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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry RAMMAC, I could not let that one go by.

I picked up some Nosler 165 grain ballistic tip hunting bullets.(want to do some hog hunting.)
Going to try to get about 2500-2550fps out of my Socom 16. I have not shot any projectiles over 155 grains in the rifle. Is there anything I need to watch for.
Going to use new "03" IVI brass, CCI BR-2 primers, IMR 4895 powder, case length 2.005", OAL 2.810". Will be starting loads at 39 grains.

Thank you for any advice,
Glenn
 

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GP, I loaded the Nosler 168's over 36.0grn IMR4895 and was only getting 2000fps out of the Socom, so the 39.0grns would probably be a more realistic starting point for your 165's.

I also loaded 43.0grn IMR4895 under a 147grn FMJ and stopped just short of 2500fps (2480fps avg) so you are probably going to wind up around 44.0-45.0grns to get the 165's up to 2500.

But I would defer to Yoda... GI2
 

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I have used Sierra 165gr. Game Kings in my M1A for years. My load has always been 41.5 grs. of IMR 4895. Very good accuracy.
 

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Oh good gravy, that's hilarious JESTER

Now I'm sorry I posted that comment, I've embarrassed myself.

OK, you asked for it so remember...talk long I can, young ones. SOAPBOX1

Hey guys don't get the idea that I have the answers with ammo. Reloading is weird stuff, there are so many variables that most often no two people will get the same performance out of the same hand load. But every once in a while there are some loads that just seem to perform well no matter what rifle they are fired from or who built them. Always use your own judgement on what is safe and work the loads up from a reasonable lower value. I always compare my proposed new loads against a couple of reloading manuals although I rely heavily on the Hornady reloading manuals since they have a service rifle section that used the M1A to develop their listed loads. Never take anybody's word that a load is safe without working up to it yourself using the standard safety procedures.

Most of the stuff I've been quoting starts out as "what if" questions that I run through computer software and then I try them out in the real world. Right now I can say that the software will give me a good starting point but I have not figured out how to make it predict a load's real world performance any closer than plus or minus about 50 fps depending on the bullet weight and powder used; sometimes it seems like I'm off worse than that. What I'd love is for some of you guys to send me private messages giving me specifics on your loads and the measured results. With a lot of info from a variety of sources I would have a better chance of figuring out the little tweaks that I need to make to my software to better match the real world.

So far my SOCOM is working out very well using a 168 grain load but I keep running in to a consistency problem. I'm talking about going from one inch to three inch groups using the same load but at different times. I suspect that I'm getting complications from a dirty chamber but I haven't found a way to check that out other than to just clean the chamber when my loads go wacky. That has worked every time so far but what if I need to clean in the middle of a string of shots? How do I monitor the condition of the chamber reliably? Why is this happening when no other rifle has done this? So the testing goes on. As a result I hate to claim specific results since I can't get things to repeat reliably.

All that being said, I haven't tried the lighter bullets yet but it seems that I will have to. My plan for building a 165 grain hunting load is;

  • Bullet: 165 grain Hornady SST (just because I like them but the bullet's length does have an effect on case volume so be aware that different brands will cause changes in velocities and pressures)
  • CAOL: About 2.83" measured at the tip (I actually measure at the ogive for consistency since all bullet lengths vary a few thousands of an inch)
  • Case: Lapua, WCC, or LC (again different volumes will cause differences in speeds and pressures)
  • TTL: 2.010" (I like the longer case so that I can stuff more powder in if I need to, this of course can be varied based on test results)
  • Primer: Winchester Large Rifle, or Remington's equivalent (I don't like CCIs I think that they are too hot and since I uniform my primer pockets I can seat the primers low enough to ensure safety, I've never had a slam fire in over 30 years)
  • Powder: A range of IMR 4895 ( I like to start M1A loads using the original IMR powders that are tried and true; IMR 4064 & 4895).

The Hornady manual does not list a 165 grain bullet load for the M1A but they have a listing for their 168 grain bullets and they recommend no higher than 41.4 grains for a muzzle velocity of about 2500 fps in the 22" barrel. That would probably provide a MV of about 2350 fps in the shorter barrel.

