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Old 09-28-2014, 05:54 AM
Humpy's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Aiken, South Carolina
Posts: 1,120
Just when you get all the answers they change all the questions

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Case uniformity is important but there are several areas not yet covered. The BR boys and very good highpower shooters all seem to converge on the idea of uniform velocity being the ultimate aim especially for long range shooters.

I had lots of conversations with my good friend L.F. (Larry) Moore on this subject and he did more testing on rifle accuracy/endurance/reliability and maintainability than every one on this forum all put together as he had the funding to do it and the ranges and instrumentation to do it. Larry was a treasure trove of info as he was a Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director Aberdeen Proving Ground from 48 till some time in 70s and those of us that had the fortune to have known him will attest to he probably shot up ten million rounds on various tests from 22LR to 40MM Air Defense guns. His best friend was W.C. "Bill Davis" and they did research that will never see the light of day as they are both gone and their test reports are buried deep in the archives at APG.

When I got to Aberdeen there were still half a dozen guys there that worked with and for Larry when he was Section Chief and they told me basically that anyone that challenged Larry's data was a fool. For instance when he measured dispersion on targets three people had to measure and concur with each other as group sizes were measured in millimeters with gage lab certified steel tapes.

Larry's main preference for those that worked for him to hold a NRA Master Class Card in Smallbore Prone or Highpower. He wrote the Test Operation Procedures for small arms testing and only those with the NRA Master Ratings were authorized to shoot dispersion targets. We would call this shooting groups or accuracy.

I asked him once why he put that requirement in and he said it was very simple, if he hired a guy with either or both cards (preferred) they would love what they were doing and could not wait to get to work and experienced very few "sick days". I talked to guys in the government that hated him but no one could challenge him.

I would guess of those of us that knew him well I guess I am the one of two still alive and I can tell all I wish I had asked him about another hundred thousand questions.

A few things stuck out about his highpower shooting competition that has always stayed with me. First off he preferred military cases and his favorite caliber was 30.06. I am only aware of his shooting one other caliber in competition when he showed up at Perry with a 300 Win Mag and took third in the Wimbledon with it. He never shot it again at Perry and the rifle was not in his collection when he passed. He had previously won the Wimbledon with a 30.06 and in his final ten years or so of shooting he had a stable of three left hand Mauser 3000s (all three 30.06) he brought to Perry and to my surprise he had one in 308 in his collection I got. I was even more surprised when I borescoped it and it showed evidence of lots of testing. He may have shot 308 in local matches but when it was race day the 30.06 was IT.

Larry also liked the 6.5 caliber but he told me that back in the 50s, 60s, 70s when he was at the top of the game there were just not any outstanding 6.5 bullets. Larry stated to me that if good bullets ever surfaced that the 6.5 would break out of the pack and as we now know has done so.

I watched Larry on numerous occasions and as he shot long range when he shot a 9 he would scope the shot and if the conditions did not confirm the results that case was placed back in his ammo box upside down and I assume discarded.
This correlates with what I have observed in my testing and what I have corroborated with others.

When I retired and came home to South Carolina I was extremely fortunate to get property where I have a 600 yard range behind the house and 900 yard capability from another position and the testing began from concrete bench and a loading room three feet behind the bench.

To save lots and lots of writing the achievement of exceptional accuracy is to answer the question of what does one do to achieve it but in answering one question you will most likely find the testing beggs even more questions.

Yogi Berra said it best, "You don't know what you don't know till you know what you don't know."

Larry told me the secret was to buy everything in bulk, propellant, primers, bullets and find the best combo because when one of the components is changed all your work up to that point has to start over.

Larry was unique in that he would not tell you directly what you wanted to know but would instead prime you with the pearls as I can only assume he wanted me to do my own research but had primed me with the answer in such a way that I if I did the work I could confirm what he had spent years learning.

For instance I ran a test series where I used the same cases with the same load and the same box of bullets to test primers which were all done the same day at the same temperature/humidity /elevation/rifle and the variation of velocities and the SD just by changing primers was staggering. Not only were the average velocities different, the extreme spreads were different and also the SD had wide variations.

To make matters even worse they were not repeatable in other scenarios like changes found when variations were introduced.

I have tried to explain to guys for years when you buy propellant get enough of the same lot number to last you for ten years of shooting. Lets say you shoot 30.06 and are using 4831 and you shoot 4000 rounds a year in competition comes out to 314 pounds of propellant if you don't spill any and 40,000 primers and 40,000 bullets.

Now generally guys seem to get one and maybe two 8 pound jugs. You have just opened yourself up to increased testing expenses for the rest of your life you really did not need to expend. Or as the saying goes if you do the same thing over and over expecting different results............................ however in the case of loading you will get different answers probably 98% of the time.

