Loading the 243 for the first time?

Discussion in '6mm, 6.5mm, and .25 Cal (Not 6BR)' started by 00Scot, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. 00Scot

    00Scot

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    I am waiting for my new Savage in 243 and I need to start looking at hunting loads and general reloading of the 243. I have been out of reloading for about ten years or more. So I will have to unbox all my reloading equipment just to get started. All my load books are 10 plus years old. So I have a few questions.

    Where to start? I am so far out of touch with reloading that I am not sure what components to start with to work up my load. I live in Californiastan so I will need a non lead load for some of my hunting. So I have 2 options. I can work up 2 loads. One for the lead free zone and one for the rest of the world. Or.....I can work up one non lead load to cover everything. Which is what I am inclined to do. Unless anyone has a good reason not to. I just don't like the idea of having to carry 2 loads on one hunt because I might venture into a lead free zone. Plus having to work up 2 loads for one rifle was never a welcomed venture on my part. Here is a general guide for what I am loading for.

    Mainly coyote. Probably 90% of my hunting will be for coyote/bobcat. 9% hog and 1% deer.

    What I would like is one non lead load to cover it all. That way I only carry one load for pretty much any hunting I will be doing. Now if there is a good reason not to go about things this way please let me know. I am all ears.

    I am not up to date on the current offerings in hunting bullets. For instance. I have never loaded a single Hornady bullet. So I do not know much of what they offer in turns of hunting bullets. I have done a little reading and the GMX bullet is looking interesting. But I am open to any and all manufacturers. I would be interested in trying Barnes if there is an offering from them that fits the bill. This will be shot out of a Savage with a 1-9.25 twist.

    So what I need to know to get started is....
    1. what bullet weight should I be looking into?
    2. What brass manufacturers would be a good idea? I was thinking about buying a couple of boxes of loaded ammo just to break in the brl, which would also allow me to collect some brass from the fired cases. I was thinking of trying the Superformance 80gr. GMX loads and keeping the Hornady brass. Is the Hornady brass worth keeping or any good? I already know that the Federal 70gr NOsler shoots under 1 inch in this rifle. So that is an option as well. That is if Federal brass is worth it?
    3. What powders to start with? I have always had good luck with Varget and IMR 4064. But am willing to try any powder. I have no loyalties in powder.
    4. Primers I mainly used Fed and some CCI. So what primer manufacturers should I be looking at?
    5. What brand and bullet type would you suggest? (I know this question is a whole nother thread in and of itself, but I need to know)
    6. Is the 10 plus year old powder and primers still good to use after all this time? It has been stored properly and safely since I last loaded.

    I have always had great success with Forester full length dies with the Micrometer seaters. So I was planning on picking up a set in 243. But I am open to other ideas on the dies.

    I am basically looking for any advice on loading the 243.

    All ideas/opinions/suggestions/ and help are greatly appreciated.

    (sorry for the long post, I just wanted to make sure I painted the full picture when asking my question)
     
  2. K22

    K22

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    The 243 is a great cartridge and you should have no trouble finding an accurate load.

    I've never loaded lead free bullets so I can't help you there but I'll share my experience of loading this fine cartridge for over 40 years.

    Powder:

    I would start with IMR 4350 Powder for bullets 80 grains and more.
    For lighter bullets IMR 4064 or Varget is a good choice.

    Bullets:

    The Sierra 85 grain BTHP is a great all around bullet and very accurate.
    The Sierra 100 grain Pro Hunter is a good deer size bullet, also very accurate.
    The Sierra 80 Grain Blitz is a great long range varmint bullet and very accurate.
    My favorite all around bullet is the Nosler 90 grain BT. In my rifles it groups under 1/2 moa.

    Primers:

    I'd start with Federal 210M match primers.

    Brass:

    Winchester, first choice, Remington, second choice. I've never found the need for expensive preimum brass. What ever brass you select, buy new brass.

    Your reloading method will have as much affect as the componets you select on the accuracy of your ammunition. If I were you I'd purchase the Lyman Reloading Handbook. It contains everything you need to know about producing high quality and safe reloads.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Browningguy

    Browningguy

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    I'm not an expert, but I have two loads that always seem to work no matter the conditions. The Sierra 85 gr. Gameking worked really well in my rifle with the factory barrel and with the new LW barrel, so I started reloading with it. This seems to make a very good load for both varmint and deer size game. The Nosler 70 BT is also a bullet that always seems to shoot well, I use it for general paper punching and varmints only as I don't think it is tough enough for bigger game. I use H414 powder for both, I have not had good luck with either Hornady or Federal brass, both seem to soft to me. I bought a large box of Lapua brass, while it seems expensive I only have to trim after 5-6 shots. Some of the brass has had 20 or more firings and I have never had a neck or case split, some have had to get trashed after 12-15 high pressure loads due to primer pckets loosening up, but the same loads in Hornady and Federal only lasted 3-4 shots before primers were loose.

