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Thread: Process for working up new load

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    Default Process for working up new load

    So Iím a new reloader looking to make some rounds for a .243 Win. With so many variables that can affect accuracy, whatís the most efficient process to finding that perfect round? Hereís what I was thinking, but Iím open to any and all suggestions.



    First finding the COAL my gun likes. Making a batch of bullets with minimum loads, all the same powder, all the same bullet, but adjusting COAL by 0.01 in. Making 6-7 bullets of each combination. Once I find that, then would that be the best COAL for most or all powder/bullet/load combinations?


    Afterward, make rounds with all the same sweet spot COAL, then work my way up with charges until I find the most accurate charge for that roundÖ


    Afterward, start playing with different powders, different bullets, etcÖ


    My manuals donít really discuss this, so Iím curious about what process you all use. Thanks.

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    The conventional wisdom seems to be to find the best powder charge first and then alter the seating depth second. There are also people that start off kissing the lands (if the rifle throating and magazine length allow it) then increase the powder charge until they find accuracy at acceptable velocity but below pressure signs.

    Im not completely sure whether or not a rifle likes the same COAL at all powder charges, might be an interesting experiment. Personally, I wouldn't start at a minimum load unless you find that velocity acceptable. For the calibers I load for, I generally consult a couple of different manuals and start a couple grains below listed maxes.

    one thing I've had pretty good luck with is searching out via Internet or elsewhere, loads that others found accurate with the components I'm planning to use. Then I check multiple sources to make sure the load is safe and use a slightly lower charge as a starting point. When it comes to reloading for common calibers like 243, there are tons of people who have been there already. Just keep in mind your rifle is an individual and may show pressure signs at lower charges than others.

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    First above all else, STUDY the reloading manual for the round by the folks that made the bullet you want to use.

    After you've got all sweaty looking at the loads, go back and read ALL the early chapters about how to reload and work up loads safely.

    There's more mallarky on the web than in a presidential debate, so go to the source written by the professional ballisticians who worked with that particular bullet.

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    Ok, I guess I need to clarify my "Internet" comment. What I said was that I find loads that have worked for other people, and then I LOOK AT RELOADiNG MANUALS to confirm the load is safe. Often they are near max, so you start lower and work up, watching your brass for pressure signs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    There's more mallarky on the web than in a presidential debate, so go to the source written by the professional ballisticians who worked with that particular bullet.
    ....Then cross reference with a few other manuals, AND apply a heavy dose of common sense....because the humans who publish load data aren't infallible either. I've found modern published data with starting loads which were way, WAY too hot in my gun.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Im not completely sure whether or not a rifle likes the same COAL at all powder charges, might be an interesting experiment.
    Yeah, that hasn't been my experience either. (If only it were that simple)! The inescapable reality with rocket science seems to be that there are very few constants; change one input and it effects all the other variables at play.
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    Thanks for the replies. The reason I ask is because right now the factory ammo I have, 100 gr. Corelocks, are measuring right around 2.68 in COAL and the published COAL is 2.71. I think the corelocks are already touching the rifling at that depth in my Tikka T3 because thereís slight marks around the bullet. I didnít want to make bullets at 2.71 (if it is in fact too long for my gun), which may cause excessive pressures, then have to seat the bullet deeper, working on a whole other set of charges. Maybe thatís part of the fun of reloading, but I want to do it safely and efficiently.

    The manuals I have state to start at minimum load, and work up. But they also state COAL varies by gun and can greatly affect accuracy and pressures and to make loads with various jump distances. They donít really specifically how to test the variables together, at least I havenít come across it yet, though Iíll keep reading till my eyes bleed! I came across and old thread the other day, and if I remember correctly BrownBear, you had a ruger #1 .243 that you could load bullets way over the COAL because thatís just how your gun was made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny_reb View Post
    Thanks for the replies. The reason I ask is because right now the factory ammo I have, 100 gr. Corelocks, are measuring right around 2.68 in COAL and the published COAL is 2.71. I think the corelocks are already touching the rifling at that depth in my Tikka T3 because thereís slight marks around the bullet. I didnít want to make bullets at 2.71 (if it is in fact too long for my gun), which may cause excessive pressures, then have to seat the bullet deeper, working on a whole other set of charges. Maybe thatís part of the fun of reloading, but I want to do it safely and efficiently.

