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Thread: Opinions please on the groupings attached

  1. #1

    Opinions please on the groupings attached

    Evening folks, I would appreciate if some of the seasoned reloaders amongst you would have a look at the following photos and tell me what looks the better load.

    Today I tried my home made bullets for the first time and once I got over the initial fear of pulling the trigger on a home made round my mind was at ease and I could be hooked!

    The pictures below show the round with 40, 41, 42, 43 and finally 44 grains of N160.

    Bullets were 85gr speer, all cases weighed the same and were the same length and all bullets were also weighed and identical weights so the only differing factor should be the powder weight.

    With the 41 and 42 grain loads it looks like I have pulled a shot and in the 40 grain, there are two bullets through the same hole (bottom one).

    I am planning on loading the 40, 41 and 42 again and trying tomorrow (hopefully not pulling a shot again!)

    I measured the distance with calipers of the furthest point of each group and it was as follows:

    40gr 0.0000 for pair and 0.6605 incl all 3 shots
    41gr 0.4960 for pair and 1.7280 incl pulled shot
    42gr 0.4840 for pair and 1.5990 incl pulled shot
    43gr 1.4675
    44gr 1.882

    Does this all look normal?

    I did notice that after the shots there appeared to be a lot of black sooty stuff on the cases which I don't notice on factory rounds.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PA120284PA12028401.jpg   PA120285PA12028502.jpg   PA120286PA12028603.jpg   PA120287PA12028704.jpg   PA120288PA12028805.jpg  

  2. #2
    Looks entirely normal to me. Bearing in mind you're using a 5p piece for scale, any one of those loads would be accurate enough for deer. The 40gr load especially seems to show promise.
    All the groups display a pattern that my Sauer follows time and again. It will put two shots very close to each other or even touching, and one a bit out, not far, and never been more than an inch and a half. Funnily enough it's almost always the second shot that "opens up" the group.
    You can't say muntjac without saying, Mmmmmm.

  3. #3
    Welcome to the world of the never ending search for the perfect load!!

    Generally I stick with Lapua cases, CCI BR primers and neck tension in line with Reddings guide - that way I'm generally using the best available kit/info...not that they are not areas I would play with at a later date. But much more testing needs to come first!! Personally I think distance to the lands is pretty important. Then play with powder. I generally start high'ish and then decrease loads by 0.5 grain at a time until they start spreading again, then I play around at 0.1 or 0.2 grain intervals until I get the best possible. That said you can also play around with the cases, primers, powders as well as bullets/weights...too many variables!!

    From looking at your results so far I would say you still need a little refinement around the 40gn mark. I also always test with 4 or 5 shots, that way the probability is less it you pull a shot and you get a better feel for the results.

  4. #4
    What rifle are you using and what are you shooting over i.e bench bags, bipod etc?
    No good expecting BR groups from a light barrel sporter...1st group looks pretty good

    One question; have you measured the max length to the lands for your rifle?
    I've found quicker results with cartridge COL (within the max and min) than I have changing powder loads, just a thought.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Milligan View Post
    What rifle are you using and what are you shooting over i.e bench bags, bipod etc?
    No good expecting BR groups from a light barrel sporter...1st group looks pretty good

    One question; have you measured the max length to the lands for your rifle?
    I've found quicker results with cartridge COL (within the max and min) than I have changing powder loads, just a thought.
    Tikka T3 in .243 through a cmm4 moderator @ 100 yards.
    I shot off the top of an MTM preadtor rest attached to a workbench so pretty solid.
    I have not done the length to lands bit yet I wanted to check the powder rates first then move onto that.

  6. #6
    I would now stick to your 40gns load and work out the best distance to your lands for your rife ...then return to the powder to refine further.

  7. #7
    Hi David

    All of the above comments are well made. One thing that did strike me about the groups is that they seem to be stringing eg running in a straight line. It's hard to tell from the photos if it's vertical or horizontal stringing but it might be something to investigate as some of the causes are easily rectified and can have a significant impact on how groups look.

    There is much on line about this but take a look at as a start point.

    Hope that helps


  8. #8
    Have you thought about making changes to the seating depth? I generally measure up with the o.a.l gauge and bullet of choice make 5 measurements and take the average then back off 20-25 thou and work towards the lands in 5 thou increments.

    if things tighten up then start to spread out again I work back towards the sweet spot on average it's about 10 thou off the lands with the Barnes bulltes I'm using in my .270.

    I don't know if that's right or wrong but, works for me. I was actually using N160 for the barnes BTTSX in 130grn but couldn't get the groups as tight as I would have liked. I decided I would try H4350 and I was more than happy with the results.


  9. #9
    In my experience, weight of charge is usually a much less important factor than seating depth. I would just pick one of those loads and then experiment with the seating depth. One word of advice though, shoot five shot groups when testing loads, forget 'pulled' shots, that is the group you shot, if 'pulled' shots are a problem then your rest, position or trigger control need attention before you start load development. If you can't choose between groups at 100m, shoot at 200m to magnify the error. JC

  10. #10
    David, the last two posters have it right. OAL is much more significant in consistent accuracy than fractions of a grain powder charges.

    Work up to a load / vel you are happy with. I would normally just pick a load .5gr short of book max. I would not go over book max for a 243 - I assume a 243? However, if you are using VV data for the N160, it will be mild anyway.

    Load up about 20 rounds to the max OAL that your chamber will tolerate. Then start shooting groups of three. Take your time and don't let the rifle get hot.

    After each group, turn the die down by half a turn, which should push the bullet about 10 thou further down into the case. Keep shooting three shot groups and turning the die down until you hit a sweet spot. At that time you need to try and replicate the group a few times to make sure that tight group was not a fluke. It is handy if you can take your press to the range.

    If you are shooting a standard factory sporter, make sure it is well settled on the bags. Consistently shooting sub inch groups takes very good technique, a decent trigger and the rifle kept cool.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

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