FAQ #51 ( .300 WSM light loads )

Sent: Monday, January 26, 2004 12:30 PM
Subject: reloading question

I’m wondering if I can load a .300WSM “down” to the levels of a 30.-30. or 30.06, so I can use this gun for deer and smaller, or does it have to loaded to mag specs?


It certainly does not have to be loaded to mag specs, and even 30-30 is a good load. You do have to use a slow burning powder that will fill up the case pretty well, so look for loads with a LOT of grains of powder, but not high velocities. You might even call the powder companies at their 800 numbers or use the websites, and perhaps get specific loads for light target work and smaller game. Certainly using a lighter bullet in the 125 to 150 grain category would be a good idea, too.

Hope this helps

FAQ #52 ( 30-06 COL )

I was browsing the net and found your pages on reloading. I have a question I thought maybe you could help me with. I recently purchased a Remington 700 ADL in 30/06 Springfield from Wal-Mart on clearance at a great price. ($255) I haven’t been handloading but about a year and am having a problem finding the best overall length for this gun. It seems to have an extremely long throat. In fact I can’t get any marks from the lands on even the longest bullets I have (200 grain Nosler Partitions) using a candle to blacken the bullet, chambering it and checking (you know the drill). The gun shoots 3/4 inch groups at 100 yds. loaded with factory ammo but I’m sure I can do better with a handload. My question is, in this situation, would you just load everything to SAAMI specs on length and leave it alone, or seat all the bullets at a depth of at least .308 into the case getting them as close to the lands as possible for each different type. I have heard alot of people have the same problem with Weatherby Magnum rifles having really long throats and having difficulty determining the best C.O.L. for their particular rifle, but this is the first Remington I have seen with a throat this long. By the way, I have PLENTY of room to go over SAAMI as far a the length of the magazine goes. Any experience you have on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks. Wes.

You have done all the right things, Wes. You are a lot more careful with your handloads and depth of seating than most handloaders. I can only tell you what I have read on the topic.

I understand that if you do have a particularly long chamber before the lands start, and you know the bullet is going to “jump” a bit before reaching the lands, then it’s best to seat them further out, but not so much that the bullets will pull out of the cases on recoil (which can happen). Also, with the extra case volumn, your loads may be a bit milder AND a tad higher in velocity differences (the powder moves around more, so it does not ignite quite as consistently as when there is less volumn in the case). So there’s the good and bad of moving the bullet out further to reach closer to the lands.

All THAT being said, a grouping of 3/4″ is great in my book and I would not change things very much if you are doing that well with your loads. If you will always point the gun up in the air before shooting (to seat the powder in the rear of the case) then lower it slowly, take aim and fire, you should get more consistent velocities and may improve your groups. If the case is nearly full of powder, it won’t make much difference, however.

I hope my thoughts on the matter help you in doing even better, but you are certainly doing fine now.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #53 (WST instead of CLAYS? )

Howdy, Mr. Smith!

Found your reloading pages by a Google search on reloading using WST powder.

From the beginning, I use Clays at 3.1 gr. For my .357 125 gr. TC and 158 gr. RNFP CAS loads. I also use 13 gr. Clays in my AA shot shells (a touch more bang than Featherlites but they pattern very well). I admit it, I’m lazy and would like to use just one powder for both. Trouble is, I often can’t find Clays in the area but I’ve been pretty lucky by buying 8 lb. jugs well in advance of running out.

Because it can be difficult to find I’m looking for possible replacements in a pinch. I see that Alliant’s American Select would do but I see that even more rarely than Clays. The most common powders around here are those from Winchester. I note that you have not updated your loading pages for some time, is it possible that there are recipes for WST that might do what I want? Winchester’s own manual shows WST in a AA shell at 22 gr. to reach 1325 fps and 23.5 gr. for 1355 fps. Winchester’s own info shows the Featherlite’s traveling at 980 fps so figuring backwards shouldn’t I be about the same place using the same charge as with Clay’s?

