Working up a .308 Winchester load


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kmullins
July 25, 2009, 05:17 PM
Hello all,

While I do not have my own reloading supplies just yet, my uncle has been gracious enough to offer to show me the process. I'm fairly familiar to what needs to be done, but as with most things it is a lot easier to have some show you. I have borrowed a copy of the Sierra Reloading Manual. This load will be for a Howa 1500 in .308 Winchester, with a 1:12 twist rate. I want to start with the 150 gr. bullet or so because from what I've seen and heard, the slower the twist rate, the better smaller grain bullets tend to stabilize. This is my question - what powder would you recommend and how many grains? The Sierra manual puts the .308 150 gr. Matchking HPBT in front of IMR-4064/46.1 grs.;2800 FPS/2611 ft. lbs. as their accuracy load for the 150 gr. .308 Winchester bullet. As far as brass, looks I've got a pretty sweet line on some once-fired brass from a M60 machine gun. And probably either CCI or Winchester primer, whatever is available and cheap.

Thanks guys!

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rcmodel
July 25, 2009, 05:37 PM
Don't get caught up in the twist rate BS while looking for accurate loads.
1/12 is the standard twist used in the .308/7.62 NATO since it was invented in the 50's.

It will stabilize any bullet weight up to at least 178 grain plastic-tip match bullets, 190 BTHP's, and 200 grain RNSP hunting bullets just fine.

A 1/12 .308 will usually do better then a 1/10 30-06 with very light 110 grain varmint bullets though.
With 125's it's a toss-up, and from there on up it's even till you get past 200 grains.

rc

NCsmitty
July 25, 2009, 05:53 PM
Well, I guess we can start with the brass, from your description, it's probably milsurp brass with crimped primers. You'll need to swage the primer pockets to remove the crimp, to properly install new primers.

Several powders will work very well in the 308. Varget, Rel-15, IMR4064, IMR4320, IMR4895, H4895 will give good velocity and accuracy.
Start 10% below the maximum or with the starting loads listed and work up from there.

Here's a link to a couple powder sites with data. It is the most up to date information available, just compare to your manual to cross check.

http://www.hodgdon.com/

http://www.alliantpowder.com/


NCsmitty

SteveW-II
July 25, 2009, 05:59 PM
> As far as brass, looks I've got a pretty sweet line on some once-fired brass from a M60 machine gun.

You may run into difficulty getting such brass to be accurate. I buy that kind of mil spec brass from topbrass.com to feed my H&K G3s and FNFALs. I consider it to be 'plinking' brass and you are likely to get case head separations fairly quickly. If you can find unfired mil spec LC brass, then it's as good as any, but machine guns are very unkind to their brass.

However, what you will need to take into account that this is likely to be mil spec brass (LC or similar) and reduce the loads you see in reloading manuals accordingly. Mil spec brass is thicker than commercial which reduces the internal volume of the case.

For example, I load Nosler 168 grain match bullets for my 308 bolt gun using 45 grains of BLC(2) in commercial brass. That is about 2650 fps.

For the same velocity, with the same bullet, with the same primer, in the same gun using mil spec Lake City brass, I need 43 grains of BLC2.

Your mileage, etc..etc..

> And probably either CCI or Winchester primer, whatever is available and cheap

The quest for accuracy won't be cheap.

If you haven't yet invested in your own reloading gear, consider buying some premium 308 match ammunition such as Federal Gold Medal Match or Blackhills Match, and see how it shoots in your gun. You might be surprised at how well it will shoot with such ammunition. While reloading is a great hobby (and I am an addict) you can buy a lot of premium ammo for the same investment.. Of course, you might be reloading for more then one gun, in which case the reloading gear pays for itself a lot quicker.

Kernel
July 25, 2009, 06:45 PM
The Powley equations for your .308 w/150 gr combo say the ideal powder would be similar to Varget or N540. IMR 4064 is just a hair slower than that, so it's good to go, too.

