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Old February 1, 2013, 09:14 PM   #1
SnowTrekker
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1000 yard load workups?

Those of you who handload for 1000 yards:

How you know when your rifle "likes" a particular load? Do you work up a super-tight grouping load at 100 yards and hope that the accuracy translates over 1000 yards? I'd be concerned that perhaps a good load at 100 yards may not have the distance to be a good 1000 yard winner.

Any help?
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Old February 1, 2013, 10:43 PM   #2
golfnutrlv
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Handloads that group well at 100 or even 200 yards may not group at 300+ yards.

In developing my long range .308 load, the first thing I did was upgrade my components. I switched from whatever brass, to Lapua .308 brass, Sierra 175 Gr Matchkings, and Federal 210M primers.

Combine that with even more attention to detail in the loading process, and I was able to work up a load that shoots well under .5 MOA. It will easily group at 3 inches or less at 600 yards.

As a bonus, it is not by any means maxxed out. The load i ended up with is 1/2 grain under the book max. The book max load showed some pressure signs, and did not group as well.

Ultimately, find a load that groups well at 100, and test it at 300 or more yards. If it's consistent there, you are onto something. Also, don't be afraid to load the round a little longer, just a little bit off the lands/grooves of the rifling. Minimizes bullet jump, and can make a difference in accuracy. You can have a gunsmith find the optimum length for you, or you can just load a dummy round, and seat the bullet down little by little until the round chambers correctly.
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Old February 2, 2013, 12:48 PM   #3
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Handloads that group well at 100 or even 200 yards may not group at 300+ yards.
+1
It’s taken me years to get my heavy barrel 700 to shoot well at 300. This is a sub 1moa at 100.
I have a go to load for several bullets that will hold 4 inches at 300 but I have to be on that day.
As far as me going to 1000. First step is to have the eyes replaced.
I have only tried 1000 yards once and I gave it up quickly. I am a good shot out to 300 without too much wind but I can’t read all the variables a bullet encounters during that 1K flight time.
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Old February 2, 2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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How I know when a rifle "likes" a particular load? Once zeroed for a given range, the bullets strike exactly on, or very close to, where the sights were on the target when the round fired. At 1000 yards with a .308 Win., I don't want to miss my point of aim no more than 4 to 5 inches so the rifle, ammo with my abilities have to shoot holes in paper no worse than about 9 inches apart at 1000 yards when fired a steady rest. That's for a string of at least 20 shots.

While this may be a surprise to readers, I've only worked up one 1000-yard load for the .308 Win. case. All the others I've used to win or place well in matches at that range have been the same load that lots of folks have used to do the same thing. That's with bullets from 155 to 200 grains.

Therefore, if you'll let me know what bullet you want to use, I can give you a recommendation for a load. It helps a lot for best accuracy if the bullet's a few ten thousandths bigger than the barrel's groove diameter. If you could slug your barrel then carefully measure the slug's diameter, that number will help. Also, the barrel's length and rifling twist rate, too.

Group size in angle does not remain the same all the way down range to a distant target. They tend to open up about 10% for each 100 yards past the first 100; sometimes a lot more. If one wants their stuff to shoot no more than 1 MOA (10 inches) at 1000 yards, it'll have to do no worse than 1/4 to 1/3 inch/MOA at 100 yards.
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Old February 2, 2013, 04:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Bart B. - The rifle is a .308 Win. I plan on using Sierra 175 gr MatchKing bullets. My barrel is 26" with a 1/10 twist rate.

I am guessing load development is going to be somewhat of a long process in comparing many different loads to see how they shoot in my rifle. My Lyman and Sierra loading data books are just a starting place for the recipe that works best in my rifle.
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Old February 2, 2013, 06:38 PM   #6
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That 1:10 twist barrrel's best for 190 or 200 grain bullets; Sierra's 190 or 200 HPMK's for example. But 175's will work pretty good if they leave at about 2600 to 2650 fps. And they're better than Sierra's 168's and 180's 'cause their boattail is better shaped for long range use.

