338 Snipe-Tac - Load Evaluation Wanted

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Just Learnin, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys, finally got to do some load work-up this morning. I'm shooting a 338 snipe-tac made by Dave Viers (specs posted down in Gun Photos). I used H50BMG powder, 300gr SMKs (boron coated), and WLRM primers. I waited about 3 minutes between shots, putting the rifle and ammo in the shade between shots. Shots were made round robin, i.e. one 135gr, one 136gr, etc. It was sunny (mirage was pretty bad so you gotta cut me a little slack for the group size :D) with a light (est. 2-5 mph) left to right breeze. Temperature ran from 45* at the start to about 50* at the end and elevation of 2621 (no humidity reading, forgot the Brunton). Distance to target was 235 yards and I used an Oehler model 35P chronograph. Group size is center to center.

    135gr
    1 3113fps (sighter/fouler shot)
    2 no reading
    3 no reading (shots 2 and 3 almost touching)
    4 3134fps
    es = 21fps
    group size = 1.7" or 0.72moa

    136gr
    1 3134fps
    2 no reading
    3 3128fps
    es = 6fps
    group size = 1.52" or 0.65moa

    137gr
    1 3157fps
    2 3150fps
    3 3169fps
    es = 19fps
    group size = 1.38" or 0.59moa

    138gr
    1 3171fps
    2 3174fps
    3 3179fps
    es = 8fps
    group size = 1.62" or .69moa

    139gr
    1 3193fps
    2 3208fps (1st two shots touching)
    3 3208fps
    es = 15fps
    group size = 1.05" or 0.45moa

    140gr
    1 3218fps
    2 3225fps
    3 3232fps
    es = 14fps
    group size = 1.17" or 0.50moa

    I thought about fine-tuning the upper spectrum, say 138.5gr, 139gr, 139.5gr, and 140gr. Maybe 5 shots each to gather a little more chrono data? The load at 139 sure looked promising to me, except for the first shot being 15fps slower...

    Any thoughts or comments? Thanks! -- Don
     
  2. JeffVN

    JeffVN Well-Known Member

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    Did you have a problem with your 35P, as it missed a few of the early shots?

    How were the various load group impacting the target in relation to each other - as in vertical dispersion between the various load groups (e.g. 138 gr 2" above aim point, 139 gr 3" above aim point)? There are lots of ways to do load development, I try to do it with as few rounds down range as needed.

    I agree that the upper range looks promising, and that 5 round groups in this area will give you a bit more data to determine ES and SD for your load.

    I've talked to two different folks who said that 3,200 fps was the accuracy node for their 338 Big Baer (338/408), so your 139 load is verifying what they had to say.

    JeffVN
     

  3. Joel Russo

    Joel Russo Official LRH Sponsor

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    Can you post pictures of the targets?
    Where is the bullet seated in relation to the lands?
    Have you been taking measurements of the case at the base to measure growth over a virgin piece of brass?
     
  4. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    JeffVN: Regarding the missed readings on the early shots, I was shooting at six different targets and it took me a few tries to figure out to slide over a little on the bench so the bullet would get read - operator error. Hopefully the photo is clear enough so that you can see the impact shift from group to group.

    Joel: My COL is 4.140, which is about .015 from the lands I believe. I did not take any measurements of virgin brass. The brass that I have I bought already fireformed from Dave Viers. To be honest, I'm not real sure of what you are referring to, which I hope means you are going to educate me. :)

    Thank you to both of you for your interest and help. If the photo isn't easy enough to read (I took it with my phone) let me know and I'll use a better camera. I've got the rest of the data now for the half-grain differences on the upper end that I'll post next... -- Don
     
  5. Marine sniper

    Marine sniper Well-Known Member

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    Let me get this straight, you would shoot one round (say 135 grs.) then pick the rifle up and it move it to the shade, wait three minutes come back and shoot one round with 136 gr, and repeat the procedure till all the different powder charges were shot, then start back at the lowest powder charge and do it all over again ?

    Mirage at 45* are you sure it was not heat off the barrell?

    Nice rifle btw,

    John
     
  6. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    This photo is of the second day of shooting. I wanted to check the upper node to see if I could narrow it down. All of these shots were in the shade, without mirage, at early morning with minimal wind. Kind of thought I'd get a little tighter groups. Guess that's what I get for thinking...

    Anyway, here is the data to go along with the photo.

    138gr
    1 3191fps (sighter/fouler)
    2 3189fps (second sighter/fouler)
    3 3164fps
    4 3196fps
    5 3185fps
    6 3209fps
    7 3217fps
    ES = 54fps
    group size = 1.91" or 0.81moa

    138.5gr
    1 3197fps
    2 3184fps
    3 3185fps
    4 3209fps
    5 3217fps
    ES = 26fps
    group size = 1.93" or 0.82moa
    w/o flyer = 1.06" or 0.45moa

    139gr
    1 3213fps
    2 3225fps
    3 3198fps
    4 3213fps
    5 3215fps
    ES = 27fps
    group size = 2.60" or 1.10moa
    w/o flyer = 1.60" or 0.68moa

    139.5gr
    1 3205fps
    2 3210fps
    3 3216fps
    4 3238fps
    5 3223fps
    ES = 33fps
    group size = 2.60" or 1.10moa
    w/o flyer = 1.68" or 0.71moa

    140gr
    1 3232fps
    2 3210fps
    3 3225fps
    4 3251fps
    5 3243fps
    ES = 33fps
    group size = 3.8" or 1.62moa
    w/o flyer = 2.1" or 0.89moa

    I reported group size with and without the most extreme shot. I do not think I pulled those shots; don't really have any explanation to the flyers...though the flyers for the last three groups were the first shot in each group (in the 138.5gr group it was the third shot). I also noticed that the average velocity was running a little higher from the previous day (18fps on the 138gr, 10fps on the 139gr, and 7fps on the 140gr). The only thing environmentally different was shooting in the sun on the first day and in the shade on the second day.

