March 29, 2008:

Range report - Parma, ID

Totally changed load for the 168SMK, starting over Reloader 15. Today was good and I think it will work well for me. I'm working up the Optimum Charge Weight. I started with 4 shots in each charge weight to narrow it down.

I was using my new/used chrono a Pact Model 1 with the M5 skyscreens. It's not the newest but I like the fact that the skyscreen are separate from the control unit. It was really handy to the the control unit on the bench. The screens are wide enough that I was able to shoot all 5 targets on the bench without moving the rifle or screens.

All shots at 200 meters.

1st String - The target says it all, one of these was also my coldbore shot, unclean barrel. Group 2.2" I had dialed in 1/2 MOA of windage, which I took out for the next 4 Strings.

2nd String - Don't know what happened here, but suffice to say this is one charge weight to stay away from, the other 2 were not even on the paper on the target next to it, 1" away????

3rd String - Without the flyer this was a decent group.

4th String - Now we are getting somwhere, 2 holes in one on the bottom and the overall group size was good too.

5th String - This may have been a good group as well, except for the flyer.

Overall I think I've found the charge weight band to work in with my rifle for this load. Somewhere between 42.0 and 42.8 I should find the magic zone. I was surprised at the velocity's, primer and brass didn't look bad, they are higher than indicated in the book. by almost 100fps. Hmm....

Once I find the charge weight I'll start playing with primers and seating depth. I have both CCI Lg Rifle and Bench Primers, currently the bullet is sitting .020" off the lands. I should be close there.

I am convinced the rifle will shoot better than me, the 2 flyers tell me that much, but overall, this are Sub MOA groups at 200 meters and should work well out to 800 yards or so.

 ShotString 1
String 2
 String 3
String 4  String 5
Powder Charge
 1 263026872681 2719 2709 
 2 2650 2666 22642 2684 2745
 3 2648 2684 2681 2689 2734
 4 2640 2674 2677 2714 2744
2678 2670 2701 2733
 Extreme Spread20.121.5 39 35.5 36.3
 Standard Deviation9.29.7 19 17.6 16.7
 Average Deviation
 14.2 15.0 12.0
Group Size

March 8, 2008:

Range report - Bend, OR

 ShotString 1
String 2
 1 25832599 
 2 2619 2645
 3 2604 2588
 4 2578 2594
 5 2583 2629
 Standard Deviation
 Average 2593 2611
I had 30 rounds loaded and tested 10 rounds through the chrono that I had borrowed for the day.

Test groups were at 100yards, but I forgot to go get the target when I was done. DOH! Groups in the scope were around 1" on the square grid.

I now need to research what these numbers mean and how I can improve them. AND I need to start looking at the groups. 

I was happy to see that my target velocity of 2600 fps was what I was getting with the 168gr SMK. I was using Federal once shot GM brass. Now that I am in the ballpark I will change over to the Lapua Brass and start working with some CCI benchrest primers.

After Chrono'ing the loads I input the current MET and vel data into my ballistic software. I am happy to report that the data cards that I generated at the range were dead on, at least out to 500 yards. I thought they were off at 500 yards by 2 MOA, but I noticed that I was working in meters instead of yards. Once I changed to yard, the tables were dead on.

It was a great day at the range, and I now have some great data to work off of and develop this load.