News flash, when you change rifles/barrels chances are you will have to start from Ground Zero yet again. Gov't ammo is tested from three different barrels at the same session and the ammo must meet acceptance from all three barrels.

Thusly I was able to develop an appreciation of why the dispersion testing requirements were so detailed as the Test Procedure writers knew how much variation of components could change the results.

For instance I tested Winchester, Federal, CCI and Remington Primers for lowest standard deviation. In one test for instance I might have Federal Primers finish as No 1, Winchester was No 2, Remington was No 3 and CCI was No 4 with 4895.

Reloading the same cases with same bullets and same primers using 4350, the results would totally change and No 1 would now be No 3, and No 4 is likely to be No 1 and so on.

The bottom line is I could find no uniformly outstanding primers across the board because every time I changed propellant it was a whole new ballgame.

To make matters even worse changing calibers put me right back at ground zero and the testing had to start all over again.

Then another buddy on the Brit 300 Meter Team would come to visit me prior to going on to Camp Perry and we shot together for ten to 14 days and he introduced me to Vihta Vuori propellant and he loaded his ammo on my equipment and shot on my range and he was getting SDs of 2 and 3 and groups under a inch at 300 yards. He did not weigh bullets or cases ! ! ! ! !

What he did do was measure case volume using water and alcohol and he spent the winter months at the Queens University Lab where he was a professor and filled his cases with a alcohol/water combo and segregated the cases by VOLUME.

Larry Moore also used the same custom dimension chamber reamer to chamber all his rifles. Ray Steele was another top long range and smallbore shooter and also close friend of ours and they worked together at Frankford Arsenal (FA).

Ray Steele barreled all the ammunition accuracy test rifles at FA and he was a wealth of information as well as he passed to me what he and Larry had learned from their testing at FA. The most important of which was to utilize tight chambers and the benefits they produced. Thusly my threads on long barrel life and long case life were the result of what was passed to me that I have passed to you guys.

About 12 years back I had a interesting conversation with a former bench rest shooting fiend and he had another take. What he did when he got a new barrel was he loaded a hundred cases with the same load and same bullet/primers etc. Then went out and shot them all taking care not to overheat barrel and he chronographed every shot and used a Sharpie marker and wrote velocity on every case as they came out of the action. He also recorded the entire 100 shot string and got SD on the whole run.

When he got home he segregated the cases by velocity down to each feet per second they delivered. He then took the cases from the adjacent velocity groups until he got 20-25 cases that exibited a total velocity spread of just a couple feet per second and reloaded them with the same load. He then took the fastest and slowest cases and loaded them the same way and went out and shot them as follows.

He shot the close string first and stopped and recorded the SD on that string then he shot the widest string and left the Oehler on which continued to calculate SD. He said the middle close spaced cases gave a much small SD than the original total run and when the widest cases were fired they increased the SD to close to the original delivered in the 100 round run.

I conducted only one similar test with a smaller sample (50 rounds) and concluded this theory had merit. About that time I started working on THIS OLD HOUSE (ours) and shooting backed off a couple years and I never followed it up but I felt the theory definitely needed to be followed up and I didn't. Then the price of bullets/propellant went past the moon and I never got back to it.

My intention was to take a old barrel, rethread it and chamber it with my min dimension reamer and dedicate it to selecting those cases with the smallest SD recorded by the above testing.

Another thing that will definitely rain on your parade is variation in bullet pulls. My contact at Winchester told me they had loaded ammo with upwards of 300 lbs of bullet pull force applied before the bullets would move on occasion. Contrast that with the M118 Long Range ammo requirement for the bullets to have at least 10 lbs of bullet pull force leaves one with the conclusion that wide range of bullet pulls is obviously not desirable.

I shot a leg match at Benning once and noted the ammo issued was the same lot number as I had at home that I had pulled the bullets on and the force required to move mine varied from a two finger force all the way to have to use both hands to pull up lever after having to crank the collet handle really tight and on some it required as many as three attempts to get enough "grip" on the bullet to get it to dislodge from the mouth lacquer and destroyed the bullet in the process. My score at the 600 yard line with my match M1 confirmed the extreme pull variation with a 20 shot string giving me 7 ring elevation ! ! ! ! It is hard to be competitive when you are losing points three at a time and even worse three points back to back.

This was not surprising in that bullet pull force at plants is recorded within minutes of hours of the ammo being loaded and the stuff I was shooting was 30 years old at the time. Now if I am going to use LC Match ammo I crack the mouth lacquer seal on a up stroke moving it perhaps 1/32" and then immediately put in the collet puller and pull them and they all are much more uniform coming out.

