Reloading .308 AP


October 30, 2003, 08:23 PM
Anybody here done it? I've found a source of 152gr .308 pulled bullets and am considering whether or not the $30/200 is worth the trouble.

Another question: Will these place additional wear on the barrel? To be fired from a parts fal.

I might also pick up some of their tracers. :D ($20/200!)

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading .308 AP" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 30, 2003, 08:39 PM
I thought loading ap bullets in 7.62nato ammo was illegal. Anybody know?

October 30, 2003, 08:56 PM
It's a legal "Grey Area" according to the folks over at and in the TFL archives. (and here!)

Hell, you can buy .308AP just not from an FFL. Since bullets dont constitute ammuntion, you can reload the stuff for your own use.... Although I'm sure the sh*t would come down pretty quick if you tried to sell your reloads to the general public at a gunshow or over the internet.

I just want to have a couple mags worth... Never know when you might need to shoot out an engine block or two.;)

October 31, 2003, 12:41 AM
Won't hurt the barrel.


October 31, 2003, 10:35 PM
I was told by someone that you could load them into 30-06 cases but if you loaded ap bullets into .308/7.62 cases you were breaking the law.

November 4, 2003, 05:51 PM
It has something to do with AP bullets that can be used in a handgun.
IIRC, you could buy them and legally load them into cartridge that can't be used in a handgun.
To me, that would be along the lines of the .300 Mags, .300 Savage, maybe 7.62x54 if your barrel is tight enough.

November 5, 2003, 10:54 AM
True AP bullets usually have a painted-on black tip. Wash off the black tip with solvent or tumbling and they'll just look like generic ball.

November 5, 2003, 07:03 PM
My understanding is that you can buy them "pulled" and "reload" them yourself, but they cannot be SOLD.

November 6, 2003, 12:24 AM
I'm not questioning the legalities--I am convinced it is legal to reload these-- What I would really like is some technical data from others who have reloaded true 7.62x51mm AP bullets. (not the 30-06 163 gr stuff)

Does anybody know what kind of penetration can one expect from 7.62x51mm AP rd traveling at about 2500fps on a soft steel target? I really want to know, because chances are, I will never get a chance to try them. (unless I move back to AZ; gotta love those desert shoots :cool: )

EDIT: Well I just got them in... they have a double crimp line, and I just spent the last 15 min sectioning one with my dremel! (must be steel carbide or something).
weight is ~ 150-152.5gr. They have no black tip, but I can tell where it was polished off.

IMI bullets?

On a side note, I also picked up some preprimed brass that was advertised as berdan primed.... hehe they are all boxer. :D Not bad for $12.50/200 eh?

November 9, 2003, 09:39 PM
I can tell you that the 7.62Nato 150grn tips are not as good of quality as the 30-06 AP 163grn tips.

Ofcourse it could just be my 300WinMag that's roasting the heck out of the 150s. I have a decent sized chunk of steel measuring 11x11x 1 1/2 inches. My 163grn loads out of the 300WinMag at close to 3200fps are just beginning to reach full penetration, some exit some don't. The real key is that the 163grn penetrators are still in good shape upon exiting the backside, still together and still sharp, I highly suspect that they are made of tungsten or an alloy similar to tungsten.

Now the 150s... I got them to try simply because I wanted to see if they would perform better by getting pushed another 100-150fps faster. These things are a disappointment big time, on the steel they are barely bumping out the back of the plate. Upon inspection of the impact crater I can see where the steel is mangled and melted, it looks like the 150grn steel core is melting upon impact and fusing with the the target material.

Comparing the craters made by the 163grn pills and the 150grn pills gives tell tale signs of what I describe, the 163grn bullets make very clean impact craters that are very smooth and even. The 150grn bullets make a very irregular crater that has pools of metal around it's impact site, the core also appears to tumble upon impact which I believe is a result of the bullet tip not being able to maintain it's shape which reduces it's ability to penetrate in a straight line.

All of this is still in the educational/experimental stages. I've fired only about 15-20 rounds of each bullet type on my test target, to date I've had 2 rounds throughly penetrate the steel plate and both were the 163grn variety.

As for loading for 308Winchester, I personally am not about to go there. Just too much hoopla concerning the "handgun AP ammo" regulations for me to want to go there. Besides, the 300WinMag does a much better job, my 163grn AP pills are going a good 400fps faster than that which the WWII 30-06 ammo could hope to drive them to.

My steel plate isn't of mild steel composition either. It's not to hard armour specs but it isn't near as soft as some of the mild steel I've come across, I've done surface hardness tests but those were inconclusive.

I intend to eventually document some of my experiments just for the heck of it. I have some pictures of the steel plate just after my 2nd load over starting with the 163grn bullets, I'm onto my 3rd load above starting and those are the ones that are now fully penetrating. I've been putting the plate about 80 yards distant for testing, don't want to be any closer than that incase something strange happened(especially if I had true hardened steel plate).

