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Precision shooters, ballistics experts, other authorities: Lend me your ears (re “cold bore” shots). Login/Join 
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:
I predict that once fritz gets sufficiently exasperated with factory ammo and its inherent inconsistency, he's going to look at handloading and that will bring on its own challenges.

I haven't ruled out handloading, but it's not in the cards right now. Between a heavy office workload and weekend maintenance of the family ranch, I don't even have the time for a well-deserved nap. We'll see what the future holds.

There's no doubt I have experienced challenges with factory ammo. My past practice of swapping between ammo types during carbine matches may be my biggest faux pas. Now that I use Hornady 75 Black as the match ammo for most of my ARs, my cost per round has decreased noticeably. I need to suck it up and use H-75 exclusively. Looking back on 3 matches, I think switching to AE55 FMJ on high-volume stages hosed me for the following precision targets.

I realize factory ammo won't give me the very best accuracy. Fortunately Hornady's 73 & 75 grain loads work pretty well, as long as my head isn't up my backside. I've missed more 100-yard gimme targets than I care to admit, but I've also tagged some 600+ yard plates in windy Wyoming and New Mexico matches that RO's have noted were some pretty bold shots. By the time our local matches start back up in the spring, I will hopefully have consumed a couple more ammo types that I will no longer stock in the future.


The good thing about having a single load for everything, as long as it's capable of fulfilling the requirements, is that you get to learn it VERY well.

That's what was happening to me with my prior match load. After using it for many matches, I just knew what it was going to do in the various conditions. When I started playing with the A-Tips, all that acquired knowledge went out the window and I could see where I simply was over compensating on target, shot after shot. I am learning the load and even at my age, I can still do that, but it's taking longer than when I was younger. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks, but you need to kick him a lot.

At any rate, I totally get why you are not currently handoading; it's a can of worms all by itself and very demanding if you want to get to produce better ammo than factory ammo. Most people think they can do that right away, let me just say these people believe in unicorns. It takes time, equipment and experience. Thankfully the internet makes that easier compared to say, 25 years ago.

Yes, Hornady makes good ammo, most ammomakers do these days. The good thing is that your needs can be met with match ammo; you do not have to forgo special bullets for extreme purposes. It's only going to get better as ammomakers continue to refine their products.
 
Posts: 3084 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Originally posted by NikonUser:
It's only going to get better as ammomakers continue to refine their products.


That is one thing I’ll thank the passage of time for: the improvements in guns, rifles especially, and ammunition over the past 50+ years. One of the ironies about handloading is that at one time it was easy to improve on factory loads. Today, not so much.




“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
— Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer, 1970
 
Posts: 41462 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by sigfreund:
quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:
It's only going to get better as ammomakers continue to refine their products.


That is one thing I’ll thank the passage of time for: the improvements in guns, rifles especially, and ammunition over the past 50+ years. One of the ironies about handloading is that at one time it was easy to improve on factory loads. Today, not so much.


That is only partially true. I agree that Ammo manufactures are definitely improved.

But they lack the ability to truly fine tune the load to a particular chamber/rifle. Seating Depth and distance to the lands can make a big difference. Finding an accuracy node and optimal velocity is another.

Manufactures are loading to a generalized SAAMI specification. Handloading for precision is about controlling or optimizing as many variables as possible.

Andrew



Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
 
Posts: 707 | Registered: May 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Originally posted by El Cid 92:
Handloading for precision is about controlling or optimizing as many variables as possible.


Yes, that’s true, but my point wasn’t that handloaded ammunition is no longer capable of performing better than factory, but that it’s necessary to do much more to achieve that better performance than it was 50 years ago. At one time just carefully weighing powder charges seemed to be enough to achieve better performance than factory loads.

Even without being a particularly good precision rifle shooter, I regularly achieve results that would have been a marvel when I started out decades ago. Were there shooters who could do as well then as I can now? Yes, but not with moderately-priced rifles, and especially not with factory ammunition.




