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Old October 12th, 2010, 11:46 PM
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Default Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Just curious what some of our other reloaders do as far as case prep/loading procedures when you are looking for precise accuracy.

I personally start with a batch of cases (winchester usually), and:

FL size
Trim to uniform length
Debur and chamfer
Uniform flash holes after trimming so the depth of the cut is the same.
Uniform primer pocket with Sinclair uniforming tool in a drill (held by the vise)
Weigh each charge individually
Weight bullets into lots of 5/per and then keep those rounds together for later
Seat Bullet about halfway then rotate 180 degrees and seat fully*

For fired cases I:

Neck size
Trim to uniform length
Debur and chamfer
Clean primer pockets
Weigh each charge individually
Weight bullets into lots of 5/per and then keep those rounds together for later
Seat Bullet about halfway then rotate 180 degrees and seat fully*

*For now I am using a standard RCBS die but I think I will step up to the Redding comp die pretty soon.

I am not real sure if I should be re-trimming my once fired cases, since my factory R700 has so much of a jump to the rifling I could really use the extra brass out there so I can seat the bullet less for less of a jump. I am using 168gr SMK for now and I can consistantly get 1/4 MOA with my stock 700. So I am pretty happy with where I am at, but I am always up for learning something new.

Am I missing any steps that are going to be worth it in terms of the juice being worth the squeeze? Or am I doing anything NOT necessary?

YB
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Old October 13th, 2010, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

My formula is pretty much the same, with a few exceptions.
  1. I tumble all my cases. "New" ones from the bag/box and fired all get the same treatment here. This is because I like shiny cases and it has no discernible effect on accuracy as far as I can tell.
  2. On fired cases, I also clean the inside of the case neck with a bore brush (dry) to remove the loose powder residue. Also, I give the inside of the neck a quick turn with #0000 steel wool to remove the caked stuff if there is any. All this is done before tumbling. Has the nice side effect of keeping the die a little cleaner and makes bullet seating smoother.
  3. I weigh my bullets and lump them into groups of like weight, with 0.2 grains of separation between groups. I only use like-weighted bullets in a particular batch of reloads.
  4. I weigh my cases like my bullets, lumping them into groups of like weight with *around* 2 grains of separation. When I mean around, I mean a very small margin of error. Weighed cases are used the same as the bullets: same weight group in a batch of reloads.

Why do I do it? Consistency among reload batches. Sometimes I think consistency is more important than accuracy, but they walk together on the same path. Really, in my opinion, accuracy and consistency are byproducts of each other. If that makes any sense at all.

Also using standard RCBS dies. I usually shoot tiny circles (in terms of deviation) around 1/2 MOA, with the occasional trip to just above 1/4 with my Savage 10 FCP on a 'pod. Sadly, the deviation on the pod is probably my fault and not the rifle's or the loads as I am still working out my kinks and don't get a whole hell of a lot of trigger time. Bags are closer to 1/4 (3/8"), which is probably a better indicator of the true mechanical accuracy of my rifle/load combination.

I've also thought about getting a meplat trimmer and one of those nifty chamber plugs from Sinclair to find out my ideal trim length for my chamber...but I'm not sure if I'm quite that anal about consistency and accuracy - yet. Connal, however, would say that I already am.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jm84 View Post
<snip>I've also thought about getting a meplat trimmer and one of those nifty chamber plugs from Sinclair to find out my ideal trim length for my chamber...but I'm not sure if I'm quite that anal about consistency and accuracy - yet. Connal, however, would say that I already am.
The meplat trimming is something I have been looking into. I guess I am stuck at a place where I am getting deminishing returns on the time spent. Maybe at this point I should be putting money into the rifle, like a better trigger or barrel or getting the action trued up. Certainly more trigger time as well.

As far as the ideal trim length, I have not heard of the Sinclair tool that you speak of, but it sounds like the answer to my issue. I can't get the bullet out to the rifling, not even close, without having too little bearing surface in the neck. I will have to look around for that, thanks!

YB
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Old October 13th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jm84 View Post
Connal, however, would say that I already am.
I thought my ears were burning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YBNORMAL View Post
As far as the ideal trim length, I have not heard of the Sinclair tool that you speak of, but it sounds like the answer to my issue. I can't get the bullet out to the rifling, not even close, without having too little bearing surface in the neck. I will have to look around for that, thanks!

YB
Ask, and ye shall receive.

http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pi...er_Length_Gage
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Old October 13th, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Full length resizing may not be necessary depending on the type of gun. Once the case is fireformed to the chamber, its very likely you will have more consistent accuracy with only neck sizing. Now if I'm shooting any autofeeder - yeah, FL. But my single shots prefer neck only over FL.

I clean my brass I use for accuracy each time. I also check dimensions and trim if necessary. ...pretty much the basics. I hand measure powder only - so the error I may have would have been my fault.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Never heard of anyone seating bullets halfway and turning them 180 degrees.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

In addition to all of the above I also neck turn my cases. It unforms the neck wall thickness. Each bullet is held and "released" with the same tension.

