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Reloading tolerances.

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Category: Reloading
Forum Name: Reloading .303 British
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URL: http://www.enfield-rifles.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=10828
Printed Date: October 24 2020 at 12:05am
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Topic: Reloading tolerances.
Posted By: 303 Hunter
Subject: Reloading tolerances.
Date Posted: September 09 2020 at 7:22pm
A question for those that reload. What tolerances do you keep your powder charge, seating depth, and such?

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The Lee Enfield is to the Canadian north what the Winchester repeater was to the American west.   Cal Bablitz



Replies:
Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 6:15am
I'm not sure I understand the question. For my reloading process (which is admittedly primitive) once I set my RCBS powder measurer to the charge I want (confirm on my RCBS 5-0-5 scale) I usually charge about 20 sized, camphered and primed cases. Perhaps recheck every 5th charge on the scale. (Empty powder from cartridge). Seating depth? I'll back off my RCBS die so I know I won't over seat. I'll then, in small increments, set the to the OAL desired by checking with my calipers after every move. So I guess the tolerances would be +/- whatever each component has built into it. Does that make sense and sort of answer your question?


Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 7:20am
Powders +/- 1/10Gr Out of a 38~42 Gr load depending on the powder used.
Seating depth +/- 2 thou. Its what my Hornady New dimension die with the micrometer stem is capable of.



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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 7:55am
Some powders meeter better than others.  I will generally throw charges from the measure into the case.  For long stick powders like 3031 and 4064, I will sometimes weigh each charge.  Powders like 4895, Varget, Re 15, N140, Norma 202, will generally drop from my measure within +/- 0.1 grains, but sometimes to +/- 0.2 gr.  Ball powders generally have no measurable variation as thrown from the measure. 

In tests for accuracy at 200 yards comparing charges weighed and trickled powder to bring the load up to the target weight (xx.x grains) has made no difference in accuracy to charges thrown from the measure.

At 1000 yards, I suspect you would see a difference in accuracy (elevation spread) between weight charges and thrown charges.     




Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 10:12am
I did an experiment a while back.
I loaded 2 batches of ammunition.
Bullets & cases were the same as were primers & powder.
BUT.
I loaded one set to "match" standards. For them I weighed & sorted both bullets & brass, case volumes were checked with water & so on. The powder was "dropped short" from a meter & brought up to the final weight with a trickler.
Cases also had the primer pockets & flash holes uniformed, & bullets were seated with the old seat half way, rotate 180° & finish seating.
The other batch were just cleaned, checked for OAL & metered powder dropped to full weight & bullets seated in one go.
There were very slight differences in uniformity & group sizes, but not enough to justify all the extra work IMO. Maybe if I was shooting at greater range it would have been more obvious & I might have done more work with it.


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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 11:17am
Shamu,  I did a similar exercise a few months back and posted the results on the reloading forum.  At 200 yards shooting prone there was no statistical difference in group extreme spread or score on the target.  I would expect a noticeable difference in the group vertical spread at the long ranges (beyond 600 yards) due to the expected higher spread in muzzle velocity.  

It is a common consensus of the high power rifle and service rifle match shooters here in the US that weighing all charges is of no benefit at short and medium ranges (up to 600 yards).  I’d expect that F-Class and Bench Rest shooters would most likely weigh all charges.  


Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 11:40am
Powder is 0.1 grain +/- from a Lyman electronic doser. Bullet OAL is set on the reloading rig and to be honest, I've not rechecked it recently. cases are trimmed to the max length 2.222"
I think that once you've found a suitable load and bullet combination for your rifle; the most important thing to work on,  to improve accuracy and regularity; is the shooter!

