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Reloading Berger Bullets


Ladder test interpertation

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Unread 07-18-2008, 11:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 150
I just got the barrel. After the first ladder test, I picked 36.1 grains and shot a 3 shot group at 300yds that measured .996 and thought great. Came home started reading more about the ladder test and a member said that a ladder test would not show the same results every time so I thought I would test it again and that's what got us here. the ladder's are not as big as there may appear, The first one measures 5.6" the second is 4.53" not including the bottom bullet(36gr) and the last one is 4.43". I have not messed much with the seating depth but they do seem to like some jump with this barrel.
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Unread 07-18-2008, 11:34 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 150
Here is another ladder I run with the same components but I used 80gr A-max's instead of Berger VLD's total group size is 3.02 I was going to ask about this later but thought it might help somehow.

Last edited by Preda8or; 07-18-2008 at 11:45 AM.
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Unread 07-18-2008, 11:43 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 150
Quarter added for scale.
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Unread 07-18-2008, 11:43 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,232
So the gun is shooting well. I'd play with the seating depth a bit and decide "how good" is good enough. Certainly a .996" at 300yds is pretty darn good.

Good luck,

If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
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Unread 07-18-2008, 12:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 150
That was just 1 three shot group after the first ladder test. The other ladder test(to my understanding) say 36.1 as not a good load to use, or am I misreading something.
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Unread 07-18-2008, 12:09 PM
Posts: n/a

I am sure some will disagree but here goes...... Probably the most accurate instrument you have in your toolbox is the micrometer or calipers. With that being said, keep the powder the same and do all the tweeking with the highly accurate calipers/micrometers.

Of course you will have to get comfortable with the pressure levels by keeping the seating depth constant (say .010 off the lands) and slowly increase the powder until you reach the pressure point where you want shoot your rifle. After you get where you are comfortable with the pressure, keep the powder the same and do all the tuning away from the lands in .005" increments until you find where the node starts for your barrel and keep going until you find where it stops. At that point, you will have defined the accuracy seating depth range for your gun and you should be basically done. Shoot inside this defined zone to find where the (1) accuracy is the best and (2) the velocity is the most consistent.

Most have powder scales that are + or - .1 grains and in the extreme, you could get almost .2 grains variance without seeing it and even much more dispersion when you actually are changing the powder charges in minute amounts. For the untrained, it looks as though there is an issue with the rifle when in reality, it could just be overlapping powder charges due to scale errors.....

For me, when I had the digital scale that was only good for .1 grains, I weighed the powder using the blinking method. Specifically, weigh the powder such that it JUST blinks to the correct value. This way you are minimizing the variance between powder charges. Of course, the easiest way is to get a more accurate scale (Acculab is accurate to .02 grains) and go -.000 and + .02 grains when working up loads.

FWIW, when using this method, we always get less than 10 FPS dispersion on velocity as well. The method really has been working great for us and you are welcome to use it. Who knows, you may even find a load that will shoot the shots into the same hole. ;)

Hope this helps.

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Unread 07-18-2008, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Puyallup, Wa
Posts: 53
All three of your pictures posted with the vld's have the same node in common- 36.6/36.7.

Another offering that might be of some interest is Dan Newberry's article on Optimal Charge Weight. The principle between the OCW method and the ladder test are the same, but it is my opinion that the OCW method offers less room for error.

However somebody already said it: for 300 yards those are some good looking targets, no matter what the charge weight.

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