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How accurate/consistent are you?


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As we all know, when it comes to reloading consistency is king. But what level of accuracy is good enough for you? How many decimal points are enough?! 

 

When it comes to weights and measures what +/- or % figures are you working to on your micrometer or scales for the variables? 

Bullet weight/batches? 

Primer pocket sizing? 

Case weight/batches? 

Case length? 

Powder weight? 

Overall length? 

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Just interested in what others are doing, but yes, replies should be qualified with expected groupings

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38 minutes ago, Oly said:

Bullet weight/batches?   I use Berger for 6.5CM & .308, not worth measuring in my experience.  Lapua are almost as good and I've seen no benefit in batching.  .338 Hornady ELD-M as they come out of the box, never weighed them.

Primer pocket sizing?  Lapua cases cut with Sinclair cutter to a nominal setting within the batch. Flash hole as supplied.

Case weight/batches?  Don't bother weighing Lapua cases once sized and trimmed, they're pretty much the same H2O volume.

Case length?   ± 1 thou on a nominal batch setting (ie within that batch). Batches vary but I don't mix batches. Between batches could be ± 3thou but it's a guess.

Powder weight?  ± 0.01 grains - I'm nerdy about this.  I do drop individual grains because I have no life 😂

Overall length?  Irrelevant to me, not using a magazine  - I measure ogive length to a nominal size ± 1 thou within a batch using a steel ogive insert - (the Hornady anodised alloy one is a bit variable).  I don't trim meplats or point etc, I would try this if I could be convinced it was worth the dosh.

Not knowing what you're interested in I offer thus:   see annotations above.

I would note that I am lucky enough to have have some pretty good rifles & optics, Dolphin 6.5CM & .338LM.  Orsis .308.  Top quality glass. I use an FTR bipod on a board and a SEB bag.  The best ammo in the world isn't going to overcome the limitations of a rifle turned out in the 10,000s or a setup compromised by poor kit.

I achieve the occasional sub 1/2 moa 10 shot groups at up to 1000yds and that's plenty good enough for me (wind & skill permitting).  Generally I develop loads to achieve near single hole groups with 6.5CM and .308 at 100yds.  .338 is not as tight at 200yds but works well at the mile for me - I did hit the hanging plastic milk bottle at 1 mile within three shots at Over Cassock, Eskdalemuir, twice. (I actually cut the string with a shot but I'm not claiming that was intended 😊).

I use a Labradar to get useful data for the ballistic app but I don't pay too much attention to ES - just enough to ensure I've not lost control of my process.  In my opinion SD on small batches (ie 5) is a statistical joke with no value.

When I win £180M on  Euromillions I'll sponsor a comprehensive study of variables and prove that a lot of the folk lore around reloading is pseudoscience.  Honest I will...

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I load all my ammo within 1 thousandth base to ogive for hunting or target..

All powder charges are loaded within 0.02grs.

I don't weigh cases..

I do random checks on bullet weights and bearing surfaces.

Primer pockets get uniformed every firing

 

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7 hours ago, Popsbengo said:

 In my opinion SD on small batches (ie 5) is a statistical joke with no value.

Very true..

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I uniform my primer pockets again for consistency..

So they seat or crush the same everytime..

I've recently watched a video of an f class shooter who ran a test on seating primers and it did make a difference too ES's over the chrony from how much crush he put on them..

That's a bit anal but some like carrying out these tests..

I won't be trying it but since watching this video and chatting too a mate I've found my murom primers seat deeper than the fed gold magnums as the cups are shallower...

Too keep all things equal I'd need 2 pocket uniformers one for each calibre too save keep adjusting the uniformer..!!

Sod that....

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The primer pockets get shallower in firing..

I'm not sure it is a good ideal doing it because taking a tiny bit of brass out the pockets each time as it could be weakening the cases at the Web.

After so many firingscand uniforming it's cleans mainly 

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I use CCI BR2 & 4 also CCI magnum.  I did try batching primers by weight as it seemed a good if indirect way of gauging the amount of compound and therefore the magnitude of the burn.  The weights do vary but I can't say I was able to discern an improvement.   I seat using an RCB bench press which gives excellent feel so I'm happy I'm getting a good repeatable & consistent seating.

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I’m a casual shooter. I don’t  shoot in competition but I do try to shoot well. A “plinky plonker” as Bradders used to say 😀

I also have to acknowledge that I have many demands on my finances and my time so have reached a realistic set up that allows me to enjoy this hobby and do it reasonably well without disproportionally soaking up funds and/or precious home time. Yes, I’d love a custom rifle, but I can’t justify the expense. Yes, I’d love to produce the finest ammunition but I can’t justify the additional expense over and above my relatively basic,  Lee based, set up, and I can’t reconcile the additional time and obsessive attention to detail required to be honest.

