Tired of wasting time and money into slow loads working my way up anyone else?

Palmetto-Pride

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I have been doing the OCW method where you load about five rounds per charge weight and work your way up until you find a good accuracy node at the speed you want. What I have found is starting at the low end of most published data is way to slow for me so I have a lot of time, bullets, and powder wasted into low power/slow loads I would never load or be happy with. For now on I am going to start more towards the upper end of published data I almost always end up settling on a load that exceeds max charge weights anyway.

For now on I am going to load one or two rounds per charge weight starting near published max data until I see pressure signs so I know where my limit is without wasting time on a bunch of rounds I would never load anyway. Does anyone else do this or something similar?

Let me also say I don't care about barrel life I look at barrels as a consumable my goal is an accurate load that will push the bullet as fast as possible safely.
 
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Gwain

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I have a new method shared by Bryan Litz. I shoot to find my guns max. I actually shoot a bit past, but the key is to establish a safe max at front side of pressure. Back off that 1.5 ish grains and shot a few across that. As an example in my 6.5 I began to feel slight bolt lift around 43.5 grains. 44 produced a mild ejector mark and bolt click. So I called the 43.5 my safe max. I trued my quick load profile to velocities in pressure test. It said to run 42.3 based on optimal barrel time. That produced a sub half group and .6 SD and ES of 2. If I did not have QL I would have shot 41.8 to 42.4 in .2 increments. I have done this with 4 rifles now and just started #5. It has worked great so far.
 

supercorndogs

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I have a new method shared by Bryan Litz. I shoot to find my guns max. I actually shoot a bit past, but the key is to establish a safe max at front side of pressure. Back off that 1.5 ish grains and shot a few across that. As an example in my 6.5 I began to feel slight bolt lift around 43.5 grains. 44 produced a mild ejector mark and bolt click. So I called the 43.5 my safe max. I trued my quick load profile to velocities in pressure test. It said to run 42.3 based on optimal barrel time. That produced a sub half group and .6 SD and ES of 2. If I did not have QL I would have shot 41.8 to 42.4 in .2 increments. I have done this with 4 rifles now and just started #5. It has worked great so far.
You have 5 rifles with loads with an ES of 2?
 

supercorndogs

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I forgot to mention the closest range I have is about 45 minutes with no traffic. Man I envy you guys that can just shoot out your back door.
I see the guys shooting over the chronograph looking for the "powder node" are landing at the same charge weights as the guys shooting OCW, only they are doing it with less ammo. I was about to load an OCW for the 6 creed earlier. I harvested some potatoes instead. i think I will run it over the chrono instead.
 
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acudaowner

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Maybe I am just looking at it different but i see it as a learning opportunity not wasted time any time I can find a moment to sit quietly and shoot either myself or watching others is precious . I love watching the frustration on people's faces when there loads just don't pan out the way they assume they would and you can see it as well as hear it in there tone as well as there choice of cursed words that things are not going there way , and at that moment to get to see them loose there cool or try and compose them self to try yet another load . To me its the greatest thing to watch at the range both failure or mental break down and or joy and success through trial and error . And to be there to tweak them ever so subtly with questions is an honor . You would be denying others that privilege by taking short cuts . People like me who can only dream of the day till he could join the ranks of crazy people frantically searching for that perfect bullet either way good luck to you and may you find yours .lol
 

Palmetto-Pride

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Maybe I am just looking at it different but i see it as a learning opportunity not wasted time any time I can find a moment to sit quietly and shoot either myself or watching others is precious . I love watching the frustration on people's faces when there loads just don't pan out the way they assume they would and you can see it as well as hear it in there tone as well as there choice of cursed words that things are not going there way , and at that moment to get to see them loose there cool or try and compose them self to try yet another load . To me its the greatest thing to watch at the range both failure or mental break down and or joy and success through trial and error . And to be there to tweak them ever so subtly with questions is an honor . You would be denying others that privilege by taking short cuts . People like me who can only dream of the day till he could join the ranks of crazy people frantically searching for that perfect bullet either way good luck to you and may you find yours .lol
I hear what your saying, but dem A-Tips ain't cheap........LOL
 

Lunchbox27

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If I know the cartridge and chamber I usually start at 3/4 of book data

I basically do a 2 shot per increment satterlee test.
I gave this a try again for my 308. Worked pretty well this time. Said my Charge was 43.2 and it lined up with my OCW. I might put a lil more weight into this going forward. My time limited lately and two my ranges are doing this social distance/time limit on 100 yards bullshit.
 

