Advanced Marksmanship My compiled reloading problems and queries (Sorry to spew..)

TheLimey

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Sorry to spew but here are some of my reloading woes and queries.
  • Noticed a pattern with increased speed with more space in cartridge/longer base to ogive measurement. What's that about? Does it have a positive effect on how the powder burns?
  • Related: With my Staball reloads, the longer base to ogive seatings shot a bit better. But I sometimes worry there's not enough even pressure holding the bullet in place. They feed ok but they are beyond typical OAL (that I see is recommended). I go with the evidence but wanted to ask.
  • I'm having a few resized cases being too baggy for the bullet. Like 3 or 4 per 50. It's annoying cos I have a primer in there. If I go down to a different bushing size will that help? Is that the component controlling the width? (I have a 0.291" bushing based on my brass measurements.) I was wondering whether these too-wide cartridges might be ones I passed thru the sizing die more than once as I'm dicking around getting the should bump right...
  • Can you get live primers out of a case? How?
  • I was thrilled with my Staball in 6.5 creedmoor reloads. With 43.8 grains, I got the SD down below 10 and group size to 0.25". I tried IMR 4451 and had problems though. I tried full spectrum in ladder test and bullet seating. I could not get the SDs down below the 20s and 30s. Everything was loaded the same way as my Staball loads. Should I just accept its not working for me? At what point do you give up?
  • Sorry to ask, but what is the procedure for buying a barrel for my Tikka Tac A1 - let's say a Bartlein? Is it basically I order the basic bare barrel. Then I take it to a gunsmith to add threads for the muzzle and fit it. Like typically the barrel manufacturer doesn't bother with that stuff usually? I think you can buy "off the shelf" but I wanted to ask what is generally the case.
  • According to Precision Rifle Blog most PRS pros are using a 26 inch M24. I can't wrong with that set up for my 6.5 Creedmore right? It's not like I can test different ones and I'm not proud...I'm happy to copy. (It's 2 inches longer than more than my stock Tikka barrel. Probably heavier too but I haven't checked).
  • Would you redo load recipes if change for a longer barrel? Will a new barrel of the same length affect anything (like accuracy and fps)?
 

Supersubes

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    1. It has to do with proximity to the lands. Closer = higher pressures.
    2. Use whatever works.
    3. Dont know what baggy means. Zero neck tension? Yes use a smaller bushing. If youre mixing brass( makes, lots, number of firings etc), stop doing that. If they all went into the same bushing, and some have no tension, that indicates that some necks are thinner than others.
    4. The same way you remove fired primers, but with more care.
    5. Yes, give up.
    6. You can do it that way, or buy a prefit.
    7. Much heavier, but it comes down to personal preference though. PRS guys need to spot hits from wobbly firing positions, and they like the weight. A bench or prone fired gun with a brake will be very managable with any heavy-ish barrel contour.
    8. Yes, redo load. The custom
    barrel will likely be much faster than your tikka barrel, because tikka barrels are just slow.
     
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    KnowNothing256

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    Dang @Supersubes, barely left me with anything to say.

    I’m not familiar with Tikkas, are the dimensions consistent enough for off-the-shelf prefits in the Tac A1?

    OP, the only thing I’d expand upon in the response you got is that you can order a bare barrel (called a “blank”) then have a gunsmith chamber and thread it to your desires, or you can have the barrel maker do so (usually cheaper). If a prefit isn’t an option for your action, you’ll need a smith to install it, even if it’s akready chambered and threaded, unless you go the barrel nut route then you can do it yourself with some tools.
     
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    Supersubes

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    Dang @Supersubes, barely left me with anything to say.

    I’m not familiar with Tikkas, are the dimensions consistent enough for off-the-shelf prefits in the Tac A1?

    OP, the only thing I’d expand upon in the response you got is that you can order a bare barrel (called a “blank”) then have a gunsmith chamber and thread it to your desires, or you can have the barrel maker do so (usually cheaper). If a prefit isn’t an option for your action, you’ll need a smith to install it, even if it’s akready chambered and threaded, unless you go the barrel nut route then you can do it yourself with some tools.
    A number of folks make shouldered prefits for tikkas. Those would be just as easy to swap as a barrel nut arrangement a vice and the correct action wrench.
     

