A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Reloading: 50 yard test

My objective today was to find the best load for my Henry BigBoy 44 magnum rifle at 50 yards. I brought 150 rounds that I hand loaded and ended up firing 94. All the ammo fired nicely, though I did have a problem with some of the rounds not feeding properly. It appears that I need to seat the bullet a bit deeper next time, and Bill says he has a gauge I can have to measure the cartridge length. I shot six rounds of a specific load at each target and kept a record of which load was used on which target. The target frame was set up 50 yards out. I originally started at 100 yards, but the target was so small that I felt lucky just to hit it, never mind comparing groups. 100 yards is too long to test this rifle with iron sights using small targets. Next time I plan to bring a 200 yard target to make it easier to see what I'm shooting at. Bifocals are a major pain when aiming at a small, distant target. Either I mount a scope or get a bigger target. Since most coyote hunting in CT is up close and personal, I'm keeping the iron sights. I wish I could have locked the rifle down to take myself out of the loop, but since that's not possible today, at least the equation is skewed equally for each load.

I was amazed to discover that the lightest bullet (200 gr Speer) gave me the lousiest groups, and the heaviest bullet, the Hornady 265 gr gave me the best. I never expected these results. I know I loaded the 265 cartridge light, so I'm hoping that if I load it just a bit more, it will bring the bullet right in consistently. The final target with the 200 gr Hornady seems to have great potential, but I just about ran out of rounds before starting the test. I was just having fun blast'n when I realized I'd better stop and do some testing... a little too late. I'll load more for next time. Target 5 wasn't bad either. Note that the best results were all achieved with Accurate #9.

TOP ROW, left to right: • Target 1 - Powder: Allient 2400 / Amount: 21.4 gr. / Bullet: Speer 200 gr. • Target 2 - Powder: Accurate #9 / Amount: 1.3cc / Bullet: 265 gr Hornady • Target 3 - Powder: Accurate #9 / Amount: 1.3 cc / Bullet: 200 gr Hornady

BOTTOM ROW, left to right: • Target 4 - Powder: Winchester 296 / Amount: 1.3 cc / Bullet: 200 gr Hornady • Target 5 - Powder: Accurate #9 / Amount: 1.0 cc / Bullet: 265 gr Hornady • Target 6 - Powder: Accurate #9 / Amount: 1.3 cc / Bullet: 200 gr Hornady*. *only 2 rounds fired at target I just noticed something: How come Target 2 used 1.3cc of Accurate #9 and Target 5 only used 1cc? Target 5 was consistently higher! How could .3cc less powder cause the shot to hit higher? How is that possible?

Next time out I take this load: (Powder: Accurate #9 / Amount: 1.3cc / Bullet: 265 gr Hornady) and make sure my cartridge length is correct so the rounds are not under pressured.

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