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right arm
Oct 29, 2011



thermobollocks posted:

The 550/650 will change calibers easier, I think. It's quite a hit to begin with, but worthwhile.

It totally is. Swapping from 9mm to .40 takes me about 10 minutes to do if I clean everything up, less if I don't. Either of those swapping to .45 takes just a little bit longer as you have to switch the primer magazine, tube, case feeder, and timing as the case is much larger than 9mm.

This is on a 650XL by the way.

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Mishra
Dec 12, 2007



Anyone ever bought bullets from The Bullet Works? There prices seem pretty good 62.50 for 1000 9 mm lead bullets. This'll be my first time firing lead through my PPQ and Sig, anythignspecial I need to do when cleaning?

right arm
Oct 29, 2011



Mishra posted:

Anyone ever bought bullets from The Bullet Works? There prices seem pretty good 62.50 for 1000 9 mm lead bullets. This'll be my first time firing lead through my PPQ and Sig, anythignspecial I need to do when cleaning?

Sounds about like what we pay at our pro shop at our local gun range for cast bullets.

Missouri Bullet Company sells 115gr 9mm bullets for $29.50/500, but I'm not sure what their shipping is: http://www.missouribullet.com/detai...ary=8&keywords=

I don't do anything special when I shoot lead bullets from my 1911, just some Hoppes, or CLP if it's real filthy, and an appropriate sized copper brush seems to get any lead deposits I manage to get in my gun.

poopgiggle
Feb 7, 2006

it isn't easy being a cross dominate shooter.

Mishra posted:

anythignspecial I need to do when cleaning?

I don't do anything special when I clean except when the lead deposits get bad I have an old bore brush that I've wrapped in copper scouring pad strands that I use right before the regular bore brush to loosen the lead up.

Also the bullet lube makes this horrendous gunky soot that I hose out with Gun Scrubber after a couple thousand rounds.

Neither the lead deposits nor the gunk have ever caused functioning problems for me but I like to be on the safe side for matches.

thermobollocks
Jul 5, 2009

GET A DILLON

I just use a few patches of lead solvent after the Hoppes starts to clear up.

fat bossy gerbil
Jul 1, 2007



What's a fair price for a bag of 500 once fired Tula steel cased 7.63x39?

Kennebago
Nov 12, 2007

van de schande is bevrijd
hij die met walkuren rijd


For my first 9mm bullet buy, should I stick with jacketed bullets (Precision Delta or whoever) or is lead user-friendly enough to work with for a new reloader?

thermobollocks
Jul 5, 2009

GET A DILLON

Operating Rod posted:

For my first 9mm bullet buy, should I stick with jacketed bullets (Precision Delta or whoever) or is lead user-friendly enough to work with for a new reloader?

Provided your load data matches, there's little to no difference. Just don't lick your fingers when you're done.

shalafi4
Feb 20, 2011

another medical bills avatar

The French Army! posted:

What's a fair price for a bag of 500 once fired Tula steel cased 7.63x39?

Loaded or unloaded ?

fat bossy gerbil
Jul 1, 2007



Unloaded. I don't reload (no space) but I do save the brass that people commonly reload because I know people use it and otherwise it just sits in the grasslands rusting with all of the other brass people were too lazy to pick up.

shalafi4
Feb 20, 2011

another medical bills avatar

The French Army! posted:

Unloaded. I don't reload (no space) but I do save the brass that people commonly reload because I know people use it and otherwise it just sits in the grasslands rusting with all of the other brass people were too lazy to pick up.

If they're berdan primed they're pretty much scrap metal to 99% of reloaders in the US.

Mishra
Dec 12, 2007



Can I just say it's awesome going to a decent place for buying reloading supplies, even if I heard a guy saying he needed to buy a gun before Obama took it away 30 seconds after I walked in. I finally found boxes of 1000 cci primers for $25. So I picked up 4000, I figure that should get me past the Obamaclypse.

His Divine Shadow
Aug 7, 2000

I'm not a fascist. I'm a priest. Fascists dress up in black and tell people what to do.


Got my star sizer last night, set it up temporarily at my apartment before moving it to my casting place, Lubed almost all the .45 SWC's I had with me in 20 minutes after I had it adjusted.



