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The 300 WSM's lessons
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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1895ss
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:46 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

Great work Handloader and Thanks. Obviously sometimes there isn't enough thought or testing done before "new" caliber designs are brought out. Newer isn't always better and the old ".06" is still hard to beat.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:53 am    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

Handloader wrote:
PaulS wrote:
Handloader,

You credit the results to powders and bullets that are newer . . . .
Are you willing to share your data that yielded your results?


Glad to share some data, PaulS and, thanks, for your continued interest. And a few comments, but, first the averaged* data:

snipped 300 WSM data


30-06 Springfield

Load #1
Winchester Brass, weighed, prepped, trimmed to 2.49"
Primer: GM215M
Powder: VihtaVoui Oy N160, 60.5gr
Bullet: TSX 180gr
Velocity: 2,906 fps @ 12', PACT Pro, 77 degrees
SD: 18fps
COL: 3.275"

Load #2 SAA, except
Primer: WLRM
Powder: Reloder 19, 61.5gr
Velocity: 2,897 fps 63 degrees
SD: 12fps

Load #3 SAA except
Primer: WLRM
Powder: AA4350, 58.5gr
Velocity: 2,908 73 degrees
SD: 28fps

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Averaged Data: recall that I used numerous firearms in these tests. Some developed higher/lower velocities. Loads listed are the average of these rifles. One 06 actually got to 2,935fps. If you wish I can provide rifle data as well, but, allow that all rifles tested had 24" barrels.

The data is the result of two groups of five shots each. Retests were done with two groups of five shots each.

Case Head Expansion: If a first fired case is compared with an unfired case of the same lot/brand, CHE can be a valuable indicator of pressure. Barnes notes loads of .0005" CHE indicate pressures that are too high. P O Ackley, too, used CHE as an indicator. In developing these loads, development was stopped when .0005" CHE was observed. The load was then reduced 1.5gr and CHE measured again. At this pressure level I have over eight reloads on the cases used and observe no deterioration. All fired primers looked normal, primer pockets are tight and bolts opened without resistance. On pluger ejector rifles, no case marks were observed with the loads above.

Accuracy: as some development occured (I tested 22 loads, altogether), accuracy would drop off; anything delivering less than 1.5MOA was discarded as a potential "Standard Load". Some loads delivered subMOA accuracy but didn't show velocity potential for the case/bullet. IMO and for my hunting needs, any load delivering 1 to 1.25MOA has adequate accuracy for any field useage. The best accuracy, FYI, was a pre64 Model 70 @ .72" aggregate for three five shot groups @ 100yds, however, the Krieger barreled 300 WSM was the most consistent @ .85" aggreate for all eight loads.

300WSM: this cartridge was easy to load to 3,000fps, easier than the 06, however, the CHE would go up quickly from the .0005" as 3,000fps was exceeded.

PaulS, I hope the above is of interest to you. I hasten to add that the above noted loads are with the TSX bullet, were carefully developed around that bullet and should be used as a guideline only when considering that bullet with all other caveats that go along with judicious handloading.

And finally, this observation. Knowing the maxium potential of a given firearm may be less critical than other considerations, but, it is valuable information nonetheless. Once I know the maximum velocity potential with a given load, I will typically back off 5% to incorporate a safety allowance for temperature variations. Ultimately, placing the properly constructed bullet in the proper place determines success.

My conclusion is that the venerable 06 still remains one of the great choices for the title of All Round Rifle in any hunter's battery. Today, it is better than ever. It has enough velocity, for me, to preclude consideration of the 300WSM and other 30 caliber magnums. We are well served by today's components, powders and bullets. They represent an ongoing advance that will continue to be dynamic into the future.

I happen to agree with your estimation of the potential of the 3006 I also maintain that your velocity is due to pressure increases and not new components. There is no pressure tested data for the TSX bullets - Barnes is asking their customers to test data that has no basis in fact for its use. They cover their tushes by giving the loader choices that seem safe and other choices that may be but are open to interpretation and therefore the loader's responsibility. You remove most of the danger when you back off 5% after working up the load (that is 2.5 grains of powder on the average) and you are certainly not getting anywhere near your velocity claim with those loads.

