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Audette ladder test questions

 
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  #1  
Old 05-26-2009, 12:43 AM
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Audette ladder test questions

I have been playing about with ladder testing and have a number of questions.

1. What distance is the most popular distance to shoot a ladder test?
200yds, 300 yds, 500 yrds, 1000 yds?

2. Single shots of a particular powder charge or multiple?

3. Charge increment?

4. With a new, unfired rifle how many shots would you run through it prior to doing a ladder test?
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2009, 08:31 AM
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Re: Audette ladder test questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topshot View Post
I have been playing about with ladder testing and have a number of questions.

1. What distance is the most popular distance to shoot a ladder test?
200yds, 300 yds, 500 yrds, 1000 yds? 300+ depending upon the rifle

2. Single shots of a particular powder charge or multiple? Single. Multiples will drive ya nutz.

3. Charge increment? .3 for 60gr +/- loads or less. .5 or 1 for 90 gr and above. And 1 grain for the ones ya shovel powder into. Actually this will depend on you and the rifle. Keep your eye on the sticky bolt symptoms.

4. With a new, unfired rifle how many shots would you run through it prior to doing a ladder test? For factory rifles I usually run an abbreviated Tubbs Final Finish the start the ladder.

For custom cartridges I have learned to use the recommended load of the designer, skip the ladder/OCW stuff and all shots to set zero and work up the drop chart.

For custom barrels and standard cartridges I start off with the ladder.
That's what I do. Hope it helps.
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  #3  
Old 05-26-2009, 08:41 AM
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Re: Audette ladder test questions

I have approached this several ways and I am by no means an expert.

It depends.....

If I'm shooting a new barrel, I'll use my load development to break it in. I might load 3 shots ea, beginning with the starting load and clean after each shot that probably wont give me a good feel for the accuracy of that charge but it might get me a rough idea for accuarcy and velocity and I am getting my barrel broke in. I have never to date settled on a starting load as the pet load for that rifle and cartridge. By the time I get to near max loads, my barrel may be broke in and i can start shooting for groups 3 or more at a time to find a good charge, then fool around with the seating depth.

Another method I have used is to load up 4 rounds for each increment and shoot one at a time while climbing the ladder until I find my max. Then, beginning with the max load, I'll shoot the other three shots (4 shot groups) and work back down looking for the best

I'll usually start at 1 gr increments at the lower charges then switch to .5 gr increments when I think I am with in 2 or 3 grains of max.

Bottom line is I usually come up with a plan to fit what I want to accomplish in the best and most efficient way I can, especially if resources like bullets, powder and primers are slim.

And I always do my load development at 100 yds... not sure if that's the best way, but it's easier to see the bullet holes and less enviromental factors affecting the groups.

That's just me.

Regards,

-MR

Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 05-26-2009 at 08:45 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-26-2009, 09:24 AM
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Re: Audette ladder test questions

300-400 Yds, no further.

No wind condition in the evening and mornings is critical.

one shot at powder increments already stated. I start VLDs about .020 into lands and non VLDs about .020 off the lands.

Chrono is essential! You will have not only POI groupings but MV groupings. it will be easy to see where the MV stops jumping and groups and then starts jumping again. They normally coincide with the POI groupings.

I start final load development in the middle of the nodes with tweaking powder and then seating in 3 shot groups. May vary neck tension if bushing die.

Wildcats- drop 10% from recommended load and work ladder as normal. Chambers and individual barrel differences can bite you unless you do that.

IMO rifles should be broken in before testing.

BH
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:32 AM
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Re: Audette ladder test questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by BountyHunter View Post
300-400 Yds, no further.

No wind condition in the evening and mornings is critical.

one shot at powder increments already stated. I start VLDs about .020 into lands and non VLDs about .020 off the lands.

Chrono is essential! You will have not only POI groupings but MV groupings. it will be easy to see where the MV stops jumping and groups and then starts jumping again. They normally coincide with the POI groupings.

