338 Lapua Ackley Improved Loads.

338LMAI

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I guess, i misunderstood your post stating unfired 338 LMAI brass. Maybe your hydro forming new brass?
No; you are mistaken. It was I who erred. I should have said 338LM instead of 338LMAI. Sorry about that.

I buy Lapua (or Petersen) brass and as you know it's in its "indigenous" state, ah-la 338 Lapua Magnum. Then, usually using Barnes 265 or 285 gn and proceed with 100gn RL26 for the former and same amount but using RL33 for the latter.
 
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I use RL33 because I've plenty of it; 100 GN using Peregrine 275GN & WW mag primers in new Lapua and Petersen (STANDARD LAPUA) brass to fireform. Accuracy was good at 2814fps average. While still fireforming and beginning at 104GN (RL33) and working up to 112GN minimum was 2910 and max was 3126. Clearly not the best combo using 256 Flatlines. Later firings revealed 3300fps using 118GN of RL33--down from 3304 using 117.7GN where I ran out of room for propellant. It seems with projectiles less than say 270GN RL33 loses out to RL26 in both speed and accuracy. I do have Vihtavuori n570, but haven't used it in this barrel. This barrel is chambered for optimum use of the Warner Flatline 256GN and has never fired a cap and core bullet through it. I'm looking to Hammer and Badlands for hunting bullets now.
Going to start fire forming and taking some advice off this thread among other places. So if I’m running a 338 LM AI with a bore rider throat, and I’m fire forming normal Lapua brass with RL33 do I start with normal Lapua loads that are down in the high 80 or low 90 grains or can I start up towards the 100 grain mark with virgin Lapua brass? I guess my question is I know 100g isn’t over pressure for AI fire formed loads but is it overpressure for the first shot in a normal Lapua shaped brass?
 
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338LMAI

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Going to start fire forming and taking some advice off this thread among other places. So if I’m running a 338 LM AI with a bore rider throat, and I’m fire forming normal Lapua brass do I start with normal Lapua loads that are down in the high 80s low 90s or can I start up towards the 100 grain mark with virgin Lapua brass? I guess my question is I know 100g isn’t over pressure for AI fire formed loads but is it overpressure for the first shot in a normal Lapua shaped brass?
Using RL33 I wouldn't go over 100 gn in orthodox Lapua brass; its been my experience that there's a good margin of safety there using 265-285 gn solids. I am specifically referring to Lapua & Petersen brass; can't speak about others I haven't used myself. I've been right up to compression loads in FORMED 338 LMAI cases using RL33--118 gn--without pressure signs, but RL33 isn't the ultimate propellant for <285 gn loads in my experience. If you're going to use RL26 I'd use 90 gn; it's plenty. I imagine 90 gn would be enough of RL33 too; I just don't know it to be fact. I think you'll really like the 338 LMAI as it's so versatile and easy to load. I'm on my fifth reloadings now using my original Petersen brass. Enjoy.
 

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Using RL33 I wouldn't go over 100 gn in orthodox Lapua brass; its been my experience that there's a good margin of safety there using 265-285 gn solids. I am specifically referring to Lapua & Petersen brass; can't speak about others I haven't used myself. I've been right up to compression loads in FORMED 338 LMAI cases using RL33--118 gn--without pressure signs, but RL33 isn't the ultimate propellant for <285 gn loads in my experience. If you're going to use RL26 I'd use 90 gn; it's plenty. I imagine 90 gn would be enough of RL33 too; I just don't know it to be fact. I think you'll really like the 338 LMAI as it's so versatile and easy to load. I'm on my fifth reloadings now using my original Petersen brass. Enjoy.
I apologize. I should’ve specified, I’m using 275 grain cutting edge lasers and RL33 with Lapua brass. Thanks for the info 338LMAI!!!
 
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My AI fire form load is 96 gr RL 33 w 285 ELD in Lapua brass jammed into the lands. I would find some cup and core bullets for fire forming.
 