Using homemade felix lube, just melt it and pour it into the sizer, meant to make it blue but it turned out green instead, still it works so who cares?

bongwizzard
May 19, 2005

Then one day I meet a man,
He came to me and said,
"Hard work good and hard work fine,
but first take care of head"

Grimey Drawer

I am getting ready to upgrade my reloading setup. I am looking at a Dillion 550 and starting loading .38/.357 and .45acp and getting "complete" conversion kits for each. I do have a few questions.

1) How much of a pain will it be to go from .38spl to .357mag? Is it worth getting a conversion set up for each caliber?
1) I also want to load plinking .45-70 ammo on this machine, has anyone tried to load such a high powder volume round on a 550? The load I want to use is more or less Trail Boss filled to the base of the bullet so I dont even know if the thrower can do the volume I need.

emathey
May 18, 2008


.38 and .357 will use the same dies. Your powder charge/OAL should change, if you are lazy it might be worth it to get a conversion kit for that, but I would just tweak your dies each time and do it in batches.

Check Dillon's website, they have three different sized powder bars and they will list the grains that are supposed to be used with each one.

Absolut_V
Oct 8, 2003

Superman That Jones!

Is there anything bad about a 650?

emathey
May 18, 2008


It's more expensive, there's kind of a lot going on every time you pull the handle so it's probably not the best to learn how to reload on, it auto indexes and if something messes up it's a little bit more complicated to fix stuff since you have to be careful how high/low you raise the handle if you don't want it to index.

sky shark
Jun 9, 2004

CHILD RAPE IS FINE WHEN I LIKE THE RAPIST

Anyone have feedback on bullet feeders for the 650? I'm looking at one of those Mr BulletFeeder models

Absolut_V
Oct 8, 2003

Superman That Jones!

emathey posted:

It's more expensive, there's kind of a lot going on every time you pull the handle so it's probably not the best to learn how to reload on, it auto indexes and if something messes up it's a little bit more complicated to fix stuff since you have to be careful how high/low you raise the handle if you don't want it to index.

Thank you. So essentially the automation can make it a pain to fix a mistake. If that's the only downside I think I'm in.

Sten Freak
Sep 10, 2008

Despite all of these shortcomings, the Sten still has a long track record of shooting people right in the face.


College Slice

I'm dying over here for a Chargemaster. Going to sell my dreaded Suomi carbine for one.

MazelTovCocktail
Jun 23, 2012

Gritty's gonna cut you.


How do people generally store their powder and primers? I don't have a garage area, but I want some thing I can put in a closet and keep the items safely and separately stored, but not too expensive. My goal is to keep my infant (thought starting down the crawling path) and cat away from them an setup so nothing they do can cause in issue, and greatly upset my wife.

George Zimmer
Jun 28, 2008


gfanikf posted:

How do people generally store their powder and primers? I don't have a garage area, but I want some thing I can put in a closet and keep the items safely and separately stored, but not too expensive. My goal is to keep my infant (thought starting down the crawling path) and cat away from them an setup so nothing they do can cause in issue, and greatly upset my wife.

I store my primers in a small plastic toolbox I got at a hardware store, along with all my other accessories and small tools. As for powder, I just keep it in the can beside said toolbox on my bench. I'd say some shelves in your closet that are out of reach for your cat/kid would work fine for storing stuff.

right arm
Oct 29, 2011



Absolut_V posted:

Thank you. So essentially the automation can make it a pain to fix a mistake. If that's the only downside I think I'm in.

It really isn't a big deal at all. I've got a 650XL and it's all I've ever reloaded on. I've had zero problems with mine and I've made thousands of rounds of various types of ammo with it.

Speaking of which, we're getting the dies for .223 soon since my dad finally got an AR, yessssss.

MazelTovCocktail
Jun 23, 2012

Gritty's gonna cut you.


George Zimmer posted:

I store my primers in a small plastic toolbox I got at a hardware store, along with all my other accessories and small tools. As for powder, I just keep it in the can beside said toolbox on my bench. I'd say some shelves in your closet that are out of reach for your cat/kid would work fine for storing stuff.

