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22-250 shooting left with reloads

6328 Views 41 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  raptor5618
I am fairly new to reloading but wonder how this could have anything to do with the bullets I loaded. Lots of variables because gun is new Savage varmiter with a Weaver Grand Slam 4.5x-14x 40mm scope. First round, I shot Remington factory loads with hollow points 50 gr.

I got it to shoot OK but newness of gun and especially the trigger led me to think most of the error was of my own doing. I checked the scope for level and found it to be a bit off so adjusted that.

Went to the range with Rem ammo and first shot understandable was off from the adjusting I did. Dialed in the change and fist shot just a bit right of center dot. Second shot touching on the high side. Satisfied it was dialed in properly.

First shot with reload of 36gr Varget using hornady v-max 50 gr head a bit low but almost two inches left. The wind was pretty strong and had shifted some from in my face to maybe 2:30. Fired again and this bullet hit at the same height abut a little bit more left maybe 1/4 or 1/2 inch. I thought it had to be the wind.

Then tried same bullet and head with 36.5 Varget. This bullet hit at the same height as the factory loads but once again was left. Second one left a bit more.

I gave up thinking the wind was just too much and it was cold as **** too.

When I got home went to the Winchester site and to their ballistic table. At 100 yards the wind pretty much has no impact at all.

I weighed each charge with two scales to make sure I was exactly on the number. I mic'd each case to make sure it was at the COL. The barrel is a very thick barrel so I do not think the heat was going to make it move. I did take time after each shot to check where the shot hit so there was at least 1 minute between shots and it was pretty cold. I had a thin barreled 243 that would start moving around if you shot it too much but do not expect this, especially on the 4th shot.

If I had any reason to believe that the movement was not the wind I would have fired another factory round but regrettably I did not.

I read that boat tails could be a bit finicky in the 22-250 so is this what I could expect. Oh shotting the 36 gr load the two hits were pretty close but left. The 36.5 was spread out a bit more. So I am thinking of loading some more with 36 gr but want to have a good handle on what happened before I do that. Any ideas, or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
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Determining the correct bullet length is a whole different topic, but MM did give you the definitive answer to your original question: Barrels "wiggle" as the bullet travels down them. This is a concussive wave, generated by the pressure created as the powder burns, traveling from the chamber to the bore, and back again, as the bullet is being pushed down the barrel. I'm not certain that barrels always oscillate in a circular fashion, particularly if the bedding of the barrel is suspect in any way. Some barrels may move side-to-side, while others move up and down.

What I can say, with absolute certainty, is that it is far more common for dissimilar bullets to change POI both vertically and horizontally, than it is for such bullets to only vary up and down. In your case, you have bullets of identical weight, but different length and center of gravity, as one is a hollow-point and the other is not. To summarize: I would be surprised if these two bullets showed only horizontal dispersion. What you're seeing is 100% normal and nothing to worry about, whatsoever. Load, adjust and shoot. :)

Since you seem to be the inquisitive type, do a search on these pages for the OCW method of load development. Unless I miss my guess, you will be very fascinated with the information you find.
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Because of the responses I did look at some youtube videos that talked about osculation etc and because of that I thought what your comments confirmed. They talked about how a change in force would change how the barrel moved just like hitting a pipe with different levels of force would change the way it vibrates.

I did come across one post that said the hornady load book said that the max with this bullet and Varget is 36.4. I double checked the bullets and there are no signs that there was too much pressure but the strike point was pretty erratic whereas 36 grs was pretty tight. So I am going to build some loads starting at 35 and 35.5 and 36 and see what kind of groups they shoot.

Then I will most certainly use your method of load adjust and shoot. The shots I took with 36 grs was tight enough that I would be more than happy with its accuracy. Without the information I got here I would be very concerned about why the strike point moved. At least now I have heard a logical explanation as to why, while also understanding that predicting what a different build will do is not going to happen. I kind of like that mystery of what will happen with this powder or bullet.

