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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a "standard" number of rounds to be loaded and shot at each increment of powder charge?  I realize that 2 is not sufficient but am curious as to whether or not I need to load 20 of each charge.  I have just started shooting  a 454 casull and quite honestly I get a little fatigued after 50 rounds.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Joe
 

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Beartooth Regular
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GP,
I have no sound reasoning for the way I do things, but for handguns, I load up 10 of a new combination.  That gives me 2 cylinders full and should be enough to decide if I like it or not.  With rifles, I load 6.  That gives me two 3-shot groups.  Not enough rounds to give any statistical credence, but enough for my satisfaction.

If I find one that is borderline acceptable, I can load up more, but usually can get a really good impression using the numbers above.

Just my warped way of thinking.  Good luck.



<!--EDIT|alyeska338|May 30 2002,08:27-->
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Sounds good.... I'll often shoot less than that, one cylinder full for revolvers (usually just to get an idea of velocities as I work up), 3-5 for rifles.

Once I think I've got a good load, then several groups usually confirms whether or not it's a good one.

I don't put too much stock in statistics, other than to rule out erratic (too much velocity spread) loads, especially with revolvers.   With handguns especially, and open sights, I'm the weakest link in the accuracy chain.  So I just want something that has consistent ignition.
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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GPowder,

I like your way with words -- "I get a little fatigued after 50 rounds". Fatigued isn't what I get, but I think we're on the same wave length.

If I'm experiementing with one powder for the five shot Taurus, I'll load eleven -- one "primer" and ten for testing. If I'm experimenting with several powders (taking two or more powders to the range), I'll load fifteen to twenty before I switch the Dillon's powder cylinder. However, I'll also admit that in the stances I load the 15/20 count, I have accumulated a awful lot of boxes with ten or more cartridges left over. So maybe ten (plus one for break-in/prime) is a reasonable guide for initial insights with more follow-up if the load is promising.

Now with that said, I'll hedge by saying I've had a number of instances that my 3rd, 4th, and 5th group is different than my first two groups. It happened today with the .44mag.  The first two groups weren't particularly promising, but the next three groups were noticeably better. I was shooting from rest in perfect conditions and I'm sure the difference was me. When testing for accuracy, I've found that five groups sure works better for me. I'm sure that I've missed good loads because of inadequate testing.  Sooooooo, how's that for being a mugrump?

Maybe you should let your wife/significant other take the first couple groups and you can finish up when shooting the .454. I suggest you'll learn one of two things; either who your friends are, or that your wife is a lot smarter than you.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses!

I am basically trying to find optimum loads for each 300gr., 335gr., and 360gr. hard cast bullets.  I, as MikeG stated, am most likely the weakest link when it comes to accuracy considering this is an iron sighted revolver.  That said, I guess what I am looking for is the most consistent ignition with each of these bullet weights(which by the way will be used for small, medium and large brownies respectively here in AK).  Hey, It's my lie!

From your responses, I get the impression that it is pretty much up to me to decide whether or not I like or dislike a load.  My problem is that when I shoot incrementally larger charges, I do not notice increased recoil for the most part (it is ALL pretty hefty).  

Yesterday I shot 5 rounds at each powder charge.  The extreme spread never got into the single digits with any of the loads and I could not for the most part recognize any obvious relationship between muzzle velocity and extreme spread as I stepped up the powder charge.  My starting load was .5gr more than that recommended by Cast Performance for each bullet and I increased the charge by .5gr increments.  

I am thinking that I may need to continue stepping up the loads until I notice a smaller increase in muzzle velocity and an increase in extreme spread.  Is this proper reasoning?  

Dan,
As for my wife and my friends, they both must be a lot smarter than I am since none of them will shoot my 454.

Joe
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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GPowder,

First of all, you're going at this the correct way, via use of the chronograph. Last summer, using my Taurus .454 (6 in. version), I started at the Cast Performance level and increased in .5 gr. increments also. I shot 10 rounds each level, five through my Chrony and for accuracy and five for just accuracy. I also recorded the ES and SD for each load. As Marshall indicates in his Tech Manual (I'd sure recommend it's use), the smallest ES and SD may not be your most accurate load, but it most likely will be very close. I found the velocity increases to be fairly linear (approx. 40 fps) until the increase from 25.0 to 25.5grs, at which time it only increased 4 fps. Obviously a maximum load. The best I could get from the 6" Taurus was 1370 with the 360gr. cast bullet. I found the most accurate load at 24.5 gr. and the smallest ES/SD at 24.0 gr. All in all, was comfortable that I'd found the safe max. load for my gun and the ES/SD closely tracked the accuracy

One additional suggestion that may not be pertinent to you, but has been for me. I found that I had more accurate results when I repeated the same process on two separate days. I've consistently found that even when using the same loading set-ups, weather conditions, bench rest, etc., that the results do vary more than I expected. May only be sloppy work on my part, but if so, I've been consistently sloppy (a virtue?). Anyway, may be interesting for you to try sometime when a particularly strong masochistic urge hits.

A question, have you had the opportunity to test various primers and brass in addition to your powder testing? Different primers and brass, as well as trimming your brass, can certainly affect the accuracy. There, see, with all this help, you're going to so fatiqued.........that you wouldn't have any strength left for taking the garbage out!!!!!
 
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