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I've made my first .30-06 rounds!

NavybatNavybat Member Posts: 6,831 ✭✭✭
Well, after weeks of assembling equipment and components, and making test rounds without powder or primer, I have finally made my first set of live .30-06 rounds. I hope you experienced reloaders remember your first rounds! It feels good.

I have been shooting factory 180 grain Hornady SST out of my Savage 111. Precision is good (I think), cloverleafing at 50 yards and 1" groups at 100 yards. For reloading, I've got the same 180 grain Hornady SST bullets, and also new Hornady cases. I'm using IMR 4350 powder.

I've loaded 10 test rounds at 49.1g (starting recommendation by Lee I think); 50.0g (starting recommendation by Hornady--could be vice versa); and 51.0 grains. My Lyman book just shows I'm in the safe range here, all three books show similar velocities expected. I'll shoot all three loads next to 10 rounds of my factory Hornady loads to see which is more precise (smallest grouping) at 100 yards. Then I'll go from there.

My plan is to shoot three rounds each at 50 yards. Then zero my sights to the factory load. Then shoot three rounds each at 100 yards, rezero to factory. Then another three, to see which of my handloads is better for accuracy and precision (I'm looking for something closest to the factory load in zeroing, as long as group size is small). All things being equal, also which is better for recoil and comfort.

What else should I be looking for when I test my loads? My hunting ranges are generally no more than 100+/- yards, so I'm really not interested in high power/high velocity loads, simply what is accurate and easy for me to shoot and practice with. Bullet drop usually isn't an issue for me.

Advice is appreciated. I'll also be reloading to match my factory .280 Remington ammo, with Remington brass, and Hornady 139 grain SST, IMR 4350 powder again. Rifle is a Remington 760.


  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,998 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm going to suggest that you invest in a chronograph. Reloading manuals are a guide to velocity and their results are usually optimistic. Like the ammunition manufacturers, they often use test barrels that are longer than what we use and made to minimum specs. And of course, they must be sure that their listed loads are safe in anything they might be used in. Chronographing your reloads and your factory loads is the only way to tell for sure where you are. Welcome to reloading--I think you'll find it almost as much fun as shooting!
  • deadeye46deadeye46 Member Posts: 553 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    here's a thought also,i like 150 grain pills in front of 50 grains of WW748 powder,shoots one hole for me(on a good day) at the range at 100 yards
  • Alan RushingAlan Rushing Member Posts: 9,002 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Now you know, you've been bit. There is no cure ... but the only way to maintain is to keep shooting and reloading ... it must be at least a bit more each time! [:0] [;)] [^]
  • NavybatNavybat Member Posts: 6,831 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes, now I have to buy different brands of bullets and powder to test them out. I guess this summer I'll be spending LOTS of time at the range!

    It's fun and relaxing--AND I get to shoot. What more could you ask of a hobby? [8D]
  • 1988z011988z01 Member Posts: 602 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    These are my favorite posts! 30-06 was my first as well, as I am sure it was for many others.

    As far as testing out the rounds. You might go ahead a ZERO for a facory load that provides a relatively accurate FPS. Get that one down to where you are positive, THEN go to your different loads.
    As long as your point of aim is the same, you will be able to size your groups where ever they are on the paper. Once you find the one you are going to go with, THEN re-zero.

    When experimenting loads, I'd use your preferred bullet weight until you nail the best load for your rifle. I prefer a lot lighter projectile. One rifle likes 155 gr. MatchKings and the other 168 gr. MatchKings.
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