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#6216281 - 03/09/16 01:44 PM At what point do you call it good?
ZK-315 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 1559
Loc: Temple...Hunt in Freestone Co.
At what point are yall calling your loads good, and begin to use that particular load?

Gun:
Custom 7mm WSM - 1:8" twist 24" barrel, suppressed
180gr. Berger Hunting VLD seated to mag length 2.950"
RL-22

Reason I ask, I don't know if I'm being overly critical of the new gun I just had built. I started working up a load for it and was doing 5 bullets in 0.5gr increments. I found the tightest group and then went to 0.1gr increments around it to find "the load" it likes. I've also only tried 1 powder.

I feel that I did pretty well and put 5 rounds at 0.453" (center to center) at 100 yards....but there was still paper between them. I don't ever plan to do competition shooting, but shooting 1000 yards and hunting is what I built this gun for and I feel it could be better? I don't know.

I worked a load for my wife's box stock Remington 700 BDL 22-250 and had 4 bullets at 0.467". I guess I just feel a custom built rifle should be better than her box gun.

Am I being too critical of this custom gun or is there a smaller group to be had? At what point do you call your load good?

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#6216293 - 03/09/16 01:50 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23393
Loc: Texas
You may not be able to get it close enough to the lands if your are seating by max mag length.

I would try different powders and different bullets before I wrote it off with a group/load I wasn't happy with.
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#6216299 - 03/09/16 01:55 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
ZK-315 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 1559
Loc: Temple...Hunt in Freestone Co.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with it. but comparing this $$ custom rifle (0.453") to my wife's bone stock rifle (0.467") that 0.014" came at a pretty penny. Granted, I can shoot much bigger animals with this one vs. my wife's, but I don't know how tight I should get the groups before I call it done. Know what I mean?

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#6216302 - 03/09/16 01:58 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
ZK-315 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 1559
Loc: Temple...Hunt in Freestone Co.
On your first point, I've thought about the accuracy about getting closer to the lands, but I want to have 1 load and be done. I don't want to sound lazy, but I want my load to work for hunting (which this group is better than my 30-06 big time) but also something I could pick up and go shoot 1000 yards this afternoon at the range. I don't want a load for hunting, then a load for the range.


Edited by ZK-315 (03/09/16 01:59 PM)

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#6216473 - 03/09/16 03:29 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
HicksHunter Offline


Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 1533
Loc: Kerrville
I'm always chasing the x-ring. I'm hesitant to load up more than a couple hundred at any time because then that ties up expensive rifle brass that I could use for further load development. And I've never tested a load in enough conditions to be confident that I'll punch the center every time. That's just me though.

The thing about finding that load that shoots .25" every time is that it takes either a lot of time and money investment, or a lot of luck. No other way to get around it. I'd try researching different powders that work well with the 180gr pill and try them out. Who knows, you might be surprised!

If you're unwilling to load to longer than mag length, you're just going to have to sample powders.

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#6216510 - 03/09/16 03:56 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
TXMikeMcC Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/04/05
Posts: 503
For me, it depends on the rifle/cartridge as to how far I'll go with load development.

It would be nice to have a few more details on the rifle, but assuming it's a custom action and an aftermarket barrel I would probably try 2-3 other bullets in that weight range to see if you get noticeably tighter groups; I would leave the powder alone. It's also important to keep in mind, Berger VLDs typically like to be very close to the lands, if not jammed in them; it's possible you're seating them too far back due to the mag length restriction. I'd probably try an SMK, or a Berger Hybrid (or something less sensitive to seating depth) just to see how they perform.

That said, a consistent 1/2 MOA rifle is good enough to win competitions, so worst case that's what you end up with. I would hesitate to compare the 7WSM to the 22-250 in terms of out of the box accuracy though. I know lots of F-Class guys are running 7WSMs/7RSAUMs etc, and they're very accurate, but they're still harder to get consistently great accuracy from than their smaller bore counterparts (at least from my experience). I know the feeling though, I've got rifles worth thousands with custom tubes on them that won't even begin to touch my bone stock 700 SPS Varmint in .223; it's just the way it goes sometimes I guess.

Edit: I think you're approaching this correctly though. With a 7WSM I wouldn't spend more than 100-200 rounds messing with load development; I'd find what works good enough (and maybe that's what you've found), then call it done. I've seen some guys try to chase bughole groups with new loads all the way up until they shot out the throat.


