220 gr for .308Win - any ideas?


September 7, 2011, 03:06 PM
Yes, you read it correctly I really do want to load a 220gr pill into a .308 cartridge..... I think. I came THR because it seems like their are still a few people around that don't think you need to push a bullet at 5000fps to be effective. I'm still a believer that a bus at 60mph would make you just as dead as a corvette at 100mph.

Why a 220 instead of the widely accepted 180 or even 200? Well, I've been a .44mag hunter for a while and have seen that Elmer Keith was right in his assessment of moving heavy bullets at less than max velocity to get great results. That, and I've always been a fan of the 30-40 Krag and before the elk got tougher they used to be killed quite frequently with a 220gr bullet going UNDER 2000 fps.

I know such a heavy bullet may be difficult to stabilize in many rifles, but I think my M77 can handle it with the 1:10 twist and 22" pipe.

For a load I'm thinking about starting with about 38gr of IMR 4064 with a max somewhere near 42gr. The goal would be to get about 2250fps and good accuracy to 100 yards.

For what it's worth this load is intended for big nasty FL swamp hogs.

Any thoughts? Am I nuts for trying this or am I on the right path?

Thanks for any input!


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September 7, 2011, 03:14 PM
By the way for the bullet I'm think Hornady InterLock round nose.

September 7, 2011, 07:59 PM
I have thought about loading up a 200 grain bullet into my 308, but when I compared the ballistics to the 180 grain round, I found no real advantage to the 200 grain bullet. And I have read several accounts of elk taken with a 308 using only a 180 grain bullet. The Lyman manual lists the IMR 4064 load for a Sierra 200 grain bullet at 38.5-43 grains, so your starting load might be on the high side, but I cannot say with certainty.

So in my short experience of reloading, I would say that you probably can reload a 308 with a 220 grain bullet, but just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

If you choose to try this out, please let us know how it goes.

September 7, 2011, 08:08 PM
Quite a number of years ago I loaded 220 gr. Hornady round nosed bullets for a Remington 742 in 308 Winchester. I used Winchester 760; I don't remember the exact load but accuracy was quite acceptable.

As far as using the bullet on hogs; I see nothing wrong with that though lighter bullets should work every bit as well unless you're after a 2,000 lb. hog.

September 8, 2011, 01:00 AM
The 220gr .30cal bullets aren't nearly as popular as they were 60-80yrs ago.
Since then, the lighter "mid-weight" bullets have vastly improved.

Also, newer powders have come along boosting the velocities capable by the mid-weight bullets.

The end result is that a "premium" 180gr bullet such as the Swift A-frame or Nosler Partition will penetrate as well as a conventional cup and core 220gr such as the Winchester Power Point.

My younger brother has only one highpowered rifle. A pristine pre-'64 Win Mod-70 Feather Weight with a Leupold scope.
He's take every elk he's killed with it, with 150gr Nosler partiton's. He hasn't recoverd a bullet yet. But, he's a hunter, gets within 300yds, and puts the shot where it counts.
He's also taken a large assortment of mule deer, white-tail deer, and pronghorn antelope, not to mention feral hogs in California Texas,and Georgia.

He's running the bullet at 2,900fps (chrono'd). A 180gr bullet at 2,600fps should only do better.... But with slightly more drop at 300yds from a 200yd zero. -10" vs. -7.5".

The 220gr Nosler Partition .308" is a great slayer of Large Beast, but most Non-resident hunters to the frozen north usually opt for something more "chic" or "cool" as in the latest "magnum". The locals reload the Noslers in an .30/06 and go hunting......... The 200gr is said to penetrate essentially as well and shoot flatter. The 180 is supposed to be right on the heel's of the 200 for penetration and shoots even flatter and recoils less. My older brother when stationed in Alaska used the 180's from an '06 for costal browns and moose. No complaints. He said he felt intimidated at first. Till after he saw what the 180'gr Nosler did to his first moose. After that, he hunted "confidently" with the '0le '06, as he calls it.

I've got a choice, and use a .30/06 (but "own" several magnum's and "shoot" them, but only "hunt" with the .257wby for "little deer" on an airport at "very, very, long ranges." The .257 works a 'little' better than the '06. But not enough to justify the "logistics".

Just run a 180gr from your .308 and put it where it counts. But, if you really, really, want to, there's nothing "wrong" with the 220's. Expect about 2,300-2,400fps with H4350 being the best powder. If you feel intrepid, try Reloader17, as I'm getting better accuracy and essentially the speed's of H4350 in both the .260Rem and 7mm08. A few trials with the .30/06 and 165's have been something to behold!
Shoot straight!!

September 8, 2011, 01:11 AM
I've loaded 220gr bullets in 7.64x54r before for a m44 mosin nagant that i used for a brush gun for a season or two. They shot just fine on paper but i never got to take a deer with them. 7.62x54r velocity's are close to .308 so they should work fine and inside 150 yards they should knock about anything for flip. Big bullets may be slower but they still retain f.p.e. better than the light weights.