I suggest 43 grains of IMR4064 over a Wolf primer topped by that 175. Seat the bullets out as far as you can and if they just touch the rifling; perfect. With properly full length sized cases (or even brand new ones) of most any make, if this doesn't shoot well under an inch at 100 yards, it's not the ammo's fault.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:52 PM   #7
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Bart, thanks. I had a brain freeze though on the twist rate, it is actually a 1:12 twist, not a 1/10.

Are there advantages to IMR4064 over other powders like Varget and Reloader 15? My Lyman book lists load data for IMR4064, but I'm a little confused--it says 41 grains under a 190gr bullet is a compressed load, but that 43 grains under a 200gr bullet is not.

Is a Wolf primer just as good as any other?
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Old February 2, 2013, 10:37 PM   #8
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most shooters do "ladder tests". This is to start w/ a load combo that has some good history. You load 2 or 3 rounds increasing in powder charge and fire them , preferably at 300 or so yds You will find groups openning and closing as you go up the "ladder". Your best loads will be at those "nodes" where the groups close up. Seating depth and such can be fine tuned at that point. A few shooters only fire 2 shot groups(group size wont get smaller after you fire the first 2 shots). The longer range you can get for work up the better. After preliminary w/u then stretch out to 1000yds. Some reliable loads can be found on www.benchrest.com and www.6mmbr.com
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Old February 2, 2013, 10:41 PM   #9
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.308 as a general rule works with many powders. Varget was purpose built by hodgdon, with assistance from vihtavuori to be a purpose built 308 match powder.

It does a great job of it too. It's consistent, not temperature sensitive, and produces good velocity.

Ultimately, its what works best for you in your gun. Don't be afraid to experiment with powders. See if you can find an advantage to one over another.
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:03 PM   #10
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Handloads that group well at 100 or even 200 yards may not group at 300+ yards
+1 on that. I do all my load work up at 300 yards min. My 600 to 1000 yard 308 load

42.3 gn RL-15
GM210M primers
175 SMK's
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Old February 3, 2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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This is starting to make a lot more sense now that I am doing more reading on ladder testing.

4runnerman - Your load has the same components that I was planning on using. While the powder charge and the overall length of the loaded round will be adjusted based on my specific rifle, will I also need to be concerned that my rifle will like a particular powder or primer over another? Perhaps it would be a good idea to do a ladder test with loads using RL-15, Varget, and IMR4064 to compare how each work in my rifle.

At the end of the day, what should I expect at 1000 yards in terms of acceptable group size? If I can expect my rifle to shoot at .5 moa at 100 yards, does that mean my groups at 1000 yards should be no larger than a 5" spread or is that unrealistic? It kinda' seems unrealistic over that distance given all the other factors that will come into play (wind, etc).

Thanks guys, this is really helping me.
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Old February 3, 2013, 08:41 AM   #12
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Snowtrekker--RL-15 is one of the best if not the best powders for a 308. Now the fun side-Rifles are like women.It;s not to say your's will like it,but it would definetly be my first powder choice I would try. I did mess with Varget a few times ,but with not very good results. As for the COL, Mess around there to.
Bart mentioned 4064 powder, I never tried 4064,might have to give that a shot this summer too.
Group size,,, I can pull 9 inch groups with an accasional flyer. I jst started shooting 1000 yards last year,so if you ask me I will tell you that I have a lot to learn yet, The wind and mariage (sp) is the biggest factor i am dealing with now.
That load in my rifle ( Savage FVSS in a Dog Tracker Stock ) will do golf balls at 300 yards of a bench.

Good Luck and keep us posted
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Old February 3, 2013, 10:06 AM   #13
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SnowTrekker, 42 gr. of 4064 in light weight cases (41 in heavy ones) under a Sierra 190 has probably won more 600 yard and further matches and set more records in the .308's heyday as a match cartridge than all the others combined. You'll have to seat the bullet out to touch the lands, but not an issue when you're single round loading. There may be better powders these days, but unless they're producing no worse than sub 3/4 MOA at 1000 for 20-shot test groups, forget 'em.

Depending on whose data you look at, any bullet-cartridge combination will have a few grains spread in the max load listed. Such is life when all sorts of barrels and component lots and assembly plus testing procedures are used.

