Frustrating .308 Load Workup with my Hog Hunter


February 16, 2013, 02:20 PM
Alright, I'm getting really frustrated now. When I first got my reloading press in December I got some Nosler 165gr Ballistic Tips and loaded up some ammo. I found that 46gr of Varget gave me a 0.63" group. I thought, "Wow, great, this rifle is awesome."

Well, about a week and a half ago my Hornady 150gr SP .308 bullets came in from the Hornady Lock'N'Load promotion, so I decided to load some up to see what they would do. I loaded some up using Varget and went to the range. I went to the range last weekend and was very disappointed (see my thread here:

I thought, "Okay, maybe my rifle just doesn't like those bullets." Yesterday, I loaded up some of my Sierra 168gr MatchKings using Hodgdon Benchmark powder. These groups were so bad I only hit the target TWICE out of 10 rounds. What is weird is that one shot would hit fairly close to point of aim, and then the others wouldn't even hit the paper.

I'm thinking what the hell? So I grab some of the Nosler Ballistic Tips I had loaded up and fired those. Bam, all 3 hit the target. Groups weren't great (maybe 2" at 100 yards) but I was cold, frustrated, and was really just wanting to make sure they would hit the dang paper.

I have no clue how to proceed. I was half wondering if it was my new scope, an SWFA SS 10x42 on a 20 MOA EGW picatinny rail, but the fact that the Noslers hit the paper rules that out. I guess next time I go to the range I'm just going to shoot at the 25 yard line and see what the hell is happening.

ANY thoughts, comments, or suggestions are welcome.

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February 16, 2013, 03:00 PM
My son had that problem one time with a sporterized 03/A3.It turnrd out that it had a grossly fouled barrel.After a lot of elbow grease and brushing it finally came clean and was back to it's <1 Inch groups at 100 yards. This may or may not be your problem.I would also check for a loose scope.

February 16, 2013, 03:24 PM
I'll make sure to even more thoroughly clean the rifle before I go out again. Scope is mounted securely.

February 16, 2013, 03:50 PM
If you can't get close to a minute with a 168 then the rifle is cursed. You can't even keep them on the paper?

Sounds like the new scope/mount isn't working.

February 16, 2013, 04:07 PM
The only other option is that I was shooting 1 ragged hole small enough to mistake it for a single bullet hole. I'm not that good a shot, though.

February 17, 2013, 07:51 AM
Might be that the load/propellant that you were using with the new/different bullets was just not accurate at that point. Also the cold may have been a factor. When trying a load I usually load 3-5 rounds at start and go up 2% a load for a first try. There are some truly poor groups there most times. Also shoot each load at different targets/or areas so you can actually SEE what each group is. All the fun of working up an accurate load.;) There have been rifles that it took 200 bullets and 5-6 propellants before I was happy with the results. I do not find a lot of instant gratification in reloading I am afraid but the effort in the end is well worth it.:) YMMV

February 17, 2013, 09:04 AM
If we were talking 2-3 MoA, I would say try a different load. But if you can't keep a 168 on paper, then something is wrong on the rifle.

February 17, 2013, 09:13 AM
My BIL had the same thing happen with his 10/22 (I know, it's a whole different ballgame), but he kept cranking on his scope to the point where I was afraid he was going to break something, then finally realized his rail was loose, not the scope.
You have iron sights on a hog hunter, right? Might be worth taking the scope off and just using irons to see if the problem is rifle or scope related. Just my .02.

February 17, 2013, 09:16 AM
Check the tightness of the action screws...then the scope mount & rings.

February 17, 2013, 09:29 AM
Scope / scope base issues can get REALLY frustrating.

If the rifle is clean, and the muzzle crown is not fouled or nicked, scope would be the next logical culprit.

With your rounds hitting center, then walking off.. that could also be barrel warping from heat. Was there any difference in cadence between the groups you shot? Did you wait longer for the barrel to cool off?

I had a beautiful Weatherby in 270 years ago, the rifle would shoot exactly one shot, with about 1 MOA of accuracy, before rapidly walking off the paper to the high right with each subsequent shot. Tried rebedding, no change. Eventually traded it back in at the gun shop. The barrel was stressed, when it was made. When it heated up, the heat caused uneven expansion and that barrel would reliably walk itself right off the paper.

Since I'm a target shooter and shoot groups, that ruined it for me. There was no way I would enjoy myself with a rifle that I had to wait 15 minutes to cool down between shots, to put together a group. I like shooting. Not waiting. :)

February 17, 2013, 12:18 PM
I think I can rule out barrel warping since the 165gr Noslers worked so well and were much more consistent. I'll give the action screws a try and see if that improves. Next time I get a chance to go to the range I'm going to load up about 15 starting loads and do some work at 25 and 50 yards to try to get a baseline.

twice barrel
February 17, 2013, 01:30 PM
As long as the Noslers continue to shoot good group you shouldn't be looking at loose screw or scope as the issue. You may own a gun that has a strong preferrance for that bullet. I'd be thinking about changing charges or powders with the other bullets and I'd be seating them just off the rifling. You shouldn't presume the seating depth for one bullet is the same for another.

Take your time and change variables slowly,


February 17, 2013, 04:48 PM
Yea, I have no problem sticking with the Noslers. However, it might be some time before I can find any in stock, so I'm going to do my best to see if I can get the Sierras or Hornady bullets to shoot accurately.

February 17, 2013, 08:41 PM
Varget isn't the greatest 308 powder in the world.
I've always had better groups/velocity using Reloader 15 & 19 with mid-weight .308 caliber bullets.

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