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Keeping a reloading journal

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Keeping a reloading journal

Old 02-14-2017, 08:38 PM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Default Keeping a reloading journal

I've mentioned that this winter I want make drastic improvements to my entire shooting system. Well, I decided to extend my overhaul to my reloading setup. There's nothing wrong with my handloads or process of reloading; it's my record keeping that I need to work on. Several months may pass between the time I reload a round and the time I fire it, then several more months before I clean and reload the case again. In that time, it's easy for me to forget certain details about the loads or cases.

With this in mind, I decided to pull out an unused notebook from my high school days and create a reloading and shooting logbook to record not only what handloads I make and when, but also the exact specifications regarding the components and how well the loads perform on the range or in the field. Even though I haven't had much opportunity to make notes in it yet, it's already pretty clear this journal is going to be a great addition to my reloading bench.

Anyone else have a reloading journal for record keeping?
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:56 PM
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I have 2 file cabinets full of them. I also include the test target.

When I make a log entry I put in:

Case brand
Primer brand and type and lot number
Powder brand as well as the lot number of the can
Bullet brand and type and weight
Trim length of case
Seating depth for jump distance on each particular barrel
Time and Date of test firing
Weather: Temp, humidity, wind speed and direction
Elevation
And of course the scope and magnifications used for various distances
If it's a wildcat cartridge I also put in whatever I did for fire forming the brass
If I neck size only (some cases I do, some I FL resize) then that is noted as well

Basically I try to include all details for each and every rifle/load. When you start gettin old and forgetful, you will pat yourself on the back for having the good sense to write all that crap down. You are on your way to having a pretty good assortment of firearms kiddo. When you start loading for 1/16th the firearms I load for, you will be thanking yourself for that log..
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:18 AM
  #3  
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I started a record of my loads a few years back. It has saved me big time as it's a long time between loads. I do like the idea of keeping the target of each load. I'm gonna add that to my records.
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:12 AM
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I do. I started out by simply recording pet loads that worked really well for me. Since then, my method has evolved a little bit. I still have a separate list of pet loads I use for each caliber, but I also have a separate journal I keep with notes on performance, etc. I bought a hard-bound journal, divided the pages evenly, and put a tab on the first page of each section. Each section is dedicated to a cartridge that I reload. When I go out to shoot, I just flip that book open to the right section and take notes on which rifle I'm using, weather conditions, and how everything performs. It makes load development much easier, when you don't have to scratch your head and try to remember what you did several weeks ago.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:54 AM
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Yep, I have several BIG 3 ring binders on the shelf by my loading bench. They have all my loads and data. I, just as SH, keep track of all pertinent info goes to each of my loads and data. Not quite as detailed as he, but close enough for me to keep me on track.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:41 PM
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I too keep a log book of all my loads for each gun. I have a couple rifles that shoot the same cartridge. (i.e.: .45-70, 7-08, 30-06 etc) so not only do I keep a log of each load but for each rifle.
This same method is also passed on to my muzzleloaders because they can be more finicky than CFs most of the time.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:47 AM
  #7  
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C'mon fellas - it's 2017!!!! Quit killing trees!!! Especially TN Lone Wolf - you're the young'un here, sure ought to be paperless from the start!

I've only digitized about half of my original notebooks, but everything I do for new load development is stored in MS Excel. I can take it everywhere I go, access it on my phone, laptop, iPad, smart TV, it's easy to organize, easy to "add pages" if I want to go back and add loads. I used to use MS Access database for this, but I work daily in Excel, and very little in Access, so I converted to a simple spreadsheet around 10yrs ago.

I use a VERY simple template for my load development - I formatted it so I can print it and take it to the range, then make notes for velocity and group size as I shoot, then come home and enter them into the digital form. I keep a tab for each cartridge I load, organizing each by bullet weight for easier sorting, cataloging powder, die settings, bullet, charge weight, velocity, group size, date tested, powder lot, brass, seating COAL and base to Ogive, Jump to lands at time of testing, and other non-specific notes for each. I also keep a tab of my "pet loads" for quick and easy reference. I use this same sheet to let me track my throat erosion too, so I can chase the lands as my barrel wears and keep track of my accuracy and velocity changes. I catalog in which rifle/pistol the load was tested and for which it was developed, as well as have room to note how it performed in other rifles/pistols. Easy to embed digital photos of test targets if I want, but I usually keep those in cartridge specific file folders instead of embedding into the Excel file.

I also use another MS Excel file to keep track of my reloading components owned, both tools and component inventory.

I'm a HUGE supporter (maybe even a bit of a luddite) of taking hand written, paper-borne notes, but when it comes to data STORAGE, digital is the way to go. Way too annoying to leaf through my dozen old notebooks for that ONE particular load, and too annoying to have a new load which won't fit on the same page I had used for that cartridge.

If you DO insist on paper copies, I recommend a 3-ring binder with hole punched paper. That's what I USED to use after converting from bound notebooks. It lets you take the pages in and out to save room on your loading bench, then also replace pages or add in pages to a given section. You can also use 3 ring tabbed dividers to section out your cartridges. Digital is WAY more convenient, but if you're only loading a few cartridges today, you can probably get away with staying on paper - if you do, this is the best way to do it.

Digital is really the best way to store, organize, update, and manage large volumes of reloading notes. You'll only write so many notes onto a page because it eventually becomes to large to browse and find what you want later, but you can bury as much info as you could ever imagine into a digital spreadsheet or database AND it remains searchable, let alone more easily browsed.

Last edited by Nomercy448; 02-16-2017 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:47 PM
  #8  
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LOL...Mercy, I'd be more than happy to do all that jazz...Come on down for about a month to digitize all my loading data (it would take at least that long) and I'll get right on that My little ole system has worked well for me for over 50 years. If it aint broke, why break it? One little ole bug and all your hard work goes POOF. Off site storage isn't fool proof either. Lotta people have lost data on "the cloud". Paperless is all well and good. But I just prefer my own little method.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:44 PM
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I'll probably make an Excel workbook to go along with my journal. Then back that up on multiple drives, just in case.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:09 PM
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Default Ha, my first reloading journal, was on computer

I used an excel spreadsheet to teach myself the use of computer spreadsheets.
I was long out of school, so I used a page of a written reloading journal.
I had a younger female co worker who complimented me on learning the spreadsheet, so long from school.

And I didn't have to explain what a reloading spreedsheet was.

I was probably one of a few who ever taught themselves how to use a computer spreedsheet by training on a written reloading journal.
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