Help with powder for .308


February 12, 2011, 02:00 AM
since I've started reloading I've always used Vihtavuori primarily. N140 does all my .223 needs pretty much same hole accuracy, so I'm not touching that. Now the
n140 supposedly works great in .308, but my problem is availibility. all the "semi-local" powder shops either don't stock or quit carrying VV powders. Now I got a .308 rifle and time to start reloading for it but I don't want to get stuck mail ordering powder so I'll switch brands for that. so being new to most other brands what's best for .308s ? I'm planning on using 168+ bullets so I don't want anything super fast burning. just want a clean burning accurate powder for what is primarily a bench gun.

I'm looking at:

IMR 4895

Hogdon H4895
Hodgdon Varget

Alliant 2000-MR
Alliant #15

Accurate 2495
Accurate 2520

Vihtavuori N140 or N540 "would have to order it"

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February 12, 2011, 02:05 AM
Winchester #748 does well for me in M1A with 168gn HPBT match bullets.

Lloyd Smale
February 12, 2011, 06:34 AM
i like h380 and h414 because i do alot of my 308 loading on a progressive press and they meter real well. If your not loading progressive h4895 is THE powder for a 308 and 4064 works pretty well too.

February 12, 2011, 06:51 AM
IMR-4064 and Varget work very well in both of my 308s with those bullets.

February 12, 2011, 07:54 AM
Look at Varget and RL 15.

February 12, 2011, 08:31 AM
not on a progressive press, I've been using a redding t-7 turret so my powder is done seperatly rather than in a stage on the press

February 12, 2011, 08:59 AM
I use IMR4895 for bullets 170 grains and less, RL15 for 175gr and 178gr bullets, and VV N550 for 190gr bullets.


February 12, 2011, 09:11 AM
You might want to check out some of the advice in a thread I started a few weeks back:

Ky Larry
February 12, 2011, 09:25 AM
TAC and IMR-4320 work well for me in .308 Win. It really doesn't matter what we like for our rifles. Only your rifle can tell you what it likes. The only way to find what it likes is at the range. Good luck.

February 12, 2011, 09:28 AM
So far, Varget works best for me using 168 gr. Sierra HPBT. Second, is XBR-8208 and Third, is BLC-2. I never could get IMR 4895 to work well in my rifle, but that dosn't mean it won't in yours. I would like to try VV140, as well, but I really don't like the idea of paying a $25.00 hazmat fee for 1 pound of powder... So, for now, I hear RL-15 is a really good powder...

February 12, 2011, 10:01 AM
exactly, that hazmat fee is rediculous.. I always used VV powders as they are the cleanest burning powders out there and redicuosly accurate "atleast for me". I load with VV for .357 sig, .40S&W, .308, .223,7.69x39 but now it's to the point of having to mail order it and by the time you pay $25 hazmat plus $25 shipping it can cost me upwards of $1.00+ per bullet to reload... where using top powder,primers, .75bthp match moly bullets in 223 cost around $0.13-.20 each

so I'm pretty much looking for a consistent, clean burner that burns siomwhere around or close to n140. I've never had much luck with fast burning powders in long range heavy bullets. in ANY of my many guns. but faster powder is most accurate in mypistol loads with heavy bullets "scratches head"

who generally makes a cleaner powder Hodgdon, IMR , Accurate, Alliant etc.? Hodgdon, and IMR all have links to eachother on there websites are they made the same ?

my rifle loves factory Federal match and hornady match bthp168's and heavier I'm pretty sure they use hodgdon powders. get cloverleaf groups with 150 gr. but the same loads/model bullets in heavier weight give almost same hole/ragged hole groups at 100yards

February 12, 2011, 10:04 AM
editied list of powders uptop meant to say accurate 2495 since it says "made specifically for .308" on the website

February 12, 2011, 10:22 AM
I am a fan of the stick powders.

AA2495 is Accurate Arms copy of IMR 4895, stupidly they call it 2495 and confuse everyone. I shot at least 32 pounds of the stuff in Highpower competition, with 168’s and 175’s, and it is an excellent powder. I bought kegs when the price was less than IMR 4895 and grain for grain, I can’t tell any velocity difference between it and IMR 4895 that cannot be explained by lot to lot variation.

The powders we buy over the counter are blended. Manufacturing processes for powders are inexact and I have been told the best they can do is make lots within 20% of the mean. Fast and slow lots are blended for us, we who do not have pressure gages, and I was told the industry standard was 10%, Accurate Arms claimed they held theirs to 5%.

You can verify this lot to lot variation by looking at reloading older reloading manuals and see the pressure differences between identical powders in the same cartridge and the same bullet for H110/W296, HP-38/W231 and BLC-2/W748.

I have tried H4895 and I think it is an excellent powder. H4895 was originally surplus IMR 4895 with a different burn rate than the blended Dupont powder we were able to buy. Over the years Hodgdon ran out of surplus and sold a close equivalent of IMR 4895, but it was a little different. This might have been due to lot to lot variation. The current H4895 is one of those “extreme” powders and may now be considered a product improved IMR 4895. I bought a keg, and velocities were within a grain to half grain of what IMR 4895 gave with 175’s, and the stuff shot very well.

IMR 4064 was a staple of the 308 crowd, it is still an excellent choice, but I think Varget may be the be best overall 308 powder at least for bolt rifles. Varget shot extremely well with 168’s, 175’s and 190’s in my rifles.

I use IMR 4895/AA2495/H4895 out to three hundred yards. If I shoot 175’s I have been using any of these same powders at 600 yards. When I shoot 190’s at 600 or 1000 yards I have been using IMR 4064 and will be transitioning to Varget in time.

Incidentally, the 308 Winchester was developed with IMR 4895 as the propellant. That is why propellants in the 4895 burn rate do so well in this cartridge.

