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Old April 12, 2008, 09:17 AM   #1
djonathang
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Variables and Controls in Reloading

Hello All,

I'm new to this, so please forgive the "green" nature of this question.

I've been out shooting my Browning .270.

My friend has been kind enough to load me 100 grain bullets with a powder load of 53.5 gr. of IMR 4831. Our goal is to produce a lethal, accurate load, with as little kick as possible. I'm coming off a .243, so we thought this load would be a decent transition.

My question is this: As we examined the targets, there was some spread on the pattern. Let's say 2 inches. I know I can adust the load, but I'm unclear of the "pecking order" in terms of changes. In other words, do I move up in bullet grain first, or do I add more powder with the existing bullet?

I'm trying to figure out how to establish a control, so I know what is changing.

Thanks for your experienced advice.

Cheers.

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:09 AM   #2
rwilson452
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In my opinion the three variables in order are:
Powder and powder charge
COAL
bullet selection.

Overall, attention to detail will improve things beyond the above. Matching cases. either by weight or water volume.

I would ladder up some charges in .2 gr steps and see if you can find a sweet spot. after that I would start to alter your COAL in .005" in steps. just don't try to do both at once. If nothing give you the desired result you can change primers or bullets . doing either of these means you start over from the beginning.

Remember, only change one thing at a time.


Quote:
Variables and Controls in Reloading
Hello All,

I'm new to this, so please forgive the "green" nature of this question.

I've been out shooting my Browning .270.

My friend has been kind enough to load me 100 grain bullets with a powder load of 53.5 gr. of IMR 4831. Our goal is to produce a lethal, accurate load, with as little kick as possible. I'm coming off a .243, so we thought this load would be a decent transition.

My question is this: As we examined the targets, there was some spread on the pattern. Let's say 2 inches. I know I can adust the load, but I'm unclear of the "pecking order" in terms of changes. In other words, do I move up in bullet grain first, or do I add more powder with the existing bullet?

I'm trying to figure out how to establish a control, so I know what is changing.

Thanks for your experienced advice.

Cheers.

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:17 AM   #3
Sevens
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I agree with RWilson's different variables, but not the order. IMO, there's nothing-- NOTHING that will affect accuracy more than bullet choice. The weight, the brand, the structure and makeup and build quality of the bullet will be the number one determining factor in accuracy. Given that, and the fact that you are also looking for light recoil, you need to start with the lightest bullet that you believe will make the kill sufficiently. If 100 grains is your choice, then I would say (if you can afford to do the load development, both in terms of time and dollars) you should buy a selection of 100 grainers from different bullet makers and try them with the same charges, then take the one that groups the best and THEN alter the powder charge in pursuit of smaller groups.

Unfortunately, the best you can do is hope for recommendations and then try them and check your results. Most folks have found that the utmost highest pressure and velocity loads don't produce the best accuracy, and your "best recipe" will come in under max for your load.

You would be best served to pick a brand of brass that yo have the most of, and stay with that same brass. Whatever you do or don't do, just be sure to stay the same all across the board to get the best idea of which of your loads perform the best.
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:43 AM   #4
snuffy
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Quote:
I've been out shooting my Browning .270.
A-bolt or BAR? Scope? Using a good 2 point rest?

The list of things that can bring about an accurate load is as long as my arm. Few people will agree on what's most important.

My take on it is consistency! That means doing everything the same until you decide to change one thing, be it the powder charge, bullet seating depth, primer make or type, or even the maker or weight of the bullet.

53.5 of 4831 is the recommended starting load for 100 grain bullets,(Lyman 48th). In my 40 years of reloading, I've NEVER seen a starting load that was most accurate. With that in mind, you should begin by upping the powder charge. 59.5 being the max load, I would start over half way between starting and max, then work up.
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:55 AM   #5
TexasSeaRay
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Howdy, and welcome to the world of reloading.

Quote:
I agree with RWilson's different variables, but not the order. IMO, there's nothing-- NOTHING that will affect accuracy more than bullet choice.
I'll strongly second this, with the caveat of Snuffy's many years of wisdom regarding consistency.

