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Thread: Bullet seating COAL??

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Bullet seating COAL??

    Have to admit that I have had a harder than usual time working up a load for my new Kimber 280AI. Started seeing results with a 160 grain Accubond and Reloader 17. Once I got a baseline load I started tuning for seating depth.

    On my Kimber the blind magazine is long enough to reach the lands, but cartridges reloaded that long will not eject without being fired as the tip hangs on the action and jams. This is not an acceptable condition for me, even with the best accuracy, I want to be always able to eject a bad round.

    So most bullets in my experience will have a node of accuracy at .40, .80. or .120 when seating near the lands is not a option.

    So after I found my powder charge I loaded 3 sets at .040 off the lands, .080 off and .120 off. I did not load a set touching the lands because I would not use them even if one hole accurate.

    .040 off the lands is the point in which this rifle will eject an unfired round and was my starting COAL, as can be seen in this photo, .120 off proved to be the best option for this rifle and will be the new load.

    So how do you folks find that seating sweet spot??

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I dont have anything useful to add except to comment that it is interesting how it strings them vertically, then horizontally like that with the only variation being distance from the lands.

    How much variation are you getting in your COAL from seating off the ogive? I find that I have as much as 10-15 thousandths difference sometimes depending on the make of bullet.

    Was there a fourth round in the 0.120" group?

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    I dont have anything useful to add except to comment that it is interesting how it strings them vertically, then horizontally like that with the only variation being distance from the lands.

    How much variation are you getting in your COAL from seating off the ogive? I find that I have as much as 10-15 thousandths difference sometimes depending on the make of bullet.

    Was there a fourth round in the 0.120" group?
    I sorted all my bullets by weight and length, all my settings are measured off the ogive using a comparator. I too get a lot of variation and changed how I load because of it. For my long range loads I make sure each and every load is the same even if I have to adjust them.

    There was a forth round,, I damaged the tip ejecting it at the range, had to eject the round for a range cease fire. I did not want to fire it that way and mess up my group.
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    I am pretty new to reloading having only started this winter, and I was, perhaps mistakenly, under the assumption that accuracy would improve on most rounds if seated closest to the lands. Your data would indicate the opposite it seems. Great post, thanks

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    Sounds like you got a winner in the lower right corner.

    I personally have never run into the problem you describe on the eject. I only load for 2 bolt rifles, the -06 which is loaded with Barnes, and therefore like some jump, and 35 Whelen which I use a very blunt ogive. (My semi autos are loaded to Saami OAL for reliability)

    Im a bit surprised you got so much variation with seating depth. With my -06, a total of .050 in variation of depth (during development), my groups ranged from 2" to 1.0". It seems like yours is more receptive to changes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadWolf View Post
    I am pretty new to reloading having only started this winter, and I was, perhaps mistakenly, under the assumption that accuracy would improve on most rounds if seated closest to the lands. Your data would indicate the opposite it seems. Great post, thanks
    I'm in the army so no expert here but every bullet is different... Partitions usually like be right up on the lands ie little jump... Versus Barnes tsx likes alot of jump. Some rifles ie weatherby have alot of freebore so you will never get a bullet to touch the lands... Hornady bullets use a secant ogive which like to be close to the lands... It is interesting to see that accubond liking alot of jump. But all rifles are different...

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    On a different note, this is the third (I believe) reference I have found to people having much better luck seating fairly far off the lands in a montana in one day of browsing various archived posts from different forums. For what its worth...

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    I like your effort, I do the same thing. I generally find my charge at .025 - .050 off depending on bullet selection then do the seating depth drill. I typically start the seating depth tests around .010 - .015 off then run them out past .125 off in .035 increments. One will always stand out better than the rest. Once the best one is found you can tweak .010 each side and narrow it a little further if you desire. Assuming you found this seating depth with a mid level charge you may be able to bump your velocity and hold your accuracy at this eating depth.

    For whatever it's worth I've found my best accuracy with Accubonds between .050- .125 off the lands in a variety of rifles. TSX's in the .375 have come in between .075 - .125 and VLD's in .243, .308 and .338 have preformed best under .015 off the lands. Partition's have worked well in a variety of rifles between .025 - .050 off the lands. As you have pointed out in this thread seating depth testing is important and well worth the effort.

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    I mentioned in a past posting about the ejection issue when loading to magazine length in the Kimber 280AI. Mine does exactly the same thing. Hopefully it will spit 160 Accubonds as good as Steve's does!

