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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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What is "working up a load"

I have been reloading for a couple years now and have read many times about people "working up a load". What are you looking for when doing this? And what tells you you have the "ideal" load?
Since most of my ammo is used at the range to just plink and practice form, I start with the min. powder charge and add to it as need. I use mostly semi-auto pistols so as long as the load works the slide and ejects the case, I feel I have found a good load.
Thanks...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 02:51 PM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

from my understanding its doin as you do with the min powder charge, and workin up to get the fastest, best group holding load. I guess changing projectiles would go under this too. some guys might load for reduced recoil

Dont knock it till you've tried it
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 05:55 PM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

It is when mostly rifle re-loaders are trying to find the best possible load for that particular firearm. Not necessary for reduced recoil. I have been reloading pistol for many years. Shot Police Combat Pistol as well for many years. I also played around with semi's, finding a load to shoot mostly lead tips from my 5906 without stripping the bullet in the barrel. But I have found lead tips in an auto is terrible! One of the main reasons I switched to a wheel gun or revolver.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 06:08 PM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

As noted you start with a combination of case, primer, powder and bullet. You start by incrasing the powder from min to max until you find how much powder creates the smallest group size. This may not be the max charge. You then change the overal length until you find which length gives the best groups. You then have a powder charge and length that works best in your gun.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What is "working up a load"

Quote:
Originally Posted by PA-Joe
As noted you start with a combination of case, primer, powder and bullet. You start by incrasing the powder from min to max until you find how much powder creates the smallest group size. This may not be the max charge. You then change the overal length until you find which length gives the best groups. You then have a powder charge and length that works best in your gun.
Thanks PA-Joe. That is a very helpful explanation!!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 04:46 PM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

Basically, it's experimenting with the variables until the load that delivers the desired performance is achieved.

In my case, I'm generally looking for MOA (or near to it) accuracy with as much speed as the rifle can safely deliver using a bullet that will perform as I intend upon reaching the target.

Example- the last rifles I did load development for were my 264WM and 35 Whelen. I wanted FAST but hard-hitting with the 264, so I selected a 140gr Nosler Accubond. The Whelen, I wanted HARD HITTING, speed as a nice add on if possible.

With the 264, I broke in the barrel on very light charges under 129gr Rem Corelokt's, then went to the AB's with RL33 powder. After messing with seat depth and charges, a few possible loads stood out. More experimenting, more shooting, and the last benched groups before hunting season were two consecutively fired groups at 300 yards that measured 2.1" and 2.2" respectively. This from a load giving right about 3200fps for a 140gr Accubond (muzzle velocity). That is a FLAT trajectory and a lot off oomph on the terminal end, too.

With the 35, I had almost no time with it before hunting season, so I had to be quick. No time for a break in.

With that one, I used a "round robin" method I got from a friend, and it worked.

In that case, I did SOME shooting at 100, but once I had a rough zero on the rifle and a few charge weights narrowed down, I went right to 200 yards for load work. Here I used a Speer 250gr HotCor for the terminal performance. I did a powder charge work-up, which meant 1.0gr increments, 5 different charges. Took that to the range, set up 5 targets on one target backing. Numbered the dots on the target, and arranged my loads in an orderly fashion, along with a notebook and pen. I would shoot one shot from each of the 5 batches, one one each target. Let's say I went from lowest charge first to hottest charge last in that string. Then gave the rifle time to cool to ambient temp, then did it again in reverse order, one shot on each dot, going hottest to mildest this time. The important thing is that each time I shot a given load, it was on the SAME dot as the others of the same load.

I kept repeating this process till charges were expended. This yields 5 targets of data that now are not biased by the order in which I fired the charges. No load had the benefit of a cooler or more clean bore.

That being done, I took the charge weights with most potential (two in this case), and did a seat depth profile. This meant I did the same process as above, but now instead of charge weights, I used the same charge weight and did several different seat depths, generally about 0.01" or 0.015" differences from batch to batch. Ran the round robin again, and one leaped out.

Loaded 10 of that one, took it back and verified it would repeat.

Put the zero on the gun, hunted with it, killed a buck in SC and a buck in PA with great results. The load I settled on went 2.5" at 200 yards for 4 consecutive shots. Speeds were in the 2500-2550fps range for the 250gr Speer bullets. For those loading for the Whelen, my charge wound up being 58.0gr of IMR4320. Since I was short on time, I was plenty happy with 2.5" at 200. This year I plan to do more load work with the Whelen and aim for MOA or less out to 300, with the same bullet.

The 264 claimed a doe in SC. I missed a buck with it, but that was operator error...lol.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 10:52 PM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

I personally spend to much time on working up a load for my rifles first i experiment till i get the magic 1" at a 100 yards then i go hunting and see how they perform.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 10:37 AM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

And some times no matter what you do you will never get to that sweet spot. I had a Rifle a few years back in 7X57 I spent way too much time and money on that just never peaked. I had fun playing with all the variables but at some point its just best to give up on it and move on to another project.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 12:02 PM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

When one gets really into this, QuickLoad software is a great aid in the process. I use it along with information on Optimal Barrel Timing (found online) to predict accuracy nodes, which sometimes pan out (sometimes not), giving me a good starting point in my load work. I've found I've cut my load development time and cost GREATLY by using those two tools.

The 35 Whelen I talked about above came back from the reboring job (it had been a 30-06), so it was basically a new rifle, at least a new bore. By 50 rounds, it was ready to hunt. It probably should be shot a little more to settle in the barrel, but it was capable of hunting that quickly. I'm really happy with how my load work has gone now that I'm using more of a methodical process and good tools to run data.

My 264 was NIB (M70 Supergrade), and I think after doing a so-half barrel break-in process and then working for speed an accuracy, I have maybe 100 rds down that one, and that gave me sub-moa to 300 yards with fantastic speeds on a good bullet (that 140AB out of the 264's is a lightning bolt on deer).

The other thing that really cuts down load work costs is to shop carefully. I use Nosler bullets not just because I find them to be well-made and accurate. They can also be bought from Shooter's Pro Shop as "seconds" (I've yet to have any sort of problem with 2nd's, and I hunt with them...some don't trust them, but I've shot a ton of 2nds and never saw any issue). That can cut costs by huge amounts. That and forum classified sections (here and other forums). I just snagged 260-ct of the Speer 250gr HotCor's I use in my Whelen for 35 cents a bullet to my door, for example off another forum. Shopping carefully online can and does give one the ability to shoot premium components and non-premium prices.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 03:02 AM
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Re: What is "working up a load"

I call it " drag racing bullets " Im not going to post the same comments as posted because they are correct and good advise. I will not keep a gun that will not produce 1/2 moa for most times out. You can have a bad day or crap happens but for most part its capable and will shoot that good. That same gun with 1/2", shooting the in proper bullet, powder charge, etc., can give you 1 1/2". guns are like kids you have to feed them what they like to eat. Some will eat everything and some are picky.
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