Again one of Larry's Pearls was that military match ammo had a requirement allowing upwards of 60 feet per second extreme spread and that a 100 FPS spread would give one a 40" elevation variation at 1000 yards. If anyone has the older Sierra manuals from the 70s check out the ballistic tables in the back and they will confirm the variations in 100 FPS velocity changes and difference in bullet drop in inches and the results you can expect at long range.

OK we will now assume you just unloaded 350 pounds of propellant (same lot number) and 40,000 primers (same lot number) and 40,000 bullets (same lot number) and you have 500 30.06 cases all segregated by volume is there anything else to put a big one in the punch bowl? Yep

Your barrel is going South about 5000 rounds if you are the average high power shooter shooting 30 cal so that gives you variables. The first thought is laying in at least 8 barrels all from the same manufacturer. Well guys that is gonna be iffy as the variation between bore dimensions is gonna be awesome. For instance I bought two barrels from the same vendor at the same time with the same dimensions with HOPES of getting uniform barrels.

I chambered both barrels with same reamer in two Mod 70 Winchester actions headspaced to snug on a GO GAGE. I checked throat erosion on both barrels and the gage showed there was .150" difference where the gage located between the two barrels. Obviously the internal bore dimensions were different between barrels.

Another pearl Larry cast was the repeatability of the FIRE CONTROL which is the gov't term for a sight system. Larry tested sights/scopes as follows:

Shoot three shot group and then crank sights up 20 clicks, right 20 clicks, down 20 clicks and left 20 clicks and shoot another shot at same aiming point. If the mechanism is good the fourth shot will go in the first three.
Now crank sights down 20, left 20, up 20 and right 20 and shoot the fifth shot.

Continue this for all four quadrants and if your sights are good all your shots will be in the same group.

Warning: Don't place big bets with your shooting buddies that the sights you just purchased will pass this test because you paid $900.00. In Rifle Magazine back in the 80s I think it was Larry did a big sight evaluation test a number of sights and found only two variations were "ACCEPTABLE" which was the highest rating Larry gave anything.

OK since we are now in the tall grass so to speak what else are you likely to step on that can ruin your day?

Ignition reliability is another key to success. Uniformity in ignition of the primer is greatly influenced by the velocity and speed of the striker. The deterioration of one of these and all your work just went in the trash. Unless something novel has surfaced since I retired the only way to determine striker energy is by the use of coppers and copper holders and a bench inspection gage. I have holders for 5.56, 7.62 and 30.06.

As indicated in past at the Proving Ground, I witnessed many very interesting things, and while I cannot speak for what is done now but when I was there, misfires were given special examination in an effort to determine the causes. I see no reason why it would have changed. I conducted one test on the M16A1E1 and had about twenty five misfires in 244,000 rounds and that created quite a stir. It was found some of the submitted rifles exhibited striker energy below the specification requirements for the M16 rifle.

Most everyone has experienced a misfire and a small percentage have experienced a hang fire. (That is when you hear the click, followed by the bang.) Basically to give the reader some idea of exactly what is expected of US ammunition, the government, Winchester, Remington and I assume Federal and CCI all have an allowable misfire rate of one in a million assuming the primers were properly loaded, stored (not exposed to heat, cold, moisture, oil etc) In reality the ignition rate is much better than this but I guess one in a million was a good round number to start at. One manufacturer told me ten years ago in the previous year of in-house QA testing they had experienced five misfires in 15, 500, 000 rounds that was not attributable to the ignition mechanics or one in three million plus rounds.

Primers need two things for reliable ignition. They need to be hit hard and they need to be hit at very high speed. Primers are tested in a drop fixture. They are placed in a primer holding fixture and a steel ball is released to have a unretarded free fall before striking the fixture. If memory serves me correctly the testing on these is done with a 2 ounce steel ball dropped from a height of 20 inches which will give 40 inch ounces of energy when it arrives at the fixture.

As well a 20 ounce steel ball dropped from a height of 2 inches will give the same amount of energy upon arriving at the fixture. So what is the difference? After all forty inch ounces is forty inch ounces, well not exactly. Only problem is you will not obtain ignition on the second scenario as the 20 ounce ball has not gained enough velocity prior to striking the mechanism to initiate ignition. Thus the statement is they have to be hit fast and hard. One without the other is useless.

In the industry they endeavor to establish the All Fire Drop Height. That is the lowest height the ball can be dropped and obtain 100% ignition reliability. In testing primers they will reduce the height the ball is released an inch at a time until they achieve what is termed the All No Fire Drop Height. Then they will replace the primer receptacle with a “copper” receptacle. Most shooters have read a reference to “CUP” or Copper Units of Pressure. It is a copper cylinder made to very exacting standards.

