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Old 05-15-2017, 09:16 AM   #1
bearintex
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Default Precision shooters/ reloaders, how do YOU decide on a particular load?

Given the infinite number of possible load combination and other variables, how do you get to your final load that you use? The data on this out there is dizzying in the sheer volume of it. I've loaded literally 10's of thousands of pistol rounds (2 competitors in USPSA/ IDPA/ Steel challenge), but just simple limited precision rifle stuff. I have loaded them, just not to the degree of precision needed for long range. I've been primarily set up to build hunting rounds for the deer woods. Never concerned much with more than a couple hundred yards.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:28 AM   #2
JakeGraves
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I like to pick a bullet first. If custom building a rifle, I will pick barrel based off of that bullet.
Once bullet is chosen that works with your twist rate, search for powders that have been proven for that load. I try to stay with Hodgdon extreme powders. Process your brass and load starting at the lands. Start about 10% low and work up in .2-.5 grain increments until you notice ejection marks. Back off half a grain from this as max load. Once you find good groups with powder charge, begin seating further off the lands in .010 until groups shrink and then start to grow again. I never load into the lands.
By now, you should have it at least 90% what rifle is capable off. The other 10% or so is not worth chasing in my opinion unless you are a bench rest shooter not happy with a .2" group.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:55 AM   #3
cmh2007
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Bullet then powder then best grouping. Usually there will be a slow group and then a fast one

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Old 05-15-2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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I find a safe load for the bullet/powder that I am using that is reasonably fast and then play with bullet seating until all the rounds fall in the same hole.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:11 PM   #5
howabouttheiris
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Here's how I did it....

1. Picked a bullet weight and OAL based on guns preference on a quick sample of commercial ammo. Brand based on availability/specs.

2. Picked a powder based on 1) burn rate 2) temperature sensitivity 3) availability, in that order.

3. Loaded 3 rounds for every .2gn from min to max load. Shot to paper at 100 yds thru chrono. This showed 3 distinct nodes.

4. Picked lowest node that satisfied hypersonic + 10% at the desired distance.

5. Fine tuned seating depth / powder charge from there.


Item #4 above allows me to shoot 2 different loads. I use one load for 600yds and a different load for 1000yds. I can shoot my 1000yd load to 600yds, but prefer to save the cases and my shoulder some grief when not going longer distance.

Last edited by howabouttheiris; 05-15-2017 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:50 PM   #6
snipermedic
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Find a bullet that meets your needs. Everything I own hits paper steel and fur. There for I'm a Amax/eld-m/x over SMK kinda guy. I look at cost as well. Find and a powder know for accuracy that has a speed I can live with. Punch numbers on a ballistic app.see if I can live with the drop and more importantly the drift. Measure your coal and start .020 off lands. I never jam and like a little play for the intolerances of dies and components. I start in the mid upper realm of the load data being that I get more case fill and speed. .2gr incriments. Then I'm looking at numbers SD and ES mean way more than 3/4 moa vs 1/2 moa. If your happy with result stick with it. If not find the closest numbers and play with your depth going deeper.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:54 AM   #7
Brute Killer
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Tag
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:09 AM   #8
Brute Killer
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You may find these articles helpful.
Chuck Hawks, article #1
Chuck Hawks, article #2
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:41 AM   #9
WhiplashTX
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Hate to tell you this, but it takes experience to know what combo's will actually work in a rifle and even then there are a few exceptions. If your looking at the data in a reloading book over half the bullets and powders listed can automatically be eliminated. Doing research on the benchrest and long range forums will help narrow down the choices for a particular cartridge but you still need that experience to wade through all the data. Usually after I've done my research there are only 3 or 4 bullets I want to try and about as many powders.

Most people start out with bullets and this is a good place to start. Pick your bullet weight based on your rifles twist and bullet design on your needs. High BC's is what is needed for long range and if you plan on hunting a lot of the target bullets will not work on big game. I generally stick with Nosler, Hornady, Sierra and Berger but if you want to really get serious there are some custom bullet manufactures that will be a lot more consistant but at a higher cost. I have found that Nosler and Hornady are generally interchangeable and if your rifle doesn't like them try Sierra. I haven't found any correlation with Berger, most rifles like them but some absolutely hate them and Bergers tend to be more seating depth sensitive.

Powder selection is based on burn rate which is determined by cartridge size, bore size and bullet weight. Generally, you want a slower burning powder as these 3 items increase unless your using the really big bores. For long range you also want a consistant powder that's temp insensitive. It's easier if you stick with just one or two brands of powder so that you can learn what works with out buying tons of powder. I generally stick with IMR/Hogdon but they aren't the only precision powders out there. You mostly can't go wrong with H335 for the .223, 4064 or 4350 for the .243 to .308 family, and 4350 or 4831 for the 25-06 to 30-06 family and also the mid bore and under magnums.