I will look into that method and I appreciate all the help more than I could ever explain. Having no idea why those bullets went left would have driven me crazy looking for an answer.
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Here is a link to the OCW method. It goes into great detail, explaining not only why barrel timing can result in bullets moving in unpredictable patterns but how to mitigate that with an optimized charge weight. FWIW - The typical pattern in right-hand twist barrels is from low left to high right, although we've all seen enough groups contradicting that logic.

OCW Overview - Dan Newberry's OCW Load Development System

I'd be interested to hear back from you after you've loaded the other powder charges (.5 grains at a time might see you miss the optimal charge weight - OCW) and shot them as Mr. Newberry recommends.

Thanks Broom. read everything on the link and think I have a grasp of what he was talking about. Some of the picture examples would have been better if he also wrote his conclusions. I think I will use 36.5 as the max. Most loads I found list 37 but one site said 36.4 was a max with the bullet I use.

I am going to load up a batch of bullets in the different configurations as he suggests and see what happens. Funny thing is that at 36.5 my shots are kind of all over the place which according to the site means if I go up a small percent it will probably be the OCW.

I think the site is great at keeping your thoughts away from thinking the latest greatest tools are the only way you will ever get an accurate bullet configuration. I think I owe everyone here the courtesy of following their suggestions and reporting on the results. So hopefully by the weekend I will be able do what the OCW site suggests. I will have to reread it to figure out exactly what I need to do though.
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I'm glad to see you are getting some good head knowledge of what happens when you pull the trigger, and more importantly about loading. I should have mentioned this before, but if you are working on an accuracy load it is most important to use a couple of wind flags. At 100 yds 2 would be the bare minimum and 3 would be the best.

The advantage of shooting over wind flags if done correctly is that you eliminate the error of changing wind conditions. In the summer mirage can be a problem too. I bought most of my daisy wheels at an Ace hardware years ago and then proceeded to make the entire wind flag much like NBRSA shooters use.

As for Dan's OCW formula which Broom mentioned. Thats a good goal. But what you said here as a OCW is nothing more then a sweet spot. The accuracy derived from that sweet spot works great at the time you formulated it, but try another day with different temperatures and humidity and you will be shooting all over the place.

The OCW you should be seeking and as Dan explained is a load that you can shoot anytime of the year and in any condition and be accurate. This OCW load would be great for hunting unless you know the conditions that you will be hunting in and they don't vary much. For instance hunting deer in the north in the fall will almost always be in low to moderate temps. Neither extreme cold or extreme hot. If you formulate a load under these same conditions then you will be in good shape for a deer hunt. I'm quite sure that this is the primary load used by most factory loaded ammo.

Then when conditions and temps change radically in the summer you would have to rework your loads for those conditions. You can either pull down all your shells or just keep a seperate batch for summer use. I would keep a seperate batch myself.

When shooting to prove a load always shoot a minimum of one 3 rounds per target. If you're not sure what you shot then shoot another. I always think of this as the joys of loading your own very accurate reloads.
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jimboLLN thanks for taking the time to provide even more information to aid me in becoming more informed as I move forward in this new endeavor. I am very surprised and thankful for all the help that was offered on this forum. I have been a avid computer user going back to when there was only a few sites on the web and if you spent some time you could read all the content that you could find. So I have been in many forums in a wide variety of topics and I think this is among the best I have been on in terms of the quality of information and how patient most comments are with people like me who are new to this and ask some of the same questions asked by everyone.

