 7mm SMK is an excellent bullet in the 284. It is very jump and load tolerant and its BC is higher than one might imagine from a relatively short tangent ogive design - a bit less than the much less tolerant Berger 180gn VLD and a bit more less than today's favourite, the Hybrid - but not a great deal. The 180 SMK is a VLD form but has an identical form-factor to that of the 175, so its extra 0.10 G7 BC points is entirely doew to the extra 5gn weight. It has not been a particularly well received design. I have a lot of early (non factory pointed) examples I bought very cheap and BTOs are all over the place. With measuring, batching, trimming and pointing, I've got them to shoot well at long-range in the 284 - but a lot of work! The 175 I seat jumped, 15 thou' originally but have never had to redo the COALs - they cope excellently with any throat erosion. The 180 I put into the lands from day one and that works. How they'd do jumped I can't say. The 183 is in a different league drag wise and with a 0.859 form factor (14% less drag than the G7 'reference projectile') / 0.337 BC is one of the highest BC bullets you can buy in 7mm. Because of their length, they need a 1:8.5 twist barrel, ideally 8.25 or faster. (I have an 8 on my 284.) I found they produced dreadful vertical if seated into the lands as per usual VLD practice but US sources report they can shoot well jumped despite being a super-VLD form. I just did some COAL based tests last week at 100 and 40 thou' 'out' looks OK in my rifle, so it'll be tried in a match at that. I suspect though that they are too 'finicky' for most shooters compared to the Berger Hybrid and the need for a faster twist barrel than most have been using will work against them too. (One has to wonder how many reports of their being impossible to get them to shoot well come from people who've got 1:9 twist barrels on their rifles.) Whilst I said unkind things about the early 180 SMKs, recent Sierras are very consistent indeed and I'd imagine the latest iteration of the 180 in factory pointed form will be good. Recent purchase 175s and the 183s are superb in this regard, both as to BTO measurements and weights.
  13. I had a superb Ross maybe 25-30 years ago with excellent wood and metal finish. Some Canadian (Ontario) Regiment name was impressed into the buttstock, but it looked as if it had never been issued and maybe privately owned from new. With original bayonet (very collectable in itself I believe albeit it lacked a scabbard), I paid IIRC £200 which even taking inflation into account was cheap by today's standards. This was a one-off from a museum or private collection, but a few years later a number of refurbished M1910s came onto the surplus market - not nearly as nice looking as mine with a 'Parkerized' type matte black metal finish and very dull timber. They cost more than I'd paid for my nice example and for a few years before Swedish Mausers took over, the Ross was the rifle for historic military arms long-range shooting. I liked my Ross and it shot very well, but with its length, weight, relatively poor balance was as the British ordnance authorities in Woolwich Arseanl kept saying a barely militarised target rifle not a sensible tool to be manufactured and issued en masse to troops who had to be trained in a hurry in a major wartime call-up. ....... and that of course was before actual battle experience brought out the action's problems during WW1. As a range rifle, the only issue I had with it was the rearsight windage adjuster was a slack fit on its threaded bar and moved under recoil. I couldn't understand why my shots were wandering off to the right on my first outing. After the penny dropped, I either had to recentre the windage every three or four shots, or as I did later squeezed some gloopy general purpose glue onto it to hold it in place. I later heard this was a common feature with the rifles.
  14. You'll find it very difficult (and expensive) to find such a thing. Basically, pre 1950 rifle shooting was overwhelmingly with 'as issued' (but often tweaked) military rifles, with military-target sub disciplines such as the GB Service Rifle (b) that allowed SMLEs and LLEs etc with diopter sights, heavy barrels and bedding work. The latter though was tiny compared to the primary discipline and confined to a handful of relatively rich shooters. Many years ago I had three such rifles over different periods - a BSA LLE (copy of the 'Territorial' pattern which in service form were rebuilt long Lee Metfords or or LLEs with updated sights, small front sight-protector ears, and a charger bridge brazed on) but built by BSA as a match rifle from scratch with a folding down full-house rear diopter sight. This could have been used in either plain SR or in enhanced target classes despending on use of the rearsight; a rebuilt SMLE by BSA with the full works (heavy barrel, match sights, new handguard and no tangent rearsight, coil springs and barrel pillars under the hanguard to put downwards pressure on the barrel and force it down into the forend); a Swedish M1896 with a turned down sniper model bolt handle and the receiver drilled and tapped for the Swedish Soderin 600M diopter rearsight, and from marks on the blueing obviously having had one previousaly in situ. The rifles were bought quite cheaply - as being non-standard, demand was actually poorer for such beasts back then, and a s/h Soderin rearight and front tunnel kit was bought for the Mauser for £50. Back then in those far-off days my local dealer York Guns had a big box full of brand new P-H no gunsmithing diopter rearsights in their original brown cardboard packaging for LLEs/SMLEs and No.4s for £25 each, all protected with a grease coating The 303 Enfields were both shot out as was nearly always the case with use of cordite Mk VII; the 6.5 Mauser was an amazingly good shooter and only sold when my eyes couldn't cope with iron sights anymore. Such rifles at modest prices, or rearsights at £25 or £50 now? Forget it! They are all like hen's teeth now and when you do find one, especially one known to shoot well, cost a small fortune. They're often not advertised when they change hands as some fellow club member will have 'first chance' on a sale. There are many otherwise standard No4s and SMLEs with the bolt on rear match sights around and these are the easiest to find and the obvious choice for a military-match class rifle if you can find a good shooter. The Mark III (M1910) Ross straight-pull 303 also comes with a match style rear aperture with windage adjustments and falls within the standard military historic rifle classes (although IIRC the rules say the rearsight windage must be used on its central setting only and not changed to suit wind conditions). So, good luck in your quest. I hope you have deep pockets!
  15. Laurie

