Ladder test w/ new brass -waste of time?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Miller Outdoors, May 14, 2010.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm just starting testing on another new rifle and have a question.

    I've got a bag of new brass sized and trimmed and loaded in .2grain increments for a ladder test. My question is should the ladder test results be any different than a second test that I'd perform with the fire-formed brass/neck sizing? Am I wasting my time doing a ladder test with this new brass, or should the results be similar?

    I didn't think of this until after I had the new brass all sized and loaded. What do you think?
     
  2. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    " Am I wasting my time doing a ladder test with this new brass.."

    No.
     

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Unless you are fire forming to an AI or something the test will be close
    to the second firing and give you an indication of what you will end up with.

    The ultimate accuracy may improve as you tweak your loading process but
    the test should be good.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  4. Thanks for the info., gentlemen.

    Just got back from firing the test and the results are a bit confusing. I shot it at 205 yards with 185gr Berger VLD's starting with 41 grains of Varget up to 44.2 grains - 17 shots. I shot a 3.15" pretty much round group. The lowest charges started to walk up slightly until about 42.8 grains then the group settled and the last 6 out of 7 shots made a 1.65" group. The only exception was the very last round (which showed no pressure signs) but jumped an inch out of the group.

    So much for a nice ladder. How would you interpret these results?

    I'm going to now do another test with BL-C2 since I already had them loaded. Would you shoot farther distance or stick with the 205?
     
  5. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    Without seeing your group, I wouldn't even guess about it.

    The Ladder method is very good but it won't show much elevation difference at only 205 yards but it can tell you all you need to know IF you don't loose track of which load made what hole. (And the loads need fairly small changes to tell us anything, steps larger than about .2 or 3 gr can allow us to completly skip over the node we are looking for, especially if our shooting skills aren't very good and the winds/mirage are not still. Your .2 gr. changes are very good test steps.)

    Sometimes a rifle won't like the bullet or powder so nothing you can do will make it shoot well with them.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  6. justgoto

    justgoto Well-Known Member

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    50% of the time I preform a ladder test I get a circle also; the only time I get something resembling a ladder at a short distance is with my 30-30 or pistol.

    With the Springfield in the pic below had a 4" circular group; but I only take into account the shot placement of the bullets shot incrementally, the group as a whole didn't come into my figuring of the nodes.

    Post a pic of your target and I bet someone will be able to find a few nodes for you.
     
  7. groper

    groper Well-Known Member

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    i thought ladder tests were for finding a load with best ES or SD and must be fired at long range, ie 800yd-1000yds?

    The different powder weights each make a 'rung' in the ladder climbing higher with the heavier powder charges and increased velocity?

    only looking at the 'rungs' for least vertical? So, no point in doing it at short range?

    or is there another meaning of ladder test?
     
  8. Gunpoor

    Gunpoor Well-Known Member

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    As was mentioned in an earlier reply, to really see the results of ladder tests it is best to shoot at least 300 yds. What you need to look for in a ladder test is vertical grouping. Pay no attention to how far they are apart horizontally because it doesn't matter. When and if you start to see two or three rounds that are very close together vertically you are possibly near the sweet spot. You then need to load three or four at each of these exact charges and then shoot them as seperate groups to see which if any give the group you are looking for. Good luck, and hope your rifle responds to all the load work you are doing.
     
  9. justgoto

    justgoto Well-Known Member

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  10. 243yote

    243yote Well-Known Member

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    Ladder testing burns lots of powder and time! I tried the ladder test and i used alot of time,powder, primers and bullets. I agree anything 200 yds or less is useless for ladder testing. The one thing i found from ladder testing is that there are at least 2 nodes you will see. One near the starting load and one near the max load. What i have done is modify the testing and start about 1/2 way from max at .5 grain increments and work up but do not get to max load. I stop about .5 grains from MAX because if i get a good group before max then i concentrate around that weight. After finding a decent weight to check i reduce at .2grains after that. Less time and supplies to find a decent load. It has worked for my .243 and really happy with this load testing. Faster and less cost. 5/8" group at 200 yds and still hitting 8" steel plate at 400 yds. When finding the decent load i also incoporate the round robin method when doing load testing. Round Robin is a good way to load test. I used this load development at 100yds and could see the HITS EASIER and determine quicker what load is working and which is not. Anything past 500 yds i would not know about because our range here is not that far. So good luck and hope this helps somebody else out there. Good luck and keep shooting.

    US Congress - Bill of Rights

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Amen to that!!!!!!!!