Thanks, I think that should work fine.

Well by pure luck I got to go to the PA Cabelas (first time in any Cableas, very fun experience, it's crazy being able to just get ammo off shelves besides target shotgun ammo). and I picked up the Lee Reloading manual 2nd Ed and a Lee Hand Primer kit. While not a true press, it's not the mallet one and with a small plastic table, will allow me to finally start reloading. I was originally going to just get ammo, but I was looking at the reloading stuff and decided to get it. I still need dies and some other things, but I only had short time for my side trip, and I wanted to read the manual first and shop around for dies. I figure 20 for the book and 45 for the kit was fair if you factored in shipping and having to wait.

Comfy sponk
Mar 30, 2007



gfanikf posted:

Thanks, I think that should work fine.

Well by pure luck I got to go to the PA Cabelas (first time in any Cableas, very fun experience, it's crazy being able to just get ammo off shelves besides target shotgun ammo). and I picked up the Lee Reloading manual 2nd Ed and a Lee Hand Primer kit. While not a true press, it's not the mallet one and with a small plastic table, will allow me to finally start reloading. I was originally going to just get ammo, but I was looking at the reloading stuff and decided to get it. I still need dies and some other things, but I only had short time for my side trip, and I wanted to read the manual first and shop around for dies. I figure 20 for the book and 45 for the kit was fair if you factored in shipping and having to wait.

The Lee Hand press kit is not a bad kit, but you will tire quickly of have to switch out the dies. Also, full length rifle brass resizing is a pain.

Really, watch out for your fingers and thumbs.

MazelTovCocktail
Jun 23, 2012

Gritty's gonna cut you.


Comfy sponk posted:

The Lee Hand press kit is not a bad kit, but you will tire quickly of have to switch out the dies. Also, full length rifle brass resizing is a pain.

Really, watch out for your fingers and thumbs.

Doesn't doing one stage en masse before switching help alleviate that issue (switching out)? The hand press is really to see if I like reloading and when my wife and I move to an area with more room I'll upgrade to a standard press.

Steak Flavored Gum
Apr 26, 2007

ABANDONED HOMEWORLD FOR SALE, CHEAP!!!
Custom desert-marsh conversion in galactic core, 12% oxygen atm., great weather, friendly native life (missing one moon). Great fix-er-upper. Must sell, alien invasion imminent. $3995 or best offer.

gfanikf posted:

Thanks, I think that should work fine.

Well by pure luck I got to go to the PA Cabelas (first time in any Cableas, very fun experience, it's crazy being able to just get ammo off shelves besides target shotgun ammo). and I picked up the Lee Reloading manual 2nd Ed and a Lee Hand Primer kit. While not a true press, it's not the mallet one and with a small plastic table, will allow me to finally start reloading. I was originally going to just get ammo, but I was looking at the reloading stuff and decided to get it. I still need dies and some other things, but I only had short time for my side trip, and I wanted to read the manual first and shop around for dies. I figure 20 for the book and 45 for the kit was fair if you factored in shipping and having to wait.

P.S. if you are shopping there in the reloading section, avoid that rear end in a top hat Roger like the plague. I've lodged a complaint against him but it hasn't gone through the system yet. He's a loving bloodsucker.

Comfy sponk
Mar 30, 2007



gfanikf posted:

Doesn't doing one stage en masse before switching help alleviate that issue (switching out)? The hand press is really to see if I like reloading and when my wife and I move to an area with more room I'll upgrade to a standard press.

Yes it does.

I generally do 100 cases at a time.

Lather, rinse, repeat. For two years.

MazelTovCocktail
Jun 23, 2012

Gritty's gonna cut you.


Steak Flavored Gum posted:

P.S. if you are shopping there in the reloading section, avoid that rear end in a top hat Roger like the plague. I've lodged a complaint against him but it hasn't gone through the system yet. He's a loving bloodsucker.