    .284 Win brass availability.

    Correct - it is only made on an occasional basis. Hannams Reloading had Win in three or four years ago though and as they didn't sell well, may still have some. Frankly, the Winchester version as made currently is so poor that you're much, much better paying more for Norma. Flash-holes are off centre, oval, and there are so many other issues they're not worth having.
  16. Laurie

    N 150 versus N 550

    You can wear barrels out pretty quickly with N150 too if pressures are high enough. Some of the hot loads for 185/200gn Bergers with N150 in Palma brass only give a 2,000-2,500 round barrel life in 308 Win. Steve D by comparison claims he gets around 3,500 with his N550 load, presumably running at lower pressures. However, these are all small samples and barrel steel / rifling type affects barrel life significantly too. I have a suspicion that if pressures are kept to moderate levels, most of the N500 series won't burn out barrels particualrly quickly. An exception may be N540 as it has a near 40% nitroglycerin content by weight - same as arsenal Cordite .303 British Mk.7. Powders with some nitroglycerin are almost becoming the norm now - the new IMR Endurons all have some and all Alliant powders whether from Nitrochemie, Bofors or General Dynamics St. Marks have this ingredient. All ball types are double-based, likewise Norma extruded powders. I bought a secondhand Musgrave TR 308 many years back with a nearly new Maddco stainless barrel on it and developed a mild 155gn SMK / Alliant Re15 load for it, shot the rifle for three or four seasons and sold it. I meet the buyer regularly who still owns this rifle maybe 15 years on, and he still uses that Re15 load. The barrel round count must be astronomic by now, but he says it still shoots as well as he can, if not better.
  17. Laurie