So you've selected some bullets and powders to try and now it's time to go to load some up and try them out. Start with quality brass and CCI or Federal primers, I've never had good luck with Rem or Win primers. Load up in 1 gr increments from recommended low to high and seat them .020 off the lands. This will be your first range session that will determine what powder and bullets the gun favors and at if there are any pressure issues. Hopefully after this you've found a combo that your rifle likes and it's time for step 2. Take the combo that shot the best and didn't open up with just a 1gr change and then try .2gr increments around that load. Once you've found the right bullet and powder charge it's time for your 3rd range session of adjusting seating depth. Start at just touching the lands and work your way back .015 at a time to about .060. This should give you a good idea on where the bullet wants to be seated. Just be careful on the load touching the lands if you were showing any pressure sighs. Most of my guns like to be .010 to 0.020 off the lands but some want to be touching and Bergers Bullets tend to like to be further back.

By now if the gun is a shooter you should be under .5 moa if you have done your part behind the rifle. After this you can play with neck turning, neck tension, brass an bullet sorting, neck only resizing, and SD tuning to get your groups even smaller.
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Old 05-18-2017, 04:15 PM   #10
Horitexan
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I pick the bullet I want to use/try. Then I use OCW to identify the best charge weight, paying more attention to velocity nodes and SD/ES but also looking for good groups - hopefully I can find a good group in the middle of a velocity node with minimal ES/. Then, I use seating depth to try to refine the load to the point where I get the results I'm looking for.


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Old 05-18-2017, 04:46 PM   #11
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I have a lot of friends that reload and shoot a lot as well so over the years I have typically talked to them and see what they are shooting and go from there.
Also over the years I have narrowed down the one or two bullets I shoot in each caliber based on what I am hunting/shooting. I spend time dialing in each bullet and load for each caliber. Once I get it where I want it I am set.
I used to spend a lot of time playing with a lot of different bullets and load combinations but don't do that anymore. I stay with what works and has been proven in my rifles.
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:08 PM   #12
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I am with most guys here in the sense I pick bullet for job/weapon and make it the best the gun can shoot. I have never had a bullet I could not make shoot lights out. I will say that once I get a bullet set up I have a really hard time trying anything else. But I am not shooting competitively any more so the .5" group at 200 makes me plenty happy.
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:46 PM   #13
westtexducks
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Hope OP doesnt mind. But how many of yall chase a certain velocity first and then work you depth etc to make it work at that speed?


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Old 05-18-2017, 08:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeGraves View Post
I like to pick a bullet first. If custom building a rifle, I will pick barrel based off of that bullet.
Once bullet is chosen that works with your twist rate, search for powders that have been proven for that load. I try to stay with Hodgdon extreme powders. Process your brass and load starting at the lands. Start about 10% low and work up in .2-.5 grain increments until you notice ejection marks. Back off half a grain from this as max load. Once you find good groups with powder charge, begin seating further off the lands in .010 until groups shrink and then start to grow again. I never load into the lands.
By now, you should have it at least 90% what rifle is capable off. The other 10% or so is not worth chasing in my opinion unless you are a bench rest shooter not happy with a .2" group.
I used this technique when I was in the accuracy work-up business, but I found the best "B2O" length (base to ogive) that gave me the best groups, and then I'd tinker with the propellant charge. I was not working for long range shooting, just hunting ranges, up to 300 yds. I started with a powder/bullet match and a charge that was 90% of max.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:44 PM   #15
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If your end game is long range do a ladder test or optimal charge weight procedure by Dan Newberry.
Some tight groups at 100 don't perform well at long distance. Get a GOOD chronograph.
Ohler, magnetospeed or Labrador. I prefer the Labradar personally although pricey it has been nice to work with out of the three. Low SD and ES with a high coefficients bullets are your friends the further you get.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:26 AM   #16
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Tagged, great info guys!
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:41 AM   #17
bboswell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cattlelackranch View Post
If your end game is long range do a ladder test or optimal charge weight procedure by Dan Newberry.
Some tight groups at 100 don't perform well at long distance. Get a GOOD chronograph.
Ohler, magnetospeed or Labrador. I prefer the Labradar personally although pricey it has been nice to work with out of the three. Low SD and ES with a high coefficients bullets are your friends the further you get.


Do you find that the magnetospeed effect barrel harmonics during load development?
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bboswell View Post
Do you find that the magnetospeed effect barrel harmonics during load development?

Yes
Anything that touches the barrel affects harmonics.
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Old 05-21-2017, 12:10 PM   #19
bboswell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cattlelackranch View Post
Yes
Anything that touches the barrel affects harmonics.


This is my belief as well but I have had people tell me that they do not load work ups, seems to me it would.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:06 PM   #20
Zen Archery
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1). Figure out my personal goals.
2). Contact the tech team at the manufacturing companies. Berger is the best/fastest communicators. Barnes is second. Hornady third. There's a lot of hand turn custom lath guys coming out. They're either awesome or horrible at phone communications.
3). I follow their recommendations dona few tweaks according to my own experience.
Then I'm good to go.
Once I commit to a load on a long range/target/Precision gun I never change.

Hunting ammo I play around with a lot but since most of my hognhinting is under 300 yards I'm not as precise when it comes to loading.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:21 PM   #21
Radar
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Are you shooting paper or animals?
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