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Reloading tolerances.

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303 Hunter View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 09 2020 at 7:22pm
A question for those that reload. What tolerances do you keep your powder charge, seating depth, and such?
The Lee Enfield is to the Canadian north what the Winchester repeater was to the American west.   Cal Bablitz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 6:15am
I'm not sure I understand the question. For my reloading process (which is admittedly primitive) once I set my RCBS powder measurer to the charge I want (confirm on my RCBS 5-0-5 scale) I usually charge about 20 sized, camphered and primed cases. Perhaps recheck every 5th charge on the scale. (Empty powder from cartridge). Seating depth? I'll back off my RCBS die so I know I won't over seat. I'll then, in small increments, set the to the OAL desired by checking with my calipers after every move. So I guess the tolerances would be +/- whatever each component has built into it. Does that make sense and sort of answer your question?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 7:20am
Powders +/- 1/10Gr Out of a 38~42 Gr load depending on the powder used.
Seating depth +/- 2 thou. Its what my Hornady New dimension die with the micrometer stem is capable of.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 7:55am
Some powders meeter better than others.  I will generally throw charges from the measure into the case.  For long stick powders like 3031 and 4064, I will sometimes weigh each charge.  Powders like 4895, Varget, Re 15, N140, Norma 202, will generally drop from my measure within +/- 0.1 grains, but sometimes to +/- 0.2 gr.  Ball powders generally have no measurable variation as thrown from the measure. 

In tests for accuracy at 200 yards comparing charges weighed and trickled powder to bring the load up to the target weight (xx.x grains) has made no difference in accuracy to charges thrown from the measure.

At 1000 yards, I suspect you would see a difference in accuracy (elevation spread) between weight charges and thrown charges.     


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 10:12am
I did an experiment a while back.
I loaded 2 batches of ammunition.
Bullets & cases were the same as were primers & powder.
BUT.
I loaded one set to "match" standards. For them I weighed & sorted both bullets & brass, case volumes were checked with water & so on. The powder was "dropped short" from a meter & brought up to the final weight with a trickler.
Cases also had the primer pockets & flash holes uniformed, & bullets were seated with the old seat half way, rotate 180° & finish seating.
The other batch were just cleaned, checked for OAL & metered powder dropped to full weight & bullets seated in one go.
There were very slight differences in uniformity & group sizes, but not enough to justify all the extra work IMO. Maybe if I was shooting at greater range it would have been more obvious & I might have done more work with it.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 11:17am
Shamu,  I did a similar exercise a few months back and posted the results on the reloading forum.  At 200 yards shooting prone there was no statistical difference in group extreme spread or score on the target.  I would expect a noticeable difference in the group vertical spread at the long ranges (beyond 600 yards) due to the expected higher spread in muzzle velocity.  

It is a common consensus of the high power rifle and service rifle match shooters here in the US that weighing all charges is of no benefit at short and medium ranges (up to 600 yards).  I’d expect that F-Class and Bench Rest shooters would most likely weigh all charges.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 11:40am
Powder is 0.1 grain +/- from a Lyman electronic doser. Bullet OAL is set on the reloading rig and to be honest, I've not rechecked it recently. cases are trimmed to the max length 2.222"
I think that once you've found a suitable load and bullet combination for your rifle; the most important thing to work on,  to improve accuracy and regularity; is the shooter!

I know that I can load a reasonably good load for my rifles; but the majority of errors on target are probably all me! I have been trying to improve; but don't get enough range time to see the improvement that I desire. That's an unfortunate consequence of family life.  Also my club has been closed for large calibre rifle since last year and requires extra work before we get the large calibre back. So my second club which has a 200 metre range is an hour away. So it's a full morning gone from the weekend. 
I've actually given up shooting my test loads from a rest; because I really need to work on my regularity. I've also stopped looking through the spotting scope after every round. I now fire 5, then check through the scope. But not having someone to spot for me means that I can't confirm if I've called a bad shot correctly. a friend uses a camera at the target to record the impacts when he practices. I'm thinking thats a good idea to analyse your target and errors etc. Has anyone else used this technique?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 1:21pm
I agree with Zed.  Primary source of error is the shooter.  The time spent weighing out charges is better spent at the range.  

I’m very fortunate to have access to instrumented target frames and a monitor display at the firing point.  No need for a spotting scope.  No need to close the firing line to check/paste/replace targets.  I suspect over time, the bigger ranges will go to this system, it is a very significant time saver.  

It’s tough to make progress with shooting anything less than one day a week.  I have found that being able to accurately call your shots is a necessary skill to enable improvement. 

