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handloads shoot low....even with close to max loads

4353 Views 48 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  bearridge

I got some IMR 3031, a 150 gr FN bullet 'n a 170 FN bullet. I checked out my Lyman manual, my Sierra manual, Hogdon online loads, Lee loads that come with my dies and Steve's Pages. Old Steve runs his max load WAY up over the others, but mebbe he dont pee in hiz britches when someone yells "lawyer"?

I run my Audette Ladder test at 50 yards cuz I put a Williams peep sight on my 336C. [Even with my new bifocals, they dont do great at 100 yds.] I messed it up cuz some holes did not keep walkin' down the ladder. Worst thing wuz how low my handloads hit. With the 150 gr bullet, the POI wuz 6-8" low. With the 170 gr bullet, the POI wuz 8-12" low....based on my new front sight 'n all my testin' with Federal store bought ammo.

I went over the Lyman max 'n close ta the max on the rest, cept Steve's.

I got a new front sight from Brownells.....a Firesight....after spending hours on two days testin' maskin' tape on my front sight ta make sho I ordered the right size. It iz the tallest front sight I ever seen, but it put the Federal 150 gr FN store bought ammo right in the bull at 50 yards.

After my handloads come out shootin' so low, I shot some Federal 150 gr FN store bought 'n it wuz dead on at 50 yds. My handloads with 3031 are way low. If I add more powder, I will go past all the reload manual maximums.

Reckon Steve knows what he iz talkin' bout 'n all the big name reloadin' manuals aint worth spit?


Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill
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Might need a shorter front sight, it's not the load. ;)
Run em through a chrony. If they are accurate and have good speed, who cares about the sight setting?
As long as your not showing pressures and the load is accurate you should be fine but I would still want to be able to adjust the sights if needed.
Pt of impact is based on barrel harmonics partly. recintly I was developing lds for 45-70 @ 35 yds I watched my groups move from higher left to near pt of aim by adding 1 gr. at a time. change powder or bullet weight and it will walk . My thought pick your load and adjust site for it.then expermint with different powder charges with another bullet weight and you will get 2 lds that hit at pt of aim.I been lucky on 3-4 guns.
I messed it up cuz some holes did not keep walkin' down the ladder.
You stared with the hotter loads and worked your way down?

I had just preformed an Audette Ladder Test with a 150gr SST using Varget.
Starting low and increasing the charge weight .2grains each cartridge. If i woulldn't have adjusted the sights to keep on paper, I would have ended up with a 17 inch tall, 10 shot group. Each shot went higher than the previous one, unless I was in a node, or so far out of a node that vibrations forced it low.
I ran my ladder at 100yards since the wind was strong and unpredictable, I would have run it at 200 if calm.

I use my stock front sight sight with the Williams FP and find it to work wonderfully. The reason I bought the sight was to adjust my sights according to my newly developed loads.

If I add more powder, I will go past all the reload manual maximums.
This is why they say, "Start low and work your way up; looking for overpressure signs constantly." That way you know when to stop in your rifle. I have many loads exceeding listed maximum charge weights.
35rem if you asking bout my test.500gr.cast pushed by varget started at 40gr.(low trap door ld)@1195fps it shot 2.5" h an 1.5" l
41gr =1256fps...42gr=1315...43gr=1333 it hit 1.5 hi an 3/4" left . I chose 42gr as it shot 1"h .25"l of pt of aim.which stacks over a 300 factory ld and a 300gr.reld doing 2100fps.I'm not done and looking at targets see the 43gr ld going back up ladder.the temp was 59 deg. and elv 600 ft. this in marlin gg and pressure was good.Ya know not much data on 500gr.bullets so people don't use my ld info especially in a trap door. Randy Garrett pushes his ammo over 1500fps but says 1250fps will give max penetration with a 500gr bullet so I'm happy.
If you are shooting low you need a lower front sight not a higher one.
Halwg said:
If you are shooting low you need a lower front sight not a higher one.
That was my first reply, and that it has nothing to do with the load.

Lemme try agin. I put a Williams Peep on my 336C. I needed a new front sight. Elevation wuz WAY off. I run some tests with Federal 150 gr FN 'n maskin' tape on the front sight. I figgered out how high my front sight had ta be, ta shoot dead on at 50 yards. I ordered a Firesight frum Brownells that tall. After I put on the new front sight, I made some handloads ta run the Audette Ladder 50 yards. I loaded 8 rounds 27-30.5 gr of IMR 3031 under a 150 gr Winchester FN.