Hmm, what's he look like? I may have talked to him briefly. Still to see all that stuff that is usually on the Internet or behind a case was something else. Heck seeing powder and primes on shelves was neat. Also being able to actually pick one up and hold made it seem more like a normal, but potentially dangerous item if misused or stored, than nitro grenade and therefore a lot easier to pull the trigger on reloading. Shame is that I like oddball rounds (or cheap guns in oddball rounds) or Rimfire as getting the brass (and non surplus reload able) is a pain and not cheap, but got to start somewhere,

What happened?

Comfy sponk posted:

Yes it does.

I generally do 100 cases at a time.

Lather, rinse, repeat. For two years.

Yeah, I have the impression it can be a bit mind numbing, my down the road plan is some sort of progressive setup, this is more of a to make sure it sticks plan. I'm going to start off with 5 rounds in one sitting and increase as I feel confident with what I'm doing.

Steak Flavored Gum
Apr 26, 2007

ABANDONED HOMEWORLD FOR SALE, CHEAP!!!
Custom desert-marsh conversion in galactic core, 12% oxygen atm., great weather, friendly native life (missing one moon). Great fix-er-upper. Must sell, alien invasion imminent. $3995 or best offer.

gfanikf posted:

Hmm, what's he look like? I may have talked to him briefly. Still to see all that stuff that is usually on the Internet or behind a case was something else. Heck seeing powder and primes on shelves was neat. Also being able to actually pick one up and hold made it seem more like a normal, but potentially dangerous item if misused or stored, than nitro grenade and therefore a lot easier to pull the trigger on reloading. Shame is that I like oddball rounds (or cheap guns in oddball rounds) or Rimfire as getting the brass (and non surplus reload able) is a pain and not cheap, but got to start somewhere,

What happened?

Roger is an rear end in a top hat who straight up hounds you and tells you to buy things that you cannot afford. I told him as such, and he told me to live a little, and I told him to "gently caress off". He still hassled me. "What's it going to take to get you to fill that basket?". "It would take you leaving me alone and a job that would allow me to afford it." gently caress that guy.

Also powders are not explosive and the worst thing that could happen in an accident with them is a nasty fire maybe. Primers are a bit less pleasant but just don't go vacuuming them.

shalafi4
Feb 20, 2011

another medical bills avatar

Steak Flavored Gum posted:

Also powders are not explosive and the worst thing that could happen in an accident with them is a nasty fire maybe. Primers are a bit less pleasant but just don't go vacuuming them.

One of my cats used to not fear vacuums at all. He actually use to sit ON the vacuum while I was using it... Till a primer went off inside of it. I had never seen a cat jump 6 feet vertically from a stopped start before. Poor thing is terrified of any vacuum now and hides on the other end of the house.

briefcasefullof
Sep 25, 2004
[This Space for Rent]

gfanikf posted:

Doesn't doing one stage en masse before switching help alleviate that issue (switching out)? The hand press is really to see if I like reloading and when my wife and I move to an area with more room I'll upgrade to a standard press.

Yep! Some cheap stuff to get you started, too, are the Hornady lock rings. Look through the thread, there's some discussion on various types, the main point is that when used properly you can not only hold your dies in place during use, but also remove them and reinsert them later and not have to readjust them (usual caveats of "double check" etc apply).

MazelTovCocktail
Jun 23, 2012

Gritty's gonna cut you.


quote:

Roger is an rear end in a top hat who straight up hounds you and tells you to buy things that you cannot afford. I told him as such, and he told me to live a little, and I told him to "gently caress off". He still hassled me. "What's it going to take to get you to fill that basket?". "It would take you leaving me alone and a job that would allow me to afford it." gently caress that guy.
Wasn't him then. This guy was an older, larger guy, but not very agressive. I did see some dude who keep walking the ammo isles, but I figure he was there to watch for someone trying to pocket ammo.

quote:

Also powders are not explosive and the worst thing that could happen in an accident with them is a nasty fire maybe. Primers are a bit less pleasant but just don't go vacuuming them.
True, I'm cleaning of the long shelf I have in my closet. I figure primers one end and powder the idea. The length is about 6-9 feet so I figure that should be enough space. Lucky enough a place nearby sells a lot of powders and had Varget for about $27.

