Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Nebraska123</div><div class="ubbcode-body">


Here is my first Ladder Test. 178 Amax and Varget spit out of an AAC-SD. Seated .015 off lands. 42.0 to 44.4 grains in .3 grain increments. Test done at 300 yards. Left to right crosswind </div></div>

Using this as an example, where would one say they accuracy node is?

R.
 
Jun 8, 2008
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Gold Beach Oregon
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

What I see is a node between 42.6 and 43.2. If I could change anything, I would have done it in .2 gain increments and at 400 to 500 yards and done twice.

If I were this shooter, I probably would use the spread between 42.6 and 43.2 and shoot 5 round groups at distance toward the lower end, middle, and upper end of this spread.

Following that I would be fine tuning seating depth with further group testing at distance.

But thats just me and these tea leaves.

Good luck!
 
Mar 29, 2011
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west tennessee
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

i'm wanting to do a ladder test with my .308 R700 sps varmint with sierra 155 palma match bullets. but if i seat the bullet .010 jammed i will only be seating the bullet .210 not counting the boat tail thanks to my barrels extra deep throat. any advice would be much appreciated.

thanks,
Luke
 
Feb 4, 2012
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Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

back on page 2, Tim K. asked a question that was never answered....
(time stamp: 8/22/10 @ 3:50)

Do barrels only vibrate up and down? Why aren't we looking for groups left and right also? I can't think of any reason that a particular barrel might not oscillate back and forth at any random angle to vertical. What am I missing?


I have wondered the very same thing.

It seems like the physics going on is going to dictate a vibrational mode gets set up. The vibration modes (standing waves) may be simple or complex consisting of many harmonics and may also be circular (as in a cone shape) or rectangular (as in a up down sine wave)


and so i started poking around the internet and found these simulations:

http://www.varmintal.com/amode.htm

http://www.varmintal.com/aflut.htm

http://www.varmintal.com/atune.htm

and so to answer Tim K's original question,
link #3 states:
"The vertical amplitude of vibration is more heavily excited than the horizontal vibration because the center of gravity of the rifle is located below the barrel's centerline and the bullet's travel down the barrel causes a vertical turning moment about the rifles center of gravity. The vertical vibration is most important. Also, the barrel is initially slightly deflected downward due to gravity. When the round is fired, the pressure also tends to straighten the barrel like a bourdon tube in a pressure gage. As the barrel straightens, it over shoot in the upward direction and this adds to the excitation of the Mode 1 vibration. As a side note, the axial extension vibration mode is also probably heavily excited. This is the mode where the barrel extends and shortens axially. But, this axial mode should only have a negligible affect accuracy."

interesting stuff.
 

bmk

Sergeant
Mar 1, 2012
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Nebraska, USA
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Long time lurker, first time poster.

Thank you for the great inormation. I am in the process for developing some AMAX loads for my 5R 300 win mag, and thought I would share some results with you.

I loaded two rounds of each powder charge at half grain increments, starting at 75 grains and going to 78 grains (14 loaded rounds total). One round at each charge weight was left alone, and the other round and each charge weight was crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp Die.

Shooting at 500 yards, the crimped rounds impacted around 8" lower than the non crimped rounds in the 75, 75.5, and 76 grain charges. At 76.5, the crimped and non crimped rounds hit within one inch of each other. At 77 and 77.5, I found my node, all four rounds landed into a 2.5 inch group.

Just some food for though about ladder testing.
 
Nov 17, 2010
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Florida
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

I have a question. If you were into the part of the test where you were loading your five rounds of the same powder loads to see which one shot the best, Still Jammed; if you could not get out to 6 hundred yards, but were forced to go to the 100 yard range, theoretically one of these five round groups could shoot one hole if the loads you are testing were sub moa at 5 hundred? Does this make any sense?
 

bmk

Sergeant
Mar 1, 2012
158
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Nebraska, USA
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

No, I would not recommend testing the loads at 100 before confirming them at longer range. For the ladder I just got done running, I found a node between 76.5 and 77.5 grains of powder.

When I did five shot groups at 500 yards, one group stood head and shoulders above the rest. I then focused on that load and confirmed it at 100 yards.

