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How compulsive should I be?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by sandman608, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. sandman608

    sandman608 Member

    I've started reloading .223. I bought a Lee anniversary kit to get started just so I could go slowly and understand the process. I shot my first reloaded cartridges over the holiday.

    My first reloads were with once fired Fed cases, WSR primers, H335, and bulk new bullets from Widener's - 55gr and 62gr steel core. I worked up 5 different powder loads with each bullet staying within recommended published loads. Since they were bulk bullets I even weighed them so they were within .3 gr of one another.

    I found the combination that was the most accurate for my gun in both these bullet weights. What I'm wondering is if I use the same load in a different brand case how big a difference will that make? Also, how big a difference does .5 gr variance in bullet weight make? With reloaded cases my goal is < 2 moa at 100 yds with these bulk bullets.

    The twist on my 20" HBAR barrel is 1:8. Past 200 yds I know I will probably need a higher quality case and heavier bullets. My ultimate purpose is prairie dog shooting past 200 yds. I would appreciate any recommendations from you experienced reloaders on bullets, cases, etc for that goal.
  2. jvik

    jvik Well-Known Member

    There are two factors to consider here. The first is the basic recipe, e.g. the nominal powder charge, bullet weight, case, primer, seating depth etc. You will eventually find that any given firearm likes some recipes better than others: your rifle liked one of your combinations best.

    You did good weighing the bullets, etc. Now you are thinking about trying a different case. Try the same recipe in the other case (assuming you are not loading to peak pressures - then you have to back off to a lighter charge and work back up) might have no detectable effect or make a great difference. The point of impact might change, but the groups will be better, worse, or about the same. If they're worse, you've found a recipe your rifle doesn't like. What won't work is mixing the cases - that would involve both recipe and consistency factors.

    On the other hand, with respect to compulsiveness - I reloaded 243's for years using a powder scale and a trickler for each charge. I was getting slightly less than moa from a Remington 700. A few years I bought a benchrest rifle (6mm PPC) to play the serious group size games. When I first went to a match I was surprised to see everyone throwing charges with a powder measure, not weighing them. Granted, these were very accurate powder measures but it turned out that 2 or 3 tenth's of a grain difference in powder had no effect on accuracy (at least in these rifle/cartridge combo's.) I probably could have spent more time shooting my 700 and less time loading If I'd gotten a good powder measure.

    The most important thing is: have fun:)
  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Test your cases: Fill one of each type of case with powder; then weigh how much you put in. Do this two or three times, just for averaging. If the volumes are within a tenth of a grain or so, quit worrying. :)

    The best example I know of for a difference in case capacity is with the .30-'06. Commercial brass holds some three grains weight more powder than GI brass.

  4. 30Cal

    30Cal Well-Known Member

    You probably aren't going to see much by changing brands of cases--pretty much any case out there ought to be able to hold inside a minute without a lot of fuss assuming you put a decent bullet on top.

    A good bullet is going to make a huge difference.
  5. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Well-Known Member

    If you do the calculations of how much difference a tiny bit of weight or even differences in velocity make in group size at 100 yards, you'll find that the differences are very small. Bullet uniformity in jacket thickness and I'm sure other factors make much more of a difference.
  6. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

    The scientific answer is that there will be a slight measurable difference in trajectory. But, that would only be under the most exacting conditions: in a vacuum, other components identical, rifle rest fixed to precisely the same spot for each firing, etc., etc.

    The practical answer is - that small weight difference will make no difference at all in the trajectory. The difference is barrel alignment or that small 2 MPH wind along the flight path will make far more difference.
  7. sandman608

    sandman608 Member

    Since I'm not loading cases to maximum and all other things being equal, the bullet quality and weight will be the biggest factors then in determining accuracy even if I use different case brands? In general, the heavier the bullet the more stable it's flight over longer distances, right?

    My rifle is an AR and I want to use it for varmint shooting. With a 1:8 twist, 20" HBAR barrel for varmints what would be an optimum weight bullet/brand/type with which I can work up loads?
  8. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    Yes, great bullets is very important, look for bullets in weigh and length that match your 1 in 8 twist. Bergers website lists long range bullets in .224 77gr. for a 1 in 8 twist. Also Sierra Bullets makes a few that would work well. The varmint won't care if its a match bullet. All components should be of the same lot number, brass, primers, bullets, powder. Keep a log book of all lot numbers and the accuracy they produce. Some lots of bullets shoot better than others.

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