Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

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Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 31 Jul 2020, 6:43 pm

Hey all,

How many shots on average would it take you to find your sweet spot and call your load dev complete.

Lemme know the # of shots and the calibre(s) and/or if you are willing- what the $ cost was.
Regards,

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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by bladeracer » 31 Jul 2020, 7:37 pm

Jarhead wrote:Hey all,

How many shots on average would it take you to find your sweet spot and call your load dev complete.

Lemme know the # of shots and the calibre(s) and/or if you are willing- what the $ cost was.


Depends on the firearm and the cartridge, and what level of precision you consider acceptable.

A lot of my rifles I load a random medium load and if shoots acceptably I don't bother trying to improve it.

The cost doesn't come into it, it's all trigger time, including load development, just enjoy the shooting.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by in2anity » 31 Jul 2020, 8:32 pm

2 sighters. Did you shoot comp in the marines?
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by marksman » 31 Jul 2020, 8:40 pm

all calibers
if l get lucky 5 sighters, 10 over the chrony to check for flat spot, 15 load development and 5 to verify
if the recipe is not right for the precision l'm after it could be that again

my 22 dasher was less and so was my 6mm dasher because of data already known
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Noisydad » 31 Jul 2020, 8:52 pm

Took me two whole years of messing around with Black powder loads and lubes for my .40-65 Sharps. It was so much fun it got me addicted to BP shooting lol
There's still a few of Wile. E Coyote's ideas that I haven't tried yet.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by in2anity » 31 Jul 2020, 8:55 pm

Oh hah oops just realized he was talking about walking the ladder, not zeroing. I’ve probably had one too many beers.

OP 10 shot groups. Let her cool. Take a backup gun to kill time while it cools. Ladder test once, .3gr-ish increments. Then move on. Unless you’re shooting bench or F. Of which I know nothing about (the required precision to compete)

Just my 2c.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by deye243 » 31 Jul 2020, 10:28 pm

Wheres the popcorn
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by on_one_wheel » 31 Jul 2020, 10:44 pm

I generally take around 50 shots to find something im happy with.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by JimTom » 01 Aug 2020, 7:40 am

Mate I will shoot my test loads in groups of three. Generally six or eight loads depending on cartridge.
From that I reload the most promising two loads and shoot two or three more groups to decide which one is the keeper.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 01 Aug 2020, 8:16 am

Thanks All!

in2anity,

We qualified every year, which is sort of a comp with points towards promotion as a reward. I was in for 8 years total, and qualified 5 times (desert shield and desert storm and other ops took precedence over qualification a few times) as a rifle expert.

I didn't do much target shooting. I wish I had the gear that I have now instead of the service weapons. They were OK, but now the gear is so much better! I would change out the trigger, bolt and upper + hand loading every round and get some insane accuracy.

deye243,

Popcorn? You let that one off 2 MOA high- it went right over my head. Whaddya mean?
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by TassieTiger » 01 Aug 2020, 8:22 am

Think he means it’s an open ended question...like - does it ever really stop? I’ve got a 260 thst shoots very nicely but now I’m trying variations of all manner of things - to see what happens - etc.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by SCJ429 » 01 Aug 2020, 9:29 am

As others have said it depends.

If you are experienced and using known components that work in a accurate case like a 6mmBR, you could run your barrel in and do some load testing in one session and have your barrel shooting in the 0.100.

Or you are starting out and use a lesser known case and want to test four different bullets, three different powders and two different primers, you could shoot the barrel out before getting a decent result.

For a guy with half a clue, you should be able to do a ladder test, then load test some powder weights, then use that load to do a jump test and have a pretty good idea of the rifles potential all in less that 100 rounds.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Peter988 » 01 Aug 2020, 9:56 am

With the new 223 I loaded 5 each at 23.5 gr, 24, 24.5 and 25. Went out and tested. All shot pretty much MOA. The 23.5 was marginally better so that’s what I use. I don’t go to a range. Hunting only so I don’t need to go to any finer degree than that.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Oldbloke » 01 Aug 2020, 1:31 pm

Peter988 wrote:With the new 223 I loaded 5 each at 23.5 gr, 24, 24.5 and 25. Went out and tested. All shot pretty much MOA. The 23.5 was marginally better so that’s what I use. I don’t go to a range. Hunting only so I don’t need to go to any finer degree than that.


