Range Day Prep.


Preparing for the next range day.

“Ultimately, it’s a hunting rifle – so ‘minute of deer’ is all I need”


New primers, new load development.

I was quite surprised on a recent range trip to discover how much changing a primer brand effected the load in the rifle. What had been a mild load in the 7mm08 X-Bolt was now showing signs of over pressure1.

I had decided to switch to the Federal 210M Primers for my rifle loads – as previously mentioned, the CCI primers had given me a high failure to ignite rate – may be due to a light striking pin – and the idea of a more consistent build appealed to me.

As a result, I am going to start from scratch and work up the load again. Remembering that the X-Bolt seems to shoot even the worst of loads well, it’s more a case of me tinkering to see what I can get out of the rifle. Ultimately, it’s a hunting rifle – so ‘minute of deer’ is all I need – and as I generally bush stalk – we are talking about 75 meters distance max.

Opening up my Excel spreadsheet – I used my previous ideal load at the basis and proceeded to load up a box of rounds to try out.

“There is still a bit of contention as to which method is more accurate.”

Fireforming, Neck Sizing, Full Length Resizing.

There are two primary ways to resize fired brass for reloading. Like so many things, there is still a bit of contention as to which method is more accurate. What method you take is going to depend on your ultimate goal, or at least, your focus at that point in time.

In short, fireforming causes the brass to take on the shape of your chamber. Brass, when heated2 ‘flows’ – it expands. By then taking that brass and only neck sizing in the future, the theory is that it increases brass life3 and the brass fitting the chamber means more accuracy.

The counter argument by some benchrest shooters is that by full length sizing each time, you ensure conformity of the brass which ensures consistency. Besides, they say – who say’s your chamber is perfectly round? Do you then make sure you load the brass the same way each time?

For my Remington Project I have decided to fireform and neck size only. At the moment, the tiny amount of accuracy I may get out of full length resizing isn’t going to be my limiting factor. My shooting is. Once I feel that I could eek out that little closer grouping – I may switch to Full Length.

Fireforming Loads

You don’t want to be trying to do load development while fireforming your brass. Once the brass is in it’s ‘final’ shape – then start worrying about getting the right amount of powder in there.

Many people will use some cheap bullets and cheap powder, I have even read of some guys fireforming without a projectile at all – essentially putting in a wad and forming the shells in the garage!4 Probablly not for me at the moment, so I used what I had on hand.

Instead of buying sacrificial bullets, I loaded it up with the Lapua Scenars and the minimum load recommended for the ADI 8208 powder, out of the ADI manual.

Next weekend will be spent practising my shooting fundamentals, while not worrying too much about how the target is looking.

Aiming for consistency

Consistency means repeatability, repeatability means you can take the equipment out of the equation and focus on what’s going to be the biggest factor in your shooting – yourself.

For my .308 700 project I decided to go with the Wilson Dies. Reading up online, it seems a lot of the Benchrest community like the Wilson Dies for their simplicity. They are well engineered pieces of steel that can’t move much and therefore lend themselves to producing consistent loads.

I had already neck sized and prepared the brass previously, so it was just a case of filling with powder and putting in a projectile.

Kiwifruit Measuring Devices.

After reading Nathan Fosters awesome bookThe Practical Guide to Reloading‘ I also realised I was probably overthinking my powder measuring. For rifle, I measure each charge. This means, really, I can skip the powder chucker completely and just use a spoon to transfer powder onto the scales.

Nathan talks of the importance of finding just the right spoon for the job. My current contender is one of the spoons out of a box of Kiwifruit. I like the weight, and should I need to – I may be able to defend myself from an unexpected zombie attack with the serrated edge on the rear side.

Ready to go

I have a box for the X-Bolt and a box for the 700. Good to go.

It’s going to be a busy weekend! The 700 has a new scope on it, so I will be zeroing that in as well and the Magnetospeed has turned up – so will also be having a play with that. I don’t really have anything I ‘seriously’ need to measure this weekend. But will plug it in and have a play anyhow.

  1. mild, but still the beginnings 

  2. like during a controlled explosion 

  3. you don’t have to work it as much 

  4. http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2012/02/tech-tip-fire-forming-with-pistol-powder/