Dthomas3523

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Unless it’s some brand new wildcat, there’s plenty of load data out there. No need to test it all every rifle.

Pick an area of speed you want with a bullet/powder combo from the available data and just test within a grain up and down of that. You’ll likely find a node. Unless you’re wanting speeds on the very extreme upward side, you’ll be fine.

3 or 5 shot groups over a chrono. Find your powder node. Then do seating depth tests to dial in your group size.

Well under 100rnds if you do it properly and no OCW type testing.
 

supercorndogs

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Oh yeah? I have a gun with negative SD of .8 and it shoots negative groups.
I keep getting an ES of 0, but it falls apart when I take that damn second shot. So, I reserved myself to 1 round strings fire. Groups are 0, ES is 0, I have this shit mastered.

1593576630476.png

Maybe we need a 25 round chronograph challenge, like the the 100y challenge.
 

Ryridesmotox

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I start halfway between min and max, load 1 per charge weight in .5 incriments until i hit compression. Then I'll shoot all those over a chronograph until I see pressure. Once I do, I stop, back at least a half grain down, call that my max, and see what the velocities say. I try to find a speed node and work in there. With that method, im out like 10 cartridges and some time to pull apart the ones at the top end that I didn't shoot.

I used to chase high speeds. I found it didn't do much for me other than beat up my brass. Let the bullet do the work and don't worry about velocity so much. Good modern match bullets are pretty stable through transonic. You don't need to go 4000fps with a 308 and a 175 to get 1000 yards (example)... but I digress.
 
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EdP

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Gwain,
Can you expound on what you mean by " I trued my quick load profile to velocities in pressure test. It said to run 42.3 based on optimal barrel time?"


I also start considerably higher than the manual minimums - typically 1/2 way to max lacking other data. Loading at that level which is still a mild load, I try to find what bullet jump the bullet/rifle combo likes. With the jump established I start working up in .5 gr increments for the larger capacity cases, .1 for smaller cases like .222 Rem. 5 shots for group fired over a chrono, 3 min between shots. Given that moving closer to the lands increases both pressure and velocity, it makes sense to me to start with the jump instead of charge, but I know others do the opposite.
 

JustSendit

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Unless it’s some brand new wildcat, there’s plenty of load data out there. No need to test it all every rifle.

Pick an area of speed you want with a bullet/powder combo from the available data and just test within a grain up and down of that. You’ll likely find a node. Unless you’re wanting speeds on the very extreme upward side, you’ll be fine.

3 or 5 shot groups over a chrono. Find your powder node. Then do seating depth tests to dial in your group size.

Well under 100rnds if you do it properly and no OCW type testing.
That’s exactly how I do it, find a known load right here on SH, then load .2s around that given data with a 020thou jump. Once I get my SDs dialed in, then I play with seating depth.

The 6.5 guys made an excel spreadsheet, I plug my numbers in there with the group it shot. This replaced my written log book and visually seeing the “flat spots” has helped a bit but I like the data so it’s easy to reference for future builds.
 

theLBC

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i sort of figured at least some shooters might want to find low charge nodes to use when they want to extend barrel life if the absolute highest velocities aren't needed for the type of shooting they expect. for example, if they are working on a hunting load for under 300 yards.
 

Palmetto-Pride

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AIAX 24"
6.5CM
135gr A-TIPS SEATED 0.01 OFF LANDS
H4350

3999EC07-2735-499D-BB6B-4E74548C4A82.jpeg
 

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Palmetto-Pride

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For full discloser this was at a public range I couldn't focus for shit the RO said I only had an hour to shoot they were calling the range cold about every 15 mins I believe at my normal range I usually go to I could have done a lot better.
 

