Quiet loads for .308


Dave R
May 3, 2004, 10:49 PM
Any of you experiment with quiet loads for .308?

I read over this thread on "cat's sneeze" loads (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=62176&highlight=silent+loads) for .357 mag. Got me thinking about what I could do with my .308.

The thread talks about the virtue of seating the bullet really deep. Can't do that with a bottlenecked cartridge, like you can with straight-walled pistol cases.

I read other threads about the virtue of using lead bullets. Less friction. Some have used .32 lead bullets or buckshot. BUT heavier bullets are better. More energy at lower velocity. But its not easy to source heavy lead bullets for .308, particularly in small quantities. And I can't cast.

They say faster pistol powders are best because pressure peaks fast and then falls in the longer barrel, reducing the "pop" of escaping gasses.

I also assume I'd need to use wadding to keep the small charge of powder near the primer.

So my questions are:

1) Would I get in trouble using heavy, jacketed bullets at lower velocities? Or is there a good source for small quantities of heavy lead .308 bullets (200grn or so?)

2) Do I have to use dacron for wadding, or could I use cheap ol' toilet tissue? I read a thread that says its OK--the stuff basically disintegrates and doesn't leave a flammable residue.

3) Would Unique powder be a good one to experiment with? I'm thinking of starting with 9mm-type loads and going up or down from there. (Yes, I know to check for bullet in the bore after each shot).

Any other thoughts?

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May 3, 2004, 11:42 PM
i've played around w/ light loads for a 308, but not like what i think you are talking about.

you need to go to www.accuratereloading.com and go to the forums, then go to 'reloading' and run a search on 'blue dot'. there's been a lot of chatter on that board recently for using blue dot for reduced rifle loads, and they seem to have about every cartridge covered.

for your cast bullets, go to www.baitshopboyz.com/forum - there's a couple guys there that can get you pointed in the right direction.

can't help ya on the wadding.

other thoughts - for a lighter 308 load, i think you might enjoy working w/ h-322 and 150 hornadys... a little more oomph than a 300 savage or 30-30, yet has light recoil, and pretty good accuracy.

Dave R
May 4, 2004, 12:35 AM
Yeah, I've already got a .30-30 level load I like. Same POI at 100 yards as my "working" load has at 200 yards. So no need to adjust the scope. Ah, the joys of reloading.

I'm looking for a "cat's sneeze" load that I might be able to dial in the same POI at 25 yards.

May 4, 2004, 06:51 AM
check out accurate reloading. the feller that did all the experimenting i was talking about has a 'general' rule of 40-60% case cap of blue dot for bottleneck cartridges. i don't recall specifics right now, but seemed to me they were going thru the sticks at around 1600 f/s...
not sure how quiet that would be, but i would wager you could shoot comfortably sans earplugs...

May 4, 2004, 08:16 AM
Yes, I have experimented with "cat's sneeze loads" in calibers in the same class as .308 (.30-06, 7.62x54R.....) but not .308 itself.
I used faster burning powders than Unique, although unique would work. There is a source for cast bullets but I will have to get back to you on it. I have to get up and get ready for work. There is a lot of stuff on-line on this subject.

May 8, 2004, 11:18 PM
Get a chamber insert for .32acp(or .32S&W) , they are SUPER quiet in .30 caliber rifles.:cool:

May 8, 2004, 11:56 PM
Gordon: Great call!

May 8, 2004, 11:58 PM
I forgot about this post.
The cast rifle bullets that I bought were from Bonus Cast Bullets. They are lubed and have gas checks. I bought them in 8mm.
The Lee handloading manual has some good stuff on reduced loads.
Paco Kelly on www.sixgunner.com has had some good stuff on what he calls "Silent Loads".
I assume you found the website called "Gunwriters on the Web" which is where I first saw the term "Cat's Sneeze Loads" used.

Another thing you might want to check in to is the Hammond Game Getter. It is a little device made from a standard piece of brass with the back end cut out and a steel insert installed in it's place. The projectile is a piece of buckshot that is sized with the included sizer. The propellent is a .22 blank that are sold in hardware stores for use in nail guns and Hilti guns and such. The bullet is seated in the case with your thumb. I have one in .30-06. It will hold a group of about 2" at 25 yards using the #2 strength blanks. He will make one for any caliber you desire. He advertises in Handloader magazine. Or you can order from Hammond Enterprises LTD. Box 41061 Petrolia PO Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6J6M7. There are a couple cool things about this little device. First of all you can carry it in your pocket to shoot small game when big game hunting. Secondly the report is about as loud as a hand clap. Third, it seems easier to me to use this thing than to load a bunch of "cat's sneeze" loads.

I have played around with very light loads in 7.62x54R, .30-06, .30-30, 7.5 Swiss, and .444 Marlin. I mainly used cast bullets with Red Dot powder. Paco Kelly advocates shooting heavy bullets with light charges. If you are actually shooting an animal, this is good advice. You can come up with loads that wouldn't be heard from 50 yards away that would still work fine on medium game from close range when using heavy bullets. I came across an article in The Shooter's Journal, A quarterly newsletter published by The Oregon Trail Bullet Company. The article appeared in the Fall 2000 edition and was entitled "Quick Cast Bullet Loading for Military Bolt Guns". They advocate using a charge of 13.0 grains of Red Dot and a cast bullet for any cartridge in the ".30 caiber class". These loads are not Cat Sneeze loads but are much quieter than standard loads.

Here are a few links from this board:

May 9, 2004, 12:20 AM
I have been experimenting for years in making guns quiet.

The best bet with the .308 is to get a 32acp to .308 chamber adapter from
For $20 pp

The load is 1 gr of Bullseye or Red Dot or Unique convered with two poly wads cut with the 32acp case mouth. Chamfer the case mouth outside until sharp, so it cuts well. Push a .315" soft lead ball into the case so the wads push on the powder and the lead ball is down inside the case 1/4". Try to compress the powder, while keeping the bullet in good enough shape to engage the rifling.

Adjust the powder charge in .1 increments.
There will be a sharp threshold from a three sound report to a one sound report, from click [firing pin], bang [muzzle report], clang [target being struck] to a single, BLAMMMMM!!!
That threshold is when muzzle pressure is ~ 2 atmospheres and goes super sonic when released. The bullet will be way sub sonic, but the gas must be kept barely sub sonic.

Adjust the powder charge to the most possible while keeping the pellet gun sound. The longer the barrel, the higher the possible charge. The idea is to compress the powder and have a long barrel to get as much expansion ratio as possible for the max velocity with no more than 2 atmospheres of muzzle pressure.

This load sounds like a pellet gun, and goes through an inch of wood.

Compressing 1 gr of powder in a 45/70 will make a pellet gun sound and go throug an inch of wood while making a .458" hole. That big hole means the varmint never gets out of the quiet suburban back yard.

May 9, 2004, 12:36 AM
Once again, Clark goes boldly where few have tread. Nice resume; 65Kpsi defensive pistol loads to 2 atmosphere muzzle blasts. If you could just come up with those nuclear tipped arrows Rambo uses in the movies my armory would be complete. :D

May 9, 2004, 12:46 AM
Have any of you guys actually used one of these cartridge adapters ? That link didn't really show you much about them such as how the .32 round is loaded into the adapter and how easy it is to get the fired case out of the adapter.
I have thought about buying one of those adapters for years but never have. I have never talked to anyone that actually owns one.
Isn't the bullet diameter for a .32 ACP significantly bigger than .308 ?
What kind of accuracy are you getting ?
Has anyone chronoed one of these ?

May 9, 2004, 04:25 AM
And what about the lightweight aluminum firing pin?

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