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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you reload, you probably do a typical set of "standard" steps to produce accurate, consistent cartridges for your rifle.

But there are many possible steps involving measurement, preparation, sizing, sorting, etc, that exist and some say can make a solid improvement in achieving exceptional accuracy and consistency.

If you were seeking every possible area in reloading for achieving near-perfect accuracy and consistency, which steps should be considered?
 

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Much of shooting is mental. I’ll look for the best accuracy possible in my farm and rifles with out what I consider over the top. I do that sort brass by weight. I do not clean or uniform primer pockets.

Pretty much what I do for accuracy is selecting a powder and bullet, primer combination that works best for my rifle
 

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I cannot say that I load for “extreme” accuracy, but I have found that measuring every powder charge on a scale and getting the COL the same on every cartridge within +/- .002 to be essential.
My eyes are not good enough to get much benefit from weighing bullets and cases, uniforming primer pockets or turning case necks anymore. Maybe you would.
I do not see any accuracy improvement from neck sizing cases for the one particular rifle, but insuring the cases are all trimmed to the same length consistently does help.
Finally it does help to determine what COL your rifle likes with a particular bullet; some rifles are sensitive to the amount of jump to the lands.
In closing I would add that this is based on my experiences, but I do not consider myself to be a prolific rifleman...more like a journeyman.
 

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I would say consistency is key and to get the absolute utmost in that respect, you have to remove as many of the variables as possible, but, you only have control over some of them, partial control over others, and some none at all.

Things you can control:

Case shoulder to base spacing
Case body diameter (resizing)
Neck diameter
Neck concentricity
Neck wall thickness
Primer pocket size/tightness
Bullet concentricty
Bullet seating depth/OAL
Accuracy of powder load
Temperature of barrel while shooting
Ammo temperature
Amount of barrel fouling
Overall shooting skill
Stock to action fit (bedding)
Stock itself, you don't want a flimsy cheap plastic one
Trigger


Things you can partially control:

Case volume (use water to measure and then sort by volume)
Bullet weight (sorting by weight, still some variance)
Bullet length (some people will "tip" hollow points and cut/file/sand them to same length)
Shooting conditions (don't shoot on windy days, avoid big differences in temp, humidity, etc)


Things you can't control:

Bullet concentricty
Bullet radial balance
Primer consistency

I'm sure there's others.

The question is, to what degree of precision do you want to process or deal with the things you can control?
 

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You just have to be consistent with everything you do. Powder charges, Case length, Neck tension, Bullet seating depth, all need to be as close to the same as possible in order for each bullet to have the same POI as the last.

Buying Premium brass saves a lot of steps right out of the box. It is pretty uniform, and doesn't need to have the flash holes deburred. Virgin brass will be different measurements between cases, once you have fired formed the brass to your chamber, then you can get down to business making sure they are trimmed to the same length for consistency.

I don't waste time weighing my cases or bullets, I'm not a benchrest shooter, nor am I striving to set world records. Plus, It really takes the fun out of reloading, and turns it into work!

I still use a quality beam scale for all of my "Precision" loads, and weigh each one. I've tried / have the electronic powder dispenser/digital scale machines, but they are no where near as accurate as me and my beam scale. Plus, I can do it almost as fast as the electronic machine.

I have a neck turner and all the mandrels to do many size cases, but unless you have some brass that is really out of spec or have a custom Match grade chamber on your barrel, I find it a waste of time to do it.

Your Savage 12 should shoot MOA or better with factory Match grade ammo. With tuned hand loads, you should be able to shoot around 1/2 MOA and maybe better if the stars are lined up correctly.
If you're wanting better accuracy than that, you'll need a better barrel in most cases.
 

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If you reload, you probably do a typical set of "standard" steps to produce accurate, consistent cartridges for your rifle.

But there are many possible steps involving measurement, preparation, sizing, sorting, etc, that exist and some say can make a solid improvement in achieving exceptional accuracy and consistency.

If you were seeking every possible area in reloading for achieving near-perfect accuracy and consistency, which steps should be considered?
While I was typing, Txhillbilly said some of what I typed below. He beat me in posting it up. We agree.

