Second round reloading. What do the results mean?


October 20, 2011, 09:48 PM
Hopefully you're not getting sick of me. I thought that this could help me as well as other new reloaders out there.

For my first round, see this thread:

First my shooting procedures. I've practiced a lot with a bolt action 22 out to 250 yards for the past couple of years, so I'm a think I'm a decent shot (not pro by any means). The 16 shots both this time and last time took me approx 1.5 hours. Shoot, walk 100yds-mark shot-walk back and repeat shooting one round from each weigh first and then the second and so on. I'm shooting from sand bags on a bench and can keep the cross hairs on mostly steady. Slowing squeezing each shot and everyone was a surprise (one or two were too much of a surprise. The trigger breaks just under 3 pounds. So not ruling out the monkey behind the trigger. But lets go on.

Reloading process (with Lee Breech lock 50th Aniv. set): deprime, clean primer pocket, clean in water-vinegar-salt-soap solution (15min), dry, neck size, trim, clean flash hole, sort by weight, neck size, prime(Fed 210), double weigh powder charges (Lee scale and digital), seat bullet (130 gr SST sorted by weight) to 3.36 (+/- .01 - measured at bullet tip, not olgive).

Here are the results of round two (some good groups and some bad ones).

Do I have something to work with at 58.8 - 59.2? Is RL22 temp sensitive? (I'm shooting at 42-48F). How many shots between cleaning (I've been doing all 16 with no cleaning)? Why is there always one or two good groups and then bam:banghead:! Why is 58.8 bad this time (.454 last time) and 59.2 good (59.3 was 1.063 last time)?

Any advice would be great.

If you enjoyed reading about "Second round reloading. What do the results mean?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 20, 2011, 10:48 PM
Looks like your rifle likes the 59.0 load.

Fire a couple of foulers next time, then go for groups.

I don't know about RL22 as I don't use it.

BUT,, in checking with my Hornady handbook, your OAL is a tad long. Should be around 3.210.

Other than that, keep looking til your rifle tells you what it likes.

October 21, 2011, 02:25 PM
Thanks Grumpy,

The thing that confuses me is that the optimum weight charge seems to be shifting upwards. First it liked 58.8 and not 59.3, and now it is doing better with 59.0 to 59.2. I'm going to take some previous advice and shoot at 200 with the 58.8 to 59.4 loads to see if the results change.

As far as the OAL, Lee says 3.34, but I measured my rifles at 3.38 so I'm .02 off the lands with this load, and it just fits in my clip.

I'll be moving the OAL longer and shorter yet to see if that changes anything. I was just wondering if anyone else had the problem of the moving OWC or if It's something in my process of reloading.

Don't get me wrong. I love to play with all the different variables, but if there is one area I need to focus, I want to start there.

October 21, 2011, 03:05 PM
My $.02.

Focus on being able to repeat processes precisely and doing each step meticulously. That results in a batch of finished rounds that are as close to identical as possible. Then change just one factor at a time, like a good scientist does.

You're keeping good records; that's key.

Be patient, and realize that you probably won't stumble onto the perfect load in the first few batches. In fact, the more you do this, the more you'll enjoy the handloading process as a part of the shooting hobby, and the less you'll believe that the "perfect" load is actually achievable.

October 21, 2011, 03:27 PM
IF this is your hunting gun? I'd say that any of the loadings exhibit plenty of accuracy to bring down any huntable game........ or zombies.

If your goal is competition 1000 yard shooting? Different viewpoint.

Look like you are well on your way to reloading satisfaction.

October 21, 2011, 04:12 PM
I am not experienced with RL-22, but by reading your comments on required increased charges, I was wondering, did you shoot the earlier batches in warmer weather? I know that a lot of my bullet speed shot data is temperature dependent, usually faster when warmer. I see that there are numerous posts on the web about RL-22 being temperature sensitive, but at least one post with hard evidence stating the contrary.

October 21, 2011, 04:51 PM
I like to fire three groups of three (with the same charge), during the same outing, and then average. Basing on only one group could be your shooting error or some other anomaly. Starting from low charge to high charge, I can usually see groups start large, shrink down, then enlarge again.

With the capacity of the .270, I might start with charges .5 or .6 grains apart, find the best one, then further refine by .2 grains, either side of the previous best.

When you think you've found your recipe, load up a dozen groups (36) and test. I've done this to learn I was flawed somewhere.

I also use RL22 in my 270 with good results.

October 21, 2011, 05:00 PM
beatledog - thanks for the encouragement. I guess I see a couple of good groups and expect them to consistently be there. I am trying to be meticulous, but I know that that will only come with experience.

RandyP - this is my hunting gun, but why stop at 1 MOA. I do want to shoot at longer distances (approx 500-600) though. So I'll keep trying.

