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Old April 17, 2012, 07:17 PM   #1
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Load workup vs. new rifle barrel

Hi All,

Do you always carefully work up a load for a rifle (using published data), or do you just try a couple of "guesstimate" loads (again, staying within published data) and see what happens? We always talk about working up loads but then I read stuff sometimes where someone just tries a load and it works out great, or someone tries a couple of different loads and they don't work and then goes searching for what might be wrong other than the powder/bullet/brass/primer combo.

Also, is it worth working up a load right away in a factory-new rifle or should you put a few hundred rounds down the pipe for break-in before you try to wring any accuracy out of it?

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Old April 17, 2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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I always start out working up loads sometimes it works right off the get go other times not. Most of the time I load up light loads to sight in the rifle and then get right to work. I recently bought a 700 Rem 25-06 XCR it took over 150 rounds to find a load mostly 3 shot groups. I ended up with RL22 behind a 110 gr Accubond Nosler. I did find a load that shot under 3/4" with a 115 BT Nosler very early on but I wanted a 110 gr load. On the other hand I recently picked up a sightly used Ruger MK II 22-250 ( I know the person who bought it new) it had about 4 boxes of factory ammo thru it. This rifle shoot sub 1/2" groups right off, now I am just playing with different bullet weights and powders to see what it will do.
To try and answer part of your question about randomly picking combs to try, if it's a caliber I have had in the past, I try some old proven loads, working up to max of course. If on the other hand I have little experience I do a lot of research and much test loading. I never use forum advice unless its with in the loading manuals numbers. I average several manuals to find min. and max. loads.
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Old April 17, 2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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I go to They have hundreds of loads and all the data there. You will find one or 2 powders and one or two primers that most people are using. Drop 10% and start having fun with load development. They also post accuracy for each load there also. You will more than likley find a load for your rifle you are shooting. Take all info from this sight with a grain of salt and a few grains of caution.
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Old April 17, 2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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With a new rifle, I will load one cartrige each from min to max in .5gr incriments. This does two things, #1, it allows me to check for pressure signs on the way up, and #2, you shoot them all at the same target, they will walk up the target as powder wt goes up, and at some point 2-4 will cluster on the same vertical point. This is your barrels "sweet spot", where you should begin load development.
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Old April 18, 2012, 07:16 PM   #5
Bart B.
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Deleted; wrong thread .......

Last edited by Bart B.; April 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM.
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Old April 18, 2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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It's gonig to take several hundred rounds before your barrel starts to settle in so you will have to change your load accordingly.
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Old April 18, 2012, 10:00 PM   #7
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I dont know about several hundred, but I would certainly put at least 50 downrange before I actualy started working up a load....
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Old April 18, 2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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In a new rifle I have always carefully worked up my loads. I fire 3 rounds of each load and once I find what I believe is the max charge of powder I then adjust COAL for best accuracy. If I do not get what I expect accuracy wise I'll change powders and start all over.
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