Go to the powder maker's web site for charge weights. The bullet, cartridge, powder combo your looking at is about as mainstream as it gets (and there ain't a thing wrong with that). In other words, lots of published data out there.

Once-fired brass is okay. Once-fired bullets.... not so much.;)

USSR
July 25, 2009, 10:08 PM
...looks I've got a pretty sweet line on some once-fired brass from a M60 machine gun.

There's a reason why that brass is so cheap.:uhoh: It's a PITA most times to resize it enough to fit your chamber. And, you can throw out the window most of the load data found in the reloading manuals when using that brass. As previously stated, you will use charge weights nearly 2 full grains less than those listed in the manuals for commercial brass. I would suggest you pick up some commercial brass first, and play with that. And, whatever you do, don't go cheap on your bullets; they are the one component that will make you or break you, more than any other.

Don

Remo-99
July 26, 2009, 01:09 AM
...looks I've got a pretty sweet line on some once-fired brass from a M60 machine gun.

Try chambering some full length sized cases in your rifle before loading up a whole bunch. Machineguns have large chamber tolerances for feeding/reliability reasons, and like mentioned allow casings to stretch quite about. Sometimes requiring more work to bump the shoulders back to into spec, to fit a close tolerance rifle chamber.

Coltdriver
July 26, 2009, 09:25 AM
Do a search on optimum charge weight.

It is an outstanding method for dialing in a load for your rifle.

I used it on my Ruger .308 and in less than 20 rounds I had a perfect, repeatable load.

Ky Larry
July 26, 2009, 12:48 PM
I have a CZ-550 Varmint in .308Win. I've found 165gr bullets to be more accurate than 150gr in this particular rifle. The accuracyy loads listed in the Sierra manual may or may not be the most accurate in your particular rifle. Every rifle is a study in ballistics in and of itself. This is what makes reloading such a fun and interesting exercise.
Since you are just starting to reload, I would recomend buying a bag or three of new brass. 50 pieces of Rem or Win .308 can be had for about $20.00. That will remove one very big variable from you reloading formula. Also, keep good records. If you don't write it down, it never happened. Good luck and be safe.

kmullins
July 26, 2009, 02:03 PM
Guys -

Thanks so much for the advice and information. Looks like I can get once fired polished LC brass for around $100? But don't know if it is still fired from a belt fed weapon or machine gun of some sort.

Varget and BLC2 look like good powders as well for a .308.

CCIBR2 primers seem to be getting a lot of positive attention.

The Sierra Matchking bullet was what I was thinking of starting with but is there something similar or equal to it that can be had for less?

ForneyRider
July 26, 2009, 05:29 PM
I got 2900fps from 46gr of IMR 4064 and 150gr Nosler Ballistic Tip.
This was through a VZ24 m98 with 24in douglas barrel.
The primers were flatted.

They were very accurate with winchester brass and CCI 200 primer.

I made the next load 45gr of IMR 4064. But I have seen load data with max of 48gr for this bullet.

I have heard IMR's 3031, 4064, 4895, H Varget, Alliant R15, and H4895 all work well with 308 Win. Then there are the VV, Ramshot, Accurate and Norma powders.

42gr of H4895 and 168gr SMK has been a standard load for target shooting.

USSR
July 26, 2009, 05:47 PM
Looks like I can get once fired polished LC brass for around $100? But don't know if it is still fired from a belt fed weapon or machine gun of some sort.

Unless the headstamp says "MATCH", "NM", or "LR", it is machinegun fired - GUARANTEED!

Don

WNTFW
July 28, 2009, 12:41 AM
"Since you are just starting to reload, I would recomend buying a bag or three of new brass. 50 pieces of Rem or Win .308 can be had for about $20.00. That will remove one very big variable from you reloading formula. Also, keep good records. If you don't write it down, it never happened. Good luck and be safe."

This is very good advice. Someone was kind enough to give me the same advice regarding brass on .223. Luckily I was smart enough to follow it.

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