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hunt12ga 01-06-2012 06:41 PM

New to reloading... have some ?'s
I'm not new here, but I am new to this end of the forum. I know very very little about reloading, and I am starting to look for information.

My best friend has recently gotten into reloading through his father-in-law. He has all the necessary equipment and has worked up some nice loads for his rifles. I recently got a .243 barrel for my Optima Elite and I've tried a few factory rounds. 100gr Winchester Power Points and 95gr Hornady Superformance SST's. Neither did what I was hoping for. So he/we are going to try to get something worked up that will smoke coyotes.

I have read through dozens of old forum discussions regarding .243 loads in general, loads for this specific rifle, etc. Weighing all the info I drug in, along with the fact that so far my rifle didn't like the heavier bullets, I ordered some 65gr V-Max bullets. My friend reloads his .243's with Varget. We are going to try that first since it is on hand. Supposing we change up the charge and find something that groups well, I'll be set. From what I have read though, Varget is magical in some rifles and terrible in others. If this combo doesn't work out,
1) What would be my next best bet for powder? What is a powder that has proven effective in various rifles with 60-80gr bullets?


2) What would be my next best bet for bullets? I'm wanting something that will group well and kill 'yotes. I don't care about pelt damage.

Anything else you want to throw in will be appreciated too. Thanks


homers brother 01-07-2012 06:35 AM

As long as you're attempting to "fine-tune" your ammunition, consider the other variables that may be affecting your primary metric of "group size":

- Are you testing them from a bench? If not, "minute-of-coyote" is about the lowest unit of measurement you're going to get comparing one load to another.

- At what ranges are you shooting coyotes at? If you're shooting at 300 yards and your rifle's grouping at 1 MOA or less, you shouldn't have problems downing a coyote.

- Most shooters would be better-served by paying less attention to the minute details of their ammunition and spending more time shooting instead. The first step to optimizing rifle performance through reloading is making sure the instrument (the shooter) is properly calibrated.

Varget works well in my .223s, .22-250, .243s, and .308. I've also reloaded .243 with IMR4350. I generally don't prefer bullets of less than 75 gr. If you're not concerned with pelt damage, I wouldn't hesitate using a 100 gr bullet. Check the BC of the 60 gr and compare it to 75 and 100. Keep your options open.

hunt12ga 01-07-2012 08:43 PM

I am doing my shooting from a bench with sandbags. As far as range, I'd like to know that my rifle/cartridge combo will do the job at 300 yards. That's the far range of the shots I will get where I hunt. Normally 200 or less due to fencerows and hills.

My rifle is an Optima Elite. When the .50 ML barrel is on it, I can shoot 1 1/2" groups all day long at 100 yards. So I would assume that I should be able to shoot the same groups or better with the centerfire barrel with rounds it likes.

And as far as bullets go, my options are open wide. I just want something that will go where I point it. The only reason I went lighter is that the other rounds I've tried have been on the heavier side of the spectrum so I decided to try light. Whatever I can find that my rifle likes will make me grin ear-to-ear :)


homers brother 01-08-2012 05:44 AM

I wish that I could say it's as simple as selecting a propellant and a projectile and finding something that shoots well. When I'm working up loads, I generally load 10 rounds each at .2 grain increments, starting on the low end of what your reloading manual indicates. Run them through your rifle, each set of ten on a fresh target. See which one groups best. I'm not familiar with that particular rifle to know its accuracy potential.

the jigger 01-08-2012 08:05 AM

243 Loads?
I am in the final stages of load development for a Varmint weight 24"
243. With 85gr SGK HPBT I found RL19 the best among Varget, IMR4064, IMR4831, and RL19.
With 95gr Nosler BT's I found IMR4831 the best among Varget, IMR4064, RL22, and IMR4831.
I realize you want to shoot a lighter bullet, however, IMHO better accuracy will not be found with one bullet and one or two powders.
I mentioned "final stages". There is too much detail to go into all of my steps.

hunt12ga 01-08-2012 10:16 AM

I realize that I probably won't just stumble onto the magic combination right away. I'm just looking around to figure out if there are any bullets or powders that have on average given people decent results so I have a place to start. I unfortunately don't have the $ resources to go out and buy 5 different bullets and 5 different powders. I want to try the highest probability choices first, but then again I guess I am at a brick wall because nobody knows what my rifle will like. I've put enough time and money into working up a combination of choke/shells for my turkey shotgun and powder/sabot/bullet combos in my ML's to know that it boils down to trial and error. There are several more variables in rifle cartridge loading, so I'm bracing myself for a bumpy road. I'm excited about it though :) Thanks for the input.

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