As I prepair to enter the realm of reloading I have a question that been hanging in the back of my mind. I'm sure there are some old timers here who can steer me in the right direction. As I embark on working up a cartridge that shoots best in my particular rifle (7mm RemMag), since I want to use the 168gr Berger VLD as my LRH round and in light of the all ready determined reality that I need to determine just how much "jump" if any it requires to the lands. And since I will also be working up the best powder, amount of powder, primer combination for this rifle, what is the correct sequence to proceed? Get the loading H-1000, Retumbo, etc. and most efficient primer determined and then work on COAL, or get the COAL determined with a "book" load and then work up the load to optimum performance from there? Certainly don't want to get the horse before the cart and as one might imagine, just starting into developing custom loads carrys a certain amount of anxiety with it. Just don't want to screw things up and possibly turn this newbie into worm food. Appreciate any advice.
First off you are in good hands here. This is by far the best source of info with the most helpfull members that I have found. I'm working on the 168VLD in the 7rem mag with H-1000 as well. Don't know if you read my post, but it's the one about low es and sd. There are a few different methods you can find out about here, search the articles for load development. The VLD article is great and I think will answer your questions on seating depth. Find out about ladder test or OCW (optimal charge weight) as well. I would try a couple of different powders, for me they usually show promise right away if they are going to shoot well. From there you can experiment with seating depth(also good articles and threads about that here), and primers. Don't forget about brass prep too.
I don't know if you have a chronoghaph, but it is very helpfull and important data. Not only will you know the velocity, but if it is consistant or not, or if the temperature has much effect. Don't worry too much, it will be fun. Sometimes you find a great combo right away, and sometimes you have to really work at it.
Thanks for the reply. I am going to take it from your post that I should work up the proper loading first and then do the bullet seating depth program outlined in the Berger posting. I've read that and many on "ladder tests", I was just wondering which should be done first or if it matters. What's confusining is I recognize that one should already have around that shoots well from a particular rifle as they start testing for an "ideal" load. Since the load has a definate effect on accuracy as does the correct 'jump" for the Berger VLD's, it would appear that you have to determine both in the same process since one affects the other. I sense much more reading is in my immediate future.
I usually select an expected seating depth and hold the seating depth constant, then I do a ladder test to find the accuracy nodes. After I find the accuracy nodes, then I experiment with seating depth to optimize accuracy.
However, you can shortcut that process by getting a known good accurate load and vary the seating depth according to Berger Bullets' guidelines (a sticky at the top). Reloader's Nest has accuracy loads here for the 168gr bullet in 7 RemMag...
For example, one load there using Reloder 19, 63.1 gr gave a .218 group at 100 yards. If you had Reloder 19 you could use that load and follow Berger's guidelines to determine best jump from Ogive to Lands for accuracy. Once you had that, then if you had another powder you could hold that seating depth constant and do a ladder test to find accuracy nodes for that powder.
THe ladder test is a good way to go, but it needs to be done at 200 + yards to see any results. Personally I started doing a modified test at 200 using 2 or 3 shots from each load weight fired at the same target. That way you have a chance to see any grouping as well. ONce I narrow down which powder and weight I'm using i do a few 3 round groups with seating changes. Once I found the right combo I do a few 5 round (cooling between each shot for several minutes) groups to make sure it is shooting properly.
I used to re-load but now I "hand-load".
-- Well, at least I try --
I knew this place would have the answers I was after. Now if redding could just get that kit together so Midway could ship it to me. Still have a lot of reading from the reloading manuals to do before I jump in. Really looking forward to trying to put all the things I've read about on this site, together. Must remember "walk before you run, walk before you run!"