QuarkMartial posted:

Yep! Some cheap stuff to get you started, too, are the Hornady lock rings. Look through the thread, there's some discussion on various types, the main point is that when used properly you can not only hold your dies in place during use, but also remove them and reinsert them later and not have to readjust them (usual caveats of "double check" etc apply).

Yeah, I want to get those too. I put in an order with FS Reloading for the Mauser dies, Auto Prime XR and the Universal Decapper. I'm hoping they ship today.

MazelTovCocktail fucked around with this message at 13:54 on Jun 26, 2012

One Legged Ninja
Sep 19, 2007
Feared by shoe salesmen. Defeated by chest-high walls.

Fun Shoe

I finally decided to post this, and ask the more experienced shooters for some opinions.

ETA: GroovinPickle and Wa11y have pointed out some errors on my part, so make sure to read their posts in combination with mine. Also, GP recommends using the OCW method for <200 yard distances. You can find more information of the pros and cons at this poorly designed website.

A few weeks ago I got a bug in my ear to try to find a nice, precise load for my Savage 110 in .22-250. Up until now, I've just started with a modest, but not max load from the book, and if it blew up in my face showed any drastic signs of pressure, I'd back it off a little. Yes, I know this is a terribly unsafe practice. That's why I started doing a little more research.

I came across something called the Audette Ladder method. Basically, it boils down to loading a specific number of shells, each with a sequential amount of powder, otherwise loaded identically. You then shoot them in order, at the same point of aim, on the same target, at a minimum of 2-300 yards away. GroovinPickle and Wa11y both recommend significantly longer distances.

Wall O' Text: feel free to skip if you don't want an amateur science lesson.

The idea behind it is that no matter how thick and heavy your barrel is, it wobbles when you fire a round, otherwise known as barrel harmonics. Think of when the Three Stooges let go of the spraying fire hose, only smaller. It's imperceptible. We're talking thousandths of an inch at most. Your bullet must exit at some point during that wobble, or you're about to have a bad day. If it exits at the top of the wobble, it will shoot a little high, and vice versa. The key to having the most precision in this case is getting it to leave at the same place in the cycle, or as close as possible, every single time. In a perfect theoretical physics world, if the bullet leaves the barrel at the same point in the wobble, it will hit the same place down range.


Pretend this is drawn to scale, and looks like I describe.

Where it exits in the wobble cycle is determined by many things, but primarily we're concerned with things we can change, namely velocity due to powder charge differences. If you load two rounds up, one with an arbitrarily low charge, and one with an arbitrarily high charge, the higher charge will generally accelerate the bullet faster than the lower charge. This faster bullet will leave the barrel sooner, which corresponds to a different point in the wobble. Because the wobble is cyclical, it could be higher or lower, or at the same exact point, but it would be (almost) impossible to predict with numbers alone. But, because it is cyclical, it has both a maximum and minimum value to the curve in any given range.

A little mathematics tells us that as you approach the top or bottom of the curve, the slope of the tangent to that curve approaches 0, in other words, it's really close to horizontal. Directly on either side of the top/bottom, it's also really close to horizontal. But as you get further from those two points, it gets further from horizontal, and at a faster rate. How this has anything to do with the topic at hand, I forget is that these values correspond to places where the wobble is least sensitive to changes in velocity. Therefore it is less sensitive to changes in powder charge. Which means that you can be off by a few tenths of a grain, or more, without adversely affecting precision. Or if your powder is having a bad day because it didn't study for the math test today, and it's sure it's going to fail, and it just can't fail because that would be the worst thing ever and... Ahem.

The ladder method is an easy, fast way to attempt to find these "pauses" in your particular gun. This is where, if your measurement is a tenth of a grain or two off, it won't affect point of impact significantly. You start with your max load data. Then you decide how many moosefucker rounds your shoulder can take rounds would be ideal for your situation. Creighton Audette suggested somewhere around 20 was ideal. Then you set an increment. Again, he suggested .3 grains for most rifles. Multiply your round count by your increment. In this case it would be 6.0 gr. So you start at your max load, and work down 6.0 grs. If this is at or above the safe minimum, good. If not, you could confirm the minimum with another source, or simply adjust your round count/increment. I don't remember the particulars of my load, but I only loaded 18 rounds, and used .3 gr increments. It was well above the minimum.

