Need a little reloading advice

SWWI Shooter

New Hide Member
May 30, 2018
23
2
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#1
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a reloading expert so am seeking some advice. I've been trying to work up a load for my Tikka CTR in 6.5 creedmoor (although the rifle and caliber isn't important to the question). I know the procedure and theory behind OCW and ladder testing, etc. so I don't need a full explanation of them. My question is this: I first tested seating depth (using a mid range powder charge) and picked what I thought was the most accurate for my rifle and then moved on to testing powder charge weight (H4350 with Berger 140 VLD). I seem to have a velocity node (good velocity ES) but my groups are around 1 moa. If I move the charge a bit, I get 1/2 moa groups but the velocity ES opens way up . SO... I want to try to work on seating depth a bit further but do I choose the powder charge that produces good groups but bad velocity ES OR Good velocity extreme speed and good groups?

Thanks
 

SWWI Shooter

New Hide Member
May 30, 2018
23
2
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#3
Houston- So you're saying that you aren't looking for low velocity extreme spread but rather a flat spot in velocity like you would see in a ladder test? So what is your initial seating depth when you are doing this initial test?
 
Mar 26, 2006
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#4
I also do powder charge first then optimize seating, it's always worked for me. Unless a particular bullet has special needs due to its design, I start 0.020" off the lands for the powder charge work then optimize the seating depth.
 
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mijp5

Gunny Sergeant
May 7, 2009
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#5
I've heard the case for working depth first, and it sounds like you can do it either way. I think your problem is that you are doing all of your load development at 100 yards if I am not mistaken.
 

Codiekfx400

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 29, 2018
542
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#6
I've heard the case for working depth first, and it sounds like you can do it either way. I think your problem is that you are doing all of your load development at 100 yards if I am not mistaken.
So why is doing load development at 100 yards the problem?
 

mijp5

Gunny Sergeant
May 7, 2009
4,891
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#8
So why is doing load development at 100 yards the problem?
Good question. You can have an ES of like 100 fps and still shoot a ½" or better group at 100 yards. As soon as you take that load out to 300, it will open up considerably. I believe the OP will get better fidelity in his load development if he takes it out a couple hundred yards.
 

mijp5

Gunny Sergeant
May 7, 2009
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#9
Load development has worked better for me at 600, first doing a ladder with charges, then a seating depth test with 3 rounds at a time, looking for the tight group but also adjacent to a tight group i.e. 50, 60, 70 thousandths all close.
 

Codiekfx400

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 29, 2018
542
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#10
When the distance to target increases so do the variables.
Shooter error
Wind

I would suggest shooting at 100 yards for groups then using a chronograph to check for es and sd.
Now that being said he already has a 1/2 moa load if it was me I would take that 1/2 moa load and shoot it out to a further distance than 100 yards to check for vertical stringing.
 

mijp5

Gunny Sergeant
May 7, 2009
4,891
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#11
When the distance to target increases so do the variables.
Shooter error
Wind

I would suggest shooting at 100 yards for groups then using a chronograph to check for es and sd.
Now that being said he already has a 1/2 moa load if it was me I would take that 1/2 moa load and shoot it out to a further distance than 100 yards to check for vertical stringing.
He said his ½ moa load was high in ES
 

Skookum

Entropy Personified
May 6, 2017
1,120
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Your mom's
#12
Here is what I've been doing lately, just another method to consider.

Find your max charge, at your maximum acceptable overall legnth. The max overall length may be dictated by mag length, you may be one who is comfortable with the bullet kissing the lands, maybe you won't go closer than .005" off the lands, whatever you decide max acceptible length should be.

Then back off the charge 2% and start seating deeper by .005". By doing this you are attempting to find where the optimal pressure curve and optimal barrel timing converge. I usually find a good node by the time I've gone 0.40".
I've had good luck with this method. I don't know that it produces the absolute smallest groups, but it seems to produce usable loads that are as forgiving as they probably can be, and they have held up well at long range.

The big benefit to me, is that it is fast. I don't have a lot of time these days to screw around with load developement. I need something relatively forgiving and "good enough" in the accuracy department so I can take it to the mountain when I do get time to shoot.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,880
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Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#13
Lol, some of these comments. The OCW test by Dan Newberry is specially for those limited to a 100yd range when doing load development.

ES/SD is 1 of many factors to look at. You should be choosing your OCW based off POI, not group size or ES. Then you should be doing a seating depth test to shrink group size. After that go shoot to 500 to see how your load performs. Then shoot a minimum of 25 over the chrono to get a realistic SD.

This method has been proven and worked for a long time. We dont need to reinvent the wheel here. Its best you read the exact method to ensure you are doing it correctly. Then post up your target if you need help choosing your OCW in the center of your node.

http://optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com/ocw-instructions/4529817134
 

HoustonB77

Online Training Member
Jan 28, 2014
554
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Nixon TX
#14
Houston- So you're saying that you aren't looking for low velocity extreme spread but rather a flat spot in velocity like you would see in a ladder test? So what is your initial seating depth when you are doing this initial test?
I normally star at 15 thousands off the lands. Yes flat spot first. Then I work on seating depth.