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#7115976 - 03/19/18 08:17 AM Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel
Olshovel Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/04/13
Posts: 76
I will start by saying I am new to reloading. I have been doing a lot of reading, on this forum and on many sites with articles about developing loads for a rifle on the internet. The most interesting thing I have read was a thesis paper titled "Optimal barrel time concept" written by the guy that developed some program for reloading called Quickload. Is anybody here familiar with this program and does it work? I have been reading about nodes and the methods used to determine where those are as you develop loads. Based on the optimal barrel time paper, the COAL had more effect in moving a round towards the nodes than powder charge. Is this consistent with the practical experience that is represented by all of you long term reloaded here? I am about to load up my first round and I'm curious if I need to focus on powder charge first or play with seating depth first?

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#7116009 - 03/19/18 08:41 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2504
Loc: Houston
As fellow newbie, here's my take on your starting point and questions:

As far as finding the best node is concerned, it seems that most do a variation on something referred to as the ladder test. Full disclosure, the follow is my process from a bunch of info fireman sent me.
1. Load 2 of each weight charge of powder in 0.3gr increments. I ended up doing about 8 sets.
2. I seated them all the same depth to start out with, which was about 0.010" behind the lands.
3. Get colored Sharpe markers and paint the who bullet exposed different color for each load. Tip, my sharpie pack was arranged in the color spectrum order. I paint the tips in that order for charges too.
4. I have a 600 yard range available so I shot mine at 300 yard. One of each load at the same target. Hopefully u shot those well.
5. Then ignoring mostly the horizontal spread, find the 2-3 shots that are the closest together vertically. They should be very close in charge weight. Fireman said supposedly he just makes and shoots one of these sets. I make 2 sets and shoot them separately to confirm results.
6. Then what ever range of charges was the best, then make larger groups of just that range in smaller increments.

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#7116042 - 03/19/18 09:07 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 7851
Loc: Wise Co.
The OBT theory may have merit, but it's really too narrow a window to look through in the attempt to develop a load, if you get my drift. OBT focuses on the annular distortion of bore diameter reflecting back and forth and disregards other vibration modes. I think those other modes of vibration are just as important, and maybe even more so. I've done a bit of experimenting with a couple of rifles to see if OBT could be used in conjunction with QuickLOAD to develop a load, and it just has not panned out conclusively---for me.

If you have sufficient range to try the ladder, then it may well work for you. If not, the old 100- or 200-yard method will work also. One wrinkle I have added to my own methods is to shoot two-shot "groups" during initial development, aka "finding pressure." If a load appears to want to spread two shots 1-1/2" then there's no reason to pursue that charge weight. Two shots can't prove a load is good, but they can sure give an indication that it's probably not going to work.
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#7116045 - 03/19/18 09:13 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 7851
Loc: Wise Co.
Seating depth can have quite a bit of effect on a load's performance, too. A good place to start is 1/10 of a caliber off the lands.

Sometimes you just can't get a bullet anywhere near the lands, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to develop a load that will shoot. If you find yourself in that situation, just start at max OAL allowed by the magazine, and seat a little deeper from there if necessary.
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#7116052 - 03/19/18 09:17 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Korean Redneck]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 23999
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: Korean Redneck
As fellow newbie, here's my take on your starting point and questions:

As far as finding the best node is concerned, it seems that most do a variation on something referred to as the ladder test. Full disclosure, the follow is my process from a bunch of info fireman sent me.
1. Load 2 of each weight charge of powder in 0.3gr increments. I ended up doing about 8 sets.
2. I seated them all the same depth to start out with, which was about 0.010" behind the lands.
3. Get colored Sharpe markers and paint the who bullet exposed different color for each load. Tip, my sharpie pack was arranged in the color spectrum order. I paint the tips in that order for charges too.
4. I have a 600 yard range available so I shot mine at 300 yard. One of each load at the same target. Hopefully u shot those well.
5. Then ignoring mostly the horizontal spread, find the 2-3 shots that are the closest together vertically. They should be very close in charge weight. Fireman said supposedly he just makes and shoots one of these sets. I make 2 sets and shoot them separately to confirm results.
6. Then what ever range of charges was the best, then make larger groups of just that range in smaller increments.


