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Old September 8, 2010, 07:23 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 28, 2006
Location: South Central Michigan...near Ohio, Indiana.
Posts: 5,040
Use a benchrest/ransom rest.

The OP stated that his primary concern was load development via hand loading.
...I am just getting into reloading/load development...
From that perspective, using a bench rest or a ransom rest (if you can afford it), for checking loads/shooting groups is appropriate.
Shooting high count shot groups as suggested in the subsequent posts is not a practical alternative for using rests.
For instance if I were desire a target load for a 30-06, after referencing Lyman's 48, I find that there are several traditional powders appropriate to the 30-06 as well as several new ones that show great promise.
Sticking with just the traditionals, using a 168 grain Sierra target bthp bullet, IMR4895, IMR4064, IMR4350, and IMR4831, between the starting loads and maximum for each powder, using .5 grain increments, the number of rounds for a five shot group (shot from bench rest or ransom rest),for each would result in having to load and shot 215 rounds. Now multiply that by 10 for ten shot groups (2150 rounds) or 20 for 20 shot groups(4300 rounds).
Therefore, substituting round count for fewer, but shot from a rest is a more reasonable method.
However, if you are a target shooting who has already found his rifle's favorite load, or if you purchase target ammo instead of hand load, or if you are perfecting your shooting technique, bench rest/pistol rest is pointless. But, that is not what the OP was interested in, not what would happen in a match or in the field. He wants to be able to evaluate the load, nothing else at this point.
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