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Best way to find the right load?
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 Posted: Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 01:59 PM
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tayhot
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So as my last posts indicate, I am working up loads for my 7mm Rem Mag. I have 2 different bullets and two different powders that I'm willing to try. Obviously, the combanations can be a lot.

I plan on loading IMR 4831 and loading the minimum charge, median charge, and max charge with the Barnes 150 gr TSX bullet. I will aldo do the same for the TTSX bullet.

I will also make loads using RL 22 with the minimum, median, and max charge with both types of bullets.

 

I will then make 5 cartridges for each different load inwhich I will fire through a chrony. My goal is accuracy first, speed a close 2nd.

Does this sound like a good way to work up to a load?



 Posted: Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 03:28 PM
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Don Fischer
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Your only willing to try two bullet's and two powder's? Your rifle might not like either. Or your rifle might like one of the powders and none of the bullet's.

I would start with one bullet and one powder. First I'd go down several grains below max and work up pressure loads, one round each at 1/2gr increments watching for pressure as I go. Pretty boreing but then I know what my rifle will handle, sometimes over max listed, sometimes under.

I would not get any hunting cartridge looking for match rifle accuracy, therefore I'mm looking for a load on the hot side. It serves no purpose to get a 7mm mag and make a 280 Rem or 7-08 out of it. Not suggesting your doing that. So for a good hunting load I'm looking for 5 shots that will stay within 1 1/2" @ 100yds. Take about 4 steps back from your max load, in 1/2gr increments, and load five rounds each.

I take those to the range and fire. shoot three and if the group is not special, move to the next load. If it is, fire the last two shot's. After you've gone tru the box of ammo, one load should be standing out. On the other hand if your not crazy about any of them, try the next bullet then to the next powder and start over.

I would warn you about pre-selecting the bullet you want, your rifle might not want it! Years ago when I first started thinking about my 6.5x06 I imagined it with a 140gr Nosler part. The chamber is cut to handle that bullet with the base of the bullet seated to the junction of the neck and the shoulder. It don't like 140gr Nosler's! Tolerates 140gr Hornadys and thrives on 140gr SMK's. For hunting it really likes 129gr Hornady's quite well. The point is, go with a suoitable bullet that your rifle like's or you could end up chasing ghost's all over.

On the other hand, finding a 1 1/2" group with the Barnes should not be that hard. My own old 7mm mag absolutely loved 160gr Speer Hot Core bullets, that was a long time ago.



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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 01:12 AM
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Busted
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"Does this sound like a good way to work up to a load?"

Not to me. Such large differences between charges will often completely skip over the good shooting nodes. And five round tests are really more than needed at first, use three rounds and steps of a full grain in a 7mag until you find a close group. THEN try three batches in .5 grain changes at and around the best load.


If that shows anything, comfirm the best grouping load with a five, or even ten, shot group. Total group size is what counts, not average. All averages do is make the bigger groups sound nicer. The total group size for a lot of shots from a cold barrel is all we can count on in the field.



 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 01:43 AM
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busted hit some pretty good basics and common sense ,
the first few things to working up a good load u have done , got a rifle , looked at some bullets,primers,powders and a lil seasoning ( that'd be us lolz )what u dint tell us is the purpose of this load work up ...is it for say deer, elk ? or paper ? or perhaps even prairie dogs what ever it is u have chosen ur bullet(s)and a couple powders and are chompin at the bit ( i can relate )loading the max honestly isnt advised ! plz keep in mind that no matter whose data we are using for reference that is their data with their rifle ( and yes every one really is different -just like women-even identical twins )and i have yet to see a reloading manual or a powder company's brochure advise to load max ,they will state do not go above it and if they dont list a starting grainage they suggest reduce by 10% and work up , ur rifle may max before the published max ( or quite possibly be able to be loaded above max but dont count on it )i have to assume alot of things here ...i assume that u have fired factory ammo to get ur cases ? or that they are now sized for ur rifle , i'm unaware of ur shooting situations ( some guys can just shoot off their porch and some have to travel )i would advise to start at the start ,load perhaps 5 ,then load 3 exactly 1 grain higher and then 3 more ,all these i would fire while watching and/or measuring for pressure signs velocity etc (the extra 2 of the first is for u to see where they are hitting ,call them spotters or fouling shots if u wish )then follow busted's advice ,after u have a decent group you can often fine tune it even more by varying ur seating depth ,primers,crimp,smaller changes of powder etc etc but it's always wise to try only one variable at a time ,also keep in mind that a load that shoots good today may shoot better tomorrow or worse, double ditto summer and winter



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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:18 AM
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tayhot
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Ok, I see I am talking with folks who know their stuff.