September 8, 2011, 01:16 AM
Well, I've been a .44mag hunter for a while and have seen that Elmer Keith was right in his assessment of moving heavy bullets at less than max velocity to get great results.

Any thoughts? Am I nuts for trying this or am I on the right path?
Back in Elmer Keith's time you would be correct but with the bullets we have now there's no reason to go overweight to achieve good results. The current line of powders also give you much more room for improvement over the past. (like said above)

I agree a premium bullet pushed to normal velocities will do a better job than using an overweight bullet in the 308. The lighter bullet will provide a flatter trajectory and a better hunt, IMO of course. I don't even load a 220bullet in my 30-06, a 165gr bullet is my favorite. (at below max velocities for accuracy)

Welcome to the forum...

September 8, 2011, 07:48 AM
If you want to do it because that's what floats your boat, more power to you. However, you don't need bullet weights anywhere near that heavy for hogs. I have killed 200+ hogs, most w/ a 30-06 loaded w/ factory Hornady 150 grn SST's. This round is clocking a little over 2800 fps out of my carbine length autoloader. This round almost always produces pass throughs and drops the porkers on the spot. Even the 250+ pounders (those are 400+ pound hogs that actually get weighed...).

The point is not that the 150 grn Hornady SST is "the best hog bullet", but that a relatively light weight, mildly loaded cup and core bullet designed for rapid expansion will still shoot clean through even very large hogs the vast majority of the time. One of the guys that I hunt with uses an AR loaded w/ partitions and he drops his pigs w/ boring regularity using chest shots - almost always pass throughs, even when he hits the shoulder. In short, despite what you may hear to the contrary, hogs just aren't that tough or difficult to kill.


September 8, 2011, 08:26 AM
I attempted to come up with a good long range target load with a 220 SMK in .308. I did develop a few very accurate loads, but the trajectory made long range shooting at various ranges a real pain and the rifle setup that I had at that time did not have enough elevation adjustment to use the crosshairs at extended ranges.

If you’re going to use this cartridge at fairly close range and in dense vegetation, the 220gr bullet may have some advantages.

Edit: I think I got my data from the Lee manual. If you're unable to find data for the 220 gr, let me know and I can send you what I have.

September 8, 2011, 09:47 AM
Wow! Thanks for all of the responses!

You all make a great point when you say that the 165s we have now days outperform the 220s of years past. I completely agree which is why my "every day load" is a 165.

There was a time in my life when I thought a different rifle/caliber was required for every different hunting situation. Needless to say I've gone through quite a few different rifles in my time. In my older wiser (read broker) years I've stuck with the .308 as "everything" rifle. I can load 100s or 110s for varmints, 165s for white tails and typical hog hunting, 180s for elk, etc., etc. Now days I find myself brush hunting quite a bit so I've started using more round nose bullets great satisfaction. Typical shots are 50 yards or less so long range accuracy and bullet drop are a non-issue. I'd really like to perfect a recipe for a good 200 or 220gr this year on hogs because I have a feeling black bear will be opened up in my parts next year. I know a 180gr out of a .308 should be fine for black bear, but at the distances I'm hunting at I'd feel more comfortable knowing 100% for sure I will get the performance I need before I become lunch.

That said, I know some of the older manuals had recipes for the 220gr in .308, but my new ones don't so if any of you have a dusty old manual I would love to know what it says. MtnCreek - If you have a chance to dig up your old load I'd to see that as well.

September 8, 2011, 09:55 AM
Will do. I'll try to dig it up tonight.

September 8, 2011, 12:39 PM
Now days I find myself brush hunting quite a bit so I've started using more round nose bullets great satisfaction. Typical shots are 50 yards or less so long range accuracy and bullet drop are a non-issue.
I that case get yourself a levergun in 30-30 or better yet, in 35 Rem. ;)

September 8, 2011, 02:26 PM
I that case get yourself a levergun in 30-30 or better yet, in 35 Rem.

Ahhh, the 35Rem... Now we're talkin! That would actually be the perfect rifle for the hunting I'm doing now. .35 cal, 200gr at 2000ish fps - nothing would stand a chance and even thick brush wouldn't slow it down or change its course. The 35Rem and the 30-40Krag are two examples of what I'm trying to duplicate here. Now I know I can't stretch my .30cal bullet to a .35 cal without causing major anxiety to my rifle and/or my health insurance agent and I can't go out and buy another rifle without causing major anxiety to my wife (in turn me). So I'm trying to do the next best thing which is get my .308 to do what I think it can do safely and effectively. If I can get similiar ballistics and performance to the 35Rem I'd be smiling from ear to ear.

