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Old August 29, 2012, 08:58 PM   #1
farmerboy
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Pistol round developing

Just wandering when you guys (and girls) develop a pistol round do you just load somewhere in between min and max and go with it or do you really get targets and start playing with powder charges like rifles say at 15 yards and find that sweet spot where the most accurate charge is?
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:31 PM   #2
Adamantium
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Your going to have to be a very good shot or shoot from a rest to notice any real accuracy difference in most pistol loads. 15 yards will be even harder. I will do 25 or 50 yards myself but that is more to confirm accuracy not trying to refine it. My competition load for my 45acp is right at minimum load and I shoot more of that than everything else combined. All my other loads (9mm, 38spl +P, 357 magnum and 45acp with JHPs) are all at max load.

For me I work all my loads up from min to max even if I don't plan on shooting them at max. This way all my experimentation is done and over with and if I want do dial up the power down the road I can crank out a few hundred rounds without making a trip to the range for testing.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:41 PM   #3
farmerboy
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ok, i shoot 50 yards and 100 yards almost every 2-3 days off my front porch just to hear a clang. both are 12" gongs. I can hit 50 yarder almost every shot with a glock 22 and 100 yarder about 5 out of 10 shots. But my shots are just somewhere on there. I understand about using a bench or something when testing. But Im talking about really running through charges to find the utmost accuracy in which grains. I usually just pick middle of the road and start cranking them out. But if I can really see a difference by ladder testing like I do rifles, sure thats what I want. If it really helps.. By the way, shooting at 50-100 yards is always off hand never a bench.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:46 PM   #4
Adamantium
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Thats going to be more of a test of the shooter than the gun. If you want to really dive into pistol accuracy I have 2 words for you, Ransom Rest.
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:10 PM   #5
farmerboy
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So you reckon it's safe to say it probably won't make a bit of difference at 15-20 yards.
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:13 PM   #6
McClintock
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I will start at a minimum load, and load batches of 10-15 rounds, going up in .1 grain increments. I will shoot a few through a chronograph, and then accuracy test at 25 yards for 9mm, and 50 yards for .38 special (competition distances for me). Not as accurate a measurement as using a ransom rest, but it's enough of a distance that you can tell where the accuracy sweet spot is for a particular load.

What I have noticed with some 9mm loads is if certain cast bullets that I use are pushed too fast, they have a tendency to tumble, and if you back off a bit on the charge, that is the most accurate load I can get with this cast bullet. Other cast .38 special loads that I have developed have pretty good accuracy at 25 yards, but fall apart at 50 (no good for competition). So, experimentation definitely pays off.

Hope that helps.

Cheers!
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:54 PM   #7
farmerboy
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I guess I should have added this is with a Glock 22 (40 cal) using Hornady XTPs or Rainier bullets.
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Old August 30, 2012, 10:02 AM   #8
dahermit
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Developing a load for a handgun should start with the "starting load" as per your hand loading manual for the powder you use. You will need to fire a five shot group at a convenient distance from either a mechanical rest like Ransom if you can afford it, or if like most of us, seated, gun supported by sand bags if you cannot. Try your best to hold the sight picture and carefully fire five shots with your load. Increase the Load by about .5 grains or less if you are patient, and fire five shots at another paper target. At some point, before reaching the maximum load for that powder, you will usually find a load that your gun likes (most accurate five-shot group). Despite what others have stated, there will be a very apparent difference in the group sizes even at 15 yards or so.
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Old August 30, 2012, 10:41 AM   #9
serf 'rett
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I can see a difference when testing loads. Groups scatter and tighten as the powder charge is changed (or primer or case or bullet or OAL is changed). The group locations will also move around. I load 7 rounds per step and use 0.2 grain steps, unless I'm working with a fast powder where the steps are in 0.1 increments. The ladder will be the min to max range I have selected (after manual and online load sources have been reviewed).

Shoot off sandbags with targets at 50 feet. Scan targets and use On Target software to produce group size and location data. Data saved in spreadsheets. Targets labeled and saved for reference.

Good loads are picked. Occasionally will include a "good load" when testing a new series. That target will be compared to original testing target to see if anything has changed (surprise, that humdinger of a load at 56 degrees F is hotter at 98 degrees F and changes point of impact).
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Old August 30, 2012, 12:43 PM   #10
tkglazie
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Sure, why not load test? Seated and from a rest I chrono the loads, shoot them alternately at their respective targets and pick the best load. Here is a sample of my most recent 230gr FMJ .45 load test at 25'.

For me, with my less than perfect shooting skills, it is important to take the next step before deciding (not pictured). After this seated/rest test, I then stood up and shot 5 of each load at their respective targets to see how the non-rest groups compared. In this case, the 5.0gr N320 group stayed the same (stayed centered, only grew slightly), while the other 3 grew quite a bit and in some cases the POI moved as well. The easy choice was the 5.0gr n320 load. By finishing off the rest of the box of each as various distances I confirmed the test and settled on the load.
[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by tkglazie; August 30, 2012 at 03:37 PM.
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Old August 30, 2012, 01:55 PM   #11
farmerboy
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Thanks Tkglazie, that's the same way basically I do for rifles but just shoot tons of pistol ammo. Didn't know if it would show much difference but then again, matches aren't won by much difference. If you can tighten up a tiny fraction you did something worthwhile. Thanks
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Old August 30, 2012, 03:36 PM   #12
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The funny thing about this particular test is I went in thinking for sure the 4.8gr HP38 load was going to be the winner, and it was the worst by far. I had made up a bunch in advance and in using then up later I found they grouped about 50% larger than the winning load or worse. Shows you what assumptions are good for. The paper never lies!
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