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Thread: The Handloaders Log....

  1. #1
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    Default The Handloaders Log....

    Many today are handloaders. Some are just reloaders, they reload the fired brass from their own rifles and handguns then shoot it again and again. The folks usually don't consider their handloads to be the best ammo available for various reasons and usually use factory loaded ammo when hunting or for serious competition.

    A true handloader hand crafts ammo to their individual gun and generally consider it to be the very best available, for their guns anyway. Usually it is just that. Handloaded ammo can be highest quality when loaded with reasonable care and taylored to an individual gun, and will likely be the best performer when correct components are selected.

    Part of this process is good record keeping. We must know what works and how well it works. This is true not only for accuracy but field performance of various bullet styles and other factors such as fitting the magazine and ease of cycling in the guns action are also important.
    Record keeping should include the guns description with barrel length and possibly scope or type of sights and the sight setting for this load. Such as 3 clicks up for 200 yard zero from a standard sight setting or setting for another load.

    I keep this data on the heading of a one page form and on this form I have space for ten different loads. The header of the page contains the bullet weight and type and the case brand, trim length, times fired. The load columns have powder type and charge weight as well as a place for primer, velocity, extreme spread and standard deviation of velocity.

    All loads on this sheet will be with the same brass and bullet. With this bullet I will list the contact seating depth (where the bullet meets the rifling) and also the seating depth of these loads. Generally the same primer will be used and the same powder is usually used for five different charge weights. Should the primer be changed from say, Federal-215 magnum rifle primer to CCI-250 magnum large rifle, the second five loads will be duplicate powder charges of the first five with only the primer changed. This does two things for me. Changes of components are held to a minimum and when changes are made there is adequate testing to verify results. Each different load will be loaded in quantities of five for the initial testing. Putting ten loads on one sheet and a total of fifty rounds will use up a box of rifle bullets quickly.

    I usually load three different calibers to take to the range, three different guns with at least five different loads (25 rounds) for each gun. The makes for shooting five through the chronograph with one gun then allows for ample cooling time between shoots as I go to the next gun.

    After these shooting sessions I will find the most stable load, the one with the lowest SD and velocity range I want (hunting loads get hunting bullets and hunting velocity). Then I will test for accuracy and if need be vary the seating depth of the one selected bullet to better grouping. Here again accuracy commensurate with the purpose of the cartridge/load/animal. Meaning I don't need .5 MOA from a 416 Remington for buffalo or brown bear hunting. Likely 2 MOA would do the job at 80 yards. In this situation reliable feeding and positive ignition with the best possible terminal performance of the bullet are the more important criteria.

    My handloaders log tells the story. All the load data. The actual velocity from my rifle. The good loads and the bad, for what ever reason. For future reference, I will know the best load with any given bullet, the correct seating depth for that bullet as well as the powder/charge weight/ primer, to recreate that particular load for my rifle. A copy of my log will be posted as soon as I find how to run the scanner without catching the cat on fire this time. What a smell!!
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  2. #2

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    Well said, Murphy!!

    My logs going back to 1963 are just about priceless. There are loads in there for calibers and guns that I don't even remember owning till I turn a page and memory gets jogged.

    One shortcoming I have--- Keeping my log up to date. Once you have a load entered, it's awfully easy to simply turn a page to retrieve the recipe, then not enter the latest. I keep writing data and such on ammo boxes, rather than logging in the batch. That only becomes an issue if I'm keeping track of reloading cycles on batches of cases. As I should.

    An addition to my log that I don't see mentioned in yours- It's kinda fun to cut out best groups and tape them to the pages along with the data. When your shooting goes south on you, it's both fun and reassuring to go back and look at some good groups you shot once upon a time.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    I have found for me the solution is the small pocket note book. I keep one in each rifle case and rifle. I load at the range so I only load in five shot groups. The information I keep is first powder type, clicks on the powder measure Culver type Harrell's, bullet type and seating depth from the ogive. Next I list the group size with each change from group size.

    Using the same brass for each powder and bullet, neck sizeing and shoulder bump back. I only use two brands of primers so it's easy to keep track of which one is used.

    Conditions. One of the most important of all the data I keep. Temperature and humidity. wind speed and direction. Light conditions.

    I use wind flags, so any switch is noted and won't put me off. I have found the Kestrel 4500 to work for me, and to be just as important as any other part of my testing gear.

    The pocket note books has really worked best for me, but that's just me. The big advantage is to keep tract of the number of round through that particular barrel. When you bore scope the barrel you can spot trouble and not wonder where it came from. Comes from having a poor memory.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Default The Handloaders Log...

