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Discussion Starter #1
I threatened here a while back to start loading for the 300 Savage cartridge.  This past weekend I did just that and loaded up some Speer 180 Gr MagTips using RE15 per Speer's recommendations.  What I got was unexpected.  The load data suggested 39.0 gr as a starting load and working up to 43.0 gr maximum.  I started at the minimum and stopped at 42.6gr.  From the get-go (39.0) I was already starting to push the max load's velocity as listed.  By the time I hit my max I was clocking almost 2600 fps consistently.  At this level I was starting to notice some signs of high pressure in the form of cratered primers.  I'll call this too hot and back down to about 42.0 for my max.  Speer states that their test rifle was a model 99 with 20 inch barrel.  Mine is 22 inches and so must account for most of this difference.  It's refreshing to actually see my rifles exceed what the loading manuals list since it usually seems to be the other way around.  That performance level is nipping at the heels of the 308.  I was having so much fun that I didn't even realize I'd bruised my shoulder until the next day when I was in the shower.  Guess that steel butt plate doesn't give too much :).

One of my sources claims that the heavier hunting loads should be crimped and this stands to reason.  However, in trying to set up my seater die for crimping I collapsed 2 cases and gave up.  The second one was a very light crimp at that.  The small neck and steep shoulder contribute to this problem I think.  Has anyone else experienced this?  I haven't check to see if Lee makes a factory crimp die for this cartridge but that might be the cure.

Does anyone else have any experience with this cartridge that they'd like to share?  I'm interested in finding out about case life and stretching for one thing.  How about 200 gr bullet performance?  I think I've found myself a new friend.
 

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Sounds like you're finding what a whole generation of hunters enjoyed about the .300 Savage did a few decades back!  It's still a great performer for those who take it afield!

About the crimp.  I haven't seen any more problems with bullet setback in the rotary magazine of the Savage 99, than in any bolt-type action box magazine.  I'm not sure I would worry about a crimp at all.

If you do decide that a crimp is necessary to your handloads, I would highly suggest getting the Lee Factory Crimp die as you had mentioned, and yes they do make one!  It will greatly simplify your crimping task and alleviate much frustration.

How was the accuraccy with those loads you worked up?

Blessings,

Marshall
 

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Bart,
     I would second Marshall's idea of not crimping at all. I have shot a 308 for years and have never used a crimp and never had any problems, even with the bullet seated as long as the magazine would allow. I know the Savage has a shorter neck, but I doubt it will  make any difference.
      As for velocities matching load data I have found that Speer manual much closer than most! The velocities that powder companies list are a pipe dream, and a couple of other bullet company manuals (notably Nosler) are not much better in my experience. But their true value is to give you safe usable loads, after that it is up to you anyway!            ID
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Regarding the crimp...the only rifle ammo I've ever crimped before are for tube magazine rifles.  I am inclined to just skip it for the 300 too but thought it was worth a try due to the short neck and heavy bullets.  Once I get a little more range time with it I'll know whether it's needed or not.

As for accuracy, that remains to be seen.  Last weekend's exercise was mainly to determine a safe operating range.  Besides there were so many people all trying to get some target time that it would have been hard to keep the chrony and target lined up for any serious grouping.  Given the "whimpy" barrel these rifles have I'll be surprised if groups hold very well after about the 3rd shot.  In fact I was firing 4 round volleys and the barrel got almost too hot to hold even with 5-10 minute cool down periods in between.  The 99 is a hunting rifle so I won't hold that against it.

Are any of the BTB 30 cal bullets suitable for this cartridge?  In everything I read about the 300 and cast bullets it's usually stated as a foregone conclusion that the short neck makes loading cast almost out of the question.  I try to keep an open mind though.

We've all heard the making of legends by certain of the gun "expert" crowd.  It's amazing how convinced these guys had me that the 300 Savage wasn't worth the time, at least up until about a year ago.  How wrong they were!  It's just too bad that Savage quit making the model 99.

IDShooter is right about load data and how closely it matches reality.  I've used the various Speer manuals for years and at least for what I load I often can't reach their listed max without signs of high pressure.  This is all part of the game though.  As is often said, "each gun is a rule unto itself".
 

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Great  cartridge that 300 Savage!  Mine is a  model 99R built in the early 50's, and it will shoot inch groups consistently if I do my part!  I took it to Wyoming elk hunting back in 91, and most of the guy's didn't even know what a 99 was! Too bad for them, it is a great rifle chambered for some great cartridges, the 22 Hi power, 250-3000 and 300 were way ahead of there time. I own a 99 in every Savage  caliber and wouldn't be with out them! I have to laugh ever time i hear someone say how the 308 is so great, and how it is large enough for game the size of elk, but the 300 Savage should be used on game no larger then deer! The 5x5 i took in 91 never knew what hit him, he wouldn't have been any deader had I used a 375 H&H.
 

