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Reloads inconsistency?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ohihunter2014, May 17, 2019.

  1. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    What causes a rifle group to go from 5rds clover-leafed or tighter to almost 1” or fliers? I’ve tried a 3-3 shot groups of H335 and 55gr BT and they shot one hole or cloverleaf. Tonight they open up! Dirty rifle, something I did in the reloading practice?
     
  2. sequins

    sequins Member

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    When was the last time you checked your powder throw? What kind of press are you on?
     
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  3. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    there are so many things, you just have to find them out on your own. most times it's the shooter.
     
  4. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Fouled gun could do it. So that's worth checking, and keeping track of how many rounds you can shoot before it opens up.

    Also If your loads are from the same batch it could be shooter related. I can go from single hole or 1/2" groups to 1-1/2" groups just by changing targets and not resettling myself to align properly. It gets worse the more difficult a rifle is to shoot.

    If your ammos from a different batch then I'd go back and check everything to make sure it's still set the way you wanted it.
     
  5. bds

    bds Member

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    Was it cold barrel vs warm/hot barrel?

    I usually fire enough rounds to bring barrel to temperature and let it cool down until I can grab it to conduct testing for groups.

    If all reloading variables remained the same, unless rifle has been consistently producing same small groups, it could be the case where 5 shot cloverleaf group was part of a larger 10 shot group. If this is new load testing, you may have grabbed the "right" 5 rounds that happened to have more consistent reloading variables.

    jmorris and Bart B. hammered into my head hard enough that all shots, including flyers must be included in the group and before we can call a particular load "accurate", it must repeatedly produce the same size groups.
     
  6. jeeptim

    jeeptim Member

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    I find the same thing from time to time I pass the rifle to my son or a shooting buddy and most always it's me. So I don't count the 1 in 5 to 10 flyers makes me a much happier shooter
     
  7. bds

    bds Member

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    Since OP did not mention, I assumed the flyer was not induced by the shooter.
     
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  8. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Maybe that's how it shoots that ammo. Small groups happen by chance.

    If you want to test it properly, load 15 rounds for each load and shoot them all into one 15-shot group. You can't determine crap with a 3-shot group. Or a 5-shot group.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  9. rskent

    rskent Member

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    To much coffee?
     
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  10. Punkinhead

    Punkinhead Member

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    I wouldn't put much stock in a 3 shot group.
     
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  11. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    I trickle each charge and using a LCT
     
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  12. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    It’s could have been me. It’s happened before so I figured something wrong with reloads. I held everything steady like usual using a front rest and rear bag and bubble level on the scope.
     
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  13. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Yeah, I loaded 3 batches of 3 of each charge weight and they shot great. I said okay let me try a 5 shot group now. Im running low on powder so didn’t want to load 5 at first and have it be bad and waste all that powder if that even makes sense lol.
     
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  14. forty_caliber
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    forty_caliber Contributing Member

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    Depending on how your rifle is set up, a front bag directly on the barrel could cause problems with point of impact. I use a sled for tests like this to eliminate as much me as possible.
    .40
     
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  15. higgite

    higgite Member

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    Sometimes you just can't get a target to stand still for a full shot string.
     
  16. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    If you have a crony, use it. It will tell you if your hand loads are consistent. If you have your SD running is single digits, that is about as good as you can get. Brass volume, neck tension, primers all impact the end result. The loose cannon driving the gun is the most common problem.
     
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  17. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    What scale are you using, and under what conditions.
    I've had balance beams get stuck, and electrical interference with electronics.

    As to shooting a bigger group. A single 3 or 5 shot group doesn't mean anything in particular, but taken as a whole they tell the story. Right now the story is that it's a 1" load with some. Better groups tossed in. After tinkering, and examination of exterior influences (shooter etc), it maybe concluded that it actually shoots better.
    For now I'd load up 10rnds, or more, of the same charge, making sure your weights are accurate. Your looking for absolute consistency.

    Clean your rifle, and shoot as many of those rounds as into a group you can comfortably. Keep track of any fliers, especially your clean bore shot.
     
