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Old September 20, 2010, 01:44 PM   #1
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Pet 300 WinMag loads?

Hi, all.

My younger brother picked up a new Remington 700 Special Edtion thumbhole in .300 Win Mag a couple weeks ago (shiny new elk and moose rifle). Nice rifle, 26-inch fluted heavy barrel, detachable box mag, comfortable thumbhole stock. He mounted a Leupold 3-9x50 scope on it (nice, mid-range glass), and after finally getting it zeroed this past weekend, he's ready to go for his elk, and then moose a couple weeks later.

Anyhow, after this hunting season is over, we're looking at reloading for it, as it appears to be cost-effective to do so. He's currently running Hornady Superformance 180-gr. ammo through it, and at $45 per box of 20, it won't take long to recover the cost of reloading equipment and materials... we figure it should pay for itself in about 100 rounds... -ish.

Does anyone have any pet .300 Win Mag loads that they would like to share? Brother would like to stick with a 180 grain bullet, as this is his bigger-game hunting rifle, but other than that, we don't have many restrictions on components.

Thanks in advance, everyone!

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Old September 20, 2010, 03:09 PM   #2
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With a few general exceptions, like light target loads, there are enough variables that every gun does its best with custom loads rather than some other gun's recipe. Take a look at Dan Newberry's site for a good way to approach finding your gun's best load.

Be aware the .300 Win. Mag is one of the chamberings that, like .308 Winchester, sees a lot of case capacity difference between brands of brass, so what works in the load data on the Hodgdon site, which uses Winchester brass, (about 94 grains case water capacity), may be too warm in Remington brass (about 88 grains case water capacity), or a slight underdose in Norma brass (about 96 grains case water capacity).

Bottom line, whatever load data you read, you'll need the same exact brand of case and primer as well as using the same bullet and seating length to truly match it. This is a cartridge where the bottom starting load really must be observed and worked up from gradually. No starting in the middle.
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Old September 20, 2010, 08:14 PM   #3
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Thanks, UncleNick, I was not aware of the amount of variance in case capacity, definitely something to take into account. I definitely plan to start at the low end and work up a good load, I was more curious as to what others were loading, more along the lines of a favorite powder, bullet, etc. Thanks also for the link to Dan Newberry's site, I think I will try that method.

Always good info here on TFL!

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Old September 20, 2010, 08:48 PM   #4
Al Norris
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A couple of powders that I've gotten good results from are H4831sc for 160 to 180 grainers and H1000 for 180 and 220 grainers.

I used Winchesters brass.
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Old September 20, 2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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You're on the right track thinking about reloading. But it might take you more than 100 loads to break even. This hobby makes you want to buy more things than you think you'll need or want at first. It can save you money over the long haul, but it will definitely make your rifle shoot better and since you will shoot a lot more, it will make you a better shot with it over time.

You're probably a bit premature asking for pet loads at this stage. Typically, most people try some of the published standard loads from the load manuals and find what seems to be working for them. Then you might want to ask about powders or bullets that you haven't tried yet and give them a test.

The gist of Newberry's method is very simple to use. First, pick a bullet you want to use. You already have a good idea there. The 180 gr bullet is about mid range and well suited for the 300 mag. Next, look at the various manuals and pick a powder that is kind of on the slow side for the cartridge (that is, it uses the most powder for that given bullet). It doesn't have to be the VERY slowest listed, but generally, the slower ones give better accuracy and velocity. For instance, in the Hodgdon "family", maybe H-1000 is a pretty reasonable choice. Buy a pound of it to start. Look at the various manuals (a couple good manuals would be an excellent investment right now) and see the recommended range of charge weights. Go buy a bag of brand new brass (50 cases) to start with. Start with the lowest recommended charge (perhaps 76 gr for instance) and load 3 of them at that level. Then increase the charge weight by 1% increments (say 0.7 gr) and load up 5 or 6 until you get fairly close to the max recommended charge - perhaps up to 81 gr. Shoot each charge weight in round-robin fashion, starting with the lowest charge and looking for overpressure signs such as sticky bolts, difficulty in extraction. Round robin means you shoot one round of the light charge at a target, then one round of the next charge weight at another target, going up in weight, firing one round at a separate target each time. Then go back and shoot a second round of each weight at the various targets. Inevitably, you will see that one or two of those combinations group closer. That tells you that you are close to the optimum. Load up a couple more loads in that vicinity and find out the magic formula for your gun. Later on, you might want to experiment with a different powder or different weight bullet, but you will have one magic combo that is a tack driver for your particular rifle.
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Old September 21, 2010, 06:33 AM   #6
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Uncle Nick makes a great point about case selection. There is a wide variance in accuracy and velocity if you use the same load in different 300WM cases. It points out the need to consider other's pet loads, but do your own load development.

I tested a variety of bullet brands and weights, while testing all with a wide range of powders on both paper and game. Since you specify 180gr, here are some observations from my notes. RL-22 gave very highest velocities, but accuracy came at much less than max. IMR 4350 gave nearly as high a velocity and had better accuracy at max. IMR 4831 gave the best accuracy/velocity at just slightly over max.

Having grown up in a time when land was easily accessible and game was abundant. I tested 165gr, 180gr, and 200gr on deer, antelope, elk, moose and other big game. I finally settled on the 200 Nosler partition for all around big game hunting. I can load the 200 gr to a velocity within 50 to 100 fps of the 180’s, and I guarantee you, the 200’s will put down moose and elk with greater authority that the 180’s.

For a real eye opener, also compare the trajectory of the 180 gr to the 200 gr.

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Old September 21, 2010, 01:19 PM   #7
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Thanks, everyone!

Thanks to everyone for the useful information. As has been recommended, I definitely plan to create a load specific to this rifle, using a starting load as a base. I do have reloading data from several manuals; Lymans #49, Hodgdon's 2010 Annual Manual, and Nosler's #6. Mostly I was simply curious about was what works for other .300 WinMag shooters out there.

Doodlebugger is definitely right about spending more than you originally plan. I was looking at recovering the cost of the caliber conversion kit and dies as the "break-even" point, using the over-$2-per-round Hornady ammo we were testing with as a comparison. If reloading saves me enough that I can pay for the equipment, then I'm a happy guy!

I appreciate all the information and recommendations, thanks again, everyone!

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Old September 23, 2010, 08:32 PM   #8
Saint Dennis
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My Remington 700 is very fond of 200 gr Accubonds over RL22. Be careful when you switch powder canisters. Back off a little and work your way back up. I ended up buying a bigger jug to avoid having to do that. Funny how fast a pound of powder will get used up in a winnie. Great Elk load and deer don't seem to complain about it. (They just tip over).
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