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Topic: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm (Read 360 times) previous topic - next topic

Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Actually during the first break in shots out of this rifle with a light load of 39gr RE16 and some midway blue box 129 grainers I had some good groups and actually had 3 shots in 1/4" on one grouping.  I only put about 20 rounds through as I was shooting cleaning etc.  With that in mind I was pretty hopeful when I switched to the Berger 140 VLDH bullets and began development is earnest.  I am using H4350 with the Berger's.  I am normally and OCW method guy, but used the Saterlee method once previous and came away with pretty decent results so I thought I would give it a shot with the new rifle.  I started at 40.4 gr and went to 42.4 gr. at .2 grain increments.  I found what I believed would be 2 good nodes.
41.0  2693
41.2  2694
and
41.4  2715
41.6  2718

I liked the velocity a little better of the 41.4 and 41.6 loads so I loaded 11 rounds of 41.5 at different seating depths.  I loaded 2 rounds with a LLTO of 2.189" which is .025 off my lands.  At 100 yds I shot these 2 rounds from a cold barrel and they touched and I thought is going to be easy.  Next I shot three 3 shot groups of 41.5gr with seating depths off the lands by .010", .050", .090" along the lines Berger suggests for finding the seating depth sweet spot for the VLD.  Group one at .010" was no good at all.  Group two was half the size of group one and was close to MOA with a seating depth of .050" off lands.  Group 3 at .090" off saw first 2 shots in same hole, but third shot(and I do not think I pulled) spread the group to .798".  Not terrible but not what I was looking for.  The ES for group 3 was 13 and SD was 7.2, not bad but not great for a 3 shot sample.  When shooting this test it was very hot, but I waited 2 minutes between shots with giving the gun 5 minutes between groups.  First thought was to reload another 3 at .090" off and shoot at 200 or 300 yds to verify my shooting as even the one that was outside the first 2 shots was on same vertical plane, but 3/4" to the right.  With the 3 shot ES and SD being what they were I thought I would go straight to the 41.1 grain load and duplicate the above test while adding another 3 at .130" off as the previous best group was the farthest off the lands.   Again the first group at .010" off the lands was better at 41.1 than at 41.5, but was worst of the 4 loads.  This time the .050" off had first 2 shots touching but third shot was low and right expanding the group.  As in the first test the best group was the .090" grouping with first 2 shots in same hole.  I was pretty confident in my shooting, but low and behold third shot was on same vertical plane but was 3/4" off but this time to the left.  This charge weight and seating depth showed a good ES of 6 and an SD of 3.  The final group at .130" off lands was a tad over an inch but showed signs of beginning to spread.

I am not a competition shooter and have never had problems putting a third or even fifth shot tight in a group if the load is a good one.  I really don't believe I pulled the shots.  I only have 52 shots total down this new barrel, but copper and carbon clean very easily out of it already.  My question is should I pick the .050" off seating depth and the 41.1 charge weight(due to the good ES and SD) and try to zone in by making .005 seating depth changes on both sides to try and shrink the group?  For velocity I don't want to go any lower on the charge weights.  I don't want to really go over 2800 fps on velocity either and the 42.2 and 42.4 shots on the initial Saterlee test was still showing rapidly climbing velocity and were into the 2820 velocity range.  I would have to go 42.6 and above to find another potential node and that is getting closer to I want regarding max powder loading.

In summary, perhaps the barrel still needs a few more rounds to settle in.  I will recheck the torque on the action screws and make sure scope is solid.  If I find no issues there I see the best only option is tweaking the seating depts. as I mentioned above. Perhaps I am expecting too much from this rifle.  Thanks for reading this long post and look forward to hearing others thoughts.

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #1
I have the same rifle and am using Hornady ELDX 143 grain bullets. I load 41 grains of H4350 and get a little higher velocity (over 2750), but I did notice I was getting horizontal spreads at times. That happened when I went to a new batch of ELDX 143s. I checked the length to ogive on the new batch of bullets and found there was 7 thousands difference from the last batch. Had to readjust seating depth so the new would be 5 thousands off lands. Still haven't decided whether that has fixed it because we have been having high winds. I am thinking of seating deeper to get them to feed better. I also am not a target guy, use mine for hunting.

