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Old December 1, 2012, 11:14 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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First rifle reloads: what do you make of this?

2 weeks ago I loaded 5 cartridges of two types:
Neck sized, no crimp. N135 34.4gr, CCP primer, Lapua 155gr Scenar.
Neck sized, no crimp. N135 35.8gr, CCP primer, Hornady 155gr A-max.
These were my first ever rifle reloads

The first part of my range time was zeroing my scope using the Norma 155gr Jatkamatch cartridges.
That seemed to work well as I managed two decent groups.

One was of about 1 MAO at 100m, the other 1.5 MOA.
Not great by most people's standards, but my best so far, especially seeing as I've shot less and 100 rounds so far...

I chrono'ed two of each of my reloads and a handful of the Normas. The Jatkamatch were about 2570 ft/s , the Lapuas came to 2150ft/s (2126, 2171) and the Hornadys also 2150ft/s (2233, 2073: big difference )

Anyway, after the chrono shots, I had 3 shots left of each to shoot at my target.
I use those sighting targets with a central circle to aim at, but also 4 sets of little squares for tracking tests, so I chose some of the untouched corner targets.
I fired but saw no fresh holes: none.
Seemingly, the shots never even touched the target.

I decided to then aim in the adjacent lane (I had the range to myself!! ) where the churned out hollow behind the target holder was covered in snow. I fired in the centre so that wherever my shot landed, I'd have some idea where the shot went due to the snow cover. The plume of snow and dirt appeared right where I'd aimed!!

When I finally decided to go home, I got my target and noticed a handful of holes that looked .308 sized (compared to the 5.56 sized holes that had peppered the plywood).
They looked to be high, but I cannot be sure that these were mine.

So, what could have caused these shots to go high or at least off target when all others (factory cartridges and my single "snow-hole" shot) went where they were supposed to?
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Old December 1, 2012, 02:31 PM   #2
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30-06? 308?, 300 Win. Mag?
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Old December 1, 2012, 02:50 PM   #3
Nathan
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Stumped me! Is your scope loose!
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:04 PM   #4
SSA
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Your handloads are very light. There is no reason to expect them to hit in the same place as full power factory loads.
You can't tell anything at all by firing one shot at snow.
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:11 PM   #5
Pond, James Pond
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.308 Win.

Nope, scope is firmly in place.

In total, there were must have been 5 of these "errant" rounds...

The only difference was that I had fired several rounds in relatively quick succession shortly before to get readings from the Norma rounds through the chrono: was not aiming, I just wanted velocities, so perhaps the barrel was a bit warmer. Having said that, it is getting cooler here: it was -5 celsius out there, so perhaps it is not so crucial...
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:19 PM   #6
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Your handloads are very light. There is no reason to expect them to hit in the same place as full power factory loads.
You can't tell anything at all by firing one shot at snow.
They are light: they are the starting charges advised by my loading manuals. I can work them up later, but I did not want to start on a load higher than that for my first ever reloads.

As for the shot to the snow: it isn't the best diagnostic, but all the factory shots had gone pretty much where I had aimed on paper as did that shot in the snow hollow.

The idea was that if it had flown high, low, left or right, I would have at least had some idea where it had gone. The paper target on a peppered ply back-board did not give me that information: there were too many holes to discern which were which...
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:29 PM   #7
Jimro
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Ok, so you did some starting load charges. Now increase the charge weight by half a grain until you get to max charge to ensure that the bullet/powder/primer/brass combination is safe in your rifle.

Don't let the chronograph tell you what load works best for you. Develop a good load first, then let the chronograph help you make it better by figuring out how to get your velocity SD down if you want to.

That being said, 2100 to 2200fps is not where I would expect good accuracy from 155gr bullets. Mainly because you are going to have lousy case fill, which can lead to erratic pressure curves (there are exceptions to this, but they are rare). I expect you will start seeing better accuracy when you get a better case fill.

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Old December 1, 2012, 05:17 PM   #8
Pond, James Pond
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Thanks for the input Jimro!! Interesting!

I try to work on some increased loads as you suggested and see how I get on!

Looks like I have some trips to the range in my near future!
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Old December 1, 2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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James,

Usually the low load data is so you don't drop below those and cause erratic pressure issues.

Not a good starting point (IMNSOP*)

I would start someplace around mid point.

For 308 the LOWEST loads on a quick glance are 2300 fps for a 155.

I would go for at least 2400-2500 fps (and often I find my loads are slower than list even with same length barrel).

Work up to 2600 or so. You do not have to go max if you are not hunting with them. Even then I keep below max as that is more reliable.

Also be aware some powders do not like cold.

* In My Not So Humble Opinion
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Old December 2, 2012, 04:05 AM   #10
Pond, James Pond
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Thanks RC20.

From what I recall, 2600 ish is near the max for those bullets, but I'm sure I can find a 2300ft/s mid ground.

Looking at the Lapua web data, I guessing something in the region of 36-37gr for the Scenar and a bit more (38gr?) for the A-max (Don't know for sure as it is not listed, but I think I have the data in one of the manuals.).

All in all, it is good to know that it is doesn't seem to be an assembly error, or my rifle being junk, rather too weak a load...
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