Load Development

Duck-Slayer

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Oct 3, 2010
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4,295
Location
great state of Idaho....
Thought I would share this on the RMEF 6.5x300 wheatherby magnum I’ve had for a couple years. Finally put a scope on it. Kinda glad it did not sell now. I did all shots at 150yards, broke the barrel in last week and did load development today. I seated the bullet out as far as I could and still clear the action with a loaded round. I had it seated just off the lanse for break in, but I would have to take out the bolt to get a loaded round out, also only could fit 1 in mag and 1 in chamber, which is fine, I don’t miss lmfao 🤣 not…. Went well,
Matt EAD14CD7-04E9-440A-A9CF-121B69977AB0.jpeg 9B2908D9-1B27-4F33-965E-418ACD1E67FE.jpeg
84gr. US869

A1B6C573-97B7-4823-8B7E-85FC5EF6CB2E.jpeg
84.5gr US868

6F837CA3-E748-4250-8CE2-8A82F85CA0E3.jpeg
85gr US869

254A5611-8858-4CB0-BB3B-A372DD484AC5.jpeg
85.5gr US869

73890E71-190F-48FF-8E22-E6ED22BCBF8B.jpeg
86gr US869 found it 😜
 

ImBillT

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Oct 29, 2018
Messages
3,109
Still trying to figure out what you found....

3 strung vertically is NOT your powder charge!

If anything the 85.5 is your charge, now play with seating depth.
Somewhat agree, but I think you also see that we can’t say much at all with certainty. 2gr by no means insures that he crossed a node. I’ve never owned a rifle that shot 5”-6” groups at one powder charge, and then just 2gr more powder it would shoot a hair under an 1”. Something more than typical tuning is going on there.

Trying to tune a rifle that isn’t capable of AVERAGING(not the best group it ever shot on accident one day) under .5MOA can end up feeling like chasing your tail. Trying to tune the best rifle on the planet with mediocre brass and bullets can be equally frustrating.

I have a rifle that is pickier than any other rifle I’ve ever owned. A BR hall of fame member(and expert tuner) at the range watched me try to get it shooting on multiple occasions. He kept telling me “sometimes a rifle just won’t shoot, and you have to give up on it” and “even Krieger lets a bad barrel out the door every now and then”, and “it’s a hunting rifle, 1MOA is okay, you’re gonna wear it out and wish it still shot 1MOA”. Finally I tweaked and tuned eliminated, and it’s one of the most accurate rifles I’ve ever shot, which is stupid because it’s a hunting rifle. All that to say that it’s picky and finicky, BUT when everything was wrong and I was frustrated it shot 1MOA. Going from 6” to 1” is likely not “tuning”. Something outside the realm of what I consider tuning is probably wrong. Loose screw/bolt, bad bedding, bad scope, bad bullets/brass/dies, inconsistent reloading practices(you can weigh powder charges perfectly but mix brass, or number of loadings on individual cases, or how you sized a cases[did you size some and adjust your die, then size the rest etc?]), bad rest/gun handling/bench(looked like a pickup bed which can be surprisingly unstable), consistent level of bore fouling, leaving cleaning products in the bore when the shooting started, shot stringing from a warm barrel(sight-in with 3-4 shots and shoot a group warm, then let it cool and shoot the next group. Did the tune change or the barrel temp?) and lastly the obvious, is the gun even capable of averaging .5MOA or less? I’m all for tuning powder charge and to a lesser extent seating depth(an acceptable depth should be found for sure, but fine tuning is less critical in my opinion) on hunting rifles, but only if one has reason to believe that it’s a very accurate rifle to begin with.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the targets indicate that some level of fouling or clearing of cleaning products was taking place and allowing the rifle to settle in. I don’t think powder charge had much to do with the groups shrinking. The very last group looks like the rifle is probably accurate enough to benefit from tuning, but that load was not the load to settle on.
Really high velocity tends to copper foul more, some powders foul more than others, and rough bores(most non-custom barrels) foul more. Any of those reasons could make a rifle shoot poorly on a clean barrel until the fouling level gets consistent. With a really excellent barrel, it will shoot EVEN BETTER when it’s perfectly clean.
 

OntarioHunter

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Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
4,031
Somewhat agree, but I think you also see that we can’t say much at all with certainty. 2gr by no means insures that he crossed a node. I’ve never owned a rifle that shot 5”-6” groups at one powder charge, and then just 2gr more powder it would shoot a hair under an 1”. Something more than typical tuning is going on there.

Trying to tune a rifle that isn’t capable of AVERAGING(not the best group it ever shot on accident one day) under .5MOA can end up feeling like chasing your tail. Trying to tune the best rifle on the planet with mediocre brass and bullets can be equally frustrating.

I have a rifle that is pickier than any other rifle I’ve ever owned. A BR hall of fame member(and expert tuner) at the range watched me try to get it shooting on multiple occasions. He kept telling me “sometimes a rifle just won’t shoot, and you have to give up on it” and “even Krieger lets a bad barrel out the door every now and then”, and “it’s a hunting rifle, 1MOA is okay, you’re gonna wear it out and wish it still shot 1MOA”. Finally I tweaked and tuned eliminated, and it’s one of the most accurate rifles I’ve ever shot, which is stupid because it’s a hunting rifle. All that to say that it’s picky and finicky, BUT when everything was wrong and I was frustrated it shot 1MOA. Going from 6” to 1” is likely not “tuning”. Something outside the realm of what I consider tuning is probably wrong. Loose screw/bolt, bad bedding, bad scope, bad bullets/brass/dies, inconsistent reloading practices(you can weigh powder charges perfectly but mix brass, or number of loadings on individual cases, or how you sized a cases[did you size some and adjust your die, then size the rest etc?]), bad rest/gun handling/bench(looked like a pickup bed which can be surprisingly unstable), consistent level of bore fouling, leaving cleaning products in the bore when the shooting started, shot stringing from a warm barrel(sight-in with 3-4 shots and shoot a group warm, then let it cool and shoot the next group. Did the tune change or the barrel temp?) and lastly the obvious, is the gun even capable of averaging .5MOA or less? I’m all for tuning powder charge and to a lesser extent seating depth(an acceptable depth should be found for sure, but fine tuning is less critical in my opinion) on hunting rifles, but only if one has reason to believe that it’s a very accurate rifle to begin with.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the targets indicate that some level of fouling or clearing of cleaning products was taking place and allowing the rifle to settle in. I don’t think powder charge had much to do with the groups shrinking. The very last group looks like the rifle is probably accurate enough to benefit from tuning, but that load was not the load to settle on.
Really high velocity tends to copper foul more, some powders foul more than others, and rough bores(most non-custom barrels) foul more. Any of those reasons could make a rifle shoot poorly on a clean barrel until the fouling level gets consistent. With a really excellent barrel, it will shoot EVEN BETTER when it’s perfectly clean.
Don't forget, it's a new barrel. Break in might explain some initial peculiarities.

Edit: Okay, I made it to the end of your post. You seem to take the new barrel into account.
 

ImBillT

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Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
3,109
Don't forget, it's a new barrel. Break in might explain some initial peculiarities.

Edit: Okay, I made it to the end of your post. You seem to take the new barrel into account.
No, I forgot it was a new barrel. You’re are right, break-in could be contributing to a fouling issue that eventually is not as significant as it currently is.
 

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