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300 Win Mag Encore pistol - A-Max and TTSX test

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300 Win Mag Encore pistol - A-Max and TTSX test

Old 10-15-2016, 04:27 PM
  #1  
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Default 300 Win Mag Encore pistol - A-Max and TTSX test

Last weekend, I crafted several different loads to test out of my 300 Winchester Magnum Encore. The goal was to determine the maximum loads my Encore can handle using 155 grain Hornady A-Max and 150 grain Barnes TTSX bullets using my favored IMR 4064 powder. I didn't work up to a maximum load with the A-Max last year due to time constraints; the load I settled on used 62 grains at a velocity of about 2770 fps. I hope to try out the Barnes this year to see how well it performs and whether it damages less meat compared to the A-Max. Additionally, since an A-Max bullet is less than half the cost of a TTSX, I wanted to see the difference in point of impact between the two bullets.

Using Winchester brass, Winchester WLRM primers, IMR 4064, and the following bullets:
Barnes 150 grain TTSX:
62 gr. - ave 2705, s.d. 43
63 gr. - ave 2765, s.d. 33
64 gr. - ave 2800, s.d. 27
65 gr. - ave 2876, s.d. 38
65.5 gr. - ave 2870, s.d. 22 This is the Hodgdon website maximum.

Hornady 155 grain A-Max:
63 gr. - ave 2751, s.d. 50
64 gr. - ave 2820, s.d. 44
65 gr. - ave 2814, s.d. 37 This is the Lee 2nd edition maximum.

With both bullets, the accuracy and the consistency of the velocity improved as the powder charge increased. Additionally, I noticed that the A-Max maximum loads impacted about 2.5 inches above the TTSX maximum loads. I didn't expect that much of a difference, but at least I know where the bullets of one load will land if the scope is sighted in for the other load.

Now I just need to load a few more Barnes handloads, and my 300 will be ready for season.
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Old 10-23-2016, 09:56 AM
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Let me ask you this. Why would you want to determine what the max loads are for either bullet when you have the loads from the loading manuals in front of you? Those listed are what your max load is. Out of the 30near loading that I load for myself and others, I cant think of 1 that shoots a load that is listed at or even near the max load. I have found in my 40+ years of loading that most weapons are going to reach their accuracy potential in the 2/3rds-3/4qtr throttle range. All the max loads do is what I call the 3W Killer. Kills your weapon, your wrist and wallet!!!! How are you going to determine what the max load your weapon can handle, it blows up? Plus, the animal does not die any faster or deader!!! And once you find a load that groups consistently without blowing your gun up. Why not just load that particular load and not have to remember where other loads will print. 1 load, 1 ballistic chart to keep track of.

Last edited by SecondChance; 10-23-2016 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:19 AM
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X2 you are going to blow your hands and or face off playing chicken with that.
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Old 10-23-2016, 02:23 PM
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not even going there, TN PM me we will talk
RR
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Old 10-23-2016, 03:18 PM
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Wow is all I can say...
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:01 PM
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SecondChance, I kinda have to disagree with a good portion of what you said. Having been a wildcatter for more than 50 years, I myself have taken MANY rifles well above LISTED max loads and many of them actually performed better. Not saying all or even near all will be that way. But if you know what you are doing and know what to look for in pressure signs then you will not have any issues with guns "blowing up". I have several rifles built on Mauser K98 actions that don't perform worth diddly till I pump up the volume to near max and a couple over max LISTED loads. TnLoneWolf is a youngin but he knows a good little bit and his TC is top notch custom barrel work. And he does know what signs to look for in his cases for over pressure. While I do agree with you that there are folks that shouldn't try this stuff because they are inexperienced, that doesn't apply to the whole. Listed loads, most times, are well under what most modern rifles can take. Sometimes as much as 20% under and even more with some. I also have several rifles that top out and get stupid at around 3/4 loads. It's all dependent on the rifle and the loaders skills in inspecting their spent cases after every shot. Back in the 70's, some thought I was retarded experimenting with things like the 7mm-08 and improving performance of them. The loads that remington came out with in the 80's when they "claimed" the 7mm-08 is around 18% under what I was shooting them at in the 70's. Lots of folks hot rod loads and while some have little performance enhancement, quite a few of us find sweet spots in the hot loads.
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SecondChance View Post
Let me ask you this. Why would you want to determine what the max loads are for either bullet when you have the loads from the loading manuals in front of you? Those listed are what your max load is. Out of the 30near loading that I load for myself and others, I cant think of 1 that shoots a load that is listed at or even near the max load. I have found in my 40+ years of loading that most weapons are going to reach their accuracy potential in the 2/3rds-3/4qtr throttle range. All the max loads do is what I call the 3W Killer. Kills your weapon, your wrist and wallet!!!! How are you going to determine what the max load your weapon can handle, it blows up? Plus, the animal does not die any faster or deader!!! And once you find a load that groups consistently without blowing your gun up. Why not just load that particular load and not have to remember where other loads will print. 1 load, 1 ballistic chart to keep track of.
Okay, going to try to sort this out. First, I was never going to go above the maximum loads for those particular bullet/powder combinations listed in published loadbooks. I stopped at the maximum official loads even though they weren't showing any of the danger signs. I truly doubt that sticking to published loads from reputable sources are going to blow my gun and myself up. I once made handloads for another gun that were a bit too warm for comfort. Once. I haven't ever done so again, because I know what signs to look for. That gun is also still intact, by the way.

