Working up a load question

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by thumbs, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    I want to work up some loads for my .223. I want to load for Prairie dogs so accuracy and a bit of range is important. I already have powder and bullets so I have to stay with what I have. My question is where do you guys normally start when working up a load powder charge or OAL? I know they are both important to accuracy but I guess ya gotta start somewhere. For example do you start with say 25 grains of powder and work up and down till you get the best group or do you stay with a charge and work OAL back and forth. My guess would be powder then fine tune with the OAL but idono.

    How do you guys start working up loads?
    thanks
     
  2. DocDoc

    DocDoc Well-Known Member

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    There are two schools of practice. One school things that seating depth for a bullet is the coarse correction and best done first, then the powder charge. Supposedly the best tune for depth does not change with powder. The other group begins with something that fits the magazine, does a ladder test to find a node, and then varies the seating depth. Both should get you there. I am not certain if seating depth is the coarse variable.
     
  3. 556

    556 Well-Known Member

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    For me, I like to start with powder, bullet and primer. When I am satisfied with my components and combination I will start messing with seating depth to "dial it in".
     
  4. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Almost everyone is different. With me velocity equates to long range energy. Once the basic decision is made bullet, powder, primer I load in 1/2 grain increments starting a couple grains below book max. I usually load to a grain over book max and if not used can pull them.

    I am not a target shooter except for practice so I start with the bullet seated just short enough to fit the magazine or .010 off the lands if the magazine allows that.

    Shooting over a chronograph I shoot each step looking for an acceptable velocity and checking each for pressure signs when getting near the top. If my original choices for the powder and such were correct I usually find a acceptable velocity before any serious pressure signs but I will go until I see signs just to see where the max for that load is at. I use quick Load so I have a good idea when things are getting to hot.

    I use Berger bullets pretty much exclusively so I follow the guide in the link below and have had good success.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/for...accuracy-berger-vld-bullets-your-rifle-40204/

    This has worked good for me. Good luck.
     
  5. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    Ok good bad or indifferent I have the bullet, primers and powder. So I guess the best way to go is powder then depth. I can always play with both but I wanted to get in the ball park first.

    I know there are a ton of variables and combo with all the components but is there a good starting place for OAL? Just an educated kinda guess. I thought I would start about maybe .002 or .003 under max length and play from there. Yes no maybe so??? thanks
     
  6. 556

    556 Well-Known Member

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    I will start with the longest length my magazine will allow and work from there. It makes a simple starting point. And I like to keep things simple.
     
  7. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    kcebcj

    Looks like you were typing while I was answering. LOL

    Another new to reloading question. I normal load 50 to 70% max maybe lower. This batch I am interested in accuracy where ever that may take me within reason. Can you tell me some of the things to look for for over pressure loads? I know the primer can flatten out more than normal and there can be a round mark or ridge on the primer where it pushes into the firing pin hole. Also maybe the neck may look a little pushed. Are there any other things to look for which tells you to back off. I know a bang where there isn't supposed to be one is an indication. LOL But what are some signs your approaching max load?

    thanks
     
  8. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    When you do an actual seating depth test, you will be certain.
    No amount of powder change affects grouping as much as seating.

    This is why seating should be fully tested and set before moving into powder(which is the finest of load adjustment).
    Also, ladders look a whole lot different when seated near best, than they do when seated near worst..
     
  9. jaybic

    jaybic Well-Known Member

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    Mikecr,

    Sorry to piggyback on this thread but I kinda have the same questions as the OP.

    So the way to go is to work up a seating depth and then fine tune with your powder up or down? I have never done things this way but I got a brand new rifle (got all the parts and it gets put together next week) to try it out on. Does a guy start at jam and work away from the rifling or vice versa? should I start with the load on the hot side or mid-range(I still have to fire form brass before I can really begin load testing for a .243ai I would think..)

    anyway, thanks for your time,

    Jamie
     
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Jam is ~10thou of seating adjustment(depending on ogive radius and leade angle) within a larger range. Unless you need jammed to reach a known upper node, treat it the same, while testing the seating range at any mild pressure load.
    Basically, it's Berger's seating test method -while fireforming new brass.

    Once you have what appears as best seating depth, and your brass is fully fireformed, move into incremental load development/ladder with powder. Or, if you have a tuner installed, you can adj powder for lowest SD, and adjust the tuner for a node. Anyway, with a powder node chosen, tweak seating a tiny amount both ways to shape your grouping.

    You're either gonna have something worth a damn right there, or not.
    There are still many things that can lead us away from the best load. Could be the primer or primer striking for example. Maybe the barrel/bullet combo sucks, etc.
    Short of 'Design of Experiments'(DOE) it's always an abstract.

    Beware of any load development process that dismisses seating, or treats it as a minor afterthought(or fine adjustment). There is nothing fine about seating adjustment results.
    You can make a true 1/4moa gun shoot +1/2moa with seating alone. Powder won't usually do that much detriment.
     
  11. okie man

    okie man Well-Known Member

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    223 is a small case. get a manual and use it. starting and max loads are listed. start low and work up to your guns max load in .02 grain increments. you will find your most accurate charge some place in between the starting and max load. then go play with seating depth if you feel your leaving some accuracy on the table. my pet load for my 223 is 26.5 grains of varget with a 55 grain sierra btsp ,cci primer and rem case. 3/8-5/8" groups all day long.
     
  12. bill123

    bill123 Well-Known Member

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    Did you really mean work up in .02 grain increments or was it supposed to be 0.2 grain increments?
     
  13. okie man

    okie man Well-Known Member

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    0.2 , wasn't wearing my readers! sucks getting older
     
  14. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    No problem with piggybacking on the thread. You will probably as a question I should have and am not smart enough to know ask it. LOL

    Anyway I loaded 50 rounds this afternoon,10 rounds per load, before I read the replays. I started low and worked up in .5gr increments. I don't know even the ball park yet but I should see some differences with these. When I get to the area then I will fine tune a bit. I am about as long as I can get in my magazine. After I get close I'll have a better handle on powder and seating depth. For my own sanity I gotta keep something constant so I know when things go south I have at least an idea.
    I did hand measure power and bullet seating on each one so I am sure where I am with that stuff. If I start to see a ring or flattening on the primer I'll back off a little.