    TheLimey

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    1. It has to do with proximity to the lands. Closer = higher pressures.
    2. Use whatever works.
    3. Dont know what baggy means. Zero neck tension? Yes use a smaller bushing. If youre mixing brass( makes, lots, number of firings etc), stop doing that. If they all went into the same bushing, and some have no tension, that indicates that some necks are thinner than others.
    4. The same way you remove fired primers, but with more care.
    5. Yes, give up.
    6. You can do it that way, or buy a prefit.
    7. Much heavier, but it comes down to personal preference though. PRS guys need to spot hits from wobbly firing positions, and they like the weight. A bench or prone fired gun with a brake will be very managable with any heavy-ish barrel contour.
    8. Yes, redo load. The custom
    barrel will likely be much faster than your tikka barrel, because tikka barrels are just slow.
    Thanks! By baggy I mean not enough tension holding the bullet. Not mixing brass and everything tracked/segregated. It's Hornady Amer Gunner brass. I've heard some people criticize it - possible there could be more differences than is desirable. But don't know. Noted on primers. Shame I've got 6 lbs left of that f'ing IMR ...
     

    Supersubes

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    With a .291 bushing, you should be at the absolute minimum for neck tension. Likely most of your problem. I use mandrels or expander balls with a .288 or .289 bushing across several makes of brass. Hornady brass isnt Lapua quality, but totally serviceable.
     
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    KnowNothing256

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    A number of folks make shouldered prefits for tikkas. Those would be just as easy to swap as a barrel nut arrangement a vice and the correct action wrench.
    Ah, ok, then that’s the way to go.

    OP, I run barrel nuts because the rifles that have them don’t have prefits out in the wild. That said, the prefit system is easier and faster, if you wanna do aftermarket barrels go for prefits.

    As for your 6 lbs of IMR, you won’t have any trouble at all finding someone to buy it.
     
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    TheLimey

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    Ah, ok, then that’s the way to go.

    OP, I run barrel nuts because the rifles that have them don’t have prefits out in the wild. That said, the prefit system is easier and faster, if you wanna do aftermarket barrels go for prefits.

    As for your 6 lbs of IMR, you won’t have any trouble at all finding someone to buy it.
    Thanks for the intel ... and you're right ...I could sell the IMR easily! I'm lazy though! Wondering whether if I change the bushing size and hence the seating pressure ...would that perhaps positively influence my IMR Sds?
     

    TheLimey

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    With a .291 bushing, you should be at the absolute minimum for neck tension. Likely most of your problem. I use mandrels or expander balls with a .288 or .289 bushing across several makes of brass. Hornady brass isnt Lapua quality, but totally serviceable.
    Copy that ..is it possible that if I change the bushing size and hence the seating pressure ...would that perhaps positively influence my IMR Sds? Like somehow it makes the release more "even" and that helps SDs ?
     

    KnowNothing256

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    Your SDs will likely improve a bit with a tighter bushing, but it sounds like you have inconsistent neck thicknesses, which means a bushing will always result in inconsistent neck tension. I would consider going to a tighter bushing then running a mandrel into the necks to make the INTERIOR dimension consistent, which is more important. The bushing will need to be small enough to take the necks 0.002-3” below the mandrel size to make sure it gets a good “bite,” so to speak.
     
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    st1650

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    Why not use a good expander ball FL re-sizer like a Forster if using different brass rather than have different bushings?
     
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    Supersubes

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    Copy that ..is it possible that if I change the bushing size and hence the seating pressure ...would that perhaps positively influence my IMR Sds? Like somehow it makes the release more "even" and that helps SDs ?
    @KnowNothing256 and @st1650 nailed it.

    At the moment I use mostly hornady match dies and I really like their decap rod and expander ball design. Forster’s is also nice. Redding’s suck in this regard. While I have mandrels, id rather knock all sizing out in a single operation.
     

    TheLimey

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    I ordered a .289 bushing from Midway ... I'll see what happens just using that and report back on whether it helps the IMR SDs alone. I'll try it with longer OAL. Noted on the Mandrel solution though. I think about making that just part of my regular process ...The process never ends, does it?
     

    KnowNothing256

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    The process never ends, does it?
    That’s kinda been my experience so far, but some of that comes from always seeing people online post tiny groups and single-digit SDs. I get load envy lol.

    I’m hoping soon to just lock in a load on my 6.5CM and stop tinkering soon, but the odds are low...
     
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    TheLimey

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    That’s kinda been my experience so far, but some of that comes from always seeing people online post tiny groups and single-digit SDs. I get load envy lol.

