I would be grateful for some up-to-date reloading information. I used to reload quite a bit 15 years ago and am still using the last of my efforts today – Remington 788 .222 Rem., 50gn V-Max and 19.5gn of AR2206. A bit slow but very accurate. My problem is that today I don’t know what to make of all the new projectiles available and my wife and I would like some advice on powder and projectile selection for reloading. She has 40 once-fired Super- X and 100 new Remington cases for her Tikka T3 7mm-08 and would like to duplicate the Winchester 140gn factory load, preferably with a stouter projectile. The reason for this being that we found a massive amount of meat damage throughout a young fallow doe she took earlier this year. Fragments all through like you would expect from a varmint-type bullet. Our likely game animals are fallow, pigs, and maybe sambar in future as her skills grow. The recoil of current factory loads doesn’t bother her. I’m going to start reloading for a Marlin .444 with micro-groove barrel using Hornady 265gn FTX bullets and have modified the magazine follower to allow them to feed. I have since read in forums that cases will need to be trimmed to feed properly due issues with overall length. Some users reported key-holing and not so fantastic performance. Should I stay with a regular projectile? Can you suggest some loads in the .444 for sambar using a bullet in the 260gn weight range? Recoil is not a problem for me. The bolt of my wife’s Tikka 558 .222 seems hard to open sometimes. Are you aware of any problems with these guns? We are only using it with factory loads at present- 50gn Winchester. We mainly use ADI powders and Winchester primers for reloading.
– Travis and Denise Fletcher
My preference is for a stout projectile for deer, one that doesn’t break up and fill the venison with shards of brass and lead. This is why I favour Barnes bullets so much. In the 7mm-08 try the Barnes 120gn TSX BT and 47gn of W-760 or 42gn of AR2208 for 2877fps. Your wife will find the recoil to be lighter and the extra velocity will make her rifle shoot flatter. The Barnes bullet will hold together, penetrate deeper and spoil less meat. If she decides to hunt sambar later, I suggest the Barnes 140gn TSX BT with 46gn of W-760 for about 2750fps. These are all good safe loads. The reason for trimming cases in any heavy recoiling cartridge to be shot in a lever-action rifle with tubular magazine has nothing to do with allowing them to feed. It is to make them all of uniform length so that the bullet can be crimped into the cases to prevent them being driven back into the case under spring pressure and force of recoil. I am not surprised that the 265gn FTX bullet is keyholing despite indications that it is not being stabilized in the Marlin’s rifling twist. But this is not the problem. Hornady recommends that because of the longer ogive of the FTX bullet, it is critical that cases be trimmed to 2.065 inch (52.45mm) to make room for the longer ogive. If you trim to this length, I am sure your problem will disappear. A good load in the shorter cases is 42gn of AR2207 for about 2225fps. With the .444 I always trim cases to be of uniform length as any bullet you use needs a heavy crimp. This also aids better combustion of the powder. I am sure you’ll find the 265gn FTX shoots quite a bit flatter than other bullets and will be a good killer. If your wife’s Tikka .222 is giving hard bolt lift with factory ammo, I’d take it to a gunsmith and get it checked out. I dunno what forums you’ve read, but don’t take too much notice of forums or any of that stuff on the internet; much of it way beyond fanciful and some is absolute garbage.