In this instance they are also used in what is referred to as Copper Holders. You have the one used in the fixture and then there are those that are made for each specific caliber. I am blessed with owning a holder for 5.56, 308 and 30.06. Last one I had made cost over $150.00 20 years ago. You may have seen one at a gun show or something and did not know what you were looking at and the guy selling it in all probability did not know what he had either. You are looking for a item that looks exactly like a headspace gage but has a flat bottomed hole in the bottom (where you would look for a primer in a loaded round) about 3/8” deep.

Generally there will be a smaller hole, say .075” drilled all the way through. This is to push the copper back out (from the front) for bench inspection gage testing. There may be writing on it saying what it is and there may not be. You kind of just have to know from experience or in other words there is no writing on a hammer but you know what it is by the looks.

The copper is placed so as to receive the energy departed by the striker nose and the ball is dropped at the same height they experienced the all no fire condition. They may take 3 to ten samples. After removing the coppers they are placed on the anvil of a bench inspection gage rigged with a sharp pointed contact (that will find the bottom of the indent without touching the sides.) They record the indents in thousandths of a inch and average the indents. My notes made during that time indicate the All No Fire Indent (ON COPPER) is .007” Where the All Fire Drop Height will exhibit .012” indent (ON COPPER).

The government requirement for the l903, M1, M14 rifle is .016” indent on a copper. A quick comparison shows a substantial difference between the .012” All Fire Indent and the .020” requirement on a weapon systems made by two commercial vendors I am aware of. Or think of it this way. There is nothing but air resistance to retard the 2 ounce steel ball falling however when you wrap a striker with a spring or attempt to drive a striker down a tunnel (inside of a bolt) all kinds of undesirable things can happen to retard the speed at which the striker is delivered to the primer. OIl/grease there introduced into cold weather will thicken and retard your striker velocity.

There is fairly common knowledge that grit build up in the striker channel of a bolt rifle may retard striker velocity/energy. Friction of the spring rubbing along the striker can cause problems as well. A close examination of the inside of a striker spring may reveal flat spots where the striker rubs against the spring as it is seared up followed by sear disengagement. The travel distance is quite small but still the wear is apparent.

As well if you or a previous owner has ever experienced a blanked primer (this is where the primer appears natural except the area where you would expect an indent is now gone leaving a clean cut hole there) and the blanked out material is nowhere to be found could be a sign to check everything out. There is good likelihood it has traveled up inside the striker opening and will in all probability wind up embedded (so to speak) on the rough inner surface of the striker channel where it is pounded into the body of the bolt. The inside of a bolt is rough (generally) as it is a drilled cavity. Once it is attached to the striker channel it acts in the same manner as a disc brake and may instigate all kinds of problems, i.e. hangfires, misfires, vertical dispersions etc. It pays to keep the striker channel clean and closely examined to eliminate build up of foreign materials/conditions that will retard striker velocity. I have experienced at least two of the little discs being injected into the striker channel on my personal rifles. I would have never known to look for such had I not seen it in gov't testing.

As well in military weapon systems are subjected for conditions the average hunting rifle will never see such as complete submersion in mud, water, dust environments where the dust is the same consistency as baking flour. Something that hunting rifles are subjected to is extreme cold and or lubrication problems relating to striker energy. Obviously this material will work its way into the striker channel and serve the same function – retard striker energy/velocity.

In a cold weather hunting situation springs tend to lose some energy. This coupled with the wrong lubricant being in place on the striker/spring assembly the speed will be severely retarded. Many a rifle has been sold because a guy took it hunting on a cold morning, got a shot at a prize buck and CLICK, nothing happens. I remember I had a friend at Picatinny Arsenal who worked in the machineshop area. He came to me one day and said he had a Browning Lever Action rifle he had purchased from his brother in law for a hundred bucks because it would not fire when he was out hunting. I told him to bring it in for a looksee and he did. He brought in what appeared to be a brand new rifle. In the warmth of the building it sounded like there was sufficient striker action for reliable ignition.

We simply tore it down and took it down to the plating shop and put the action assembly down in the vapor degreaser and took the factory grease out of the striker and action in general and from that day on it shot fine in cold weather. I don’t think the new owner ever told his brother in law why it It Did Not Go Bang.

One thing that needs to be remembered here is the factory folks that make the guns we buy are not necessarily the sharpest folks on the planet. Just because “the factory did it” doesn’t necessarily make it right. As of late I would tend to think if “the factory did it” it is suspect for having a problem or three. And for sure the employees are by and large folks that just need a job and by no reason should they be considered descendents of John M. Browning, Sam Colt, John Garand, Peter and Paul Mauser, or graduates of a certified gunsmithing school or even graduates of high school.