For .357 there is no listing at all but there is for .38 which is exactly the same as the Clays listing. Is it worth a try?

Thanks for listening, RK

You are correct on several fronts, RK. It has been a time since I updated the pages and I am sure more recent manuals would show the powders you mentioned in more loads. The tech departments of the powder companies are extremely helpful and I suggest you contact them by either 800 number or the web.

On the issue of interpolation, I do it all the time, but I can’t tell you to do it without incurring a liability, should you do it wrong. I can say that the reason for the burn rate tables is to find similar powders to loads you have used before and experiment. I have been told by the powder companies, this only works really well if the powders are the same TYPE, that being extruded, ball, or other types.

If you have access to a chronograph, that’s a very good way to try to cook up similar loads using a different, but nearly identical in burn rate, powder. You will notice that Unique and Universal are ALMOST identical in many loads, but then there are others where the max load is nearly 2 grains different in pistol rounds. That’s a big difference with maximum loads, but I think it’s just one powder company being more conservative than the other, AND they all use different test barrels and ways to measure pressures as well as velocities.

So all that being said, it’s just to let you know there are a lot of variables in reloading, as I am sure you have found, and nothing beats good common sense, particularly with respect to interpolating. So, I always start off with a very mild load and work up to see if the similar powder is going to perform hotter or milder than a load for another that’s almost the same.

Hope this helps with your experiments.

FAQ #54 (Fliers)

Hi M.D.,

Read in one FAQ about unexplained fliers in rifle groups. I had a .22-250 Varmint that was driving me NUTS! Then I discovered something.

The front sling swivel stud was occasionally catching on the front pad during recoil! I was using a regular benchrest type rest with a post/pedistal front rest and a bag rear support.

As I shot, I had noticed the front sand bag had a tendency to creep rearward during the string. Got me to wondering. Very careful positioning now lets me shoot 1/2 inch, symmetrical groups.

So it wasn’t bedding. Wasn’t loads. Wasn’t scope. It was ME!! Technique or method turned out to be the answer.


That’s one of the more interesting things I have heard about problems with grouping. Yes, we can all learn simply by looking at every aspect of our shooting and often by trial and error, come up with solutions that improve our groups by a big margin. Thanks for writing that story to me.

FAQ #55 ( BP Balloon Busting )

Hi, Can you direct me to a website, or have the information on how the black powder loads are measured and made for shooting the balloons with Colt 45.

Thanks,C. C.

Try SASS, mounted cowboy pages….or clubs in the west that do this all the time. I read that they just use powder up near the case top, then put a wax plug in, sort of like a blank, but it will bust balloons if they are close to them. They may use something else these days, but you don’t want anything heavy like even lead shot, leaving a pistol with spectators all around the arena area.

FAQ #56 ( Magnum Primers & Bullet Seating )

Hope all is well with you this new year. I wrote you recently with a reloading question, now I am back with another.

I bought some Meister Bullets 158 gr LRN. They look like they are very well made bullets. I plan on loading them with 4.7 gr of Unique.

I have two questions that I am having trouble finding the answers to:
1) Do I seat the bullets all the way to the small ledge that is on the bullet? This seems to leave a large amount of the bullet in the shell and the shell is bulging slightly so that you can see where the bullet is seated. Is this too far or do I need to size the shell larger?

2) I have a number of Federal Small Pistol Magnum Primers. Can I use these primers even though the load is for 38 Special? The finished bullets will be fired in a Ruger SP101 and a Ruger GP100, both are 357 Magnums.

As always thanks for your very informative reloading pages.


You usually seat round nose bullets just where it starts to taper down, unless there is a crimp ring on the bullet. Use commercial loads to match OAL

As to the mag primers, I don’t think I’d use a hot load, not with a magnum primer. Rules say, don’t use them unless the load calls for it. Magnum primers are a bit hotter than regular and create a bit more pressure.

