What is your method of working up a load?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by locotrician, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. locotrician

    locotrician Banned

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    with so many variables involved and being new to precision reloading(been reloading for many years but not for long range) i was wondering if there is an accepted standard ...as far as starting where to start should you start with testin bullets or testing powders or primers....ect. i understand that to test one variable at a time all the others need to be the same.EX if i am testing bullets the powder and primer should be the same in all cartridges. i guess im asking what is the best way to find the best load for a particular rifle. varibles i am aware of testing are (not in any particular order)
    1.bullet-brand,style,weight
    2.seating depth
    3.powder-brand,burn rate, charge weight
    4.primer-brand,type
    what is your procedure when working up a load?
     
  2. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

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    This is my approach,first I decide which bullet I want to shoot,then I will get about 3 different powders that are known to work well with that load.I start 10% below max charge and work my way up until I get pressure signs,I shoot 3 shot groups at this point.I will do this with all 3 powders,shooting in .5 grain incraments.I will then take the best load from the 3 different powders and try to squeeze a little more accuracy out of it by tweaking the powder charge by .2 grains up an down.Then once I found the best charge,I will play around with seating depth to try to fine tune.Primers are the last thing I messs with if I am trying to get a little more accuracy.I try to get 90% there with the powder charge,and just use seating depth and primers as "fine tuning".If I cant find a good load after trying 3-4 powders,I will then try a different bullet.This is just my approach,I am sure you will get some other good aproaches from more experienced shooters than me.
     
  3. Supertrucker

    Supertrucker Well-Known Member

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    About how many rounds do you figure it takes to find your perfect load? I'm approaching 300 rds. I've shot several groups in the 1's &2's, then the next group will go an inch. It gets frustrating trying to decide between bullet A and bullet B etc.
     
  4. locotrician

    locotrician Banned

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    im not sure i completely understand your question but if you have one load shooting 2 inch groups and another shooting 1 inch groups then you should do some fine tuning with your 1 inch group load or try a whole new load and hope for sub 1 inch grouping.
     
  5. Supertrucker

    Supertrucker Well-Known Member

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    I start within a 1/2 grain of max book and work up from there. I don't mess with seating depth much. I just make sure the rounds fit the magazine and will cycle through. On my customs, I have the smith make a bullet seating gauge that matches the throat in my chamber. I then seat the bullets .002" off the lands. I don't mess with primers, just use whatever I have most of. I neck size only and keep an eye on case length. I strive for under half inch groups with a hunting bullet.
     
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I use almost the same method but I use my cronograph to find the best SDs and Es.
    once I have a real consistant velocity then I play with seating depth to improve accuracy or
    different bullets of the same weight.

    While working up loads only change one thing at a time or you will never know what change
    made the differance good or bad.

    Keep good records and analyze the results after each range session and note every change.

    At some point it may become obvious that you have a problem with the rifle instead of a
    poor load if you can't find a good one.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  7. Supertrucker

    Supertrucker Well-Known Member

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    My "problem" if you will is that everything shoots great through my 280 Ackley (the result of excellent barrelling and chambering) and I just have the hardest time deciding which bullet to hunt with. I wish all my rifles had this "problem".
     
  8. locotrician

    locotrician Banned

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    well my rifle does shoot well i have shot sub 1 inch groups at 300 yards with it when i hold it right, this is off the bench of course and so far just "basic" reloading techniques and thats why i am looking into the more advanced practices because now i wanna see what this thing will do with really well put together ammo.
     
  9. Coyoter

    Coyoter Well-Known Member

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    First a few important considerations.
    Does the rifling match the bullet. A lot of times, if you have a standard twist, it won't stabilize the longer, heavier bullets and you won't get an accurate load, no matter how many things you try.
    Do you have runout issues? The RCBS casemaster is priceless as far as telling you if your ammo is concentric or not.
    I use nothing but Redding Competition dies. My finished ammos is maybe .002" bullet runout to give me a firm foundation for a load.
    You probably know this, but prep the brass. Deburr flash holes, full length size, trim to length, turn necks, deburr case mouth inside and out.
    Beyond that... here we go.
    Pick a powder and primer that should work in your case. I think, but haven't tried it yet, that maybe you'd want to pick a moderate powder charge and shoot some 5 round groups with some different primers. Chronograph them and see which gives the lowest velocity spread.
    What I actually do is use a CCI BR2 for "standard" calibers and either a Fed 215 or CCI 250 for mags.
    I've recently started using the "ladder test" for load development, and so far it seems to work great. Start with a middle of the road charge. Load one round with that and then increase by .2 grains for the next round. Keep going in .2 increments until you've reached the max load or close to it. I number the rounds.
    Shooting over a chrono to chart the speeds, shoot round # 1, 2 and maybe 3 (all from 200 yards or so). From then on, you have to watch the barrel temp and not let it get too hot or the test is for nothing. I chart the bullet impacts on another target back at the bench. I fetch the target and then number the holes. Looking at the target, you should find 2 - 3 that are in a pretty tight group. Load 5 round groups around those charges and you should have something that shoots pretty darned well. From there, you can tweak the seating depth to center the load in the sweet spot.
    If you don't like the velocity range you're getting, switch powders and try it again. I've had 165s traveling 2950 that shot great and 180s going 3250 that shot great. The only problem is that the first was too slow for a 300 WBY and the second too hot. Back to the drawing board this spring with another combo yet!
    Hope this helps.
    Coyoter
     
  10. locotrician

    locotrician Banned

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    well i am shooting a 300 dakota so competition dies are not available for my caliber, the best ican do is standard redding dies and i am starting to do some of the concentricity checks and more brass prep. thanks for the replies i am getting a better idea of what i should be doing to effectively work up loads.
     
  11. Coyoter

    Coyoter Well-Known Member

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    If you check with Redding, I think I recall that they'll make you a set of competition dies... custom of course. Not for free mind you. Personally, I like the bushing neck die for minimal working of the case neck material. When the brass no longer fits the chamber, use the body die to bump it back a little.
    Coyoter
     
  12. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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