A Data-Driven Approach To Precision Rifles, Optics & Gear
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Tag Archives: Reloading Data

300 Norma Mag Custom ELR Rifle

300 Norma 338 Lapua Custom ELR Rifle

I’m sharing a series of posts on ELR shooting, but I didn’t want to jump from the long-range rifles in mid-size 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges that I normally talk about straight into the extreme, super-high-performance 375+ caliber rifles used to engage targets at 2+ miles. Instead of just presenting the extremes, I thought it’d be helpful to first share a rifle setup that is somewhere in between. Then in later posts I’ll get into the more specialized setups used to push the boundaries of what is possible with shoulder-fired rifles. In this post, I’ll share the details of a rifle ...

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Rifle Reloading Data: My Pet Loads for Target & Hunting

These are some of my pet loads. They were what I found to be the most precise in my rifles after extensive and tedious load development. I may tweak the loads slightly as the throat of a barrel erodes, but I don’t typically vary too far from what is shown here. You should always reference a quality reloading manual and start with the minimum recommended loads and work your way up. Just because these have proven safe in my rifles, doesn’t mean they will be in your’s. Chamber dimensions, brass specs, barrel grooves and diameter can vary, so it’s very important ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 4: 5 Shot Groups

I’ve already done quite a bit up to this point in my load development.  At this point I know I want to try to find an accurate load for Berger’s 168gr VLD over Hodgdon’s Retumbo powder and I’m now zeroed in on a very specific range of powder weights that seem to be very tolerant of slight pressure variances.  You can see the previous posts for how I got here. My next step is to test 5 shot groups in very granular powder increments. Jump to another step: Part 1: Bullet Selection & Real-World Velocities Part 2: Audette’s Ladder Test Part 3: Optimal Charge Weight Part ...

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7mm Rem Mag Chamber Print

When the 7mm Remington Magnum was originally released, it was met with overwhelming demand.  Every rifle manufacturer rushed to offer rifles chambered for the new cartridge, and in the rush some of the chamber dimensions varied slightly from different manufacturers.  This variation in the 7mm Rem Mag chamber dimensions has carried on to today, and there is still more differences in the chamber dimensions than for virtually any other rifle cartridge. What’s a chamber print? A “chamber print” is an illustration of the chamber reamer used to cut a rifle’s chamber.  It contains all of the key dimensions related to ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 3: Optimal Charge Weight

After I identified a promising range of powder weights using Audetter’s ladder test, my next step was to use Dan Newberry’s Optimal Charge Weight (OCW) Method to offset the “scatter node” drawback inherently present in the ladder test.  To learn more about that, read this article comparing the OCW method with the ladder test. The OCW method is based on the observation that there are some loads out there (like Federal’s match ammo for the 308) that shoot really well out of just about any rifle.  How can one recipe shoot so well out of so many different rifles?  Dan Newberry believes accuracy of ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 2: Audette’s Ladder Test

The first step in load development for my new custom 7mm Rem Mag started with gathering the real-world velocities I could expect out of three quality long range bullets I was considering. I then used those velocities to compare the ballistic performance between those three bullets, as well felt recoil during the test rounds. I eventually decided to pursure further load development for Berger’s 168gr VLD bullet over Hodgdon Retumbo powder because it struck the right balance for me between the competing characteristics (recoil, barrel wear, flat trajectory, low wind drift, ideal energy for medium sized game, etc). For more ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 1: Bullet Selection & Real-World Velocities

The first step in load development for my new 7mm Remington Magnum (with a 27″ barrel) was to get a basic idea for the real-world muzzle velocities I could expect out of a few different high quality, very low drag bullets, so that I could compare them ballistically and decide which to pursure for further load development. I decided to try out the three bullets listed below after reading a great article on 7mm bullets by Nathan Foster. I actually took all of these readings with a BRAND NEW BARREL (some of the first rounds out of it), so they ...

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Creighton Audette’s Ladder Test

Creighton Audette came up with a method for developing precision rifle handloads that has been referred to by many names: Incremental Load Development Method (ILDM) The Ladder Test 20 Round String Method Unfortunately many of Audette’s original articles aren’t very accessible, so I wanted to provide a few resources that help flesh out the method to load development he proposed.  I recently tried it out, and although at first I admit I was a little skeptical … after seeing the real world results and some critical thinking about what we are really trying to uncover when doing load development, his ...

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Lapua 223 Rem Brass Weight Variation

I recently weighed 100 pieces of brand new Lapua 223 Remington “Match” brass, and honestly I’m disappointed.  A few people have been telling me how good Lapua brass was, so I was simply expecting more consistency than what I found.  It didn’t stack up well compared to some Norma brass I weighed recently … although the overall quality appears to be good.  In fact, it wasn’t much different than weight distribution of some super-cheap, once-fired Remington 223 brass I bought for 1/5 of the price (the average deviation of the Lapua brass was actually higher).  Here is the resulting data for the Lapua brass, so you can compare for yourself: Average ...

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Most Accurate Rifle Primers for Precision Reloading

What is the best primer?  This is a perennial question for handloaders pursuing optimal accuracy, whether that is for a benchrest rifle, F-Class, or long-range tactical setup.  The primer is likely the reloading component most shooters know least about, and when that is the case it is sometimes a good idea to just start by looking at what the experts are using. I decided to aggregate the load data listed on 6mmBR.com for various cartridges, to see how many times each type of primer was referenced.  I chose 6mmBR.com, for a few reasons: 6mmBR.com is respected in the shooting community and peer-reviewed The majority ...

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