However at say, 4.5 grains of Unique (which is a cowboy load) it should not be excessive pressures. So, load some at this level and shoot them, and then work up .1 or .2 grains at a time till you get a load you like. The guns will certainly hold it, being made for the .357, but you don’t need to be splitting cases and bad stuff like that.

FAQ #57 (Deer Rifle suitable for a 12 year old daughter )

Mr. Smith,

Using the MSN.com search engine I came across your web site of reloading information. It seems a plethora of information on reloading. I am 40 years old, and the years I have been able to – have always hunted. I grew up in mid-MO hunting – but since joining the Navy is 85 – only get to hunt about every 2-3 falls. I mainly only hunt Whitetail.

In that – I have boxes and boxes of 30-30, 30.06 – and my newest favorite deer slayer – 5 boxes of empty Winchester Supreme Remington 7mm mag. I have saved all these boxes for years with the intent of learning to reload – not only just to see if I can produce a more accurate hand load – but just to say – I hunt only with that that I have put together myself. Sorta like after the hunt I guess, in having the satisfaction while cooking dinner – that I harvested.

Going last week in search of a yet another new deer slayer for next fall – this one however for my 12 year old daughter – has rekindled my interest in reloading even more so. She is very small in stature – and the rifle/round I have thought about purchasing for her was a Winchester model 94 in either the 357 mag (youth version available) or a 44 or the 45.

Speaking with the dealer – he made a point which I have read before – and never really gave it much thought about how much this would transpire in pistol rounds shot out of a rifle. The fact previously read – Pistol rounds are factory loaded for the weakest pistols made in that caliber. Thus he was telling me – if I really wanted to purchase such a rifle for my daughter, I really should consider reloading off the bat for the rifle to reach it’s real potential.

Hence – I have been searching out sites for information – how too’s. My best friend and fellow deer hunting companion used to reload his own 280 rounds. But he says he don’t have the time anymore (us fish and wildlife wild lands forest firefighter always on the go) and now he can purchase factory loads that shoot as good and even better then any he ever cooked up. He could teach me what I would need to know – ( if he was not living a long way from me.)

I saw on your site you mention taking a reloading course…. I have searched. Where does one find such a course? What about a video or interactive step by step computer cd program? Have you seen any offered? A video?


Well, you asked several quesions. Regarding a load for a young female, I do think you should get a rifle for the .44 MAG, since it has more knockdown power for deer. The good part is, she can practice with .44 special loads and not start flinching from the heavy magnum loads. The .44 mag that come 20 to a box are loaded for rifle and are maximum loads for that caliber. The ones that are sold 50 to a box are usually for pistol, but my experience is that I can’t tell much difference. I have not crono’d various loads in a rifle, for example, so I can’t tell you exactly what, if any, difference there is.

I don’t know of any courses or video on reloading, but contact a couple of the retailers like MidwayUSA or Midsouth Shooters Supply (www.midsouthshooters.com) as they might have a video. Most of us learned from a reloading manual. There are books on the topics. I also learned from a reloader in town that taught me some of the fine points and I could call when I had a problem. Reloading is not that hard and my web site has the basics on it. You might start with a simple single stage press OUTFIT that has everything you need. You can get an outfit for $100 to $200 complete with a set of reloading dies in the caliber you want to start with.

I bought a Dillon progressive press a few years back and it had a video tape option that showed step by step how to set up the press and adjust it for each reloading step. It sure was fun shooting my own ammo, even though I sometimes got a round that didn’t chamber all that well (in .45 ACP I still have rounds that jam every now and then, so I don’t use my reloads in competition, only practice and plinking where it does not matter – and that’s where most of my shooting is these days).

