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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
I shot this target today and wanted to get some experienced interpretation on the results. I tried it this way as to not waste so much ammo trying to find a right combo.
Also, a bit confused because I loaded 2 fouling/sighting loads at my lowest charge and attached is the picture on the black target. I wasnt sure what to think of this as the shots are touching....interesting...did I just stumble onto my combo?
Anyway, attached is the target and next step would be to average out the charges and try multiple rounds and pray they are a nice tight group.
Here are details:
Remington 700 .30-06
180 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip
Hodgdon Superformance Powder
CCI 200 Primers
CAOL: 3.365

I loaded 12 cartridges starting at 54.6 grains and went up .3 grains each cartridge until 59.7 grains which is the max charge for Superformance.
Thank you for any help, beginner reloader so any tricks or tips are appreciated.
 

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If I am interpreting this properly, you fired one round of each load at each target? Typically a group of three to five shots per charge should be fired at one target in order to develop a load. Keep in mind different powder charge weights will create different trajectory, so trying out loads just to get the rifle to impact the bullseye should not be a consideration until you first develop the tightest, consistent group.
 

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Hes performing a ladder test 312. Using the graph method I developed and posted here in the stickies.

According to the results id say load 8 is your money shot. Of course a lot has been left to assumption. What is the target distance? Are you an MOA or better capable shooter?
 

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BTW Josh, thanks again for putting together that sticky thread on the ladder test!

Granted, I'm still new at mucking about with the ladder test concept but besides the #7-8 "sweet spot", I'd also try a few more in the loads #10-12 range too. That set looks fairly stable to my eye too.

One thing I do differently when I'm narrowing down the load ranges when I ladder test is that I run all my shots onto one target instead of an individual target for each shot. I walk downrange and number each shot as the barrel is cooling. For me, this seems to work better than graphing across a grid when I'm down to a smaller number of test loads. Tagging each shot gives me a good consistent cooldown period between shots too...otherwise I DO tend to rush the test process.
 

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what is it you guys are looking for on these tests? I am not quite understanding your liking #'s 8 and 10-12.
I was under the assumption you set your scope to a point of aim an inch off the red dot and look for the one(s) that get the closest to that.

I would very much like to get this down pat as in 2 weeks I will be doing ladder tests for my 700 .243 with 2 separate powders
 

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Looking for a set of load weights that group together todd. I said load 8 because from 4 to 12 all had the same POI above the bull. if you were to stack those targets aligning all the POAs all of the POIs would be well within an inch of each other. As far as load performance goes that powder is among the holy grail of powders in that cartridge under that bullet.

Notice the elevation differences between shots 1, 2 and 3... down, up, down... That indicates inconsistent velocity and/or barrel time has the bullet exiting at the peak of its vibration cycle. When searching for that sweet load you are looking for an optimal barrel time. A specific load that produces a specific velocity that allows the bullet to clear the muzzle while the barrel is neutral in its recoil cycle.

I really need to know more information regarding this particular test. If the test was performed at a distance lesser than 100 yds its null. If the shooter is not capable of MOA or better the results are null. The optimal distance for performing a ladder test is 300 yards. I have had very readable results at 200 yds as well. 100 gets a little hard to decipher. and less than 100 the bullet is still in yaw and your impacts are moot and not representative of the performance of the round. Of course this is all dependent upon the shooter being capable of an inch or better groups at 100 yds.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your input everyone.
JLA: the shots were at 100yds. I have only recently begun to shoot more. i started prairie dog hunting two years ago and that has gotten me started to get out more. so i've shot more rounds in the last two years than in my entire life (I'm 32). I'd call myself a decent shot, but I know that doesnt mean squat here. I get one to three inch groups consistently with factory ammo. I would not consider myself a MOA shooter yet.
So you would say that, along with it only being 100yds, makes this test as useful as an ice cube is to an eskimo? How would you suggest finding that sweet spot using this set up? (Meaning the powder, bullet, etc.) any suggestions or tips very appreciated.
Bindernut: good idea. i did have a timer with me and took a shot every 3 min. the barrel stayed consistent and never got hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I also failed to mentioned I read about the technique from JLA's post.
sorry i forgot to mention that originally.
 

