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Thread: Giving up load development

  1. #1

    Giving up load development

    Just wanted to make others aware that when reloading it can be very easy to lose the plot.

    I have been reloading for about 6 years and I consider myself fairly competent. My current centrefire rifles are Remy VS in 22-250 (which I load 50gr VMax and 55gr SP’s) and a Savage stainless / synthetic in 7mm-08 (which is fed 100gr HP’s, 140gr SP’s and 175gr SP’s).

    I have no wish to be a competition target shooter and the principal reason that I reload is to have consistency in my rounds that give me total confidence that what I aim at I will kill. Not just wound or injure - but stone dead.

    For the past two years or so I have been irritated by the 22-250 that will, weather & wind permitting, put factory Norma Vmax into ” groups at 200 yards - something that it will only occasionally do with my home loads (but the majority are still sub 1” at 200). All are shot from a solid bench using tripod or front benchrest.

    I (conservatively) estimate that I have put nearly 500 rounds through that rifle over the past two years trying to match my home loads to the Norma factory. Weighed bullets / weighed cases / trimmed cases / different cases / different powders / different primers / different COAL / annealed cases etc.

    All failed.

    The 7mm-08 will, 95% of the time, group all three bullet weights sub 1” at 200 yards (again, weather & wind permitting). Some groups are near one-holers and well beyond what I thought I was capable of achieving - but a small percentage are not and very occasionally I get a 2” group – but never broadening beyond that.

    Again I continued to reload many variations of all three bullets without achieving 100% sub 1” consistency.

    Then the “Eureka” moment. Wtf am I doing? What am I trying to achieve when the vast majority of the live targets I aim at are well below 200 yards (many sub 100 yards) and offer a much larger target area than what I was trying to achieve on paper.

    Also, when I add the variables of quick backdrop consideration, wind, rain, cold hands, off the sticks, off the bonnet of the car, my less than capable input +++ then these add up to variables hugely greater than what I was becoming near neurotic about.

    Today I have drawn a line and given up load development for these rifles and for these bullets. What I have is all I need.

    Amen (and Yee ha!).

    Off huntin'
    Last edited by Eyefor; 08-06-2011 at 16:05.
    Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it, hump it or learn from it then piss on it and walk away.

    "HOSPITALITY" - the art of making guests feel at home (when you wish they were).



  2. #2
    I used to use Norma factory 100g SP's for my .243, and they will shoot pretty much one-hole at 100yds as well. The reason I decided to reload was not because of accuracy, but to:
    a. Consistent access to the same ammunition
    b. Remove need to use 2/20 rounds per new 'batch' just for control-shots (that's 10% of a 35 box gone every new batch!)
    c. Have access to ample ammo without having to rely on RFD's having stock
    d. Get my FLO to allow 100 rounds on my FAC (vs. 40 for factory purchased)
    e. To find the exact expansion characteristics I require for my Roe/Fox shooting, as well as having accuracy for target shooting, without spending a fortune.

    I have at times thought it would be easier just to go back to factory ammo, but I think A and E would stop me doing so for a while.

  3. #3
    A fellow named Dr Mann wrote a long book chronicling his experiments to divine the cause of the one shot that would fly out of an otherwise excellent group. His theory was that when all components of the equation were identical, the results should be identical. He spent his life and his family fortune in the quest and came up empty handed, for the most part.

    You my Friend, have just come to a happy place in the world of reloading! Now you can enjoy your shooting without that dark cloud of Perfection hanging over your head. ~Muir

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Eyefor View Post

    Then the “Eureka” moment. Wtf am I doing? What am I trying to achieve when the vast majority of the live targets I aim at are well below 200 yards (many sub 100 yards) and offer a much larger target area than what I was trying to achieve on paper.

    Also, when I add the variables of quick backdrop consideration, wind, rain, cold hands, off the sticks, off the bonnet of the car, my less than capable input +++ then these add up to variables hugely greater than what I was becoming near neurotic about.

