Practical Advice on working up loads...

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by polishshooter, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    OK, I am at the point I can start working up loads for my Swift. Ultimately I want to come up pwith the most ACCURATE load period no matter how fast, which will probably be with 50gr + loads and then because i CAN ;) I want to find the most accurate FAST load 4000+ with 40 grain Varmint bullets

    But I have never done this before, so I need PRACTICAL advice.

    I mean, I have loaded for years for pistols, and I have all my manuals and suggested loads, and have loaded rifle (Very little. for my son's 6.5 Arisaka , my .223 AR, and my 7.62R Mosins, but I only loaded mid range military spec loads for them, never "worked up loads") so I am aware of all the technical steps and trimming and seating .etc.

    What I need is the PRACTICAL stuff to make it easier at the range...

    Kirk gave me my starting load with bullet and powder, which I already have, and says to increase by .2 grains until I find the sweet load, and I get that....


    But what I need is suggestions HOW you do that...or tell me how YOU do it so I can get pointers.

    Like, do I load 5 rounds at each weight, 10 rounds, 20 rounds...do I shoot 3 round groups, 5 round groups, clean between each load, how long does it take, etc.

    And I have seen benchrest guys load at the range...should I or do any of you take your stuff to the range and load the next highest load between strings while the barrel cools? What works best...

    How does the scale work outside if there is a breeze? (I have a traditional Lyman balance scale)

    Any of the little tricks of the trade you guys use, and especially little things I haven't even thought of yet :rolleyes:I would appreciate to hear!

    Thanks.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  2. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member

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    Shooter, I think one thing you should read about is the Audette Ladder test.
    http://www.mikeswillowlake.com/ladder%20test.htm
    It is a method that speaks directly to what you are trying to do. You can also search the posts here for "ladder test" and find how others have progressed using this method.
  3. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    I've worked loads up for my swift & I noticed that at lower charge levels this round is erratic. I used my chrony to watch spreads & noticed I had to be fairly hot to get even velocities. I tried different brands of primers & CCI mag primers gave me the best accuracy in my rifle. Subtle powder changes didn't change much for accuracy once I got hot enough to even out the spreads.

    I like to use Lee dippers at the range for load development. Wind doesn't bother the dippers like it does a scale. Learned that from benchrest shooting.

    You may find 40 grainers grenade on you just out of the muzzle at top velocities. I had to go to mid-weight bullets with the swift.
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    heres my method...

    Say im loading .308 for my savage and I want to work up a load with Alliants new 2000-MR powder and 175 gr sierra matchkings.

    Heres what I do... first Ill settle on my components, for this project im using Hornady match brass so Ill weight sort them and choose 50 cases that all weigh within .1-.3 gr of each other, the extreme light ones get saved and set aside and the extreme heavies get saved and set aside also because they can still be used, they just need to be paired with enough of their own weight class for consistency...

    That takes care of the brass, I mostly use only magnum primers anyway, but since this is a ball propellant its a good idea to use a hotter primer. You dont have to, but I do so out come the CCI250s

    then I get a couple boxes of the sierra MKs off the shelf and weight sort them the same wat I did the brass, writing the weights on the base of the bullet with a sharpie or placing them in a small zip loc baggie and segragating them into their own weight groups. Again all this weight sorting lends well to tight groups and really doesnt take that much longer to do (call it extensive case and bullet inspection;))...

    Prime the cases and prepare to load.

    You will need to predetermine the bullet jam figure for your particular rifle, my savage/criterion jams the 175 into the rifling at 2.880" which is .080" longer than the listed COAL in the sierra manual. I like to start at .010" off the rifling so my COAL is set to 2.870" which does still work in the magazine of my savage action...

    Alliant lists 2000-MR at a 47.7 gr MAX for the 175 sierra, so I reduce by 10%. This gives me a start of 43.0 and a MAX of 47.7, from here I load an audette ladder test, one round at 43.0, next at 43.2, next at 43.4, next at 43.6, etc til you get to the MAX of 47.7. Make sure you mark them all with a sharpie so you know what they are loaded with. This helps later when you shoot them.