    N 150 versus N 550

    That's a good (and difficult) question Alan. Viht itself says the N550s are more temperature stable than N100s. Conventional wisdom says that it should be the other way round! Search on forums etc and you find what are in effect opinions, not facts - and they are contradictory from US users claiming everything from excellent to terrible. All I can say about N550 is that it appears to be a bit harder to ignite than N150 in cold weather conditions. (Lapua small primer 308 'Palma' which is ignition / temperature sensitive and N550 starts to lose MV / increase SDs at higher temperatures than N150 this being on or just above freezing.) Steve Donaldson, one of the UK's top F/TR shooters as was although he's now largely dropped out of League levels, has used Palma brass, Berger 210gn BT, and a stiff load of N550 for nearly 2,700 fps from a 34-inch barrel for many years with great results. Back in 2013, he dropped out out of the GB F/TR team and went to the FCWC in Raton, New Mexico as a privateer. Not being subject to team rules, he shot every competition and practice he could over the two weeks and put an enormous round count in - his rifle was borrowed by fellow Rutland team members too. With locally sourced primers and fresh N550, he used his UK load throughout without any charge weight reduction - and did very well in the US National F-Class Championships and then the World Championships. At ~7,500 ft ASL in a semi-desert climate and in a local heatwave temperatures went from cool first thing to very hot by our standards peaking in the mid to high 90s F in the shade by late afternoon on some days in week one, a little cooler (low 90s) in week two. Steve assured me his UK load worked fine throughout and he'd no pressure issues at any time. I believe many 'Match Rifle' competitors use N550 too with 200-230gn bullets in Palma brass and these lads and lasses go off to shoot MR in Australia in sometimes brutal temperatures as an NRA team. Vihtavuori has quietly added anti copper fouling additives to their powders recently and says it will be reformulating most (everything?) in its range to be temperature insensitive in the near future. I'm not surprised - it's becoming increasingly difficult to sell propellants into both sport and military markets these days if they have the reputation of being temperature affected. Hodgdon / ADI has been in the lead for years with the Extreme range of extruded powders, but now IMR (General Dynamics, Valleyfield, Ontario) is adding new 'Enduron' grades which although not quite as good as ADI is still very good indeed, and Alliant ATK's recent additions from Bofors, Karlshoga, Sweden such as Re16 have a new 'TZ' technology claimed to rival the Hodgdon/ADI 'Extreme'. Certainly American users are raving about them in every respect. (We don't get any here as yet - I hope that is going to change.)
  18. Laurie

    N 150 versus N 550

    Viht shows its N100 powders and their N500 equivalents with the same burning rates ........... but they're not. The high-energy versions are slower burning, sometimes significantly so. QuickLOAD lists N530 as slower than N140 never mind N130 through N135 and N560 as being slower burning than N165. Changes in quickness in themselves affect the charge weights that produce peak pressures.
  19. Laurie

    6.5 Creedmoor brass

    Good to know. The 'problem' with SRP brass and 40gn + charges is one of potential powder sensitivity. My experience is with the slightly larger case and charge weight 308 Win 'Palma', another two to six grains powder. In one case (Hodgdon CFE223 'spherical') I got 48 hangfires and two complete misfires at normal UK spring temperatures from 50 rounds; in others (Viht N140 particularly) performance began to be affected below around 3 or 4-deg C. Yet while N140 went to pieces and CFE apparently doesn't work at all in any temperature, N150 works right down to freezing (at least) and H414 'spherical' (made in the same factory as CFE) actually gave higher MVs and smaller ES than in Lapua LRP brass at just above freezing. One of the American 243 Win long-range shooters assured me on another forum that Peterson Cartridge Co. SRP 243 brass was hopeless with his favourite compressed load of coarse-grain / slow burning Hodgdon H1000 in US summer temperatures - 200 fps MV reduction and huge ES values. So, whilst the range user is pretty safe with most primer / powder combinations in the small primer / small flash-hole combination, there is a chance even in our climate that the sporting user could be caught out on particularly cold days and finding your rifle shoots several inches low at a couple of hundred yards range after a long Scottish Highland glen stalk on a red deer isn't fun for either stalker or deer I'd imagine. Just to complicate matters, it seems the small 1.5mm flash-hole is as much a cause of these behaviours as the primer size and brisance, maybe even more so, and it seems some of the new US made SRP versions have stuck to the large (2mm) flash-hole. Starline SRP brass is in this form inlcuding its Creedmoor it seems.
  20. Laurie