Your data is of extreme interest to me because it seems to show that you are overloading the cartridges and ignoring Barnes cautions to achieve a velocity value that you don't use after all is said and done. You drop it from there 5% for safety reasons.

How can I suspect overloads when you have carefully measured CHE as you worked up your loads? Did you see this warning?

From the Barnes Loading guidelines on their website:

Question #2:
2. Since the TSX and and XLC coated bullets are similar and both reduce pressure within the bore, can I use the XLC load data with TSX bullets?
Answer. No. While the TSX and XLC both reduce pressures, they are very different and each bullet has its own strengths. Reloading using the XLC load data will cause excessive pressures in some cases.

I don't have a Barnes manual - I don't use their bullets after the copper fouling problems that I experienced the first time I tried them but this data was on the web site with the warning that it was not to be used with the TSX bullets.

Data from the Barnes web site - corrected for printed errors in their book page 358. . . No other listing for 3006 was available on site:

180 XLC FB and 180 grain XLC BT (not to be used with TSX bullets)

powder N160 - 59 grains maximum - your load calls for 60.5
1.5 grains OVER the maximum listed for data not to be used because it can generate excessive pressure.

Re 19 - 61 grains maximum - your load calls for 61.5
.5 grains over the maximum listed for data not to be used because it can generate excessive pressure.

The powder for load 3 was not listed but it did list 3 other 4350 powders
(not necessarily interchangable)
XMR4350 - 58 grain maximum
H4350 - 59 grains maximum
IMR4350 - 59 grains maximum - your load 58.5
.5 grains more than one powder and .5 grains under the other two. I don't know what the maximum was as listed in your book.

I must repeat that I don't have the data that you were using but it does appear that you are over the maximum loads even for data that said it should not be used because of the chance that excessive pressure could be generated even with listed starting loads.

Barnes says on their site to use the minimum X bullet data to start.
They say to work loads up in .5 grain increments until you are no more than 1 to 2 grains above the listed maximum on those minimum X bullet data or until signs of excessive pressure are evident - WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
They then explain how to measure for those signs.
Case head expansion of .0005" is a SURE sign of excessive pressure (they don't say that .0004 is safe just that .0005 is a SURE sign of dangerous pressure. They say sticky bolt lift, flattened primers or shiny spots on the base of the cartridge are the other signs of excessive pressures.
They then say that if you do not feel comfortable working a load up, to use the X bullet data in a weight to weight method - 180 gr X-bullet data for a 180 gr TSX bullet.
Since you neglected to list the maximum listed loads from your manual and the loads that you listed exceed those of data that carries a warning that it is NOT to be used with the TSX bullets I am still concerned that you may be overloading the cases.
As for watching for signs of excessive pressure it has been demonstrated by the NRA and several Bullet manufacturers that those signs are not reliable indicators of any particular pressure range. One gun may produce CHE of over .0005 with factory loads while others may not show any signs at loads that are tested at 20% over the SAAMI maximums. It has also been demonstrated that microfractures can appear in the chamber and first few inches of a barrel, years before any catastrophic failure from loads that are only slightly above the SAAMI standard pressures.
You have already figured out that I am a very conservative handloader. I don't trust pressure signs that are ambiguous and unreliable at best and can, under the worst case be outright dangerous. It will be interesting to see what the pressure tested loads finally are when the new Barnes manual comes out. I am willing to wait and see. I am glad that you reduce your loads and I hope that you tell others that might follow your load work-up to get that last 100 fps from their guns to reduce their loads by 5% too - just to be on the safe side. Young loaders might take their loads up just a few tenths higher than yours to get the "advertised" velocity on their new Chrony and blow their gun up removing parts of their face and hands. Some people don't know any better and others just don't care.
That is why I challenge claims like yours - to protect the next generation of loaders from mistakes that may be promoted when they only hear part of the story about "miracle" loads.

