ELD-M weight variances

Malxwal

Well-Known Member
In a very rare moment of OCD behaviour I decided I would weigh my 7mm 180gr ELD-Ms prior to loading.
I had to go through approximately 140 bullets to get 60 which weighed 179.9-180.0 gr. The rest weighed anywhere between 179.4gr to 180.4gr.
Now, given this is marketed as a target bullet, and at no modest price, am I being unreasonable / unrealistic in expecting more consistency and better tolerances ?
 

riddick

Well-Known Member
just as an experiment,weigh a random 60 from the 179.4 - 180.4 . weigh the 60 @ 178.9 180.0 in two days time, and get back to me, I wouldn't mind betting the results won't be the same.
 

Malxwal

Well-Known Member
Too late, the 179.9-180.0 are loaded and will get chucked down range tomorrow, but I could work with different weights.
What is your theory ? Are unscrupulous Hornady employees stealing lead and injecting water in a fruit weight type scam ?
 

PeterH

Well-Known Member
These weight variances are all too common - Nosler Accubonds are both expensive and variable in weight - as in £43 for 50 and 140gr 7mm weighing between 139.3 and 140.6 gr.

I came to the conclusion a few years ago that when these manufacturers made a duff run of bullets they simply marked them as 'export to the UK only' on the basis they know we are just grateful to receive them - can't imagine the Americans would put up with it with all the choice they have right down to hand made bullets..

Having said that, I have found Sierra bullets to be generally pretty good weight wise.
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
@Malxwal

Very interesting post. I did this with the 6mm 90gr ELD-X the other day, and the average from 20 bullets was 90.1gr, with high and low values of 90.0 and 90.2gr. I thought that was pretty good.

However, I have been paying a lot of attention to my electronic scales (Gempro 250). As with all these strain gauges, they are very susceptible to drift, and I have found that I get a lot less variation if I leave them switched on and repeat the exercise 24 or 48hrs later. They seem to calibrate much better after the gauge has stabilised for a long period of time.

By a lot less, if I get a variation of say 0.6gr across twenty 150gr bullets after having the scale switched on for half an hour, it might be 0.3gr when the scales have been on for three days. I got a similar result to yours, with 143gr ELD-X, but I repeated it after leaving the scales on and the same bullets only varied by +/- 0.2gr.

My scales are also highly susceptible to temperature changes, which I have noticed alternating my weighing location from the shed to the kitchen bench, it being winter here now.
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
@Malxwal

Very interesting post. I did this with the 6mm 90gr ELD-X the other day, and the average from 20 bullets was 90.1gr, with high and low values of 90.0 and 90.2gr. I thought that was pretty good.

However, I have been paying a lot of attention to my electronic scales (Gempro 250). As with all these strain gauges, they are very susceptible to drift, and I have found that I get a lot less variation if I leave them switched on and repeat the exercise 24 or 48hrs later. They seem to calibrate much better after the gauge has stabilised for a long period of time.

By a lot less, if I get a variation of say 0.6gr across twenty 150gr bullets after having the scale switched on for half an hour, it might be 0.3gr when the scales have been on for three days. I got a similar result to yours, with 143gr ELD-X, but I repeated it after leaving the scales on and the same bullets only varied by +/- 0.2gr.

My scales are also highly susceptible to temperature changes, which I have noticed alternating my weighing location from the shed to the kitchen bench, it being winter here now.
Now that's very interesting. I use the same scales and find them to be pretty unreliable in the first 30 minutes after they are turned on, loosing zero and not picking up small increases in charge weight very quickly (a couple of kernels). However, after the first 30 minutes I thought they were pretty reliable. I now turn them on an hour before I start to use them and thought they were very good. I had not clocked a difference in measured weight at different ambient temperatures so will watch out for that. Not sure I'm going to be allowed into the kitchen though!
 

Malxwal

Well-Known Member
Now funnily enough, I had come across similar advice while browsing t'internets for RCBS Chargemaster drift. Advice from folk seemed to be to leave the units switched on all the time. So, I have left mine on and will revisit the remaining bullets in a day or three.
 

riddick

Well-Known Member
Too late, the 179.9-180.0 are loaded and will get chucked down range tomorrow, but I could work with different weights.
What is your theory ? Are unscrupulous Hornady employees stealing lead and injecting water in a fruit weight type scam ?
my theory was going to be along the lines of most of the posts that followed, having taken just a small number of bullets and found the weights varied almost on a daily basis, and don't affect accuracy in my case anyways.
your fruit /water scam by hornady workers shouldn't be discounted though,, have you tried sucking one ? ;)
 
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JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
I don’t think it’s so unusual, and many competitors shoot in batches of similar weight and use the extremes for fireforming or bore fouling. But as above, you need to be aware of variance caused by the balance itself.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
Oh Lord! It's being very complicated! Any bullet of over, say 120 grains weight and especially over 150 grains or heavier that is +/- 1 grain of its nominal stated on the box weight will be fine. To demand or be concerned that it is so is becoming (with no intent to insult the OP) borderline OCD or anally retentive. There...I've said it!

