Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Max Velocity. Why?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Ky Larry, Nov 3, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    3,526
    Location:
    Ky
    I keep reading about reloaders who are constantly looking for max velocity or as close as they can get to it. Why is mv so important? I load for accuracy and reliability. As long as I don't go over max pressure, I could care less what the velocity of a certain load is. If you can't hit anything with a load, who cares how fast (or slow) it is? Years ago, when I hunted white tails, I never had a deer refuse to die because the mv didn't suit him. In 35 years of reloading, I've never owned a chronograph. I have loads for every rifle I own that will shoot sub MOA with my loads and a couple that will shoot a .25 ragged hole at 100-200 yrds. Could someone tell me why fast is more important than accrate? Thanks.
     
  2. sniper5

    sniper5 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    735
    Location:
    **********
    I don't think everyone does. I know I don't. I look for a nice comfortable, economical load that shoots accurately. But there are a large number of people that do try to max out. Probably because we live in America and have been conditioned by advertising and media and our culture that you have to have the biggest, fastest, loudest, most expensive, and newest of everything or you're a LOSER. To each his/her own.
     
  3. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,375
    Location:
    S. C. Florida
    I don't think it is really. A lot of guys use the chono as a tool to gain accuracy regardless of how fast the bullets are going. They're not just looking for max velocity. Myself I only have one load where the max load was the most accurate load. Most are somewhere in the middle or somewhere above it.
     
  4. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    I've had the same thoughts, Larry. Sometimes there are valid reasons...but usually not.

    I've worked up loads for various bolt-action rifles over the years, and I've found them as varied in their preferred ammunition as they are varied in the level of accuracy that they turn in. Some of them simply didn't start to shoot well until pressures and velocities were right on the peg...and some even had to be pushed over the line of what most would consider sane. Most do their best at some point below maximum, though.

    I've had a few revolvers do likewise. Back in the day when I was completely hooked on knockin' steel rams off their perches at 200 meters...accuracy and velocity/momentum was a must if I expected to put'em down consistently. If the gun gave its best accuracy with a load that wasn't powerful enough to take the ram off its pedestal with an edger or a low hit...it was pretty much worthless for that particular game.

    On the question of self-defense pistol or revolver ammunition...I think it's much ado about nothing in most cases. At the distances involved in most defensive scenarios, 50 or 60 fps +/- means very little, if anything...assuming that the placement is good and the bullet has enough mass and velocity to reach the vitals.

    The same applies to hunting ammunition. Increasing velocity mainly serves to flatten trajectory. For the hunters who need to shoot over long distances...more velocity is a useful thing, provided the accuracy and the skill required to make such long shots is part of the equation. From 300 yards in...velocity is far less important than skill and shot placement...again, provided the bullet will reach the vitals of the animal that it's being called on to take cleanly at the distance that the shot is made. Generally, I've found that if I need more killing power...I need more bullet instead of more speed.

    Of course, expansion is also a factor, and impact velocity plays a role in that as well...but modern bullet construction has made it possible to get acceptable expansion over a wide range of bullet impact speeds. That puts the question back to penetration and accuracy. Since most rifles turn in their best accuracy at some point just below maximum pressures and velocities...increasing powder charges in the effort to get that last 30 fps is counterproductive, not to mention that it's hard on the rifle.
     
  5. deacon8

    deacon8 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Messages:
    328
    Location:
    Idaho
    Ky Larry,

    I know what you are talking about. In fact, I was just reading other posts in regards to "magnum" cartridges. From what I can tell, people are obsessed with bullets that resist gravity the longest. That seems to be the concern, while everything is left aside. People seem to think that just because they have the "latest and greatest" uber-mag, they can drop a deer in its tracks at 500 yards. All the while failing to realize that a deer hit in both lungs at 50 OR 500 yards might run a little way. It seems that some people don't care about shot placement, accuracy (without using some recoil-absorbing rest), wind, angle, ethics (I meaning giving a damn about losing an animal). People are obsessed with "hang-time." And for what it's worth, I think that is why people are worried about getting the maximum V.

    Sorry about rambling (and maybe being a little off topic), but I had to vent. My favorite deer "medicine" is a plain old 7x57 Mauser in a plain old Model 70 featherweight. And with that rifle, I have shot two elk and quite a few deer that all required but one shot. I handload and do not try to take it to maximum V.

