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How good is good enough?

Phylodog

Hidin since '06
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 9, 2006
2,374
21
51
Arcadia, IN
Just curious as to what others look for when developing a load for long range shooting. A good friend and I spent the better part of yesterday trying to work up a good load for my new .223AI and we couldn't get the numbers we wanted through the Oehler. I was really hoping to get 75gr BTHPs and/or 75gr AMAXs above 3050 and we were looking for standard deviations at 5 or below. The best we came up with was a median speed of 3044 with an extreme spread of 16fps and standard deviation of 6. Close but not what I was looking for.

It is very possible that I'm asking too much and that load may get me to 1K very well. My reloading partner (and teacher) is meticulous and has loads for many of his rifles with standard deviations in the 1-3 range. I'm still new at this so my expectations may be founded in a solid lack of knowledge in what works or doesn't.

I'm using LC brass, 205Ms and RE15. We started at 25.5gr and went up to 26.5 where I got a case head separation. 26.3gr is where we obtained our most consistent velocities (listed above) and we started playing with OAL at that point trying everything from jamming into the lands to kissing them to a couple thousandths off. Any adjustments we made to the OAL resulted in poorer results.

Since I'm still very new to all of this I'm curious what the more experienced members think/do/suggest. I built this rifle for banging steel and dropping coyotes and ground hogs, I won't be competing with it.

TIA
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Looks like you could use Quickload. Check out the group buy section or ask if someone has it and can run the numbers
 
Re: How good is good enough?

I should also add that at some point during the day I believe I crossed the threshold where the bore needed to be cleaned. Once we decided to "hang it up" for the day I went back to shooting some of my fireforming loads which have previously been shooting in the .75MOA range and I couldn't get them to print under 1MOA. It's possible that fatigue or frustration had set in but I think the barrel had reached it's limit and needed to be cleaned.

I don't know what effect this may have had, if any on speeds seen through the Oehler.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 7mmRM</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I wouldnt be upset with an ES of 16 and a SD of 6. </div></div>

no shit....me either. is this a tactical rifle? an ar platform i presume? if so, good enough has been achieved.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

It's this critter:
IMG_3814.jpg


Thanks Isaac. I really don't have a baseline to go from so I don't know where to stop. Like I said, I was just curious what others consider to be sufficient for precision work at distance.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Cory,

Extremely anal retentive brass prep may lower it a small bit. Lapua brass may do the same, but I dont think you will see much. Were that my rifle and load, Id be happy and at the loading bench crankin out a bunch of ammo!
 
Re: How good is good enough?

We were actually talking about switching to Lapua brass yesterday. It's all my buddy uses but I was hoping the LC would work for me because I have access to a lot of it.

I'm going to tune things up a bit with the brass prep. I need to adjust my die to bump the shoulder a hair more and see if that makes any difference.

What velocity do you run the 75gr AMAXs?
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Just so your aware and to be careful according to quick load that is an extremely hot load in the 70,000 psi range. just watch your pressures carefully.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Thanks for looking it up PFCSkoug. That's more pressure than I would've thought, 70K PSI for an Ackley chamber?
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Just to make a comparison. On my benchrest rifles that get used at 600 and 1000 I shoot for an ES of 10 or under and SD under 5. My .308 is currently running an ES of 11 and SD in the low 3's. With the load you currently have if it's giving good consistent repeatable 10 shot groups I call it good and run with it.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Phylodog</div><div class="ubbcode-body">We were actually talking about switching to Lapua brass yesterday. It's all my buddy uses but I was hoping the LC would work for me because I have access to a lot of it.

I'm going to tune things up a bit with the brass prep. I need to adjust my die to bump the shoulder a hair more and see if that makes any difference.

What velocity do you run the 75gr AMAXs? </div></div>


75 AMAXs for both of my 'AIs.

I run Lapua brass in my primary ammo in both. My ES/SD are a smidge lower than yours with basically the same charge. My MV is 3110 FPS via 26" PacNor ,and 3088FPS via 25" PacNor.

WW brass and R&P Brass net me about 40FPS less with the same charge. And with those cases/loads they still hang knots.. The chrono numbers are a slightly less impressive, but I couldnt give a shit less. These are field/tactical/vermin killing rifles, not BR rifles.

I will say that if I were getting the numbers you are with the LC brass, I would just hammer on. Chasing ghosts interests me none, and IMO, that basically all you would be doing by trying to better the results you have. Youre in the zone, run with it.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Have you tried a hotter primer like the Remington 7 1/2?
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Bro, I agree that you have reached the "good enough" point. Heck those numbers are pretty good for Mil brass and when I say those are good numbers I am taking about fps/ STD Dev. Have you been able to get it shoot any better than .75 moa? Or are you chalking up all your groups to being too focused on the numbers rather than the accuracy?

For the record I run LC Brass and Lapua in my .223 Bolt. The Lapua has the "better" Numbers... but both shoot almost Identical and that is what matters.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Winchester brass is typically the lightest weight .223, =more powder. I use N-150, Remington 7-1/2BR, & 80 grain SMK moly, get 3100 out of a 27 inch 5R barrel. Great ES/SD are tough with the 223/223AI. I look at it as a very nice 600 yard rifle and great numbers are not really a factor if you have the accuracy. If your 22 won't shoot one hole something is wrong........... Good Luck and Good Shooting
 
Re: How good is good enough?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 7mmRM</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I wouldnt be upset with an ES of 16 and a SD of 6. </div></div>

+1 for this.

How many rounds are you baseing your numbers on? I can get below Sd of 5, if I only run short strings of shots (less than 10). With 10 round minimum, anything below 15 is gtg for me and below Sd10 is reason for a party.
 
Re: How good is good enough?

Maybe try the lapua brass and more/less neck tension if you have a bushing die and try other types of primers too.Then there's the inside/outside neck turning thing.

Steve