Moreover most don’t even know what they are making and or what it does in the final scheme of things and that is not restricted to the production floor. It goes into the engineering areas as well. I never could fathom how folks take a job in weapons engineering that are not gun lovers or gun knowledgeable. To give a idea of just how bad it is I had a retired Branch Chief Engineer admit sadly to me that his last two hires before retiring were engineers that had shot a 22 one time and the other a BB gun and now they are making over 100K per year in jobs people on this forum would kill for to get ! ! !! I know Larry was frustrated with a number of folks he had to work with and work for him and he knew they were not dedicated shooters. Think of it this way, anybody ever know a aircraft pilot that did not love to fly?

The guys that worked for him and with him at APG said he hired new engineers all the time and he would only promote them if they took up competition shooting because he demanded his people be knowledgeable about what they were doing and preferred they love what they were doing. Basically they said he gave them two years to get at least a Expert Card if they wanted to advance. I have never met a pilot that did not love to fly or a carpenter that could not use a hammer or a surgeon that did not know what a body looked like under the skin but I have met plenty of engineers that were not knowledgeable in the weapons field.

Case in point I had a question about striker energy requirements for a brand of bolt guns and they had a display at the NRA show in Charlotte, NC several years back so I cruised into their booth and asked the first guy that jumped up if there was anyone there from Engineering and he pointed out this guy who jumps up and proclaims "I'm from Engineering." I asked him what the striker indent requirement was for their bolt guns and the guy had NFC about what I was even talking about. He directed me to a Tech they had with them and he did not know either but he was sure fascinated about the subject after I explained to him why it was critical and he said he was going to get with folks when he got back and find out. It was obvious he wanted to know where the engineer obviously did not care which did not surprise me.

So the weapon engineers in the government came up with the minimum requirement of having our rifle small arms deliver .016” copper energy to overcome the elements and conditions the weapon will see in the field. A safety margin to insure reliability in other words. This is basically true except the M16 family of weapons wherein the requirement is .022” copper indent. There is only one harder small arms primer to ignite than the 5.56MM round, that is the Cal. 50 BMG primer. The last I heard SAAMI recommendations are now only .016" indent on copper. Now here is the kicker, I have a 1911 Schmidt Rubin rifle made about a hundred years ago and it still gives .022" indent and I had a LaCorona surplus Mauser rifle that gave .024" indent.

Obviously there is much more that will have a negative effect on all your efforts but above are a few to ponder in the interim.

I wrote another thread called the Carbon War Chronicles for more nice to know info. There is another entitled Besides Politicians This Is Our Worst Enemy thread and this will give a insight as to what is happening to our guns and brass. I only wish I had known this 40 years ago, I would either have more money in the bank or more componants laid it haha.

EDIT NOTE: I just realized I forgot something critical on this thread so go right to response #6 for what should have been added here.

Distinguished Rifleman High Power & Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), NRA Member from Age 12, NRA Benefactor, Life Member Gun Owners of South Carolina & Palmetto State Marksman's Assoc, US Army Sm. Cal Weapons Lab Picatinny Arsenal,NJ, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Firefighter I,AC4HT Shriner

Last edited by Humpy; 03-17-2016 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:37 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: May 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 69
An amazing post with enough info just to get you thinking. I have pondered and/or done some of the things here but never could afford to do everything brought up here as well as my own questions. Never enough time/money to do all this stuff. Life is a frustration when it comes down to if you have time you don't have money and if you have money then you don't have time.

Thank you for an amazing post!
God created man and woman
Sam Colt made them equal
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:32 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Aiken, South Carolina
Posts: 1,120
Vincent, many thanks for the words and you are so right. Now I can't compete any longer due to getting rear ended in 2013 and my neck and right shoulder are messed up. I can't shoot prone because of neck and can't shoot standing because of my shoulder.

Will probably be in spinal surgery first quarter of next year to grind off spurs growing into discs and have a spacer inserted.

Yogi Berra said it best, you don't know what you don't know till you know what you don't know and now I have a vague idea of which way to head but can no longer compete. Guess that would be qualified as a lose lose haha.
Distinguished Rifleman High Power & Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), NRA Member from Age 12, NRA Benefactor, Life Member Gun Owners of South Carolina & Palmetto State Marksman's Assoc, US Army Sm. Cal Weapons Lab Picatinny Arsenal,NJ, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Firefighter I,AC4HT Shriner
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Western States
Posts: 142
There are very few of us who've had the pleasure, as well as, knowledgeable shooters to call our friends.
Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. But I have been following the BR folks for several years now. My thinking, since I'm a hunter, not a competitor, what they know might make my reloads better.

Larry was correct to purchase everything, powder, primers, brass, bullets in bulk. Hopefully, with from the same production date.

