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I've noticed that a few months ago, I was able to pull off some awesome groups with my 125gr Speer load. Since that time, I don't think I've been able to get the groups back to where they were. I decided to try an experiment. I got a batch of 50 cases that were matched by weight and all Winchester brass from roughly the same time period. When I sorted them over a year ago, they were all within 1 grain of each other. This batch has been fired 4 times.

The barrel hadn't been cleaned in about 80 rounds and I shot 10 today to warm up the rifle. So at the end of the day, it's been about 140 rounds since the barrel was cleaned.

I randomly picked 25 cases and I annealed them with a Bernz-O-Matic. I did some research during the process...
http://forum.accurateshooter.com/index.php?topic=3848611.0





I loaded up the whole batch of 50 cases with 45 grains of IMR-4895 and Speer 125's. I shot ten 5-shot groups, alternating shooting groups between annealed and non-annealed so as to see if fouling and barrel heat would affect the groups identically or not. It took about an hour and a half to shoot all 50 cases.

All groups were shot off the bench at 100 yards, sand bagged and scoped (you've all seen the pics before).

I had one flyer that I called on the third group of the annealed batch. For consistency sake, I'll omit the flyer. I knew I pulled it to the right when the shot broke, confirmed with my spotting scope.

I also made scope adjustments after the first and third group of the annealed sets, so that explains the POI shift.

Group sizes are as follows for annealed set:
Group 1: 1.158"
Group 2: 1.406"
Group 3: 1.047" (flyer omitted). With the flyer, the group was 2.110"
Group 4: 1.297"
Group 5: 1.383"
Average group size:1.2582"
Max/Min Spread: 0.359"


Group sizes are as follows for un-annealed set:
Group 1: 1.489"
Group 2: 1.864"
Group 3: 0.935"
Group 4: 1.039"
Group 5: 1.614"
Average group size: 1.3882"
Max/Min Spread: 0.929"


Total 10-group average: 1.3232"

My annealed groups seem to be more consistent than the un-annealed groups and I like the max/min spread difference. I think I'm going to try annealing my brass between reloadings for a while to see what happens. After today's trip, the cases have been fired 5 times but maybe only half that with the gas on. I'm going to run these a few more times with the gas off and see what happens.

I also think my bedding might be wearing out. It's been 19 months since I bedded it and maybe 1000 rounds since then. It may be time for a skim-bed.

Just thought I'd share in hopes that some might find this interesting.

Tony.
 

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Looks good to me..

Tony, The groups are excellent, you must be satisfied with the results. As I said before, reloading is not my strong area..

Each of these rifles seems to have a load that performs well, maybe several loads. The only Standard load I can offer is the very old Load introduced by Federal, 168 match bullet on top of 39.5 grs. of IMR 3031. I have shot this load with many different primers, they all work well, CCI 34's are very consistent however..

The above load is not the best after 300 yds, I don't recall what I found best, but it was using IMR 4064 driving a 168.. None of my rifles over the years have performed well using Win. cases or any of the Ball powders.

Thanks for the info and pictures, I don't think you need to replace the Bedding in that rifle, maybe at 3,500 rounds.. Art
 

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I've noticed that a few months ago, I was able to pull off some awesome groups with my 125gr Speer load. Since that time, I don't think I've been able to get the groups back to where they were.

Group sizes are as follows for annealed set:
Group 1: 1.158"
Group 2: 1.406"
Group 3: 1.047" (flyer omitted). With the flyer, the group was 2.110"
Group 4: 1.297"
Group 5: 1.383"
Average group size:1.2582"
Max/Min Spread: 0.359"


Group sizes are as follows for un-annealed set:
Group 1: 1.489"
Group 2: 1.864"
Group 3: 0.935"
Group 4: 1.039"
Group 5: 1.614"
Average group size: 1.3882"
Max/Min Spread: 0.929"

Total 10-group average: 1.3232"

My annealed groups seem to be more consistent than the un-annealed groups and I like the max/min spread difference.

Tony.
Tony, not trying too po-po on your post your pic's didn't show on my end so I'm winging it. But do you think that the .1357in is worth the effort/time to anneal the case owing too is short life?
 

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Only issue I have is that the comparison was not blinded. You knew which ammo was which making your expectation of result an issue.

Also differences in group size are nowhere near statistically significant. Significance denoted by P < 0.05 in an unpaired t-test.

 

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Tony,
First off. Thanks for the post, I read all your posts with great interest.

You sorted brass and weighed them them all. In hand loading, where does the sorting lie in importance? Up at the top or is it more of a secondary order of importance?
I've got a lot if brass, most all LC once fired. If course many different year head stamps. Will I be spending my time wisely sorting by year? Or shooting more?
And finally, you still like shooting the 125tnt's? Seems so. I will have to get some to try although up to now all my shooting has been off hand at steel


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I sort my brass only by headstamp year if possible.

Much of this is unnecessary with a gas gun. Never going to be accurate enough to make up for subtle variances. Extreme spread is an excellent indicator of load consistency. My best loads always have the lowest ES from a given charge ladder.

You'd be better served in being careful and consistent with your reloading practices, especially charge and case trim length. At least in my hands.
 

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You'd be better served in being careful and consistent with your reloading practices, especially charge and case trim length. At least in my hands.
I agree. That said, I do anneal my 223 brass--not for accuracy, but to extend case life. The AR15 does not beat brass up nearly so bad as the M1A, and so brass lasts long enough for necks to split if you don't anneal once in a while.

Tim
 

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In the same method which you used Tony I annealed a few cases of .223 for case life a while back and was more than happy with the results. A few days later I fired up the Bernz-O-Matic, turned out the garage lights and went to town annealing about 400 cases, they looked awesome .... got to the range and darn near every bullet got pushed back into the case and spilled powder everywhere.

