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Old 10-17-2003, 07:45 PM
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20 inch 7mm-08

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Hello, I am new to this forum and I have two questions to ask of the group. I will limit this post to just one and ask the other on a separate post.

I have been reloading for a few years now for a Ruger #1B in a 30-06. It have been as educational as it has been fun. A couple of years ago I added a Winchester Classic Compact in a 7mm-08 to my growing collection of now 2 rifles! At first I had some trouble with it having a tight chamber, but the factory took it back and made things right. I re-bedded it and have a few loads that work OK with 140 gr Nosler part and 145 gr Speer hot core.

My question is this: I am looking for some load data specific for short barrels and bullets in the 140 - 150 gr range. So many articles go on about "mountain rifles" in 7mm-08, such as the classic compact, the mod 7 and micro hunter, all with 20 in barrels. Yet, when one looks at all the reloading manuals, they are always with 24 and even 26 inch barrels. I am looking for load information with the shorter barrels. SO far I have come across one load by John Barsness in the Aug 2000 issue of Handloader. He has one load. Another source has been "The Complete Book of Winchester's Model 70", fall 2000. In that, John Havilland wrote a piece on the classic compact and included a few loads.

Does anyone out there either have loads they've worked up for these bullets they would care to share, or could pass on some other references I could look up?

Thanks so much
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Old 10-17-2003, 08:20 PM
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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If you just want to figure velocity on the shorter barrel, drop around 150fps or so for a barrel that's 4" shorter.

As far as accuracy goes... still something that you just have to try and see what the gun likes. There are no loads that are automatically more accurate in shorter or longer barrels.

Don't let the fact that the manuals were developed with longer barrels. All of the loads will drop a little bit of velocity - but they will most likely keep their same relative position (fastest ones in 24" barrels are probably still going to be the fastest loads in the 20" barrels).

If it bugs you not knowing what velocities you are getting - get a chronograph, they're a world of fun.

Shot my first two deer with the Speer 145gr. Hot-Core in my father-in-law's .280 Rem. Best of luck.

Originally Posted by faucettb
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Old 10-17-2003, 09:58 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts, MikeG. What I was concerned about was more the effect of the shorter barrel on selection of burn rate for the powder. If I understand things - and to put it rather simplistically - don't longer barrels favor slower powders, so perhaps I should go with a faster powder than the "optimum" in a 24 ". Also, don't heavier bullets also favor slower powders. I know that the use of a 140 gr bullet in the 7mm-08 is almost universal, however, I like to go with a heavier bullet going a bit slower. I am a bit archaic I suppose. Now, I know I'm not talking 175 gr like the old loads for the 7 x 57, but 150 is a bit heavier than most use

In the two articles I mentioned, Barsness liked the H4350 for a 139 gr hornady (and a stout load at that - 50 gr) and Haviland liked the W760 for 140 grs. When I tried a few powders, (those included), I found better groups with varget with 140 gr nos part. but I don't have a chronograph to compare velocities. I'm not after the hottest load, but rather the most consistent in my rifle. I believe varget is faster than those two, but slower than something like 4895. I was hoping there would be others out there with 20 inch barrels that had experimented with other powders.

An added advantage of the slightly faster powders is that they seem to be lighter loads. One of the complaints about 7mm-08 is that case volume is taken up by the bullet in heavier weights. The varget leaves plenty of room for some bullet shank below the shoulder. And you are right, a chrono would add another dimension of "fun" to things. Maybe I should break down and get one.

BTW, in my #1 I use 200 gr partitions with H4831 with great results. There I get the full use of the slow burn in that long, 26" barrel.

Thanks again
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Old 10-17-2003, 10:01 PM
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Location: North Idaho
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I'm with Mike on this one. I don't have experience with the 7-08, but I've worked with .243's with barrels ranging from 20 inches to 24 inches. Don't believe the bunk about needing faster powders for shorter barrels! One of the most accurate, highest velocity loads (yes, I chronographed them) in the 20" barrel was with IMR 7828, a powder some people say is too slow for anything but magnums! Second in the short barrel was H4350.

Stick with powders that give the best velocities in test barrels - they will give the best velocities in the shorter barrel, too.

As for the amount of velocity you will actually lose, that's hard to predict. An example from my .243 experience would be the mentioned IMR7828 load; it clocked 2980fps in the 24" barrel, 2845 fps in the shorter barrel (105gr Speer).

My best advice is don't worry about your barrel length. Pick a reasonable powder from the manuals, develop an accurate load, and go shootin' !