My 223 was pretty much identical. Depends how fussy you are.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by deanp100 » 01 Aug 2020, 7:58 pm

It’s taken me 40 years to try and dial in some of my guns. s**t I enjoyed it. I still am.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by in2anity » 01 Aug 2020, 8:22 pm

Now I'm not trying to start a flame-war, people like shooting bugholes, and I respect that. But I just want to add bit of perspective - some people i compete with regularly (service/fullbore guys) literally do not know what a "ladder test" is. They look at you blankly when you use such terminology. Variables like charge weight are tweaked after weeks, if not months of comps, whereby you get a "feel" for what's good for your rifle/load/application. And let me tell you, it's not in jumps of 0.1gr, more like 1gr.

There are old blokes in my club, who have never done "load development" so to speak. Yet you could bet your bottom dollar they will shoot your pants off, using like-for-like gear. I once had a chat with Commo Silver medalist Jim Bailey, and he literally told that a half grain either side of a node won't make much of a difference, when you consider all the other factors that go into consistently hitting the V's way way out there, on a fullbore range. Better to keep variable changes to a minimum. A "full case of this" or "try this powder" is more than enough of a change to stomach for such guys, which happens rarely.

Now, I totally acknowledge that for Benchrest or F-class, precision reloading really becomes a big factor when competing. I am far from dissing that requirement. That is the essence of those styles. But, for the rest of us, including lots of other different flavors of comp, once your load is "good enough", you move on. For me, at this point in time, precise changes in charge weight are the least of my concerns.

Horses for courses. :drinks:
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Apollo » 01 Aug 2020, 8:40 pm

Don't know about others but "Jarhead" can you please explain what "dial in a rifle" means...???

Is this some USA Military Jargon for "sighting in", "load development" or just playing with new factory loads. No idea..??

Reasonably sure I know what "Jarhead" means.... :D You go into the military and they put a Jar on your head and shave the rest of the hair off that sticks out.. :unknown: Maybe.... Cold ears... :huh:

It seems to me that others are answering various ideas of what you may be asking and we'll end up going in circles.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by SCJ429 » 02 Aug 2020, 11:26 am

in2anity wrote:There are old blokes in my club, who have never done "load development" so to speak. Yet you could bet your bottom dollar they will shoot your pants off, using like-for-like gear. I once had a chat with Commo Silver medalist Jim Bailey, and he literally told that a half grain either side of a node won't make much of a difference, when you consider all the other factors that go into consistently hitting the V's way way out there, on a fullbore range. Better to keep variable changes to a minimum. A "full case of this" or "try this powder" is more than enough of a change to stomach for such guys, which happens rarely.

Horses for courses. :drinks:


I have to wonder if the old buggers are trying to put you off your game. They are saying "I don't do any load development and look how well I shoot, so you don't need to do any." Then they go home and batch their projectiles and neck turn their cases.

I have used some as issued Lee Enfields and Mauser 98 that struggle to shoot five inch groups with Army issued ammo. If you add aiming errors and environmental factors into positional shooting, you will have some pretty poor results. Everyone would agree that there is an advantage in shooting a rifle that can shoot 1/2 inch groups over one that shoots five inches. The 1/2 inch grouping rifle will produce better scores all other things being equal.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by in2anity » 02 Aug 2020, 5:07 pm

SCJ429 not just old guys. I know a young bloke who is on track to win championships, both in fullbore and service. He literally formed a brand new club for his uni - do you know how hard it is to do that, in this age of political correctness? He's an absolute freak, one of the most naturally talented shooters i've seen in a long time. And he has literally never shot a gun across a rest, in his entire life. I'm not saying that's me (far far from it, I too like shooting bugholes from time to time, the science behind it is truly motivating), but I'm just throwing this out there, for perspective.

SCJ429 wrote:I have to wonder if the old buggers are trying to put you off your game. They are saying "I don't do any load development and look how well I shoot, so you don't need to do any." Then they go home and batch their projectiles and neck turn their cases.


Sure, the serious fullbore guys do this, but that's at the point end of the spectrum. It's a bell curve, all but the very best cannot realise such precision. So for the rest of us, it's overwhelmingly technique error. That pretty well goes without saying. So overwhemlingly it's not at the the forefront of casual competitors shooters brains - so long as the gun and load is grouping "well enough" to match their skill level / grade, they are focusing on technique.

SCJ429 wrote:I have used some as issued Lee Enfields and Mauser 98 that struggle to shoot five inch groups with Army issued ammo. If you add aiming errors and environmental factors into positional shooting, you will have some pretty poor results. Everyone would agree that there is an advantage in shooting a rifle that can shoot 1/2 inch groups over one that shoots five inches. The 1/2 inch grouping rifle will produce better scores all other things being equal.


It is near enough impossible to hold sub-moa with service rifle sights. You've got to remember, for service rifle details, you are often shooting for hits, rather than scored. Even when you are scored during a deliberate, the 5 ring is a fair bit bigger than 1 minute of angle, so if your gun can genuinely hold a 2-3" group at 100m, that's more than enough to win comps, if you can.

