• Ken Kraushaar

handload accuracy troubleshooting


a custom precision rifle

Not too long ago I was over shopping at sportsman's warehouse and was talking to a fellow sportsman about his trouble with Berger bullets not being as accurate as he would have liked, and how he liked sierra bullets better. I have found both brands of bullets (Berger match VLDs, and sierra matchkings) to be very accurate when shot out of my custom built 308 which has a standard 1 in 10" twist, and is basically just a Mossberg ATR barrel and action put into a new stock, with a Bushnell elite tactical 10x40 fixed magnification scope. It's basically nothing special aside from the McCree stock. I also have had great results using the same loads in my Winchester model 70, and my Ruger M77. I regularly get sub MOA groupings at 100 yards with these rifles.

One of the possible problems is an easy to solve one, which is the powder used, and the amount of powder used. Essentially you start out at the low end of what the reloading manual says for the particular bullet and weight that is being used, load about 5 rounds, go to the next charge, load 5 more, and so on and so forth until you reach the maximum suggested powder charge (to play it safe.) Basically, by shooting and recording results, you end up finding which charge works best out of your rifle for the range you're trying to shoot at.

Once you find the right load, you can further adjust your scope to dial things in further, but you want to stay with that load, and or that bullet for that range.

The other thing is to use good brass, and good primers, in addition to good bullets.

I typically use Lapua Brass, which is expensive, though I can get good results out of Winchester once fired brass as well. Again, I tune the rounds, and shoot for a close consistency as possible for each round, which means I weigh and measure everything. The more you do this, the better the chance for good results.

if you want to get really into it, then you can actually measure for jump and jam, and seat the bullet depth according to your particular rifle, which truly customizes the load to the rifle.

That is not to say everything will work out of your firearm if you do all of this. I had a hell of a time getting good groups with sierra green tips, or barns Triple shock bullets, but I didn't marry them to the loads like I normally would have, so that much can be chalked up to operator error in that I should have done my due diligence. My Dad used Sierra green tips to great effect with his loads 30 years ago.

The lesson is take your time, work up your loads, then decide which works best. if you don't then chances are you're limiting your reloading potential.


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