Just because some loading manual gives a particular powder/bullet combination, it doesn't mean that load is technically safe in my gun. That's what happened in the scenario I described above. That's why I always work up to the maximum load in increments, like I did with my 300 pistol.

You mention hotter loads as if they're going to kill my wrist and wallet. Two extra grains of powder per round won't break the bank. My wrist couldn't tell the difference between 62 and 65.5 grains. In fact, my 14" Model 460 and CVA Optima pistols kick far worse than the 300, yet I shoot them just as much with no problems.

In any case, the 150 grain Winchester factory loads I used as a comparison are hotter than my handloads. Those averaged 2950 fps, and they tended to stick a little in the chamber when I went to extract them.

You mentioned accuracy. I outright stated my groups improved as the loads got warmer, although that could just as easily have been on me. In any case, I don't usually test for accuracy unless one load's groups absolutely horribly. The fact is, I'm not quite good enough with pistols yet to determine which load is marginally more accurate. At 100 yards, 1.5" groups are about the best I can do at this point. At the ranges I intend to shoot, it really doesn't matter whether a particular load groups .25" tighter or looser as long as I hit well within the kill zone with every shot. A dead deer is a dead deer, after all.

That said, I have noticed that the smaller standard deviation I get, the more accurate a load seems to be. I look for the groups with the smallest standard deviation, which in this case are my hottest loads.

Why make two loads? Because A-Max bullets are less than half the cost of the Barnes bullets, my local store has a lot more of them than the Barnes, and apart from hitting higher they should have a nearly identical flight path. Plus, their light construction would make them a great coyote bullet.

I honestly don't know what I did that got y'all so worked up.

Last edited by TN Lone Wolf; 10-24-2016 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Correct typos and add
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Old 10-24-2016, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by redgreen View Post
X2 you are going to blow your hands and or face off playing chicken with that.
I highly doubt that. Read my response to SecondChance.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:39 PM
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I've been loading for 50+ years and I've always been super cautious and safety minded. I always moved up gradually with different loads watching for pressure signs using manuals as a guideline.
But what caught my eye, after owning a couple 300 win mag rifles, is having one in an Encore pistol! I had a BFR in .45-70 which was a handful even though it was a heavy gun. But an Encore in 300 Win mag - Geez Louise....I sure hope it is at least ported.
That does not sound like a fun gun to shoot.
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Old 10-24-2016, 05:42 PM
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Yes, it has a muzzlebrake, and an intelligently designed one at that. The ports are angled slightly forward to minimalize the muzzle blast at the opreator's end. Here's a picture if you want to see it:


It's honestly not that bad to shoot. Yes, you know you're shooting something potent, but there are far worse kicking handguns out there.
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