“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
— Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer, 1970
 
Posts: 41462 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by sigfreund:

At one time just carefully weighing powder charges seemed to be enough to achieve better performance than factory loads.



Hasn't changed. Good powder weighing to a specific charge and I'll add bullet placement are a very high percentage of what's needed to tune a load to a barrel. Ammo with a ES of 78, that's all in the powder measuring. Guessing +/- .5 grains with that ES.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: offgrid,
 
Posts: 2728 | Location: 9860 ft above sea level Colorado | Registered: December 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by offgrid:
quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
At one time just carefully weighing powder charges seemed to be enough to achieve better performance than factory loads.

Hasn't changed. Good powder weighing to a specific charge and I'll add bullet placement are a very high percentage of what's needed to tune a load to a barrel. Ammo with a ES of 78, that's all in the powder measuring. Guessing +/- .5 grains with that ES.

You should see the chrono data on offgrid's 6mm BRA/Dasher loads -- single digits. IIRC he had a BRA load with an ES of 3.
 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
One Who Knows
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quote:
Originally posted by El Cid 92:

But they lack the ability to truly fine tune the load to a particular chamber/rifle. Seating Depth and distance to the lands can make a big difference. Finding an accuracy node and optimal velocity is another.


Exactly what I was thinking, tuning to the individual barrel, through seating depth, and powder charge, is the big advanatge of hand loading.



The only difference between a wise man and a fool is that one knows it. Unknown
 
Posts: 1428 | Location: Missouri | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I thought I described last weekend's issues related to switching ammo on both barrels used that day. I only listed the results with my 16" Wilson DI. I shot a 14.5" LWRC piston earlier in the afternoon, with similar results.

I started the LWRC with a clean barrel and shot 4 groups of 5 rounds of American Eagle 55 FMJ at 200 yards at steel. "Groups" were 5", 7", 6", and 6" -- with horizontal and vertical being about the same. This barrel sucks with AE55.

On to Hornady 55 HPBT Black. Group #1 - 4.5" vertical, 2.5" horizontal.
#2 - 4.5" vertical, 1.5" horizontal.
#3 - 1.75" vertical, 1.5" horizontal.
#4 - 1.5" vertical, .75" horizontal.
Again, the transition from ball ammo to HPBT required 15 round for accuracy to stabilize.

On to Federal 53 Vmax.
Interestingly, there was no significant vertical variation from one group to the next. All were in the 2" to 2.75" range. Horizontal variation decreased noticeably and progressively from 4.5" to 1", with roughly 1" decrease with each 5-round group.

*****
This makes my rethink a lot of my accuracy tests at 320 and 440 yards, as I documented recently in the "long range rifle discussion" thread. Sometimes I experienced so-so accuracy for the first two 5-round groups, after an ammo change -- only to see the third and fourth groups being quite accurate.

I just assumed my technique was lackluster for the first 10 rounds at 320 yards. Then I thought my technique was back up to snuff for the next 10 rounds at 440 yards. My 440 yard targets were often better than my 320 yard targets. Huh. Live and learn.
 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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More testing with various ammo, now with my 2nd 16" Wilson DI upper, again at 250 yards. IMO this is a slightly better barrel than my other 16" Wilson. Both are SS with 1:8 twists. Winds were consistent in direction all day -- from my 3-4 o'clock -- but increased during my shooting session.

I started with a clean barrel. American Eagle 55 FMJ was first. As I expected, the four 5-round groups were big. I had vertical dispersions of 2.5, 3, and 6 inches. Horizontal variations were 4-6". Winds were 6-8 mph, with the variation possibly causing up to 1.2" of horizontal variation.

Next was Hornady 55 HPBT Black. The first group had big vertical of 3.5". Then 1.5", 2.75", and 2". Horizontals were relatively consistent at 1.75" to 2.5". I suspect this ammo's variation from the ammo switch lasted only 5 rounds.

Next was Federal 53 Vmax. The verticals were 1.38", 2.25", 2.75", and finally 2". Horizontals were 4", 3.5", 2", and finally 2.25". Interesting that the verticals didn't change all that much, but the horizontals definitely got smaller with additional rounds.