I'll also second and third his observation that the recommended starting load is rarely ever the most accurate.

A friend of mine is an avid--and I do mean AVID--.270 fan and shooter. Has a beautiful old Remington 700 that often has me violating the Commandment about coveting your neighbor's whatever.

I've been mentoring him on the mystical world of reloading. What I would guess is that the 100 grain bullet may be too light for a .270. It might be listed as an acceptable bullet weight, but for the velocities and ballistics a .270 generates, 100 grains seems on the light side to me. And light bullets at high velocities do not tend to give you consistent or tight groups.

Having shot 100 grain bullets in .270, I would recommend that you consider moving up to a 130 grain bullet. If you're looking for a consistent one-shot-drop load for hunting, the Hornady 130 gr SST with some 4350, 4831 or 4895 is going to give you very good groups.

I'd have to check my notes, but we loaded up the Hornady 130 SSTs in front of some IMR 4350 and we got touching, sub-MOA groups at 100 yards on our first three targets.

Bullet weight and style with the appropriate powder and charge are what you need. It's all a combination with variables.

Jeff
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:58 AM   #6
45Dave
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Yep, there is a way

I was told of a system that lets you find out what powder/bullet/primer combination works well you just change the powder weight for that bullet and primer. If you look at page 4 of this reloading forum there is a question by Wheeler, part way down it was explained but too long to repeat.
Does this method work that is outlined, yep but it takes lots of time and energy on your part. The rewards are excellent but you have to do it for every bullet you are planning on using. Like Wilson said, you are looking for a sweet spot or harmonics in your barrel/gun. Wilson mentioned bullet jump with COAL, that is something to do later. Just don't be in a hurry, these things take time.
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Old April 12, 2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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Third.

Some guns like some bullets. You need a good starting load for each bullet variable, the one that shoots best gets more work, then the one that shoots second best, then third, etc.

My gig is like snuffys, I split the diff between starting and max

Theres more, but I have to drive to work now

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Old April 12, 2008, 12:15 PM   #8
wncchester
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Powder selection is, usually, not critical within certain limits. But, slow powders under light bullets rarely burn consistanly and that hurts groups. I think 4831 is much too slow for 100 gr. bullets in a .270. I would go to 4064, 3031 or 4895.
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Old April 12, 2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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Well, by golly, if there is trouble to be made, I hate to be left out.

First, your choice of 4831 for a light bullet in a light load is not really appropriate. Slow powders, by their nature, give greater velocity than fast ones by sustaining their burn longer, which keeps the pressure up in the barrel longer. That means, when the bullet exits, in addition to the recoil created by accelerating the bullet and the powder mass (which is also greater with a slow powder charge) you get recoil caused by the rocket effect of the gases accelerating to still higher velocity after the bullet base clears the muzzle to let them go. This is why smaller charges of faster powder that achieve the same velocity will recoil less. Venting that muzzle pressure laterally so the rocket effect is mitigated is how rifle muzzle breaks work.

Your peak pressure with that load and bullet combination is only about 35,000 PSI. In a 24" barrel, 24% of that charge is still unburned when the bullet clears the muzzle. In an 8 lb rifle/scope combination gun, the total recoil, including the rocket effect will be almost 11 ft-lbs.

The same muzzle velocity can be achieved with only slightly more pressure (about 38,000 PSI) by using 38 grains of IMR 4198. Note how many fewer grains are needed. The ballistic efficiency (the percent of energy stored in the powder that gets converted to kinetic energy in the bullet) goes up from 19% to 27%, and the recoil drops from 11 ft-lbs to just 8 ft-lbs. The only accuracy drawback is the powder will fill the case less well. That does not matter so much with a faster powder, like IMR 4198. You can tip the muzzle up slightly before each shot to get the powder over the primer, if you want to see what difference it makes, if any, in your gun?

