# Help me interpret this Berger VLD COL test?

1. ### OnewolfMember

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Sep 27, 2012
I am a newbie at handloading and I need some experienced opinions on how to interpret a COL test. I just started handloading at the beginning of this year so I have A LOT to learn! As a bunus I just started shooting a rifle in November last year so I have a lot to learn there as well.

I attempted to perform a COL test for Berger VLD 140s this morning with my Savage Long Range Precision 260. I had previously determined that for my rifle a Berger VLD 140 'in the lands' seemed to be COL 2.930" so using the method prescribed by Berger I made four sets of rounds (5 rounds per set) at COL 2.930", 2.890", 2.850", and 2.810".

I had a failure to chamber (my first!) on one of the 2.850" rounds. Chalk that one up as a lesson learned.

I shot these groups at 200m using a bipod and rear bag.

The group sizes were:

2.810" = 0.733"
2.850" = 0.423" (only 4 rounds)
2.890" = 1.248"
2.930" = 0.874"

My (ignorant) analysis of this target is that the rifle does not like 2.890", it _might_ really like 2.850", and it doesn't seem to mind 2.810" or 2.930".

Do you draw any conclusions from this target?
Should I repeat the same test?
Or should I try a test with rounds with COL 2.830", 2.840", 2.850", 2.860" to see if the 2.850" is an anomaly or not?

2. ### brentcWell-Known Member

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I think you're right on track. 2.850" is your best depth based on group size and lack of vertical deviation in the group. I would definitely try another test with 2.840, 2.850 and 2.860 just to rule out an anomaly.

Congrats though, you're already at 1/4 MOA off a bipod and bag. It doesn't get too much better than that. What are you planning to do with your rifle?

3. ### Joe KingWell-Known Member

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Apr 29, 2012
You shot these at 200yrds correct? I would say that your rifle likes them all. With the 1.248" group could have muffed 1 or 2? I would revisit it just to make sure, other than that I would pick the load closest to the lands. the theory is that you would maintain that accuracy as your throat erodes, if you could maintain it for 0.080" of throat erosion, that is a lot of shooting without having to tinker with your load again.

4. ### ICANHITHIMMANWell-Known Member

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Did you do a pressure test before the seating depths?

5. ### OnewolfMember

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Sep 27, 2012
I ordered 100 packs of a variety of likely candidates (Barnes MatchBurner 140s, Hornady A-MAX 140s, Sierra MK 140s and 142s, and Berger VLD 130 and 140s).

I have done powder load tests with Barnes MatchBurner 140s, Hornady A-MAX 140s, and Sierra MK 142s. They all ended up 'liking' 43.0gr of H-4350 best.

With the Bergers I wasn't sure if I should perform COL testing first since they have the reputation for being the most COL 'finicky'. Since all the other 140ish grain high BC bullets liked 43.0gr H-4350, I decided (rightly or wrongly) to start with a COL test and then after choosing a COL I would do a powder load test with the Bergers.

43.0gr of H-4350 is showing no signs of overpressure on any of the bullets.

6. ### OnewolfMember

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These groups were shot at 200 meters. Our normal rifle range seems a little strange in that they have 100 yd targets, 200 meter targets, and 300 meter targets. And then we have the 'long range' range where we shoot 500-1100 yds.

I will perform another test with a 5 shot 2.930" group, and 5 shot groups at 2.840", 2.850", and 2.860" to see if the previous small group at 2.850" was an anomaly.

7. ### OnewolfMember

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I bought the rifle to shoot with the local long range shooting club. It's been great for learning and practicing (all prone) but I have subsequently discovered that for their field matches they always have a number of non prone shots and this rifle seems very unbalanced (barrel heavy) for shooting in unsupported stances.

At the last long range practice I was the first shooter at 1000 yds and there was a variable 6-14mph quartering breeze. My first shot at the popper silhouette hit the 6" popper and I was 11-12 on the next shots at 1000 yards shooting the 8"-12" gongs. The other shooters (including 2 of the club directors) did not have better then 35-40% hit rates. That made me feel good. I was shooting Hornady A-MAX 140s with 43.0gr of H-4350 and COL of 2.810".

