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#6814993 - 07/07/17 09:21 AM Large velocity ES causes
patriot07 Offline
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Registered: 11/06/11
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Loc: Royse City, TX
I've done a bunch of load testing with multiple powders for my Tikka Varmint 223, and I can't figure out why the ES is so high on everything. 4-shot group size has varied from .20" with some loads to 1.5"-2" with others. So I've found some loads that shoot really accurately and some that don't. But the ES is all over the map. ES with the most inaccurate loads is around 50-80 fps. ES with the loads that shoot ok varies from 30 fps to 120 fps. ES with the most accurate loads is between 30-50 fps.

All loads were run on single stage and powder measured for each round. ES was calculated based on anywhere from 4 shots to 10 shots (depending on how many test shots I ran with each load). So I guess the basic questions are:

- what type of ES should I be expecting?
- are some powders more consistent than others?

Using once-fired brass, same brand, same length, same primers, and using a CED millennium chrono. Heard people talking about getting ES in single digits or certainly under 20 fps, and I'm not even close to that.

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#6815004 - 07/07/17 09:30 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Registered: 12/16/08
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What powder scale are you using?

And, anymore, I will not fully trust an optical chronograph. I realize that model you have is a higher end one, but I trust a Magnetospeed or a Labradar both more than any optical chronograph.

I went through lots of trouble two weeks ago tweaking my 7mm-08 load. I loaded on a beam scale, found the best shooting charge at 100, then tested it again at 200 yards. It shot very tight, and at the same time Chad' s Labradar reported an ES of 10 fps. That is a personal best for me, especially with an old case geometry design of the 7mm-08.


Edited by FiremanJG (07/07/17 09:32 AM)
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#6815008 - 07/07/17 09:31 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
redchevy Offline
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Never played with a chrono but may get better on second firing.

I believe neck tension is going to come up in this as well.
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#6815009 - 07/07/17 09:32 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
RiverRider Offline
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I upgraded from a Shooting Chrony to a Oehler 35P because I found out it was close when it comes to average velocity but not so good on shot-to-shot precision. Stats were pretty meaningless with the Chrony.
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#6815015 - 07/07/17 09:35 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: redchevy]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Originally Posted By: redchevy
Never played with a chrono but may get better on second firing.

I believe neck tension is going to come up in this as well.


Thanks for the reminder. I failed to mention the reason I was tweaking powder charge again is that I changed bushings in my FL die to provide .002" more neck tension.
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#6815040 - 07/07/17 09:54 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
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Brad, there are multiple items that can cause a high ES. I'll list a few I think are in order of importance from high to low.

#1-Consistent powder charge, accurate to at least .1 grains or less (I load to .02 grains)
#2-Consistent case prep- all brass same brand, sized the same with consistent neck tension from piece to piece
Consistent seating depth
Correct load tuned to the rifle (sweet spot for the rifle)
The right powder burn rate for the cartridge and bullet you are shooting (see note below)

If you are still using the new CFE 223 powder for your 223, consider this. That is a CFE powder, meaning a "copper fouling eraser" ingredient in the powder to reduce the amount of copper fouling in the barrel when shooting. How do they do this? They have to add in some kind of agent to make the powder have less copper fouling. This ingredient has to make the barrel more slick or more frictionless in some way. It also has to coat the inside of the barrel in some form to prevent copper build up. What does this tell me? This should act like a moly or Boron Nitride (BN) bullet coating. Instead of the coating being applied on the bullet, it's inside the powder as you shoot it. The more you shoot, the more slick it gets, changing up the friction placed on the bullet, effecting your ES. On a clean barrel, you may get a lower ES and on a heavily fouled barrel you may get a higher ES.

I know from experience that moly and BN coated bullets will easily double your ES numbers. It has to do with the bullet not having a consistent grip in the barrel, when compared to a naked uncoated bullet. I knew many shooters that could not stay consistent at 1000 yards and would miss high and low, simply because they were running BN coated bullets and their ES numbers were 40-50+ fps, often more (mainly 243 Win with 115 coated DTAC bullet). When you factor a high ES like that, you will see vertical spread (missing high and low) at long range.

Is this causing your high ES? Not sure, but it would be my educated guess. But if you are still planning on only shooting out to 400 and 500 yards with your 223, then it won't matter much with the higher ES, since you won't really begin to see much vertical at that distance.
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#6815063 - 07/07/17 10:17 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
RiverRider Offline
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Registered: 11/11/07
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Loc: Wise Co.
Mismatched case capacity will also have notable effect on ES---just like inconsistent charge weights.
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Originally Posted By: Cleric
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#6815108 - 07/07/17 10:56 AM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
Buzzsaw Online   content
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so if said Tikka will shoot .20, that's smaller than a dime sized group @ 100yards, if my math is correct:

1. why jack with any other loads?
2. What difference will a high ES or SD make? bad groups at 600yrds?