Edited by TXMikeMcC (03/09/16 03:59 PM)

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#6216537 - 03/09/16 04:12 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
GLC Offline


Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 4116
Loc: Burleson Texas
I have only been reloading for about a year and a half. I have been very fortunate with the three different calibers and four guns that I loaded for turned out great as far as my expectation. I was able to get them touching at 100 yards from .188 to .375 c to c. I did do several load workups, first .3 grain increments about 20 different loads, 3 each. Then picking the best loads and then going between .1 to .2 grains on either side to once again get the best one. Luckily everything worked out. I have had to go back a couple of times to tweak a little when I ran out a certain lot # of powder but it was pretty to get things back in sink again.
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#6216564 - 03/09/16 04:25 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
ZK-315 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 1559
Loc: Temple...Hunt in Freestone Co.
It's built off of a Remington 700 action that's been trued, 24" Brux barrel with a 1-8 twist, manners EH4 carbon fiber stock, timney trigger (I may need to lighten the pull on it slightly though), and running a silencerco harvester.

I do have 10 of the berger 180gr hybrids that a buddy gave me to test out. I haven't shot them yet, but have loaded them to 63.1gr of the RL-22 that shot best with the VLDs. I've just been waiting for the sun to poke out and the wind to die down a bit.

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#6216579 - 03/09/16 04:31 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23393
Loc: Texas
Your predicament is why I struggle with the whole building a custom gun deal. I have a rem 700 adl 223 rem that is bone stock with tupoware stock leupold mounts and a simmons scope that with hand loads will shoot one ragged hole. Have a Rem 700 sendero 270 win with leupold mounds and old leupold vxII scope that will do the same one raged hole with hand loads. My savage 243 I have not gotten to shoot that well yet... im still working on it, but I doubt it ever will.

Lots of people would have replaced the tupoware stock on my 223 without shooting it when in reality it does just fine. I find it strange when people do a build without a base line, otherwise you could have spent a butload without gaining anything.

a consistent 1/2 moa is nothing to sneeze at and will easily do as a hunting gun, don't sweat the small stuff and take it hunting.
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#6216589 - 03/09/16 04:37 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
You can do better. I think I was clost to that. distance edge to edge with a real caliber....300 win.

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#6216594 - 03/09/16 04:42 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
papa45 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Arlington
We have all been there, trying to develop a bughole load. Some times the endless experimentation is fun; some times it's a drag. If I had a single 1/2 MOA load for hunting as well as occasional target shooting out to 1000 yards, I'd be very happy.

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#6216643 - 03/09/16 05:05 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
ZK-315 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 1559
Loc: Temple...Hunt in Freestone Co.
I struggled with the buying something vs. building something for a while. I knew I wanted something new so I could put my late grandfathers gun in the safe. It's just a rem 700 bdl 30-06, but its in 90-95% shape. To me, its just a good looking gun that has a ton of sentimental value to it. I don't want to bugger it up in the brush, so I needed something. I shot a friends custom rifle and I was sold, unfortunately lol.

Although I'm pretty new to reloading, I felt I did awesome with the 22-250. All I could find was anything under an inch at 100 yards was great. Well 1/2" with hers and I was thrilled. Now to this new one, I knew I would be limited to mag depth and wasn't sure how much better I could get it. I'm excited to try the Hybrids out, as the responses above aren't the only ones I've seen about how its more forgiving with the limited seating depth I have. I guess I just got a little over-zealous when I bought the VLDs as I bought 4 boxes of them whistle If these Hybrids do as yall are saying, i'll have a few VLD's up for grabs. If they don't produce, I may just call it good, or try different powders. We'll see how much time I have on my hands at the time. Little man is supposed to show up in a couple of weeks.

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#6216649 - 03/09/16 05:07 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
ZK-315 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 1559
Loc: Temple...Hunt in Freestone Co.
There's 5 shots here..


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#6216663 - 03/09/16 05:13 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
kmon1 Offline
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 20289
Loc: Texas
A lot depends on the gun like some have said already. In a custom like described if I have a load that is consistently sub half MOA I am happy. Could it be better possibly, am I any better, doubt it. You can chase that most accurate load until the barrel wares out and start over with a new one or find a load good enough for the use it is for and go shoot and have fun. For me that is sub half MOA and my customs will do less than that but am happy if I can shoot that well day in and out with the gun and load. That doesn't count for the occasional sub 1/4 inch group but those days don't happen most of the time.

Have a 3 that if I do my part they will shoot .3 or smaller Still not disappointed with myself when I shoot half inch groups with it.


With Berger bullets heavier for weight, you might find that load is more like .3 MOA at longer ranges where the bullet "goes to sleep" or at least that is what I have been told and with a 140gr 6.5 bullet I have seen groups .6 inch groups at 325 yards with a load that averages .3 at 100.

The Hybrid bullets are less seating depth dependent than the standard VLDs and might help get a little better accuracy at magazine length.
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#6216774 - 03/09/16 06:19 PM Re: At what point do you call it good? [Re: ZK-315]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
I am surprised you weren't touching lands on a custom chamber. Generally they are tight

Also I find it easier to measure edge to edge and subtract bullet diameter.

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