Not to be trite but every step you choose to do counts. The key, more than anything, is consistency and lack of variability In order to "dial in" accuracy, you have to work on only one change at a time with all the other steps being very consistent. Otherwise, you don't know which change made a difference. If you understand quality systems and why some products are of high quality and others are not, after a good design in the first place, the rest of it it boils down to consistency and repeatability in a defined process.

For example, decide what case length works and keep them to that dimension. Determine everything that can be a variable and work on all of them one at a time until you find something that works. Then, repeat everything with consistency. Record all variables and, in time, you will have a defined load that works. It gets easier to trouble shoot if everything is defined and recorded. You'll also learn what doesn't matter so much. I found that, with most powders, weighing down to a new born gnat's *** isn't necessary.....for me. The fun in it is that everyone does it differently and there's always room for doing things differently than how other people do things. It's finding what works for you that counts. It can be different for different people. Kind of like driving a car. We all do it differently.....for those that know how to drive, LOL....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Great ideas and points, everyone. Keep 'em coming.


I'll certainly be documenting most every controllable factor and measurement, at the outset. To know what I've got and am working with. Will be going slowly, ensuring I know each factor and measurement involved, that it's all documented, that I triple-check everything. (I tend to be a data-oriented pedant anyway, so that's fine.) It'll help me ensure I get the the process down cold. I can worry about whittling out the inessential stuff later. Will be starting with a couple of the standard reloading logs.

Will definitely be purchasing quality components at the outset, in one big lot in sufficient quantity so that I'll have many different loading batches I can do within that lot of components. I'll definitely sort out the inconsistent or damaged ones, looking for flaws, sorting by weight.

Will definitely want to be measuring the chamber/throat, to optimize OAL/COL for my specific gun. Then ensuring cartridges I create all have as nearly-identical base-to-ogive measurements as possible, seated at similar depth and same distance off the lands. Looks like Hornady has their OAL Gauge and Comparator products, and Forster has their Datum Dial product.

Intend on going with a decently-made digital trickle powder scale, along with a good-quality beam scale. If for no other reason than to have a backup and validation check, but also so that I can become better at use of both. The tricklers I'm looking at all seem to be capable of measuring down to 0.1gr ... we'll see. (Of course, I'd think quality of the trickling to be at least somewhat impacted by the size and shape of the powder in question.)

A buddy has a chronograph. Haven't decided on a setup, yet. So, for now, whenever he's lugging along his chrony I'll bring a batch of cartridges to verify that day.

Initial tools and gauges I'm considering so far include, for a hand-loading (not a bench-mounted) operation:

  • Components -- Lapua #4PH6011 6.5CM SR brass; Sierra #1742 MK .264 142gr bullets; Alliant Reloder 16 or 17; CCI #400 SR primers
  • Press -- Lee Breech Lock Hand Press (kit)
  • Die -- Lee full-Length sizing die #91051, 6.5CM
  • Die -- Lee collet neck sizing die #91012
  • Die -- Lee bullet seating die #91471
  • Die -- Lee factory crimp die #90704
  • Priming -- Lee's "ram prime" unit comes with the press/die set above
  • Priming -- If the "ram prime" not ideal, then possibly the Lee Auto Prime, or the RCBS Hand Priming tool
  • Case length -- Lee case length gauge (w/ Lee's "kit" above); Hornady O.A.L. gauge & comparator
  • Scale, digital -- Lyman Accu-Touch 2000 digital powder scale
  • Scale, beam -- ?
  • Case cleaner -- Frankford Arsenal rotary tumbler "lite" w/ stainless pin media
  • Go/No-Go gauges -- ?
  • Possible: chamber/case measurement -- Forster Datum Dial kit (expensive-ish)
  • Bullet puller -- ?
  • Case lube/pad -- ?
  • Etc --

I'm comfortable with this factory setup, for now.

By the time the barrel's accuracy begins to flag, then any rebarrel will be an opportunity to get a great one, ie chambered specifically for VLD, heavier, longer-ogive bullets, ensuring it's perfectly concentric with the action. Plenty of time before all of that. This platform should be fine, and with a "serious" barrel it ought to do that much better.
 