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Yup, what you're looking for is a "sweet spot" in the barrel's harmonics. As Josh pointed out 1 & 2 were higher than point of aim, 3 was down at POA, 4&5 swung back above, 6 dipped down a bit, 7-8 above again but nice and level with each other, 9 started a another dip, 10-12 were higher again with a slight dip in the middle (#11). If you lay all of those shots out in a single line, you will see a fairly rhythmic oscillation.

What I look for in that is a nice flat curve between two or more steps in the sequence. That shows that those loads are in a fairly stable part of the barrel's vibration cycle. The more consistently you can position the muzzle as it's flopping around when the bullet exits the muzzle, the more consistently the bullet will start it's journey to the target.
 

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100 yd data is usable. You don't have to be a sub MOA shooter, it just makes obtaining usable results a lot easier. Given your shooting distance and shooting ability I stand by load 8. I believe that load will serve you very well for the time being.

If I were in your shoes I would use that load and in a years time revisit this particular ladder test and stretch it out to 200 yds if you possibly can. That will allow you time to get some more trigger time and hone your fundamentals.

Also if you have access to one. shoot a known SUB MOA capable rifle. That minimize the equipment factor and the impacts you see on paper are all on you as the operator of that rifle.

Another challenge I have for you int he short term is to read Col. Cooper's "The Art of The Rifle". Twice if you have to. You will gain a lot from it.
 

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I'm delighted to hear that 100 yd data is usable, Josh. Last time I went out, a week or so ago, I planned to sight in my new scope at 200 yds. It turns out that, between 1973 - when I bought my first .243 BLR - and 2013, someone made 200 yds a lot farther. I suppose it's just possible that at 58 my eyesight and stability of aim might be a bit less than they were at 19, but I think that the distance has changed, too.

I spent an hour or so trying to hit the target at all, then gave up and moved the target to 150 yds. That didn't work out much better, so I decided to quit wasting ammunition, and moved to 50 yds. Once I had the scope dialed in at that range, I moved out to 100 yds, then repeated the process. I was hitting 4-shot groups within a 2" diameter at 100 yds, but I think I should be able to do much better with this rifle. Should I spend some time testing at 100 yds with different loads, or do you think I would better spend my time developing the skill to hit at 200 yds first?

On a related note, the .30-06 BAR I have on order is equipped with the B.O.S.S. system which is supposed to null out the natural barrel flopping about. The description makes perfect sense to me, but since each load is going to have different behavior, what would be the proper order for optimizing? Balance the barrel for one load, then adjust the load for best spread? Or pick a load that works best as is, straight from the factory, then adjust the B.O.S.S. appliance to optimize the rifle's performance for the selected load?

What are your thoughts?
 

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The BOSS system doesn't dampen the barrel vibrations, it is a way for non-handloaders to tune the barrel for a specific load.
Basically, when you're dialing in those minute barrel length changes with the BOSS weight you're doing the same thing as tuning a load to match a rifle except you're working from "the other end of the rope". Instead of tweaking the load to match what you've got for barrel harmonics, you can tweak the barrel to tune it for what you've got available for ammo.
I would suggest doing your load tuning with either one or the other. If you're using both you've just doubled the workload to find a working sweet spot.

If it helps anyone relate the concept of tuning a load to a barrel (or barrel to load if you've got a BOSS type weight) you can compare it to the old-fashioned art of tuning a CB/AM/Ham radio antenna for best performance with an SWR meter, or building a speaker box and tuning the port size/length to fit the specific frequency range that you're wanting, or even tuning a guitar using harmonics.
It's all about getting the harmonics under control and making them do what you want them to instead of letting them randomly throw things around.
 