    The manuals I have state to start at minimum load, and work up. But they also state COAL varies by gun and can greatly affect accuracy and pressures and to make loads with various jump distances. They donít really specifically how to test the variables together, at least I havenít come across it yet, though Iíll keep reading till my eyes bleed! I came across and old thread the other day, and if I remember correctly BrownBear, you had a ruger #1 .243 that you could load bullets way over the COAL because thatís just how your gun was made.
    Sounds like you have a good grasp on the nature of it. Critical thinking is your friend.

    There can/will be variations in throat length from one chamber to another, and variations of ogive from one bullet make/model to another. With that in mind; the published OAL gives you a reference data point. It tells you what OAL was used to develop the data with that one specific make/model bullet, in that one specific test chamber...
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Here is my approach,

    1st I figure out what bullet I want to load.

    2nd I research data for that cal and bullet in the manual and see what powders the book recommends.

    3rd I measure my magazine length,, because this is often a COAL limiting factor if you want to load them from the magazine and not hand feed.

    4th I measure my max coal to make contact with the lands.

    5th I want to be as close to the lands as possible for almost all bullets except the all cooper bullets like Barnes TSXs and Nosler E tips. These seem to prefer more jump and are prone to pressure so I start these min of .050 off the lands.

    6th I measure a fired brass from the rifle I'm loading for and size the brass to bump the shoulder back .002 and make sure it feeds and the bolt closes.

    7th I trim all brass to spec and run in through my cleaner.

    8th I load up several rounds using the same COAL and starting well below published data and go up .5 grain increments. This is called the ladder method. I then go to the range and using a chrono fire one round at a time at a target using the exact same point of aim. I continue to shoot, walking down marking and numbering each round on the target. This allows the barrel to cool between shots, I record velocity and continue to fire rounds until I get near max. This is indicated by either velocity nearing max published data or I get pressure signs. Stiff bolt, primer indications or blown primers, blown primers being the last thing you want.

    You will see groups form even though the charges are different. The trick is to get a group in the desired velocity you are looking for.

    Using this example you can see a clear group has formed, 2, 3, 4 and then 8 and 10. Since 2,3,and 4 are on the low velocity side I like 8 and 10 better since they fall into the velocity range I'm looking for.



    So based on this info I would load up 5 each of 58.5 grains and 5 each of 59.5 and go shoot for groups. If one of these groups well I load up and go hunt, if not I will try to tune COAL. Most bullets will have a secondary accuracy node.

    In this example you see the same charge with only COAL being adjusted. This method is recommended by Berger as their bullets often shoot best touching the lands, but this is not practical for hunting since they would have to be hand loaded and would not feed from the magazine. Since my developed loads were at max magazine length I seat at .040, ,.080 and then .120 deeper shortening COAL I then load 4 or 5 each of these and shoot for groups.

    As you can see they were far more accurate seated deeper. This is my load for this combo and no further development is needed.



    Please take this with a grain of salt as you should with any forum data. Verify everything!!! You can get seriously hurt or hurt others in this hobby. Using pistol powder is the most common mistake that hurts folks since most rifle cases simply will not hold enough powder to do real damage, but fill a rifle case with pistol powder and you have a hand grenade.

    There is a huge difference in making ammo that just works and making ammo that is ragged hole accurate. That is the fun part of loading, the more precise you want to be determines how to proceed. If you just want pie plate accurate seat deep and use lower end charges. If you really want to get the most out of your rig, you will have to spend some time dialing it in.

    Please this is from memory since I'm away from my data and bench so I may have missed something.

    Good luck, hope this helped.

    Steve
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    Mr. Steve, I've always been impressed with your skill at honing in on a particular accuracy node. By comparison, I would have had difficulty seeing #'s 8 and 10 as groupings, what with #9 being out and breaking the consecutiveness; that would have been a head scratcher for me... I would have focused on the consecutive #'s 2,3 and 4 and probably been happy.

    Nicely done. I appreciate the educational post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Mr. Steve, I've always been impressed with your skill at honing in on a particular accuracy node. By comparison, I would have had difficulty seeing #'s 8 and 10 as groupings, what with #9 being out; that would have been a head scratcher for me... I would have focused on #'s 2,3 and 4 and probably been happy.

