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Thread: Load work-up scenario

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    Default Load work-up scenario

    I have changed the way I am working up loads a bit. I used to seat the bullet to spec then find the right powder combination that would give good results. I never had to worry much about COL because none of my magazines would hold a bullet too much longer than SAMI anyway. It took a while to find the powder charge. I would load a few at low loads to see how they did then work up to the middle. Then load 3 at .5 grain increments until I reached about the max load. I found some good loads this way but shot a bunch.

    Case prep was a no brainer. I was using virgin rem brass full length sized, trimmed, chamfered de-burred. The next round I will check the head space and make sure the neck is bumped back .002 or so. I don't clean the cased each time unless they are hunting ammo. I clean the primer pockets. I plan to de-burr the flash holes to see what this does, but I have not done this in the past. Re-trim, etc.

    I changes are in finding the COL first now that I have a gun to load with a long box. I am using Barnes 168g TTSX in a 30-06. I loaded 4 each .05, .07, .09 from the lands. I put the same charge of RL 19, 58 g, into each case. This is about mid range according to Barnes's manual. I shot them in strings of 4 at about 5 degrees outside. The .09 from the lands produced a significantly better grouping so I assumed this is the gun's sweet spot for this bullet. Now to find the best powder and primer.

    I plan to start loading at 58g and charge each successive case .2g more than the one before and shoot them sequentially at 200 yards in 3 shot strings, 10 total to 60g max. I read this some place. There is not much difference in a point of impact with small changes in powder charges. The bullet will travel at a speed that sets up good harmonics with the barrel and produce better accuracy in a certain range than charges higher or lower. You will see this by better groups of 3-4 bullets then the groups will open up again. I am very happy with the 58g charge as is, so if I don't get any better results, that is fine. I can't help but to try though. Oh yea, checking all the time for signs of pressure: flattened/cratered/loose primers, sticky bolt, bolt face imprinting, bulging/cracked cases.

    What do you think? Any thing that would improve this? Did I screw something up?

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Daved, looks like you are having fun and that's what it is all about anyway right!
    New Nosler 6 manual rec's backing off .015 to .030 from lands and starting. That's pretty tight in my opinion for a hunting round at .015 but the type of action also comes into play... I established the COL on a new 280 I am working with at 3.40 this weekend and SAMMI says 3.33 max so its pretty darn close to start with at that. Magazine will feed them fine so I will likely start at 3.33 and work away some. I don't have the patience to move at .2g powder changes - I usually jump .5 ( loading 6 ctg's at a time - shoot 2 groupings ) and I don't go to .5 until I fire a few at 2.5 grn intervals ( loading 3 ctg's at a time ) and establish a pattern change then try to fine tune it.
    I usually start with 3 loadings - 1group at max, 1group at -2.5 gr, and 1 group at -5.0
    To me your method looks fine!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    The goal of handloading for me (and I assume most of us) is to find an accurate load for a particular rifle using a specific bullet...and then reproduce that optimal load consistently in the future. I personally like to get the most accuracy I can squeeze out of that rifle/bullet combination, and I will confess that I also usually want to safely push that bullet as fast as the optimal accuracy will hold.

    I think you're on the right track Daved...your description is methodical and systematic, which increases the likelihood of a consistent result. You're starting to manipulate the seating depth to obtain the optimal distance from the lands, which you are finding can make a significant difference in accuracy. Be sure that you have a systematic way that you measure the distance to the lands with a specific bullet...you probably already know that the distance varies from one bullet to another dependent upon the ogive.

    Also, consistent and systematic cleaning of your rifle between strings is a variable to control (if you already don't do so).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    The goal of handloading for me (and I assume most of us) is to find an accurate load for a particular rifle using a specific bullet...and then reproduce that optimal load consistently in the future. I personally like to get the most accuracy I can squeeze out of that rifle/bullet combination, and I will confess that I also usually want to safely push that bullet as fast as the optimal accuracy will hold.

    I think you're on the right track Daved...your description is methodical and systematic, which increases the likelihood of a consistent result. You're starting to manipulate the seating depth to obtain the optimal distance from the lands, which you are finding can make a significant difference in accuracy. Be sure that you have a systematic way that you measure the distance to the lands with a specific bullet...you probably already know that the distance varies from one bullet to another dependent upon the ogive.

    Also, consistent and systematic cleaning of your rifle between strings is a variable to control (if you already don't do so).
    I always scratch my head a bit when trying to decide whether or not to work on one powder chg and play with the seating only first, or
    leave the seating alone until I play with diff powders, or do both at the same time? Anybody prefer one method over another???
    Randy
    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 always scratch my head a bit when trying to decide whether or not to work on one powder chg and play with the seating only first, or
    leave the seating alone until I play with diff powders, or do both at the same time? Anybody prefer one method over another???
    Randy
    Smokey, I do powders first.

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    I don't clean between strings, just let it cool off. I have found my first 2 shots after cleaning are not were they are supposed to be. The next about 15 or 20 seem to be fine. I try to keep one loading session per rifle to about 20 rounds so I don't have to clean it at the range. I used to have a rifle that fouled something awful and got real good at removing copper at the range. That gun sank. It was a PITA to load for, but taught me some good lessons.

