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The Difference a Factory Load Can Make

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JeffDilla, Sep 12, 2016.

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  1. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

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    Since I got my Browning X-Bolt in .270 Win last November, I've only had it to the range a few times. The only ammo I had shot through it was Hornady Superformance 130 gr. SST factory loads, as I bought numerous boxes when they were on sale at the time I got the rifle and I don't reload. I've shot probably 80-100 rounds through it. While the Hornadys were "accurate enough" for hunting, ~2-2.5" groups at 100 yards, I was never overly impressed, since my other rifles are much more accurate.

    The other day I picked up a couple of boxes of 130 gr. Winchester Ballistic Silver Tips, as I've had great performance with these out of my Tikka T3 300 WSM and currently Winchester is running a rebate. I went to the range today and shot another box of Hornady with the same mediocre performance after I dialed in my new scope. I then shot the Ballistic Silver Tips and immediately saw drastic improvement. Those 2-2.5" groups instantly shrank to consistent 1" groups with the BSTs.

    I know what rounds I will be carrying during deer hunting season this year.
     
  2. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    Not to challenge your accuracy claim, but I've never known any rifle that shot consistent size groups of any dimension. Except when at least 30 shots are in each test group, then they vary less than 10% in extreme spread.
     
  3. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    OP I've always heard that Superformance ammo isn't very accurate in many rifles. Seems like your rifle has shown that same thing. Glad you found a more accurate load for you.
     
  4. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

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    Bart, I hear what you're saying. For all intents and purposes, I was simply stating that my groups noticeably tightened up switching from one brand of ammo to another. I never shot 1" groups of 3 or 4 with the Hornady ammo whereas the Winchester rounds all grouped around an 1"-1.5" with 3 or 4 shots through the entire box.
     
  5. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I agree with carjunkie...if a gun shoots superformance well, great, but the number that dont seem to be higher.
     
  6. agtman

    agtman Member

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    Remember the rules when testing for accuracy:

    3-shots only establishes a point of aim, not a "group."

    5-shots are the minimum number of rounds needed to establish a group for the purpose of testing the accuracy of a particular factory load or handload.

    10-shots are the preferred number to establish repeatable accuracy and high confidence in that load in that rifle.

    Anything else is just theory ... :scrutiny:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    It's a hunting rifle, three shot groups tell you what you need to know. Not one group, but several. If it consistently puts 3 shots into or near 1" that is realistically all the accuracy you can use in field positions for hunting. Smaller groups are exciting and nice to brag about, but don't mean much.

    I've read of and experienced very mixed results on the Superformance ammo. I bought several boxes for both my 30-06 and 308 shortly after they came out. Both fell a bit short of advertised speeds. My 30-06 hand loads shot at exactly the same speed with much better accuracy than the Superformance ammo. I shot it up to get the brass and wouldn't buy any more for my 30-06

    In my 308 the accuracy was very much acceptable. Not quite as accurate as my loads, but very close. While the speed was a little slower than advertised, it was faster than I could get, and faster than any published load data I've seen. I tend to use my hand loads, but I'd not think twice about buying more for the 308.
     
  8. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

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    That's really all I'm trying to say here. The Winchesters performed better than the Hornadys. Not trying to debate semantics.
     
  9. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    Read post #5 in:

    http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=563045

    then read again, the following remarks starting with:
    If a dozen people are given a rifle and a given make and type of bullet to work up loads for testing each with a single 3-shot group, you'll end up with a dozen different cases, powders, primers and assembly details. If they all use the same components and assembly, some will say it's pretty good, a few will say it's horrible and a few will say it's wonderful.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  10. G.barnes

    G.barnes Member

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    So many people get caught up with how many rounds in a group. In reality the first two shots are all that matter. If they hit your target where you want thats all that matters. No one does five shot groups on a deer. If it takes you five shots there's something very wrong.
     
  11. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    I have found that the "regular" Hornady Custom and Whitetail will give me tighter groups (like half the size) than the Superformance.

    The only Winchester ammo that I have found that would perform decently in my stable is some Silvertip in 375 H&H with the 270 gr bullet.
     
  12. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    Bart, this seems like a strange thread to go on your usual group size / number of shots per group rant. All the guy is saying is that one factory ammo shot a lot better than another in his light weight hunting rifle.... pretty normal.

    Op, congrats on finding a factory load that your rifle likes, it sounds like the silver tips should be just the ticket for deer season.
     
  13. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    G. Barnes,

    The reason people want several shots in a group is to verify the rifle and ammo is accurate enough so the first (and sometimes the second) shot misses their point of aim (where they call the shot) the least amount possible.

    Can you sight in your rifle with 1 shot standing up on your hind legs without a sling and be sure your next shot won't miss the point of aim no more than 1/2 MOA?

    If you, your rifle and ammo are up to snuff, that's easy to do. Try it sometime to see how good you and your stuff really are. Keep in mind that the zero attained shooting offhand will be different than what's attained with a rifle resting atop something on a bench top.
     
