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Thread: 500 yards for 300 bucks

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub 6.5marinediesel's Avatar
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    500 yards for 300 bucks

    This is my challenge. I've always wanted to do a budget rifle and push it. So after a few small debates with friends and coworkers. "not re-loaders" They seem to think that this would be impossible for anyone to accomplish.

    The rifle is a remington 783, in .243 1in10 twist. I picked up on sale at local gun store. sold the 3x9 off it and slapped on a 4x16 center point from Walmart. I know I see everyone's head shaking, But I have exactly 300 bucks in this rifle.

    So here's the scoop. Iv never loaded for precision before. never measured lanze or any tricks you guys my have in order to squeeze the most out of a rifle. How much is that really necessary? and what equipment would you recommend to do so?

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    This is my start in the load development so to speak. FL sized new ppu brass with 87gn A-max and a good charge of Varget.
    target being measured is at 100 yards. the one to the right of it was my 25 yard zero.

    I know some will say you need some more weight for a bullet to travel 500 yards. but I think this seems to be a good match in projectile and powder for this rifle.

    so is there any chance I can squeeze a little more accuracy out of this 300 dollar rifle before i hit the 500 yard range?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I'd lighten the trigger pull as much as I could and still keep it safe. The manual for the 738 shows how. If that is not within your comfort level, have a gunsmith do it for you.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I have a Remington 700 varminter in 243 That I occasionally shoot 600 yards with and it does very well.
    I am loading H414 under a 95 grain Sierra Matchking and getting roughly 2900 fps. I put it in a different stock since it wasn't pillar bedded and mounted a good 24 power scope so my old eyes can actually see what to aim at.
    On a day with no wind, this rifle will shoot 1 inch groups at 200 yards pretty consistently. At 600 yards it is shooting 4-6 inch 5 shot groups regularly depending upon conditions.
    I use Hornady cases, fire formed to the chamber and neck sized(Lee neck sizer). I seat the bullet a measured(Hornady overall length gauge) .010 off the lands. I weigh my powder charges and trim the brass after the first firing.
    Other than that, not much. The rifle likes this combination so I run with it. The Matchking has a great ballistic coefficient so it carries well.
    I realize some of these things would be beyond your suggested budget but they were necessary for me due to my physical limitations.
    Beyond this it is just holding steady and getting a good trigger squeeze.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    The 1-10 twist is going to limit the bullets you can use for 500 yds. I would recommend you pick up a box of 85 grn berger vlds and the 90 grn vlds to test these have better wind bucking and Ballistic coeffients than most standard bullets, and may be as long as the 1-10 twist will stabilize. The 243 is a fine cartridge but barrel life is short on them ( throats burn out quick). Full length size so rounds chamber easily, saves frustration and dosnt dirturb the rifle as much. Setting the trigger pull down in the 2 1/2 - 3 lb range helps a lot also. Since your using a scope find a one piece mount with 10 - 15 mins elevation built into it, this keeps the scopes reticle closer to center at your desired ranges making for the clearest view.

    As to loading. You might consider forming brass from 308 win, this makes a thicker neck and will allow for neck turning to help fit the case neck to the chamber and have concentric neck thickness. Uniform primer pockets to flat and the same depth this helps with consistant ignition. Deburr flash holes inside the cases, again this helps with consistant ignition. Deburr and chamfer case mouths. A VLD style deburring tool is recommended here for the more gradual angles. weigh powder charges to =/- 1 tenth grain or closer. Use a slow pour to get the powder into the case with some settling. Seat bullets as accurately as possible and watch run out on the loaded rounds. Play with neck tension some rifles really show a preference here.

    I shot a custom 243 in NRA high Power Across the coarse ( 200-600yds) and long range( 800, 900, and 1000yds). I used 1-7 twist barrels and 105-115 grn vlds for 600 - 1000yds. 200 yds was the 87 grn hornady match and 300 yds was the 95 grn berger vld. I used a lot of IMR 4350 and IMR 4831 but will not give out my loads as my chamber was tight necked and min body. STart with the book minimum and work up. Varget also worked well in short range loads. My barrels were finished at 26" long. I used a lot of sierra, berger and jlk bullets for long range. I used redding bushing dies and no neck expander. My chambers neck is .267 and cases were turned for a .266 loaded round dia. My rifle was a pre 64 win action trued, jewel trigger set to 2 lbs, Hart across the coarse contour stainless barrel 1-7 twist. Tubbs fiberglass stoch with adjustable cheek piece and buttplate. hand stop rail in forend. pillar bedded and bedded with bisonite.