IMR 4198 has a top notch accuracy reputation. In the .222, I used to shoot 55 grains bullets in that caliber using a Lee loader and a scoop that gave me about 18 grains of the stuff. Thats only about 75% of case capacity, and it drilled 100 yard 10 shot groups into 1/2 an inch all day long. You will be at a little under 68% full with 38 grains. If the tipping affects accuracy (get a group tipping half your shots up and half down to see how much it opens up over just doing the former), try deburring your case flashholes to improve ignition. Also try magnum primers.

For a good method of powder charge development, look at Dan Newberry's round robin method. The round robin can also be fired when you are located the optimum seating depth. In your shoes, I would vary the powder charge first, in the general vicinity of the 38 grain load to find a group minimum, then start monkeying with seating depth to find a minimum there. Usually there are at leas two; one with the bullet ogive 20 to 30 thousandths from touching the lands in the throat, and another when the bottom of the bullet bearing surface is around one caliber (in this case, .277") into the case neck. The former is usually the absolute best point, while the latter is still very good, but has the advantage that it is usually within SAAMI COL, so it fits in magazines O.K. for hunting.
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Old April 12, 2008, 05:17 PM   #10
djonathang
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Thanks everyone for the postings.

Since many of you have experience with the .270.

Here's exactly what I have, and here's what I'm hoping for:

What I Have:
Browning Stalker - Stainless
.270
A-Bolt
Left Hand
22" Barrel

What I'm Hoping For:
A combination that will give me the the most comfortable recoil. I'm not out to impress anyone. Certainly not my shoulder.
I would like to knock down deer, elk and pigs at 200 - 300 yards with a well placed shot.

Too much to ask?

Now then. Any favorite combos of bullets and powders for this specific rifle?
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Old April 12, 2008, 05:46 PM   #11
257roberts
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Since your rifle has a 22 inch barrel I would probably try a faster burning powder. I use IMR powder exclusively in rifles and would highly advise you to try a middle of the road charge of 4064 or 3031. If you have more problems with accuracy try and fit the cartridge to YOUR chamber. I am sure that you reloading friends can show you how to do this. The cartridge OAL in the book is the SAAMI standard and some or most rifles the bullets can be seated longer. I have also had trouble with the lighter bullets shooting well. Since the bore does not change with bullet weight the heavier bullet is longer and usually shoots better. The felt recoil will be higher with 130 grain bullets, but may shoot well enough that you will be comfortable shooting game at further distances. GOOD LUCK!
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Old April 12, 2008, 06:02 PM   #12
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Whoa, while I agree and certainly defer to the above posters in terms of experience reloading, I have a fair amount of same concerning elk at 2-300yds.
Don't go hunting elk and expect to get bang-flop kills at 300yds w/ a 100gr bullet.
A lot of people here have been beating the size of bullet vs killing power debate on this site as of late and although some may disagree w/ me...I've killed around 20 elk, can't think of how many deer, and 3 moose w/ everything from a .243 to a 300wm. Elk require a bigger and more lethal(read: heavier hit) IMHO. I would load at least a 150gr bullet for them. I personally like 140-150gr bullets over IMR 4350 powder.

You can probably get away w/ the lighter rounds on deer and pigs but I would not do it on elk.
My .02.
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Old April 12, 2008, 08:20 PM   #13
djonathang
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elkman06,

I suppose your name gives you a well-deserved degree of authority on elk.

Just so I don't spook the forum. As I've been shooting 100 gr., I never intended to go for elk with that load. It was my expectation that when that time comes (hopefully this year in Oregon), I would pickup something over the counter in the 130-150 range. I'm not sure what is standard.

As this reloading conversation has progressed (just purchased my equipment), and folks have explained the variables for performance, recoil, speed, accuracy, etc., I'm thinking that my standard will be something suitable for all.

I admit that I have a tremendous amount of information swirling through my head at this very moment, as it's been a big day of Q&A on the forum for me. That being said, you can be sure that there is no elk hunting in my future without first researching this forum, and asking some questions. And, I have yet to see a moose in the S.F. Bay Area. I keep looking.

I am going to Alaska in September, and am hoping for a quality hunt at that time.

