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  #1  
Old 02-11-2017, 11:57 AM
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Extra-hot Load for Sierra 120gr Bullet?


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I’m working on some loads for the Sierra 120gr spitzer Pro Hunter using IMR4064 powder. Rifle is new Tikka in 260 Remington.

USING IMR4064

According to Sierra the maximum load for this bullet is 42.0 grains yielding about 3000 fps.

The maximum load from Lee is 37.0 grains. Now this is a 5.0 grain difference. Hornady and Lyman do not list an IMR4064 load for a 120gr bullet. Hornady lists a maximum load for a 100gr bullet as 40.9 grains, a full grain less than Sierra’s load with a bullet weighing 20 grains less! Similarly, Lyman lists a max load for a 100gr bullet at 41.5 grains, again .5 grains less than Sierra’s for a bullet weighing 20 grains less.

Back to Lee versus Sierra: A full 5 grains difference in maximum load for the same weight jacketed bullet. This is substantial. Why?

A comparative analysis of other powders maximum loadings for the 120 grain jacketed bullet:
SIERRA: Varget 40.4 gr; RL15 40.0 gr; RL19 44.5 gr; IMR4350 42.8 gr
LYMAN: Varget 40.5 gr; RL15 40.5 gr; RL19 47.7 gr; IMR4350 45.7 gr
LEE: Varget 39.0 gr; RL15 and RL19 none listed; IMR4350 43.0 gr

This short analysis shows that, of the comparable powders, the loads are relatively close, the greatest spread being a 3 grain difference between Sierra and Lyman using IMR4350 and RL19. But none of them near the full 5 grain difference for the hot Sierra load using IMR4064.

Over the last week or so, I have already loaded and fired 40 rounds loaded with IMR4064 ranging from a low of 33.5 grains and a high of 41.5 grains. There have been no problems or signs of pressure that I can see – no excessive recoil, no hard bolt lift, and fired primers and bottoms of cases look fine. Groups are good and better at heavier loads. Right now, I have 20 cartridges loaded between 40.8 grains and 42.0 grains using these Sierra bullets. It is just today that I caught this discrepancy between the manuals.

Does anyone have any insight here?
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:40 PM
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You have more insight than any of us Stretch. I might have chosen a slower powder, but you did what you did. Accurate means more than fast to me.

Good work!

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Old 02-11-2017, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by StretchNM View Post
I’m working on some loads for the Sierra 120gr spitzer Pro Hunter using IMR4064 powder. Rifle is new Tikka in 260 Remington.

USING IMR4064

According to Sierra the maximum load for this bullet is 42.0 grains yielding about 3000 fps.

The maximum load from Lee is 37.0 grains. Now this is a 5.0 grain difference. Hornady and Lyman do not list an IMR4064 load for a 120gr bullet. Hornady lists a maximum load for a 100gr bullet as 40.9 grains, a full grain less than Sierra’s load with a bullet weighing 20 grains less! Similarly, Lyman lists a max load for a 100gr bullet at 41.5 grains, again .5 grains less than Sierra’s for a bullet weighing 20 grains less.

Back to Lee versus Sierra: A full 5 grains difference in maximum load for the same weight jacketed bullet. This is substantial. Why?

A comparative analysis of other powders maximum loadings for the 120 grain jacketed bullet:
SIERRA: Varget 40.4 gr; RL15 40.0 gr; RL19 44.5 gr; IMR4350 42.8 gr
LYMAN: Varget 40.5 gr; RL15 40.5 gr; RL19 47.7 gr; IMR4350 45.7 gr
LEE: Varget 39.0 gr; RL15 and RL19 none listed; IMR4350 43.0 gr

This short analysis shows that, of the comparable powders, the loads are relatively close, the greatest spread being a 3 grain difference between Sierra and Lyman using IMR4350 and RL19. But none of them near the full 5 grain difference for the hot Sierra load using IMR4064.

Over the last week or so, I have already loaded and fired 40 rounds loaded with IMR4064 ranging from a low of 33.5 grains and a high of 41.5 grains. There have been no problems or signs of pressure that I can see – no excessive recoil, no hard bolt lift, and fired primers and bottoms of cases look fine. Groups are good and better at heavier loads. Right now, I have 20 cartridges loaded between 40.8 grains and 42.0 grains using these Sierra bullets. It is just today that I caught this discrepancy between the manuals.

