Reloading methods???

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by SQ Stalker, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. SQ Stalker

    SQ Stalker Active Member

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    1st of all I've got to say thanks for a great forum, I've learned a great deal about this hobby from the many pages here.

    I just starting to get into reloading. I'm loading for my Remmy 700 .270 Win w/ a 24" barrel. So far I'll be loading w/ new Win cases, BR2 primers and 150gr Berger VLD's.

    In the morning I'll be headed to the range w/ my first 24 hand loads to try the "Jump Test" from the Berger site, with seating depths: .010", .050", .090", .130". All w/ H4831SC.

    My question is which order should the following variables be tested to minamize loads required to find the most accurate load?

    Variables:

    1. Seating depth (I'm guessing move'em +,- .005" or .010" after finding the best depth tomm?)

    2. Powders (I've also got IMR 4350, RL 19) <thus 3 different powders>

    3. Powder charge (guessing +,- .5gr?) <from 54gr to ~56gr or 58gr w/ H4831>

    4. Neck tension (is this normally tested for accuracy purposes?) <I've got .300", .301" and .302" neck bushings>

    I just can't see having to load hundreds of rounds just to find the best load w/ the same bullet, case and primer.

    Is there some of those varibles that affect all the others and should be tested first or some of them that do not affect any of the others and should be tested last??

    Sorry about the confusing shotgun blast of questions but I'm pulling my hair out trying to find some science to this madness w/out max'n out all the VISA's :(

    Just trying to make the most accurate long range HOG BUSTER I cangun)

    Like I say I haven't even fired my first reloads yet so any and ALL info is welcome and appreciated.

    P.S. On tuesday I sent Berger an email request for load data, still waiting.

    Happy Independence Day!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  2. kweidner

    kweidner Well-Known Member

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    I do powder first....Look for the node. Your groups will either be getting bigger or smaller the hotter you go. I usually start somewhere in the middle and go up @ .5 increments. After I settle on a load I start with seating depth and neck tension to "Fine tune it" I always recommend using 5 shot groups. 3 will tell you a little but 5 will tell it all. Get yourself a crony borrow one if you have to. Look for extreme spread. Velocity is the key to consistency. Powder burn is the secret. Seating depth and neck tension are for fine tuning. Good luck. Warning this hobby is HIGHLY addictive!
     

  3. SQ Stalker

    SQ Stalker Active Member

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    I just found and read the sticky on ladder testing. If I were to try this w/ seating depth would I be only looking for vertical distances to be small or overall group size to be small? I understand w/ the powder it's a vertical thing but is it the same when trying to optimize seating depth?
     
  4. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    +1 on what kweidner said.

    Sounds like you made a bullet selection already. Make a powder selection based on researching load manuals and their recommendations, and searches here and other sites.

    Work up 5 shot groups in 1/2grain increments to find the best group, usually within 1-2 grains below max. Be sure you know and understand pressure signs and examine each case immediately after it is fired before firing another.

    Once that is done, if you're not satisfied, then play with the seating depth. Use a comparator to measure lengths - NOT from the bullet tip.

    I can't comment on neck tension.
     
  5. Katbird

    Katbird Member

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    When working up new loads, this is my philosophy. Good barrel, good bedding, and good bullets are the three most important factors in accuracy. Many other things count, but those are the most critical for starters. Assuming the barrel and bedding are up to snuff, bullet selection is your next big decision.

    I normally select my preferred bullet weight from two different bullet makers. Your rifle will likely find a preference for one of them over the other.

    Next is powder. If you look through all the available loading data for that weight of bullet in your cartridge from several loading manuals, you will invariably find that two or three powders stand out from all others. I pick the two that seem to be referred to most often as the go to powder.

    I agree that 5 shot groups will tell you more than a 3 shot group, but it requires more shooting. Resort to 3 shot groups only if you are limited to components on hand or time at the range.

    Since this is a hunting rifle, your magazine will determine the maximum OAL of your loaded cartridges. Start your seating depth there, provided you are not into the lands. A Stoney Point Gauge will help there. If you don't have one, mark a bullet with a black magic marker. Using a fired case, put a slight dent in one side of the case mouth, just enough to hold a bullet. Insert your marked bullet into the case, seated out long enough that the rifling will seat the bullet when you close the bolt. You will be able to see where the case scraped the bullet until you fully engaged the lands. You should seat at least .015" shorter than this, or less if this OAL exceeds what your magazine allows. In any case, you need to be consistent with your seating depth while working up loads. The part that needs to be consistent is not the cartridge OAL, but the distance from the case head to the ogive. A bullet comparator will verify that measurement.

