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Thread: Ruger Tactical .308 20" barrel

  1. #1
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Default Ruger Tactical .308 20" barrel

    Back in May I wrote a quick note on a new rifle that I picked up. It preformed well with Black Hills 175gr match ammo, see link below.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=50491


    I've finished my load development for the Berger 155gr and 175gr VLD hunting bullets in preparation for a October Elk hunk down here in AZ Unit 10.

    A couple of interesting notes:

    From the very beginning load to the very last the 175gr Bergers at charges ranging from 41.0gr - 45.2gr put all 4 shots groups under a 1/2 inch. I also tried COL 2.80, 2.820, 2.840 and 2.855 with a mid range powder charge, the later is max length for reliable function in my mag well. COL differences made no difference, velocity changes were negligible and all groups were better than 1/2 inch in all variations. Minor group size fluctuations of a few hundred thousands are more my fault than this rifle or load data.

    I finally settled on a charge of 44.9gr because it gives the most efficiency. Velocity divided by charge suggests that this load gives the most velocity per tenth of charge tested, ES was 18 and SD was 7.

    Final 175gr VLD Hunting Bullet load
    Hornady Match Brass 2.005
    CCI BR2 primer
    RL-15 @ 44.9gr
    COL 2.805"
    2573 fps


    FPS FT/lbs
    muzzle 2573 / 2572
    100 yd 2419 / 2273
    200 yd 2271 / 2003
    300 yd 2128 / 1759
    400 yd 1989 / 1538


    The 155gr Berger was a little finicky. It shot well with charges ranging from 45.0gr - 47.1gr. As soon as the charge was increased above 47.1gr the groups went wild, 1.5"- 2.0", keep in mind all shots in this rifle have been better than 1/2 MOA until this load. 47.8 and 48.3 were tested, attempts at increases in velocity were abandoned. No over pressure was noted, no flat primers, no head expansion and no firm bolt lifts. COL differences made no change in this rifle so 2.805 was chosen for simplicity.


    Final 155gr VLD Hunting Bullet load
    Hornady Match Brass 2.005
    CCI BR2 primer
    Hodgdon BL-C(2) @ 47.1gr
    COL 2.805"
    2711 fps


    FPS FT/lbs
    muzzle 2711 / 2529
    100 yd 2529 / 2201
    200 yd 2356 / 1910
    300 yd 2190 / 1650
    400 yd 2030 / 1418


    In conclusion:

    A fouling round was fired to set scope for a 2.5" high zero prior to four shot group. Aim point is the dark square, red paper is behind target for better contrast in photo.

    The 175gr load retains a higher percentage of it's original velocity down range. It also delivers more energy at impact at all ranges projected by my software based on actual chronograph data.

    These velocity will appear to be low for a typical .308 at first glance, keep in mind this is a 20" barrel. It really likes the 175gr load and has a very wide sweet spot. This rifle is 100% unmodified, the trigger on this model is a two stage adjustable but I like it's feel as is. The stock has no bedding and hasn't even been removed to date.

    This data was developed in my rifle your results will vary. If anyone decides to try these recipes in their rifle please reduce your load and work up with care.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Back in May I wrote a quick note on a new rifle that I picked up. It preformed well with Black Hills 175gr match ammo, see link below.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=50491


    I've finished my load development for the Berger 155gr and 175gr VLD hunting bullets in preparation for a October Elk hunk down here in AZ Unit 10.

    A couple of interesting notes:

    From the very beginning load to the very last the 175gr Bergers at charges ranging from 41.0gr - 45.2gr put all 4 shots groups under a 1/2 inch. I also tried COL 2.80, 2.820, 2.840 and 2.855 with a mid range powder charge, the later is max length for reliable function in my mag well. COL differences made no difference, velocity changes were negligible and all groups were better than 1/2 inch in all variations. Minor group size fluctuations of a few hundred thousands are more my fault than this rifle or load data.

    I finally settled on a charge of 44.9gr because it gives the most efficiency. Velocity divided by charge suggests that this load gives the most velocity per tenth of charge tested, ES was 18 and SD was 7.