Now, the most important part of this method is to be, well, methodical. You need to number each and every round, and have a cross reference to the amount of powder in each. I made a little table and printed it out. I also numbered each bullet with a Sharpie, and I loaded each powder charge, then immediately seated a bullet. I measured to the nearest tenth (0.1gr) of a grain. It's also important that you don't change anything else about the cartridges. If you introduce other variables, the whole test means nothing. You also need to eliminate any user error where possible. A gun vise would be be best. A sturdy bench and rest would come next. Please don't attempt this offhand with a 50mph crosswind in a hailstorm. Uphill both ways. You also need to clean your rifle, and load some fouling shots. 5 or so loaded to the first powder charge should be fine. You just need that bullet pushed by that powder to dirty your barrel exactly like the test rounds will.

In my case, I set my target at 200 yards, as that's about the longest our range goes. It was very steeply uphill, which was a pain. I also tried to keep my barrel at a consistent temperature, so after I shot the fouling rounds (which I also used to check my zero), I spread the test shots out over an hour and a half or so. I brought a .22 to have fun while I was waiting. I aimed at the same point for each round, which is one reason to have a good, solid rest. And after each shot, I marked a duplicate target as close as I could to where that round landed, and numbered each one. After 18 rounds, I went back up the hill (found out I wasn't in good shape), and retrieved my target.



You can see here that even at 200 yards, I suck the bullets all hit in a relatively small area for such a wide range of charges. Number 17 up at the top? I wouldn't worry about that little guy. Actually, I have no idea what did that. I can't remember that far back. I know it wasn't a double charge, or anything, because a double charge wouldn't have fit in the case. We'll chalk it up to a squirrel farting in the woods or something. Try to be better than me. Ignoring the numbers and lines for a minute, it really looks like a mess, right? This is why it was important to have a duplicate target, and to mark down each shot in order. Imagine looking at the target as you were shooting and trying to keep the shot order in your head. Not gonna happen. If you're pretty awesome like Mister Sinewave, you could make a camera and link it to a smart phone app that you could then use to take pictures of each hole as it appears, but I'm not made of money.

Now, lets take a look at those numbers. It more or less starts low at 1, and works its way up to 6, back down to 9, up to 14, and back down to 18. Not a perfect spread, but generally close. What we're looking for is groups of numbers that fall numerically close, as well as vertically close. You wouldn't want to put 1 and 2 together with 6 and 7. But 1, 2 and 3 give about a 3" group; 3, 4 and 5 give about an 1-1/2", 6, 7 and 8 are around 2". Then things get interesting. 8 through 13 fall in about an 1-1/2" string. Excuse 9 due to possibly external factors, and it's down to 1" or less. Obviously you can't just say ignore 9, because I could just ignore everything except one round, and say I put all my shots through the same hole. I'm going to go out on a limb, though, and say that I messed up shooting 9 enough to skew the results.

End O' the Wall O' Text

Six shots in 1-1/2" at 200 yds, with almost a 2 grain difference in powder. That seems like a good place to start. Obviously, you take the average powder charge for that group. This is why you needed the table of individual charges. I did forget to mention, if you start to see excessive pressure signs, (cratering of the primer, white stretch marks at the base of the brass, the bolt exploding backwards and impaling your skull, etc) you probably shouldn't continue going up the scale. Another important thing to mention: if you change anything in your reloading recipe after this, most likely you'll have to attempt the whole thing over again. So if you're trying a whole bunch of bullets, get ready to do a lot of testing.

I only learned about this method a short while before I attempted it. I'm no shooting expert, and I hope no one has interpreted anything to the contrary. Do you more experienced shooters/reloaders think my results are as indicative as I think they are? I don't have my table to tell me the exact load, but halfway between the charge of #10 and #11 is where I'd start loading rounds for my rifle. In lieu of some sound advice, I'm going to repeat this test one more time, to confirm the results, as well as attempt an OCW test. As I see it, it's just another excuse to shoot more, which I haven't been doing much lately.

