The log book is an important part of any reloader’s equipment, serving to record what load combinations have been tried in a particular firearm, and the results obtained. The value of keeping accurate and concise records will be obvious to any shooter who has experienced the frustration of finding a load that performs beautifully in a particular rifle, only to realize that he has no record of what type or amount of powder was used. With a good log book, it is a simple matter to duplicate a load that performed well, or to avoid repeating one that has been shown to give poor results. In any such log, points to record are;
1) Firearm in which the load was used.
2) Cartridge case make and lot number, as well as the number of firings for that case.
3) Powder type, manufacturer lot number, and charge weight.
4) Primer brand, type (standard, match, magnum, etc.), and lot number.
5) Bullet weight, style, and lot number.
6) Seating depth, or the cartridge’s Over All Length (OAL).
7) A complete note section regarding velocity, accuracy, pressure signs.
8) A “notes” section covering the conditions (range, temperature, light and wind directions) in which the data was fired. Sight settings should also be recorded in this section, providing a reference point for future changes in “zero.”
Another type of log book that we have found very useful, is a record of the number of rounds fired through a particular firearm. This need not be extensive. Books offered commercially by such firms as Creedmoor Armory provide areas to record the number of rounds fired in each range session, the running total of rounds fired in this firearm, and a brief section for notes regarding cleaning methods, etc.. Such a record can provide valuable insights as to a bore’s condition, since most shooters are notoriously poor estimators of the actual number of rounds fired through a given barrel. A logbook makes it easier to tell if a barrel may in fact be shot out, or just in need of a drastic cleaning. It will also allow for an accurate comparison between the barrel life expectancy of different chamberings, a subject frequently debated by shooters. Big game hunters will benefit by keeping a good record on the number of rounds fired, especially if they do a considerable amount of load development and testing. The shooters who will reap the greatest advantages, however, are those who do the most shooting; competitive shooters and high volume shooters, such as varmint hunters. If you expect to do a considerable amount of shooting through a particular firearm, take the time to start a record for it. Here in the Sierra test range, every barrel receives a log book. Updated each and every time the barrel is used, these books provide a complete history, from the time it is chambered to the time it is retired. In reviewing these, we have formed some very solid and verifiable ideas concerning barrel life and cleaning methods. We strongly suggest that you keep a record for each of your rifles as well.
What is it?
Reloading a metallic case, be it for a rifle or handgun, is simply replacing the component parts that were expended during firing. The case, normally the single most expensive individual piece of a loaded cartridge, is reused. It must be returned to dimensions that will allow it to firmly hold another bullet, and allow free and easy chambering. The spent primer must be removed, and a new primer seated in place. The powder, which was consumed in the last firing, is replaced. A new bullet is seated in the case mouth, and in some instances, crimped in place.