Best distance for load development?

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by Kasimir58, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. Kasimir58

    Kasimir58

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    During load development what is your preferred target distance for evaluation of your experimental loads? Are you using the same distance for determining ideal seating depth and powder charge or are you using different distances? If you are shooting different calibers, are you shooting different distances to test your experimental loads?
     
  2. David Christian

    David Christian Gold $$ Contributor

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  3. Lefty Trigger

    Lefty Trigger Gold $$ Contributor

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    I follow the instructions in that link but I do all mine at 200 yards,... only because our 200 yard range is never busy. I have also been shown the ladder test and while I get the results I'm never any good at reading them and understanding what the target is telling me.
     
  4. MikeMcCasland

    MikeMcCasland Gold $$ Contributor

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    You can do it at 100 yards as referenced in Cortina's thread; especially testing for powder nodes. That said, if you have an accurate rifle it can be difficult to interpret some of the results, often minor depth changes. i.e. if everything looks to be 'one hole' at 100 yards, how do you choose what's best?

    If you run that same test at 200-300 yards, you can see the affects of various load changes with much higher resolution.

    As an example, here's a pic of the last time I was working up a load. All three of these loads were shooting tight little groups at 100; very difficult to determine which was better. Move it out to 300, and you get this...it becomes a lot easier to identify what the rifle likes.

    Same holds true the further out you go. The only challenge is getting good/consistent conditions to test at longer ranges. The whole point of Erik's thread is that it can be done at 100 yards, not that doing it at 100 is 'the best'.

    In the image, ignore the vertical; that was me messing with the scope. That's moving a hybrid .005" deeper for each 5 shot group.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  5. Coyotefurharvester

    Coyotefurharvester

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    Since I'm not a longer range target or steel banger, only a predator Hunter, I test at 100 and verify at 300 yards(17-22 cal). When I do draw a big game tag, I do the same and add a 400 or 450 check. Not sure why but it does give me confidence.
     
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  6. GSS

    GSS

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    Are you asking regarding for load development for;
    an M1 Garand,
    a 30-06 hunting rifle or
    a 1000 yard benchrest rifle ?
     
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  7. dsculley

    dsculley

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    The load development in Cortina's thread is essentially an OCW test.
    Testing initially at 100 yds will virtually eliminate wind influence so you get a good read on grouping. I use the OCW at 100 yds for initial evaluation. You are not looking for the tightest group, but for a set of groups that share the same/nearly the same center of impact. Next I will go to the longest range I have available (300 yds for me at this time) to prove the load. Assuming all is still good, then I will evaluate at longer range as soon as possible. This might mean that I evaluate the load in an F-Class 600 yd match.

    I test for seating depth first using the Berger method. I then test for powder charge using the OCW method. Once I have decided on the final load, I will test for seating depth at smaller increments.
     
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  8. garandman

    garandman Bolt Gun Bodacious Gold $$ Contributor

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    Load development at 100yd. (Bad knees make further a real challenge)

    Then confirm on 400 yard steel. 18" down to 4" gongs.
     
  9. ToddKS

    ToddKS Gold $$ Contributor

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    I shoot PRS. All of my load development is done at 600 yards. I have considered extending that to 800 but 600 has worked well so far (it also happens to be the longest distance at my range where you can hang a paper target. To go to 800 I would have to set up my own stands).
     
  10. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold $$ Contributor

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    I do the Cortina method at 100 yards then take the best load from that and verify by shooting a 20 shot group at 500 yards
     
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  11. Lefty Trigger

    Lefty Trigger Gold $$ Contributor

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    That would be an awesome way to test a load real quick if you can hit small gongs at long range. Our range is 100% NRA backed and were no longer allowed to have steel at any distance,... this sucks big time. All we are allowed to shoot are clay birds left over from sporting clay events, we throw them up on the berm and shoot them but it gets old real fast because if you hit them there is no doing it again.
     
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  12. carlsbad

    carlsbad Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. Gold $$ Contributor

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    There are lots of advantages of doing it at distances other than 100 yards. However, I prefer 100 yards because I cam confident that I can with a perfect rifle, fire 10 shots in a row in the same hole at this distance. Thus, any differences I see on the target I can attribute to the rifle/load. The farther I go out, the less confident I am that the differences are not the shooter. --Jerry
     
  13. K22

    K22

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    I do all my load development at 100 yards because shooter error and wind affects are minimized. I then test a promising load at 200 yards which is the longest distance available at the clubs I belong.
     
  14. TheOtherZilla

    TheOtherZilla

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    For over 50 years I have shot at 100yds. Then if I feel the need I look for a rock or a clump of dirt at 2---300.. Then out to the pdawg fields..
     
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  15. Kevin Taylor

    Kevin Taylor

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    When I first thought I needed to reload to achieve the greatest killing power, I did all of my range testing at 87 yards. The farthest I could shoot off the deck and still be on my land. I worked tirelessly for most of the summer to ring the last bit of accuracy out of my reloads.

    Ultimately, I took my buck at about 20 yards on the pond. I still don’t take a deer over about 100 yards or so. It still is a 257 Roberts.
     
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  16. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    You develop past 100 you need to have confidence in your wind flags and your ability to read them. Otherwise just confirm at distance
     
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  17. seymour fish

    seymour fish

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    100, fine tune 1K
     
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  18. SPJ

    SPJ Gold $$ Contributor

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    Man I don’t zero my scope under 300 yards.
     
  19. johara1

    johara1

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    That sounds good except I never saw conditions around here stay together for 5 shots. You need wind flags, without them you are guessing..... jim
     
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  20. seymour fish

    seymour fish

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    Jim, I follow your wisdom on here and thank you for it. Had the great luck to cherry pick conditions for 1000 and had full set of flags on 22’ poles. Spotting scope focused for mirage, 42x on rifle. In 308, the node of a simple ladder with happy powder/bullet/seating depth would run 0.4-0.6 grains. 3-shot ladders at 0.1 grain increments at 1000 would clearly show changes in both group size and POI which were repeatable. All shots in same condition, preferably a steady direction and speed of 2-5 mph, and never in a boil. Seymour
     
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