How Soon Do You Load Your Precision Rifle Loads Before Shooting them?



  • Stumbled across some stuff this weekend regarding how quickly long range shooters use their hand loads. Some people were saying they would not load until 1 day - 1 week before a match/using. Others were saying they would try to use their loads within several months. Some people were saying there could be a bond made between the bullet and case in as short of a time as 1 week and it would cause increased pressure and cause vertical dispersion. Others said they never had that problem.

    Previously, I have always loaded up say 50 rounds, or maybe 100 rounds, and then used them throughout the year. Is this bad for long range hunting accuracy? Should I wait to load until 1 week or less before a hunt? Load before hunting season and use within 2 months? Or is this not something to worry about?



  • My loaded ammo doesn't often get an opportunity to sit around very long, but what I have fired which has been a year old, I have not noticed any issue with.

    I suspect the answer to this question is very much dependent upon the processes used during the creation of the ammo. If someone is using the stainless tumbling media and getting the inside of the necks completely spotless, then it is not unforeseeable that the bullet could become cold welded to the case neck. This is a thing, and I've seen it before. As to the question whether it will create significant problems, I don't have enough data or experience with it to answer.

    I would think all of that could be avoided by proper reloading practices. If a bit of carbon is left on the inside of the necks, I'd venture it very hard for the bullet to take a set against that brass in any meaningful way.



  • Thanks for the reply and advice Orkan.

    As a follow up question -

    When I size my brass, I normally wipe a thin layer of Imperial Sizing Die Wax on the outside of the case body below the shoulder and then dip the necks in Imperial Dry Neck Lube before running them up into the sizing die.

    Previously, as the last step in my brass prep I have been using a couple of turns by hand with #3 grade steel wool, followed by a couple of turns of #00 grade steel wool, followed by a light pass of a Q tip on the ID of the case neck. I don't believe it has adversely affected my loads, but now I am wondering if I should stop doing that or at least use a Q tip with a light coat of Imperial Dry Neck lube on the ID of the case neck before seating bullets so I am not removing the carbon buildup on the ID of the case neck? Maybe there is a little more to gain from this load by doing that vs using the steel wool to clean the ID of the case neck (probably removing carbon?).

    I have not previously noticed any difficult seating or anything odd with the previous regimen, but read in one of your posts somewhere I think that you apply a very thin layer of imperial Sizing Die Wax on the ID of your case necks just prior to bullet seating? Do you think I should very lightly swab the ID of my case necks with a Q tip dipped in the Imperial Dry Neck Lube just prior to seating bullets, or would it be better to use the Imperial Sizing Die Wax, or maybe no difference between the two? I assume that using one or the other would also help prevent any cold weld bond from possibly ever happening if the loads end up being stored for a while before using?



  • @catamount1 said in How Soon Do You Load Your Precision Rifle Loads Before Shooting them?:

    but read in one of your posts somewhere I think that you apply a very thin layer of imperial Sizing Die Wax on the ID of your case necks just prior to bullet seating?

    Perhaps during testing or some specific thing, but not as a matter of course. That's a good way to have your rounds not land where they are suppose to.

    I'll often use a q-tip to put a light pass of imperial inside the necks to smooth out expansion during full length sizing. Sizing, not seating.



  • @orkan said in How Soon Do You Load Your Precision Rifle Loads Before Shooting them?:

    I'll often use a q-tip to put a light pass of imperial inside the necks to smooth out expansion during full length sizing. Sizing, not seating.

    And from what I've observed with my reloading, this not only smooths out expansion, it also improves concentricity consistency.



  • @orkan said in How Soon Do You Load Your Precision Rifle Loads Before Shooting them?:

    @catamount1 said in How Soon Do You Load Your Precision Rifle Loads Before Shooting them?:

    but read in one of your posts somewhere I think that you apply a very thin layer of imperial Sizing Die Wax on the ID of your case necks just prior to bullet seating?

    Perhaps during testing or some specific thing, but not as a matter of course. That's a good way to have your rounds not land where they are suppose to.

    I'll often use a q-tip to put a light pass of imperial inside the necks to smooth out expansion during full length sizing. Sizing, not seating.

    Thanks for clarifying Orkan. I must have misread or misunderstood your post I was thinking of.



  • I shot my 7mm Norma Mag Improved today, and I have had that ammo loaded and laying on the shelf for roughly 9 months.

    Here's 5 shots at 100yds. @kanemiker was there as a witness. :)

    stZwCj4h.jpg



  • That's a nice group! Good feedback.



  • I have been researching and thinking about this issue of possible "cold weld" in precision rifle reloads for LR use and have some more questions to bounce off y'all.

    So, there seems to be somewhat of a consensus that "cold weld" could happen to reloads stored for some time if the inside of the case neck is squeaky clean (seems to predominately be a problem for those that tumble in SS media or otherwise remove most of the carbon layer).

    It seems from what I have read, it may happen with loads stored for more than 6 months prior to use, although obviously there are lots of variables that could affect this time. Obviously, Orkan didn't have this problem with his 9 month old reloads posted in the picture above.