I over annealed.

That was the beginning and the ending of my case annealing career.

My interest is still piqued though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tony, not trying too po-po on your post your pic's didn't show on my end so I'm winging it. But do you think that the .1357in is worth the effort/time to anneal the case owing too is short life?
It's the consistency that I'm focused on. The groups were tighter when the brass was new. Something changed and I haven't been able to get the groups as tight. We both know someone who will sell their soul to get another X!

All shots were well placed and I did not trick myself into shooting better on one group versus another. I used the same shot pace and was careful about trigger control.

I keep brass sorted by headstamp and weight but I may mix years if the years are within one year of each other. I don't have the patience to sort by water volume. Although, I may just resort to that.

Thanks for the comments, Art. I'll hold off on re-bedding.

Tony.
 

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Sometimes a

good gas cylinder cleaning brings back slipping accuracy, allow a few shots to seat the System in case it moved or changed in some other manner, that happens.

Chasing the sub inch five shot group is an interesting task, ten shot sub inch groups are rare but appear from time to time. Checking my records there is no question the best results come from once fired cases, I am not including new ammunition... I understand this is about reloading.

In a recent test using a popular Nato 7.62 mm ammunition, the first firing produced better than expected results, I followed this up shooting the same components [ not including the primer as didn't know for certain what brand they were] after breaking down new stuff and reloading it into once fired cases of the same ammunition. The results were, groups opened up approx 20 to 25 % larger.. Actually, I did that this morning, a perfect shooting day,.. If that means anything it implies fresh cases [ no more than once fired] give good results and is worth the effort. New ammunition or new cases give a more accurate account... The above applies to my rifles only, your rifle may prove different, so, lets hear about it.. Art
 

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I'm going to play devils advocate, if a man wants to spend his time on a bench sorting and weight brass what does it matter? Second. Some have talked of consistency, wouldn't that be part of consistency. Third matches and firefights have been won by small margins. As for me I'm a constant tinkerer I have annealed sometimes. But I've never tested this and for what its worth to me I'm going to try this out not to denote the above data but to have fun. Thank you for writing the article and taking the time to do so
 
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I over annealed.
It's easy to do--been there, done that. If you heat the case to the point where it starts to glow, you've gone too far.

Once I figured out how long to hold the case neck in the flame, I started using a metronome, counting the beats to do the timing. This way you can have accurate times by ear, rather than having to watch a clock.

Tim
 

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No one said it was a waste of time, just pointing out that the differences are nowhere near significant and making any claims of any differences from such data is irrelevant.

Sample size is too small, group size variances overlap and with human error involved impossible to make any claims.

One obvious issue is that the annealed cases indeed have less variance in group sizing.

It would take TB 1000 more groups of each to make them significant. And even then the error may overlap.

No one cares what another man does with his time, but to present items as such that may cause others to spend time for no purpose is a matter that I felt could use explanation.

TB is just experimenting and enjoying the process which is obvious. With TB's technical skills he may very well discover through empiricism some important factors aiding in reloaded round accuracy potential. Just very difficult to tease out gas gun group analysis when the groups hover around 1-1.5 MOA. The darn platform won't do any better.

Keep up the excellent reports and experimentation TB. The reports are very interesting, expertly presented and food for thought.
 

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I've strongly been thinking that I will anneal my twice fired brass to possibly prolong it's life by an extra firing. If it could possibly help with groups, then I have more incentive. I don't shoot enough for now to worry about the extra step Reloading is slow anyways but I get satisfaction from rolling my own.


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It's the consistency that I'm focused on. The groups were tighter when the brass was new. Something changed and I haven't been able to get the groups as tight. We both know someone who will sell their soul to get another X!

Tony.

That's kind of my point? You had a consistent 1.3882in load prior too annealing, after annealing you have a 1.2582in load, Great? Given the rifle's history of brass bashing and factoring in the extra time prepping the brass is .1357in worth going the extra mile for short line ammo? 1.25 vrs 1.38 I know I can't hold that hard off my heals, I have all I can do too hit the 10ring at 200yds Offhand with any load. The 125's do help with recoil and follow through.

The X-ring at 200yds is 3in, your 1.38in group is still sub moa with a nice cushion provided the shooter could hold that hard on a bright sunny day calling his shots that's a 2.76in grouping. I know of NO shooter that has fired 20x with a Service rifle or Match rifle, something too consider?

For short line work as long as the Shooter/Rifle/Ammo combo can hold the 7in 10-ring he is going too pile on a lot of points, hitting the X Offhand is a real confidence booster. But seeing the shooters on the firing points at either side of you racking up the 10's is a downer just the same. See a 10, shoot a 10, don't waist time trying to make this shot super sexy.........

Sitting rapids for some reason, like most shooters. I've always had a good X count, its a more stable position. You going too pile on the X-count with either 1.25 or 1.38 MOA ammo. With 1.38MOA ammo that's .2714in @ 200, less than the diameter of a bullets difference. That's kind of splitting hairs isn't it? Keep the front sight centered up and hit cruse control the X-count will come all on its own.

I'm neither for or against Annealing, just pointing out were shooting Service Rifles that are not kind too brass, and is that time/effort really worth it for just short line ammo? I can see it being done for maybe 300yd ammo, 600yds for the anal reloader 1000yds for the Super Anal Retentive. The positions are more stable and the accuracy demand is greatest on the shooter/rifle and ammo combo as fewer shots are fired for record at these distances 20rds, vrs. the 40rds at 200yds. And zero sighter if its a leg Match.

I don't know of one Match shooter that's willing too trade there score of 100x0 for 99 and 9x's, in fact all the shooters I know would trade all there X's for that one extra point given the choice.


FWIW, something too chew on................
 
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