How stable are your 1/4 & 1/2moa loads?

  • I've worked out some issues with my 308 win rifle in the last month or so, and have been chasing a 1/4-1/2moa low node, but have recently experimented with the high node. With the low node my powder charge was from 42.5gr-42.9gr Varget, with ES & SD over a chronograph looking horrid. Somewhere in the ES 70 & SD 30 range over 10 shots. The high node is 43.8-44.3gr Varget, with ES & SD around ES 30 & SD 10 over 30 shots, data from 2 separate days. I was thinking the higher node may be more stable due to the better numbers over a chronograph.
    Yesterday I was seeing slight bolt lift & extraction issues at the 44.3gr charge, so I backed it off to 44gr and it shot precise and punched the center of the target. Today, the 44gr charge is acting like the 44.3 gr charge yesterday with temps being 20deg F warmer, and the groups opened from occasional 1/2moa to 3/4moa groups. With Varget being a temp stable powder, should I be seeing these variances over 20deg F temp changes?
    Depending on the day (sun,temp, etc), my rifle either likes the higher node, or the low node shown above. Just wondering for you guys shooting 1/4moa consistently, do you have to tweak your powder charge to maintain that precision from day to day? I'm not claiming to be able to do this btw. I am shooting 1/2moa 5 shot groups regularly, but occasionally 1/4moa. With what I'm experiencing, its got me thinking I should setup a mobile reloading station so I can tweak my loads depending on the weather.

  • Four things that allowed me to be able to consistently shoot less than 1/2moa.

    1. Reloading equipment and technique. The internet is slammed full of dipshits ready to tell you what you "don't need." Ignore them and get the best you can possibly afford. It ALL matters.

    2. Accurate and precise rifles which are also forgiving. ... and the only place I've ever achieved all three is TS Customs.

    3. The realization that the tiniest imperfections in my shooting technique will cause undesirable results.

    4. Simple and effective load development technique, focused on stability/forgiveness, which can be replicated across all rifles/cartridges/components.

    I'll also add that somewhere along the line about 10-12 years ago I stopped listening to internet personalities and developed my own methods. Best decision of my life. This world is slammed full of people that talk as an authority, but are not. "Mr. Sniper Pants" tacticool experts that know all things precision rifle... yet live in a suburb and have to drive 2hrs to a square range in order to fire a rifle. They don't shoot every day. They barely shoot once or twice a month. THAT is what the internet is full of.

    So go at your own pace, do your own work and testing... and the answers will be revealed to you.

  • I will echo what Orkan stated...and add a few things.

    How you are you developing your tune? Are you doing a ladder test? I'm a big believer in a ladder test to find the most forgiving load.

    Also, shooting 1/4 MOA consistently is very difficult (not that we shouldn't try).
    For example, take a look at Tony Boyer's 2018 super shoot agg - he is the best short-range BR shooter there is and his HV aggregate is just under 1/4 MOA with a benchgun at 100 yards.

    100 Yard Agg.
    2 MELVIN ESTEP 0.1914
    3 TONY BOYER 0.2034
    4T LARRY COSTA 0.2042
    4T MARK ENGLE 0.2042
    6 SCOTT MILLER 0.2114
    7T BILL GAMMON 0.2126
    9 BILL MITHELL 0.2136
    10T PAUL MITCHELL 0.2184
    10T FEDERICO SANTOS 0.2184

  • @tan_90 I am shooting 5 shot group OCW method. And then shooting it again separate days a couple more times. I like to be able to replicate the results more than once on separate occasions to be able to say its stable and I didn't just fluke out on a good group. If it isn't a realistic expectation to shoot 1/4moa all day off a bipod and rear bag, I will gladly stop beating myself up over it lol.
    @orkan I like posting here because no one gives bullshit advice that they cant back up! I like what you have created here, and I figured no one is going to claim their rifle shoots 1/4moa all day "as long as I do my part." I would like to hear your comments on the Varget and what is the temp stable "window" to be expected. Would you expect somewhat of a POI shift or possibly to push a node out with a 20 deg F temp change?

  • @donnie said in How stable are your 1/4 & 1/2moa loads?:

    Would you expect somewhat of a POI shift or possibly to push a node out with a 20 deg F temp change?

    No. 20f isn't enough change to cause a significant shift unless something else is wrong. What bullet are you using? Have you tried other powders? Other bullets? What brass? What primers?

    The number one reason for POI shift between sessions is the shooter.

    You've all seen me post a PILE of 1/2" dot drills here. How many have you seen me clean all 20 dots? How many have you seen where I hit 18? How about 16? How about 10? Reason I ask, is that it's all about your OWN expectations and goals... not anyone else's. So if you won't be satisfied until you're 1/4 MOA or better off a bipod and rear bag anywhere you lay down... so be it. Worthwhile goal to be sure. However, if I needed a guaranteed hit, I would need to increase that dot to 1moa in size.

    If you hit a half inch dot with the center of the bullet each time, then the hit is no more than 1/4 moa from center. What if its on the right side of the dot on shot 1, but on the left side of the dot in shot 2? Does that mean you and the rifle are shooting 1/2 moa? Well that's up for you to decide. If you want to shoot a group and measure it... shoot a group and measure it. Personally, I think if you engage 20 individual 1/2" targets, and every shot is within the black, that's a 1/4 MOA performance.

    That thread is full of dot drills. Some could be better. Some worse. ... however, I'm the judge of what I'm happy with... no one else. I continue to push myself to perform better. I've achieved significantly better results from my belly than lots of benchresters have ever done... so I'm not worried about setting limitations on myself. I only concern myself with removing limitations.

    I used to run ladders to tune a load. Now I run OCW because a ladder test simply hides too much. You'll find a list as long as your arm of people that say the opposite. If I cared enough about what other people thought, I'd just challenge them to a competition. Yet I don't care... not even a little bit. I shoot for myself, and me alone. I've mentored lots of shooters in my time and can safely say that most simply don't spend the time necessary to do their own work. Their conclusions lack in critical thinking and they like to take shortcuts.

    So if you want to have these questions you're asking here answered, you need to understand the number of variables are almost unlimited. As such, it's impossible to even begin really helping you unless you show your work. You have to tell me literally everything. Everything about your components, everything about your rifle/optics/accessories, everything about your reloading gear/techniques, everything about your load development technique, everything about your shooting conditions, everything about your shooting technique (with pictures or video of your firing position from multiple angles)... and that's just for starters. All of this in minute detail. It ALL matters when you're trying to shoot small.

  • I should define what I was referring to is a "ladder" test -- for me it is as follows:
    Simplified Rough Powder Ladder:

    • Load three rounds each increasing by .2 grains of powder min to max

      • As an example - 3x32.0, 3x32.2, 3x32.4, ect
    • Shoot all loaded rounds in round robin fashion at same point of aim at 600yd during a day where wind and mirage are minimal

    • Analyze target then repeat testing seating depth, fine powder, neck tension, ect.