.338x.284 Win* Load Workup

Started by gitano, December 16, 2021, 01:37:40 PM

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I put an asterisk on the .284 Win because the 7.5x55 Swiss case works just as well because the action is a Ruger No.1, meaning that the extractor rim thickness on the Swiss case is irrelevant as is the rim diameter. :)

Turns out that the actual fireformed cases are smaller in volume than the paper-whipped ones.  The average volume of five .284 Win cases is 67.45 grains of water. (One FF Swiss case is 68.7 grains.) Armed with that info, I've been paper-whipping some loads in QuickLOAD. No surprises really. I won't bore you with the details until I get some rounds shot at targets. At the moment, I'm still out of 225 Accubonds - the bullet I would prefer to use. However, I have lots of .338 bullets. At the moment, I'll probably start with 200-grain Accubonds, OR, Nosler's "E" bullet in 200 grains. Neither is ballistically as good as the 225 AB, neither do I have the experience on game with either that I do with the 225, BUT... I do have plenty of each of those.

Be nicer than necessary.

Paul Hoskins

Follow Catlin's choice in deer rifles. Go with what you have confidence in. It always works well for me too. .......Paul H .....


Copied from the "Project" thread:

Beginning to feel a little snake-bit on this thing.

Seeing as how this rifle  wasn't going 'off somewhere' for inletting a new stock, I was looking  forward to doing some precision reloading and shooting while working up a  load for it. Did my normal 'thing' and took precise measurements of the  chamber, including length from breech to lands. Hmm... Kinda short.

I told the people at PacNor  specifically what bullet I would be using in this rifle: The Accubond  225 with the shank seated 1 caliber deep. Since I don't have any of  those 225s that aren't in either the .338 Win Mags (Ruger and Sauer)  ammo, or the .338 MAI ammo,  I was going to use the Nosler 200-grain  E-Tips for sighting in and load workup, of which I have "plenty".

At 1.427" nominally, the  200-grain E-Tip, while "lead free" and therefore longer than the same  200-grain lead core bullet, is still shorter than the 225-grain Accubond  at 1.550". Therefore, it should 'fit' the chamber with room to spare,  when seated a caliber deep. Au contraire.  The chamber is about 65 thousandths too short. That in itself is too  much to 'live with', but it's also created another problem. Even if I  wanted to seat the bullet as deep as the chamber requires, I couldn't,  because the case's shoulder hits the bullet seating die's internal  shoulder before the bullet can be seated that deep.  That's with the seating plunger screwed ALL the way into the die. So...
I've ordered/rented, a .338 throating reamer. $44.85 including shipping  TO me. (A new one purchased from Pacific Tool and Gauge is $180 plus S&H.) At least I'll get it EXACTLY the way I want it for the 225-grain Accubond. Nevertheless, I'm a little disappointed that I have to wait some more to load and shoot this rifle. I'm hoping there aren't any more surprises.

Be nicer than necessary.


Finally got a moment away from "the Counter Project", and the dog, and everything else, and got the throat reamed. I'm finally prepared to "make bullets" for this rifle and start the load workup process. :eek: :biggthumpup:

I extended the throat sufficiently (about 0.100") that a 225-grain Accubond, seated 1 caliber deep (on the bearing surface, meaning, not counting the boat-tail), is 0.05" off the lands. Were I to extend the OverAll Length (OAL) by 0.05" to put the bullet "on the lands", seating depth (0.288") would still be more than 0.226", which is 67% of a caliber, which is the minimum I am willing to seat a bullet "out".    

sakorick gave me an almost full box of the 225 Accubonds, AND, while I was visiting him, I ordered a box from a FISHING GUIDE IN CANADA. Possibly the only people in North America with some to sell! However, they expressed some concern over getting them past Canadian customs. They said, "It's not illegal, but stupid Customs agents, (really... whodathunkit? :mad: I'm still P.O'd.), might confiscate them. You are accepting the risk." I told them I would. $85 Canadian plus $35 Canadian shipping :frown plus $5.98 Canadian GST :frown :frown, for a grand total of $96 American. $2 a bullet. That hurt psychologically. Grrrrrr....