    Final 175gr VLD Hunting Bullet load
    Hornady Match Brass 2.005
    CCI BR2 primer
    RL-15 @ 44.9gr
    COL 2.805"
    2573 fps


    FPS FT/lbs
    muzzle 2573 / 2572
    100 yd 2419 / 2273
    200 yd 2271 / 2003
    300 yd 2128 / 1759
    400 yd 1989 / 1538


    The 155gr Berger was a little finicky. It shot well with charges ranging from 45.0gr - 47.1gr. As soon as the charge was increased above 47.1gr the groups went wild, 1.5"- 2.0", keep in mind all shots in this rifle have been better than 1/2 MOA until this load. 47.8 and 48.3 were tested, attempts at increases in velocity were abandoned. No over pressure was noted, no flat primers, no head expansion and no firm bolt lifts. COL differences made no change in this rifle so 2.805 was chosen for simplicity.


    Final 155gr VLD Hunting Bullet load
    Hornady Match Brass 2.005
    CCI BR2 primer
    Hodgdon BL-C(2) @ 47.1gr
    COL 2.805"
    2711 fps


    FPS FT/lbs
    muzzle 2711 / 2529
    100 yd 2529 / 2201
    200 yd 2356 / 1910
    300 yd 2190 / 1650
    400 yd 2030 / 1418


    In conclusion:

    A fouling round was fired to set scope for a 2.5" high zero prior to four shot group. Aim point is the dark square, red paper is behind target for better contrast in photo.

    The 175gr load retains a higher percentage of it's original velocity down range. It also delivers more energy at impact at all ranges projected by my software based on actual chronograph data.

    These velocity will appear to be low for a typical .308 at first glance, keep in mind this is a 20" barrel. It really likes the 175gr load and has a very wide sweet spot. This rifle is 100% unmodified, the trigger on this model is a two stage adjustable but I like it's feel as is. The stock has no bedding and hasn't even been removed to date.

    This data was developed in my rifle your results will vary. If anyone decides to try these recipes in their rifle please reduce your load and work up with care.
    That is one great looking rifle and I am impressed but more so with the accuracy. You have done very well and that is great shooting. Thank you so much for sharing that, that is so cool.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  3. #3
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Thanks Beartooth,

    I've tried to put good info down on paper. It's been fun, this rifle really shoots well.

  4. #4
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    A major gun writer (can't exaclty remember).....might have been Petzl or Layne Simpson wrote extensively about a short barreled carbine. The writer claimed that the heavy and short barrel aided in some of the best offhand shooting he's ever done. In the world of rifle hunting.......that's a BIG attribute.......a gun that you shoot well from the offhand. I bet a kimber montana wouldn't shoot offhand as well as that (roughly 7 lb) well balanced carbine.

  5. #5
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    A little update on this rifle.

    I ran across a fresh supply of Lapua Brass so I picked up 100 pieces thinking it would be an improvement. The Lapua brass required very little prep, the pockets and flash holes are virtually flawless.

    The brass it's self is quite heavy in comparison to the Hornady Match brass that I developed the loads in this rifle with. Lapua 10 piece average is 178.7gr and the Hornady Match is 157.2gr, these weights represent fully prepped brass with BR2 primers seated.

    After nearly 100 rounds fired I finally found a combination with the Lapua brass that matches the Hornady brass loads accuracy. It does it with less powder and more speed. The bullet is seated out a bit further but it feeds well from the magazine. This is an outstanding target load, it should work great on small to mid size game too.

    Lapua Brass 2.005
    CCI BR2 primer
    RL-15 @ 44.4gr
    COL 2.843"
    2599 fps


    Picture is a 4 shot group fired of a front bag and my shoulder at 100 yards, no rifle vises or gadgets.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6

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    Your killing me Marshall. I have 3 of these on my watch lists on different auction sites. The county gun club I belong to was just started a couple of years ago and has been mostly handgun till now. I got a brochure 3 weeks ago saying they were going to have a 300 yard rifle league this year and I don't have a gun in my stable that will shoot with yours(part of that could be me). Ya got me thinking real hard! It's between this Ruger and a FN Patrol rifle.