8. ### OnewolfMember

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Sep 27, 2012
I performed another Berger VLD 140 COL test this morning. Unfortunately there were several other shooters at the rifle range and they were bouncing the benches pretty good so I had several called 'flyers'. Because of these bouncing bench flyers I would call this COL test null and void, but I do have a newbie question about target analysis.

These were all 5 shot groups. I have a question about the 2.860" COL target. There are only 3 holes. Two of the holes appear to be slightly larger than the other holes, but not to the extent that I could clearly 100% say they are 2 bullet holes. So either I shot two really really bad UNCALLED flyers or they are indeed 2 bullets in basically the same hole.

Is there a good method for accurately determining whether they are '2 bullet' holes?

I'm basically out of Berger VLD 140s at this point and I can't find them anywhere in-stock currently so it's probably ok that this test was FUBARed by the bouncing bench.

I have decided to standardize on the Sierra MatchKing 142s for now because they are the only 'candidate' 6.5mm high BC bullets I could find in stock.

Thanks.

Doug

9. ### sharpshooterbrWell-Known Member

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Aug 11, 2006
On the analysis of your 2.860 loads, there definitely looks to be multiple shots through the hole you have marked 3-4. It's really hard to tell on the hole marked 1-2, but it kind of looks like the second bullet is hanging out of the main hole at about 3-4 o'clock position. I definitely think all 5 shots are represented in that group, and it appears that is your best seating depth. It is the smallest group of the lot, and shows the least amount of vertical dispersion. Good shooting.

10. ### brentcWell-Known Member

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If it were me, I'd run 2.860 and stop load development altogether and utilize the components to shoot as intended. Now that you know how it shoots, get out and shoot it in field conditions, reading wind, angles, etc.

11. ### DMP25-06Well-Known Member

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Oct 6, 2010
Hello Onewolf ,

Good grouping . Did you chronograph your loads for velocity , extreme spread , and standard deviation ? If so , what were the averages for the 2.850" COL group , and others ?
I have shot a Savage Long Range Hunter , belonging to a friend , in .260 Rem . using 130 gr. Berger VLD's @ 2960 fps. average velocity that was very accurate , 1/2 MOA @ 200 yards , and had no trouble banging a 22" round steel gong at 1202 yards .
I am interested in possibly purchasing a Long Range Precision in .260 Rem . , such as yours .
Also , what brass and primers were you using ?
Final question , how did the 140gr. AMAX bullets group @200 Meters , and their velocity ?

Thank You ,
DMP25-06

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13. ### OnewolfMember

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I just started handloading in January and I do not have a chronograph, yet. It is at the very top of my 'list' and I will be buying one within a couple of weeks.

I have been using Lapua Rem 260 brass that originally came with the 20 boxes of Corbon ammo (139 Scenar) I bought from CTD for \$34/box. I figured it was a reasonable way to acquire 400 Lapua brass and have some good factory ammo to practice with.

I am using CCI BR-2 primers (until I run out). Hopefully I can locate some more BR-2s.

I had great success with the 140gr A-MAX bullets especially at 800-1000 yards. My best day at 1000 yards was with the A-MAX 140s. But I couldn't find the A-MAX 140s in stock when it came time to choose a 'winner' and the SMK142s won by default because they are the only ones I could find in stock to order. I now have two boxes of 500 SMK142s sitting on the bench at home.

14. ### OnewolfMember

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On Saturday I performed H-4350 powder load tests with the SMK 142s and 42.8gr 'won'. 42.4, 42.6, 42.8, and 43.0 were all very good, but 42.8gr node group was the best. I fubared the planned COL test on Saturday (turret 'issues').

On Sunday I performed a COL test with the SMK142s at 300 meters. The 2.840" COL group was definitely the best (0.50 MOA).

So for now my standard load will be: Lapua 260 rem brass, CCI BR-2 primers, 42.8gr Hodgdon H-4350 powder, Sierra MatchKing 142 bullets, @2.840" COL.