Based on all that info I would probably start out at about 40.0 grains and go up in half grain increments up to 43.0 grains. The QuickLOAD software I use predicts that pressure would be just about 50,000 psi at 43.0 grains so be aware that for some this would be the limit. Now for me personally, I would be willing to work slowly up to about 44.0 grains but let me warn you, the software predicts pressures of around 55,000 psi at this point and my experience with the SOCOM has been that anything over about 53,000 psi and I start to get stretched primer pockets really quick (that means that the pressures are starting to really stress the case). Then I would refine the load using 0.2 grain increments between the two best loads and then finally 0.1 grain increments. Then I would fine tune the seating depth of the bullet.

I have had Lapua cases fail on the third reload using 44.2 grains of IMR 8208 XBR with chamber pressures predicted to be about 63,000 psi; luckily they only cracked and did not blow the bolt open. No, I didn't do it on purpose and I don't recommend trying this yourself; this was before there was any published info on that powder. But it does show that the rifle can take quite a bit of pressure and that means that there is a little room for error if you make a mistake. My belief is that it isn't worth trying to go over about 54,000 psi due to the shortened case life and wear and tear on the rifle (unless I were a professional competitor and got paid enough to offset the expenses of buying barrels and reloading supplies).

And by the way, my personal most reliable load for the 22" barrel has always been about 41.0 - 41.5 grains of either IMR 4895 or 4064 in a WCC case trimmed to 2.007" topped off with a 168 grain Hornady A-Max bullet and seated to give about 2.83" at the tip of the bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Master Yoda..... I mean RAMMAC.
And thank you Steve12 and Charlie98.

Good info gentlemen. I have been down this road with lighter bullets, so your input for the heavier bullets is much appreciated.
I have made a test cartridge using a GGG case sized in my bushing die without the bushing so the headspace is right. Then I used my tapered crimp die to bring the neck down enough to hold a bullet tight but adjustable to get OAL and ogive(did this when I played with Sierra 135 SMK's).
For this first batch I am keeping the OAL at 2.810" that gives me an ogive of 2.185" using the Hornady bullet comparator with the 8-30 bushing. RAMMAC, I will start at 40gr. per your suggestion and stop at 43gr. for the first set. My One Book reloading manual has most manufactures max loads at 43-43.5gr.
Here of some pictures of what i have done.


LC M118 cartridge next to the Nosler 165gr. test cartridge.

This shot is to give you an idea of how far the bullets sit in the case.

Nosler 165gr. next to Hornady 165gr. SST that RAMMAC was talking about.(will be testing those too.)
The black line on the bullet shows seating depth. The cannelure on the Hornady bullets will be outside the case neck, but should shoot fine.

Thanks again,
Glenn
 

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I thought I would do an update to my SOCOM 16 reloading journey.

I started this craziness with the idea of finding the heaviest load possible that would provide the greatest accuracy out to 300 yards. I set a standard of at least 6" groups at 300 yards. I modified my rifle so that I could eliminate it as the source of inaccuracy. The modifications include a JAE 100 G2 stock, an Ultimak rail, and a Nikon 2.5x - 8x Encore scope.


The result? The groups were inconsistent and varied from 1" to as bad as 4.5 inches at 100 yards using 168gr Federal GMM ammo. I spent almost a year working on this issue and found that most of the problem was the Ultimak rail was contacting the JAE stock in several places. I had to do a lot of material removal and trial and error until I eliminated all indications of contact between the two. A couple of months ago I finally got to a place where I felt that the rifle is now performing reliably. This is where I actually got a chance to start testing my hand loads. The loads now seem to repeat the group patterns and sizes and they respond to changes that I make.

So I started working on the heaviest bullet that I thought might work, 178 and 168 grain Hornady bullets, in conjunction with IMR powders. After many different tests I concluded that the barrel length (16.25") was too short to stabilize these bullets. I don't know if it is their weight or length but I suspect that the velocities and spin rate of the bullets were too slow to stabilize them. Now I'm working with 165gr Hornady GMX and SST bullets and they seem to be working the way I had hoped. Here is my most recent range trip and the group analysis results.

