load development isnt going smoothly, i need a common sense check

Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#51
I checked with a sized case, I'll check again with a dummy case with a fired one. The scope is already swapped out to a known good one and good match ammo is on it's way. I have a 2nd shooter coming with me this weekend, and planned on trying without the brake as well. I know how to bed these things if needed, hopefully it's not needed, but if need be a can.
 

Culpeper

One divided by F
Nov 25, 2006
2,167
637
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Roswell NM
#52
Okay, you're on track. Be patient and try not to get frustrated. I know what is like having to wait between shooting sessions with this headache. But I've always been able to get it figured out soon enough.
 
Likes: supercorndogs

supercorndogs

Professor Dickweed
Feb 17, 2014
2,681
745
113
#53
I was thinking this could be a thing too, my other rifles are the same way. I started today with 65 rounds through the gun since cleaning, and ended at 125 total, I figured if it was a "too clean" kind of problem I would be past that round count wise
You might run a patch down the barrel and feel for a tight spot that needs scrubbed out.
 

jpgolffl

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 21, 2017
734
232
43
Tallahassee, FL
#55
I think the rabbit hole is getting a little deep here. Get some factory 140 eld ammo. Relax and shoot some groups with zero expectations, making sure you stay focused all of the way through the shots. A lot of times when you get a new rifle you expect great accuracy and slip on fundamentals. Sometimes a new chassis needs to be fondled a bit before you get the hang of how it likes to be held. Forget the chrono for now. This is what you should have done from day one. Confirm the rifle will shoot before complicating things with chrono and load development.
 

spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
3,884
876
113
Central TX
#56
The only thing that I havent heard mentioned to check for tightness is the barrel nut on your criterion. Doubt that you installed it loosely but its something to check.

Was all of this done with virgin brass?
If so your development on it should only be extensive enough to get you something that isnt complete shit to form brass with because it will change on the subsequent firings with its now larger internal volume.
I also wouldnt have full length sized the new brass, especially since you state you also used a mandrel, the mandrel should be all thats necessary to open the super tight virgin (heh) lapua necks.

Have you run an Optimal Charge Weight test yet? (Ignores group size, sees where groups have similar average points of impact up close)


Have you run a Ladder test yet? (sees where shots land in relation to one another vertically at distance)


If so post up some pics of your target results.
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#58
I think the rabbit hole is getting a little deep here. Get some factory 140 eld ammo. Relax and shoot some groups with zero expectations, making sure you stay focused all of the way through the shots. A lot of times when you get a new rifle you expect great accuracy and slip on fundamentals. Sometimes a new chassis needs to be fondled a bit before you get the hang of how it likes to be held. Forget the chrono for now. This is what you should have done from day one. Confirm the rifle will shoot before complicating things with chrono and load development.
That's exactly what's happening this coming weekend, I swapped to a known good scope and have some factory match ammo on the way. No chrono. Just going to shoot it and see how it acts.

As for ocw. Yes I did, I'll post pics as soon as I figure out how. Ladder test no I haven't yet.

And yes I checked the barrel nut, that was a thought as well but everything is fine there
 

spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
3,884
876
113
Central TX
#60
As for ocw. Yes I did, I'll post pics as soon as I figure out how. Ladder test no I haven't yet.
If you have them on your phone or saved on the computer you can use this tool
1539116187381.png


Or you can "attach" and then with your cursor where you want it you can click the full image to insert it into the body
1539116336342.png
 

spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
3,884
876
113
Central TX
#64
That is tough to decipher, centers of your groups shift pretty good even with the .1 increments.
Can you confidently say that you were shooting good last weekend? Sometimes Ill have those days where I struggle to get everything to make what could loosely be described as a group, the next weekend with the same exact load work ups and they are shooting great.

Didnt answer it above: these were all shot with unfired brass? Im going to guess yes and thats the center of your issue.
 
Last edited:
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#65
I'm confident in saying i was shooting good that day. I brought 2 other rifles out to confirm that for myself and both of them shot like they usually do, groups were consistent and tight with them.

And no, that picture is once fired brass
 
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Subwrx300

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 15, 2014
607
252
63
Cedar Springs, MI
#66
I've got a Criterion 6.5CM also, in a Howa 1500 with Bighorn barrel nut system (Remage for Howas). It shot a bit iffy to start - like .75-1.25moa. I took it apart, torqued nut again and let it shoot itself in a bit. After about 80-100 rounds it came right in to 1/2 moa.