Yes we've been over this before, and I acknowledge that my opinion on the matter is widely criticised around these parts. Heck, I'm expecting various "personalities" to pop up and shoot me down saying that not optimising handloads just "makes no sense". My point is, your hanloading effort should match your application, otherwise it's just wasted effort.

Long and short of it, for hunting or casual positional plinking (my idea of "fun"), if my gun can put them into an inch, then the combo of load and gun is basically performing "better" than I am, out there in the practical shooting world, with improvised stances.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 03 Aug 2020, 10:59 am

Hi Apollo,

Spot on with Jarhead. Ears were either cold or sunburnt. :)

I had that haircut 1989-1997. Semper Fi!

The question was to determine how many shots on average people take to choose an accurate load when undergoing load development. Or, more concisely, I am looking for an average cost of initial load development.

I was a Marine, and am now an amateur shooter. I am also a professional technologist. By trial and error (load development) I have found the right powder charge that matches the barrel harmonics to bullet exit time - I am assuming the change in barrel angle whipping up compensates for the variation in point of impact due to variation in bullet speed. I want to measure these instead of using assumptions and trial and error! You can get a chrono to measure the speed, but I could not find a barrel angle sensor available commercially. So I built a barrel angle sensor that can measure barrel harmonics. Just for fun.......With Covid I have a lot of time on my hands.......

A friend saw it and asked if there is a commercial opportunity for it. I don't think there is. But I thought I would get a sense of the average load development cost as this device has the potential to cut your load development down to one or two rounds- that is what led to the initial question.

I appreciate everyone's responses. It is also good to see all of the posts it generated. There are alot of experienced, knowledgeable people on this forum. We enjoy bantering back and forth- but we are also unwittingly building an impressive knowledge base that future generations of shooters will access to gain insight & that is good to see.
Regards,

Jarhead
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Beretta 680 Special Skeet 12G (1350 fps)
Savage MkII .22 (1040 fps)
1969 Mustang Fastback (227 fps)
Tikka T3 6.5 CM (2660 fps)

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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Peter988 » 03 Aug 2020, 5:55 pm

Professional technologist. Love it. Your not wrong about the experience and knowledge on the Forum. I am just an old time shooter. Never bothered with magazines. Never bothered with going to the range. For 50 years I have just loaded things the same way and gone and shot stuff. Then, in the last year or so, I find this place. Not a day goes by that I don’t get blown away by the knowledge, experience and advice on the site. Some blokes do some seriously impressive stuff. Including building a device to measure barrel harmonics. Amazing.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by TassieTiger » 03 Aug 2020, 6:16 pm

As a person who dabbles in tech - I’m interested in understanding how you’d measure harmonics and at what modulation range ? How would you account for temperature variances - as harmonIt’s in steel must change somewhat based dependent on temp.

I watched in amazement in WA - when a rail worker marked a line to cut the rail head that was a couple inches short and inside an hour, the line had not only crept to the edge of the required weld line - but he had underestimated the creep in the 32% air temp and it had to be redone. A LOT more steel in rail obviously but when measuring resonance, surely it’s a factor?
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by marksman » 03 Aug 2020, 10:37 pm

this might be a good read for you Tassie
http://www.the-long-family.com/OBT_paper.htm
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Oldbloke » 03 Aug 2020, 11:11 pm

TT, I'm scratching my head. The rail story seems to be about the coefficient of expansion for steel. Harmonics is about barrel vibrations/flip. How are they related?
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 04 Aug 2020, 7:51 am

Hey Tassie,

The fundamental of the sensor operation is polarisation. Have you ever looked at a watch or screen wearing polarised lenses? It goes blank sometimes, rotate your head and then you can see it.

I use two sheets of stacked polarised film. Aligned one way, they are clear, rotate one 90 degrees, they block all light. Make one static, attach the other to the barrel. align them at 45 deg so 1/2 the light goes through. Shine a light through the film. Put an optical resistor in the light beam on the other side of the polarised sheets. When you rotate the barrel, the resistance will change. Feed a voltage in across that resistance, and you have a voltage out that varies with barrel angle. Plot that on a digital oscope (I am using a Tekscope THS720) at about 500 us/div- and you can see a clear waveform that shows your barrel harmonics.

