Loaded my first loads last nite... question


December 16, 2009, 09:26 AM
Now I have loaded my first loads of 308Win in my new RCBS rock chucker, I have a question of how others "work up" loads.
What I did was load 186gr BTHP's in Lapua brass to 2.840 inches OAL (about .030 less than my chamber will allow) with 42, 43, 44,45,and 46 grains of Varget per the Speer manual.

I loaded 5 rounds of each. WHat's typical? 3 rounds? 10 rounds?

Now gotta get to the range :)

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Jim Watson
December 16, 2009, 09:32 AM
I hope you transposed a number there and are really using 168 grain bullets. That is way too much powder for a 186 grain bullet. Shows you the problem with getting reload data off the internet, doesn't it?

Look up "ladder test" and there will be guidelines on how to refine your load.

December 16, 2009, 12:58 PM

December 16, 2009, 01:26 PM
Yes, those loads would be for a 168 grain bullet....... right ILikeLead?

Normally, I wouldn't make full 1-grain jumps, but I understand if you're just trying to see in what area (weight-wise) your rifle will group best. Then, I hope you would start fussing around in .2 or .4 grain increments.

I almost always load in 5-cartridge groups. I will allow for a flyer for the first one or two groups of rounds. Some guys load three....some more than 5 maybe. Once you start dialing in a few loads for each bullet type/weight you have, you'll find your own cluster of how many rounds you want to test...per batch.

Then you can start playing a little bit with seating depth. Bear in mind that, while the standard rule is most cartridges will shoot more accurately the closer they are to the lands, this is not always the case. If you start seating your bullets longer (say .020 then .010, etc) off the lands, and your groups start opening up, then try setting deeper (you started at .030 from lands, try .035, .040, like that). Your rifle will eventually start letting you know what it wants.

December 16, 2009, 02:46 PM
I normally start in the middle, and work up in .5gr increments, to near max loadings. Accuracy is usually not at the top, but near the middle, but every rifle is different, and YMMV:)

December 16, 2009, 03:56 PM
As you work up from the minimum load you will find more than one "sweet spot" as you reach max. Any of those will work just fine. Many target shooters like the highest velocity "sweet spot" within safe limits to cut down on the time of flight of the bullet. Others just want a nice mild load. For hunting some want the max they can get as well, but deer don't know the differeence in 150 FPS worth of velocity when hit well.

December 16, 2009, 07:24 PM
168....186. What's the difference? Nah sorry about the typo.
I read the ladder technique. That's the next thing I will do.

I shot 3 shot groups and the tightest was at 42 gr. I read something about lapua brass maybe needing less powder? Higher pressures? Even the 46 gr cases were ok re: pressure.

Would it be okay to drop the charge to 41gr and start the ladder?

Thanks for all the help! Dang this is fun!!!

December 16, 2009, 08:18 PM
Read the Newberry thing and had to laugh out loud. Tomorrow will show it to the engineers at lab where I work. They'll have a good laugh too. To learn how to develop accurate loads go to the experts at Benchrest.com and you'll get a rough but worthwhile idea. But to really learn go to a registered ( not local club shoot) benchrest match and you'll get some truly amazing and useful information just by watching and asking.

December 16, 2009, 11:18 PM
I wrote an article on my load development process... (http://www.rifles-shooting-reloading.com/load-development.html)

Hope that helps some.

December 17, 2009, 02:11 PM
Thanks Gearhead! That's about what I'm in the process of doing except I've integrated the ladder technique into the final stages....

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