Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - 30

FEATURE // TRANSPORTING II
done over the distance the load is
destined for and adjusted as needed.
The “Audette Method,” named for
the late Creighton Audette, can work
well to get things started. Many call
it “incremental load development.”
It’s easy to find detailed treatments
of this process, so I’ll just overview it
here. The sole variable is the propellant charge. Proceed in 0.20-0.30 grain
increments upward and put these into
a target, and this should be done on
the same target. Oh, and important:
Establish a starting and stopping point
for the charge weight. It will be a
narrower range with a faster-burning
propellant in a smaller-capacity case.
Creighton did this one round at a
time, but let’s go ahead and shoot
three per step. As the propellant
charge increases, impacts on the target should get a little higher and there
will be points along the test that show
tighter groupings. There ideally will
also be a stretch where accuracy and
elevation of a few sequential workups
are coinciding: all the groups are small
and contained in close vertical proximity (shots 5 through 7 below). Creighton
said that pressure symptoms define
the upper limit, of course, and that
looking back “down,” as it were, on

30 SSUSA MARCH 2013

the progress of the incremental build
up there will be an area where impact
clusters are similar and pressures are
workable. Hopefully there will be at
least two charge increments represented, more is better. If it’s showing
this, then choosing something from
that sector gets a load that’s accurate
(number one) and not “sensitive”
(number two), meaning that variations
in temperatures and so on aren’t likely
to push it over pressure or mutate
its accuracy. That, again, is shown by
seeing vertical consistency over more
than one incremental workup. Choose
an upper, lower, or middle representative from this cluster. The upper-middle usually appeals to me.
That method sounds reasonable,
and it is. By my experience it doesn’t
always work with every propellant, but
it’s something concrete to follow. If
it doesn’t “work,” then the next test
should be with another propellant.
It’s easy to modify such a method
by going up in bigger steps, and fewer
of them of course. Any incremental
test should, at the least, show a step
or two that deserves further pursuit.
At that point, my test groups increase
to 10 shots. No kidding, you can wear
out a rifle barrel testing. At the least,
though, I want to see
consistent performance
over at least two
10-shot groups with
any load, before leaving
the range. If there’s
an idea in mind that I
might come back and
try it again, then I will.
I might also want to try
a bullet seating depth
experiment. I’ve usually
settled on a primer,
case and, of course,
bullet. Those things can
be the focus of another
trip. Just keep it fair (to
yourself) by staying in
control of variables, and
that means introducing
one at a time.

SAving TimE And TRoUblE
As covered in last month’s article, I
do workups at the range, and by that I
mean I load the cartridges right there.
It’s not hard to put together a “portable” loading tool set, and it’s even
easier to use. I take a cartridge carrier
full of primed cases, the propellants I’ll
test, and a seating die threaded into a
small press. I C-clamp the press and
meter to the bench, table or tailgate.
Write down the meter setting along
with what the propellant charge
weight “should” be, and retain a
loaded cartridge from each promising
result to take back home for a doublecheck. Write everything down!

bEing HAppy
We are always testing ammunition.
It’s called “match shooting.” Developing and maintaining a “control load,”
honestly, is the goal. That load is the
one you’re staking your score on right
now. It sounds cool to call it a control,
and “scientifically” I guess it is, but
it’s really the last best result of testing.
We all want to beat it, of course, and
that’s what the experiments are about.
Likewise, sometimes the idea is to
adjust the control load to work with a different rifle. That’s easy, usually. Back it
off a full grain and move forward from
there. Another thing we might want to
do is try a different primer with it, or
bullet, and the same advice holds true
-- back off a grain to start (a half-grain
is okay with a bullet change, if the
bullet is the same weight). One thing I
always do, as mentioned but not hammered on, is shoot that control straight
away with what I tested (if I liked the
result of the test). Different days give
different results with any ammunition,
but ultimately the control load is the
one that performs the best, day in and
day out. I judge loads by the worst
group I see, not the best. I’m always
looking for the best worst group, and I
hope that makes sense. Keep looking,
but don’t be afraid to say it truly is the
end of the road, and be happy where
you are.



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
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Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - March 2013 - Cover4
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