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Author Topic: What's Your Process?  (Read 1883 times)

Offline Kauaiian

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What's Your Process?
« on: March 18, 2023, 04:40:47 PM »
Hey Hunt WA,

I am trying to find what shoots best while using the least amount of supplies. I wanted to share how I develop a load and wanted to see if others would like to share their process with hopes to find a more sufficient way to develop the best load for any given rifle. I found that I can get to a sweet spot in about 40 to 50 shots after break-in.

Here is my process.

Using a chrono, I do a 10-shot ladder test at 2 to 3 grain increments, depending on case capacity, to find a velocity flat spot. I always start with a .010 jump. Let's say that 43.2 grains with a COAL of 2.350 (.010 jump) was a flat spot with low ES. Using 43.2 grains, load 3 shots each of 2.338, 2.340, 2.342, 2.344, 2.346, 2.348, 2.350, 2.352, 2.354, and 2.356. Even if the 43.2 grains with a COAL of 2.350 did not produce the best group, changing the seating depth tightens or opens up my groups. I usually find that there is about a .006 variance of consecutive seating depth with good groups.

I rarely need to redo the process as this usually produces a sub-MOA group with a really low ES. Sometimes sub Ĺ MOA.

Does anyone else have a way to get to a sweet spot faster or would just like to share how they do their load development?

Aaaaaaand go!

Offline jrebel

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2023, 05:13:47 PM »
My load development changes slightly depending on bullet and powder choice.  I usually start loading .5 grain increments, over a chrono, looking for a node and pressure.  Once I find pressure signs, I pick the node that is well within the safe range.  I always start 0.020 off the lands / jam.  Depending on the node I found in the .5 grain increments, I may go back and load .3 grain increments......though that is rare.  I load 5 rounds and see how they group at 200 or 300 yards (never at 100).  If I am sub 1 MOA, I figure I have found the load.  I will do some minor tweaking with seating depth, maybe other primers, ect., if I feel I can squeak out a little better grouping.  Most of my higher end barrels and rifles will shoot 1/2 to 3/4 MOA with this process.  Some have shot 1/4 to 1/2...those rifles are keepers.  Some just won't shoot. 

When I'm working a load, I always shoot the same target and map my shots.  If the .5 grain increments of powder shoots 1 MOA, I know we have a great load / rifle.  If I see a 3-4 MOA with with the .5 grain increments....I start thinking this is not gonna work and change my thought process sooner than later.  Maybe change powder or bullet earlier.  Sometimes you see nodes group well and other times you don't...if the node does not group well, I am hesitant to work with it.  Seating depth can change groups....but usually not by 2MOA...in my experience. 

What has tightened my groups more than anything over the years is brass prep and annealing.  Uniform flash holes, annealing, quality brass, etc. 

Offline hunter399

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2023, 06:58:06 PM »
With the H powders.
It's a huge secret,I mean it's big......
Really big ,just monster....... Doesn't get any bigger secrect.

Those little loads....
What do they call them.... Pet loads or something.

If you haven't tried them .
They are the loads printed right on the bottle.. :chuckle: :chuckle:
I always start with trying that one.

Offline Kauaiian

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2023, 04:05:36 PM »
My load development changes slightly depending on bullet and powder choice.  I usually start loading .5 grain increments, over a chrono, looking for a node and pressure.  Once I find pressure signs, I pick the node that is well within the safe range.  I always start 0.020 off the lands / jam.  Depending on the node I found in the .5 grain increments, I may go back and load .3 grain increments......though that is rare.  I load 5 rounds and see how they group at 200 or 300 yards (never at 100).  If I am sub 1 MOA, I figure I have found the load.  I will do some minor tweaking with seating depth, maybe other primers, ect., if I feel I can squeak out a little better grouping.  Most of my higher end barrels and rifles will shoot 1/2 to 3/4 MOA with this process.  Some have shot 1/4 to 1/2...those rifles are keepers.  Some just won't shoot. 

