Load development Range

shooter7

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Jusy wondering what range you guys shoot at when developing your hand loads. For the .308 win I always shot at 100 yards but switched to 200 for my new .300winmag. Anyways, I was just curious and yhe search function doesn't seem to work on my phone.
 

200plus

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I just worked up a 7 mag at 300 yds. I was able to get a good node for max powder charge. Now I am working on seating depth. If you are setting it up for long range you could go to 500 yds.
 

shooter7

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If ya wanna see what I'm working with just look at the gun photos section, thread titled "my new smr".
 

Corey Schwanz

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I think some of it depends on the application. Most of my workups I like to do at 200. Extra distance shows a bit more to me about what's going on with the loads and any variances between them.

100 yards is so common due to the range limitations these days. If that's all you have, its doable. But if you have more room, I like to use it.
 

Mozella

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Jusy wondering what range you guys shoot at when developing your hand loads. ......... snip .......
Here are my thoughts.

Every 5 shot group is different. The question you're trying to answer during load development is WHY? Usually you try to hold absolutely everything constant except one variable. Often that's charge weight, but it could be primer brand, seating depth, neck tension, or what have you. Anyway, typically you shoot careful groups of each different variable under study with the goal of detecting differences in performance and later on trying make sense of those (often small) differences.

One thing you don't want to deal with is wind. Anyone who has shoot and scored targets at 600 yards or greater on a gusty day with swirling winds would trade his "really good stuff" hand loads for factory ammo if only God would whisper the instructions for exactly how to compensate for the wind at that moment in time. Wind is nearly always the biggest mystery when it comes to precision. Therefore, why go out of your way to expose your bullet to more wind?

That's why testing at 100 yards makes sense. Yes, the differences in group size are smaller. If you use a coin or a carpenters tape to measure group size, you'll be wasting your time. But that's why you should scan your targets and measure them with a computer program like On Target, which costs only a few bucks. You can measure the exact location of the bullet hole to very fine tolerances with ease.

Remember, you're searching for tiny differences in performance. "Aim small; shoot small" is good advice at the moment you pull the trigger. "Measure small; learn the truth" is good advice when you get your targets home.

After you know where the bullets hit, you need to sort the data eight ways from Sunday using a spread sheet like Excel and study the information carefully so you can separate the fly s**t from the pepper. A scoring program will provide all sorts of data which is hard to measure by hand, especially mean-radius which some folks believe is more important than group size.

Often using the ability to draw graphs with Excel will reveal trends otherwise hidden in a matrix of confusing numbers. Extracting the truth from a pile of data is the goal and you need to be as careful doing that as you are when you measure your powder.

Bottom line: Study one variable at a time. Gather your data very carefully and measure it as accurately as possible. Study it to extract what the data is trying to tell you. Most importantly, eliminate extraneous external variables, and for the most part that means minimizing exposure to wind and generally speaking that means testing at short ranges.
 

mattri

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I've seen loads that grouped amazingly well at 100 yards fall apart farther out, even with great ES SDs, but I've never had a load that groups at 200 not hold together farther out.
 

jonthomps

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I try to get as close to 1/2" 3-shot groups at 200y as I can, then test the load again for accuracy at 350y.
 

shooter7

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Well, I had several different loads that didn't seem to show much potential. All were h-1000 with a Berger 210 vld. Best load shot around 1.25 minutes at 200 yards. I varied seating depths and charges and never really saw improvements. I have recently acquired some Barnes LRX 200 gr pills and some 230 Berger hybrids. Since I'm now out of h1000 I'm switching to retumbo.
 

Canadian Bushman

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Depending on the cartridge, optics, and purpose of the rifle i do most of my development between 100-300.

Once i see something promising i take it to 600+ and fine tune.

You cant possibly know for sure what a rifle will do at a certain distance until its shot at that distance.
 

shooter7

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Update!!!

Got to work up new loads and test tonight. Still shot at 200 yards.

Load 1: 230 berger hybrid, 73gr retumbo, wmlr primer, 3.602 COAL. Shot 5 shots into 1.48 MOA

Load 2: Nosler accubond 200gr. 76 gr h1000. Wmlr primer 3.560 COAL. 5 shots in .918 MOA.

LOAD 3: 210 berger hunting vld. 79.5 gr retumbo. Wmlr primer. 3.615 COAL. SHOT 1 Fouling shot. Shots 2-5 grouped into .5669 MOA.

I believe load #3 has potential.
 

Barrelnut

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End of the Oregon Trail
What ya shooting? 300 Win?
Hang onto the 210 VLD. I shoot it in a 300 WSM (.4 to 5. MOA) and a 300 RUM ( .1 to .3 MOA). You can burn a lot of powder trying to find something better. Tune the 210.
 

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