If as the OP is you're getting a spread that's +/- 0.5 grain that's excellent, There are so many other variables input into the process (usually the cartridge case) such as neck length, neck wall thickness, case capacity, primer flash hole uniformity, progressive fouling and or heating of the barrel as a string of shots is fired and the greatest variable of all the firer's hold of the rifle when it is actually fired that a +/- 1 grain spread in the bullet's weight will have no real world effect.

Hope it helps. It isn't meant to be insulting but to reassure the OP that it's nothing to worry about at all. There was many years ago a series of tests where bulles were deliberately mutilated to alter weight, to put nicks in their bases and etc., etc., and no practical effect on accuracy was found with minor alterations to its weight or its base profile.
 

Sharpie

Well-Known Member
Also be aware that electronic scales can often be susceptible to EMI (electromagnetic interference). A strong source of this is mobile 'phones, which chatter with the base stations periodically even when not on a call. They belt out pretty high instantaneous power levels if you are in a weak signal area. You can test this by placing a call, then waving it around your scales and maybe seeing the readings jitter about.

So put it on "aeroplane mode" or keep it well away from your loading area. Not in your pocket. Likewise keep the scales well away from broadband routers with WiFi, or laptops active on WiFi, though that is less of a problem.

Also when weighing out batches of powder, check the tare is zeroed, and the check weight reads correctly say every ten goes, or less frequently once you have gained confidence of any drift. Re-calibrate as necessary, but don't do it obsessively, sometimes a re-cal just starts you off again chasing your tail.

I've never found a need for a long warm up period if the room is kept at a stable temperature, no more than five minutes. If using a generally unheated space, turning on the heating then cracking on, the temperature will not be stable, and yes these sort of things can be sensitive to variations of temperature. It's not so much that the scale electronics need "warming up", it's mostly that the room itself is fluctuating.

If running on batteries (my preference, using a mains adapter risks introducing several other difficulties), use re-chargeables and keep them topped up. Don't rely on the low-battery indicator, They can begin to get erratic long before the indicator comes on.

Well worth learning the funny ways of digital scales, they are so much better than mechanical ones, which also can have their own different set of idiosyncrasies.

As for bullet weight variations, chrono the best and worst looking for extreme spread (but lots of other variables can affect that), or best simply do some grouping tests with your cherry-picked ones vs. a mixed selection of the supposed outliers, combining highest and lowest. Do it blind, i.e you don't know which is which until after you have assessed the targets. Package them identically, ask an assistant to take them out of sight, flip a coin, and label them heads or tails. See if you can tell the difference, were the cherry picked ones really any better, if so by how much ?

That's the only way you'll really know for yourself. Even then, what are you going to do with the information ? Start all over again with a different bullet, and maybe discover that it doesn't work any better, even though the weights you read on the scales seem tighter. There's so much more to it than that to design and make a good bullet, and frankly I think small bullet weight variations are one of the least important thing to obsess over, it's just that they are the easiest thing to measure.

It's how they actually shoot, on paper, that matters, assuming you have excellent technique, keep in practice, and are significantly better than your rifle's capabilities.

Just as inexpensive digital scales can let you measure powder to within say +/- 0.02 grains, used properly, whereas getting it correct within +/- 0.1 grains is quite good enough for almost all purposes. You can waste a lot of time chasing ultra-fine measurements if you have the tools, but it can also become very OCD, perhaps to very little gain, even at the highest levels of target shooting.
 

riddick

Well-Known Member
just for s&g has anyone set a set of scales [electric or beam]at zero and added single granules of powder one at a time, how many do you think it takes to move the scale off zero,? try it you may get a surprise, and results are going to be different with electric for a reason.
 

JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
just for s&g has anyone set a set of scales [electric or beam]at zero and added single granules of powder one at a time, how many do you think it takes to move the scale off zero,? try it you may get a surprise, and results are going to be different with electric for a reason.
My beam balance moves with less than a half kernel of VV N150...
 

Edinburgh Rifles

Well-Known Member
That’s the same level of tolerance of most scales and certainly the kind of variance you can expect from most bullets

If you think that’s bad don’t start measuring them for length or calibre.....
You’ll be horrified
 

csl

Administrator
Site Staff
Now that's very interesting. I use the same scales and find them to be pretty unreliable in the first 30 minutes after they are turned on, loosing zero and not picking up small increases in charge weight very quickly (a couple of kernels). However, after the first 30 minutes I thought they were pretty reliable. I now turn them on an hour before I start to use them and thought they were very good. I had not clocked a difference in measured weight at different ambient temperatures so will watch out for that. Not sure I'm going to be allowed into the kitchen though!
I found the same thing with a RCBS electronic scale which could take batteries or it could use the mains. I used the mains and switched it on 60 mins before using it. I also made sure by weighing the zero weight and weighing it again 15 mins later. It was always accurate but only after it had time to ‘warm up’!
 

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