I am sure that there are many on this Forum that have been successfully reloading precision ammo for a lot longer than I have. Probably with as good or better results. Based on another thread, I was asked if I would put together how I load for long range precision rifle shooting, in this case 100 through 1,000 yard Bench Rest along with what equipment I use.
As I am always learning, as this unfolds, input from other precision loaders would be appreciated. There are certainly more than one way to accomplish the goals that we all want as competitive shooters and I for sure not only am willing to try new things, but welcome them as a way to expand my knowledge base.
As a little background, I started reloading in the mid-60s as a young teenager. Through a long process (no need to bore you all with that story) I ended up with a set of FFLs, Dealer, Dealer in Restricted Weapons and Manufacture and started commercially reloading at the end of 1970. Mt. Ivy Reloading Company was started, which I ran until 1986. Star progressive pistol reloaders gave way to fully automatic machines, loading and boxing .38 Full Wad Cutters, 45 ACP Semi-Wad Cutters and target rounds for the 9mm.
As my shop sold more rifles, I was asked if I would develop custom loads for customer's rifles, mainly for long range hunting. With beam scales, single station ram type loading presses and, by todays standards, run of the mill rifle dies, I made many a rifle shoot 1/2 to 3/4 MOA groups out to 500 yards, the longest range directly at my disposal. Cartridges of choice included, .220 Swift, .22-250, .243, .25-06, .270, 7mmRem Mag, .308 and .30-06. As you can see, no specific bench rest cartridges, and all factory chamberings with factory ammo available, but a few that were capable at reasonable distances.
The mainstay rifles were Remington 700s, Parker Hale 1200s, Sakos, H&Rs, Mauser 4000s and Ruger No 1 and Browning Rolling Blocks. Not much more was done to any rifle except maybe bed the action and float the barrel.
We have to remember that these were the pre-computer / digital days and I hate to think of what I paid for my first chronograph, which required that you set up two screens with plates that you shot through one time and then had to be replaced. No problem with optics or lighting / shadows, but each round cost a $1.00 to check for velocity and in 1971, that was pretty pricey. No printers or self recorders either, so a lot of data books and had writing of results, loads etc. Annealing was done by hand with a hand torch and a drill and based on the current best practices, cases were only neck sized once they were fired in the chamber they were being loaded for.
Fast forward, the only thing left on my metallic bench from those days is a RCBS / Ohaus, 5-0-2 Beam Scale. Radar is used to map muzzle and down range velocities and digital scales weight to .002 grains.
What will follow, is how I now handle precision loading as learned through, years of regular loading experience, reading of company reloading manuals, Long Range / Bench Rest primers like Tony Boyer's book, a long time bench rest mentor named Greg, 1,000 yard shooting school at the Williamsport 1,000 Yard Bench Rest club and input from numerous bench rest shooters that I have met in the sport.
How much of it is necessary or important I do not know, but we bench rest shooters are a compulsive bunch and if we even think something can help and are pretty sure it can't hurt, then what is a few more minutes and a few more dollars, that might result in one less "flyer" at 1,000 yard.
TO BE CONTINUED
Last edited by rkittine
on Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
Sag Harbor and Manhattan, New York