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Thread: 308 Win load

  1. #1

    Default 308 Win load

    I'm new to handloading and looking for opinions on a good load for 308 Win with 165 gr bullet. My main goal is target shooting and hunting (moose, caribou) that's why I chose 165 gr bullet. I'd like to develop a single load that I can use with cheap bullets for target practice and higher quality bullets for hunting.

    What bullets, brass, primer and powder would you recommend?

  2. #2
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    You have picked a very easy cartridge with a lot of options.

    I use Hornady Match brass for my hunting loads with 175gr Berger bullets. When shooting with my buddies using that same bolt gun I use Lapua brass with Varget and Sierra 168gr Match King bullets. I also use much cheaper Winchester brass and H-4895 for youth and wife loads.

    With primers I use a stash of Federal 210 primers on the youth loads and the CCI BR2 for everything else.

    Powders that I have used with the 308 Win are BLC-2, Varget, RL-15 and 4007sc with equaly good results.

    I use the 4007sc with 175 and 200gr bullets in a 24" 1:10 twist AR style rifle. The RL-15 with 175gr Bergers, Varget with 168gr Match Kings, BLC-2 with 155gr Bergers and the H-4895 with 110gr Vmax's for the light recoiling youth loads.

    I'm guessing that your rifle is a 1:12 twist in a 22-24" variety. If that's the case you will probably want to stay below 175gr bullets.

    You could probably do all of the above with Varget and do fine. I like the Sierra Match Kings for target practice and the Nosler Accubond and Berger VLD for hunting with that rifle. There are several good bullets out there but I have had great accuracy with the ones I mentioned.

    Varget in the 42gr-46gr range and 168gr bullets will do a good job for you.

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    The old standby that has been used for decades is between 40.5 and 42grs of IMR-4895 with a pick your 165 or 168 on top. Start at the low end and work up till it touches all the bullets at 100 yds. Brass can be GI or commercial. The low end is a little light. I've used various primers with this load and never seen significantly different results. Most of my 308's (many) will shoot 1 moa or less with this load. Depending on whose manual you are referencing you may see max loads higher than this, but at these levels it's pretty gentle on the brass and the gun. With this cartridge, there's no need being a velocity hound.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunbugs View Post
    The old standby that has been used for decades is between 40.5 and 42grs of IMR-4895 with a pick your 165 or 168 on top.
    Yes that is a great load. I have a friend that swears by 41.0gr of H-4895 at 2.800". His Rem 700 SPS shoots it very well.

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Varget, varget, and more varget. I am a big believer in the "extreme extruded" powders. They have very little sensitivity to temperature change and it is easy to throw consistent loads.

    As for bullets, there are a thousand right answers. I try to find one premium bullet for hunting and one cheap bullet for target shooting. Recently I have been working on my .243 and I have a FMJ load I use for a combo of fire forming brass, predator hunting, and target shooting. All that brass then get's turned into barnes TSX "premium" ammunition or used to test other powders and bullets.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

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    Default Varget & IMR-4064

    These have consistantly been my two best powders for my 308 handloads. I've had good results with IMR-4895 and the discontinued RL-12. I use Fed210M primers mainly or WLR, both with good results. Usually I use Winchester brass. The thing I like about the 308 is that it's a great rifle to start with when beginning to handload.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for your suggestions! Seems like the gunshops are half-empy these days, so not much choice there. For those in Anchorage, I bought CCI primers at GNG on Tudor the other day. Couldn't find any of the powders you suggested, but placed an order for Varget with Boondocks.

    Is it necessary to use good quality brass (like Lapua) or is it more or less like primers - any brand would work fine? It seems like there is quite a bit of a price difference on brass. I've also been collecting my fired brass from factory ammo - Federal, Hornady, Fiocci (spelling?). Is it a good idea to reuse them, or should I just stick with one brand for consistency?

    Marshall, you guessed right - my rifle is a Browining X-bolt with 22" barrel and 1 in 12 twist. Love the rifle - i was able to shoot 1 - 1.5 " groups with various factory ammo at 100 yards. I'm sure it can do better if I do my part.

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    Lapua brass is not necessary but it's defiantly top shelf. The primer pockets and flash holes are virtually perfect right out of the box. Weight from piece to piece isn't any better than the Hornady brass but it's diffidently closer than the Winchester or Federal piece to piece fluctuations. If your happy with 1.0" - 1.5" groups none of the above really matters.

    My bolt rifle shoots best with the Hornady Match brass loads with CCI BR2, RL-15 and 175gr Bergers. The Hornady brass is closest to Winchester in weight, wall thickness and appearance. Both of my .308's are 1:10 so the heavier bullets work fine.

