Need advise on load testing method

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Millet, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Millet

    Millet Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    I'm pretty new to reloading and this is my first time to test a load. Guess I'm at lose as to which method to use. I read up on the OCW method and understand it.......I read that the ladder test is more for pretty accurate rifles and with factory rifles it wont give an accurate reading?..... Is it better too shoot at 300 yrds and just choose the best group or not?......The load I'll be testing is for varmints. Rifle: Rem 700 ADL 243. win w/ 4-16x scope. Farthest I shoot is around 4-600 yrds. Any input I'd greatly appreciate! Thanks in advance :)
  2. wisdeerkiller

    wisdeerkiller Active Member

    Apr 11, 2011
    The way I do it with all my rifles is find the starting and max loads for the bullet and powder I will be using. I always shoot 100yds for test.

    So with my rem sps 308 I'm shooting 175 smk, with RL-15

    starting load is 40gr max is 44.3gr.

    reload in groups of 5. starting at 40gr, 40.5, 41 and so on. going up by .5gr (check for signs of pressure the closer you get to max)

    some continue going to .1gr after that but that's up to you.

    this seems like a lot of testing but worth it in the end.

    my best load is 42.5gr with .40" group at 100yds. I shoot out to 1000yds.
  3. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    With rifles in the .243 family (including 6mm) I usually start with a mid range load (using data from a reliable reloading manual) with bullets seated about .020 off the lands. I load up five round sets, increasing the load sets by no more than .3 grains. I try not to get closer to max. load than 10% below the max. on the chart and I watch closely for ANY signs of high pressures. I stop at any of those signs, pull the bullets, and remain under the potentially dangerous load weights.
    I shoot one five round set at each of a number of four square inch targets, at 100 yards, and determine where the node for the series of targets appears to be the most consistent. Once I've identified the best load in this test, I reload another quantity of this load and arrange three round sets with varying seating depths, lengthening the OAL by a factor of 15% for two of those sets and decreasing the OAL by the same factor for three sets. So I've got five at .023, .026, and .029; and three sets at .017, .014, .011, and .007 for a total of thirty five rounds. I repeat the square target sample run, again watching for pressure signs, and find the most promising series before applying that load to a 300 yard target. Depending on results, I may run the best three 100 yards results in a ladder test at 300 yards but I'm usually satisfied with the results of the initial test series to obtain good varmint shooting results.
    My current load performs best with a moderate powder charge behind 107 grain bullets with the bullet seated .012 off the lands. That puts the group consistently under .75 inches at 100 yards. No, it's not going to win any bench rest matches. But it takes out varmints very well. :cool:
  4. justgoto

    justgoto Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    I use the ladder test for all my firearms; rifles, pistols, muzzleloaders, everything.

    I shoot the ladder tests with 30-06, 30-30 and 7.62x39 at 300 yards with good results. The faster my round travels the further out I go. I usually shoot my 357 magnum pistol ladder test, at 100 yards.
  5. Millet

    Millet Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    Thanks for your quick reply! That confirms what I was wondering Can't wait to go out and start shooting:) gun)
  6. RockZ

    RockZ Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    I shoot through a chrono and work up to a max. Initial seating depth is .010"off lands .
    I'll then work backwards looking for the fastest load with the tightest velocity spread.
    I'm looking for an es of 10 and single digit sd.
    With that load I'll do a seating depth test until I get a one hole group at 100 yds.
    Then I'll test at 565 and 1000yds.
  7. RustyRick

    RustyRick Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2013
    It's my simple opinion that the distance you work at is more contingent on the scope quality and power. You need it strong enough to absolutely know what influence you have or don't have with you on target hold. You have to sand bag front and back and be able to see precisely that you are out of the equation.

    I don't like the sleds for gun rests as I'm concerned that the recoil is too much on the barrel lug. But I could be wrong there.
  8. Canadian Bushman

    Canadian Bushman Well-Known Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    Pretty much the same for me. Putting every round over a chrono makes finding sweet spots much quicker.

    Like rick stated,
    I stay away from the lead sled. I test and tune my rifle the same way i intend to shoot it. Shoulder and bipod.