 

The purpose of this load is for deer and elk. I have no problem hunting elk with a 150 gr bullet. Have done it for years with much success.

 

I have shot the factory Barnes bullets from Federal and the accuracy out of my rifle was impecable. If I can get close to what I get from the factory and increse velocity, I will be happy. That is the goal here. The indirect result of handloading this round is gain more knowledge as to my rifle performance to the outer limits (outer limits being longer range shots). Not to come off rude, but please dont give me a lesson on hunting ethics and long range shots. I dont plan on shooting over 500 yards. I feel confident with that distance as a max, only in perfect conditions.

 

Let me give you my reasoning to my madness. If I shoot the minimum charge,  median, and maximum, in theory, one of those or two of those is going to be better than the others. If the minimum and and median charges shoot good then I will start down from the median and decrease the powder.If the median and max look good, the I will start from the median and increase the powder. Sounded logical in my head :)



 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:30 AM
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tayhot, Check out this thread on the ladder method of finding the best load. This is on our sister site baitshopboyz.com. A lot of guys from here post over there too. Usually with the same poster ID. Rockydog

http://www.baitshopboyz.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4300&PN=1



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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:37 AM
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tayhot
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Sorry I didnt answer the first question asked to me.

"Your only willing to try two bullet's and two powder's?"

The answer is yes and no. Yes, I am only willing to try two bullets because I only shoot Barnes. There are many reasons for this, most of them being that I think they are the best bullets on the market in my humble opinion. I have taken many game with them from pistol loads, muzzleloader, and rifle. They perform better than anything I have shot. So I guess its just the history I have with Barnes. I would like to try the Nosler E tip bullet, but dont have any. I like the fact they perform as promised with perfect mushrooming, and about 98% weight retention. I have recovered all but two bullets on the game that I have shot. I like the fact that I get deep penetration and dont blow through the sides of the game I'm shooting. Seems to me if you get complete pass throughs, you arent getting the full energy to the game. Sure you have a huge hole and lots of blood, but I like the bang flops.

As for the powder, I would like to try anything, but this is where I am weak on knowledge. I am going off Barnes reloading data and when I talked to their tech Ryan, he said these would be the best powders. If you have any other ideas, I am all ears. :)

 

 



 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 03:55 AM
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4831 is a great powder (in all it's flavors) as for bang flops lolz that has alot to do with bullet placement and secodary will be engery transfer, i have seen bang flops that didnt stay flopped however ( one was a buddy using a 7 mm mag at that )i figured u'd be using them for hunting deer or elk by the bullet weight and selection ,barnes does indeed make some great bullets ! the same can also be said of many other bullet makers,as u said u have had great luck with them and that helps alot ! i care not whether a person drives a chevy or a ford or volkswagon as long as they do it safely and prudently and i also agree that if it aint broke dont fix it lolz i have also loaded for a gun that the starting charge was too hot ( with h4831 even )hence my suggested starting spot.. which oddly enough mirrors the industry's ,had i not been observant and loaded as u suggested it ..well i dont really care to think of it ,let's just say i am glad that i did follow established protocols ,btw ? max load for that magnum of mine is a grain and a half below lyman's suggested starting load and way below hodgdon's listed max load but i had to go even lower to find my most accurate load (it's a nice tite chamber and blows primers with factory ammo )most any powder with a burning rate slower than 4831 should work well( the ford vs. chevy thing again sorta )heavier bullets seem to respond best to slower powders IMO and there is also the accessibility factor of different powders,when trying to duplicate a factory load ( or reasonably so ) a chronograph really helps ! as to the outer limits .. u have to find a safe load that u find acceptable and then shoot it ( alot ) at different ranges and for best results stick to that one load ,i've had friends chuckle at me for takin my deer gun ( and loads ) to the prairie dog town but it's a great way to learn ur loads