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Just a comment, but an indicator of how much we don't understand is the very small differences in chrono reads. Either in purchased ammo or the best we can do in reloads, bullet speeds are never exactly the same. We can't control everything. Barrel temps., weather, humidity, wind, and, perhaps most of all, us, the shooter pulling the trigger. Try as we may, LOL....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just a comment, but an indicator of how much we don't understand is the very small differences in chrono reads. Either in purchased ammo or the best we can do in reloads, bullet speeds are never exactly the same. We can't control everything. Barrel temps., weather, humidity, wind, and, perhaps most of all, us, the shooter pulling the trigger. Try as we may, LOL....
Yes, I know.

Heck, even the simple fact of having taken one shot means that barrel and chamber has heated up, even if the surrounding ambient temp/humidity has remained identical. That one factor, alone, alters things. Probably not enough from one shot to the next in order to see it happening via the data changes, but still. It's a lot like golf, in that sense. Every minute little aspect can affect things. (And we know how mad people are driven with golf, in every sense.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Your Savage 12 should shoot MOA or better with factory Match grade ammo. With tuned hand loads, you should be able to shoot around 1/2 MOA and maybe better if the stars are lined up correctly. If you're wanting better accuracy than that, you'll need a better barrel in most cases.
Not that a prior rig impacts this one, but an off-the-shelf Remington 700 SPS Varmint .243 did 1/4 MOA fairly regularly (~3/4" @ 300yds, and sometimes better), once the factory X-Mark trigger got swapped with a Jewell trigger and after a custom fiberglass stock was installed. And that was with a marginal scope, factory Hornady ammo and with me, a modest marksman.

I'm hoping for this one to also be a gem, but we'll see. The scope I'll be using is certainly ten times the optical clarity and quality of my prior one, on the old Rem700 .243.

Once the scope arrives, I'll get it all mounted up, then send the first few dozen shots through the "shooting/cleaning" regimen to ensure everything is running well, staying aligned. Weather's improving, too, so it'll soon be good rifle weather at the range.
 

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I have a Rem 700 SPS in 22-250. I put it in an Arkangel composite stock with the full bedding block (I did not add bedding compound..yet). With a very cheap Barska 6-20x (literally a $99 scope) it shoots ragged holes at 100 yards and 1/4 MOA at 200 (so far) with Winchester white box 45 grain HP's. I am still burning up commercial ammo to get the brass to start working up loads for it (have some Sierra 40 grain HP's to load). Yes, I plan to put a much better scope on it and I will be changing out the trigger for a Triggertech 2-stage at some point.

241800
 

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Scope doing that good, you won't do any better with a $2,000.00 scope. Better optic with a range finder, lighted reticle, with range wires or dots a level and auto ranging yes which helps a lot if you are shooting 400 yards or more or even less. That's about it for the .22-250. Some will say they do more and with tighter tolerances of good hand loads a ragged hole at that range will beahrd to improve on.
I got into hand loading to save money..first. With factory or my handloads in .70 Wby magnum is shot dimes at 100 yards.Doubt I can do it today. Out west.the big calibers, the .30-378 Wby, the .300 magnums, the .50 BMG and others ,hand loading should help a lot with 600 yard to 1,000 yrd and beyond shots. If your rifle and factroy ammo is all over the target hand loads should vastly improve that.
All the long range competitors, I beleive hand load. I liek my old RCBS dies not the new ones and and micrometer seating dies might help but I don't have any. I do weigh each case and charge for my bolt rifles. 100roudns per session is about it for me. You start shooting prarie dogs.you may shoot several hundred rounds a weekend. You'll want to handload unless wealthy. a progressive press andweight sampling loaded rounds every 20 or so to make sure everything stays adjusted. And always always do the same steps in reloading the same way and with same force on every round. Do notshoot rounds that coemup too light or too heavy. Disassemble them. and do over.
 

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It definitely needs a better scope, lol. The view through this thing is crap, there are no subtensions, it's just a basic crosshair reticle.
 

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I got into handloading years ago to save money too. Those days of saving money have been gone for quite a while. That's partly why I know I won't unbox the equipment. My thoughts of doing so are just thoughts I've come to realize.
 

