ladder test & 400yd groups

rybern

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Prior to today I have only shot ELD-M 140 ammo with mixed results. Best 5 shot group was .440" but typically they hover around .500-1.0". Rifle is a 24" Bergara HMR Pro 6.5CM, Seekins rings, PST Gen2 5-25. Total round count after today is 119. Shots were from a bench with bags(unless noted).

I feel like I need to work on some fundamentals of shooting groups. I suspect I'm inducing some inconsistencies which are opening up the groups.

Here's ladder test numbers with H4350 and ELDM bullets. Cases are once fired Hornady, sized, mandrel expander and set to 2.850 OAL. I got some weird hits that can only be explained by the fact that I might need to work on shooting technique.
39.5gr - 2583fps
40.0gr - 2599fps
40.5gr - 2656fps
41.0gr - 2682fps
41.5gr - 2721fps
42.0gr - 2743fps
42.5gr - 2749fps
43.0gr - 2789fps


Both of these 5 shot groups were 41.5 H4350. All shots through chrno. Avg 10 shot velocity is 2735, 17es, 6sd.
Here's one of the groups which is MOA at best. There was a little wind.


This group was fired using a Harris bipod from a bench:
 
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Devildog

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    Did you gather any additional information from your chrono such as which loads had the best sd/es numbers. That’s helpful information as well.

    edit. Just noticed between the pic that you gathered sd/es on that one load. What did the others come out to be? My load is almost identical I’m at 41.4 running 2730 fps. What’s your 100 yard group look like with the 41.5 charge?
     
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    rybern

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    Did you gather any additional information from your chrono such as which loads had the best sd/es numbers. That’s helpful information as well.
    I only loaded extra of the 41.5gr load because I suspected that would be close to the node and wanted to shoot more than the ladder while I was at the range.
     

    rybern

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    It may be time to try variations of seating depth to tighten the group. Don't be shy about getting further from the lands than conventional old-school wisdom has dictated in the past. Try .060, .080, .100, you might be surprised.
    Thanks for suggestion Ken.
     

    Northfl

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    I would also give yourself an aiming point on the plates. Something to actually aim at
    If your bergara hmr pro is anything like mine, it has a deep throat. Mine measured out about .160 to get to mag length from the lands. Fixing to start load development for it and my mpa will try and remember to post up results here once i get going
     

    rybern

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    I would also give yourself an aiming point on the plates. Something to actually aim at
    If your bergara hmr pro is anything like mine, it has a deep throat. Mine measured out about .160 to get to mag length from the lands. Fixing to start load development for it and my mpa will try and remember to post up results here once i get going
    Good point. I was using lines on my reticle match the OD of the plate perfectly but I suspect it would be easier to focus on one center object.

    So your's has the bullet .160 off the lands due to how the mag restricts the cartridge OAL?
     

    Raufoss

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    I'd re-test between 42 and 42.5 ( like 42.3gr) and do a seating depth test. Either a ladder or a 3 shot groups test from 0.035 to 0.070''.
     
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    Northfl

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    Good point. I was using lines on my reticle match the OD of the plate perfectly but I suspect it would be easier to focus on one center object.

    So your's has the bullet .160 off the lands due to how the mag restricts the cartridge OAL?
    Yes. Seating mag length they would be. The hornady 143 eldx shoots great out of it though. Not very fast but shoot good
     

    AllenOne1

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    I'd re-test between 42 and 42.5 ( like 42.3gr) and do a seating depth test. Either a ladder or a 3 shot groups test from 0.035 to 0.070''.
    This. I would work on the area as well the velocity is very close so you might have a nice node sitting in there.
     

    rybern

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    I appreciate the advice guys. These were my first loads. I think I'll load some more 41.5, 42.0 and some 42.3 to re-verify the velocity. The 41.5 provided a 10 shot 17es and 6sd, isn't that pretty good or have I been loading pistol ammo too long, LOL?
     

    AllenOne1

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    I appreciate the advice guys. These were my first loads. I think I'll load some more 41.5, 42.0 and some 42.3 to re-verify the velocity. The 41.5 provided a 10 shot 17es and 6sd, isn't that pretty good or have I been loading pistol ammo too long, LOL?
    Yes that is very good for a 10 shot group.
     
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    tello1

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    Well as for me, I would say your shooting skill can et better, yes. That is still for me an excellent 5 shot group at .440". The pictures are nice, thanks for sharing.
     
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    rybern

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    Yes that is very good for a 10 shot group.
    OK, thanks for the response.

    Well as for me, I would say your shooting skill can et better, yes. That is still for me an excellent 5 shot group at .440". The pictures are nice, thanks for sharing.
    I haven't been able to consistently shoot 1/2" MOA groups.... so I feel that I need work. I think that my expectations of hand loading was that I would be loading magic bullets that wouldn't require a high amount of consistent skill. ;)

    Here is the pic of the .440 group. I was super happy to have shot it and really thought I would beat it hand loading.... maybe one day.
     

    Gustav7

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    OK, thanks for the response.


    I haven't been able to consistently shoot 1/2" MOA groups.... so I feel that I need work. I think that my expectations of hand loading was that I would be loading magic bullets that wouldn't require a high amount of consistent skill. ;)

    Here is the pic of the .440 group. I was super happy to have shot it and really thought I would beat it hand loading.... maybe one day.
    One of the first shot groups I ever printed with my factory Savage was 0.35moa... its taken me 400rds of serious practice to be able to do that again. Essentially, I think I was naive and got lucky with my form and position. The good thing is, my last range trip I had 4, 5-shot groups in a row between 0.4-0.6moa, which is obviously showing me that I'm getting more consistent, but I STILL have a lot to work on. Especially as I transition to faster shooting and positional shooting.