I now have 90 225-grain, .338 bullets with which to work up a load. I'm still going to use the 200-grain E-Tips to start load work-up. (The 225s are too precious.) Once I get those shooting straight and hitting where I want them to, I'll move to the 225 ABs and tweak them in.  I'll load 20 (at least) for the Missouri deer season. I'm a happy camper. :D

The "Counter Project", will keep me occupied til the coming weekend, but next weekend I should be able to get to the range and shoot some paper. :COOLdude: I've already got QuickLOAD paper loads worked up, so sometime this week I'll get those loaded and be ready for the range on the weekend or the first of next week.

News at 11...

Be nicer than necessary.


I've decided to try a new  method of "load work up". Instead of changing the charge and powder, I'm going to pick a powder and a charge that yields a 'modest' max pressure, and adjust seating depth. Only.

I dislike the number of combinations created by the permutations of powder type, charge, pressure, timing, and seating depth. By picking one powder, one charge, and one 'center' pressure, I can adjust the seating depth until I either run out of chamber length or the pressure gets too high. Or, of course, I find a precise load.

At this moment, I'm not sure what the increment in seating depth will be, but I'll start with one that produces the same change in barrel exit timing that a 0.3-grain change in charge produces. (0.3-grains is the charge increment I use when working up a load.)

I'm sure everyone will be happy to hear:

More paper-whipping to come! :D


PS - I forgot to mention that the seating depth increment will not be LESS than 0.010", and that's 'pushing' it. People that think they can adjust seating depth finer tha 0.010", are fooling themselves. And given all the variables associated with seating depth, 0.010" is, as I said, 'pushing' it.

Be nicer than necessary.


Per my previous post:
The bullet is the Nosler 200-grain E-Tip.

The powder is RELODER 17.

The charge is 58.1 grains. That's 105.7% of case capacity when the bullet is seated one caliber deep - 0.338"; the starting seating depth.

Predicted MV is 2868 f/s, at an estimated max chamber pressure of 53,919 PSI.

Estimated exit timing is on node 4 for the 28" bbl at 1.279.

Moving the seating depth out 0.019" to 0.319, results in the following changes:

Percent case capacity drops to 104.9%

MV drops 10 f/s to 2858.

Max pressure drops 979 PSI to 52,940.

Exit time increases to 1.287 msec, almost 1% longer than original.

Moving the seating depth out another  0.019" to 0.300, results in the following changes:

Percent case capacity drops to 104.1%

MV drops another 10 f/s to 2848.

Max pressure drops 967 PSI to 51,973.

Exit time increases to 1.296 msec, almost 2% longer.

Each of those increments was equivalent to reducing the charge by 0.3 grains but keeping the seating depth at 0.338". HOWEVER, muzzle velocity stays higher when the seating depth is changed. For example, in the first step 'down', changing the seating depth lowers the MV by 10 f/s. Lowering the charge reduces the MV by 15 f/s. The second step down again lowers MV by only 10 f/s when changing seating depth, but lowers the MV 16 f/s more when reducing the charge, for a total loss of 31 f/s when lowering the charge, but only 20 f/s when changing seating depth. (Keep in mind that max pressure reduction at each step down is the same for seating depth as it is for charge reduction.)

Hmm... It would be difficult to find someone less concerned with MV than I, but I do find this interesting.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, so we'll see how this little exercise works out at the target butts.


PS - I cautioned against reporting seating depths to a precision of 0.001" and yet I did that exact thing above. However, those measurements above were "paper-whipping" in QuickLOAD for the sake of ESTIMATING pressure changes. In reality, I'll move the seating depths in increments of 0.02" and report COALs to 0.01".

Be nicer than necessary.


By the way... This seating depth exercise once again gives me an opportunity to demonstrate the value of Optimal Barrel Timing Theory. Once I find the TIME  of the most precise load for the 200-grain bullet, "moving" to the 225 bullet will be child's play, because, the harmonic timing of the barrel is INDEPENDENT of the bullet. Meaning, that best timing for the 200-grain bullet, will be the best timing for the 225-grain bullet. While I won't be able to hit the same faster node with the 225 as I can with the 200, it doesn't matter because I just step "down" a node to the next slowest node. Once I find the 'real' value of a timing node, because it's harmonic motion, all other node timings are equally spaced. :biggthumpup: You can see the practical value of this especially given the scarcity of the 225-grain bullets. I can develop a load with less expensive, AVAILABLE bullets, and when the rifle's characteristic TIME is determined, ALL other bullets "work"! This ain't theory. I've proven it several times with my own firearms, and once each with sakorick and davidlt89. It works.

