.308 powder questions


October 14, 2012, 03:16 AM
I plan to start reloading for .308 hopefully around Christmas and I am starting to research powders and load recipies. The main purpose of my loads will be whitetail deer hunting (150-300lb here in Maine and 10-300yards possible range) with some paper punching as well. I plan to buy 150gr and 165gr Sierra Soft Point Boat Tail Bullets, as these weights have worked well in factory loads for my gun. I plan to load in once fired (from my gun) federal brass, likely with CCI or possibly federal primers. My question on powders: I would like to try H335 as I have heard, being a ball powder, it meters much better than stick powders, but I seem to see many more references to Varget, h4895 and imr4895. I have also looked at prices and h335 seems cheaper. What are the negatives of h335 that I seem to be missing (if any)? Also any input you feel would be relevant to these specific loads (including tried load data) would be much appreciated.

This is what I pulled from Hodgdon's site:

165 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon H335 .308" 2.750"
Gr- Fps- Pressure-
Start: 39.0 2432 44,500 CUP
Max: 42.0 2608 49,100 CUP

150 GR. NOS E-TIP Hodgdon H335 .308" 2.800"
Start: 40.4 2551 46,500 PSI
Max: 43.4 2790 59,100 PSI

150 GR. NOS BT Hodgdon H335 .308" 2.800"
Start: 41.0 2619 42,600 CUP
Max: 44.0 2787 51,200 CUP

Only thing I've found in my research so far is that H335 has a faster burn rate than the others and seems to take up less volume. My concerns with those facts are will it be harder to find a 'pet' load because its faster, will the accuracy nodes be smaller/thinner? With it taking up less volume I know I'll have to be more vigilant about not over charging (I don't know if it would be possible to double charge?). Is there a possibility of reduced accuracy from not filling the case?

Sorry for the overload of newbie questions.

Thanks in advance!

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October 14, 2012, 04:23 AM
Given your atrocious swings in temperature all the way up there, I might suggest something other than h335.

H4895 isn't a bad start- and is a great choice.

Temperature sensitivity is probably going to be the biggest drawback you find in h335.

A faster burn rate is not significantly better or worse than any other- but you are going to have to do accuracy testing at 80 degrees, and at your frigid morning temperatures in your area- and accept that those swings are both likely, and to be expected.

October 14, 2012, 04:26 AM
Just the experienced info I was looking for! Thank you! As I have limited funds I don't want to have to explain to the wife why I have 4 partial 1lb (would seem like alot to her) containers of powder on the shelf but still need to buy more at $20-$30 a pop. Is the temperature sensitivity true of most ball powders or just specifically H335?

October 14, 2012, 05:27 AM
I've owned a .308 for 7 years now and think it's a great cartridge though I did not like it in the beginning. I've learned one think about powders living in OH and hunting year round. You don't want a ball powder, they're to sensitive to temperature.

When I tried Varget I was amazed that point of impact stayed the same through winter. So, I now use only Varget in .22-250 and .308.

October 14, 2012, 05:41 AM
H335 is a good all around rifle powder. I use it in several of my rifles. In most of my rifles i started out with IMR4895, another good powder, just because thats what a friend recomendend. Middle weight loads to hot loads in the shorter rifle cases get a little full, with IMR4895. I load a few that way, but most hot loads are from H335.

October 14, 2012, 08:22 AM
Lately I have purchased a pile of surplus propellant. Both WC 844 and WC 846. The WC 844 is ALMOST the same as canister H335and the WC 846 is ALMOST the same as canister BLC-2. Some of the pull down propellant is slightly faster and some is slower than the canister ALMOST equivelent and a workup with a lower starting load is mandatory. The military specs out these for their ammo for use in all weather conditions with minimal problems. I do not use magnum primers with the ball propellant as some will recommend for cold temperatures, with good results. Pats reloading recommends using 40.5 grains of 846 with a 147 grain FMJ bullet as a starting load.
So here are the military specs for your info and you can adjust within the commercial ones that are close for a guide. IIRC they were all the same OAL and it measured the same as a round I had on hand and I never measured it, I just use the LC surplus round to set my seater with when making equivalent ammo. IIRC 2.800"

For 7.62X51

M80 Ball
149 grain FMJ
46.0 grains WC846
41.0 grains IMR4475
41.5 grains IMR8183
for 2750 FPS +/-30 50,000PSI

150.5 grain FMJ
46.0 grains WC846
42.0 grains IMR4475
for 2750 FPS +/- 30 50,000PSI

M852 Match
168 HPBT
42.0 grains IMR4895
for 2550 FPS +/- 30 50,000 PSI

There is other data on this and other forums and from the military. Someone on here had posted a link to the military specs but I couldn't find it just now.
The burn rate will not change so much that it will cause problems with finding a good load and if it at least fills the case 1/2 full you will easily see an over charge. The faster the burn rate the sharper the felt recoil produced is the biggest thing you will find. IMHO the military spent lots of money finding the best balance of components so I use their results as a guideline for my ammo experiments when I can.

