Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Reloading equipment, methods, load data, powder and projectile information.

Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by gladstone10001 » 12 Jun 2021, 12:38 pm

Hi guys,
Am new to reloading and would appreciate your advice. I am interested in getting Hornady 178Gr ELD-X Hunting bullets to group better in my Sako S20 30-06 (1:11 twist). I purchased the Hornady ELD-X cartridges which are premium but found that they did not group well with my rifle ~1.4inch groups. I would like to understand that if I had my heart set on these projectiles will reloading allow me to tweak up and down the loads so that they will group significantly better (sub-moa) or should I presume that given these are premium cartridges that my barrel just doesn't like that size/weight of projectile?

Thanks for your help.

Andrew
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by AZZA'S HJ47 » 12 Jun 2021, 8:53 pm

Pick a powder to use probably ar2208 work on a ocw (optimum charge weight) in 0.3grain increments i usually set the bullet 20thou off the lands and usually find something that shoots under a inch easily if not half moa. It can be a fiddly game but well worth the effort. I have found that the 168g proj seem to be the sweet spot for most of my 30 cal rifles and anything I've played around with.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Peter988 » 12 Jun 2021, 9:29 pm

Have a read of this.

https://www.shootingsoftware.com/barrel.htm

It was explained much simpler in my old reloading book back in the early 70’s. My understanding is that the barrel essentially vibrates as the projectile passes along it. Reloading allows you to minimally change loads to find one that will leave the barrel at the same point of vibration each time. Best one will give best group. That my simple understanding. The experts will probably shoot me down(excuse the pun) or explain it better.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Oldbloke » 12 Jun 2021, 10:13 pm

Yes, generally you improve accuracy by reloading. Both my 30.06s like 150 to 180gr bullets with AR2208 behind it. My 3 centre fires are all abt 20 though off the lands. In all cases a tad under MOA for 4 shot groups.

As Azza said, start at the low end and work up abt 0.3gr at a time. Watch for pressure

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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by deye243 » 12 Jun 2021, 10:28 pm

How long is that projectile.....in inchs please
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by gladstone10001 » 13 Jun 2021, 6:35 am

Thanks for the great info and replies - really comprehensive. Does this mean that through reloading you can get a barrel to perform with all projectile weight classes (150,165,180,200)?
I see that
My barrel likes 150 and some 180 cartridges but I’d love to get it to a point where I have hand loads for the breadth of what the 3006 can take ie from 110 upto 220? Want to understand if this is possible through reloading or if I’m limited by what my barrel will like.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Oldbloke » 13 Jun 2021, 6:56 am

Depends on twist rates. But very generally 110 are not as accurate as 150gr. There are no guarantees.

https://bergerbullets.com/twist-rate-calculator/
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by bladeracer » 13 Jun 2021, 8:16 am

gladstone10001 wrote:Thanks for the great info and replies - really comprehensive. Does this mean that through reloading you can get a barrel to perform with all projectile weight classes (150,165,180,200)?
I see that
My barrel likes 150 and some 180 cartridges but I’d love to get it to a point where I have hand loads for the breadth of what the 3006 can take ie from 110 upto 220? Want to understand if this is possible through reloading or if I’m limited by what my barrel will like.


Generally, yes. But sometimes a barrel simply won't like a particular bullet, regardless of its weight and length.
A member here bought a .30-06 specifically for 180gn loads, but couldn't get any bullet to group well at all, while 150gn bullets were just fine. Sent it back and the distributor found they couldn't get it to group 180's either, so he got a refund and bought a different model.

It's a good idea to try some different bullets for testing before deciding which you're going to use.

You could look at 150gn monolithic brass or copper bullets. The bullet is significantly lighter than a copper-jacketed lead bullet of similar length, which might alter the barrel harmonics just enough. Being more precisely engineered, they generally have better terminal performance, so it's common to drop back to a lower weight monolithic, with the added benefit of making more velocity.

The 178gn ELDM is 1.420" long, the 150gn TSX is 1.283", the 150gn TTSX is 1.300".
Bullet length determines stability, not bullet weight.

The only way to determine if your rifle will shoot 100gn bullets equally as well as 240gn is to try them.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Downunder » 13 Jun 2021, 8:36 am

Lots of variables when attempting to tighten groups.
Hand loading is but one, albeit an important one but personally I‘d try some different factory ammo and if the groups remain > MOA look at the rifle bedding etc prior to load development.
Bullet manufactures provide specs and data including recommended barrel TR’s for stability, most are available with a web search.

