At what point do you consider a load "good enough"?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by KQguy, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2007
    Just curious,when you are working on a particular load,what kind of groups do you consider acceptable,say at 100 yds.There are so many variables and options when reloading(powder types and weights,primers,case preparation,seating depths etc.,etc.Do you guy's try every single option and combination,or do you shoot for a certain group size and stop there?
  2. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    I look for a load that has a good size window, what I mean is it will shoot about the same in different temperatures. You usually won't get it to shoot at -17 and 106 the same but you can get it good at normal variables. The second is the best accuracy with the lowest pressure. Third is what gun are you loading for? If it is a custom build you want it to shoot about .2-.3 but if you are shooting a thin barreled light weight I wouldn't expect as good at least beyond the first shot. I generally pick a bullet and good brass a powder or two and load ranges of round. Like 10 grains 11 grains and so on I do two things I find the window so to speak and I will also find the upper limit. Then I know what I have to work with. If that particular powder won't push the vel. I'm looking for I change and try something new. I might note I do not like to run a round just as hard as I can but my focus is on hunting I look for consistancy first and worry about vel later as a rule. I already know about what I'm looking for before I start for a new round so I'm looking for something reasonable. I wanted something faster than the 25-06 so instead of pushing as hard as I could I built a 25-06 AI.

    Hope this helps.


  3. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    Well, I am not a world champion bench rest shooter and do not claim to be. Therefore, if a load gets down to my skill level which is about 0.5 MOA on most days if I don't drink too much coffee, then I call that good. If it is a rifle I am going to hunt with at long range (1K+) then I am going to push the velocity and pressure up as high as it will go and keep the group size constant.

    In F-class, I just shoot the load Dave King had writen on the box and have never checked to see if there is a better load because I cannot shoot better than that load groups. A person really has to look in the mirror and be honest about their skill level.

    I am not one of those people who baby each peice of brass because I intend to include it in my will and expect that even my grandchildren will still be using it. I will blow out a primer pocket and call that cost of a piece of brass trivial if I make my hit on the animal.

    For my antelope rifle I tried four bullets, one primer, one powder and one seating depth. One of the bullets grouped consistently half the size of the others and keep that group size until the primers started falling out of the brass and then group size opened up.

    For the 7mm AM, I shoot the load that Kirby gave me being as it is fast and groups as good as I can shoot. I do not screw around with seating depth, primers nor nothing.

    On the other hand if it is just some rifle I am going to use for general purposes and do not need to squeeze the last fps out of it, I will stop when I reach a group size that makes me happy which is about 0.5 - 1.5 MOA. Let just face the facts, that if you are hunting buffalo at 100 yards you just don't need a lot of accuracy and a round nose 175 grain Nosler partition works a hell of a lot better than some high BC racecar of a bullet.

    There are people who really enjoy the search for a perfect load, but I am not one of them. I really enjoy going hunting, not sitting at some concrete bench letting a rifle kick the snot out of me. But if you enjoy it that is fine with me.
  4. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2007
    Buffalobob,I think about the same as you when it comes to developing a load.I just don't have the time to try every option for handloading,even though I wish i did.Sometime when I hear about guy's trying 3-4 different primers,4 different powders and different seating depths to find the best combination for a load,it makes me feel lazy.LOL
  5. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    Although I've been known to keep trying combinations just for a reason to keep shooting :D I'll normally do the following.

    1) Find some reputable recommendations for a powder/primer combo.
    2) Decide what I want from the load velocity wise.
    3) Check Quickload and my books for the range of powder expected to reach the velocity I'm wanting to achieve.
    4) Load 10-30 rounds with 3 rounds/ powder level (for example if my range was 41-45gr's, I'd load 3 at 41, 41.5, 42, 42.5, 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5 and 45 for a total of 27 rounds.
    5) I'd shoot at 9 different spots on a target and shoot each load over a chronograph.
    6) Based on the velocity readings and the single 3 shot groups, I'd load up 10 or more rounds at the selected load and shoot them in groups of 5 over the chrono.
    7) Assuming they shoot pretty well, I'd load some up and leave them long. Then experiment with 5 shot groups at different seating depths.

    By this time I normally have a load that is shooting in the velocity range I was looking for, and is shooting up to the accuracy I expect from that particular rifle.

    To answer your original question, I don't stop until I have a load that shoots up to my expectation for that rifle. Sometimes, its the first load I try. Sometimes it takes multiple powders, primers and bullets. I tried hard to make Nosler Ballistic tips work in my 7mm RM and could never get below about 1MOA. I switched to A-Max's and started shooting sub 1/2moa immediately, with all other components the same!

    I'm normally not happy until 1/2moa groups are common, much better than that and I'll need someone else to shoot the rifle for me.

  6. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    on my good days of shooting, if i can get around 1" at 300 or 2" at 500, my search for an accurate load is over. this would be with my 15lb custom long range rig. Bob stated it pretty well, the accuracy would depend on the gun/intended purpose.
  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    I use the approach of loading the bullet I want to use and the
    approximate velocity needed with the best standard deviation.

    I have had loads that would group well at 100rds but was lousy
    at 300yrds but SD,s were bad (30ft/sec +) but loads that had good
    SD,s shot well at all distances.

    Good SD,s (under 10 ft/sec) means that you have a consistent burn
    rate and I allways switch primers to see if this will improve SD,s.

    After working up to the best SD,s this will allow the rifle to shoot it,s
    best then with bullet seating more accuracy can be possible.

    I try to load to the point that the weapon is better than me .

  8. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2004
    I don't stop tinkering until the bullets start going where I predict they should go in given conditions at long range for a long range load. If that doesn't happen, then the process of elimination begins until I find out why the bullets aren't flying into the "spot". The load is checked and rechecked until I'm certain it is as good as it's going to get, then I move on to equipment troubleshooting.