Ladder testing's popular but I think it's a waste of time unless you shoot at least 15 shots per load and with good stuff can shoot no worse than 1/4 MOA at 100 yards. 2 or 3 shots only gives a 10% to 15% probability of representing what a hundred shots will show. And the theory behind Optimal Charge Weight used in most ladder tests is severly flawed in reality. Besides, the accuracy level of the hardware (rifle and ammo) and shooting abilities of the software (human) greatly effect the results. Better stuff shoots more accurate than lesser stuff.

4runnerman, there are no fliers unless you call one. Every bullet fired goes to its intended impact point. Count all of 'em when measuring accuracy
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Old February 3, 2013, 10:17 AM   #14
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4runnerman, there are no fliers unless you call one. Every bullet fired goes to its intended impact point. Count all of 'em when measuring accuracy

Very true Bart,But sometimes it just happens. Most if not all are caused by me pulling trigger at wrong time or Karma just off at that moment. For those that happen like that I disregard as i know the reason behind the flyer. Now if it was a perfect shot and it turned out to be a flyer,,then I start looking at maybe a burr or something else that may have caused it,something in my case prep or so. We are human and we do error. Im not going to dock myself for one out of 10 or 15 shots that turns into a flyer. In my Matches it counts,In my practice it is thrown out ( If i can determine the cause). Which is mostly human error.

As I said- This 1000 yards and beyond is relativley new to me,so I am still in the learning stages. Doping the wind is still by far my biggest drawback.
Got any advise for me there???.. Im all ears for learning
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Old February 3, 2013, 10:25 AM   #15
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It should be pointed out that unless otherwise specified, match load data would assume Winchester brass. Lapua or Federal or even RP cases will alter the pressure and therefore require a different powder charge.

When you develop your load and properly interpret your target data per the instructions at my OCW load development site... http://optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com/

,,.you will find, even as a rule, that loads developed at 100 yards will hold tight even out to 1000 yards--provided that the bullet is moving fast enough not to be too close to the speed of sound. As to velocity extreme spread, the OCW system will find a node where velocity is relatively tight (low ES)... so even if you don't own a chronograph, using the OCW load development system will get you a tight shooting load with a low ES, which will equate to good long range accuracy.

Varget... it's a great .308 powder, and I use a good bit of it. Varget likes to be loaded to higher load densities, however. The max charge with 175's according to Hodgdon is 45 grains, and this is where most folks find their best accuracy (again, always assume Winchester brass unless otherwise mentioned). Varget does not work well at lower density charges, and this is the reason that many folks find poor accuracy when they try it. Sierra has some really anemic Varget data published for some reason... so I would not count on Sierra's load data with regard to Varget in the .308 win.

IMR 4064 burns pretty much like Varget. In all likelihood, Varget was created to work like 4064, while being more temperature stable. With 4064, you can get great accuracy without "driving it like you stole it"... and lower density loads work very well. 4064 does not do well with heavy charges in warmish climate... and you'll find that pressures will increase too much for good brass life if you try to run much more than 43 grains of 4064 with 175's. But the 43 grain charge area does work well (with 175's)...

Reloder 15 (never understood why Alliant left the "a" out of reloader)... ... works great as a .308 powder, and that is the current powder that our military is using in their M118LR load (the standard sniper load). They are using LC (Lake City) brass... and that brass is thicker than Winchester, and uses less powder for a given pressure level. They started with 44.3 grains of RL15 in the LC cases with the 175 SMK's, but when they got into the hot desert climates of the Middle East, pressures spiked and accuracy was degraded. They then chose to drop the charge to what is now reported to be a little over 43 grains of the RL15. In my opinion, they're not using an OCW charge there... likely, a charge of around 42.8 grains would be more stable, and give better accuracy across a large range of temperatures.

One of my favorite .308 powders is IMR 4895. It meters well, and I usually throw all my 4895 charges and have never had a problem with accuracy. 42.4 grains of IMR 4895 should shoot bug holes with 175's from a good rifle. If you have some Lake City brass, the 4895 charge is 42.0 grains (which is the old M118LR load from when DuPont had the contract... and I don't think they've had as good a long range load since then!)...

All of this said... IMR 4064 is still the .308 powder by which all others are measured... so you'll never go wrong by choosing that powder. You will need to weigh each charge, as it doesn't meter well, but if you're really serious about accuracy, you'll be weighing each charge anyway...