    I have not yet tried the TSX bullet in this rifle but I have shot some in my .308 and they work very well, I will probably work up a .243 load for this rifle over the winter.

    For your use I would go with an 85 gr., they offer a good mid range bullet useful for both varmints and bigger game. I only have experience with H414 for the .243 so that's what I would stick with, I use mostly CCI primers but the Federals work just as well for hunting loads.

    You can find all the reloading data you need at the powder manufacturers sites, Hodgdon and Alliant have lots of information listed. I use a Forster coaxial press and Forster full length dies, for my target shooting brass I neck size only with a Lee collet die.
     
  4. mattri

    mattri

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    For what it's worth I had a Savage .243 and loved it, prob going to have another here pretty soon. What mine liked (yours- who knows?) was prepped Win brass, IMR 4350 or 4064 depending on bullet weight, CCI 200s with most bullets just into the lands. It would shoot 65gr V-maxs and 70gr Nosler bts like you wouldn't believe. Could never get the 75gr to do anything. 100gr Sierra Game Kings shot great, but you had to push them pretty hard. Wife shot her first deer with that rifle using the 100gr Sierras, about 200 paces and she dropped like a rock (the doe, not the wife).
     
  5. 00Scot

    00Scot

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    My loads in the past always consisted of Lapua brass, sierra matchking bullets, fed match primers, and what ever powder gave the best results. I usually started working up a load with varget or 4064 is those powder profiles fit the caliber I was working on. But that was almost always for accuracy and not for hunting. This will be my first real try at loading for hunting instead of straight ahead accuracy/target type loads.

    I look forward to working up this hunting load and I appreciate your input so far in this thread. Any further ideas are greatly welcomed and appreciated.
     
  6. 00Scot

    00Scot

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    Thanks for the input.

    I have a question. I have a large amount of Lake City 308 brass. How would necking down the 308 to 243 work out? I have enough brass that I could load for the 243 for the rest of my life and still never run out. Even if I didn't keep my brass after firing.

    I have always wanted to do a caliber conversion so this might be my best chance.

    What do you all think?
     
  7. 00Scot

    00Scot

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    Thank you for the information. It is greatly appreciated!
     
  8. 243DH

    243DH

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    Making 243 brass from 7.62 nato brass would be a pain. I have always used match prepped win brass with great results. I have no info with lead free bullets, and my 2 loads for my 3 243 rifles are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I have 2 1-8 twist 243s that love 4831sc and 105 berger vld hunting bullets. My savage pred with 1-9.25 twist loves H4895 and 55 gr sierra BKs. It sends themout at 3900fps and makes awesome yote medicine. Varget gave similarly good accuracy but 125fps slower, both where max loads and showed no signs of pressure in my stick. Sighted in dead on at 300yds, it is 2.75" high at mid range and 3" or so low at 340ish yds. Basically if it is 350 yds or under it is dead without holdovers or unders and scope doping. Pretty much great for called coyotes. Your choice of forster ultra dies are right in line with my thinking. Powder and primers should be good if stored in dry humidity free area.
     
  9. 00Scot

    00Scot

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    Thanks again for the info. I think I'm going to forget about the 308 brass and just stick with regular new brass for this 243.

    Would plain Winchester brass be the best choice? I do like the price compared the Lapua which is what loaded for my 308.


    Does anyone have much experience with Viht N140? Hornady is listing that as the most accurate powder for the 243 in their loading manual. I have never used any powder from Viht before so I have no idea on how accurate it is or how easy it is to meter.
     
  10. K22

    K22

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    Good decision - use new brass. I don't believe you need Lapua brass. Properly prepared Winchester brass is capable of producing 1/2 moa accuracy with the right load. I full size all new brass, trim, uniform the pocket, and deburr the flash hole.
     
  11. Fasteel

    Fasteel

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    I have been loading some Win brass with Win 760 powder and 70gr Sierra match king bullets. In my HB sako Forster I am loading 46,46.5,47gr. I have loaded the same gr weights of powder in some Lapua brass to try out at the range tomorrow.
    The last time I shot these loads the first 2 went into the same hole in all three,just couldn't make it happen on the 3rd shot. I think I have lightened the trigger so this may help. FS
     
  12. Fasteel

    Fasteel

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    Brass

    Went and shot these same loads with Lapua brass yesterday, the Win brass gave me tighter groups. FS
     
  13. 00Scot

    00Scot

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    It looks like Winchester brass is what I shall be using. Now for the powder and bullet selection.
     