  14. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    I agree Jeff! Sadly I've had poor luck with hornady ammo (not components) but in my brother's 338 wm he noticed differences literally between the sst and gmx factory loads the gmx we recovered looked much better than the sst and groups were tighter too (m77). I've tried nosler custom bts and gone back to federal for a lack of edge in performance, in my m70 I like to favor the old round noses and fmjs that I can't find on a shelf anymore, the the remmy chews up most of what I buy reliably but favoring fusions. I have found in general that hornady bullets tend to be longer in a grain for grain lineup (excluding .224 50 spsx and .243 rn off the top of my head) but that's construction and I'm thinking that makes a difference. I use a bullet length to help most often and federal in house bullets aren't found nor are Winchesters on the JBM bullet length list. However it helps as a guideline. Obviously some bullets can only be loaded but plenty of factory ammo can be found that way. From brand to brand there are decent differences and finding the favorite bullet is doable even with factory loads, it can get expensive if working trial by error, but not as expensive as an unfilled tag. I'm glad you found and posted your results, I know many folks over trust factory loads and some don't even test them before use in the field opening day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  15. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    If you can shoot a 2" group you probably aren't going to miss any animals.
     
  16. Wreck-n-Crew

    Wreck-n-Crew Member

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    That's why a lot of people reload!

    Sent from my LGLS991 using Tapatalk
     
  17. agtman

    agtman Member

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    Let's repeat: 3 shots is not a "group" for accuracy purposes no matter how you parse it, and that's regardless of whether the rifle used is a dedicated "hunting" rifle or a precision (i.e., "sniper"/target ) rifle.

    3-shots fired on a target merely indicates or confirms a point of aim, with some undetermined potential to be a "group" over time and with more rounds fired.

    5-shots, minimum, establishes an accuracy baseline to be called an initial "group" for that load in that rifle.

    Subsequent 5-shot groups (at least four more, so 25-shots total) should provide the thinking rifleman with sufficient on-target results to confirm or dispute the accuracy baseline of the initial group and of the ammo/rifle combination.

    While this has obvious benefits when testing factory ammo, the careful handloader will see the benefits as well, and probably quicker and certainly cheaper.

    At any rate, you can thank me later. :cool:
     
  18. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    Why is 25 rds the magic number? Is it associated with a certain confidence interval? If so what? Can you post up a statistical analysis that gives the rest of us an idea of your reasoning/methodology?
     
  19. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Soooooo since were nit picking what were talking about is precision not accuracy.
    I think often time shooters ability to deliver an accurate shot may effect our perceived precision more than the actual load, or rifle.
    I know some of you guys are very capable of delivering shot after shot with .25moa or bette, accuracy. Myself on a good day, i can probably do it 10, maybe 20 times, with a rifle im very familiar with.

    Brings me to muh point, for many of us 3/5 shot groups, or 5/3 shot, groups are probably as valid a test of a rifles precision as WE can achieve. Accumulation of multiple outing will of course increase our total.sample volume and make it a more precise prediction of a rifle and loads....er... precision

    And time spent taming breaks and goofing off can increase the number shots, but i dont spend a whole day at the range anymore so an hour or two is all im gonna put in.

    Cartridge/rifle, and Recoil and muzzle blast tolerance obviously make a diffrence as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  20. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    You guys crack me up with all your "group" definitions. What matters is where the 1st cold bore shot goes. I know some of you are great bench shooters and paper punchers. In hunting situations you get one shot. You need to know where that shot goes. An hour later or week later that first shot needs go into the same spot. That is useful repeatability. My elk rifle was 2in high and 1/4 inch left at 100 yds. when I checked it today. I will hunt with it knowing it is accurate. Why would I care where the 5th,10th, or 20th bullet goes?

    I shoot handload barnes ttsx bullets for hunting. I concur with ops superformance ammo results. They are very fast but not as consistent as other loads.
     
  21. pintler

    pintler Member

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    In post #4, the OP said:

    "whereas the Winchester rounds all grouped around an 1"-1.5" with 3 or 4 shots through the entire box."

    I took 'through the entire box' to mean he probably shot 20 rounds, in 5 or 6 groups, and all of those 20 shots hit withing 3/4 inch of where he aimed that particular shot.

    Shooting a single 3 shot group doesn't say much; shooting a bunch of them does.
     
  22. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

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    That's right. I shot a box of each, 20 rounds of Hornady and20 rounds of Winchester, into groups of 3 and 4.
     
  23. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    Jeffdilla,
    I recently tried some 62g steel tip 5.56 amo and was amazed how less consistent it was compared to some regular 55g fmj ammo I was shooting. This was same AR rifle, same day, everything the same. 55g grouped about 1 to 1.5 inches. The steel jumped to 3 to 4 inches. Went back to 55g and 1.5. 2nd try with steel and 4 inches. I was surprised as I have never had an AR shoot that bad before. I came to conclusion that the 62 steel tipped was not accurate in my rifle. (1/7 twist)
     
  24. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    I want to see him do it on his front legs!
     
  25. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator In Memoriam

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    Cotton pickin' time in Jawgia, nit pickin' time at THR.

    Not.

    :D
     
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