Ladder Method for Best Load

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Albert Virgilio, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Albert Virgilio

    Albert Virgilio Member

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    Has anyone used the Ladder Method to find the most accurate load? Does it really work? What problems did you have? I am going to try it this spring hopefully when there is no wind for my custom 6 mm Remington Varmint rifle just to see if I have the optimum load. I probably will set the target out to 280 yards or so. I will load about 12 rounds in .3 grain increments up to 50.5 grains of H4350. I am using 70 grain sierra ballistic tips at .010 off the lands or should I start at the lands?
    Thanks!
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Yes, very similar method and it does work if you have an accurate rifle. I always shoot over a chronograph so I get additional data. I also normally ignore left to right variance and just plot (using Excel) the MOA variance over each 3 loads. I then look for low fps variance as well as low up/down variance.

    AJ
     

  3. CAM

    CAM Well-Known Member

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    Albert Virgilio
    You might want to do a search for this, it has been up on the board several times with good info.
    As AJ said it is even better with a crony.

    CAM
     
  4. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    A ladder test is not the way to find the "best" load. It's more like a way to rapidly eliminate the poor loads so we can focus on a narrow charge range that should include the best load. Used correctly, it's a great system of load develpment.
     
  5. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    Well Put!! Look for clusters of holes. You need to make sure that you plot each of your shots. I use a target on the bench and plot them that way. I always use my Lica apo 77 20-60 on the bench to aid in plotting. I always shoot a few shots to get the gun warmed up, and when I shoot the actual test I try to shoot at an even pace. If you have a thin BBL you need to shoot at a slower pace. With a bigger bbl, 30 to 40 seconds between shots. I actualy shoot a little faster with my Dasher.....WAY less heat. I usualy shoot 20 shots per test. Unless you find a perfect day, you will have some windage.....don't stress, or wait for THAT day. Since you are looking for vertical, it is best to put the target as far out as you can.

    When you are done you will have two or three clusters. That is where you start you load development.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!
     
  6. Albert Virgilio

    Albert Virgilio Member

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    I forgot to mention that I will be using a chronograph and I assume that where the bullets cluster I will have minimum extreme spread. The rifle has a bull barrel but I will wait at least one minute between shots. I will be loading one and not three rounds for each charge. For a tight neck chamber how much effect does the seating depth have on accuracy? I also bought a Pentax 100 mm spotting scope so I don't have to walk back and forth to the target between shots. Since I will be using the Ultimate Tripod when I varmint hunt I will also use it when testing.
    I would like to thank everyone for there input.
     
  7. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    Your clusters won't necessarily be the ones that have the closest velocity.

    First, find "THE load", powder wise. Then tinker with seating depth and neck tension. If you use VLD type bullets, you may want to start your tests with a slight jam. The danger in this is finding out you gun LOVES a jam and light neck tension, but the bullets tend to stick in the chamber when you try to eject a loaded round. Not very good for a hunting gun......GREAT for a match or PD gun.


    As far as your rest.....use THE MOST SOLID REST AVAILABLE TO YOU. I don't care what you will be shooting off of later, you want to test your loads, not your ability to shoot off a certain rest. Take away all of the variables you can controle!!

    Have fun!:)
     
  8. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "... I assume that where the bullets cluster I will have minimum extreme spread."

    As said above, that's an invalid assumption. It's kinda rare actually, except maybe at 600+ yards.
     
  9. jmason

    jmason Well-Known Member

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    I understand your not shooting a factory barrel so I can't speak to how ladders work on customs since I don't have one yet. I can tell you I have been lead astray shooting ladders as described in this thread with a factory barrel. I won't bother you with the details but I can tell you I had much better success shooting 3 rounds of 1 charge in the same fashion though. Yes it's more shooting and not much of a shortcut, but you will not miss your node doing it this way and it is possible to miss your node the other way. I did it many times. "There are no free lunches" a wise man from Idaho once told me that.:)
     
  10. D. Manley

    D. Manley Member

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    I've got a really gorgeous old 70's version Weatherby Vanguard thats being pillar bedded/floated & a couple of other tweaks right now. When I get it back, I'm going to use Dan Newberry's System for Optimal Charge Weight. His system makes a lot of sense to me and in my case, I think I'll find out rather quickly if it's gonna' shoot or not then, maybe fine tune a bit with OAL, etc.
     
  11. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    Sure there are. Look at the velocity gain just by using a longer BBL.

    Free Lunch!!:D
     
  12. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Who packs that 'free lunch' up the mountain?

    AJ
     
  13. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    It's free, as long as you don't count the cost.:D

    Steve
     
  14. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    ""There are no free lunches" a wise man from Idaho once told me that.:)"

    The wise man was right.

    Source of the barrels don't really matter in load testing, but not all good lunches need cost as much as others. Perhaps it should be noted that ANY method of finding the "best" load requires sufficent shooting skill that the test is of the ammo, not the shooter.

    But, if the Magic BO's many promises prove true, HE and his team WILL provide folks lots of FREE LUNCHES, soon. For now, we must wait to see if the Idaho WISE MAN was correct or if the Chicago CHOOSEN ONE is correct. Personally, I admit I'm not waiting in any agonized suspense to learn which is the more wise. Or honest.

    Aw, stop it self, don't let your frustrations get to you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009