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Thread: Precision Reloading

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    Default Precision Reloading

    I know this may seem to be a generic question with many possibilities depending on the rifle utilized, however before I spend a lot of money I would like to hear from some experts. How much accuracy can be gained from precision seating dies and the like? Do they make enough of a difference to an accuracy freak such as myself to make it worth the greenbacks?

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    Very good ammo can be loaded with conventional dies. Precision dies make it a little easier. If you are a bench rest shooter and a tenth of an inch at 100 means the difference between winning and losing a match they might be worth it. But there's so much more involved in bench shooting that really makes a difference that I consider the dies to be a minor thing. YMMV But I'm not an accuracy freak so it's kind of up to you. It's a hard question to answer as there is so much involved in shooting tiny groups that any one part may not make much difference. With a hunting rifle, I wouldn't bother.

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    The better the equipment and components, the better the loads. I would suggest Redding, Norma, Lapua, Sierra, Berger, etc

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    I agree with what has been posted, but there is a point where the weak link in equipment is not the ammo. That is to say if you are a 2 MOA shooter, having a rifle that will shoot .25 MOA makes no difference. If you have a rifle that is a 1 MOA rifle, then having ammo that will produce .25 MOA groups will not matter. There is more to producing BR accuracy than making BR ammo. It won't hurt to use the very best equipment, but I doubt you'll recognize much improvement in most factory rifles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    I agree with what has been posted, but there is a point where the weak link in equipment is not the ammo. That is to say if you are a 2 MOA shooter, having a rifle that will shoot .25 MOA makes no difference. If you have a rifle that is a 1 MOA rifle, then having ammo that will produce .25 MOA groups will not matter. There is more to producing BR accuracy than making BR ammo. It won't hurt to use the very best equipment, but I doubt you'll recognize much improvement in most factory rifles.
    Yeah, that's one way of puttin it.
    I was thinking, the rifle has more to do with accuracy than handloads, but then there is the Human Factor to consider too.

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    If you're an accuracy freak, then a good competiton seating die and other quality equipment and components will be worth what you can afford to pay. The reason to use a competiton seating die is to reduce runout and they usually accomplish that. But to know for sure you need a runout guage to measure it.

    Here's one another member showed me in another thread..

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=220200

    Using bushing sizing dies can also help reduce runout in necks and give consistant neck tension if you trim and turn your necks.

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    In my limited experience, I can say that reloading makes a huge difference. Just using RCBS dies, "normal" reloading equipment, experimenting with some different powders/loads and a few different bullet designs, I was able to make a 300 Weatherby Vanguard shoot 1/2" groups. It was minute of apple when I got it. Shot $200 worth of various ammo and nothing would do better than 1.5". Worked up a recipe with a 168 gr Amax that showed promise. Then did 4 subsequent variants that fluctuated in powder volume by 0.5-1 grains each. Found one of these four that consistently shot near 1/2". I was going to sell this gun till my buddy convinced me to buy some dies and work up a load. He convinced me to say the very least. Competition seating dies? Why not. But for me, it was the time and money invested in trying various combinations of powder, powder volume, and projectiles that made the difference. We turned the necks and weighed cases to ensure conformity. Anything that weighed out of a range, we tossed. It was surprising to me how much they varied. Only brand new Norma brass was used. Got 100, and threw away about 20 of them. OAL was meticulously measured. Things like that, but like I said, we used standard RCBS dies. We did experiment with bullet seating depth a bit, but mostly it was trying different components to find out what this particular barrel harmonic liked that made the biggest difference.


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    Yeah, I think usually the ammo is not the weak link, and as I said before, very good ammo can be loaded with conventional dies with very small runout numbers with proper case prep and careful loading proceedures. Are precision seating dies worth the money? That depends on how good a shot you are, what your rifle scope combo is capable of, what your shooting at and from what position (bench or field) and your income (how much is disposable). If you have $10,000 or more a year to spend on toys then get the best dies you can find. Sinclair maybe. Also a Walnut Hill press from Corbin is supposed to be a very accurate press. This kind of equiptment does little for hunting rifles though as it's too hard to carry a bench to shoot from while hunting. A .1 or .2 MOA better group just isn't going to matter in the field.

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    There are way to many variables to give you a good answer to your question. Some things to consider are:
    a. The rifle has to be capable of shooting sub MOA in the first place and most off the shelf medium to large bore rifles are not.
    b. If the rifle is capable, then the shooter must be able to shoot the rifle off the bench well enough to take advantage of the accuracy potential and be able to repeat it when asked to. Shooting a hunting rifle from the bench takes serious concentration and very good equipment. Even with a great rifle, precision ammo, and a good front and rear rest I am sure I can not take advantage of a rifle/ammo inherent's accuracy. 22's and light varmit calibers are easy to shoot from the bench and the results are repeatable. Medium to large hunting rifle calibers are a totally new game.

    If you can say that your rifle can meet the requirement to shoot sub MOA and that you are a consistent experienced benchrest shooter then it may be possible precision seating dies may help you shave a tiny amount off your group sizes. Then again, unless your regular dies were giving you substandard ammo, the precision dies may be just a waste of money.