When I'm working a load, I always shoot the same target and map my shots.  If the .5 grain increments of powder shoots 1 MOA, I know we have a great load / rifle.  If I see a 3-4 MOA with with the .5 grain increments....I start thinking this is not gonna work and change my thought process sooner than later.  Maybe change powder or bullet earlier.  Sometimes you see nodes group well and other times you don't...if the node does not group well, I am hesitant to work with it.  Seating depth can change groups....but usually not by 2MOA...in my experience. 

What has tightened my groups more than anything over the years is brass prep and annealing.  Uniform flash holes, annealing, quality brass, etc.

Thanks for sharing. Yes, I agree with you on the brass prep. I've been able to get a low teen to single-digit ESs with proper brass prep. What's your average round count to get to where you're satisfied with it?

Offline jrebel

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2023, 04:16:57 PM »
My load development changes slightly depending on bullet and powder choice.  I usually start loading .5 grain increments, over a chrono, looking for a node and pressure.  Once I find pressure signs, I pick the node that is well within the safe range.  I always start 0.020 off the lands / jam.  Depending on the node I found in the .5 grain increments, I may go back and load .3 grain increments......though that is rare.  I load 5 rounds and see how they group at 200 or 300 yards (never at 100).  If I am sub 1 MOA, I figure I have found the load.  I will do some minor tweaking with seating depth, maybe other primers, ect., if I feel I can squeak out a little better grouping.  Most of my higher end barrels and rifles will shoot 1/2 to 3/4 MOA with this process.  Some have shot 1/4 to 1/2...those rifles are keepers.  Some just won't shoot. 

When I'm working a load, I always shoot the same target and map my shots.  If the .5 grain increments of powder shoots 1 MOA, I know we have a great load / rifle.  If I see a 3-4 MOA with with the .5 grain increments....I start thinking this is not gonna work and change my thought process sooner than later.  Maybe change powder or bullet earlier.  Sometimes you see nodes group well and other times you don't...if the node does not group well, I am hesitant to work with it.  Seating depth can change groups....but usually not by 2MOA...in my experience. 

What has tightened my groups more than anything over the years is brass prep and annealing.  Uniform flash holes, annealing, quality brass, etc.

Thanks for sharing. Yes, I agree with you on the brass prep. I've been able to get a low teen to single-digit ESs with proper brass prep. What's your average round count to get to where you're satisfied with it?

I probably average 20-30 rounds.  Some rifles take more but usually that's because I know they have potential to be better than they are.  If I have virgin brass, I will usually work up a load that works with the virgin brass, which means I will have to tweak the load after the first firing....which can add to that average. 

Offline BigGoonTuna

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2023, 04:08:23 AM »
I usually have pretty good luck with loading sort of a ladder of charges moving up in .5 of a grain(I work with mostly .308 and .30-06 size cases for most of my rifles) .020" or so off the lands, then looking for "flat spots" in velocity (where the velocity doesn't move much between powder charges).  I'm fortunate that I can shoot about 75 yards in my back yard if I need to, so I can cut down on trips to the range.  I'll check velocity and get a rough idea of accuracy, then I'll usually load 5 or 10 rounds each of one of those flat spot charge groups (for example 59.5, 60, 60.5) and head out to the woods to check accuracy.

