Precision rifle with factory match vs hand load

TXAZ

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Oct 3, 2020
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Hey from a Texas newby.
I like shooting my .308 DD and 6.5 CM but a friend claims if I hand load I can reduce the MOA -20-50%. I’m not into reloading.
I’m not necessarily buying that, but you guys have a lot more experience in this area. .308 Daniel Defense is shooting sub MOA with 168 Fed Sierra Match.
6.5 Creedmoor is sub MOA with Hornady 147gr ELD Match.
Feedback appreciated!
Thanks.
 

Dthomas3523

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    Hey from a Texas newby.
    I like shooting my .308 DD and 6.5 CM but a friend claims if I hand load I can reduce the MOA -20-50%. I’m not into reloading.
    I’m not necessarily buying that, but you guys have a lot more experience in this area. .308 Daniel Defense is shooting sub MOA with 168 Fed Sierra Match.
    6.5 Creedmoor is sub MOA with Hornady 147gr ELD Match.
    Feedback appreciated!
    Thanks.
    You can almost always dial in a load better when you make your own ammo. Just the way it is.

    If I were you, and I didn’t like loading and was shooting factory ammo, I’d like into a tuner like the EC Tuner or Adaptive Tuning system.

    It basically allows you to tune the barrel harmonics similar the way you do with seating depth in handloads.

    Also, where in Texas?
     
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    Nik H

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    I don't agree with 20-50%. That is a tall claim. Ask him to prove it to you. Be prepared to wait a bit.

    What you gain is way better consistency and some improvement with precision (not accuracy). Even that requires meticulous and detailed procedures.

    I have friends that are benchrest guys that shoot at 1,000 yard benchrest tournaments and yes they can dial in their ammo to produce better precision but they will be the first to tell you that it is all about consistency. If you're shooting steel, not that big a factor. If you are shooting group therapy with large strings, the consistency aspect is critical. Moreover, their reloading setups cost an arm and a leg. Lots of equipment to help them go faster since they check so many things. Cost equals speed while maintaining consistency.

    Just my 2 cents.
     

    celltech

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    It depends... Some guns love OEM ammo and shoot it very well, and some do not. As an example, I have a new custom rifle and have been breaking it in with Berger 140gr Hybrid ammo. It shoots it into ~.9" groups...so under MOA, but nothing outstanding. I took that Lapua brass and found a load with 140gr ELD-Ms that now shoots 1/4"...that is what I wanted.

    And then I have a cheap Savage .308 that shoots Federal GMM into 1/2" groups with ease. Why would I bother trying to improve on that?

    But in general I have been able to improve accuracy by a good 25%+ with handloads. And more importantly, I can create loads that simply do not exist in the commercial market.

    And since you are in Collin county check out Fossil Pointe up in Decatur for some longer range shooting...
     
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    Dthomas3523

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    I don't agree with 20-50%. That is a tall claim. Ask him to prove it to you. Be prepared to wait a bit.

    What you gain is way better consistency and some improvement with precision (not accuracy). Even that requires meticulous and detailed procedures.

    I have friends that are benchrest guys that shoot at 1,000 yard benchrest tournaments and yes they can dial in their ammo to produce better precision but they will be the first to tell you that it is all about consistency. If you're shooting steel, not that big a factor. If you are shooting group therapy with large strings, the consistency aspect is critical. Moreover, their reloading setups cost an arm and a leg. Lots of equipment to help them go faster since they check so many things. Cost equals speed while maintaining consistency.

    Just my 2 cents.
    20-50% is pretty easy. That’s like taking a 1moa and going to .5 or a .5 and going to a .3.

    Seating depth adjustments alone will do this.
     

    GrumpyOleFart

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    I don't think there is any doubt that a handload specific to your rifle will increase the accuracy.
    It's whether you want to go down that road or not.
     
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    Dthomas3523

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    My AIs already shoot 0.3 MOA with certain factory loads at 100 yards...you telling me that I can get to 0.15 MOA....I'll gladly take that bet
    You are in the minority as most shooters can’t actually shoot .3, let alone do it with factory ammo.

    We don’t base things on the minority on the high or low end.
     

    GrumpyOleFart

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    If I land one in the pump, or brain box, I am more than happy.
    A roo or fox or other feral doesn't care, they are just as dead.
    Point doodah of an inch groups are something to chase too, helps you get your shit together , which in turn helps in the field.
    It's all part of the fun and frustration.
     

    jmackey

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    I recently pulled the bullets on a 200 count American Gunner 140 Creed factory bulk box. Then I reprocessed them by weighing the charges to .05gr or less variance. After reseating the same bullets, the groups were less than half what the ammo originally shot. Whether it was the powder charge, neck tension change, seating depth normalization, etc, it shot much better using the same original components.
     
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    Nik H

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    You are in the minority as most shooters can’t actually shoot .3, let alone do it with factory ammo.

    We don’t base things on the minority on the high or low end.
    I have always been an overachiever and land on the high side of the curve. I forget that when talking to others who don't have that gift and are easily offended :p
     
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    Nik H

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    I recently pulled the bullets on a 200 count American Gunner 140 Creed factory bulk box. Then I reprocessed them by weighing the charges to .05gr or less variance. After reseating the same bullets, the groups were less than half what the ammo originally shot. Whether it was the powder charge, neck tension change, seating depth normalization, etc, it shot much better using the same original components.
    I use that round a lot. I have had really good luck with it. Actually find it as good as ELD-M inside 800 yards.

