Rifles and Loads

By Chuck Hawks


I haven't counted, but it's fair to say that I have owned "many" sporting rifles over my lifetime. It would be impossible to list them all, or all of the loads that I have used, but here are some examples from among my current, relatively modest, rifle battery and the primary load(s) I use in each rifle.

When possible I like to find an appropriate factory load that shoots well in my particular rifle, and then duplicate it with a tuned handload. This gives me the freedom to shoot factory loaded ammunition in a pinch without having to re-zero my rifle. However, some rifles shoot so well with a particular handload that I never shoot factory loads. And in a some cases there is no equivalent factory load.

I have listed the brand and type of bullet, powder, primer, case, and the approximate velocity for all reloads. Remember that it is usually necessary to re-zero a rifle when changing bullet weights or loads. I normally use standard primers for standard cartridges, and magnum primers for magnum cartridges.

The velocities for handloads are based on averaged chronograph results measured 10 feet from the muzzle, or on the figures provided in the reloading manual used to develop the load. Individual rifles will ordinarily give different (sometimes surprisingly different) velocities from the same load, so the figures quoted should be viewed as approximate.

All of the handloads listed below have proven to be safe in my rifles, but they may not be in yours. Rifles vary, so before attempting to duplicate any of these loads please consult the major reloading manuals. Start with beginning loads and work up slowly to heavier loads. If you are a shooter and a reloader, you must be a responsible adult, so I accept no responsibility for your actions. For further information about the factory loads, consult the manufacturer's catalogs.





.223 Remington

Rifle: Savage Model 12 Varminter Low Profile, bolt action single shot, 26" barrel.

Handload: 50 grain Hornady V-MAX bullet, 25.1 grains IMR 3031 powder, Win. WSR primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 3,300 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, Sixth Edition).


Rifle: NEF Synthetic/Stainless Handi-Rifle, break-open single shot, 22" barrel.

Handload: 50 grain Sierra Blitz bullet, 24.4 grains IMR 3031 powder, Win. WSR primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 3,200 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, Sixth Edition).


.243 Winchester

Rifle: Browning 1885 Low Wall, falling block single shot, 24" barrel.

Handload: 87 grain Hornady BTHP bullet, 37.1 grains IMR 4064 powder, CCI 200 primer, Remington case. Chronogrphed MV 3,000 fps.


.240 Weatherby Magnum

Rifle: Weatherby Mark V Deluxe, bolt action, 26" barrel.

Handload: 100 grain Sierra GameKing SBT bullet, 50.0 grains RL-22 powder, CCI 250 primer, Weatherby case. Estimated MV 3,150 fps (based on the Nosler Reloading Guide, Fifth Edition).


.257 Roberts +P

Rifle: Ruger No. K1-A, falling block single shot, 22" barrel.

Handload: 115 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet, 42.5 grains IMR 4831 powder, CCI 200 primer, Winchester +P case. Estimated MV 2,800 fps (based on the Nosler Reloading Guide, Fifth Edition).


.257 Weatherby Magnum

Rifle: Weatherby Mark V Deluxe, bolt action, 24" barrel.

Handload: 117 grain Hornady BTSP InterLock bullet, 68.7 grains RL-25 powder, CCI 250 primer, Weatherby case. Estimated MV 3,140 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, Sixth Edition).


6.5x55mm SE

Rifle: Winchester Model 70 Classic Featherweight, bolt action, 22" barrel.

Handload: 140 grain Sierra GameKing SBT bullet, 44.7 grains RL-22 powder, CCI 200 primer, Federal case. Estimated MV 2,650 fps (based on the Sierra Edition V reloading manual).


.270 Winchester

Rifle: Custom built Mauser 98, bolt action, 24" barrel.

Handload: 130 grain Hornady InterLock SP bullet, 62.0 grains H4831 powder, Win. WLR primer, Hornady case. Estimated MV 3,100 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).


7mm-08 Remington

Rifle: Merkel K3, break-open action, 20" barrel.

Handload: 150 grain Nosler Partition spitzer bullet, 44.5 grains IMR 4350 powder, Win. WLR primer, Hornady case. Estimated MV 2,600 fps (based on the Nosler Reloading Guide, Fifth Edition).


7x57 Mauser

Rifle: Custom built Husqvarna, bolt action, 22" barrel.

Handload: 139 grain Hornady InterLock SP bullet, 48.3 grains H4350 powder, Win. WLR primer, Hornady case. Estimated MV 2,700 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).