Thanks for writing. I hope some of the suggestions have helped you.
Good reloading. Let me know how it goes once you get into it and shooting a few of your own rounds. If you use ALL LEAD bullets for the low power plinking and target rounds, you will save lots of money over the factory ammo (even the .44 special with all lead bullets are not very costly). However, with the cost of reloading supplies these days, you won’t save as much on 30-06 ammo that’s pretty cheap, compared to the individual cost of jacketed bullet, primer and powder. you will have fun rolling your own, particularly lower powered rounds, like I do for Cowboy Action Shooting.

FAQ #58 ( Home Gunsmith )

Mr. Smith, my name is Rory from Cullman AL. I found your home page on reloading info and was hoping you would have some info on a home gunsmithing course. Is it worth the money? Which is best? etc.

I don’t know. I have never seen a home course, but it could not hurt. A lot of gun repair is intuitive if you have skills in fixing other things mechanical and can use power tools, grinders, solder, and most times order parts from Gun Parts Corp. which carry hundreds of thousands of parts and screws for about every gun ever made. Sure, take the course if it’s not too much. You might really enjoy repairing and modifying guns. Pay is not great, but job is rewarding.

FAQ #59 (Starter Reloading Kit? )

Hi, i am enjoying your site & was wondering as I am a neophyte in the reloading realm what would be the best starter set-up for me to begin reloading. I am looking primarily to reload for the 45 / 70 Gov. for my Marlin 1895GS. I have shot some Remington 405 grain factory rounds (pretty mild) just to get some brass…..but cost of ammo in general for the 45 / 70 is substantial as you know I am sure. Any suggestions for a basic relaoding set-up to get me started? Or any other advice you might want to share….

Thanks in advance. Sincerely, Morgan

Since you probably won’t be reloading that many rounds of that rifle ammo, you probably would do fine with a single stage press and equipment. Several companies make a complete kit (like Lee) that has everything you need for under $200. It’s good to start one at a time and carefully put powder in each case and seat the bullets carefully.

As you get more experienced, you could look at a multi stage, progressive press and automatic powder measures and primer feeders and things like that. If money is no object and you don’t mind spending $500 to $700 for an outfit, start with the Dillon progressive outfit.

They are good people and it even includes a video tape to show you how to set up and adjust each stage and component of the reloading outfit. You should get an experienced reloader to help you get set up the first time. Local gunshops that sell powder usually know the names and contact for reloaders in the area that buy a lot of powder, bullets and primers from them.

Hope this helps. Good reloading to you.

FAQ #60 ( Loads for the .357 & .38 )

Mr. Smith

Thanks for such an interesting web site. I have recently become interested in reloading the 357 Magnum and your site has been a very good resource with loads of information.

I have a question for you. I have ordered a number of Winchester 110 grain Jacketed Hollow Point bullets from Midway. I would like to use Universal in this load, but your 357 page doesn’t have a load for the 110 grain

I was wondering if you could tell me if it is possible to use Universal for these 110 grain JHPs? And if so, what the powder charge would be?

Thanks again for a great web site.


If you look for loads using Universal in heavier bullets, you will see that most loads with Universal are very close to Unique. These two powders are very similar in burn rate. for the 110 grain, the table calls for Unique 10.0 gr. 1,735 fps.

Looking at the 125 grain bullet:
Unique 9.6 gr. 1,585 fps
Universal 8.8 gr. 1,435 fps
You see slightly less powder for Universal. If I were going to use it for the lighter bullet, I think I’d start with about 9.0 grains and work up (if need be).

Remember, whenever you are “experimenting” by using interpolation of similar loads, you are “on your own” as all of us reloaders are. I have to tell you that this is only what I would do, and I can not accept any responsibility for the results you might obtain (for legal purposes) and I hope you understand my warning. It’s always best to talk to tech support at the powder companies and get a specific load from them.

Good shooting to you.s


Thanks for the info. I finally got a chance to shoot the reduced 357 loads, and they shoot great. Pretty darn peppy for a “reduced load” too! Not sure if I will be taking them any higher than they are now.