    I ran across the Lapua brass and decided to give it a try. I haven't dialed in the 168gr load to it's max potential with the Lapua brass yet, to many other projects.

    I use Winchester brass in my AR rifle. The price is generally the cheapest and it's easy to find. The brass gets a good work out in this rifle. There are generally 1-2 bad pieces in every 50 count bag.

    The Federal brass that I have loaded for friends is the heaviest and thickest of all the brass I have tested. It's generally brass that they have picked up at the range. It has the least capacity and load data from other brass could be too hot IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ftaba1 View Post
    Couldn't find any of the powders you suggested, but placed an order for Varget with Boondocks.
    SW had a bunch of 4895 the other day which is the military standard 308 powder, very good stuff for 308 and the best 30-30 powder I have ever used.

    Also you may want to bump your bullet weight up to 180s for your moose rounds.
    Andy
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    If your happy with 1.0" - 1.5" groups none of the above really matters.
    I forgot to mention that I'm new to large rifle shooting as well, so I thought that 1.0"-1.5" groups were pretty good considering (the lack of) my skills and shooting with factory ammo. However I would like to get better than that and that's why I decided to get into reloading (plus the cost saving aspect of course).

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftaba1 View Post
    (plus the cost saving aspect of course).

    hahahahahahahahahaha
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

  12. #12

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    Did I get that part wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by MNViking View Post
    hahahahahahahahahaha

  13. #13
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    Default No "savings" here!

    I presume that MNViking is laughing at what every long time reloader knows: You won't "save money" by reloading, although thats a good lie to tell your wife/girlfriend. You will still spend as many dollars on reloading components and equipment as you would have spent on factory ammo, it'll just get you more bullets per dollar. I guess that's "saving" money, but not really. You just get more bullets per buck. You won't spend less.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Saving money handloading isn't exactly a lie as you will save money per round and they will probably be better ammo. I have used a 308 on two moose using generic 150gr bullets. Neither moved more than a few yards from where they were shot. You don't need premium bullets in 165gr for the 308 as it doesn't have the velocity to need them. For the best groups on paper you need good target type bullets. Even with generic hunting bullets you should be able to get groups under 1 moa. I would pick one generic bullet ( Hornady, Speer, Sierra, Remington etc.) that shoots good and use it for practice and hunting. For shooting paper, the Sierra 168MK or some other good target bullet to make small groups. Lots of different powders work well in the 308.

  15. #15
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    Default loads

    165 partition
    BLC2, WW748, RL15 (current powder I'm using)

    My rifle with 165 partitions HATED IMR 4350. Only combo I've tried that just plain sucked. Seen tighter shot patterns from cylinder bore 12 gauges.


    Large Rifle Primer of choice. have shot CCI, Winchester, Federal and probably more

    Have to dig into my records for actual powder charges I do remember I ended up with 46.5 grains BLC2 velocity closer to 2700 than 2650 and group looked like a 3 leaf clover all day long.

    It's a FWT barrel so 5 shot groups open up a bit if I shoot them too fast. Just terrible to have 4th and 5th shots open the group up to less than an inch.... just have to live with it I guess.

  16. #16

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    What is a FWT barrel? Thanks for the recipe, Rdklinak.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdklinak View Post
    165 partition
    It's a FWT barrel so 5 shot groups open up a bit if I shoot them too fast.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Saving money handloading isn't exactly a lie as you will save money per round and they will probably be better ammo.
    That's how I think of it as well. Getting more for the money and better quality is saving IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    I have used a 308 on two moose using generic 150gr bullets.
    What kind of generic bullet did you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    You don't need premium bullets in 165gr for the 308 as it doesn't have the velocity to need them.
    Is this an excepted wisdom with 308 not needing premium bullets for hunting or is it a controversial topic?

  18. #18

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    I meant to say "accepted wisdom". My hands are faster than my brain.

    Quote Originally Posted by ftaba1 View Post
    Is this an excepted wisdom with 308 not needing premium bullets for hunting or is it a controversial topic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ftaba1 View Post
    Is this accepted wisdom with 308 not needing premium bullets for hunting or is it a controversial topic?
    Of course it's controversial, ask the premium bullet makers and they will attempt to convince you cup & core bullets can't reliably perform on AK white-socks. That does not mean that there is not wisdom in using C&C bullets in the 308 and I for one love them. My favorite hunting bullet for the 308 Win is the plain vanilla 165 grain Hornady Interlock flat base. I cannot imagine needing better terminal performance on game suitable to the 308 cartridge. YMMV

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    Quote Originally Posted by ftaba1 View Post
    What is a FWT barrel? Thanks for the recipe, Rdklinak.
    Feather Weight.

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