    There is my $.02. I appologize for my rambling and my possibly perceived "betterness" and/or bitterness.
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    8,657
    Location:
    Hopewell Big Woods
    It is for long range, 1000 yds, target shooters in some calibers. If the bullet becomes subsonic , below the speed of sound, the bullet becomes unstable and will not group well. Load for accuracy is the general rule.
     
  7. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,757
    Location:
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    why max. velocity...

    1. a faster bullet will have a flater trajectory over the same range.
    2. a faster bullet will hit a target at the same range with more KE and will achieve better terminal ballistics (expansion or yaw and tumbling).
    3. some times the most accurate load is at or near the fastest load
    4. none of us have pressure measuring equipment, which cost a fortune, but pressure closely correlates to muzzle velocity and chronographs are affordable (well, for some... not really for me... yet) and can give MV data, which can then be related back to pressure.
     
  8. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    3,526
    Location:
    Ky
    I see what you all are saying. Velocity is important in some situations, especially at longer ranges. Does higher velocity help in offsetting a cross wind?
     
  9. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,757
    Location:
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    yes it does.... because the TOF (time of flight) is shorter for a faster projectile. So the time the cross wind has to interact with the projectile is less. So the affect on the projectiles trajectory is less.

    I don't think this really becomes a significant affect untill guys are shooing out 500 yd+
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    A fact often over-looked is the faster a bullet starts out, the faster is slows down.

    By the time you get out to a few hundred yards, there is often not a lot of differance.

    I'm of the camp who could care less if I get the last possible 50 or 150 FPS.

    I want an accurate load that doesn't burn my barrel out during load development, and the hottest load is usually not that load.

    rc
     
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    7,519
    Location:
    Alabama
    Advertizing induced behavior.

    Corporate advertizing so saturates our society that we don’t even recognize it. And yet, because of it , we change the clothes we wear, the foods we eat, how we interact, and what is considered proper behavior.

    We see the influences all the time, threads about barrel break in, equipment orientated solutions to poor shooting skills (no such thing exists), and here, how velocity is king.

    Hard to believe that the Krag round, a 220 grain bullet at 2200 fps, was considered an excellent game round. Industry shills have taught us that game can tell the difference between a 2700 fps bullet and a 2900 fps bullet. Also, we know there is a huge difference on game between a 130 grain .277 bullet and a 130 grain 308 bullet, both going 3000 fps.

    And here, we have learned from this Jan 1958 ad, that these high velocity rounds have freed us from having to hit a vital spot on the animal.

    It must be true, I read it in a gun magazine.


    [​IMG]
     
  12. ~z

    ~z Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    813
    Location:
    High plains of Texas
    AWESOME! I gotta get me one of those pre-59 Weatherbys!
    ~z
     
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Exactly so, and good point., RC.

    Look at some ballistic charts in one of the loading manuals, and compare a 150-grain boattail at 2800 fps to a 165 BT at 2600 fps. 300 yards out, the 165 is about even on speed, and is closing the gap by 400. By the time the 150 gets to 500 yards, the heavier bullet passes it.

    Partly due to the greater mass and greater ballistic coefficient holding its momentum as it cuts through the air...or as the old timers used to say: "It carries better"... and partly because the faster the bullet hits the air, the harder the air fights it.

    Of course, it goes without saying that the faster a given bullet starts out, the faster it will be going at a given distance...but as that distance grows, the difference becomes less and less.
     
  14. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    7,127
    Location:
    NW Montana
    This is an interesting discussion. As an example, let's take a 178gr A-MAX bullet in .308 Win. My match load has a MV of about 2,750 fps so let's compare that load to the same bullet with a MV of 2,500 fps. Any ballistic program will spit out the velocity as a function of time and if you plot both loads (velocity as a function of time) from 0 to 1000 yards you get the following:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    If you then fit a 2nd order polynomial function to the velocity/time plots you get the following (notice the high R^2 values indicating a very good fit between the data and the suggested function):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Acceleration is a change in velocity with respect to time or dV/dt. So if we differentiate both functions above and plot them, we get two linear plots showing the acceleration as a function of time. The bullets are slowing down so the acceleration is negative.

    [​IMG]

    You'll notice that the bullet with a MV of 2,500 fps slows down at a slower rate for about the first 1.65 seconds of flight time. Then it continues to slow down at a FASTER rate than the bullet with a MV of 2,750 fps after that. If you go back to the ballistic program you'll see that the 2,500 fps bullet is somewhere around 950 yards at 1.65 seconds whereas the 2,750 bullet is at 1025 yards at 1.65 seconds.