Then Fiocchi 55 Vmax. Verticals weren't good -- all between 3.5" and 4.5". Horizontals were 5", 1.25", 1.75", and 2". As with the prior ammo, it was only the horizontal variation that decreased with additional rounds.

Next up, Hornady 55 Vmax. Verticals were 2.5", 1.5", 3.5", and finally 1.5". Horizontals were 2.62", 2", 1.75", and finally 1.0". With this ammo, the groups became smaller in both vertical and horizontal variation with additional rounds. Winds were now 8-10 mph, with the variation in wind speed possibly causing 1.2" of horizontal variation.

Next was Aussie Outback (ADI) 69 SMK, and I shot only two groups. The first group was top left, the second bottom left -- the IPSC plate in the following photo. First group had 1" vertical and 2" horizontal. Second group had .88" vertical and 1.5" horizontal. These are among the best groups I've shot with ADI 69, which indicates the ammo has no issues switching from Hornady 55 VMax.

On to three groups of FGMM 69. Winds increased to 10-15 mph, with the variation in wind speed possibly causing 1.5" of horizontal variation. First group (top right) 2.5" vertical and 2.62" horizontal. Second group (bottom right) 3" vertical and 1.5" horizontal. Third group (center diamond) 2" vertical and 1.37" horizontal. This suggests that FGMM 69 takes a few rounds after ADI 69. But these groups for FGMM 69 still aren't up to par in this barrel. Time to repaint the steel.

 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Two more groups with FGMM 69, top left, then bottom left. Winds increased to 12-17 mph, with a theoretical horizontal variation of 1.5". But at this level of wind, a ridge to the right of the target and shooting lane comes into play. There were possible vertical effects -- generally of pushing the bullet both down and left with additional wind speed. The first group (upper left) had 2.37" vertical and 3.37" horizontal. Second group (bottom left) was 1.5" vertical and 1.37" horizontal. Now we're back to the level which FGMM normally shoots. As I see it, it took 20 rounds to make the transition.

On to Hornady 75 HPBT Match. First group was top right. First shot was noticeably low and left, then #2 through #5 were grouped together. Vertical of 4" and horizontal of 1.75". Second group was on the diamond. Vertical of 1.62" and horizontal of 2.75". I find it interesting that the ammo required only 1 round to shoot like it normally does. And no, I didn't yank that first shot of the first group.

 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Now another wrench in the works. Back to American Eagle 55 FMJ. Two groups, on the left IPSC. Vertical stringing was bad enough that the groups ran into each other. 6.5" vertical on the upper group, and 4.5" on the lower.

Two groups of Hornady 75 HPBT match, on the right IPSC. The first shot was a little low and left, then #2 through #5 grouped nicely. Total of 2.25" vertical and 2.62 horizontal. But wait, group #2 isn't so bueno, on the lower dot. Vertical of 3.75" and horizontal of 2.25". I decided not to burn anymore 75 grain ammo -- in an attempt to find how many rounds it took to get back to normal accuracy.

The final group was Hornady 55 Vmax on the diamond. Vertical of 1.87" and horizontal of 3.75". Not bad, but the average POI is a good 1 MOA higher than expected. And yes, I re-dialed elevation to what worked earlier in the day for H-55 Vmax.

Bottom line -- more proof that switching ammo degrades accuracy for awhile in my AR15s.

 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Originally posted by fritz:
Bottom line -- more proof that switching ammo degrades accuracy for awhile in my AR15s.


Interesting series and again thanks for all that.




“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
— Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer, 1970
 
Posts: 41462 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I have not yet begun
to procrastinate
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Bottom line -- more proof that switching ammo degrades accuracy for awhile in my AR15s.

And I think that explains my recent range trip where one load shot very well out of the gate.
Next rotation around for that load after a couple other brands/weights and it was all over the place.
I wish this thread page was around a month ago!


--------
After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.
 