  7. #7
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    I'm just a Ruger fan to the core, what can I say. I have been very fortunate with my Ruger rifles, they all shoot very good, maybe I'm just lucky.

    It has been a very easy rifle to load for. I have a good 150gr, 168gr and 175gr load for it but I can shoot the 175gr load in the same hole more often than the others.

    A buddy that manages a gun shop in Mesa has the FN PBR in 308. It shoots pretty good but I've got him covered with each of my loads. The FN has a 1:12 twist, it does better with 168gr and lighter bullets. You probably already know the Ruger is a 1:10 twist.

    When my supply of RL-15 runs low I will work up a load with the new IMR-8208 powder that everyone is talking about.

    I'm currently tuning a clone of this rifle in 243Win for my daughter. I have it shooting around 3/4" groups with RL-17 and 95gr Bergers. The load is getting close to being finished but I'm not ready to put it in writing yet. I may switch to Nosler 95gr BT's. They can be loaded to the lands and still feed from the magazine.


    Tin Star Shooting Range has a good price on this rifle. I bought my daughters 243 from him.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=167622747

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    I'm just a Ruger fan to the core, what can I say. I have been very fortunate with my Ruger rifles, they all shoot very good, maybe I'm just lucky.

    It has been a very easy rifle to load for. I have a good 150gr, 168gr and 175gr load for it but I can shoot the 175gr load in the same hole more often than the others.

    A buddy that manages a gun shop in Mesa has the FN PBR in 308. It shoots pretty good but I've got him covered with each of my loads. The FN has a 1:12 twist, it does better with 168gr and lighter bullets. You probably already know the Ruger is a 1:10 twist.

    When my supply of RL-15 runs low I will work up a load with the new IMR-8208 powder that everyone is talking about.

    I'm currently tuning a clone of this rifle in 243Win for my daughter. I have it shooting around 3/4" groups with RL-17 and 95gr Bergers. The load is getting close to being finished but I'm not ready to put it in writing yet. I may switch to Nosler 95gr BT's. They can be loaded to the lands and still feed from the magazine.


    Tin Star Shooting Range has a good price on this rifle. I bought my daughters 243 from him.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=167622747
    It's on my watch list!

  9. #9

    Default Cool

    I'm going to have to copy some of your loads to try. Howa is sending me a Ranchland compact to test. It too is a 20" barrelled .308.

    I'll let you know how is goes. Check my site for updates. Might be getting some new Vortex optics for it too.

    Was also thinking of trying an EOTech holo sight with a 3X magnifier for quick shots. Just for giggles anyway.


    www.outwriteoutdoors.com

  10. #10
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigler916 View Post
    I'm going to have to copy some of your loads to try. Howa is sending me a Ranchland compact to test. It too is a 20" barreled .308.

    I'll let you know how is goes. Check my site for updates. Might be getting some new Vortex optics for it too.

    Was also thinking of trying an EOTech holo sight with a 3X magnifier for quick shots. Just for giggles anyway.


    These loads are pretty hot. There isn't much wiggle room for more velocity.

    I used chrony data and loaded in .7gr increments until I reached a charge that did not increase my velocity. Once I was there I looked back at the charge data and picked the load that gave the most velocity per .1gr of powder and worked on seating depths from that point.

    Once I had a good group I increased the charge in .3gr increments until velocity peaked and or accuracy went away.

    You just flat out won't get published 24" barrel velocities out of a 20" barrel. What I have found is a 20" barrel has a very wide sweet spot for accuracy and you will enjoy tight groups with patient shooting, breathing and trigger discipline.

    The Howa Ranchland has a thin sporter taper barrel and it's most likely a 1:12 twist. They do have a 20" 308 Varminter with a heavy contour barrel. The Ruger tactical has 1:10 twist heavy contour barrel. I would suspect that the Howa would prefer 168gr and less.

    Best of luck, please update this post with your results.

    Cheers,

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