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Old January 28, 2021, 01:34 PM   #1
Bucksnort1
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Testing New Load Recipes

Since I began loading, about 15 years ago, I have followed two rules. I load several handgun calibers and 223.

(1) Always start with suggested starting charge.

(2) I load a few rounds for testing. If all is well, I load what I want.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's necessary to test new recipes with starting charges.

Opinions please.
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Old January 28, 2021, 02:51 PM   #2
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99% of the time it works out. But I've run into three instances wherein a published starting load was already at maximum for the gun and component combination I had. It's worth doing the starting load because of those rare but not-never situations. Also, it doesn't take a lot of shooting. If you load just one round for each step and use the old rule of thumb to work up in charges that are 2% of maximum, then, for data that starts at 10% below maximum, you are done in six rounds. Not normally a budget or time buster.
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Old January 28, 2021, 03:28 PM   #3
Shadow9mm
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yes. changing bullets, primers, casings can change things, thing that were fine before might not be fine going forward.

I start at the start load, work up to max. once I know max it safe I can load where I want at max or below it.
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Old January 28, 2021, 03:50 PM   #4
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I have experienced on a couple of occasions where the starting minimum loads offered the greatest accuracy. Because of this I do not chase velocities.
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Old January 28, 2021, 04:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ms6852 View Post
I have experienced on a couple of occasions where the starting minimum loads offered the greatest accuracy. Because of this I do not chase velocities.
True, it depends on what you are loading for though. Whether it is matches where accuracy is paramount or defensive/hunting, where getting the most energy while maintaining acceptable accuracy is important.

I find for semi auto handguns I have a hard time finding accuracy differences between loads, they all tend to be fairly similar.

For rifle I have found significant differences both with seating depth and charge weight. I usually find my best accuracy about 1 grain below max, give or take a little. but that is just my experience, and I am somewhat newer to rifle.
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Old January 28, 2021, 05:06 PM   #6
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I usually start at .3-.5gr above the minimum load IF I have used that powder before in another firearm of same caliber, or testing a powder in a different caliber that I have some experience with. I acquired some AA2520 earlier this week, and having never used it, I loaded up per load data starting at the minimum. I don't go all the way to max load, usually stay one or 2 tenths below. I just don't see the reason for going max or over myself, JMO.
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Old January 29, 2021, 07:07 AM   #7
jetinteriorguy
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I always use the recommended starting load. I’ve only once had a load that hadn’t reached the mid point before showing serious pressure signs. If I had started at the mid point with that load who knows what might have happened. While processing that brass later I discovered the primer pockets were blown one full increment below other pressure signs where I quit. This was on new Starline brass.
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Old January 29, 2021, 01:28 PM   #8
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I will explain my shooting days.

I don't big game hunt anymore but when I did and would load for either 300 Weatherby or 30-06, I did not load to drive tacks as 1,000 yards. I just wanted to kit a 10" kill zone.

For my bolt action .223, I load mostly for plinking. On occasion, I set out balloons at about 400 to 500 yards, inflate them to about 12" diameter then see if I can hit them.

I also shoot 22 LR and 22 magnum. I do zero these for 50 and 100 yards.

For handgun, I load a number of calibers. I plink mostly and use only lead bullets.

I don't own a chronograph but I have a good friend who stands next to my targets down range and watches the bullets go by then gives me an estimate, by way of a two-way radio of velocity.
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Old January 29, 2021, 01:50 PM   #9
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I am the odd one here and only shoot handguns. I use whatever primers I have on hand. My cases are range pickups, I never clean my primer pockets. I only increase or decrease my powder charge if I change bullet weights and that is very seldom. I have shot handguns for well over 55 years and in all that time I have survived mainly on 231/HP38 and Unique. The other powders I keep a pound of are Bullseye and Titegroup.
I shot in a Bullseye league for ten years and have been an RSO/instructor for another ten so I can still handle a gun but truth be told, at 50-75 feet I could not tell the difference in loads with respect to accuracy. So I keep it simple.
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Old January 29, 2021, 06:08 PM   #10
ms6852
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm View Post
True, it depends on what you are loading for though. Whether it is matches where accuracy is paramount or defensive/hunting, where getting the most energy while maintaining acceptable accuracy is important.

I find for semi auto handguns I have a hard time finding accuracy differences between loads, they all tend to be fairly similar.

For rifle I have found significant differences both with seating depth and charge weight. I usually find my best accuracy about 1 grain below max, give or take a little. but that is just my experience, and I am somewhat newer to rifle.
I understand what you are saying. I should have been more explicit. When working up loads I start close to minimum 5 rounds each and incrementally work my loads up to max in .3 grain increments. In my firearms none of them shoot accurately at the higher velocities.
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Old January 30, 2021, 04:27 PM   #11
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Funny thing, the oldest grandson and I were doing a load work up on a 7mag this past fall. Had several powders and a couple of bullets I've used in it in the past.

