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Which components? Powley
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:30 pm    Post subject: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Most reading this forum understand the basic components of bullet, powder, primer and brass that are needed to reload. Where I work, we have a number of long time reloaders, however, that fail to grasp the theoretical basics of load development. Typically, they will buy numerous powders, various bullet weights and a few brands of primers and set off on the magical quest for good loads.

Homer Powley popularized a very comprehensive system that leads to very quick load development. Some of those basics are part and parcel of several computer assisted programs commonly available. Powley used a cardboard slide rule that began with finding out the water grain capacity of a case and then showed how caliber, sectional density, expansion ratio and ratio of charge to bullet weight work in conjunction to dictate quantity and type of powder. It was simple to use. More importantly, it gave some basic conceptual understanding into what we are trying to do in load development for optimum results. A secondary slide ruler was available to compute pressure in psi and not CUP, the latter being more common in his day.

Using today's programs or that old slide ruler, one should be able to derive a superb load for any rifle and shorten the load development considerably. Powley's projected pressures, in fact, correlate with actual piezo strain gauge readings.

IMO, it should take less than five, seven shot, 200 yard groups to arrive at the best load for any rifle based on correct pressure, velocity and accuracy.
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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Boy handloader...You sure know how to wreck all the fun of reloading...I have all day to develope a load and I have my 25 yard range just outside my back door and a 200 yard range in my neighbor's pasture not more then 300 yards from my front door...I'm the former. I buy a lot of components and load away then have a blast shooting them all...Yeee Hawww!!!

Actually I load sets of 6 and fire them in groups of 3. Make an adjustment and load 6 more...Ect, etc,etc... Handgun I usually load 25 of each and fire them in groups of 5. Make an adjustment and go at it again...All are ran over a Pact mod 1...Handgun are tested at 25 yards and rifle are tested at 100 and 200 yards. It works for me...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Ok if I am reading this correct your saying with a program (as of yet named) you can shoot less then 5 seven shot groups at 200 yards to develop the best load for any gun??
Please explain how I can get said program and then take those 35 componets and derive a perfect load. Also what is the definition of a "best load"?
I have seen articals that very good match shooters have written about there load development "issues" and fired a lot more then 35 shots. One would think if this was the case there would be a lot more information about how its done.
Not doubting your words or tring to start a argument but I along with others I am sure would like to further our education about load development.

I am in the latter class also with Bushmaster.......But it sure gives me something to study on during the week and lots of bench time on the weekends. Very Happy
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Slipshot: thanks for the response. Google "Powley Load Computer" and "Load from a Disc" for added information and how to access for manual or computer programing. Too, you will find a range of responses and opinions relative to Powley.

Powley developed his computer at a time when IMR was the dominate powder, however, with a little interpolation out of the Burn Rate Chart, any appropriate powder can be substituted as long as some development is incorporated into the load.

Nosler and Barnes #4 borrow some of this methodology in their manuals. Notice they give load density figures and that there is commonly a relationship between load density, higher velocity figures and accuracy, give or take one or two burn rates. IOW, instead of trying a multitude of powders, use the one or two powders that give the velocity and high load density. A side benefit is that these loads will offer velocity typically at lower pressures than other burn rated powders.

As a matter of clarification, those five, seven shot groups may only consist of two or three components and varying powder charges. But, your point about definition of "best" load is valid. Probably a better choice would be "optimum" loads, but, even that needs refinement when added or exceptional values are being sought.

I hope I'm not being too obtuse in this. Read the links noted above and you may get a better clarification than my brief writing.
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Handloader, I agree with your opening statements 100%. I too have seen this over the years !!!

I have also seen alot of reloaders spend way too much time on doing things that just are not needed for factory rifles shooting 300 yards or less.
Things such as weighing cases and bullets, making sure each powder charge is exactly the same, crimping cases, neck turning, uniforming primer pockets, etc, etc.....

Yes, these things can make a difference in the end but in most cases are not worth the time spent !!!

I know match shooters that do not do all these things until they get past 300 yards. Some say after 600 yards is when the fine tuning starts to pay off.

My advise is to start doing more shooting and less load development !!!
You'll be amazed at how much you can shrink your groups just by shooting more.
I also recomend using some kind of wind flags or direction indicators.
Again, you'll be surprised at how much you can shrink your groups.

Bushy, For guys like yourself, keep doing what you do, it makes you happy Very Happy and the economy can sure use the help right now !!!

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Oh yeh...Forgot. I remove the flash hole burrs too.