I don't think you have to have a 2900 fps 180 grain bullet to kill any game on the market - a 2700 fps load will do it just fine and that dead elk won't care that it was a bit slower than the hypersonic lightening blaster that took his brother the day before.

Peace and health to you and yours (I am still curious about the actual listed maximum in the manual)
I hope that all this banter doesn't get in the way of us being friends - I think we can be good friends and still battle nicely about that last 200 fps and how to get it or leave it. Maybe you will convince me to try those soft copper bullets once more - what a mess trying to get it out of my 03A3 bore! YUCK! Maybe I can convince you to advertize the 5% reduced loads instead of the "hotrods". I know I can be aggrevating and a royal pain but I am not nearly as cocky as I sound. I do like a good discussion - and most are affraid of them - two old dogs can discuss a bone now and then can't we?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

Handloader, I am and was not trying to start anything, but I load 180gn AB's at 3011fps out of a 24" tube and when I compared that to some .30-06 loads I saw a markable improvment.

The .30-06 is a great cal, dont get me wrong after all it is probably the most commonly used cal use in AUST to hunt the elusive Sambar Deer.
This is not only because of its great performance but also because the ammo is available almost any where.
But recently I have seen more and more hunters turn to the .300 WSM because of its excellent performance in a short actioned, short barreled sporter.

So I cant compare loads because I have never loaded for the 30-06 so im going to finish in saying that the .300 WSM is the most succesful of the WSM's and is defanatly here to stay, just look at all the loads in the Database.

cheers

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

PaulS,
I can assure you that you need to try the 168gr TSX. It does not leave the excessive copper fouling that the original Barnes X did in my rifles, and it is extremely accurate in everything I've shot it in. However, I do use the Montana Extreme 50BMG solvent when cleaning behind this bullet. It works very well, but use it only in a well ventilated area. Good Shooting! Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

PaulS: you definitely are a pain in the butt, a skeptic of the first order. And you are to be commended for your questions, many of which are valid and pertinent. I've told my results and you have challenged methodology and safety issues; I see nothing negative about such exchanges, however, I believe I have made my point in the process and, more, I am personally satisfied and comfortable in using the approaches to achieve this level of performance.

I look forward to getting my own Oehler 35 with pressure strain gauge; alas, Oehler is no longer selling to the public. My friend owns one and we may be able to attach the strain gauge to one of the rifles and get some specific data. In the interim, I look forward to Barnes #4, due out sometime before the end of the year.

PaulS, we should get together and have a beer; I'll buy the first round. I can't wait to show you the load data from my latest round of tesing. (huge smiles and grins) Imagine the 180gr TSX at 3,000 fps!! In fact, this rifle (Ruger No1B, 26") has broken the 3,000 fps mark with several loads, just like Barnes data suggested it would.
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

Dam! Shocked

3,000fps now thats what I call a Mag. Its faster then Remington 300Win Mag and there RSUM. Shocked

This is one interesting topic keep it up guys! Very Happy

Dimitri

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

skip wrote:
. . . . .
So I cant compare loads because I have never loaded for the 30-06 so im going to finish in saying that the .300 WSM is the most succesful of the WSM's and is defanatly here to stay, just look at all the loads in the Database.
cheers

I agree that the 300WSM is the most successful of the series, although, in terms of actual performance increase, the 270WSM has better achieved it's design goals. Whether either cartridge becomes long standing on a list of active rounds can be argued effectively on both sides of the matter.

I recall a similar period in which new cartridges were introduced and some of them did, in fact, survive and become standards. The 7mmRM, for example. Other introductions of the period floundered, not because they weren't good rounds, rather because no one was interested in them. Witness the 308 Norma and the 358 Norma. Then there were cartridges introduced that had no pragmatic appeal such as the 256Win, 22 Jet and 375 Winchester. Memories, nothing more.