    Nicely done. I appreciate the educational post.
    Unless that gun is locked in a vice with a machine squeezing the trigger, I really don't think you can ever really rule out the human error factor. No matter how "solid" a person feels he was....
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Unless that gun is locked in a vice with a machine squeezing the trigger, I really don't think you can ever really rule out the human error factor. No matter how "solid" a person feels he was....
    Absolutely. And precisely to my point. With my own ladder testing it's a significant factor in my ability, or more accurately, a usual lack thereof, to pick useful data and draw accurate conclusions from most of the tests I've shot. Given my own known human variable input to the patterning, I'm usually too skeptical of the results to see conclusiveness, unless it's something glaringly obvious, such as Steve's #'s 2,3,4. Such a case as that I would view as an impressive consecutive grouping, in spite of my invariably flawed inputs, thus not to be ignored. But lacking such an 'in your face' grouping as 2,3,4, I would have been challenged to see meaningful patterning. Unless I knew I had pulled #9 and called it, I likely wouldn't have seen 8 and 10 as something worth pursuing.
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    Great info Stid. That picture showing the COAL target is really interesting, thatís a pretty substantial difference in accuracy. I am reloading barnes tsx so Iíll be cautious about them touching the lands.

    I appreciate the outline, very helpful. If I wanted pie plate accuracy, Iíd keep shooting factory core loks. I know my Tikka can be more accurate so I want that sucker driving tacks if possible! Now the hardest thing will be waiting for guys to cease fire at the Cushman range between each of my shots!

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Absolutely. And precisely to my point. With my own ladder testing it's a significant factor in my ability, or more accurately, a usual lack thereof, to pick useful data and draw accurate conclusions from most of the tests I've shot. Given my own known human variable input to the patterning, I'm usually too skeptical of the results to see conclusiveness, unless it's something glaringly obvious, such as Steve's #'s 2,3,4. Such a case as that I would view as an impressive consecutive grouping, in spite of my invariably flawed inputs, thus not to be ignored. But lacking such an 'in your face' grouping as 2,3,4, I would have been challenged to see meaningful patterning. Unless I knew I had pulled #9 and called it, I likely wouldn't have seen 8 and 10 as something worth pursuing.
    Also being only one shot per load, even though they grouped, doesn't seems too conclusive. I think choosing a round based on the preferred velocity, then shooting more rounds with those loads, would be preferred. Just because #9 didn't group with the others doesn't mean it can't be the most accurate charge, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny_reb View Post
    Great info Stid. That picture showing the COAL target is really interesting, thatís a pretty substantial difference in accuracy. I am reloading barnes tsx so Iíll be cautious about them touching the lands.

    I appreciate the outline, very helpful. If I wanted pie plate accuracy, Iíd keep shooting factory core loks. I know my Tikka can be more accurate so I want that sucker driving tacks if possible! Now the hardest thing will be waiting for guys to cease fire at the Cushman range between each of my shots!
    Okay,, this info helps. I have loaded and shot boxes of TSXs, and I'm also familiar with Tikkas. Tikka's have a very deep throat, on every one I loaded for it was not possible to reach the lands and still have them fit the magazine.

    Almost without fail, if you seat TSXs into the case until the last groove disappears into the case, this is a great place to start and they almost always shoot well. TSXs and E tips by nosler like lots of jump. This is great because they fit almost all rifle magazines.

    This is from Barnes web site.....

    3. Where do I seat the Triple-Shock, Tipped TSX and MRX bullets?
    Answer. We recommend seating these bullets .050″ off the lands {rifling} of your rifle. This length can be determined by using a ďStoney Point GaugeĒ or other methods. You do not have to seat the bullet at, or on one of the cannular rings.


    http://www.barnesbullets.com/load-data/

    So load some like that and solve for your powder. 243 is one of the few rounds I have not loaded for, but I would try Reloader 17. I have had awesome results using this in serval calibers I load for and get above average accuracy and velocity. There is published data for it as well and I have found it to be very temperature stable.

    http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...5&cartridge=51

    http://www.barnesbullets.com/files/2...sterV4BRM5.pdf

    Good luck and be safe, if you are near Fairbanks I would be happy to offer help some time.

