.26 Nosler Loads

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I am currently just getting into reloading, but jumping in with both feet. I currently am using factory Nosler 140 accubonds which have served my CA ridgeline well on deer to this point and are 1/2 MOA @ 100 in my rifle. I have always thought the AB to be pretty good for all around work from short woods ranges to 500 yards. I hold them with scirocco's to be one of my favorites. After very deayed killing on a properly placed short range shot this year on a blacktail, I have begun to look elsewhere. Ordered up a set of redding dies and some US869 to get started. I have been looking at bullet selection for quite sometime but am on the fence. The 140 HVLD's sure look good BC wise, but will they do what they need to at short range with that much velocity. I have heard a few issues with the ELDx at .26 Nosler velocities at short range as well. Are the TTSX to stout? have no experience with them. I would like good all around load suited for close range blacktail hunts to 700-yard mule deer hunts. I see a lot of feedback on the creedmoor forums, but not much about the Nosler specifically. So all with much more experience than myself, please chime in. Thanks in advance.
 

RazAlGhoul

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Jun 29, 2019
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Just got my dad a 26 Nosler from Montana Rifle. Only put 50 rounds through it so far, and Im attempting to build a load with 129gr LR Accubonds for him to hunt with. After barrel break in procedure, I've seen some promise with the 129s and RL25. Shot a 5 shot 1" group yesterday, with a mild load of 75gr at 3,275. Pushed it up to 75.5 and 76 and it didn't like that as well. So going to work around that 75 and play with seating a bit before moving to probably Retumbo.
 

Bsnyder

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Feb 14, 2018
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Browning western hunter in 26 nosler pushes a 127 Barnes lrx with 90 grains of us 869 at 3490 to 3496 shoots .5 at 100 and holds 3/4 moa out to 900 I’ve shoot deer elk and antelope with it from 0 to 670 no issues elk was at 445 antelope was a touch over 600 and my deer was at 278, I like Barnes and they shoot well
 

Bsnyder

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Feb 14, 2018
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To be honest not sure off the lands I’d have to go back to my book and look it up but I think it’s right around .005
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
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I shoot the factory nosler 142 long range accubonds. They shoot great and kill everything. I can’t talk myself
Into trying a different round lol
 

Hnttillmt

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Dec 4, 2018
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I have a Ridgeline 26 as well. This was my second season toting it. I started with a few boxes of the factory 142 ablrs mostly just for the brass stockpile because I am a reloader. I wasn't real impressed with the accuracy, but good enough for hunting to 400. The two antelope I shot at 350 yards we're DRT. And bullet performance was good. No meat loss and expected sized holes in and out.
The tahr in New Zealand at 100 yards quartering too was a different story. That animal literally looked like it got hit with a grenade. That's alot to ask of a bullet, I know. These trophy grade factory rounds chronoed around 3230 if I remember correctly.
When the nosler ammo was used up I was really torn on what to handload. Elk are my main focus most years so a 300wsm is the go to rig on most days but in certain country where the shots might really stretch, the 26 might get picked. So I was torn between a heavy high bc pill and the Barnes lrx. It's always a compromise. Short or long shot.
My sort of compromise was to go with the 143eldx and load it somewhat slow for the 26 nosler. I live in Montana and do my load devolpment in the summers while my hunting season takes me all the way into December. A powder that is not temp stable will never be on my loading bench.
In a not so in depth research on my part I just thought that retumbo would be a good starting point. With the heavier bullets and going straight off of Berger's online data for 140 vlds I had really high pressure. I settled on h50 bmg 1 grain above noslers recommended max and they shoot 1/2 moa all day. Nowhere near the velocity of rl powders and I know some of them are temp stable but I also wasn't looking for top velocity. The antelope buck I shot this year at about 300 right behind the shoulder showed perfect bullet performance just like the 142 ablr. Two perfect holes in and out without meat damage but dead within seconds. Unfortunately I still have not shot an elk with it.
The 26 nosler is a very hard to pin do all cartridge. I love barnes bullets and shoot them exclusive in the wsm. I wish they made a 140 ttsx or lrx , but the 127 is just a little lite for my desire to possibly shoot an elk with. More frangible bullets like a vld at those velocitys on possible close shots is not a good senario. Long story short, for deer hunting anywhere from 100 to 700 yards I don't think you could do wrong with your current choice or a 127 lrx. You can find bad stories on every bullet if you looked around long enough. If your Ridgeline shoots those accubonds well I'd keep shooting them. Let us know how your load development goes though. Im still playing with the idea of trying the lrxs in mine or maybe even the 156 eol Berger for certain hunts in the future.
 
OP
C

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@ Hnttillmt
Thanks for the reply,
As I am impatient and indecisive, I have 127 lrx, 143 eldx, and 156 eol sitting on the bench now w/ H-1000, Retumbo, and US869 to play with. I am leaning to the eld x for an all-arounder currently and plan to start there. I contacted Berger today and got load data for the 156, they confirmed Us-869 was the powder, but Retumbo and h-1000 were only a tad slower at max and start loads- thought there would be a bigger spread. The coal they gave me will be pushing the limits of the box for sure, and I have zero experience with Berger’s performance on game at any distance. I sure wish swift would make a 150 Weight scirocco. The lrx at first glance seems too light, fast, and stout for my application. But I will load some anyhow. I will keep the thread up as I start testing. We’ll see if I have much barrel life left after working some loads up. But, barrels aren’t the expensive part of this whole “hunting thing” as we know.
 
OP
C

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Messages
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Location
Springfield, OR
Side note also @Hnttillmt,

my ridgeline wouldn’t shoot any of the Nosler factory loadings sub Moa @100 until my gunsmith put some bedding compound in the stock. 2nd ridgeline ive bought with zero bedding out of the box. Bed job shrunk my groups big time.
 
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