How did you select your ammo components?

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How did you select your ammo components?

Post by S148 on Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:51 pm

I’m curious about how Bullseye shooters select their competition ammo.

How did you select your components - bullets, powder, primer, brass?

Did you take the advice of a fellow shooter without testing things yourself?

Did you test various components yourself? If you did, which other components (which bullets, primers etc.) did you test and how much of a difference did you find in group size? Any details you might want to share would be welcome.

I’ve noticed that hardly anyone has indicated they use Remington primers, and I wonder if it is because their tests with them showed poor results, or they’ve simply never tested them.  Anyone use them for bullseye loads? 


Thanks for you time.


Last edited by S148 on Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by jmdavis on Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:54 pm

The issue could be availability
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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by S148 on Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:56 pm

jmdavis wrote:The issue could be availability

Yes, that makes sense.

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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by Magload on Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:57 pm

What the High Master's use is good enough for me no need to reinvent the wheel these shooters have have years to find what works.  What you need to know has been posted on this forum many a time. Don
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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by S148 on Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:04 pm

Magload wrote:What the High Master's use is good enough for me no need to reinvent the wheel these shooters have have years to find what works.  What you need to know has been posted on this forum many a time. Don

Yes, I've read through as many threads and stickies as possible.

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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by james r chapman on Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:57 am

Remington ?
What are those?
We mostly use what's readily available...

(Sarcasm)
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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by desben on Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:36 am

Listen to what the Masters have to say. For my 38, they were saying WST over a swaged 148gr bullet. I tried a few other loads, but none were as good... When evaluating the different loads, I simply shoot them at the range like I would during a match. I picked my favorite based on what the targets looked like, how the recoil felt, how clean my gun is after shooting, how easy it is to load, etc. 700-x powder for example shot great, but was a pain to load because it would bind in my powder measure, so I stopped using it. Some hard cast bullets leaded my barrel and were all over the target downrange; no good.

As for primers, I personally haven't noticed a difference in accuracy between different brands. I'm sure Remingtons would work.
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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by Aprilian on Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:52 am

I listened to other shooters here and (as a not quite recovered engineer) tried to replicate their success using their loads.      

Things I have learned in my experimentation;
* brass difference is not as important for new reloader
* primer difference is not as important for new reloader
* pick a powder you like which other BE shooters have shared multiple recipes for
* play with the bullets that other shooters have used and you can get.  Look for accuracy, low cost and limited leading in your barrel
* if a load seems to not be working offhand, bench it on top of your pistol box with a couple of sandbags to confirm it is the load and not you
* keep detailed notes with the test cartridges on press/die setting, components used, measurements, date loaded and when shooting them - the results.   I keep those slips with good results and make more to that recipe
* crimp and crimp measurement are not easy to replicate and opinions vary on ideal (from remove the bell to tight crimp)
* some shared loads don't include crimp and OAL info
* the loads I have tried vary from very accurate to 5" at 25 yards
* different dies and presses can make enough difference that your version of another shooter's pet recipe may not give the same results in your gun
* look at my signature line to see Cecil's excellent advice

Just to be a typical engineer, look at why the powder, bullet, OAL and crimp recipe alone would not be sufficient to replicate the cartridges I made for testing 4 new bullets on Wednesday.  The load that I like the best for accuracy and recoil was;
PMC brass - once fired - not measured for length (again brass not critical, but my pistol does better with the softer brasses)
CCI large pistol primers  (again, I believe primers not critical, but will be testing that soon - CCI, WLP and Fed Match)
Magnus 801 BNSWC with 25 thou shoulder showing. That bullet required a slightly larger bell in order to not create shavings when seating
3.75 gr VV N310 (shot at 90 deg F - more powder required if colder)
Crimp 0.469" with thin part of caliper jaws just starting to go over the case mouth
single stage Rockchucker with Redding dies (dual sizing, expander and bullet seating) and Lyman taper crimp

Again, I am not saying this is the load anyone should use nor that I will win Camp Perry with this load lol! , just making the point a different way which Cecil makes about ammo just needing to be some what accurate and investing the time in fundamentals.
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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by BE Mike on Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:24 am

I got my advice from some top folks on the old Bullseye-L and from other top shooters/ pistolsmiths I ran into at matches, etc. No reason to reinvent the wheel. It takes time to sort out loads and components. I believe the time is better spent training when you have so many generous folks who pass along their test results. I did confirm the accuracy of the loads with a Ransom Rest.
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Re: How did you select your ammo components?

Post by oldsalt444 on Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:24 pm

In my 50 years of reloading experience, here's what I can tell you:

- The bullet is the most critical component comprising 75-80% of your accuracy. The right bullet is king. Magnus, Missouri, Zero & Hornady are favorites, but there are many good ones.  I pick ones that have a long bearing surface contact in the barrel. This is why the 200 gr. SWC in the 45 has an edge in accuracy. Same with 148 HBWC in 38. Jacketed bullets depends on quality of manufacture. Magnus, Hornady, Zero and Nosler are of high quality and have proven themselves in matches.   
- The powder type & amount make up about 15%. I pick ones that flow through the powder measure easily and don't bridge up. You'll avoid a lot of problems that way. WST and Titegroup work well for me, but there's many good choices.
- A primer is a primer is a primer. I can't tell the difference except for magnum primers.
- The cases don't make an appreciable difference in the low pressure loads we use. You can separate by headstamp or mix. BUT - for high pressure loads like 9mm, you should separate by head stamp for consistency and safety. Military brass is different. It's thicker and may have a crimped in primer. But it's great brass once you've processed it and it lasts a long time. 

If I see someone shooting well, I'll ask them about their load. I'll start with that and make adjustments. 

I do test different loads using a pistol rest to see which one groups best. Like I said, the biggest difference shows up in the bullet. I first find a load that functions reliably through my gun and then tweak it for accuracy by adjusting powder, and in the case of 9mm adjusting COL as well. The 45 and 38 just doesn't seem to care about COL as long as it functions. Crimps are necessary, but a light to medium one. Save heavy crimps for your 44 Mag. 

BE loads are usually much lower than what's in the manuals. Why? Accuracy. The manuals are published for the masses where we are more specialized. There's some tried and true loads that have worked well for decades, like for the 45 - 200 gr LSWC and 4.1 gr. Bullseye. It still works great. I read this forum to see what others have done and use that as a starting point for development in my gun. The USAMU and Marine Corps teams have developed excellent loads. That's another good starting point.
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