    I read about finding the bullet length "Sweet Spot" from the Burger Bullets web sight. They suggested bullet length first and then powder. I would be interested if anybody else does this a better way too.

    I use the Hornady COL gauge with a modified case. It is quick, easy and reproducible. I take the measurement at least three times to make sure I get the right number.

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    [QUOTE=Daved;861714]I don't clean between strings, just let it cool off. I have found my first 2 shots after cleaning are not were they are supposed to be. The next about 15 or 20 seem to be fine. I try to keep one loading session per rifle to about 20 rounds

    Daved, that is just about exactly what I do - especially with big bores I find after 20 or so my group expands from me getting a bit flinchy!
    I usually take 2 or 3 guns to fiddle with while one is cooling...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I use a Stonypoint gauge to check the distance to the lands. It works pretty good once you get the hang of it. I measure five times and then take the average...the five measurements don't vary that much if at all and usually there are two or three out of the five that are the same. I seat the bullet so that it is right at the middle of the interval recommended from the lands. I then use that same seating depth as a constant while I systematicly work through my powder choices and loads. Once the right powder and load is found I then tweak the seating depth to fine tune the accuracy to the best I can get it. This is the point when things get real interesting for me.

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    I found the bullet seating depth first, then work on powders as well.

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    I like your method there David, sounds very good finding the Seating Depth first,

    I have a Magazine Depth that is the restricting factor though, a long ways from the Lands so for several of my longer bullets I just start with the Max magazine length and go from there. I will be interested in doing similar to what you have going to refine that some.

    To change the subject some, what do you folks suggest for the bullets I have that are much shorter than max magazine length and Lands?
    For a .270wsm I am working on several 110gr bullets that are so short they cannot be seated out to the magazine length,....
    So, should I start with powder first, just using the Saami length from the book,? Or, maybe seat out as long as i can with still the width of the bullet inside the neck (.27 inside in this case) which affords a good seat, then play around with the depth on the same grains of powder load, as David is doing?

    At this point I have found the Sierra 90gr HP, Speer 100gr HP Varminter, and all of these 110gr bullets, Hornady's VMax, Barnes' TTSX, and Nosler's Accubond, to be Phenomenally Accurate, all at approx .15 or more off the lands. Really fun to shoot, Screaming fast, and nice groups, so I am up for refining them even more if I can.

    So should I mess with seating depth fine tuning for these? and how to go about it?
    Maybe call the width of bullet in the neck (.27 " short of case length for COAL) as the outside max length then come back a bit at a time?
    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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    Kodiak,
    Did you mean .015 and not .15 as that is a pretty good separation...
    If you seat to bullet width/depth the I would rec paying pretty close attention to your cases length before you load to make sure you don't have some shorties in the mix! Matter of fact as they stretch a bit from shooting you may not want to trim them back if you think you need a little more seating depth...
    My opinion would be if you can get a load shooting well leave it alone and run with it - are these for hunting or plinking???
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Ok, correct me if this is not right but it goes something like this,
    having checked the Lands (several times over to be sure) for a bullet that I can get to the lands, 160gr Partition, the Oal "to the lands" is 3.00"

    I am working on a 110gr VMax and the Oal starting from the book is 2.85, I have worked through the whole process for this short bullet and have .53" groups and something like 3500fps velocity. Good Enough right?

    But I haven't measured "to the lands" for this bullet as it would not make it into the neck deep enough.
    So, that is .15 short of the lands right?
    I realize that is approximate as it is for a 160gr partition measurement to the lands, not the V Max
    (Ogive would be different for sure) probably further to the lands for the VMax

    It is a bit of a mystery to me that Sako (it's an 85 in .270wsm) made that long of a throat but it seems to really like the bullets jumping far to the lands
    Of the three 110gr bullets mentioned earlier, all are seated from 2.70" to 2.85" and all have found less than .70" groups after some work.

    For interest sake, my maximum magazine length is 2.93" so even with the Partition, for hunting I am using bullets .07 off the lands.
    Work well, real accurate.
    So I don't mess with the lands measurements anymore, either go to max magazine length if I can get it or set a depth by the SAAMI standard in the book and develop for accuracy from there.
    I am all about Hunting, no plinking for just accuracy, tho I did mess with single shot to the lands loads for while and actually did not see any noticeable increase in accuracy for that Partition and another 150gr hornady that could reach that far.