imr 7828,rl25,retumbo,even winchester wmr as well as hodgdon 1000 are all prime candidates for powder as well ,most factory ammo is made with slightly different powder than we the consumer can buy ,they have their own ballistic labs tho and buy powder by the tonnage and while we can approximate their loads at least velocity wise we can often exceed them -especially in the accuracy ,i dont load for this caliber ( my biggest current 7mm is a 7-08, i love the 6.5's the .30's and umm sum other assorted stuff lolz )in my load work ups it's pretty much as i outlined ,i use a 50 round flip top box 3 handloads plus one factory round per row(except for the first one ) when i'm first starting out ( i usually dont shoot all of them and it's nice to have a reference)i also wouldnt expect a great loading to hit to the same impact as u now have ur scope set too after all at the moment ur looking for grouping and safe loads(if u do use the two umm fouling/spotter shots for a two shot zero keep track of ur clicks so u can return to ur factory ammo zero - i write them down on my index card i include in every box of ammo ! ) :thumbs:

edit for a blatant typo or two lolz



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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:33 PM
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swampshooter
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Rockydog wrote: tayhot, Check out this thread on the ladder method of finding the best load. This is on our sister site baitshopboyz.com. A lot of guys from here post over there too. Usually with the same poster ID. Rockydog

http://www.baitshopboyz.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4300&PN=1

+1 for good advice Rockydog :thumbs: I've used the ladder system quite successfully for years, it works very well. After developing two or three loads using the ladder system, I then fire 5-5shot groups over the chronograph of each and make my decision based on these results. But then, I like to shoot, if someone wanted to shoot 3-3 shot groups, that would probably suffice for a hunting rifle.



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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:36 PM
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saddlesore
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Havng loaded for both a Rem 7 mag and a Weatheby 7mg, I found that they like near max loads.

However I am saying near max loads for that particular rifle, not what the book says.

I have used both RL-22 and H4831 and did not see much difference. In a 7 mag case capacity  until you are near max, 1 gr increments in powder isn't going to make much difference. It has been proven many times as case capacity increases, small differnces in powder quantity does  not make much difference in accuracy.

You don't say if this is a new rifle or not,  but if it is, I would invest in a box of Sierra Match Kings,or at least Game Kings and work up a load first. This will give you a base  line of what the rifle is capable of. In many years mf shooting, I have found if a rifle won't shoot those bullets, there is some thing wrong with the rifle. Then work up a load with the bullet you chose for hunting. This method can save you a lot of grief and with Barnes bullets, a lot of cash.

In either application, you need to select  a bullet to match the rifling twist in your 7 mag.

Even though you have successfully taken elk with 150 gr bullets,your 7 mag might not shoot 150 gr bullets very well. It may vary well like 140 gr bullets or 160 gr bullets or even 175 gr.

Then you may decide if the bullet you chose for hunting  has the accuracy  you can live with

I also do not subscibe to the theory of achieving maximum velocity  in lieu of accuracy.  A grain or two reduction is not going to get your 7 mag into a .280 or 7x 57 realm, and  in reality a reduction in velocity of 200 fps or so isn't going to make  meaurable difference in trajectory out to 500 yds. However, it may significantly affect the accuracy potential of the rifle .

Being able to precisely place a bullet where you want it always trumps how fast it gets there.

As  for 3 rounds vs 5 , I don't think it makes much difference when working up a load. Initilly, 3 rounds will give you as much information as you need to see if a load is worthy of further testing. Once you get into the realm of the rifles true capability and have  done the tweaking up and down of  that particular load it seems to  like, Then 5 shots might be in order, but to successfully say that is  THE load, proabaly you need about 10 groups of 5 each, shot on differnt days at differnt ambient temperatures .

I suspect though,that since you are shooting Barnes bullets, you will not go to the expense of doing all this, and then start playing with seating depths etc. 