Does anyone have any insight here?
Interesting that you feel the Sierra data for THEIR bullet to be 'hot'?
Rarely have I EVER seen 2 or 3 manuals agree on max charges, lots of powder and primers are always changing, so knowing what lot was used for testing is an unknown.
I have never believed that pressure and velocity were a direct correlation of each other, as many people will say on loading forums. After getting a pressure trace and testing this theory, I see that it depends on the tightness, or looseness of the chamber and barrel. Loose barrels produce faster velocities at lower pressures, no way around that.

I can tell you that different manufacturers bullets DO give higher or lower pressures with the same given loads.
On my pressure trace, the Speer 225gr SPBT using 78gr of RE19 gave lower pressure than the Nosler 225gr Accubond, although neither at that load, max in the Speer manual, gave max pressure in my rifle. Velocities were only 40fps different between the 2, but the Nosler won out in the accuracy department by a good margin.

As a side note, I find that the bullet manufacturers data to be more accurate regarding velocities than powder manufacturers data. Some powder companies don't even list a bullet brand, just a weight that is a generalisation.

I know in every instance that I have tested a Nosler Partition and an Accubond side by side with the same loads, the Partition has produced significantly higher pressures, in fact, it has gone overboard with a .5 gr difference and the Accubond can still take an extra 3gr before going above max pressures.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.
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Old 02-11-2017, 03:40 PM
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If you average out the 4 or 5 data sources you mentioned, the 42 grain charge weight is only a little higher. It seems the Lee data is the exception here, so I would discount that. Also, when given the choice in data between the powder company, the bullet company, or a reloading company, I almost always go with the bullet company. The bearing surface can vary a lot between bullets of the same weight, especially comparing flat-base Pro Hunter bullets to whatever Lee was using for their data.

The other thing is that no matter what MAX is listed, your rifle may show pressure signs a lot sooner. Measure case head expansion (with a mic) on brass from loads that are known to be safe, then measure brass coming out of your chamber, as you work toward that possibly hot charge of 42 grains. If it's .0001" or less, and consistent with known loads, it's not a hot charge in YOUR rifle, at the OAL you went with.
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Old 02-11-2017, 03:49 PM
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Cheezywan, thanks, but I have no insight. Trust me on that. I need yours in this matter. And I'm with you on the preference for accuracy over velocity.

MagnumManiac, I really didn't think of the 42.0 grain load as being hot until today, and then only because the closest one I could find to it was 5 full grains lower. I understand data is going to be different between the manuals, but the five grains concerned me. That's pretty substantial, in my mind anyway. As stated, I see no (layman's) signs of too much pressure, and that's with loads as high as 98% of load (shooting 41.5 grains as opposed to 42.0 grains maximum).

I have an email in to Sierra. They'll shed light I'm sure but I don't know how much I'll learn from them. We'll see.
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:01 PM
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Doing my homework...

The point has been made very well. What ever data says double check. These wide gaps in maximum charges can get scary. I was working up loads for a vintage Winchester Hiwall. On an act of faith picked up a trapdoor level load from a known source. . This load had stout recoil-kicked like a mule. The data starting load was the makers max. All this served as a powerful reminder to do my homework. Doing a quick check on data it would seem that loads for IMR 4064 37-38gr. max appears about average. My favorite in 260 is 4350. That's me YMMV. Try a slower power if possible. That's a great cartridge in a great rifle. Go in Peace.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StretchNM View Post
According to Sierra the maximum load for this bullet is 42.0 grains yielding about 3000 fps.

The maximum load from Lee is 37.0 grains. Now this is a 5.0 grain difference. Hornady and Lyman do not list an IMR4064 load for a 120gr bullet. Hornady lists a maximum load for a 100gr bullet as 40.9 grains, a full grain less than Sierra’s load with a bullet weighing 20 grains less! Similarly, Lyman lists a max load for a 100gr bullet at 41.5 grains, again .5 grains less than Sierra’s for a bullet weighing 20 grains less.

Back to Lee versus Sierra: A full 5 grains difference in maximum load for the same weight jacketed bullet. This is substantial. Why?

