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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 7/19/2008 4:35:54 PM EST
I'm using Hornady 55 fmjbt bullets, winchester brass, H-335 powder and CCI-450 primers. I have loaded 10 bullets each with 23grs of H-335 powder thru 25.5grs in .5gr increments. Now I'm ready to try them out. So how do I know what to look out for. How do I know when I have the best load for my AR, 16 inch barrel with 1/9 twist? Do you need a chronograph to do this right? These are the 1st bullets I ever reloaded, so I can use all the info I can get on this.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 4:47:26 PM EST
First welcome to reloading. A chrono isn't a requirement but it is nice. In order to find he best load you need to decide what you want from it. The most accuracy, the highest velocity (this is where a chrono is needed to prove the velocity), or a combination of the two. Decide what you want and hen try to achieve it. Good luck.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 4:56:28 PM EST
Optimal Charge Weight

This is about the most "scientific" approach I have found. Better than the "ladder" method. When you find the OCW, then start playing with the distance of the lands off the round.

THIS TAKES AWHILE but it makes the most sense when you think about it!
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 5:40:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/19/2008 5:51:52 PM EST by n8pgp]
In your situation I would fire the 10 round groups (checking for any pressure signs of course) see which powder charge weight produces the best group. beg borrow or buy a chronograph. See if this load is consistant (SD, ES blah blah...) this will tell you if this load will fare well at long distances.
Load another batch of this load 20-30 rounds and see if it is repeatable. If so, then you can play with other advanced techniques, seating depth blah blah...
In my short time reloading (about 2 yrs) I have found I can make very accurate loads just by going to the chrono level of load development. I have not had a reason so far to start playing with seating depth and the distance to the lands etc..
I will sacrifice some velocity for accuracy. I worked up some Javalina loads with 52g Hornady a-max's for my remmy 700 that would chew a ragged hole at 100yds.

ETA-- I just read the link above and I guess I have been finding the OCW for MY rifle....I have not tried these loads in anyone elses guns. I'm still happy
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 6:13:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By toxic:
Optimal Charge Weight

This is about the most "scientific" approach I have found. Better than the "ladder" method. When you find the OCW, then start playing with the distance of the lands off the round.

THIS TAKES AWHILE but it makes the most sense when you think about it!


That is pretty interesting.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 7:07:41 PM EST
Repeat yo test over several trips to the range. Pick the group that holds at different temperatures and humudity levels.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:46:37 AM EST
Short answer, the load that shoots the best group without pressure signs.

Read your reloading manual, pressure signs are covered in the "how to" reload section.

A "general" rule is that the most accurate load will be somewhere around 1/2 to 1 grain below the max powder charge listed.

Your brass will also last longer at this powder level.

As mentioned a chrono is not needed unless you need to know the velocity.

Welcome to the reloading club.

Post an after action report. You will have a big smile on you face when you realise you can load your own.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:50:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By AmericalJoe:
I'm using Hornady 55 fmjbt bullets, winchester brass, H-335 powder and CCI-450 primers. I have loaded 10 bullets each with 23grs of H-335 powder thru 25.5grs in .5gr increments. Now I'm ready to try them out. So how do I know what to look out for. How do I know when I have the best load for my AR, 16 inch barrel with 1/9 twist? Do you need a chronograph to do this right? These are the 1st bullets I ever reloaded, so I can use all the info I can get on this.


Sir, FWIW I use a chronograph in the determination of the best loads. The chronograph provides the data that allows me to enter the actual velocities of my loads into a ballistics program for the determination of the terminal velocity and bullet drop at longer ranges than I have available for testing purposes.

Lacking a chronograph and ballistics program my suggestion would first require one to decide what specific goals are intended? Are you looking for optimum group size at a known distance or are you looking for loads that shoot minute of Bambi with sufficient velocity for bullet expansion within the target?

I suggest you work up your loads in groups of five cartridges with the same powder charge. Increase the powder charge in increments of .5grains per group of cartridges up to the max. load provided in your loading manual. With your rifle in a sandbagged rest fire each group of cartridges at a distance not less than 100yd to determine which group of cartridges provides the best group on target. Once you have determined the group of cartridges that provides the best group load up a five more cartridges with a charge weights both .2 grains higher and .2 grains lower. You can load additional cartridges .4 grains higher and lower but by now I assume you understand where this is going. Shoot each test group from the sandbagged rest to determine if the change in charge weight had any effect on the group size on paper.

Once you know which powder charge gives you the best group you should be able to determine the MV based solely on the velocity provided for that charge weight in your loading manual. Recognize that the loading manual published velocities is usually based on chronographed readings measured on test rounds fired in a rifle with a 24" test barrel and since the barrel of your rifle is somewhat less the MV of your rounds fired from your rifle with be proportionately lower. HTH, 7zero1.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 5:51:53 PM EST
You really get good and fast information from this site. For a novice this site is great. Thanks
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 8:19:12 AM EST



How do you know you have the right load?


When you think you do.

All I'm looking for out of my loads is the ability to punch paper at 300 yards.

Most of my shooting is done under 20 yards.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 8:41:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/21/2008 8:42:52 AM EST by ma96782]
The "RIGHT LOAD" has been found when..............YOU are HAPPY with it!!

Aloha, Mark
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 6:10:19 AM EST
One caveat on OCW. Make sure you can consistently fire MOA or better before you head down that road. If you are not a consistent shooter with the rest, sights, and rifle you plan to use already that method is not going to work too well for you. Sandbag it for best results.

That holds true outside OCW as well but that's a lot more work wasted if you aren't already a good shooter.

You'll get to know your rifle well over time. I know mine will typically have a node at a low charge where it's shots fantastic but at a 150 to 200fps lower velocity. It will also generally have a point just under max where it tightens up noticeably and as long as I'm close to that velocity it stays consistent. In between those points it sucks ass.

You can do pretty well just firing 10 shot groups and recording the sizes and comparing for just casual 100yd target shooting. If you want to shoot 600yds then you're going to need to do more work.
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