I went out ta shoot. The first shot hit 3" low. The last one wuz bout 8" low. Windage wuz ok, but I figgered I musta messed up runnin' the front sight the height wrong. This wuz way too low.

I went out a few days later with a box of store bought Federal 150 gr FN 'n shot two groups at 50 yards. Dead on.

My question wuz how kin Federal 150 gr FN shoot so much higher'n my handloads? I wondered if they load 'em hotter. A handloadin' pal who haz had a 30-30 since he wuz a kid tole me not ta load 'em hot....there aint no point 'n a lever gun jest aint made fer real hot loads.

When I run the test, I never meant ta shoot the hot load first. Any accident ya walk off frum iz a good one. [Reckon Federal loads their rounds milder'n 27 gr of IMR 3031?]

So ya see. It iz the load. It aint my front sight. I come out exactly dead on with Federal 150 gr FN. My goal wuz ta do jest a bit better than Federal with my handloads. I had no idea a reasonable spread of eight IMR 3031 charges would have so much lower POI than the Federal store bought.

I did the same test with 170 gr 'n IMR 3031, but used a Sierra FN. Same results except the heavier bullet hit an even lower POI......9"-14" lower than POA.

I dont have no chrony.


I’ve traveled a long way and a bunch of the roads weren’t paved. Newt Harlan
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Squeeze the trigger harder, this will give you a much higher velocity thus the rifle will shoot higher! ;) ;D ::)

Hipshot said:
Squeeze the trigger harder, this will give you a much higher velocity thus the rifle will shoot higher! ;) ;D ::)

;D ;D ;D
I recall Jethro Bodine sayin' the same thing. ::) I heard the Ole Kentucky long rifle shooters used ta load light 'er hot ta change the POI of their .45 caliber round balls. The hotter the load the lower the POI. :-\


Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages. H. L. Mencken
Ahhhh, that rear sight thingy - raise it a bit.
Some folks assume that a higher velocity (higher powder charge) means a higher point of impact....Ain't always so. Shorter "bore time" of the higher velocity will most times give a lower point of impact on target, because the muzzle didn't have as much time to "rise" under recoil.
Different bullets at the same velocity will also give different points of impact. A chronograph will bear the above out. Best bet in this case is to find the load you and your rifle likes, and adjust rear sight, or replace the front sight for that load. This is a very good reason not to practice with a different load than you hunt with.
Good Luck,
Friend Rick,

That iz jest what I done. I found the load my rifle likes, Federal 150 gr FN. I got a WGRS peep sight 'n then tested various heights by usin' maskin' tape on my front sight. Got it dead on at 50 yds. Ordered a new (tall) front sight frum Brownells. My store bought Federal 150 gr FN still hit dead on at 50 yds with the new tall front sight, but my handloads shot WAY low. IMR3031 with a Winchester 150 gr FN.

My puzzlement iz why. Why would my handloads shoot so much lower'n store bought Federal? I never asked nobody how to change the POI, but that seems ta be the question most folks aim ta answer. ;D


There's only one way to have a happy marriage and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again. Clint Eastwood
My puzzlement is: What language are: iz, wuz, cuz, mebbe, ta, kin, ya, haz, ad naseum... They certainly aren't from any language I was ever taught in school. Are you doing that to be funny, or annoying?
:eek: :eek: :eek:
I'm afraid (afeared) I can't answer that for you. I do know that different bullets fly different. I've had bullets of the same weight with the same powder charge, but different manufacturers fly different ( left or right, or high or low left or right). One could assume that if the bullets weighed the same and were at a similar velocity they should impact to about the same place, but again it Ain't always so. I think this is the part about each rifle being a science unto itself. I have had, and I think many others have had great results with IMR3031 in the 30-30.
If you had a chronograph or access to one it might shed some light on the situation, then maybe not, but would be worth a try for curious minds. As a FYI, one of my 336's in 30-30 will print the 150 factory core-lokt and a reduced load at around 1600fps with a Hornady 150 RN to within inches of each other at 50 yards. Experimentaion comes with the handloading territory, and is part of the fun. You might try a different 150gr bullet just for grins and giggles.
As always, Good Luck, and let us know what you find,
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