Tell me if I am way out in left field on this idea,but here it goes.I am getting close to some good loads for my 300wm.I am thinking about doing the rest of my testing @400yds,I think this could save me time.My reasoning is the loads are for long range,so why should I be that concerned how they group @100yds.I could probably spend alot of time developing loads that will put 4 bullets inside of a dime,but if it doesn't perform well at long range it will just be alot of wasted time.I think 100yds is necessary and easier to get the load close,but I am thinking 400 will tell the tale.Of course I will have to do this on calm day's where wind won't throw things off.
I would certianly agree, but only if weather conditions are good. Once I've got what I feel is a pretty good load, I'll fine tune it at 500yds although it's sometimes difficult, due to poor weather conditons. If my load will group under 1/2 MOA at 100yds I will test it further, if not I keep on trying untill I do. I've had loads that shoot 1/4 MOA at 100 and 1/2 MOA at 500 and conversly I've had loads that shot better (in terms of MOA) at 500 than at 100. If conditons were good, testing at 500 first would cut a few corners.
Well, In a perfect world that would certainly be the best plan. However, you have to be carefull of whether you're really testing the accuracy of the load or whether you're testing the accuracy potential of the shooter and conditions. If you have a mechanical rest and good conditions, it would certainly be reasonable to test at that range. But if you aren't capable of reliably shooting bughole groups with the setup you plan to test with at that range, how are you gonna know whether it's the load or you that's opening the groups up? There ain't no free lunch.
I start my load develpment @ 300 (Ladder testing). Then I come back into 100 yds to shoot different groups to sift through my potential 300 yd ladder stuff. Back out to 300 to verify those groups. If they still look good, I then run some 300 yd seating depth tests in .005" increments starting from "touching" the lands, working my way away or towards the lands. My current load will be for Grizzly/Brown Bear/Dall sheep, so "away" is my direction this time. Then, finally, I try different primers to see if I can get groups, ES, SD to shrink. All this, again, at 300 yds.
I think you're on the right track. The most difficult thing is being patient and waiting on the right weather. Hord those kind of days jealously! I'm always checking weather.com for the 10 day forecasts. Once I get w/ in 48 hours of shooting time, I start looking at the "hourly" forecasts. My favorite spot is a 45 min drive and conditions are fairly in agreement w/ weather.com.
If it's perfectly calm, you may want to test at longer ranges during load development. I prefer 100 or 200 for intial load development.
I prefer 200 to knock out a few variables. If it doesn't shoot good at 200, it's not going to shoot good at 400.
I do find merit in 100 yard shooting during load development, every rifle I own that shoots good at longer ranges, shoots tiny groups at 100. 100 will tell you which bullet,powder,brass, and primer combos to concentrate your efforts.
I too shoot all my groups @ 300yds. I think this is the ideal range especially if using vld bullets. Longer ranges put too many variables into the equation. Even a 3mph wind shows up more. A little muzzle flip shows up, ect. But the 300 shows changes is primer, bullet depth, barrel heating, and barrel fouling. Don't waist time on 100yds. JMO
Old Fart that likes to shoot accurate rifles at long distances.