How to develop a new load?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Vortex!, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Vortex!

    Vortex! Well-Known Member

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    I'm totally new to reloading so I don't know much about it. So how do I develop a good load for my 270? I have nosler bt 130 gr. that I want to work with and figure out what I'm doing and then once my hammers get here hopefully I'll have it figured out. I'm using h4831. Is it ok to test the different powder charges and then do a seating depth test after or is it better the other way around?
     
  2. wildcat455

    wildcat455 Well-Known Member

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    I consider Powder a coarse adjustment to the node you are looking for. Seating depth test is a fine adjustment.

    Usually, once I get it all dialed, I’ll revisit small changes (.1 grain) in powder just to see if there’s anything in accuracy ES or SD on the table.

    Good luck to you!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  3. gohring3006

    gohring3006 Well-Known Member

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    I start with seating first.
    I’ve done it both ways, and doing a seating depth test first always gets me to where I need to be. Then I work up to max charge.

    Check out Bergers seating depth test. It works with any bullet.
     
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  4. wildcat455

    wildcat455 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, gohring3006. How do you pick the powder weight to do the seating test?

    I’m going to edit my post to state “I consider”.

    Don’t want anyone to think there’s only one way to skin the cat.
     
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  5. xsn10s

    xsn10s Well-Known Member

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    Seating depth tests are great for getting the most accuracy out of a load. But there are some other considerations too. Like is the bullet a secant, tangent, or hybrid ogive. Is this a target rifle or a hunting rifle that will feed all the rounds from the mag. Does the mag allow to seat to the lands. IMO it's best to figure these things out first and then make a plan of action for reloading. Just my 2 cents worth.
     
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  6. gohring3006

    gohring3006 Well-Known Member

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    I usually pick a low charge, I don’t want to encourage my charge pick, but I don’t always pick start loads, but somewhere close.
    I agree, I don’t ever want to come across as my way is the only way. We all take a different bus to the same location.
     
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  7. BJH

    BJH Well-Known Member

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    I know that most of the information that we get in today's world comes from the internet, and hard copy books are something we rarely use. But i would suggest that along with your internet searches, grab a reloading manual from one of the bullet manufacturers. If you are using Nosler bullets i would suggest a Nosler reloading manual. I have a couple of theirs and it is full of really good information. They walk through all of the basics and warning signs that need to be watched. Lots of good info in the hard copy manuals. I still read them over and over when i am sitting around at night.
    Personally I will find a seating depth that will work for the rifle's magazine and see if i can get to the lands with the bullet. Then I pull them back .030" and start at the low charge listed for that bullet and powder. Working up .5 grains at a time until I see signs of pressure. I pick one of the safe loads that shot the best and test seating depth from there.
    If you want to test seating depth first I would suggest picking a powder charge towards the bottom end so you know you wont run into pressure problems and find the depth your rifle likes best. Then test your powder charges.
    Either way should work fine as long as you take your time and approach each step with extreme care and caution. I have been reloading for over 20 years and still triple check each step of the process.
    Also, only do one step at a time! Don't get in a hurry and don't think about the next step of the reloading process until you finish each piece of the step you are on.
    Last, have fun!
     
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  8. xsn10s

    xsn10s Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to make a few assumptions so forgive me if I'm wrong. I'm going to assume these are hunting rounds at a distance of 400 yards or less. I'm also going to assume all the rounds are going to go into the mag so the rounds are going to be limited to your rifle's magazine. Nosler's ogive is a tangent which is generally more forgiving to seating depth and easier to make accurate. I'm not sure about the Hammer's, from the pictures it looks like a tangent but I've never handled them. Here's a good article on the different ogives. http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2011/03/tangent-vs-secant-vs-hybrid-ogive-bryan-litz-explains/ It doesn't matter too much unless you're hunting longer range because I've found that it's possible to get good hunting accuracy (1 MOA or better) with tangent ogives at box mag length. So then read up on accurate loads. From your powder selection looks like you're already doing that. When the Hammer bullets arrive I'd contact them for good loads. If you haven't done so I'd get a good chamfer and deburring tool. I'd also get a VLD deburring tool. This will reduce scrapping the bullets while seating and I've seen pressures drop 5000 PSI just from chamfer and deburring. If you can get a good concentricity gauge. If not check concentricity by rolling the cartridge on the table to see any "wobble". Like suggested one of the best things to do is get books/ reloading manuals. First book I bought was Ken Waters "Pet Loads". Even today I still read it. The next thing I did was get Sierra Bullets reloading video. Lastly don't get caught up on velocity in the beginning. I concentrated on accuracy and safe loads. When you get your Hammers I'd suggest getting all the copper from the BT's or other bullets out first. In my experience monos and AccuBonds don't like copper jackets from other bullets.
     
