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Ol` Joe Offline OP
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What ever happened to the days when the writers used a half dozen handloads in their test when they wrote their reports?
I remember when reading of new cartridges, or old ones for that matter Elmer, Maj Nonte(?) Milek, Skeeter, ect all gave load data and reported on bullet preformance along with how they felt about the firearm. Today unless you look at Handloader or Precision shooting you see nothing but factory ammo being tested and only 1 or 2 loadings at that.
Have the lawyers got to the magazines? Are we getting to be that small a majority? Are the writers takeing the eaiser road to riches today, and finding no one is noticeing? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I kind of liked knowing what the writer thought was a proper bullet, or what type loads he found worked best for him. I admit to reading that a failsafe in Win ammo is a great bullet and the Nosler BT is accurate but, what about the Grand Slam? Interloc? Is a Failsafe needed in a 300 mag on `lope or is a Sierra or Hot Core a better choice?The NRA even seems to only use factory ammo in its evaluations.

Just the ramblings of a old reminiscer..............


I must confess, I was born at a very early age. --Groucho Marx

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when they deserve it. --Mark Twain
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I don't read the magazines these days, but I've noticed that the other writers whom I go on shoots with don't save their brass. Which suits me just fine, since I can usually get some of them to save their empties for me. I just wish they wouldn't look at me as though I'm a fossil from the Pleistocene.

I think there are two reasons, at least -- (a) the better-known writers do a good bit of their shooting on sponsored shoots, with the new guns and the factory ammo provided, and (b) their shooting at home is usually to check-out new guns, again with provided ammo. Also, as long as the manufacturers are so willing to provide expendables, there's less work and time involved in requesting loaded ammo than there is in requesting the components and loading 'em in a variety of test loads.

Come to think of it, I guess I am a fossil from the Pleistocene after all -- I'd much rather get the components and load my own ammo. But I hesitate to give-out my load data to a sea of anonymous shooters, many of whom load their own but aren't handloaders. All it takes is one fool to get himself into trouble by "improving" one of my loads on his own.

I made the mistake of giving a good friend (an experienced and usually careful handloader) the data for a safe load, and he blew his new rifle into teensy-weensy pieces by using my charge weight with a much faster powder. (I know that you wouldn't do such a silly thing, but the guy down the street, now -- I'm not at all sure about him.) Anybody who's going to blow his rifle apart will have to do it all on his own -- start to finish -- without any help from me.

Besides, many of the newer editors whom I've been on shoots with are more interested in modern "music," the stock market, and professional sports than in guns, hunting, or shooting -- as shown by which topics they talk about most enthusiastically around the tables at the restaurants each evening. When I've turned the conversation to guns or shooting, it quickly gets switched back to modern "music," the stock market, and professional sports. Handloading? Forget about it! No interest.

One of my genuine writer friends called me one night -- had to tell somebody who'd commiserate but wouldn't tell me which editor of which magazine who'd just called him to acknowledge receiving his latest article and column manuscripts -- and to ask him two questions about 'em:

"What is a 'flash hole'?"

"What do you mean by 'key-holing'?"

Evidently, neither of these terms had appeared in any of the new-product announcements that editor had been reading.

I'm leery of any load data that come from writers and editors whom I don't know, personally, well enough to trust.


"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.



















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Ol` Joe Offline OP
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Ken you make it almost sound scarier than I feared. I knew that there had to be some liability issues involved, I did hope though that the people writing the articals had a little interest in the topic.
I can understand using ammo supplied for the rifle by the manufacture, I just personally have to try "something better" and kind of thought/hoped the writer(s) would want to be more inquizitive and informative also.
It`s a shame though. I kind of looked forward to seeing what kind of powder was this weeks best behind bullet x, just as I wanted to know what brand cam at what lift & duration the hotrod guy was putting in his 427 in the car mags. Yah, lets ring it out and see what it`ll do.
Ohhh, to be young again with dreams of hot cars and new (to me) guns and be able to fuel them with the pages read in the magazines............ I realize there is no going back but I kind of find myself loseing interest in canned hunts, with factory rifles -what a custom job?- useing factory fodder, with no mention of wildcats or the fact you could build your own rifle and ammo and hunt outside a fence. I admit this view is a bit colored but only a couple publications offer a challange to it with regularity. It even made some of the writers seem a bit more colorful and interresting, whether their information was any good or not.


I must confess, I was born at a very early age. --Groucho Marx

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when they deserve it. --Mark Twain
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If I felt ethically free to name famous names here, I could curl or at least gray your hair with factual accounts of popular, revered, trusted gun writers of the past whose load data were down-right dangerous. As Editor for some of them, I often had to delete from their texts and tables obviously dangerous loads that some writers termed merely "maximum" and "hot." Other Editors didn't -- articles that I had rejected appeared later in other magazines -- complete with any overloads that I would've deleted.

Develop your own. By far the better way to go.


"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.



