    Any ideas to reduce the extreme spread would also be appreciated. Dave Viers did recommend GM215M primers but I can not locate any so I'm using my WLRM primers for now. I'm fairly consistent with my reloading - not saying I'm great at it but I've been reloading for several years now all the while gleaning handloading techniques from this site. Sure is expensive applying what one learns from here!

    Thanks again! -- Don
     
  7. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    Marine Sniper: Our local range is stuck right up into a draw, which gives a shooter some time past sunrise to still shoot in the shade. I saw a lot of mirage on the first day (shooting in the sun) and none the second day (got there an hour earlier and shot in the shade).

    I set up my bench and chrono right off the side of the parking lot with my truck about 10' away. But yes, on the first day I picked up the rifle and set it in the shade of my truck each time in a vertical position to aid in the cooling down. Seemed to work ok, the barrel was never hot but never totally cooled down either. I do very little shooting from benches and really don't have a clue what proper protocol is, just what feels right, you know?

    I shot the load workup round robin as it gives me a little more comfort factor. If I mess up a shot (which I try not to do :)) I'm reasonably confident that the others will be correct, that I can hopefully make some assumptions off the aggregate, as well as chrono data.

    Thanks for the compliment, btw. -- Don
     
  8. Joel Russo

    Joel Russo Official LRH Sponsor

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    Based on your first day's data, and looking at the targets, I would have worked in the 136-138 gr range. You indicated you thought you were .015 off the lands. I would play with seating depth until you find something that looks good to you. Make sure you know where your bullet is in relation to the lands. Are you able to control neck tension? What is the nk dia of the chamber? What type of dies are you using.
    For the most part, your ES from the first day of shooting looks good.

    When doing load development, I take the measurement of a virgin piece of brass, and monitor the growth, stretch, to determine max load. For instance, a Norma .340 WBY case measures .508 just above the belt, that piece of brass will expand as you increase your charge. You will know you're approaching max load before the tell tale heavy bolt lift.
     
  9. Marine sniper

    Marine sniper Well-Known Member

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    You will get lots of advise on your loads, I will offer some on your shooting. Pick a load you want to shoot a 3 shot group with and shoot 3 shots without getting off the rifle. Every time you pick up the rifle and move and then come back and set it down you will never get everything the same as the shot before. I understand that rifle must build a lot of heat in the barrel. I have a 300 Weatherby and 408 Cheytac; they get the barrel hot quick also. No problem with you letting the barrel cool, but stay on the gun until you shoot your 3 shot group with one load. Let it cool and shoot 3 more with a load you want to test.
     
  10. JeffVN

    JeffVN Well-Known Member

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    I'm not surprised that your second effort was not as sucessful as your first when shooting your load development. I personally find that to be the rule and not the exception - at least for me. I agree that moving your entire rig to keep it in the shade is more effort then will prove productive. If you want shade that bad, bring an umbrella to the range and set it up to cover the barreled action (keeping the ammo in the shade is far more improtant then keeping the barrel in the shade. Additionally, you don't want to chamber a round and then let it cook in a hot chamber any longer then necessary in regular circumstances, but especailly when doing load development (I'm talking cooking it 20-30 seconds, not 3-5 seconds).

    I'll hazzard a guess that the 50BMG powder is one of Hodgden's Extreme Powders, so its probably going to be fairly consistent as far as temp swings go. That having been said, I'm always nervous developing a load in the spring that I intend to shoot in the summer.

    I learned this lesson in Houston when developing a 6.5x284 load in March (45 degrees 35% humidity)for use in June (95 degress with 75% humidity) and had heavy bolt lift and primers popping all over the place - nasty. Same story for the load that I developed and shot for F-Class in my 7WSM last December, January, and February in Vegas. That load is now shooting like crap at 110 degress in the Las Vegas desert, so I get to develop something to use in the summer.

    I suspect that the lighter load (136-138 grain) will work its way up towards if not above 3,200 fps at 80 degrees, and may well be the one to consider for your load.

    just a thought.....


    JeffVN
     
  11. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    Joel, thank you for the info concerning the brass. I still have my brass from the second day's shooting in order so I can measure those. Is there a general rule as far as expansion that I can go off of? I got my die from Dave Viers, made to the reamer spec I believe. I would have to check with him on the neck diameter. I will play with the seating depth and see if that'll help. Thanks again. -- Don
     
  12. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    Marine Sniper, thank you for the shooting advice. I will implement your advice and I appreciate you pointing it out. -- Don
     
  13. Joel Russo

    Joel Russo Official LRH Sponsor

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    .005" on the brass expansion.

    Go out and re-shoot those loads I mentioned earlier, then play with seating depth all at the same shooting session.
     
  14. Just Learnin

    Just Learnin Well-Known Member

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    JeffVN, the temperature was something that I had planned on experimenting with. These colder temperatures in the morning is closer to what I might expect to experience during hunting season, but certainly not during the summer busting rocks (which is when I'll likely shoot it the most). We've got some warmer days coming up that I thought I'd run a round or two through the chrono. Reminds me of when I worked up a great load for my son's 270wsm once (in the spring of course) and completely forgot about summer heat. We were shooting at one of the steel targets one evening and he said "Dad, the bolt's kinda sticky." :eek: I had to use some force to open the bolt. I'll accept my mistakes but boy I hated thinking of something dumb I did hurting my son. So needless to say that load is just for hunting in the fall and kept in a separate box.

    I appreciate the comments and advice. It sure is nice to be able to access all the knowledge on this site. -- Don