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Thread: Test numbers

  1. #1

    Test numbers


    Just embarking on the reloading and have read a number of books and manuals and looked at the myriad of opinions on this site, but one thing I can't seem to find is how many test rounds people usually make to start off?

    For a new load with a new bullet should I make, say 10 rounds, go out and test them and move on from there? Or should I make 10 of one load, 10 with an increment in powder etc and then take them all out and see which ones the best (allowing barrel to cool and all of that).



  2. #2
    I'd say a minimum of three, but you don't need more than five of any given load. Three isn't ideal because you're only one flyer away from having no idea of how the round groups. With four or five you build in some redundancy. Of course you'll find that if you load five of each, you'll only need three. If you load three, you'll wish you had more. So ideally five of each, and take your time firing each group on successive zeroing targets.

  3. #3
    There are probably many answers to this question.......

    what at works for me is, 5 at .5 grain increments from start to max (unless pressure sights etc).

    then compare groups and re test the better groups to see if they are consistently good.

    usually by this stage I will have figured out a pretty accurate load so that's what I'll use. (Usually at least .5" or less)

    there are more scientific and probably more accurate ways to go about it but the above works for me

  4. #4
    I loaded 4 rounds of each powder charge going up in .5 grain increments. I chose 4 for pretty much the reasons outlined by PM. The first lot I did I narrowed it down to two different powder charges so I then reloaded 6 of each charge and fired 3 rounds, let the barrel cool then another three at the same target giving me two 6 shot groups. I ended up with one group at .519 of an inch and the other was way over 1" so I stopped there. I could revisit it with a charge of +/- .2 of a grain and see if it makes any noticeable difference but I'm happy where I am at the moment.

    When I started my .308 loads I started 2.5 grains below max pressure and worked up from there in .5 grain increments. If I had started at minimum I'd have ended up loading 35+ rounds and after a bit of research found this was/is a fairly common practice.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by nun_hunter View Post
    When I started my .308 loads I started 2.5 grains below max pressure and worked up from there in .5 grain increments. If I had started at minimum I'd have ended up loading 35+ rounds and after a bit of research found this was/is a fairly common practice.
    This is another legitimate factor, I mean it starts becoming expensive if you're going through five rounds each of loads of increments... And then there's the question of how much range time you have. Last time I hogged a bench at the BSRC doing this, I was very kindly, and I do mean kindly, asked whether I was done after 25 rounds of 7x57R, letting the barrel cool between shots etc... And I had indeed just visibly fired my last round when the question came, but that sort of thing is another incentive to try and be efficient about these things.

  6. #6
    Most stalking rifle barrels over heat with 5 shots or more I would start with max 3 shots with .5 grn increments and go up till u find a sweet spot
    start 15 thou of the lands were most hunting bullets like to be after u find one or two good loads then re test with more shots but take time to let the barrel cool In between groups

  7. #7

  8. #8
    That's cheers to all by the way! As long as I have something that feels good and groups in 10-15mm I'm happy.

  9. #9
    To be honest, it's not that hard, this reloading lark. I was pretty apprehensive and reluctant at first, but then you find out that it's just not very difficult. Also, it's quite hard to physically overload common cartridges just because you can't stuff enough powder into the case... Obviously I'm not going into finely-tuned pushing the boundaries stuff here, but just be careful and stick to the rules and you'll be surprised at what you can do. Oh yes, and stop when what you have is good enough, before you start obsessing about tiny groups and velocity because it just doesn't matter for stalking...

  10. #10
    If the rifle is new to you, load at least 20 at your base load and shoot them in 3 shot groups. Don't test the load as much as learn to shoot the rifle. All rifles behave differently at the shoulder and it would be a shame to pee all over a good load because your unfamiliarity with the rifle caused you to under-utilize its accuracy. I recently got a new 308 and I loaded 50 at the same charge. The first 10 were wasted getting used to the rifle. The next 40 were deadly accurate.~Muir

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