Usually I can find something workable with this process, if i need to tune further I'll pick the most accurate and mess with seating depth.  With the scarcity of components these days I try not to go through more ammo than I need to.  I'll also add that I'm loading for typical hunting ranges, I'm not exactly a long range precision target shooter, so I don't get too hung up ES or SD or anything like that.  My ultimate goal is acceptable accuracy with ammo that isn't going to blow up my gun.
you can still get gas in heaven, and a drink in kingdom come,
in the meantime, i'll be cleaning my gun

Offline Kauaiian

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2023, 08:09:43 PM »
I usually have pretty good luck with loading sort of a ladder of charges moving up in .5 of a grain(I work with mostly .308 and .30-06 size cases for most of my rifles) .020" or so off the lands, then looking for "flat spots" in velocity (where the velocity doesn't move much between powder charges).  I'm fortunate that I can shoot about 75 yards in my back yard if I need to, so I can cut down on trips to the range.  I'll check velocity and get a rough idea of accuracy, then I'll usually load 5 or 10 rounds each of one of those flat spot charge groups (for example 59.5, 60, 60.5) and head out to the woods to check accuracy.

Usually I can find something workable with this process, if i need to tune further I'll pick the most accurate and mess with seating depth.  With the scarcity of components these days I try not to go through more ammo than I need to.  I'll also add that I'm loading for typical hunting ranges, I'm not exactly a long range precision target shooter, so I don't get too hung up ES or SD or anything like that.  My ultimate goal is acceptable accuracy with ammo that isn't going to blow up my gun.

Pretty close to how I do mine.Nice that you can shoot at your own place. :tup:

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2023, 12:59:18 PM »
I do 3 shots per seating depth trying from .005 to .030 at .005 intervals using a moderate load while getting rounds on the barrel and shoot an 8 shot ladder to see where my pressure starts.
Then shoot a ladder at 1000 yards starting 3 or 4 grains below pressure, 3 shots per load in .3 gr increments covering a couple grains.  I'm looking for softball size group at 1000 so I figure on 200 rounds total before rifle and loads are all settled and dialed in.   Thats for 1000 yards, for 300 yards and under I can develop a load in under 10 shots. 

Offline mountainman

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2023, 02:51:12 PM »
Have a friend who set a record at an NBRSA using scrounged brass, bullets, and powder using a credit card to level off his powder charge in the case, after loosing his ammo e route to the competition. Not normal procedure, but it worked that day!🤪
That Sword is more important than the Shield!

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2023, 03:17:28 PM »
Have a friend who set a record at an NBRSA using scrounged brass, bullets, and powder using a credit card to level off his powder charge in the case, after loosing his ammo e route to the competition. Not normal procedure, but it worked that day!🤪

A great Barrel and a great shooter go a long way......... especially when the wind picks up and becomes the great equalizer.

Offline mountainman

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2023, 03:38:26 PM »
Have a friend who set a record at an NBRSA using scrounged brass, bullets, and powder using a credit card to level off his powder charge in the case, after loosing his ammo e route to the competition. Not normal procedure, but it worked that day!🤪

A great Barrel and a great shooter go a long way......... especially when the wind picks up and becomes the great equalizer.
True that! Lilian in .308 and yes, a great shooter!
That Sword is more important than the Shield!

Offline Kauaiian

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2023, 09:58:44 PM »
I do 3 shots per seating depth trying from .005 to .030 at .005 intervals using a moderate load while getting rounds on the barrel and shoot an 8 shot ladder to see where my pressure starts.
Then shoot a ladder at 1000 yards starting 3 or 4 grains below pressure, 3 shots per load in .3 gr increments covering a couple grains.  I'm looking for softball size group at 1000 so I figure on 200 rounds total before rifle and loads are all settled and dialed in.   Thats for 1000 yards, for 300 yards and under I can develop a load in under 10 shots.

When doing your seating depth test, are you looking for a certain pattern or just looking for a small group? Also, after finding a seating depth that works, do you ever find the need to adjust your seating depth again after the 1k ladder test?

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2023, 11:17:38 PM »
With seating Iím just looking for small groups.  A triangle would be perfect.   I donít chase the lands tho I might bump up powder a bit to try to keep my accuracy speed.   

Offline hunter399

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Re: What's Your Process?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2023, 12:24:43 AM »
I'll say it again.
If you don't try the load printed right on the bottle.
Your missing out.
Sometimes it is just that easy.
Don't over think it.

 


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