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"Ladder Method" of Load Development

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by roo_ster, Dec 5, 2006.

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  1. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    Does anybody have a link to a good description of the technique used to find a good load where several rounds are loaded up with increasing amounts of powder and then fired in succession at the same target?

    I just got my Guy Fawke's Day, Wedding Anniverssay, Birthday, Christmas, and Valentine's Day combo present and the idea of shooting it from the bench for lots of rounds is not appealing, as it was meant to be shot standing, at big critters.
     
  2. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I used to have a link, but last time I checked it was inactive
     
  3. Crimp

    Crimp Member

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    Ladder method

    Here's a link to Audette's "Ladder" method, but here's a link to Dan Newberry's "OCW" site. This is a derivation of the ladder method and makes a lot more sense to me. I worked up a 22-250 load with this method and it shoots the same hole consistently at 100 yards. Dan's method works!
     
  4. NailGun

    NailGun Member

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    Welcome to THR Crimp!
     
  5. Crimp

    Crimp Member

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    Thanks NailGun!

    I've been mooching data from this site for a long time as "anonymous."
    You guys got a good thing going here.
     
  6. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    Re Stoppers...

    If the rifle in question is a 'Stopper', 'Heavy' or similar, I would forego the Ladder and just find a safe, reliable load with the bullet I wanted to use.

    For example....My Ruger #1 in 375H&H used to be a semi-punishing thing to shoot from the bench. No recoil pad and about 7 shots was all my shoulder would tolerate without starting to lobby with my brain for a cease fire.

    Worked up a load with Sierra 300grn BTS by starting a bit off max and working to it. Seemed to shoot well with all charge weights and I called it a LOAD when I hit the book max. Was able to put three under 2" at 100yds and I KNOW I wasn't doing my best, as the shoulder had already started its' lobbying.

    I figure 2" @ 100 is plenty good enough for a 375 and at max HP too. All depends what you plan to do with the rifle and where you will be using it. In DDAfrica, you might want to go easy on the charges as the temps are sometimes pretty high and you really, really don't want extraction problems when facing BigToothyCritters. Or, BigStompinCritters.

    Bye the way, what kind of medicine are we talking about here? Just being nosey....
     
  7. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    Thanks for the link:
    What's interesting is that I used almost exactly the same method for developing a hunting load for my 30-06, except for going in .2gr increments, but this is the first time I've read about anything similiar. It does work.
     
  8. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    CZ 550 American Safari Magnum .375H&H

    Thanks for all the info, especially Crimp.

    As to what rifle....a little background is in order.

    My wife was a big traveler (for pleasure) before we married. The only continents that eluded her were Australia, Africa, and Antarctica. She has plans for us to finish off her world tour, but I injected my thoughts into the mix. I said, "Honey, the only way I go to Africa is if I get to shoot something big."

    My wife is a determined little lady, but understood that while I said it with a smile, I was serious. No Africa without hunting something that can potentially kill me through the use of physical force in a dramatic manner.

    So, her idea was to get me a rifle good for use on elephants, something that began with a ".4" or larger like .458 Win or .458 Lott. She reasoned that if it was good for elephants, it was sufficient for all other critters.

    I jumped in again and was able to convince her that .375H&H would serve her purposes while allowing for some use over here in the Western hemisphere. Recoil, ammo, and reloading component costs also were factors for me.

    So, the other day we picked out a CZ 550 American Safari Magnum after seeing many similar such rifles in .458 Win & Lott, which are more comon chamberings, here'bouts.

    My reloading plans are as follows:
    1. 250-270gr SP @ the high end of published velocities
    2. Reduced velocity cast lead

    I plan on using standard SP bullets (Hornady, Sierra, etc) until we actually start talking turkey about an African trip. At which time, I'll develop premium SP & solid loads.

    My plans for rifle mods are as follows:
    1. Purchase & install a leather Ching sling
    2. Seal inner portions of stock with water impermeable finish
    3. Bed the action in Acra-Glass or such from Brownells
    4. Install rear aperture sight...something that won't interfere with a possible scope in the future

    All but #4 are doable by myself. I am holding off on scoping the rifle due to my experiences with cheap & middling glass. I will hold out for quality glass and get by with the aperture sight.
     
  9. Crimp

    Crimp Member

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    What I found most interesting about the "OCW" method was this: My shooting buddy and I bought two identical 22-250s for varmiting on his farm. Using Dan's method, I worked up several powders and bullet weights. I ended up with Varget and a 50 gr. Hornady as best accuracy and velocity. In my buddy's rifle, they shot all over the paper! He ended up with a tack driver with a 55 gr Nosler and, I think, H4895.

    Another nice thing I found is that I can vary the load a grain up and about two down and there's no noticeable effect on pattern, aim or impact.

    I'm not much of a rifleman, but if I was working up a load on a heavy caliber rifle, this is the method I'd definitely use as it uses less rounds, which is less beating on my old shoulder!
     
  10. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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  11. Lupara

    Lupara Member

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    +1 for the OCW method. Last week I worked up two loads for my .308 and my Swede in no time. Amazing. Shooting over iron sights, I would recommend to shoot 7 rds per load in the terminal phase, which is, according to Speer's ballisticians, the statistical optimum.
     
  12. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    I may try that OCW thing on my already pretty well tested .223 loads. Well, at least on the 77gr ammo. New barrel, donchya know? ;)

    The reference in the link to the Federal Gold Medal ammo is interesting. And proves a point, to a point. I have yet to find an AR-15 that won't shoot well with "my" standard short line load. (24.5gr of Varget, 77gr HPBT, Lake City or Winchester case and I use a CCI-400 primer, but others use others.) That isn't to say it will work in ALL rifles ALL the time. But the odds seem to favor it, or something within a range of about .5gr.
     
  13. Haycreek

    Haycreek Member

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    Ladder Method

    Sounds interesting for a Rifle, has anyone tried the ladder method on handgun loads ? --- or is it just too short distance?
     
  14. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    i did it w/ my 480 and 357 mag. worked fine. used 150 yards for the 480 and 50 yards for the 357.

    i attempted to do the same w/ my other handguns, but it didn't work out as well.
     
  15. waumo

    waumo Member

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    As Crimp pointed out, I find that after using the OCW method I can vary the load slightly (1%) around the OCW load for 5 rounds and still shoot the same size group as the OCW load carefully weighed.

    The real value of OCW to me is to be able to use a powder measure and not worry about weighing powder to +/- 0.1 grains for every round.:D

    But I'm talking 0.5 MOA groups, not Benchrest quality 1s and 2s.
     
  16. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    benchrest shooters generally do not weigh every charge... fwiw.
     
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