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Joe, you must have missed a bunch of articles I've seen in HANDLOADER, including the one I did on the .300 WSM before there was any published data available. I developed the data using my chronograph, figuring how much less case capacity the .300 WSM had than the regular .300 Winchester.

I loaded accordingly with a number of powders and bullets from 150-200 grains, even though "everybody" told me the case didn't have enough capacity to shoot 200's. It turned out everybody was wrong, that the .300 WSM does fine with 200-grain bullets. I also recommended several loads in particular--and when pressure-tested data came out, I was was within a grain in each powder/bullet combination.

One reason few magazines publish "author-developed" handloading data anymore is that too much of it is way over the top. Partly precision-made rifles are too blame. The modern "blueprinted" action and super-smooth chamber simply doesn't balk at higher pressures the way a 98 Mauser did. When Remington decided to legitimize the 7mm STW, they found some of Layne Simpson's handloads were well over 70,000 psi. Layne had never experienced a sticky bolt lift, much less a blown primer. Why? His rifles were all super-precise custom jobs.

Even measuring case heads has come into disprepute. I did a big test on this last year in HANDLOADER that you may have missed too, and concluded the method simply isn't reliable. The only reliable way to determine pressures accurately in today's litigious society is to use some sort of electronic equipment, but even then you're limited if you don't belong to SAAMI and hence can't obtain reference ammo.

The other reason you may be seeing fewer articles with a bunch of author-generated handloads is that the manuals provide much the same information. They didn't in the old days, and I know because I'm getting to be one of those old-timers. I started handloading in the mid-60's when there were only about 4-5 manuals around, and none of them used pressure barrels.

These days we have manuals full of pressure-tested data, and they often also suggest the best powder for certain bullets. This is from thousands of rounds shot from several barrels, not just a few hundred from one barrel on a rifle that may or may not be bedded properly.

As for recommending various bullets for game, you must have missed several dozen articles on the very subject in HANDLOADER and RIFLE over the past few years, from me, Ross Seyfried, Dave Scovill, Brian Pearce and others. In the past year alone I've reviewed several new bonded-core bullets, along with other more conventional bullets from various manufacturers.

Again speaking as a relative old-timer, one thing I do applaud in some of the new magazines is the plain reporting of results. Many old-time writers used to list a load with its velocity, then note "good load." What he hell does that mean? That it didn't blow the rifle up? I much prefer to see how the load shot, as in the average spread of three 5-shot groups.

Good hunting,
JB



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Ol` Joe Offline OP
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Mule Deer, You must have miss the exceptions I listed in my post. I did and do see loads in Handloader, it`s the others that have dropped the habit. Matter of fact I enjoyed your piece on favorite bullets awhile ago. I have found Handloader in my pocket for quite afew years now, and it and its sister pubs` are all I subscribe to any more. (I have picked up a copy of RifleShooter here and there)
This isn`t because they tell me all I want to know. The others just don`t say much of anything anymore that hasn`t been said. The articals seem to be on the same rifle with the same ammo used on the same deer. Boring...........


I must confess, I was born at a very early age. --Groucho Marx

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when they deserve it. --Mark Twain
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Joe--Sorry, I must not have had my third cup in the morning yet!

JB


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Joe, Mule Deer, I may be able to add a little to this thread.

A couple of years ago I wrote a book about accurising the Lee Enfield rifle, which contained a chapter on wildcat/improved cartridges based on the 303 British case. I included claimed velocities and old (read VERY old) reloading data for 26 different types, gleaned from various sources. There were disclaimers, warnings etc on every page within that section. There was a BIG warning at the beginning of the chapter. At the time I thought that these bold, black advisories would cover things nicely. After all, the information was only included for historical purposes and not for actual use.

Over time, I sent off letters to various publishers pitching the book. In turn, they all said they would be glad to have a look. In turn, the manuscripts all came back with a rejection letter outlining the same explanation - liability issues.

I'll deep six the recipes! No, they said, that wouldn't help. I was told that someone will read the velocity information and attempt to recreate same...with any old powder they think would work. There's a lot of reloaders that, well, live on the edge.

At first I thought that they were just being nice and using the data as a polite excuse to say no thanks. My last attempt was a Canadian publisher that said they'd do it.

When I told him about my previous attempts, he told me that the liability laws are different in the US, you were an unknown and, in some cases, not an employee of the company. Oh. That would matter?

Now, I'm not saying that this is the definitive answer. I think that it points out possible problem areas. I would also agree with Ken WRT writers using factory ammunition and a heavy schedule.

As an aside, I enjoyed your article in Rifle magazine about premium bullets John. Keep spreading the word. They listen to guys like you. Thanks.

Safe Shooting! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Steve Redgwell
303british.com


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
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Ken and Steve...

Excellent replies (as if my opinion matters).

We have all either known and/or read the old "experts" opinion on loading data, calibers, and firearms. We all know they "stretched" their point of views considerably, and I am able to name names, since I am not one of the "chosen few".

But Keith, Ackley, Capstick, O'Connor, and many others, had many irons in the fire, and their interest in writing about firearms, loading data and their personal triumphs was to generate income.

