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Thread: At last, I've done it! - Sako 85 Varmint .308 load.

  1. #1

    At last, I've done it! - Sako 85 Varmint .308 load.

    Over the past few months (ok, the best part of most of this year!) I've been getting my reloading kit together, reading books, watching videos on YouTube and gathering what I hoped would be the ideal components (and the confidence) to find an accurate load for my Sako 85 in .308. After making my first batch of home loads over a month ago, I finally got the chance to shoot them today.

    I made up 8 batches of 5 rounds, starting at the book minimum powder charge and going up to 0.4gr over the 'accuracy load'. I was really surprised to see just how much difference a few points of a grain make to the group and I was over the moon with my final results:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Final load was as follows:
    • Lapua brass
    • CCI primer
    • 150gr Sierra MK HPBT
    • 43.5gr Vit N140


    2"x2" target at 100m, 5 shot groups. I tried to keep everything as consistent as possible. One thing I found rather interesting was that my rifle loves to shoot cold. The first shot of each batch was bang on the bull, then the second shot would be about .5" low, then the rest of the group would be back up close to the first shot when the barrel was hotter.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way.

  2. #2
    Mmmmmmmm nice rifle ....groups not bad as well

  3. #3
    Try them again another day and see if you get same result

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by swarovski View Post
    Try them again another day and see if you get same result
    I agree with this - I went through the same thing working up loads and messing about and one of the conclusions I came to was that a lot of the "difference" in accuracy when making small changes between loads was actually down to my ability to shoot on the day. I've started to conclude that a lot of the stuff talked about reloading is balderdash and relies mostly on luck and random variation.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    ......I've started to conclude that a lot of the stuff talked about reloading is balderdash and relies mostly on luck and random variation.
    Don't agree at all.

    Accurate shooting, and making accurate ammo, is about careful attention to detail, systematic testing, and an absolutely repeatable technique.
    Brian.

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

  6. #6
    But I think Brian that the problem is that what most people consider "systematic testing" is no such thing and so what they are measuring are random events. Very few people seem to test to the point that would come anywhere close to establishing a "fact" to a reasonable confidence level and I've never been able to constrain the variables such that I could pin my results on one particular element in the process - there is always a breeze or I've just had a big dinner or something that was different from on the previous testing session.

    I've seen the reports on bench rest loading/shooting and on that big warehouse they had in Texas (I think it was) and there is no question that these people were shooting a lot and were working hard to constrain the variables and so some of that stuff probably has some significance attached to it. It was, however, trail and error rather than designed solutions to known problems. Someone like myself, however, who loads up with a range of powder weights and shoots 3 rounds of each at a target and discounts the bad groups is actually demonstrating nothing at all other than that "strange stuff happens." I'd guess you shoot more rounds than 99.9% of reloaders so perhaps you do get to see things the rest of us don't but for the average guy, including myself, the process is virtually random and relies as much on our confidence in ourselves and the load as in engineering and physical fact.

    Reloading should, in engineering terms, be a simple process and it should be possible to do away with all this testing and loading different charge weights and so on as a simple calculation should provide the answer for any given situation. I guess that something like Quickload attempts to do that in some simple manner. However, we've introduced too many confounding factors into the whole thing and the most significant one, I suspect, is the person behind the rifle. We also have lots of language which indicates that reloading is a black art - off the top of my head this talk about "fast barrels" and "slow barrels" as a simple example - where these are just things we've failed to measure or understand. Someone, somewhere, understands them as I don't think for one minute that a man designing big guns for the military, or the ammo they fire, allows any variables or black art to form part of the design process. That I can see the homeloader doesn't have access to this information and it is possible that the information is available only in a form that I, for one, haven't a hope of understanding.

    This then brings us back to "suck and see," the only option open to us if we can't calculate, design and predict, except that I'm confident that by far the majority of people, and I include myself firmly in their number, aren't actually doing enough sucking to see anything at all, indeed most times they suck it isn't even the same thing they are sucking.

