Record Keeping for Precision Reloading

< 1999
By Mark J. Miller

Whether your desire is to produce reliable loads for your faithful hunting rifle or tack driving loads that will print sub-minute groups from impossible ranges; the procedures, techniques, and tools mentioned here apply. As you read, keep in mind your plans for your rifle, and set some realistic goals. Even with the most consistent and tailored loads, that awesome "thunderstick" of yours might only be capable of mediocre groups at best.

The first rule for precision reloading is to keep meticulous records. Many times I have found my records to be a lifesaver when "working up" a load for a new rifle, not to mention a weapon I have had for years. I keep a master record binder for each of my rifles. Inside each, you will find three groups of information.

All three pages -- Load Data, Range Data, and Target -- are grouped together within the binder. For 100 and 200 meters, one target has five bullseyes, or aiming points. Each bullseye is numbered to correspond with a shot string on the Range Data sheet. This allows me to track my group size versus bore condition. Many a shooter will blame the load, the rifle, and the wife for loose groups when the real problem is a fouled bore.

The only way to get a complete understanding of what makes your rifle shoot well is to have a complete and concise history of what you have fed it. Any reloader will eventually stumble across a highly accurate load, but the real test is to be able to reproduce that one in a million load.

This is the information that I find helpful. You might start with a format like mine, create some type of form, and tailor it for your needs as you go. I know that a computer would come in handy. After you have a reliable method of recording your work, you're ready to crank out some "one hole" ammo.

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