    Everyone likes an accurate rifle but often times it can be a frustrating experience trying to find that secret combination. Punching paper can be fun looking for ways to shave 1/4 inch off your groups, but it isnt much help while you are hunting and shooting from field positions. For example, let's say your rifle and you can shoot 3 shot groups 2 inches at 100 yards on a regular basis. This translates to a 10 inch group at 500 yards. Which means you can shoot within 5 inches of where you aimed when the rifle was fired. On big game in Alaska how much more accuracy do you need?

    Couple of my most recent rifles that I've been working on will even change point of impact if they are shot off hand or from a sitting position compared to shooting off the bench.

    Sorry for getting long winded here. To summarize, I think the quality of ammo is important but the rifle its self and the shooter are even more important. But you need all three to get consistently good results.
    Tennessee

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    A .1 or .2 MOA better group just isn't going to matter in the field.

    Especially if someone is using a scope with 1/4 MOA adjustment clicks (as most do).
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11

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    Look at from this angle on brenchrest dies for reloading of your hunting rifle ammo .. It going take time and effort to build the perfect round for your hunting rifle..but once that is done you will know what type of rifle accuracy that you rifle is capable of doing in a long range shot on a big game animal.. So yes they are worth it to me to be able to make a round that has been design from start to finish to wing out the maxuim accuracy out of the rifle that i use for hunting..

    I also do the indoor 10 meter international air rifle brenchrest shooting program ..I go so far is to wieght each pellet i use in the match. and put them in small tubs to keep them in sorted wieght piles so i know which ones are the correct wieght and sized for the walther air rifle i use .. But that me for i will allways strive for the best accuracy i can get out of any weapon i own .. ..

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    Thanks for the information thus far. I will provide a little more detail in hopes that it will provide a better picture for those of you who are offering advice.

    I am not a competition shooter. Just Joe Average who is looking to wring every bit of accuracy from the Savage 10FCP I purchased a couple weeks ago. I have only had a couple range sessions with the gun to the tune of 70 rounds, 20 of which were cheap factory ammo during the break in. I have no intent of carrying the rifle into the field. This is just an exercise to see how tight the rifle and I can get.

    My best three shot group thus far has been .309 with most groups ranging around .500 or so. Excellent accuracy by my standards and I am very happy with the rifle. Obviously I have a lot of load development left to do. Thus my original question if purchasing a set of competition dies could help tighten my groups.

    Thanks again for the responses.

    Shane

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    What caliber is the rifle? What scope and mounts is on it? And finally what are you using for components and reloading equipment?
    Tennessee

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    The biggest improvement in rifle accuracy inn the last years has come from shooters relies on ways to read conditions. Knowing wind speed and direction has given the smallest groups, not the equipment the shooters use. The biggest improvement in groups getting smaller as far as equipment s the use of higher magnification scopes and the scopes that have no erector tube movement. The and power scopes are your best bet. The March scopes being the best on the market. The real benefit will come from wind flags and knowing how to read them. You have to know how to read the conditions before you pull the trigger. For the guy that has every thing done to the nth degree, he worries about dies and a press, and a run-out gage to see how straight his ammo is. Do not take short cuts. Buy good wind flag before you do anything else and learn how to use them. This is the biggest secret of shooting small groups. When someone tells me how small of groups their rifle is capable of, I always ask about their flags. If they tell me they don't use any flags, I always hope they want to put money on their rifles against mine. I have made a lot of money this way for the past years.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Ok, simple answer is check runout on your ammo. If it's over .002, then competion dies should do something for you. If your ammo is already under .001, you are probably not going to gain much if any.

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    The gun is a .308. It currently has Talley rings and a Leupold VX-2 6-18 on it because that is what I had already. I am going to order a Leupold Mark 4 or Night Force NXS for it this week and mount it on Badger Ordinance rail and rings.

    For reloading equipment I am using a RCBS Rockchucker press and Reeding standard .308 dies.

    This is my first .308 so I bought a bag of Winchester brass (which was all Sportman's had when I bought the rifle), CCI BR Primers, Speer 168gr BTHP Match, and IMR powder (the number of which I can't recall at the moment).

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    Ditch the WW brass and get some Lapua, pick up some different powders like Varget, the new IMR 8208, maybe some from the Vihtavuori line, and Berger bullets matched to your rifles rate of twist and have some fun!

    I recently purchased a Savage in 6mm Norma BR with the same quest as you, accuracy on paper and no other reason. But alas mine still sits in the safe waiting for the scope to be mounted to it and now its almost summer time!
    Tennessee

  18. #18

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    also what Big AL said.. is to been able to read the wind and conditions when at the range ..also try a couple of wind flags ..just take a rod about 4 ft high and a piece of cloth to act as a wind flag it does not have to be fancy just able to tell you where the wind is comeing from

    take those about 40 yards and 80 yards down range ..also remember that the winds in one area is not going to be like another part of the range so stick out diff wind flags at diff prostions on the range to help you read the wind ..

  19. #19

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    if you really want to get stange like a top brenchrest shooters do ..they wiegh each unit from the shell caseing to the powder to the primer and the bullet to make up there shooting rounds..

    i do that when it comes to hand crafting the match grade round for my hunting rifle..

    also remember weather plays a big part in the way a round acts for winter times shooting is diff from a hot summer day or wet and rainly and windy conditions on a hunt also can effect the way a rifle round will shot ..

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