Tuning a load

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by jkupper, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    Hey all! I'm looking for a little advice on something I have never tried. I have been hand loading for about 10 years, and have worked up great loads for my .220 Swift, .243 Win, 25-06, and 30-06. I recently purchased a Remington 700 in 7mm Rem Mag and am preparing to work up a load for it. My plan is to try several different powders, working loads up from min to max shooting 168 gr. VLD's. I am then planning to take the most accurate load from these tests and play around with the overall length of the cartridge and see if I can get a bit more accuracy out of it.

    My question is do you all think this is a good idea, or am I wasting time and money? (Note: I never consider loading a waste of time :D) Or, do any of you have a better way to do it? Try one powder and mess with the OAL? Just looking for other's thoughts. I know it took a LONG time to find a load for my 30-06 only changing powders and bullets, but I finally did find a round that shot a hole in a hole.
     
  2. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    If it were me, I would stick with one powder til you wring it out, THEN switch if you think you need to. You don't want to test one powder after another without cleaning the gun between the powders. I can't tell you why, but us BR guys have found that goofy things can hapen to your groups when you shoot a powder down your bore that has been fouled with another. you can always clean at the range between strings, but, to me, range time is valuable.....I like to test in ZERO conditions...which don't happen very often. I don't want to waste time cleaning guns.

    With the 7MM I would start with H-1000. it has worked in every 7 that I tryed since it came out. I guess I have found one gun that liked RL-25 with Moly coated JLK 180's better than the H-1000..but that was more of a speed thing.

    And I agree 100%...there is no such thing as wasted time shooting..even when trying to turn that perverbial sows ear into a silk purse...even tho I have proven to myself that the POS will not shoot, I can't help but to try just ONE more thing.......just in case..... :D lightbulb
     

  3. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    Thank you 4x! My biggest thing is that I have never messed with OAL. My dad has always loaded to reloading manual OAL's, and so taught me to do so, but the more I read, especially about the Berger's, is that you need to adjust the OAL for the best accuracy. I just wasn't sure where to work that into my current load working regime. I appreciate the info. I have always cleaned my guns after a trip to the range, but not during testing, and I have had some odd results before, like a group that shoots an 1 inch lower than the previous load, even though it is at a lower velocity. Never though about it as an issue with different powder fouling... Thanks!
     
  4. CB11WYO

    CB11WYO Well-Known Member

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    The way I was taught pretty much matches what you're thinking of trying.
    Find a good powder charge/bullet combo and then use seat depths to fine tune the rifle.

    Seems like most of my guns like shooting when bullets don't have to jump very far to reach the rifling... but then all guns are different.
     
  5. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

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    Berger has finally come out with reloading manual and I sure they've cover seating depth as they put that on varies site. You might want to get Berger manual they may have more that wants been posted.

    Tech note from Berger on seating depth
     
  6. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Tom. That was actually one of the articles that I read that got me started on this whole deal lol. Dad found a Berger manual on Monday and bought it so I am going to take a look at it this weekend. Thanks for the info!
     
  7. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

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    Your on the right track. Bullet seating depth is just one aspect of tuning a load.

    The way I usually go about it is
    Pick an arbitrary seating depth usually 0.020" off the lands, and a primer
    Load 5 different charges with 3-5 of each charge, with charges increasing by 0.5gr. (I'm generally working twards the upper limits of the load spectrum so I keep a close eye out for the slightest sign of pressure).

    Once at the range I will shoot these all in round robin fashion. Picking the charge that shows the most promise, I will then load up 3-5 more test loads using the same number of different primers, 3-5 of each, shoot these round robin, my next step will be to load up 5 more, 5 each this time varying the seating depth, from 0.010 - 0.100, after that I will continue to refine the seating depth.

    Thats just the way I go about it, how ever you do it just make sure you pay attention to the details.
     
  8. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    As far as tuning a load with seating depth.

    Step one....shoot your targets as far away as possible. I used to tune my 1k loads at 1K...but now have a perminent target/berm at 750. What you are tuning out is verticle....verticle showes up more at LR.


    I always start .020 INTO the lands....that way when I change things I only need to go ONE WAY....OUT (shorter). If you start twenty out, which way do you go.......longer or shorter???

    Good luck,
    Tod
     
  9. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

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    Either I just start there because it's always given me fairly decent results. Me personally never load into the lands for the whole getting a bullet stuck in the lands thing kinda brings a quick end to a hunt, so why test a bullet seating depth that I'll never ever use, if a guy is shooting BR by all means go into the lands.
     
  10. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    Good point. I guess that my hunting guns have sufficiant neck tention that pulling a bullet is not a concern. But...I have pulled LOTS of bullets in my comp guns....and it sucks!!!!
     
  11. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    In contrast to traditional load development as described;
    Once you've narrowed powder to seemingly best performance, a move to adjustments in seating afterwards is just gonna mangle what you've done to that point. This, because there is nothing 'fine' about the affects of gross seating adjustments, and if you don't check it gross, well then you really didn't test seating..
    Now as your load falls apart with seating adjustments, your judgement about each OAL is poorly influenced.

    Instead, I pick a mid pressure load with my chosen powder/primer/bullet & follow gross to fine seating testing similar to Berger's recommended. This, because that mid pressure load(down several grains) isn't so near to best as to mask the results of seating adjustments alone. I'm steering clear of any collapse in powder tune.
    Then I move on to ladder testing with powder, again gross to fine.

    Aside from neck tension, powder is the finest of adjustments(right down to single kernels).
    And this is why powder should follow bigger adjustments(like primers & seating), and then you can move on to neck tension last.
     
  12. daniel brothers

    daniel brothers Well-Known Member

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    In english Please.... LOL... load testing is really interesting to me... but my head can't grasp this.... and I know it must be me.... isn't it....?
     
  13. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    Not ME Joe. Right up to the lands but not into them. I HAVE stuck bullets in the rifelings and it sucks big time! If Im working a load that I "think" might be...I'll Dykem a bullet to check and the distance from the head to the marks on the slug....I'll cut that distance back .003-.005 to make sure Im clear. Not buy much...but clear never the less
     
  14. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for your ideas. They are greatly appreciated! I plan to use this rifle for hunting, and not for Bench shooting, so I doubt I will try jamming the bullet into the lands, but does .010" off of the lands sound like a good starting place and then working back out? Where I am going to be trying this for the first time I am not entirely sure that I want to get any closer than that until I am confident that I am finding the distance to the lands accurately.

    Mike, what you said about changing the OAL after finding an accurate load makes sense.

    Again, Thank you all for your advice! I was able to go out tonight and start breaking the barrel in, and this weekend I will be able to start working on the fun partgun)