I will try that method to see what results I get. It will be interesting I think. One question more. You said that over 100 yards I should have three flags for wind. When I checked the Winchester site it said that there is virtually no effect on this bullet over 100 yards. I set it to 30 miles per hour across from the right and it only changed point of impact about a 1/10 of an inch. My last round of shooting the wind moved from straight into my face to strong from the right. At 200 or 300 yards the effect was very pronounced but at 100 it was of no consequence. What have your experience been?
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raptor, from what I have seen in my experience, at 100 yards you don't need to worry about wind, but it would be good to set them out and begin seeing what they look like during certain wind conditions. One day you will want to shoot whatever load you come up with at 300+ yards and it will certainly aid in judging shot placement at longer distances. Any edge you can gain from ascertaining information and learning from it will help you in the long run.
Good point Smokinfz1. I am dabbling in kite-boarding where wind speed and direction are extremely important so it makes sense that the more aware you are of the wind the better you will get at knowing what is going on. Oh I golf too where wind is a factor. Thanks.
jimboLLN thanks for taking the time to provide even more information to aid me in becoming more informed as I move forward in this new endeavor. I am very surprised and thankful for all the help that was offered on this forum. I have been a avid computer user going back to when there was only a few sites on the web and if you spent some time you could read all the content that you could find. So I have been in many forums in a wide variety of topics and I think this is among the best I have been on in terms of the quality of information and how patient most comments are with people like me who are new to this and ask some of the same questions asked by everyone.

I will try that method to see what results I get. It will be interesting I think. One question more. You said that over 100 yards I should have three flags for wind. When I checked the Winchester site it said that there is virtually no effect on this bullet over 100 yards. I set it to 30 miles per hour across from the right and it only changed point of impact about a 1/10 of an inch. My last round of shooting the wind moved from straight into my face to strong from the right. At 200 or 300 yards the effect was very pronounced but at 100 it was of no consequence. What have your experience been?
Explaining how the wind affects your bullet takes more then a few words, or even a few thoughts.

First of all how the different wind directions affect it.
Head wind (12;00) will make the bullet climb, or go up.
Tail wind (6:000 will make IT DROP.
Right wind (3:00) will make it go left
Left wind (9:00) will make it go left.

Now you have to consider all the different possibilities of those directions combined.
1:30 will make the bullet rise and go left
4:30 drop and go left
7:30 drop and go right.
9:30 rise and go right
AND, any combination in between :eek:

The effect the wind has on the bullet in the first 50 to 100 yds has more effect then the wind after 100 yds, thats because at 50 yds, if the bullet is off 1/4 inch it will be off 1/2 inch at 100, 2 inches at 200, 3 inches at 300 and so on. And that is without adding the additional force it has after 50 yds. But the 50 yd affect keeps multiplying. As for wind after 100 yds, yes it has effect.

When benchrest shooters set up wind flags for a 200 yd shoot they will set up 3 before the 100 yds mark, and 2 after. Again, the effect the wind has before 100 yds keeps multiplying all the way to 200yds. But as long as the wind is blowing all the way, it will have continuing affect the full distance. This is boat tails and VLDs (very low drag) included. The VLDs will less affect then standard bullets but still a lot.
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OK thanks for all the insight. So I am going to try that OCW method. The example did not follow the instructions but here is what I came up with following the instructions as I understand them. I set the max at 36.5 grs Varget. So the two sight in loads will be 33. and 34.6. The next 5 charges will be 35.3, 36.0, 36.3, 36.6 and 36.9. I am not sure why two would fall over the max but I think that I followed as bets I could. There was talk about 1 increment which I have no idea what that meant. I have fired 36.5 and looked at the base with a magnifying glass to see if there was any sign of high pressure and I saw none so I am not so concerned about 36.6 but I just might forgo the 36.9 load as one book Nosler lists 36.5 as the max. I also found several loads on other sights for Varget and the vmax bullet and all said that 36 was worked for them.

The shots I took using 36 were left but were very tightly grouped so I am suspecting that after all this is said and done I will end up using 36 grs.

I am very interested in seeing what happens with those first bullets. Hopefully the wind will be calm so that will be one issue that I will not have to think about. I plan on loading these tonight so any advice you might care to give please do.

Oh I did calculate how many bullets before I am at or around break-even with factory loads. After a mear 1,525 bullets the cost of either path will be roughly the same. I did not consider time as a cost nor did I consider the cost of buying either components or factory bullets.
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Sounds like a good plan, but I would not load the 36.9 unless your group is still holding. But even then, you may not be able to load the 36.9 until temps cool off again to the current.

The idea of the OCW is that you can put together a load that can be accurate in any temps and other conditions. This is what the factory attempts to do.

