Load testing

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Load testing

Postby Cutright » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:01 pm

Just curious on everyone's load testing procedures. Three or five shot groups, fouling shots, how often barrel is cleaned, cooling barrels, testing different aspects of the same load (length, primer, crimp), and any other aspects.
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Re: Load testing

Postby Hoot » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:53 pm

Cutright wrote:Just curious on everyone's load testing procedures. Three or five shot groups, fouling shots, how often barrel is cleaned, cooling barrels, testing different aspects of the same load (length, primer, crimp), and any other aspects.


Everyone has their method. Here's mine.

I start with a cleaned, dry patched barrel and fire a couple of foulers. I then shoot my 5-shot group.
Given the barrel will slowly foul, if I have say 4 different loads I'm testing, I shoot them round robin, so that they all share in the impact that gradual fouling might have.
IE: 1A 1B 1C 1D, 2A 2B 2C 2D, 3A 3B... etc
If I have more than 4 loads I'm testing, I shoot the 4 groups of 5 shots and re-clean, dry patch. Shoot a couple more foulers, then do the next batch.
When I'm fast-tracking a powder experiment just for the velocities, I sometimes only shoot 3-shot groups to get my max load and baseline accuracy established. I come back another day with the narrower selection of powder steps using 5-shot groups. Even 5-shots groups are statistically pretty insignificant, but its where I draw the line in this caliber.

There are range days where after a few shots, its pretty apparent that I'm not on my game in terms of what my shooting skills are doing to my groups. If I'm there to test for accuracy of the load, not me, I'll either go home or take out the Lead Sled, to remove me from affecting the results. I have that latitude since I live 10 minutes from the local club and I'm the Rifle Range Coordinator. My second home. ;)

I know precision shooters who devote their time to precision rifles who would scoff at only a 5-shot group. Some of them consider 20 shots to be a statistical minimum and often one of them a day, over the course of several days worth of differing weather conditions, especially temperature. There's a place for that degree of fastidiousness. This caliber doesn't see much in the way of competitive shooting however. 5 shots satisfies me. There is an argument for not developing a pet load when its 80 degrees out if you're going to be using it when its 25 degrees out and vice versa. Ball powders like this caliber prefers change with temperature.

EDIT: I learned this the hard way. Never change powder lots in the middle of a testing experiment. If you don't think you will have enough powder left in the bottle, don't start. Get another bottle first. Use the remnants from the first bottle for foulers. That's why frequent experimenters buy larger quantities at a time. Ditto on pulled bullets. Use them for foulers or fun shooting.

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Re: Load testing

Postby Cutright » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:54 pm

Thanks Hoot. I like the round robin idea. I haven't thought of that, but will certainly incorporate this in the future
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Re: Load testing

Postby justbob » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:23 pm

I am a bit of a heretic. When developing hunting loads I fire three shot groups. Cold bore no fouling shot. In a hunting situation three shots cover the vast majority of situations. Cool and Clean after the third shot. I want to know what that first round is going to do every time.

When developing target loads I do the classic 5 shot group/
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Re: Load testing

Postby Hoot » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:52 pm

justbob wrote:I am a bit of a heretic. When developing hunting loads I fire three shot groups. Cold bore no fouling shot. In a hunting situation three shots cover the vast majority of situations. Cool and Clean after the third shot. I want to know what that first round is going to do every time.

When developing target loads I do the classic 5 shot group/


The last thing I do before packing to go deer hunting is dry patch my wet bore and fire 2-3 fouler shots through it, which also affords one last scope check. Then off it goes into the case, ready for opening morning. If you get to deer cam the day before to set up camp you can also let some go to foul the barrel, assuming that is legal where you hunt. I never go out with a clean or lubed barrel. Cold is not much of a factor as I test hunting loads as close to the temperature I will be hunting at as possible. All but one deer I've ever taken was with one shot from a fouled, cold bore. One took 2 shots as my first went right over an 8 pointer about 10 yards away at an extreme downward angle from 16 ft up. Luckily, he was more interested in the poon tang he was sniffing after. ;)

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Re: Load testing

Postby justbob » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:37 pm

Most of my "hunting" is done against predators and Ferrell dogs attacking my live stock. (Targets of opportunity) The frequency of Engagement ranges from once a month to several times in one day. So my shots are cold bore by necessity. The rifle goes from storage to shooting in a matter of seconds.

For your type of hunting your technique is excellent. For me my style works.

Your site in and load testing should be tailored for the conditions you shoot under.
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Re: Load testing

Postby justbob » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:41 pm

PS. I understand those high angle close shots. To me those are the most difficult shots to make in the field. You are under line of site and have to account for an acute angle.
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