    I’m hoping soon to just lock in a load on my 6.5CM and stop tinkering soon, but the odds are low...
    Yeah totally... at some point it gets dysfunctional. I spend more range time testing stuff than practicing positions etc. I mean part of the problem is I can't find more Staball so I have to shoot with what I've got ..so I have to mess around with the IMR. All in all I'm super glad I started reloading though... its waaaay better. Knowing that when I miss it's my fault is great.
     
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    JimGnitecki

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    I don't know about other die brands, but the Redding sizing dies can do BOTH the bushing exterior neck sizing AND the mandrel interior neck expansion on the same one-stroke operation. The mandrel can be in the die or not in the die, and very EASILY is installed or removed. The bushing is above the mandrel, so the last operation on the way out of the die is the expansion by the mandrel, which is what you want since that is the more critical dimension that addresses the very problem you have.

    Jim G
     

    Dthomas3523

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    I don't know about other die brands, but the Redding sizing dies can do BOTH the bushing exterior neck sizing AND the mandrel interior neck expansion on the same one-stroke operation. The mandrel can be in the die or not in the die, and very EASILY is installed or removed. The bushing is above the mandrel, so the last operation on the way out of the die is the expansion by the mandrel, which is what you want since that is the more critical dimension that addresses the very problem you have.

    Jim G

    An expander ball is not a mandrel and operates differently.
     

    nksmfamjp

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    2) Can you move it by hand or when feeding? Ideally, the neck is touching 100% bearing surface meaning only the boat tail is below the neck. I find a lot of times my loads are not at this ideal point.
    3) too baggy is not a term I recognize
    4) yes. Very slowly using a decapping die.
    5) how did you develop the 4451 load? Normally, shooting rounds in ocw format can get you a best sd, as long as you are using Sd as your deciding factor and shooting 5 min per group.
    6) First find a gunsmith and reamer for what you want....ideally under the same roof. Talk to them. Get on the same page regarding performance, cost, order method, payment method, timeline, who buys the blank, blanks he will use, etc. Then order a blank. Try RedHawk and Bugholes before waiting on Bartlein. Also, consider Brux, their leadtime is often shorter and they make a great barrel too. Then proceed with order, etc.
    7) M24 is heavy AF. It is a great contour if you want heavy AF, slightly forward weighted barrel. Rem Varmint is heavy, but a fuck load lighter than an M24, but more forward weighted. #5 is still heavy, but more rear weighted, #3 is heavy, but still usable for hunting(rifle is 10.5lb ready to hunt), #4 is a nice balance between #3 and #5. For comparison, a #3 is a slightly oversize barrel to a stock model 70 standard.....maybe 6 more oz. The challenge will be getting the balance right with the big tubes....a lot of guys are adding major weight to make an M24 ride bags/tripod/bipod well. Those end up being 20lb rifles.
    8) Complete do over regarding load development. A new barrel wil improve things based on differences in chamber design, chamber quality, bore quality, weight, balance. So, it depends what you have now. If your current barrel is rough, wore out, has a bad chamber, a new quality barrel will make it a new rifle. If your current barrel drops 5 in the same hole and velocities match the Nosler data, a good new barrel won’t be much better. If you, bedding or optic are holding you back, same thing. You need to figure out what is holding you back.
     
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    JimGnitecki

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    An expander ball is not a mandrel and operates differently.
    Yes, you are right about the terminology: Redding calls the part that sizes the INside of the neck a "size button", not a mandrel. I'm using a nitride one,a nd it seems to be doing a great job for me on the Lapua cases, in conjunction with the neck sizing bushing.

    Jim G
     

    TheLimey

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    2) Can you move it by hand or when feeding? Ideally, the neck is touching 100% bearing surface meaning only the boat tail is below the neck. I find a lot of times my loads are not at this ideal point.
    3) too baggy is not a term I recognize
    4) yes. Very slowly using a decapping die.
    5) how did you develop the 4451 load? Normally, shooting rounds in ocw format can get you a best sd, as long as you are using Sd as your deciding factor and shooting 5 min per group.
    6) First find a gunsmith and reamer for what you want....ideally under the same roof. Talk to them. Get on the same page regarding performance, cost, order method, payment method, timeline, who buys the blank, blanks he will use, etc. Then order a blank. Try RedHawk and Bugholes before waiting on Bartlein. Also, consider Brux, their leadtime is often shorter and they make a great barrel too. Then proceed with order, etc.
    7) M24 is heavy AF. It is a great contour if you want heavy AF, slightly forward weighted barrel. Rem Varmint is heavy, but a fuck load lighter than an M24, but more forward weighted. #5 is still heavy, but more rear weighted, #3 is heavy, but still usable for hunting(rifle is 10.5lb ready to hunt), #4 is a nice balance between #3 and #5. For comparison, a #3 is a slightly oversize barrel to a stock model 70 standard.....maybe 6 more oz. The challenge will be getting the balance right with the big tubes....a lot of guys are adding major weight to make an M24 ride bags/tripod/bipod well. Those end up being 20lb rifles.
    8) Complete do over regarding load development. A new barrel wil improve things based on differences in chamber design, chamber quality, bore quality, weight, balance. So, it depends what you have now. If your current barrel is rough, wore out, has a bad chamber, a new quality barrel will make it a new rifle. If your current barrel drops 5 in the same hole and velocities match the Nosler data, a good new barrel won’t be much better. If you, bedding or optic are holding you back, same thing. You need to figure out what is holding you back.
    Thanks for the responses!