    In trying to understand this phenomenon and the best ways to insure it does not happen, there seems to be three main ways I have read about LR shooters going about preventing it and preserving consistency in ES/SD for their reloads:

    1. Prime/Powder/Seat very soon before use - 1 day - 1 week prior to use. Reloads are always fresh.
    2. Coat bullets and rifle barrel with hBN - seems to have merit, but not something I care to deal with
    3. Seat bullet long, and then re-seat bullet to correct CBTO very soon before use - 1 day - 1 week prior to use (when bulk loading or when ammo may be stored for some time prior to use).

    Of these three options, I am currently leaning more towards adopting option #1 to help insure consistency of reloads (ES/SD) at long range. However, option #3 also sounds appealing IF it accomplishes the same result, as it would allow for more production and longer storage times for reloads before use.

    Has anyone tested/had success with using option #3 - seating bullets long and then re-seating just prior to use? Are there any negatives to option #3 (other than forgetting to re-seat them to correct CBTO before use)?



  • Pardon my asking, but why don't you just use a method that doesn't remove the carbon from the neck?

    Other than just loading and firing them as in option one, that seems like the easiest solution.



  • @tackyp said in How Soon Do You Load Your Precision Rifle Loads Before Shooting them?:

    Pardon my asking, but why don't you just use a method that doesn't remove the carbon from the neck?

    Other than just loading and firing them as in option one, that seems like the easiest solution.

    I'm actually not trying to remove the carbon from the necks. I do not SS tumble.

    Previously, I have only tumbled in corn cob media. However, I was using a few turns of steel wool on the inside of the necks before seating bullets (I am no longer doing this because I now know I don't want to remove any of the carbon). Previously, I was not getting the necks squeaky clean by any means, but I do think using the steel wool in the past probably removed some carbon. Looking back now, there are some shots I remember where I think I may have experienced some of this "cold weld" phenomenon, which I did not recognize as such at the time.

    I only recently stumbled across this forum while researching annealing (as I just started adding annealing to my reloading process). As a result, I also saw Orkan's article on tumbling in rice, and have started using rice as my tumbling media.

    Until recently, I was not shooting past 1K. For longer distances, I want the most consistent reloads I can make.

    As a result, I am reevaluating my reloading process and trying to make my reloads the best and most consistent they can be with 1K+ distances in mind.

    I asked the questions in my previous post above in the sense of trying to determine a best practice that would help prevent ANY possibility of the "cold weld" issue (for use even when not removing any carbon from inside the necks). In the past, I have always loaded up a batch of reloads and then used them through out the next year. I would still prefer to do this in order to have ammo ready to go at any time I want to run to the range or hunt. However, it seems like this may not be the best for reloads to be used for long range. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of a permanent reloading room and have to get everything out and set up and then tear down and put away each time I reload (why I usually reloaded a large batch in the past).



  • @catamount1

    I feel like Orkan answered your question and now you’re just making extra work for yourself.



  • @tackyp

    Not sure if I offended you somewhere along the way.... If so, that was never my intention.

    The followup question above which I asked for input on is: Has anyone tested/had success with seating bullets long and then re-seating just prior to use? Are there any negatives?"

    The reason I asked this question is because re-seating bullets to correct CBTO would break any bond created during longer storage times, say longer than 1 year (I have read of accounts of a bond happening in longer term storage even when carbon was not removed from case necks). I was simply asking for input from anyone who had any positive or negative experience doing this.



  • If they are cold welded to any degree that would matter, hitting them with the seating stem again will probably deform the ogive in an unpredictable manner.

    If you're tumbling with rice and using acceptable run times which leave carbon residue in the necks, I wouldn't think you'd have any issues leaving ammo loaded for a year. I would think bore condition change over time due to various things would be a greater variable... at least on the first shot. I've had first round flyers be out as much as half a mil for no perceived reason when I've let a rifle sit for a long time.

    I think storage condition is a huge factor in all this. I keep 70 degrees with around 40-50% humidity and store everything in open air, out of direct sunlight. Many folks that proclaim problems of this order are likely not being as careful. That would be my assumption.



  • @orkan

    Thanks for your response Orkan. I really appreciate you sharing your experience, especially the part about bore condition change over time.



  • @catamount1

    I can’t really inflect in text but that wasn’t my tone. I was just pointing out that you asked a question, had it answered with picture proof, and then asked it again while at the same time making it harder on yourself. Just trying to save you from going in circles.

    Not that I have much to add but testing this wouldn’t be difficult. Just take a rifle you have a good load for, document it’s baseline velocity and accuracy, then load up say.... 80 rounds using whatever method you want to test and fire 20 every three months.

    Assuming a cold weld is occurring I would expect an increase in velocity and probably SD/ES too. No dramatic changes to your previously good load and I’d say your technique is probably ok.

    Obviously you would want to avoid firing the rifle for fear of changing the bore conditions over the life of the test, and you’d want similar bore conditions each time. I’d probably do a clean bore using the same number of patches and solvents after each 20 rounds.

    I’d also load using extreme powders to avoid temperature swings in the powder. I’d also want to use a load that had single digit ES/SD. Anything more and I think results might get lost in the noise.

    That’s probably about the only way you’d be able to answer your questions about cold welding.

    I’d follow a thread detailing that if you try it. It sounds interesting.



  • Also, even if I was offended you shouldn’t care. It’s not like you insulted my wife, dog or rifle. People are too sensitive these days. Fuck my feelings.


 

Looks like your connection to Gunhive was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.