Rsrocket1 - I shot the first batch at approx 42F (6C to me). But I'm reloading them at room temp and that's what they are as I bring them outside. I shoot them slowly (one from each group at a time) and so I'm guessing that the powder is cooling off as it waits to be shot?

I'll try again at 200y with 5 round groups between 58.8 gr and 59.2. Maybe keep the rounds warm until I shoot them. I'll also try a few more foulers first.

October 21, 2011, 05:15 PM
I love RL22 and find that the charge does need increasing to maintain consistent results as the brass forms.

As for having to walk out to mark your shots, try putting up multiple targets, I do. Also in this respect, pick up a spotting scope so you won't have to walk out to check every group. I picked up a 15x45 Leupold for around $250 -$300 range, can't remember exactly how much. But for everything out to 200 yds. I just use the rifle scope.

October 21, 2011, 05:24 PM
Gamestalker - Thanks, for your experience with RL22. I'm not unhappy with it yet.

I do put up one target for each group, and I can call the shots with my 10x scope (once in a while they're hard to see in the black). The reason for the walk (besides some exercise) is to let the barrel cool down completely between every shot. That will only be done for the load work up process, once I get down to regular shooting I'll be doing 3 shot groups at one time. Also, I forgot to mention that all brass has been previously fire formed to my chamber.

October 21, 2011, 05:40 PM
As I posted in the other thread, one group means nothing.

October 22, 2011, 01:10 AM
Art - this was the second stage of testing in .2 grain increments. See the OP for the link to the first round. I like the 3 groups of 3 for each charge weight. I think that is what Walkalong is referring to. I did see the group start big and then shrink at 58.8 and then widen again. It's just that this point seems to have changed slightly.

I'll take your advice and load up a dozen at the 3 closest charge weights of 58.8, 59.0 and 59.2 and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.

October 23, 2011, 11:02 AM
I prefer for myself to use a larger number of shots to assess a group. All my tests are done with 5 rounds per group. Makes it easier to see what the "group" really is even if there is a flyer or two. When shooting only three rounds it's tough to see the true tendency of the load.

Another factor can be what you're shooting from. Sandbag rest? Bipod? Shooting rest like a Caldwell "Rock" or "Lead Sled"?

October 23, 2011, 12:20 PM
As for the number of shots it takes to determine the accuracy of a load.

A couple of weeks ago I was shooting small bore with a Wimbledon Cup champ who used to shoot on Larry Moore’s long range team. He asked Larry Moore about how many rounds it takes to determine the accuracy of a load, Larry said that he had confidence when the round count was around 10,000 shots.

Larry Moore not only was a National Champion shooter but he tested darn near all the 50's/60's service rifles at Aberdeen proving grounds. He was one of those old school Government Engineers who actually knew what he was talking about, back before the Government contracted out its inhouse capabilities to the low bidder.

This had to been back in the day when the Army had on commercial row 600 yard targets showing the accuracy of the issue NM ammunition. These targets, which can be seen in old American Rifleman articles, had at least 600 to 800 round groups.

I highly recommend digging up those magazines and seeing the dispersal of the rounds. Hopefully after an appreciation of how many rounds it takes to see the three sigma shots emerge, you can understand that three, five, and ten shots groups are small sample sizes.

What you are likely seeing with small sample sizes is just the variation in the population.

October 24, 2011, 12:45 AM
Like said above, you need to shoot at least 5 sets of the same load and 4 rounds are better than 3 in the set. Also, make sure you let the barrel cool between groups.

I would build 20 or so rounds at 59.0gr and check 5 or more groups of 4 rounds at 100 and 200 yards.

October 24, 2011, 01:42 AM
just load up the 59.0 grains and go shooting. leave the oal alone. .02 off the lands is fine for your purposes. if you can keep ten shots under an inch at 100 yards, you have a very fine load.


Rory McCanuck
October 26, 2011, 02:41 AM
Really, all of those targets look pretty good.
Not sure where you are in Man. but around here (MacGregor),
we'd just blame any imperfections on the wind ;)

59.0 sure seems to be the sweet spot though.

October 26, 2011, 02:50 AM
Your grouping is good. It's printing a tiny bit high, but that's all.

The bullet hardly ever goes exactly where it's aimed, there's always a variation of the bullet imprint around the point of aim.

An accurate group has just reduced the spread around the point of aim.

October 26, 2011, 11:11 AM
I admit that I do not hunt or shoot Bullseye, so all my reloading is based on achieving my standard 1 MOD (Minute of Dead) accuracy requirement.

I am certainly NOT slamming those who enjoy experimenting to find the magical 1 ragged hole 5 shot group, rifle or pistol. This hobby like most is all about making only yourself happy.

If you enjoyed reading about "Second round reloading. What do the results mean?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!