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    Funny, I didn't mention it, or think about it, but my -06 that likes jump is a Montana too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    I dont have anything useful to add except to comment that it is interesting how it strings them vertically, then horizontally like that with the only variation being distance from the lands.
    I attended a long range shooting class that brought in a guest shooter. He mentioned this very same thing and claimed up and down stringing meant he was seated to long and side to side meant he was seated to short. I dismissed it as BS.

    In this test the short and long theory would have proven correct if the best group was in between those seating depths but it wasn't. The best group was out even further. I personally have not witnessed the side to side and up and down dispersion like this before.

    By the way, your ES is quite nice in the small samples. Your ES is within 5% of your velocity, this is darn good quality control.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Seeing those groups tighten up like that definitely gives me hope that I can wrangle in a couple of my rifles that like to string groups. I always assumed stringing groups was simply a side effect of barrel heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Have to admit that I have had a harder than usual time working up a load for my new Kimber 280AI. Started seeing results with a 160 grain Accubond and Reloader 17. Once I got a baseline load I started tuning for seating depth.

    On my Kimber the blind magazine is long enough to reach the lands, but cartridges reloaded that long will not eject without being fired as the tip hangs on the action and jams. This is not an acceptable condition for me, even with the best accuracy, I want to be always able to eject a bad round.

    So most bullets in my experience will have a node of accuracy at .40, .80. or .120 when seating near the lands is not a option.

    So after I found my powder charge I loaded 3 sets at .040 off the lands, .080 off and .120 off. I did not load a set touching the lands because I would not use them even if one hole accurate.

    .040 off the lands is the point in which this rifle will eject an unfired round and was my starting COAL, as can be seen in this photo, .120 off proved to be the best option for this rifle and will be the new load.

    So how do you folks find that seating sweet spot??

    You are one of the most intelligent and systematic hand loaders I've ever know. And your results show it. I trust you're feeling we'll these days and enjoying life in the wild. Enjoy your Kimber.
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    I have found that my loads will start stringing L - R when I unknowingly vary my cheek pressure on the but stock, or place my left ( free ) hand lightly against the forearm or bbl which I do on occasion on heavy thumpers...
    There are also times I will bring a target in to 75 yards so I can pinpoint the scope better on the bullseye... If'n I was getting it to group and function ( eject ) like the bottom right I would be VERY pleased!

    I pulled a reloading snaffoo last night. I had worked up 6 diff loads x 3 rounds ea using 3 diff powders for a 358Win. Got my crimp die in the ups mail and in an excited hurry with arms too full I dropped the ammo box they were in all nice and labeled and it busted open shooting 18 rounds in all directions! Geez!!!! My bullet puller was broke so I weighed ea load and sorted as best as I could, I think I have 4 of 6 loads pretty well ID'd - but what was going to be a fun velocity/grouping test is now for naught. I will chalk it up as a bbl break in day! Good Grief!!!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    I have found that my loads will start stringing L - R when I unknowingly vary my cheek pressure on the but stock, or place my left ( free ) hand lightly against the forearm or bbl which I do on occasion on heavy thumpers...
    There are also times I will bring a target in to 75 yards so I can pinpoint the scope better on the bullseye... If'n I was getting it to group and function ( eject ) like the bottom right I would be VERY pleased!

    I pulled a reloading snaffoo last night. I had worked up 6 diff loads x 3 rounds ea using 3 diff powders for a 358Win. Got my crimp die in the ups mail and in an excited hurry with arms too full I dropped the ammo box they were in all nice and labeled and it busted open shooting 18 rounds in all directions! Geez!!!! My bullet puller was broke so I weighed ea load and sorted as best as I could, I think I have 4 of 6 loads pretty well ID'd - but what was going to be a fun velocity/grouping test is now for naught. I will chalk it up as a bbl break in day! Good Grief!!!
    Mr Smokey,, after having recoil knock a box full of rounds on the ground and mix them all up,, I write charge weights on each case as I put them in my box now and it has saved me more than once. Good luck!!!
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    Howdee Steve! That would help for sure - heck if I had just marked them 1 thru 6 with a sharpie it wouild have saved a lot of grief....
    My 280 really likes 139/140 grain stuff. Knocked down 3 bull elk with them - they are light for that job but you may find that to be a great sheep load... Nosler Partitions
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Mr Smokey,, after having recoil knock a box full of rounds on the ground and mix them all up,, I write charge weights on each case as I put them in my box now and it has saved me more than once. Good luck!!!
    Use a magic marker to mark each batch (black primer, black stripe on brass, circle on brass, etc.), and a piece of paper with the guide keeps me straight.
    Don't want no one to get hurt, but if yore gonna have a wreck, I wanna watch.

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