Range trip results from Sunday, 27 March, 2011. Time was 0900 to 1200 hours. It had snowed the night before and in to the morning just before I started shooting. Winds were zero and there were scattered clouds. Altitude was approx. 5100' and temps were around 35 degrees.


The rounds were;
  • Bullet: 165gr Hornady GMX
  • Case: Lapua, TTL 2.007", empty weights were 171.4gr to 172.7gr to help ensure consistent case volume.
  • Primers: Win Large Rifle
  • Powder: IMR 3031
  • COAL: 2.81"
The powder charge weights varied from 39.6gr to 40.0gr in 0.2gr increments. It looks like my best charge weight will be at 39.9gr using these components and dimensions. I intend to test a different primer next and then adjusting the bullet seating depth. My guess is that I will end up with a load that can keep my groups at 1" to 1.5" and my muzzle velocity will be about 2515 fps. My QuickLOAD software estimates that my chamber pressure will be in the area of about 55,000 - 56,000 psi. My primers still look good but they are starting to flatten a little. I actually fired some of my older 168gr loads at 200 yards and got a 3.5" group; and those loads were not as accurate as these new 165gr loads so it appears that I might end up with 4" to 5" groups at 300 yards.

The groups of numbers within the parenthesis represent the position of the center of the group compared to the point of aim (POA). Notice that as the load went up the center of the group got closer to the point of aim. I stopped at 40.2gr of powder and I didn't post a picture of that group because the group became huge at that point (about 5.5"). Obviously the top end seems to be about 40.1gr of IMR 3031. Also notice that the standard deviation (SD) went from 15.3 down to 7. At 40.2gr the SD went back up to 12.





 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the update RAMMAC.
I will be putting together some more 165gr. nosler loads but will be using H4895 this time. I had shot my original loads about a month ago, but did not take the Chrony. I tested for pressure signs and wanted just to shoot after not shooting for a month. I should say we had a nice day to shoot, (84 degrees and sunny.) but I was on call this weekend. I will be putting my Socom back in wood for testing, she more consistant in that dress. Will let you know how it goes this next trip.

Glenn
 

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Thank you for the update RAMMAC.
I will be putting together some more 165gr. nosler loads but will be using H4895 this time. I had shot my original loads about a month ago, but did not take the Chrony. I tested for pressure signs and wanted just to shoot after not shooting for a month. I should say we had a nice day to shoot, (84 degrees and sunny.) but I was on call this weekend. I will be putting my Socom back in wood for testing, she more consistant in that dress. Will let you know how it goes this next trip.

Glenn
Thanks geepee, I'm looking forward to your info. Between the two of us we might get this little shooter to perform like a 22" barrel, at least with the 165s.
 

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Rick what are you doing on my bench!? Good to see you got out. Sorry I missed going up with you.
DI5

You snooze, you loose buddy. It was a perfect day, the wind didn't even try to start up until a little after noon and there was only one other shooter besides me. I'm going again on Tuesday, I'm going to test out some Federal Match primers.
 

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I thought I would do an update to my SOCOM 16 reloading journey.

I started this craziness with the idea of finding the heaviest load possible that would provide the greatest accuracy out to 300 yards. I set a standard of at least 6" groups at 300 yards. I modified my rifle so that I could eliminate it as the source of inaccuracy. The modifications include a JAE 100 G2 stock, an Ultimak rail, and a Nikon 2.5x - 8x Encore scope.


The result? The groups were inconsistent and varied from 1" to as bad as 4.5 inches at 100 yards using 168gr Federal GMM ammo. I spent almost a year working on this issue and found that most of the problem was the Ultimak rail was contacting the JAE stock in several places. I had to do a lot of material removal and trial and error until I eliminated all indications of contact between the two. A couple of months ago I finally got to a place where I felt that the rifle is now performing reliably. This is where I actually got a chance to start testing my hand loads. The loads now seem to repeat the group patterns and sizes and they respond to changes that I make.

So I started working on the heaviest bullet that I thought might work, 178 and 168 grain Hornady bullets, in conjunction with IMR powders. After many different tests I concluded that the barrel length (16.25") was too short to stabilize these bullets. I don't know if it is their weight or length but I suspect that the velocities and spin rate of the bullets were too slow to stabilize them. Now I'm working with 165gr Hornady GMX and SST bullets and they seem to be working the way I had hoped. Here is my most recent range trip and the group analysis results.