    So what does all of this mean? Well, there may be situations where higher velocity is indeed useful. If you're shooting long range matches, it may be worth the effort go through a similar procedure to see what you get from an extra "few" feet per second for your given load. There are so many variables out there that hard and fast rules don't always work. However, in general, I have always found the best accuracy at or exceeding maximum listed loads, and loads where the powder isn't free to move around inside the case (slightly compressed). I'll take a minimal increase in throat wear for a minimal reduction in wind drift any day. My load at 2,750 fps has 2-1/2" less wind drift at 600 yards in a 10 mph crosswind compared to the same bullet with a MV of 2,600 fps. That's almost the diameter of the X-ring so I'll take it.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  15. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,186
    Location:
    Colorado
    I know I was a bit obsessed with max loads when I started reloading. Then as I learned to dial in a particular load for a particular rifle I found less velocity and better accuracy.

    So while there are some applications for it what we may be hearing is more first time reloaders who, like me, had not figured it out yet that max velocity does not always mean best accuracy.

    I did have a 300 WSM that got more accurate as I approached max loads but I sold it before I got it dialed in because at 65 plus grains a shot a full pound of powder was only good for a little over a 100 rounds!

    Not to fault anyone who likes to shoot em fast. I am keeping my .204 brass because I will get back to one of those barrels one day!
     
  16. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,156
    Location:
    NAS Pensacola
    I've tried for max velocity on a few events, mostly for 44mag and 357mag. My goal was not to achieve accuracy, my goal was to create a dramatic effect on fruit and soda bottles. My most accurate loads are usually worked up from minimum starting data, and I stop working up when I get to the level of accuracy I want. Sometimes I don't have to go very far.
     
  17. tackstrp

    tackstrp Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Messages:
    252
    Very nice and informative comments. Rare on this forum. I had the same questions with 44 mag. loads. I ignore every thing anyone has to say about loading a 44 mag to max. I like a load I can control and hit the target.
     
  18. snuffy

    snuffy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    2,891
    Location:
    Oshkosh Wi
    My take on this is why buy a Ferrari, then drive it at 55 miles per hour on the freeway. Or lets all buy 308's and be satisfied with what they can put out. Can't I buy a 300 mag and load it to it's potential? You all make it sound like a crime!:mad:

    Also, lets define the so often mentioned "ACCURACY". Just where do we draw the line? minute of deer hide? The kill zone, or boiler room on a mature whitetail is aprox. 9" wide, by 12" high. Do we need ½ minute groups @ 100 yds to hit that big of a target? So what if your faster load ONLY does 2.5 inches. Isn't that enough to hit a 9X12 target?

    I often go on to what a rifle will tolerate ,(pressure wise), for top velocity for hunting. It's usually plenty accurate for deer. But the extra velocity makes quick kills much easier. Now, I'm not saying you don't have to hit the vitals, or that the extra velocity makes up for poor shot placement. Just saying that placed in the vitals, the extra velocity will result in a cleaner kill.

    Then if you're hunting on the edge of a bean field, you have the flatter trajectory of the faster bullet. Then it is possible by testing different powders to achieve top velocity AND the smallest group. Who wouldn't want that combo?

    Bullets of today are the best we've ever seen. Sharp plastic tips, coupled with long boat tails offer very high ballistic coefficients, and the plastic tips double as expansion insurance even at very slow velocities. The likes of the nosler ballistic tip, accu bond, and E-tip, the Hornady SST, interbond, and GMX, Swift scirocco and others, carry the velocity longer. They also are quite accurate. It's entirely possible to have your accuracy AND velocity, so why not?
     
  19. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,375
    Location:
    S. C. Florida
    That's a legit question. On a target, it's as close to one hole with 5 shots as I can get. On a hog I want it within 2 inches. And on a deer, even my worst loads will hit the kill zone. However, I shoot far more targets then deer or hogs, so that's the accuracy I strive for when I load.
     
  20. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,344
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I forgot all about "going for max" when I started using the Audette method of load development. The good rounds were NEVER in the up end of the spectrum
     
  21. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    'Fraid that's not exactly the point, snuffy. The point isn't whether or not to load a cartridge to its potential. It's whether or not to push the envelope for every last fps of speed...even at the expense of bad accuracy. Some rifles and revolvers will deliver their top accuracy with the top speed loads...but most won't. In a few extreme cases, I've seen an extra 50 fps take groups from nice, tight cloverleaf shapes to what looked like 25 yard buckshot patterns...from a cylinder bore barrel. What's the point of an extra 50 or 100 fps for beanfield hunting if you can't hit your animal in the right spot?

