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Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

 
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  #1  
Old 02-17-2013, 09:06 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

I am a newbie at handloading and I need some experienced opinions on how to interpret a COL test. I just started handloading at the beginning of this year so I have A LOT to learn! As a bunus I just started shooting a rifle in November last year so I have a lot to learn there as well.

I attempted to perform a COL test for Berger VLD 140s this morning with my Savage Long Range Precision 260. I had previously determined that for my rifle a Berger VLD 140 'in the lands' seemed to be COL 2.930" so using the method prescribed by Berger I made four sets of rounds (5 rounds per set) at COL 2.930", 2.890", 2.850", and 2.810".

I had a failure to chamber (my first!) on one of the 2.850" rounds. Chalk that one up as a lesson learned.

I shot these groups at 200m using a bipod and rear bag.

The group sizes were:

2.810" = 0.733"
2.850" = 0.423" (only 4 rounds)
2.890" = 1.248"
2.930" = 0.874"

My (ignorant) analysis of this target is that the rifle does not like 2.890", it _might_ really like 2.850", and it doesn't seem to mind 2.810" or 2.930".

Do you draw any conclusions from this target?
Should I repeat the same test?
Or should I try a test with rounds with COL 2.830", 2.840", 2.850", 2.860" to see if the 2.850" is an anomaly or not?

Any advice is much appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 02-17-2013, 11:43 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 911
Re: Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onewolf View Post
I am a newbie at handloading and I need some experienced opinions on how to interpret a COL test. I just started handloading at the beginning of this year so I have A LOT to learn! As a bunus I just started shooting a rifle in November last year so I have a lot to learn there as well.

I attempted to perform a COL test for Berger VLD 140s this morning with my Savage Long Range Precision 260. I had previously determined that for my rifle a Berger VLD 140 'in the lands' seemed to be COL 2.930" so using the method prescribed by Berger I made four sets of rounds (5 rounds per set) at COL 2.930", 2.890", 2.850", and 2.810".

I had a failure to chamber (my first!) on one of the 2.850" rounds. Chalk that one up as a lesson learned.

I shot these groups at 200m using a bipod and rear bag.

The group sizes were:

2.810" = 0.733"
2.850" = 0.423" (only 4 rounds)
2.890" = 1.248"
2.930" = 0.874"

My (ignorant) analysis of this target is that the rifle does not like 2.890", it _might_ really like 2.850", and it doesn't seem to mind 2.810" or 2.930".

Do you draw any conclusions from this target?
Should I repeat the same test?
Or should I try a test with rounds with COL 2.830", 2.840", 2.850", 2.860" to see if the 2.850" is an anomaly or not?

Any advice is much appreciated
I think you're right on track. 2.850" is your best depth based on group size and lack of vertical deviation in the group. I would definitely try another test with 2.840, 2.850 and 2.860 just to rule out an anomaly.

Congrats though, you're already at 1/4 MOA off a bipod and bag. It doesn't get too much better than that. What are you planning to do with your rifle?
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  #3  
Old 02-18-2013, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The cold part of Montana
Posts: 1,390
Re: Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

You shot these at 200yrds correct? I would say that your rifle likes them all. With the 1.248" group could have muffed 1 or 2? I would revisit it just to make sure, other than that I would pick the load closest to the lands. the theory is that you would maintain that accuracy as your throat erodes, if you could maintain it for 0.080" of throat erosion, that is a lot of shooting without having to tinker with your load again.
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Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.

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  #4  
Old 02-18-2013, 10:50 AM
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Re: Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

Did you do a pressure test before the seating depths?
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Re: Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ICANHITHIMMAN View Post
Did you do a pressure test before the seating depths?
I ordered 100 packs of a variety of likely candidates (Barnes MatchBurner 140s, Hornady A-MAX 140s, Sierra MK 140s and 142s, and Berger VLD 130 and 140s).

I have done powder load tests with Barnes MatchBurner 140s, Hornady A-MAX 140s, and Sierra MK 142s. They all ended up 'liking' 43.0gr of H-4350 best.

With the Bergers I wasn't sure if I should perform COL testing first since they have the reputation for being the most COL 'finicky'. Since all the other 140ish grain high BC bullets liked 43.0gr H-4350, I decided (rightly or wrongly) to start with a COL test and then after choosing a COL I would do a powder load test with the Bergers.

43.0gr of H-4350 is showing no signs of overpressure on any of the bullets.
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:55 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Re: Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe King View Post
You shot these at 200yrds correct? I would say that your rifle likes them all. With the 1.248" group could have muffed 1 or 2? I would revisit it just to make sure, other than that I would pick the load closest to the lands. the theory is that you would maintain that accuracy as your throat erodes, if you could maintain it for 0.080" of throat erosion, that is a lot of shooting without having to tinker with your load again.
These groups were shot at 200 meters. Our normal rifle range seems a little strange in that they have 100 yd targets, 200 meter targets, and 300 meter targets. And then we have the 'long range' range where we shoot 500-1100 yds.

I will perform another test with a 5 shot 2.930" group, and 5 shot groups at 2.840", 2.850", and 2.860" to see if the previous small group at 2.850" was an anomaly.
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:05 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Re: Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentc View Post
I think you're right on track. 2.850" is your best depth based on group size and lack of vertical deviation in the group. I would definitely try another test with 2.840, 2.850 and 2.860 just to rule out an anomaly.

Congrats though, you're already at 1/4 MOA off a bipod and bag. It doesn't get too much better than that. What are you planning to do with your rifle?
I bought the rifle to shoot with the local long range shooting club. It's been great for learning and practicing (all prone) but I have subsequently discovered that for their field matches they always have a number of non prone shots and this rifle seems very unbalanced (barrel heavy) for shooting in unsupported stances.

At the last long range practice I was the first shooter at 1000 yds and there was a variable 6-14mph quartering breeze. My first shot at the popper silhouette hit the 6" popper and I was 11-12 on the next shots at 1000 yards shooting the 8"-12" gongs. The other shooters (including 2 of the club directors) did not have better then 35-40% hit rates. That made me feel good. I was shooting Hornady A-MAX 140s with 43.0gr of H-4350 and COL of 2.810".
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