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Big Al

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  1. Big Al

    6.5 Creedmoor Reloading (UK)

    I just pulled the figures off the top of my head but around 42.5gr of N160 wont be far off depending on bullet weight. 42.5gr = 2.756g 1000g tub divided by 2.756g will give 362 loads. If the powder is £90/tub then divided by 362 works out at 24.86p/load. Buying in bulk and shopping around can certainly help get these costs down but when I first got into reloading I thought it was to save money, how wrong I was! No need to apologise Pops, Im far from perfect and have been known to get things wrong myself from time to time. The last time I was wrong still haunts me to this day, 4th June 1976, a day I will never forget! 😂
  2. Big Al

    6.5 Creedmoor Reloading (UK)

    Ballpark, 80p a round. Bullet - 40p Brass - 10p per firing. Powder - 25p Primer - 5p Thats based on getting 10 firings from new Lapua brass and using Sierra 130 TMKs. I would say 60p to £1.20 would be the extreme ends of the scale. Ten firings is doable on the brass easily if your not loading nuclear but like everything if you want match grade ammo then bullets can go to around 70p or more and if you can get a job lot of older bullets they might come in at 20p each or even less. Barrel life is one that many dont consider, on a 6.5CM that could be in the 30p to £1.50 per shot range depending on the initial barrel cost and how you use it.
  3. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    I would think the traditional full jacketed non tipped bullet will be considerably more accurate in terms of its dimensions than a bullet that has had a moulded plastic tip shoved in the end as a secondary operation. I cant think of anyone shooting to the highest levels of precision that does it with a plastic tipped bullet. The aim in producing consistently good bullets is uniformity and bullets all coming from the same die with full jackets will be very uniform as there isn't any secondary operation where a stack up of errors could occur. A one piece part is always going to be easier to make well than a two piece part. Just make sure all your bullets are from the same batch with the same batch numbers and even then check for uniformity amongst the boxes if you want to be sure of the best you can be. I once measured and compared three batches of 500 bullets from JLK (an American custom bullet maker), Berger Hybrids and Sierra Matchkings and the results were interesting. JLK came out top, Sierra were quite a close second and the gap from Sierra to third place Berger was quite a bit bigger than the gap between first place JLK and second place Sierra. As for Hornady, Ive seen some shocking variations in bullets from the same brand and weight albeit different batches. Hornady make some very good bullets for different applications so Im happy to use them but would always buy in batches and check at least 20% from each box against the other boxes before setting out on load development, consistency is everything.
  4. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    Dont go there, it really doesnt matter. There aren't any good reasons for jamming a bullet unless it was the only place the barrel would shoot well enough and if that was the case i would be looking at different bullets. MV and barrel time in itself isn't the be all and end all, there are different ways to tune a barrel and barrel timing is only one. I know people shooting sub 2" 5 shot groups at 1000yds with an ES of as much as 40fps. A book or ballistic app will tell you that isn't possible based on the vertical spread yet its happening every summer in 1000yd BR in the US because the guys are tuning their barrels via a method called Positive Compensation. PC tuning means the slower bullets leave the barrel later when its higher on its climb during the harmonic up and down phase than the faster ones that will leave sooner, the minute differences in trajectory based on barrel position during its harmonic cycle mean all the bullets converge at the same vertical place at a set distance you have tuned the load to. This of course means the load is only tuned for say 1000yds or 600yds etc and the convergence pattern isn't right at any other distance but the theory works and I have proved it to myself numerous times in testing. In fact Ive shot this method and won comps using it. Of course it doesnt have to be that complicated, find a stable powder and then node then tune the seating depth, thats plenty good enough for most people most of the time, myself included. Here is a picture of my long range BR rig during a nice day of PC testing at 600yds. Flags every 200yds and and sometimes I would be there for 6hrs just waiting for the wind to be right. Ive seen days when there wasnt a breath of wind in the late afternoon and evening and the consistency of the testing was amazing as well as the results.
  5. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    Yes I would expect a jam will up pressure and then differing amounts of jam will created differing pressures as well. As for a correlation? possibly/probably I dont honestly know. I would really wonder if anyone really does know as ultimately it goes back to what I said earlier, so long as we have a system that lets us get to the levels of accuracy we need consistently then does it really matter if we understand the whys? What I do see is people trying to simplify a process or look for some kind of magic way to save doing the hard yards. Thats fine if 0.5moa at 100yds is your target and repeatability over a wide temperature range doesnt matter. Our opinions probably differ on the performance of the gold medal match in a number of different rifles goes but again it doesnt matter if our applications are different. Its the same with pet loads or these magic calibers that are supposed take no load development and they will shoot almost anything, all well and good in your average hunting gun but not the kind of stuff Im interested in.
  6. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    I think distance to the lands is irrelevant other than to give a reference point to work with. Its all about barrel timing and minute changes in chamber pressure and MV. Before you can explore that properly though you need to be sure your powder is stable and is giving repeatable barrel harmonics. The truth is it doesnt really matter if we know what exactly is happening so long as we have a reliable and repeatable method of finding whatever our desired levels of accuracy are, Im happy I know how to find mine.