    6.5 Creedmoor brass

    As a deer rifle, you may be better using LRP brass. The SRP variety struggles with some powders, but more to the point, may see significant velocity drops in very cold conditions or even hang/misfires. The other potential downside with SRP in high-pressure cartridges is that the small primer is much more prone to severe extrusion back around the firing pin than the large variety. This can manifest itself as 'cratering' or in extreme cases 'blanking' where a disc of primer cup brass detaches and is blown back into the bolt. This is a firing pin tip diameter + pin tip fit in the bolt-face issue. Some rifles are prone to it. (Mik Mak of Dolphin Gun Co. tells me he has done the firing pin reduction / bolt bushing job on over 30 AI rifles - they were fine with 308 Win or 260 Rem etc, but struggled with a rebarrel to 6.5X47mm Lapua and its small primer. I have an FN SPR Winchester 70 based tactical rifle that is hopeless with SR brass, so I've kept as a 260 as I'd only switch to Creedmoor if I could use the SRP variants - entirely for range use in my case.) Note too, this will become a bit more of an issue over time. Peterson Cartridge is offering 243 Win, 260 Rem now in both varieties alongside Creedmoor and 308. We'll maybe see some confusion as these get here and are bought by those unaware of the differences and implications. 6.5 Grendel comes in various forms - at least three primer size / flash-hole diameter variations. I'm sure we're going to see more of these new versions of other cartridges too from Lapua, Peterson and some of the other young US case manafurers.
  21. Laurie

    Alternatives to QuickLoad

    Nor does QuickLOAD - there is no primer input so you cannot determine any effects of using SRP brass v LRP other than that calculated pressures / MVs will normally be overstated. IME with SRP brass, it is not possible to make sensible predictions anyway as it depends very much on the bullet + powder combination. In 308 Win 'Palma' brass, I've seen the SRP effect ranging from the equivalent of around half-grain to 1.4gn charge weight reduction compared to the same combination in Lapua LRP brass with the same capacity. QL is invaluable in other respects of course, such as where the combination contemplated cannot be found anywhere else in manufacturers' published or online datasets. Where possible though it is very important indeed to crosscheck QL results against published data.
  22. Laurie

    Sierra 155gr TMK for mid/long range?

    That G1 BC will only be one of a series of velocity-banded values, and by its looks the highest of the bunch. Litz (Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets 3rd edition) gives it an average G1 of 0.464. The far more useful G7 average is 0.238 (compared to the old 175's 0.243), good but in no way groundbreaking. By comparison, the 155 Berger Hybrid is 0.245 and the easy to tune 155.5gn Fullbore BT is 0.239. The antediluvian 155gn Berger VLD is in effect also so close as to identical for all practical purposes at 0.239 G7 average. The reason I mention this bullet is that the 155gn TMK is exactly that - a full-blown VLD form type with a very long (0.804") 13.39 calibres radius nose section and Rt/R nose juction form of 0.55 (0.50 = perfect / classic VLD). The old 175 has a shorter blunter front end with a longer shank in relation to the whole. Rt/R is 1.00 (perfect tangent ogive) and its nose radius is the classic SMK 7-calibres, these features making it one of the best behaved, easiest to tune designs that will accept worn throats, large jumps, etc, etc. Bearing in mind it was developed at the request of the US Army for use in the Remington manufactured M24 military adpatation of the Remington 700 and M118LR 7.62mm cartridge, it does everything it says on the tin - accepts Remy's long throats and works in a everything from a newly made or refurbished job to one with 5,000 rounds plus on the clock in all conditions and weathers. This is a classic trade-off: tolerance v form factor / BC, although some designs such as the 155.5gn Berger BT manage to combine good manners with low drag behaviours. The new TMKs in the various calibres are a heterogeneous collection - there is no 'theme' to them ranging from tangent to aggressive secant (VLD) forms, although there appear to be more of the latter. The 308s from 155 to 193gn are all VLD types with 13 to 14 calibre radius secant ogives and Rt/Rs from 0.46 to 0.55. By comparison, the 160gn 7mm TMK is like many modern high-performance bullets a half-way house job with a 10-cal radius nose and Rt/R of 0.84, nearer tangent than secant / ogive and I've found it an easy design to get to group well when jumped.
  23. Laurie

