Author Topic: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!  (Read 3485 times)

Offline NWPilgrim

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Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« on: October 14, 2014, 05:04:51 PM »
I am starting the long road back from electronic oblivion.

About 3 months ago the Gun Log+ app on my iPhone upgraded itself and in the process wiped out my database of handload data.  I mean everything. It was very convenient to store load and target data on my phone since I had it with me at home and the range and could take photos as well. So very convenient. I ignored the fact the app provides no method to backup the use data on iCloud or a laptop.

Fortunately I had just completed a total refreshening of my ammo stocks and had most of my best loads in plastic cartridges boxes and labled with all the load data.  But this represented about 3% of all the loads I have tested over the last four years.

The other fortunate thing is I have saved all of my test targets for that period and each is documented with rifle used, load data and measurements of shooting results. today I started going back through my stack of targets and recording the data again, this time on paper then Excel spreadsheet on a laptop I can backup easily.

All this data was not only form the loads and results of the last four years, but that was the culmination of 26+ years of handloading.  I was crushed when the data disappeared suddenly.  After the shock wore off I was glad to have well labled cartridge boxes and that i had saved my test targets.

It will be tedious re-capturing all the data, but I'm looking forward to having it better organized and redundant backups.  Learn from my laziness: do not let convenient technology woo you into overlooking basic record keeping common sense.

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 09:53:23 AM »
Back in the olden days we used a thing we called a "notebook" where we wrote all our results down on a substance called "paper".

We sometimes wrote experiment results down in the margins of our reloading data books, or put a big star, with an ink pen, beside the best load.  We used a lot of books back then.  Mostly due to there being no computers.

I will also add that us old codgers were the sort that did not "experiment" past finding the load that worked right in a given rifle/pistol.  At that point we locked in and used that load for decades.  The best load was then written down on the wall of the shop, or on the door of the cabinet on the loading bench.


A data crash meant the reloading shed had fallen down.

Of course to do that you have to settle for the "old dude powders" that have been made since grandpa's time and will still be around when the grandkids start reloading, rather than the bang of the month club powder that will not be available past the end of the week.

I am presently using the same load recipes for 30-06,308, 7mmMauser, 30-30, 45acp, 38spl, 9mm that I settled on 45 years ago.  Each charge and bullet weight is sort of etched in my "portable data storage banks" (memory) after all that time and requires very little effort to pull up and the only crash I fear might wipe it out at this point in life is alzheimers .

Another benefit of reloading for that long is the pile of old reloading books you can reference.  I have books from the major companies that give safe starting load recipes that are 10% over max by today's "computer offered" data.

According to the books of today my standard 30-06 load should be used only by drunken Vikings in a berserker rampage.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 10:08:09 AM by Mortblanc »

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 10:22:58 AM »
Thanks, Mortlblanc, very good information! 

I started off using a notebook for the first 20 years and it was pretty concise.  Like you say, find a good load and stick with it.  I still use my favorite loads burned into memory for 240 gr .44 mag and W296,  230 gr LRN  .45ACP and W231, 165 gr FMJ .40SW and PowerPistol, 69gr SMK .223 and H335, 110gr .30 Carbine and W296, and 168 gr SMK .30-06 Garand and Varget.  And yes, those are also written on the inside of a cabinet door over my reloading bench. :)

But starting in 2008 when my standard components started getting hard to find consistently I embarked on a mission to develop loads for a much wider variety of bullets (and brands) and powders.  I had worked up tests for multiple ladders for .223 and 55FMJ, 62FMJ, 62TSX, 65SGK, 68 Hornady, 69SMK, 75 Hornady with several powders: Varget, H335, BL-C2 and H4895.  Similar situation with .30-06.  In handguns I had always used W296 for magnums and W231, AA5 or Unique for pistols.  When those dried up I made tests using Universal, Power Pistol, Bullseye, BlueDot, AA9 and V110, and also with other bullet weights as available.

While I did find some new load combinations that surprised me (such as BL-C2 with almost any bullet weight in .223), all that testing also reinforced that my old standby loads were still some of the best and worth sticking to whenever possible.  But, man that was a killer to have all that load data flushed down the drain so easily.

Now I have a ton of various components and restocked on my standard ones except for some of the powders.  I used to think that having a couple fo pounds of each favorite powder was enough.  But when we go two years or more without resupply available I am now moving toward 8# for handguns and 16# for rifle for those great loads.  And now I also have at least two good powder options for at least 4 different bullets per most used calibers.