Range trip results from Sunday, 27 March, 2011. Time was 0900 to 1200 hours. It had snowed the night before and in to the morning just before I started shooting. Winds were zero and there were scattered clouds. Altitude was approx. 5100' and temps were around 35 degrees.


The rounds were;
  • Bullet: 165gr Hornady GMX
  • Case: Lapua, TTL 2.007", empty weights were 171.4gr to 172.7gr to help ensure consistent case volume.
  • Primers: Win Large Rifle
  • Powder: IMR 3031
  • COAL: 2.81"
The powder charge weights varied from 39.6gr to 40.0gr in 0.2gr increments. It looks like my best charge weight will be at 39.9gr using these components and dimensions. I intend to test a different primer next and then adjusting the bullet seating depth. My guess is that I will end up with a load that can keep my groups at 1" to 1.5" and my muzzle velocity will be about 2515 fps. My QuickLOAD software estimates that my chamber pressure will be in the area of about 55,000 - 56,000 psi. My primers still look good but they are starting to flatten a little. I actually fired some of my older 168gr loads at 200 yards and got a 3.5" group; and those loads were not as accurate as these new 165gr loads so it appears that I might end up with 4" to 5" groups at 300 yards.

The groups of numbers within the parenthesis represent the position of the center of the group compared to the point of aim (POA). Notice that as the load went up the center of the group got closer to the point of aim. I stopped at 40.2gr of powder and I didn't post a picture of that group because the group became huge at that point (about 5.5"). Obviously the top end seems to be about 40.1gr of IMR 3031. Also notice that the standard deviation (SD) went from 15.3 down to 7. At 40.2gr the SD went back up to 12.





You beat me to the punch... I was going to suggest a different propellent ( faster )... but you already did it ..I would guess ... that some of your accuracy problems are from " muzzle blast" and the unburnt / burning powder from your short barrel. I don't remember where I read it, but those can mess with your accuracy because of the blast/ still burning propellent being all over the back end of the bullet rather than "pushing" it from behind. And as such, the un -uniform blast is one of the last "things" in contact with the bullet.
 

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You beat me to the punch... I was going to suggest a different propellent ( faster )... but you already did it ..I would guess ... that some of your accuracy problems are from " muzzle blast" and the unburnt / burning powder from your short barrel. I don't remember where I read it, but those can mess with your accuracy because of the blast/ still burning propellent being all over the back end of the bullet rather than "pushing" it from behind. And as such, the un -uniform blast is one of the last "things" in contact with the bullet.
We must be in on the same Vulcan mind meld, I was reading a ballistics book and saw the same info. I also have QuickLOAD ballistics software and sure enough, it predicts that IMR 3031 powder is the only powder that has the potential to burn 100% of the charge weight in that short of a barrel. It must be true because my cases are the cleanest I've ever seen come out of the SOCOM 16 after being fired.
 

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We must be in on the same Vulcan mind meld, I was reading a ballistics book and saw the same info. I also have QuickLOAD ballistics software and sure enough, it predicts that IMR 3031 powder is the only powder that has the potential to burn 100% of the charge weight in that short of a barrel. It must be true because my cases are the cleanest I've ever seen come out of the SOCOM 16 after being fired.

Good to know !!
 

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Shooting a 165gr SST with 41.5 of TAC LC cases and
CCI standard LR Primer has given real good groups in
a standard and a scout.....
 

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Gentlemen I was given this load by a M1-A shooter, and I have been using it since @ 1975 or 1975.
I have used it with the following bullets:
168 Sierra Matchking, 165 Sierra HPBT, and Spitzer Gameking, 165 Nosler Partition, 165gr Nosler Ballistic Tip.

The powder is IMR 3031, the charge 39.5grains.
I have shot a lot of deer, antelope, wild pigs, turkey, bobcat, coyotes, with the hunting bullets, and I have shot Rifle Silhoutte, Service Rifle, Sniper Rifle, and 3 Gun Matches.

I have shot this load in Bolt Rifles, a Savage 99, several different, M14's/M1-A's, H&K 91's FN-FAL,s, 308 Garands.
I have never fired this load in any 308 rifle that it did not shoot pretty good, in most is shoots very good.

