Re: Load development ladder test
In the ladder tests I have done, I always use multiple aiming points (sometimes on the same sheet of paper, sometimes different, depends on what I expect the accuracy of the gun to be) and make sure that the area where the bullets will impact has some markings or a grid in order to easily compare the targets. I'll often mark my targets A,B,C, and D. Shots 1-5 go into A, 6-10 into B and so on. The only time you have to look at two of the targets at once is when you are comparing shots 5 and 6, or 10 and 11, or... It has worked pretty well for me. If I was at home I would post pics of my last two from my 30-06 ladder tests using 168 BT's and 165 Interbonds. They used 4 aiming points each, and show nice distinct nodes at similar powder levels.
Interesting idea using the three shot group to improve the reliability of the test. My only comment is, I thought that the point of the test was so that you didn't have to shoot groups at all the different powder levels, that you could narrow down the range of powder levels to look for good groups at? By the way, my tests (all factory barrels) certainly don't string just vertically either, more scattered or elliptical.
Also, what is this optimal barrel timing method you speak of?
Empirical results rule!