Offline res45

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2014, 08:20:19 PM »
Starting 35 years ago I always kept written log books of my load data as well as load cards or stick on labels  with each box of ammo or bulk bags stored in ammo cans.

Even though I keep a written record of how new loads shoot in my range book once the loads is settled on I transfer it to my Excel spread sheet and Word document file I have set up for each caliber I load. After every new entry I backup the data to a jump drive and once a month update a Master DVD.

I also print out a new  Word Doc. an replace the old one in my large ring binder load book,the printed sheets are inserted into plastic sheet protectors for easy change out.  It's several inches thick now and also holds the targets I shot with said loads with the load data written on the target plus printed pages for various reloading manuals old and new for each caliber.

I like keeping my complete load data and other important reloading info and reference materials in several locations in case something happens.  I have multiple loads worked up with both jacketed and cast bullets for all my handguns and rifles with a couple different powders as you never know what is going to be available,especially these day.  However I always try and buy powder and other components in bulk when possible.

I probably shoot 9 cast bullets to ever jacketed bullet I shoot so powder goes much further these days and at the ranges I shoot the cast bullets will do anything the J bullets would do in all those situations.  I have plenty of jacketed bullets to load as well at that type ammo loaded up if need be but most just stay in there boxes.

The spread sheet I use,you can modify it to fit your needs.
http://www.tacticoolproducts.com/reloadinglog/
 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 08:27:54 PM by res45 »

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2014, 11:52:15 PM »
Thanks res45 for the link.  That spreadsheet format is very similar to what I am using but I only have summary shooting data in the loading log.  The loading part I have virtually the exact same columns and practically the same order.  I'll have to add in the shooting results columns to mine to keep it all on one sheet.

So far I have data in the spreadsheet, backed up to zip drive and printed out.  I think I need to make a copy of each and store offsite, too.  Afraid if I write the loads on the garage walls it will hex the house and it will burn down just to deprive me of my data!

Offline armymars

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 03:11:41 PM »
  I only started keeping good logs in the last 15 years, even though I've been reloading for 40 plus. The wife didn't like all the old targets I stored in boxes so I switched to drawing a target in the log box and showing where each bullet hit and in what order. My wife then bought me a rubber stamp of the targets I used. (She's a stamper and took in one of my targets and had one custom made with a 3" OD) . I now log each shot on the target and number it in order it was shot. I've learned a lot from this and wish I had done it years ago. 

endurance

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2014, 04:28:22 PM »
I had my storage locker broken into in 1997 and they took all my reloading stuff.  Worst of all, they took my notebooks.  I never got back into it.  After spending years acquiring every single thing I needed to make reloading a breeze, the idea of having to set everything up all over again seemed too unappealing, so I never put the energy forward.

So, in a nutshell, I feel your pain.

Offline TheRetiredRancher

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2014, 04:39:42 PM »
+1 Mortblanc I still have my notebooks and check them regularly.  I still use the same load in my .270 that I came up with 40+ years ago.  I do like fooling around with new loads too though.  I have been having a lot of fun with that same .270 loaded with 90 hp Sierra's at  ~3600 ft/min. 

Now most of my reloading is for lower velocity lower recoil loads. 

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2014, 03:54:48 PM »
I had my storage locker broken into in 1997 and they took all my reloading stuff.  Worst of all, they took my notebooks.  I never got back into it.  After spending years acquiring every single thing I needed to make reloading a breeze, the idea of having to set everything up all over again seemed too unappealing, so I never put the energy forward.

So, in a nutshell, I feel your pain.

Endurance, that would be a crushing blow to not only lose your data but your equipment as well.  If anyone breaks into my garage I hope they get multiple hernias, blown discs, and collapsed arches :) from trying to carry off my bullet supplies!

If I lost everything I sure would be tempted to get back with at least a simple set up for a couple of rifle cartridges, especially for my Garand.  It sure is easy to stray far afield trying new things out, and it is good to be reminded some times that the fundamentals are pretty simple and straightforward.  About every 10 years I try to simplify but hasn't happened yet.

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Protect thy loading data - or be punished!
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 05:04:50 PM »
One aspect I have noticed about the present "troubles" with obtaining supplies is that rifle powders are pretty much available, while shotgun and pistol powders are nearly impossible to acquire.

My club has kept me supplied with shotgun powder of various forms which I have confiscated for use in my pistols. 

Hodgen has a real neat burn rate chart which allows one to "estimate" safe loads for these powers in specific situations where no load data for a pistol caliber is available.

http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html