October 14, 2012, 01:29 PM
i would stick with varget or imr 4895 used this 335 in bigger rounds and found it needed mag primers. if you are using light weight bullets it works well but mid to heavy bullets need slower powders. make sure your sizing die isnt over sizing the case as most .308 dies have a tendency to do if you follow the directions that come with them. found this out the hard way after tossing 30 rnds of brass only fired twice.:banghead:

October 15, 2012, 01:08 AM
Benchmark and IMR 8208XBR are worth a look with light bullets in .308 as well. I've gotten excellent accuracy with 8208 and 150gn BTs.

October 15, 2012, 10:27 PM
I love H4895 with 168match bullets. I also like TAC
My chart with 42gr h4895 out of a 24" barrel. This load was loaded in January and shot over the chrony in August. Same impact also

October 15, 2012, 10:56 PM
Varget and Alliants RL 15 are the 2 that have proven to give me the best combination of speed and accuracy. Both are basically the same in both areas for me, but I settled on Varget for no paricular reason. Both are formulated to be very consistent over a wide range of temperatures which was a big sellling point for me. It can be well over 100 here during August and early September when working on loads. Temperatures in the teens, are very common during the late season in the mountains. Single digits are not unheard of.

I tried 4895 with good results with 150's and 165's as well, but the temperature consistency got me looking at other powders.

the count
October 16, 2012, 09:36 AM
I have tried H335 and Varget in my Remington 700 in 308. Used several bullet weights. In essence I got the same results with both powders. As the price difference is in favor of 335 I am sticking with that. With my Hornady electronic powder dispenser 335 does not really meter well but thats ok.

October 16, 2012, 10:07 AM
I'll throw in IMR4064
This with the 150 grain Hornady boat-tail bullets (SST, I believe) are very accurate in my Model 70 Featherweight.

October 16, 2012, 11:55 AM
8208, H4895, Varget will do the job. I don't use much 335 anymore. You might also consider a core-loc or flat nose bullet in a heavier weight. The advantage of the SSP is longer range - do you really think you will take 300 yd shots in Maine? Try powder Valley or other on-line sales - prices are less and the hazmat $ offsets the sales tax.

Ky Larry
October 16, 2012, 01:46 PM
I've owned several .308 rifles thru the years and currently have a CZ-550 Varmint in .308 Win. I've tried all the powders mentioned above and many more but I always go back to AA-4064 or IMR-4064.However, only your rifle can tell you what it likes. I've tried " ice cream loads," pet loads, and universal loads and they are all hog wash. You have to load and shoot different bullet-powder combos. There is no shortcut.

October 16, 2012, 03:20 PM
One of the selling points of Varget powder is that it gives consistent velocity and pressure over a wide range of temperatures. I use it a lot here in Florida, for both .308 and .223.

October 16, 2012, 04:05 PM
Hi Centurian22,

I see you are from Maine. Yesterday I drove to Cabela's in Scarborough to buy 2 lbs. of Ramshot Hunter. This is a ball powder that is ADVERTISED to not be temperature sensative as ball powders are reputed to be.

Speer load data typically calls for magnum primers when using ball powders in an effort to combat at least some undesireable cold weather characteristics.

I don't have enough experience to say one way or the other if magnum primers with ball powders or using Hunter in cold weather works well. Anyone with experience on these issues?

The ball powders are definitely easier to work with in my reloading set up but the proof is holes in paper (or white tail deer, moose, etc..).


October 16, 2012, 10:01 PM
I have had my best luck with Varget in 150gr, 44.5gr (COL 2.800") is my starting load and most accurate. My FN Winchester 70 is picky and likes 150gr Speer BTSP the best. Nickle sized groups is plenty good for a light weight hunting rifle.

October 17, 2012, 07:20 AM
Wow Thank you everyone for your input and experience. Sounds like I'll just have to try a couple of the more popular powders (Varget seeming to have the edge) and see what works. I was hoping to start with something less expensive but as usual you get what you pay for. Saving a couple bucks (after spending several hundred on equipment) doesn't do any good if it doesn't go bang when I want it to or doesn't put holes where I point it.

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