My take, yes hand loading and all it’s intricacies (which there are many beyond a charge) can change consistency in a firearm that’s up to expectations.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Blr243 » 13 Jun 2021, 8:47 am

I have seen some ppu factory ammo groups quite average but other calibre factory ammo in ppu Shoot cloverleaf groups
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by LawrenceA » 13 Jun 2021, 9:20 am

What everyone else said is true.
However as the gun is new and we have little to say how much experience you have may I ask, How many rounds have been through the rifle? How many rounds have you put through the rifle?
Are you sure the scope and barrel are screwed on tight but not too tight?
Have you tried different ammunition to see if the rifle is capable of sub MOA with factory ammo? Have you tried Sako ammo?
Also have to ask. Do you need sub MOA? Yes the rifle should be capable.


After all that when you do reload do not be surprised if the groups go to a different point.As mentioned this is barrel harmonics. Strangely the most accurate groups usually shoot low but tight compared to others.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGyWNQpG6-Q
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by straightshooter » 13 Jun 2021, 11:08 am

gladstone10001 wrote:Hi guys,
Am new to reloading and would appreciate your advice. I am interested in getting Hornady 178Gr ELD-X Hunting bullets to group better in my Sako S20 30-06 (1:11 twist). I purchased the Hornady ELD-X cartridges which are premium but found that they did not group well with my rifle ~1.4inch groups. I would like to understand that if I had my heart set on these projectiles will reloading allow me to tweak up and down the loads so that they will group significantly better (sub-moa) or should I presume that given these are premium cartridges that my barrel just doesn't like that size/weight of projectile?

Thanks for your help.

Andrew


To my way of thinking 1.4" groups, if reliable and repeatable, are quite acceptable for a hunting configuration particularly one intended for bigger game such as you have.
Now I have had recent first hand exposure to Hornady branded ammunition in 7mm08 that grouped 3"-4" at 50 meters out of a rifle that would easily do 1/2" with other ammunition at that range. I have also heard of problems with other Hornady branded ammunition in recent times.
First thing you must grapple with is what is the repeatable accuracy of your rifle/scope/shooting environment with other brands of ammunition?
If accuracy is poor or unacceptable with all types then you must consider your rifle/scope/shooting environment's contribution to the problem.
At the very outset I suggest you obtain a reloading manual (book) from any of the established bullet makers and read and understand the description of the end to end reloading process. They are all pretty good with detail.
That will equip you to better understand and filter advice you may glean from forums.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Oldbloke » 13 Jun 2021, 2:09 pm

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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by bladeracer » 13 Jun 2021, 2:18 pm

straightshooter wrote:
gladstone10001 wrote:To my way of thinking 1.4" groups, if reliable and repeatable, are quite acceptable for a hunting configuration particularly one intended for bigger game such as you have.
Now I have had recent first hand exposure to Hornady branded ammunition in 7mm08 that grouped 3"-4" at 50 meters out of a rifle that would easily do 1/2" with other ammunition at that range. I have also heard of problems with other Hornady branded ammunition in recent times.
First thing you must grapple with is what is the repeatable accuracy of your rifle/scope/shooting environment with other brands of ammunition?
If accuracy is poor or unacceptable with all types then you must consider your rifle/scope/shooting environment's contribution to the problem.
At the very outset I suggest you obtain a reloading manual (book) from any of the established bullet makers and read and understand the description of the end to end reloading process. They are all pretty good with detail.
That will equip you to better understand and filter advice you may glean from forums.


Assuming that's at 100m, I would agree, for a .30-06 from medium to large game that is perfectly acceptable accuracy.
If you're using it for rabbits and foxes you'd want to improve it though.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by gladstone10001 » 13 Jun 2021, 2:23 pm

Hi guys - thanks for all the detailed responses.
LawrenceA - have put about 100 rounds through rifle. Have tried about 7/8 different factory loads including 2-3 different Sako rounds. The Sako Hammerheads grouped sub Moa (180gr) as did the Sellier & Bellot 180gr which grouped even better. Other ammo brands and weights not as well. 150gr federals also grouped sub-Moa. All scope, mounts etc appropriately tightened. What I am wanting to achieve is to extend the distance and ballistic performance of cartridges for the rifle. The Hornady rounds I referenced have a higher velocity and terminal distance but didn’t group aswell as I would like so am hoping to see if I can improve the projectile grouping but maintain velocity and distance capabilities of the projectile through reloading. I am also looking to see if I can do the same for different weight bullets that had not necessarily grouped as well from factory loads such as 150gr and 220gr. More just trying to see if reloading allows a rifle to perform with all bullet weights. The Sako has a 1:11 twist rate. Hope this helps in response and thank you everyone for taking the time to respond.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by gladstone10001 » 13 Jun 2021, 2:27 pm