  7. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    Disclaimer I should add that my comments in this thread refer to rifles I have built and where I have had control of the entire process. I do remember two instances of guns that just wouldn't shoot well and both had reputable match grade barrels fitted, one of them I re-chambered for the chap FOC as an experiment and the other was a rifle belonging to a friend which i didnt build or have anything to do with. In both cases the rifles had been bedded which might not have been right, they also might have had ignition problems which are really hard to identify or quite possibly they were just bad barrels. Each rifle shot in the half inch range at 100yds but groups shapes were inconsistent and generally they weren't nice.
  8. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    Two answers here Terry. 1. For sure there will be times when the very best results show you a barrel likes a particular bullet but I think with most good quality rifle barrels its more about recognising the times when it doesnt like a particular bullet, this saves lots of wasted time, money and heartache. These times of spotting the bad one will be rarer than the times it likes various bullets as barrels are generally good most of the time. When I got into rifle building I used to read comments here and elsewhere about "I hope this new barrel is a shooter" or "I finally found a good load but I thought the barrel wasnt going to be a shooter" This made me think that either the quality of rifle barrels and/or the quality of the machining that went into them was a bit of a lottery and that people expected the possibility that a £700-£1000 rebarrel job might not shoot. That really worried me as I wouldn't know what to say to someone if I had charged him for a duffer. Now some 4yrs and 200+ re-barrels or gun builds later Ive only seen one barrel through my hands which I considered bad. Even then it wasnt dreadful but it was a real heartbreaker in the sense it would show great promise but would never maintain good enough consistency over 5 shot groups on a long range benchrest rifle. It was a made 'match grade' barrel from a company I hadn't previously used that I had bought to try out, after 400 rounds it still coppered terribly and just wouldn't hold together at 'match level' so was returned for a refund and Ive never had the confidence to revisit that company again. This barrel was tried out on my friends LRBR gun and we gave it everything, after 400 rounds it had been thoroughly tested. Other than that I have used barrels from Bartlein, Krieger, Brux, Sassen, Bergara, Walther and PacNor and without exception they have all shot well on rifles I have had control over the load development and Ive never had a single incident where I have needed to replace a barrel. One chap a while back wasnt sure of his barrel so I developed a load for him to prove the rifle was fine and then charged him for the load development. The guarantee I give every customer is that if I cant get the gun to shoot with a suitable bullet for his application I will replace the barrel FOC, when I do get it to shoot I give them the load data and they have to pay me for my load development time and materials. He was more than happy to pay for the work and also few tips on shooting more consistently at my range. Ive gone to the length of telling this story because I believe people give up on barrels as 'bad' way too often when it is actually their own load development shortfalls or their shooting technique that is the problem. I talk every week with guys about load development and its clear that at least 50% dont really know what they are doing and even others who do still dont do it thoroughly enough to achieve the levels of accuracy and consistency they want. Half inch groups are perfectly adequate for a vast number of shooting disciplines and as was said earlier misses are more down to shooter error and gun control. Of course there are times when half inch is no good and then we get into the quarter inch world or less where the fist benchmark is 3 shot groups but the final word in my experience is 5 shot groups. Load development is very much the difference at this level and the shooter must be at a level where he can trust his technique so as to rule out flyers as human error and call them for what they are, harmonic shortfalls. The number of shots that get marked on load development targets as pulled and shooter error never ceases to amaze me, if I pulled that many shots I would never be able to differentiate between myself or the load. My favourite are the 3 shot groups I see all the time published online which I call 2 & 1s, two shots touching or through the same hole and the other 1/2" away and put down to a pulled shot when these are classic harmonic issues most of the time. If it were shooter error it wouldn't happen as frequently as it does. 2. Everything comes down to testing. Even with tangent ogive bullets I will still carry out just the same level of seating depth testing as I would with secant or hybrid ogive, In fact if Im honest most of the time I haven't checked what kind of ogive they have because I know my testing and the holes in the target will tell me everything I need to know. There will be odd exceptions but broadly speaking most of the time every load Ive ever developed will show its sweet spot between just touching and 40 thou off the lands if you work in 5 thou increments over this 40 thou range. Sometimes SAAMI reamer specs and case/bullet combos mean you cant get into this range and so cant start 20 thou off but that doesnt matter, just load to within 50 thou of mag length and make that your reference point, you can then cover 20 thou either side just the same. If possible every load I work up starts with the bullets 20 thou off the lands or this nominal mag restricted reference length and every powder charge test is done at this length, there is no need to change this at this stage. Once Im happy with the right powder in terms of stability I will then load up a number of rounds long say 50 thou longer than my reference length and I take a hand press to the range along with calipers to measure CBTO. I will start with a clean barrel and fire 3-4 sighters/foulers at the same reference length off the lands