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How to Build an Accurate Hunting Load - Or Honing in the Nth degree

Rating: 6 votes, 2.33 average.
by , 08-12-2011 at 06:04 PM (7968 Views)
Yep thought that title would get yer attention

I wanted to take some time to explain the difference between just shaving, and when Straight Razors become an actual hobby...I often relate two of my favorite hobbies Shooting and Straight Razors as both can be taken to the extremes, or can be purely functional, the choice is always yours...

How to build an Accuracy load for hunting...

First you buy at least 200 pieces of brass in the correct caliber
Next we use a Flash hole de-burring tool and clean up the flash hole in the primer pocket
Trim all brass too design length or TTL
Weigh each piece into weight groups
Take 50 that weigh the same and separate them out
Study all the material in the load books to pick a powder to match the bullet and the caliber and barrel length...
Decide on the bullet you are going to use
Weigh each bullet and separate them into groups
Take 50 matched bullets and 50 matched brass and reload them using a light charge of the powder
Shoot all 50 in the rifle going hunting
Resize all fired brass paying strict attention to not push back the shoulder since now these are fire formed to only your rifle
Trim back to length
Now you are going to load what is called a spread load of 50 rounds, each with normally 1/2 a grain (7000 grains of powder per lb) of powder charge difference 10 separate loadings of 5 rounds each
Re-load and set the OAL to closely match the rifle itself
Out to the range
Shoot 10 groups of 5 rounds paying strict attention to the heat of the barrel as hunting is done from a cold bore
Out of those 10 groups one is going to be slightly better then the others
Now you have the powder charge
Reload all 50 using that powder charge using all the same protocol as above, but adjust the OAL into 10 / 5 shot groups
Back to the range
Shoot all 50 again using all the same protocols
One group will again be the best by a very very small margin...(note the diminishing returns)
Now you have the recipe for that rifle and that rifle only, with that bullet and that bullet only,
But you know that it is the best that you can shoot.

Let's not forget the cleaning of the brass and primer pockets after each loading, and the primers themselves that can be tweaked too, even down to Concentricity testing on each round and the correct swirl when pouring each powder charge and spinning each round as you press the bullets into the brass... Keep in mind these rounds only work perfectly in one rifle ...

Now change all the above to Razors, Stones, and Honing/Stropping techniques and you get the idea of how far you can take this hobby...

Now do you have to do all this to go hunting???? Nope

Just like you can just hone the razor and shave your face, you can just grab an off the shelf rifle and a box of ammo and hunt all you want...

Each person has to decide how far they want to take it...
To my brain the 1 inch group that you might shoot using your off the shelf rifle and factory loads is "Sorely Lacking" compared to the sub 1/2 inch group I can shoot consistently...

I freely admit to taking my hobbies way out there, but please don't condemn those of us that do, just because you choose not to.. I am the guy that took a Custom 10/22 and went through at least 20 different boxes of .22 caliber ammo to find the tightest group for that rifle, then bought 10,000 rounds with the same Lot number on each brick so I would have them "just in case"... (I still have 9700 rnds)
Just like I bought one of every finisher I could lay my hands on, just to find the ones that worked the best on the different razors....Or one of each type of bevel setter, to see what worked best on what razors... A step, by methodical step procedure, to reaching an optimum result, or "Honing to the Nth degree".

This has a lot to do with why I hone and restore razors professionally, it gives me plenty of opportunity to test all I want, a legitimate excuse to own a ton of hones and stones, and the money to pay for it all, that the wife has no say so over... I used to do the exact same thing with building custom rifles...

So when someone says "Well all you need is **** Hone to get a perfectly good edge", to my ears, I hear, "All you need is a K-mart **** 30-30 and a box of **** loads"... Well it might be all I need, but it ain't all I want..... In fact for many of us that are Shooters or Honers it is more about working the process then JUST the end results...

(I probably forgot a few steps in there on my loading procedure, please forgive me if I did)

Updated 08-12-2011 at 06:11 PM by gssixgun

Tags: honing
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  1. cudarunner's Avatar
    Very well done Glen! Great way to put things into perspective!
  2. tinkersd's Avatar
    I like you style fella'!!