Typical ES & SD in hunting loads

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Shootin4fun, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Shootin4fun

    Shootin4fun Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2010
    I have been reloading for a number of years but only started chrono-ing my rounds for the last 2 years or so. Before that, I just tested for accuracy, only paying attention to group size. Now looking more into the standard Audette's ladder test, followed by Dan Newbury's OCW tests.

    Without going into what my chrono test result are, I'm wondering what kind of ES and SD numbers guys are typically seeing. I have loads that are accurate but have ES of up to 50, and SD in the low 20s. But I also have accurate loads for another gun that sometimes has ES of 100 and SDs of 30.

    I know that because of barrel resonance, a lower ES & SD doesn't automatically equate to a more accurate load. But low ES&SD are at least a start, right?

    So what kind of ES & SD do you guys typically see when you've settled on a good accurate hunting load? (accurate = always < 1 MOA)

    Also, what kind of consistency in these numbers do you see? In a particular gun, with the same recipe over several sessions I experience variations in these numbers too. The ES might vary 50fps and the SD might vary 10+ fps.

    The rifle I'm most concerned about at the moment and that I'm describing is a BAR in 270win. It is capable of printing .5" 4 shot groups at 100 with certain recipes but its a lot harder to develop loads for that bolts I have. Should I automatically expect wider ES & SD from an auto loader than a bolt?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  2. supercrossbmx69

    supercrossbmx69 Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    In my opinion, it all boils down to how far of a distance you plan on shooting an animal.

    I try not to get caught up on numbers and shoot at longer distances because you never know, maybe your crony is a little off.

    If your getting good accuracy and plan on staying in the 100-400 yard range I wouldn't worry about numbers too much, I'd just shoot at the farthest distance I plan to hunt on paper and see how it shoots. If it's in the 1 MOA range I would consider that fine. Just don't shoot farther in the field then your maximum effective range as you may get yourself in a bad situation.

    But to answer your question, I like to keep my ES for 3 shots in the 10-15 fps for my long range rigs where I could take an animal past 1000 yards. I know a lot of people that say your ES needs to be in the 10-15 fps range for 10 shots, but I only shoot multiple, 3 shot groups from cold bore because I'd never take 10 shots at an animal. So if I shoot multiple 3 shots strings from cold bore that are in the 10-15 fps range, I call it good and then test at 1000-1600 yards for accuracy and if it's in the 1/2-3/4 MOA range, it's good to go in my mind.

    Instead of getting caught up on numbers, just shoot on paper at the farthest range you intend to hunt, and go from there.
  3. RockZ

    RockZ Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    I try to get es to 10 to 15 and sd to single digits.
    I think in the book handloading for competition the author mentioned that a sd of 12 is good.
    An es of 50 should have a huge vertical at long range even though it can punch one hole at 100yds.
    I know.... I had a load that did just that with an es of 40.

    The accuracy I get is 1.1 -1.5" 3shot groups at 565yds with the low es/sd loads
  4. Bughole

    Bughole Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    I agree with the previous post, With a top quality rifle, custom barrel, properly broken in to the point the velocities stabilize( usually by 50 rounds or so.) you should be able to achieve es in the high teens at worst for 1000 yd work and sd will be in the single digits. Sometimes it's a simple primer change to get there sometimes it;s powder lot or type. Just keep playing with your loads and listen to what the group size and shape is telling you. With super accurate rifles I usually shoot at 300 yds. to read group shape and indicators as to what's really happening. I also chart the individual shots in the group. I want to know where 1st went and 2nd and so on. Good Luck gun)
  5. rick523

    rick523 Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2012
    + 1 This is good asvice and what I do as well es.jpg