Reloaded seating depth test....

BoomFlop

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I’m a new Reloader and have loaded up charge weight test back when it was cold in January. I tested those loads multiple times and have been extremely happy. My LTR is shooting right around .3” at 100 yards and my son’s Rem Varmint is at around .6” at 100 yards. I did switch his factory stock to an H-S Precision so we are both “starting over”.

HOWEVER, with more knowledge and research and a few changes to my sons rifle I am starting load development over. Not because of lack of results but knowledge and accuracy potential.

Both rifles are 223 Rem. My LTR is a 9 twist and my son’s Varmint is a 12 twist. I loaded 26 gr Benchmark with a 40 gr Ballistic Tip.

I loaded 4 rounds each at .05 off thru .09 of lands (Hornady OAL gauge to find lands). The short bullet doesn’t allow me to try any closer to lands than .05.

We shall see what we learn. LOL

Steve
 

Mikecr

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You won't learn much unless you actually start over.
By this I mean that you have to do seating testing independent of your powder node, so that you're not ALSO seeing a collapse of powder node(messing with seating results). I would drop powder by a full grain for the seating testing.
Might be a good time to do primer swapping as well.

While so far away from a powder node your grouping will be worse. That's great, the worse the better.
With this, you'll more easily see at least improvements -from seating alone.

Then with best primer, best coarse seating, and fully fire-formed to stable cases, increment back up to a new best powder load. If load density isn't good with best powder load, note muzzle velocity, adjust neck tension* and run powder testing again until your best load also fills the case (but not compressed).
Then fine tweak seating in a narrow window for tightest group shaping.

*With partial sized necks, tension is not interference fit. It's sized spring back(~1thou max) grip, against seated bullet bearing. So you adjust this tension through sizing LENGTH. Force X Area
If FL sizing necks then forget any tension adjustment as an option. It's already extreme and varying a great deal due to donut and base-bearing junction binding. You could try bigger/smaller bushings, but the first adjustment of consistent value would be to stop FL sizing necks.
 
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Puulum

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You won't learn much unless you actually start over.
By this I mean that you have to do seating testing independent of your powder node, so that you're not ALSO seeing a collapse of powder node(messing with seating results). I would drop powder by a full grain for the seating testing.
Might be a good time to do primer swapping as well.

While so far away from a powder node your grouping will be worse. That's great, the worse the better.
With this, you'll more easily see at least improvements -from seating alone.

Then with best primer, best coarse seating, and fully fire-formed to stable cases, increment back up to a new best powder load. If load density isn't good with best powder load, note muzzle velocity, adjust neck tension* and run powder testing again until your best load also fills the case (but not compressed).
Then fine tweak seating in a narrow window for tightest group shaping.

*With partial sized necks, tension is not interference fit. It's sized spring back(~1thou max) grip, against seated bullet bearing. So you adjust this tension through sizing LENGTH. Force X Area
If FL sizing necks then forget any tension adjustment as an option. It's already extreme and varying a great deal due to donut and base-bearing junction binding. You could try bigger/smaller bushings, but the first adjustment of consistent value would be to stop FL sizing necks.
+1
 

BoomFlop

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I loaded them all at Nosler 8th Edition minimum charge. Is that not correct? Berger’s seating depth test said to shoot at minimum I thought?

I shot the rounds in my LTR witha pretty good outcome I believe.

I’ll post results a little later, as I just got home.

Steve
 

Stammster

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I’m surprised the bullet didn’t just fall on the floor in front of your feet with a Nosler 8th edition min load.

In my experience, often the max loads are way under max pressure and the published velocities are overstated.

I usually start in the middle. One lot of H4350 I my 30-06 I have was at max even there, that’s why it’s always recommended to work up to book max. However starting at the min often just wastes time and components for me as I’m trying to get max velocity and acceptable accuracy for my hunting loads.
 
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BoomFlop

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Attached are some pictures from my LTR 223 Rem. Swarovski 3.5-10x42. Loaded minimum charge weight with 26 gr Benchmark with CCI BR2 primers. All tests done with new Starline brass.

1.840” looks pretty good. This distance is .05 of lands. Approximately .35” at 100 yards.

