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Which of These Groups Would You Keep?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BigN, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. BigN

    BigN Active Member

    Dec 17, 2010
    Adirondack Mountains, Waaay Upstate New York
    These groups were shot @ 100 yards this morning with a 223 Savage Edge. The top right diamond, bottom left and bottom right were my targets. Disregard the ones in the middle, the target was already used when I got it. All are using 40gr Nosler Ballistic Tips and Varget powder. Nickel plated RP cases and CCI 450 primers were also used. The only difference in the rounds is a .3 powder grain increase in each successive group. All three look great to me but is there one you would load for? Anyone questioning the accuracy of a low end rifle like a Savage Edge should rethink it.

    Attached Files:

  2. flhtcuibyhd

    flhtcuibyhd New Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    I picked up and Edge last year in .270 for deer hunting. I'm getting an inch average with my best group of four at 3/4 inch, so I second your thoughts on the Edge. I never expected that kind of accuracy in a sub $300 rifle.

    What I've been shooting for is the highest velocity I can achieve (within specified manual and pressure limits) with close to MOA accuracy for hunting. For instance, the standard .270 load is 60grains of H4831, but I was able to get much better accuracy at 58.o grains and velocity is still just under 2900fps.

    So, I guess it depends on what your intended usage will be.
  3. ArtP

    ArtP Active Member

    May 6, 2010
    Northern CA
    I would shoot more groups at each powder charge and look for average results. I'd also shoot more than just three powder charges.

    Without looking at my book, I might shoot five or six charges spaced a half grain apart and shoot three groups of three (9 rounds total at each charge), take the best average of the charges and further refine in .2 grain increments. I might also play with seating depth too.

    One group means nothing.

    By the way.... Those are outstanding groups for your initial reloads, even from a $500 rifle!
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    Unfortunately, you have to keep them all. You can't give any back.

    One group means nothing. A series of good groups means you may have something. :)
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    Like said above, one group means nothing, you need to shoot many.

    When I think I have a good load I verify it by shooting at least 5 groups of 4 rounds each. Ten groups are even better but the minimum IMO would be 5 for a total of 20 rounds.
  6. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Participating Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Texas - Born and Raised
    Like mentioned run some more through it, and see where your at.

    It usually takes me close to a year to finalize a standard load for a particular rifle. I usually try and start in Jan or Feb when its cool so I don't have to wait on barrels to cool off, but at this point I am simply looking for groups. Not that I shoot it every weekend, but I will play with several powders and bullets and primers, and this takes time. Then go back and pull the best data from that and go again during the heat of summer, possibly playing with seating depths, then working the final loads through temp changes to see if any do change. This keeps me honest and allows me to see how much the temp change from cooler to hotter weather plays on the loads. At times I have found I could not work back to where I was with a load, once the temp got up 30 - 40 degrees or more warmer. Once done however, you have a load that will work out year round, and your set.

    It's not like this takes shooting umteen hundreds of rounds, if you already have a particular powder and bullet combo in mind, but it narrows down the important things that can and do sometimes sneak up and bite you in the rear, just when you least expect it.
  7. Damon555

    Damon555 Active Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    The south
    Those are pretty good groups for an el cheapo factory rifle but Savages have been known to surprise.

    A few 3 shot groups give you very little info on how accurate that load is. You need to shoot a dozen or so 5 shot groups and then average them out.....and remember, fliers count too. People who exclude fliers for one reason or another really aren't doing themselves any favors. If it comes out of the barrel it counts no matter where it lands.
  8. capreppy

    capreppy Active Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Fort Worth, TX (Saginaw)
    I have a Stevens 200 in 270 Win (older? version of the Savage edge). My first group out of the barrel (sighting with Remington factory ammo) was 3/8 MOA. My current reloads will do 5 shot strings at 1/2 MOA all day long.

    VERY impressed with a rifle that with a new Boyd's stock and scope cost me less than $400.
  9. Hay Creek

    Hay Creek New Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Nice shooting. :)

    That kind of accuracy is something I'd expect with a Savage. A well tuned load will make a tack driver out of it. To get there, you'll have to try a wider range of loads.

    Try the OCW method to find your load and then tweak the seating depth to tighten the groups.
  10. amlevin

    amlevin Active Member

    Jan 15, 2007
    NW Washington
    Assuming you were using a steady rest, and only considering these groups, I would keep the "top right".

    It would appear to have less vertical spread which is more a function of the load and lateral spread more the fault of the shooter or wind.
  11. redbullitt

    redbullitt Active Member

    Nov 9, 2008
    Morgantown WV
    FWIW I am liking that top right one. It has the least vertical in it. Both groups on the right look good enough to pursue.

    Like was mentioned, you need more shots and more groups for sure, especially if you are not 100 percent sure you shot them all cleanly. The top right one looks good on that target, but maybe you introduced the vertical in the low right group. Know what I mean?

    The bigger sample size, ie more shots or other groups, the better chance you are seeing more of the load potential and less of you screwing up or environmental stuff.

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