One of the newer powders we were trying had real promising data for a 150gr load. Our first round, and a starting load, blew the primer from a new case. I've had this rifle for close to 20yrs and run a bunch thru it qith no issues.
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Old January 30, 2021, 04:37 PM   #12
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I like to be flexible. For example if it is a long range or a hunting load I look at what velocity I will need to get the job done without stressing my scope to the max and make sure the load has sufficient force to be humane. In those loads I will load 1 or two rounds starting at minimum, make large .3 or .5 gn jumps checking for pressure signs until I get into the velocity range I need. If it is just a plinking load I start at minimum and load 5 rounds of each looking for the lowest node that give decent accuracy.

I don't chase maximum velocity, waste of powder and barrel life in my opinion unless you are a extreme long range hunter/target shooter
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Old January 30, 2021, 05:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by hounddawg View Post
I like to be flexible. For example if it is a long range or a hunting load I look at what velocity I will need to get the job done without stressing my scope to the max and make sure the load has sufficient force to be humane. In those loads I will load 1 or two rounds starting at minimum, make large .3 or .5 gn jumps checking for pressure signs until I get into the velocity range I need. If it is just a plinking load I start at minimum and load 5 rounds of each looking for the lowest node that give decent accuracy.

I don't chase maximum velocity, waste of powder and barrel life in my opinion unless you are a extreme long range hunter/target shooter
I test fire all my rounds at .3 or .5 grain increments at 200 yards shooting 5 shot groups at varying increment loads. I use the 5 shot group that gives me MOA or less. In my rifle which is only one I use for hunting a 30-06 it does best at 2650 to 2700 fps. I'm sure I could get better velocities with a heavier barrel and longer but it is a plain factory Tikka that serves me well. In my younger years I used to shoot at longer distances. Now at my age I refuse to drag a carcass that far. I like my game close, grill guard close if possible, except elk, suckers are too big.
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Old January 30, 2021, 06:46 PM   #14
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In my rifle which is only one I use for hunting a 30-06 it does best at 2650 to 2700 fps.
Only thing I hunt these days is paper, any hunting loads now is for the son in law. I loaded him a box of 180 cal gamekings for his .308, made sure they were reasonably accurate and kicked like a mule. Figured the kick would keep him from shooting them for fun. He is still working on them lol. But has gotten 2 deer and a handful of pigs so they do the job
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Old January 30, 2021, 06:52 PM   #15
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Twice, I’ve had the start load be max or overmax based on recoil
Start load, therefore, occasionally will not be a safe start load with your gun and mix of variables.
However, modern data, with statistical analysis of pressure and visual inspection of time/pressure curve, loads are better than even 20 years ago.
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Old January 30, 2021, 07:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
I have experienced on a couple of occasions where the starting minimum loads offered the greatest accuracy. Because of this I do not chase velocities.
I talked to a bullet manufacturer once that told me that most of the time the 2 best nodes for a given bullet generally occur within a 10% range of both the min and max charges. Once in a while I find the best one in the middle, but it's definitely a rarity. I can't say why that is though.

I like to compare published data from different manufacturers to see what differences there might be between them, if they are notable differences (does happen) then I'll use labradar as a "calibrator" to see if the velocities line up with the published data. Not an exact science, but labradar has thrown a red flag quite a few times which subsequently I backed off from published data.
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Old January 30, 2021, 07:42 PM   #17
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I have found that some starting loads were too hot. Much of the time tho the most accurate are near max. I start low and work up, I'm after accuracy, not max velocity.
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Old January 30, 2021, 07:50 PM   #18
stagpanther
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Quote:
I'm after accuracy, not max velocity.
Me too, though I have to admit I like it when they both occur at the same time.
Quote:
I have found that some starting loads were too hot.
I have to admit I haven't encountered that one yet.
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Old January 31, 2021, 08:27 AM   #19
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For handgun, there are certain velocity ranges i try for.
Around 1,100 fps seems most accurate in 9mm.
For my 45ACP, i try to keep at the 900 fps range. Good accuracy, enough velocity for hollow points to work reliably, not too much recoil allowing more accurate following shots.

With rifle, i start at min load and work up looking for accuracy nodes.
On most published data i can find 2 nodes. One at lower velocity, and one near max.
For my closer range match shooting (400 yards & under) i use the lower velocity node.
For longer range (600+ yards) and hunting i'll use the higher velocity node.

The exception (there's always an exception) being my Savage 111 in 7mm Rem Mag.
With different bullet weights, from different manufacturer with different powders, the accuracy node is high in the load range. Usually 0.3-0.6 grains below max.
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Old January 31, 2021, 03:14 PM   #20
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You need to learn what is safe in your gun. 1 round can tell you something, 5 rounds will tell you much more.

In rifle, you need to start low and work up. I generally load 1 round with about a 0.5-1.5% increment looking for max pressure signs like primer marks or case head marks or high velocities.....

I shoot one round of each increment into its own bullseye. I look at the poi and look for grouping where 3 poi’s are closer than others. This tells me places to run an ocw group....

....but, yea, you start too high and you won’t see pressure build....you could split a case or setback your action or worse.
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