and Im expecting group sizes to be the same as the average they showed on the powder charge testing. Then I will go longer or shorter by 5 thou and see what happens with a 3 shot group. If the group size stays the same or shrinks I will then go another 5 thou in the same direction and again if it stays the same or shrinks I will follow that trend until it starts to get bigger. If I dont get what I want on say moving towards the lands then I will go to the other side of my reference length and work away in the same 5 thou increments. Its very rare not to find the optimum for that bullet with that process covering a 40 thou range in 5 thou increments. Some people are fixated about being near the lands but its not necessary other than to maximise case capacity. I tend to work things freebore wise to ensure they can seat their bullets with the bearing surface to boat-tail junction clearly above the case neck to shoulder junction where donuts can occur as donuts can cause havoc with repeatable seating depth. Some calibers have very long free bores yet they can still shoot tiny with huge jumps. Like I said at the beginning, I see seating depth nodes that repeat every 60-80 thou so load your bullet to the length you want or can and then cover a 40 thou range from there, if there isn't a sweet spot and you feel you have shot well then thats the time to start looking at a different bullet. Sorry for the lengthy post guys but its not easy to answer these kind of questions in a few sentences.
  9. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    Its all about accuracy Terry and what level you want. Ive said this before on other topics to do with accuracy but the amount of regurgitated dogma there is surrounding rifle accuracy is amazing and so thorough testing is needed to be able to draw your own conclusions that you can rely on. Ive seen tangent ogive bullets that wouldn't shoot very well in a barrel, yes they would be consistent and not very jump sensitive but maybe the best they would produce was average five shot groups sizes of say 0.5" and that doesnt interest me. Clearly a 0.5" 100yd average is good enough though for certain applications so you have to set your own standards. Then Ive seen secant ogive bullets that were as fussy as hell but when you found the sweet spot they were far better performers and 0.250" aggs were very common. Moving in 0.005" increments shows accuracy nodes and you see the group size shrink until its reaches optimum and then grow and shrink again and this continues like a wave anywhere from in the lands to as far as 0.160" away. Ive never seen a need to be 0.160" away of course as a general rule but sometimes small bullets on long free bores make that happen without sacrificing case capacity. I would also say sometimes Ive seen tangent ogive bullets producing the best accuracy but they have still needed very fine seating depth tuning to find this, move 10 thou in one go and you've jumped past it. I tend to work in 5 thou increments and also in zones. For example touching to 40 thou out is zone one, then 40--80 thou out and then 80-120 thou out. Almost always I will find the accuracy I want in the first zone somewhere if the chamber has been throated to suit the bullet. Ultimately I think you choose a bullet to suit your application regardless of ogive type and start from there, test it thoroughly and see if it gives you what you want, if it doesnt then move on to another providing the powder is showing suitable stability. Something I dont buy into is the need to chase the lands during a barrels lifespan providing you never change the barrels length, I have never seen enough evidence with my own testing to suggest it matters and so this negates the issue of small incremental seating depth changes being a ball ache. As well as my own testing I know a very successful long range benchrest shooter who consistently won throughout the whole life of his barrel and he never changed the seating depth throughout the lifetime of the barrel. It started at 20 thou off and when I replaced it the bullets were jumping about 140 thou. Something I do think is very underestimated is the barrels preference for a a particular bullet based on bearing surface length, shape and diameter. Ive built a lot of 6.5 x 47s and I remember one month I had four guns coming to completion at the rate of about one per week and they all then went into load development about a week ahead of the next. All barrels were Bartlein, all were 8 twist, all were ordered at the same time and came as part of the same batch. All were chambered the same with the same reamer and all had the same freebore. The first three guns shot 140gr Berger Hybrids into 0.250" aggs (at least 4x5shot groups) one even a bit smaller at .0.220", optimum powder charges and seating depths were all very close to one and other in the 40.0 to 40.3 gr range of H4350 and the seating depths were within 10 thou from longest to shortest when optimised. All three guns were using the same batch of powder, primers and bullets yet the forth gun with the same barrel and broadly the same stock configuration wouldn't shoot these Bergers for toffee. A switch to Hornady ELDM saw that gun instantly come alive and it was up with the other slightly more accurate Berger load as the best. All testing was consistent and identical as much as we could achieve and it left me scratching my head for a while. Ive seen similar things enough times since with different cases and calibers to know that there is something going on at a very minute dimensional level with bullet to barrel fit that only thorough testing will show. Berger say that the 'Hybrid' ogive design gives the best of both worlds in terms of being unfussy regarding seating depth and good BC performance but it hasn't been my own findings. In 105s, 140s and 180gr I find seating depth changes of 5 thou can show significant changes to group size and with two 5 thou change so 10 thou in total the group sizes can half. They are a good bullet but by no means any easier to tune than any other bullet I have tried. I like Sierra bullets as they are very consistently made when you measure them closely and then I have also use a few makes of American competition bullets. No single bullet brand stands out, its much more about finding what the barrel likes. This of course bring me back to the first point I made which is it all depends on the level of accuracy you are looking for.
  10. Big Al

