Loading .308


March 23, 2013, 12:59 PM
Not long ago I bought 100 168 Gr match bullets to try. I got far enough along to get to the velocity threshold I was looking for when all the bullets etc disappeared. I only had enough to shoot my first F Class Match (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=704831) with, much less tweak a good load, and I also shot poorly.

Since then a kind member has sold me 300 168 Gr SMKs and I have tested not only the load I shot that day, but a couple more as well. The load I shot that day (Load #7) did not fair well in testing, but Load #8 did. I tweaked Load #8, and Load # 9 shot pretty well at 100 yards (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=181657&d=1363796735). Getting closer. The two low shots are my fault. I think the bottom one was bipod related as I am getting used to shooting with one. The horizontal spread is me ignoring wind changes wanting to see how affected the shots, and also not wanting to wonder afterwards if it was me holding off, or the load.

I changed to a .338 bushing and dropped .2 Grs powder. (RL-15) Oh yea, and changed powder lot #. (New 5Lb Jug) I'll shoot those 15 soon. Yea, I know, I changed three things. *sigh*

Anyway, I have been trying a couple of different things as far as sizing and seating and checking run out as I go.

The setup in the pic is giving me .00025 to .001 run out. Either seater, it doesn't matter. I am using the LNL with the Redding bushing type full length sizer and an arbor press with the Wilson hand die. I also have a Forster bushing bump die (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=176290&d=1355794205), and it does just as well as the Redding FL bushing sizer.

I am sizing first, making sure the shell plate is lined up right and when the case first starts to make contact with the die, backing off the handle a hair and then running the case in the die, just like I would with a single stage. I am doing the same later when dropping powder and seating the bullet. I am not weighing charges yet, and may not, at least not for 300 yards.

I am pretty happy with .00025 to .001 max run out. This is with once fired Lapua brass. caught it on sale at Midway. :)

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Tolkachi Robotnik
March 24, 2013, 01:50 AM
I have best accuracy with Lapua brass. It also lasts a long time. If you start weighing it there is very little deviation between specimens. It also does not move forward toward the necks as much as other brass. It must snow a lot in Finland and they have time to do things close tolerance....

March 24, 2013, 10:28 AM
Start weighing charges. Consistency and reproducibility is what this game is all about. Control ALL the factors you can. You will face enough you can not control on the line.

Good luck,


March 24, 2013, 01:04 PM
You are using a load known to shoot well, and your technique looks good. Your run out is about as good as you can get! When components become available again, you might try another bullet weight. Lots of shooters use the 175 SMK, and I even favored the 190. I used mostly 4064, and later on, Varget. I could not tell any difference between CCI-200 and Fed 210M, or even CCI BR primers. I used Lapua brass, fully prepped, but selected Winchester worked as well, just had a shorter case life. Also, play with seating debth. And I agree with rduckwer, weigh your charges.

There is a sticky on Snipers Hide and on 24HourCampfire, written by the same guy, about loading for competition, that is well worth the time to read. I encourage you to check it out! Good Luck, Lightman

March 24, 2013, 02:09 PM
I have 200 175 Gr SMKs ordered, and I already have 500 pulled 175s from M118 ammo.

The run out on the new brass with heavy neck tension ran about .002. With the same brass but once fired and a .338 bushing with neck walls at 14.1 to 15 thousandths the run out was excellent.

I shot Load #10 today. I shot the two leftover rounds of Load #9 on the middle target, then shot two five shot groups on the top two with Load #10.

On the first group (Left) the second shot went low...hmmm, yea, feel that breeze on the back of my neck now. I adjusted the POA up a hair and put the next three shots with the first shot. Very good. Happy with that.

On the second group (Right) the first shot went low..hmm..what am I doing. The 2nd, 3rd, & 4th shots huddled together OK, and then I got careless again and dropped the fifth shot down and right. Still shows potential though.

The 10 shots in today's groups averaged 2712 FPS. The previous Load above averaged 2766 the other day, and the two shots today averaged 2762.

2700 to 2725 seems to shoot a little better in my rifle than 2750 to 2775, is easier on the brass, and will be easier on me as well. Recoil is more pleasant and the bipod and bag is disturbed less.

It certainly shoots well enough to load 30 this time for some practice, and a lot better than what I shot in the first match. :)

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