Here is a close up of the backside of the plate showing the 2nd attempt,

Here's what the back of the plate looked like after my first attempt, you can see areas where the crystaline structure of the steel had been blasted away as the metal expanded. This is similar to what the 150grn bullets will do only they are less effective, I highly suspect they are desintegrating.

Here's a close up of one of those 163grn craters, surprisingly one of the cores became unlodged and left a DEEP hole. Wish I could have found that stupid core.

I've cross sectioned both the 163grn and 150grn bullets, eventually I'll get some decent pictures up of both. I believe the 163grn bullet to be the better designed bullet. Strangely, the 163grn uses a chunk of lead in the bullet tip ahead of the AP core where as the 150grn bullet uses a steel core sitting ahead of a small bit of lead in the base of the bullet. Also, the design of the AP core itself is much different. The 163grn AP penetrator is a cylinder with a truncated cone tip, definitely looks as if it was machined from a piece of solid rod. Whereas the 150grn AP core is more bullet like with a rounded ogive that matches the contour of the bullet itself. I believe upon impact the truncated cone of the 163grn AP core is better at penetrating, driving like the wedge of a wood splitter. The 150grn rounded ogive though, it doesn't help that mine appear to be melting further messing up the works, I suspect the rounded ogive helps to promote tumbling rather than causing the bullet to penetrate in a straight line. Interestingly, if you check out the site where they show the new M993 and M995 tungsten core AP bullets for the 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm, the designs have returned to a truncated cone bullet tip, either it's due to practical purposes of design such as machining the tip or it's linked to performance related reasons.

I sure would love to see some of the design criteria and testing results for the various small arms AP ammo testing.

Maybe one of these days I'll have a 300RUM or 30/378 to really test those 163grn bullets? :) Another 150-200fps on top of what the 300WinMag could do, that would spell mayhem for sure on this poor steel plate.

Oh, I also have plans to test copper solids such as the 125grn and 150grn Barnes solids. It's possible that they will have an effect somewhere between that of an all lead bullet and that of a steel core bullet, I'm hoping for a sort of HEAT/shape charge effect where the moulten copper will eat away at the steel. A 125grn copper solid at darn close to 3500fps should make for interesting results on target, not sure what will happen but it should be significantly more impressive than a lead bullet at 2950fps muzzle velocity.

November 10, 2003, 01:17 AM
Thank YOU sir, that was very educational. (in fact, I printed it out)

May I ask where you got your steel plate? :)

November 10, 2003, 02:24 PM
One of the local steel supply yards, this is a farming/oil town so there's high demand for all kinds of iron/steel products.

My dad turned me onto the place when he was getting scrap steel to weigh down his boat, he's got some stuff that's 2 inches thick.

Right now my disposable income is all going towards reloading and other pursuits, I don't have the money to buy up 3-4 plates at nearly 10 bucks a plate.

I want to get a 1 inch thick piece of similar steel to see if my bullets will pierce it with 100% effectiveness at the same distance. I also want to try to get some 1/2 inch thick plate at true or as close to true armour ratings as possible, something like A500 steel if I remember correct.

Long time ago when I was testing the effectiveness of 5.56x45mm on various steels, I found mild steel up to 3/8 inch wouldn't hold up to the zippy little round. Then one day I came across some NICE hardened steel, it was a piece of leaf spring off of a heavy duty truck that somebody had left abandoned in a field. I quickly went to testing on that steel from rather close range, 55grn M193 didn't even leave so much as a dimple in that stuff while the steel penetrator in 62grn SS109 M855 loads barely left a mark. I'm really hesitant about launching steel core bullets at hardened steel though, not sure I like the idea of a bullet bouncing back at me or shattering and doing untold fragmentation redirected back at me.

November 13, 2003, 02:04 PM
Excellent thread! Unfortunately, I can't add anything yet... Like FITH, I picked up some 153gr AP rounds. I haven't gotten a chance to load any yet. But when I do, I plan on test firing them in my AR-10 on some 1/2" steel at about 200 yards. I'll try to keep you posted.

James Burden
September 22, 2008, 09:59 PM
OK, I gotta know where you guys are getting these crazy good deals??

September 23, 2008, 07:37 AM
Look at the dates my friend. Five years ago alot of things change.

For the record, there is actually a very good journal article (you have to pay to see beyond the first page) on AP small arms performance. Here is a link to the aforementioned article.

I have a .300 Wby I might try some of the old 163 gr stuff in. If I do, I will setup some pieces of light rail 200 meters out and try to punch through the middle. Might be interesting!

October 2, 2008, 01:24 PM
I found some of the 163grn variety (just loose bullets). But they have marks on each side of the bullet. Im assuming they were pulled from an old case. I wonder if that will effect stability ? Want to run them through my .300 Win Mag

Brother in Arms
November 30, 2008, 07:32 PM
the 150.5 grain steel core bullets without black tips could be from demilled M59 ball. which was used before the lead core M80 146 M80 ball.

Brother in Arms

February 9, 2009, 03:04 AM

answers to any Gun/Ammo question you could POSSIBLY have.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading .308 AP" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!