Personally, I've not had much luck with Satterlee method; statistics being what they are, its possible to get a flat spot in the wrong node (i.e. good SD/ES but bad precision) and Chase your tail trying to improve groups.

I have much better luck with a 4 round OCW test starting at .010 off lands for VLDs or .020 off lands for Secant/hybrid ogives. I typcally shoot them at .3gr intervals in a flat row with a level line drawn across the target. This helps identify the "high point" and "low point" of barrel harmonics. Like this:
IMG_20180718_225126.jpg
In this example, I already knew ~42gr was the node but wanted to confirm with .1gr test. First two VLD group was shot at wrong paster so I just marked accordingly and transposed group with sharpie.

Notice the group center at 41.8, 42, 42.1 and 42.2 are all similar L/R and U/D. 42.4 shifts left and down. That was shot with about 100rounds down barrel; it has tightened up considerably since with same load (and very limited cleaning).

With the SMK, while 43.5 shot SUPER well in that group, it was not repeatable (at least not .17" repeatable). It shot about .5" in subsequent test of same load but the SD/ES weren't all that great around 16/30+. But it was still in the best node for that bullet test. The barrel was at it's bottom point so it shot pretty well.

Here is how it has progressed since with 140VLDs at 42gr H4350.

150 rounds in no cleaning since 100 rounds:
IMG_20180822_203552.jpg

200 rounds in no cleaning since 100 rounds:
target_image.jpg
Not sure if this helps but I have a 1-8T 26". Here are my loads with 5 shot groups:
  • 140VLD Hunt at -.007 from lands (2.892" oal) 42gr H4350 Hornady brass, CCI BR2 primers .3-.4 MOA 5 shot and .6-.7 10 shots 2770fps/SD 8-10
  • 140 VLD Target - same as above - .2-.4MOA 5shot groups 2770fps/8-10SD
  • 140 Hornady ELDM Cloned Factory - 2.812" oal , 42gr H4350 CCI BR2 primers Hornady brass 2760 FPS SD 10-12
  • 140 ELD Factory shoots .4-.6" at 100yds 5 shot groups around 2730fps SD 7-15 depending on lot#.
  • 123 SMK -.020 lands, 43.5gr H4350, Hornady brass, CCI BR2 ~.5-.7"
My suggestion is if it's not shooting factory ammo (specifically 140 ELD Match) at or better than .75MOA for 5 shot groups, you should talk to Smith and/or Criterion. They have been great to work with so far and super willing to help. Could just be a bad barrel if you've tried all other options.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#67
Thanks for the long reply, that's pretty helpful man. I'm going to take it out again Saturday with some factory 140 and 147 elds and see what happens. Since last outing I've taken apart and retourqed everything and swapped to a known good scope vs my brand new one. I'll also be bringing another shooter along to shoot it as well to rule myself out as an issue. If it shoots these good I'll try again with the new optic to see if that's the cause. If everything continues to check out I'll try another work up with the 147s and I'll try one with some berger 130s. For whatever reason I'm leaning towards it just not liking the 147s, but after Saturday I should have it narrowed down to what exactly the problem is. If it shoots the 140 match like shit I suppose itll be time to talk to criterion
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#68
So just an update. I went out today with so e factory 140elds and 147elds. I went out with a different scope on the gun and brought a 2nd shooter. The good news is the scope and other shooter made no difference, so back to the original scope(thank God, I did not want to deal with trying to swap that out with the manufacturer). The factory ammo groups are below.

147s
1.42moa
1.27moa
1.10moa

140s
1.54moa
0.73moa
0.96moa
1.19moa

These were a mixture of scope 1 and scope 2. And myself and the other shooter.