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Wow, never knew there were so many of us who liked the 300 savage.  My rifle is just a puny little Remington Model 722. Past to me by my grandfather, and his uncle to him…  I can’t handle passing down my toys to my sons yet,  I am still playing with them.
   
   I myself have not had to reload any ammo, so your info is beneficial to me. Thanks…  Always knew I had a real potential sitting there.  Worming up the dies now. I already have the factory crimp die, and have used factory style ammo as such. Will have to do some testing to find differences for my self.  First need to get a chronograph to make real time adjustments.   Thanks for the push….    Now that I think, that is the only rifle that has ever killed a dear. Think I am going to leave the 7mm. Home this hunting season.  Don’t think my Ruger will be back from the factory in time this year.
 

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Hi, Fellows:
  Of course the .22 High Power, .250-3000 and .300 Savage were ahead of their time. Charles Newton designed them.

Bye
Jack
 

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Ahh, another Charlie Newton fan! What an amazing guy....                                    ID
 

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Here is a question; all load data I have seen is based on savage 99-lever action. I know that a bolt action is a lot stronger. Can I pump up the loads? And approximately how much more can I push the velocity for it? Also, is there a better powder for this application?     Thanks…
 

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Hi, Scout:
   Bolt actions aren't a lot stronger than a 99. It took Charlie a while to convince Savage of that. SAAMI maximum pressure for the .300 Savage is 46,000 CUP, and the .308 Winchester, which is about as high a pressure cartridge there is in the 722, has a max of 52,000 CUP. Given the old rule of thumb that 1% more powder gives you 1% more velocity and 2% more pressure, and the limited case capacity; I'd say you don't have much room to move.

  I don't load the .300, but most manuals recommend short bullets to maximize powder space. No boat-tails and a round nose if you're using 180s or heavier. Bart's Mag-tip is pretty short too.

Bye
Jack
 

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Thanks, good info, will remember that 1 and 1 still equals 2 for that safe load setup.  You are correct; the load data does have compressed loads, and would be real hard to exceed these loads...   Just have to stalk more, or shoot more to know my rifles ability. And build my own ability as well.
  Cool, more range time.  Thanks for the safe advice..
 

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Jack Monteith, It is true Mr Newton developed the 22 highpower and 250-3000 but the 300 was actually  a savage design! True they only blew out and necked up the 250, but Mr Newton had nothing to do with it! It is actually a kind of Ackley improved design before P.O. ever did them!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There was an article by Ken Waters in an issue of Handloader magazine that I have around here somewhere.  His focus was handloading the 300 in modern bolt guns.  The conclusion was that with the right loads the 300 can be loaded to equal the 308.  The biggest problem with the 300 case is the limited capacity plus short neck which means you have to pick your bullets and powders carefully.  As Jack mentioned, shorter bullets are better, and boattails are out.  That's why I picked the MagTip.  My second choice would have been the round nose in this weight.  I plan to experiment with some 150 and 165 weights next, although I'd like to see what the 200's will do too...so much to do and so little time.

I'll look around and see if I can find the article.  If anyone is interested I can scan and email it.
 

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Hi, John:
  I admit I'm a bit biased about Charles Newton, after shooting a genuine first model .256 Newton when I was a pup. That rifle is a masterpiece and I wish I had it on my rack.

   An article in Guns magazine a few years back claimed that Newton designed the .300 as well, but Savage sat on it until after World War I. Newton was bankrupt by that time and wasn't in a position to take credit.

   I've never done any case forming, but if I were making a 250-3000 from .30-`06 brass, I'd move the shoulder back first, then trim off the excess neck, then neck it down to .250 and have a .300 as an intermediate stage.

   Newton designed dozens of cartridges, and I doubt he would overlook the .300. The author of that article claimed he necked it down a bit more and made the first .22-250 too.

  We'll never know for sure, but my vote's for Charlie.

Bye
Jack    
 

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Jack, You maybe right about that, it seems now that I remember seeing somthing years ago that said MR Newton may have had a hand in the design! No matter who designed it though, it is a very good cartridge. I'm partial to loading the 165 gr bullets over just about any other weight for big game as the 180's do take up a bit of the capacity. Take care,
 
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