Here are some target pictures from some recent rifle load work-ups we have done for some customers. All loads were tested from the prone position at 200 yards and chronographed with a LabRadar.
First rifle is a custom 300 WSM shooting a 210 grain Berger VLD-H to be used for long range shooting. The rifle is built as a short action, so the 210 VLD is seated deep in the case and the bullet is seated as far out as possible in the short AI magazine. Load A shot just over an inch, which is not bad at all out of the gate for the first group tested at 200 yards. Load B opened up some, and had some wind (and I forgot to turn on the chrono!). The wind was blowing some and switching, so I was timing my shots with a certain wind condition. Load C tightened up nice for 3 shots, and the wind got me on one shot. 3 shots are in a .588" group at 200 yards, which is right at 1/4 moa accuracy. Load D put 4 rounds nice and tight into a .833" group, which is .39 moa accuracy at 200 yards on 4 shots. Load E opened up some, and I had some slight pressure signs, so we will stop there. All loads tested were sub 20 fps ES (extreme spread), and 3 of them were sub 10 fps ES!! This rifle will be shot some suppressed and some with just a brake. So, the customer selected Load C. 500 rounds to load- coming up!
Fed 215M primer
200 Yard target
Next rifle below was a factory Rem 700 bull barrel in 25-06 that had a new stock with some bedding (I was a little unsure of the bedding starting out). We are running a 115 grain Berger VLD-H and testing at 200 yards. This was my second time out with this rifle. I had tested around my normal sweet spot loads with H1000 powder and the groups were stringing and didn't shoot that impressive. So I switched to another powder and changed the seating depth up some, and this was the next range trip out. Load A-E were not too impressive, and I was getting discouraged again for this rifle. Load B shot about 1", but the groups were stringing again and had a high ES. Then Load F came along! Load F dropped 4 shots into a .724" group, which is right at 1/3 moa! I was sweating it out on the 4th shot trying not to mess up good load! Load F has a 13 fps ES (extreme spread), which is really good. You can see most of the loads had a 20+ fps ES. This tells me a few things. A high ES tells me I may be out of the accuracy node, and the groups show this. You can also see most of the groups are in a stringing pattern, which can indicate a bedding issue. The barrel was bedded about 1"-1 1/2" forward of the recoil lug, which I am not a fan of. (If the rifle is fully bedded properly all the way to the rear tang, this method can work. But often times the front area is over bedded and the rear is bedded sloppy with void areas near the rear tang (or not bedded high enough to be level with the front), which causes the front bedded area to act like see-saw and cause stress at the front bedding). Again, this rifle showed me the sweet spot in the group size and by having the lowest ES of all the test loads, and had a much lower ES than the rest by a good margin. Sometimes I think I could complete a load work up just on the chronograph data alone. I think we'll take Load F!
115 Berger VLD-H
Fed 210M primer