Q: Can you point me in the right direction? I have a Sako 85 Finnlight in .30-06 that I’m planning to hunt sambar with this year. I’ve been reloading for a while, but am no expert.
I’m having trouble getting the Barnes 165gn TTSX going faster than 2650fps.
I worked up slowly from 53gn to 55.5gn of AR2209, which is maximum in the Barnes Manual. The velocity started at 2600fps and only increased to 2650fps when I reached the maximum charge of 55.5gn. This is 200fps slower than what the Barnes data lists.
Since there were no obvious signs of high pressure, I increased the load to 56gn, 56.5gn and 56.8gn, which brought velocity up to 2715fps. Even though I am 1.3gn over the listed maximum, I’m still 100fps under what Barnes lists. Still no sign of excess pressure!
For comparison I tried an old box of Hornady SuperFormance ammo with 165gn GMX bullets which chronographed at 2930fps. This is only 10fps slower than what it says on the box.
Should I keep increasing the powder charge slowly, maybe in increments of .3gn? Obviously, I’ll keep an eye out for flattened primers, sticky extraction etc.
Or should I give up on those projectiles and try something else?
I can’t see the use of owning a .30-06 that gives lower velocities than the .308 Winchester. I am using once-fired Hornady cases and CCI large rifle primers.
– Andrew Pirpinias
A: In my .30-06 I loaded 58gn of AR2209 behind the 165gn Woodleigh bullet for 2870fps. And I loaded 60gn of AR2209 with the 150gn Woodleigh for 2910fps. That’s using Winchester brass in a 24” barrel.
If you are loading 56.8gn behind the Barnes 165gn TTSX then you are getting close to the 58gn I am loading. Increasing the charge by .3gn is a waste of time; increase it by one grain at a time and keep a sharp watch for any signs of excessive pressure.
You should be able to get the 165gn TTSX out of the muzzle at over 2800fps. That would be a good load for sambar.
Maximum loads can vary quite a bit between different rifles. Evidently, your Sako can digest more powder than some others.