Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: When good loads go bad.

  1. #1
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,274

    Default When good loads go bad.

    I have a Winchester model 70 extreme weather in 325WSM, had it a couple years and worked up several loads for it. Developed a 200 grain Accubond load using Reloader 17 that is sub-moa and over 3000fps. Once dialed in, I loaded up a 100 or so and went out last year and killed everything I pointed it at.

    On my goat hunt I took a bad roll down the hill with it. After about a 500 foot uncontrolled tumble I was scuffed up and my Winny was stuck in the ground up to the stock.

    Cleaned it up when I got home and took it back to Kodiak Brown Bear hunting. Wanted to use a different load for bear hunt so I test fired the rifle and re-zeroed it with a 220 grain Aframe load. All was well and the rifle shot and grouped them well.

    Fast forward to this year,, having shot up all my Accubond loads I loaded up some to take for sheep hunting and headed off to the range to zero for my Accubond load.

    Using a solid rest and bench, try as I may I could not get them to group. All over the paper and totally inconsistent, thinking it may be the rifle or scope, I shot a group with other proven loads and they all shot and grouped well.

    Well, I chased my tail for 4 days, and just could not get the Accubonds to work. Thought I had got some defective bullets since a new box of bullets was the only thing different, same lot of powder, primers and brass.

    Totally flustered, I decided to remeasure everything and discovered that I had mistakenly recorded the COAL and was seating the bullets too deep. Instead of .005 off the lands I was seating them .050 off the lands.

    Loaded up a new batch and hit the range yesterday and was putting them into a dime sized hole once again.

    Lesson learned,, don't think it would have taken me that long to figure out if I had not had reason to question the rifle and scope after the fall.

    The good news is during the process I refined 2 of my Barnes 200g TSX loads into submoa loads.

    Just though this info may inspire other loaders to check and double check everything.

    Be safe and shoot straight.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  2. #2

    Default

    Good points and good post.

    Reading the title, I thought you were headed another direction, toward old reloads that don't shoot well many years after they were loaded. I was all set to pass along a tip, that turns out to have no bearing on your post at all.

    I'll pass it along anyway!

    Old reloads that don't shoot well can often be "fixed" with a quick pass through the bullet seating die to nudge the bullet slightly deeper on the case. Doesn't have to be much, only a thousandth or so.

    I learned that many years ago from an old time reloader. His theory is that something like "adherence" develops between bullet and neck with long storage, and the nudge frees it. Can't say if that's the right explanation, but some old reloads sure profit from a nudge.

  3. #3
    Member Smokey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    3,334

    Default

    I am sure there was some frustration building as you eliminated everything - job well done and glad you caught the mistake or you would be loosing sleep over "what the heck" is going on ?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  4. #4
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,419

    Default

    Stid, I had a simular problem but actually found out before I went to the range. I had loaded some 22-250 rounds with 35 grains of Varget that shot .29" from a bipod measured with calibers. Went home and loaded 100 rounds using the data I had written down. I spent alot of time making sure everything was exact. Couple days later I looked at the label on the ammo box from when I went to the range and noticed the powder was 35 grains, not the 35.9 grains I loaded. I thought it was 35.9 grains since I used a g instead of GR and read it as 35.9 not 35 g. Cost me alot of time and a collet bullet puller to say the least. I am very anal how I write and always double check before I seat a bullet.
    I guess these are the lessons we learn that stick with us the longest!

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    One thing I like to do once I've developed a good load is to make a dummy round using an unprimed case, and seat the bullet to the desired COL. That way when you need to set up the seating die, you run the seating stem well out, run up the case, then dial the seating die down and you're ready to go. I alsot write the COL on the case.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    448

    Default

    Of all the potential variables in reloading, the gap between the bullet and the rifling is often the most over-looked and is also critical. Without getting into the whole story, that gap can be the difference between MOA or 4" at 100 yards; that is a lot for such a seemingly simple detail. J.

  7. #7
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,419

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    One thing I like to do once I've developed a good load is to make a dummy round using an unprimed case, and seat the bullet to the desired COL. That way when you need to set up the seating die, you run the seating stem well out, run up the case, then dial the seating die down and you're ready to go. I alsot write the COL on the case.
    That's a pretty good idea. I'm gonna have to start doing that. Thanks

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    739

    Default

    Good post and a "lesson learned" for all of us hand loaders. Just one decimal point - causing all that anguish. Steve, I was surprised when you got the 375 H&H Sako for the brownie hunt when you slayed everything so well with the 325WSM.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Anchorage
    Posts
    481

    Default

    How long have you guys keep handloads for? I loaded up a bunch of 338-06 shells and they should last me at least ten years. Has anyone had any problems with them not working after they have been sitting for a while?

  10. #10
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,274

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I am sure there was some frustration building as you eliminated everything - job well done and glad you caught the mistake or you would be loosing sleep over "what the heck" is going on ?

    Smokey, you sure we have never met??? You nailed it, that was bugging me to death and I was loosing sleep thinking about it and even thought about changing out the scope and having the barrel checked.

    I do know who was happier, me or the wife??? She was tired of hearing about it. LOL

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  11. #11
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,274

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by knikglacier View Post
    Good post and a "lesson learned" for all of us hand loaders. Just one decimal point - causing all that anguish. Steve, I was surprised when you got the 375 H&H Sako for the brownie hunt when you slayed everything so well with the 325WSM.
    I know that my 325WSM will kill a big brownie, and have both faith and confidence that I can put the bullet where it will needs to go. However, some guns speak to me and that Kodiak just appealed to me. I have learned how to handle more recoil and having been in a situation with a bear in which it did not want to go quietly into that good night. I'm in the bigger the is better camp now.

