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Reloading .308 for semi-auto rifles

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by frayluisfan, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. frayluisfan

    frayluisfan New Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    NE OK
    Hi, guys.

    Years ago, my dad laid in a stockpile of 180gr Speer HotCor bullets. I'd like to reload them and use them as cheap practice fodder for my .308 FNAR. Does anyone know of a reason why that wouldn't be a good idea? I talked to a Speer rep who suggested they might not feed reliably in semi-auto rifles, and recommended a 165/168gr bullet, for reliabilty. Has anyone heard this? Have you guys had good luck with heavy bullets (180 or 200gr) or light bullets (125-150gr) in your reloading for semi-autos rifles such as the FNAR?

    Thanks much,
  2. codefour

    codefour Member

    Mar 5, 2011
    N. California
    I was wondering the same thing. I have a Springfield Armory M1A SuperMatch that I have a bunch of empties to reload.

    Does anyone have a consensus on what the maximaum grain bullet you can use with semi-auto rifles.?

    Oh and not to hijack your thread, but what is a good powder for semi-auto rifles in .308..??
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    IMR 4895 is hard to beat for an all around .308 powder. Plenty of good ones though.

    I have no clue as to how those bullets will feed.
  4. animator

    animator Member

    Nov 26, 2010
    DFW, TX
    I've loaded and fired nearly 100 of those Speer HotCor 180gr bullets with no problems through an FAL. And have produced <1" moa @100 yards with them as well using 44.0gr Varget.

    The FAL is my dedicated pig blaster, and this is my current hunting load. For plinking though, I prefer lighter bullets.
  5. MCMXI

    MCMXI Mentor

    Jul 1, 2008
    NW Montana
    My POF P308 likes the 178gr A-MAX. It feeds 100% reliably from the magazine and results in outstanding accuracy. My friend's KAC SR-25 shoots very well with the SMK 175gr. Good .308 Win powders are easy to find. I use Reloder 15, Varget and IMR4895.

  6. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Mentor

    Dec 7, 2008
    Mount Desert Island Maine
    I have a Rem 7400 and have loaded some 200 GR Speer 308 for it and it did feed OK but the accuracy was not great so I saved the rest of the bullets for the 30-06. My 7400 gives the best 100 -150 YD accuracy with 150 GR bullets. YMMV
  7. cheygriz

    cheygriz Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    High up in the Rockies
    No problem. You just might have to adjust your powder charge downwards a bit and seat them a little deeper to feed properly.
  8. Maximumbob54

    Maximumbob54 New Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    JAX, FL
    I thought the whole heavy for caliber bullet with an auto loader had something to do with the recoil impulse on the rifles that have op rods or similar. Not sure if it applies to gas guns like the SR25. I know there is an adjustable piece that can be added to M1 Garands so they can shoot heavy for caliber bullets on not ruin themselves. Sheuster nut? Something like that.
  9. jg4890

    jg4890 New Member

    Mar 2, 2011
    Leander TX
    stay away from Federal primers. They are too sensitive and you will get slap-fires in a semi-auto.
  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Mentor

    Dec 29, 2006
    You really need to call FN and ask them for their recommendation.

    Most gas guns use gas systems developed for military rifles. Military service rounds are 150 grain and the US used 175 grain bullets. Lighter bullets are fine but unless the charge is really cut, heavier bullets create high port pressures and beat up the mechanism with heavy recoil.

    None of the gas rifles I own have self compensating in any sort of a way. I have FAL, Garand, M1a, PTR91, and AR. The M1a is somewhat self compensating but I am not going to risk cracking a receiver by shooting bullets heavier than 175 grain and 2550 fps. The PTR91 is just uncomfortable with bullets heavier than 150 grain.

    I have worn out barrels with 168 match bullets going between 2575 fps and 2625 fps. I have buds who shoot 125 grain bullets standing at 200 yards.

    I am aware of M1a shooters who used a 180 SMK match bullet, but for that to work they had to reduce powder charges .

    As for powder choices, faster is better. IMR 4895 is the standard 308 powder, it was used in the development of the cartridge. I have used IMR 3031 with excellent success, lots of people use 4064. I would go no slower than IMR 4064. It is good advice to bound your propellants between IMR 3031 (fast) and IMR 4064 (slow) with IMR 4895 as nominal.

    I will recommend that you size your cases with a small base die, use a case gage, I use Wilson cartridge headspace gage, to set up your die. Size your cases to gage minimum. Always trim. Always seat primers by hand and verify that they are all below the case head. High primers can cause a slamfire. Do not use Federals in a gas gun as they are the most slamfiring primer around. Seat your bullet to a little less than magazine length, and accept the fact that you are going to loose about half of your cases in the weeds, and the ones you recover are going to be stretched so much that five reloads is a good lifetime.
  11. DBryant

    DBryant New Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    New Hampshire
    I like to use CCI No. 34 primers in .308's. They're a harder primer, specifically designed for military rifles. No. 34's are large rifle primers and they also make No. 41 for small rifle primers, but I've never used those since I don't yet have anything using small rifle primers.

    SlamFire1, I'm curious, what exactly does using a headspace gauge to set up your die do for you?
  12. hancjamk

    hancjamk New Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    This explains the headspacing issues for autoloaders. I know this article intended mainly for the M1A/M14, but the headspacing issue and the importance of small base dies applies to all autoloaders... Including ARs.

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