Last edited on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:37 PM by saddlesore



 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:49 PM
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Don Fischer
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Rockydog wrote:
tayhot, Check out this thread on the ladder method of finding the best load. This is on our sister site baitshopboyz.com. A lot of guys from here post over there too. Usually with the same poster ID. Rockydog

http://www.baitshopboyz.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4300&PN=1




I went and read the method called ladder climbing, never heard of it befor. If that does work, that would be a great place to shoot the pressure test loads I mentioned.

I suspect that for it to work, the shooter must have very good shooting skills or a vice to hold the rifle in. Other wise operator error enter's the problem and it would be hard so seperate plain bad shot's from the sweet spot.

Our mayor came by the other day and borrowed my target frame, bags and rest to go sight in his 300wsm and his 338. With the way he shoot's, there is no way the ladder system would work.

____________________________________________________________________

Concerniung Busted:

""Does this sound like a good way to work up to a load?"

Not to me. Such large differences between charges will often completely skip over the good shooting nodes. And five round tests are really more than needed at first, use three rounds and steps of a full grain in a 7mag until you find a close group. THEN try three batches in .5 grain changes at and around the best load.


If that shows anything, comfirm the best grouping load with a five, or even ten, shot group. Total group size is what counts, not average. All averages do is make the bigger groups sound nicer. The total group size for a lot of shots from a cold barrel is all we can count on in the field."


______________________________________________________________________

I do not work up a load in five shot increment's, I use three. What I do do is load five in case one or more group's need a further check. Then I fire off the remaining two loads in that group. Those that don't get fired go home to be pulled. I use the intrtia bullet puller and by being careful it is very possible to pull even soft nose bullet's without harming the bullet nose.

Here is a group from a load I was working up for my 25-06. Five rounds were loaded and the first shot from this group I pulled. I went down and marked the shot then went back and fired two more. Checking that I found only one hole so I either missed completely at 100yds or something else happened. I haven't missed the target area at 100yds in over 40 years. So I went back and fired one more round and went to check it. The hole was just slightly different. Went back and fired the last of the five and again saw the shape of the hole change.

Had I only loaded three rounds in each set, I would have had to go home and wonder what had happened. The two extra's provided me with the answer. To go home is a three mile trip one way, I doubt I would have gone back that same day and maybe just put it out of my mind.



Had I worked up to here in one grain increments I could well have found it. But it may have been laying inbetween two loads and been disguised, finding it then would be trial and error. The rifle I shot this in I usually only use 117gr loads in and it's an honest 1" rifle, little over some days and a little under some days. Also I started out by measuring the chamber and seating the bullet just off the lands as best I could without the Sinclair tool that goes on the caliper's. Simple process but measure's from the tip of the bullet to the face of the bolt rather than the ogive to the face of the bolt. Second method would be more accurate than my method but not by much.

EDIT: BTW, I print up my own target's and that aiming dot is 7/8th inch dia.


Last edited on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 02:56 PM by Don Fischer



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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 05:09 PM
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The best way to find a good load to start with, is to check several reloading manuals because most list the most accurate powder for the bullet for the cal tested. When you look at a number of manuals a pattern starts to develop on which powders turn in the most accurate loads tested and then start with these powders and go from there. Most rifle cal shoot their best with powders that completely fill the case. The game you decide to hunt will make the choice for the type of bullet you use. Premier bullets are not designed for match accuracy even tho some come close in good rifles, they are designed to break bones and penetrate large tough animals like Elk where you can run into trouble with standard bullet if you make less than the perfect shot or shoot at a animal from the south end when he is heading north.  For deer just about any old bullet will work .  I personally wouldn't hunt with a rifle that wouldn't group around 1 1/2 or less  with its hunting load.



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 Posted: Thu Sep 24th, 2009 03:19 AM
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Don Fischer wrote:
I use the intrtia bullet puller and by being careful it is very possible to pull even soft nose bullet's without harming the bullet nose.




nice group amigo ! and a tech tip ,a serious reloader will have at least pulled one soft tip bullet with a inertia puller ( of various make ) yup they can deform a nice soft tip ... an old ( even used ) soft foam earplug in the bottom helps prevent this ! i used a semi cone shaped one for a bit but had to put it back in every time i used it then i found that the fat barrel shaped ones stay pretty decent ( and protect the tip just as well as the other kind )



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