Now as for finding the high end sweet spot, this is what bench rest shooters use, but they have to keep close track of changing temps and humidity or they sweet spot load will kill them in competition. So what they do is keep a good log and are constantly chaing their load to coinside with the changing conditions. In other words, they are trying to always be in their sweet spot. This can be a very narrow margin, as small as .2ths of a grain.

So when you are firing your loads, keep good record of what happened. Wtite on the target the temp and humidity, and wind conditions. I use to use my cell phone to give me accurate temp and humidity. Then when all is done you will be able to compare them with an education and know what to load. But you may have to go back and fine tune your best load by adjusting 1 or 2 tenths at a time. This is a lot of work, but when you save your records then you have a great history of what load did what.

You will be able to use this history to back to at a later date and duplicate a load for the future. When ever you shoot, always keep records.
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Well, true re: the bench rest crowd, but they are often on the edge of stability. I've read of groups going sour during a match due to extreme weather. So, it's an issue for them, but not so much for the rest of us mere mortals. Our off-the-shelf guns almost always have plenty of extra twist that conditions don't cause a problem in regards to that.

The main point of the OCW method is to try and find a charge weight that is fairly insensitive to conditions. You would want to fire all of the groups on the same range outing if possible. That should eliminate conditions as a variable. When you pick a load in the middle of a range of several charges that are all consistent, then that load should be fairly insensitive to ordinary weather fluctuations.

Having said that, if you do the work in the middle of summer and hunt in the dead of winter, it might be good to check the results as close to hunting conditions a possible. Or, better, do the load work up in close to expected conditions.

But a change of a few percent in humidity or 20 degrees in temp shouldn't put things in the ditch. If it does, then something else is wrong. Or, you have a very specialized setup as per the first paragraph.
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Quite right Mike. When shooting benchrest a guy may have to adjust his load 6-8 times during the day long shoot, or even change powders. But these guys (one of which I am not) have shot record groups that would be hard to duplicate with an expensive machine. Their whole agenda is extreme accuracy, but that is not waht the OCW is. Again, OCW is nothing more then finding a load that will work well in all expected conditions, even with some variences.

But as for groups going sour during a match because of what you call modest changes in climate, that is true and happens all the time, BUT, not to the best and most experienced.

Again, benchrest shooting is not something that the common shooter should be concerned with. There is just too much to risk when you are about to pull the trigger on that buck of a life time.

Thats why it best to tune your load to a more modest velocity, and not to the top velocity. The top velocity will give you wonderful results in your favored condistions, but break your heart when you least expect it.
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I have been keeping records including the targets and what loads I used for which holes but my last time out the weather was just too crazy. I am going to try and use the same shooting pattern as the OCW. I am now certain that the 36.9 is out of the mix. As far as temp goes I picked Varget as my first powder purchase because it is supposed to be the most forgiving as far as temp goes.

If I can find a charge that shoots a decent group I will be using it to go out hunting so the temps will initially be the same as during the load workup. It might actually be colder because so far this winter has been a long spring in PA. I am not and have no desire to do any shooting contests so a load that is consistent is probably good enough for hunting purposes. I will keep in mind the changes due to temperature and now that it is pretty easy to modify what I am shooting I can check to see how things have changed when it starts to warm up.

The number of times where I have had consecutive shots touching are few and far between although this gun did it with factory loads so maybe shooting more will make it a bit more frequent. I live and hunt in PA where 300 yard shots are not very likely so I think if I can group inside of 1 inch I should be fine using it for hunting. I will post the results and try and take a picture of the target if things work out as I hope. There still is a nagging concern about my new USED scope. I think I have the accutrigger figured out and how to get a clear picture in the scope worked out too. So this will be the first time with all the same kind of ammo where I also am more comfortable with the new gear. Never had an accutrigger before and never had a scope with AO and what ever the eyepiece adjustment is.
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With the help of the OCW and Quickload and Chris Long's site, you may be able to get a top accuracy node near max velocity. However, it may require selecting a different powder if what you have isn't quite the right speed.

