How hot is too hot?

Oct 17, 2017
663
217
43
Dallas
#1
Rifle: Tikka CTR 6.5 creedmoor 24"
Components: 210M, Hornady brass, 140 ELD-M

I was trying to find a node between 42 and 43 grains since I'd seen that is the pretty typical range of nodes for 6.5 CM. I found a decent node at 42.3 grains, shooting about 3/4 MOA or a hair better pretty consistently with a low ES running around 2740 fps. My groups at 43 grains were almost that tight, but always in a vertical string, so I tried 43.2 grains and it's been lights out with a low ES and 1/2 MOA groups at 2780 fps. I see no primer flattening, ejector marks, sticky bolt lift, etc. Is there any reason I shouldn't run the hotter load other than less barrel and brass life?
 

mijp5

Gunny Sergeant
May 7, 2009
4,558
1,638
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#3
Rifle: Tikka CTR 6.5 creedmoor 24"
Components: 210M, Hornady brass, 140 ELD-M

I was trying to find a node between 42 and 43 grains since I'd seen that is the pretty typical range of nodes for 6.5 CM. I found a decent node at 42.3 grains, shooting about 3/4 MOA or a hair better pretty consistently with a low ES running around 2740 fps. My groups at 43 grains were almost that tight, but always in a vertical string, so I tried 43.2 grains and it's been lights out with a low ES and 1/2 MOA groups at 2780 fps. I see no primer flattening, ejector marks, sticky bolt lift, etc. Is there any reason I shouldn't run the hotter load other than less barrel and brass life?
Everything in reloading is experimentally derived by YOU and no one else. Nothing else matters. If 3 reloading manuals tell you that you are gonna blow up your rifle with 43 grains and it shoots great for you with no pressure, simply discard everything you’ve read.
 
Oct 17, 2017
663
217
43
Dallas
#5
Its also a test over time. Your primer pockets will tell you if its too hot in a couple loadings.
This brass already has 2-3 firings on it and I heard I'm only supposed to get 5-6 out of the Hornady before the pockets wear out anyway, so maybe it's not a bad time to give it a try...
 
Oct 17, 2017
663
217
43
Dallas
#7
Advice above is good, but pay attention for pressure signs on hot days. Winter is reloading season for me, and I ran into a case where a hot load was awesome in cool weather but no bueno on 95F summer day.
I’ve been running this load in June at 90 degrees. Have not yet tested it in the 100+ heat, so I’ll keep an eye out. Thanks!
 
May 18, 2009
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England, ar
#8
I'll second most of the above. Use published load data as a start and watch for pressure signs. I load my 6.5-284 match rifle over the book max ( I won't say how much) . I can use the same cases for the whole year. No pressure signs, primer pockets stay tight, but I'm well over the book max.

I watch my primers as a pressure sign, although they are not considered to be a good sign. I also watch for any sign of sticky bolt lift, ejector marks on the case head, premature loose primer pockets, ect.
 
Likes: RNWRKNP

lennyo3034

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 18, 2010
1,850
162
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Southern MD
#9
What's the likelihood of you shooting in rain? My gas gun ran well with a reasonable load of 22.9 grains of 8208. But in the rain when the ammo got wet, it started blowing primers.
 
Oct 17, 2017
663
217
43
Dallas
#10
Thanks for all the posts. I'll roll with it. Forgot to mention that the Tikka has a very long throat, so my OAL is around 2.89", which may contribute somewhat to not seeing pressure signs, along with using the thinner Hornady brass.

As to the odds of me shooting in the rain, zero. Shooting is a hobby for me. I'll golf in the rain, but other than that, I'm inside or reloading in the shop.
 

BearNaked

Beer Saved The World
Feb 13, 2017
504
106
43
Texas
#11
I run over book max all the time. work up from published data and then the gun tells me what it can or cannot take. every gun, barrel, etc is different so let your setup dictate what your max or accurate load is.
 
Oct 17, 2017
663
217
43
Dallas
#12
I run over book max all the time. work up from published data and then the gun tells me what it can or cannot take. every gun, barrel, etc is different so let your setup dictate what your max or accurate load is.
I wasn’t necessarily questioning running over book max. I think book max is under 42 grains. I was questioning that almost every other load I’ve seen someone mention was under 43 grains and I’m above that.
 
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BearNaked

Beer Saved The World
Feb 13, 2017
504
106
43
Texas
#13
I wasn’t necessarily questioning running over book max. I think book max is under 42 grains. I was questioning that almost every other load I’ve seen someone mention was under 43 grains and I’m above that.
Every rifle is different and every one of those rifles reacts differently to the components used. some people will use a lower node just to be on the safe side or maybe it is more accurate at 600 yards and in so they are not worried about pushing it there further. its all about what you want and your rifle/setup can handle.

I run a 260 Remington with reloader 17 and I am pushing 143 ELD-X at 2975 with an sd of 8 IIRC. its way above what it "should" be but it works in my setup safely. I would look at other peoples findings as suggestions and only hold what your rifle can do as concrete.
 
Likes: patriot07
Dec 17, 2017
28
3
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#14
I'm running 40.6 gr of H4350 in Alpha brass. With this I'm getting an avg. of 2655 fps. with the 140 ELD or the 142 Sierra match. Any time I went over this my groups open up. At 40.6 I'm getting .5 or less moa so I don't see a reason to go any higher in velocity. I have been out to 700 with no issues and hoping too try farther soon. Speed is fun but Ill take accurate all day long, it all depends on your rifle.
 
Oct 17, 2017
663
217
43
Dallas
#15
That's good stuff. Mine was a bit odd - grouped good at 41.5, 42.3, and 43.2. I thought I was past my last node at 42.3 until I got to 43.0 and it started grouping a little better, but all in a line. Figured I was close to another node and hit the jackpot on 43.2.

I don't really need the speed, but I want the best grouping I can get and 43.2 is it.

My Tikka Varmint 223 was like yours - only node I could find was really slow. And with a 223, it makes a big difference in getting past 500/600 yards. Mine was unstable before 700, which was frustrating since I had hopes of getting it to 1,000.
 
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