A Few Questions
I've done a fair bit of reloading, but only for semi-auto pistols and rifles where a full-length resizing die, and crimping the bullet are musts. I'm planning on getting a hunting rifle, a CZ 550 American in 30-06 in the coming weeks, and I plan on reloading for it. I was curious if A) The bullets need to be crimped, and B) Do I need a full-length resizing die, or a would a neck-sizer be better?
The other question I have is seating depth. I know that certain rifles shoot better when the bullet is a certain distance off the lands, and I know the only way to find that sweet spot is through trial and error, but how do you know how far off the lands you are. I see where people are loading just a couple hundreths off the lands, or maybe some load it right to the lands, but how do they know? I'm sure there's some way of measuring it out, I just don't know what it is.
Oh, and on a final note, for those of you who load 30-06, what's your favorite power? Seems to be that H4895 and IMR 4064 both seem to be popular, so I'm gonna pick up a pound of each. Any others you guys have had good results with?
Thanks for any and all advice.
Crimping a bolt action rifle round is not necessary. All brass (except new factory ammo which will result in once fired brass from YOUR rifle) should be full length resized the first time it is loaded; even new unfired brass. After that, neck sizing only is ok. To find seating depth, make a dummy (unprimed) round and seat the bullet to its minimum depth. Then darken the bullet w/ the soot of a candle or a magic marker, I suppose, and load it into your rifle. You should see lands marks on the bullet. Seat the bullet down just a quarter of a turn of the die or adjusting screw, and check it again. Keep doing this until there are no marks from the lands on the bullet. You now have the proper seating depth for your rifle.
As for powders, the ones you mentioned should work ok. See what some suggested loads are from your loading manuals and go from there.
As far as crimping 30-06 rounds, this subject will always be open for debate. I do not shoot a 30-06 but I do have a .270 and the cartridge case is very similar. I have never crimped the bullets for my .270 loads and have never experienced any problems. Based upon my research and experience, I do not feel the need for crimping my loads that are shot through my pump-action rifle.
I have always heard that IMR 4064 is a very good powder for the 30-06 cartridge, particularly for the 165-grain bullets. I know H4350 and IMR4895 produces good results also. I advise referencing the loading manual for the bullets you will be using.
For measuring bullet seating depth, you need a tool like this. I have one and it is very easy to use. You can determine a precise bullet seating depth using this tool. There are many variables that affect ballistic performance with bullet seating depth changes. You have to consider the design and weight of the bullet, the design of the action and barrel, the design of the cartridge, etc. just to name a few. Some people choose to have the bullets touching the lans while others will back the bullet off as much as .030". With this tool you can make an accurate measurement.
Good luck with your reloading.
I agree with the above responses. In addition:
I use IMR 4064 (and H4831SC) for my 7mm Rem Mag (Rem 700 bolt action),
IMR 4064 is excellent powder. I found that my .30-60 (BAR, semi) is more
accurate with Varget.
Hodgdon Extreme rifle powders are good all weather powders, extreme cold
can effect some smokeless powders, since you are in FL that may not be an
issue for you but it is a consideration. In the last 5 years I have been in the
woods deer hunting when the temp was -5F, on two different years, also, 2
years ago with my son it was in the 60's for the youth hunt. My loads have
to be versatile.
I crimp all my hunting ammo not so much for bullet security but to aid in
preventing moisture and other liquids from finding their way into the round,
I also seal all my primers and bullets on hunting ammo.
Magazine fed high-power bolt action rifles can recoil enough that bullets being
set back can still be an issue. Heavy recoil can and will knock around bullet
in the magazine.
Once I work-up loads for my hunting ammo, I really do not go through it very
fast. I used primary Barnes TSX bullets for hunting and Sierra MatchKings at
the range for practice and fun. So I have different loadings for each, but try
to work on a common Powder and in the case of my 7mm Rem Mag and .300
H&H have very close points of impact out to 300 yds. The BAR is still a work
Wouldn't sealing the cases take care of any moisture issues, negating the need for crimping?
Once I find my hunting load, I won't be shooting it much. A few rounds at the beginning of the season for sight-in purposes, then only if I shoot something. I was looking at the Barnes, both the TSX and the TTSX, as well as a couple from Nosler and Hornady. Not sure which I'll end up with. I'd like to try them all, but buying 50 or 100 of each would get expensive quick.
I wanna say I've seen a website that sells bullets in like 12 or 15 count, so you'll have enough to test for accuracy without spending a ton of money bullets you won't use, but I couldn't find it when searching on google. Does anyone know of such a site?
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