Anyone else frustrated with reloading?

TimberHunter

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This thread will have little value beside blowing off some steam and seeing if this is typical among other reloader as…

I’ve been reloading for approx 4 years. I’m self taught by reading many different forums, books, asking questions on forums and watching YouTube videos. However I’ve never felt like I’ve really hit the nail on the head with reloading…

I’ve got a browning 270 win that likes about any factory ammo minus a few (nosler 130 accubond to name one). A few years ago I worked up a load that shot decent (around 1 MOA at 100 yrds with an ES of approx 20-30fps, 130 Nosler BT with 58.3 grains of H4831sc). I recently went back to this load and the gun doesn’t like the load at all anymore?? I tried with a clean barrel and a dirty barrel but it was around 1.5-2.0 MOA on several different days. Factory ammo still shoots sub MOA in the rifle.

I have a 308 that is picky but I was able to find a 5 shot under 1 MOA load that it liked (155 Scenar and 41 grains of benchmark) and I shot several different groups over a month to make sure it liked that load… well as it would have it, that load is starting to fall apart on me again and open up just like my 270 did….

I try to keep my reloading process as consistent as possible. I push the should back a few thou with a FL die, trim/chamfer everything regardless of the length of the case, take my time and measure each of my powder charges on a frankford scale, load the batch of ammo to within a few thou of COAL and use high quality brass, primers, powder, bullets, etc. I’ve checked my scale base and scope rings several times on both rifles and there’s never any issue with them. Scopes are high quality $500-$1000 scopes (vortex, Zeiss, leupold).

However, regardless of my efforts, I continually get 1.5-2 moa loads with ES of +-25 with 3-5 shot groups. Any one else in the same boat? Has anyone found the light at the end of the tunnel? Lol


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TimberHunter

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Before you chase your tail tweaking little things that are generally statistically insignificant, go straight to the scope and mounts. I've never had a rifle go to crap like that where that wasn't the issue. Most typical scopes and mounts will do it...

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I agree with this but I’ve checked both and use quality bases and rings (Warne). Bases get lock tight and torqued and rings get torqued.

I’m not not losing my zero, my groupings are opening up and it’s seems I can’t easily find a load that will just shoot well in my rifles. Always seems that my reloads are not as good as factory


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tdot

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Consider having someone else shoot your handloads.

Unsure of your shooting form or history, but maybe consider having someone review your shooting form/techniques.
 
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It seems that you have checked all the the normal variables. The fact that you are having the same problem with both guns tells me it’s something with your reloading and not the guns. First place I would check is your scale. I have a Frankford scale and every time the batteries got weak, it would give me inconsistent charge weight, sometimes .5 to 1 gr off. Double check a few charges on a balance beam if you got one. Or sometimes I will zero my scale and then dump the powder back on the scale to see if I get the same charge. If your running a balance beam already, then I have no clue.
 
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TimberHunter

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Consider having someone else shoot your handloads.

Unsure of your shooting form or history, but maybe consider having someone review your shooting form/techniques.

Good idea… but if I’m able to shoot factory ammo well, shouldn’t I be able to shoot reloads well assuming it’s the right load for the rifle?

Maybe I’m just going about my reload testing all wrong. As of now I’m doing a modified OCW where I load one at the start grain weight, then another one at +.5 grains, then another one +.5 grains and then about half way through the min to max grain charge, I’ll shoot a 3 shot group to see how they group. Then continue shooting 1 shot at +.5 grains (watching for pressure) then will shoot another 3 shot group of a certain grain weight

Each shot velocity is recorded and I look for similar POIs and velocities and watch how the 3 shot groups group together. Then I’ll load some more rounds of which grain weight looks to be most promising


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Rob5589

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Good idea… but if I’m able to shoot factory ammo well, shouldn’t I be able to shoot reloads well assuming it’s the right load for the rifle?

Maybe I’m just going about my reload testing all wrong. As of now I’m doing a modified OCW where I load one at the start grain weight, then another one at +.5 grains, then another one +.5 grains and then about half way through the min to max grain charge, I’ll shoot a 3 shot group to see how they group. Then continue shooting 1 shot at +.5 grains (watching for pressure) then will shoot another 3 shot group of a certain grain weight

Each shot velocity is recorded and I look for similar POIs and velocities and watch how the 3 shot groups group together. Then I’ll load some more rounds of which grain weight looks to be most promising


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Hand loading doesn't automatically mean better than factory. You haven't quite found the right combination for that gun.
 

Devilfish

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I typically use a manual scale, scoop and trickle the power for each load. But I'm only loading 20-40 cartridges for a 338 Edge, and usually about 40 for the 300WM. What I'm looking for is that the first shot cold bore is on target. That's what really matters on a game animal. I also give my barrel plenty of time to cool down, and pass the time practicing with my little 22 rimfire.
 

1moredeer

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H4831sc is supposed to be one of the least temperature sensitive powders out there but for some reason I’ve seen/heard others who use it in a 270 report the same issues you are having. No pressure signs, just groups opening up. What were the outside temps when you originally developed the load?
 

MK280AI

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What dies are you using?
What press are you using?
I only use Redding type S neck die/body die and their competition bullet seater.
 

Rich M

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Your numbers are great. Mine aren't as good but using a regular chrono.

Shoot for groups at 200 yards and see what you get.

I also started getting better results when I stopped nit-picking everything that I did. Trusted the powder dumper thingy, stopped measuring and weighing the brass, etc. Just need the bullet to be the proper length and I'm good to go.
 
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TimberHunter

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TimberHunter

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What dies are you using?
What press are you using?
I only use Redding type S neck die/body die and their competition bullet seater.

RCBS FL sizing die that I polished the expanding ball on

Hornady bullet seater due

Lee single stage press.

I’ve gone down rabbit holes trying to buy myself accuracy by ways of more/better reloading equipment but it hasn’t help. There must be something fundamentally wrong with my reloading process


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TimberHunter

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If the gun shoots new factory but your hand loads don't... check your brass. When my brass needs annealing, my accurate loads go to hell.

My loads were tested with new and once fired Lapaua brass. Would I need to anneal every firing?


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TimberHunter

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It seems that you have checked all the the normal variables. The fact that you are having the same problem with both guns tells me it’s something with your reloading and not the guns. First place I would check is your scale. I have a Frankford scale and every time the batteries got weak, it would give me inconsistent charge weight, sometimes .5 to 1 gr off. Double check a few charges on a balance beam if you got one. Or sometimes I will zero my scale and then dump the powder back on the scale to see if I get the same charge. If your running a balance beam already, then I have no clue.

I was thinking my scale may be the issue because it will bounce around +-.1 to .3 grains. I do my best by measuring each powder charge multiple times on the scale

I have a balance beam, Ohaus 5-0-5 balance beam I bought off Amazon because if I’m the good reviews it got. But it’s seems like a rudimentary way to weight and it doesn’t always show the same weight when weighing the same weight several times


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mvrk28

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My loads were tested with new and once fired Lapaua brass. Would I need to anneal every firing?


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I anneal every firing, i don't know that it is an absolute must but I feel like consistent results come from consistent procedures. I typically wet tumble, resize (don't expand necks yet), corn cob to remove lube, anneal, expand necks and then go about priming and loading.
 
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TimberHunter

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I anneal every firing, i don't know that it is an absolute must but I feel like consistent results come from consistent procedures. I typically wet tumble, resize (don't expand necks yet), corn cob to remove lube, anneal, expand necks and then go about priming and loading.

Expanding mandrel die for opening the necks?


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