  18. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Chronos a good suggestion!
    for some reason I always just assume it's part of load development, but I know it isn't for a lot of folks
     
  19. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I would go for more shots for a group myself but if everything is the same, what could have changed?

    Is the environment you shot the groups in the same?

    Is the firearm in the same condition of clean or dirty?

    Is what you are feeding it exactly the same?

    If the answer to all the above is yes, then it’s the person firing it. There are things one can do to remove the human element but if the gear is capable of 5 shots cloverleaf and your getting an inch/flyers from it, it might be productive to keep doing it the hard way but you can confirm the rifle hasn’t gone south on you with a good rest, then go back to working on technique.
     
  20. RodII

    RodII Member

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    Maybe weather conditions related, wind, temperature, overcast to sunny.
     
  21. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Gremlins I call them. Nasty little beasties that infect all things with moving parts. The more complex the system, the better the chance for one of these little buggers to gnaw on something and jam a proverbial gear. A modern rifle, optics, and ammunition is a rather complex system of chemical and kinetic reactions, and there are many habitats for gremlins. Best practices towards consistency of the system can mitigate their damage, but they are still there waiting for a lapse in QC, good old fashioned entropy, or a seemingly insignificant change to give them succor.

    Many shooters read too many online articles, forums and old fashioned paper rags on extreme accuracy. Many shooters sugar coat their grouping capabilities on said medias. This leads many shooters to allow the pursuit of perfection to be the enemy of the sufficient.

    I shoot NRA high power, CMP matches and I hunt big game. I would be ecstatic to have a rifle consistently group under 1" at 100 yards across 10 rounds. In the real world, with service rifles or hunting rifles, about 1- 1.5MOA range is the best I've seen reproducible. I consider smaller groups in smaller numbers of shots to be outliers, and useful to narrow down options for further testing, nothing more. Over the years, I have found loads for most of my rifles that will maintain 2MOA or better across a range of atmospheric conditions and will usually hold this standard with a lot change in a component. This is good enough for my purposes, and since I also like to have money in my bank account and do things other than load and test ammo, this is where I stop.

    Cloverleafs are fun, but I don't chase them into black holes.

    Here's a real world example. Not my target or rifle, but submitted in the match I'm hosting as an unofficial "look at this". This is a tuned BR or F-class rifle. It is BUILT. Target courtesy of Nature Boy. 10 shots in aprox .9 MOA at 200 yards. This is about as good as it gets. If you're chasing a higher standard consistently, you better have the money, time, gear, and money to chase it (money intentionally mentioned twice).[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  22. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    It sounds like it's the gun/ammo.

    If you really want to see how the gun/ammo shoots, see post #8.
     
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  23. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    This is true, like a parent that talks about the child that got a promotion vs the one that went to the penitentiary, no one likes talking about things they don’t like to talk about.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t refine your processes though.

    Like testing some different rounds in a 9mm rifle awhile back. I knew the plated “minor” loads were not great at even 25 yards but I wanted to shoot coyotes off the balcony and needed to hit at 100, so I tested them and 10 rounds at 100 had me conclude that the bullet impacts were inconsistent, one didn’t even make it on paper.

    0924E10E-272A-4BF8-ADEF-BEC0806CFD31.jpeg

    Keeping everything the same but just using a different bullet I fired another 10 rounds and a new target.

    0362C0E5-A877-4AEB-BC23-3AF6ADA1CAC0.jpeg

    Problem solved, even if not perfect, it’s perfectly suitable...
     
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  24. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    All/any of the above. Plus, check the torque on your sight screws. Check your action screw torque and barrel for float. YOu could spend a lot of time and money looking for a cure that a screwdriver can cure in seconds.

    Also, reloading technique also has a lot to do with load accuracy. Consistency in your reloading method counts for as much as consistency as your shooting method. If you jerk the handle charging one round, smooth the next, short stroke the next, all 3 of those rounds will hit a different spot on a target. There goes your 3-shot group straight down the devil's toilet.
     
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  25. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Using a Lyman digital scale, same powder and primer lots, not sure on the press. The 3 shot groups were fired last weekend and didn’t clean the rifle.
     
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