Ruger M77 MKII
26 " Barrel 1:10 twist

174 FMJBT 40.5 grs H4895 wtd, lot 4501 LC mixed WLR
OAL 2.800"
18 May 2008 T = 71 °F

Ave Vel = 2559
Std Dev = 14
ES = 50
High = 2589
Low = 2539
N = 11
good group

174 FMJBT 41.0 grs H4895 wtd, lot 4501 LC mixed WLR
OAL 2.800"
18 May 2008 T = 71 °F

Ave Vel = 2634
Std Dev = 19
ES = 50
High = 2657
Low = 2607
N = 6
good group

174 FMJBT LC79 Match M118 White Box
18 May 2008 T = 71 °F

Ave Vel = 2590
Std Dev = 11
ES = 35
High = 2609
Low = 2574
N = 9

February 12, 2011, 10:32 AM
okay so H4895 is pretty much a newer version of IMR4895. what about this new 8208XBR ? or Alliant 2000-MR

February 12, 2011, 10:40 AM
and yes it seem like every year the reloading manuals have you use 1-2gr less than the previous year... so far "in .223 loads" vv went from max 27.5grains to 25.0 in n140 using .75BTHP. I've been using 24.6 n140 for many years and the groups all seem to be the same lot for lot.

February 12, 2011, 10:42 AM
okay so H4895 is pretty much a newer version of IMR4895. what about this new 8208XBR ? or Alliant 2000-MR

Have not tried those and it will take a while before these shake out.

In my lifetime of Highpower competition, I have seen many tides of "powder du jour".

There will be fan boys who claim them to the “end of history”. When the next wave of powder du jours wash up on the shore, these same fan boys will run over and gleefully claim the latest float some and jetsam to be the latest “end of history”.

I remember when that happened with Vihtavuori powders. Vihtavuori powders are excellent but expensive and hard to get.

If you want to be a trail blaser, run along the shoreline and pick up what was left by the tide. I am certain some of them are excellent choices.

February 12, 2011, 10:54 AM
that hazmat fee is rediculous.

True if you order one pound of powder or one box of primers.

If you order powder in quantity and/or primers, the savings can be significant.

I recently ordered 36# of powder (mixed types) and 10,000 primers. All fit in a single box under 47# and the hazmat was $25. This made it a "surcharge" of $0.55 per pound of powder and per box of 1,000 primers. Considering that I paid half what Bench Rest primers are selling for locally I saved the equivalent of the hazmat fee on just two boxes of Bench Rest Primers alone.

I made an estimate of what my reloading needs would be for a year. Ordered enough powder, primers, and bullets to meet those needs. The savings on the "package" was well over $300 on just powder and primers alone.

"Mail Order" isn't all that bad if you don't just buy one or two items at a time.

Just a note, some companies (Midway is one) charge two hazmat fees if you order both powder and primers on the same order. This is because they don't ship from their facilities, they ship direct from their supplier.

I use Powder Valley. Call them while putting your order together and they'll help make sure you don't have to pay two hazmat fees by going over the weight limit. They put my bullet order in a separate package to avoid this.

NO, mail order doesn't suck. You just have to plan ahead if you want to save. By mail ordering you don't have to settle for "alternative" components because the local dealer doesn't stock what you need or want.

All that said, I assume the OP's powder list was what was locally available. On that list 4895 and the Alliant Reloader 15 are probably the best all around powders for the .308. I use Varget and some 2495 for my .308.

February 12, 2011, 12:37 PM
varget or RL-15.. I'm pretty sure RL-15 is what LC uses in 308. I don't think they call it that, but a friend of mine said thats what they are using.. it's word of mouth but he seemed sure of it and he works there.. Varget has always performed flawlesly in bolts and ARs for me

February 12, 2011, 12:42 PM
I've used H4895, IMR4895, and Varget with bullets of 147gr. to 169gr., in both .308 and .30-06, and gotten almost identical results in accuracy. I can't say any one of them is all around better than the others, but Varget is supposed to be the most insensitive to changes in temperature, if you shoot where it gets very hot, or very cold.

February 12, 2011, 12:59 PM
I prepare my .308win for my M1A, first off the heaviest is match grade 168gr, and for hunting I use 150gr Barnes Triple Shocks with H4895. H4895 is slightly more stable at colder temps and that is what I wanted because I live in Alaska.

February 12, 2011, 01:03 PM
Stick with H335 for .223 and .308. You'll never regret it! :)

February 12, 2011, 05:28 PM
temperature here in louisiana can be realllly cold or reallly hot. 90 degrees might not sound that bad but when you ad 125% humidity it feels like 120 outside :-x Powder valley is usualy who I ordered from before I found local places. I still have 513 rounds of 223 with hornady 75gr bthps so I don't need 223 powder for awhile, I can't really put out the big bucks for a large order of powder/primer atm otherwise I'd just order some n140 or n350 and just use that for all my 223,308,7.62x39 needs. I allready have the bullets I ordered from they are always the cheapest and shipping is only $4.00 nomatter what you order..

Going by all the input from you guys I'll probably be getting H4895, Varget or IMR 8208XBR. nobody seems to know much on the Alliant 2000-MR

and as I said earlier I've been using VV powders since I started so if I get one of these and don't like it, well then I've tried and learned. I've got a little bit of n140 left over so I can try both :) if the n140 comes out alot better then I'll save up and order that. if the Hodgdon IMR etc. works better it's local and can get it whenever I want.

I've got 2 boxes federal 168 gold medal, 7 boxes Hornady Match Target 168bthp, 3 boxes federal powershock 150 , 1 box federal eagle and 200 rounds of DAG 147gr surplus to hold me up in the meantime.

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