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Thread: Does it make a difference?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Does it make a difference?

    I am starting this thread because the title question is almost always asked in threads about almost every aspect of our sport.
    I am talking about things like case sorting, primer pocket uniforming, annealing, weighing powder, how accurate is your scale, bullet sorting, ogive measuring, special lots of 30 yr old surplus powder, etc,etc,etc.
    The problem I have with all of this is without a tunnel, an engineering degree, and half of the equipment from Lawrence Livermore Labs ( or Oak Ridge in Tenn. for you backwoods boys) how do you know?
    My reason for doing a lot of these things is (and many more)
    1: I'm anal and I shoot BR (redundant I know)
    2: I like to eliminate every possible variable I can (see #1)
    3: knowing I have done #2 makes me feel better at the bench.
    4: None of it has made me shoot worse. (I think)
    5: The only thing I worry about at the bench is the flags, I know my platform and ammo is the best I can make it.
    6: I enjoy doing it!
    7: My beautiful black lab doesn't mind hanging in the shop with me.

    I would be interested to know others thoughts on this subject.
    Maybe we can pile a bunch of "in my experience" does/doesn't items.

    So does it make a difference?
    Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Humble, TX
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    28
    Quote Originally Posted by wfcustom View Post
    I am starting this thread because the title question is almost always asked in threads about almost every aspect of our sport.
    I am talking about things like case sorting, primer pocket uniforming, annealing, weighing powder, how accurate is your scale, bullet sorting, ogive measuring, special lots of 30 yr old surplus powder, etc,etc,etc.
    The problem I have with all of this is without a tunnel, an engineering degree, and half of the equipment from Lawrence Livermore Labs ( or Oak Ridge in Tenn. for you backwoods boys) how do you know?
    My reason for doing a lot of these things is (and many more)
    1: I'm anal and I shoot BR (redundant I know)
    2: I like to eliminate every possible variable I can (see #1)
    3: knowing I have done #2 makes me feel better at the bench.
    4: None of it has made me shoot worse. (I think)
    5: The only thing I worry about at the bench is the flags, I know my platform and ammo is the best I can make it.
    6: I enjoy doing it!
    7: My beautiful black lab doesn't mind hanging in the shop with me.

    I would be interested to know others thoughts on this subject.
    Maybe we can pile a bunch of "in my experience" does/doesn't items.

    So does it make a difference?
    Greg
    I agree with each item, my only change would be to item #7 - My beautiful wife doesn't mind me dropping her off at the casino on the way to a match.

    Half of my enjoyment of shooting BR is the continual refinement of my reloading skills and striving to make each round the best / most consistent it can be. With my level of bench manners / flag reading still needing lots of work it would be difficult to prove it helps a great deal in my case but the technical aspects are my biggest enjoyment.

    I can see improvements in ES / SD when I utilize anal reloading methods. Do these play a big role in the 100 / 200 VFS game? I don't know but I can rule out a bad throw from the powder measure, poorly sized case and neck, consistent seating depth, really bad bullet in a lot, etc when I try to explain to myself why I have yet to shoot a clean 200 yard VFS match.

    Gregg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    West central NH
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    380
    I'm told that the late, great, Creighton Audette used to say "What do we know for sure, today?"

    In my case, the answer is "not much."

    Scientists know more about what happens on the surface of the sun than we do about what really goes on inside a rifle barrel. I think it's the unattainability of certainty in our sport that keeps us coming back.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2003
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    Houston, Texas
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    I think I do a lot of things because I am scared not to do them.

    I suppose I am most anal about chambering barrels. If everything doesn't pass my own checking procedure, I get aggravated. This aggravation can lead to non confidence.


    Next is neck turning. I have a setup that produces identicle necks, one after another very quickly. My machinist skills allow me exact measuring, but even then I won't even mix cases that have been turned at a different date.

    I use a ChargeMaster to load. It is more accurate than thrown charges, (yes, I have verified this), but does it show up on the target. That I don't know.

    Another thing I pay a lot of attention to is the amount of force it takes to seat every bullet. I tend to use light neck tension. If any feel overly tight, I will use it as a clearing round. It's sure not going on the record.

    The way I look at it, my Rifle has to be the very best I can produce. The reason being is I am not really that good of a shooter. I rely on my Rifle to make up for some of my lack of talent.
    Last edited by jackie schmidt; 04-09-2018 at 11:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Peoples Republic of California
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    "I think I do a lot of things because I am scared not to do them."
    Jackie that probably sums it up better then anything.
    I do all my own (and a select few others) barrel work mainly because I don't trust anyone else to do it.
    I don't know if it's because I'm a control freak or not but I like being in control of the whole process.
    Hell if I had the time I'd probably make my own bullets.
    I also agree on the bullet seating force, if its off it's a fouler.
    I hope others will weigh in with there thoughts on what their "hot buttons " are.
    Greg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Texas
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    It makes a difference

    I am not a machinist. I have watched others do barrel chamber work, stock work on benchrest Rifles. I kinda understand the basics, but I have to trust the work to be done by those skilled craftsmen, in business ,to provide the services.

    It would be comforting to know that all service providers in this Sport, do take an (Honest) anal approach about their work, as Jackie and others describe.

    I have said this many times before, The home shop machinist, who knows how to do his own gun smithing, has a real advantage in this Sport. I have a friend, a machinist, and benchrest shooter, who disagrees with my observations. He has yet to explain why he disagrees.

