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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all,

Have an interesting problem, have a new Rem 700 VTR 308 that I have been reloading for, and have noticed my reloads have quite lot of bullet runout as measured on my RCBS Case Master. As much as 0.012 and as low as .002, most are on the high side, .006+. Using RCBS dies and have tried 2 different bullet seating dies. Also have tried seating partially and rotating the round 1/4 turn for final seating. No joy. Have also measured the neck runout on my resized brass, runs 0.002-0.003.

I've compared my 308's to my 30-06 and my '06 loaded rounds are running 0.002-0.003 for the most part. I do use a Lyman M-die on my '06 loads and wonder if this may be the key.

I'm guessing the pressure from seating the bullet is making the neck "tilt" and is resulting in my large run out situation.

As a side note, I bored a hole just over .320 in my press stand, marked the high spot on the case using the Case master and by hand "bent" the high runout rounds back to within 0.003 run out without much difficulty, I'll shoot those rounds this week and see how I fare.

I'm not a newbie, have been reloading for over 30 years. Any Ideas?

Trapper
 

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Sounds like the bullet profile is driving the bullet seater stem off-axis. The Lyman M die helps a bullet start in straight, but frankly, you'll want to get them straighter for maximum accuracy.

I don't know what bullets you are loading? I can tell you that back in the 60's A.A. Abbatiello had an article in the American Rifleman in which 829 rounds of M72 match ammo were measured for runout then fired. This used a military 173 grain FMJ boattail match bullet. They found that groups opened about 1/2 an moa for each thousandth of runout up to about 0.004" runout. After that it got no worse because greater amounts of bullet tilt were straightening themselves out in the bore at firing. It was self-limiting. They also found that if the high spot was always oriented to the same place around the clock in the chamber, the error was halved.

To completely rid yourself of runout is hard without a post-seating adjustment. Two seating dies work far better than others for the purpose. One is the Forster competion seating die with sliding sleeve to align the case and a floating seater that self-aligns with the bullet. The other is Redding's version of the same thing. I own the latter and find it reduces runout for me until it more or less equals the unevenness in my case neck wall thickness. Uniform neck walls showed essentially no runout using that die. That assumes the case necks are straight.

Before you run out and buy yet another seater, try a couple of things: One is to float the better of your existing seaters a little by not tightening the lock ring down. Instead, give it a registration mark with a Sharpie and just watch that you rotate it back into place if it moves. This will let the die move in the threads a little and may help it self-align a little? Your M die can help the bullet start in straight, too.

Widen the hole (or drill another one) that lets you get the runout out of the neck before you load the cartridge the rest of the way. See if that helps? The Lee Collet Die is the only neck-size-only die I know of that doesn't tip the case necks off axis. For full length, the RCBS X-die may do the same thing, but I haven't tried it? Ditto the new Redding Competition neck sizing bushing dies with sliding sleeve. It may fix the problem, too, but I haven't tried one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Nick, Thanks for the ideas. I'm using Hornady 168 gr HPBT and 147gr fmjbt bullets.
Regards, Trapper
 

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I've yet to run into a 147 grain FMJ that shoots worth the metal it is made of. The Winchesters I tried were uniformly awful, not getting better than 3 moa from either .308 or .30-06 in match accurized guns. I expect, if they were made by Lapua or some other high accuracy reputation company they would do OK? The 150 grain Hornady FMJ's shoot OK, but the short bearing surface is runout-sensitive. Shorter surfaces don't self-straighten as well as long ones. if you want maximum accuracy at shorter ranges, flat base bullets like the Berger 150 grain match bullets do much better. Don't be surprised if they cut group size in half over even your 168 grain boattails to 300 yards or so. Boattails are harder to launch precisely because of the length of time the tail spends exiting the muzzle with all that muzzle blast around it, they have shorter bearing surfaces that don't self-align as well, and they can take some distance to recover from all that before they are flying better than their flat base counterparts.

The 168' grain Sierra MatchKings (I don't know whose you are using?) are fine as long as you don't try to push them past 600 yards. At .308 velocities they become unstable somewhere between there and around 700 yards, even using a 10" twist barrel. I was at an introductory long range class one time where most .30 caliber participants had them. In the morning class it was found nobody could keep them on paper at 800 yards. At lunch we all ran out and bought commercial ammo using the newer 175 grain SMK, which doesn't do that. They worked fine.
 

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Hey there...Just for the fun of it..Check your brass after you have sized it (full length) and see if the necks are off center by a few thousands or so....I checked mine one time for no apparent reason,just more less playing around with my concentric gauge...I was surprised that some of them were way out there...This was with R C B S dies... borrowed a friends Lee die and ran them through again...To my surprise they were almost perfect.. So I bought a lee die and things looked much better....Now I'm not saying they are better,but for the money it was better than the other one...But then when just neck sizing,they were alright...So check your brass before loading....Let us know what you find out....John
 

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The 168' grain Sierra MatchKings (I don't know whose you are using?) are fine as long as you don't try to push them past 600 yards. At .308 velocities they become unstable somewhere between there and around 700 yards, even using a 10" twist barrel. I was at an introductory long range class one time where most .30 caliber participants had them. In the morning class it was found nobody could keep them on paper at 800 yards. At lunch we all ran out and bought commercial ammo using the newer 175 grain SMK, which doesn't do that. They worked

Uncle Nick-----

I find this hard to believe..I have used that same bullet in my 308 Savage rifle and have been able to keep them all on paper at 1000 yards..We have a range in Bodine,Pa...Now I never got any better than a 10 shot 10 inch group...Which I think was due to the lighter weight barrel...But even with a cross wind if I done my part,They were all on the paper at that distance....Just my dimes worth is all...John
 

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I was on the phone once with a Redding customer service rep. and he was grilling me about how I lube my cases and even pointed me to a page in my manual where it says to lube the outside of the neck and shoulder of the case. JJ maybe could try the divide and conquer trouble shooting approach and remove the decapping rod and sizing button to see if the cases still come out having runout.
I have had trouble trying to use the "no lube'' carbide expander button too.