    My best was 2600 rds thru a barrel before X count at 600 yds started dropping off. A new barrel freshly chambered and broken in Hart barrel was good for 200s with 12-14 Xs at 600
    yds

    Find the best load for your rifle and shoot some 500yds and see how it does for you. One thing youll find out is set up position is as or more important than alot of the little things, and that you have to figure out nd learn for yourself some what. If bench shooting a solid stable front rest and rear bag that puts the rifle at the right height for you and gives the correct eye relief on the scope. If positon shooting from prone then developing a solid position on the mat with as little movement as possible from spotting scope to ammo and loading needs to be found. A good sling or cuff here is a nessity and a handstop is a big plus if you have a rail. For F class type a solid stable bipod and rear bag may get you going nicely. Find a good load and jump in see what you need. As a little hint the 243 shoots flat my rifle was 1 min up for 300 yds and 9- 10 for 600 yds from the 200 yd zero with the 105 JLKs. With the 85grn berger vlds you might need the 9-10 up from 200yds zero for 500 yds.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    All the stuff noted above is spot on. To do it on the cheap, I measure the C.O.A.L. by the following:
    1 - Unload the gun
    2 - Close the bolt on an empty chamber (cocked, so the firing pin is retracted).
    3 - With a stiff, square faced, non-marring rod, inserted into the muzzle, stand the rifle on the butt.
    4 - With a piece of masking tape, precisely mark the rod at the muzzle. Do this carefully and squarely. Remove the rod.
    5 - Remove the bolt, drop the bullet type (not a loaded cartridge) into the lands & and grooves and extremely lightly, tap it just enough to hold it in place.
    6 - Set the rifle back on it's butt, insert the rod through the muzzle and use the tape again to mark a second location on the rod. Tap out the bullet.
    7 - Measure the distance between the two tapes to get the overall measurement of an assembled cartridge that engages the rifling. Use that measurement to start your experiments with cartridges with various distances "off the lands". Some shooters load to engage the lands with no distance "off the lands". That's fine for some, but start with a reduced load, as that practice tends to spike initial pressures and what is a safe load otherwise becomes an overpressure load. I usually start at 0.030" off the lands and move in, unless I'm loading Barnes Bullets. For some reason, they tend to like it stepped way off like 0.050" or even more. Two issues that come up sometimes are: the mag well is too short for the now longer cartridge, and neck tension might be compromised if the bullet stick out too long. Ya gotta solve those things as you go along.

    Use a little fan on the line to cool your barrel. Hot barrels tend to walk around a little.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have aRemington 788 in 308 Win that I shot in NRA High Power matches out to 600 yards. Welded on the magazines so they would hold 5 rounds. Payed $169.00 for the rifle many years ago. Still have the rifle but have replaced the barrel a few years back after 4000 rounds thru the original barrel. The 788 shot very well after a base for a good rear peep sight was installed.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    There will be lots of good advice here, but something that nearly always helps me out - and costs exactly nothing - is to check my brass lot for weights. I /always/ find a few outliers (both high wts & low), and mark those cases or give them away.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    STRAIGHT cartridges are critical at longer ranges. The LEE Collet Die and Redding Bushing Dies help in keeping cartridges straight. When seating bullets, seat about half way, then turn case 180 degrees and finish seating. Bullet case concentricity can be checked with multiple tools or guages, from simple v-blocks to fancy.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I use Sierra 85 gr BTHP'svin s hunting rig for deer and coyotes, wife hunts with sam setup. I have a Savage 110 w spotter Barrel, Burris Fullfield 6x18x40 Duplex, is a bad mother out to 500, and s little over. I have taken deerthat far, lung shotthey ran 40-50 yds, just died tired, never had s yote take a step! You have had great advice above, I would encourage you to try IMR-3031, WLR std primers.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Full length size so rounds chamber easily, saves frustration and dosnt dirturb the rifle as much.
    In a world where everyone says "neck size only" this makes a lot of sense. You'll never have some cases chambering a little tighter than others, which would be somewhat like inconsistent neck tension.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    the biggest thing when loading for precision is consistency. nothing else matters if the rounds are not consistent. Ive been loading 6.5 creedmoor for 1150yd shooting for a little while and the best thing I learned is measure everything and make every round as close to exactly the same as possible. use the same manufacture of brass that have the same or as close as possible to the same case capacity as possible. one way of determining this is by weight but I go one step further and fill the cases completely with a fine powder and weigh the charge of each. I keep my brass as close to 1gr+- of average and I get great consistency. another is measuring the distance to the lans and grooves for the bullet your shooting, I use a hornady OAL length gauge with the specific modified case for the caliber your shooting and the comparator gauge for the same caliber. there are other ways to measure max OAL by using a case and the bullet you are using and seating it with almost no neck tension well longer than you ever would normally, chamber this round and very slowly and carefully eject the round making sure that the bullet doesn't contact anything on the way out and measure. most guys I know in the precision long range game all load .003 off of the lans for minimum bullet jump. another factor for accuracy is consistent powder ignition, use a primer pocket reamer and a flash hole uniformer and make sure all flash holes are centered. I run a ruger American predator and I consistently get one hole 5 round groups at 100 that measure around .68 inches with an average SD of 4.8fps with BR primers.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Shoot that load to 500 yards and see what happens. Go from there.


