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Reloading Berger Bullets


Reloading methods???

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Unread 07-04-2009, 01:00 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Newnan, Ga
Posts: 42
Reloading methods???

1st of all I've got to say thanks for a great forum, I've learned a great deal about this hobby from the many pages here.

I just starting to get into reloading. I'm loading for my Remmy 700 .270 Win w/ a 24" barrel. So far I'll be loading w/ new Win cases, BR2 primers and 150gr Berger VLD's.

In the morning I'll be headed to the range w/ my first 24 hand loads to try the "Jump Test" from the Berger site, with seating depths: .010", .050", .090", .130". All w/ H4831SC.

My question is which order should the following variables be tested to minamize loads required to find the most accurate load?


1. Seating depth (I'm guessing move'em +,- .005" or .010" after finding the best depth tomm?)

2. Powders (I've also got IMR 4350, RL 19) <thus 3 different powders>

3. Powder charge (guessing +,- .5gr?) <from 54gr to ~56gr or 58gr w/ H4831>

4. Neck tension (is this normally tested for accuracy purposes?) <I've got .300", .301" and .302" neck bushings>

I just can't see having to load hundreds of rounds just to find the best load w/ the same bullet, case and primer.

Is there some of those varibles that affect all the others and should be tested first or some of them that do not affect any of the others and should be tested last??

Sorry about the confusing shotgun blast of questions but I'm pulling my hair out trying to find some science to this madness w/out max'n out all the VISA's :(

Just trying to make the most accurate long range HOG BUSTER I can

Like I say I haven't even fired my first reloads yet so any and ALL info is welcome and appreciated.

P.S. On tuesday I sent Berger an email request for load data, still waiting.

Happy Independence Day!

Last edited by SQ Stalker; 07-04-2009 at 07:43 AM.
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Unread 07-04-2009, 06:09 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 230
Re: Reloading methods???

I do powder first....Look for the node. Your groups will either be getting bigger or smaller the hotter you go. I usually start somewhere in the middle and go up @ .5 increments. After I settle on a load I start with seating depth and neck tension to "Fine tune it" I always recommend using 5 shot groups. 3 will tell you a little but 5 will tell it all. Get yourself a crony borrow one if you have to. Look for extreme spread. Velocity is the key to consistency. Powder burn is the secret. Seating depth and neck tension are for fine tuning. Good luck. Warning this hobby is HIGHLY addictive!
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Unread 07-05-2009, 02:44 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Newnan, Ga
Posts: 42
Re: Reloading methods???

I just found and read the sticky on ladder testing. If I were to try this w/ seating depth would I be only looking for vertical distances to be small or overall group size to be small? I understand w/ the powder it's a vertical thing but is it the same when trying to optimize seating depth?
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Unread 07-07-2009, 10:47 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,010
Re: Reloading methods???

+1 on what kweidner said.

Sounds like you made a bullet selection already. Make a powder selection based on researching load manuals and their recommendations, and searches here and other sites.

Work up 5 shot groups in 1/2grain increments to find the best group, usually within 1-2 grains below max. Be sure you know and understand pressure signs and examine each case immediately after it is fired before firing another.

Once that is done, if you're not satisfied, then play with the seating depth. Use a comparator to measure lengths - NOT from the bullet tip.

I can't comment on neck tension.
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Unread 07-07-2009, 11:23 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 21
Re: Reloading methods???

When working up new loads, this is my philosophy. Good barrel, good bedding, and good bullets are the three most important factors in accuracy. Many other things count, but those are the most critical for starters. Assuming the barrel and bedding are up to snuff, bullet selection is your next big decision.

I normally select my preferred bullet weight from two different bullet makers. Your rifle will likely find a preference for one of them over the other.

Next is powder. If you look through all the available loading data for that weight of bullet in your cartridge from several loading manuals, you will invariably find that two or three powders stand out from all others. I pick the two that seem to be referred to most often as the go to powder.

I agree that 5 shot groups will tell you more than a 3 shot group, but it requires more shooting. Resort to 3 shot groups only if you are limited to components on hand or time at the range.

Since this is a hunting rifle, your magazine will determine the maximum OAL of your loaded cartridges. Start your seating depth there, provided you are not into the lands. A Stoney Point Gauge will help there. If you don't have one, mark a bullet with a black magic marker. Using a fired case, put a slight dent in one side of the case mouth, just enough to hold a bullet. Insert your marked bullet into the case, seated out long enough that the rifling will seat the bullet when you close the bolt. You will be able to see where the case scraped the bullet until you fully engaged the lands. You should seat at least .015" shorter than this, or less if this OAL exceeds what your magazine allows. In any case, you need to be consistent with your seating depth while working up loads. The part that needs to be consistent is not the cartridge OAL, but the distance from the case head to the ogive. A bullet comparator will verify that measurement.

Try both bullets with each powder, working up in increments of .5gr until you reach your maximum load, stopping if you notice any signs of pressure. You may or may not be able to reach a book max load in your rifle. Only working up will tell you that. A chronograph will tell you when you have matched factory velocities. Stop there regardless of pressure signs.

Don't be cheap on the number of targets you use. You want to be able to easily gather information from your targets.

Allow plenty of time for barrel cooling between shots, or you are wasting your time and ammo. It doesn't matter where the groups land on your target. What matters is some loads will be better than others.

Knowing what bullet and powder combination your rifle likes is only the starting point of developing accurate loads. The first time at the range, all you are trying to find out is which powder and bullet to use, and what your maximum load is.

The next time out at the range, use the ladder method to find the sweet spot with the powder and bullet combination your rifle told you to use.

Once you find the sweet spot, try varying seating depths by .010" at a time to find that perfect load.

I hope this helps.
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Unread 07-09-2009, 12:15 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Newnan, Ga
Posts: 42
Re: Reloading methods???

Thanks for all the replies and great info. I shot 24 rounds the other day, a little odd I thought but w/ 54 gr. of H4831SC it preferred .090" off the lands?? Shot a couple .5" groups and avg was about .75" at 100yd! I'm very supprised at the good start. This rifle has NEVER shot under 1.5" w/ any factor loads.

Today I got a hornady comparator (and a chronograph) from the ups man, so that'll help out a lot.

On the barrel cooling I thought about it at the range, & I just keep the hottest exterior point (6 in forward of recoil lug?) of the barrel down below 100F. This mandated about 5 minutes btwn shots using 54gr & 150 VLD's. I figured this made since for developing a hunting load. Is this a little over board? I used a laser temp gun. Does anybody else have a better method or temperature to make sure barrel temp stays in range and consistant?

When testing for seating depth, will this affect group size horz & vert or just vert? Just so I don't miss read the wind effects for a bad load.

Thanks again for the great info, I'll continue to read and grow my addiction to this new hobby
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Unread 07-10-2009, 01:54 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: IDAHO
Posts: 204
Re: Reloading methods???

A very helpful suggestion for you is shoot your groups at least 200 yards on a steady calm day. I shoot in the early am during the summer months and latter in the day during the fall and spring months. I try to determine group size by shooting when 50 Deg F or less. This gets closer to hunting conditions. Less wind removes one of the major varibles also. Just make each shot count and you will see better groups and not waste time and barrels.

Keep us informed on your progress.
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