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How to Get Started with Load Development?

When it comes to reloading and load development some loaders probably go into further detail than some of the beginners are ready for all too quickly. Having published load data for the load you would like to test is always where you should start especially if you’re not experienced. It’s a bad idea to just start the internet searching for load data and looking at save for my rifle loads. However, when there are a lot of options sometimes it’s hard to find that starting point. So, how do you know what projectile to start with and what powder works? Try looking for something that’s been around a while and a lot of people have had success with.

In this article, we are going to cover how to get started with load development step by step. So let’s explore it…..

If you’re loading for more common calibers this will be a lot easier because there is a lot of info for those willing to search. Usually, there’s a couple of good choices to choose from and again look at some Hornady Load Data of xxl-reloading. Some of these guys can be loading way over max, find some load data within published limits and that’s likely at least where you’re going to want to start. Worth mentioning on this topic is we’re not always looking for the highest ballistic coefficient projectile. At least starting out looking for something that people are having an easy time getting good results is where you would start. Don’t punish yourself trying to get that highest ballistic coefficient projectile to perform or the cheapest ones you can find to perform well either. If you see a projectile that tons of manufacturers are using in their factory offerings it’s a pretty good clue that it works and that’s also going to be true. 

Now in talking with 308 Winchester the 175-grain match king is not a new or cutting edge offering but it is something that people are having good luck with and is commonly available. The data we’re going to talk about today is also very likely the same that federal uses in their gold’s metal match ammunition. The federal gold medal match line especially in 308 is pretty well renowned for working well in a wide range of applications. This particular load is also very likely to be similar or the same thing that’s also known as mark 316 mod 0 not to get off on too far of a tangent here but a quick search of mk316 mod 0 and you probably can find the build sheet for it. This lists the exact recipe that it uses federal cases, 210m primers. 

Now even in this case, we are going to tell you to start low and work up what does that means again we’re going back to load data. One thing about 308 cases that we probably should talk about is case volume. There are large differences between different brands of brass so when it comes to safety there’s no real reason to be silly. The other thing is we’ll be monitoring the velocity as we increase the charge weight. Now, what are we looking for ejector marks on a case head, flattened primers, and primer catering? When looking for the pressure we need to understand how our specific rifle reacts. Another reason is that having little factory ammo to set a baseline for our expectations is usually a good idea. Certainly, something to research when you’re getting ready to fire your first rounds of reloads. so what have we put together here: 

  1. A well-documented good performing load might not be the highest performance but it’s a consistent performer. 
  2. Easy-to-find components might not be the best combination ever put together but it’s certainly a common one and it’s consistent.
  3. Load data confirming that the combination we intend to test is safe to start with.
  4. Factory ammunition that uses essentially this very combination in this caliber and since we were able to test it we know it works well. 

Now that we have all these things in place we are not going to tell you that a chronograph is a must but it will make this process faster.

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