Be nicer than necessary.


Very interesting Paul. So I have been thinking about switching bullets in my 7mm mag due to two things...1. availability, the bullet I am currently using is a 160gr accubond and as you know, they are no where to be found right now, and I have no idea when they might and I am "low". 2. Price. The accubonds are expensive and I can  shoot hornady SST's for half the price!
You helped me develop the initial load in that rifle with quickload. was not long after that I purchased quickload and got in the game!
I am assuming that I can enter the data for that load into quickload, and that will give my "true" barrel timing for that rifle?
Romans 12:2
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


That is correct, David. HOWEVER... You need to enter data for your rifle and load that are as accurate as you can be. Case capacities, case lengths, barrel length, and seating depth, are critical to getting the correct exit time from QL.  That value should be very close to the "right" timing value for the SSTs. Armed with that, you should be able to "search" QL to get a load with that exact timing. If you need assistance doing that search for the first time, gimme a call.

Be nicer than necessary.


Yes, that is most of the data I am referring to. All the same data I use when working up an initial load. I also actually measure out 10 bullets and take and "average" of the bullet length, since not all of them are all the same length and definitely are not the length quickload has them at.
I am also assuming using the actual chronographed velocity would help.
Romans 12:2
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


Absolutely, to everything! Sounds like you've got it figured.

You'll find the bullet lengths get more consistent if/when you use a Hornady (used to be Stoney Point), bullet comparator, https://www.hornady.com/reloading/precision-measuring/precision-tools-and-gauges/lock-n-load-bullet-comparator#!/ which measures the bullet from the base to the ogive where the bullet becomes 0.008" smaller than  caliber. (This is where the bullet has bore diameter, not groove, or caliber, diameter.) Still, they won't be exactly the same from bullet to bullet. This is part of the reason that claiming seating depths with a precision of 0.001", or even 0.005", OR, "I'm 0.057" off the lands", is... let's just say, 'not realistic'.

Looking forward to seeing how things work out!


PS - The picture in the Hornady link above shows the whole, finished cartridge being measured. That's good for getting the Cartridge OverAll Length (COAL) value, but in order to use that COAL value, you'll have to adjust for NOT using the "tip to tail" length of the bullet. SO...

First, using the bullet comparator, you measure the length of the bullet from base to bore diameter.
Second, you seat the bullet to the depth that you want it to be for YOUR loads.
Third, you measure the COAL again using the comparator.
Fourth, use that COAL for your calculations in QL.

I "create" a "new" bullet in QL when I get its length based on the bullet comparator length. I call it the "SPOAL" length (Stoney Point OverAll Length). For example: Using the 225 Accubond, I create a "new" bullet in the QL library of bullets called the ".338 225 AB MINE SPOAL".

Furthermore, I have a "new" SPOAL cartridge. This cartridge's OAL is from the head of the case to the bore diameter of the bullet. Usually the "SPOAL" cartridge is "THE" load determined after load workup and when I've decided on THE load - bullet, powder, charge, and seating depth - of the most precise load I can find.

Be nicer than necessary.


PS - One kink you may find is when you enter all the parameters, and the charge, you don't get the muzzle velocity that you MEASURED. This is a function of the actual characteristics of the powder you are using being different from the ones QL has. This requires 'fiddling' with the powder parameters. This is one of the most esoteric things you can do with QL, and requires keeping one's thinking cap on - with chinstrap. If you run into this problem, let me know and we can discuss solutions.

Be nicer than necessary.


Well, finally got to the range. (Got shed of the "big project" monkey on my back.)

As days at the range go, it was "good". Wasn't too crowded. No jerks. Weather was good. I didn't forget anything, coming or going. Got some 'preliminary' data.

These were the first bullets down the bore, so my expectations weren't too high. My expectations were met. ;)

You may recall that I have decided to choose a single load, and instead of 'fiddling' with the charge, I'm fiddling with the seating depth.