    How were the variances in charge weight and seating depth or COAL? Did you reseat at the same depth or tailor the depth for your barrel? I have measured SDs for sample sizes of 50. They were in the 20s which is a lot better than I would have thought.
     
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    jmackey

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    The powder was mostly +-.5gr each. There were a few that were close to a grain. I seated 5 thousands shorter than they were originally as that’s what the setting was on my dies that day. I shot those at 600 yards with very little vertical, although I didn’t chrono them. It was mostly an experiment to see if I could make them shoot if I couldn’t find better components. I don’t think you can buy the components cheaper than the loaded ammo, especially with the current powder and primer situation. Needless to say, I bought a few extra boxes just in case.
     
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    Nik H

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    The powder was mostly +-.5gr each. There were a few that were close to a grain. I seated 5 thousands shorter than they were originally as that’s what the setting was on my dies that day. I shot those at 600 yards with very little vertical, although I didn’t chrono them. It was mostly an experiment to see if I could make them shoot if I couldn’t find better components. I don’t think you can buy the components cheaper than the loaded ammo, especially with the current powder and primer situation. Needless to say, I bought a few extra boxes just in case.
    I have a few thousand of these rounds in 3 different lots. I bought it for 75 cents a round...what a great deal. Now it is $1 or more. It was the best deal for a long time
     
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    Disfunctional_Engineer

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    The powder was mostly +-.5gr each. There were a few that were close to a grain. I seated 5 thousands shorter than they were originally as that’s what the setting was on my dies that day. I shot those at 600 yards with very little vertical, although I didn’t chrono them. It was mostly an experiment to see if I could make them shoot if I couldn’t find better components. I don’t think you can buy the components cheaper than the loaded ammo, especially with the current powder and primer situation. Needless to say, I bought a few extra boxes just in case.
    Now all you need to do as a control is alter the depth only on a box or two of otherwise unaltered rounds and see if there's any difference. I'd be curious.
     
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    Crews

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    There’s no question you can get more consistent ammo. The real question is where it falls in the priority scale for your individual development as a shooter. There’s no reason you can’t learn to be a proficient shooter with good factory ammo. For a vast majority, messing with hand loads is just taking away from the resources they should be dedicating to learning how to actually shoot.
     

    TXAZ

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    Thanks, great information. And likes to all for replying.

    I don’t have the time or patience to reload, and not likely to start a new hobby.

    Thanks celltech, I’ll look up Fossil Point. That looks like one of the few places I can take the Barrett .50 in this area.
     

    TxWelder35

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    Thanks, great information. And likes to all for replying.

    I don’t have the time or patience to reload, and not likely to start a new hobby.

    Thanks celltech, I’ll look up Fossil Point. That looks like one of the few places I can take the Barrett .50 in this area.
    I don’t think they will let you shoot the 50 at steel. Probably limit you to paper targets
     
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    TXAZ

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    I’m happy with paper.
    I love shooting precision rifles, and all the factors going into the firing solution, but other times unleashing 12,500 ft-lbs of energy on a junk car full of feral hogs (and ”a little” Tannerite) is just hard to beat.
     
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    gunsnjeeps

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    Depends on the rifle and ammo. For me handloading was about enough ammo to shoot when it was a buck a round. At the time I loaded my first 1000 for less than a grand including the Rock chucker. Now I travel a lot and have equipment that hasn't paid it's self off yet.
     
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    DocRDS

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    Man is getting crowded around here!

    We should get together and go bowling or at least complain about the local "no FMJ" rules that pervade our area.

    I started down the Handloading path. Its a rabbit hole I needed to get me off the computer and working with my hands. Eventually it leads to better precision I am told, but in my case, the ammo isn't holding me back. Tard behind the rifle is the limiter. OTOH I was able to produce "good" ammo myself relatively easy (when it chambered DOH!)

    Also shooting large rare cals handloading pays off faster. There is a lot of good 6.5/308 ammo at good prices. Others....not so much. For my reading/research/keyboard warrior status --its probably on the lower end of the scale. Most people hand-load for economy and flexibility.
     
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    TXAZ

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    Like this event in Louisiana 3 years ago:

    (Any issues attaching this link / gif?)
    Man is getting crowded around here!

    We should get together and go bowling or at least complain about the local "no FMJ" rules that pervade our area.

    I started down the Handloading path. Its a rabbit hole I needed to get me off the computer and working with my hands. Eventually it leads to better precision I am told, but in my case, the ammo isn't holding me back. Tard behind the rifle is the limiter. OTOH I was able to produce "good" ammo myself relatively easy (when it chambered DOH!)

    Also shooting large rare cals handloading pays off faster. There is a lot of good 6.5/308 ammo at good prices. Others....not so much. For my reading/research/keyboard warrior status --its probably on the lower end of the scale. Most people hand-load for economy and flexibility.
    hey Doc, PM me and we can triangulate locations.