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That would depend on why you're pursuing the load in the first place, wouldn't it?

You'd have to give more information to get any kind of meaningful answer. Are you shooting a 22WMR at 100 yards for squirrels? Are you shooting a 6.5x284 that will be used for 1,000 yard matches?

For big game hunting rifles that will be used at a reasonable maximum point-blank range, 100 yards is a good distance at which to check load potential.
 

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Is 100 yards the best distance to determine if a load is worth pursuing?
It is often a useful compromise, yes.
The most efficient means I have found to find a good load is Dan Newberry's Optimal Charge Weight method. Put that phrase into your favorite internet search engine to get to his website. It is most common to run an OCW series at 100 yards due to an array of tradeoffs, but that system and that range will get you looking in the right area even if your goal is >1000-yard shooting.
 

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Also depends on your range as in what distances are available and other factors. I can shoot clear out to 600yards at my club but it's more often than not to windy to tell anything. There are high banked berms out to 100yards as well, ideally I would rather shoot at 200yards because there are concrete benches on that range but end up shooting in the 100yard ranges because of the wind.
You have to take everything in to account in your situation.
 

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The late Creighton Auddette always fired his ladders at 200 yards. Randolf Constantine recommended moving them to 300 yards when he first wrote the idea up. Even Dan Newberry has a lot of 300 yard data. Though his OCW system does let you work closer up, you are then almost entirely dependent on chronograph readings to discern a velocity consistency problem. Going beyond 300 starts to make wind too significant, and it gets harder to factor it out from mechanical precision.

Just my opinion. YMMV.
 

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100 yard targets shot consistently from the same load will tell you just fine how your load is developing. Then, when you stretch that same load out to 200 - 300 yards, it will tell you how you are coming along.

The only difference would be, like someone said, if you're going to be shooting 1000 yards or so. Then, even though you may be putting some of the group through the same hole, I think you will need to develop that load at a greater distance - maybe 200 or 300 yards.

ON EDIT: I was composing at the same time as Nick.
 
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The late Creighton Auddette always fired his ladders at 200 yards. Randolf Constantine recommended moving them to 300 yards when he first wrote the idea up. Even Dan Newberry has a lot of 300 yard data. Though his OCW system does let you work closer up, you are then almost entirely dependent on chronograph readings to discern a velocity consistency problem. Going beyond 300 starts to make wind too significant, and it gets harder to factor it out from mechanical precision.

Just my opinion. YMMV.
Add to that 10 round groups. 5 round is only an indicator for initial work ups. 10 rounds groups give you a lot more substantial proof as done by the military (including aberdeen) and accuracy shooters for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all for the information, it's very much appreciated!. My .308 VTR is out for trigger repair right now, but when I get it back I'll be starting my testing. I've also been reading about cold bore and fouled bore, should I ignore those factors early on or take note of those factors as well?
 

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Thank you all for the information, it's very much appreciated!. My .308 VTR is out for trigger repair right now, but when I get it back I'll be starting my testing. I've also been reading about cold bore and fouled bore, should I ignore those factors early on or take note of those factors as well?
FOr the moment work up you load and then decide what you want to do with that info. I shoot with a rifle I know both warm and cold barrel.
 

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Thank you all for the information, it's very much appreciated!. My .308 VTR is out for trigger repair right now, but when I get it back I'll be starting my testing. I've also been reading about cold bore and fouled bore, should I ignore those factors early on or take note of those factors as well?
Got a question, have you fired rifle yet? I know some have mentioned 5/10 shot groups and was wondering since rifle has 22" barrel with factory muzzle brake does noise level bother you with hearing protection?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I will be using the rifle for hunting game as well as paper. Of course accuracy is the long term goal, but I'm currently looking to develop a load that will work well for shorter distances, 300 yards and in. I'll be testing 165 grain and 168 grain bullets. I've found 47 grains of Varget work well with the 168 grain BTHP, I'm also using Hornady 168 AMAX with the same load and I'm working Hornady 165 grain SST into the mix as well. From what the books say there should be little difference. between these varied bullets. I've worked up 10 rounds of each for a comparison on groupings. The gun was zeroed using 168 grain Hornady BTHP at 25 yards. The zero group was under a nickel at that distance. Please tell me if I'm going about this in the wrong way.
 