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:36 AM
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I agree with MikeD and IDshooter on their suggestions as to load/powder types. I have not loaded for the 7/08, my experience is with the 223 with a 20" barrel. Factory velocity, if I remember correctly, is about 3250fps with a 24" barrel. Factory ammo in my 20" Win-mdl 70 carbine is 3060fps over a chronograph. My load with the 55gr WW SP with 27.0grs. of BallC-2 averages about 3065fps and will average 0.75", 3-shot groups at 100yds. Thats about 50fps loss per inch for the 20"bbl as compared to the 24 incher. IMHO, that is no big deal. My goal is the best accuracy I can achieve with any rifle, velocity is a distant second choice. At reasonable game ranges(300yards or less) the velocity difference makes little effect on bullet performance. If the proper bullet is not placed in the heart/lung area of the game hunted---higher velocity will make little difference. Just my thoughts after 40 years of hunting and shooting. Good luck with your load development.

Ol' John

PS--should you break down and purchase a chronograph? I say -- YES,YES,YES!! A very good way to spend some money for a lot of information and enjoyment.

Last edited by HondoJohn6508; 10-18-2003 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:59 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 471
A chrony is an invaluable tool for the handloader. Trying to guess your velocities without one is nearly impossible. If you really want to know the answer to your question follow the suggestion of buying one. At around $65 for the lowend model you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Not only will it give you the answer to YOUR question for YOUR gun, but you'll be prepared to evaluate future handloads for safety too. Using the velocity of loads published in the databooks as a guide you can tell a lot about chamber pressures.
Happy trails.
Bart M
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Old 10-18-2003, 11:27 AM
The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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A chronograph is a definite aide in working up ammo. By all means, it should be your next purchase if you truly want to define your loads.

Yes, as a general rule, fast powders work best with smaller capacity cases and light bullets in short barrels. Slower powders are meant for large capacity cartridges, heavy bullets and long barrels.

Used to have a Ruger Ultra Lite (20" bbl) in .257 AI that defied all logic when it came to bullets and powders. Found the 100 gr bullet and IMR4895 with a CCI BR2 primer was the best combination. You'll find the IMR4895 to be an excellent powder with your 30-06, also.

As said above, the best bullet/powder/primer combination for a given firearm is something that must be experminted with for best results. Those load guides in the manuals and in the gun rags will give generic information, but shouldn't be used as cast in concrete for your particular rifle. As you mentioned, the factory tight chambering on the rifle could have caused excessive pressures when compared to the recommended maximum loads.

Get a chronograph, track the loads watching velocity and pressure signs and see what you're the most comfortable with. You may have to give up bullet weight or velocity to attain the desired accuracy - I usually do.
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Old 10-18-2003, 02:39 PM
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Varget is great stuff and works well even when you are only filling 75% of the case or so. I always favor the most accurate load - can't kill what you can't hit.

The faster powders should give you slightly less recoil and slightly less muzzle flash & blast for a given load, but probably not enough difference to let that make your decision.

Barrel length DOES NOT affect burn rate. Powder that yields the highest velocities with one barrel length will almost certainly do so across any reasonable range of barrel lengths for a hunting rifle (say 18" - 26"). If there is any difference in the order of the different powders across that range of barrel lengths, it will be slight and probably due as much to random variation as anything.

Sometimes gunwriters run out of anything original to say and fill our heads with foolish notions that look right on paper but don't amount to anything.

John Barsness probably won't steer you wrong. He's one of the good ones.

760 is good powder too but shares characteristics of all ball powders (for better and for worse). I doubt that you would have any ignition problems in a small case like the 7mm-08, though.

I like the Hodgdon 'Extreme' powders for consistent velocities across large temperature ranges.

Originally Posted by faucettb
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Old 10-19-2003, 08:13 AM
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Thank you all for your help/information/opions. Like I said before - yes, it would be fun to get a chrono, I know I should get one. But I am not hung up on absolute velocities and getting the hottest load - but more accuracy in my gun. I figure at whatever the more accurate loads are travelling at, its plenty fast (energy) enough to drop what I am shooting, which I expect to be under 250 yds. And I realize that indeed the burn rate doesn't change with barrel length, but maybe the effects on accuracy and consistancy do and that one would want the slowest powder that would be practical/applicable for a given barrel length. Maybe I am thinking too much about these kinds of details, and other factors have more of an effect.

yes, many gun writers run at the mouth (or in these days, the keyboard), but I think a reasonably savvy reader can tell those. I like John Barsness' style a lot and seems to be very down to earth. If you haven't read it, his book "Life of the Hunt" is a good read. He even replied to a couple of letters I have written him with some questions in the past.

Thanks again!
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