Brass management


Feb 8, 2020
I have found that an accurate load can be defined by muzzle velocity and seating depth (for a given bullet). The right muzzle velocity will be determined by a node of constant speed while making slight changes in powder weight. Find the right seating depth by staying in the middle of the velocity/powder weight node and picking the most accurate one.

You don't need to wait for fully fire formed brass or for the barrel to settle out, do your load development from the start. As long as you are capturing this data (MV and seating depth), you should be 90% to the final answer when things settle out and brass formed.

Now, how much powder you need to maintain that velocity will probably change in new brass vs fire formed, as the barrel settles out, if you change lot number of powder (or even powder type as long as it has somewhat similar burn rates). Muzzle velocity is all about barrel harmonics - you are trying to get the bullet out of the muzzle when the barrel has the most upward flex (as the muzzle flexes up and down many times when you fire, there are different velocity nodes at which the bullet leaves the barrel at the right time).

You can even change to a different brand of brass and get back into the sweet spot for a load if you can match the speed and seating depth from the first load development. Now when doing this, you have to be super careful. Some brass shows signs of pressure earlier than others (and you might not get to you node) or the charge weight for the same speed is as much as 1 gr off. WHEN CHANGING COMPONENTS IN A LOAD - BACK OFF CHARGE AND WORK UP.

Final statement - some people chase seating depth as the throat wears. I have not seen a dramatic change in accuracy as throat wears so I leave my seating depth alone. I also don't hot rod my loads or fire fast to have fast erosion.
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Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2003
NC, oceanfront
There are different nodes with tuning a load.
There is a powder node, providing a nice forgiving pressure shelf. This is found with the OCW method.
There is the barrel node, providing cutting edge precision. This is found with ladder testing.
There is the vibrational node, a point between vibrations. This is calculated timing with OBT.

The barrel node is narrow, and it's not just vertical. You need things set to good standard before testing for it -so that you can see it.
IMO, bullet seating, primer swapping/striker tuning, and brass formed to stable, are prerequisite to best testing for a barrel node.


Well-Known Member
May 20, 2020
Newb question #1:
I have a new rifle that I have broken the barrel in. I have 40 PCs of ADG brass 1x fired and 200 0x fired. I am about to start developing a load for my rifle. Should I use the 1x fired or should I start fresh and get all brass up to same fire amount (1x)? What suggestions do the nice folks here have for a guy
I get a load worked up with new, and have enough on hand to potentially last the life of the barrel after 4-5X firings. After all the new are 1x I may have to tweak my load(s), but then I can load ALL of them with the pet load(s) and be good to go.

My .02


Varmint Hunter

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2001
Long Island, New York
As a new reloader you should always stay within charge weights listed in reliable reloading manuals. Sometimes you may find that even printed data exceeds what your rifle can safely handle. That's why it is normally recommended to start @ 10% below top listed loads and work up while carefully looking for signs of excessive pressure.

Never use any data supplied by anyone on the internet without confirming with reliable printed data (reloading manuals). On several occasions I have seen unsafe or totally ridiculous data posted only to have the same poster correct himself at a later date. People often post by memory and make MISTAKES. Like; "oops I meant H4831 not H4350 like I posted".

Go slow and triple check everything you are doing until you attain knowledge and get comfortable with what you are doing.

Good luck & be safe.