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I know this post might be somewhat "boring" as most of use here are accomplished reloaders. But there might be some that are new to reloading and I hope this will give them some useful pointers.

Reloading For Accuracy & Uniformity For Beginners

As we all know, there are very few if (any rifles) that will group a certain combination of bullet weight, powder type and charge to the same POI. Rifle of various makes and models regardless of the action types all shoot differently, and what load shoot great in one rifle won’t shoot all that great in another. Factory loaded ammo is what I’d like to term as “generic” should group fine if the rifle is in good condition in terms of proper bedding, the condition of the barrel and a few other factors like barrel length and rate-of-twist. If factory loads don’t group well even after trying several brands and bullet weights then the fault might be in the rifle itself like poor bedding or just a bad barrel. However if everything checks out okay then one can start to reload for greater accuracy than what they are receiving from factory loaded ammo. The first step is educate one’s self concerning the process of reloading by reading various manuals on this subject. Regardless of what cartridge one is reloading it is a good idea to pick a certain bullet weight and develop an accurate and uniform load that will perform better than factory loads. When one studies a particular cartridge for reloading they will find several powders listed. Of this listing, one should concentrate on the top three powders for the particular cartridge being reloaded. Remember the powder that produces the highest velocity might not be the most accurate one, and also chamber pressure must be taken in account. Choose one powder and develop a load by reloading at least ten to fifteen once fired cases, of a certain case brand, and use the suggested starting load listed increase slowly but NEVER exceed the maximum load. Using a Chronograph to measure the velocity of a certain load 15 feet from the muzzle can be very useful as it will show velocity uniformity. The standard deviation should be no greater or less than ten feet per second than the average velocity of the ten shot test. If one type powder fails to give these results then try another powder until the best results are accomplished. After one finds the best powder and bullet weight for the rifle then it can be sighted in. Please remember one is not loading for the highest velocity but rather the MOST accurate load and SAFE for the rifle.
 

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For my money, the best systematic approach to finding accuracy loads for rifles is Dan Newberry's, here. He tries to find loads that will work at least pretty well in most rifles of the same chambering, but his round robin method also reveals peak accuracy in any particular rifle. He uses no special seating dies or runout gauges or neck trimmers or any other expensive benchrest tools, which a newbie won't want to be investing in at the beginning, anyway. Unless you first get your rifle shooting very well, you won't usually see the difference the expensive extras make, anyway.

Newberry has a limited list of recipe loads from which you can get some suggested primer and powder combinations. In general, the highest velocities come from powders at the slower end of the range for the cartridge involved. These produce higher muzzle pressures with greater charge weights than faster powder loads, and that adds to recoil, sometimes substantially. Not only does the added recoil work against accuracy, but the heavier muzzle blast from these powders acts more on the base of the exiting bullet, exaggerating the effect of any imperfection of the bullet base or crown. Sometimes such powdersl produce best accuracy, but I don't believe that it's usually true. I've seen the suggestion before that you want a powder whose starting load is in the range of 85% case fill under the bullet and whose peak velocities are just under those of the fastest powders. But YMMV.
 

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Tune Up Rifle -Case Prep

I was given my first rifle in 1949. Since then I have owned various new and used brands, models ,and calibers of rifles. I have or had a gunsmith do one or more of the following to get my reloads to shoot smaller groups. Glasss bed the action, free float the barrel, lapp the bolt locking lugs, recrown the muzzle, remove wood under the bolt handle, free up the magazine box, and adjust the trigger. Before fireing a new or used rifle the barrel is cleaned. The action and bolt are also cleaned on used rifles. -- Before loading new cases ,the cases are full sized, trimmed to the same length, flash hole deburred, primer pocket reamed to the some depth, and the in and out side of the neck deburred. The neck is also measured and if needed the necks are turned. The last process, when getting 100 ea or more cases the cases are seperated into groups by weight. The used cases from bolt action rifles are neck sized and the length trimmed if neer or over the max length.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks unclenick & tuck2 for your additional pointers & additional info. I left these issues out as I didn't want to make my post/thread too long.
 

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MikeG included it in a sticky in the ballistics forum, so if you lose it you can find it at the top of that forum.
 

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For my money, the best systematic approach to finding accuracy loads for rifles is Dan Newberry's, here.
That went to the favorites file! Thanks.

I've always wondered about that Federal Premium stuff though.

I sight in rifles for a couple guys that are "sight in challenged", one .270 shot the Sierra BT load so well, I could never duplicate it. The same load was nearly as good in two other rifles. 1/2" to 3/4" groups from a rest @ 100yds were ordinary. The best shooter was a M70 Featherweight, no less, that would turn in 1/2" groups every time I ever had it out.

Another friend has one of the new Savage tactical bolt rifles in 7.62 with a 4-12 leupold, that can touch 3 out of 5 bullets in a group box after box. It is unbelievably accurate (with just about everything), but the Fed Premium stuff, incredible.
 

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When I first got my .270 Winchester, the only ammo I used was Federal Premium. The accuracy was quite good and it took a while to come up with a handload that would match or exceed it. If I had to use factory ammo in any centerfire rifle, I would probably go with their stuff.
 
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