PRIMERS: Yes, simply changing the brand of primer, as well as std primer vs magnum primer can sometime make more difference than all the rest of options.

Regarding all the testing: You only know what you've tested. Yes, I know that it can become a tremendous pain in the back side. But that doesn't change the above statement, and quite possibly prevent you from missing a bullseye on target or putting that deer or elk on the menu.

Changing barrels definitely puts you back to square one. I own a Win M70, originally purchased by me
chambered, 7x57. I won't go into the issues which prompted me to change out the barrel, but there were many. So off to the barrel mfr the barreled action went. When it came back, it was the same as having a new firearm all over again. That is just the way it goes.

Your friend mentioned he liked military cases. Be aware that military cases generally hold less powder than commercial cases. So using commercial loading data will definitely get into trouble. Generally, (I think) is to reduce by two grains of powder. I may be in error here, but I'm close.

As I writing this something made me very aware: You are an older gentleman, explaining your background and knowledge. I too am an older gentleman. Probably not as elderly as you sir, I 68.
But I think we have a lot in common, if I may be so bold.

The changing of the questions isn't a bad idea at all. It simply notes the advancement of science, and knowledge in general beyond where we came from. The important thing is to acknowledge where we came from and not to dismiss our heritage.

And, I'm still learning about the 45-70. Drawing on all those who've written about the cartridge and load data.

On the other hand, I'm constantly refining my handloads for my 7x57 and 280.

My great contradiction is that while I dearly love my 7x57 and 280 Rem, I love the idea of casting my own projectiles; handloading my cartridges, and successfully hunting with my 45-70.

And yes, as the questions change, sometimes it doesn't make any difference. It is just working with load data 100 yrs old, or older, and still bringing home the meat for the table.

My best to you sir.
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Old 12-24-2015, 04:08 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Aiken, South Carolina
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Travlr 47,

You are so right, the benchrest boys have got there and have not left the rest of us a road map. It is all a conspiracy, just think if we had grown up together and shot all our lives together we might have a few more answers. That was a major regret that I had as my Dad was my best shooting buddy for years but he had no interest in highpower. I had Larry Moore to bounce things off of but we lived about a thousand miles apart. I did not have a shooting buddy my entire career for highpower and if I had, I could have done lots more testing.

I did however have a great friend in Dick Danik who was a smallbore and a 3OO meter shooter who lived in England. I met him in 82 at Perry and when we moved here he would come over and stay with us for two or three weeks prior to his going to Perry to shoot smallbore and we did some interesting testing on my range. Then one time he asked if he could come over in the winter and I said sure. He was a little bit different and when I took him back to the airport he said I did not need to walk to the departure lounge with him but I did. When they announced boarding he got up and hugged me and walked off and turned and looked back with a smile but had tears in his eyes. My wife was changing sheets on his bed the next morning and found wrappers for medicine that had fallen off his bedside table. Wife was a medical records auditor and she knows meds and it was for Chemotherapy and that was his goodbye trip. I will never forget that last scene at the airport.

Larry Moore told me about a old shooter, who I believe his name was Maurice Kaiser but we called him Colonel Kaiser (former Marine Colonel I think) and he loved the 7MM Mauser but he never could get it perfected like he wanted. I have heard similar from others which basically conclude that trying to figure out how to make a 7MM barrel happy was a bigger problem than making your wife happy.

Larry Moore could have bought anything he wanted to load and he stuck with military cases for years because once you get the necks uniformed and have a tight chamber you can reload it forever. For instance I have a 30.06 case with like 156 firings and still doing fine.

I have 500 30.06 cases from the same lot I worked over in early 80s and they are on their third barrel as I have a reamer that keeps their wiggle room to a dead minimum and all three barrels were chambered with the same reamer.

Larry was the best long range shooter year in and year out for 30 years and he told me 40 years ago the 6.5 was the ideal daliber but there were only mediocre bullets available. He also told me if anyone starts making good bullets the 6.5 that would be the round to beat and in the 90s the 6.5 bullets arrived and has been the round to beat at 1000 yards ever since.

Thus with the problems with the 6.5 and 7MM he stuck with the 30.06 as it was the easiest to please. There are probably two hundred pounds of technical reports Larry did at Aberdeen as there was a policy put in place fifty years ago where if a Test Director had an idea he wanted to research and there was nothing pressing he could write up the proposal, present it to the powers that be and get funding for doing the research. I knew about the policy when I was there but we were working 50-60 hour weeks in ongoing testing then and there wasn't even a war on. I remember we ran 10,000 rounds a day for 14 straight days and worked 12-13 hours day doing that.