    2) No, they don't move - just wondering
    3) Baggy I just mean loose - as in a few per fifty are slipping into the case! I bought a couple of smaller bushings based on comments in this thread - I can experiment when my next batch of cases are cleaned
    4) copy that
    5) Ladder testing in 0.2 increments. I kept testing since orig post and when I went a bit over max found that 41.5 was pretty good. Just did bullet seating test follow up ...best one was base to ogive of 2.200 ... the other longer settings weren't quite as good ...see screenshot
    6) Bartlein said it would be a year wait ..they also recommended Bugholes
    7) Thanks for this context. I guess I'd like to add more weight to the front just so the rifle is balanced on the bag. I added a full set of grey ops weights and it's still not quite balanced with a fully loaded mag. A bit more speed would be good too.
    8) Will retest when I (finally) get the new barrel. My set up is pretty good but I'm doing things for the first time. I'm really happy I started reloading.
     

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    Dthomas3523

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    Yes, you are right about the terminology: Redding calls the part that sizes the INside of the neck a "size button", not a mandrel. I'm using a nitride one,a nd it seems to be doing a great job for me on the Lapua cases, in conjunction with the neck sizing bushing.

    Jim G

    It’s not just the “terminology”.

    The process is different as the expander ball or button is pulled back through the neck after the bushing sizes it down.

    You also can’t control things as well as you can with mandrels sized in .0005 increments in conjunction with bushings in .001.
     
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    Grizzle

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    1st thing i would say is get your brass sorted. While hornady is servicable brass its not great. I have personally see a lot of variation in the hornady brass that i have. Swapped over to starline and have seen much less variation in the brass, and neck thickness is much more consistent. Anneal your brass, if you havent already. Once you have consistent neck tension then work on loads. C.o.a.l is just a number from the manufacturers that will insure that the loaded round will chamber in every factory saami chamber. That doesnt mean thats what your gun will like. I have several loads that will not fit in the mag and i have to single feed because they are so long. Same goes for charge weight, i always work up to pressure signs, because with your rifle they may be lower than max charge or much higher depending on your rifle. Just my $.02
     

    JimGnitecki

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    It’s not just the “terminology”.

    The process is different as the expander ball or button is pulled back through the neck after the bushing sizes it down.

    You also can’t control things as well as you can with mandrels sized in .0005 increments in conjunction with bushings in .001.

    While I agree with your statement that .0005" increments allow finer control than ,001" increments, I'm not so sure about the button being inferior to a mandrel for the reason you gave.

    The Redding button I bought is sized to ensure that the ID of the neck is both (a) concentric with the case body, and (b) that the neck tension is exactly what I want. These are both exactly what I want.

    The significance of (a) above is that while the bushing ensure that the OD is correct, if the neck is not precisely concentric, or if the neck thickness on that specific case is too thick, the button will try to correct both of those issues AFTER the bushing has done its work. I like that, because having concentricity and having proper neck tension is indeed more important than having the exact target neck OUTSIDE diameter.

    Interestingly, because I do NOT feel any extra resistance when withdrawing my cases from the die, that tells me that the Lapua cases are indeed pretty concentric and pretty uniform in neck wall thickness.

    Sure, .0005" precision would be better than .001" precision, IF NEEDED. But my load is proving to be capable of as good as .13" groups at 100 yards when I do MY part (not good enough yet to be consistent :) ) , so the .001" precision is adequate for my current needs, and makes it unnecessary for me to add a separate mandrel operation.

    Jim G
     

    Newbie2020

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    I also was down on hornady brass until @Dthomas3523 turned the necks on his hornady brass and got 0.3” groups. Definitely more variable to begin with but definitely fixable.

