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204 tumbling like crazy


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#1 coolvarmint

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 02:06 PM

Help!!! Was shooting my 204 with 28.5 of Varget got all set (worked up the ladder) and was shooting both Hornady 32 grainers and Sierra. The sierra were shooting best. So I proceeded to load up 400 of my 800 rounds for the Wells trip. Went to shoot some more today and they are tumbling all over the place. Dont have any idea whats going on. Some, infrequently. actually hit where I sent them. Pretty good groups when you piece the ones that dont tumble. But the vast majority are keyholing. Any ideas would be helpful. New winnie brass. No idea whats happening. Scott

#2 Fishwrestler

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 02:17 PM

Scottnot sure in your case but my dad reloaded a bunch of 308 Norm Mag brass one time and we got some key holing. Our gunsmith said it was the bullet see we went home nd micrometered a unch of it and he was right some of the bullets were a smaller caliber Can't remember what it was but my dad pull all the bulled bought some new ones and reloaded the bullets the problem never happend gain. He called the manufacturer and the sent a new boxes to replace the bullests and and oh yea we make mistkes some times sorry Robert
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#3 HOG

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 04:56 PM

I've never had the problem with the .204 but did with the Contender in 17HMR. keyholong.........i sent it back to Contender they sent a new barrel. I hope you're able to solve your problem.Steve

#4 coolvarmint

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 08:22 PM

I think I screwed up. I was working my ladder with 2 different bullets and 2 different primers. After actually looking at my notes I was shooting well with the CCI BR4 and I purchase and primed with Federals for the mass loading. Could just the primers make that much of a difference?? I had worked up the loads with both primers and didn't think I had any tumblers initially. Pays to not only write the info but look at it occasionally. I guess Ive heard that primers can make a big difference, just hard to believe that much. Im busy pulling all the loaded rounds and my RCBS kinetic puller shatters. Good thing Im off to Reno tomorrow. Scott

#5 tawnoper

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:50 AM

I'm kinda confused here. Are you saying that you tried this load out before in your gun, it shot the best so you loaded a group of rounds with the same load and now it's keyholing? Seems odd; keyholing is usually from not stabilizing a bullet, like shooting too heavy a bullet for your barrel or having a bad barrel to begin with. I'm sure you would of noticed this when you were developing your load. If this load was shooting good before and now it's keyholing you might of got a bad batch of bullets or something happened to your barrel. If something happened to your barrel it probably wouldn't shoot anything well. I doubt changing primers will make your bullets keyhole. Good luck.
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#6 A17Shooter

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:52 AM

CoolVarmint,About one chance in 10,000,000 that changing primers could make the bullets tumble.Have you been cleaning regularly? The grooves in the rifling are only .002" deep. With a hot round like the 204 it wouldn't take long to foul to the point that the bullets don't make it to the target. I have seen that happening with several 4,000 FPS cartridges. Gotta get that copper out.Checking the bullet diameter is also a good idea. You should be looking for things that keep the bullet from getting a proper spin in the barrel. Any reasonable velocity will stabilize the bullet. Under sized bullets might not engage the rifling. Extreme fouling might cause the bullet to strip in the rifling and not spin. An oversized barrel could be more sensitive to fouling or undersized bullets. Good luck with your problem and keep us posted,A17Shooter

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#7 ShooterJohn

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 09:18 AM

I agree with both tawnroper and A17Shooter on this one. It is the spin that stabilizes the bullet nothing to do with the primer. A different primer can change a group size dramatically but not cause tumbling. Is is a new gun or used? Did the rounds shoot well before this happened? Have you seriously cleaned it with a copper remover? Not just Hoppes but something like Sweets, Butches Bore Shine or Wipe-out? I'm betting that barrel is really fouled with copper and you haven't been removing it during previous cleanings.This might be from left field but weren't you mentioning something about batch bullets you recently learned from Steve Patterson? Did you buy those bullets? If you did then I'd definitely start measuring them with a micrometer to see if there aren't a number of undersized ones mixed in.Give us some additional info to work with here. What you've told us so far is from lack of stabilization.One last question any reason why you went with Varget for such a light bullet?

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#8 coolvarmint

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 04:58 PM

The varget question is that what I had to start with and it did ok. Im gonna rework some rounds with H322. I have been pretty good about cleaning. Although I probably could have done more after the initial breakin possibly. It soaking today and Ill be trying out some 322 loads. I still have 400 of the Varget loads. Hopefully it is just a dirty barrel. If thats the case Ill be doing a lot of cleaning this weekend. Ive heard the Savage barrels collect copper like its a rare metal ... I have to figure this out in the next day or two. I have checked a couple of the bullet diameters. They are all running the same. And I did buy the 100 round boxes. My crown looks ok too. Scott

#9 ShooterJohn

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:12 PM

Are you cleaning your barrel from the muzzle or the breech? Also barrels collect more copper when they aren't broken in yet, it's the sharp edges that collect it. You may have thought it was broken in but it may have just been fouled with copper and you were only removing some. For them to change like that with only you changing the primers I'm still betting on copper fouling. Is the foam stuff you're using Wipe-Out there are other foam produces that don't clean anywhere near as throughly. If the can doesn't say Wipe-Out it's probably copper fouled.

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#10 coolvarmint

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:45 PM

It is wipe out. And only from the breech, of course. Im hoping your right about the copper. Im gonna clean it out now and then redo the foam. Cant shoot till wednesday, then leaving on thursday. Nothing like cutting it close. Thanks guys. Scott

#11 ShooterJohn

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:16 PM

Okay just checking on you there. I hope the extra dose of Wipe-Out does it for you.

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#12 A17Shooter

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 10:37 PM

Cant shoot till wednesday, then leaving on thursday. Nothing like cutting it close. Thanks guys. Scott

When you have to work family and job in between hunting trips it always seems to be close. :angry: A17Shooter

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#13 tawnoper

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 10:50 PM

Coolvarmint, sounds like you're getting it narrowed down. One more thing; when I say "a bad batch of bullets" I meant some of the bullets might be out of concentricity. Not so much the o.d., but the jacket thickness or core center. If they are too far off they won't stabilize. Get a batch of off center bullets packaged as part of the 100 count could lead to some random shots not doing what you want. Doesn't happen very often, at least to me, but it does happen. Anyway, just a thought.
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