A comparative analysis of other powders maximum loadings for the 120 grain jacketed bullet:
SIERRA: Varget 40.4 gr; RL15 40.0 gr; RL19 44.5 gr; IMR4350 42.8 gr
LYMAN: Varget 40.5 gr; RL15 40.5 gr; RL19 47.7 gr; IMR4350 45.7 gr
LEE: Varget 39.0 gr; RL15 and RL19 none listed; IMR4350 43.0 gr

This short analysis shows that, of the comparable powders, the loads are relatively close, the greatest spread being a 3 grain difference between Sierra and Lyman using IMR4350 and RL19. But none of them near the full 5 grain difference for the hot Sierra load using IMR4064.

Over the last week or so, I have already loaded and fired 40 rounds loaded with IMR4064 ranging from a low of 33.5 grains and a high of 41.5 grains. There have been no problems or signs of pressure that I can see – no excessive recoil, no hard bolt lift, and fired primers and bottoms of cases look fine. Groups are good and better at heavier loads. Right now, I have 20 cartridges loaded between 40.8 grains and 42.0 grains using these Sierra bullets. It is just today that I caught this discrepancy between the manuals.

Does anyone have any insight here?
Need to know the max stated velocities in those various manuals; but the usual suspects are at work here:

Lee's manual is rather old now, While I have the 2016 "update", I also have a string of correspondence with them that is rather disheartening. They re-print data from various sources, but won't say(maybe didn't ask?) WHEN it was tested, or if, or just calculated. The same can be said of Sierra, it's rather old data now.

So does this fall within the normal 10% lot variations? Yes, or at least is VERY close to it. If you were to look at data, if it is listed in CUP, we know that that data is VERY inaccurate for actual pressures when used above 45,000 psi cartridges. So allowing for some "fudge" in the data is perfectly reasonable.

There are times when using the old voodoos of case stretch, or primer flow is better than the alternative of nothing; just remember that better than nothing isn't good. Use your chronograph for a reference against tested pressures, and you will have a reasonable judge of actual pressures.

Also remember that IMR4064 isn't what it used to be. The 1# jugs are still coming from General Dynamics Quebec plant. But that plant was totally re-built a year ago; and now they have Enduron tech. How much that changes things, who knows. The 8# jugs, Hodgdon has been buying from Rhinemetal out of, IIRC Sweden. So same name, but how close?
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:33 AM
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Stretch, not directly related to your "6.5x51" but just some comparisons:

I was just comparing local loads for the 6.5x55 and the 6.5x57 with Rheinmetall-Denel S365 propellant (Burn rate equivalent to RL19 / IMR 4350), using 120gr and 140gr bullets.

120gr: maximum measured velocities (they sadly do not indicate pressure but it seems low at about 57,000 psi) are virtually identical at 2,900 ft.sec with 46gr (Swede) and 47gr (Mauser) respectively. You may find RL 19 to require about 106% case fill in the .260 Rem, and IMR 4350 about 100%.

IMR 4064 equals the Rheinmetall-Denel S355 (corrected) and AA 2700 in burn rate. In Colorado I do not like IMR 4064 anymore - mainly for the extreme soot it gives off in the .303 Brit and for no other reason. I use RL 19 for the Swede and .260 Rem there.

I am so interested to learn which bullet and load you eventually settle on. You may know by now that in the .260 Rem I only use 140gr bullets and 156gr in the 6.5x55 - but I am just a heavy bullet guy. Bought some 130gr Barnes X from Dom to be used in my 6.5x57 wildcat based on the .303 Brit case and I foresee a great performer on deer and pronghorn there.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:53 AM
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Hodgdon's current website has the same 37.0 as Lee.

Nosler has 39.0 IMR 4064 as the max with it's 120 grain bullets. Sure they may yield different pressure than Sierra bullets, but to my way of thinking, 39.0 is a nice in between spot between the 37.0 and 42.0 numbers other sources have.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:06 PM
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Sierra responded to my email this morning. They said the 42.0 grain maximum load of IMR4064 for that bullet was correct. When firing those (maximum load) rounds this afternoon, my primers were pretty well flattened out. It certainly looks like a maximum load. I'm finding better grouping in the 40.8 to 41.4 gr loads anyway - so good.
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:51 AM
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I am very pleased that the .260 Rem is finally catching on. It deserves way more attention it has been getting.

Of the 51 mm cases it is only the .260 Rem and the mother .308W which impress me. The .338 Federal makes sense for a distinct application here in Africa but I have yet to handle one in the USA.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:30 AM
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Lee Modern Reloading/help me with a failing memory

Modern Reloading is a neat book no doubt about it. It's a good thing to remember that this book is a collection of loading data from other sources.

