Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
We are often asked on the Tech Line if we have data for every conceivable cartridge, bullet, powder combination imaginable. It is not uncommon to hit a snag when trying to find exact component information. We often have to reference other load data sources and try to determine what would be a safe starting place for a given combination. There are always situations where the data may not exist. This requires some extensive background information questions to be asked in order to get enough information to search out an answer. So bear with us as we try to get you the best information we can find. We sometimes have to step away from the desk and phone to grab a resource publication or reference material.
Then there are the easy ones. We have had numerous questions about the new line of Sierra bullets, namely, the Tipped MatchKings® or TMKs. Each of the six bullets that were initially offered were introduced in a weight and caliber where we have an original MatchKing® bullet of the same weight and caliber. We are asked where to find the new load data for the new bullets. This is when we try and help the loader become more familiar with how to really use load data tables. We start off by explaining that we will be using the same load data table as we do for the original MatchKing®. We need to start at the minimum load because there are some differences in the actual profile of the bullets. Then working up in increments that are relative to the case capacity, we then will find that load which performs well in said firearm.
There is another consideration that needs to be addressed here also – that is the Over-All-Length, or OAL. The new TMK® bullets are longer than the original MatchKings®. If loading to fit a magazine, this forces the bullet to actually be seated deeper into the case. This is another important reason to start at the minimum load. Then by working up incrementally, we can keep our attention on pressure indications, just as we should do with all load work.
Load development is not hard, but it’s not fast either. Remember that safety is the utmost concern. Take your time and work deliberately but carefully. One set of components at a time in an uncluttered environment. Too many times we have heard someone say,”Load data is reduced, so we always start at the max.” That simply is not true and we want to discourage anyone from making that mistake.
We certainly want to help you with any load development questions you may have. If ever in doubt, call us and ask. Remember, there are no stupid questions @ 1-800-223-8799!