I think sometimes we get too anal when we are getting very good accuracy .20 from a factory gun and barrel. Or is the 2.0" group more the norm for this rifle??


Edited by Buzzsaw (07/07/17 10:56 AM)
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#6815192 - 07/07/17 12:23 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
Smokey Bear Offline
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Registered: 05/11/17
Posts: 54
Loc: Texas
Patriot, you are probably doing better than most factory ammo. Some I have tested has been well over 100. To get the ES way down powder charge needs to be precise. Usually on a beam, or very expensive electronic scale, where you can recognize if you are one kernel high or low. Brass prep needs to be meticulous. Matched cases at minimum weigh sorted, to get internal capacity as consistent as possible. Flash holes often uniformed. Trim exact. Same number of cycles on each piece. Brass has often been annealed for greater consistency and more predictable neck tension. Loads are most often near maximum pressure for a consistent and complete burn. Various primers may be experimented with to tighten things up. Some weigh sort Bullets for greater consistency and the OAL may be measured to the ogive for a more exacting seating depth.
Repeatable consistency and precision isolating as many variables as possible so when the right combination is found it can be duplicated.
Going at it that way identifies what techniques give you the most mileage. It is also overkill for most shooting.
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#6815198 - 07/07/17 12:31 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
Judd Online   content


Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 11163
Loc: Sachse, TX
Yes to the stuff Chad said but when I find a load that will shoot little but the ES/SD number is higher than I prefer...go with that load but change primer. You'd be surprised how much difference a primer can make to those numbers.

I always start with a good primer. For example...small rifle is either going to be CC450/FM205M/CCI400/BR4 and large rifle will 95% of the time be a BR2.
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#6815279 - 07/07/17 01:37 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
jeffbird Online   content


Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 2068
Chad,

Tin is the most commonly added ingredient for decoppering, although bismuth is another that is used somewhat.

Lead was also used in the past.

The concept has been around for a very long time, especially for use in military ammo.

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#6815366 - 07/07/17 03:16 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: ChadTRG42]
patriot07 Offline
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Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 1393
Loc: Royse City, TX
Ok, so it sounds like 30-50 fps may not be totally unexpected. Thank you all for the responses. I had considered the chrono maybe not being 100% reliable because it seems like a lot of the speeds are close (20-30 fps apart) and then I'll get one or two random outliers that are 40-100 fps faster or slower than the rest.

Regarding neck tension, I am sticking with one brand of brass at a time and using the same die set the same way, although I have noticed minor differences in how difficult the bullet can be to seat.

Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
What powder scale are you using?

And, anymore, I will not fully trust an optical chronograph. I realize that model you have is a higher end one, but I trust a Magnetospeed or a Labradar both more than any optical chronograph.

I went through lots of trouble two weeks ago tweaking my 7mm-08 load. I loaded on a beam scale, found the best shooting charge at 100, then tested it again at 200 yards. It shot very tight, and at the same time Chad' s Labradar reported an ES of 10 fps. That is a personal best for me, especially with an old case geometry design of the 7mm-08.
To answer your questions:
- I did not know that chrono was high-end. I am using it because the gun club at work rents equipment to members for free and that's what they have. Same with the thrower/scale...
- I am using an RCBS scale/thrower that looks like this (for most of my testing, I am hand-dipping powder onto the scale and not using the thrower):




Originally Posted By: RiverRider
Mismatched case capacity will also have notable effect on ES---just like inconsistent charge weights.
Should this improve with brass that has been fired all out of my gun when I load it again?

Thanks for the response Chad. Comments in red.
Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Brad, there are multiple items that can cause a high ES. I'll list a few I think are in order of importance from high to low.

#1-Consistent powder charge, accurate to at least .1 grains or less (I load to .02 grains)
#2-Consistent case prep- all brass same brand, sized the same with consistent neck tension from piece to piece
Consistent seating depth
Correct load tuned to the rifle (sweet spot for the rifle)
The right powder burn rate for the cartridge and bullet you are shooting (see note below) I was keeping up with you until you started talking about burn rate for the cartridge and bullet - how do you know what is "right" and what isn't?

If you are still using the new CFE 223 powder for your 223, consider this. That is a CFE powder, meaning a "copper fouling eraser" ingredient in the powder to reduce the amount of copper fouling in the barrel when shooting. How do they do this? They have to add in some kind of agent to make the powder have less copper fouling. This ingredient has to make the barrel more slick or more frictionless in some way. It also has to coat the inside of the barrel in some form to prevent copper build up. What does this tell me? This should act like a moly or Boron Nitride (BN) bullet coating. Instead of the coating being applied on the bullet, it's inside the powder as you shoot it. The more you shoot, the more slick it gets, changing up the friction placed on the bullet, effecting your ES. On a clean barrel, you may get a lower ES and on a heavily fouled barrel you may get a higher ES.