    Try both bullets with each powder, working up in increments of .5gr until you reach your maximum load, stopping if you notice any signs of pressure. You may or may not be able to reach a book max load in your rifle. Only working up will tell you that. A chronograph will tell you when you have matched factory velocities. Stop there regardless of pressure signs.

    Don't be cheap on the number of targets you use. You want to be able to easily gather information from your targets.

    Allow plenty of time for barrel cooling between shots, or you are wasting your time and ammo. It doesn't matter where the groups land on your target. What matters is some loads will be better than others.

    Knowing what bullet and powder combination your rifle likes is only the starting point of developing accurate loads. The first time at the range, all you are trying to find out is which powder and bullet to use, and what your maximum load is.

    The next time out at the range, use the ladder method to find the sweet spot with the powder and bullet combination your rifle told you to use.

    Once you find the sweet spot, try varying seating depths by .010" at a time to find that perfect load.

    I hope this helps.
     
  6. SQ Stalker

    SQ Stalker Active Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and great info. I shot 24 rounds the other day, a little odd I thought but w/ 54 gr. of H4831SC it preferred .090" off the lands?? Shot a couple .5" groups and avg was about .75" at 100yd! I'm very supprised at the good start. This rifle has NEVER shot under 1.5" w/ any factor loads.

    Today I got a hornady comparator (and a chronograph) from the ups man, so that'll help out a lot.

    On the barrel cooling I thought about it at the range, & I just keep the hottest exterior point (6 in forward of recoil lug?) of the barrel down below 100F. This mandated about 5 minutes btwn shots using 54gr & 150 VLD's. I figured this made since for developing a hunting load. Is this a little over board? I used a laser temp gun. Does anybody else have a better method or temperature to make sure barrel temp stays in range and consistant?

    When testing for seating depth, will this affect group size horz & vert or just vert? Just so I don't miss read the wind effects for a bad load.

    Thanks again for the great info, I'll continue to read and grow my addiction to this new hobby:D
     
  7. ODAVID

    ODAVID Well-Known Member

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    A very helpful suggestion for you is shoot your groups at least 200 yards on a steady calm day. I shoot in the early am during the summer months and latter in the day during the fall and spring months. I try to determine group size by shooting when 50 Deg F or less. This gets closer to hunting conditions. Less wind removes one of the major varibles also. Just make each shot count and you will see better groups and not waste time and barrels.

    Keep us informed on your progress.
    odavid
     
  8. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    A lot of good info so far. I think ladder testing may be more useful at longer ranges. I agree with the suggestion to check your groups at 200 yds or even 300 yds becuase this will alow your bullets to "settle down" (go to sleep) if they have any pitch and yaw going on.

    Once I think that I have a good load from verifying with several groups 200-300 yds, I will shoot groups, one shot per, on different days at the same target, to see what my cold bore accuracy is. It would also be a good idea to record temps and velocities to see if you have any temp issues with your powder.

    Keep us posted on your progress,:)

    -MR
     
  9. SQ Stalker

    SQ Stalker Active Member

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    I plan to progress into cold bore testing further down this road. As for shooting at further distances, my range is only 200 yards and today I was debating between 100 and 200 and decided on 100 b/c most of my shots will be in this range, while the occasional food plot shot will be further.

    Today I shot 30 rds total (10 foulers and 20 test rds) w/ seating depths @ .010, .050, .090 and .130 off the lands. I started w/ clean bore, shot 2 foulers then 4 rounds, one at ea. depth & ea. corresponding target. After the 6 round I'd clean and repeat for a total of 5 strings, (5 shots at 4 depths & 4 targets).

    I took be 3 hours to shoot 30 rds total. Times for 6 shot strings=avg 35 min:35,45,43,21,30. The last two were a little rushed from closing time.

    I also rotated the depth I started the string on, having only .010" starting off twice, to spread bore conditions.

    Something happened to cause the last two strings to all shoot low and right as seen on target 7 (.090")

    Conditions: 92 deg F, 5-7 mph

    Below is the 4 targets: 5= .010", 6= .050", 7= .090", 8= .130".

    56gr H4831SC, 150gr VLD, WIN case, BR2 primers

    [​IMG]

    WHICH TARGET(seating depth) WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO CONTINUE LOAD DEVELOPMENT ONTO DIFF POWDER CHARGES???

    I'm leaning towards #7, b/c the first three shots were .456 and the other two if POI were the same aren't bad. Like I say the last two shots on all 4 targets were low and right. I always loctite and torque every screw, all checked out tight after the range closed today? Wind or scope moved?

