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Old July 7, 2006, 08:26 PM   #1
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Reloading the .280; Max Practical Weight?

Gentlemen, good evening.

I'm mulling over a serious re-entry into shooting, with either a 7mm-08 or .280 Remington. Factory loads for the latter are so close to the former as to make no difference. I understand that the .280 can be pushed to velocities approaching the 7mm Magnum, and with the same bullets. What the heck does that mean?

The Hornady catalog shows bullets with a .284 diameter all the way up to 175 gr., and one online source was listing bullets in .284 up to either 190 or 200 gr.(from "The Copper Plated Bullet Company.") In lurking and Searching here, I've never seen anyone refer to any .280 load for even a 175 gr. load, much less bigger. The largest I've seen anyone mention was - I think - a 162 gr. bullet. Is there no practical reason to go beyond that? I am thinking in terms of hunting, when I ask this. Target practice isn't an issue.

Second question. Most rifle makers seem to use the same rate of twist for their 7mm-08 rifles (optimal for 120-140 gr. bullets) as they do for their .280 rifles (optimal for, say, 150-160, with a ceiling at 175 before you lose significant powder volume). What's the optimal twist rate for the larger weights, and who makes a .280 with that twist?
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Old July 8, 2006, 12:11 AM   #2
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Some rifle makers, particularly the European makers, like tighter twists than US makers because the Europeans like to shoot heavier bullets. US rifles usually have a 1:9.5" twist, European rifles use a 1:8.5" or even a 1:8.25". Europeans have factory loads for 7mms available with 190gr spitzer boat tails, which would require the tighter twist. But you are right, for the type of huting we do, lighter, flatter shooting bullets are the norm, so a 1:9.5" twist will stabilize most bullets up to 175 quite well. If you wanted to build a custom rifle that shot one weight of bullets only, you might pay for a custom barrel with a different twist, like target shooters do. But for all-around versatility, good performance with a wide range of bullets, and good accuracy, the 1:9.5" works well.

As for bullet weights, you can pick and choose any bullet to perform whatever task you want. A 110 gr bullet for varmints up to a 200 gr for big bears. Most people shoot a 140 gr to about 165 gr. Good velocity, flat shooting, good performance on deer and elk.
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Old July 8, 2006, 02:14 PM   #3
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Thank you. My leaning's towards the .280, but there's nothing other then good about the 7mm-08, and the final purchase will probably be made on price.

In browsing around on cheaperthendirt, just to see, I found .280 in loads that went up to 140gr at 3000 FPS and 150gr+ to 2800+. This may not be hot but they both looked a bit warm, to this novice's eye. There may have been others that I didn't notice that are even heavier (eep). Hornady, Federal and Remington were all available.

Is there any consensus as to whose brass makes the nicest starting point for a reloader? I've read that .30-06 cases can be reshaped for .280 use, and at least one TFL poster said specifically that doing so is impossible. I'd rather not start reloading by reshaping brass more then I need to do. Is there one manufacturer of .280 ammo whose brass seems nicer, in this chambering, then the others?
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