My viewpoint is tainted by what I see on a daily basis when selling firearms. Interest in any short mag is mediocre at best and non existent for WSSMs. I believe our customers, most of whom are exprienced, tend to choose other cartridges because of ammo availability and cost or ease of obtaining components for handloading, although we do have bags and bags of 300WSM brass awaiting some future buyer. But the main reason is that the standard rounds work well.

In our discussions on the 300WSM vs 30-06, the salient point made by many was the old 06 at standard factory velocities does a great job. While the 06 can be loaded hotter than factory any gains are more in the mind of the hunter than the effect on game. Its a good point and valid IMO. The 300WSM only marginally increases velocity, if at all, therefore, why would one wish to convert to it?

Choices abound and I'm all for it. Time will determine success or failure of the commercially marketed rounds and campfire stories will go on into the middle of the night. As long as there is enough wood to burn, its all good.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

Handloader,

I can't wait to see those new results!

We should get together. I have to pass on the beer for the near future (back drugs) but we could go shooting or fishing - or we could put your talents and mine together and build a better rocket engine - I need one that will break the mach 3 barrier. My fastest to date has been just under mach 3. I have a design for a mach 5 engine but it is beyond the legal limits for fuel capacity. Maybe we could use some of those new powders to develop a bit more velocity without going past 4 ounces of fuel.

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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

4 oz of fuel is the limit ?? Shocked I've seen some pretty big rocket's being used in hobbies I couldnt imagine even lifting off with just 4 oz Shocked

Anyways Handloader keep up the data its interesting. Smile

Dimitri

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

Rstokes,

I think I'll pass on the copper bullet for now. I may try to find a better powder for my Speer bullet but it performs so well in all my tests that it would be difficult to find a bullet that was any better. It has a BC of .477 and is as close to premium performance as I need without buying the Nosler. I wonder how the cost of Barnes compares with the cost of Nosler.

I feel some research coming on. . .

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

PaulS: rocket motors! I've seen some great launches on the Black Rock Desert, Gerlach, NV. Truly amazing multi stage babies, they would need clearance from the FAA prior to "hobby" launching.

Speer bullets, in particular their Hot Core, have been a mainstay bullet for deer hunting in my Ruger No1S (yes S) 25-06. I believe they are overlooked far too often. OTOH the TSX will cost twice as much and are more expensive that Nosler's Partitions. Deer killed with all three bullets, in my exprience, have less meat damage and, in most cases, the bullets have passed through the body, something I prefer.

Onward.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

I have seen some of the high altitude sponsored rockets - they use liquid fuel engines and high teck metal bodies - they are beautiful, long distance and very expensive rockets. If they go high enough they need clearance from NASA and have to be sponsored by NASA or a business in the industry. Big rockets and lots of work - I am in the little hobby class that uses paper tubes and solid propellant engines. I build my engines but most of the players use commercial engines. The rules limit propellant to 4 ounces and the charge to fire the recovery system to 1/2 ounce. You can't use metal in the construction of any parts.

My experience with Speer bullets is the same - rarely do I recover a bullet from a deer. I recovered one from a boar black bear. The bullet struck the front of the left shoulder and broke the right shoulder coming to rest under the hide on the far side. It looked like it lost about 75% of its weight and there were fragments throughout the bone and tissue surrounding the shoulder. The bear was dead and it only "walked" 9 feet or so before giving up. By the time I got there I didn't have anything to do but preserve the meat.
TSX are expensive bullets! What (besides the hypersonic trials) do you use them for? I can understand using premium bullets on dangerous game. I use the Nosler Partition bullets when facing dangerous and the largest game. I understand the tsx is advertised as retaining 100% of its weight but the Nosler Partition retains enough of its mass to go through any animal that I hunt. What justifies the added cost? - never mind - "good enough" isn't the "best" and there are always those who want the biggest and the best of everything. If it's new then they want it all the more. I must be conservative enough with my money (cheep?) to go far enough to get the job done but to cheep to spend money on something I don't need.
The Speer and Nosler both give me high BC to fight winds and extend the range with accuracy that is always sub MOA and usually in the range of 3/4 MOA. Not too bad for a hunting rifle that is 64 years old.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

My affinity for the Barnes bullets started with the original Barnes, a bullet that my M71 dearly loves. When the Brooks familty bought Barnes, they introduced a number of predecessors to the TSX/MRX bullets. Each successive bullet tried to overcome some of the problems with the all copper bullet, such as poor accuracy, excessive fouling and, in some cases, higher pressures.

