Help with ladder

The Oregonian

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Did my first ladder ever today....28 Nosler with Nosler brass, 195’s, Retumbo, and 215’s. Everyone seems to have luck with this powder, round, and bullet, but I can’t really make sense of this. But I can’t make sense of this. I did the ladder three times, running from low to high once, then twice, then a third time, cooling barrel a few mins between each shot. Never was hot, just warm. Weather was between low 70’s and low 80’s as morning went on. Shots were at 300 yds today.

Using Fx120i to measure powder (was warm and stayed true to calibration throughout) and using once fired and sized/annealed brass, .003 shoulder bump. .315 neck bushing, .002 under loaded ammo with 195’s. Little runout (.002 to .003 on most rounds) but that should matter for velocity. Brass length is under trim to length. Bullets are .015 off lands.

Attached are the results...the test load for this gun came with 3040, 77.5 of Retumbo with EOL loaded ammo, same components. I used that ammo and their LR school and shot well with 3 out of 3 groups at 100 that were sub MOA, with best being sub 1/2. Then when we went longer range (400 to 1800) I shot well and bullets went where they were supposed to, at least vertically.

Trying to get it squared away with my powder/primer/brass/ etc lots. I don’t really care if the velocity is 2980 or 3040 as long as it shoots well for my elk hunt in Oct.

What would you make of this? I get pressure signs around 3040-3050 and above...sticky bolt, etc.

Should I run another ladder with lower charges and see what that gets? Should I try another powder? I don’t have any other powder for this gun but will get some if that would be the best next move. Would love to get N570 but out of stock everywhere.

I am flummoxed...
 

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Canhunter35

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300yards is a little close for a ladder test but the load seems flat enough. Load up 5 at 77.1 and see how they group.
You can also do a ladder with seating depth if they do not group as well as you wish.
 

rfurman24

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I see nothing on those targets worth wasting your precious barrel life on. Either do a ladder at 500 plus(more is better)or move to 100 and do a OCW. The purpose of a ladder is to find a forgiving load by using physics to show you a node with very little vertical. At 300 yards there is not enough variance to see any usable data.
 

The Oregonian

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Maybe I was focusing on the wrong thing...I was looking at velocity and saw things fairly all over the map...a spike at 76.8 which dropped off .1 higher and then a spike at 77.2 which then did the same thing.

I know that accuracy and precision are the names of the game but I thought stable velocity across a few powder charges would be a good indicator of where the node(s) is/are.
 

rfurman24

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Maybe I was focusing on the wrong thing...I was looking at velocity and saw things fairly all over the map...a spike at 76.8 which dropped off .1 higher and then a spike at 77.2 which then did the same thing.

I know that accuracy and precision are the names of the game but I thought stable velocity across a few powder charges would be a good indicator of where the node(s) is/are.


I can show you countless load development pics where that does not hold up. You need to find a node where accuracy and velocity are both stable. A long range ladder is without a doubt the best at this. The OCW is next best. I can also show you pics of OCW where every single group could be covered with a dime which showed absolutely zero useful data. Paper WILL NOT lie with a ladder at 700plus yards.
 

RockyMtnMT

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I am not much for trying to force a load to work. I would change powder.

If I read correctly this same load done previously by someone else works well?

Steve
 

The Oregonian

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I am not much for trying to force a load to work. I would change powder.

If I read correctly this same load done previously by someone else works well?

Steve
Different lot of Retumbo, but yes, 77.5 worked well -described below. We only shot a few groups at 100 at the school to work on form and ensure we were sighted in. Then went to steel that everyone was shooting on so no way to tell where out shots hit on steel, only a hit or miss. That was right after break in and it now has a couple of hundred shots down the tube, if that is informative.

Will switch up the cleaning routine as well. Was doing ever 50 shots or so but may try after every range trip, which is about 25 shots. Today was about shots 25-50 since cleaning.
 

Canhunter35

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I’ve said this on other threads but right now there is a lot of hype about the lowest es. Worry about tuning the load to the barrel harmonics.
If vertical spread at long range becomes an issue then start looking to tighten your es
 

The Oregonian

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I’ve said this on other threads but right now there is a lot of hype about the lowest es. Worry about tuning the load to the barrel harmonics.
If vertical spread at long range becomes an issue then start looking to tighten your es
Good advice. Think I will try to match velocities of the test load and see where that gets me. Will find that and then test depth if it isn’t what I want.

Another thing I have noticed...many people post that their rifles ‘shoot .2’s all day long’...I am sure some people have the equipment and talent to do that, but I don’t think it is the norm. I just want sub MOA to allow me to hunt elk to ~600 on my trip this fall. It is easy to feel like the rifle needs to shoot bug holes at 300 but that is not as common as it appears, IMO.
 

rfurman24

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Good advice. Think I will try to match velocities of the test load and see where that gets me. Will find that and then test depth if it isn’t what I want.

Another thing I have noticed...many people post that their rifles ‘shoot .2’s all day long’...I am sure some people have the equipment and talent to do that, but I don’t think it is the norm. I just want sub MOA to allow me to hunt elk to ~600 on my trip this fall. It is easy to feel like the rifle needs to shoot bug holes at 300 but that is not as common as it appears, IMO.


Nobody is shooting .2s "all day everyday" from field positions. NOBODY.
 

Canhunter35

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Lol the rifle maybe does shoot .2, but they never say ‘I’ Was shooting .2s all day.
Practice will make you more consistent but when I shoot to the rifles capability I’m ecstatic! And I’m happy being submoa
 
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