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Optimal Charge Weight (OCW)

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jeepmor, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. jeepmor

    jeepmor Well-Known Member

    I stumbled on this site just moments ago. I read some OCW stuff here in THR about a 2-3 weeks ago and have discussed it a couple times. Here is a link to Mr. Newberrys page.

  2. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    Yep. The only way to fly.
  3. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    There are two kinds of people in this world: those that reload according to Dan's OCW theory, and those that don't. Somehow, I manage to develop highly accurate loads without it.

  4. K3

    K3 Well-Known Member

    Me too.

    Still, I plan to try his method just to see.
  5. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    +1 or is it +2?

    I'd go further, I'd say there's a FEW people that use the OCW method, the rest use other methods. I looked it over once, but not having a range with 2-300 yds to shoot at, I couldn't try it. Then having a lazy streak and bad knees, I'd rather not be walking back and forth that far testing loads.

    I should be able to retire in 4 years, then I will have time to fool around with new theories. I CAN see the reasoning behind it. It has to do with barrel harmonics. But the same principle is at play with my method of load work up, which is the same one most use. Picking a bullet/powder combo, starting at minimum or slightly higher, loading 3-5, or 10 bullets per powder increment. Then shooting groups.
  6. K3

    K3 Well-Known Member

    My retirement's a bit further off... :D

    I do pretty much what you do.

    I pick a bullet, primer, powder, and brass. I then pick 5 charge weights, say starting at 42.0 and increasing in increments of 0.3. I load 5 rounds of each. Drive to range. I fire a fouling shot. Then fire 5 round group #1 slow and steady so the barrel doesn't heat too much. I clean the bore per a procedure I wrote up for range cleaning. It doesn't get the barrel pristine, which is not the point, but it does return it to the condition after the first fouling shot. Doesn't take long. I then fire the next 5 round group. Lather rinse repeat. Best group wins. That becomes my load for that component combo.

    I keep the 'accuracy loads' touted by the bullet manufacturer in mind as well as max loads.
  7. Crimp

    Crimp Well-Known Member

    But the 'few' that do use Dan's method will very well end up with the best powder/bullet combination and the best accuracy their rifle is capable of, not just something that is satisfactory.

    To use the OCW method, you set up 4 or 5 targets (depending on how many loads you have), at 100 yards. You don't need to walk back and forth to them. Just go get them for analyzation when you're done shooting the test rounds. You may have the OCW method confused with Audette's Ladder method.

    Dan's method works and works well. People that have actually used it can testify to that.
  8. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Crimp, but the very same load, or another one giving equal accuracy, can be found by any number of methods other than Dan's. I don't know of anyone I shoot with on the 1,000 yard firing line that uses Dan's method, and they all seem to have more than "satisfactory" loads. There's alot of ways to skin a cat.

  9. jeepmor

    jeepmor Well-Known Member

    Thought it interesting enough to discuss and I admit I haven't used it either. However, I think the results of all our individual pet loads effectively does the same thing.

    I have 3 targets at my bench that show similar results with a really good one, then the two on either side by about .3grains still showing MOA performance. I did not shoot them round robin however, other than that, I've found my load for that rifle.

    From an ammo manufacturers point of view, this is a great methodology for churning out accurate ammo for the masses.

  10. Poper

    Poper Well-Known Member

    I use Dan Newberry's method for the most stable accurate load for my hunting rifles. The bold emphasis above is not quite 100% accurate. Dan's method, as I understand and use it, is not intended to be used to achieve the most accurate load for a competitive bench rest rifle. Dan's OCW method is intended to identify stable, accurate loads with a minimal expenditure of components. When used this way, it is a very cost effective way to evaluate various component combinations. For instance, I used it to identify a the best combination for my .300WSM using IMR 4350, IMR 4895 & H-Retumbo with 180 gn Barnes TSX's. With a total of 60 rounds expended over my chronograph, I had identified a IMR 4895 load that provided excellent accuracy and velocity and proved tollerant to boot.

    However, I used the ladder method to develop loads for my .243 Win. Varmint rifle and expended nearly 250 rounds before I was ultimately satisfied with a Hornady 65gn V-max over IMR 4064 that will consistently print 3/4" and better when the shooter lays off the caffiene!

    Absolutely, Don!

    Not all ways work well for everybody. Dan Newberry's method has merit, but is certainly not suitable for every instance. When used as intended for the intended purpose, it works very well. As a competition bench rest load development tool I think you would definitely short change yourself.

    But then, that's just my opinion, which when combined with $10 will get you a Starbuck's Coffee and Bran Muffin... Maybe...:D

    Just my 2 cents.
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    And I don't know anyone in Benchrest doing it either. And Benchresters are pretty anal about accuracy. :rolleyes:
  12. kelbro

    kelbro Well-Known Member

    I have used it to develop several loads and it has worked well for me. Maybe 30 rounds max, find the node, load up a few to confirm, you're done. Saves a lot of time and components.

    Where I shoot, the temps range from freezing to 115. Setting up in the middle of a 'node' , my loads have proven to be very temperature tolerant. MOA is plenty accurate for me for hunting rifles. I still do it for paper-punchers. Makes the final fine tuning much easier if you are in the zone. Occasionally you will land on a 'pet load' that works in more than one rifle. THAT is handloading nirvana!
  13. jeepmor

    jeepmor Well-Known Member

    Since I see a few of you guys saying that BR shooters don't use this method, could you please elaborate on their methods or provide links and keywords such that I might dig a little more.

    For me, I'm going to start my next round of accuracy loading for the wife's 270 Winchester using this method. Once I find a good subMOA load, which it already shoots with factory ammo, I'll start tuning with COL.


  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Benchresters go by results on target. That's about it. The trick is to learn how to know when a load is shooting well or not in match conditions. It takes some practice. :)
  15. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Not a BR shooter, but for 1,000 yard F Class I am looking for high velocity, accuracy, and low ES/SD numbers. The results on target and my chronograph tell me this.


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