Re: What first? Powder or seating depth?
After finding a load for my rifel with a couple different bullets I have learned a few things that if I knew before hand I could have saved a bit of money in components.
1.) First I would find out where the lands are in my rifle. What I do is take a case, cut a slit in the neck and insert a bullet, chamber the round and then slowly unchamber it and measure the coal at least 10 times to get an average. I keep this particular bullet and mark on it the coal that gave me the distance to the lands. This particular bullet does not get loaded to be fired. I use it and the case with the slit to set up my bullet seating die when I am ready to load.
2.) Next I would load 3 rounds starting at 58.0 at the coal that I determined was touching the lands and go up in 1.0gn increments untill I saw pressure signs and stop.
3.) After firing the groups from step 3, I would get the most accurate of the 3 (lets say that was at 61.0gn) and load 3 shot strings using the same bullet and case used to find the coal in the rifle (the case with the slit in the neck) to set up the bullet seating die at .010, .020, .030, .040, .050, .060.... etc untill you find the most accurate of that.
4.) So by now I would know apx the best powder charge weight (somewhere around 61.0gn) and the best distance off the lands (lets say .030).
5.) Now I would start 1gn less and load in .3gn increments to 1gn above 61.0 at .030 off the lands to find the best powder charge to finish off load development.
6.) Once the load is found, load up a few five shot strings and go and shoot to confirm results.
Now if you have a coal guage then you can find out where your lands are without making a dummy cartridge.
This is what I would do, I in now way say it is the best, just my advice.
Edited to add:
By starting load development with the bullets touching the lands, that is where you will find pressure spikes first. If you get pressure signs at lets say 65.0gn and you back off the distance to the lands, the pressure should go down. Where as if you start with the bullet loaded off the lands and load up to 66.0gn that seemed ok pressure wise then decide to try that load with the bullet touching or jamed into the lands you my have excess pressure. Make sense?
Last edited by 80Maro; 10-03-2011 at 10:29 PM.