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Thread: load development assistance

  1. #1

    load development assistance

    I am about to spend some time developing my first home loads.

    I have 2 questions if I may:

    1: How long do you wait between shots to allow the barrel and moderator to cool down?
    2: what do you test for first? Best COAL or best powder amount for the load?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by scubadog View Post
    I am about to spend some time developing my first home loads.

    I have 2 questions if I may:

    1: How long do you wait between shots to allow the barrel and moderator to cool down?
    2: what do you test for first? Best COAL or best powder amount for the load?
    1: Shoot no differently than you do with any other ammo. Or as fast as you would in use.
    2 : Don't mess with OAL until you have a suitable powder and charge. I seat to recommended length and develop loads. Once I have the best, I sometimes tweak OAL slightly, in and out. ~Muir

  3. #3
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    It is best to wait as long as possible as some rifles do string loads as the barrel heats. Ideally if you are going to use a clean barrel each time to fire one shot and then clean the barrel.

    Others, when my brother was a police sharpshooter, fired two shots on two targets. One from the clean barrel then the second shot on the other target from the fouled barrel. They'd then clean and repeat. Until TWO five round groups and then work out the MPI of each and then zero to exactly between those two MPIs.

    But for hunting I don't think that is at all necessary!

    In fact if a rifle is accurate I will then sometimes fire five rounds in rapid succession, one immediately after the other, to see if it has this characteristic. With luck it won't! But it is not, per se, a fault except of course in any bolt action service rifle. When it shoudn't string after even ten rounds rapidly fired or more even.

    I don't much bother with any OAL tests. I'll set a safe OAL that allows feeding and safe chambering with freebore and then just use that for all my tests. Pretty much when I've a load that is then accurate I've done. The same as MUIR says at 2).

    Some people do a ladder test. Which was new to me. That is you load two rounds beginning at the starting load and going up in ONE FIFTH grain intervals. Noting which loading goes where on the same one target.

    Then when you've four shots closest together you load the powder weight between those two weights. Which in theory gives you the least vertical displacement. And so potentially the most accurate charge.

    So if you load 20.0, 20.2, 20.4, 20.5, 20.6 grains and the closest for shots are the 20.2 and 20.4 forming a vertical group of the four then 20.3 grains will be your best loading.

    Or something like that! So in practice you've tested five different powder loadings but only loaded ten rounds.

  4. #4
    Shoot on a moderate day, not too hot or cold.

    First, before hand loading, know how it shoots factory ammunition you can likely obtain.

    Shoot a fouling shot. Then shoot from a cool barrel, as you would hunting. Let it cool a few minutes.

    If you change powders, swab the bore and shoot a fouling shot again.

    Set the COAL to standard, like 2.80 inches.
    Assuming you are not working with an old rifle, extra long throat, old rifle, etc...

    Start with a standard, known good load, which is easy to find for a popular bullet and powder - not a hot load.
    Back off at least 1.5 grains.
    Load up one round with increasing loads by 0.2 grains.
    Use a target with 4 x 5 bulls on it, of 1 inch.
    Fire one shot on each bull.
    Check every 5th shot with a chronograph as a check on pressure. MV is an indicator of pressure.
    If you can, check every shot and record it.
    Be safe. Stop if you see unexpected velocities, flattened primers, case bulging, sticking bolt lift.

    When you have shot about 15 to 20 shots, you will see several things:
    - one or two groups of shots will be close to the same spot.
    - a point will be reached where increasing charges do not yield less and less velocity

    Load up 5 more rounds in the middle of that group of 4 or 5 which were close to each other and shoot for a group.
    It it looks good, you can probably stop playing with the load, and maybe start moving the bullet 0.05 inches.

    To tell the truth, a good rifle is not going to be that picky about COAL. If the ammunition is consistent, bullets aligned, same weight, it is going shoot well.

    When you find a load that shoots well at any weight, measure the OAL to the ogive, and start your other bullet seating there.

  5. #5
    Your problem will be that the moderator acts like a huge radiator and will keep feeding heat into the barrel. Or that is what I found. Sun shinning on the mod will not help as it helps it retain heat of course. A cool breeze helps cool it but it takes a lot of time with some make of mods.

    If you cannot bear you hand on th barrel near the moderator it's too hot.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by scubadog View Post
    I am about to spend some time developing my first home loads.

    I have 2 questions if I may:

    1: How long do you wait between shots to allow the barrel and moderator to cool down?
    2: what do you test for first? Best COAL or best powder amount for the load?
    Some comments.

    0. Select a target that's compatible with my scope with 7 aiming points on it.
    1. I shoot as fast as the heat haze off the moderator will permit.
    2. I test powder first. Sometimes I then look at OAL, sometimes I don't.
    3. I use a rear bag and the scope set at high magnification when I'm testing.
    4. I try and shoot at as long range as possible in order to magnify the differences between each load. Depending on location, I may trial at up to 200 yds,
    5. Weather permitting, I will eventually try the load at a longer range than I want to use it at.

    Regards

    JCS
    Last edited by jcampbellsmith; 17-03-2014 at 07:24.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern View Post
    First, before hand loading, know how it shoots factory ammunition you can likely obtain.
    this is some of the best and most fundamental advice
    if your rifle shoots like a shotgun when hot,
    if your rifle shoots better with a front grip style,
    if your rifle shoots perfectly after/before cleaning

    find the control data in your "experiment"

    too many variables and you will be guessing

    load a range of powder charges to the approximate velocity you want to achieve (you do not need to be tickling max loads)
    seat bullets at least one full diameter
    test
    take smallest group and recharge but using deeper and shallower seating
    take smallest group of that test and go shoot stuff

    if nothing conclusive is seen change powder/primer/bullets etc and repeat

  8. #8
    Scuba - I see you are probably no more than 30 miles from me. If you would like to create some time and pop over I would be quite happy to run through what you require from your rifle and the best way to achieve it. I have all the popular dies from 17 to 300 plus a range out to 400 yds without going off road.

    I would warn you - I am pretty anal about my reloading - never handed back a rifle unless it will perform 1/2 moa, but of course you can take your reloading as far as you want to.

    No charge and that includes coffee/biscuits. Obviously you would pay me at cost for any of my primers/powders/bullets.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by scubadog View Post
    I am about to spend some time developing my first home loads.....
    Another thought, sometimes my load testing sessions do not go well. If I'm not performing well, I may have to repeat the test. Just like many things I do, I've found there's a learning curve here and progress isn't always smooth and painless as I'd like it to be. It's another thing that benefits from practice.

    Have fun.

    JCS

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterH View Post
    Scuba - I see you are probably no more than 30 miles from me. If you would like to create some time and pop over I would be quite happy to run through what you require from your rifle and the best way to achieve it. I have all the popular dies from 17 to 300 plus a range out to 400 yds without going off road.

    I would warn you - I am pretty anal about my reloading - never handed back a rifle unless it will perform 1/2 moa, but of course you can take your reloading as far as you want to.

    No charge and that includes coffee/biscuits. Obviously you would pay me at cost for any of my primers/powders/bullets.

    Peter

    PM sent - thanks for the offer.

    Everyone else, thanks for the comments and advice.
    Some very interesting things to consider.

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