    Steve
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Absolutely. And precisely to my point. With my own ladder testing it's a significant factor in my ability, or more accurately, a usual lack thereof, to pick useful data and draw accurate conclusions from most of the tests I've shot. Given my own known human variable input to the patterning, I'm usually too skeptical of the results to see conclusiveness, unless it's something glaringly obvious, such as Steve's #'s 2,3,4. Such a case as that I would view as an impressive consecutive grouping, in spite of my invariably flawed inputs, thus not to be ignored. But lacking such an 'in your face' grouping as 2,3,4, I would have been challenged to see meaningful patterning. Unless I knew I had pulled #9 and called it, I likely wouldn't have seen 8 and 10 as something worth pursuing.
    Agreed. Of course I can't speak for others' accuracy, but I personally don't understand how guys can try and find out what a new load is doing when they are only using a one point rest? If I go to the range to see if I'm still on with an established load, then a one point rest would be fine. But if I'm trying to see what a new round is doing I find myself almost lying on the rifle to make it as stable as possible. In my years I've done a fair amount of shooting and can achieve 3/4- 1" moa pretty regularly. BUT.... not very often with a one point rest. I pretty much need the forearm resting as well as near the end of the stock where its touching my shoulder. As far as MY shooting goes, a one point rest to try and test a new round would pretty much be a waste of time. Unless of course, like you said, positive results are pretty obvious from the get go. But that would only be on a really good day to say the least.

    I have to ask Steve how much time you are taking between shooting those 11 rounds? Have you ever noted any consistencies between a cold, cool, warm, hot, barrel? Or after the first few rounds do you try and take a certain amount of time between shots? I've never gone that far so am just curious if you do?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny_reb View Post
    Also being only one shot per load, even though they grouped, doesn't seems too conclusive.
    Google "Audette ladder test" for more information on this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Agreed. Of course I can't speak for others' accuracy, but I personally don't understand how guys can try and find out what a new load is doing when they are only using a one point rest? If I go to the range to see if I'm still on with an established load, then a one point rest would be fine. But if I'm trying to see what a new round is doing I find myself almost lying on the rifle to make it as stable as possible. In my years I've done a fair amount of shooting and can achieve 3/4- 1" moa pretty regularly. BUT.... not very often with a one point rest. I pretty much need the forearm resting as well as near the end of the stock where its touching my shoulder. As far as MY shooting goes, a one point rest to try and test a new round would pretty much be a waste of time. Unless of course, like you said, positive results are pretty obvious from the get go. But that would only be on a really good day to say the least.

    I have to ask Steve how much time you are taking between shooting those 11 rounds? Have you ever noted any consistencies between a cold, cool, warm, hot, barrel? Or after the first few rounds do you try and take a certain amount of time between shots? I've never gone that far so am just curious if you do?

    I take alot of time,, I walk down 100 yards and mark each round. So it takes quite a while, I also only do this in the early morning and when ever possible do my load development in early spring in Late Feb or March when temps are similar to hunting season.

    I also rest a lead sled for all load work, but do not add weight. Some have had issues with stock damage using a LS, but I have not and I shoot hundreds of rounds each spring. But, like I said I use the sled empty.

    IMHO a good trigger is about as important as the guy or gal pulling on it and is often the cause of a poor shooting rig... But that is another thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Okay,, this info helps. I have loaded and shot boxes of TSXs, and I'm also familiar with Tikkas. Tikka's have a very deep throat, on every one I loaded for it was not possible to reach the lands and still have them fit the magazine.

    Almost without fail, if you seat TSXs into the case until the last groove disappears into the case, this is a great place to start and they almost always shoot well. TSXs and E tips by nosler like lots of jump. This is great because they fit almost all rifle magazines.

    This is from Barnes web site.....

    3. Where do I seat the Triple-Shock, Tipped TSX and MRX bullets?
    Answer. We recommend seating these bullets .050″ off the lands {rifling} of your rifle. This length can be determined by using a ďStoney Point GaugeĒ or other methods. You do not have to seat the bullet at, or on one of the cannular rings.


    http://www.barnesbullets.com/load-data/

    So load some like that and solve for your powder. 243 is one of the few rounds I have not loaded for, but I would try Reloader 17. I have had awesome results using this in serval calibers I load for and get above average accuracy and velocity. There is published data for it as well and I have found it to be very temperature stable.

    http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...5&cartridge=51

    http://www.barnesbullets.com/files/2...sterV4BRM5.pdf

    Good luck and be safe, if you are near Fairbanks I would be happy to offer help some time.

    Steve
    That's great info, I have an OAL gauge ordered. That should answer a lot of questions. I have IMR 4831 because it was one of the few listed in the barnes manual and also available at sportsmans. I also have RL-15 but I'll look into RL-17.

    Thanks for the offer to help, I am in Fairbanks and may take you up on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Google "Audette ladder test" for more information on this.
    Ahhh....makes a lot more sense now, thanks!

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    One thing that is pretty important with the ladder test is distance. The farther you can place the target the easier it is to read the results. I usually will not shoot any closer than 400 yards, but usually try for 5-600yds. This is also somewhat dependent on the rifle.

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