I know that I can load a reasonably good load for my rifles; but the majority of errors on target are probably all me! I have been trying to improve; but don't get enough range time to see the improvement that I desire. That's an unfortunate consequence of family life.  Also my club has been closed for large calibre rifle since last year and requires extra work before we get the large calibre back. So my second club which has a 200 metre range is an hour away. So it's a full morning gone from the weekend. 
I've actually given up shooting my test loads from a rest; because I really need to work on my regularity. I've also stopped looking through the spotting scope after every round. I now fire 5, then check through the scope. But not having someone to spot for me means that I can't confirm if I've called a bad shot correctly. a friend uses a camera at the target to record the impacts when he practices. I'm thinking thats a good idea to analyse your target and errors etc. Has anyone else used this technique?


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It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 1:21pm
I agree with Zed.  Primary source of error is the shooter.  The time spent weighing out charges is better spent at the range.  

I’m very fortunate to have access to instrumented target frames and a monitor display at the firing point.  No need for a spotting scope.  No need to close the firing line to check/paste/replace targets.  I suspect over time, the bigger ranges will go to this system, it is a very significant time saver.  

It’s tough to make progress with shooting anything less than one day a week.  I have found that being able to accurately call your shots is a necessary skill to enable improvement. 

Now, if your only going to load 50 or 100 rounds a year, by all means, weigh every charge, trim your brass to all the same length, etc...  But when your loading 100 to 200 rounds a week, this will take considerable time.  

On cartridge overall length, there is not much you can do here.  The bullet seating stem should not make contact at the bullet tip, and some bullets like the open point match bullets will have inconsistent sized points (meplat), and you should expect variations in COL, don’t try to seat them to all the same length (case head to bullet tip).




Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 2:00pm
I think its worth mentioning that seating depth isn't accurately measured by COAL, but by distance to give.
I switched to one of those gauges for measuring from the ogive & the variation (with no other changes) dropped by about 30%!
Remember you seating die doesn't bear on the meplat, but closer to the ogive!


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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 2:25pm
Correct. But for our rifles, I doubt seating depth variations will make much difference.  The throats are generally quite long.


Posted By: Goosic
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 4:57pm
Case preparations are a necessity for me, as is an exacting measure in powder for each case prepped. Seating depth is set as per individual bullet weight per specific reloading sources. 
I only see range time once a week and typically expend 100 rounds a session.  For me personally,  I have found better accuracy with very little to no fliers since I spend the little extra time it takes to weigh out each charge per case while using specified seating depths for a particular bullet. A few tests i have done with chronographed groups show a significant decrease in muzzle velocity fluctuations as well. One round in particular, I have a very noticeable reduction in my MOA's and I associate that with my reloading regime.


Posted By: Stumpkiller
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 6:22pm
1/10 of a grain for powder.  0.001" for lengths and dimensions.  Run-out I try to keep under 0.002", though I usually only spot check as my dies have proven to be pretty consistent.

BUT - with my 0.303 I am much less fastidious.  I take the same care in measuring every powder load to 1/10 grain (with a balance beam so it may be better - but that's what Ohaus guarantees) and I only load one projectile so the dies stay set session to session.


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Charlie P.

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 7:31pm
I once ran a test in my Long Branch No. 4 Mk 1/3 with increasing powder charges in 0.5 grain increments.  10 shot groups at each increment recording the group MPI and C-C extreme spread.   I was quite surprised at the small variation of group mean point of impact.  Try it sometime, you may also be surprised.  I was getting less than 0.1 inches change in MPI at 100 yards per 0.1 grains. I’ll dig out my notes and give the exact results.  If you are loading for hunting applications, you should not be worrying about a 0.1 inch deviation at 100 yards, human error is a much larger player.

At longer ranges, the LE action has an interesting feature, the rifle seems to self “compensate” for muzzle velocity variations.  Slow bullets leave at a higher angle of departure and fast bullets leave at a lower angle of departure.  The fast and slow bullets meet at the same point of impact at longer ranges, at approx 800 yards.  I’ve noticed elevation spreads at 600 yards are better (in MOA) than they are at 200 yards. This is what made the LE rifle a formidable Rifle at long range in the Palma Matches.  

