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Old 01-13-2011, 19:39   #1
Loudcherokee
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Load Development for a match

Hello! I have a couple of questions for you.

I currently have a Savage Model 10FLP in .308, with a Nikon Buckmasters 4.5-14x scope mounted. I'm going to be getting a bell and carleson medalist stock for it, and having it converted to lefty by Savage Gunsmiths. I'll also be upgrading the scope to a Mueller 8.5-25x44 tactical so I can get some more zoom on my optics. This is the basis for my long range project. I'd like to eventually get good enough to go to the supershoot in Akron that I read about in this years Hodgdons Annual Manual.

I just got into reloading, and wondered how you come up with your best loads for a match? I've read that alot of people have had great luck with the 175g SMK BTHP with my rifle, so that's the bullet I will be starting with. I'm also going to start with Varget or IMR 4064. Haven't decided yet.

My main question would be, how do you get to your best load, ie: OCW method, Ladder method, etc. Secondly, do you set bullet depth to the rifleing, and then work on your load from a start point, or do you work up a great load that shoots tight groups and then play with COAL to fine tune the cartridge?

These questions all based on my assumption that you actually do reload since you compete in matches, lol.

Also, for actual long range shooting, how do you know how many clicks to adjust your elevation at a given range? For example, I've heard people talk about shooting at a target at 600 yards, but their rifle was zero'd at 200, so they "dialed in" 30 clicks of elevation and hit the center of target. How do they know that 30 clicks would adjust POI to their POA? Currently, I have my rifle zero'd at 100, and know where my holdover is at 300. I don't touch my turrets. 300 is currently as far as I can shoot at my club, but there is talk of a 600 yard range being built, and a friend has invited me to his range that is 650. I don't want to go to the 650 yard range and watch my bullets bounce off the bottom of the berm!

I think I read somewhere this is called "doping" your scope?

Can you tell I'm new at this? lol

Thanks!

LC
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Old 01-14-2011, 13:52   #2
Zak Smith
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Hi,

As a preface, there is no need to get more magnification than 4-14x. As long as the optics are decent and the scope is repeatable, that magnification should allow you to hit a 10" square at 1200 yards.

Reloading is basically a requirement for the serious long-range shooter (outside of military shooters who get free match-grade ammunition, and even then they often reload their own for matches). I haven't written an article on it specifically because there are so many good resources both in print and on the internet already. There is nothing really different about developing a load for practical long-range rifle shooting, or long-range field shooting, than for hunting or conventional match shooting, etc.

In the practical long-range shooting article series (which is in the tacked thread here), I wrote the following short blurb about it:
Quote:
When given a choice in components, I recommend choosing Lapua cases (brass) if they are available in that caliber. After Lapua, try Norma, then Winchester, then whatever you can get. Bullet selection was covered before, but some good candidates are bullets from Lapua, Berger, and Sierra. For powder type, I prefer to use powers from Hodgdon's "Extreme" line, including H4831SC, Varget, Retumbo. There is always some experimentation involved in developing "THE" load for your long-range rifle.
Essentially, the best strategy to find a great load for your rifle is to (1) use high quality components, (2) that have a proven track record, and (3) use a recipe that has proven to be a great long-range performer (with some tweaks for your rifle).

One of the old standby long-range loads is a 175gr SMK at approx 2700 fps, using Varget. If you wanted to replicate this load, I would recommend to use Lapua .308 cases, Federal 210M primers, and Varget. If you haven't already, read the beginning chapters of several reloading manuals for procedures, etc. You can start this load at 43 grains and work up to a final load. But if the load was only shooting 1/2 MOA at 2500 fps and it degraded when I got up to over

For long-range shooting, we need to use a high-BC bullet in a load that is accurate enough for our needs and has enough velocity. Thus, there is potentially a balance to be struck between accuracy and velocity. Some rifles don't force you into a decision; some do. For example, if you load this and at 2670 fps you get 1/4 MOA groups, but at 2710 fps you get 3/4 MOA groups, I would take the 2670 fps load. The benefit of a 1/4 vs 3/4 MOA group size is more attractive than a extremely small change in trajectory and wind drift (the 40 fps).

There are various methods like OCW or Ladder, etc, that you can use. Personally, I use the best components I can, in good rifles, and never have had to settle on a load that was very "fiddly" for accuracy near my final load. In other words, I can have a load that will shoot substantially identical for accuracy over a 1 or 2 grain sweep and I can pick the final load based on velocity vs. acceptable pressure indicators.

As far as COAL, if you use a known recipe and load to factory COAL, that is a good and safe start. Most good rifles will shoot Federal or Lapua factory ammunition very accurately, so if you just replicate that COAL in your reloads it is a good starting point. There is no need to load into the lands with most bullets. Also, some bullet designs are more sensitive to "jump" than others. I try to not settle on a bullet that is very jump sensitive because then I have to stretch my loads as the throat erodes to keep the same offset.

As far as the "dope" question, read the 3-part article series that it tacked. It answers that question comprehensively.

Edited to add-- FWIW, a long-range load better than the 175 SMK is the Lapua 155 at 2900-2950 fps.
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Last edited by Zak Smith; 01-14-2011 at 13:53..
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:55   #3
Loudcherokee
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Thanks for your time in answering my questions.