DJL2

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I just did a couple 10-shot ladders to max, or just above, with new 7mm RM and .30-06. I chrono'd some factory ammo from each barrel - the Tikka runs more or less right on, the Bartlein runs a little fast. However, seeing "normal" performance from a barrel and chamber gave me the confidence to ignore the "basement" in the published data. If I had a sketchy/unknown chamber or was doing some pioneering reloading work, that'd be different.

.30-06 - ran from 50.3 to 52.7 with H4350 and 208 ELD-M. The published data starts waaaaay below that...yes my "high" starting load developed something like 2200 fps...perhaps not surprising, but definitely no interest in a load at that level. I cannot even imagine how slowly a 47.6 grain load would run. That ladder was enough to find a node at ~2600 fps and that works for me with this powder. Might try a couple other powders just because.

7mm RM - ran from 64.3 to 67 with H4821sc and 168 Matrix VLD. The low end of my test was like 2700 fps...another incredibly conservative load, even well above the book minimum.

The proof pressure for these cartridges is in excess of 80 ksi with the book pressure being ~60 ksi. Highly, highly unlikely a published load in a chamber/barrel displaying normal performance with factory ammo was/would grenade the rifle by developing in excess of 33% more pressure than book.
 
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6mmRemM600

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A lot of the discussion focused on velocity and then "tuning" for accuracy. I usually start looking for accuracy and then tuning around that load.

Typically I start my loads at or above the midpoint of the suggested range. I've found that 70 to 75% is where I get the best results. I load 3 rounds for each charge. For .223 Rem I usually load at intervals of 0.2 or 0.3 gr. For 6mm, 7mm and .30 cal I use intervals of 0.3 to 0.5 gr. Once I find loads that look promising I go back and load another batch +/- 0.1 gr to find the "best" load. Additional tuning can be done by varying the seating depth of the bullet.

With all of that said, my Dad used to load a "light load" for .38 spl. 144 gr swc that was very accurate and pleasant to shoot. I've often wondered if there were accurate loads at both the high and low end of the suggested range of a powder charge. If a 70% charge is accurate could a 30% charge also be accurate and more pleasing to shoot? Maybe it works with some handguns but not with rifles...
 

Dthomas3523

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A lot of the discussion focused on velocity and then "tuning" for accuracy. I usually start looking for accuracy and then tuning around that load.

Typically I start my loads at or above the midpoint of the suggested range. I've found that 70 to 75% is where I get the best results. I load 3 rounds for each charge. For .223 Rem I usually load at intervals of 0.2 or 0.3 gr. For 6mm, 7mm and .30 cal I use intervals of 0.3 to 0.5 gr. Once I find loads that look promising I go back and load another batch +/- 0.1 gr to find the "best" load. Additional tuning can be done by varying the seating depth of the bullet.

With all of that said, my Dad used to load a "light load" for .38 spl. 144 gr swc that was very accurate and pleasant to shoot. I've often wondered if there were accurate loads at both the high and low end of the suggested range of a powder charge. If a 70% charge is accurate could a 30% charge also be accurate and more pleasing to shoot? Maybe it works with some handguns but not with rifles...
You can tune the accuracy of any powder charge.

Accuracy and charge weight were intermingled in the past because we didn’t have reliable chronograph in which we could separate the two.
 

rottenruger

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I forgot to mention the closest range I have is about 45 minutes with no traffic. Man I envy you guys that can just shoot out your back door.
Had my own little private 100 yeard range over at our little tree farm, stopped there all the time on the way to/from work or whatever, it was nirvana if you could do without distance.

Then was stupid enough to give the kids a few acres downrange to build their house on, and they didn't agree with the "open the windows while I'm shooting" approach.

So my little range bit the dust, now it's 30 minutes one way for 300 yards, 50 minutes the other way for 500 yards, and two hours to get to an iffy 1K.

Woe is me, know what you mean.
 