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Hydro, Southern and the others have made some good points. All those factors are important if you want precise accuracy. In the civilian world I use to shoot Bench Rest. For example I even measured Casing Capacity as well as kept all the ones that were also in the same production LOT and kept them together all the time. For example if I was shooting a 5 Round Group I had 5 Casings with exactly the same everything and kept them together for competition. But I credit most to Precise Powder Charge, Over All Length and proper, consistent Bullet Seating. I have a Lyman Electronic Powder Measure which is fantastic and accurate every time.
This was the best money I ever spent when it comes to reloading. It is computerized and you can program many different calibers and loads in it. Just type it in and away you go! Not to mention eliminating the time and eye strain of using the old Balance Scales. ;)
Lyman Gen 5.jpg



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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
But I credit most to Precise Powder Charge, Over All Length and proper, consistent Bullet Seating. I have a Lyman Electronic Powder Measure which is fantastic and accurate every time. This was the best money I ever spent when it comes to reloading. It is computerized and you can program ...
Their contemporary version seems to be the Lyman Gen6 Compact Powder System.

I'm considering the Lyman Accu-Touch 2000, a step down in throughput but with most of the features of their "top" model. Accurate to within one-tenth grain as well. Runs on a wall plug, but can also run via a 9V battery.

Will have a decent beam scale as well, as a backup, and will certainly calibrate at the start of every session and verify every dozen loads or so. Definitely see the benefit of the accuracy.
 

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G66

Yes Sir the Lyman Gen5 is the new Model of mine. I have had it for at least 9 years and very pleased with it.
I checked out the Accu -Touch 2000. It will certainly speed up the process and much faster than the old counter balance scales. It will also be a pleasure to use!

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Been reloading since 1954 after i inherited a Winchester model 70 in .220 Swift. Most of my shooting is from a bench rest at 125 and 250 yards. i do different things depending on the accuracy desired. Most of my re-loading is for .223 rifles. Two of my .223 rifles make 3/8 inch five shot groups at 125 yards.

Cases for plinking loads are cleaned, full length resized and trimmed, that's all.

Cases for my accuracy reloads get the full treatment. Each powder charge is weighed on a really good balance beam scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So, for those of you that do many steps beyond the typical, for "extreme" accuracy loads, which specific steps do you perform? (On brass, for the primers and seating, with the powder, with the bullet and seating.)
 

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Picking the Fly S out of the Pepper. Each weapon is different when it comes to the right composition of ammunition they like! I call it what they like to eat. So developing the excellent load for a precision rifle for example. I first of all I check the AOL Specs for the Round and recommended primer and powder. And always trim the Brass even New Brass because sometimes it is not exactly correct, length wise. And Chamfer it for loading. Then I work with the Powder for that weapon selecting which works the best and then work in finding the exact load for that particular weapon. + or - grains. Usually in the range the Reloading Manual recommends. A few grains either way can make a difference. Also seating depth of the Bullet can have a significant effect. Keeping in mind we are looking for 1/2 MOA or Smaller Groups. I use the same production LOT of powder and brass to test with. Usually Hornady or Lapua Brass. Bottom line to achieve peak accuracy out of a precision rifle it is a labor of love and and experiment until you get everything correct like you want it. I always say when you hit the right combination the Group will tighten up like a Hangman's Noose. And it will be very noticeable!
With that I will give you and example of what I was talking about regarding "what a rifle likes to eat"!
I bought a Remington 700 CDL in 7mm Remington Magnum to hunt with in Texas. All the ammunition I purchased for it out of the shoot was factory ammunition. I decided to go with 150 gr. Ammunition. I purchased the following. 1 Box of Federal Fusion, 1 box of standard Remington, 1 Box of Winchester, 1 Box of Hornady and 1 box of Remington which happened to be AccuTip 150 Gr. I went to my little Range and shot all of them for Groups at 100 yards. Most all of them shot good groups. Not thinking the Remington AccuTip ammunition would do any better from the get go! Man was I shocked! Here is the Group that was shot that day from the Bench and Bags. .417 MOA three round Group!
So went back to the store and bought three more boxes of the same LOT # ammunition that I had.
For a hunting Rifle she is a Keeper! :)
Later I disassembled one of the Rounds to determine the Powder Type, Charge (Weight) and AOL. Should I ever need to load some later. Obviously sometimes I shoot one buck and also two does (For meat each year.) So even with checking the Zero each year before I leave to go to Texas. A box of 20 will last quite a few years with plenty to spare out of the extra three boxes. By the way it is Zeroed for 200 yards which means the bullet impact is 1.3 inches high at 100 yards.

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700 CDL 7MM Rem Mag. 3 rd Group.JPG


G6443764 Remington 700CDL.JPG

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