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Using RL33 I wouldn't go over 100 gn in orthodox Lapua brass; its been my experience that there's a good margin of safety there using 265-285 gn solids. I am specifically referring to Lapua & Petersen brass; can't speak about others I haven't used myself. I've been right up to compression loads in FORMED 338 LMAI cases using RL33--118 gn--without pressure signs, but RL33 isn't the ultimate propellant for <285 gn loads in my experience. If you're going to use RL26 I'd use 90 gn; it's plenty. I imagine 90 gn would be enough of RL33 too; I just don't know it to be fact. I think you'll really like the 338 LMAI as it's so versatile and easy to load. I'm on my fifth reloadings now using my original Petersen brass. Enjoy.
WOW 118 gr RL-33? With what bullet and COAL?
 

338LMAI

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WOW 118 gr RL-33? With what bullet and COAL?
See post #41; note that those fired were 256 Flatlines. Also, that these were seated on the lands. I don't use COAL, but once in a while I'll check and usually early on in load development for each change... If I remember right these were either 4.010 or maybe the full 4.015 which is the Stoney Point (now Hornady) gauge measure of my maximum chambered base to tip (COAL, using 270 gn Badlands Super Dozers). One must remember that this measurement is derived from bare-jawed calipers. Using the standard caliper anvil (s) adds a negative factor if using dial calipers; using digital I use the CBTO as zero which obviates the need to offset. Another item not-to-be-forgotten is dimensional change occurs when changing any external component, ie; brass and/or bullet. Such influence can confuse, confound, and make complex what isn't. I think a good example is to first measure (using the Stoney) in the conventional manner. Then put the bullet in backwards. This is extreme of course, but it does show the importance of YOU measuring what YOU use regardless of what someone else measures. I've given myself a headache and successfully confused myself. Here follows some photos illustrating what I'm trying to say:
 

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I will have to try 118 in my case. I bet its near the top of the neck?
 

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I will have to try 118 in my case. I bet its near the top of the neck?
Remember these loads are in already formed Petersen Brass (please see #41 again) using 256 Flatlines. What brass I needed forming was using 100 gn RL33 and 275 gn Peregrines as can be seen in the following column, under the 118/Flatline column referenced above in #41.
 

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I have near 600 rounds down range between my 2 338 LM AI. I have plenty of fire formed brass. Im not loading 118 i just want to see how compressed your loads are?
 

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Whats your H2O weight Peterson vs Lapua?
 

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I have near 600 rounds down range between my 2 338 LM AI. I have plenty of fire formed brass. Im not loading 118 i just want to see how compressed your loads are?
You bet; I just don't want to have anyone injure--or worse--themselves particularly if it were my information that "assisted." You'll see that compression (using the 256 Flatlines) begins at 117 gn and if I recall correctly I could probably put another grain or so in there, but it was pointless as you can see from my MagnetoSpeed printout (again #41). I'm enjoying this conversation; there's no one here to discuss stuff like this.
 
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Whats your H2O weight Peterson vs Lapua?
Got my scale out and on and then realized that I had no unprimed cases. However, all is not lost as I plan on doing some 256 Flatlines and finishing off (4) the Badlands loadings. Plus I knew I water capacitated Petersen and finally found my record of that. Lapua brass (measured by an esteemed ELR man in Idaho) in his Terminator (the first barrel on MY LRKM too) with a 36* shoulder, once fired is 123.7 gn H2O neck top. Once fired Petersen from my 40* shoulder holds 124.587 gn H2O neck top (actually domed).
 

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You are correct 118 of RL-33 fits in the case no problem. Using a 6 inch drop tube it settles at shoulder/neck junction. I think loaded long the boat tail will still be compressed. I need to set up a barrel for the Warner Flatlines and give it a try (work up a load) on a Surgeon XL.
 

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You are correct 118 of RL-33 fits in the case no problem. Using a 6 inch drop tube it settles at shoulder/neck junction. I think loaded long the boat tail will still be compressed. I need to set up a barrel for the Warner Flatlines and give it a try (work up a load) on a Surgeon XL.
Geez; should have mentioned that I use a 10" drop tube from 21st C.IMG_7148.JPG
 
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Barrel sped up at 125 rounds. 108 gr RL-33 w 285 ELD gave me 3120 fps from 3070 fps (fresh barrel) and 108.5 gr RL-33 w 285 ELD gave me 3140+ fps at mag length.

What AMP code are you guys using w Lapua fire formed brass? I don't want to sacrifice a case.
 