    What's the deal with #8, horz is exactly half of the other 3, but width is 146% of the avg of the other 3. And all 5 shots of each group were spread out evenly over 3 hours, so I can't see wind affecting this group that much more? Just trying to interpret all the data I can.

    Please excuse the lengthy post just don't want to leave anything out:D
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  10. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    SQ,

    I'm not sure you can make much of a detrermination with those groups. What's the spread on them? And how are you determining your POA? Those are kind of big bullseyes. I make targets on my computer with verticle and horizontal lines every 1" and I make one horizontal and verticle line heavier (darker) than the others and use the interscetion for my bullseye. That way I have a precise aim point and it's easy to tell from the bench how large my groups are. I also level the the target on the target board so my verticle lines are exactley plumb and horizontal line are level. It makes it easy to line my reticles on them and take out any cant in my rifle.

    92 degrees is real warm to be shooting in but I guess in GA that's the way it is in the summer. I know a guy in Mississippi who doesn't shoot if the temps are over 70.
     
  11. SQ Stalker

    SQ Stalker Active Member

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    Thx for the suggestion on the targets they work pretty good for the thick reticle on my Monarch 6-24X BDC. Which program do you use to make the targets, it sounds like a good idea?

    The groups are as follows, 5=1.6; 6=1.3; 7=1.7; 8=1.8. Combined w/ the two 3 shot groups at ea setting earlier in the week, the avg ctc groups are; .010=1.19; .050=1.06, .090=1.5, .130=1.96. The avg dist to center of the 3 groups: .010=.55; .050=.41, .090=.50, .130=.61.

    I think having the best CTC, ATC, and having the best three shot goup of .465 I'm going to go on to different powder charges with .050" seating depth. The first three are pretty close.

    After I go + or - .5gr on powder and find the best high velocity node, I think I'll go back and change seating depth + or - .010", then + or - .005". Then at .050" I might try the medium loads for RL 19 & IMR 4350 and see if they are much better. Also from this point on I'll be using fire formed brass.

    For hunting reliability is it a good rule of thumb to use once fired brass?? That way I can just neck size and not have to worry about brass life and the shoulder shouldn't be an issue chambering.

    Any additional info or recommendations are more than welcome

    Thanks

    Adam
     
  12. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Adam, i just do it with the draw function in microsoft word. Real simple. You can make other shapes too, like circles. I also put a 1" cirlce as my bullseye aroung the intersection of the heavy verticle and horizontal lines. You can also make two or more bullseyes on one sheet of 8x11 paper.

    I think you may have a tough time getting good consistant groups shooting in the heat. I would suggest shooting at the coolest times possible.

    On resizing brass... you can neck size only for a few firings, but eventually you will have to full length size or partial full length size or body size your brass so it fits your chamber. Multiple firings will stretch it to the point where it will not fit if you only neck size. Most brass wears out at the neck or primer pockets first. Necks experience the most stress from resizing and pocket primers get stretched out if shooting high pressure loads. The best way to increase neck life is to use bushing dies.

    Good shooting,

    -Mark
     
  13. SQ Stalker

    SQ Stalker Active Member

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    Sounds good, I'll make some targets like that. Also for dies I'm using RCBS GOLD MEDAL dies.

    From what I read on here whenever the brass starts to get hard to chamber I can take the bushing out of my bushing FL sizer die, and just insert the case enough to try an back the shoulder up about .0015"? I'll use a sharpie or flame sout on the case when I get there and see how it works.

    Also w/o a head space gauge, whats the best way to measure shoulder height? I guess I could just go slow and just do it until it'll chamber easily.

    I'm starting to find I'm becoming a night owl in order to work on my loads w/o the ol' lady on my back:rolleyes:.

    Right now I'm loading 5 rounds w/ 54 gr of RL 19 at .050" off the lands to try to set up a good comparison w/ the H4831SC.

    In addition to 2 rounds at each increasing powder charge (.5gr) w/ RL 19 and H4831 to find where the max is with some of my fire formed cases.

    This stuff really is addicting:D

    Thanks again for the help!

    P.S. What's the reason for possible less accurate loads in hot weather? I make sure to keep my loads in the shade while shooting. It's hard to shoot below 85 deg, & nearly impossible to shoot below 80 deg in the summer:(
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  14. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    Those targets are too coarse. You need a single point of aim otherwise there is no way to gather data about the loads. Get a target with 5 diamonds and start over.

    92 is too hot to be shooting test loads for fall/winter hunting, unless you intend to hunt in summer (I hunted pigs last weekend, morning/evening temps were still cooler).

    Your reloading methods sound fine but its not going to tell you anything if you don't make the range time count.