So, for what I call my serious rifle, I have a nice Howa 6.5 Creedmoor in a KRG stock with Athlon glass in a sphur 20 moa mount on a 20 moa rail.          I produce my ammo on a Lee single stage press using Lee dies.

I use Lapua brass trimmed to length with about a 2 thou variability in each batch. I use CCI magnum primers seated on the press, Lapua Scenar bullets sat about 8 - 10 thou off the lands and RS62 powder. I anneal after 5 reloads and never worry about primer pockets, other than cleaning them. I never weigh bullets, primers or anything, I keep it simple ‘cos I’m aware I might be stupid! The fewer steps in the process, the fewer opportunities for cock up!

Load development arrived at a near five shot single hole at 100 yards and about 2700 fps measured on a simple Caldwell chrono. Never bothered with sd as didn’t see the point, all I was after was an accurate load. Must admit, the Scenars seem very jump tolerant to me. Something worth exploring in more detail when I eventually retire perhaps?

This set up consistently gives me about 0.75 to 1 moa if I do my bit, at just about any range I shoot up to 1000 yards. I’m happy with that on balance and it staggers me that every shot, pretty much I make at a 1000 yards is hitting something the size of a dinner plate! Remarkable really when you think about it!

So horses for courses. If you can afford a great custom set up and spend ages producing statistically consistent custom ammo, go for it. If like me you just enjoy the whole shooting thing with a more modest set up and ammunition system that fits around other life demands, well that’s fine too. There’s room for us all in this fascinating hobby.

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I'm a very similar plinky-plonker to SMLE. I like the challenge of shooting to the best of my ability and of getting the most out of my modest rifles (RPR in 6.5CM and a Howa 308). Also to me reloading is almost a hobby on it's own right, I just love tinkering and experimenting and DATA.

At one time or other I've experimented with many of the aspects in the OP, to find out what works for me and to work out where I should improve my kit. So answering the question 'Does it improve my shooting if I do xxxxxx?'. The Internet is a great source of inspiration for this, seeing what other people are doing and trying to work out whether I can/should do similar. I have learnt to only change one thing at a time though!

 

Bullet weight/batches? No. I've learnt to use decent bullets and just use them straight out of the box. I use Lapua Scenars. 

Primer pocket sizing? Not yet. I clear the flash-hole on all new brass and that's it. I might experiment with primer depth this year.

Case weight/batches? I've proved to myself that case weight is irrelevant. It's internal volume that counts and there is no relationship between case weight and internal volume. I've found it worthwhile batching cheap brass on internal volume, but that's a lengthy process. Following some internet testing someone else did (6.5 Guys I think), Lapua cases came out with minimal internal volume variation, so now I use them instead. Same thing with neck-turning.

Case length? Yes in theory. I've never found it changes that much.

Powder weight? Yes, as accurate as possible. Gradually I've moved up in technology so I've just bought a set of A&D Scales and will be investing in an auto-trickler as soon as I've sold my Targetmaster/RCBS 505 and GemPro scales to fund it. I also have lots of data on how make a powder measure throw the most consistent charges.

Overall length? Yes. I've moved from Lee seating dies to Forster micrometer ones to get more consistency. And less run-out.

 

Triffid

 

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1)Full length size 6.5creedmoor

2)clean primer pocket and chamfer neck no further case prep.

3)Prime Case

4)Powder weighed to 0.5grain accuracy I think that’s what the Lyman gen6 gives. 

5) seat bullet to length/check every 10. Not sure what accuracy I use. 
 

6) send it…..  Gives sub 2” at 600yd

same process for .375H&H

For my 30-06 the same but Seat the bullet to just under the crimp line visually. Don’t check length. 

.44 the same as 30-06 process except I flare the case. 
 

All are accurate for calibre and consistent 

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I'm very much in the SMLE, Triffid camp. I shoot for fun not for OCD 🙂  

That siad Im also a lazy so-and-so with a bit of space, so for my prime calibre 6.5CM, i got a couple of second hand Lee cast press's one with the re-sizeing die the other with the bullet seater and neither have moved in 18 months so I guess im pretty consistant.  ( everything else goes in a lee 4 hole turret, Ive also got a forster co-ax that I'll use for a new 300prc thats being built)

 

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We shoot ISSF 300 mt to national and International level, and use and load 6 mmBR and .223.

We only hand clean cases at neck with 0000 wire wool, use Norma for 6 mmBR, and Lapua for .223

We FL and length, fire form to a specific rifle and only use in that,  and then neck size for 5 loads, clean the primer pockets at each load, and then FL and size, and five more neck sizes before scrapping the case.

Use only BR4 primers, no check other than visual.

Measure powder to 0.02 grain,  case length and bullet seating to one thou.

Use Sierra MK's 107 gn for 6mmBR, and 80 gn MK's for .223.  No check other than visual, do not weigh or batch, just load!

