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I have questions about working up a new load

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Unread 08-28-2009, 09:25 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 9
I have questions about working up a new load

Hi all,

Just found the site and this is my first post - glad to find you all here!


When working up new loads, I follow the typical sound advise of starting at the minimum load and working up from there.

However, I know right off the bat that I am not interested in light loads, and I am after something in the middle of the range or upper 3/4 (but NOT max).

I typically load up 5 of each powder increment and shoot for groups and look for signs of pressure. Once I find a good group I load up 5 more in 1/10th grain increments around the original charge. However, I end up spending a lot of time and waste components shooting light loads that are pretty much assured of not having any pressure issues, and even if they group, I likely won't use them. I think I am being over cautious.

Is there a good solution? Would it be safe to shoot one or two of each of the lighter loads, looking for pressure signs, and work up from the minimum quicker to the middle of the recipe? Can I just start at the middle of the load instead?

My range time is somewhat limited just because of life in general, and I hate shooting 20-30 rounds just to look for pressure signs that so far have never happened.

If it helps, I load .204, .223, and .22-250 and typically work up in .4 to .6 increments (roughly 2%, depending on the charge)



Last edited by duck911; 08-28-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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Unread 08-29-2009, 10:51 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Shangri-La
Posts: 964
Re: I have questions about working up a new load

Hey duck

If it helps, I always start in the middle with the medium load and shoot 3 or 4 loads per group. On rare occasions where I am pretty sure I am not going to have pressure problems I will load 1 per each powder charge and look for pressure and check velocity.

There is also the Audette method or the OCW method for looking for a load. Do a search and you will probably come up with a description.
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Unread 08-31-2009, 09:21 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 899
Re: I have questions about working up a new load

I set up a lee reloader press and a lee prefect powder measure and clamp it to the bench.
After reviewing my data, I set the powder measure up to throw a charge that results in about 200fps less than the max velocity posted in the manual or quickload , which is close to the suggested start load in some manuals and pressure test right there.
Using quickload as well as reloading manuals I have come up with very conservative starting loads,although they may be a bit above the suggested starting loads, sometimes they are the same. or even less depending on my components.
I also bring a battery powered digital scale with me as well. I shoot a round through the chrono and just throw progressively larger powder charges till I reach the velocity I want or see pressure signs. I am trying to find a safe max, not a primer blowing max.
Takes 10 rounds max.

I start at .010 off of the lands in the pressure test round.

I then load up two rounds at a time of and do a seating depth test to see where the best seating depth is.
Takes 10 rounds max

After I find a safe max and an accurate seating depth,I load up 5 and shoot a group to confirm.

If it looks good I use the ladder method to fine tune:
Long-Range Load Development

Last edited by RockZ; 09-01-2009 at 02:10 PM. Reason: stated that i start in middle range of loads, but after reviewing my data again I actually start lower
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Unread 08-31-2009, 09:58 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: I have questions about working up a new load

I would recommend just starting a min starting load. What you think might be medium load, might actually be over max for your combo of components and rilfe. I started at what I thought was a good safe starting load (min, not med) once when testing some RL 17 and TTSX's in my 300 WSM. One grain later (two half gr increments) I had pressure signs, about 4 grains lower than what I thought max would be.

Taking short cuts will eventually catch up with you. How much time and effort is it to load and shoot 3 or 4 more rounds?

Take care,

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