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Palmetto-Pride

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When I see this my first thought is the rifle is fishtailing. That’s too much horizontal to be the load on an AX IMO. Did you shout the bottom right group faster/less methodical than the others?
Yea I agree it was just one of those days at the range when shit just wasn't working out. I was shooting fast not taking my time, public range with about ten other rifles randomly going off all around me. I should have driven the extra hour and gone to the private range we have on our hunt club where I would have had it all to myself. I wont make that mistake again.
 

Juma

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There is an Australian gun writer called Nick Harvey who published reloading manuals with many calibres using lots of powders and projectiles to provide a vast source of information. His first manual in essence avoided all the leg work[ by at least us] going to 1 grain off his listed maximum for any powder. You were quickly in the sweet spot for a highly accurate round. The calibres we used were 222, 223, 243 and 270. Those loads have been used especially in the 223 for 000's of rounds of trouble free shooting. We have never had an over pressure issue or jamming because of hot loads. Not everyone's cup of tea but we have certainly benefitted from it. Our 2C.
 
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XP1K

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I keep getting an ES of 0, but it falls apart when I take that damn second shot. So, I reserved myself to 1 round strings fire. Groups are 0, ES is 0, I have this shit mastered.

View attachment 7363725

Maybe we need a 25 round chronograph challenge, like the the 100y challenge.
This was the result of 71.0gr of imr 4831 with a fed 215m and federal brass with a 208 amax out of my 300 win mag. Group sucked though.
20200222_102913.jpg
 

Culpeper

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Save time?

1. Work up a load until you "start" to see pressure signs then back off .5 grains.

2. Work up a load at .2 grain increments than pick one of the consecutive three shots where there is immaterial deviation in MV. If you can't get find it than use a different powder. I've experienced this by switching from H4350 to IMR or AA 4350, for example.
 

Tokay444

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You guys getting chronograph data should get the GUNR app. It’s quite intuitive and graphs your speeds for you. No more Excel or Sheets.
 
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jrsnell

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I have been doing the OCW method where you load about five rounds per charge weight and work your way up until you find a good accuracy node at the speed you want. What I have found is starting at the low end of most published data is way to slow for me so I have a lot of time, bullets, and powder wasted into low power/slow loads I would never load or be happy with. For now on I am going to start more towards the upper end of published data I almost always end up settling on a load that exceeds max charge weights anyway.

For now on I am going to load one or two rounds per charge weight starting near published max data until I see pressure signs so I know where my limit is without wasting time on a bunch of rounds I would never load anyway. Does anyone else do this or something similar?

Let me also say I don't care about barrel life I look at barrels as a consumable my goal is an accurate load that will push the bullet as fast as possible safely.
The origional assumption behind OCW method was a 90% or greater fill ratio.
The Audette ladder method will get you to accuracy quickly.
The Shatterlee ladder method will get you to consistent velocity quickly.
OCW really only works when you correlate with measured pressure curve and accurate barrel time.

If you want to learn more, see my notebook http://SnellsNotebook.us
 

918v

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I have been doing the OCW method where you load about five rounds per charge weight and work your way up until you find a good accuracy node at the speed you want. What I have found is starting at the low end of most published data is way to slow for me so I have a lot of time, bullets, and powder wasted into low power/slow loads I would never load or be happy with. For now on I am going to start more towards the upper end of published data I almost always end up settling on a load that exceeds max charge weights anyway.

For now on I am going to load one or two rounds per charge weight starting near published max data until I see pressure signs so I know where my limit is without wasting time on a bunch of rounds I would never load anyway. Does anyone else do this or something similar?

Let me also say I don't care about barrel life I look at barrels as a consumable my goal is an accurate load that will push the bullet as fast as possible safely.
The reason it is recommended you start low and work up is to accommodate the internal volume differences between different brands of brass, different chambers, powder lots and barrels.

I dunno what you’re loading but you may find yourself blowing primers if you proceed with your new approach unless you use the same exact components as in your data in saami spec chambers and stay well off the lands.