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Got a question, have you fired rifle yet? I know some have mentioned 5/10 shot groups and was wondering since rifle has 22" barrel with factory muzzle brake does noise level bother you with hearing protection?
yes I've had the rifle since 2009 and have conservativly put 700 rounds through the gun. Recently I've gotten into hand loading and seek perfection... The noise is no problem with cans or plugs, but fire that bad boy without hearing protection and you'll be ringing all day! ;)
 

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I will be using the rifle for hunting game as well as paper. Of course accuracy is the long term goal, but I'm currently looking to develop a load that will work well for shorter distances, 300 yards and in. I'll be testing 165 grain and 168 grain bullets. I've found 47 grains of Varget work well with the 168 grain BTHP, I'm also using Hornady 168 AMAX with the same load and I'm working Hornady 165 grain SST into the mix as well. From what the books say there should be little difference. between these varied bullets. I've worked up 10 rounds of each for a comparison on groupings. The gun was zeroed using 168 grain Hornady BTHP at 25 yards. The zero group was under a nickel at that distance. Please tell me if I'm going about this in the wrong way.
100 yards is a fine place to start testing a big game rifle.

I'd suggest a useful zero for hunting is 2" high at 100. Some folks go 3" high at 100, though.

All those similar bullet weights should group pretty close at 100 but you never know. I've seen a 4" horizontal spread with two different brands of the same bullet weight in a different cartridge, but in any case you should still be on the paper if you zeroed at 25 yards.

Good luck.....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Once again thanks for you input everybody. I'll take notes and post pics if necessary after I complete my first test. To eliminate Cold Bore influence I'll fire 2-3 warm up rounds.
 

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To eliminate [any] Cold Bore influence, I'll fire 2-3 warm-up rounds.
I have to slowly fire five or six foulers and let the barrel cool down to until it's warm but not "too cool." I've found different powders require a different number of foulers to get the barrel to toe the line once we start shooting for group. Jus' my opinion, but I think just two or three foulers is not going to coat the bore with enough carbon dust to make the barrel "settle in" and produce good groups. You can try that few then just for grins, try doubling your original number. The key is to let the barrel cool down and the carbon dust to somewhat dry out ("flash off")before you get down to business. The stuff is kind of oily when it's hot. Then it dries to a firm, powdery state. That's when you shoot for group. If you leave the stuff in there for months (my .223 Howa, last fired in September and not cleaned), the stuff turns dam-ned near into concrete.
 
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Though I'm a believer in fouling shots, you still have the issue of the cold bore the morning of the hunt. Of course, that can be fixed by firing your fouling shots, then coming back another day or two to see where the POI is with a truly cold bore. But anyway, I've never found too great of flyer errors either way.
 

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As has been said, 100 yards will tell you a lot about hunting loads. I don't get into the fouling shots thing too much... My last test loads fired in my 7x57, without fouling shots and from cold bore, put my first 3 in 1/2 inch. I like to keep my bore clean when hunting, and my bore is always cold when I shoot game. :D

My 7x57 is a model 70 featherweight, with the light barrel I have to let it cool after the first 3 shots, and then after 2 for continued shooting. Waiting 5-6 minutes is best to keep a tight group in my rifle.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Shot the shizzle out of it today

Alright guys here's what I learned today. Since my gun just came back I had to redo the scope mounting and zeroed first thing. Where I live, in CA we just find a nice secluded place in the desert and get to it. Zeroing took care of the fouling and cold bore issue. I used a box of PMC 147 grain FMJ. After zeroing in I drilled 6 shots into a 1/2 inch. I had 8 different loads to test. I let the barrel cool and shot my .22 for a bit. Then I shot at 100 yards not worrying about zero, only concerned with grouping data. I found that 43.5 grains of Varget with both 168 grain AMAX and 165 grain SST produced groups of 1 inch at 100 yards. I just worked up some more loads of SST with a variance of .3 grains up and down. So I've got 43.2, 43.5, and 43.8 grains worked up. Next outing I will zero using 43.5 and then shoot 100 yard groups, the same way i did today (well hopefully much better... :p). If my understanding of OCW is correct this is the next step. Also, since I found similar data with the 168's I'll do the same work ups with those as well. Have I missed anything?
 
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