First round of load development now what?
Well, I actually pulled it off. Finally took my first batch of reloads to the range. All fit in the magazine, all fed, all fired, none blew up in my face. Had a couple of fliers but I expected that as I was having some consistency troubles with my bullet runout (seating die problem I suspect)
Couple of questions for the pros :
a) Is my math correct?
I measured my best group from outside edge to outside edge of the two furthest holes. They measured 1.35" apart. I was firing at 200 yards, so I figure I divide by 2 to get an approximate 100 yard reading. This gives me a reading of .678 inches. I then subtracted the caliber of the bullet to give me the centre to centre reading. .678 - .308 equals .370.
Did I do this right?
b) Now what?
My best group (.370 if I measured correctly) mentioned above was acheived with 44.4 grains. At 44.7 grains the group increased to .518" and at 44.1 the group increased to .567" What is the next step? Do I put together batches in .1 grain increments from 44.2-44.6? Should I consider .370" to be pretty much as good as its going to get with an out of the box non-custom rifle, slap a bunch together at 44.4g, test for repeatability and chronograph for suitability for long range?
c) Too much?
Lets say I stay in the 44.4g neighbourhood. Is this an excessive load in regards to will it shorten gun life or invite early catastrophic failure or is this a happy place to be?
d) No pressure signs?
I worked up from 42g of Varget to 45g of Varget and inspected each case after firing. But I didn't notice any obvious pressure signs. No cracked necks, no flattened or pushed out primers. No visible signs of case seperation. Is this normal or is this confirmation I don't know what I'm looking for?
Gun - Remington 700P with Jewell trigger set to 2lbs
Caliber - .308
Barrel length - 26"
Bullet - 175g Sierra HPBT
Powder - Varget
Primer - CCI
Brass - Once fired federal, full length re-sized, trimmed once to 2.015
OAL - 2.810
Load development range - 200yards
Load increments - 42g-45g in .3grains
Best load - 44.4g with .370" group
Goals - 99% Recreational target shooting from 300-1000 yards and !5 Moose hunting within 300 yards.
PS - Thanks to everyone here who has helped me directly by answering my questions or indirectly by posting their info. I can only assume this is why my first time out was such a riot success.