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Old April 13, 2021, 08:45 PM   #1
Shadow9mm
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Erick Cortina, Precision loading simplified.

So I found his channel on youtube, he is a F-class shooter. His explanation of precision reloading really helped me understand how the reloading components interact. I had always thought of them as separate processes and not linked.

The Basics
Combustion, Low ES/SD. Effected by primer, powder, case capacity variation, neck tension
Harmonics, effected by bullet seating depth and finding the right harmonics node.
external ballistics, consistent bullets.

My new process
Pick bullets that are uniform and consistent.
Get a good load with a LOW es/sd being most important
tune your seating depth to tighten the groups.

I am in the process of re-working a couple loads. but so far this simple process has made a HUGE difference in the quality of my loads, and in my understanding of how to do things.

Precision reloading
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VEMZJYovMA

Don't chase the lands (or harmonics nodes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRXlCG9YZbQ

Don't chase the lands pt.2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FKq8Jj8YEI

I know things can get a lot more complex and there are a LOT more rabbit holes to go down. Hoping this may help some new loaders, or be a refresher for those of you have forgotten more than I will ever know.
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Old April 13, 2021, 10:19 PM   #2
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I wholeheartedly agree. His videos on this issue are excellent.


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Old April 13, 2021, 11:45 PM   #3
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I watch his channel often on both Youtube and Patreon. I agree with his method and so far it has worked well for me too. I purchased one of his brakes a couple months ago and have enjoyed following along as he builds his machine shop and stuff. Seems like a good dude and from what I can tell seems to know what he is talking about.
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Old April 14, 2021, 09:56 AM   #4
Bart B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm View Post
Harmonics, effected by bullet seating depth and finding the right harmonics node.
What harmonics node are you referring to?

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Old April 14, 2021, 11:07 AM   #5
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I discovered Cortina a couple of years back. Following his methods has worked well for me
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Old April 14, 2021, 12:02 PM   #6
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The best read I had was a guy who set out and interviewed (from memory, sorry I did not link the article) 10 Top Bench Rest shooters.

None of them agreed on what the key aspects were. They all had some things in common, but if they had a list of 5, one might agree with the next guy etc.

What it amounts to is if you do your job quality wise, you get good results.

Some of it is just being convinced your approach works.
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Old April 14, 2021, 06:08 PM   #7
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The best read I had was a guy who set out and interviewed (from memory, sorry I did not link the article) 10 Top Bench Rest shooters.

None of them agreed on what the key aspects were. They all had some things in common, but if they had a list of 5, one might agree with the next guy etc.

What it amounts to is if you do your job quality wise, you get good results.

Some of it is just being convinced your approach works.
The pros generally have a specific way and reason for the things they do. Mostly because it works very well. With that said Erick's system really makes a lot of sense to me. I think of it as a flow chart with goals. I have the 3 primary factors I need to achieve great accuracy and can measure how I am doing based off those 3. If I have problems in one of those areas I can start trying to see where my problems are within that subset, and try to find ways to improve my process to get the needed consistency.
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Old April 14, 2021, 06:31 PM   #8
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Erik seems a bit different than many experts as he tests all of the changes to his process.

So, he probably knows very accurately how to get the best from his tools and components.
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Old April 14, 2021, 07:12 PM   #9
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What is seldom mentioned in top ranked match shooter's reloading info is the relationship their barrel has to their bullets.

Bullet diameters are at least a few ten thousandths inch larger than the barrel's groove diameter.

Ever measure and compare yours?

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Old April 14, 2021, 10:46 PM   #10
Shadow9mm
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Originally Posted by Bart B. View Post
What is seldom mentioned in top ranked match shooter's reloading info is the relationship their barrel has to their bullets.

Bullet diameters are at least a few ten thousandths inch larger than the barrel's groove diameter.

Ever measure and compare yours?
Can't say as I have. Seeing as I doubt I will ever have a custom barrel made, and will never get to tinker with that aspect, it's gonna have to be on the back burner.
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Old April 14, 2021, 11:41 PM   #11
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I’ve found his videos are only good to experienced reloaders . If you’re a new reloader his videos are lacking many important nuances that can’t be skipped over but are not needed to be said if you’re experienced at reloading .
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Old April 16, 2021, 12:05 PM   #12
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I have heard of him, but not watched any of his videos. I should.