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338LMAI

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Using RL26 (103.5 gn) Petersen, GM215M, and 285 Flatlnes after workup averaged 3180; pressure signs present at 104 gn (3192 avg). While RL26 worked great with this 285 gn I couldn't say how it might work using any other 285 gn bullet. As shown I used Barnes 285 gn TSX to initiate some other brass and there I used only 100 gn max. How was your SD/ES?
 
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5.4 mils @ 1K. SD/ES was good, under 10. Have some 300 Berger's on the way to play w next. The 285 Flatlines won't work in either of my throats. Debating about ordering a fast twist barrel and having it throated for the Flatlines for single shot only. 33XC vs 338 LM AI w the Flatlines.
 

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Help. As you saw in previous posts, I have a 338 AI with 40 degree shoulder. After 1 firing in a fireformed case, when seating the bullet it will collapse the shoulder. Both cutting edge and sierra bullets. If I use dry lube on the bullet before seating, it will still collapse but not as bad. I have .364 neck busing, which isn't too tight, I can pull the bullet with pliers fairly easy. Shall I go up to a .365 or .366 neck busing? What else am I missing? I could try to lube the neck with hornady spray and lube the bullet with dry case lube??
 

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Lapua brass? Im using a .365 bushing. Chamfering? I starting using a Sinclair VLD chamfer tool. Are you wet tumbling and getting the brass to clean?
 

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Lapua brass? Im using a .365 bushing. Chamfering? I starting using a Sinclair VLD chamfer tool. Are you wet tumbling and getting the brass to clean?
Lapua brass, no tumbling yet was going to wait after 2 to 3 firings when I start doing load development. In fact I never even brushed the neck out after the first firing just wipe off the brass by hand and then size the neck, prime, and then charge with powder

I haven't chamfered as well. I think you just answered my problem. That’s what I forgot. The brass that was not buckling was the first batch that I chamfered before I fire formed. I forgot to chamfer the second batch of only 10 rounds.

I thought something was different about the way the mouths looked…
 

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I would get a nylon .375 bore brush and scrub the inside of necks if your not tumbling before sizing also.
 
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milanuk

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@Joden what seater die are you using?

No experience with the 338 LM AI, but when Savage sent us the first 110BAs in .338LM to beta test, they also sent a Hornady two-die set. I'd never used that kind of die before, having gone straight to the Redding Competition dies with the inline sleeve when I started loading. Found out the hard way with those Hornady seaters that there was basically zero support around the neck & shoulder, and if you pushed down far enough, there was a 'feature' for crimping... which basically ended up shoving the whole neck and shoulder down and out, leaving me a loaded round with a nice concentrically mushroomed shoulder :mad:

Gotta wonder if you ran into something like that?
 
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I appreciate your guys his feedback. To answer your question chamfering fixed the issue. . I have another problem. Now I’m shoulder bumping the cases that have been fired twice that are fitting kind of snug. I’m using all Redding dies, neck sizer, seater and a body die.

My issue is the body die doesn’t bump the shoulder back no matter how deep I screw it in. Even if I screw it in where I can’t push the handle of the rock chuck all the way through its full cycle. These are not custom dies but The guys in the custom shop at Reading looked at my reamer print and said these version one dies should work for my 40° shoulder angle based off the print dimension. I got a few weeks before I leave on a bear hunt so this is getting down to the wire. Anyone have any input?
 

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milanuk

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Try taking a shell holder, measure the thickness of it with a caliper, then clamp it in a vise and file 10 thou off of it and try sizing the case(s) again. If that doesn't work, try taking some more off the shell holder. Generally they are cheaper (and not hardened) so they are easier to mess with than the die itself for a quick fix.
 

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Try taking a shell holder, measure the thickness of it with a caliper, then clamp it in a vise and file 10 thou off of it and try sizing the case(s) again. If that doesn't work, try taking some more off the shell holder. Generally they are cheaper (and not hardened) so they are easier to mess with than the die itself for a quick fix.

You mean just file the top of the shell holder that goes in the press so it’s basically creating more room to push the brass up higher?
 

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milanuk

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Yup. I've had one or two sets of dies over the years that either I couldn't get the dang things to size for nothing, or they actually made the headspace *longer* (squeezed in at the shoulder, but didn't bump the shoulder back). One option is to have someone with a lathe take a bit (10-20 thou) off the bottom of the die; the other is take a little off the shell holder first to see if that really is the problem. Shell holders are way cheaper and easier to replace ;) The trick is to take it off evenly.