    FTR Newbie

    The price gap between the Dolphin FTR and Savage FTR is not as great as it once was as Savages are not the bargain they used to be and cost around £1,800 new these days. The 'basic' Dolphin with Nesika E action adds up to £2,650 if you avoid bling extras such as barrel fluting, or £2,550 for the same rifle with the Barnard 'S' action. If you do need to rebarrel the Savage after a year's experience, the cost will be the difference between new rifle prices, ie £750 (or more these days from many gunsmiths). When you go to an F match see if you can lie down with each type, ideally dry fire or take a shot to see how you like the very different stock configurations. (I'm a fan of the Dolphin but not everybody is.) Also as Brillo says, not everybody cares for the Savage AccuTrigger even in its match version. (I get on fine with it, but it is a real Marmite component, and it has a habit of unadjusting itself over time / recoil inevitably needing readjustment mid match and producing misfires.) The Savage 12 PTA rifles work well, sometimes excpetionally well, but it is a clunky action and trigger compared to many, and I say that as one who has used PTAs in various form and calibres for many years and still own two rifles using this action/trigger which I'm very fond of. A common derogatory nickname for the breed on the US Accurate Shooter forum is 'the Salvage' amongst its detractors. So far as Savage factory competition rifle barrels go, a fair percenhtage shoot brilliantly once the very lengthy running-in period is over, far better than any factory component should; most shoot adequately for a competition rifle, ie still good but not exceptionally; a small minority are 'dogs' and never perform well. See if you can find a good secondhand Sightron 8-32X56 Series III scope, an excellent starter model for FTR, and what you save on the Vortex will let you buy a more expensive base rifle. And ......... good luck and shooting. Any new FTR shooter is welcome, especially another lady to add to the growing field of female 'Effers'.
  24. Laurie

    7mm saum and 284 load n165

    You should be able to get higher MVs than 2,850 from the SAUM especially with RS70 which is one of Nitrochemie's 'high-energy' grades and has the advanced 'EI' infused deterrents technology. Nodes generally occur at around 100-150 fps MV intervals, sometimes smaller intervals though, so you need to work up in small steps and see when you hit the next one at higher velocities, checking that pressures remain acceptable for your barrel and in your highest local temperature conditions.
  25. Laurie

    RS powders for heavy .223/6.5CM/.308 bullets

    Maybe, but I've never had any issues with RS52 in this regard. When I was loading 308 Palma brass with a trial lot of Nitrochemie EI-N130 (nicknamed Elcho-15) some years back that I was given by Nigel Cole-Hawkins for review in its pre Reload Swiss days, I intended to use it in quite a 'warm' load at the Scottish LR Championship meeting at Blair Athol a couple of weeks later in what promised to be very warm conditions. So to test its temperature sensitivity, I left an MTM 50-round box open on the front seat of the car for three hours straddling midday in full sun on a hot day at Diggle to see if I could detect any difference. I couldn't and the chronograph only gave a modest increase in MV. (EI-N130 is the works code for what is now retailed as RS52.) No powder, even the much vaunted ADI / Hodgdon 'Extremes' is completely temperature insensitive, it's more about being manageable in one's own conditions, and managing ammunition exposure on the firing point. I cringe when I see F-Open competitors shooting a 40 minute or so relay on Stickledown with those big MTM R100 type ammo boxes sitting in full sun and the lid thrown back. By the end of that relay, those rounds will be noticeably hot to the touch. The same competitors will (rightly) take great care to keep their ammo out of the rain on a wet day knowing what water droplets can do to pressures and precision, but ignore full sunlight which even in the UK can be hot. The only powder I've had real issues with is Re15 in my old 223 90gn F/TR load that was pushing pressures. I could watch primer cratering get progressively worse as ammo heated over the course of a hot day. An insulated sandwich bag was bought and by scrupulously keeping it and the ammo in shade, opening the box as little as possible and not keeping rounds in a hot chamber got around this, but only barely. RS52 seems to be the answer to this issue in the cartridge and combination as VarGet solved the temperature problems but lost 60 vital fps and never performed as well as the Alliant grade.

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