However, if I hadn't tested the loads at 500, I wouldn't have known which one was the best. The difference between 1 moa and .75 moa or .5 moa can be hard to see at 100 yards, but it's easy at 400 or 500.
 
Nov 17, 2010
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Florida
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Any thoughts on these two test. This is the second that i have run. I backed up to 400yd and am not sure where to go next. I circled the ones that i think I should load for 5 shot groupings. Any input would be much appreciated.



 
Mar 22, 2012
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Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Tres,

I am brand new to reloading and have been reading your threads (which have been incredibly helpful) in order to learn some of the finer points that don't seem to be covered in the published hand loading manuals. You have done an excellent job in presenting incredible volumes of rather technical information in very easy to understand language. Thank you very much for your efforts.

I have recently invested in an extremely nice tactical rifle and I want to get the most out of it. That being said, I fully intend to determine my optimal load and hand load all of my rounds for it.

In this chapter, regarding ladder tests, you cautioned your reader to:
<span style="font-style: italic">"STOP shooting when you detect the least sign of pressure: cratered primer, shiny marks on case head, Extractor/ejector marks, sticky bolt lift etc."</span>

Whereas sticky bolt lift and shiny marks on the case head are pretty easy to invision... I do not have a clear picture of what a cratered primer would look like.

If you (or anyone else on the site) can give me a decent mental image of what I should be looking for, I would be gvery appreciative. Additionally, if there are any other indicators of excessive pressure that you haev not mentioned, I would be very interested in learning about them.

Thanks agian for yout time and effort.

Cheers,
Punter
 
Apr 5, 2012
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NY
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

I have a 243w with 26" Hart 1:8....want a load for 115g Berger vld....would like
3000+ fps......I have n560,imr4350,imr4831 and h1000.....none temp Sen....hunting and target purposes
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Look behind you...
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Thank you so much. This entire series was so helpful, maybe now I can get some decent groups. I was just throwing good bullets and good brass togther, and wondering why I couldnt shoot worth a damn.
 
Mar 28, 2011
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Centerville, Utah
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Well, I finaly did it today! The first ladder test at 300 yards for the .375 Cheytac indicates that I should be looking between 135 and 137 grains of Retumbo. Now instead of 1 grain increments I'm going to go with 0.3 grain increments at 600 yards. I expect that my final load will be somewhere near 136 grains. I started showing pressure problems at 138 grains so I didn't even try 139 grains (compressed). All this powder behind a 375 grain Rocky Mountain bullet. Recoil was certainly noticable but not overwhelming. I've realized that a rear bag just isn't doing the job for me. I'm going to get a mono-pod for the rear of my stock. I hope some of this info is helpful for a few of you shooting big bore.
 

B3dlam

Sergeant
Jan 3, 2012
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Kodiak, AK
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Thanks Tres for the great post I just used your instructions to perform my first ladder test while developing a load for my 6.5 creedmoor rifle being a semi auto I was unable to start with the bullet jammed in the groves and instead used max magazine length as my max length. I did two tests at 500 yards set up both targets shot both #1s then drove down marked then both #2s then marked all this was after 20 rounds to foul the bore its really cool to see the progression here.

It looks like the node I will be using is 1-3 it is likely going to be a bit slower then I would like probably around 2500~ FPS pushing the 140gr 6.5 AMax bullet but the results are hard to beat here is the math for all numbers I took the measurements for both targets and averaged them out.I thought it was intersting that my nodes were 1-3 4-6 and 7-9 they had the closest measurements of any 3 shot consecutive groups.
Shots 1-3 1.25" Vertical Spread (.77 MOA 3 round group avg.)
Shots 4-6 2.01375" Vertical Spread (1.135 MOA 3 round group avg.)
shots 7-9 2.609375" Vertical Spread (1.26 MOA 3 round group avg.)
 
Feb 17, 2012
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East Texas
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Thanks tres for all the info you provid.

Just got done with my 1st step and I'm confused now. Should I rerun the test with #9,5,12?


I couldn't bring my target home it was raining and soaking wet, so I wrote it all down. Thanks in advance.
 