One Legged Ninja fucked around with this message at 00:18 on Jun 28, 2012

Easychair Bootson
May 7, 2004

Where's the last guy?
Ultimo hombre.
Last man standing.
Must've been one.


In my relatively limited experience ladder testing at 200 yards is kind of iffy, but it probably depends on the gun and the cartridge. With that massive flier on shot #17, I'd definitely want to re-test, especially since 15, 16, and 18 look respectable in terms of vertical. Actually, were it me, I'd probably try an OCW test using a load or two around that 10/11/12 charge weight and another in the 16/17/18 range.

I don't have regular access to ranges beyond 200, but when I have had a chance to do a decent ladder test at 300 (still shorter than optimal for the ladder method) it gave me a similar load to what my OCW testing did at 200. I feel like ladder is more useful at longer ranges since you're mostly looking for vertical (wind being more of a variable), and OCW is useful inside of 200 (when wind effects are minimized). But in general I think it's a good idea to do most of your load testing at the range(s) at which you'll be shooting regularly.

Mishra
Dec 12, 2007



So I'm looking for a new workbench for my new apartment to set up my stuff. I was thinking of one of those assemble your own benches with the plastic frame you supply your own lumber for anyone ever tried one?

One Legged Ninja
Sep 19, 2007
Feared by shoe salesmen. Defeated by chest-high walls.

Fun Shoe

GroovinPickle posted:

In my relatively limited experience ladder testing at 200 yards is kind of iffy, but it probably depends on the gun and the cartridge. With that massive flier on shot #17, I'd definitely want to re-test, especially since 15, 16, and 18 look respectable in terms of vertical. Actually, were it me, I'd probably try an OCW test using a load or two around that 10/11/12 charge weight and another in the 16/17/18 range.

Yeah, I don't know what happened on 17. It was a beautiful day, next to no wind the entire time, no one else flinging brass onto me. I'll definitely try to repeat the test, though. I hadn't heard of the OCW test before, so I'll give that a shot, too.

GroovinPickle posted:

I don't have regular access to ranges beyond 200, but when I have had a chance to do a decent ladder test at 300 (still shorter than optimal for the ladder method) it gave me a similar load to what my OCW testing did at 200. I feel like ladder is more useful at longer ranges since you're mostly looking for vertical (wind being more of a variable), and OCW is useful inside of 200 (when wind effects are minimized). But in general I think it's a good idea to do most of your load testing at the range(s) at which you'll be shooting regularly.

My club's range is pretty nice for what it is, but it only goes to about 220 yds, and they won't let me blow up the mountain to put a longer one in If I had more motivation, I could cut a bunch of trees down at my camp and put a ~1000yd lane in, but it doesn't have as nice of a backstop, being on top of the mountain.

Anyway, those are exactly the kinds of things I need to hear. Thanks!

Wa11y
Jul 23, 2002

Did I say "cookies?" I meant, "Fire in your face!"

I counter your wall of text with my own!

I've been reloading for a few years now, but until recently, didn't have a precision, long range rifle. When I did my load testing, I'd load 5-10 rounds of each powder charge working down from the highest I could find in published data, and reducing in some increment, usually less than .5 grains, but most often in .2 or .1 grains. Then I'd fire each group of loads at a target 100 yards away and over a chronograph, and whichever gave me the tightest group was my best load, and usually the chronograph data agreed (Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation are USUALLY lower on more accurate groups. But not always).

Only problem with that method is it only shows me my best load at that short distance. No telling what it will do at longer distances, unless you load more up and shoot them across the course. Now, if you only want to shoot one distance, than you only need to test your accuracy at that distance. But for any sort of hunting, that usually won't work.

Recently, my shooting buddy and I have decided to start using the ladder method, and comparing to some of our current accuracy loads, and see if we get the same results, or different results. I've been doing a lot of reading on how to do ladder tests, and think I have some understanding of it.