    When you look at the top twenty finishers at any of the Big Registered matches, its easy to see my point. Most do their own barrel work.

    I hate turning brass. It reminds me of peeling potatoes. I thought about having Ron Hoehn do it for me. I could then blame Ron if every turned neck is not the same dimension.

    Through the years Iíve tried many different bullets, powder (Lots),primers, etc, etc. trying to find that magic combination, with mixed results. At times, Iíve been over whelmed with frustration with shaky Rifle Scopes, aging eyesight, loose stock bedding, A barrel that just wont shoot, to name a few. At other times, things worked out to my satisfaction and I brought home an occasional trophy.

    I sometimes ask myself, why am I still doing this. Despite all the negatives. I still have fun. The having fun thing is what keeps me coming back.
    Itís what benchrest is all about, for me.


    Glenn

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    SE Nebraska
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    398

    Smile

    I have a friend (I know...crazy) in South Dakota (well...that explains it) that believes in the Percent Theory. His Percent Theory states that you are allowed a certain % error and still be accurate/precise. The more accurate/precise you need, the smaller the % error that is allowed. Where you "give up" that % is up to you.

    I would want to do everything I can so that I can put as much of that % into reading the conditions.

    So, my opinionated answer to your question is: It depends on how good of a condition reader you are.
    Person A is a super good condition reader. Person A can probably get away with a little more slop in the neck clearance or not having the exact seating depth for each bullet, etc. Person B is an average condition reader. Person B better have all the same neck thickness, etc if he wants to compete with Person A.

    But again...this info is coming from South Dakota.......

    Stanley

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    Ca.
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    Being a cast bullet benchrest competitor and a bit different but one who also does his own work. I have always strived to seek out, identify and then eliminate any and all possible variables as they come to mind. My thought has always been if they no longer exist they can longer be a factor and move on until another one comes to mind. I have also been one who has spent a substantial amount of time at the range both experimenting, practicing and learning to shoot the various conditions. The last has been the more important and beneficial for me. I have also been one who always feel that even though my rifle shoots extremely well it can always shoot better. All though what I do is a bit different I take allot of what is shared here and apply it when I can. When it comes to barrel and other related work Jackie Schmidt's means and methods have been a tremendous amount of help to me as have those of others and all highly appreciated on my behalf.

    JLouis

  9. #9
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    Mar 2013
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    Nelson New Zealand
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo View Post
    I have a friend (I know...crazy) in South Dakota (well...that explains it) that believes in the Percent Theory. His Percent Theory states that you are allowed a certain % error and still be accurate/precise. The more accurate/precise you need, the smaller the % error that is allowed. Where you "give up" that % is up to you.

    I would want to do everything I can so that I can put as much of that % into reading the conditions.

    So, my opinionated answer to your question is: It depends on how good of a condition reader you are.
    Person A is a super good condition reader. Person A can probably get away with a little more slop in the neck clearance or not having the exact seating depth for each bullet, etc. Person B is an average condition reader. Person B better have all the same neck thickness, etc if he wants to compete with Person A.

    But again...this info is coming from South Dakota.......

    Stanley
    +1

    Only being very new to this sport it strikes me that most of the "errors" that promote big groups come from the conditions.

    Yes it is very helpful if your rifle shoots well & you are on top of the tune, but the conditions or lack of will have a major bearing on group size.

    WBC14 was a perfect example of this, our range was in fine form with some very trying conditions, (worse than normal I will add) this was plainly evident at the wailing wall.

    Something I will always remember is hearing a very good competitor who finished extremely well say during a 200 yard match something like "I would settle for a five ............a five would be great"

  10. #10
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    Feb 2003
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    Down By the Cedar River
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    941
    Ya Greg, what you said about conditions. That 10 shot leg was particularly trying.

    Dave

  11. #11
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    Mar 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Coots View Post
    Ya Greg, what you said about conditions. That 10 shot leg was particularly trying.

    Dave
    Yep, but we were getting used to it by then Dave.....imagine if the 10 shot was first !!!!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kentucky-Home of the Kentucky Wildcats
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    2,016

    Between our ears...

    Confidence can't be overstated in our game...It matters. So, everything that you believe helps, matters...until you satisfy yourself otherwise.

    Yes, I believe that we are a bit over the top in our endeavors at times, when it comes to some of the things we do.

    I was like most of us are or have been, at some point in their br career. I was meticulous in every detail of brass prep and loading techniques as well as gun cleaning...a personal favorite of mine.

    Fact is, I've determined to my own satisfaction that I didn't have to clean my brass, clean my primer pockets, trim every firing and yes, even cleaning every card...did nothing to help my scores.

    As you know, many of us cringe at not doing some or all of these things, and they're not wrong....for them to do what makes them feel gives them the best chance of winning.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    18
    sure it all matters. but it seems to me that what matters the most is being able to stay in tune. I don't know how many times i have wondered how a benchrest rifle could shoot so bad on a sunday afternoon , when the wind picks up a little bit and the temperature jumps about 20 degrees . goodbye decent agg. i'm not sure which detail I'm missing, other than being way out of tune. or , just plain out not shooting in the best condition, because tunnel vision sets in and I'm not seeing the dominant wind. Anyway, when this happens , I get to wondering if my factory 30:06 with factory ammo would outshoot a custom benchrest rig

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