Suggestions for loading for accuracy.


January 15, 2013, 10:33 AM
I have a Savage .30-06 bolt action and will be using IMR 4064 and Hornady 165 SPBT Interlock bullets. I'm trying to go about making the most accurate load I can for my hunting rifle. I have 20 rounds of fireformed Remington brass and will be using CCI primers.

Going by by the data listed by IMR powder min-max are from 49-52.5 gr. I'm thinking of loading 2 rounds of 49gr (mainly for fowling purposes) and 3 rounds of everything in between going up by .5 gr until I hit 52 since usually the fastest load isn't the most accurate. If I do this that's 20 rounds and I should be able to see what's grouping the best and I can fine tune powder and COAL from there.

What do ya'll think?

Also, Should I run a bore snake after every group just to keep things consistent?

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January 15, 2013, 11:01 AM
I wasted some time 10 years ago working up accuracy loads.
The next time at the range, a different load seemed better.
I no longer associate a particular powder charge with accuracy.

I don't like bore snakes, I like cleaning rods.

My standards are low.
A 0.5" 5 shot group from a varmint rifle is great, but I will hunt with it if it averages 1".
a 0.75" 3 shot group from a big game rifle is great, but I will hunt with it if it averages 1.5"

My schpeal about accuracy in center fire rifles:

Big effect on accuracy
1) shoot when there is no wind
2) get a high power scope
3) practice dry firing and keeping cross hairs on bullseye
4) clean out Copper fouling in bore
5) good bullets
6) No expander ball use
7) jam bullet into lands
8) heavy gun and light bullet
9) float the barrel
10) keep barrel cool
11) expensive bull barrels
12) make sure scope mounts are tight to receiver

Little or no effect on accuracy
1) True the action face
2) true the inner C ring
3) lap the lugs
4) true the bolt face
5) chase the threads
6) speed up the lock time
7) glass bed the action
8) pillar bed the action
9) get a 1 ounce trigger
10) turn the case necks
11) weigh the brass
12) de burr the flash holes
13) weigh each powder charge
14) try different powders
15) use benchrest primers
16) lap the scope rings.
17) Dial in bore when chambering
18) re crown the muzzle

January 15, 2013, 11:05 AM
I guess you can run a bore snake through the barrel between loads but then you will also have to foul the barrel again.

While I see nothing wrong with IMR4064 but I have gotten the best results using a 165gr bullet with H4350. Your procedure sounds fine, good luck...

January 15, 2013, 11:07 AM
I'm not looking to make a 1000 yd loads but I do want to maximize my rifle's potential. The rifle has a Simmons 3x9 scope.

Also, I forgot to mention that I will trim to length all my brass and all necessary brass prep work. I'll also be putting a light crimp.

January 15, 2013, 11:15 AM
It's been suggested before to use 5 shot groups going up 1 gr at a time from 49 to 52. I'm feeling that might be better, and then finding the sweet spot from there.

January 15, 2013, 11:18 AM
If you like IMR powders, might want to try IMR4350. Great powder. I use it in my 7mm RM load. I am about .025 off the LnG which may seem far but it works in my rifle. I get around .550" 3 shot groups with it at 100yd. My load is also considered light, but then again it works in my rifle. It's just a matter of trying your complete workup, and once you get the load you like, start adjusting your OAL to see what your rifle likes.

January 15, 2013, 11:20 AM
It's been suggested before to use 5 shot groups going up 1 gr at a time from 49 to 52. I'm feeling that might be better, and then finding the sweet spot from there.
IMO stick with the .5gr increments because there is very little samples with only a 3gr spread when using a full grain jump. Also, don't assume the top charge won't be accurate. I would also test the 52.5gr load if that is listed in your data.

January 15, 2013, 11:34 AM
I think you need more than three shots of each charge level to see true results. Too easy to get a fluke (good or bad) with only three shots. If I'm serious about finding an accurate load I usually start with 9-10 of each (3 x 3 shot groups or 2 x 5 shot groups). Assuming a particular load shows promise, then I go back and load more test rounds in smaller increments around that charge level to fine tune and also to verify previous results.

