Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 28

FEATURE // TRANSPORTING II
I need to take with me to the next
event. Knowing the speed potential
(from experience and feedback) and
respecting some realism in accuracy
goals, you can then get to work and
see where different trips take you.
That’s the plan and the road map.
Still, though, you need to know when
you’re there. For me it’s tight groups
and no quirky behaviors. I especially
don’t like pressure problems.

KEEping iT SAFE
It’s best to do load testing with new
brass. The reason is that it gives a better indication of pressure than a reused
case will. In most rifle chambers, initial
expansion in new brass is measurably
greater than on subsequent firings. It’s
going to be the primer pocket that tells
the most. Some shooters measure
case head expansion, but it’s easy to
gauge by feeling how the primers seat
into the resized cases. That’s the direct
effect of expansion and a telling clue.
If the primer enters the pocket more
easily than normal, that’s a good indication that the load is running hot. It’s
a subjective evaluation, and there has
to be something to compare it to. That
comes only from experience.
Judging fired primer condition is
another common means to gauge load
pressure. I habitually look at the spent
primer on each case during testing.
Not all combinations clearly reveal the
visible clues we watch for: Excessive flattening, cratered surface, or
cracks. That seems to depend, a lot,
on the primer brand. Generally, small
rifle primers may not show as much
change as large rifle primers, or won’t
until pressure levels are comparatively
higher. I will say that if you see anything that looks like an over-pressure
symptom shown in a primer, you
better believe it’s telling the truth. In
a load that’s not over-pressure, there
should be a radius on the edge of a
fired primer (center cartridge in the
above photo).
Other clues to excessive pressure
are case head damage, usually seen
in marks or impressions left behind.
28 SSUSA MARCH 2013

The center primer, with some remaining radius along the
edge, still has a margin of safety. The primer on the right has
already entered the danger zone in terms of overpressure.

Seeing an impression left behind by
the ejector, for instance, tells that the
case was very forcibly driven back
against the bolt face. This, again,
can vary from rifle to rifle, but it’s
in knowing what is “normal” from
your combination that brings up
the question.
Usually, though, the best immediate
indication is bullet velocity. A chronograph really needs to be part of any
testing tool set. It’s the only way most
of us can get numbers that suggest
load pressures. If you’re seeing more
speed than “everyone” claims to
get, you best be backing off. Do not,
however, assume that the combination you’re testing is pressure-safe just
because you’re not seeing as much
speed as you think you should. That’s
the one that can bite back. There are
a slew of reasons that some combinations may hit a pressure ceiling before
they reach the speed goal.

TAKing iT To ThE TARgET
For NRA High Power Rifle, I do load
work-ups at 300 yards, unless it’s a
200-yard load. Testing ultimately gets

The chronograph is an essential tool
for the field reloader. Consistent bullet
velocity leads to fewer fliers.



Shooting Sports USA - March 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - March 2013

Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 6
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 41
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 42
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover4
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