Got another newbie question for you. I have been thinking of putting together a cheap 38 Special load to plink with. I have been buying 38 Special “Cowboy Loads” in batches of 500 at the local Gun Shows. These use a nickel case and a lead RNFP bullet, no lubing and they lead the cylinder something terrible. And I think they use a black powder substitute because they are very dirty and smoky when I fire them. But they are cheao to plink with.

I would like to put together a load that uses a 125 grain lubed cast bullet and the nickel cases I have (well over a thousand right now). Something in a light 38 Special just for plinking with.

My question is; do I get a cast bullet that is .357 and load it like I would a jacketed bullet, or should I get a .358 bullet? Do I need to worry about sizing, or are the .357 already sized for loading?

Again, thanks for the info and great web site.


Certainly, using any good lead, sized, lubed bullet should work well, but leading is always a potential problem. Harder bullets work better with HOT loads, but a bit softer one work with nice, mild cowboy loads. Nearly pure lead, like used on wadcutters that are cut from a lead wire spool, seem to lead the barrel more even in light loads.

I don’t have a guide for bullet hardness vs. loads and I am sorry to say it’s a trial and error process. If you can find lead bullets in .357 diameter, they certainly should not lead the barrel as much as the normal .358 lead bullets, but they may not be as accurate, either. All I have ever used is .358 lead bullets.

Hope this helps. Good shooting to you.

FAQ #61 ( Heavy .45 Colt loads )

I’ve found that the info for .45 Colt rifle loads to be sparse. I ‘ve used the rounds that I hand load for my Cabelas Millennium revolver in a Puma M92 rifle and while O.K. at 50 yds., they are still pistol loads– 8.5 grs. Unique with a 255 gr. LRNFP bullet. It seems that 19.0 grs. of IMR 4227 with the same bullet might be appropriate for the rifle. Being cautious, I’d like some confirmation of this. Thanks.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #62 ( Old Primers not working )






I have primers that shoot fine after 20 years. It is NOT recommended that you keep them that long. I sure would take some more of those rounds out and test them…also, test them in another 30-06 to see if it might be a problem with pressure on the firing pin of your rifle. During all this time, was there there any chance that the rounds got moist, wet or otherwise in a condition that might have seeped into the primers and ruined them? These are all possibilities. Try a different gun, then try more of the rounds and if you have more misfires, I’d suggest you use an impact bullet puller (cheap to buy) and try reloading the same round, powder and all with a fresh primer and see if that works…. there is a chance the powder has decomposed (althought that’s not as likely as a problem with the primer if you don’t hear any sound when you try to fire the rounds.

I once loaded some rounds without any powder (measure ran dry and I didn’t notice it), and while the round didn’t fire, I could hear a slight sound when the primer fired into the empty case and didn’t even dislodge the bullet. Also, you said “one round didn’t fire” and the same thing happened when you went hunting. So, if it’s just a few that don’t work and you don’t know which to trust, I personally would not trust any of them. Use commercial ammo to hunt with . . . you usually fire so few that the costs are minimal and use the reloads strictly for target practice and plinking and don’t trust the old rounds for hunting, unless you reload them with fresh primer and powder. (remember, there is always a possibility of a weakness on the firing pin or spring causing the problem or the primer has been seated too deeply in the pocket for a shorter than normal firing pin to make consistent ignition.

I hope I have covered enough bases of possibilities for you to assist in solving the problem.

FAQ #63 ( Buckled 300 WSM cases )

I have been reloading for several years now and just got a 300 WSM. I bought new Winchester cases, but I am having a problem. I am using RCBS dies and a rockchucker press and loading Nosler Accubond 200 grain bullets (.308). Every 4th or 5th case seems to stick and buckle right below the shoulder area. I would like to know what is causing this. As soon as I can get a bullet puller (cases too big for impact bullet puller) I will measure the bullets to make sure they are not the source of the problem. As you can see from the photo the case on the right is normal; the case on the left is an example of one with the “bulge” right at the point where the shoulder of the case begins to neck down. Any advice on what is causing this or how to prevent it would be greatly appreciated. THANKS.