So, if I'm understanding things right with the scope dope, I would use a ballistics program to input my load and bullet information into, and it will spit out a range card for me?

I used JBM to create a hypothetical range card with 175g SMKs with an estimated 2690 velocity, 1.5" sight height, and 100 yard zero. I didn't mess with the atmospheric conditions as I'm not sure where to get the info, and this was just for practice anyways. I see I'm going to need to get a Chrono to determine my loads velocities so I can get an accurate range card.

With the hypothetical range card, shooting at a 300 yard target, it says I will have 14.5" drop or 4.6MOA with a 300 yard shot. So, since my scope is 1/4MOA clicks, or .25, this would be 4.6/.25=18.4 clicks of elevation for a 300 yard POA/POI? If this is correct, I could take the range card and go down the list of yardages, adding another column telling me how many clicks to the given range, correct?

This actually brings me to another question. a 1000 yard shot shows a drop of 36.9MOA with a 100 yard zero. If my above formula is correct, that would be 147.6 clicks to POI/POA. This is a problem, as my scope is listed at having only 50 MOA of internal adjustment. I assume this to mean 25MOA up and 25MOA down from mechanical zero. At 1/4MOA clicks, this is 100 clicks up or down. I'm out of clicks to get to a 1000 yard POA/POI. Now, I did read your article about the slanted base giving more adjustable elevation. Is this the product I can use to gain elevation? It says it adds 20MOA of elevation adjustment.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=373890

So, with an added 20MOA, that would give me an extra 80 clicks, allowing me to shoot at 1000 yards. This would also make my zero 80 clicks drop from mechanical zero, if my rifle zeros with the scopes mechanical zero, correct? Giving me a total of 180 clicks of elevation, or 45 MOA? With adding an elevated base, how do I measure the bore to sight distance to get an accurate range card, and is the base I linked a good design/brand?


I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, if the above is correct. Your articles were very helpful, but I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it, and needed some clarification.

THanks!

LC
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:34   #4
Zak Smith
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Quote:
So, if I'm understanding things right with the scope dope, I would use a ballistics program to input my load and bullet information into, and it will spit out a range card for me?
Yes, basically. However, note that while in the majority of cases, this data will be right on, you need to verify the data by shooting at various distances for confirmation.
Quote:
I didn't mess with the atmospheric conditions as I'm not sure where to get the info, and this was just for practice anyways.
The most important are to set the altitude and temperature.


Quote:
this would be 4.6/.25=18.4 clicks
Do not think in terms of clicks. Your scope knob has numbers and hash marks on them that denote the absolute value of elevation from its zero. Use those numbers. Do not think in terms of inches for drop. You have no way to hang a tape measure out at any arbitrary distance. Always think in terms of the angular units, MOA in this case.

If your data says you need 4.5 to get to 300 yards, simply dial to 4.5 MOA.

Scope dialed to 2.2 mils (actually 16.2 mils)
GATE Long-Range Shooting


Scope dialed to 11 minutes
GATE Long-Range Shooting

Scope dialed to 12 minutes
GATE Long-Range Shooting

Quote:
This actually brings me to another question. a 1000 yard shot shows a drop of 36.9MOA with a 100 yard zero. If my above formula is correct, that would be 147.6 clicks to POI/POA. This is a problem, as my scope is listed at having only 50 MOA of internal adjustment. I assume this to mean 25MOA up and 25MOA down from mechanical zero. At 1/4MOA clicks, this is 100 clicks up or down. I'm out of clicks to get to a 1000 yard POA/POI. Now, I did read your article about the slanted base giving more adjustable elevation. Is this the product I can use to gain elevation? It says it adds 20MOA of elevation adjustment.
If we pretend you never mentioned "clicks" in that paragraph, that is correct. You need a 20 or 30 MOA incline base and that EGW one should be good.

Quote:
With adding an elevated base, how do I measure the bore to sight distance to get an accurate range card, and is the base I linked a good design/brand?
You just measure from the center of the bore to the center of the scope using a measuring tape or straight edge. As long as you're within 0.1" it'll be fine.
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Last edited by Zak Smith; 01-15-2011 at 12:34..
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Old 01-15-2011, 13:00   #5
Loudcherokee
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Thanks again for all the info. I kind of get it now. I was a little confused by your first pick of the 11 minutes, until I realized that scope is 1/2MOA clicks. I couldn't figure out at first why there were so many hash marks between 10 and 15.

I had to go look at my scope to get a better idea of what you mean by not thinking in clicks. I do have hash marks with even numbers, and 4 hash marks between each number, and 12MOA of adjustment per revolution. Under the turret, there are also marks on the column with lines. 1 and a line, 2 and a line. Not sure what is above that but my scope is zeroed on the 2 line. What do these lines mean? My owners manual isn't clear on this. I'm guessing it's to count the revolutions, for easy multiplication, so the 2 line tells me to multiply my clicks by 2, for 24 MOA, so my scope is zeroed just about dead center of it's mechanical zero. Is that what these second set of ticks are for?

LC
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Old 01-15-2011, 21:17   #6
Zak Smith
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The horizontal lines indicate the revolution the knob is on.
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