NoFail

Sergeant
Jan 28, 2012
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S.F. Bay Area
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

Oh well howdy doody!!!!!! Why didn't I read this months ago, I knew it was here. I've been going about it all wrong, LMAO!!!!!! hahahaha

What about us poor saps who don't have anything but 100 yards without burning 28 gallons of gas? Can this be done at 8000 feet above sea level and then brought back down to sea level and nodes still be good with found load(s)?

Tres, you're AWESOME!!!!!!

Edit: Hope you post here again soon, but thanks for all the info in these chapters of yours.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Elizabeth, WV
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

This beats the ass off of my load 5 5shot groups of 24.5 then 5 5shot groups of 24.7 then so on and so on....WHICH I just finished loading about 3 days ago LOL
 

Luky

19D20E9
Sep 12, 2012
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San Diego, Kalifornia
Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 4: Powderin' it

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: J. Villers</div><div class="ubbcode-body">This beats the ass off of my load 5 5shot groups of 24.5 then 5 5shot groups of 24.7 then so on and so on....WHICH I just finished loading about 3 days ago LOL </div></div>

+1

Picking up my new Savage 10BA-LE in .308 tomorrow and was going to load up a 100 rounds tonight to start my testing... (after doing some break in of course). This should save me a bunch of rounds...
 
Apr 6, 2013
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Great White North
These how-to guides are great, taught me more about load development then any other source.

Quick question about brass, how much of a difference will using new versus fire-formed brass make in the ladder test? I mean, if you use the same brass for the second, smaller interval test, will the very small change in case capacity be enough to shift the node out of the range of the second test?
 
Jul 13, 2012
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mesick, mi
I found this write up on snipers hide and found it a bit eye opening and renewed my drive to run a ladder test. so I found a dead end road with nothing but trees and marshland behind it and did it there. without suckering someone in to stand downrange or try going back and forth I found the idea of using a video camera to watch the shooting order.

so I got my camera tripod and used my cellphone rubber banded to it to take video. worked like a charm!

it seems my 42 gr load was on the hot side for my gun. I did a lot of shooting with a 41.2 gr load but wasn't sure. I had other issues at that time with a good rest, scope, and the rifle wasn't bedded right.

after going threw the gun my 42 gr load tightened up. I shot 4 out of 5 into an 1.25 group at 300 with it in the past.

so here is my test ran with H4350 and berger 140 vld hunting bullets using CCI #200 LR primers and hornandy brass neck sizing.

look forward to continue the test and see how well I can improve on my groups. thanks

 
I found this write up on snipers hide and found it a bit eye opening and renewed my drive to run a ladder test. so I found a dead end road with nothing but trees and marshland behind it and did it there. without suckering someone in to stand downrange or try going back and forth I found the idea of using a video camera to watch the shooting order.

so I got my camera tripod and used my cellphone rubber banded to it to take video. worked like a charm!

it seems my 42 gr load was on the hot side for my gun. I did a lot of shooting with a 41.2 gr load but wasn't sure. I had other issues at that time with a good rest, scope, and the rifle wasn't bedded right.

after going threw the gun my 42 gr load tightened up. I shot 4 out of 5 into an 1.25 group at 300 with it in the past.

so here is my test ran with H4350 and berger 140 vld hunting bullets using CCI #200 LR primers and hornandy brass neck sizing.

look forward to continue the test and see how well I can improve on my groups. thanks
You seem to have a possible node around 2,3,& 4. Also, 5 & 6 have almost no vertical dispersion. 10, 11, & 12 make a third nice group vertically. Looks good!
 
Aug 2, 2011
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Houston, TX
Thanks rb85cj7 Ifound what I wanted to know about the optics.Read the ladder test still can't understand why the hotter loads were going lower.When I cleaned my rifle it was badly fouled with copper.I was shooting 175gr sie.match.Do you think the heavy loads fouled the bore and made them shoot low.After the latter test I shot a good load that shot a 5/8" group at 300yrds the day before.After the ladder test It wouldnt stay in 4".It is a Savage and will shoot in .05min.sometimes better if I do my part.I still can't understand why the hot loads went low.Thanks again for your help.
Wow! .05 moa is 1/2" at 1000yd! Sorry, couldn't help myself. :^p
 
Aug 2, 2011
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Houston, TX
I've got a really dumb question, I guess, cuz I am too dense to get this ladder testing stuff. I sincerely hope I'm wrong in my thinking.