This is a fairly light load, it is easy on the gun, and the brass.

If fact I have also used this load with 180gr Sierra Matchkings and Gamekings, as well as the Nosler Partitions and Ballistic Tips.

It would be a good place to start, and you clould always tune it for your individual rifle.

If you find that your rifle just does not like 165 grain bullets, I have found 42gr if IMR 3031 to shoot good with 150gr bullets in the few rifles I have shot it in.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Now that RAMMAC breathed life back into this thread, lets get back on track.
I am changing some of the cartidge components.
Here are the updated parts.

Nosler Ballistic Tip Hunting bullets; 165gr.
Federal NATO "08" pulled cases with Winchester LR primers still crimped and sealed.
Hodgdon's H4895 powder
COAL 2.810"
Powder charges to be tested (6 rounds each); 39.8gr., 40.2gr., 40.6gr., 41.0gr., 41.4gr., 41.8gr., 42.0gr., 42.2gr.








Weather permitting, I will be running these loads through the Chrony this weekend. And I will post the results for you.
Tomorrow I will be changing my Socom back to its walnut stock. She just shoots better in wood. I also have a laminated unfinished stock coming in. That's my next project.

Thanks again,
Glenn
 

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Now that RAMMAC breathed life back into this thread, lets get back on track.
I am changing some of the cartidge components.
Here are the updated parts.

Nosler Ballistic Tip Hunting bullets; 165gr.
Federal NATO "08" pulled cases with Winchester LR primers still crimped and sealed.
Hodgdon's H4895 powder
COAL 2.810"
Powder charges to be tested (6 rounds each); 39.8gr., 40.2gr., 40.6gr., 41.0gr., 41.4gr., 41.8gr., 42.0gr., 42.2gr.








Weather permitting, I will be running these loads through the Chrony this weekend. And I will post the results for you.
Tomorrow I will be changing my Socom back to its walnut stock. She just shoots better in wood. I also have a laminated unfinished stock coming in. That's my next project.

Thanks again,
Glenn
My bet is that between 41.2 and 42 grains will be the best load. If I loose I'll force myself to shoot a black gun of some kind. DI5
 

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Well I tried a different primer and while the primer seemed to shift the most accurate load by a couple tenths of a grain the group size stayed the same, about 1.25" at 100 yards from a bench using sand bags.

The biggest improvement that I saw was that the new primers eliminated a problem that seemed to be showing up a lot, namely gas escaping around the primer. I used to get gas burns around my primers on about two or three out of ten shots. I'm assuming that this would create a greater variance to my velocities. I haven't chronographed the results yet but when I do I will post them. The primers I was using were Winchester Large Rifle and I switched to Federal Large Rifle Match.

I think I'm pretty much played out on options and such at this point. I will test a couple of different brand 165gr bullets and see if I can keep the groups close to the same, if so then I'm pretty sure I've found the load I will use for hunting and general duty.

After all that, I want to test one more accuracy change. I have whole bunch of old Remington .308 bench rest brass that uses small rifle primers. I want to do some tests with this brass and some Remington bench rest primers and see what happens. I also plan to test those cases in my loaded model rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
If I loose I'll force myself to shoot a black gun of some kind. DI5
RAMMAC, I would never do that to you my friend.

As to the primers I normally run CCI BR-2 with no problem. This time with the Federal brass/ Winchester primers. Being crimped and sealed, I don't think I will have that problem.

I plan to shoot Sunday morning. The afternoon temps have been in the mid 80's for the past few days. I do not like it too hot when I am testing ammo. Quite a difference from what you shot last week.

Thanks again,
Glenn
 

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RAMMAC, I would never do that to you my friend.

As to the primers I normally run CCI BR-2 with no problem. This time with the Federal brass/ Winchester primers. Being crimped and sealed, I don't think I will have that problem.

I plan to shoot Sunday morning. The afternoon temps have been in the mid 80's for the past few days. I do not like it too hot when I am testing ammo. Quite a difference from what you shot last week.

Thanks again,
Glenn
I intended to cheat anyways, I have a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a dark bluing that is really black JESTER
 
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