By all means, if you are capable of shooting sub-MOA 10 shot groups with iron sights unsupported in the prone position, weigh all charges, your are not the limiting factor in accuracy, it is likely your rifle and loads that are the limiting factor.  I’ve not reached that level and probably lay never will.  

I will also add that some competitive shooters will weigh all charges because it eliminates the uncertainty, and this can erode self confidence.  It’s a very real factor in competition.  




Posted By: Goosic
Date Posted: September 10 2020 at 8:24pm
I cannot find an old Speer ballistics chart I have. It showed a 180 Spitzer dropping 108" at 300 yards and a 150 SP dropping 152" at the same 300 yards. Both .311 diameter. That is after a 150 yard zero. Both bullets jumping 2" at 25 yards.


Posted By: philtno
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 12:02am
Originally posted by Zed Zed wrote:

the most important thing to work on,  to improve accuracy and regularity; is the shooter!

Totally second that!! "Practice makes perfect" as they rightfully say Wink


Posted By: philtno
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 12:08am
Originally posted by Zed Zed wrote:


I've actually given up shooting my test loads from a rest; because I really need to work on my regularity. I've also stopped looking through the spotting scope after every round. I now fire 5, then check through the scope. But not having someone to spot for me means that I can't confirm if I've called a bad shot correctly. a friend uses a camera at the target to record the impacts when he practices. I'm thinking thats a good idea to analyse your target and errors etc. Has anyone else used this technique?

I also noticed for myself that my sequences and my groupings were more consistent if I was not looking through the scope after every shot.  Just shoot a couple on a different target to make sure I'm on paper then start shooting my 5-rounds or 10-rounds sequences before checking the group.
I don't know if filming the sequence of impacts does actually help....and it's another piece of gear to set up as well...


Posted By: philtno
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 12:19am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

It’s tough to make progress with shooting anything less than one day a week.  I have found that being able to accurately call your shots is a necessary skill to enable improvement. 
.... 100 to 200 rounds a week, ....

I guess it's like any other sport....the more regularly you practice the better you get....this being said, that quite a blessing for those who have the time to go every week as - just taking your example of 100-200 rounds a week - that also represents some decent money, at least for us here, in NZ.
Every 303 round you reload costs you a minimum (really nothing lower than that) of NZ$1 - NZ$1.2...(NZ$ is no far from the US$) at the end of the month, that's a lot of bread taken from the table as my grand father used to say Big smile
Just by curiosity, what's the average cost per round where you guys live??


Posted By: philtno
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 12:25am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

At longer ranges, the LE action has an interesting feature, the rifle seems to self “compensate” for muzzle velocity variations.  Slow bullets leave at a higher angle of departure and fast bullets leave at a lower angle of departure.  The fast and slow bullets meet at the same point of impact at longer ranges, at approx 800 yards.  I’ve noticed elevation spreads at 600 yards are better (in MOA) than they are at 200 yards. This is what made the LE rifle a formidable Rifle at long range in the Palma Matches.

Britrifles,
Can you please explain that "angle of departure" thing???or redirect me to the litterature that explains it? Thanks


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 5:48am
Philtno,

I don’t like to think how much money I’ve put into lead going down into the berm!  Here in the US, it costs me about 50 cents a round to reload.  I often say I wish I would have started this sport when I was much younger, but I could not have afforded it then.

The angle of departure refers to the angle the bullet leaves the muzzle and is influenced by barrel vibrations. Maj EGB Reynolds describes this in his book on page 137-140.  He also refers to this as the “Angle of jump is the angle made by the line of departure of the bullet and the axis of the rifle before firing.”  The angle of jump in minutes was calculated by measuring the mean point of impact of groups of three shots fired at 71 feet 4 inches for a series of charge weights ranging from 33 grains to 38 grains.  The tests showed that the faster bullets left the muzzle at a lower line of departure impacting lower on the target.  




Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 7:16am
Yes the idea is to have the bullet exit the barrel at the end of its oscillation when firing because it that tiny moment the barrel is stationary, not whipping up or down.