Where did that income source itself? Why, with the ammunition and firearms manufactures, naturally. (The pay, from what I have seen, for having an article published is minimal.)

I recently read several reviews of new firearms on the market ... none of which were "cheap" items. When you get into the fine print you see where wood to metal finish was poor, checkering was over-run (even with double line borders), and accuracy was around 2-1/2 to 3 MOA.

Yet in the final summary paragraph these writers and evaluators, without exception, all said the same thing ... basically, it is a great firearm and anyone should be proud to have one in his gun cabinet!

What? $1500 and up for a gun that has poor wood to metal fit, poor checkering and miserable accuracy is something I would be proud to have in my gun cabinet, "I don't think so, Tim!"

As for the reloading data I have seen in several recent magazines, hell, it is just a rehash of what was published in the Nosler, Lyman, Hornady and all the rest commercially available manuals. Nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing different.

I will give Keith and the others some credit, since in their day they ACTUALLY did sit a a reloading bench, or a design desk, and do some of the work. They may have stretched their results a tad (cough), but at least they ventured into areas "...where no man has gone before..." (or whatever the hell that StarTrek saying is, I never was a Sci-Fi fan).

Today if you open a gun ragazine which has 108 pages you will find about 96 pages of advertisements, and it is amazing that the firearms reviewed are generally the ones with the full-page ads!

I do not spend my money (since I do not get free copies) on a magazine that is supposed to be about handloading to read about ATV "field tests"; or a firearms/hunting magazine to read rave reviews on gold plated triggers and hammers and "lazer etching on the wood and metal" of cheap $400 imports being sold as $4,000 "collector" items.

I had an old music professor who had a couple of favorite sayings:

"You can't put a pig in a cage and expect it to sing like a canary!"

"The object of an orchestra is to start together and to finish together, and to hit as many correct notes as possible in the journey!"

Today's gun writers (evaluators) unfortunately subscribe to selling pigs as songs birds, and don't care how many wrong notes are played as long as the piece ends with a positive finding...


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I get really tired of gun rag authors getting really excited about the fine accuracy that some of the new rifles are getting. The latest Benelli ARGO sample averaged 3" groups, with many well over 4 inches at 100 yards. I would be pissed as hell if my $900 rifle shot that pourly. The author kept repeating that it was still minute of deer!!!! Yeah, but what part of the deer, if it is 300 yards away? Could you reliably hit the vitals? I don't think so. The new Browning and Remington carbon wrapped barrel models were doing close to the same group sizes. One was a varmint model that averaged 1.5" inches at 100 yards!!! I am sorry, but that gun sucks! Both authors have invested many thousands of dollars in one hole hunting rifles, yet get all excited about 3 inch groups, or at least they are paid to pretend to. That kind of nonsense really sticks in my craw. If I was a rifle Mfg. I would't let them publish a revue of a 3" rifle and I sure as hell would get my act together and work on building better rifles. Flinch


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Aw, come on now, Flinch!

We're all friends here.

You can tell us how you really feel.

We'll understand (and probably agree).


"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.



















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Flinch, if you want a good reality check, call the different rifle manufacturers and ask the customer service departments what is their "acceptable" limits for rifle accuracy. Ruger once told me a rifle shooting a three-inch group was acceptable. To me, though, that is the beauty of it. You get to take that rifle and work with it to find factory loads that shoot, or handloads. You can glassbed, you can freefloat, you can work on a trigger, heck, you can do all sorts of things that get you to know your new rifle better and in the end, slice that three-inch group down to an inch or less. I bought a new CZ 550 American in 7x57mm Mauser, my favorite caliber. CZ has the nice habit of including a target shot with that particular rifle. The three-shot group measured 1.25 inches center-to-center at 100 yards. I glassbedded the action, free-floated the barrel, then I re-finished the stock (didn't make it shoot better, but boy, is she a head-turner at the range now), then I had the bolt jeweled with the small herringbone pattern and had the bolt handle polished, got some Talley rings and slapped a Leupold VariX-1 scope (4x12) on it and started handloading with the 162 grain Hornady bullets. I worked up a load using H414 powder and the bullet is seated way, way out and it is scooting out of the barrel at 2,815 fps. I've got the single-set trigger worked down to where I like it and after all that, do you know what, the rifle still shoots 1.25 inches, but at 300 yards! One could say that one should not have to go through all that for an accurate rifle, that one should get accuracy right out of the box. I do not prescribe to that train of thought. These days, with the exception of bubble gum, almost everything we buy we tend to fix it up ... a new home, we fix it up to our liking, a new car, we polish and wax it to our way of liking, even a steak from the store, we still cook it to our way of liking. So why not a rifle. No, I look upon that three-inch rifle as a challenge, the 1.5-incher as something with possibilities. As far as the gun writers, well, I'd much rather have them tell me it is a three-inch rifle, or a 1.5 inch rifle, or whatever than to tell me it is a sub-minute and I applaud them for being truthful. Tom Purdom <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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