    In support of this consider the following, a story I've just made up: I started publishing articles in the shooting press pointing out that invisible residue in cases that had been fired could result in a catalytic reaction involving the powder reloaded into those cases which resulted in its degradation and a significant reduction in accuracy. However, this residue was soluble when the correct solvent and process was used and I could sell you both the solvent and a machine into which you could load the cases. The machine would maintain the correct temperature and ensure the correct application of the solvent resulting in an increase in accuracy when the cases were reloaded. We all know that not only would people buy the solvent and machine but, even in 5 years time, they'd still be using it and swearing that it made a significant improvement. Be honest, at least 10% of people who read this will be wondering if it is true and if they should buy the machine.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  7. #7
    The reason I wrote that is because I've found this myself,I've got a varget 155gr smk that will shoot groups like that at 200yds if I do my bit,I use them out to 1000yds,they are pretty good but got others that are better

  8. #8
    Caorach, I can appreciate the point you're making and I'm happy to admit that the odd shot I placed would have been influenced by my shooting as the rifle wasn't clamped to a bench, but I have never had results like that with factory ammunition. There was also a very clear tightening of the groups as the powder measurements worked up to the final charge shown in the pic.

    I worked very hard in the reloading process, measuring everything twice and being as methodical as I could to keep everything consistent. I tried to do the same when it came to shooting the rounds.

    I'm more than happy to let my shooting take the credit for the 5 shots in what is effectively 2 holes though!

  9. #9
    Yeah they are tidy aj,I prefer to test at longer ranges,in theory they wouldn't be much difference at 200 if your that steady,I always use a rear sandbag and pod to be as steady as poss,I am testing the ammo and the rifle not myself.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    But I think Brian that the problem is that what most people consider "systematic testing" is no such thing and so what they are measuring are random events. Very few people seem to test to the point that would come anywhere close to establishing a "fact" to a reasonable confidence level and I've never been able to constrain the variables such that I could pin my results on one particular element in the process - there is always a breeze or I've just had a big dinner or something that was different from on the previous testing session.

    I've seen the reports on bench rest loading/shooting and on that big warehouse they had in Texas (I think it was) and there is no question that these people were shooting a lot and were working hard to constrain the variables and so some of that stuff probably has some significance attached to it. It was, however, trail and error rather than designed solutions to known problems. Someone like myself, however, who loads up with a range of powder weights and shoots 3 rounds of each at a target and discounts the bad groups is actually demonstrating nothing at all other than that "strange stuff happens." I'd guess you shoot more rounds than 99.9% of reloaders so perhaps you do get to see things the rest of us don't but for the average guy, including myself, the process is virtually random and relies as much on our confidence in ourselves and the load as in engineering and physical fact.

    Reloading should, in engineering terms, be a simple process and it should be possible to do away with all this testing and loading different charge weights and so on as a simple calculation should provide the answer for any given situation. I guess that something like Quickload attempts to do that in some simple manner. However, we've introduced too many confounding factors into the whole thing and the most significant one, I suspect, is the person behind the rifle. We also have lots of language which indicates that reloading is a black art - off the top of my head this talk about "fast barrels" and "slow barrels" as a simple example - where these are just things we've failed to measure or understand. Someone, somewhere, understands them as I don't think for one minute that a man designing big guns for the military, or the ammo they fire, allows any variables or black art to form part of the design process. That I can see the homeloader doesn't have access to this information and it is possible that the information is available only in a form that I, for one, haven't a hope of understanding.

    This then brings us back to "suck and see," the only option open to us if we can't calculate, design and predict, except that I'm confident that by far the majority of people, and I include myself firmly in their number, aren't actually doing enough sucking to see anything at all, indeed most times they suck it isn't even the same thing they are sucking.

    In support of this consider the following, a story I've just made up: I started publishing articles in the shooting press pointing out that invisible residue in cases that had been fired could result in a catalytic reaction involving the powder reloaded into those cases which resulted in its degradation and a significant reduction in accuracy. However, this residue was soluble when the correct solvent and process was used and I could sell you both the solvent and a machine into which you could load the cases. The machine would maintain the correct temperature and ensure the correct application of the solvent resulting in an increase in accuracy when the cases were reloaded. We all know that not only would people buy the solvent and machine but, even in 5 years time, they'd still be using it and swearing that it made a significant improvement. Be honest, at least 10% of people who read this will be wondering if it is true and if they should buy the machine.
    Anyway, back to this machine and solvent . . . . can you post me one of each to try please?

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