The only way to know, though, will be to test the powders that Quickload suggests and see if it works. An interesting exercise, but maybe not completely required for shooting the occasional coyote....

I'd personally rather keep fewer powders on hand and sacrifice a few fps if that's what it takes to get a stable load. To each his own.
After reading as much as I could when I started this I figured Varget was a good choice as many loaders liked how consistent it was and how easily it dispensed. I really liked that it was supposed to be easy to measure out which so far it has been very consistent. I also saw that there were loads for all the other calibers I shoot. If I could find one powder that was good for all my guns I would be very pleased. I really was worried about using the wrong powder or the wrong amount for that powder. I guess that was a little bit irrational because when I record the information I look at the bottle to make sure I have all the info right and mark it down even though there is only one bottle in my house so no mistakes are possible.

For what I am after I think doing this is overkill but I think it will help me learn how to change from one load to the other, How to mark down the information and shells so I know which is which. I also think it will be interesting to see what happens. For my use I think I loading a few more with 36.0 would have been good enough.

But each time I do a part of reloading I am getting to understand things a little bit better so while this is as you say an interesting exercise I think for someone new to reloading it will be a good learning experience. Even things like adjusting my balance scale is not second nature. I still double up on the electric scale to make sure I have it set right. Even the record keeping will evolve as I learn how to keep something that is helpful when looking at it after a while when what seemed clear when I did it becomes a mystery when you have forgotten why you wrote that or what that is. I modified the charges so they are a little closer together and do not go over the max. I really do not want to use the max charge anyway so pushing things to the limits is not what I am after.

In the future I hope to use the gun on other things like woodchucks which are smaller targets but do not require the ultimate in accuracy either. Based on advice from my friend, if I am careful and precise with how I load my accuracy will be better than I would get from factory loads. I also like that I can use any bullet type I want. The stores here only carry a limited variety. You could buy on-line of course but sometimes the bullet change really changes the price.

I think that no matter what I find out this weekend going through the process will be beneficial to my learning curve.
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thanks for the ? raptor this answered a lot of mine that i had today. i loaded 160 and 168 grain bullets with about 1.6 grain differental between powder loads with the varget from 32.6 to 41.7 grains in my 308 savage and you can definatly see a pattern in all the shots. but i know what to load with whether i'm shooting 160 or 168 grain bullets now.
Lots of good comments concerning accuracy! I've been loading for 35 years now and there are certain things (rules) that must be followed to achieve maximum accuracy. Free floating and glass bedding are a must. Trigger pull needs to be sweet to eliminate human error. Overall case length gauges are worth their money in gold. Neck turning your brass is a very important part of preparing brass. In my humble opinion, reloaders need to spend more time on their brass. (1) Full length resizing new brass with a S.A.M.M.S. spec die will get new brass shaped up. I use Forester FL, after the first fire forming process I switch to a Redding Neck Sizer bushing die, seated to the rifles sweet spot for O.A.C.L. Of course all brass is trimmed 10k under and is annealed after every second firing. After bullet seating there should only be an expansion of .001. of the neck. I have two Savage model 12's, 22-250 and hunt coyotes and small varmints with them. I personally feel there are several great powders out there with little different burn rates but have settled with Varget for my particular round. I also have settled for the 55 grain Hornady V-max, non boat tail. Both rifles shoot extremely well and give me the confidence I need when pesty varmints need killin!
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Welcome to Shooters Forum, Booshway. Sounds like you've been down the river a time or two.

I don't agree that free floating or glass bedding are a "must", but I do think the most important aspects of accurate cartridges are careful, consistent case prep and concentricity in your bullet, neck, chamber and bore. Once you've made sure those details are tended to the only thing left is to use one method or another for load development.

Have you ever used the OCW method?
The pressure spike from the different powders causes a different resonance in the barrel. This with the mentioned bedding, will change impact. Just the quirks of firearms.
I agree this is the only answer you got to be the truth.
forget all the others. any thing you change in the load or bullet will change the impact point.
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