  9. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    This is my way.

    Seat the bullet to the max length that will work in your mag an not be touching the lands. I then work up the load 1 shot per charge weight all aimed at the same spot watching the vel. Once top end vel or max published load is reached, then shoot several of that load for accuracy and to check es and get an average vel. Assuming vel spread is under 30 fps then make seating depth adjustments (if needed) to tighten the group size. Adjust seating depth 2 thousands or 1/4 turn deeper per adjustment. If 1st two shots do not group well there is no point in shooting a 3rd. It won't make the group better. A few adjustments should find a good spot. Then zero the rifle.

    I like to do this at 200y. Like most here I always load with a chrono.

    As a new reloader without a tutor it is difficult to detect pressure signs. Bolt lift, signs on the brass. This is where a chrono comes in very handy. If your vel is too high do is your pressure.

    We have a better outline of our loading process on our home page. It works exceptionally well with our bullets but will likely be a longer process with others.

    Steve
     
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  10. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

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    There are some good answers here already, so I'll ask some questions.

    Do you have a chronograph available @Vortex! ?

    Is your brass brand new, or once fired?

    Do you have a bullet puller?

    Do you have a comparator for .277 bullets?

    Honestly, as a new reloader, I would encourage keeping it simple. In your 'case', Nosler has data for your bullet and powder. Load it to the specified OACL (3.320") and work through the powder charges.

    There are many variables, and it's best to deal with them one at a time.

    Charge weight (coarse)
    -test charge weights in 2% increments (ie. 55gr, 56gr, 57gr, 58gr, 59gr)

    Charge weight (fine)
    -vary charge weight of the most promising load by .6%. Say 59gr gave the best group in coarse testing, I'd load up 58.4, 58.7, 59, 59.3, 59.7

    The trouble with this method is that, if you're shooting 4 shot groups (and that's what I will recommend), you will have burned close to a full box of ballistic tips to get to this point - and you haven't even tested seating depth! A good chronograph is a valuable tool, not only can it keep you safe, it can be leveraged to save components too. An unreliable chrono is worse than none at all.

    Based on my experience, I'll bet you can get the .277 130gt BT shooting really well without any seating depth tests. If you are serious about seating depth, you'll need a comparator to do a good job of it.

    Experienced reloaders have come up with tricks and shortcuts to reduce the time and components spent on traditional load development. This can get complex, and requires additional equipment

    You are responsible for your own choices. Personally I would recommend starting slow, and keeping it simple, particularly if you are doing this on your own without a mentor.
     
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  11. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    Great answers from all!

    Now to the op. Read no further or your head may explode!

    Steve
     
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  12. Defiance7mm

    Defiance7mm Well-Known Member

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    I do a ten round pressure test to find the max safe pressure and charge weight flat spots for low ES and SD numbers. Here is an example


     
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  13. xsn10s

    xsn10s Well-Known Member

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    Yes you could do a ladder test to find max "safe" pressures but that all depends on a person's ability to read pressures. And without ballistics pressure equipment, proof loads, or experience it's pretty subjective. Ken Water's method on reading pressures is how I got started. And I suggest reading up on it and practicing. Another way to do it is use reloading manuals and try to use "accuracy loads" that are on the low to mid range loads. Nosler's accuracy load with the 130gr BT is with using H4831sc starting load. I've found the "sc" powders alittle faster than the standard so the OP is probably safe using the book load.
     
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  14. xsn10s

    xsn10s Well-Known Member

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    Here's my "old school" method. It's probably not exciting, but with limited equipment it worked when I got started loading. I read for the most common accurate load that was on the lower to mid range pressure/ powder charge range in a load manual. Sierra, Nosler and Ken Waters books listed the most accurate loads. I'm sure other manual do to. I then started from book start loads and loaded 4-5 rounds and then increase 0.5 grains and load 4-5 more (for 30-06 size cases). I'd do that until I found a accurate load or saw pressure signs. Primers starting to flatten, shiny ejector or extractor spots on the case, hard or sticky bolt lift and so on. Back off when you first see signs of pressure. If I sounds too cautious or like a mother hen you'll have to forgive me. I'd just hate to see someone get hurt or damage their rifle. Finally I cannot stress enough not to get distracted while loading. Try to do things in blocks where your focus is always high. Even today I'll break up tasks over several days especially when doing powder charges. When charging and seating loads I never let myself get distracted and I only do as many as my attention allows. I hope that makes sense.
     
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