Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

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Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by 2bad4u2 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:12 pm

I just bought 1,000 Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullets for use in my 300 Blackout & .308 Win. bolt guns. I`ve heard of others using this bullet in the 300 Blackout with some success so I was looking forward to experimenting some with this bullet with a primary emphasis on subsonic applications and to a lesser extent supersonic.

I loaded up a bunch of rounds and headed to the range yesterday. I loaded the bullets at a COL of 1.85`` using Trail Boss at .2gr. incriments from 4.8gr. to 5.4gr. of powder. I loaded (15) rounds at each charge weight with and without a moderate crimp from a Lee FCD. Primer of choice was Win. Small Rifle Standard.

My primary goal was to see if I could find an accurate subsonic 300 Blackout load using Trail Boss with the tiny 90gr. XTP bullet and to determine wether crimping made any difference in accuracy. No velocity measurements were taken because it was secondary to finding an accurate load.

As others have reported, the 300 Blackout loaded with the 90gr. XTP bullets are too short to reliably feed from internal box magazines of bolt guns. I loaded a dummy round and tested feeding from a Remington 700 and a Weatherby Vanguard rifle. The Weatherby has fed everything I`ve ever loaded without any issues so I was curious to see if that would hold true with the XTP.

Unfortunately, I can confirm what others have already reported. The small XTP feeds poorly and the only way I could make it feed at all was by running the bolt hard and it was no means a guarantee that it would work. So, it was a single feed affair. Loading each round by hand into the chamber and then closing the bolt on the round.

Based on what others have reported, 4.8gr. of Trail Boss was reasonably accurate, though my Rem 700 preferred 5.0gr. by a small margin. My Anything past 5.0gr. and the groups opened up in size. All loads tested shared a distinct preference for NO crimp. All testing was done at a distance of 100 yards.

(3) 5-shot groups loaded with 5.0gr. Trail Boss and no crimp measured: 1.676``, 1.003``, and 1.382`` respectively for an average of 1.354``. I`m fairly pleased with initial testing and some slight improvement might be had by trying different primers.

Testing with Trail Boss was not without some head scratching moments, however. Some groups had unexplicable flyers where rounds would impact well below the others. The rounds that fell short sounded weak when fired, as though the powder charge was off or there was incomplete ignition.

I went to great lengths to ensure that the powder charges were consistent and I made a habit of measuring each charge weight twice, knowing that even the slightest variance might have a detriment on accuracy when dealing with such light loads.

So, for the next phase of testing I plan on loading more rounds at 5.0gr. of Trail Boss and try some different primers. I have CC450, Federal 200, Federal 205, Win. Small Pistol Standard, Win. Small Pistol Magnum, and possibly some Rem. 7.5 Benchrest on hand. With any luck, I`ll find more consistency in loads and possibly some slight improvement in accuracy.

I`ll post more results when I get out to the range. Weather conditions aren`t favourable for the balance of this week and winds will be high.

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by pvanwagner » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:29 pm

I find this very interesting. I worked on this last month, but I went the other way. I started at 4.8 and at .1 intervals went down to 4.4. I found 4.8 to be the most accurate with a slight crimp using the Lee FCD. I haven't run any through a chrono yet.

I didn't have any feed issues, but every round of course was single feed since I was using my Handi-Rifle. I haven't shot the 90gr XTP through my 700 yet and haven't shot any of these through a silencer yet.

Has anyone on here done any chrono work with this round yet? I was basing my loading on JohninNH posts.

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by 2bad4u2 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:58 am

I think this bullet and load combination are ideal for single shots like your Handi Rifle. I'm more likely to add it to my list of 300 Blackout nased firearms than I am to buy an AR.

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by Buzduk » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:35 am

I load it 1.67 oal with 4.0grains of trail boss no crimp 16" barrel and I get 925fps!
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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by 2bad4u2 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:19 pm

Buzduk wrote:I load it 1.67 oal with 4.0grains of trail boss no crimp 16" barrel and I get 925fps!
What kind of accuracy are you getting?

