The DIY Hunter

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My first outing with my 28 Nosler, Browning X-Bolt. Three different loads with the Hornady 175 Gr ELD-X all shot under an inch at 100 yards. I think I'm going to really like this rifle.

Below are my personal favorite loads for my two 28 Nosler Browning X-Bolt rifles, a Long Range Stainless Stalker with a 1 in 9 twist that my kids named The Black Pearl and a Long Range Gray Laminate with a 1 in 8 twist rate. 

So far I have been reloading the 175 Gr Hornady ELD-X, 180 Gr Hornady ELD-M and 180 Gr Berger VLD Hunting bullets. As I work with other bullets I will add them to my load data.

Here's a few hunts using my 28 Nosler X-Bolt rifles.

Here's some DIY Hunting Rifle Target Downloads that might be helpful as well.

Bullet Powder Primer COAL Barrel Length Muzzle Velocity Notes
175 Gr. Hornady ELD-X 80 Gr. Hodgdon Retumbo WLRM 3.5505-3.5515 26" 3,218 Good Accuracy. 
175 Gr. Hornady ELD-X 78.8 Gr. Hodgdon H1000 WLRM 3.5505-3.5515 26" 3,218 Same velocity and point of impact as the Retumbo load. Possibly higher pressure than the Retumbo load as the ejection plunger in the bolt head gets lightly stamped into the head of the case.
180 Gr. Hornady ELD-M 79.5 Gr. Hodgdon Retumbo WLRM 3.6070 26" 3,100 I use this in my 1-8 twist X-Bolt Long Range Gray Laminate rifle. Good Accuracy.
180 Gr. Berger VLD Hunting 79 Gr. Hodgdon Retumbo WLRM 3.584 26" 3,190 I use this in my 1-8 twist X-Bolt Long Range Gray Laminate rifle. Best consistent accuracy of all my loads. My chronograph is showing around 3150 fps but to get Strelok Pro to be perfect on all my drops out to at least 1,000 yards 3,190 fps is the velocity I use.



Hornady 150 Gr SST - 270 WSM X-Bolt

Shooting the Hornady 150 Gr SST out of my Browning X-Bolt 270 WSM.

I've been slowly working on getting a load for the Hornady 150 Gr SST bullet. I haven't been too tickled with the accuracy and performance on critters with the 150 Gr Accubond Long Range. And then there are the Berger 150 Gr VLDs that shoot really well in my 270 WSM Model 1885 but this particular load doesn't shoot so well in my X-Bolt.

Not to get confused with what load goes with what gun I like each rifle to have only certain bullets for each rifle. So in this case I know that any 270 WSMs loaded with a VLD I know that they go in my Model 1885.

The G7 BC of 0.245 for the 150 SST isn't quite as good as the G7 of 0.265 for the 150 VLD but I really like the price of the SST bullets compared to the Accubond LR and VLD. SSTs also get good reviews on their performance on big game so I am hopeful this will now be my go to bullet for my X-Bolt.

I took three trips to the range testing loads but I finally have a really accurate load that I am excited to start using in the field.

Check out the data for this load on my 270 WSM Handloads page.


Hornady 150 Gr SST 3 Shot Groups from a 270 WSM X-Bolt

The 3 shot 100-yard groups with the Hornady 150 Gr SST out of my Browning X-Bolt 270 WSM. Three different powder charges at the same seating depth. The flier on the lower right group may well have been my fault. Nonetheless, all three groups are sub MOA.

243 WSSM Brass

243 WSSM Brass - The piece on the left I have reloaded numerous times. The piece on the right is a reformed piece of 325 WSM brass from Hill Billy Brass. It has been fired in my rifle once and has been prepped, ready to be loaded up for use.

If you own a WSSM rifle you know that finding ammunition and brass has been impossible for years now. To my knowledge Winchester is the only company that has ever made brass for the WSSM cartridges. Rumors that Winchester (Olin Corporation) would manufacture more brass have been passed around for years now. There are many thousands of rifles out there so why wouldn't Winchester make brass to support those that purchased Browning and Winchester rifles? The WSSM cartridges were developed by Winchester. It just doesn't make sense... but wait...

A year and a half ago I placed a stock watch for Winchester 300 Win Mag brass on Probably over two years ago I placed a stock watch on 270 WSM brass on I never got notified that Midway USA ever had any in stock until a few weeks back when I got a notice that Midway USA was no longer carrying Winchester brass in these cartridges. I did a quick tour of the website and found almost all Winchester brass had been removed. A trip to and they only have 30-06 and 308 Winchester brass. Hmm...

This has got me thinking. It is interesting that Winchester has the resources to launch a whole new line of ammunition in 2016 with the new Browning Ammunition line but hasn't made any or very little brass as a component for who knows how long? If I was a betting man I think Winchester makes more money off loaded ammunition and selling brass as a component just isn't part of their business plan anymore. But what do I know. Anyway you look at it, it is looking more and more like WSSM brass may never be manufactured by Winchester again. Just unbelievable.

So what is a WSSM rifle owner to do? Well, thankfully Hill Billy Brass has stepped up to help us. They are taking WSM brass and reforming it into WSSM brass. I recently received some 243 WSSM brass made from reformed 325 WSM brass. Upon inspecting the brass I was surprised that the neck thickness was exactly the same as my factory WSSM brass. I thought I might need to do some serious neck turning to get the thickness down but that wasn't the case.

Because I like to shoot long range and tight groups I am fire forming the brass by shooting at a 100 yard steel target just for fun. I'm know that the accuracy isn't going to be right where I want it until the brass has been formed to my rifle's chamber.

The brass looks great after firing it. I can still see that the transition from the body to the shoulder is still slightly rounded some whereas the brass I have reloaded several times has a sharp transition. This shouldn't be anything to worry about, just a slight cosmetic difference. I'm sure over multiple reload times this brass will loose it's roundness on that transition.

If you don't already anneal your brass I highly recommend that you learn how to if you are a WSSM reloader. I anneal the necks of my brass after every firing to get consistent neck tension shot after shot and to keep the brass from hardening to the point that it splits the neck. I have brass that I have lost count on the number of times I have reloaded it.

I think I will load up my pet 105 A-Max load for my next load in this brass.

Reformed WSM brass to WSSM brass

243 WSSM brass next to a reformed 325 WSM piece of brass now 243 WSSM.  

Reformed 243 WSSM brass

Well used 243 WSSM brass (left) next to reformed 243 WSSM brass (right) prior to fire forming it in my rifle.