Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Components
Before diving into load development, ensure you have the following:
- Rifle (Howa 6.5PRC and 30 Sherman Magnum)
- Ammunition components (brass, bullets, primers, powder)
- Reloading press and dies
- Powder scale
- Target paper
- Shooting rest or bipod
- Notebook and pen
Step 2: Prepare Your Brass
For both rifles, start with properly prepped brass:
- Clean, inspect, and resize your brass using the appropriate dies.
- Uniform case necks and trim cases to the desired length.
- Prime the brass consistently with high-quality primers.
Step 3: Choose Bullets and Powder
Select bullets and powders suitable for each rifle’s caliber and intended use. Research load data for your chosen components and start with conservative loads, working your way up incrementally.
Step 4: Load and Measure
For each rifle:
- Use your reloading press to assemble cartridges with varying powder charges.
- Record each load’s specifications (powder charge, bullet type, seating depth) in your notebook.
- Maintain consistent overall cartridge length (OAL).
Step 5: Head to the Range
It’s time to hit the shooting range. Set up your chronograph and target at a consistent distance, and ensure you have a stable shooting platform. Start with the Howa 6.5PRC.
Step 6: Initial Testing
Begin with the lowest powder charge and work your way up, firing a series of shots while recording velocity and grouping data. Pay close attention to any signs of pressure or inconsistencies.
Step 7: Fine-Tuning
As you work through different powder charges, bullet types, and seating depths, you’ll begin to notice trends in accuracy and velocity. Narrow down your loads to those that consistently group well and offer desirable velocities.
Step 8: Load Validation
Repeat the same process with the 30 Sherman Magnum custom rifle. Be patient and meticulous, as each rifle may have unique preferences.
Step 9: Record and Label
Once you’ve identified the most accurate and consistent loads for both rifles, label your ammo clearly to distinguish between them.
Step 10: Test Under Real Conditions
Take your tuned loads to the field for real-world testing. Assess their performance in different environmental conditions and at varying distances.
Step 11: Ongoing Optimization
Continue to refine your loads and gather data over time. Document everything and make adjustments as needed based on your real-world experiences.
Remember, load development is an ongoing process, and patience and attention to detail are key. With this guide, you’re well-equipped to achieve repeatable results for both your Howa 6.5PRC and 30 Sherman Magnum custom rifle. Happy shooting!