I have had the same problem with the same brand of 30-06 dies. I kept going to the seating stem too. But maybe it does start in the resizing die?

Try taking the seating stem out of die and put in backwards up through where the case goes in and see how loose the business end of the seater fits in the die... If it wiggles around like a feral hogs tale in a soy bean field- that might not be good either. :)
 

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Uncle Nick-----

I find this hard to believe..I have used that same bullet in my 308 Savage rifle and have been able to keep them all on paper at 1000 yards..We have a range in Bodine,Pa...Now I never got any better than a 10 shot 10 inch group...Which I think was due to the lighter weight barrel...But even with a cross wind if I done my part,They were all on the paper at that distance....Just my dimes worth is all...John
Astonishing. I was shooting them in my Savage 10FP the first time I saw them tumble, which was at Gunsite's PR1 class in 2000. We had just one target beyond 600 yards, and that was a 748 yard popper. We were all using PMC ammo loaded with the Sierra bullet. Nobody could hit the popper except by accident. I had one of the the only two hits in the whole class and could not repeat it. The bullet wasn't too far off - maybe a yard or two, but it wouldn't respond to hold off of my mil dot site, where all other ranges showed no problem. At the time we put it off to the steady 20 mph wind from nine O'clock.

When I went to the 2001 Small Arms Firing School at Camp Perry, the 800 yard targets were fired first. The USMC Scout Snipers worked as volunteer line coaches for us. All kinds of moans and groans were heard up and down the line as the 168 grain SMK's hit dirt, air, and almost anything else, occasionally including the paper. The phone from the pits reported keyholes where the targets were hit by 168 grain shooters.

Sierra ballistics technician Kevin Thomas was attending the school that year. He explained to everyone who was using them that the 168 grain bullet was a 1950's design that had been intended for 300 meter International match shooting and the fact they had also proved themselves at 600 yards in service rifle matches had been considered a bonus by the company. He said the 175 was designed for long range, and sure enough, it worked great for everyone. I think I may still have a box or two of the the HSM brand loads that I ran out and bought from OK Weber on commercial Row during the lunch break. Two friends and my Dad shot with me and had the same issue. That would be two Savage's, one Garand and one M1A.

The only reasons I can think of for the bullet flying for you as an exception to all the chaos they caused at Perry and, with 20/20 hindsight, on the Gunsite popper, would be that your load and barrel are fast. Instability is a velocity dependent thing, and not range dependent, which is why I mentioned .308 velocities, meaning to exclude a .300 WM or other faster cartridge. But even in the .308, a warm load or a longer barrel or a day with very little wind are all factors that could contribute to an exception. The instability is likely marginal.

Also, I haven't bought any 168's since then. Sierra does change bullet designs from time to time, as they recently did with the 155 grain Palma match bullet. They now have one with a BC that matches the Lapua offering, though it has a new part number.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi All,
Thanks for the responses and interest. To answer a few questions in the posts: I am using Hornady 168 BTHP match bullets and 147 FMJBT, winchester I think, bought them a good while ago from Midway. Case run out is about .002-.003 after fiull length resizing with my RCBS resizer. My Lee Collet resizer just arrived so am excited to give it a try, have had good success with the Lee collet resizer in other calibers.

Progress: I noticed when seating the bullets the "push" seemed more than I'm accustomed to. I checked the expander ball, even used another one from my .300Win Mag dies to see if any difference, none. I did grab my Lyman M-die from my -06 dies and adjusted it to use for the 308, it worked, and after loading 10 rounds my run out is about .002, what I'm used to. I think the presssure when seating the bullet bent/tilted the neck of the brass and using the M-die opened up the case to allow the bullet to be seated without undue stress and pressure. I did notice with the m-die the seating pressure was less. I will try the Lee collet die and expect good results. I did try some 170 FN 30-30 bullets I had, very good accuracy 3x3 shot groups with different powder loads all grouped under 1", I will go back and tweak this load for fun, I have a big bag of 170 FN's I bought at cheaper bullet prices so would be good to practice and bet it would give a whitetail a good whack. I did have some luck with the 147 fmjbt, a couple loads around an inch, not stellar but maybe usable, I will agree with Nick, haven't had much luck with these bullets.

Ref my earlier post, I found the cartridges that I "bent" to correct runout worked fine, I guess straight is straight, even if you get there a different way.

Thanks all for your interest.

Regards, Trapper
 

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Hornady just came out with a runout gauge that also lets you adjust the runout, so you don't have to just shoot and waste the ones that are way out. I've got one ordered from Midway, but it's on backorder . Can't wait to see if it really works. I'll report when I get my hands on it:D
 

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Trapper,

If you got 1" groups out of the Winchesters, you must have got a good lot. I understand Winchester and Remington both are now farming a lot of production out overseas, and quality can therefore vary with the skills of the contractor that happened to supply them.
 

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Trapper ......

I used to get too much run-out, until I started "measuring" the chamber clearance (at the shoulder). I prefer FL bushing dies (Redding or Forster) that don't use the expander ball, and I keep the shoulder clearance at .002" or less. That keeps my run-out at .001" or less.

- Innovative
 
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