But if'n it were me, I'd have a spare shell holder handy, or at least on order, just in case things don't work as planned. But that's just me... ;)
 

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Yup. I've had one or two sets of dies over the years that either I couldn't get the dang things to size for nothing, or they actually made the headspace *longer* (squeezed in at the shoulder, but didn't bump the shoulder back). One option is to have someone with a lathe take a bit (10-20 thou) off the bottom of the die; the other is take a little off the shell holder first to see if that really is the problem. Shell holders are way cheaper and easier to replace ;) The trick is to take it off evenly.

But if'n it were me, I'd have a spare shell holder handy, or at least on order, just in case things don't work as planned. But that's just me... ;)
Well took too much off the holder and the edge holding the case broke off leaving the case in the die, it was easy to remove. But I found another shell holder luckily. I'm thinking of finding a machine shop that will remove 20 thou off the die before screwing this shell holder up.

Do you think removing 30 thou off the bottom of the die is too much? I don't want to pay a machine shop 80$ an hour and then have 10-20 not be enough? I guess my question is does a body die resize all the way down to the bottom of it's mouth? Would I not be resizing the brass all the way if I removed 30 thou?

Thanks in advance.
 

milanuk

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Yikes. How much did you take that shell holder down? I realize that with the .588 case head, there isn't a whole lot of 'meat' to the rim of the shell holder, but seems like you musta got a little wild to get it to break off?

30 thou seems like a lot, but if there isn't enough meat to the shell holder to take material off without weakening that... dunno.

Typically, most sizing dies (F/L or body) size down to within a short distance above the extractor groove on the case. The die body usually has a little bit of a chamfer or radius on the inside edge to allow for ease of getting the case into the die if things happen to be not quite lined up when you raise the ram - i.e. so the case will be guided into the die, rather than jam up on the mouth of the die.

So effectively, that's why some dies don't always size all the way down the case head as far as we might like, and why you see people resorting to things like small base dies (that squeeze in a little tighter, a little further down) or 'ring' dies (specialty dies that size *only* that area of the case) with zero radius on the entry so they can size almost all the way to the extractor groove. That's more of a situation where the shoulder has been bumped an adequate (or more than adequate) amount, but the case still won't chamber freely due to a mis-match in the fired dimension of the case web vs. the die - most common, in my experience, when 'recycling' brass from one chamber to another in the same cartridge. One chamber might have a 'fat butt' compared to the other, and until the web gets squeezed back into place, the old brass won't play nice in the new chamber.

That 20-30 thou you want to take off the base of the die would probably just be taking from the radiused region at the mouth, which doesn't actually size the case anyway... so in *theory*, it shouldn't hurt anything. I just hate permanently modifying dies, particularly ones that aren't exactly off-the-shelf commodity items (.338LM AI, vs. say, .308 Winchester).

You might want to call the die manufacturer on Monday morning and talk to their tech support as well.
 
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Yikes. How much did you take that shell holder down? I realize that with the .588 case head, there isn't a whole lot of 'meat' to the rim of the shell holder, but seems like you musta got a little wild to get it to break off?

30 thou seems like a lot, but if there isn't enough meat to the shell holder to take material off without weakening that... dunno.

Typically, most sizing dies (F/L or body) size down to within a short distance above the extractor groove on the case. The die body usually has a little bit of a chamfer or radius on the inside edge to allow for ease of getting the case into the die if things happen to be not quite lined up when you raise the ram - i.e. so the case will be guided into the die, rather than jam up on the mouth of the die.

So effectively, that's why some dies don't always size all the way down the case head as far as we might like, and why you see people resorting to things like small base dies (that squeeze in a little tighter, a little further down) or 'ring' dies (specialty dies that size *only* that area of the case) with zero radius on the entry so they can size almost all the way to the extractor groove. That's more of a situation where the shoulder has been bumped an adequate (or more than adequate) amount, but the case still won't chamber freely due to a mis-match in the fired dimension of the case web vs. the die - most common, in my experience, when 'recycling' brass from one chamber to another in the same cartridge. One chamber might have a 'fat butt' compared to the other, and until the web gets squeezed back into place, the old brass won't play nice in the new chamber.