Just for discussion, choose a random shot out of your ladder.

Say, shot #4 in your ladder (37.2 grains), maybe you were lucky, and if you loaded 5 of this exact load (37.2 gr.) it would shoot a 1 MOA group (about 5 inches at 500 yards, for discussion).....

In your ladder, then, this round could impact anywhere within a 5 inch circle on your ladder.

The next load, your rifle may not like, and it's a 2 MOA load, ie, 10 inches at 500........you get the picture??

Add all this up and 2/3's of those shots don't mean a thing, unless every single load in the ladder is a 1/2 MOA or better load.

What am I missing here?
I hear what you're saying, and it makes sense too; however, we are not going to all that trouble for 1moa loads. We are looking for 1/2 moa or better. But I do understand. That is why we follow it up with 5 or more round groups to check if it is just a fluke. I shot ten round groups the other day, and my best at 200yd was 1.59", but that's because I messed up on the tenth shot and blew a 1.13 group of 9. Since it was my own fault, I'm figuring that the rounds were shooting .565 moa. All of my other groups were shooting at 1moa or worse.

Of course, back to the point of the exercise. The vertical spread, including the one I pulled, was .656" at 200yd, or .328moa vertical for 10. And discounting the nut behind the trigger, 7 of the 10 were in an obvious group of .318" vertical, or .159moa vertical. On the other hand, the ES wasn't great at 31, nor the SD at 11 as measured by an Oehler 35P.
 
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I ran the ladder test twice, with comparable results both times. I wanted to be sure to account for any of my inadequacies... 200 yds was the distance for the tests. It seemed sufficient for the .260 Remington I was developing. Ended up with sub 1/2 Moa groups to further refine with seating depth tests. Overall I can't say how pleased I am with the process!! You are the man Tres Mon.
 

M.rolen

Sergeant
Dec 17, 2011
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wenatchee, WA
I read this thread yesterday and was able to make it out to the range today for the first two parts of the ladder test and let me say this if you do the test right you will find results and very quickly! hoping i can get back to the range and shoot my five shot groups and start playing with seating depths. So far my new 223 build looks like it is going to like any where from 22.5 to 23.1gr TAC behind a 69smk, my 22.5 22.8 and 23.1 made a nice 1" group at 300 yards and the 23.7 and 24.0 powder charges impact at 300 yards was ruffly 4" above that group!
 

Gaps

Private
May 6, 2012
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Gilbert, Az
300 RUM 230 berger ladder tese

Here is my first ladder test I've ever done. Thank you to all who have made this thread possible. Here is the info.

Phoenix Custom Rifles 300 RUM
Blueprinted/Trued 700
PTG firing pin/spring
H-S Precision Sendero takeoff stock
Pillar bedded
28" Kreiger Barrel
Badger Thruster Brake
PTG .25 lug
Timney 510 Triger @2lbs.
Nightforce 40moa rail
Vortex Razor HD 5-20x50 EBR-2B 25moa turret
Vortex Rings

I loaded the 300 Rum with brand new remington brass, fed 215m primers, 230 berger match hybrid target, brass oal @ 2.40, coal 3.918, and retumbo.

Shot @ 300 yards prone with rest and rear bag. Zero wind, 50 degrees, 2100ft elevation. Dialed 2 moa up from my 200 yard zero with an estimated muzzle velo of 2900. Shot two sighter shots and then proceeded.

1.) 84.0
2.) 84.5
3.) 85.0-bad primer didn't ignite
4.) 85.5
5.) 86.0
6.) 86.5
7.) 87.0
8.) 87.5
9.) 88.0 MAX
10.) 88.5 MAX+
11.) 89.0 MAX+
12.) 89.5 MAX+

From looking at the pic I believe shots 7, 8, 9 are the node. They Measured .869 ctc at 300 yards.

