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Thread: How long does it take to get an accurate cartridge/load?

  1. #1

    How long does it take to get an accurate cartridge/load?

    I was just wondering how much time and effort it takes to get a load for a rifle that will cloverleaf? I realise that you don't need that for hunting but if it's achievable then why not? A few people I know reload but they stop at,"that's the type of bullet I want and that's good enough accuracy".

    I've been weighing up buying in bits an pieces and getting a friend to help me reload but at the moment I'm just using factory stuff. I've got a new tikka .22-250 that I was thinking about reloading for..just wondering how much effort it is?

  2. #2
    proverbial piece of string.
    until your group measure 0/0" you could go all day I imagine.

    I am in the group of "feck it, that'll do me" group size. was very lucky with some, not so lucky with others, then I changed rifle and am hoping the charge I had for the same calibre different rifle will be in some way suitable for the last one! Roll on Sunday!

  3. #3
    Depends on a number of things. The main ones being, quality of rifle, knowledge and skill at reloading and your shooting ability. Just to give an example on the reloading side of things. I spent years using the method of working up batches of ammo, 12rds at a time all the same spec and shooting 3 round groups then increasing powder and repeating the process. I would look at the average size grouping for each batch and try and narrow down the most ideal load. This was before I discovered 'ladder testing' which is a clever way of finding a sweet spot for a load.

    There is a fair bit to learn, there is no short cut to experience and no guarantee of ragged hole groups but I am convinced the whole exercise makes you a better marksman.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by wildfowler.250 View Post
    I was just wondering how much time and effort it takes to get a load for a rifle that will cloverleaf? I realise that you don't need that for hunting but if it's achievable then why not? A few people I know reload but they stop at,"that's the type of bullet I want and that's good enough accuracy".

    I've been weighing up buying in bits an pieces and getting a friend to help me reload but at the moment I'm just using factory stuff. I've got a new tikka .22-250 that I was thinking about reloading for..just wondering how much effort it is?
    There is quite a lot of effort and research that goes into producing the optimum load. It can however be quite a rewarding hobby, particularly during bad weather and long winter evenings. A useful starting point is if you find that there is a factory round that shoots a very tight group with your rifle take the measurements from it and produce a similar round of your own. atb Tim

  5. #5
    And then sometimes you just get lucky and the first load you try puts three shots touching .............................. Sigh! Not often but it do happen.

  6. #6
    indeed brit, it took me nine shots to manage that from my very first attempt at reloading, i was really pleased to say the least. i wonder if ill have as much luck when i try doing it for my .223

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wildfowler.250 View Post
    I was just wondering how much time and effort it takes to get a load for a rifle that will cloverleaf? I realise that you don't need that for hunting but if it's achievable then why not? A few people I know reload but they stop at,"that's the type of bullet I want and that's good enough accuracy".

    I've been weighing up buying in bits an pieces and getting a friend to help me reload but at the moment I'm just using factory stuff. I've got a new tikka .22-250 that I was thinking about reloading for..just wondering how much effort it is?
    Some good advice so far so just to add my 2d worth. I reload 22.250 in my Blaser and also for two other shooters (one a Tikka). As said, once you get your head around the method of the ladder test, it will dramatically reduce the amount of 'wasted' batches you make up - from my records the ladder test took 24 rounds in the 22.250 and 21 in my Tac 20 for me to narrow down what did and did not work.

    Soapbox bit. "I realise that you don't need that for hunting " well each to their own, but in my book having the optimum accuracy for shooting things with a leg in each corner is essential - thats if you have some sort of respect for what you are shooting at. To them whose rifles shoot perhaps 1.5 MOA do you turn that 300 yd shot down or just hope that your rifle will (for once) shoot to POA? Having a truly accurate rifle instills confidence and whilst I appreciate that in field conditions without a bag to rest the rifle on will make a difference to POI, then surely your 1.5 MOA will be further exagerated? My own view is that hunters hide behind the 'only for hunting' bit as an excuse for laziness. A popcorn moment? lol