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:30 PM   #14
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I suspect you will find some moose up north..good luck.
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:51 PM   #15
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For Elk I loaded up some 180 gr for my 30-06. I never got a shot. Just as we were closing in for a shot the weather got there first and visibility was about 50 ft. Packed it in and headed for shelter. Storm didn't quit until after I had to leave. I never got another chance for elk.
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Old April 15, 2008, 12:44 PM   #16
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I think 130gr is sweet spot for .270 Winchester.

IMR-4350(50gr min - 55gr max), IMR-4831, RL-19, RL-22 are good powders for this setup. These are magnum powders for medium-heavy bullets.

I see a lot of magnum primers as part of .270 Win recipes. Not sure which is more accurate: magnum or regular. I have ben using CCI magnum large rifle.

I loaded the Hornady SST and Nosler Ballistic Tip for my brother's Husqvarna.
The Nosler's were a bit more accurate. But either were about 1in at 100yards. Nosler come in 50/cnt and Hornady are 100/cnt.

Hornady makes a magnum load for 270 Win in 130gr. Something like 3200fps. But most factory loads are 3000-3100fps.

I used new Winchester brass. From what I have read, Winchester tends to have more powder capacity than other brands.
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Old April 15, 2008, 07:54 PM   #17
djonathang
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ForneyRider,

Thanks for the excellent input. As I have a pound+ of 4831, I am going to explore the 130gr. I'm thinking about a trial of Hornady SP. I'm using this bullet in my 100gr., and it seems to hunt well. My aim now is to be prepared/knowlegeable of more powerful loads before the need arises. Thanks again.
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Old April 15, 2008, 09:50 PM   #18
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djonathang,

4831 and a 130 grain bullet make for a nice matchup in .270. I got a guy I'm teaching to reload and we're working on .270 loads right now. We got a really sweet load with IMR4350 and Hornady 130 gr SST rounds with CCI large rifle primers.

When he test-fired the rounds and combinations, three of the four-shot groups were all touching. The only group that DIDN'T touch was the factory-ammo "control" group.

I had a similar experience last night with my Mini-14 and handloads. I had pulled out a box of Winchester "match" ammo for .223 and set my targets up at 50 yards. Using a red-dot sight, I was lucky to keep the factory rounds even on the damn target.

My handloads, 26.3 gr W748 pushing Hornady 55gr SP bullets, were all in the 9-ring and better.

I have the same experience with my 30-06 loads--my Federal and Winchester loads can't even come close to the groups I get with my handloads.

Find out what your gun likes, then load for that.

Jeff
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Old April 17, 2008, 06:09 AM   #19
River Rat 1969
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Variables & Controls In Reloading

[B]Jonathan, I agree with what everyone else has written..........especially TexasSeaRay. In particular, I would ascertain if the rifling twist rate in your barrel is correct for a 100 grain bullet. For many years we used a 7mm Remington Magnum for deer at night, and switched to a groundhog load in the daytime (with needed changes to zero). 100 grain Hornady hollowpoint bullets produced explosive kills on groundhogs.

Since you are a new reloader, I would suggest a couple of things to make learning somewhat easier. First thing................get load manuals from several companys...........Sierra, Nosler, Hornady, Speer..........and read all of them front to back. Many times a load from one manual will be much "hotter" than the other manuals. If you always start with lighter loads, you should be safe. Never, under any circumstances, start with what a load manual lists as a maximum load.......never, ever.

I know everything related to shooting has jumped in price recently, but one thing will help you tremendously with your reloads.........Lapua brass. This stuff isn't cheap, but is worth every penny it costs. Extremely consistent, uniform brass. Don't build "hot" loads, if you want to be frugal. Mid range loads will allow you to reload your (expensive) brass many more times than "hot" loads. If you need more velocity in that caliber/bullet weight, get a hotter magnum cartridge. Accurate, economical mid range loads will allow your barrel to last longer, as well (assuming you clean properly).

Make sure you buy good tools, and use them. Finally, shoot, shoot, shoot. You can build the most accurate loads on earth, but if you don't get out regularly, and shoot, you will not achieve what I think you are looking for.

Best regards, Jim
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