Load Development: Ladder Test

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by JLA, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I did just that and it does. The sweet load has a nearly perfectly level line that spans across 4 or more load increments and has almost the exact same POI relative to the POA. Then it abruptly hit high usually, but i did do one where it went low first then extremely high on the next shot after.
  2. time2shoot

    time2shoot Well-Known Member

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    All i can say is WOW!
    This is going to save me lots of powder and bullets. And headakes
  3. sliclee

    sliclee New Member

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    You gotta be kidding this has to be some kind of a joke and I dont get it. Ah ha.
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Anything in particular that I can help you to understand?
  5. 68c15

    68c15 Well-Known Member

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    man, I have to do this!!!!!!

    I am just getting into loading and as usual I strive for the utmost precision. some call me anal. if father's Day is good to me I will get my Ruger American -06. I feel a rifle with as good a reputation as that has deserves precise loads.

    any advice for me about setting up a few different loads? ie. 130g, 150g, and 180g bullets for different hunting conditions
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    For the .30-06 one of my favorite deer loads is 168 gr Amax over 57 gr IMR 4350.
  7. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

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    JLA and Others,
    I have done ladder tests with my rifles and have had good results The PROBLEM is when I try to do the tests with my pistols. Long story short, Because of my eye sight (age) I can not verify that my aim is exactly the same each shot ( as Bullet misses target, bullets shooting left of target then go to right side, ect) This is at 25 yards with sand bags and what ever else I can find to steady my aim. Question is if I bring the target closer I suspect my results will be skewed as the bullet has not had time to develope its flight path. Would this assumption be correct and I would just be wasting powder and bullets? I just want to find a good combo to reload for. I am shooting a 9mm with mixed cases, 124 grn hornady RN using Unique or W231 powder. Thanks

    Chuck
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    That is exactly right Chuck. The close range will tell you lies as to what the load is doing. Id say from the bench to 15 yds all youre reading is where the sights are pointed, and of course shooter fundamentals.

    My advice for you is one of 2 things.. Mount a scope to your handgun so as to aide in keeping an exact POA at 25-30 yds.. OR, select a middle of the road load for your 124 gr 9mm loads and be happy with the accuracy you get. Unless the handgun is an uber accurate target gun, the middle of the road load may be the only practical choice anyway. ;)
  9. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    ChuckR, I sympathize with you has I have the same problems/results from my attempts at developing that just right hand gun load. It is usually my poor pistol craft that leads me to say screw it and I do what Josh suggested. But I do keep trying. I have loads of a Laser Cast 158gr. swc ahead of Unique and another batch on top of HP-38 all the way from starting loads up to 1000 fps. All to be shot in a S&W 6" Model 27. I will be trying these as soon as my right hand heals from carpal tunnel surgery. I stay optimistic that the next time I will do it all the right way and get those results we all look for.
  10. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

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    JLA, Todd51,
    Thank you for your feed back and insite. JLA I am shooting a Beretta M9 that has no railing for a scope, I have tried looking for a rail adaptor but have not had any success, One more quick question as I think it is off-topic for this post.
    My manuels state for Unique powder 124grn bullet 4.0 MIN to 5.0 MAX, the Unique powder chart states 5.0 MIN to 5.8 MAX. JLA, I believe you stated in another post that you used 5.3 of Unique with a 9mm 124 grn bullet, could you please comfirm this. I tried what the manuals stated but had a few FTE and FTL. I want to try what Unique charts say but am worried of over pressure (still new to reloading :) :) ) Thanks again guys for all your help.

    Chuck
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Yes sir. 5.3 is pretty much a starting load and it shoots well. It is one of the few starting loads that does work well in the 9mm luger too. The 9 tends to like it a little on the hot side especially in the M9 in order to cycle the action reliably. Alliants webpage lists 5.8 gr unique uner a 124 GDHP as a MAX LOAD so work it up from 10% below that.
  12. clepidus

    clepidus Member

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    Ok so I am getting into the discussion a little late as here but I have a question. This concept is new to me and it makes a ton of sense. I am just wondering if it would make more sense to do three shot groups on each load to look for consistency? On one hand I think that 3 shot groups would show a pattern at the same time as the range but on the other hand I think error could be ruled out by the "sweet spot" found with single shots for each load.
  13. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    The group testing comes after the initial ladder test. Usually when you perform a ladder test you will end up with 2 major sweet spots within any given data spread. You shoot your ladder test, meticulously, attantion to detail is the key, and then you group test your sweet loads. and voila, you select the one that shoots the best. I have done so many ladder tests ive lost count, but one noteworthy observation is this.. 98% of the rifles and cartridges ive tested with this method seem to like a charge somewhere around .8-1.2 gr below max charge.
  14. clepidus

    clepidus Member

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    Thanks for the additional information. There is something to be said about this as your note says that 98% of the cartridges you tested like .8 to 1.2 below max charge and that is where my sweet spots have been as well.

    I'm going to try and get my .270 worked up in the next couple weeks although I am not sure how much time I can dedicate to it right now. I sure wish I did not live in town, our local ranges and my hours do not work so well. I hate driving 1.5 hours to test a load.

    Mike
  15. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya. I do not miss those days. I too used to live in town. Then I bought some land and built a range. Been happy ever since.. ;)
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