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #2
I have the same rifle and am using Hornady ELDX 143 grain bullets. I load 41 grains of H4350 and get a little higher velocity (over 2750), but I did notice I was getting horizontal spreads at times. That happened when I went to a new batch of ELDX 143s. I checked the length to ogive on the new batch of bullets and found there was 7 thousands difference from the last batch. Had to readjust seating depth so the new would be 5 thousands off lands. Still haven't decided whether that has fixed it because we have been having high winds. I am thinking of seating deeper to get them to feed better. I also am not a target guy, use mine for hunting.

Since you are getting higher velocities, perhaps my barrel still has a little more speed up to come.  I do know all barrels are different.  Maybe I will just stick with the 41.1 load and vary seating depths a bit and see if the barrel settles in after a few more rounds down the pipe. 

Curious to know when the winds settle down and you get to shoot if your adjustment to seating depth fixed the horizontal issue.  If it did it give me hope that some small depth adjustments might fix my issue as well.

Thanks for your reply.

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #3
My personal belief is the Berger .040 increments are too far apart and may leave something on the table.    Using .010 increments usually will pick up the seating nodes.  Grouping should come in and then gradually go as a node is passed.  There is usually more than one good node.  Once node is found going to .005" in each direction will fine tune it.
Just what I have found and it works for all bullets.
11X Grandfather
Part time Savagesmith

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #4
I will screw you guys all up.. lol.. seat the bullet where ever you want and tune the powder to it.. 😏
I never move my seating depth from my initial load work up.. I put it where the boat tail and bearing surface is just above the neck and shoulder junction and leave it.. I dont care if it has a .010 jump or a .100 jump.. long as it's not jammed.. I tune the powder to my seating depth.. I'm sure I will be told that's not the right way to do it but it works for me.. my groups speak for themselves.. 😁
Grant

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #5
I will screw you guys all up.. lol.. seat the bullet where ever you want and tune the powder to it.. 😏
I never move my seating depth from my initial load work up.. I put it where the boat tail and bearing surface is just above the neck and shoulder junction and leave it.. I dont care if it has a .010 jump or a .100 jump.. long as it's not jammed.. I tune the powder to my seating depth.. I'm sure I will be told that's not the right way to do it but it works for me.. my groups speak for themselves.. 😁
I know there are a lot of ways to skin the proverbial rabbit.  This time around I did things a little differently than I normally do.  The end game is of course to get a consistent (low es and sd) load that sends the bullet out the end of the barrel at the most optimum time harmonically.  Lots of ways to accomplish this such as seating depth, powder chg, etc.  The trick is to fit all the pieces together.  I think there is good logic to how you develop your loads by adjusting one variable.

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #6
Well folks, it turned out that I have now cured the horizontal spread with this rifle.  The culprit was the scope.  Got a new NF NX8 and now all groups are under 1/2".   I tried the previous scope the Ridgeline was wearing(Vortex Razor HD LH) and put it on a GA Precision 308 That I know shoots small groups and the horizontal spread magically reappeared.  I verified the scope wasn't moving in the Warne Maxima rings, so now I have a scope in the mail to Vortex.  I hope their customer service and warranty is as good as most say it is.

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #7
I'm no Vortex fan but I'm trying to imagine how a scope-related horizontal spread on one rifle became a vertical spread on another rifle?

Good luck with their warranty and customer services, I'm sure on big ticket items they'll treat you right.
Chris

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #8
I'm no Vortex fan but I'm trying to imagine how a scope-related horizontal spread on one rifle became a vertical spread on another rifle?

Good luck with their warranty and customer services, I'm sure on big ticket items they'll treat you right.

I must not have had my coffee yet.  It's strictly all horizontal spreads.  Good catch, thanks!!  I corrected the previous post..

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #9
I have heard a lot about Vortex CS and I have to say I am very pleased.  Already sent and received a new scope to replace the faulty HD LH.  They have my kudo's.

Re: Berger 140 vldh in CA Ridgeline 6.5cm

Reply #10
That’s always great news to hear. Their policy is the same with their spotting scopes.