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Old April 28, 2005, 01:42 PM   #1
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Finding the BEST load.......

Hi guys,

When you are trying to work up the best load for a particular gun, how many rounds of a certain powder weight do you make?

Example: I found that 5.3g of W231 under a 230g FMJ works great and is very accurate in my Ruger P97. I want to see if maybe 5.2g is better....or 5.4g How many rounds should I make of each of those to check for accuracy? 20? 50?
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Old April 28, 2005, 02:32 PM   #2
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I usually load 20 and shoot four 5 shot groups.
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Old April 28, 2005, 02:59 PM   #3
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Right on, cheygriz, that's what I was thinking. I'd hate to make 50 or more and have them not be what I'm looking for. Not a fan of the bullet puller!
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Old April 28, 2005, 03:11 PM   #4
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I usually load 7 of each particular grain. I shoot two to to get an idea where the bullet is hitting, then shoot a 5 shot group to measure.

I do the same thing, refining by +/-.1g.
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Old April 28, 2005, 05:33 PM   #5
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I usually load up a box of 50 with 10 rounds of each load.
Then I use computer labels and stick them right on top of the 10 rounds for that load.
After test firing the loads, I mark each label with my own rating system.


Obviously, If the load gets a "marginal" or lower, I don't use that load anymore.
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Old April 28, 2005, 06:38 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys.

Using a rating system sounds like a good idea, Cap'nRazor. I'll do that.
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Old April 29, 2005, 10:19 PM   #7
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It depends...

On whether we're talking pistol load development or rifle load development.

For pistol, where there is so much room for the human element, I like Cheygriz's idea, and do about the same. If I had access to a Ransom rest for the pistol in question, I'd do it like I do rifle.

For rifle, where I can benchrest it and all but remove the human element, I use one 10-shot group for each change I make in a load, going up or down by 0.1 grain of powder (VERY carefully measured!) if it's powder I'm changing. For something as important as which load to use for the once-in-a-lifetime buck, 3 shot groups or 5 shot groups don't tell enough. Oh, and you have to let the bbl cool sufficiently between shots. Every shot you take while hunting is with a cold bbl.
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Old April 29, 2005, 11:41 PM   #8
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Test Loads

When doing a test load I only load 5 rounds per increment. I also use a black Scripto marker and write the grain measurement on the casing. I write my results on a pad:


I hope this helps, good info posted here on what to do. Just remember, if you load 20, 50, or whatever of a particular load and it's not "right", you have all that waisted ammo. Bill
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Old April 30, 2005, 04:18 PM   #9
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I Don't use a Ransom rest, but I do benchrest handgun ammo with an inexpensive MTM caseguard rest and it works. The one Midway sells will allow you to dial in the exact pistol height for this purpose. Both are plastic and the MTM will flex a little. 20 rounds in pistol sounds good to me and when you have a load you really feel should be accurate with some past experience with the same bullet and powder, 50 rounds is not a risky proposition considering that it's just not that hard to duplicate factory performance. Especially when using powders that are very well suited to a particular cartridge. In Rifle, 15 or 20 rounds is a good range depending on how many groups you want to fire until you find a majic load. Then again I load a little out of the norm for handguns and carry over rifle principles like high load density into my handgun ammo. For defensive pistol cartridges, I use low flash ball powders that will fill the case as high as possible and the results have been very rewarding.

Loaded some .40 yesterday with 165 gr. Golden Sabers and had planned to use VV 3N37 for low flash/good velocity, but since the expander in my RCBS dies seem better suited for Cast lead, I couldn't get enough tension on the bullet to suit me as the driving band on GS's is the only part of the bullet that is full diameter. Solution; well not exactly since these loads won't likely be suitable as defense loads, but I switched to AA #9 that will fill the case to a level of slight compression and the GS can't go anywhere now but forward. Have not tried this load combo before, so I am expecting a little more flash than a defense load should have. But Hey, may make a great high velocity field load in the 5" barrel of the XD Tactical, so I loaded 100!
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Old May 1, 2005, 01:43 AM   #10
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Well, I was wrong! Flash with #9 and the 165 gr. GS was almost non existent and I shot quite a few in the dark this evening. Accuracy however is another story, 20 rounds would have been plenty. Turned out to be a pretty potent load though!
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