    Hello, would you recommend purchasing a premade log book or coming up with something on your own. Keep in mind that I have reloaded but it has been years and then I only did it for my gun and not looking for the best just trying to save money.

  5. #5

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    For years I kept a paper log of my loads, but a few years ago I began to keep the information electronically.

    While at the range I make a few notes on the targets, which I keep in file folders sorted by gun.

    I enter the more detailed information in a spreadsheet, usually the same day as the loads were tried, and no later than the next day. The data is backed up in three places in case of a crash.

    With the spreadsheet I can sort the information by any of the criteria listed, and it's easy to share with my shooting buddies.

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    Member Fiddleback's Avatar
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    I started hand loading in 79 but didn't really keep track of things until 85. That was the year I discovered the importance of having a good history and had none to rely on. Its a real drag trying to duplicate that "sweet" load when you didn't write down all the vitals. I track all my loads on the computer now, but still maintain a complete hard copy at my bench. I log everything immediately after I'm finished loading and update the computer every month or so. I keep a dedicated log for each individual gun too...this was necessary because Wifey has quite a few of her own guns in similar calibers.

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    Default I was just gonna ask this....

    Another from August of 2008, that I was just thinking of asking the "sperienc'd guys"...

    In addition, I ran into a pretty good looking handloading Log somewhere down south, Cabellas or something and didn't get it for thinking I can do all that myself, regret it a bit now,

    any advice for really good ones you've seen or do you guys just make your own?

    I'm only loading for one rifle right now and it is a "Crazy Amount of Info" to keep organized, I'm "writing down Everything" tho
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabear99687 View Post
    Hello, would you recommend purchasing a premade log book or coming up with something on your own. Keep in mind that I have reloaded but it has been years and then I only did it for my gun and not looking for the best just trying to save money.
    MTM makes a nice "log" book. I used them on and off over the years. But lately I am beginning to think the best record book is just to buy one of those hard paper lined notebooks for each caliber/rifle. They cost about $2 each and then you can just enter a short paragraph about what you loaded, the results, etc.

    It is amazing what good records can do for you and equally important to read them before going to the range. For example, three rifles I've been working with this past month have unique bench requirements. Two of them shoot their best if they are held with minimum contact while the third shoots best if I hold it to the bags by putting pressure on the scope to hold it to the bags/rest.
    Tennessee

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have been trying to figure out a good system for my reloading as well. I also like taking notes on the target and taking a photo of it. Once at home I keep them all in rifle specific folders and makes notes of the photos and print them out to keep in my logbook.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I would rather eat a notebook than write load data in one..... but thats mostly cause my handwriting sucks.

    I record everything on an Excell Spreadsheet. then you can sort your data by whatever criteria you want, graph stuff out, etc. got a copy on a thumb drive at work so I can reference stuff..... you know.... at lunch time.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    I would rather eat a notebook than write load data in one..... but thats mostly cause my handwriting sucks.

    I record everything on an Excell Spreadsheet. then you can sort your data by whatever criteria you want, graph stuff out, etc. got a copy on a thumb drive at work so I can reference stuff..... you know.... at lunch time.
    Are you willing to share???

    If so, would you e-mail me a copy to use as a template???
    stid2677@aol.com

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Stid,

    check your e-mail
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    I purchased this software about a year ago and love it. Very user friendly and keeps all the data that's been discussed at your finger tips. The feature to analyze targets is great and it saves your targets in the program linked to the specific load that created them. It also has interior and exterior ballistics calculators.

    http://shootingsoftware.com/ballistics.htm

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Stid,

    check your e-mail

    Got it,,You Rock..

    Thanks so much.

    Steve

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    Here is my method of recording data. I saw this in a book and thought I would give it a try. The nice thing is that when components are the same a dido mark or arrow can be used to save rewriting the same thing over.

    I directly copied the original format I found. However, I will make a few changes on the next batch of copy's. I will use 8.5" by 14" paper next time to give a little more room for everything. I will also include a location for overall length, and a loads comment area to be separate from the shooting comments area. Also a special column for velocity and ES if measured. On the whole though this general setup has worked well for me. It is very nice when working up loads to just write the differing powder charge and use arrows of ditto marks to show the other data is the same as above.



    The loads are then labeled with powder charge and bullet weight and date loaded so I can easily go back and look in the log for more details on the load.

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    I'm RETIRED. I don't have a lot of time to log all that stuff.

    I keep minimum records. Just the important stuff, which works fine for me, if I can find them.

    Of course, all handloads are clearly and accurately labeled, MOSTLY.

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