That 20-30 thou you want to take off the base of the die would probably just be taking from the radiused region at the mouth, which doesn't actually size the case anyway... so in *theory*, it shouldn't hurt anything. I just hate permanently modifying dies, particularly ones that aren't exactly off-the-shelf commodity items (.338LM AI, vs. say, .308 Winchester).

You might want to call the die manufacturer on Monday morning and talk to their tech support as well.
Order the Redding Comp shellholder Kit. It comes w 5 different holders to adjust your shoulder bump.
 
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milanuk

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Ah... it's been a while since I used those (moved on to other presses that don't use that style of shell holder)... but IIRC don't they range between '0.000' and '+0.010"'... i.e. the *opposite* direction of what he's trying to accomplish here?
 

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My bad. I thought I seen a set that was -.0?? also from Redding. I will try to find the link.
 

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My bad. I thought I seen a set that was -.0?? also from Redding. I will try to find the link.
Most dies oversize the case, pushing the shoulder back 6-8 thou if you screw them down to solid contact + 1/2 turn, per the directions. The Redding comp shell holders increase the distance from the face of shell holder to the lip from standard 0.125" in 0.002" increments to allow you to maintain the same setup (hard contact +) but also be able to adjust (reduce) the amount of sizing.

Like I said before, that's the opposite of what he seems to be needing.
 

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I appreciate your guys’ feedback and knowledge. As of now, unless there’s another option I’m going to remove 20 thou from the bottom of the die.
 

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Problem solved. I just rand the Body die by hand over sand paper and removed about 10 Thou and then removed 3-4 thou from the top of the shell holder. Thanks guys!
 
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BCX.

On another note. During low development I am seeing pressure signs (heavy boatlift and light extractor marks) with 107g of RL 33. I’m shooting 275 grain cutting edge lasers. Again this is with a 40° shoulder, bore Ryder through, and a 26 inch barrel. I figured I wouldn’t see you see pressure signs with a 275 grain bullet on that low of a charge. I could see running into this issue with 300g bullet possibly.

I’ve loaded the bullet out as long as I could which was into the lands about 10 thou as well as off of the lands by 10 thou to test for pressure. Both were still giving me heavy bolt lift/extractor marks.

The only thing I can think of is due to the long copper bullet it has to be down into the powder and I do hear a slight crunch with loading. I did not get a long throat installed in order to load those copper bullets out Long but I didn’t let the owner of Pacific tool engage know the exact bullet I wanted to shoot when he made the reamer for me and he assured me it wouldn’t be an issue playing with the lands but I didn’t think it was going to be an issue of the throat being too short for those bullets.

I also hear that a monolithic bullets don’t conform to the barrel as quick therefore you usually have to except a lower velocities with monolithic bullets

Also when breaking the barrel in I did shoot 108G of RL33 behind 285g ELDM and that gave me heavy boatlift as well but not as heavy as 107 grains behind these monolithic bullets.

Option: Go back to a shorter lead-based bullet like the ELD or a Berger and that will cut down how far the boat tail goes down into the powder. Any suggestions?

For the bullet to be off of the lands I have to load the seal tight band just below the mouth as if it were loaded in the shell on the left.
 

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BCX.

On another note. During low development I am seeing pressure signs (heavy boatlift and light extractor marks) with 107g of RL 33. I’m shooting 275 grain cutting edge lasers. Again this is with a 40° shoulder, bore Ryder through, and a 26 inch barrel. I figured I wouldn’t see you see pressure signs with a 275 grain bullet on that low of a charge. I could see running into this issue with 300g bullet possibly.

I’ve loaded the bullet out as long as I could which was into the lands about 10 thou as well as off of the lands by 10 thou to test for pressure. Both were still giving me heavy bolt lift/extractor marks.

The only thing I can think of is due to the long copper bullet it has to be down into the powder and I do hear a slight crunch with loading. I did not get a long throat installed in order to load those copper bullets out Long but I didn’t let the owner of Pacific tool engage know the exact bullet I wanted to shoot when he made the reamer for me and he assured me it wouldn’t be an issue playing with the lands but I didn’t think it was going to be an issue of the throat being too short for those bullets.