There is a lot more nerdy stuff to it- but that describes the measurement method fundamental.
Regards,

Jarhead
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Savage MkII .22 (1040 fps)
1969 Mustang Fastback (227 fps)
Tikka T3 6.5 CM (2660 fps)

The Mustang looks the fastest but it's not.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 04 Aug 2020, 8:05 am

I designed a housing that looks like this- it holds 2 led's one one side, and two opto sensors on the other. The slot in the bottom is where the film attached to the barrel goes. It is upside down in this view- the slot should point upwards when in use.

basv2 housing.png
basv2 housing.png (100.85 KiB) Viewed 190 times


basv2 housing2.png
basv2 housing2.png (104.36 KiB) Viewed 190 times
Regards,

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Beretta 680 Special Skeet 12G (1350 fps)
Savage MkII .22 (1040 fps)
1969 Mustang Fastback (227 fps)
Tikka T3 6.5 CM (2660 fps)

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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 04 Aug 2020, 8:36 am

I have calculated the positive compensation required for a 6.5 Creedmoor at 600 meters- it is .0035 milrad for every foot per second delta in velocity.

I think I am on that part of the curve, due to trial and error results, and soon I will be able to confirm that. I am kind of hoping that it is not.....because then there is another factor at play that I need to learn about and maybe apply some more creative skills to measure........

I need to do some more work first. I know that the sensor works in testing. Next steps are to check the gain settings are optimal, test a microphone setup I made that will pick up the sound of the firing pin hitting the case and start the oscope plotting a single sweep. If those both work at the range, I will make another sensor that detects the bullet leaving the muzzle. This will use the same setup as the angle sensor without the polarised film. When the bullet leaves the barrel, it will break the light beam and the voltage will drop. I can then plot both barrel angle and bullet exit signals on the oscope in sync. I will call the device build complete and let the ballistic measuring begin.
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Beretta 680 Special Skeet 12G (1350 fps)
Savage MkII .22 (1040 fps)
1969 Mustang Fastback (227 fps)
Tikka T3 6.5 CM (2660 fps)

The Mustang looks the fastest but it's not.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by TassieTiger » 04 Aug 2020, 8:48 am

Oldbloke wrote:TT, I'm scratching my head. The rail story seems to be about the coefficient of expansion for steel. Harmonics is about barrel vibrations/flip. How are they related?


Hopefully your ok with this response and don’t report this Particular one...
OB - when measuring harmonics, your talking - as I’m sure you realise - insanely small measurements. Barrels get hot - metal expands (thus the rail story) - so harmonics on a barrel will change ever so slightly as a barrel heats up - diameter/length and cools down. This is why I’m struggling to understand how one would get a consistent measurement unless you endure your barrel remains exact same temp - damping harmonics is something different.
I’ll have a read of provided links.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by TassieTiger » 04 Aug 2020, 9:06 am

Jarhead wrote:Hey Tassie,

The fundamental of the sensor operation is polarisation. Have you ever looked at a watch or screen wearing polarised lenses? It goes blank sometimes, rotate your head and then you can see it.

I use two sheets of stacked polarised film. Aligned one way, they are clear, rotate one 90 degrees, they block all light. Make one static, attach the other to the barrel. align them at 45 deg so 1/2 the light goes through. Shine a light through the film. Put an optical resistor in the light beam on the other side of the polarised sheets. When you rotate the barrel, the resistance will change. Feed a voltage in across that resistance, and you have a voltage out that varies with barrel angle. Plot that on a digital oscope (I am using a Tekscope THS720) at about 500 us/div- and you can see a clear waveform that shows your barrel harmonics.

There is a lot more nerdy stuff to it- but that describes the measurement method fundamental.


Interesting - amazing if you can get this transported and set up at the range. I’d struggle with mirroring lab bench / range bench accuracy - sounds like your on it though :drinks:
Link provided by MM is very good as well, lots of potentials at play.
Tikka .260 (custom)
Steyr Pro Varmint .223
CZ455 .22 & Norinco .22
ATA 686 U/O 12g & Baikal S/S 12g.
Adler a110 28’
Sauer 30-06
Howa 300 win mag.
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Re: Load dev-how many shots does it take to dial in a rifle?

Post by Jarhead » 04 Aug 2020, 11:03 am

TT,

The setup is small- 100mmx100mmx120mm, and the oscope is a digital handheld unit- both run on batteries so it's easily portable.

I am reading through the link posted by marksman. Interesting that the author and I have a similar background in RF.....Keep in mind I am measuring only the vertical barrel whip- not the "donut" expansion of the barrel that is targeted in the article.

Thanks for posting this marksman! It has the brain going full speed........
Regards,

Jarhead
___________________________________
Beretta 680 Special Skeet 12G (1350 fps)
Savage MkII .22 (1040 fps)
1969 Mustang Fastback (227 fps)
Tikka T3 6.5 CM (2660 fps)

The Mustang looks the fastest but it's not.
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