September 8, 2011, 04:50 PM
I use a good bonded 180 gr bullet in both my 308 and 30.06. They shoot the best with that pill. If i want 200gr up to 300gr bullets i use my 35Whelen.
Then again i do like my 540gr hard cast loads in my 45/70:evil:

September 8, 2011, 06:01 PM
A concern I would have is the OAL of the loaded round and the length of the magazine conflicting. A 220 grain roundnose may work but the spitzers will be trouble, usually a 180 grainer is the limit to a .308.

September 8, 2011, 07:31 PM
I've got 220 grainers for my 30-06. I bought them as the completed cartridges from Remington. I think Federal has them as well. Tried some at 100 yards and they shot about the same as do the 180 in terms of accuracy (I'm a 3 MOA shooter).

September 8, 2011, 07:54 PM
Modern Reloading by Richard Lee has some loads for 220 gr. bullets in the 308 Winchester.

September 9, 2011, 03:49 AM
Why not give this a try in your 308. Load a 200gr RN bullet with a case full of Trail Boss...

September 10, 2011, 02:22 AM
W760 is a good powder for 220gr RN in the .308.

September 10, 2011, 07:02 AM
Actually, the .308 with a 180gr bullet will out-perform the .30/40Krag or .35Rem.
I have a .35Rem, and love it. Used it on deer and pigs. But, the 180gr Nosler in the .308 will out perform it. Much better penetration. BDTD (but with .30/06). But, they do "flinch" more when hit with the greater frontal diameter from the .35. But, my .35's are 200gr Corlokts pushed to 2,300fps.

Use H4350 in the .308 with the 220gr bullets. I'd suggest the Hornady Interlok. It'll perform essentially the same as the Nosler but is 1/2 as expensive. (100 for the price of 50). But then again, if it was me, I'd just stick with the 180gr in the .308 and go hunting instead of the range......
46.0gr of H4350 is listed max with 220gr for 2,369fps w/26"bbl. expect 2,2xxfps w/22"bbl.
47.0gr of H380 w/180gr gets 2,624fps again, a 26"bbl. This is what I'd use. Expect ~2,5xxfps from 22"bbl.

September 10, 2011, 08:00 PM
The current LEE Reloading manual ( 2nd adition) has many loads for 180 grain + bullets in .308 caliber.
( 190, 200, 220, 225, and even 250! )

September 10, 2011, 08:17 PM
Rifling twist rate is a serious issue. Buy a Blackout carbine. Well, okay, that isn't .308 Win.:)

Another option is to buy a .30-06 which was designed to push a 220gr pill.:D

September 10, 2011, 08:45 PM
Check out "Loadbooks USA, Inc", One Book/One Caliber series of manuals.
My .308 Loadbook has 2,788 loads,
148 bullet designs.
and 63 different powders.

It also has a section for loads using military brass.

The Loadbooks sell for under $10. each.

September 13, 2011, 09:09 AM
Thanks guys, I'll check out what Lee and Loadbooks has to say. With any luck I'll be loading some this weekend.

February 27, 2012, 11:40 AM
I'm glad to see the 220gr Interlock in 308 wasn't soley a work of my imagination. I couldn't find data on the load so I went with my gut on this and it worked shockingly well. Seating and crimping a 220gr RN Hornady interlock over 40gr of IMR 4064 was novel at first. The whole heavy hitter concept came about from my admiration of big game hunting shows, and their monster rounds. The test gun was a Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle outfitted with a fixed 2.75x Leupold turkey scope to complete the look.
The first round was fired with the anticipation of a proof test load, I only noticed about a 10% recoil boost over the various 180 grain loads I was used to. Accuracy and inertial retention was immediate shown on the 200yd steel gong. It rings out with three times the audible authority as any 180. I have read of the round nose projectiles obliterating meat when loaded in 300WM, so I am confident it belongs in a slower 308 w a 1:10 pushing the lower speeds in the 2,200s. I have tried them in the 1:11 of a T3 and managed MOA but these heavies deserve a faster spin if hunting distances over 300y are desired. They truly are flying sledge hammers destined for my 308 brush gun.

February 27, 2012, 01:17 PM
Welcome to THR, Mojito4u.

I'm not sure how tough the jacket is on the 220gr Hornady's, and wonder if they will expand at distance, or just punch holes in the game. Not that punching holes is a bad thing. Probably would prove to be good on big boar hogs, where penetration is important.

I think that 1in10" twist is optimum for most 30 cal barrels, as it's worked in the '06 for the last 100+ years.


February 27, 2012, 02:36 PM
The hands down best powder for doing this is VihtaVouri N550. With this powder, I am able to reach 2700fps at safe pressure levels with the Sierra 190gr MatchKing bullet. I have heard that RL17 is also a good powder for the heavy bullets, but I have not tried it. Since you are more or less venturing in "uncharted" territory, I would find someone who has a copy of QuickLoad, and give them the list of components you will be using, and have them give you a printout of the results.


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