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Old 10-18-2020, 02:12 PM
horsepower horsepower is offline
 
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Default How I am finding a hunting load ...

I have been working on a repeatable method to find a hunting load with minimal effort that is efficient in rounds shot.

This is a paring down of a 1000yd procedure Iím testing on ďhunting riflesĒ. This has worked great in 4 rifle so far this fall producing excellent results for hunting (1/2 to 1 MOA). Brass has been 1x fired before testing, or freshly annealed.

*** As usual, be aware of pressure signs during max load and COAL testing. Seek advice if you are unsure of what you are doing (regarding reloading) ***

STEP 1. Find max powder load

Shoot 1 shot at 350+- yds at same target point
Follow reloading manual to determine powder load
rounds 0.020Ē off the lands
load rounds in .3gr (.5gr for magnums) increments

potential nodes will start to be seen. ( minimal horizontal/close shots)

STEP 2. Find best seating depth

Shoot 3 shot groups at 100 yards. Each group gets a new target
Pick a powder load that that was bad from first test (off node)
I shoot in 0.003Ē increments, 0.011, 0.014, 0.017, 0.020, 0.023, 0.026, 0.029

STEP 3. Test for powder node

Shoot 3 shot groups at 100 yards. Each group gets a new target
seating depth is best from "step 2Ē
load rounds in .2gr (.3gr for magnums) increments several charges on either side of potential found during ďstep 1Ē test.

STEP 4. Confirm load

Shoot 3 shot groups at 200 +- yards

Notes:
When using a magazine that restricts COAL I seat the bullet to near max magazine length and work backwards in 0.003Ē increments (we did 1 test in 0.010Ē increments with success)

Bullets have been randomly pulled from the box, brass is the same head stamp but may have mixed lots.
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Old 10-18-2020, 02:29 PM
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DeadEyeGardner DeadEyeGardner is offline
 
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Thanks for sharing this. It will probably help a lot of loaders out. I also use a very similar process and itís worked for me for several years now.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:07 AM
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I use a similar process, but when I test seating depth/COAL I use a good powder load node that was as fast as possible with no pressure signs, as in shot smaller groups, and I move the seating depth .005 to .01 at a time, starting at max mag length/Just short of touching the lands, whichever is shorter and working shorter.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:27 AM
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Something that has peaked my interest lately is powder orientation within a case and itís correlation to accuracy. Makes sense that a full case would burn more consistently each time vs a case that has lots of room in it, and possibly burning at different rates among a string. Large differences in Bullet seating depth would Start to play a part with this. Then again, maybe itís another line so fine itís not worth tripping over
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadEyeGardner View Post
Something that has peaked my interest lately is powder orientation within a case and itís correlation to accuracy. Makes sense that a full case would burn more consistently each time vs a case that has lots of room in it, and possibly burning at different rates among a string. Large differences in Bullet seating depth would Start to play a part with this. Then again, maybe itís another line so fine itís not worth tripping over

Unless you are getting to really low fill rates, like 80%, powder orientation isn't going to make much difference. I do prefer 95 to 100% fill but I also don't like compressed loads for hunting so to me it is about a reasonable balance. I have heard many talk about seating bullets deeper making pressure higher, which would mean velocity would go up, but I have never once seen it actually happen on fill rates below 100%. I think if you pushed the bullet in a 1/4" or more you might see some effect but short of that, the lesser case capacity is more than offset by the longer run to the lands. Highest pressure loads I have seen are jammed into the lands, as soon as you come off the lands pressure starts to drop.



I have seen higher fill rates improve ES and SD though.
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Old 10-19-2020, 04:53 PM
horsepower horsepower is offline
 
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I used off node with the idea that a group performing well with a poor powder charge will improve with a good powder charge. This has tended to be the case with testing. There is the controversial question of which has a bigger impact: powder or distance to lands. This is a polarizing debate so I will leave that up to individual choice.

Like Dean, I look for higher fill rates of powder. There is a lot of wiggle room when seating a bullet deeper or shallower but one must consider that the brass is just a pressure vessel that is either becoming larger or smaller in volume and factor that in. The pressure increases seen with the bullet nearing the lands, or bullet going deeper into the case can occur very suddenly so this is always a concern when working at the extreme ends of the spectrum. I like to think of it as a "U" shaped curve and try to stay in the bottom middle, away from the edges.
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:02 PM
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Do you notice if velocity nodes correspond to accuracy nodes? Basically to keep wind and everything else out, could you use a chrony and get similar results?
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewM View Post
Do you notice if velocity nodes correspond to accuracy nodes? Basically to keep wind and everything else out, could you use a chrony and get similar results?
From what Iíve noticed, in my limited experience, when changing a single component on the cartridge (other than bullet weight) the accuracy nodes are usually close to the same velocity. The chrono is a valuable tool when working loads imo.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:04 PM
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I totally agree with HP above stating to stay away from the dangerous ends of the spectrum. I donít need to push limits too much, especially because many larger accuracy nodes are below max loads anyways.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewM View Post
Do you notice if velocity nodes correspond to accuracy nodes? Basically to keep wind and everything else out, could you use a chrony and get similar results?
A velocity node is by definition an accuracy node. It is a 100 to 200 fps band where the groups remain nice and tight. There is a point where adding more powder does not result in more velocity and this is telling you that u are at the max load for that round but this is very different from what guys talk about with respect to velocity nodes. In my books u want the fastest load possible and then play with the other factors to get the best groups possible. The whole discussion of speed versus accuracy is nonsense, I have never developed a load where I could not get close to max velocity and great accuracy at the Sam time. If u have to give up 2 to 300 fps to get an accurate load u are doing something wrong.
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:34 PM
horsepower horsepower is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewM View Post
Do you notice if velocity nodes correspond to accuracy nodes? Basically to keep wind and everything else out, could you use a chrony and get similar results?
I have noticed that a gun will have many accurate nodes throughout the velocity range. Nodes will vary in size where some are large and lenient, and others are small and finicky. There will several nodes when looking at overall length as well as looking at powder amounts. The trick is reading the data and finding them.

I have missed nodes completely with too large a jump in powder or seating depth increments. I have chosen 0.003" increments for this reason. Dean has chosen 0.005"-0.010" while others choose 0.025" and 0.030". Too small an increment are you wasting resources, too large an increment and you miss things.

In the past I used a beta chrony and noticed potential for erratic results based on cloud cover and other environmental condition. While good info could be gleaned from the data, I now use a Labradar and feel the information is more consistent and accurate. It is a great tool for finding and maintaining nodes. If my rifle likes 2900fps I will try to keep that velocity. This means reducing powder when environmental temperatures rise, and increasing powder when temperatures drop.
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:37 PM
horsepower horsepower is offline
 
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Dean,

My shooting partner told me this the other day. Thoughts?

Small ES + large groups = adjust seating depth

Large ES = combustion issues (neck variances, case volume, primer depth, etc.)
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:56 AM
KazIce KazIce is offline
 
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Hey guys.

Thanks for the info. I have a question. Wouldnít you need to use the same batch of powder each time you do this? Iím going to develop my first loads next year and Iím assuming I would have to retest the powder node whenever Iím using a new case lot of powder.

Another question, how do you determine if a bullet is .020 off the lands? Thanks in advance.


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Old 10-20-2020, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by KazIce View Post
Hey guys.

Thanks for the info. I have a question. Wouldnít you need to use the same batch of powder each time you do this? Iím going to develop my first loads next year and Iím assuming I would have to retest the powder node whenever Iím using a new case lot of powder.

Another question, how do you determine if a bullet is .020 off the lands? Thanks in advance.


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Certain brands of powders will be more consistent, I usually only use a few different powders because I canít be bothered to try 6-12 different powders for one load. Batch to batch, and especially temp sensitivity, you will probably see on paper at the range if you donít have a chronograph of some sort. Knowing your velocities is priceless information.

Hornady OAL Gauge is a great tool and definitely something to have for reloading. You need the gauge, modified cases for the caliber youíre reloading for, and a comparator set so you can measure to the ogive of each bullet instead of the bullet tip. Prob run you about $200 for everything if I remember right.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:55 AM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean2 View Post
A velocity node is by definition an accuracy node. It is a 100 to 200 fps band where the groups remain nice and tight. There is a point where adding more powder does not result in more velocity and this is telling you that u are at the max load for that round but this is very different from what guys talk about with respect to velocity nodes. In my books u want the fastest load possible and then play with the other factors to get the best groups possible. The whole discussion of speed versus accuracy is nonsense, I have never developed a load where I could not get close to max velocity and great accuracy at the Sam time. If u have to give up 2 to 300 fps to get an accurate load u are doing something wrong.
And in a larger capacity cartridge, that 100-200fps is usually a 2-4grain variance in powder charge. So I look for a load where the accuracy is stable if I add or subtract a grain or more of powder. If the accuracy changes significantly with .3 or .5 grains of powder in a cartridge using 60-80 grains, I look for another bullet/powder combination.
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Old 10-20-2020, 08:56 AM
AndrewM AndrewM is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horsepower View Post
I have noticed that a gun will have many accurate nodes throughout the velocity range. Nodes will vary in size where some are large and lenient, and others are small and finicky. There will several nodes when looking at overall length as well as looking at powder amounts. The trick is reading the data and finding them.

I have missed nodes completely with too large a jump in powder or seating depth increments. I have chosen 0.003" increments for this reason. Dean has chosen 0.005"-0.010" while others choose 0.025" and 0.030". Too small an increment are you wasting resources, too large an increment and you miss things.

In the past I used a beta chrony and noticed potential for erratic results based on cloud cover and other environmental condition. While good info could be gleaned from the data, I now use a Labradar and feel the information is more consistent and accurate. It is a great tool for finding and maintaining nodes. If my rifle likes 2900fps I will try to keep that velocity. This means reducing powder when environmental temperatures rise, and increasing powder when temperatures drop.
So could you in theory rather than looking at accuracy find the most consistent velocity and that would equate to the best accuracy? This way you take the shooter and environmental effects out of the equation. Or a consistent velocity doesn't always equate to consistent accuracy? Thinking of the physics and seems velocity should be the most important factor.

Also you reduce and increase powder based on temperature for a hunting round? Seems a bit excessive as you would need to keep everything organized throughout the day.
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:09 AM
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This has worked for me. When working up a powder charge, I will shoot a single shot of each powder charge in 0.3gr increments until I am close to pressure. This way, I can find where my upper limit is without wasting alot of brass. Then I will start loading 3 shot groups of charge weights starting near the upper middle of my charge weight window in the same 0.3gr increments. Shooting them round robin over a chronograph and not worrying what they are doing on paper. There will be 2-3 charge weights that show similar velocity. Take the one in the middle and that is your "Optimal charge weight". Now you can focus on tuning groups on paper with different seating depths.

This has worked for me, but it's definitely not the only way to go about it.
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:48 AM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
 
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Originally Posted by AndrewM View Post
So could you in theory rather than looking at accuracy find the most consistent velocity and that would equate to the best accuracy? This way you take the shooter and environmental effects out of the equation. Or a consistent velocity doesn't always equate to consistent accuracy? Thinking of the physics and seems velocity should be the most important factor.

Also you reduce and increase powder based on temperature for a hunting round? Seems a bit excessive as you would need to keep everything organized throughout the day.
I have sometimes found that a load with more velocity spread actually shoots smaller groups, so I go with groups rather than velocity. Then again, I don't shoot past 500m . As for the effect of temperature, in over 45 years, the effect of temperature has never cost me an animal. I sight in at around 0 degrees C to average out velocity, and that has worked out fine. As for looking for the velocity to stop increasing as you approach the maximum load, that doesn't always happen, I often see pressure signs appear as the velocity is still increasing in fairly uniform intervals.
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewM View Post
So could you in theory rather than looking at accuracy find the most consistent velocity and that would equate to the best accuracy? This way you take the shooter and environmental effects out of the equation. Or a consistent velocity doesn't always equate to consistent accuracy? Thinking of the physics and seems velocity should be the most important factor.

Also you reduce and increase powder based on temperature for a hunting round? Seems a bit excessive as you would need to keep everything organized throughout the day.
I havenít noticed having to adjust powder charges for varying temperature swings, and in Ab thereís plenty of them lol. If you see a drastic accuracy change due to temp, your powder choice is too temp sensitive imo. Also, in a hunting round, no you wonít notice a huge poi change (or you shouldnít anyways).

Absolutely its been shown that you can shoot a string of reloads and just look at velocities at first and not look at poi. If you shoot a string of reloads with .3 grains powder difference, you should find velocity/accuracy nodes where your velocities flatten out (ES is low). What I do then is load up 10 rounds in the middle of the node and shoot it diligently, and check poi. In theory, the poi should be pretty good, also considering you have either already found a stable seating depth, or now would be a good time to play with oal.
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram94 View Post
This has worked for me. When working up a powder charge, I will shoot a single shot of each powder charge in 0.3gr increments until I am close to pressure. This way, I can find where my upper limit is without wasting alot of brass. Then I will start loading 3 shot groups of charge weights starting near the upper middle of my charge weight window in the same 0.3gr increments. Shooting them round robin over a chronograph and not worrying what they are doing on paper. There will be 2-3 charge weights that show similar velocity. Take the one in the middle and that is your "Optimal charge weight". Now you can focus on tuning groups on paper with different seating depths.

This has worked for me, but it's definitely not the only way to go about it.
Ha! I didnít see this till after I replied... but basically saying the same thing. There must be some truth to it hey!
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by KazIce View Post
Hey guys.

Thanks for the info. I have a question. Wouldnít you need to use the same batch of powder each time you do this? Iím going to develop my first loads next year and Iím assuming I would have to retest the powder node whenever Iím using a new case lot of powder.

Another question, how do you determine if a bullet is .020 off the lands? Thanks in advance.


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If you want a cheap version of an OAL guage, take an empty case, size the neck about 1/4", as in don't size the whole neck just size enough of it to hold a bullet, sit the bullet into the case long and then put in in the rifle and GENTLY run the biolt home and closed. Gently extract the bullet and measure COAL. Now do this again with the bullet only .05 longer than the first COAL, put it back in and out, measure the COAL. Do this a couple of times to make sure. The will give you the max COAL where the bullet is just touching the lands, work back shorter from there.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:17 PM
32-40win 32-40win is offline
 
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Was just reading a pdf posted the other day about how Litz/Berger had changed their loading recommendations on Bergers, as they had analyzed what people were reporting back to them. What they found, was that people were saying they couldn't get them to shoot at .010 to start with, as previously done, and then some tried more jump, and it caught on, as it worked. Apparently they are now recommending a 20-30-40 approach to seating, jump it back .010 at a crack to get a zone, they say one of them will work, work around whichever one it is. Have to see if I can find it again.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:57 PM
32-40win 32-40win is offline
 
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Found the article, it does refer to VLD's, but, seems as though the teory ought to work with others as well;

https://bergerbullets.com/getting-th...in-your-rifle/
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Old 10-20-2020, 11:30 PM
KazIce KazIce is offline
 
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Thanks for the advice!


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Old 10-20-2020, 11:54 PM
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Found the article, it does refer to VLD's, but, seems as though the teory ought to work with others as well;

https://bergerbullets.com/getting-th...in-your-rifle/
It does for sure.
My Barnes 150 TSX bullets in my .303 are way off the lands ( over .060), as are the 130 Barnes in my son's 6.5X284!
Cat
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