testing loads - lead sled v.s. shoulder

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by 270fan, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. 270fan

    270fan Active Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    This may be splitting hairs but that is a big part of reloading fun. How is the best way to develope a very accurate load. Are you better off to do your load testing using a lead sled or shooting from the shoulder? I have been hearing opinions favoring both and was wondering what the consensus of you experts would be. Which will lead to developement of the most accurate load? Opinions and experiences appreciated. Would be interested to hear the logic behind your view as well. Testing a 300 WM and developing Elk loads. Thanks for any and all input.
  2. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2001
    Developing an accurate load and sighting in for hunting "may" vary depending on the procedure that you use. I do not own or use a lead sled but several shooters who do have told me that point-of-impact and occasionally group size can be quite different when using the lead sled vs shooting from your shoulder.

    If you do work up loads using the lead sled, I would verify that the groups remain the same and that the point of impact does not change when shooting from your shoulder in field positions/conditions.

    Just my 2 cents

  3. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    I'm by no means an expert, I'm considering myself a rookie in this shooting venue, but here's my take on it.

    During load development, I'm testing the equipment to see what will shoot the best. I want to try and take as many variables out of the equasion as possible. I time my shots with a watch, watch barrel temp, set out wind flags, weigh every powder charge, and try and prep cases the way that match shooters do. Part of that to me means taking as much of the human tremors out of the rifle aiming as possible. I use something akin to the lead sled, where I just have to squeeze the trigger and make sure that the gun doesn't hop out of the rest from the recoil. Once I have the load that the gun likes, then it's off of the recoil reduction device and onto the bags/tripod to see if I can come close to the same group size, and to get the gun to put the bullets where I am aiming. Once that is done, then it's practice shooting in hunting conditions - off of the backpack, standing, resting against a tree, etc.

    I still can't shoot as small of a group off of the bags as I can in the rest.:(
  4. Robbin

    Robbin Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I always use the lead sled when building loads. Once I've chosen a load to go with, I do all my shooting off the shoulder. Eliminate as much of the human problem when trying to build a load.
    I've had very small POI changes going from the sled to the shoulder, but it only takes one group and a couple of clicks to fix that. If you are shooting a boomer, like my step sons 300 RUM you will be flinching like crazy before you get your load figured out. That gun is brutal!
  5. overbore

    overbore Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    Robin, you have it just right. When the recoil surface changes so does the point of impact. Overbore