    One of my favorite subjects!

    I think far too much is made of the pursuit of "One Ragged Hole" accuracy. Except for bench rest competition, its importance is overblown. Even an extreme range sniper rifle can do its job with a little less than that sort of gilt-edged performance.

    Of course, it's nice to have a rifle that'll really do that, especially if it's on a consistent basis...and most especially if it doesn't require rezeroing for every range session.

    Shooting a 7-shot, one-hole group is pretty much a sandbagged exercise...and the sandbagged shooting is about as informative as determining the top speed of a pickup truck. Interesting, but irrelevant. The bench is a fine tool for testing and proving the potential of a particular lot of ammunition...but that's about all it's good for unless benchrest shooting or extreme range varminting is your game.

    I'm much more interested in knowing what I can do with this rifle and this lot of ammunition...on a consistent basis. Not what I've done once, or even once in a while...but on demand. If the combination of the rifle and ammunition really will stay inside a 6-inch circle at 300 yards...consistently...then the rest is up to me.

    So, I suppose accuracy is defined as such: If the rifle/ammunition combo is capable of hitting the selected target in a vital zone at the distance that the target is engaged...out to the point that the problem is one of trajectory rather than any theoretical group size...it's accurate enough for the task at hand.

    The big question is: Are you good enough to equal the rifle's performance from a field position? I've seen shooters cleanly miss whitetail deer at 75 paces with rifles that had proven themselves capable of sub-minute accuracy.

    So, I suppose that talk of half-minute groups are a little like talk of wringing the absolute top velocity out of a rifle/cartridge combination. It's interesting...even impressive...but what does it have to do with the issue?
     
  22. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    18,550
    Location:
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Accuracy Part 2:

    Another observation has been that most people define accuracy by a given group size. The problem with that method is that it only gives the rifle credit for the worst that it will do because it's measurement is taken at the widest point...from the two holes that are the farthest apart...and ignores the others.

    With a hypothetical 7-shot group that spans a minute of angle...two holes are an inch apart, and the other five are closer. Three of them may even have a quarter minute spread...but even going by the two worst shots...that means that the maximum divergence from the point of aim for any given shot will be a half-inch.

    If we stretch the distance to 500 yards...and on the assumption that the rifle will deliver minute-of-angle across the board...the maximum divergence at 500 yards will be 2.5 inches from the point of aim. At that distance, with that rifle...assuming you've judged the distance correctly...wind, mirage, and trajectory will be the greater hindrances to placing the shot.
     
  23. ~z

    ~z Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    813
    Location:
    High plains of Texas
    Confused, are you suggesting we give the rifle the benefit of the doubt and cherry pick our data? With your 7 shot group, should we throw out the outliers and choose only the most impressive data to draw our conclusions from?
    Not arguing a point, just got lost in the last post.

    ~z
     
  24. USSR

    USSR Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    8,390
    Location:
    Finger Lakes Region of NY
    BsChoy,

    In most cases (no pun intended), I have found several "sweet spots" at varying velocities, with one of them being at or near a maximum velocity loading.

    Don
     
  25. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,757
    Location:
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    Since when did we all sign up for one size fits all?

    Your accuracy goal is likely not the same as mine... What difference does it make? Unless you've got something to prove.

    But whenever you want to measure and compare two or more of anything, you've got to come up with some standards. Five shot groups at 100 yds seems to be a reasonable stadard for me and speaks to a lot of different people. But it's certainly not "theeee" standard.

    If a guy is into hunting and wants minute of deer with good terminal balistics, more power to him. If a gal likes to geek out with ballistics software and strive for the "one ragged hole" bit, more power to her. If a guy wants to knock down steel rams at 500 yds, more power to him. If I gal wants to compete at Camp Perry, more power to her. If a guy wants to play three gun, more power to him.

    Personally, I use the bench and bags to determine what the rifle/load combo. should be able to do, and then shoot off hand and kneeling and prone to develop my proficiency. I'm striving to become a proficient rifleman and to have some fun. But that's me.... and I'm not going to poo poo any one else, because their objective is different than mine. Whatever floats your boat.

    But how can I measure my progress unless I pick some kind of standard to compare myself to....

    Fast or slow... if you're safe and having fun.... go for it!
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page