View Full Version : Good Results at the Range Today

The Baron of Bufflehead
03-09-2008, 02:09 PM
We've got too darned much snow here for calling coyotes (got about 18 inches yesterday :NW: ) so I hit the range to do some more load testing.

My .204 shot both 35gr and 40gr. Bergers very well, with Hogdon BLC(2) back when temps were above freezing, but I have been seeing inconsistency when the temps drop. I have since learned that ball powders are notorious for this temperature sensitity. So, I did a little more reserarch on powders for the .204 and bought some H4895 (an extruded powder) to try.

I loaded up some test rounds with 35gr. Berger's, using 27.0 - 28.5gr. charges, in 0.5gr increments. I think I hit a winner! Despite 10 - 20 mph winds at the range, all loads came in under 3/4", with the best 3-shot group going under half inch.:uh:

The black target dots are 0.50" diameter.


03-09-2008, 03:07 PM
That 27.5 gr. load looks like a killer, and even in the winds that you had.
Now you got me thinking about getting into reloading. Gheez, does it ever end?

The Baron of Bufflehead
03-09-2008, 03:13 PM
...does it ever end?


03-09-2008, 04:15 PM
OK, SIR Baron, now might I suggest that you try moving back from 25 yards to 100??!! :OUCH: :nn:

03-09-2008, 08:40 PM
Pretty impressive Baron! Now that I've gotten my 700 I can't stop shooting! Picked up a bi-pod and some more ammo today, back out to the range tomorrow. I really want to reload my own but have absolutely no room at my house to set up a bench to work from. Whats even worst is I'm already looking at a new scope for the rifle lol!

03-10-2008, 03:41 AM
Barron you are right about the temp sessitivity of BLC(2). I always go to the Hodgden Extreme powders for most of my reloading. H4895 is the same powder that I use in my 204. If I remember correctly my load is 28.2gr H4895, 35gr berger and I cant remember the COL but it shoots right about 1/2" if I do my part. I also use it in my 308.

03-10-2008, 08:10 AM

Your 27 and 28 gr loads both had two holes touching with one round just slightly off on both of them. Lots of times, that can be shooter as much as load or wind. However, the 27.5 was the best which is good news. I would also pick the 27.5, knowing that even if you missed your load by .1 grain on either side, you have a pretty good cushion from 27 all the way to 28 grains.

I don't have my load data in front of me, but I am shooting IMR 4895.

Keep plugging those coyotes. Spring can't be too far away. The coyote hunting in ND has gotten a bit better the last few weeks but it has been blowing about 30 mph every day. Tough to kill coyotes with winds like that.

The Baron of Bufflehead
03-10-2008, 08:55 AM
Our 100 yard range is fairly protected from the wind, but the conditions were still pretty poor. I was trying to wait for consistent wind conditions to get off each 3 shot group. I was surprised at how well things went. On such a day, I was really only looking to see if the loads were promising or not. To have them all go under 3/4" means either it is a really good load, or luck blew all the holes close together.:rf:

I am leaning toward to further testing with the 28.0 - 28.5gr. loads as I want max. velocity in this gun. For a coyote rifle, I am happy with any load that shoots under 1", as long as it does it consistently, throughout varying temperatures and weather conditions. IMHO, consistency is most important in a one shot game like calling coyotes.

(NOTE: reloading manuals show a max. load of 28.2 grains H4895 for the .204, but this is partially limited by bullet seating depth. Using a standard COL, 28.2gr. is a compressed charge. I seat my bullets out quite a bit, so even 28.5gr. is not compressed, and showed no signes of excess pressure in my gun. All that being said, I will be watching very carefully in shooting these loads as warmer weather approaches and anyone reading this should start with reduced loads and work up, for safety's sake!)

The nice (and very rare) thing about my .204 is it puts every good load I have tried with both 35/40 Bergers to the same point of impact. My gun is currently sighted 2" high at 100 with the 40gr. loads, and you can see from the groups shown that the 35's are right in there too (maybe a bit left). The 28.5gr. group shown should be about 1" higher than it is in comparison, because I changed my aiming point to be a little below the target dot to make sure the group stayed on the page. This shift off of the distinct aiming point might also explain why that group opened slightly. If you imagine the 28.5gr. group being raised about 1/2", and superimpose all the groups onto each other, you can see the 12 shot group through all powder charge weights would be very good.

Just as an aside, I have seen this before, that once you find the right powder/bullet weight combination for your rifle, the exact charge weight is not really critical. I used to weigh every powder charge, but now that I know this I just throw them all from the powder measure and my groups have never suffered one bit. Saves a lot of work!

03-10-2008, 07:54 PM
Thanks for sharing T-BOB ! :TT: :nn: :TT:

03-12-2008, 07:52 PM
Jim, worth every penny it cost to reload trust me, it's a blast. It's a ball and you can find the load that will fit your gun perfect. After you find a good load it's easy to duplicate. You can do allot of it in front of the TV or sitting outside drinking a beer. Trimming cases to length, cleaning primer pockets and lubing cases, and re-prime cases can all be done anywhere.

Then to the bench and it's fast and easy. Just add powder, bullet and ready to go again. Good thing about reloading is you can get as crazy as you want to like sorting and water bathing all you cases for capacity and smoking bullets for perfect fit (which I recommend when working up the load) to just make safe shooting ammo, it's easy...Really it is, just follow the step by step guides you get with your equipment and your good to go. Allot of guys think it's rocket science, and it can be, but don't have to be to save a ton of money and put out some damn fine ammo made just for your liking. And most important is you know exactly what you have.


03-12-2008, 09:23 PM
One of the best things about reloading too is its something to do on those rainy days. Your accuracy greatly improves, not that there is anything wrong with factory ammo but... you can always do better.

My dad and I sat down this evening and did up a box for his 257 Roberts using all hand tools! My grandfather had a custom set of hand reloading tools made for the gun. The gun itself was also custom made for him in 1933! Nothing beats doing it the old school way!