From what I can see, here's what I think you did wrong based on my understanding:
1. Distance was too short. Ladder testing really seems to work best for long range precision loads, so you want to START at around 300 yards, and move out further. This assumes, of course, you have access to a long range. I've got access to a 1000 yard range with firing positions every 100 yards, so this is not a problem.
2. You didn't load at the range. My understanding is that you really need to be doing three strings of fire, and each successive string is based on the previous string's results. Here's an email I sent my shooting buddy with my understanding of how to do a ladder test:

quote:

Establish maximum charge:
Start with a chosen published max load, reduce by 10%, and work up in 1% increments of max. Load one cartridge of each charge weight, coloring the bullet ahead of the ogive, noting which color is which charge weight. Shoot each round over a chronograph looking for pressure signs. Use the same point of aim for each shot. If you see pressure signs, stop shooting with that round, and consider it your max loading.

First ladder test:
Using the established maximum charge from the previous step, load 6-10 1% increments back from your previously determined max to whatever minimum you want to use. Load three cartridges of each charge weight, coloring the bullet ahead of the ogive, noting which color is which charge weight. Shoot the loads in a round-robin at the same target, using the same point of aim for each shot. Allow the barrel to cool between strings. Shoot the first string low to high, second string high to low and third string low to high again. Look for any close vertical stringing of different powder charges. This should give you an accuracy node to work through for the next step.

Second ladder test:
Using the lowest and highest powder charge of an accuracy node as a start and end point, load 3 rounds each of 5 different powder charges around them (above max and below min), using increments of less than 1% of the max load (usually .2 or .3 grains will work). Again, color the bullet just past the ogive, noting what color you use for each charge, and shoot in round-robin, first string low to high, second string high to low and third string low to high, using the same point of aim. Try to double the distance of the first ladder test.

Again, that's my understanding based on the reading I've done. If anyone understands different, or has done this and can point out any flaws, I'd appreciate it. Some of it might be redundant for cartridges with low powder charges, like .223, since 1% of 25 grain charge is nothing compared to .300 Win Mag with a 75 grain charge.

We recently took my buddies .300 WM out to do a pseudo-ladder test. My buddy basically did the First Ladder test I note above, since he already knew the max powder charge, and he was staying short of it. He loaded up six rounds each of different powder charges, and he shot 3 of each at 600 and 1000 yards. I don't have any pictures of the targets, but we went to Staples and picked up a roll of packing paper, which is just a long roll of white paper. Cut it off around 5 or 6 foot long, and stuck a single target sticker on it. I need to see if he has some pictures of his results, they were kind of interesting, but I don't think we had enough data to really make a decision.

Because we colored the tips of the bullets with colored Sharpies, we could easily tell which hole was which powder charge. That made grouping them really easy. One thing I didn't note in my email is that when you shoot them, you forget about windage, and don't adjust between shots. Every single shot gets the same point of aim, and you let the different powder charges show you the drop they have. When you're grouping them, ignore the left to right, and only look at the vertical. As I recall, my buddy found two sub-moa groups.

The biggest shortcoming we've run into is that we don't have a portable loading bench, and our range is over an hour away. So driving home between groups to load more up is not an option. We're working on getting a portable loading bench built up, so we can try to do this right. From what I've seen, for this to be really useful, you need to be able to load at the range, so your next string of fire can be based on the results of your previous string of fire.

Even with as many shots as you have on that target, see if you can get a longer target, and move it out to at least 300 yards, if not more (depends on how light a bullet your using in that .22-250, how windy your range gets, and how long a range you have access to). I think that's the biggest thing holding you back. You can just load up three cartridges of each powder charge from min to max in .1 grain increments and get good data, but that increases the cost in primers, powder and bullets. From what I understand, the ladder test will use about the same amount of loaded cartridges as my current method, but you'll get more and better data out of the components you use.

thermobollocks
Jul 5, 2009

GET A DILLON

Yup, that sure sounds like load testing to me.

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One Legged Ninja
Sep 19, 2007
Feared by shoe salesmen. Defeated by chest-high walls.

Fun Shoe

Yep, I'm gonna work on making a long range at camp, since that would be more useful to me than finding a suitable range at another club. At the moment I'm stuck at 200, which is ok for now, because I don't typically hunt any farther than that anyway, and without a range that goes farther, I don't need to load to shoot farther. Farther.

You guys have given me lots to think on, and work with. I'll make a few changes to my post after work tomorrow.

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