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  13. #13
    Boolit Master buckshotshoey's Avatar
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    I had a different result with my Savage. It prefers the neck size only. I am guessing my full length die was pushing the case back a little too far. Maybe a case of generous chamber, and minimum die. I should Invest in a RCBS case Mic.

  14. #14
    Retired Moderator, prospective father!
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    87gr vmax is a great little bullet, out of a 6 Dasher I know more than a few pdogs died at over 1000 yards. For long range shooting chrono data is important, extreme spread and standard deviation matter more than your group size at 100. 500 isn't that far I'd shoot that load as is and figure out what it does.
    Doug
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckshotshoey View Post
    I had a different result with my Savage. It prefers the neck size only. I am guessing my full length die was pushing the case back a little too far. Maybe a case of generous chamber, and minimum die. I should Invest in a RCBS case Mic.
    I've a .243 Savage barrel that does that. When I pulled the barrel off, I could easily tell the rear of the chamber was cut oversize. None of my other barrels have shown a preference for neck-sized brass, and when I checked, none had an oversize chamber. So I'm of the opinion neck sizing is just a temporary solution to an underlying problem.
    And I imagine someone will be along directly to tell me how wrong I am.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal View Post
    And I imagine someone will be along directly to tell me how wrong I am.
    OK, your wrong - Can a full length sized cartridge line up in a chamber as concentrically as one that was fired in it and only neck sized - maybe. But in practical application I have found that I can shave a measurable amount off my group size by full length sizing only when I need to push the shoulder so that I alleviate excessive (too me) bolt force to close it. One thing I have yet to explore is the RCBS X Dies that Larry Gibson mentioned in one of his threads.

    Something I have not seen mentioned in this thread is annealing - I find that my neck tension is most uniform when I anneal about every 3rd to 5th firing, and you will want to shoot and load your cases by batch so they all get annealed at the same time.

    - also you may want to index your brass when neck sizing because of things like
    non-concentric chambers.

    All that means is orient the case so the head stamp is the same when it goes into the chamber each time.

    One of the things that I found that astonished me, was a friend that used a Lee bang it kit to reload a single case at the range to make a bug hole group. At the time he could measure it but I was inexperienced enough to only grasp it as all going into the same hole. The Lee die did not full length size his cases only neck sized and he explained as to why he preferred to do it that way (though he was lusting after an arbor press in someone's shop and I presume a custom cut die to use with it).

    Another acquaintance shot a shockingly sparkly hot pink bench rifle in 300 win mag that he could hold 2" groups at 300 meters with (funny thing is it also shot 2" groups at 200 meters which he blamed on the bullet going to sleep after 200 meters). But he used a Lyman handtool to necksize reload his cases (and when one split it was like a member of the family died), And as he put it the best fit cartridge you can get was one that was fired formed to your chamber.

    Oh, and don't be scared off by all the talk of burned out barrels - Shoot slow - You don't need to load to the top of the book(s) for velocity (I generally get better groups about 100 fps below top velocity but a ladder test will tell you what your rifle likes) and you can have the barrel set back and rechambered at least once usually - just put a couple of bucks in a mason har every time you go out and shoot your 243 and when it needs a new barrel the money will be there.
    Last edited by Artful; 10-16-2017 at 12:11 AM.
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