I loaded up some berger 130s and the results were way better than last weekend. Note: 1 round for velocity and 4 for groups.
Charge weight, mv, group size
41.1 2779 0.69
41.3 2772 1.23
41.5 2803 0.70
41.7 2811 0.45
41.9 2831 0.82
42.1 2849 1.12
42.3 2868 0.95
42.5 2864 0.84
42.7 2889 1.11
42.9 2879 1.57
43.1 2916 1.54
43.3 2939 0.48(theres a called flyer to the left of this one)
43.5 2922 1.59


Over all it's a lot better than last time I had the gun out. I think it just does not like the 147s. Next up is to pick a charge here I like and load up some more for a seating depth test.
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#71
Yea its definitely not shooting as nice as I was expecting it to, but it's better than it was. I have to wonder if theres really even much more to do, or if it's just time to accept that this is about how good itll shoot
 

CJS-6.5

Miss General Lee
Sep 15, 2017
294
64
28
#74
I didn't see what the barrel length was. I'm thinking 26 with the posted speeds. I just did an experiment today with my short heavy barreled 6.5 creed. I figured this would make it less obvious. What I did is shoot 140 eldm and 123 at high to low pressure nodes and didn't focus on accuracy or recoil management because I was holding my cheek hard to the cheekpiece and concentrating in the vibrations. I fired 25 shots of each bullet from high to low node just listening to the barrel hum. I think I might be on to something. It definitely has a happy sound and a unhappy sound. Will report back with more testing.
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#76
No don’t accept that .Call Criterion and see what they have to suggest.....
I plan on calling them Monday just to at least talk about it. It's at the point where every variable has been checked or changed out minus the barrel. At this point it has to be it.

I've changed:
Optic to a known good one
Rounds numerous times
Brake on/off
Shooter(for what it's worth I shoot a stock rpr in the .5 range repeatedly, but I grabbed one of my b4 buddies from the sniper section to come shoot it with me today too)
And I've checked tq settings on everything numerous times.

It has to be the barrel at this point
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#79
251 rounds. It was cleaned a few times in the 1st handful of rounds and cleaned again at 150. The best group I've seen out of it is on that target I posted last. Theres 1 0.45 group, 2 at 0.7 and 2 at 0.8. The rest are closer to or over the 1.0 mark

The best with factory ammo was 1 at 0.7 and the rest with factory are pretty much all over an inch
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#85
Seating depth test 42.6

I think that barrel will come around once you figure out what it likes and where. All mine will shoot like that if not fed the correct diet.
I loaded for this last night. It's currently pouring its ass off. If the weather clears up I'll head out with it and see what it does at 41.6

42.6 or 41.6?
 
Last edited:
Feb 10, 2017
3,884
876
113
Central TX
#86
I would have done 42.6, reasoning being 41.5 is strung out to the right side and 41.7 is centered, telling me that 41.6 would be right in the middle of the two but if it gets hot or cold that could cause it to shift to one of those sides
42.5 and 42.7 are both strung out but they are strung out centered in the same location so hopefully with the seating depth adjustment you’ll be able to close those groups down smaller and not have it shift to one side or the other.
 
Likes: Max
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#87
Tried 41.6 today at .010 off. .020 off and 2.800 oal(which worked out to pretty much .020 off). Best it was grouping was in the .7 range. I'm getting all of the data together from today now, I'll post a more thorough update here shortly
 

supercorndogs

Professor Dickweed
Feb 17, 2014
2,681
745
113
#89
I didn't see what the barrel length was. I'm thinking 26 with the posted speeds. I just did an experiment today with my short heavy barreled 6.5 creed. I figured this would make it less obvious. What I did is shoot 140 eldm and 123 at high to low pressure nodes and didn't focus on accuracy or recoil management because I was holding my cheek hard to the cheekpiece and concentrating in the vibrations. I fired 25 shots of each bullet from high to low node just listening to the barrel hum. I think I might be on to something. It definitely has a happy sound and a unhappy sound. Will report back with more testing.


:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: Just a basic understanding would throw this out. If your barrel is making a different vibration sound from shot to shot. Try free floating it. The charge does not change it.
 
Feb 21, 2013
86
12
8
Texas
#93
Did you use a go and no go gage? If so, is it set so no go extracts too?

Yes I used guages. The go chambers, the no go will not allow the bolt to close at all. This was triple and quadruple checked. And then checked another time or two. Checked before and after the barrel was torqued, after the entire rifle was together, and after the 1st range trip. The barrel nut tq was checked more than once both before and after firing as well.
 

CJS-6.5

Miss General Lee
Sep 15, 2017
294
64
28
#98


:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: Just a basic understanding would throw this out. If your barrel is making a different vibration sound from shot to shot. Try free floating it. The charge does not change it.
It's in a custom stock. Well free floated. If the charge doesn't change vibration, then why the heck change charge weights at all to find the most accurate node in the barrel harmonics? That's what reloading is all about.
 
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