I shoot 1 round of each powder charge in a ladder test.
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#7116062 - 03/19/18 09:24 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 23999
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
OP,

I will find rifling, seat. 002" to .005" short of the lands, then check if it will fit in the magazine. If it will, then I test powder charges. I am in the camp that the powder charge is the most important factor. For too many rifles I've seated to a rifling relationship, tested powder charge, found the right one, and called it a done project. For the guy that still thinks he needs to squeeze out a better load, I say keep your BEST powder charge, then play with seating depth variations.

I have a policy of not jamming in the lands, touching maybe, but not jamming. In the case of the loaded cartridge that needs to be ejected, I've seen my rifles, and other shooter's rifles eject a case, sling powder everywhere, and now we have to get a cleaning rod to remove the bullet. So when I'm talking about testing seating depth, I am saying testing progressively farther from the lands.
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#7116089 - 03/19/18 09:47 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
Olshovel Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/04/13
Posts: 76
My max OAL is 2.890 as measured with the hornady tool and one of their special cases, using a 168 hornady bthp. I have not measured yet to see if that will fit into my magazine yet. I am running a PTG bottom metal. I am going to use a comparator and measure off the ogive to set it off the lands the distance suggested and then work powder loads. Would you suggest starting in the middle of the range and work up or start at the bottom and work up?

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#7116112 - 03/19/18 10:18 AM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 23999
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: Olshovel
My max OAL is 2.890 as measured with the hornady tool and one of their special cases, using a 168 hornady bthp. I have not measured yet to see if that will fit into my magazine yet. I am running a PTG bottom metal. I am going to use a comparator and measure off the ogive to set it off the lands the distance suggested and then work powder loads. Would you suggest starting in the middle of the range and work up or start at the bottom and work up?


What powder? And are you using that 168 BTHP?
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#7116284 - 03/19/18 12:47 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
Olshovel Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/04/13
Posts: 76
Varget is what I have for powder and I am using 168 hpbt's. is the varget going to work well or is there a powder that will do a better job of filling the cartridge with so little of the projectile seated in the case?

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#7116300 - 03/19/18 01:01 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 23999
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: Olshovel
Varget is what I have for powder and I am using 168 hpbt's. is the varget going to work well or is there a powder that will do a better job of filling the cartridge with so little of the projectile seated in the case?


The best powder on the face of the earth, for bolt action .308 is H-Varget as far as I'm concerned.

Let me save you some time, test fire from 44.5 gr up to 46.0 gr.
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#7116341 - 03/19/18 01:35 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
Olshovel Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/04/13
Posts: 76
I will start there, thanks for the input. So run a ladder on charges, find what is accurate and then come back and play with seating depths?

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#7116413 - 03/19/18 02:44 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 23999
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: Olshovel
I will start there, thanks for the input. So run a ladder on charges, find what is accurate and then come back and play with seating depths?


Shoot a ladder, find where the node is. What three charges grouped together. Go load those for 5 shot groups, if you have the barrel contour to hold 5. Shoot those as groups, tighest one is your powder charge. Keep that charge, and then play with seating depth if you are so inclined.

Ladder tests are the most efficient when you can load, at the range. Learn what you need in the ladder, and immediately load groups, and shoot them right away. That is why I have a loading facility attached to the rifle range.
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#7116443 - 03/19/18 03:15 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
Olshovel Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/04/13
Posts: 76
Thanks Fireman. Where is your range located?

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#7116481 - 03/19/18 03:50 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: Olshovel]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 23999
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Wolfe City, TX
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#7116484 - 03/19/18 03:53 PM Re: Load development for 308 Howa with 24" barrel [Re: FiremanJG]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 12497
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
Let me save you some time, test fire from 44.5 gr up to 46.0 gr.


This is good info. But, depending on what brass and primer you are running, the 44.5 grains can be a little high as a starting point. I'd start about a grain less and work up to make sure everything is safe.
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