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Thread: .308 load for a compact

  1. #1
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    Default .308 load for a compact

    Does a factory load in .308 exist with a fast burn powder for a 16.5" barrel? (Think of the Ruger frontier rifle line). If no good loads exist, what recommendations do you have to move a 180g bullet properly out of a short barrel. What will I lose by using a short barrel and a heavy bullet?

  2. #2

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    Not sure about factory loads, but based on my experience I wouldn't want any powder slower than 748. I'm guessing that 3031 or something of similar rate, perhaps even RL7 would be fine. The shortest barrels I worked with was 18" and the longest was 22", but velocity loss was remarkably low in that range with powders of approximately this burn rate.

    While 180 grain would seem to be a standard recommendation, my rifle preferred 165 partitions to the 180's. I did some really interesting experiments with 200 grain partitions over 3031 in that short 308, but never popped any game with the combo. However, I did shoot one deer with the same bullet and powder in an 18 1/2" 30-06, probably at similar velocities (never chronoed the load). On a 40 yard or so chest shot, the bullet went end to end in a deer and exited. Don't know how it could have been any deader any faster.

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    I also thought a 165g bullet would sit better in the barrel, but I'm new to the state and the 'Bear' factor is why I would rather use 180s (or bigger).

    I also have the option of going with a 7mm Rem Mag, but I hear that load-especially if I load it hot-will make mincemeat out of whichever quarter of an animal it hits. Any suggestions then for an appropriate Alaska load for 7mm? I only ask due to a potential trade in the works.

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I really don't think you gain anything by going to faster powders with the shorter barrels. If you look at data for the handrifles, ie t/c encore and other 15" tubed .308's you'll see the same powders as used with the rifles.

    I think you'll be about maxed out at 2400 fps with 180 gr bullets in a 16 1/2" barreled .308. I'd personally want a 165 gr @ ~2600 fps. With modern bullets, you don't need 180 gr to get penetration in 30 cal, and given your velocities, I'd stick with the lighter bullets.

  5. #5

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    What you gain Paul, is a noticeable reduction in muzzleblast and even flash with slower powders. Especially for younger or new shooters, the most likely to be using small rifles in many cases, that can make a huge difference in shooting comfort. The 18" 308 I referred to was for my daughter and she HATED factory loads. "They flap my pants legs!" was the way she characterized them. With the faster powder that wasn't nearly as much an issue, and as you point out, there was virtually no penalty velocitywise.

    Estern-

    On the question of small cals and bears, and specifically the 7 mag, there's been lots of discussing and cussing in past threads here on the site. I'm in the well-placed bullet school of thinking and am comfortable with a well-consturcted bullet landed in the right spot, while others feel you're taking unnecessary risks with anything less than a 338 (I'm only exaggerating a little). My "carry" load for the 7 mag for everything from deer to moose is the 160 grain partition, and I have no qualms about defending myself with the load. In the 308, I'd be comfortable with either the 165 or the 180 parition, provided I shot it well. Other's views most certainly differ.

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    Your comments are much appreciated. I'd heard about the reduced muzzle blast as a key reason for faster powders-it also lets an untrained eye (mine) think that the powder burned outside the muzzle isn't pushing the bullet, so velocity would have to drop. What I read here indicates that I would reduce muzzle flash, but i wouldn't change velocity very much. This also convinces me that-if I steady the rifle well-I can get a 2" group from either a 16 1/2 barrel or a 24' barrel.
    Of course, muzzle flash will also be an issue with 7mm Rem Mag.

    Then again, the 7mm I am considering is a lefty rifle, something that means quite a bit to this southpaw. I've been shooting a RH Ruger for 7 years, and it's obnoxious. I've chosen to accept higher maintenance for a blued Rem 700LH 7MM R-mag over a Ruger frontier stainless .308 (right-hand). Now I'll search the threads for info on weatherproofing a blued rifle-available treatments, schmears, etc.

  7. #7
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 308

    IMR 4895 @ 43.6
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    Excellent load in the 308 Win Carbine
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