some range data and questions


Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2011
Ok so I went out on a really nice day to get some time behind my LRP. I got it in the fall, and did not get a lot of range time with it over the winter. Working up loads in the fall I got less than good groups with H4350 and 140gr Berger VLDs. I tried different seating depths and charges. I ordered some SMKs 142gr, and set out to the range today.
This is the load particulars: 142gr SMK, H4350 powder, Winchester 7mm-08 brass necked down, Federal Match primers. The SMK's all got seated at 3.280 in. The best was the second group then it seemed to open on the third and start to tighten on the fourth. The fourth is max but there were no pressure signs so I am going back tomorrow with 44.7gr and 44.9gr to try them.

1) 41.5gr H4350
Avg 2730 fps
33 ES
14 SD

2) 42.5gr H4350 (Best group)
Avg 2775 fps
41 ES
15 SD

3) 43.5gr H4350
Avg 2863 fps
30 ES
11 SD

4) 44.5gr H4350
Avg 2918 fps
26 ES
10 SD

Now the questions. Do you clean and foul before each group when working up a load?
How many rounds before cleaning when working up a load?
How do you know if the load is inaccurate or the barrels needs cleaning?
I have about 75 rds through this rifle and I know it is better than I am. I just do not want to waste my time and reloading supplies doing everything wrong.
I personally wont hunt with a cold clean bore so I will load a few [3 or 4] to use as sighters and to foul the barrel before working a load. I will let the barrel cool completely between shots and don't shoot more than 25 rounds total while working a batch. I will shoot several rounds to insure zero before season opens and wont clean till season is over.
Caliber and barrel have alot to do with how many rounds between cleaning. Never the less a barrel that wont shoot slightly dirty is worthless to me. If I have to clean after 10 rounds to be accurate it's not for me.
I usually fire 100 [at a minimum] rounds out of a new barrel before working a load. These are a low to middle charge to fire form new brass. During this first 100 I can tell how many rounds the barrel will take before cleaning is needed, when the groups start to grow I clean and check to see if they go back to original size. The barrel gets a good cleaning before the first round goes down the range. Some factory barrels are pretty rough and will take alot of rounds to hit their optimum but it will be a judgement on your part by the group size.
I am sure there are many other opinions on this board with more expertise than me but this has worked for me. Hopefully others will give you some input and you can gleen thru and take what you think will work for you.
I have tried all the approaches and tend to agree with Red Hunters approach. I have a LRP in 260 and went through the development process. I usually don't exceed 25 rounds in a session and don't clean unless I change powder. My barrel stabilized around 30 rounds of break in. Are your lengths, OAL to the bullet tip w/o a comparator? If so you are seated out pretty far. In any case, I would go to load # 2 and work on seating depth. I seat SMK's .025" out of the lands to get best results. .25MOA. My rifle likes H4831sc, 45.8gr. 2800FPS. Never tried H4350 because I have a bunch of 4831.
If shooting the same powder and same bullet you shouldn't have to clean between strings. If you switch powders or bullets I would simply brush the bore and swab it dry to remove excess residue, then fire 1 round to allow the new powder/bullet residue in the bore. (powder moreso than bullet). (BTW... the number of rounds you can fire between good cleanings depends on the condition of your bore. I have a rifle that does good for about 100 rounds and one that only does about 40... all depends)

As for hunting with a clean bore... I preferr to go with a slightly fouled barrel too... however sometimes weather during the hunt makes it necessary to clean the barrel. So, you should know where your first couple rounds hit on a clean barrel. a good rifle will shoot consistantly with a bore cleaned in the same manner.

good luck
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