  14. bozo699

    bozo699

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    Lapua brass is much better but for your application Winchester will work okay.
    Wayne.
     
  15. Kenny474

    Kenny474

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    Myself, I've had great luck with Nosler bullets. Their ballistic tips and accu-bonds have a great BC, especially for a hunting bullet, and my Savage .243 loves them.

    I'd try the 90gr Accu-Bond for a deer round, or even a Partition, as they are a very solid bullet for medium game.
    And the 55gr and 70gr Varmint Ballistic Tips for smaller stuff. Or you could go with the E-tip for a lead-free.
    The Varmageddon bullets look good too, though I have never loaded any or heard any reports on them.

    Also, if you want to save pelts, the Varmint Ballistic Tips usually don't leave any exit wound, at least from what I have seen. They go in, blow up and do serious internal damage and leave no exit, thus doing less pelt damage. The 5 coyote I have shot with my .243 have all been one shot drops, all with Nosler BT's.

    I've always had good luck with Nosler, and I've done most of my hunting with them. They have never let me down either, so I don't hesitate a bit to recommend them.

    Winchester brass is the way to go as well. Don't bother with old Mil. brass, just not worth the effort with the price of Winny brass.

    As for powder, I'd need to dig out my notes, as I've been working off loaded rounds for the past year (I had a good stock-pile of about 200 loaded rounds :D), and haven't loaded any .243 in at least a year, if not longer.

    Kenny

    PS: I'll second the fact that your loading skill and equipment will have a huge effect on the outcome of your rounds. Using good equipment and doing things consistently and properly will net you the best results. But, you need to add good components to the mix or you'll never achieve the desired result. And remember, CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
     
  16. Hoosier

    Hoosier

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    I realize this is an old post, but I felt some of my experiences may be good to contribute for basic information.
    When necking down Lake City military brass from 308win/7.62x51 to 243win takes a little time, but worth the effort. Military brass is thicker and much of it has lasted me for many reloads. Of course, the crimped primer must be removed and the pocket reamed to remove the crimps. I use a primer remover that consists of a cartridge base holder and a punch. I punch out the military primer, the ream the pocket with a Lyman primer pocket reamer removing the crimp. I next use a primer pocket swage die...another Lyman product that finish sizes the primer pocket. Military brass being thicker, tends to seem brittle so my next step is to anneal the case necks. I place the brass in a shallow metal tray that has about an inch of water. I heat the case necks with a propane torch until they turn orange, then tip them over in the water. After they cool, I make sure they are dry, and lube them inside the neck and the outside of the case. I install a pre-set 243 win full length size die in my press, but I back it out about three complete revolutions. Backing out the die isn't an exact science but the idea is to progressively size the 308 neck to 243. After each complete movement of the ram...I tighten the die about a half turn until it bottoms out against the shell holder. I usually anneal the cases every three or four reloads.

    I learned this process in 1966 while in survival school.
    Hoosier
     
  17. model 12 toby

    model 12 toby

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    lapua brass, I'll never have anything else. redding type s bushing die. forester ultra seater benchrest die.

    are v-maxes and a-maxes lead free?

    I never realized all these other bullets were all lead free?

    powder???
     
  18. swampshooter

    swampshooter

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    Hornady brass is very good. Primer choice varies with the load used but is normally not extremely crucial. Just stick with the same brand primer when working up loads. My favorite load is the 87gr. Hornady V-max with a max. load of H-4350. 45 grs. in my rifle, but start 10% low and work up carefully. PS. Hornady brass was made by Winchester as of 10 years ago, but was more carefully sorted for uniformity.
     
  19. model 12 toby

    model 12 toby

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    is v-max lead free?
     
  20. kyreloader

    kyreloader Gold $$ Contributor

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    No. Hornady makes two lead free bullets, the hunting bullet-GMX and the varmint bullet-NTX(20/22 cal). Nosler makes a lead free BT for varmints(20/22/6mm) and the hunting E-tip. Barnes TSX/TTSX bullets are lead free and they make a M/LE RRLP bullet line that are lead free(.223/.277/.308/.310). Sinterfire make component lead free bullets(.223/.277/.308/.311). Dynamic Research Technologies make a line of lead free frangible bullets(.224/308).

    There is not a lead free varmint bullet in 6.5mm that I know(if asking about your 6.5x47).
     

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