Prior to a seating depth test, my load was 1.810” CBTO with 26.7 gr Benchmark. This load produced 2 groups of .28” and .30”. I’ll do the powder work up over at 1.840”.

Thoughts?

Steve
 

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mwkelso

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I loaded them all at Nosler 8th Edition minimum charge. Is that not correct? Berger’s seating depth test said to shoot at minimum I thought?

I shot the rounds in my LTR witha pretty good outcome I believe.

I’ll post results a little later, as I just got home.

Steve
That is exactly what Berger says to do on the VLD’s... I was just directed to their process on a different thread where I’m having issues with ABLR’s. I’m curious to see what your outcome is!
 

BoomFlop

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mwkelso

I think it was a worth while test. Good learning experience. Be interesting to see if the seating depth changes my end powder charge after full work up.

Good luck,
Steve
 

BoomFlop

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I really wish I could go closer than .05” off, however, I don’t believe there is enough bullet in the neck.

Would it be worth doing seating at .005? I’m not sure I can shoot well enough, especially with a 10 power scope to see a difference? I don’t know.

Any suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Is what I shot normal, will the groups shrink with powder charge work up?

Thanks all
Steve
 

Stammster

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Stammster

What is that suppose to even mean?

Steve
Sorry. That’s sarcasm. The Nosler 8th edition in my experience is extremely conservative with respect to charge weights in 95% of my cases with Nosler bullets. They seems to be 1-2 grains under actual max for many rifle cartridges, and have been reduced from previous versions and other sources. They are definitely covering their butts. Therefore their min loads are very light, thus the joke about the bullet dribbling out the end of the barrel if you start there.

However, I’ve got one batch of hot H4350 that would be too hot based on their max load, and in fact it showed pressure at midway between min and max. Therefore, even though my experience is max is not max, don’t start there. However, if you are at min, then you’ve likely got a lot of room to go.

Also I don’t trust the nosler 8th edition velocities. They are always 75-150 fps higher than I get in any of my guns with similar barrel lengths for the same max charge weight.

However, with 0.2-0.3” groups, I wouldn’t waste any more time or effort on load development unless you are looking for some extra velocity and energy.

Even if I find a good accurate load at low to mid velocity range, I keep going with my long range loads (I.e. ELD-X / ABLR bullets), as an extra 100-200 fps can make a big difference in terminal performance. If all you are doing is punching paper or shooting small game, there’s probably not much to gain.

Before I start playing with seating depth, I load a full range of charge weights (0.2-0.5 gr increments) with 1-2 different powders and 2-3 different bullets to find what the gun likes. I usually start at max mag length, unless that puts me in the lands (which is almost never). Only after all that do I start chasing changes in seating depths.
 
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Mikecr

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I think you're doing a great job.
Make sure you fire-form the brass to stable with your resizing plan, before moving to powder testing with your new seating. This can take several firings at higher charges (than minimum).
While completing this, you could swap primers & see if anything leads the pack.
 

BoomFlop

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Mike,

The rifle shot great with load work up and generic seating depth at .08 off. Shot multiple groups around .3”. Which for me and a 10 Power scope is pretty good and my first reloads.

So I really cannot do much until after 2-3 firings? Or can I load and hunt with them after they have been shot once? What I mean is can I strip my bolt, run then in the rifle, if they chamber with no resistance just size neck with full length Redding die with stem removed and over a dry lubed mandrel and do load work up?

I honestly don’t shoot over 200 yards, but I enjoy making my own ammo and seeing how good of groups I can get. I can’t wait to be able to shoot an animal with a reload.

Thanks for all your help. I’m an far from good at shooting or reloading, but feel I am getting better.

Steve
 

Mikecr

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I'm just pointing out that powder workup with cases still changing in capacity is a waste of time.
That is, if you're in it for the learning, and the best you can reach.
If just wanting to shoot animals at 200yds, I would try & find factory ammo that works and be happy with that.

If I (personally) could consistently buy rifles that hit groundhogs at 500yds with factory ammo, I wouldn't reload at all.
My focus would be resolved to hunting only.
 

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