    Once all my loads are done ill hit the range on a nice calm day. I like to ladder test at 200 yds but it can be done at 100, its just harder to distinguish the differences the closer you are to the target...

    Fire your rounds consecutively from start to MAX and VERY CAREFULLY recording on a copy of the target EXACTLY where they hit. You will notice certain charge weights will tend to group together on the paper, this indicates a sweet spot in the data. If your experiences duplicate mine, you will find a sweet load at about 1/4 of the way thru the test and another near max, the one near max is usually broader and will consist of 4 or 5 consecutive rounds whereas the one closer to start might be 2 or 3 that grouped. Go with the broader cluster of chargeweights and choose the load smack in the middle, this indicates an optimal chargeweight for those components and will give you a very resilient and satisfying load that will shoot where you want it to shot after shot.

    Good luck with your load development, this method has yet to fail me;)
  5. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Thanks guys, this is what I was looking for!

    #1- I own Lee dippers and have always had good consistant loads with them, in fact that is how I have loaded my rifle rounds until now (my new powder measuer is on it's way from Midway as we speak, LOL

    #2- the Ladder method intrigues me, as I do NOT want to spend 200 rds and all that time finding a load. my only concern is my range only goes to 100, so I wonder if I will see enough dispersion to make it work with the Swift.

    But I have run this by my varmint shooting buddies and they hadn't heard of this method either, and both are interested in trying it as well.
  6. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I ran the ladder test by my buddy the varmint rifle shooter and he had never heard of it. But he was intrigued. He called me back today and said he had an even better website for me: http://www.desertsharpshooters.com/manuals/incredload.pdf

    which explained it better. He recently finished his degree with reimbursement from our company for "continueing education" and got into statistics, which I think has turned him into a dweeb, since I personally think the FIRST website, much less JLA's explanation was much simpler to understand!:D

    But anyway he is a long time subscriber to Precision Shooting magazine or whatever that is claimed this was first printed in, and does NOT remember any article by Audette or whatever, which made him a skeptic.

    But even HE is intrigued, says the statistics and graphs are interesting (boring?):p and is going to try this too with his .22-250. (Yeah, a WIMP, NOT a Swiftie!:p)

    But he agrees with me that at 100 yds it may not work for the Swift. It is already inherently accurate, and I will probably end up with a 1.25" amorphous blob of twenty shots which I will ahve a tough time interpreting. He thinks since I already got a .5" group with FACTORY ammo I shouldn't have a tough time finding THE load for it.

    But I am going to try it anyway, WTH, right? 20 rounds will be worth it. MAYBE I will figure it out enough to get a decent load.
  7. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    Now that you've got the Swift, it's time to start saving your pennies for your polar bear rifle! (Stumbled across that while digging into some of the oldies on here.) :D:D:D
  8. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    WOW Josh THAT is an oldie! :p

    Funny how when you change your signatures it changes them ALL. In 2006 nobody knew WHO Sarah Palin was! LOL Was I brilliant then or WHAT!

    Yeah, now I'm SCARED to think of buying a .375! All my life it was "Before I die I need to own a SWIFT and a .375 H&H!"

    Now I own a Swift, if I buy my .375, does that mean all that is left is the DYING???:eek::p:D


    But it IS funny. When I was about 12 and reading all those mags and books and knew EVERYTHING I needed to know about guns, MUCH more than I actually know NOW.....;):p:D:D

    I wanted those two rifles.

    And I HAVE one of them now.

    I'm still pinching myself.:)

    Thanks Josh!
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Hey polish, Ill add a couple more links to your list of research material.

    http://optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com/ this one covers the OCW method, which is a very very extensive way of doing a ladder test....

    http://www.mikeswillowlake.com/ladder test.htm This one explains the Ladder test in detail. (turn your sound off, the music is annoying)

    The OCW method explains why I find the best loads in my ladder tests toward the top of the charge weights.

    And 100 yds is doable, just less discernable. if you do find your swifty wanting to put all 20 test rounds into one big ugly hole, just pick a load at the center of the data chart and run with it... ;)
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