Sand bags or bipod for load development

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by odoylerules, Feb 6, 2019.

Help Support Long Range Hunting by donating:

  1. odoylerules

    odoylerules Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2016
    I’m asking for load development only. I would hunt, practice and compete with a bipod. I know I should work on my consistency with a bipod, but sometimes I get frustrated during load development, especially group shooting, because I think it’s me when that flyer pops out of the group, or the weird impact on the long range ladder happens.
    What do you guys do?
    jasonco likes this.
  2. Deputy819

    Deputy819 Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    I have always done my load developement off of sandbags. I just recently started shooting with a bi-pod and so far the loads (developed on the bags) print slightly lower from the bi-pod as opposed to how they print off the bags, but otherwise are the same. I'll probably try developement strictly with the bi-pod when Spring breaks.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
    dougm likes this.
  3. KyCarl

    KyCarl Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

    May 10, 2017
    I'm still having some issues learning the Bi-pod shooting thing. There are some tricks to it. Right now I like my pack with a coat in it?
  4. the hunter

    the hunter Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2017
    Ol' Red, Wlfdg, dougm and 1 other person like this.
  5. 4 coyotes

    4 coyotes Active Member

    May 18, 2013
    As far as load development. I don't care. If the range is empty and there are no muzzle brakes going off next to me, I will use bags,, or a bipod if the rifle has one.
    If the range is packed, and I want to make sure the flyers aren't human caused, (my fault) I'll use a Sled.
  6. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2014
    Anything that will allow the forearm to move in an uninhibited manner...sandbag, cradle bag, front bench rest... However, when hunting I use a bipod and usually only have to make a small correction to scope for POI change.
    slv hunter likes this.
  7. Wedgy

    Wedgy Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    Shoot groups with each method and see which one is better for you.
  8. LVJ76

    LVJ76 Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2019
    Sandbgs are the best and the proper way to do load development. You need to make sure the rifle is well settled on the bags and doesn't move when you pull the trigger and always follow through, it helps eliminate flyers. I would never try bipods or a pack to test loads, it be a waste of ammo.

    In the field, shooting sticks, bipods or packs are always an option when the animal being hunted allows.

    Best regards,

    kiwikid, slv hunter and RockyMtnMT like this.
  9. ar10ar15man

    ar10ar15man Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    buy a quality FRONT REST. and a rear bag
    why waste powder bullets and bbl life "guessing" that you have a good hold ?
    neither sand bags nor bipod are solid enough for true repeatability.
    you are testing LOADS not your skill/lack of skill at HOLDING.
  10. The Crusty Deary Ol Coot

    The Crusty Deary Ol Coot Member

    Apr 2, 2015
    Load development/tests are only as good as the firing of the rifle or handgun allow them to be.

    When working with someone for first time testing/load development I heavily STRESS that the results are totally meaningless UNLESS great care is taken during the test firing.

    I know what I can do, yes been there and don't that many times, but not knowing another person's abilities, should the test targets be questionable - is it the fault of the firearm or the person behind the trigger.

    The point of a solid shooting platform and bags is to take as much as possible the "human" factor out of the equation.

    I am going through this at this point with a first time hand loader who is wanting to develop loads for some ODD BALL semi-auto rifle chambered for the 7.62x54R cartridge.

    I've had my say about the piece of junk he thinks is so cool, but I can go only so far and hope that he is taking due care during firing his test loads.

    He is using a rifle mounted bipod.

    However, my take on the situation is to leave the bipod at home and get a good solid shooting platform/bench and sand bags.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
  11. alf

    alf Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2007
    Like building a house, you gotta have a good foundation, otherwise you're p!ssing in the wind.......

    stx, aushunter1, BadDogPSD and 11 others like this.
  12. Dtired

    Dtired Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    As with everything you want repeatability. When doing load development I take my time with a front rest with a firm sand bag and a rear bag. When I finish testing confirm zero with bipod and rear bag.
    Rick Richard likes this.
  13. LVJ76

    LVJ76 Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2019
    Well said Ol Coot.

    Odoylerules, if you feel confident enough to pull that trigger without flinching not one bit and having the rifle as steady as possible, and following through with the shot, start testing your loads.

    If not sure, but at least 3 boxes or more of factory ammo, all 4 different loads/brands and use them as if you were testing the loads. Zero your rifle at 100 yards or meters whichever you prefer and fire away. Make sure to let the barrel cool off after every 5 shot group. Besides, its always good to know what factory load works on your rifle just in case you dont get a chanse to reload or something.

    Once you feel confortable doing this and your shots are going where you know you pulled the trigger you are set. Note, know where you pulled the trigger on the target and not think that you know where you were on the target.

    It takes lots of practice. Good luck and hope you find the right load for your gun.

    Best regards

  14. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    Whether I use bags or bipod to test loads depends on the particular rifle and bipod. My heavier LR rifles will produce equivalent results whether using a bag or bipod. I will generally use bags with my lighter, sporter weight rifles. When using a bipod on the bench, it’s important to make sure the bench surface is avoid carpeted or rough surfaces. I have also found that setting the bipod legs at the forward angle position(Atlas and Evolution) will produce better and more consistent results, reducing any bounce. Consistent shooting form and rifle movement is critical under any circumstances.
    kiwikid and Rick Richard like this.