I start final load development in the middle of the nodes with tweaking powder and then seating in 3 shot groups. May vary neck tension if bushing die.

Wildcats- drop 10% from recommended load and work ladder as normal. Chambers and individual barrel differences can bite you unless you do that.

IMO rifles should be broken in before testing.

BH
BH, you and I are almost identical in our method. I use 200yds though and rely on the velocity as much as the impact points. I'll hang 6-9 targets so I don't need to continually go downrange. I'll then graph the vertical distances in Excel for each shot (I ignore horizontal, because wind is always an issue for me). I'll also graph the MV for each load.

I'll calculate the additive change in vertical displacement (in MOA) and MV difference across each successive 3 shot's which will show me nodes in both MV and vertical impact points. For example, I'll take the vertical difference between shots #3,#4 and shots #4,#5, add those differences together and use that as my shot #4 number. Here is a picture of an excel spreadsheet I did a couple years ago.




AJ
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  #6  
Old 05-28-2009, 06:01 PM
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Re: Audette ladder test questions

I have a question for those using the ladder method for load development. I am not trying to pick any type of a fight, I just want your experience because I do not use this method any longer for one specific reason and I will expound on that in a bit.

How many of you have performed a ladder test on a certain day and then repeated that same ladder test several times on different days?

The reason I ask is because I did try ladder testing several of my rifles several years ago. Before that I always just shot groups at long range to find the best loads for my rifles. I figured with all the buzz about ladder testing I would try it.

One was with a 257 STW. Ran through the test pretty much identically as discribed above and came up with what I felt was a great load.

I used that load for a bit practicing at long range and I was never really happy with the consistancy, it was good but nothing special. So, I went back to my old method of shooting groups at long range and before long, I had several loads that were holding 1/2 moa or less at 500 yards. The load from the ladder test was averaging around 3/4 moa, good but nothing special and not what the rifle could do.

This made me curious. The loads I was getting the best accuracy and consistancy with were not the loads that the ladder test showed would be the best choices....... This just confused me. I wanted to give the Ladder test a good honest go so I did it again.

If I looked at the two ladder tests side by side you would have never known they were out of the same rifle......

Cleaned the rifle thinking that may have been the problem and tried it again, same results, totally different then the other two tests.....

Now this was a sporter weight rifle with a light contour 30" barrel. I was shooting the 130 gr Bonded Core HP Wildcat bullet. Ladder test #1 said that the best load would produce around 3380 fps. Test #2 showed that it looked like around 3430 fps was best. Load #3s best results looked to be around the 3350 fps range....... This totally blew me away and that was the last time I used the Ladder test.

I went back, loaded up some ammo until the cases started to show very slight pressure signs and then backed off two full grains. Velocity average was 3480 fps and three shot groups at 500 yards averaged Just under 2" at 500 yards center to center for five three shot groups.

Tested on different days, if conditions were good, that load would always produce sub 1/2 moa groups at 500 yards while I could not get that consistancy with the Ladder test loads.

So, my question has always been, has anyone done repeat ladder tests on several different days to see of those tests repeat themselves time and again? Or do you just run the test once, take the best load from what that test shows you and use that load without question?

I just have not had that much luck with the Ladder tests. It may have had to do with the extremety of the chambering I was using but I had no problem getting 1/2 moa consistancy the old fashioned way.

Just curious what you guys are seeing when you compare ladder tests for same rifles and loads on different days. Do they support each others findings or do they very from day to day?
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2009, 06:11 PM
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Re: Audette ladder test questions

IF you get the node correctly ID'd it is repeatable time after time. To me, the key is to insure that I have got a POI and a MV node, when that happens repeatable is never an issue. All that does is ID the node and you still fine tune from there with both powder and then seating depth.

I just posted under reloading forum a link to an article and video by Jason Baney over on 6br.com that is really good. Jason does it a little different but works the same.

BH
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