Not really chambered. I've been doin' it for so long it really doesn't take too long or that many shots to have a good load that I can refine later. Basicly I settle on a velocity that I want a certain weight bullet to be. Try a couple of powders at that speed. Pick the best one and refine it a bit. If I can keep that .30-06 under 2" at 200 yards and my .30-30 under 3" at 100 yards I figure I'm good...Right now both are hitting about 1 5/8" at each's prospective range...

Handguns are doing around 3" at 25 yards...Figure I'm good there too.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

I have seen some of this information but never seen were it said "This load is optimal" or "Most accurate load". I can see were this would help in predicting Velocity Ballistics and a few other things. I did find one point in Load From A Disk that was interesting.

Q. Can Load From a Disk users enter their own powder type and load data?

A. No. The math model uses an 86% to 90% load density with pressures of 40,000 CUP to 50,000 CUP to produce optimum loads for a given cartridge. Not all powders fit this criteria for a given cartridge. The program will generate load data for 5 to 10 different powders.

The majority of the loads for a 308 for instance are compressed. That pretty much took the program out of play. Now my 25-06 would be right in line with this program.

All in all I could see were this program could be a usefull tool to have in your arsenal. Now if it said "Ok your shooting a 223 Remington with a 24" barrel and a 1 in 10 twist ......Win Brass.....IMR####.......X Primer and Nosler Partitions in 55grn the most accurate load would be XXXXXX. But we all know there are toooooo many varables for that. Now it will tell you if a powder weight is safe or unsafe, the "optimal 86% to 90% case capacity" load and what the calculated velocity and CUP should be.
If one was hunting speed then that would reduce your loading time and cost. Will that be the most accurate.......Who knows until its shot.

Quote::
As a matter of clarification, those five, seven shot groups may only consist of two or three components and varying powder charges. But, your point about definition of "best" load is valid. Probably a better choice would be "optimum" loads, but, even that needs refinement when added or exceptional values are being sought.

With the use of the program anything that you change will change the "optimal" load right? And isn't the root of hand loading to sqeeze out the best consistantly small group or most accurate round for a particular gun? Hell every gun I own will hit a pie plate at 200 yrds and if thats all I am looking for wouldn't it serve my time and money better to stop by Walmart and pick up a box of factory loaded shells tipped with the bullet of my choice? If thats all I am after I have a bunch or reloading equipment for sale!!!! But just like you its not.

Now with all this being said I am still not doubting the programs usefullness or in anyway saying your ideas are wrong. I really wish you could show me the errors of my thought. Trust me you could save me a lot of money and time because I have spent more then $65 to work up a load and thats the price of Load From A Disk.

For those interested in the program here is the link Load From A Disk
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

slipshot: I don't see any error in your words nor significant contradiction to what I have posted. What I do see is some good critical thinking on your part and some excellent points. This observation: accurate loads typically follow the Powley formula and that is due to proper burn rate at proper load density for the chambering being developed produce the better loads. With some chronographing and testing, this is something I have found to be consistent. And that is my point -- to have a methodology of selecting components to be tested in the first place.

I used a 308 Win in 600yd benchrest for several years. The load I used came initially from Powley. Many competitors follow the same type of development formula. So, try it. There is only so much we can accomplish by forum interchanges, however, if such discussions generate new perspectives, the forum serves us well.

Onward
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:25 am    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

I agree with you a 100% on this. Just because we have done something the same way for a 100 years dosn't mean its the best way or the easiest way.
I have been looking into a program to aid in my reloading for some time but haven't figured out which one would suit my needs at this time. I know there are people out there using different programs and they all have there advantages and disadvantages. I am still trying to figure out which one has the "best bang for the buck".
To throw another one in the mix there is QuickLoad . There seem to be a lot of people using it and getting good results. I think it has more "options" then Load From A Disk but it comes with a pretty high price for the added options ($149.95). They update this program from time to time and the updates can be purchased. Also in our ever changing computer age as we all know they change operating systems pretty often you can send the old version back to them and they will send you a version thats compatable at a small nominal price. That sure saves us money in the long run not having to buy the program again just because we changed operating systems.
There is a review of an earlier version on 6MMBR.COM for those that are interested.
I have also got load data from POP over on the Nosler boards and he uses this program. I am going to pick his brain a bit to learn more on this program.

I am always open to learn a new or better way to do things. I try to keep an open mind and sort through the information to the best of my ability. Some of these load development ideas get way over my head or are open to way to much "personal interpitation". In the end its all about how your reload performs out of your gun while in your hands. Some people take the long road and some take the short road but get there in the end.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

I am still curious how your development takes place after the program gives you the optimal load. Could you explain what your methods are and the changes you would make to a load to reach the end result.

