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Not trying to die today. Reloading question.

tubabucknuttubabucknut BannedPosts: 3,520 Senior Member
In an effort to not blow my face clean off, like a .410 shell from a Taurus Judge, I need to consult the experts.

I am attempting to work up some loads for a .338 Win Mag. I am trying two different bullets. They are a 285 gr A-max, and a 250 Nosler partition. Using the Hodgdon website, and my 4 reloading manuals, I settled on charge weights. There is no info on the A-max, as I believe it is intended for the .338 Lapua(i did find some guys using it for the .338 win mag on other boards while researching reloading data). I am using IMR-7828, because it is all I have, and can find right now.

For the A-max I am using a starting weight of 64 gr, and working up from there. I arrived at this by using the 300 gr bthp data from my Lyman manual.

For the Nosler I am starting at 72 gr, and working up from there.

The charge weights are not at the bottom of the scale, but are well below the suggested max listed in any of the resources I have.

My problem, if it is a problem.
For each bullet, even at minimum suggested starting weight, I test loaded one round at minimum charge for each bullet, there is some serious compression of the powder as I seat the bullet. I have verified the accuracy of my powder scale by calibrating and testing the charge weights on two additional scales. So I believe the weights of my charges to be accurate. I am using the Coal suggested for each bullet, and have even seated further out for the A-max. I have also measured the unfired brass and it is all within spec, according to the reloading manuals. Is it normal to seat into the powder this much? I have never reloaded for the .338 before. I don't recall ever having a bullet seat so deeply in the powder before.

Some additional info

The oal for the magazine is 3.505. This give the A-max a 2.715 measurement to the ogive. The measurement to the lands is 2.745. I determined this by slowly seating a round until it would chamber. I have no idea if this is how to do it, it is just what seemed logical to determine the head space, or chamber length(whatever the correct term I am looking for is). The suggested oal for the 300 gr is 3.410. I currently have the A-maxes seated to a oal of 3.505 +/-(the lengths of the a-maxes vary greatly), and a measurement to the ogive of 2.715(this measurement is consistent across the board). I believe this length to be safe, as it is 3 100ths off of the lands. Am I wrong on this?

The Nosler seems to be more strait forward, because there is actual data to go get on the bullet itself. Yet it still seats in the powder even at the lowest charge weight.

To recap my questions
If I fire these reloads will I blow my face off?
Is it normal to seat into the powder?
Did I determine the chamber length correctly?

Thanks guys, and don't laugh too much if I got a total goat screw going on. Though Buff might like that and want to come over. :silly:


  • Farm Boy DeuceFarm Boy Deuce Senior Member Posts: 6,083 Senior Member
    I think Buffy's current fling is pigs.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 20,850 Senior Member
    Are you using "regular" 7828 or 7828SSC (super short cut)

    The main reason why they came out with the SSC is because of case fill issues
    This magnum rifle powder has exactly the same burn rate as standard IMR 7828 and uses the same data. However, due to the super short kernels, metering is virtually as good as a spherical powder. This allows up to 4% more powder space in the case and in many loads yields more velocity than standard 7828. Such loads are marked with an asterisk in the data to show where standard 7828 will not fit.
    Also, IME A-max bullets are long for weight, (No first hand with the 338s though), so I can see there being quite a bit of compression needed.

    Just looked in QL and while it doesn't list the A-max, it does list the Hornady 285 BTHP. 64gr of "regular" 7828 shows a case fill of 107.2% and the SSC 101.4%
    QL predicts it's a fairly "mild" load with either powder.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.

  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Call Hornady and ask or email their Techs on the A-Max bullets. Don't know about compressed loads with this caliber, it wouldn't seem they wouldn't be that much if you are a few grains under max. Be safe, not sorry.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,127 Senior Member
    I was going to go to Quickload and look but Paul beat me to it. I have loaded for .338 Win mag for years now. The go to powder is H4831. 7828 is too slow for that cartridge. It will work, but you won't be able to use the cartridge to its full potential.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    One trick I've used when dealing with a very full case is to super-glue a powder funnel to an old arrow shaft, and drop the powder into the case slowly from about 24" above the case. The long drop packs the powder much tighter than simply dumping it directly into the case. It sounds like you need to find a less-bulky powder sometime soon, though.
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    Knite, It is the regular, not ssc. I have looked for the ssc, but it is unavailable.

    Jerm, 7828 is not my first choice, but it is all I got until something better becomes available. However Hodgdon's site shows only a 12 fps difference in the two powders at max loads. Why would 4831 be better with such a small difference?

    Teach, I agree about the less bulky part. 7828 is all I got though.

    Several of you seem to suggest the compression of the powder is not such a bad thing. Did I read this correctly? I am simply new to this aspect of reloading, and the compression of the powder was my biggest concern.

    Thanks to All everything helps.
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    Big Chief I didn't think to contact Hornady. I might try that.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,747 Senior Member
    Compressed charges are not rare nor dangerous if the load is within reliable specs.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Pegasus wrote: »
    Compressed charges are not rare nor dangerous if the load is within reliable specs.

    Varget gets compressed in .223 loads at about what 25-26 grains??? Comes about to the top of the case mouths with some loads and gets compressed as you seat the bullet. I think some manuals have a "C" to indicate that next to the loads and powder listed.

    Hornady sent me some reloading data for 7.62X25 and their XTP bullets years ago, pretty zippy loads. I misplaced the data someplace later when I loaded up some more for that caliber. It wasn't in their load manuals back then.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,387 Senior Member
    Big Chief I didn't think to contact Hornady. I might try that.

    That's the first thing I'd do is call Hornady and the manufacturer of which ever powder you end up using to see if it is safe as a compressed load. Some compressed loads are plenty safe. My old 788 Remington in .223 Rem. used a compressed load with the Speer 70 grain bullet, but the manual stated it as a safe compressed load.

    There's a wealth of good information out there and most hand loaders learn where to find safe info on the net. However, even then you should use caution working up loads.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    Got them all loaded. I went with an ogive at 2.665 for the A-max, and 2.715 for the Noslers. The A-maxes needed some breathing room in the magazine. I also elected to do some one off downloaded cartridges to work into the testing range. I can check for pressure sign as I approach the test subjects. I feel better about the reloads having read some of your responses about compressed loads. Big chief I did not know what the C meant in some of my manuals, now I do. Thank you. Thanks again for the replies, and I will hopefully post a range report when I get some time to get to the range. I just have to make one call to a forum member that was gracious enough to talk me through it over the phone.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    An older Nosler manual I have lists their 338 Win Mag 250 grain Partition at a 75 grain max load of 7448 at 103% of case capacity. That's definitetly in the "compressed load" range. The same powder weights and load percentages also apply to RL-22 powder. I don't have any data on the heavier bullet.
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