MemberMay 13, 2016 at 6:50 am21 Bullseyes
Hi Lakehouse, with the 1:8 your choices are wide open. I have accumulated a variety of bullets for my .223. I keep an eye out for sales and if one looks good I buy a few (few hundred sometimes lol). I picked up some normally expensive 65 gr JLK's from an estate sale, but in general I like to try several brands and weights so I can develop load data for a varmint load and long range load.
There is a good thread on accurate shooter forum on load development at 100 yards started by Erik Cortina that I follow when I test bullets and powder combinations that has saved me a good deal of components. It always helps to have a plan at the range. What I like to do breaks down something like this:
1. research a bullet/powder combination and make up a target board with enough bullseyes to pattern each load.
2. For a given bullet, start with a load 1 or 2 grains below the expected best load, seating bullets about .010 off the lands (or load to a COAL that gives a decent grip on the bullet when using short bullets).
3. load up 4 rounds of your starting powder weight and then load 4 more increasing the powder weight 0.3 grains, then 4 more at an additional 0.3 grains and so on until you have 4 rounds for each increment up to the max you wish to try (I usually go past my expected target weight by up to a grain).
4. At the range, fire 1 round from each powder weight – paying attention to pressure signs- and stop when pressure signs indicate max load for this bullet/powder/seating depth combination. These test rounds are handy to zero your scope on a practice target so you will be very close to the bullseye. Once you determine the max load, collect any rounds you loaded with more powder and put them away for later pulling and component recovery.
5. Now for the fun…Keeping track of which target you shoot with a given load, fire a series of 3 shot groups progressing through the various loads. It is helpful to shoot these over a chronograph and record the data for each shot. Allow cooling time between groups and keep the brass from each load together for inspection later. Some guys like to “round robin” this part but I find it too confusing and unnecessary, particularly if you have to stop before your finished since on your next outing the weather will be different.
6. Back at home look at the targets and you should see the center of the groups change elevation from group to group. What you are looking for is 2 or more consecutive groups that print at about the same elevation. These same-elevation consecutive groups indicate a “node” where the performance is stable and not sensitive to small changes in powder charge. If you find a good stable node, then look at the chrono numbers and if the extreme velocity spread is acceptable, you can select the powder weight that is in the middle of that node. (ex. if you find a node bracketed by 23.9 and 24.5 I would continue development using 24.2 grains of that powder).
7. now that you have found a stable powder charge, you can start tuning the load by adjusting the seating depth. This part gets a bit fussy sometimes and if your accuracy is good at .010 off the lands (or whatever you used) then you are more or less done with basic load development and you can load up a bunch of rounds and go have fun!
This was a VERY cursory summary of my load development routine and I can't really do it justice here.
I encourage you to read the thread
starting at the beginning (you don't have to read the whole thing since its 94 pages long lol.)
After a few pages of reading you will have a good handle on what we are looking for.
Sorry for the long post, Have fun!