(more info later – – – – > )Brand new cases. Just ran them part way in the die to round out the mouth of the cases that are dented. No crimp in the seating operation; turned die down until felt case mouth then backed off one complete turn. Have done this hundreds of times with various calibers including: 303 brit, 8mm Mauser, 7mm, 30:06, 338, 22-250, 308. Never had this problem before.

Thanks for the photos. It made understanding your problem easier. I’d suggest several things to try. I assuming the case is lubed before you run it into the dies. Secondly, make sure the mouth of the case has sufficient belling to let the bullet seat without binding . . . make sure the case length is correct and if not, trim it down. Finally, make sure your seating & crimping die is not set to where it’s putting too much crimp pressure on the case . . . all of these things could contribute to the problem. Lastly, try another set of dies.

FAQ #64 ( Fireforming Brass Cases )

I recently bought a Arisaka Type 99 chambered in 7.7mm Jap. I seen people selling 30-06 brass fireformed to this cartridge. The bullet dia. of the 30-06 is about .010 less than that of the 7.7mm Jap. Would it be safe to fire a 30-06 load in this gun to form the the brass? I haven’t even tried to chamber a 30-06 round in the gun yet and I have no intention to do so unless I find out more about it. I have never fireformed brass I was going to talk to some the “Pill Shooters” at the range that I’m a range officer at, I know that these guys load up .243 cases HOT to fireform .243 Ackley improved. This could very well be apples and oranges and I have no intention in taking any unsafe risk. Would it take a lighter load or a hotter “Millitary load” or forget it all together and spend the big money for brass someone else has formed?

Thanx, Dave

You sound as you know as much as me on the subject. I can not “officially” advise you to fireform anything. But I hear of it being done all the time. With a smaller bullet than the jap 7.7, it should not blow up, but the case could rupture and spray hot powder and gases out of the breach of the gun. If I were going to do it, I think I’d arrange something to hold the rifle, and have a remote trigger string or something so that I was not near the rifle the first few times I did it. That way, if something did really let go, no one would be injured. Inspect the cases afterwards and see if they are split or show other signs of damage.

Again, all of what I am telling you is what I would do IF I was going to try something like that. I am NOT advising you to do it and blame me if something blows up. I hope you can understand for legal reasons why I have to state my answer to you like this. I do suggest you talk further with other shooters and reloaders who have fireformed brass before. I personally have never done it. I don’t think I’d use factory 30-06 loads either. I think I’d load up some mild loads to begin with and see if it was enuff to form the brass without the FULL factory load being fired. Personally, since I have never done it, I’d buy brass already formed and ready to go.

Hope this Helps.

FAQ #65 ( Magnum Primers in 30.06? )

Is there a problem with using Magnum primers in 30-06 brass? Pat

If you do, you certainly should back off on the load, since these fire hotter and will create higher pressures in the same load that you have been using with normal primers. The books all say only use magnum primers where called for in a given load, usually with a very slow burning powder that needs a “kick-start” to work well. Again, I say, you are on your own if you choose to use them, but use a reduced load (10%-20% less than max to start) and be careful. Some powders react more violently with magnum primers than others do. Officially, I can not tell you to use them at all where not specifically called for. In these days of lawsuits, I hope you can understand.

