Monday, January 16, 2012

Reloading Woes

I found myself off this morning, part of the national celebration to commemorate Martin Luther King. I spent about ten minutes ruminating on the man's life and his notable achievements, then decided my time would be better spent on the reloading bench.

I went out and reloaded some .308 Winchester, with some youth loads I want to try. That went quickly, then took out a box of new .25-06 brass and got down my manuals.

Back in September, a gracious reader sent me some ancient .257 bullets that he had no use for. I thought I'd load some with Reloder 19 powder and see how they do in my Ruger 77. The Nosler manual says that RL19 powder is great for that weight bullet.

So, I started weighing powder and seating bullets; I got about 20 done when I lifted one cartridge and realized it was leaking powder. Turned the brass over and saw that I'd forgotten to prime the brass. Well, crap! I took down my bullet puller and started whacking bullets from the cases. Dumped powder and bullets into a suitable container. After I'd cleaned up the mess and started sorting bullets from the powder, I realized that I had totally wrecked the noses of all those bullets. A simple whack with the bullet puller was sufficient to upset the lead nose past being usable.

I primed all the brass and started over, loading a series of cartridges with those bullets. It'll probably be a week or so until I can see how they fly, but I know that those are very soft bullets. Probably designed for the .250-3000. I remember reading an article back in the '60s where Jeff Cooper was talking about the .250-3000 as a cartridge for the Savage 99 rifle. Here's his latest thoughts on the cartridge, from his Commentaries, Vo 7, No 1.
The manufacturer made a point of issuing it in caliber 250-3000, maintaining that you could reach the magical 3000 fps figure with an 87-grain 25-caliber bullet. The 250-3000 (or 250 Savage) was a good enough deer gun, if your deer were not too big, and it was gentle as a lamb to shoot.
Well, if Cooper says that the 87 grain bullet is sufficent for deer, then our smallish whitetails around here should certainly qualify. I'd feel better shooting at them with a 115-117 grain bullet and I've got some of those worked up too, but I just had to load some of those 87 grain bullets to see how they shoot. I have no doubt that I can push them past 3000 fps with the bigger case of the .25-06 and new propellants, but that's not the purpose of this exercise. I never approached a max load, preferring accuracy over velocity. Those bullets are plenty soft and should upset well at any reasonable velcity. I bet they'd vaporize a crow, or do just fine for coyotes or like-sized varmints.


Gerry N. said...

Sometime in the shadowy past I accumulated a few hundred of those bullets. They are amazing in my .25-35 Contender with it's 10" barrel. As accurate as could be wished for and cause crows and magpies to disappear in a pink mist surrounded by flying feathers. I've tried to take deer with the same cartridge only loaded with 117 gr. flat nose Win. bullets, but the Gods of the Hunt have not deigned to co-operate. Yet.

Bob@thenest said...

I am sooo happy to know I am not the only one who has done the forgotten primer trick. Thank you!

Mine have been with .45 ACP. Not quite as messy. :-)

Anonymous said...

I use Remington 100 grain PSPs in the .250 Savage. Have never lost a deer I've shot with them.
Most have fallen right where they were shot.

Termite said...

Pawpaw said:...I realized that I had totally wrecked the noses of all those bullets.
Maybe not. I've managed to use a smooth hard flat surface to reshape bullet noses back into good enough shape so that there was no change in point of impact.
Give it a try.

Rivrdog said...

I have several boxes of quarter-inch in 87 grain, but mine are Sierra spire-point boat-tail.

They do ok with a stiff load of 4831 behind them, IIRC 43.5gr, but are not as accurate at 385 yards as Federal Fusion 95gr, both shot from my WIN 70 (.243 WIN).

Anonymous said...

Ten minutes ruminating on MLK.....surprised you spent that much time...