In many 1000's of loads never had a problem with any round, always shoot to top level, in fact the wife who is the "real" shot, has shot to within a few points of the world record at an International.

And Popsbengo,  I agree, and look forward to you having that lottery win!

Have Fun

Robin

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, jcampbellsmith said:

What puzzles me is no-one ever mentions the % yield of their reloading process.  I guess everyone apart from me must be a Six Sigma Black Belt. 

Regards 

JCS 

😂   no, just happy to put misses down to wind or cosmic ray activity

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The way I see it is you will get so far with keeping your loading consistent so keeping velocity and other aspects consistent to provide accuracy. 
 

But how much more are you getting by doing all the extra bits and pieces compared to Someone who just does the basics to a good standard.
 

You will only see the difference if you take the human element out of it and shove the rifle in a ransom rest. 

Other than that I think human error and environmental effects will play more of a role in your accuracy/inaccuracy than adding all the extra steps to reloading over well carried out basics. 


 

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2 hours ago, Vortex said:

Other than that I think human error and environmental effects will play more of a role in your accuracy/inaccuracy than adding all the extra steps to reloading over well carried out basics. 

You and I Mr Vortex appear to have the same hymn sheet 😀

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3 hours ago, Vortex said:

But how much more are you getting by doing all the extra bits and pieces compared to Someone who just does the basics to a good standard.
 

You will only see the difference if you take the human element out of it and shove the rifle in a ransom rest. 

Other than that I think human error and environmental effects will play more of a role in your accuracy/inaccuracy than adding all the extra steps to reloading over well carried out basics. 


 

I agree with the principle of what you say - ie, law of diminishing returns on steps over and above good consistent fundamentals, however what constitutes "basics"  and what constitutes "extra steps" ?  I think this is what the OP was trying to get at in posing the question "what do you do".

Realising the potential of fine improvements must depend on equipment and shooting technique (skill).

For sure the weather is the great variable when shooting over 100yds,  I may faff about to the finest degree but can't read wind for sh1t 😂.

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Me neither........but I did get a 5 shot group of 0.37 moa at 300yds a couple of weeks ago when the flags were stationary, so I must be doing something right.......(with my 6BR, RS 52, 105 Scenar))

Pete

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I use decent brass, so I dont do anything like sorting it, and I never touch the primer pockets or flash holes. I keep all firings together so they all age at the same rate.

I measure headspace and shoot in order of variation, but thats normaly only 1-1.5 thou.

I sort my bullets and point.

I measure power to 0.04 so if Im wanting 44.0 Ill allow 44.00 and 44.02 - not 39.98 or 44.04. Does it make a difference? Probably not! Does it do any harm - definitely not so why not do it, its another thing to eliminate.

I seat to approx 1 thou, and make sure all neck tension feels the same - anything thats an anomaly is a blow off.

Can you get away with not doing this, probably - but after 600 yards, everything needs to be super consistent and if it makes no difference but mentally eliminates any doubt  its worth doing. 

This video is good

 

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I would say the basics are quality components to eliminate inconsistencies that way.

powder charge as accurate as you can.

Assembled cartridge to the same dimensions COAL etc consistent. 

Basically so your velocity stays the same without getting to the point where, like you say diminishing returns are barely evidenced to the point where external factors play more of an issue.

Does cleaning the case really effect chamber pressure and so velocity. Doubt it, haven’t noticed it make an appreciable difference in consistency or accuracy. 
 

now I have seen quality components give out big dividends on consistency. 
 

I used 174gr MK7 pulled .303 bullets for the past 5 years as I had a huge supply. 
Ran out and switched to 174gr PPU and noticed increased velocity and importantly consistency in POI.  
I also tried Sierra but they didn’t give any more notable results and I would say less consistency than the PPU in terms of POI and fliers.( external factors perhaps?) 
Price is a good on PPU compared to Sierra too.

All the loading was kept the same apart from the bullet make and I sat it to the crimping line by eye in both cases. Just shy of it without a crimp. 
 

To me and I’m no expert good fundamentals give the best consistency regarding accuracy over all the extra stages  when you factor in external factors. 

Bang it in a ransom rest and you will probably see the dividends.

lie down with it unsupported and every principle of marksmanship will play far more of a factor in consistency and accuracy.

I think good marksmanship principles are lost in the chase of the perfect load and in many cases not learned in the first place and applied and you start thinking well I need to do more and more to my load. 

In many cases it will be down again to basic marksmanship principles not being applied as to why your accuracy and consistency is suffering. 

Again this I have seen when a lad I shoot with couldn’t get consistent POI. 
 I had a go with it and POI was consistent. After he said he was struggling with holding it steady because of an injury. 

Just my look at it any way. 
 

 


 

 

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Excellent.  Well presented and logical.

No.1 Be able to shoot well

No.2 Have a good rifle and equipment.

No.3 ~ 10  Quality Ammo.

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