FAQ #66 ( .357 Pistol vs. Rifle velocities )

Mr. Smith,

First I would like to say that I find your web pages very helpful and entertaining.
I was wondering if you may have some data or info re: the performance of the .357 mag. when fired from a 20 inch barrel as found on a Winchester Model 94 lever action rifle?
I am assuming (a bad thing to do, I know) that the velocities would be a bit higher than from a pistol, and was just wondering how much. Any info you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Jeff

My experience has been that you get about 200 fps more speed when a pistol round is fired from a rifle. I shoot both .38 special and .45 colt in both revolvers and rifles, and that’s what I have gotten. Certainly .357 mag loads made for a pistol will perform very well in a rifle. Regards, MDS

FAQ #67 ( Bullseye in .357 loads )

I grew fond of bullseye in most handgun rounds I reload. But learned a valuable lesson when reloading 357s for my wife’s Rossi. The Lyman manual as well as others lists data for using bullseye, unique and red dot in the 357. I loaded 1 box to take to the range being that I already had bullseye in the measure I just used the data provided by Lyman. I used the starting load, I don’t remember exactly how much. To make a long story short I ended up using a cleaning rod to eject the cases from the cylinder as they had expanded and heads and primers were flattened. I learned later from the person who taught me reloading that it is due to the extremely fast burn rate of bullseye.

But more important why would leading reloading companies even publish the data that could potently rupture a case or even the cylinder??


The powder companies manuals used hotter loads in years past, than they do today as their “maximum” loads. They tell me, it’s new data and “perhaps” the new powders are a bit hotter than the old ones of the same type. Actually, Bullseye is not terrible for the .357, but Unique is better with a slower burning rate. If you carefully weighed the charge of Bullseye and backed off 10%, it should not have exhibited the results you mentioned below, which are clearly the indications of too much pressure.


hi I am reloading 30-30 brass an when I resize it I get dents in the top of the neck is there any way to stop this? I lube them good. ok let me know on this at my email. thank you. Richard from OK.

Dents often come from too much lube in the die. Clean it out very well with a strong cleaner (Hoppes) Check cases for dirt on the outside. Lube only very lightly.

Maybe you are pushing the case too far into the die, back off just a hair. All of these things, I’d try first, next borrow or buy a new sizing die to see if that fixes the problem.

FAQ #69 ( Old Powder and Tack Driving Accuracy )

Mr. Smith, You may not remember me but I communicated with you about 3 years ago regarding a WIN M70 STS in 308 w/BOSS that suddenly lost it’s accuracy during an off-season from shooting. Your advice about starting over from scratch (fresh powder, primers, good cases) was right on. Nothing had changed on my rifle, just the powder was old and had lost it’s power. Thanks. With the new powder it came right back on target (no pun intended). I have several targets with 3 holes in one and one loading that produces 5 holes in one groupings at 100 yds (recipe of 42 gr of 3031, remington nickel cases, full length sized, and a Hornady SP 150 gr bullet (no boattail)). My 308 likes Remington, Win Silvertips (flatnose 150s) and really adores the Hornadys. I shoot this rifle all the time and with a BOSS setting of 3.2 it prints tight groups about 1/2 in from each other no matter what bullet style I use.

I have a question. I bought my son a similar WIN rifle brand new in .270 with BOSS system in SS. It has a sporter weight barrel and synthetic stock. My son is 18 and 6 ft-190 lbs and he shoots well and plays football here in Mobile.

I got the rifle from a distributor who had about 5 still in his stock (WIN quit making them in 1998). I like the rifle but it has a few quirks. It shoots fairly well, but not great. I haven’t shot it a lot but it seems to print about 1.5 in groups with factory ammo from Remington (green and yellow box) in 130 gr. I want to reload for it but haven’t started with this particular gun yet. I think this could be a real tack driver, but need a few pointers as to where to go next. I set it at the BOSS setting of 1.1 with the factory remingtons, but found it to be a bit better at 0.9. I am still working on this.

Do you have any suggestions? I like IMR 3031 powder but also have a good stock of IMR 4350. The SPEER Manual #12 has some good loads in 130 gr bullets using both powders. Do you have any suggestions as a starter or what to do. The barrel is free floated and we have not put 3 boxes of shells thru it yet. Is it still breaking in or do I need to do something else?

Thanks for your help in advance.