I know from experience that moly and BN coated bullets will easily double your ES numbers. It has to do with the bullet not having a consistent grip in the barrel, when compared to a naked uncoated bullet. I knew many shooters that could not stay consistent at 1000 yards and would miss high and low, simply because they were running BN coated bullets and their ES numbers were 40-50+ fps, often more (mainly 243 Win with 115 coated DTAC bullet). When you factor a high ES like that, you will see vertical spread (missing high and low) at long range. Makes sense - had not considered this. Thank you.

Is this causing your high ES? Not sure, but it would be my educated guess. But if you are still planning on only shooting out to 400 and 500 yards with your 223, then it won't matter much with the higher ES, since you won't really begin to see much vertical at that distance. Agree 100%, this is more of a learning opportunity than anything else. Vertical delta at 500 yards is only 2"-4", so it's not a huge difference for my uses. Just trying to learn how to be better.

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#6815377 - 07/07/17 03:25 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: Buzzsaw]
patriot07 Offline
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Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 1393
Loc: Royse City, TX
Originally Posted By: Buzzsaw
so if said Tikka will shoot .20, that's smaller than a dime sized group @ 100yards, if my math is correct:

1. why jack with any other loads?
2. What difference will a high ES or SD make? bad groups at 600yrds?

I think sometimes we get too anal when we are getting very good accuracy .20 from a factory gun and barrel. Or is the 2.0" group more the norm for this rifle??
I have gotten a number of sub-.5" groups from this gun. Problem is with temp-sensitive CFE223 powder, I have had trouble replicating that type of performance in these warmer temps. When it was colder, I was getting awesome groups nearly every time out. I'm working on backing off the powder charge to get back to the same velocity (and hopefully pressure) that I was getting from the tight groups when it was colder, but I still haven't been able to get those same results yet. Best groups since it warmed up have been about .6"-.7", which is fine for my purposes (targets at 100 yards, steel at 300-500 yards). I'm just trying to figure out if there is anything I should be trying to do to improve the ES on those loads.

I'm not trying to make a gun that shoots .1" groups with an ES of 5 fps. I don't have the time or money to tweak to that level, and I don't have the skills to make use of it either. If I could get consistent groups at .75" and a "good" ES, that would be perfectly fine for my uses. I think my expectations for ES with single-stage loaded rounds may have been a bit ambitious. And my gun isn't shooting .75" all the time in the summer either. Just wanted to get forum input on whether there was anything easy to do to improve.

Thinking it might be worth playing around with Varget. I've heard of tons of good stuff from it in 223. Only reason I'd gone with CFE223 was because my gun liked it in the winter and my original ammo run was all on a progressive. Now that I'm single stage loading, Varget might be a better choice.

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#6815396 - 07/07/17 03:40 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: patriot07]
redchevy Offline
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Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 25322
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: patriot07

Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Brad, there are multiple items that can cause a high ES. I'll list a few I think are in order of importance from high to low.

#1-Consistent powder charge, accurate to at least .1 grains or less (I load to .02 grains)
#2-Consistent case prep- all brass same brand, sized the same with consistent neck tension from piece to piece
Consistent seating depth
Correct load tuned to the rifle (sweet spot for the rifle)
The right powder burn rate for the cartridge and bullet you are shooting (see note below) I was keeping up with you until you started talking about burn rate for the cartridge and bullet - how do you know what is "right" and what isn't?



You want to pick a powder that allows he case to be relatively full of powder. A powder that is too fast will leave a lot of empty space in the cartridge and one that is too slow will fill the case and not achieve your intended velocity.
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#6815456 - 07/07/17 04:07 PM Re: Large velocity ES causes [Re: redchevy]
patriot07 Offline
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Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 1393
Loc: Royse City, TX
Originally Posted By: redchevy
Originally Posted By: patriot07

Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Brad, there are multiple items that can cause a high ES. I'll list a few I think are in order of importance from high to low.

#1-Consistent powder charge, accurate to at least .1 grains or less (I load to .02 grains)
#2-Consistent case prep- all brass same brand, sized the same with consistent neck tension from piece to piece
Consistent seating depth
Correct load tuned to the rifle (sweet spot for the rifle)
The right powder burn rate for the cartridge and bullet you are shooting (see note below) I was keeping up with you until you started talking about burn rate for the cartridge and bullet - how do you know what is "right" and what isn't?



You want to pick a powder that allows he case to be relatively full of powder. A powder that is too fast will leave a lot of empty space in the cartridge and one that is too slow will fill the case and not achieve your intended velocity.
Gotcha - my winter load is 24.6 grains of CFE223 loaded at 2.282" with a 75 Hornady BTHP. It was shooting lights out anywhere from 40 degrees to 65 degrees. When I came out and it was 90 degrees, things went south. I backed off to 23.8 grains of CFE223 to get about the same velocity as the 24.6 grains was getting in the winter, but the accuracy hasn't been quite as good.

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