Now, if your only going to load 50 or 100 rounds a year, by all means, weigh every charge, trim your brass to all the same length, etc...  But when your loading 100 to 200 rounds a week, this will take considerable time.  

On cartridge overall length, there is not much you can do here.  The bullet seating stem should not make contact at the bullet tip, and some bullets like the open point match bullets will have inconsistent sized points (meplat), and you should expect variations in COL, don’t try to seat them to all the same length (case head to bullet tip).


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 2:00pm
I think its worth mentioning that seating depth isn't accurately measured by COAL, but by distance to give.
I switched to one of those gauges for measuring from the ogive & the variation (with no other changes) dropped by about 30%!
Remember you seating die doesn't bear on the meplat, but closer to the ogive!
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 2:25pm
Correct. But for our rifles, I doubt seating depth variations will make much difference.  The throats are generally quite long.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 4:57pm
Case preparations are a necessity for me, as is an exacting measure in powder for each case prepped. Seating depth is set as per individual bullet weight per specific reloading sources. 
I only see range time once a week and typically expend 100 rounds a session.  For me personally,  I have found better accuracy with very little to no fliers since I spend the little extra time it takes to weigh out each charge per case while using specified seating depths for a particular bullet. A few tests i have done with chronographed groups show a significant decrease in muzzle velocity fluctuations as well. One round in particular, I have a very noticeable reduction in my MOA's and I associate that with my reloading regime.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stumpkiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 6:22pm
1/10 of a grain for powder.  0.001" for lengths and dimensions.  Run-out I try to keep under 0.002", though I usually only spot check as my dies have proven to be pretty consistent.

BUT - with my 0.303 I am much less fastidious.  I take the same care in measuring every powder load to 1/10 grain (with a balance beam so it may be better - but that's what Ohaus guarantees) and I only load one projectile so the dies stay set session to session.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 7:31pm
I once ran a test in my Long Branch No. 4 Mk 1/3 with increasing powder charges in 0.5 grain increments.  10 shot groups at each increment recording the group MPI and C-C extreme spread.   I was quite surprised at the small variation of group mean point of impact.  Try it sometime, you may also be surprised.  I was getting less than 0.1 inches change in MPI at 100 yards per 0.1 grains. I’ll dig out my notes and give the exact results.  If you are loading for hunting applications, you should not be worrying about a 0.1 inch deviation at 100 yards, human error is a much larger player.

At longer ranges, the LE action has an interesting feature, the rifle seems to self “compensate” for muzzle velocity variations.  Slow bullets leave at a higher angle of departure and fast bullets leave at a lower angle of departure.  The fast and slow bullets meet at the same point of impact at longer ranges, at approx 800 yards.  I’ve noticed elevation spreads at 600 yards are better (in MOA) than they are at 200 yards. This is what made the LE rifle a formidable Rifle at long range in the Palma Matches.  

By all means, if you are capable of shooting sub-MOA 10 shot groups with iron sights unsupported in the prone position, weigh all charges, your are not the limiting factor in accuracy, it is likely your rifle and loads that are the limiting factor.  I’ve not reached that level and probably lay never will.  

I will also add that some competitive shooters will weigh all charges because it eliminates the uncertainty, and this can erode self confidence.  It’s a very real factor in competition.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 10 2020 at 8:24pm
I cannot find an old Speer ballistics chart I have. It showed a 180 Spitzer dropping 108" at 300 yards and a 150 SP dropping 152" at the same 300 yards. Both .311 diameter. That is after a 150 yard zero. Both bullets jumping 2" at 25 yards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2020 at 12:02am
Originally posted by Zed Zed wrote:

the most important thing to work on,  to improve accuracy and regularity; is the shooter!

Totally second that!! "Practice makes perfect" as they rightfully say Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2020 at 12:08am
Originally posted by Zed Zed wrote:


I've actually given up shooting my test loads from a rest; because I really need to work on my regularity. I've also stopped looking through the spotting scope after every round. I now fire 5, then check through the scope. But not having someone to spot for me means that I can't confirm if I've called a bad shot correctly. a friend uses a camera at the target to record the impacts when he practices. I'm thinking thats a good idea to analyse your target and errors etc. Has anyone else used this technique?

I also noticed for myself that my sequences and my groupings were more consistent if I was not looking through the scope after every shot.  Just shoot a couple on a different target to make sure I'm on paper then start shooting my 5-rounds or 10-rounds sequences before checking the group.
I don't know if filming the sequence of impacts does actually help....and it's another piece of gear to set up as well...
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