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Test loads?
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:22 am    Post subject: Test loads? Reply with quote

I have to get everyones openion on this subject since I would like to be as realistic and productive in my reloading as I can be. When I started reloading it was with my brother at his place and I learned a fair amount from him and have filled in the gaps with stuff I have learned along the way including the information I have picked up on this great forum. He had me do a work up of test loads for my big 7. what we did was start with the max suggested load for the bullet and powder combo that we started with and loaded 5 rounds with that load and then the next we stepped down half a grain from max and loaded 5 rounds. Then we proceeded to do the same in 5 shot incraments reducing the loads half a grain until we had 20 rounds made up with the powder/bullet combination. What I am curiuos about is weather or not this is a good formula to determine which load shoots best in my gun or should I do things differently? I would like everyones openion on the subject.
I ask because the first rounds I loaded where speer 160gr spitzers backed with 62 grains of H4831SC over an alcan maxfire LR primer. I then stepped down to 61.5 grains then to 61 grains and finally 60.5 grains. All three rounds were quite accurate and shot pretty much the same. I was wondering if I needed to step up to a whole grains difference or if I just need to pick a single charge and try that.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:13 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

What I would do (and did) was have a read of the OCW Article on the front page of The Nut, then applied that principle to working up a load. Nothing hard about it mate, and it actually works. I think .5 grain increments are maybe a little too big and you will skip past that sweet spot in the load without realising it...but see what the OCW system does for you.

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Give it a try...nothing to loose and everything to gain mate.

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dhc4ever
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:18 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

My only comment would be, you have the process correct but in reverse.
Start shooting the lower powered loads FIRST, and work your way up in power, checking for signs of excessive pressure.
Once you find the one that groups best you can fine tune around it with variations in .1 of a grain and see if that makes a noticeable difference.
You can also vary your bullet seating depth and see how that effects things.

Cheers

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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:22 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

Always start with the minimum start load and work your way up. Internal case capacities vary enough between different brass makers to have an undesirable affect especially when using fast burning powder, different powder lots. Again, start low and watch for pressure signs, carbon blow by around primer, shell hard to extract after firing, etc.

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Last edited by Ominivision1 on Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Vince
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:19 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

I missed that you started at max and worked your way down TLO. BUGGER

The other guys are totally correct mate...start at minimum and work your way up checking for pressure signs.

Cheers, Vince

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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

That makes since. Thanks for the info. I am still new at this so I am still learning the ins and outs of reloading. My brother learned from his Father-in-law which likes to load all his ammo hot so thats why I wanted to ask about this.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

most manuals say start 5-10 % below max and work slowly up. when you find the best play with primers ,seating depth etc to try to find that super duper load. often the most accurate load is not the hottest sometimes by a suprising amount.none of my loads are too hot anymore, been there done that, dont need it dont want it. give me a nice accurate load that has enough oumph to do the job any day.

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

...if not: take a bigger caliber!
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English Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

Buy a copy of the Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook - it's far more than just a list of loads for each caliber & explains the hows & whys of reloading clearly & in detail.
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

Ditto what the guys above said! For testing loads I made an Excel spread sheet. I enter the max and start loads and it calculates the loads in between to give me starting points. I use 1% increments. For example, if the max load is 26.0 I get charge weights of 26.0, 25.7, 25.5, 25.2, 25.0 and 24.7. The irregular steps are due to rounding the numbers. I load three rounds of each charge weight, except the lowest which is loaded five times. Total of 20 rounds. I print the Excel file on an index card for use at the range. It includes the load info as well as places to record the velocities and group sizes for each load.

When testing I fire two "foulers" with the lowest load to make sure I'm on the paper. Then I start shooting three shot groups, starting with the lowest load. One or two loads should be smaller than the rest and then you can start tweaking from there.

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fnuser
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:31 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

I agree, but let me add it sounds like your loads are the right length if all were accurate. some times even if you find a decent load you still have to chase the right seating depth, it sounds like you got lucky and found it the first crank.

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44marty
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

Ominivision1 wrote:
Always start with the minimum start load and work your way up. Internal case capacities vary enough between different brass makers to have an undesirable affect especially when using fast burning powder, different powder lots. Again, start low and watch for pressure signs, carbon blow by around primer, shell hard to extract after firing, etc.

This is a good description of the process. As far as the difference between powder charges, subtract the minimum from the maximum powder charge in the reloading manual and divide by 5 to get the size step to use between charge weights. A .5 gr difference between charges is too small for large cases like the .300 magnums and too large for cartridges like the .38 special.

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

Ominivision1 wrote:
Always start with the minimum start load and work your way up. Internal case capacities vary enough between different brass makers to have an undesirable affect especially when using fast burning powder, different powder lots. .

Bazingo! Always use published info from a reliable manual. Always use the START recipe. Loading to MAX rarely does anything other than wear out firearms and brass. I use the least amount of ooomph to get the group I want while still maintaing bullet performance. Why? cuz we have to use non-canister propellents! It's ususally somewhere in the middle of the charge weights. MAX is for speed junkies and I see no need for same if you shoot on a regular basis, neither will the bullet!
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tlo7mm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

Hey thanks for the info. I was thinking that max was a waste of my time but I thought I would get everyones openion on the subject.

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"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." ~ The Dalai Lama
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Napoleon Bonaparte
The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality. - Andrew Jackson
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain
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RePete
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Test loads? Reply with quote

I find that if you look at the tables, see where the max velocity for the components combination is, and start 2 velocities lower.

Increase by .2gr. Load 5 of each.

I've also found that the second highest, listed velocity (assume 2700fps is max, then 2600fps) is generally the most accurate.

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