i am pretty much convinced that i have simply run out of the needed case capacity to get much more velocity from the 130 grain bullet i favor in "jj's brit" with h-322 and imr-8208 xbr. increments of powder just don't realize in significant additional velocity, indicating that the case has given all it has to give w/ these two powders.
(oddly enough, i will try a 140 grain sierra when i have time, and the first powder i will try with it will be imr-8208. why? well, powders are like automotive motors, and some just have a little more "torque" or "push" than others, which shows up in good performance with heavier bullets. it is like hodgdon's dirty old classic, h-870. it pushes 150 & 160 grain bullets in my 7mm mag not quite as fast as other powders, and it pushes 175 grain bullets to pretty much the same velocity as it does the lighter bullets with the same charge weights. and, by the time it reaches the 175 grain bullets, it pushes them significantly faster than the other powders, which just run out of "push." go figure.
i suspect imr-8208 may be the same way. we'll see.)
this morning i tried some rounds with hodgdon's h-4198, and it gave the same 2550 fps or so as the other powders, but did it with a milder report and less recoil, and from all indications, with a much better and more consistent burn.
first off, there are no pressure signs with the load i used, that being 28.5 grains of h-4198. the primers have their full radius with no sign of being flattened, there is no cratering of the primers, and case expansion at the head of the case is very good, e.g., no swelling of the case head, and the dimensions of the case not being expanded.
and, finally, the case is emerging fired from the rifle's chamber having very sharp and creased corners, as it should, and giving every evidence of expanding into the full volume of the case chamber, as it should.
in short, the powder is behaving as it should, and giving good performance.
please note. i didn't just put 28.5 grains in the case, and blast away. i started the reloading at 26 grains of 4198, and seated a 130 grain bullet over the powder giving the case an overall length of 2.260", the nominal dimension for an ar-15 type rifle. i fired progressively heavier charges in 1/2 grain increments until i reached 28.5 grains, and 2550 fps. so, charges with 26 grains, 26.5, 27.0, 27.5, 28.0 and 28.5 grains were fired in succession, until i reached where i wanted to be. with each firing, the spent case was examined and measured to make sure no untoward pressure levels were being breached.
in other words, i went slowly, and watched for trouble.
it is age old advice, but, when reloading cartridges, start below maximum and work up from a safe level of performance until you reach desired performance levels.
if you don't know how to do this, don't do this. simple as that. find someone who does know what they are doing to help you. as before, i suggest that you purchase and read a couple of good reliable reloading manuals, and i prefer the speer and nosler books.
and, remember. i am not a ballistician. i make no guarantees that any of what i say is a good path for you to follow. proceed at your own risk. end note .
i am very satisfied with how things are going.
but, this may put a bit of an end to looking for a better load. my thinking right now is looking for a semi automatic rifle to put this round into, and i am looking at the ar-15, the ruger mini-14, and perhaps the soviet/chinese sks/model 56 infantry carbine. the latter intrigues me, because it may be acquired very cheaply. and, if i cobble up one for a test mule, well, that doesn't signal the fall of western civilization, or the economic collapse of greece, france, italy and the euro union: lots of other indications for that, of course.
update, hodgdon's h-4198: last evening, i sojourned to the mountains chronograph tucked under my shoulder, five rounds loaded w/ 29 grains of hodgdon's h-4198 behind the 130 grain sierra's, intent on seeing if i could best 2600 fps velocity.
mission accomplished. the first two rounds posted speeds of 2623 and 2609 across the chrony, respectively, and all without any obvious signs of excessive pressure. bolt lift was absolutely effortless, hard to know i'd just fired each round.
i think i have a load.
now, to get on paper, and tweak things a bit until i have satisfactory grouping. compared to getting my 6.8mm remington spc to shoot, this has been pretty much effortless. so far. sometimes good grouping can be hard to attain, but, this round just feels good. end update, 05.01.2012.
another update, 12.13.2012 . since this was posted, i've tried other powders, and several w/ some satisfaction. seating bullets out to the overall length of 2.445", i have used imr-3031 and win-748 with good resulting velocity, with the later powder getting 2750 fps from my rem-chester mule, using cases fabricated from r-p once fired .30-06 commercial brass. the remchester is a bolt action rifle in very good condition, the chamber is very tight, and the r-p cases are very heavy in construction.
i won't give loads. i will indicate that quickloads has been a very accurate predictor of pressures and performance, and accounts very accurately for the reduced case volume for cases fabricated from the .30-06 cases.
i am very close to having an ar-15 built, probably a couple months away, depending upon delivery of a barrel blank. i will load my initial loads for it using the h-4198 powder, as it gives a very complete burn with the short seating involved with the ar-15 platform. (2.260" will be the overall length for the ar-15 platform.) this should give me low residual pressures at the gas port, even with a mid-length tube.
wish me luck. i am hoping for 2500 fps w/ 130 grain sierra bullets and the use of h-4198 powder. we'll see. that would be, in my estimation, very very very good performance. this is not too far below .300 savage performance, and just about on a par with the 6.5mm mannlicher and the 6.5mm carcano, and the 7.35mm carcano/terni. you would be better cautioned not to scoff at this.--the italian and mannlicher cartridges inspired the russians to the 7.62x39mm, the "gold standard" in intermediate infantry rounds. you don't believe me? get your reference books out, and compare dimensions. do sufficient reading to understand that the russians evaluated the above cartridgeds when developing their model 43. and, understand, the finns used quite a few 7.35mm's in the wars they fought with the russians prior to, during, and after ww ii for territory around the eastern shores of lake lagoda.
the russians had more than a passing respect for this "pipsqueak" cartridges, having suffered casualties from them, ... , you respect that which has killed you. also bear in mind that the russians went w/ a .308/.311 caliber bullet in the 7.62x39mm, eschewing the clear opportunity to "invent" the 6.5x39mm grendel 65 years before dan alexander thought of it.
why did i choose the .284" caliber bullet for "jj's brit." well, because i am smart, and good looking, and have excellent judgment in such matters. and, i read the analytical articles on this written by ballistics pathologists, who say that the .284" caliber bullet is an excellent choice in such matters, and i defer to my betters. end update.
john jay @ 04.30.2012
update p.s. and, don't forget, .284" caliber bullet weighing 140 grains is what the brits chose for the .30/280 british. the .30/280 is perhaps the superior round of all intermediate infantry rounds ever conceived and built, and the british scientists/engineers/gun builders and ballisticians knew what in the hell they were doing. no one has ever topped them, imho. end p.s. update, 12.13.2012.