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Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

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Unread 09-11-2009, 09:09 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SW Idaho
Posts: 193
Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

I loaded up some 190gr Bergers for my Remington 700 300 win mag with H1000 powder. Per the recommendations in an article on this site I loaded 4 different seating depths ranging from 0.010" to 0.130" and shot two groups of three of each depth. The article said that one depth would group better than the others. What I found instead is one depth grouped poorly and the other three were somewhat close. I shot in round robin fashion and here are the results:

Depth 0.010"
Group1 = 0.79"
Group2 = 1.51"
Ave = 1.15"

Depth 0.050"
Group1 = 0.98"
Group2 = 0.99"
Ave = 0.99"

Depth 0.090"
Group1 = 0.68"
Group2 = 1.20"
Ave = 0.94"

Depth 0.130"
Group 1 = 2.12"
Group 2 = 1.60"
Ave = 1.86"

There was some inconsistency between my first and second rounds, as you can see (could have been barrel heat, or me?). It appears that the 2nd and 3rd depths were close on average, but one turned in a better group and the other was more consistent (or I was more consistent).

Given this data, what would your next move be? Would you duplicate the 2nd and 3rd depths again and another one or two in between and give it another go? Or would you pick one of the above and run with it.

Part of my dilema is the fact that I'm running out of time between now and hunting season. I still need to tweak powder charge, as these were loaded near the min loads.

Looking for recommendations to get me to a reasonably optimized load in the most efficient manner possible.

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    Unread 09-11-2009, 09:24 PM
    Platinum Member
    Join Date: Jan 2008
    Location: Falls Church, VA
    Posts: 3,474
    Re: Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

    All four of your tests yielded 1moa or more. My recommendation would be work up loads using increasing powder charges. Find the load that will give you .5moa, then start tweaking the seating depth to fine tune the load.
    I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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    Unread 09-11-2009, 10:04 PM
    Platinum Member
    Join Date: May 2008
    Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
    Posts: 6,068
    Re: Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

    Good test, but I wuld say your results are inconclusive. From what I've read here, Bergers like to be seeated to the lands or slightly jammed or slightly off. So I would recommend trying some seated to the lands. Also, you just might not be hitting your rifle's sweet spot for this bullet and powder combo. It's the old which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    I'm going to be doing some load development on the Bergers and my approach will be to seat them to the lands based on what I've read and find the best powder charge for accuracy starting with max and working down. Then I'll try fooling with the depth.

    Hope you get it worked out... those groups are plenty good for 400 yd shots

    You might also try anther powder and/or bullet....

    one more thing.... I found loading 210 Bergers to the lands in my Sako 300 WSM gave them only 2/3rds contact with the neck. I dont think I could have loaded the 190's to the lands with much contact at all.

    Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 09-11-2009 at 10:08 PM.
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    Unread 09-12-2009, 12:07 PM
    Silver Member
    Join Date: Sep 2007
    Location: Ogden, Utah
    Posts: 249
    Re: Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

    I would say take the one that yeilded the best, consistant groups and tweek it up or down. If you can use that one this year for your hunts then use it now and work on getting better in the spring or after the hunt, depending on weather. Did you run them over a crono? if so which has the most consistant velocity with the smallest deviations? You can also try retumbo powder, alot of guys get good results with this powder. I personally use 7828ssc and get very good SD and ES and very good accuracy with it.
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    Unread 09-12-2009, 07:54 PM
    Silver Member
    Join Date: Dec 2008
    Location: SW Idaho
    Posts: 193
    Re: Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

    I did run them over a chrony. They were all pretty similar on average. I have some of the 3 shot groups pretty tight with ES around 10, and I have some that are more up around 30. There does not seem to be a correlation between group size and velocity ES.

    What kind of ES should I be looking for as being reasonable for what I'm trying to do?

    I'm wondering if I should fire a few more with the Bergers touching the lands? I have heard that they like to be touching or in the lands, but I followed the process outlined by the fella that posted an article that works for Berger.

    Or, would you go ahead and work on the powder load with one of these seating depths and then tweak seating depth once I find powder charge.

    I'd like to keep shooting until I find something that gets me to 0.5moa, but I don't think I have the time and frankly I'm not sure this particular rifle is capable. And while I don't want to think this...perhaps it is me that is not capable of shooting .5 moa consistently.
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    Unread 09-12-2009, 09:50 PM
    Silver Member
    Join Date: Sep 2007
    Location: Ogden, Utah
    Posts: 249
    Re: Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

    I only mentioned the ES and the SD for long range purposes. You might have a load that is producing 3/4 moa at 100 with a very high SD that will throw you problems down range due to the differing starting velocities. An ES of 10 is very good. This also rules out the possibility of the loading process causing you problems. If you have found a load that has a low SD and ES then that is a good place to start. You are right about the bergers liking to be jammed. I too have read the thread about getting the best accuracy out of the bergers and after reading it, i wondered what my rifle would see. I currently see on average .5 moa out of this gun. The best accuracy that i have ever gotten out of my setup is .217 @100 on paper. I have recorded some .3moa groups on steel down range but that is not the norm, it usually stays around .5moa when i do my part. I jam mine .005 and they shoot very well. when i went back and tried the steps that were mentioned mine only got worse. the best accuracy out of them was when i jammed them. I will say that i got no bad groups, the largest was around 1.2 inches or so at 100. If they will fit in the mag well while jamming the bullet, then give it a try if you are not worried about it. Like i said before, if you dont have the time and resources then go ahead and pick the one you like the best and test it at ranges that you will shoot to make sure it will work for you, and use it. work on getting the .5 moa at a later point in time where you have the time to work with it. It can be a frustrating process but in the end it is all one big learning experience that will only help you on the next one. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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    Unread 09-12-2009, 11:20 PM
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    Join Date: Jan 2009
    Location: south bc
    Posts: 33
    Re: Berger seating depth test results - what do you think?

    I tried the seating depth test with two different rifles and I did in fact find that in both there was a spot that was considerably better than everwhere else. But it was almost exactly where I've found other bullets shoot their best if measuring from head to ogive. Maybe it was a fluke in my case.
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