What should I change first

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What should I change first

Post by Dockokol on Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:43 pm

Ive just started reloading and could use some help from those of you with more experience.  I am loading .45 acp Nosler 185 jhp with 4.8 Unique in new brass.  Im bringing a rest to the range and see how it does, but my question is, if I want to tighten up the group, what do I change first?  Powder charge, crimp... Im lost at what to use as the first variable.
Thanks
Doc Kokol

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Re: What should I change first

Post by BE Mike on Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:06 pm

I wouldn't mess with the crimp, as long as, it is around .470". The biggest thing I've found, besides the quality of the bullet is the powder charge. Your charge seems pretty light, maybe yielding around 700+ fps. In my experience, the Nosler needs to be driven around 830 fps to get optimum 50 yard accuracy. Your charge seems light. I would consider upping the charge to get that 830 fps. According to the manuals, the maximum charge of Unique is 7.8-8.2 grains, depending upon which manual you look at. Seating depth doesn't seem to affect the Nosler accuracy.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by DavidR on Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:46 pm

that bullet will drive tacks with 4.5 gr of bullseye or clays or v-310 seated to 1.200,

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Re: What should I change first

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:21 pm

My gun only needs 4.2gr of BE to make that bullet work great at 50 yards.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by james r chapman on Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:11 pm

What is your setup,
Rob...?

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Re: What should I change first

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:10 pm

Springfield Trophy Match with Stock Barrel and Bushing. 

My 50 yard 185gr JHP load:
Mixed brass, 185gr JHP either Noslers or Zero
4.3gr BE or 4.2gr Clays  .468 taper crimp  1.21"OAL

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Re: What should I change first

Post by DavidR on Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:34 am

Load will vary according to the gun condition and the sight option, iron sights and frame mounted dot  will require less powder, slide mounted dot will require more.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by Dockokol on Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:40 pm

Thanks for the input.  My light load did not do well at 25  yards, Im thinking it would just be wose at 50.  Ill increase the power load and see how it goes.  I appreciate the help.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by BE Mike on Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:51 pm

Dockokol wrote:Thanks for the input.  My light load did not do well at 25  yards, Im thinking it would just be wose at 50.  Ill increase the power load and see how it goes.  I appreciate the help.
I agree with your assumptions. You should be safe starting with 6.0 grains of Unique, with your Nosler 185 gr. JHP. You can go up .2 grain at a time, i.e. 6.0, 6.2, 6.4. This should get you a load that you can live with, until you can get a faster burning powder, like Bullseye, for example. I always liked to load around 10 or so rounds of each charge weight and then narrow it down from there.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by Ed Hall on Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:32 pm

When I load for 50 yards, I get really particular about it, down to using a home made guide rod to ensure the bullet starts and stays aligned with the case as it is seated.  From a barrel tester, my Kart Easy-Fit produced groups right at one inch at 50 yards, with Bullseye just over one inch and VV N310 just under.

For those enquiring minds and so I can write this once and refer to it if ever needed...

My 50 yard load procedure:

components:
- once-fired (or, new primed, if available) WW brass
- Nosler (or, Zero) 185gr JHP bullets
- WLP primers
- 4.3gr VV N310 (or, 4.5gr Bullseye) powder

dimensions:
OAL - 1.197"
crimp - .470"

If using once-fired WW brass, I decap all of it and use a large pistol primer pocket uniformer to cut each pocket to a precise depth. Then I use a hand primer tool to seat each primer just below flush, paying attention to the feel of the seating with my thumb.

I used to individually check the weight of each powder drop, but I've since stopped checking and just accept what the machine drops.  However, the way I use my powder might be a bit different from many reloaders.  Once I remove powder from the original container, any leftover amount does not return to that container.  Instead, it is added to a second container.  For my 50 yard loads and any match ammo, I use fresh powder from my original container.  The other powder is used for training ammo.  I empty the powder hopper after each use.

So, the next step is bullet seating.  As mentioned above, I created a rod with a shaped end to fit exactly inside the cavity of the hollow point bullet.  My seating die has a hole in the center through which I place this rod.  When I set the bullet on the open case, I lower the rod into the cavity, which aligns the bullet, and I then proceed with the seating.  As the shell plate travels upward, the rod extends further above the die and at the top I capture it so it doesn't travel back down with the bullet after seating.  If I didn't capture it, it would interfere with the process as the shell plate rotates.

For the crimping stage, it's just a standard taper crimp.  I've always considered it difficult to measure the crimp by trying to adjust the calipers across the case at the very edge, so I use a little bit different method - I set the calipers to the desired crimp and lock them, then check that measurement against the case mouth.

One more bit of nitpickiness: I use an original Square Deal progressive press and I only consider the rounds that come out of the press while the shell plate is full to be consistently loaded.  Therefore the first and last three rounds of a batch are considered "inferior."

I also have a 50 yard load that uses the Remington button-nosed Jacketed 185gr SWC (the one that looks like the Federal match bullet).  Of course, I can't use my alignment rod for that one.  But, otherwise I do all the same work.

One last note because someone will wonder:  I remove the decapping pin and run all the primed brass (both versions) through the sizing die on its way around the plate, even though I really shouldn't need to.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by james r chapman on Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:29 pm

Thanks Ed, for your technique description.

The rod idea is interesting.

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Re: What should I change first

Post by Colt711 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:14 pm

Ed,
I machined the seater stem to clear any reasonable length bullet nose I might wish to use to and take extra care in placing the bullet on the case for SF rounds. I wish I had thought of your rod idea when using the old Star bullets!
I have always the former method above was the best, now that would except HP"s??

Ron Habegger

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Re: What should I change first

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