    Timbrayford mentioned using factory ammo that shot reasonable well as a starting point which I consider very sensible - it proves that we should not be sucked into the myth that every round we make needs to have the bullet stuffed right up to the lands by 5,10 or 20 thou back. You will read reloaders saying that when they seat it at these short distances the bullet falls out of the case or wont fit in the magazine - oh how I cry for them!! A rifle has more than one sweet spot. Bullet manufacturers develop their ammo around SAAMI spec, for the non reloader it is a matter of which brand suits best. A friend of mine shoots a 220 swift, his factory fodder will shoot less than .5 MOA - his bullet is seated 187 thou back. My friend with a 22.250 Tikka has his reloaded ammo by me set 148 thou back and my 250 is 222 thou and my 20 Tac with custom barrel is 223 thou.

    Sorry a bit off topic but perhaps food for thought if you decide to go down the reloading your own route.

  8. #8
    Hmmm well as the reply to my question as to what is the acceptance stand for grouping on new Remington rifles came back as :-

    Response Via Email (Danny) 06/05/2012 08:05 AM
    Industry standard is 2 inches or less for hunting rifles. Proper ammunition and optics should make this very easy.
    Of course many will quite easily achieve this but there are enough that won't to make one worry .

    I can only assume those would not be now considered?

    Parker-Hale used to claim that all their rifles would group into 1 1/2" or less using fresh Norma ammunition.

    But I wonder how many shooters actually really test the grouping ablility of them selves and their rifles. Shooting the odd 3 round group does not do this really at all.

    I never thought about this really until I came across an article which did and it gave me food for thought. he tested his rifles over an extended period of time shooting them st different times of the day to get differing light conditions and in different weather. He used targets of the same type and marked on up as the "Master" a second target was placed over this master and then a five round group shot at the selected distance. The top target was then changed for a fresh clean on careful placed exactly over the master which now had a five round group on it then a second five round group was shot. the master was filed away for the next session where a fresh clean target was placed exactly over the masetr and another five round groups shot.

    This was repeated over a period of weeks until the "master" target had a group on it made up of many five round groups. he would shoot 5-7 five round groups then carefully study the composite group made up of all of them. Those shot that we often call fliers it seems are really part of this composite grouping as he noticed that these "fliers" often occured in the same area on the target so instead of one lone hole there would be a few clustered in that area.

    This Composite group on the "Master" target is the True grouping ability of shooter and rifle with that ammunition. Many will not go to such lengths saying it's a waste of time and ammunition. I wonder if the real reason is not that they might be embarassed to learn they are not as good as they like to think .


    Yes I started to do this with a couple of rifles that I was not totally happy with the grouping we got. I was doing it with a 6mm Rem and my 25-06 Rem when the troubles hit.

  9. #9
    I load .223 and .308.

    I worked up one single load that grouped sub MOA for each rifle, with the .223 it was the second load I tried, and the .308 it was the third after running it in.

    I work on three shot groups until it is close, then five shot groups to fine tune.

    Once I have one good load I know what to expect and anything else I use is based on that.

    For all loads I expect the first cold shot to go exactly where it is aimed, as this is most important to me in a hunting rifle.

    When finding that first time shot I use a cold clean barrel, and I am more than happy to wait for five minutes between shots to make sure it is consistent.

    To me reloading is another part of shooting and there is a real buzz when I see the tiny group from rounds that I made from scratch.
    Beware that a good group at 100yds may not be good at 200yds, and that is where you can fall foul of the reloading bug.

  10. #10
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	16361This is a recent group from a new Sako 85 in .308 that i worked up the load for.

    I usually work out a length i feel comfortable with and then load 4 rounds at half grain intervals between a mid load and a max load and then shoot 3 of each at separate targets leaving the barrel to cool for maybe 15 minutes when its reasonable cold outside. The reason i load 4 rounds is so that if i feel i have pulled a shot, i can disregard it and still get 3 shots im happy with.

    The two holes in the centre are actually 3 shots at 100 yds and the outer 3 are 200 yds. This is what i believe i am happy with in terms of accuracy. The 200 yd shots could be better but i believe they are down to my poor shooting and not the gun or ammo.

    Just as an aside,,,,, the centre hole was from a stone cold barrel.......
    Last edited by foggy; 12-06-2012 at 19:53.

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