It has taken me 30 years to get where I am, most of it overcoming a lot of old wive's tales that have no basis in facts or science. His approach looks consistent with the approach of several folks I know. His basics list (as you typed in bold) looks solid.

I must say though, that shooting Lapua and Berger, he has an advantage. In most of my calibers, just picking a Lapua or Berger bullet in the midweight (for caliber) with a good ball powder in a Lapua case, I can usually do very well without much effort.

EDIT: So I just watched the first video in the OPs link. Yep, good stuff and I agree with his assertions generally. 1/4 MOA vs. 1 MOA...I think that would be an interesting discussion to have with him regarding application. F-Class needs more accuracy than PRS, which needs more than 3Gun which needs more than hunting. I am not throwing away a 1 MOA .30-06, but I did get rid of one that was 5 MOA. If my ARs won't group consistently under 1 MOA with good bullets, something is wrong. If my LR rifles won't group under 1/2 MOA, something is wrong, but that is about where I stop.

My .260 is currently at about 3/4 MOA and I will shoot a few more matches with it, but it has almost 9000 rounds down the tube.
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Old April 16, 2021, 01:30 PM   #13
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Yep, the 10 Top Bench Rest guys all had their approach. I forget details but I think it was the top 8 or 10 from each.

Each swore by his, no two were alike though there were some common elements.

Loose case vs tight case. Argued endlessly. Consistent case if probably the bottom line.

My take is to go with what you feel is the best practices from all and incorporate it into what hold logic for you.

As for testing, I forget how many tests I have seen.

Does he win every match? Is he the top 1st and 2nd in every match?

No, that changes and its down to things you can't measure or test.

The only one I ever came across that had solid test was the Tales From the Houston Warehouse. They zeroed out as many factors as they could including the shooter.

The shooter alone probably has 100 position factors that will affect the shot.

And even the best sports players have bad days and baseball if you hit .333 you are considered some kind of wonder.
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Old April 16, 2021, 03:06 PM   #14
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I thought his videos seemed good and interesting, I have only been reloading for about 6 years now, and the very first advice I tried of his didnt work for me, he said load a dummy round about .050 too long and close the bolt slowly and open it quickly, then measure your Jam dimension, well, it was always a different dimension because the lands would pull the bullet back out a little or a lot every time I opened the bolt and caught the round.
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Old April 16, 2021, 03:42 PM   #15
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Never tried the jam method. I use the hornady modified case system to a firm touch. Sometimes the bullets stick a little but I can just put them back in the case as I lock the rod after seating. Have gotten good results. I go for 0.020 below touch.

As far as his method. It may work in his guns with his neck tension. But I have tried similar methods before and not had good luck. Hence the hornady system
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Old April 16, 2021, 06:40 PM   #16
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shadow9mm, I totally agree with you at this point, I have always used the hornady comparator to find the firm touch point of all my rifle bullets, I record this and then start with load development, and since he said it was a sine wave and you can start about anywhere, Ie mag length etc., I think I will stick with finding my load starting point with where my bullet touches the lands, with measurement with my hornady comparator.
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Old April 17, 2021, 01:40 AM   #17
Shadow9mm
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Originally Posted by lugerstew View Post
shadow9mm, I totally agree with you at this point, I have always used the hornady comparator to find the firm touch point of all my rifle bullets, I record this and then start with load development, and since he said it was a sine wave and you can start about anywhere, Ie mag length etc., I think I will stick with finding my load starting point with where my bullet touches the lands, with measurement with my hornady comparator.
I would not recommend starting at the lands. At the lands or jam will give you higher chamber pressures. You also lose velocity. More jump can increase velocity. I think starting at 0.020 off is a very practical starting point.

It's a good thing it's a sign wave. Ar mag lengths and 5.56 chambers have a ton of jump. Mine is over 0.100 if I remember right. Have a 30-06 with a ton of magazine room and a short throat. And a 308 with a short magazine that I have not gauged yet. Might be single feeding target rounds. Not sure yet.
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Old April 17, 2021, 11:41 AM   #18
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I have found effective jump lengths from touch all the way out to .080. Tony Boyles book has a great section on load development and after reading it have seen that tuning the seating depth can take you from a vertical group to round to horizontal and back again.