Finally with the TSX, those issues have been addressed to the point that the TSX often exceeds the velocity of competitive bullets at the same pressure levels. The relief grooves lower pressure and allow a place for the displaced copper, therefore, less fouling. A lot less. We sell a lot of the TSX and either it is going to be among the most accurate bullet or it is going to deliver sub standard accuracy; its rifle dependent.

As a guide in Idaho, I witnessed the results of many kills on bull elk and found the Barnes X and, later, the TSX to be more reliable in busting bone and punching through the other side. The worse thing about guiding is tracking a wounded bull, but some of those bulls were hit in the right spot, often with conventional bullets. Those bullets could and would fragment and seldom exit. Non-exiting bullets limit blood trails. If they killed the bull outright, the meat damage was often significant, yet, often, followup shots were required. The TSX minimizes meat damage.

I may be something of a softie, but, I truly dislike wounding an animal and seeing it suffer and so did most clients.

TXS bullets are not cheap, but, when put in perspective of the costs of hunting, the cost of the bullet is incidental. Give the cost of tags, license, travel, lodging enroute, food == add it all up and many hunters spend over a thousand dollars, sometimes much more, to take a big bull. Mincing on the cost of bullets seems irrelevant IF the bullet offers a field advantage. I contend the Barnes TSX does.

All copper bullets don't contaminate the land like lead bullets. Be aware there are several shooting ranges that have been closed because of lead contamination. Last year, Arizona G&F asked hunters to use all copper bullets in deer and elk in areas that were frequented by condors to minimize lead poisoning. More of that thinking will occur in the future and Barnes already has the answer.

Best of all, copper bullets have shown themselves to be more consistent in weight, as good if not better in accuracy, and exceptional peformers on game. Often, due to their ability to penetrate deeper while expanding better, bullets can be selected that are lighter, therefore, faster with flatter trajectories than their lead/copper counterparts.

Sounds like a good deal to me.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

The 300 WSM by Winchester, in a Winchester gun, is just about as dumb a situation as you can get. Winchester jumped, they did not fall, upon the Remington 600 belted magnum sword.

The Model 70 has a short magazine due to the center trigger guard screw. Then Winchester stuck their foot squarely in the milk bucket, the chamber has no throat. Now you get a bullet seated down into the case. Walah, you get a 6.5 Rem Mag.

Stick a good barrel in a Montana 1999 SA or Remington 700 action and the 300 WSM is transformed into a great cartridge. It will shoot .30 inch groups with the 180 at 3,000 fps plus.
Ed

PS: As Winchester borrowed the cartridge idea from Rick Jameson, without giving him credit, it could not happen to a nicer bunch.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: The 300 WSM's lessons Reply with quote

SwampFox: your sentiments mirror my own regarding Winchester, or more accurately, USRAC. IMO, Remington is traveling a similar path with their marketing of the Ultra Mags and the Short Action Ultra Mags.

Perhaps, manufacturers will pay closer attention to what their buyers want and less attention to their Sales and Marketing directors. There is a fine line between what is "new" and what is "better". Perhaps, some of the onus of these failed rifles and cartridges can be layed at the feet of the gun rags that have endlessly promoted the "new" items and proclaimed them superior whereas the buying public simply walked away. In the process of walking away, they left one company's factory closed and one company in financially difficult straits.

Ruger, Savage and others, OTOH, have continued to prosper by offering good dollar values in firearms that appeal to knowledgable hunters and shooters.
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