    Bullet Jump

    Seating depth tuning is a vital part of any load development. However, some bullet shapes respond better to it than others and there isn't really a book of rules for which do and which dont so you need to test to know. Testing at 100yds is often far enough unless your struggling to split things in which case 200 or 300yds is certainly plenty. Ive seen some bullets that have been far more seating depth tolerant than others so they seem to shoot equally as well close to the lands as they do various increments away from the lands, if they dont suit the barrel they also shoot equally as bad and nothing you do in moving them seems to improve the accuracy. Then there are bullets that clearly show seating depth nodes, the accuracy comes in when the seating depth is optimised then it drifts out again either side of optimal, Ive seen 5 thou matter and 10 thou takes the node into its inaccurate place. If you then continue past the point where the groups have opened up they will usually become smaller again as a different optimal node is found, this can repeat every 40-60 thou or so. Of course its always best to find the node nearest the lands just to increase the case capacity or keep the pressure down a bit assuming this longer length will fit in and feed well from the magazine if used. Every load I ever develop will have both the powder charge then the seating depth optimised in that order.
  11. Big Al

    Canine companions

    Heres my two, Safi on the left is now 9yrs old, her daughter Maggie on the right is now 6yrs old. Had it not been for CV-19 Maggie would have been close to having her own litter now and we would have kept a bitch to maintain the family line.
  12. Big Al

    Canine companions

    Murphy is a belter. I have a couple of working cockers, they are hard to beat as an all round family/working companion.
  13. I think there is a lot more important aspects that go into building an accurate rifle than the action but if you have a bad action then the gun will always be bad no matter what else you do. Thankfully bad action are rare. Although dad actions are rare they do exist from time to time, its usually more to do with inconsistent ignition than trueness and it can be very difficult to identify. I have also read about inconsistent custom actions that with fairly simple testing were established as the problem and with a small amount of work could be remedied. Ive shot with both custom and modified factory actions in long range benchrest and I couldn't split the two in terms of accuracy or results. Of course the term accurate is also a bit of a loose term as accuracy in PRL or FClass is different to Benchrest. There are lots of things that go into the mix when it comes to accuracy, the barrel, the person who chambered it and built the gun, the stock, the bedding, the trigger, the load development and then the shooter himself on the day. All of these things are more important in my opinion than the action itself if its known to be good. Exactly what difference if any a custom action would bring to the same rifle (all other things being equal) is hard to say. That said when your going to invest heavily in time, money and effort to shoot competitively the difference between using a Rem700 action and a top quality custom action might be £1000 or approx 25% of the total build cost. In my experience most people will go the custom route just to apply the belt and braces approach to what they are doing. As Vince rightly says, if you can pic up a decent second hand custom action its makes the cost differential much smaller. However, if your budget only runs to a factory action then dont let that stop you competing. Try and find someone to build you a gun that wont play the action snobbery card and will help you get the best they can out of your budget.
  14. Big Al

    Shoulder bumping

    Now Ive said it twice already but this time it really is 'over and out' from me on this thread, there is nothing more I feel I can contribute that is useful. Information has been exchanged, people are old enough to read it and make their own calls on what is useful to them and what isn't. Happy Lockdown everyone 😘
  15. Big Al

    Shoulder bumping

    Interesting observation I made last night about moderators piling in en masse to back each other up, give it enough time and it always happens.
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