If you don't see the results you like, do try H4350 - with 165gr bullet a load of around 57 grains (+ or - .5) has been very accurate for me in at least half dozen bolt '06 rifles. And if you still don't get satisfactory results try the same bullet in a flat base design. A couple of those rifles just wouldn't group well with BTs but woke right up when I tried the flat base version.

January 15, 2013, 12:10 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm using IMR 4064 because I also load for my Garand and have quite a bit of it. It think I'm going to do 5 shot groups moving up .5 gr increments until I hit that sweet spot. Then the bullet depth trials start if I feel there's more accuracy to be had. I'm sure I'll chime in when I find my results or have more questions.

January 15, 2013, 09:34 PM
Well hell, I just checked my Hornady manual and it lists 50.2 gr as max. Its COAL says 3.210. IMR data has 52.5 gr max with a COAL of 3.3 in a Sierra bullet. Both are 165 gr soft point. Should I stop at 50.2 gr?

January 15, 2013, 10:14 PM
Stop when you see pressure signs, or when accuracy starts to fade. Shoot several groups of each weight, not just one and use the aggregate method. In my opinion, the bullet seating depth might make more of a difference than anything. No crimp unless necessary Good luck, keep the bore clean!

January 16, 2013, 05:41 AM
you probably don't want to hear it, but if accuracy is your primary objective, you may want to do the same (or similar with 5 shot groups) with different weight bullets. My 30.06 would not accurately shoot a 165 grain bullet despite attempts with multiple loads using various powders. I found it prefers a 150 grain bullet. I also found an 'acceptable' accuracy 185 grain bullet load for larger game hunting.

January 16, 2013, 06:23 AM
Well hell, I just checked my Hornady manual and it lists 50.2 gr as max. Its COAL says 3.210. IMR data has 52.5 gr max with a COAL of 3.3 in a Sierra bullet. Both are 165 gr soft point. Should I stop at 50.2 gr?

What's you OAL?

If it was me and I was doing this work, I would go up to 51.3 and watch for signs of pressure. Most likely, you'll find your accuracy load before you reach to top.

January 16, 2013, 01:05 PM
I've never loaded the bullets that you are using but I think your load of 52.5 grains is too hot and you'll see signes of high pressure before you get there. I have tried the Speer 165 grain boattail with 49.5 grains of IMR 4064 and that's as high as I want to go. I think you should start with about 48 grains and work up. 49.5 grains of IMR 4064 gives the same point of impact at 200 yards as 57 grains of IMR 4350.

January 16, 2013, 02:20 PM
Sage, what are you loading your OAL to?

January 16, 2013, 02:28 PM
Double post.

January 16, 2013, 02:57 PM
Often the most accuracte load is up near or at max charges. But there are other important elements of developing accurate hand loads, such as which bullets, powders and brass your action likes. And then seating depth is a big consideration also. But in all honesty, and from years of experience loading for the 30-06 I think your powder choice is probably not the best choice. Generally, slower burning powders will do a better job and especially so when using bullets that are in the mid weight range or above. I would be looking at IMR-4350 or RL19 if it were me.


January 16, 2013, 03:55 PM
In my particular rifle with the Speer 165 grain boattails my OAL is 3.290. With a trim length of 2.490 the bullet is projecting from the case .800. I try to load so my bullet is .020 off the lands. The Speer bullet has a long point. Actually, the IMR 4064 load gives slightly better accuracy than the IMR 4350 in this particular rifle.

January 16, 2013, 04:04 PM
Bart Bobbitt shot a 3.325" 20 shot group at 800 yards with a 308.
Krieger used it for an ad in Precision Shooting magazine.!topic/rec.guns/iL7zv-cktJc

Here is a quote from Bart:
At .30-06 muzzle velocities, it takes about 2.5 milliseconds for a bullet to go from case mouth to out the muzzle. A few millionths second either side ain't all that important. I've shot bullets from 168 grains through 220 grains in the same barrel, each easily holding 1/2 MOA at 300 yards at muzzle velocities from 2700 down to 2400 fps. I know they're not all leaving at the same place in the barrel's whip cycle. And shot 190, 200 and 220 grain bullets from a 30 caliber magnum barrel that all shot about 1/2 to 5/8 MOA at 1000 yards; they leave at different places, too.