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Old February 3, 2013, 10:36 AM   #16
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Hello Dan-- Thanks for the Info- Bart Had also Mentioned 4064. I have never tried that powder in 308. I just picked up a 243 here this winter and use 4064 in that. I will have to give it a try in the 308 this summer now.
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Old February 3, 2013, 11:51 AM   #17
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golfnutrlv, Varget wasn't developed by Hodgdon. It originated in Australia by Thales Australia Ltd. (formerly ADI). Check out all these powders in the link below:

http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/...product-codes/
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Old February 3, 2013, 03:57 PM   #18
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Bart,

THanks for the heads up. The version of the Varget story I heard must have been wrong. THought is was vihtavouri...
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:40 AM   #19
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is 4895 and 4064 temp sensitive?

I know Varget is not as sensitive to temp
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Old February 6, 2013, 02:41 PM   #20
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All smokless powder's temperature sensitive. How much depends on its chemical makeup. I don't know of any table that lists how much each one has, but with everything else on the internet, surely there is one; isn't there?

There's another hot spot in the equasion, too. As a round sits in the chamber of a hot barrel, its powder heats up and makes bullet shoot out faster. Shooting 30 caliber magnums in 1000 yard team matches, I've always come down 1/4 MOA on the sights for every 20 seconds the round's in the chamber if the coach has me wait for the wind to stabilize. Sometime's I've waited 2 minutes or more, then having come down 1.5 MOA on the sights, fired a shot, it struck center, then come back up 1.5 minutes some 20 seconds or so later and fire another shot; it strikes center, too. But it took me some tests to find out how much elevation change to make for each 20 seconds of wait time. Which is why I don't like to keep a round in a hot chamber more than 15 seconds before firing it. It matters at long range. With the .308 Win. I'd come down a quarter every 30 seconds of wait time
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Old February 6, 2013, 04:12 PM   #21
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Ben That chart would be sweet. It can change 50 degrees in a few hours here. and loads in the winter can be below freezing then in summer go to 100+.
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Old February 6, 2013, 04:33 PM   #22
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SnowTrekker asks
Quote:
At the end of the day, what should I expect at 1000 yards in terms of acceptable group size?
That depends on three things; how well you shoot, how good your rifle is and how good your ammo is. How stable the wind is adds to that equasion. For most folks starting out with factory barrels, their groups at 1000 yards subtend 3 to 4 times the angle they did at 100 yards. 1 inch (1 MOA) at 100 yards becomes 40 inches (4 MOA) at 1000 yards.

Quote:
If I can expect my rifle to shoot at .5 moa at 100 yards, does that mean my groups at 1000 yards should be no larger than a 5" spread or is that unrealistic? It kinda' seems unrealistic over that distance given all the other factors that will come into play (wind, etc).
No, they won't. Even with zero wind and zero muzzle velocity spread, the small variables in bullet shape and balance are enough to cause their drag values to have a 1 to 3 percent spread. Which means those with more drag will drop more and strike lower than the ones with less drag dropping less and striking higher.

Add the above to subtle winds that always exist, even in calm air, and ones 100 yard group size tends to open up 10 to 15 percent for each additional 100 yards range past the previous one. Benchrest rifles shooting 1/4 MOA (1/4 inch) at 100 yards will shoot 3/4 MOA (7.5 MOA) at 1000 yards.

Note the .308 Win. bullets tend to have about 4 inches of vertical shot strining for each 10 fps spread in muzzle velocity.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:48 PM   #23
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You find the appropriate bullet for 1000 yd and then work up the tightest groups you can at 100. In load development, you want to test accuracy of the load, not your ability to read wind, mirage, etc. You will discocover that 1/2 minuute group at 100 is not 5" group at 1000. Just because a load will shoot at 100 does not mean it will shoot at 1000. You can be guaranteed that if a load wont shoot at 100 it wont shoot at 1000. A rifle needs to be a 1/4 minute 100 yd rifle to shoot decent at 1000. I have 13 1000 yd rifles. .284 Winchester is the way to go. Had I built the .284 first, I would have 1 1000 yd rifle. Of course Berger did not make the bullet that makes the .284 shine until recently either.

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