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Process to find best load

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Process to find best load

Old 11-01-2017, 12:12 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Process to find best load

I will be switching over to TC Cheap Shots and Tripple 7 loose powder this year. I'm planning a trip to the rifle range to re-sight this week. I am switching to save $, allow for more shooting, and hopefully better blood trails. My gun is a CVA Optima V1.

Having only used pellets and one bullet up till now, there was really no need for much shooting. Now that I'm changing and have more flexibility with the loose powder, what should my process be?

I've read quite a bit on here and seems like a lot of folks suggest starting w/ 80 grain (equivalent) of Tripple 7 and work up from there in 5 gr increments. I figure 3 shots with each load to see how it groups? How many shots before I clean the breech plug and barrel?

Can i shoot a group of 3, then clean, then next group of 3 at higher load of powder, then clean, etc? I don't really want to clean between each shot in a group of 3, but I have to think shot #2 and #3 in a group would be less accurate without cleaning.

I have a tendency to over think and over clean. What do you guys do when you want to really dial in a load at the range? I previously have at least swabbed my barrel with a wet patch between each shot, but I don't really know if that is necessary.
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:09 PM
  #2  
Nontypical Buck
 
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I work up a load exactly as you suggest, but usually start at 90 grains UNLESS I am using a very large bullet (like I did this year with a 460 gr). Then I start at 80 gr. How big of a bullet are you using?

However, unfortunately I think you need to clean between each shot to find your load. With 777 I literally use spit on a patch and run that side down, flip it and run that side down, then get a dry patch and run that one down: between each shot! I don't think you can believe the accuracy if you try and do anything else. 777 tends to leave a pretty good crud area near the breech plug after each shot. I don't remove the breech plug at all until I am through with that session.

The benefit of cleaning between each shot is that it gives your barrel time to cool, which you will need firing that many shots

Last edited by txhunter58; 11-01-2017 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:36 PM
  #3  
Typical Buck
 
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My dad drilled into me this little note many years ago. "Son, the only thing group shooting is good for is paper and to see if you have a good barrel and form. When it comes to hunting, the only thing that matters is that very first shot." Now with that in mind, when I am setting up a rifle for hunting, be it muzzleloader or center fire, I dial it in first. Then once I have it tuned up, I start cleaning and allowing it to come to ambient temp, after every shot. I tune it to be where I want it on that first cold clean barrel shot. Now, you may have one of them picky rifles that only shoot well on a fouled barrel. I too have a couple of those. You will need to shoot a good bit to find if you have one of them. Basically, what I do at the range is clean it to where I know I will be carrying it in the field. Most of mine are spotless and that very first shot is dead bull. But those couple that I have that need a fouling shot to be accurate, they can be fouled by popping a couple of caps usually. I personally know very little about BP subs such as T7. I shoot Swiss FFG but I shoot primarily sidelocks. So leaving my rifles powder fouled for any length of time is a big no no for me. Especially in damp climates. The folks on this board have sort of gotten me interested in inlines, something the old man never accomplished so pat yourselves on the back guys, so I am in the same learning curve as you Htr2133 but the same premise applies for all rifles in my lowly opinion. When hunting, it's the first shot that counts but you still want to know where a followup shot will hit too.
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:49 PM
  #4  
Nontypical Buck
 
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I have gotten in the habit of shooting and hunting with a fouled barrel. When I go to the range with 777, I pour 10-15 gr down the barrel (I don't measure it just estimate), load a cap, do NOT load a bullet, point it straight up and pull the trigger. I then run a spit patch (both sides) followed by a dry patch and then I load up to shoot a bullet. This is the same protocol I use opening day of hunting season before I load up. Thus every shot is the same on a "fouled" barrel.

There are some people that like to load and hunt with a truly "clean" barrel. However, that means you have to actually CLEAN the barrel between each shot. What I do isn't cleaning the barrel. A spit patch followed by a dry patch just removes excess powder, but leaves the barrel fouled. Too much work in my mind to clean the barrel after each shot. I suppose once you find your load, you could do that, but I just never have wanted to work that hard.

Last edited by txhunter58; 11-01-2017 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:34 PM
  #5  
Spike
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Thanks guys, i generally have subscribed to that first shot being in a clean barrel and breech plug bc that is how it will be on hunting shots. I guess I'll keep that practice although it takes longer at the range.

Here is what I do:

1. Clean gun from home, load and shoot first shot.
2. Field Clean-I carry a zip lock full of moist patches moistened with TC #13. I run it once, flip it, run it again. I don't even run a dry patch anymore. Should I? I have found the #13 leaves a nice coating in the barrel in my opinion. Never considered this to be a negative.
3. I pull the breech plug, use a moist patch to clean the reside I can see and I use a breech plug cleaner (pipe cleaner) dipped in #13 and I run it through breech. Then follow with the other side of the cleaner which is dry. I can usually see clearly through the breech held up to light.
4. Re-install breech, Re-load, fire at will

I figure the whole process takes less than 5 min.

The only difference in my process at home vs. field clean is I will run a bore brush before the same patches as above. I also take a little extra time with the breech plug at home.

Anything I am missing or that I should change?
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Old 11-02-2017, 07:59 PM
  #6  
Nontypical Buck
 
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You are working WAY to much.

First of all, yes, I would run a dry patch down after the wet patch. You don't want to run the risk of getting the powder wet. And there will be some wet spots on the barrel after using #13

Second, TC#13 is good and I have used a lot of it, but I have found that spit really works just as well because 777 is water soluble. But I have no problem with using it. Have done so and will again probably, so no real issue there.

You are not shooting on a clean bore. With what you are doing you are cleaning the excess fouling out of the barrel, but it is still fouled, and I think that is ok. I run the wet patch down, both sides and then a dry patch and that is still considered a fouled bore. It is fouled with powder residue in all the little imperfections in it until you do a good cleaning back at the house with multiple passes with a brush and solvent soaked patches.

You are way overthinking the breech plug. There is really no reason to pull it out after every shot. Running the patches cleans the bore out and that is what affects your accuracy. As long as the breech plug doesn't clog and your primer ignites the powder, you are OK back there. At most, I would pull it maybe every 10 shots, but I don't even do it that often. I really don't think you are affecting your accuracy at all by doing that. In my mind you are just wasting time. At least I have never seen a need to do it. Not pulling the breech plug has never seemed to affect my accuracy.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:25 PM
  #7  
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Htr welcome to the forum. It appears as though you're on the right track with your Optima. I take it you're using the Cheap Shots to save a couple bucks (based on your post in the Traditional forum).
If you decide on a different bullet that isn't all that costly you can go with a Hornady XTP in either .429" or .451" and then purchase the appropriate sabot. I like the green Harvester CR sabot for the .429" or the black one for the .451". As for powder I'm having good luck with Alliant Black MZ powder. It burns clean and you can get it at Sportsman's Warehouse for $9.99 a pound. If you do use this powder it must be compressed tightly for best accuracy. I started using this powder last fall with a 300 grain XTP and so far I've taken 2 hogs and 2 deer and all but one deer was DRT.
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:01 AM
  #8  
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You will be happy with the Cheap Shots. They fly straight and do a good job of taking down a deer.
70 to 75 grains of powder is dead on in our CVA /50 cals. We use 2-f black powder.
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