What does it all mean?
It would appear working up an accuracy load is time poorly spent.

Andrew Leigh
January 17, 2013, 12:44 AM
To the OP,

what you propose doing is essentially correct as a load develpment routine. It is what I do and get results.

Without questioning your shooting abilities I strongly believe that to get the best out of load development that one must be able to shoot MOA or better. When I started load development I was not getting the results as my personal performance was interfering with, and biasing the groupings.

I would recommend that you try Dan Newberry's OCW method. It is a structured way of doing what you want to do but with some tips and techniques thrown in. I have converted his write up into a Excel Spreadsheet which makes it a little easier, it is attached.

You will notice that the formula's in the Spreadsheet do not allow one to load above the maximum recommended load, a safety feature. I would however load the 52.8 and the 53.3gr loads. That will give you the 18 + 2 foulers. As the method requires that you shoot 1 round of each load first what I do is after each shot I check for pressure. If I encounter signs of excessive pressure that will become the limit. i.e. if pressure is encountered at 51.8gr say then I would end up shooting only 3 groups, it is unlikely though unless you are shooting off the lands.

If the rifle is new to me I would load for Step 3 in the Spreadsheet, if I know the rifle and have loaded for it before and have a rough idea of its pressure limits then I omit Step 3.

Very important is to take your time and allow the barrel to cool sufficiently, when hunting you will always shoot with a cool barrel.

Using Dan's method you will experience open groups which then get tighter only to open out again. By triangulation you can easily establish the best group but it normally sticks out like a sore thumb.

If you have a Chrony measuring the speeds is also valuable and will tell you other things about your groups.

Hope that makes sense.

January 17, 2013, 08:12 PM
Ok, real quick question. Should I tumble my brass after firing or just clean the inside of the case neck and do the mandatory primer hole cleaning?

If only cleaning the neck will I use a bronze brush or a nylon one?

January 17, 2013, 09:07 PM
Ditto the OCW method

January 17, 2013, 09:33 PM
I've done the ladder stuff and had so so results. There are SO many different variables to play with.

Lately I've been fiddling with a pencil barrel (the opposite of a bull barrel) in 7mm08, using it for hunting.

I have been amazed at the impact of neck tension. I first noted that on successive trips to the range (with re-re-re loaded brass) the zero was sequentially DROPPING.

When I annealed the necks, the zero magically went way back up. With a freshly annealed set of brass I shot a TEN shot group that astonished me.

At 100 yards, in a test a few days ago, annealed brass shot 2" higher than brass shot a couple times. Going from 42 grains Varget (120 grain bullet) to 43 grains did almost the same thing.

So for my money, if you reallky want high accuracy, learn how to anneal. I use a DARK room (after the sun goes down), a propane torch with about a 3/4" inner blue flame, a battery powered screwdriver driving a socket that fits the case, and I hold the neck right at the end of the inner blue flame until I can just discern that the neck is glowing very so darkly red, then I drop the case into water. If you do this in the DAY, you will (in my opinion) overanneal it. It seems important to develop fairly uniform technique in this also.

With .223, I then ran it through a full length sizer (yes, with the dreaded ball) about 4 times and then collet neck sized. With higher power, I've been simply full length sizing once, then collet neck sizing.

As for muzzle recrowning. I have limited experience. On three different Mosin Nagants (yes, I'm cheap) that I hand-recrowned using a large size Lee case trimmer and a spindle just undersized for the rifle in question and shimmed with plastic (mcdonalds straw material), the groups shrank by 50%. It was very impressive. But here I was getting to a much better portion of rifling, in some cases removing 2-9 inches of barrel. I have seen 1-1/4" 3 shot 100 yard groups with dirt cheap mosin's and handloads, using a 7x pistol scope and a cheap front rest. This is clearly good enough for my versions of hunting.

Most of the rest of the above suggests in earlier posts I agree with, but I do think that bedding may be of some value in elminating fliers.

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