Thanks
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Hello Texas

After running Powley to get a basic load determination, it is a matter of chronographing with careful attention to standard deviation. But, that is the middle of the story. The first part is always to match the cartridge and the bullet for the intended useage. Now, back to the middle; I now have the basic load. Given the proper magazine length, the bullet is seated off lands .020". Cases are charged with the basic load as well as two other groups of seven cartridges each, one group 3% less and one group 3% more than basic.

For statistical accuracy, seven shot groups are more definitive than three or five shot groups, although, for most hunting purposes a three shot group can be an adequate measure. Groups are fired at 200 yards as some bullets become more or less stable between 100 and 200 yards. Chronographing gives the SD, velocity and ES needed to evaluate each group of seven as well as a check on pressure rise. If the accuracy and velocity is within the acceptable range for the intended purpose, no further development needs to take place and its time to go shooting.

Paying attention to loading proceedures may provide as much benefit as tinkering with load data in the accuracy department. Several decades ago, the old saw was that handloading was a key to improved accuracy and most of us during that era saw accuracy benefits. In the interim factory ammo accuracy has improved markedly, enough so that a reloader's accuracy advantage comes only in the degree of attention given to the entire process and in tailoring loads to the dimensions of specific firearms. Few reloaders will actually see an accuracy improvement with most brands of handgun ammo.

Perspective suggests that prepping match grade ammo for hunting purposes may derive more satisfaction to the reloader than in the useage of said ammo in the field. Visions of 500+ yard shots on big game are erroded in the reality of the range at which game is actually taken. If a big game rifle is MOA, 1.5 MOA or 2 MOA, what more is realistically needed? The time expended trying to shave another .010" from a group size that is already accurate may be more akin to reloading masturbation than providing fruitful results. At extended ranges factors of wind and mirage begin messing with those tiny little groups to such an extend that marginal accuracy improvements are far less critical than the ability to dope said wind and mirage, let alone distance itself. IOW, get a good accurate load and begin to acquire the field experience or shooting experience necessary to use it.

As to the last part of the inquiry regarding changes that may be needed to achieve the end result, it would be situational. If the accuracy needed improvement, it suggests looking at the rifle itself for bedding, free float, and other rifle issues. It could mean checking the scope bases and rings and it could lead us to better optics. If, however, we conclude the load itself needs tinkering and we are assured of the quality of our brass and our proceedures, then we may wish to explore seating depths, primer brissilance, or powder burn rates. FWIW, the latter matters are seldom the issue.

A final thought: good rifles are seldom tempermental. At least, in the practical sense. A rifle that has to receive extensive load development to shoot accurately tends to point the finger at issues other than microcosom load tinkering. "Precision Shooting" magazine shows the results of many benchrest and long range competitions. Part of the description is their load data, identified by components. What emerges from the overview of this data is that most winning competitors use similar powders, volume density, cases, cartridges, barrels, actions and primers with the most noticeable thing being the type of bullets by maker. Good quality field rifles will not be overly tempermental of the loads they shoot. Consistent success with competitiion or hunting typically is the domain of experience in useage and while the equipment and load data has to match the purpose, far more critical for success is that human being pulling the trigger.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Powley works Very Happy

You trust Pop ?? Sad

Tell him I said howdee

Ha , I have known him for many years , he used to wander in and out of here on occassion , he's a good guy Shocked

Once you get down to a point , there are just too many variables for the average shooter to figure they have the "ultimate" for a given load ..

You can spend a lifetime working with one bullet weight , in one caliber, and never know if it's reached it's potential ..

I have load from a disk and it works , you just have to figger how to work around it , I know a given cartridge will work at a given pressure ,and I look at that pressure ..

It is very lawyer friendly ..

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

HL I'm still invited for a big bore dawg shoot right ??

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Handloader,

The last paragraph you wrote should be burned into the minds of EVERY shooter out there.

VERY well said!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Which components? Powley Reply with quote

Well I see how its done by you and dont disagree with your procedure. I guess it all depends on what your looking for. I have been working on a load for awhile and got it sub 1/2" @100 yrds and looking for better. I may be the weak link in getting it smaller but thats one of the nice things about load development......gives you trigger time to improve your abilitys....IMO.

You have said a couple of times that primers will not make a difference in a load. We have to agree to disagree on that point. At least there was a huge difference in my 25-06 loads going from CCI to WLR across the board. I guess Reloader 19 like a hotter primer in my gun anyway. I had shot top to bottom in 1/2 grain incraments with CCI and the switched to WLR and repeated everything. EVERY 3 shot group was tighter with WLR.....not just one or two......EVERY one.

I would be curious to know what one of the programs says is my "optimal" load for that gun since I have identified 3 nodes that shoot from 3/4 to sub 1/2 MOA. Tunning on a couple of these now to see if it improves any. Time will tell.

Thanks for your imput.
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