First, Brad, you have had a lot more experience with loads and tight groupings than I have, so you are well qualified to find the right combo of powder and bullet. I do hear that a new gun takes some breaking in before it settles down and you can find the right load for it. I personally like to experiment with 20 rounds of a given powder, charge and bullet. I feel I can tell by then, and compare it to 20 rounds of different loads or bullets, etc. For consistent velocities, you usually are best to use a load that nearly fills the case. Some people have improved consistentcy of velocity with fillers, although I have never used them.

You can even try as few as 10 rounds of a given powder weight, then change the weight more or less with same everything else and generally find a powder charge that is more accurate than others. Later, you can experiment with different powders (keeping same bullet) and finally with different bullets. It takes a long time as you know, but that’s the best way I have found to find the perfect load and bullet for a given rifle. Even identical brands of rifles, will perform slightly different with identical loads when you get to tack driving accuracy.

Reply from brad

MD, Thanks for the quick reply. I am going to try this procedure on the 270. The gun is still new to me and I haven’t spent as much time with it as I should have. This gun is my son’s and he, like most boys his age nowadays, likes to shoot but doesn’t want to spend the hours needed to find the right loading. The BOSS system can help in most cases, but it can’t make a fair load become exceptional. It is a good concept, but it does add yet another dimension to any accuracy mixture.

As soon as my dies arrive, I will load up about 10 each with different powder throws according to the books. I use the same bullet style for each of the 10. I used to begin with 5 loadings. The best of these groups gets refined futher by seating length, and then by BOSS settings. This should do the trick.

As I write now I remember when I started off with my 308 Win w/BOSS, it took a while and several trips to the range to find the right combinations. After several hundred rounds, my rifle’s pet loads all use 42 gr IMR 3031, Remington or FED primers, Remington nickel cases, trimmed and full length sized, and 150 gr bullets (my 308 doesn’t like 165s) and a BOSS setting of 3.2. Your kind words of encouragement aroused my thinking process, thanks!

I will let you know how the 270 works out. If you ever have anything I can help you with, please feel free to write and ask.

Your friend and fellow NRA member,

FAQ #70 ( Rifle vs. Pistol primers )

Hello, first things first. I am not a novice at reloading (30+ years, no accidents, YET) but I still have questions and do not know all the answers. What is the scoop on the hazards of using a standard large rifle primer for as a substitute, for a standard/magnum pistol primer such as the Winchester large pistol primer. The load is W231 7.0 grs. and a 240 gr. swc lead, using magnum cases. This is a sweet load in a Ruger super blackhawk. I use the winchester standard/magnum primer. What are the hazards of using a standard rifle primer if any, or does it just need a harder hit.

Thank you, Jim

First, only use magnum primers if the load calls for it.

Primarily, a small rifle primer just needs a harder hit and you might get some misfires in a pistol . I am also told the “juice” in a pistol primer is a slight bit hotter than a small rifle primer, but have never been able to get it confirmed. This info is for SMALL PISTOL primers ONLY.

LARGE rifle and pistol primers are another matter. The Rifle primer is deeper than the pistol, so they are NOT interchangable. This has been recently brought to light with the S&W 500 Magnum pistol. Originally, the cases used large pistol primers. It was determined they were not the best for this brute of a load, so the official primer now is LARGE RIFLE. If you have some of the original Hodgdon and other cases made for large pistol, the rifle primers will not seat in all the way and a protrusion will stick out of the back of the case. This is not a safe condition. If you try force to make it even, that may work, but still a bad idea. All the newly made cases shoud have a “LR” on the headstamp meaning these are for LARGE RIFLE ONLY. Ones without this are most likely made for Large Pistol. If you use the pistol primer in a rifle case (including the new .500 cases) it will seat too deeply and misfires could certainly result from this condition.

For other calibers, like the .45 Colt, you use large pistol primers, even if shooting in a rifle, because it’s a pistol caliber and that’s what is needed. There may be other new magnum calibers that use the Large Rifle, but I am not specifically aware of any at the present time.