What do you guys see? I am I reading this correctly? I may go back and load shots 7,8,9,10, 11, 12, and maybe 13,14,15 just to see if I can see my max pressure. What do you think? Also I want to move my coal to 3.900 so I am not in the lands. After the primer failed on shot 3 I lifted my bolt and pulled back but only the case and powder came! Bullet was stuck and powder everywhere. Luckily I always have my range box with me and quickly cleaned up the mess! This is getting fun if I am able to improve the 7,89, group! I also have 3 pounds of H-1000 and 8lbs. of Retumbo. Im thinking of doing a new ladder test with H-1000, would this be a waste of time and money? Please let me know if I'm on the right track, Thanks!
 

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Gaps, I'd say your on the right road. I'd be careful about the higher shots, though as you are all ready above "max." maybe go for 0.2 or 0.3 grain increments and stop as Soon as You See Pressure signs. Also, you might refine your 7/8/9 charge weights, and get five shots in that 87-88 grain region. By doing so, you will fine tune your ladder. I wouldn't do very many more ladders, though, I'd probably head off into 3-5 shot groups around the 7/8/9 node that you seem to have identified. These groups will give you more of an idea about if you are actually getting good groups in that charge weight range.
I use a piece of 2' wide paper with "hot-spots" stuck on it for an economical target, you can place the spots 6" or so apart, and then have all your groups on one paper for easy reference, and the 3/4" dots make a good aim-point.
Good work, though. Oh, and BTW, personally, I would try a bit with the H-1000. I figure you may as well get a good idea if you have a good second choice for powder----what if you can't get your first choice?
 

Tika

Private
Jan 5, 2014
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Ireland
Hi , I'm new to this site , I came across this thread and I find it very informative , where can I find the previous chapters , 1,2, and 3.

Thanks
 

Gaps

Private
May 6, 2012
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Gilbert, Az
Went and shot a refined ladder test with retumbo starting at 86.7gr and going to 90.0gr in .3gr increments. I wanted to accomplish 2 things with this finer test. One was to see where max pressure was and two was to see if there was a node at higher charges. The only primer that was cratered was #14 and I am not the best at this but the bolt may have been a little stiff at 16.

The vertical displacement on shots 10-15 look really good, especially shots 10,11,12. All of my trigger pulls felt great but I wonder if I pulled 13 just because its the only one thats off!

I think I will load 3 shots of 10, 11, 12, and see which one groups best and that will be my winner. I may do 3 of 14 and 15 too just to see.....

What do you guys think I do next???? Thanks for any input!

Berger max load is 88.2

1. 86.7
2. 87.0
3. 87.3
4. 87.5
5. 87.6
6 87.9
7 88.2 no go. failed primer, wtf!
8. 88.5
9. 88.8
10. 89.1
11. 89.4
12. 89.7
13. 90.0
14. 90.3
15. 90.6
16. 90.9
 

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Gaps

Private
May 6, 2012
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Gilbert, Az
I also started a ladder test with H-1000 but ran out of light so I couldn't finish it....
Here are the charges. Berger Max load is 84.8.

1. 80.0
2. 80.5
3. 81.0
4. 81.5
5. 82.0
6. 82.5
7. 83.0
8. 83.5

Had to stop here but will go back asap and shoot all the way to 88.0gr. in .5gr increments.
 

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Gaps

Private
May 6, 2012
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Gilbert, Az
I was also able to finish the first portion of the ladder test with H-1000. This was shot at 300 yards.

***84.8gr of H-1000 is Bergers Max Load***

1. 80.0
2. 80.5
3. 81.0
4. 81.5
5. 82.0
6. 82.5
7. 83.0
8. 83.5
9. 84.0
10. 84.5
11. 85.0
12. 85.5
13. 86.0
14. 86.5
15. 87.0
16. 87.5
17. 88.0
 

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Mar 6, 2014
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Hi, I'm new to the site and I'm impressed with what I'm reading, especially regarding the ladder test. Question is what concern do you have for the barrel heating up? Do you just shoot away and don't worry about it, or do you delay your shots enough to keep it fairly cool?
 

Gaps

Private
May 6, 2012
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Gilbert, Az
I would let it cool at least 90 sec between shots...or until it was no more than warm to the touch. If you can wait longer do it. I don't like shooting a hot barrel if I don't have to...