We had access to a 2500 yard range that is rarely used, instrumentation to die for and with funding there were things to be learned and he tried everything imaginable. For instance the Army wanted a standard portable bullet trap for indoor ranges for 22 training. Larry wrote up the test proposal for a million round test and I saw the bullet trap he tested. There were twelve spots about 3/8" wide where the bullet impacts were all concentrated and the paint was still in tact on the remaining back angle surface.

Million round tests were the norm back in the 40, 50s, 60s. One guy was leaving and he gave me his data tablet and said if I had a dollar for every round that tablet recorded I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams. He told me about a million round 20MM test he conducted and shot out so many barrels that they constructed a picket fence from them.

Military cases are safer to shoot in semi autos as the case is designed for one rifle and cost of production is not considered. As a general rule if they are safer for a military rifle they are over engineered for a bolt gun.

I have been following AR failures over several forums and I think I have figured out some things that cause them as I am reading about multiple failures occurring that we did not see coming into the small cal lab. I have written about six pages but I need to get photos made up so folks can see what I am referring to. Problem is my 223 reamer went back to my buddy who has decided to do some more rifle work and I was using his. Guess I better get busy and order one. Next I don't have a supply of shot out barrels to section and photograph.

If anyone has any shot out barrels they want to contribute to the cause contact me. I only need the chamber and about 4" on barrel and preferably not chromed.
Distinguished Rifleman High Power & Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), NRA Member from Age 12, NRA Benefactor, Life Member Gun Owners of South Carolina & Palmetto State Marksman's Assoc, US Army Sm. Cal Weapons Lab Picatinny Arsenal,NJ, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Firefighter I,AC4HT Shriner

Last edited by Humpy; 12-24-2015 at 11:04 AM. Reason: My computer doesn't find all my typos and I keep changing my mind.haha
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:57 AM
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I just remembered something else I should have put in first post, sorry guys for having CRS !! !

I covered ignition reliability but there is more to it than that. Well before ammo starts to give you misfires the SD will go up which means your extreme velocity spread goes up. When that happens your vertical dispersion at long range is going to go to crap and you will be losing shots out the bottom and top.

I just had a long conversation last night with a relatively new shooter and I was looking for this thread to send him and read it over and realized I had forgot to add the following.
If you cannot invest in the coppers and copper holders to measure striker energy I have figured out another way.

For serious long range work testing your ammo I think a slave rifle needs to be fabricated just to test ammo. Obviously for same caliber and you must insure it has more than the min striker energy. Several vendors have a internal requirement of a rifle to deliver .020" indent on copper. The industry recommendation is .016". You can have the best ammo ever made but if you rifle does not impact the primer with sufficient energy you will sustain ignition but not achieve consistent ignition.

Homer Powley at Frankford came up with this theory. He was getting vertical dispersion at long range and he brought his rifle into Frankford and shot his ammo on the chronograph. He then shot it on a universal receiver and the SD was smaller. He got a new spring for his Mod 70 and starting shooting long strings of FA Match. Then he cut one turn off the spring and ran another series. The SD got larger. He cut another turn off and it got larger again.

He passed that information to the guys at Aberdeen and they conducted the same test there and got the same results.

If you don't have coppers, holders and bench gage you can do this. Replace your striker spring at beginning of the season. Measure the uncompressed length of your new spring before installing it. At mid season pull your bolt down again and remove the spring and measure the free length again. If it is the same length you are good to go. If it has become shorter check you ammo on the chronograph again to see if your SD had gone up.

When working up loads try different primer brands. If you only use one brand get several different boxes of primers and try the same load with different lot numbers of primers. Don't be surprised if there is a difference in SD. Once you identify the smallest SD run back and get five thousand of them.

When the M16A1E1 was tested it had the 3 shot burst capability which required the fabrication of a hammer spring with one less coil. Prior to testing they were subjected to copper energy testing and some delivered .019" indent. We had a very large number of failures to fire.

Now the M16 requires a .022 copper indent and you buy a bolt rifle to test chances are good it will have a copper energy of .016 to .020 so how do you increase the striker energy? I ordered heavier springs from Wolff. They list a factory replacement and then usually two heavier springs. If I was going to set up a slave rifle I would get a bolt rifle, order the heaviest striker spring from Wolff I could get, measure the free length of the spring and record it and install it.

I would work up loads and shoot them across the chronograph and work my loads till I got the smallest group on at least a 20 round sample for my match rifle. Then I would take the same ammo and run it in slave rifle and chronograph it. If you get the same SD, you know you are good to go with that batch of ammo. If you get a wider SD you know your rifle is not going to be able to deliver reliable ignition on your rounds even though you have a small group at 300 yards and you need a new striker spring.

Thinking more on it the ideal slave rifle would be a 1903 Springfield or a 98 Mauser action as the springs can be installed right before a test and removed right after the test and stored not compressed until it is needed again.