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JLA:
Why do you say #8 and not #7. Im not questioning your recommendation, but I'm trying to understand your thinking and logic for it. Are you thinking 8 because the barrel time is still stable and its at the highest velocity? Maybe I should re-read your technique in the stickies.... sorry for beating this to death.
Adam
 

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Thanks, Bindernut. I didn't mean to imply that the BOSS will dampen anything - it just fine tunes the barrel length to optimize for the load, but I see what you mean. I could be chasing my tail, tweaking the gun, then the load, then the gun again, then the load... :eek:

I've tuned a fair number of antennas over the years - CB, ham, marine, and a couple of missile guidance command uplink channels. The analogy is excellent!:)
 

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I'm delighted to hear that 100 yd data is usable, Josh. Last time I went out, a week or so ago, I planned to sight in my new scope at 200 yds. It turns out that, between 1973 - when I bought my first .243 BLR - and 2013, someone made 200 yds a lot farther. I suppose it's just possible that at 58 my eyesight and stability of aim might be a bit less than they were at 19, but I think that the distance has changed, too.

I spent an hour or so trying to hit the target at all, then gave up and moved the target to 150 yds. That didn't work out much better, so I decided to quit wasting ammunition, and moved to 50 yds. Once I had the scope dialed in at that range, I moved out to 100 yds, then repeated the process. I was hitting 4-shot groups within a 2" diameter at 100 yds, but I think I should be able to do much better with this rifle. Should I spend some time testing at 100 yds with different loads, or do you think I would better spend my time developing the skill to hit at 200 yds first?

On a related note, the .30-06 BAR I have on order is equipped with the B.O.S.S. system which is supposed to null out the natural barrel flopping about. The description makes perfect sense to me, but since each load is going to have different behavior, what would be the proper order for optimizing? Balance the barrel for one load, then adjust the load for best spread? Or pick a load that works best as is, straight from the factory, then adjust the B.O.S.S. appliance to optimize the rifle's performance for the selected load?

What are your thoughts?
Most medium capacity centerfire rifle cartridges share virtually the same POA/POI at 50 and 200 yds. So yes. sight your rifle for 50 yds and practice at 200. Your scope, if properly set up should negate the poor eyesight. so the only other hurdle in front of you is fundamentals.

think of the BOSS as a counterbalance weight. You adjust it out to slow the vibration cycle of the firing barrel and adjust it in to speed it up. And you simply stop and set it when the load shoots best.
 

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JLA:
Why do you say #8 and not #7. Im not questioning your recommendation, but I'm trying to understand your thinking and logic for it. Are you thinking 8 because the barrel time is still stable and its at the highest velocity? Maybe I should re-read your technique in the stickies.... sorry for beating this to death.
Adam
Simply because #8 is smack in the middle of all the loads that would have grouped together had they all been fired at the same POA on the same target. That will give you a large margin of error in your charging method and still be able to load accurate ammo.
 

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Thanks, Bindernut. I didn't mean to imply that the BOSS will dampen anything - it just fine tunes the barrel length to optimize for the load, but I see what you mean. I could be chasing my tail, tweaking the gun, then the load, then the gun again, then the load... :eek:

I've tuned a fair number of antennas over the years - CB, ham, marine, and a couple of missile guidance command uplink channels. The analogy is excellent!:)
If I were developing a load for the BOSS I would set it in the middle of its adjustment. Then develop the load. And finally id fine tune it with the BOSS to get the absolute most out of my rifle. That's actually a fantastic way to optimize an already optimum load.
 

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Excellent suggestion, JLA! That's how I'll tackle it.

On an unrelated note, I mentioned to my girl this weekend that I have the BAR on order. She was aghast! She asked, "What do you need that thing for, unless you plan to hunt big game?"

I told her I was thinking of trying for elk, and she let me have it with both barrels; "You have the .243! My uncle took all of his elk with a .22-250, and never missed a year. The BLR should be all you need!"

I can't answer that, other than that, all of my life I've never been able to afford to buy a gun just because I want it, and now I can. I shot a .30-06 BAR when I was about 9 years old and loved it; I've wanted one ever since.

I'm looking forward to this gun - I have for almost 50 years. It may be that I'll never use it for hunting, but I'll certainly use it to satisfy my wish of such long standing. So the question is, what's more important? The right gun, or the right woman?:D
 

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her uncle took elk with a 22-250?! point blank head shot when the elk was sleeping?
 
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