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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 10:05am
I'll be trying out some Norma 202 powder soon. 
What are your recommendations for .303 in a No4 mk1 rifle and in a No1MkIII*?
To be honest, I'm getting some encouraging results with the Vihtavouri 140 powder; but it's not stocked at either of the places I normally go; so not practical in the long term.
 The cases will be PPU with Federal primers and 174 gr SMK's and possibly 174 gr PPU bullets.
I also want to try the Norma 202 in the 7.62 NATO loads for the L39. I use Lapua .308 cases and will have both 147 grain GGG bullets and also SMK Palma 155 grain bullets to try out.


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It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!


Posted By: Goosic
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 11:01am
I use 40gr of the Norma 202 for the .312 174grn BTHP.  The recommended min is 39.0gr and the max if 41.0gr.

The recommended min of 42.0gr and a max of 43.5gr when using a 155grn bullet in the 7.62x51mm.
 I was using 40.0grns with the .308 168grn SMK but I have bumped it up to 41.7grns . If you go with that bullet,the min is 40.0gr and a max of 42.4gr


Posted By: philtno
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 2:57pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

Philtno,

The angle of departure refers to the angle the bullet leaves the muzzle and is influenced by barrel vibrations. Maj EGB Reynolds describes this in his book on page 137-140.  He also refers to this as the “Angle of jump is the angle made by the line of departure of the bullet and the axis of the rifle before firing.”  The angle of jump in minutes was calculated by measuring the mean point of impact of groups of three shots fired at 71 feet 4 inches for a series of charge weights ranging from 33 grains to 38 grains.  The tests showed that the faster bullets left the muzzle at a lower line of departure impacting lower on the target.  
Thanks for that, Britrifles Thumbs Up
I found the pages where it talks about that....will read it more attentively Wink
Cheers


Posted By: Honkytonk
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 4:19pm
I admire the commitment and knowledge of shooters that are capable of some impressive precision with Lee Enfields on this forum! I consider members of this forum kind of mentors, as I've learned so much. Probably the best advise I ever received on this forum was the "minute of hand" rule. If my stock Lee Enfields with decent handloads can shoot a group that can be covered by the palm of my hand, I've got what that stock rifle was designed to shoot. This is how I judge every trip to the range now, and I've rarely come home disappointed. It took a lot of pressure (self inflicted) off me and let me learn to be a more relaxed shooter. The best, most precise loaded ammunition can not reach it's full potential without practice, practice and practice. It is just one component to the equation. Ammunition, rifle, person behind the trigger... 


Posted By: A square 10
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 4:27pm
and most often that last part of the equation gets ignored blaming all the other components - all my rifles shoot better than i am capable of shooting them anymore , i do not use a sled , i shoot offhand or bench supported but its always the guy handling the trigger to blame 


Posted By: britrifles
Date Posted: September 11 2020 at 4:39pm
Zed, the Norma website gives a velocity of 2454 fps with the minimum charge of 39.0 gr for the 174 gr Hornady RN bullet.  I’d suspect the 174 gr SMK with this load to be about 30 to 40 fps faster (less bearing surface contact with the lands).   I typically load the SMK to 2400 fps.  


Posted By: Shamu
Date Posted: September 12 2020 at 8:06am
The most important link in the firing chain is "The big nut behind the trigger"! Tongue


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Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)


Posted By: Zed
Date Posted: September 13 2020 at 2:20pm
Thanks for the loading data. I picked up the Norma 202 on Saturday and also some 147 gr 7.62 NATO type ogives from GGG. 
I'll check out their website for the 147 gr 7.62.
 Sounds like 39 grains is a good place to start with the 174 SMK for the No1MkIII and work up to 40 grains for the No4's. (The No1MkIII* tends to prefer a lower charge than the No4's).


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It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!


Posted By: Goosic
Date Posted: September 13 2020 at 2:26pm
I.am reworking some load data for the 200grn .3105" FMJ rebated BT Lapua D-166 bullets I am going to retest this Wednesday.  Powder will be the IMR3031 this time...



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