This way you save your match barrel for matches and the slave rifle confirms your SD is good or questionable.

Also if you are shooting an AR things are likely to get hectic as I don't think you can get a heavy spring for them. I think I would order some from Wolff to have laid in.

In short you can weigh cases, weigh bullets, weigh primers, turn necks, have a top name rifle but if your ammo is not ignited uniformly all that work is for nothing.
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Last edited by Humpy; 02-27-2016 at 05:04 AM.
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:27 AM
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Interesting idea. I know when Bart Bobbit was still contributing to TFL, he said he changed the mainsprings on his guns every six years automatically.

One other experiment you can try is cryo treating the springs. In engine valve springs it seems to stop them from taking as much of a set as they othewise will do, and that's a spring that, at 3000 rpm, sees as many compression and release cycles in two minutes as your mainspring does in the life of a barrel, plus does it at higher temperature than your mainspring sees.

When I got a Marvel conversion for my Goldcup it came with a bag full of its skinny little recoil springs. They don't normally last. I was driving up to Wooster to get Kathy Bond (then Fisher, IIRC) at CryoPlus to treat some barrels and some saw blades, so I got the springs done at the same time. Knowing that surface scuffing can affect spring set, even with cryo-treating (the valve springs have to be shot peened before cryo-treating as having it done afterward destroys the effect), I treated them in Sprinco Plate+ Silver afterwards to keep a degree of lubrication present even when they ran dry. As a result, I'm still on the first Marvel recoil spring years and many rounds later.
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"First contemplation of the problems of Interior Ballistics gives the impression that they should yield rather easily to relatively simple methods of analysis. Further study shows the subject to be of almost unbelievable complexity." Homer Powley
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:46 AM
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Cryo-what a great idea! Should have been done before!
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:29 AM
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Has been by Sprinco. They have some of their premium recoil springs for 1911's and AR's offered as cryo-treated and pre-treated with that same solution I mentioned. However, here we'd want to try it with brand new Wolff springs before installing them and see how that goes, long term.


I'll also note that Jim Ristow at RSI occasionally offers an instrument called Load Force. It measures seating force during bullet seating on the premise that bullet pull will have some proportionality to seating force, assuming the cases are all treated the same. He told me over the phone that one of his Scandanavian customers claimed he could actually see the effect on POI of 1 lb differences in seating force (the limit of the instrument's resolution), so he sorted finished ammunition the seating force it required. The site description and plot, though, seems to indicate meeting a minimum value was more important than a consistent value in his experiments. The one drawback I see is you can't measure the effect of a crimp by this method, should you choose to experiment with one.
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Old 03-02-2016, 02:11 PM
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Humpy. Truly an incredible post (posts) you have written. I'm saving them to my hard drive and passing it on to my son and a couple pf good friends. Thanks for sharing all this. I wished I could have has the experience that you've written about.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:25 AM
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Ain't nobody up and changed questions related to killing big game. In fact, all of my questions were answered years ago. What worked 5 decades ago still works. And I don't need no mega magnum to kill big game. A .30-30 Win that destroys any big game animal's oxygenated blood pumping equipment will kill it just as dead as were it shot with a mega magnum. Biology always wins.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:59 AM
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Yep I think the venerable 30-30 has killed every animal on the planet and a whole bunch of folks that needed the same treatment.
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:51 AM
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hmmm.... I'd never considered the .30-30 for "social work". Perhaps I need to adjust my thinking..... oops, we're taking this excellent post off track. Humpy, I've read every word, twice in most cases, to make sure I understand. I'm just a hunter, not a long-range competitor, but it is fascinating to understand more about all the small variables that affect accuracy. thanks again.

Last edited by GeronPG; 04-22-2017 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:28 AM
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Well consider this, when it is not hunting season it is nice in the South to lay out in the hot sun in the summertime and since you are going to be there anyway, might as well be shooting.haha

You could conceivably be effective with 30-30 to 500 yards. Ought to give it a try. You will need something like a Burris scope with a reticle with extra hash marks below the center cross hairs.

Was just through Fayetteville about a month ago and stopped to visit with former preacher of ours.

His son is in the 82nd but now has duty in Hawaii.
Distinguished Rifleman High Power & Smallbore Prone, Presidents Hundred (Rifle), Palma Teams Member (2), Dewar Teams Member (2), NRA Member from Age 12, NRA Benefactor, Life Member Gun Owners of South Carolina & Palmetto State Marksman's Assoc, US Army Sm. Cal Weapons Lab Picatinny Arsenal,NJ, Certified Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Firefighter I,AC4HT Shriner

Last edited by Humpy; 04-22-2017 at 08:31 AM.
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