    Thanks for the heads up on the case length attention, I get that, good point.
    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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    Kodiak,
    Your measurements look correct and I dbl checked my Nosler 6 book and its .286 so your .285 is on tgt. I didn't realize just how much diff there was between the std and wsm cases - could be a bit critical for seating I see...
    If your getting groups like you describe I would smile and go with it. I have not checked a large variety of guns to see what the spread range is for AOL and you stir my curiosity.
    Sammi on the Rem .280 ctg is 3.33, the new Rem 700 I just got in .280 with the ogive of the bullet I chose to start with is 3.38,so that's .050 and the magazine is very friendly for me to stretch that out if I feel a need to. I started at 3.36 and will play from there...
    Don't forget as you change bullets shape the ogive contact distance will change.
    I thought I had some 270 bullets unopened to send ya but can't fine them - if I do there yours!
    I take 3 fired cases that came from the gun I am working with, barely insert a new bullet and color with a marker, then carefull insert it into the chamber - close the bolt and then extract carefully. The markings on the bullet will allow me to reseat it if need be then I measure OAL and I repeat this 3 x 3 and that's how I establish my OAL measure...
    Randy
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I shot two new loads from two different guns two different ways two days ago.

    One method I outlined earlier in this post was for a 30-06. I found an optimal COL for the 168ttsx by shooting three groups of 4 shots using the same charge. I changed the bullet seating depth by .02 and found .09 inches of the lands produced significantly improved accuracy (about 3/4"). I loaded 12 rounds and varied the charge by .2 grains but left the COL the same this time. There were two sub MOA grouping, shots 3,4,5 in a tight bunch. The others walked around a bit then 8,9,10,11 shots all grouped up again. I am going to load ten bullets in the #10 load and ten bullets at the #4 load and see what the velocities are and the accuracy at 200 yards next time.

    I loaded a .308 to sami specs and varied the powder charge for 12 cases by .02 grains. I had a hard time telling what worked best because the whole group of 12 shots is under 3 inches spread at 100 yards. Shots 9,10,11,12 all were less than one inch from each other, so I assume this will be my load. I will be loading 10 or so at the #11 load and fire them at 200 yards as well to see what happens.

    Next is a 300 win. I am optimizing the COL for this gun like I did the 30-06.

    I have about 25 shots taken for the 30-06 and 15 shots for the .308. Each gun has a load pretty close to dialed in. Close enough for the hunting that the guns will be doing anyway (less than 300 yards).

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    Daved, looks like your having fun and getting good results!
    I took out a new 280 last Sat and run 18 loads thru it using RL19.
    I had 3 loaded at 53.0 gr, 3 @ 55.0 gr, and 3 @ 57.0 gr ( max ) set back .020
    Then duplicated powder drops and backed off to .025
    Best group was 5/8 - hotter groups all outperformed slower ones that spread out to 2.25in
    Got 3 diff powders loaded now - 30 rounds - just need a decent day to play!
    Surprisingly I had a 3 shot factory group of .75 right out the gate!
    Hardest part is waiting till ya can go out and shoot again isn't it!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I took a new 300 win for a test drive today. I did a short little barrel break in, ten rounds with cleaning between. Then, I shot 3 loads with the same powder but varied a 180 etip from .05, .07 and .09 inches from the lands. .09 had a 6 inch spread both the .05 and .07 had about a 3 inch or more spread. All awful really. This test may show that the the optimal seating depth is between .05 and .07 from the lands so I will try powder ranges from at the .07 mark and see what happens. Interesting loading the etips since there is no data. Nosler has you start at the low end for their 180 grain bullets and end at the mid range. That is about 3 grains. I only have 1.5 grains to go until I am about maxed out. I am loading 3 sets of 4 rounds .5 grains apart instead of the usual .2 grain incremental loads. Maybe this whole set up is a stinker and I will have to try again with different powder/primer/bullets. I hope not.

    The 30-06 shot lights out today. Four shots all touching. I either got lucky (likely) or this system has some merit. It remains to be seen with the 300 win.

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    Daved,
    One frustration for me is sometimes I just can't get "the" bullet I want to shoot to do so as accurately as I want!
    Health issues have also played a factor in how steady I am anymore and that really pisses me off trying to figure out is it me or the gun!
    All in all though its fun to play with our toys - it's painful for me to sit at home and watch the wife work so I try to get out and shoot often!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    after a big day at the range, I get shaky too. I have been using a lead sled for all my load work up to keep it more honest. I have seen some out there that really hold the gun good, mine is pretty basic, and beat up. It is not quite the same as holding over a bag or shooting in field positions. Nothing wrong getting a little something to help out if you need it.

    Have fun. Sounds like you are a regular at the range then. That sounds like fun to me.

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    Daved,
    I am lucky as I worked very hard over the years and one dream was to own a farm - finally found one 4 miles from home that I had hunted for 25 years and it came up for sale. I went in with another fellow and I ended up with 80 acres. My part has a 1/2 mile of chip and tar road down the middle that used to lead to an old bridge - makes a great place to set up targets - I have 2 benches and can easily shoot to 250 yards - about 400 if I work at it...
    I have thought about a lead sled, I am dealing with a degenerative muscle disease so I get fatigued very easily - tremors - really sucks - ya don't realize how good life is till you loose your health...
    Here is a spring pic from my clubhouse I built down the old road....Click image for larger version. 

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    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    I am a physical therapist and see that sort of stuff all the time. Ya, get the lead sled. It will make sorting out loads much more pleasant for all sorts of reasons. Get a real good one, why not?

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