Jeff
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Old October 13th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

I'm with most of the people here, I clean my brass every shooting. On my precision bolt guns, I neck size, until I have to FL resize. I debur flash holes, uniform primer pockets, etc. I guess I'm bad, but I don't go into weighing all my brass, or weighing all of my bullets. With the bullets it's not much of an issue because I've always found the Berger's to be very close to spec. We're talking the bullets usually +/- .1 grains, sometimes a bit more, but not usually. Obviously this can vary by lot, which machine made the bullet, etc. I have some friends that I reload with where I sometimes check runout, but it's not typical for me. I throw loads and trickle to .1 grains of my load.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Just wanted to clerify, I didn't mention tumbling after every firing in the OP, but I do clean after every firing. Thought that one was a given....

Quote:
Originally Posted by knight0334 View Post
Full length resizing may not be necessary depending on the type of gun. Once the case is fireformed to the chamber, its very likely you will have more consistent accuracy with only neck sizing. Now if I'm shooting any autofeeder - yeah, FL. But my single shots prefer neck only over FL.

I clean my brass I use for accuracy each time. I also check dimensions and trim if necessary. ...pretty much the basics. I hand measure powder only - so the error I may have would have been my fault.
I had mentioned in the OP that I only FL size with new brass, after that I neck size only.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderw0lf View Post
Never heard of anyone seating bullets halfway and turning them 180 degrees.
This I do because without a really good die, like a Redding comp seater, there can be run out with the seater plug in the die and rotating helps* to even out any runout that a stardard die might have. Have I tested the validity of this, no. Do I have a run out guage to check this, no. I just read it somewhere and got into the habit of it. Like I was saying I really need to get the redding comp seater .

And a meplat trimmer, and a run out guage, and a sinclair chamber tool, and a neck turner, and..........

YB
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Last edited by YBNORMAL; October 13th, 2010 at 03:28 PM. Reason: clerify
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Old October 13th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Reloading for precision accuracy, what steps do you take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YBNORMAL View Post
The meplat trimming is something I have been looking into. I guess I am stuck at a place where I am getting deminishing returns on the time spent. Maybe at this point I should be putting money into the rifle, like a better trigger or barrel or getting the action trued up. Certainly more trigger time as well.

As far as the ideal trim length, I have not heard of the Sinclair tool that you speak of, but it sounds like the answer to my issue. I can't get the bullet out to the rifling, not even close, without having too little bearing surface in the neck. I will have to look around for that, thanks!

YB
I think that if you're getting 1/4 MOA accuracy or so, particularly with 5 shot groups, I wouldn't be that worried about much more accuracy. I mean when you start annealing brass, turning necks, checking run out, etc. You really really start putting a lot of time into playing with your brass. Usually just in time spent, it's better to get quality brass and save you some of the steps you were doing before like cleaning up flash holes, primer pockets, etc. You usually spend more time cleaning up the cheaper brass, than if you just got some quality brass and start with the more dedicated brass prep there. Either way, I think if you're shooting in an environment where you have the potential to lose brass, you're REALLY reaching dying gains, because when you start losing the brass that you spent so much time prepping, it SUCKS.

What bullets are you shooting, and what weight? Not all bullets needs to be seated in the lands for accuracy. There's plenty of bullets that prefer a little jump. I never started needs to seat bullets into the lands until I got into some of the heavier and longer bullets like my 190 and 210 grain Bergers. Even my 180 grain Accubonds are pretty forgiving about jump tolerance. You also have to remember that some rifles are "long throated", which is common in Weatherby's, and other rifles that are "related" to them. There's been certain models and years where Remington put out some 700's that were known for being long throated. Quite a few 90's models 700P's were this way.

What are you trying to accomplish with your rifle, is the main question I would ask you. I mean, it's fun to shoot in the .1's and when the planets align, 0's. Are you truly benefitting if you can get that kind of accuracy? I'd be real content if every time I sat down to shoot a group I put 5 inside of .25". On a good day I can do it, on a bad day, lol, not a chance. If your goal is to shoot long range, I can honestly tell you that .1 or even .2" of extra accuracy at 100 yards isn't really going to get you very far. You'll be much better off spending time behind the trigger, working on your fundamentals, and learning to read wind, and gathering good dope.

If LR shooting is your goal, your groups at 100 yards mean very little. Sure your groups matter, and it's always nice to have a .25 MOA rifle, as opposed to a .5 MOA rifle @100 yards; but you still have to consider some other things. You have to start looking at how the bullets your shooting group at 300 yards, and considering your velocities and wind drift values. Which bullet does better for the conditions that you'll predominantly be shooting in. You REALLY have to consider your SD's and ES's. Lots of reloaders don't even own a chronograph, which is fine if they're staying in safe parameters, but for serious LR guys, you have to own one or have access to one when making loads. It sometimes takes a lot of work to find a powder that will work with your load, give you the velocities that you want, and still stay within the SD's and ES's that you want. At long range, if you don't have these low enough, you'll start missing targets just from differences in your ammunition, not even related to shooter error. You also have to look at this in relative terms (percentage of variation vs. velocity). Because in cartridges like some of the magnums, the numbers may look greater overall, but when you break them down to percentages, the magnum may has less variation relative to the velocity.

Either way, I think watching your SD's and ES's, is maybe where you should start working if you want to tweak your load. Striving for breaking the .25's isn't going to get you nearly as far if you want to shoot long range. As you stated, you might like to put more money into the rifle, and more spent primers. If you're not wanting to shoot BR competitions, not much point in have less than a .2 MOA rifle, unless you just want to brag.
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