Thanks Straightshooter, Oldbloke and Peter988 for links.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Oldbloke » 13 Jun 2021, 2:55 pm

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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by bladeracer » 13 Jun 2021, 4:02 pm

gladstone10001 wrote:Hi guys - thanks for all the detailed responses.
LawrenceA - have put about 100 rounds through rifle. Have tried about 7/8 different factory loads including 2-3 different Sako rounds. The Sako Hammerheads grouped sub Moa (180gr) as did the Sellier & Bellot 180gr which grouped even better. Other ammo brands and weights not as well. 150gr federals also grouped sub-Moa. All scope, mounts etc appropriately tightened. What I am wanting to achieve is to extend the distance and ballistic performance of cartridges for the rifle. The Hornady rounds I referenced have a higher velocity and terminal distance but didn’t group aswell as I would like so am hoping to see if I can improve the projectile grouping but maintain velocity and distance capabilities of the projectile through reloading. I am also looking to see if I can do the same for different weight bullets that had not necessarily grouped as well from factory loads such as 150gr and 220gr. More just trying to see if reloading allows a rifle to perform with all bullet weights. The Sako has a 1:11 twist rate. Hope this helps in response and thank you everyone for taking the time to respond.


I stumbled on the thread I mentioned from a Google search - https://enoughgun.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11030

If you are wanting to shoot live targets at long ranges there are a few different options. Keep in mind that even a 180gn .550BC bullet at 2800fps is going to be below its design velocity (1600-1800fps) by about 700m max - it becomes an FMJ at that point. Lighter bullets, lower BC and lower velocity will reduce this range further.

I've been working on my own bullet database so these are some options you could look at.
Berger would be my first choice if you can find them.

Hornady
178gn ELDX 1.420" G1 552 G7 278
178gn ELDM 1.320" G1 547 G7 275
200gn ELDX 1.530" G1 597 G7 301 - (I suspect this will be too long for an 11"-twist, but stability calculators seem to okay it. Barnes specify 10"-twist for their 1.571" 190gn LRX).

Barnes
168gn TSX 1.318" G1 404
168gn TTSX 1.406" G1 470
175gn LRX 1.472" G1 508 - 11"-twist specified
180gn TTSX 1.488" G1 484 - 11"-twist specified
180gn TSX 1.389" G1 553

Berger
180gn Elite Hunter 1.375" G1 576 G7 295
190gn VLD Hunting 1.371" G1 566 G7 290 - 11"-twist specified
205gn Elite Hunter 1.487" G1 631 G7 324 - 11"-twist specified
210gn VLD Hunting 1.470" G1 625 G7 320 - 11"-twist specified

Nosler
168gn ETip 1.400" G1 503
180gn ETip 1.464" G1 523
180gn Partition Spitzer 1.260" G1 474
180gn SilverTip 1.360" G1 507
180gn Ballistic Tip 1.360" G1 507
200gn Partition Spitzer 1.350" G1 481

Sierra
180gn Gameking 1.288" BC 501 @ 2700 fps and above 506 between 2700 and 1700 fps 505 @ 1700 fps and below
180gn Tipped GameKing Length not known BC 515 @ 2100 fps and above 480 between 1680 and 2100 fps 445 @ 1680 fps and below
200gn Tipped Gameking 1.400" BC 560 @ 2600 fps and above 552 between 2600 and 2300 fps 555 between 2300 and 1900 fps 560 @ 1900 fps and below

Speer
168gn GoldDot 1.153" G1 572
172gn Impact Length not known G1 522
180gn SPBT 1.282" G1 540
190gn Impact Length not known G1 596
200gn HotCore 1.270" G1 556

Woodleigh (Woodleigh have blunt points and a high minimum terminal velocity of 2000fps which makes them relatively short-range bullets)

180gn 65D PPSP 1.190" 435
200gn 65E PPSP 1.278" G1 450
240gn 65G PPSP 1.428" G1 401
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by gladstone10001 » 13 Jun 2021, 4:34 pm

Wow Bladeracer - this is excellent information and looks like it will save a lot of trial and error. Really appreciate it.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by LawrenceA » 13 Jun 2021, 4:35 pm

1:11 should be fine for 180 grain lead core pills.
Generally the heavier pills need to be pushed harder than light ones and ore case capacity is better than less(but not always).
Also generally the heavier the pill the slower the powder for optimum performance. But not always.
You are probably able to get better accuracy with reloads then factory but it is not guaranteed.
You are more likely to be able to get better performance from any bullet weight reloading then from factory but it is not guaranteed.
100 rounds is not many in a new barrel and it may take a few more till it reaches its peak.