As mentioned in post #6 of this thread, the powder is Reloder 17. The charge is 58.1 grains. The bullet is the Nosler 200g E-Tip. This gives a predicted MV, with the .338" seating depth, of 2868 f/s.

I started with four rounds loaded to the following seating depths, and their associated MVs.

0.25" - MagnetoSpeed set wrong - .284 brass
0.29" - 2801 - 7.5x55 Swiss brass

0.31" - 2818 - ditto
0.34" - 2835 - ditto

Pretty close to the predicted drop per step, but the top step is a little lower than predicted. Don't really care, as 2800-ish is fine by me. Remember that I'm going to be hunting with the 225g Accubonds. Once I get the powder/seating depth dialed in, I'll shift to the ABs and tweak as needed.

As I was reading my notes on the .416x348 Win on the No.3, I was reminded that I had addressed the forearm 'issue' on that rifle. See here: http://www.thehunterslife.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19959. I have not on this rifle. After this range session, I may have to do the same for this rifle. I'll run another 25 or so rounds through it before I decide whether the forearm hanger needs "adjustment".

The seating depths with associated data are listed below. (All groups are 3-shots. Next time will be 5, but I have to preserve powder for sure, and bullets to a certain degree.)

.338" - Group size = 1.99"
.310" - Group size = 3.15"

.290" - Group size = 4.51"
.270" - Group size = 4.77"

.250" - Group size = 1.38"
.230" - Group size = 3.36"

As you can see, only one is "OK", and the rest are poor to bad. That's OK. That's what I was looking for: One batch to stand out. While the .338 group at 1.99" is marginal, the .250 group at 1.38" is 'tolerable' and warrants subsequent attention.

Of course the .250" seating depth used for MV measurement is the ONE that didn't get caught, but I think it's clear that it's going to be close to 2800. I'll check it at the next range session. (I don't like the MagnetoSpeed on the rifle when shooting for group size. I'm CERTAIN that it affects Point of Impact. It simply has to.) As long as the 225g AB can get to 2650 f/s, I'm fine, and I have no doubt this cartridge will get to that MV.

Here's an image with all of the groups, with each shot for a given seat depth the same color.

Not too much there, but "it is the data". Next step is to load some more at .240", 250,and .260" seating depths. I'll do some paper-whipping to check timing and relationships. With this 'far out', I may try to stuff some more powder in the case, but keep the timing by changing the seating depth. Of course, I'll stick to the 58.1 grain charge for the .240" - .260" test.

I'll be checking the fired case capacities to see if the fireformed .284 Win brass is different from the fireformed 7.5x55 brass.

Be nicer than necessary.


To wrap up the analysis of the previous range event and because I used two different kinds of brass - 7.5x55 Swiss and .284 Winchester - here are the last of the data.

This first table has the weight and volume data for the Frontier 7.5x55 Swiss brass. I think the labels should make the table values clear.

This table is the data for the Winchester Western .284 Win cases. You can see that here are significant differences between cartridges. Within cartridges, there is fairly good consistency, especially for the 7.5x55 brass.

This table is the percent differences in those cumulative stats. For example, the first column "Case With Primer" is the % difference in the average weight of the 7.5x55 cases compared to the .284 Win cases.

These graphs are the case weight graphs for each cartridge (7.5x55 and .284 Win).

These two are for the case volumes before the cases are resized.

And these are the case volumes after resizing. Note the consistency after resizing. The variance is only half a grain for the .284 brass, and less yet - one third of a grain - for the 7.5 brass.

Since the Swiss cartridge has greater volume by about 2%, and, less variation between cases, looks like I'll be using 7.5x55 Swiss brass instead of .284 Win brass. There's "good" in that because the Swiss cartridge's brass is easier to get my hands on AND it's cheaper. So, should I change the name to .338 Swiss? That rolls off the tongue a lot easier than .338x.284 Win. Hmm... :undecided: Unfortunately, it's already etched on the barrel. :(


PS - By the way, the CH4D neck resizer doesn't resize the neck small enough to hold a .338 bullet. I'm going to have to have speaks with the folks at CH4D.

Be nicer than necessary.


By the way... The timing of the bullet's exit from the barrel for the smallest group, (.250" seat depth), is 3% down from the theoretical node. That is where almost every precise load I have ends up; about 3% down from the predicted node.

Be nicer than necessary.