My faulty memory recalls that loading data from reputable sources would have testable levels. Margins in the data would keep the majority of that load below established pressure limits. Certain powders are left out of the data because of poor performance. This omission has to do with the testing. It would include factors of poor performance and all that implies. One source would not compress charges. Their data was different from those who did.

Other factors include who is doing the test. Also, what sort of firearm or device is being used to work up the data. This margin and test techniques may be the reason for these wide swings in data from source to source. Point being is to do some homework. Help me on this one. Its been years since....
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:17 PM
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no experience with 4064 in the 260.

The fastest I've used is IMR4320. Personally I don't shoot 120gr bullets in my 6.5mm guns except on rare occasions. I've loaded them in a 6.5x55 and 6.5x284. The old sweded gets 4895, and the big swede gets MPR.

I would imagine either would work in the 260 if your 4064 experiments don't pan out.
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkker
The 8# jugs, Hodgdon has been buying from Rhinemetal out of, IIRC Sweden.
Switzerland

Stretch, Ken Oehler posted something within the past week or three on 'pressure signs,' and Denton Bramwell posted in the same discussion. Ken's input was that when he works charges up high enough to see 'pressure signs,' he backs off 10%. Denton posted that for 308 to 30-06 sized cases, one should back off 4-5 grains when one sees 'pressure signs' in order to get back within acceptable/accepted/spec pressures. Remarkably consistent in their input, I thought. The point, though, is that from what you've posted thus far, it kinda sounds to me like you'd probably see 'pressure signs' once you get around Sierra's max, and backing off ~10% would put you back in the range of various of the other sources you've found. If it was me, that's probably how I'd decide where max is.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:03 PM
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What I did in this case was go with Sierra's hunting load for their 120gr Pro Hunter. Their most accurate load required Vihta Vuori powder which I don't use. So I started with their hunting load of 33.6 - 42.0 gr IMR4064. So far, so good. They do list some slower powders (IMR4350, RL17, 19, H380, Varget) all of which I have but just haven't tried any yet. 4895 is faster than 4064 I think, isn't it?
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:07 PM
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Switzerland

Stretch, Ken Oehler posted something within the past week or three on 'pressure signs,' and Denton Bramwell posted in the same discussion. Ken's input was that when he works charges up high enough to see 'pressure signs,' he backs off 10%. Denton posted that for 308 to 30-06 sized cases, one should back off 4-5 grains when one sees 'pressure signs' in order to get back within acceptable/accepted/spec pressures. Remarkably consistent in their input, I thought. The point, though, is that from what you've posted thus far, it kinda sounds to me like you'd probably see 'pressure signs' once you get around Sierra's max, and backing off ~10% would put you back in the range of various of the other sources you've found. If it was me, that's probably how I'd decide where max is.
Which would be about where Nosler's max is for its 120s. 39.0 40.8 is probably OK if you're getting good groups and not a lot of flattening of the primer. Personally based on your signs, I think I'd cap it there and call it good in cool to moderate weather. Just be careful firing in hot weather and don't use in other rifles.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:08 PM
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Lee's data comes from powder companies, the bullet they listed was not the Sierra 120gr.

Hodgdon's 2013 Annual Manual shows that bullet is a Speer FP with the same exact data as in max load, velocity, and PSI. That load also did not show a starting load, just a maximum.

Sometimes you can corroborate data.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:26 PM
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Of the 51 mm cases it is only the .260 Rem and the mother .308W which impress me. The .338 Federal makes sense for a distinct application here in Africa but I have yet to handle one in the USA.
Sounds like you need to get your hands on a 358 Win
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:39 PM
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4895 is faster than 4064 I think, isn't it?
They're close enough that they sometimes change places, but in a general way, yes.

I have used AA-4064 in my 6.5 Creedmoor. It is bulkier than the IMR or Hodgy 4064s, and of course quickness is not identical. I liked the results with Lapua 120s & 123s. I think I would be out of space in the case before I could really seriously hurt myself with the Accurate product.
I hope you're pleased with your 4064 results!
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:10 PM
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as just another a reference, PO Ackley, pg. 357, notes the .263 Express as using a max of 39 gr of 4064 for 2850 FPS. Although dated, I consider Ackley's load data carefully as most of his maximum loads exceed today's maximums. I have got good results with some and too much pressure with others as each gun is an individual. The 260 being a bit over-bore, perhaps a slower burning powder would produce the velocities at more moderate pressures?
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