Posts: 3525 | Location: AZ - West side of the valley | Registered: October 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But wait, there's more. The plot thickens. This time with another Wilson rifle that now sports an 18" Bartlein 18" 1:7.7 twist, chambered in 223 Wylde by Craddock Precision. This is the second barrel on this rifle, with the first being an 18" 1:7 twist Wilson Combat SS barrel with a 5.56 chamber. These tests were done at 320 yards, as this rifle is built for longer distances. NF F1 3.5-15x scope

As before, I started with a cold clean bore and American Eagle 55 FMJ. Winds were 5-8 mph from my 1-2 o'clock. The 5-round groups were roughly equal in both vertical and horizontal variation -- 6.5", 3.5", 2.75", and 5.25".

On to Hornady 55 grain HPBT Black. Wind now 5-8 mph from 11 o'clock. The first round landed a whopping 5" low, then rounds 2-5 landed where they should. Groups were consistent and roughly equal in both vertical and horizontal variation. After the first group's WTF round, groups 2 through 6 had verticals of 3.25", 4.5", 4", 3.5", and 3". Which means the first round was really wonky, then the accuracy seemed to slowly tighten up. But all in all, relatively little drama after switching from AE 55.

Then Federal 53 Vmax. No wonky results, just relatively consistent groups with horizontal variations consistently around 2". Vertical variations were 2.5", 2.25", 3.25", and 2.75". No issues with switching ammo types.

Next Hornady 55 Vmax. The first 5 rounds were 3.5" lower than expected, then starting with round #6 the POI was where it should be. Horizontal variations were pretty consistent at 2-3". Verticals were 2.5", 2.25", 2.5", and 2".

On to Hornady 75 BTHP Match. Winds of 8-10 mph from 10-11 o'clock.
(1) 3.5" vertical variation and 3" horizontal. POI was 1 MOA low.
(2) 3" vertical and 2" horizontal
(3) 2.25" vertical and 1.5" horizontal
(4) 3.5" vertical and 2.5" horizontal. Oops, my direct thread TBAC can was slightly loose, fixed by just a few degrees twist.

Back to American Eagle 55 FMJ. For grins I just hammered on a 12" plate at 360 yards. It was getting cold -- even with another layer and hot chocolate from my thermos. I got lazy and didn't want to look up flight ballistics. I just guessed on elevation, and had to correct on the fly. Landed 18 of 20 on the plate, with each round fired every 2 seconds or so. 8" vertical and 7" horizontal. Definitely not precision ammo.


Back to the car for more hot chocolate and to let the can cool a bit. Wind now 10-13 mph from 10 o'clock. Wind variation probably now coming into play with horizontal dispersion -- possibly anywhere from 1/2" to 3/4". Maybe even vertical. The groups:
(1) 2.5" vertical and 2.75" horizontal -- upper left
(2) 2.75" vertical, 1.75" horizontal -- lower left
(3) 2.75" vertical, 1.75" horizontal -- upper right
(4) 2.5" vertical, 1.75" horizontal -- lower right
Oops again, the can was a little loose, which I didn't notice until I completed the 4th group. I figure it became slightly loose with the start of the 3rd group.


Which means this barrel is a whole lot less affected by transitioning between ammo types and brands. Maybe it's the better Bartlein barrel. Maybe Craddock's more precise Wylde chamber. Maybe the luck of the draw. But there can still be a few wonky shots after switching ammo types with this barrel -- primarily it seems in a brief drop in POI.
 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks again—I believe. (With credit to Tom Lehrer and the line from “Who’s next?”) Wink

Definitely proof that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or some such. (With credit to Jeff Cooper.) Or more recently: “Believe the bullet.” Smile




“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
— Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer, 1970
 
Posts: 41462 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm more Jacob Bynum's "believe the bullet". Two years ago I didn't have the consistency behind an AR to be able to differentiate the effects of ammo changes. Maybe not even a year ago. I hope to be better a year from now. Exploiting an AR's potential accuracy can both challenging and frustrating.

