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Bullet Accuracy


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I'm sure most of you have been here, but as things (hardware and software) improve, gains are getting harder to achieve :) Results are interesting too.

Last night I ran three different bullets through my XDM 5.25 stock pistol, with a slugged barrel that measured .3550

Warmed both the gun and myself up with some copper washed 115gr Extreme RN... roughly 40 rounds.

Target at 21' hand held.

All rounds loaded exactly the same, D650, all brass processed twice. first time through, sized, deprimed and "M" die. 2nd time through, primed (federal match), CFE Pistol 3.7, 1.140 target OAL (although seems to range 1.135 - 1.140). Brass is mixed range brass.

Three bullets, target pics attached. Different number of rounds for each bullet (depended on how many I had made up or in each box). Each test target used two magazines. Order shot as below.

Hornady HAP

Was not expecting this scattering, but I don't know if I should be using the "M" die with this bullet.

Dardas Lead SWCFP .357 diameter

Beautiful grouping with some interesting outliers. Maybe software induced, maybe not.

Dardas Lead SWCFP .356 diameter

Larger grouping, with two distinct groups, without any outliers. Did not track individual shots or relate the distinct groups to particular magazine.

Where do I go from here? First things first, which Dardas bullet, .356 or .357? gut's telling me .357, but the outliers are bothering me. After that, how do I start nailing down improving the accuracy?




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21 feet offhand isn't going to tell you much about the ammo's inherent accuracy. You should really be using sandbags to remove as much of yourself from the equation as possible if you are interested in how your ammunition and gun are performing.

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I generally like to use .357 sized bullets in my 5.25 if possible but have some very accurate loads with .356 also. The only way to determine the accuracy of a load is to take the human element out of it as much as possible. When I'm testing the accuracy of a load I do it from 25yds with arms and gun supported with some kind of a rest. 7 yds offhand won't tell you much.

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Dave and Thermo have hit it on the head. :bow: :bow:

To test the inherent accuracy of a load, you need to remove

yourself from the equation as much as possible, and 7 yards

fails to consider some real possibilities.

Move back to at least 20 yards, and use the best brace/rest

you can get - then try it again. :cheers:

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Need to get to the outdoor range to get the distance, and it's still too damn cold :)

IRC, the rifle range at the one club has sand bags available. My old corrected eyes struggle with focusing with long distances.

I understand the software issue, but that was one of the reasons I went with a shorter difference and was kind of surprised at the .357 outliers. Especially with such tight groupings, except for those. I'd have been way off on the sight picture when I pulled the trigger, just on the .357.

I didn't take a picture of the "warm-up" rounds, as I found when I first start shooting I always jerk the trigger until I mentally and physically slow down. Usually takes about 20 rounds if I haven't shot in a few weeks.

I'm really enjoying the loading aspect of shooting, maybe more than the actual shooting. Just wish powder wasn't such a dang difficult issue.

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Shooting from the hand at 21' is not going to tell you much about accuracy potential unless you are a world class bull's-eye shooter. Even then, 21' is too close to tell. It looks like all your groups are the same size and had you been shooting at one target, you would have made one big hole in the target.

I don't know where you got your information, but you are wasting lots of time in the method of how you load. On my 650 or 550, my pistol ammo makes one pass around the press, that's it. Use your Dillon 650 how Dillon intended and save some time.

You do NOT need an M-die and I don't know where this information is coming from. A M-die is a useful tool for loading fragile lead based rifle bullets. It is not needed or required for pistol ammo.

Your powder drop assembly on the Dillon machine bells the case just fine. Your crimp die, in reality for an auto pistol, just takes this bell out of the case. It does not really "crimp"

Keep things simple when loading pistol and don't stress; its easy provided your load is SAFE. Most any combination will work for action pistol shooting in the accuracy department provided the bullets are stable and you are no damaging them or loading them improperly.

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After loading the Dardas cast bullets, I'm sold on the M Die for cast bullets. If I'm going to stay with Dardas cast, I'll continue with the M Die.

An interesting development raised it's ugly head while I was prepping this morning for the PPC shoot today... Roughly 10% of the cast bullets had parting line flash that went from visible to totally unacceptable. Sometimes on both sides, sometimes on just one side. Two bullets had a small booger on the tip. Have never seen this issue with Dardas before.

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The way I shot today, would have had better luck throwing darts in a wind storm! It was UGLY!

Did talk to the bullet designer (not mfg), said I was being way over worried about the parting line flash, he's seen far worse and it doesn't impact the accuracy. Not sure I believe that, but he's a much better shot than I am.

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Just about any bullet can be made more or less accurate by changing powder type, powder charge weight, crimp, oal, etc. You won't get very far by just plopping a different bullet in there. You have to do load development for all of your components you plan to use. And as others have already said, you should rest the gun to verify grouping ability.

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