    Or start w new Lapua brass and no need for turning.
     

    Dthomas3523

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    While I agree with your statement that .0005" increments allow finer control than ,001" increments, I'm not so sure about the button being inferior to a mandrel for the reason you gave.

    The Redding button I bought is sized to ensure that the ID of the neck is both (a) concentric with the case body, and (b) that the neck tension is exactly what I want. These are both exactly what I want.

    The significance of (a) above is that while the bushing ensure that the OD is correct, if the neck is not precisely concentric, or if the neck thickness on that specific case is too thick, the button will try to correct both of those issues AFTER the bushing has done its work. I like that, because having concentricity and having proper neck tension is indeed more important than having the exact target neck OUTSIDE diameter.

    Interestingly, because I do NOT feel any extra resistance when withdrawing my cases from the die, that tells me that the Lapua cases are indeed pretty concentric and pretty uniform in neck wall thickness.

    Sure, .0005" precision would be better than .001" precision, IF NEEDED. But my load is proving to be capable of as good as .13" groups at 100 yards when I do MY part (not good enough yet to be consistent :) ) , so the .001" precision is adequate for my current needs, and makes it unnecessary for me to add a separate mandrel operation.

    Jim G

    You don’t have to agree with me. It’s been tested and proven time and time again. You’ll rarely find anyone at the top of their game not using a mandrel.

    Just like your assertion that neck sizing is more accurate. This is circa 1995 information and no longer valid. You may not be able to tell a difference in what you’re doing. That doesn’t make it correct.

    You’re also not comprehending what I’m talking about with .0005 mandrel *in conjunction* with the neck bushing. I’m not saying it’s one vs the other. Rather than go into detail, cortina has already covered this in one of his videos. Check out his patreon account.
     

    Dthomas3523

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    While I agree with your statement that .0005" increments allow finer control than ,001" increments, I'm not so sure about the button being inferior to a mandrel for the reason you gave.

    The Redding button I bought is sized to ensure that the ID of the neck is both (a) concentric with the case body, and (b) that the neck tension is exactly what I want. These are both exactly what I want.

    The significance of (a) above is that while the bushing ensure that the OD is correct, if the neck is not precisely concentric, or if the neck thickness on that specific case is too thick, the button will try to correct both of those issues AFTER the bushing has done its work. I like that, because having concentricity and having proper neck tension is indeed more important than having the exact target neck OUTSIDE diameter.

    Interestingly, because I do NOT feel any extra resistance when withdrawing my cases from the die, that tells me that the Lapua cases are indeed pretty concentric and pretty uniform in neck wall thickness.

    Sure, .0005" precision would be better than .001" precision, IF NEEDED. But my load is proving to be capable of as good as .13" groups at 100 yards when I do MY part (not good enough yet to be consistent :) ) , so the .001" precision is adequate for my current needs, and makes it unnecessary for me to add a separate mandrel operation.

    Jim G

    Also, concentricity being a big concern is old information as well.

    Tests have been done over and over and as much as .010 runout (bullet and neck) hasn’t shown a noticeable difference out to 1k.
     

    TheLimey

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    I got to test the .289 bushing on my usual hornady brass. (@Supersubes!)(Recall I was using a .291 bushing before and was having an occasional loose fit ..where bullet wouldn't seat snuggly.)

    First there was a noticeable increase resistance as I was seating. I also thought there was a slight increase in felt recoil - but not very scientific. Both these things logical I guess. I liked having more resistance when I was seating. I'm assuming tighter seating increase pressure when fired.

    My previous best loads were with 140gr bullets were 43.8 of Staball and 41.5 of IMR4451.

    Did a mini ladder with the 0.289 bushing. Best load for Staball was 43.4 (down 0.4 gr) with SD of 10. For IMR441 it stayed at 41.5gr (SD: 13). See screenshots.

    Will repeat with .290.

    Screen Shot 2021-07-05 at 11.46.41 AM.png



    Screen Shot 2021-07-05 at 11.46.46 AM.png
     

    Grizzle

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    Look at the 41.5 load of 4451. 3 of the shots were within 4fps of each other. Thats what you are wanting. Sd is important but es is also very important, while your sd numbers have come down the extreme spread is still very high. Because the extreme highs and lows velocity wise are what makes it hard to get a load to group. Be meticulous in your brass prep. Do the same thing to every case in the same order everytime. Might also want to measure your cases for water volume and group them together in similar volumes. All of the consistency will bring your es and sd numbers down into single digits or at least closer to single digits.
     
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