I still have a 20" Krieger 1:7.7 chambered in 223 Match that hasn't been tested in this manner. But I doubt I will do so. I don't put it in competitions where ammo changes are a possibility.

I may test my 24" DSC 1:8 5.56, but mainly for my own curiosity. This barrel is beginning to get a bit long in the tooth, and is now used primarily for barricade & positional training.

However, a 14.5" Wilson upper is in the works. It will be an option for the 2-rifle matches, and thus I will evaluate its performance across multiple types of ammo.
 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Continuing the game – Rock River receiver set with a 24” 1:8 5.56 DSC barrel, again at 320 yards. Started with a clean bore and American Eagle 55 FMJ. AE-55 produced 5-round groups from 4” to 7”, with no discernable pattern of clean vs. fouled bore.

On to Hornady 55 HPBT Black. First round was 2” high, then the POI slowly moved into normal. First group 6” by 6”. Groups 2-4 were consistently 3.25” vertical by 3-ish inches horizontal. Winds were 2-5mph from 11-1 o’clock.

Federal 53 VMax. First round high by a little over an inch. First group was 4.25” vertical and 5” horizontal. Second group 3.25” by 2.5”. Third 1.75” by 2.75”. Fourth 2.25” by 1.75”.

Hornady 55 VMAx. First round low by at least 1.5”. First group 3.75” vertical and 2.25” horizontal. Then 1.5” by 2”, 1.5” by 3”, and 1.75” by 2.5”.

Hornady 75 HPBT Match. First 8-9 rounds were 1 MOA higher than they should be.
#1 – 2.25” vertical and 1.75” horizontal
#2 – 2.75” and 2.75”
#3 – 1.75” and 3”
#4 – 1.75” and 2.75”
Wind now 4-9mph from 10-12 o’clock. Horizontal wind drift of roughly .2” to .4” per mile per hour. I tried to compensate POA for the larger gusts, but for the most part let the bullets drifts as they may.

American Eagle 55 FMJ. Still crappy ammo. Three groups with variations of 5-7”, with more vertical than horizontal variation.

Hornady 75 HPBT Black. First group 1.5” vertical and 2.75” horizontal – on the bottom in the photo below. Second group .75” vertical and 2.75” horizontal – the top group. Yeehaw. Among the lowest vertical variation I’ve shot with an AR – roughly 1/4 MOA for 5 rounds. No more shooting for the day, as the cattle meandered into the shooting lane.



So...this 5.56 chambered barrel also saw some ammo change effects, but not quite as much as I expected prior to shooting.
 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a new SBR upper -- Wilson Combat 14.5" SS barrel, 1:8 twist. The initial sight-in was 9 rounds of cheap ammo, with barrel cleaning every 3 rounds. No indications of copper fouling. The first two rounds from the barrel were a couple inches higher than the rest, then the AE-55 FMJ POI was pretty consistent.

I then went to cleaning after every 15 rounds, switching ammo after each cleaning -- to obtain initial accuracy results with a handful of different ammo types. The barrel and suppressor were below body temperature at the beginning of the 15-round ammo change outs.

This means I did 3 separate 5-round groups at 100 yards with each ammo type, starting each time from a cold clean bore.

I saw no real difference in average POI with any of the groups -- hot or cold, fouled or unfouled.
 
Posts: 6435 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Thanks, fritz; more good real world information.




“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
— Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer, 1970
 
Posts: 41462 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Master of one hand
pistol shooting
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I used to shoot long range benchrest with steel and wood rifles before I started Precision Pistol. Rifles were calibres from 222 to 338mag with top level barrels fitted by real smiths. Some heavy barrels, some light barrels. Now that I am old and decrepit, I think I will go back to benchrest.
On cold or dirty first shot, it depends on the gun. Or rather the barrel and it's bedding. Some very affected. Some not at all.



SIGnature
NRA Benefactor CMP Pistol Distinguished
 
Posts: 5246 | Location: Duckburg, OR | Registered: September 01, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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