    I only have 300yds to work with until fall hits, so I've just been practicing at 100yds. Reconfirm zero, cold bore shots, dot drills, rebuilding position over and over to hammer it into my head, Dry fire at home, etc.

    It takes time for sure, but I think you're on the right path
     
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    rybern

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    One of the first shot groups I ever printed with my factory Savage was 0.35moa... its taken me 400rds of serious practice to be able to do that again. Essentially, I think I was naive and got lucky with my form and position. The good thing is, my last range trip I had 4, 5-shot groups in a row between 0.4-0.6moa, which is obviously showing me that I'm getting more consistent, but I STILL have a lot to work on. Especially as I transition to faster shooting and positional shooting.

    I only have 300yds to work with until fall hits, so I've just been practicing at 100yds. Reconfirm zero, cold bore shots, dot drills, rebuilding position over and over to hammer it into my head, Dry fire at home, etc.

    It takes time for sure, but I think you're on the right path
    Your experience is certainly in line with my suspicions. I intend to tinker around with some of the suggestions here but I suspect a large part of the problem is me. ;)
     
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    Gil P.

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    If you're going to shoot another ladder, shoot several sets of ladders to verify your results. The results you get have to be repeatable to be of any value.
    If your throat is really long, don't bother with varying seating depth, it probably won't make a difference. Use a bullet that is jump tolerant. I've never used the Hornady bullets, but you may want to look at the Berger 140 hybrids, or maybe the new Berger 144 LRHT's.

    You can still shoot a ladder test, even if you are inducing errors. If you can consistently get the same results, then it can be of value to you, if not don't read too much into it. Your chronograph won't be ambiguous.

    Keep your test process the same. If you are going to switch from .5gr increments to .3gr increments, start your test over. You should start it over anyway and load 3 sets of ladders and shoot them all in the same session.
     
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    rybern

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    If you're going to shoot another ladder, shoot several sets of ladders to verify your results. The results you get have to be repeatable to be of any value.
    If your throat is really long, don't bother with varying seating depth, it probably won't make a difference. Use a bullet that is jump tolerant. I've never used the Hornady bullets, but you may want to look at the Berger 140 hybrids, or maybe the new Berger 144 LRHT's.

    You can still shoot a ladder test, even if you are inducing errors. If you can consistently get the same results, then it can be of value to you, if not don't read too much into it. Your chronograph won't be ambiguous.

    Keep your test process the same. If you are going to switch from .5gr increments to .3gr increments, start your test over. You should start it over anyway and load 3 sets of ladders and shoot them all in the same session.
    Makes sense. Maybe I'll set up two targets at 400 yds. 400 yds will provide a little more separation of the rounds. I shot the first one at 300 because I thought I would be able to document the hits viewing through the spotting scope and sketching a diagram; it didn't work because the 20-60x Konus wasn't quite up to it. I ended up driving down to the target between shots and write the charge on the target.

    I purchased (500) of the 140gr ELDM bullets so I'm going to stick with them for another session or two. But I'm looking at the Berger now. Thanks for the suggestions.
     

    Gil P.

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    Color the bullets of each charge weight with a sharpie, leaves a color ring around the hole so you know which was which.
    View attachment 7427539
    I've done that before and it works. I liked using white cardboard. I record all the shots on my phone by leaving it on record next to the target now.

    Driving back and forth won't help with your groups at all either. Rebuilding your position after every single shot will most likely be detrimental to your accuracy.

    If you run out of marker colors, just color one half of the bullet (in front of the ogive) red, the other half blue, etc. Maybe measure out and draw a 3 or 4 inch diamond to make it easy to position your reticle in the same spot.
     
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    Gil P.

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    Wow, that would be awesome. No issues with Sharpie in bore?
    You don't need to color the ogive of the bullet like @spife7980 does. I always colored in front of the ogive and never had an issue seeing the colors on the target. I still think it's a good idea to record all the shots with your phone at the same time, just in case.
     
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    rybern

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    Check out the no BS BC podcast on podbean. It's under "the everyday sniper". There's some excellent info there on reloading from Bryan Litz and Emil.
    I'll do that.... it I can find it on Spotify.
     

    rybern

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    Check out the no BS BC podcast on podbean. It's under "the everyday sniper". There's some excellent info there on reloading from Bryan Litz and Emil.
    I found "becoming a sniper" from John Simpson.
     

    rybern

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    Check out the no BS BC podcast on podbean. It's under "the everyday sniper". There's some excellent info there on reloading from Bryan Litz and Emil.
    I installed podbean and The everyday sniper. I'll be checking it out. Thanks again.
     
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    Gil P.

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    Check this one out too.
    Awsome info on wind reading from Emil Praslick.

    I love The Applied Ballististics Podcast | Episode 4 - Emil Praslick on Wind, let's play it!
     

    rybern

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    Will Crayola markers work or should I get "Sharpie"?

    Check this one out too.
    Awsome info on wind reading from Emil Praslick.

    I love The Applied Ballististics Podcast | Episode 4 - Emil Praslick on Wind, let's play it!
    Thanks. I'll check that out too.