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by Buzduk » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:25 pm

2bad4u2 wrote:
Buzduk wrote:I load it 1.67 oal with 4.0grains of trail boss no crimp 16" barrel and I get 925fps!
What kind of accuracy are you getting?
Haven't shot for groups yet. Will advise!
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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by snipecatcher » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:19 pm

When I originally developed the 4.8 grain load, it was with a 10" barrel, and velocity was right at 1000-1050 fps. Velocity was not as consistent as most other subsonic loads I tried, but it was accurate.

http://www.quarterbore.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5470

I'll be experimenting with the 110 Berry's plated bullets with Trailboss next. When I used the plated bullets in the past for a weak supersonic load around 1500 fps, they were shooting 4 foot groups at 100 yards. I think the jacket was ripping off. They may work better at subsonic velocities. The 110 round nose bullets WILL feed from a magazine, although they are still a single shot proposition.

-Dan

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by 2bad4u2 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:17 pm

Hi Dan,

Best 5-shot accuracy I've ever had with Hornady 110gr. RN-FMJ bullets was 2.25" @ 100 yds. That load was 18.0gr. of Lil' Gun with a WSR primer loaded to 1.85" OAL.

My worst accuracy by far was attempting subsonic loads with them. Definitely, groups were measured in feet similar to your experience. That was using Trail Boss.

I did some more primer testing on Wednesday with disappointing results. I used my above 5.0gr of Trail Boss with (15) rounds of each different primer. I had Federal 200, Federal 205, and CCI 450 primers on hand. The CCI's were by far the worst with the Federal 205's being the best.

I've have Winchester small pistol primers in both standard and magnum left to try. I'll have my final loads possibly done this weekend depending on the weather.

It's hard to say but I'm inclined to believe at this point that my original loads with the Winschester small rifle primers will ultimately have the best overall accuracy. Only time will tell for sure.

Dan, what has been your experience with primers on your 4.8gr. load? Have you experimented much?

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by snipecatcher » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:20 am

I really don't believe in screwing with primers. If one primer is "hotter" than another, the same effect could be had by increasing the powder charge slightly. Once the powder is lit, I doubt it matters. People will argue this just as they argue about flash hole deburring and a number of other things, but I'm no benchrest shooter and for my purposes, I just stick with one brand of primer to keep things simple.

I did some shooting with the 110 Berry's plated bullets over Trailboss. Accuracy was much better than the last time I tried them. I was getting 6" groups at 100 yards. They are hollywood quiet and about all you hear is the whistle of the bullet going downrange, just like the 90 XTP's. The roundnose bullets can be loaded in a mag and cycled manually unlike the 90 XTP's, but the accuracy is not even close. My 208 Amax loads were hovering around 1", and were a bit louder, but they did cycle the action. I was really impressed with the accuracy of the 90 XTP's when I shot them a few years back over Trailboss, but single loading them is less than ideal. I think something like a 110 gr. jacketed hollow point (Sierra, Speer) would be the best compromise for a quiet Trailboss load that could be manually cycled.

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Re: Hornady .309 90gr. XTP bullet testing...

Post by 2bad4u2 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:07 am

I made these rounds with bolt guns or single shots in mind so cycling isn't an issue for me with these light loads. If I had an AR in the Blackout, I wouldn't mind pulling the charging handle manually if necessary to do so.

For me, primers seemed to make a very noticeable difference. So far, Winchester small rifle primers have given me the best results so far.

Like you, I'm impressed with the accuracy of the little XTP. I'm actually looking forward to developing a supersonic load with them to see if I can get 5-shot groups any better than what I'm getting now. It would be great if I could.

Yes, single loading these rounds in the chamber is a pain in the butt, however, I can put up with it under the circumstances. I'm going to buy a Handi Rifle at some point soon and I think the XTP loads would be better suited to that platform.

There was a thread about a member here using Hornady 100gr. 1/2 jackets with success in an AR. Not sure if everyone will be able to successfully use that bullet but it's certainly worth a try. For my purposes perhaps they would feed well in bolts guns as well. I'll have to pick up a box to try them out.

If we could only get some light weight bulk bullets like the 115gr. Remington, it might make a great subsonic and supersonic choice for guys shooting bolt guns or single shots.

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