7mm Remington Magnum

Rifle: Weatherby Vanguard VGX Deluxe, bolt action, 24" barrel.

Handload #1: 139 grain Hornady Interlock Spire Point bullet, 65.8 grains RL-22 powder, WLRM primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 3,100 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, Sixth Edition).

Handload #2: 154 grain Hornady Interlock Spire Point bullet, 71.3 grains RL-25 powder, WLRM primer, Hornady case. Estimated MV 3,000 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).


.30-30 Winchester

Rifle: Winchester Model 94, lever action, 20" barrel.

Plinking Handload: 110 grain Speer JHP bullet, 17.0 grains of SR 4759 powder, CCI 200 primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 1,900 fps (based on the Hodgdon Data Manual, 26th Edition).

Hunting Handload: 150 grain Sierra Pro Hunter FN bullet, 33.0 grains of IMR 3031 powder, CCI 200 primer, Federal case. Estimated MV 2,324 fps (based on the Hodgdon Data Manual No. 26).


.308 Winchester

Rifles: Ruger Model 77RSI International, bolt action, 18.5" barrel; Mannlicher-Schoenauer Carbine, bolt action, 20" barrel.

CXP2 Handload: 150 grain Sierra GameKing boat tail spitzer bullet, 42.2 grains of IMR 3031 powder, CCI 200 primer, Winchester case. Chronographed MV 2,600 fps in Ruger 77RSI (2800 fps in a 26" barrel according to Sierra).

CXP2/CXP3 Handload: 165 grain Speer Hot-Cor spitzer bullet, 43.0 grains of IMR 3031 powder, CCI 200 primer, Federal case. Estimated MV 2,725 fps (in a 22" barrel, based on Speer Reloading Manual #14).


.30-06 Springfield

Rifle: Remington Model 798 (Mauser 98), bolt action, 22" barrel.

Handload: 180 grain Hornady InterLock SP bullet, 54.5 grains of IMR 4350 powder, CCI 200 primer, Hornady case. Estimated MV 2,700 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).


.338 Federal

Rifle: Kimber 84M Classic, bolt action, 22" barrel.

Handload: 200 grain Speer spitzer bullet, 43.0 grains IMR 3031 powder, WLR primer, Federal case. Estimated MV 2,465 fps (extrapolated from Hodgdon reloading data).


.338 Winchester Magnum

Rifle: Browning BAR Mark II Safari Grade, autoloader, 24" barrel.

Handload: 225 grain Hornady InterLock SP bullet, 69.8 grains IMR 4831 powder, WLRM primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 2,800 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).


.357 Magnum

Rifle: Henry Big Boy, lever action, 20" barrel.

Handload: 158 grain Hornady JFP bullet, 14.5 grains H110 powder, CCI 550 primer, Norma case. Chronographed MV 1,545 fps.


.350 Remington Magnum

Rifle: Ruger Model 77R Mk. II Standard, bolt action, 22" barrel.

CXP2/CXP3 handload: 200 grain Remington Core-Lokt PSP bullet, 60.0 grains IMR 4320 powder, CCI 250 primer, Remington case. Estimated MV 2,700 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).

CXP3 handload: 225 grain Nosler Partition bullet, 58.0 grains IMR 4320 powder, CCI 250 primer, Remington case. Estimated MV 2,550 fps (based on the Nosler Reloading Guide, Fifth Edition).


.45-70 Government

Rifle: Browning 1885 High Wall, falling block single shot, 28" barrel.

CXP2 game handload: 300 grain Hornady InterLock HP bullet, 53.1 grains of IMR 3031 powder, CCI 200 primer, Federal case. MV 1,810 fps (based on chronograph results).

Bison handload: 500 grain Hornady InterLock RN bullet, 50.1 grains of IMR 3031 powder, CCI 200 primer, Federal case. Estimated MV 1,700 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).


.458 Winchester Magnum

Rifle: Browning/FN Safari Grade, bolt action, 24" barrel.

CXP2 game Handload: 400 grain Speer FP bullet, 29.0 grains of SR 4759 powder, WLRM primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 1,400 fps (based on the Speer Reloading Manual No. 13).

CXP3 game handload: 350 grain Hornady InterLock RN bullet, 64.3 grains of IMR 3031 powder, WLRM primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 2,100 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).

CXP4 game handload: 500 grain Hornady InterLock RN or FMJ-RM bullet, 68.1 grains of IMR 3031 powder, WLRM primer, Winchester case. Estimated MV 2,050 fps (based on the Hornady Handbook, 7th Edition).




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Copyright 2001, 2014 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.


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