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New Load Development Process.

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New Load Development Process.
« on: December 29, 2016, 09:49:25 AM »
 

Pvt.Donut

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What steps do you take when testing out new loads. Do you start with a ladder test and then shoot for groups? Do you go solely off velocity SD?

I'll be working up a 6.5 Creedmoor load soon so the info helps but the weather here in Iowa is also crumby so the next best thing to shooting is talking about shooting.
 

Re: New Load Development Process.
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 11:39:43 AM »
 

Pvt.Donut

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Nobody wants to start the conversation so I'll just reply to myself. Took some loads out to the range, testing out 139gr Lapua Scenars and Varget. Loaded up from Min to Max for a ladder test. Shot at 200 yards and found a nodes near the min and near the max. Will be playing around the Max for best load (~36.6 grains). In the future I'll move back to 300 yards, should result in a larger dispersion making it easier to see the node groups.

Since I was bored the night before I also loaded up some round for group testing. Every charge weight shot under 1 MOA. Best group was right around max (36.6 grains) and I had mostly horizontal stringing, so once I play around some more I should have it.

I just picked up 8lbs of Reloder 16 that I'll be using for the competition season this year. I'll either stick with the 139gr Scenars, or buy up a bunch of Hornady 147gr ELD-M's when I can find them. I think the extra BC's on the 147gr's should do me well this year.
 

Re: New Load Development Process.
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2017, 05:20:59 PM »
 

Jeff M

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Sorry man!  Not sure how I missed this.  Dunno what happened to everybody else.  Winter time is pretty rough for most shooters with the weather.  I know I haven't pulled the trigger on a live round in quite a while.


In any event, my process is to load up a bunch of stuff starting at published minimums and going 2-3gr ABOVE book maximum, in .2gr increments.  I load one round of each charge weight.  Mark the brass, make a list, and then go shoot, starting with the lowest.

I keep going until I'm decidedly over pressure.  Not like piercing primers and breaking/destroying stuff over pressure, but I might start seeing flattened primers/ejector swipe/extractor marks, stuff like that.

I make note of the charge weight that happened at, and stop shooting.  If I go through all of my ammo and don't find it, then I go home and I load up more, even hotter, and head back to the range.


Once I have that number, then I load up 10 rounds of each charge weight across a full 1gr BELOW the "definitely too hot" load.  So, if definitely too hot was like 40.5, then I'd load up 10 rounds each from like 39.3 - 40.3.

Take those to the range, and shoot them at paper at 600 yards.  Two groups of 5 for each charge weight, everything at different targets.

I only pay attention to VERTICAL dispersion.  Windage has nothing to do with this test.

Pick the load that has the tightest vertical.  Then load up 5 of those, go back to the range.  Load my mag, dump some water in the mag on top of the ammo, stick it in the gun, and shoot them.  If they are overpressure when they are wet, then I look for the next group with good vertical, and repeat that test.

Once I've decided on a load that's safe in all conditions, I start messing with seating depth, again shooting at 600.

Then I'm done, and I just load up a shitload.

Oh, and I do this during the summer months, usually.  If you're going to do this in the winter, make sure you figure out a way to simulate testing hot ammo with a hot barrel.  Not sure how you'd go about that, but I'm sure someone has figured it out.

36.6gr of Varget is nowhere NEAR the max load for a 6.5CM, either. I know guys with x47s that run more Varget than that.

As always, though, it does vary rifle to rifle, so work your way up.  As I mentioned above, the first thing I do for a given rifle is determine exactly how much is "too much".  Books are only a guide.


Oh, and as for ES/SD all that nonsense?  Pfft.  My current barrel, and April Dawn's rifle - neither of them have ever even seen a chrono.  I don't care how fast they are or what the numbers look like as long as the bullets fly where I point them and hit what I intend to hit.
Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 

Re: New Load Development Process.
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2017, 01:17:49 PM »
 

Pvt.Donut

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Thanks Jeff, I assume everyone else is at home crying, waiting for winter to finally end!

I'll probably play with Varget some more but I just picked up a bunch of Reloder 16 to test. I've heard great things so far. I can't find any H4350 but I've heard R16 is just as good, if not better when it comes to temp stability and velocities. I will also be testing out some Berger 140 hybrids soon, the Lapuas are cheaper but I've heard nothing but great things about Bergers. I was debating about ELD-M 147's but decided by the time I buy a box to test, get them loaded, and return to buy more, they would probably be dried up.
 

Re: New Load Development Process.
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 06:58:42 AM »
 

Jeff M

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Yeah, winter sucks.  I have to go to the range today to fireform some brass for my new practice gun.  Cold here!!


I've heard good things about rl16,  but never tried it.  Interested to hear your feedback.

Those 147 elds look great on paper!  Oooh, that BC!  But I'm too heavily invested in Berger right now to even consider trying anything else.  God forbid I like them, then I've got thousands of Bergers I won't want to use..  Lol
Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.
 

Re: New Load Development Process.
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2017, 07:18:59 PM »
 

Tazman1602

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.


Oh, and as for ES/SD all that nonsense?  Pfft.  My current barrel, and April Dawn's rifle - neither of them have ever even seen a chrono.  I don't care how fast they are or what the numbers look like as long as the bullets fly where I point them and hit what I intend to hit.

Man don't know why there aren't more people here. I do use a chrono at times but the above statement is the biggest piece of good advice I've read in years about reloading.

Never shot competition, always had to hunt when we were younger for deer etc, therefor the excuse we needed to buy $5,000 worth of reloading "stuff" when the actual food might have been $500....

Have a new Ruger RPR in 308 and just starting to develop a load for it. Out of the box it was MOA with anything we put down the tube....

Art
 

Re: New Load Development Process.
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 09:04:22 PM »
 

Jeff M

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Yeah, I do t know why more people aren't here either.  Lol  it's certainly not for lack of trying.  Baseball caps, Facebook page, all sorts of stuff to get the word out.  Seems like maybe forums are a dying breed.  I prefer them greatly to Facebook groups.  Much more organized, searchable, generally higher quality discussion.  I don't know.

We're still growing though, which is good.  Add members every day.


And about the chrono remark - they do have their place, and I do own one.  I use it for thing where a specific speed is required - like developing subsonic loads, where I want to know exactly how much room I have before going supersonic, or for developing pistol loads trying to replicate carry ammo, or if you have to make power factor or something.  But for precision rifle?  I really just don't see the value in it.  Load where they are most accurate, true up your drop charts with observed impacts, and call it good, you know?  Works for me.  :)
Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.