    I find no joy in taking a life and when I decided to do so, I want to kill as quickly and cleanly as possible. I don't eat brown bears and big holes are easy to hide with all that hair. Part of the appeal to bear hunting to me is getting close, and when you get in tight, things happen fast. A 375 H&H shooting 300 grain TSXs just was more STOPPING power than a smaller bullet.

    Don't want to turn this thread into another "what to kill a bear with" just wanted to answer your question.

    Paul H,,, great tip and I had already added a dummy round in this setup. Both for reference and it makes it an easy way to adjust your seating die. I also use a trimmed case to quickly adjust my case trimmer.

    Details, details, details, reloading is all about details. Failing to do so can often lead to far worst results than bad groups!!!

    Be safe.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    739

    Default

    I can empathize with the "speak to me" concept. There is an 8 round used Kimber Montana 325WSM on the rack that is speaking loudly with a very fair price. May have to look at it a closer if I survive our confounded heat wave. Heat endex today is 114*.

  13. #13
    Member Smokey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    3,334

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Smokey, you sure we have never met??? You nailed it, that was bugging me to death and I was loosing sleep thinking about it and even thought about changing out the scope and having the barrel checked.

    I do know who was happier, me or the wife??? She was tired of hearing about it. LOL

    Steve
    LOL, my wife can relate to that as I have brought a bad mood home more than once from a range session!
    One of my worst blunders was in 2004, had worked up a common 300wm load ( 180 gr NP ) that would shoot well in three diff guns. An Encore, a win 70 Super Grade, and Browning SStalker. Now, over the past year I had shot about 400 - 500 reloads and had all three dialed in nicely. Left em alone for about 2 months and three weeks before a moose hunt I went out to "get familiar" with the guns again. I was all over the place with all three - ran through all the loads I had to spare and back to the reloading bench - next day another 40 or so rounds and more erratic patterns. Finally called a friend that shoots a ton of rifles and he came over to watch me shoot. As I prepared to fire my first string he softly asked" Do you always place the rear sandbag between the trigger guard and pistol grip????" OMG, I had started doing that and missed it completely - moved the bag back "behind" the grip cap and presto - back to the great groups I was getting when I put the trio away....
    There are so many variables in precision shooting and like anything we occasionally miss a step from time to time...DUH
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    In an easy chair in Cyberspace
    Posts
    2,316

    Default

    Just though this info may inspire other loaders to check and double check everything.
    Yeah yea, I triple check and then go to the range and find my pet load that shot 1/3 MOA last fall now shoots like a shotgun.

    Blame the load, the scope, the copper in the barrel, the coffees, the guy next to me, the wind, bad bullets, scale was off, fire and brimstone, frogs, flies and the death of the first born, so it is written, so it shall be done...

    Then look closely and find that becasue I am an idiot, I misadjusted the forearm stop on my rest and it is touching the barrel...to, wit: bad vibes, dudes.

  15. #15
    Member tbone131's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    255

    Default

    stid, do you like your 325wsm extreme? I have a model 70 winchester extreme in 300 win mag and love it. I have yet to kill anything with it but hopefully that will change this fall. Just was curious what your overall thoughts of the new winchester rifles were. I have an old pre 64 model 70 in .270 and my dad doesn't want me to bring it up here and ruin it in the weather up here. kind of a classic ya know.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I learned that many years ago from an old time reloader. His theory is that something like "adherence" develops between bullet and neck with long storage, and the nudge frees it. Can't say if that's the right explanation, but some old reloads sure profit from a nudge.
    I got the same lesson from my father, he taught me to make sure that if any lube gets in to the case neck and is not cleaned out before seating a bullet, the lube can firm up and seal the bullet to the neck if the round sits for a long time before it is fired. I don't know if this actually 100% correct but he has never had the problem with handloads sitting for a long time since he started removing any excess lube, and I have yet to have the problem, I am still shooting handloads that I reloaded over 5 years ago. I buy my powder in 5lb if I can find them, when the load is as tuned as I can get it I will load up a lot of rounds using the same lot of powder because of the variance you can get from one powder lot to the next. Plus its nice to just be able to grab the gun and a box of rounds and go shoot if I feel like it, I don't have to sit down and load up the rounds because they are already there.

  17. #17
    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North Pole
    Posts
    902

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    One thing I like to do once I've developed a good load is to make a dummy round using an unprimed case, and seat the bullet to the desired COL. That way when you need to set up the seating die, you run the seating stem well out, run up the case, then dial the seating die down and you're ready to go. I alsot write the COL on the case.
    I do the same thing for dummy rounds. I usually write the whole load on the case, not just the COAL because i have different guns in the same caliber that like different OAL's. I was thinking about engraving it on the case so the marker doesn't fade but not sure if it will scratch the die if it's engraved on the case.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Southwest Alaska
    Posts
    2,145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by swapdonkey View Post
    How long have you guys keep handloads for? I loaded up a bunch of 338-06 shells and they should last me at least ten years. Has anyone had any problems with them not working after they have been sitting for a while?
    As long as you and your cases are clean (no oil on the fingers if you handle primers, no oil in the cases), they should last your lifetime. I have some Kynoch and DWM 9x57mm ammo from the '20's; it is roughly 100fps slower than the original specs. And that was when the ammo was fired at +15* F, so figure a 75fps loss over nearly 100 years. Not too bad.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

    Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

    You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •