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JJD
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Location: Right Side WA state
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Working Up New Load

When working up a new load, where does one start?
The combination possibilities are huge.
fire arm
Caliber
Barrel length
Powder
Case
Primer
bullet shape, material, weight

For instance, I'm working up a load for a Remington 700 in 300 win mag.
A 180gr bullet will likely best fit my needs. ( and we could probably spend days arguing that point) There are dozens to choose from.
There are 5 different primers readily available
There are at least 8 different brass manufactures
One of my reloading manuals lists 12 different powders and up to 6 different recipes per powder.
If one were to try all the combinations for just one specific bullet you would have hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars and as many man hours invested, attempting to find the "best" combination.

Where do you start?
What determins what components you will start with?
What determins what direction you go after you've begun?
What determins the end point?

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Working Up New Load

Lets say someone gave you an endless supply of 150 grain bullets and countless pounds of IMR 4831 powder: My mauel states from 72 to 80 grains of powder is the range, pressure @ 54,000 for an 80 gr charge.
I'd start at 74 gr >75>76 >76.5 >77>77.5 and then if I dont detect any pressure issues,blown primers, scorching etc, I would move up .2 gr at a time, if I want to get max velocity/energy from that particular powder with maximum accuracy.
But if I.m going to the range for the next few months and 74 gr gives me the same accuracy then thats what I'll load.
Now it just depends on what you want to do and how long you want to do it.
Just be consistant is component selection and when you settle for something, you got it. Make good notes, saves you a lot of headaches.
Good Luck
Thumbs up

JJD
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Location: Right Side WA state
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Working Up New Load

Hammer 1,
Sound advice. I keep detailed records of my loads and their groups too.

How do you decide;
Which brass?
which primer?
Pretty much following the recipe in the book per batum?
The brass & primer they used?

I have a .243 that shoots 1/2 MOA groups with Remington brass and primers.
I tried the same bullet and powder charge with a different brass and primer. The best I could attain was 1 MOA + groups. Without extensive testing, I don't know that I could bring the group size down by adjusting the powder charge in the different brass. How did I arrive at the charge for the Remington brass? A friend said a particular load worked well in his rifle, so thats where I started (down 1.5gr powder), I just happened to have the Remington brass and primers on hand.

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Working Up New Load

By using the same primers and the same cases you are eliminating an "excuse " for that "one out of five " shot that went lleft when the other four were grouped tightly to the right Well it wasn't the primers if they are all the same, could it be the case ? Some( I don't anymore) even weigh each case before using, eliminating another potential cause.
I use Federal brass because I got lots of it, very popular ammo in my area. I reload 270 win so I can use Fed 270 win brass or Fed 30.06 brass and do so quite often, but I NEVER mix them, it's either 270 or 30.06. Saying that I find no difference in the reloading or accuracy of either, I load forty at a time, and toss them after one reload, because I got thousands of cases Big smile
I guess I can't blame the case either if one out of forty fails my performance test. I will be that consistant that the only logical reason for a failed shot has to be me Think ... God Forbid lol lol lol

Don Fischer's picture
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Working Up New Load

Trying to decide which bullet to start with, depends on what your gonna use it for. You already sid the 180 so that's not a problem. Powder, that case size demands a slow powder. I don't think I'd even consider anythong slower than one of the 4350's. The powder should ideally fill the case to the base of the neck without being an overload. Several will do that but maybe none to that level. Thats loading density, look for one close to 100%, probably end up from 85% up with a good powder.

Primers are fairly easy, go buy a box, just one though. If you see inconsistencies in the group's, try a different primer. I have several different one's on hand and can see some difference in the group's by changing them, but not so much as you might think.

Cases are whatever I get reasonably. Remington, Federal, Winchester and FA-49 mil on hand now. No real preference as long as they are all the same manufacture.

All those loads you see for the different powders are simply the min suggested loading to the max load in that rifle on that day! Important to understand that a load listed as safe in the manual may well be to hot for your rifle or rather mild. Those data are not written in stone. Start low and work up watching for pressure signs as you go.

With the questions you asked, I'd suggest you sit down and read the front of a manual to get a better understanding of the process. It's simple and loads are much more forgiving that shotgun loading. But get the basics down and learn to first make good safe ammo then work on making good accurate ammo. You will likely find in the process of making good safe ammo that accurate loads just show up. It's magic!

JJD
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Location: Right Side WA state
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Working Up New Load

Don,
I'm far from being a newby to reloading.

.243 win, < 1/2 MOA, 87gr A-Max ave 3280fps in R-P case, 9 1/2 Rem primers and 43 gr IMR 4350. some 450 rds before I was satisfied with a pet load.

30-338, was < 1/2 MOA till I shot the throat out of it. 180gr accubond, R-P case, 9 1/2 M primers, 75.8gr 4831 at just over 3200 fps. Yeah, those hot loads probably ate the throat, but if I wanted to run something at 2800 to 2900 fps, I'd have built an "06" Actually, the most accurate loads for that rifle was with Norma MRP, if ya remember that powder. But to my knowlege it's no longer available.

200 gr swc, 45 ACP through a Gold cup numbering in the 10's of thousands, but have given up comp bullseye shooting. I still have some 500+ rds of reloads in my safe that are 7 - 8 yrs old. Sold my Dillon progerssive as I have no intention of getting back into that game.

If it sounds like I was baiting, it was certainly not my intention. I was just curious as to why people started with the components they did.
Was it price?
Availability?
Convenience?
My friend Joe told me certain components worked well in his gun so I thought I'd start there?
Also, when do you determine a load is good enough.
MOA, 1/2 MOA?
When ya get the velocity you want?

I was looking for opinions without appearing to have preconceived answers.

Don Fischer's picture
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Working Up New Load

Ah, ok. Sounded like a newbe. Got me! Big smile

When is a load good enough. Actually I don't think the load is ever good enough for the accuracy nut. The on going search for the consistent one hole load or maybe just to find it. Smallest five shot group to date that I've heard of is .009" by Gail McMillan.

Reality is that most of us hunt and if we confine our shots to some set distance, good accuracy wise could mean different things. Was a time that anything over an inch frustrated me and I'd get rid of the rifle after going thru the bedding. Now I still like to shoot fairly small group's but my eyes and nerves aren't what they used to be. Some days a inch and a half group make me happy. Seems I'm not so driven anymore!

From the perspective of a hunter I think anything up to 1 1/2" @ 100 is fine.

Of course there is still the bullet to consider. The most accutate rifle with a bad bullet is a night mare. Fortunatelly there are few bad bullets; but many bad choices. We do hear about magnums tearing up cup and core bullets but usually its a bullet that was to light and/or fired at to close a range. Some guys think the 150gr bullet is just the thing in a 300 mag for animal's like antelope. Well, now thats a maybe. Enter the Barnes bullets that don't explode on impact. And of course a 150gr bullet from a 300 that has fallen to 300 Savage velocities due to range, will likely not fail. But by the time that 150gr bullet falls to savage velocities, the range is getting so great the the trajectory is taking a beating. Bullet selection means a great deal in finding an acceptable load.

JJD
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Location: Right Side WA state
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Working Up New Load

Don,
You and I ought to share a cold one together one day, We've got a lot in common in our thoughts on hunting arms an balistics. I will admit that I'm still not happy unless I'm very close to 1 MOA.
I rarely take a really long shot, but should I do so, I'd like to feel confident that my lead would poke a hole where the cross hairs were when I squeezed it off.

Man, you said a mouth full in your statement concerning bullet performance.
Could not agree more. If the bullet does not perform properly, you can approach McMillian's accuracy and it will all be a total waste.
The other issue is that a bullet in those arms capable of reaching out there a ways, that performs well at short range & higher velocities, rarely does the same at long range and lower velociteis and vice- versa. Should someone develope a bullet that does both exceptionally well, that person will enjoy the curse of celeberty status till the day that the fire arm as we know it goes by the wayside.
Hope ya had a GREAT Thanksgiving

Don Fischer's picture
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Working Up New Load

Well JJD, where do you live on the right side of Wash?

JJD
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Location: Right Side WA state
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Working Up New Load

Don,
I live about 30 mi west of Spokane, WA.
5 mi N of a little burg called Reardan.
Dry land grain farming country.
I've been through your neck of the woods a few times, as I recall, you see out your back window, a lot of what I see out mine.

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Working Up New Load

Well, I'm a relative newbie and will give you my input on how I have picked components up to this point. I will use my 22-250 for example. I began by researching online the most recommended bullets for my intended purpose coyote hunting. Also, by picking my dad's brain since he was an avid reloader in the past. I picked four different bullets to buy from what I read. I opted for heavier bullets 50 to 55 grains because I just feel better with a heavier bullet for the inherent advantages of retaining velocity further out and wind bucking ability.

I then chose four different powders again from looking at manuals and what was recommended for my caliber. I also picked up three different primer types to try. I had about eighty rounds of once fired Remington Factory Brass on hand and my uncle gave me about a hundred rounds of virgin Winchester 22-250 brass. I looked through the manuels and settled what powder was recommended for what bullets that I had on hand and worked up from minimum loads to see what proved to be most accurate.

I've found in my Savage Predator it likes the Winchester Brass with CCI large rifle primers the best, but the Remington isn't far behind. 34 grains of Varget pushing a Sierra 55 gr HPBT will give me 1/2 inch at 100 yards if I do my part pretty consistently. This will keep me in the kill zone on coyotes out to 300 I feel and have settled on it. Now I got to kill some yotes to see how it does on fur. I've read the HPBT will go in and expend not leaving an exit. I've shot a couple jackrabbits with it at around 100 and it left an ugly mess on one.

In regard to groups, I've become one of those junkies, with my 250 at least, where anything over an inch is unacceptable. However it's all relative because if I'm shooting at an Elk a two inch group at a hundred is entirely acceptable as I get with iron sights on my muzzleloader. Good thing I'm not into prarie dogs yet because shooting at one of those at 400 yards would have me going nuts trying to get the ittiest bittiest groups I could at a 100.
Brick Wall,)

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