Best .308 load?


December 10, 2006, 11:11 PM
I am assembling a tactical style rifle with an A5 Mcmillan stock, Savage action, and a Nightforce scope. It will be chambered in .308 Win. In the past I have shot a lot of handloaded .308 in decent bolt guns, and settled on 42.5 gr. of IMR 4064 behind a Sierra 168 gr. Match King. This was before VihtaVuori powders and VLD bullets were available. I was wondering if there is a new generally accepted powder and bullet combination for the .308 target/tactical application?

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Zak Smith
December 10, 2006, 11:30 PM
The 168gr SMK is not a really good bullet to shoot to 1000 yards. It might work depending on the velocity and atmospheric density, and it might not.

I recommend the following loads for out to 1000 yard shooting in 308:

1. 155gr Lapua Scenar, Varget, start at 45.0gr and work up. 2800-2850 is easy in a 24" barrel. This bullet has a disproportionately high BC value (0.508) and since it can be shot over 100fps faster than the 175 SMK, it is the better choice.

2. 175 SMK, Varget or 4064. For Varget, start at 44.0gr and work up. If the 155gr Scenar just does not work well in your barrel, revert to this tried and common 1000-yard load.


December 10, 2006, 11:35 PM
I'm loading 41.4 grs N 140 behind the 168 grs SMK, FC case, CCI BR2, OAL 2.800". Gives me sub MOA groups. N 140 meters very well and is more forgiving than Varget which I loaded before (41.8 grs, all other parameters remaining the same). N 140 is my universal powder not only for .308, but also for 6.5x55 and 8x57 IS. Very good results with all calibers.

Zak Smith
December 10, 2006, 11:37 PM
For the 155gr Scenar load, I have duplicated the Varget load using N140. It peaked faster for pressure and was more expensive per pound.

December 11, 2006, 01:03 AM
I’m shooting 175gr Moly Sierra Match Kings with 40gr of VV N540. Gets about 2400fps in my rifle. This is probably to slow for long distance, but at the range I go to 300 yards is as far as you can shoot. This is a take off of Sierra’s accuracy load. They list 39.5gr for naked bullets. I get 1 inch groups at 300 yards. I believe my rifle is capable of doing better with this load. Once the weather warms up I’ll find out.

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