    You are at the position now that I started reloading at
    I never strived for perfection just consistency with reasonable groupings
    so there fore my reloading era is based on simplicity
    I took one powder ( Reloader 22 ) and worked up a decent load in my .243 with hornaday 100g Btsp that I felt happy with
    producing mainly 3/4" groups @ 100 as the norm so near enough for me , no need to look at any thing else
    most of the deer I shoot are less than a 100yards so the load works.. job done and no more messing and no inclination to change it either unless I really have too
    Did the same with the 30-06 but used Varget and some hornaday 165 sst's heads.. did not like the heads so went to nosler 180's as they came cheap, again I got sensible groups and performance that I was happy with

    untill now I recently purchased a .222 , using home loads it was producing almost same hole groupings then out to an inch
    same results with factory loads so I feel there may be a different outlying problem causing this
    but because it can 1 hole group ,that is what my mind is telling me it has to achieve each and every time
    I am now going to the range again tomorow to see if I can achieve a 1 hole group consistently with the same home loads
    I fear it will be a difficult day and I am taking reloading gear with me just incase, this will be the one and only time as it is beginning to pee me off trying to get near perfection
    there are those guys that love to load develope and I take my hat off to them ,
    It's defo not for me
    as I don't feel it will ever make me shoot any better than I can now

    Muir's last paragraph sums it up nicely for me as I feel that is the type of reloader I am
    ATB

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by PKL View Post
    I used to use Norma factory 100g SP's for my .243, and they will shoot pretty much one-hole at 100yds as well. The reason I decided to reload was not because of accuracy, but to:
    a. Consistent access to the same ammunition
    b. Remove need to use 2/20 rounds per new 'batch' just for control-shots (that's 10% of a 35 box gone every new batch!)
    c. Have access to ample ammo without having to rely on RFD's having stock
    d. Get my FLO to allow 100 rounds on my FAC (vs. 40 for factory purchased)
    e. To find the exact expansion characteristics I require for my Roe/Fox shooting, as well as having accuracy for target shooting, without spending a fortune.

    I have at times thought it would be easier just to go back to factory ammo, but I think A and E would stop me doing so for a while.
    jeepers! and I've just asked for my .308 allowance to be raised to keep 600
    "Politicians must be allowed to panic. They need activity. It is their substitute for achievement"
    "'The matter is under consideration' means we have lost the file. 'The matter is under active consideration' means we are trying to find the file."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by stone View Post
    Muir's last paragraph sums it up nicely for me as I feel that is the type of reloader I am
    ATB
    Absolutely agree.

    My anorak has been binned!
    Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it, hump it or learn from it then piss on it and walk away.

    "HOSPITALITY" - the art of making guests feel at home (when you wish they were).



  7. #7
    i think your worrying to much 1 inch at 200 yards is not to be sniffed at. that is more then good enough. i think to many people get hung up on there groups
    i have shot ten rounds under a 5 pence piece at 100 yards with my rpa 22/250 on the 1st outting with it using a load i used in my old winchester 22/250.

    i have since tryed these loads and there still dead accurate. people think they can do that all the time and it just isnt the case. abit of weather change, or your not shooting as well yourself that day will make a big difference to your groups.

    so dont take it to heart. be happy with what you have

  8. #8
    True that! I remember buying a 308 built on a Mauser action to use for rifle season hunting wild turkey. I was a young man and hot into the new-to-me sport of cast bullet shooting. The very first turkey load I tried using a 160 grain bullet shot .35" at 100 yards. The next was .54 inches. The next .48 inches, and so it stayed... right up until I bought a new LOT of primers. Then, using bullets cast and prepared from the same batch of alloy, using the same powder and cases, the groups were .75", .94" and 1.1 inches. For a year I tried to equal that initial accuracy using that first batch of Federal primers but my groups hovered around .9 inches most of the time. I was miserable. Then one afternoon I shot a New Mexico jack-rabbit in the head at 170 yards using that gun and load. That changed everything.

    I wish I'd kept that rifle....~Muir

  9. #9
    I only started reloading 6 months ago and did so from a cost perspective.

    I finally managed to sort out a rifle problem I had and produced this:



    good enough for me to shoot deer and fox with confidence
    50 worth of Lee's finest classic loader and materials!!

    load development over!

    have gone from 1.25 per shot to 35p! does the job

  10. #10
    I sat and reloaded my first 308 ladder today.
    I twitched when the powder overspilled and got down low to check the line on the 505 balance was accurate. I rechecked the balance zero time and again, not to mention calibrating my ebay weights on a five figure balance my pal Kieran has.
    My 308 shoots 1/2" with Norma 123gr. I might not replicate it, but when I held up that first round it was my own work. I felt the same when I caught my first trout, sea trout and salmon on my own fly. Yes, I understand the realisation you are less than Norma-perfect. But the person who makes the round doesnt pull the trigger...

    You'll be back - I hope.

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