These days I just do load development from manufactures recommended COL, tweaking the powder for the best group then plating with moving the bullet in and out .003 to fine tune. Tuning depth is easy , just load a bunch at the preferred powder charge at the maximum COL then take a portable press to the range and adjust them in shooting 3 round groups. If the first three won't group , move the depth in a bit and shoot another group. When you get three that satisfy then load another and another to see if the first three were luck or if you have hit the right depth. Saves a lot of powder, bullets and primers
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Old April 17, 2021, 12:03 PM   #19
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Ya, I don't like shooting loads that are touching, probably not a big deal if you have a safe powder charge, I tried it once and didnt see a great improvement. Thanks houndawg for that advice on taking the portable press to the range, I've only tried it once and it seemed to work good. I don't know about always starting at recommended COL, because I have a stock Savage 223 that has a very short throat, some Sierra bullets Ive checked at recommended COL were .025 to .035 too long and jammed the throat, so I always need to measure the comparator touch length with that rifle because of this.
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Old April 17, 2021, 01:19 PM   #20
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As a friend of mine is fond of saying...

"How does this help me put an elk in my freezer with my .300Savage model 99?"
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Old April 17, 2021, 02:02 PM   #21
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As a friend of mine is fond of saying...

"How does this help me put an elk in my freezer with my .300Savage model 99?"
I very much agree. My thoughts are these. If I'm losing daylight on the last day of the season, but have managed to stalk into say between 375-425yds. With an untuned load, or a load that is 2moa out of my budget hunting rifle, no way I am talking that shot. I would need to get closer. With a good factory load that shoots well out of my gun, or a tuned hand load shooting at or under moa... provided the cartridge had enough energy at that range, that would be the difference between a full or empty freezer.
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Old April 17, 2021, 08:04 PM   #22
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As a friend of mine is fond of saying...

"How does this help me put an elk in my freezer with my .300Savage model 99?"
It does not. For the VAST majority of cases, it just won't matter at all. When the distances get out past 300 to 400 yards, most hunters won't be able to, or want to take the shot, and that is perfectly fine.

Erick deals in the elite accuracy/precision realm. Even though I shoot some matches he does, 1/4 MOA is fine for my pursuits whacking steel to about 1200 yards and game to about 600 yards. That is why I think a discussion with him on that topic would be interesting. He has a singular pursuit that most don't.
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Old April 17, 2021, 08:09 PM   #23
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I very much agree. My thoughts are these. If I'm losing daylight on the last day of the season, but have managed to stalk into say between 375-425yds. With an untuned load, or a load that is 2moa out of my budget hunting rifle, no way I am talking that shot. I would need to get closer. With a good factory load that shoots well out of my gun, or a tuned hand load shooting at or under moa... provided the cartridge had enough energy at that range, that would be the difference between a full or empty freezer.
Production rifles with even a decent load can manage that without an issue. My two longest shots on Elk, 425 and 505 yards, were made with factory rifles and factory ammo. Yes, very good quality and I knew my holds, but they were not precision loads at all. They were just as dead as the other 35 at 350 and closer. My best 5 shot 100 yard group with a hunting rifle outside remains a bull centered group of 0.11" with a Tikka .243Win and 95 grain Ballistic Tips, all off the shelf.
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Old April 18, 2021, 07:58 AM   #24
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The NBRSA record for five 10-Shot groups at each range of 100, 200 and 300 yards is 0.3555 MOA average. Which means the largest groups were about 20% or more bigger.

I think Sierra's match bullets have to test under half MOA extreme spread at 200 yards.

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Old April 18, 2021, 09:01 AM   #25
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A old friend of mine never shoots in competitions, he is an avid hunter however. He will sell a rifle if it will not get .5 MOA or below consistently. He says he just wants to pick which eye he will shoot the animal in, I assume he is joking but still the capability is there, A couple of years back he had a custom bean field rifle built for over 5K, he sold it 2 months later for 3500. I have the lucky buyer seen that rifle win numerous F class long range contests with that rifle even with the varmint tapered barrel
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