Accuracy Project For Science Fair

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by AH3682, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. AH3682

    AH3682 Well-Known Member

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    Hey,
    For a school project a friend an I are doing, we decided to compare the accuracy of handloads vs. factory ammo. Though I am new to reloading, it has been by experience that I can greatly improve the accuracy of my rifle (.25-06 Rem.) and the effectiveness of the bullet. In addition, when evaluated with a friends chrony, we found that the handloads had a much greater velocity than the factory loads. For the project, we need reliable sources with good info. This will not be a substitute to the actual testing, just to give us a direction.

    We are looking for:
    Websites with information on handloading
    Advice on how to improve handloads
    Potential handloads for .25-06
    Some load data would also be nice
    Suggestions on what to try
    Also, recommendations on which chronograph to get

    Thanks for your time and to all happy shootin' gun)
     
  2. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    I just don't think you've thought this through...
    Ballistics is one of the more complicated of science.
    To separate from pure abstract, you're gonna have to focus this with a mountain of qualifiers needed to form a point you could hang a hat on..
    For instance velocity and accuracy,, two separate things,, one too many already.

    Only a truth passes all tests
    If you don't address every single attribute of results, and I doubt you can, your 'truth' will be challenged immediately.
    For example, if you declare reloads more accurate, then which combination of load components, and gun components, was more accurate than every factory ammo offering available, in every gun?
    The best you could do is say XX load combination(to the lot#s) was found to be more accurate(don't forget to define accuracy) than YY factory ammo, in this gun, preconditioned BB way, under ZZ conditions, at GG distance, for JJ shots, etc
     

  3. flashhole

    flashhole Well-Known Member

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    "For a school project a friend an I are doing, we decided to compare the accuracy of handloads vs. factory ammo. Though I am new to reloading, it has been by experience that I can greatly improve the accuracy of my rifle (.25-06 Rem.) and the effectiveness of the bullet. In addition, when evaluated with a friends chrony, we found that the handloads had a much greater velocity than the factory loads. For the project, we need reliable sources with good info. This will not be a substitute to the actual testing, just to give us a direction. "

    MikeCR had a lot of good comments but don't get discouraged. You can do this but you may have to modify your approach.

    Yes, you can improve accuracy with handloads so zero in on the specific variables you can control with handloads.

    No. the bullet is the bullet is the bullet. You will not improve the effectiveness of the bullet with a handload if the same bullet is used in factory ammo. If you equate effectiveness to accuracy you will find it very difficult to prove your point.

    Ammo is only one variable, the gun and modifications to the gun might pay bigger dividends to improved accuracy than handloads.

    With an accurate gun, handloads can provide further improvements in accuracy.

    "Websites with information on handloading
    Advice on how to improve handloads
    Potential handloads for .25-06
    Some load data would also be nice
    Suggestions on what to try
    Also, recommendations on which chronograph to get"

    Way too broad. Pick one and run with it. I suggest "How to improve handloads"

    I applaud you for your desire to pursue this but I caution you on biting off more than you can chew. I judge 4-H Science and Engineering, been doing it for years. I get very few S&E stuff but get a lot of crafts stuff, including hunting and shooting related stuff. As a 60 year old professional engineer whose main hobby is shooting and reloading I can tell you that you have lot to learn. Reduce the scope of your efforts for this project and focus on one or two critical elements.
     
  4. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    I've judged and mentored lots of science fair projects and seen even more. The biggest challenge in a ballistics project is selecting a good independent variable, controlling all the other variables, and carefully measuring a good choice of dependent variable to test a testable hypothesis relating the independent and dependent variables.

    There are simply too many variables between handloads and factory loads. Your conclusions may only apply in the given rifle you have chosen. It takes a lot of care and consideration to design an experiment than can be executed in one rifle and yield results that will be broadly applicable in other rifles, even in other rifles with broadly the same characteristics (chambering, barrel length, twist rate, etc.)

    If you like, feel free to PM me and we can begin a private discussion of ideas. Projects I've mentored have done very well at regional and state fairs, with a number of 1st and 2nd place finishes.
     
  5. AH3682

    AH3682 Well-Known Member

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    I may end up doing that in the future, but as for now, we would like to just do some research on the project we have. So how about this?
    For the project, we plan to use a factory ammo and compare it with a similar handload. We plan to use the same bullet, but by using a different powder and different charge, we plan to see how the accuracy changes.

    I guess, you guys might have some even better things to test so don't hesitate to mention them and thanks for the replies.
     
  6. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of this project, but I agree with the others that there are many variables that are hard to control, but I believe you may be able to do it. Here are some suggestions that I have.

    For your loads vs. the manufactured ammunition:

    - Factory ammo will come in unfired brass. Therefore, you loads should also be loaded into new brass. This may be cost preventative for you.

    - By being choosy in your factory ammo selection, you should be able to find a bullet that you can find to reload that is the same in type and grains.

    - Use the same primer as the brand of ammunition that you use. For example, if you use Winchester factory ammo, then use Winchester primers in your load development.

    - Powder generates a bit of a problem because you must change two variables to be safe. Changing type of powder is one variable, and changing the grains of that powder is another variable. It would be unsafe to pull a factory bullet, weigh the grains of powder in the load, and then use an equal weight of a different powder in one of your handloads. I do not really see a way around this issue. Maybe someone else has an answer for this.

    Rifle:

    - You need to have the same environment in your barrel for each shot. I would think that the only way to accomplish this is to clean your barrel after each shot, and then make sure that it is cooled back down to air temperature between shots.

    Shooting:

    - One of the largest variables in your experiment is you. You need to do everything that you can to remove human error from the experiment. If you can find a way to clamp your gun down for each shot, that is repeatable, you can achieve this for the most part.

    If you clamp the gun down too tightly you may damage your gun or scope, so I would think that the best thing to do is use a Lead Sled, and make sure your point of aim is the same every time. Try to touch the gun and setup as little as possible. Basically get it set up, on target, and then only touch the trigger if the rig is sturdy enough to do so.

    That's all I have. Some others may have other suggestions that may help. I'll let them chime in. Good luck with your project!!!

    Joe
     
  7. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Just keep in mind there is a difference between a magazine article and actual science.
    And proof of something in ballistics is very rare. That is, rarely truths.
     
  8. Paul Koons

    Paul Koons Member

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    good luck to you and your friend, i hope that your science fair is in 22years. c
    because thats the length of time that i have been reloading, and the one thing that i have learned is that i dont know as much as i want to know. there are to many variables in this great hobby of ours. there are environmental differences, brass differences, bullet,twist rates, and of course powder and now crimping variations. i wish that i had more time, because this is something that i have always wanted to take on, good luck and enjoy it. Paul
     
  9. AH3682

    AH3682 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies,
    The main problem I have is with the powder. There is few ways to do this and the only one that makes sense has two variables: Powder type and powder charge. Any suggestions on this?

    I may end up changing gears and start testing the effects of different powders or charges on the accuracy, velocity, etc.

    Thanks for the replies so far, they HAVE been helpful.