At the end of the day only trial and error will tell you.

Depending on distance then 1.4moa may be suitable and for ELR velocity usually trumps sub MOA close performance.

That Mauser is a really nice looking rig. Looks like it should perform well.
One well placed shot is all it takes.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by bladeracer » 13 Jun 2021, 5:03 pm

gladstone10001 wrote:Wow Bladeracer - this is excellent information and looks like it will save a lot of trial and error. Really appreciate it.


I put together a large spreadsheet of all the bullets I could find commonly available a few years ago, but lost it in a drive crash.
I've been doing it again, but this time I'm doing separate spreadsheets for each manufacturer to hopefully avoid losing it all again.

It won't allow me to attach it so I'll probably make it available from an external site, if I get it finished :-)
This is the Berger Bullets Open Office spreadsheet - https://www.mediafire.com/file/pey5ljwlmavcv16/Berger_bullets.ods/file
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Oldbloke » 13 Jun 2021, 5:19 pm

"Depending on distance then 1.4moa may be suitable and for ELR velocity usually trumps sub MOA close performance.

That Mauser is a really nice looking rig. Looks like it should perform well.
One well placed shot is all it takes."
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I agree. You don't normally shoot rabbits with a 30.06.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Cooper » 13 Jun 2021, 8:29 pm

I’ve loaded the 178 EldX in 30 06 with AR2209 with around 1 moa at 100 metres performance. Rifle was Tikka lite. Never tried the factory loaded offering. Quite interested that more than one person has suggested AR2208 for the 30 06. I kinda though ar2209 would be the goto powder for a 30 06
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by Oldbloke » 13 Jun 2021, 9:04 pm

Thought I posted this earlier.

30.06.jpg
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Yep, 2209 does have advantages esp heavier bullets.
But 2208 is more versatile
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by JohnV » 13 Jun 2021, 10:33 pm

I remember spending 6 months talking to a German guy about his accuracy problems and no matter what was changed nothing got that much better . Until I saw a picture of his hopeless rickety bench system and a video of his horrific flinch and totally wrong shooting setup and style . The moral is don't just look at the gun , the load or the ammo . The most accurate rifle combo in the world will shoot badly in bad hands . So also look at how you are shooting , how you are setting up , If you already have 1.4 inch grouping then maybe also start checking and polishing your shooting style and setup . A lot of shooters loose tight grouping under recoil , because the shooting style and setup is not so good . It can't hurt to tune the shooter also .
I'm not convinced that 11 twist is fast enough and at longer ranges it may be no good .
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by SCJ429 » 17 Jun 2021, 9:41 am

The ELDX can shoot respectable groups but can benefit from batching for ogive length. What speeds are you getting and what is the SD, standard deviation?

Try a jump test from near jam to over 100 thou jump.

Are you using magnum primers?

More magnification can assist, if you are using a low power scope it is more difficult. Try 50x.

Use quality brass, Hornady brass is not the best.

Are you using wind flags, sometimes you shoot a great group because you get some good conditions. Then you think it is because the load is great. As someone else said, the groups must be repeatable.
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Re: Reloading to Improve projectile grouping

Post by JohnV » 03 Jul 2021, 2:08 pm

I have never found magnum primers to give noticeably better accuracy in a light 30-06 in my case . I find that due to them being more powerful and having greater grit penetration they also have wider pressure and flash variations . I found the mild Federal 210 primer to be slightly more accurate in the medium burning rate powders but really hard to quantify on the targets . However if you are really jamming in a lot of very slow powder then a magnum could be better . The funny thing is in my 243 the Winchester primer is noticeably more accurate than the Federal 210 but in my 308 the Federal is better , Go figure I can't work it out . There is more going on with the variations in load combinations than we can account for at the home reloading level . I load the 243 well up because that's where it shoots best but the 308 a bit down where it shoots best . Either Winchester , Federal or Magnum shoot about the same in the 30-06 and I can't see the difference as the recoil is greater and the group size is bigger than the others so it's not easy to tell , but then I find Remington 7 1/2 best in my 223 . It can't hurt to try a few different primers something may stand out .
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