I also hear that a monolithic bullets don’t conform to the barrel as quick therefore you usually have to except a lower velocities with monolithic bullets

Also when breaking the barrel in I did shoot 108G of RL33 behind 285g ELDM and that gave me heavy boatlift as well but not as heavy as 107 grains behind these monolithic bullets.

Option: Go back to a shorter lead-based bullet like the ELD or a Berger and that will cut down how far the boat tail goes down into the powder. Any suggestions?

For the bullet to be off of the lands I have to load the seal tight band just below the mouth as if it were loaded in the shell on the left.
You may want to DOUBLE CHECK THE SCALE YOU'RE USING. Also get out the magnfying glass and go over your bushing imprintation; is it really 364? Also; do your reloads chamber easily? And maybe; are you using 107 gn RL33 to fireform cases?
 

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You may want to DOUBLE CHECK THE SCALE YOU'RE USING. Also get out the magnfying glass and go over your bushing imprintation; is it really 364? Also; do your reloads chamber easily? And maybe; are you using 107 gn RL33 to fireform cases?
No, I’m using 99 grains to fire form brass I’m using 107 grains in twice fired brass. I think it’s an issue of the monolithic bullets not conforming to the barrel like Copper jacketed bullets
 

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Question for all. I’m getting slightly heavy bolt lift and really light extraction marks with 102+g of our RL 33. Again this is a Lapua improved with a 40° shoulder. Nothing is done to the throat, loading at 5 thou off the lands which puts me at 2.985” base to ogive. It’s giving me right around 2865 in velocity which I’m not going to chase velocity but just surprised in the pressure signs with that amount of powder based off what everyone else’s seems to be doing on this thread. Curious if anybody has thoughts? Also thoughts on trying H 1000 as I also have a jug of that but I’ve heard that RL 33 works great with the heavier bullets, I'm shooting 300 grain Hornady A tips.
 

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Your having pressure issues w 300 A-Tips and 102 gr RL-33? Dirty throat? U shouldn't be getting pressure signs w 102 gr RL-33
 

BCX

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The temps aren't below 20? I ran into slight extractor marks on a proven load that i retested this late winter when it was down around 20.
 

BCX

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Are you using Lapua brass?
 

Joden

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The temps aren't below 20? I ran into slight extractor marks on a proven load that i retested this late winter when it was down around 20.
Indoor range temperature around 68°.
Throat is definitely not dirty I took 60 rounds to break in the barrel and remove copper after every round for the first 20 rounds. The barrel is now fouling within 1 to 2 rounds which is the way it should be with a properly broke in barrel. The only thing I can think of is as mentioned above maybe my .364” bushing is too tight. If I remove round with pliers I have to twist and turn on it pretty hard. I have a .366 pushing but I’ve remove those very easily with pliers which isn't desired for hunting
 

Joden

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Yep, Lapua brass. And when I measure r a loaded round it’s .366 which means my .364 bushing should work according to Redding‘s instructions of picking the right bushing.
 
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Joden

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Your having pressure issues w 300 A-Tips and 102 gr RL-33? Dirty throat? U shouldn't be getting pressure signs w 102 gr RL-33
I guess I could clean the throat extra good any recommendations? I’ve heard different stuff like fitz polish on throats after 200 rounds. Although I’m at 130 now
 

Joden

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Here’s what I got today, with heavier bolt lift and light extraction marks with both loads:
Day 3: seating depth 2.985
102.9 - 2868, 2872, 2861, 2867, 2858, 2875 Average 2866, SD 6.4. ES 17

102.5 - 2853, 2830, 2840, 2858. Average 2845. SD 12.6. ES. 28
 

Joden

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You may want to DOUBLE CHECK THE SCALE YOU'RE USING. Also get out the magnfying glass and go over your bushing imprintation; is it really 364? Also; do your reloads chamber easily? And maybe; are you using 107 gn RL33 to fireform cases?
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I just tested a .366 bushing and the pressure signs are still there in the 102 grain range
 

BCX

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I guess I could clean the throat extra good any recommendations? I’ve heard different stuff like fitz polish on throats after 200 rounds. Although I’m at 130 now
I won't use abrasive cleaners, i know a lot of guys do. I use KG-1 w a nylon brush. Best carbon remover i have used.