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Suggestions for .308 whitetail loads?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by mpthole, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. mpthole

    mpthole Well-Known Member

    Well, I just went back 100 days in the Hunting forum and didn't see anything related specifically to this and since the search feature doesn't allow for 3 letter words....

    It looks like I'll be hunting - for the 2nd time in my life - this fall. I'll be with an experienced group, they're "family" and since they like me I'm sure I'll get plenty of help from them out in the field. Although they've already made jokes about getting me "lost". ;) :scrutiny:

    What I need from you all are some ideas on what round to feed my .308 AR-10 carbine? The gun seems to like the medium weight bullets... 168 or less. The first time I went hunting I tried out some heavier loads and they wouldn't feed. Of course, I mostly shoot 147 gr. mil surp out of this particular gun which it runs fine on. I've also fired Fed GMM 168gr out of it and that also functions well.

    I didn't see any hollow-point restrictions in the WI 2003 hunting regs... only saw that for FMJ. So, maybe I could just use Fed GMM? Oh... also, I'll be using iron sights and can't see myself taking a shot on a deer much beyond 100 yards unless I have something to rest on.

  2. sumpnz

    sumpnz Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert, in fact you have more hunting experience than me, though I'm hoping to change that in the next few months :D .

    Do not use FMJ for hunting. Legal or not (and most likely not) the beast deserves the quickest, cleanest kill you can give it. That means using soft points. Don't use most hollow points as they will likely blow up in the skin and not penetrate. That will leave the animal with a horrible surface wound and it will escape and die days later from infection. Match grade bullets that bill themselves as hollow points will act just like an FMJ for all practical purposes and should be avoided as a hunting round.

    If you don't handload, and if none of your buddies do either, then try any of the multitude of options at MidwayUSA's .308 factory ammo page . They have a bunch of options for soft points in the 150-168 grain weights, and heavier.
  3. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Well-Known Member

    I thought I knew a load for you till I read AR-10. I don't have one of those.

    IMR-3031 powder and a 150gr spire point with flat base bullet (Hornady)

    Work up a load starting with 40grains of powder, looking for best accuracy, velocity should be around 2650fps to 2800fps.

    That has always been an accurate load, just not sure of what AR-10's like.
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    do not use match ammo. it is not designed for hunting, and you may find yourself in for an arduous tracking job if you are unfortunate enough to hit something. while match ammo can and has been used w/ success on big game, it is not for a new hunter.

    for factory ammo, go w/ hornady custom or light mags, w/ a 165 grain bullet.

    for handloads, sierra gamekings are excellent, as is a stiff load of varget behind a 165 hornady.
  5. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Well-Known Member

    Mpthole, I use the Federal Classic 150 grain SP in my M1A for deer hunting. This might work for you as well. I have not taken a whitetail yet with this rifle, but the combo is plenty accurate, and I have taken deer with the same load, in a bolt rifle.
  6. twoblink

    twoblink Well-Known Member

    I find the tip type might be more influencial than the actual grainage of the round..

  7. priv8ter

    priv8ter Well-Known Member


    I'm going to admit, I know nothing about Wisconsin, but have you made sure it's okay to hunt with an AR-10?

    I only ask because I know that in some states, there are limits as to how many rounds you are allowed to have in your gun.

    Just something to consider(in case you already haven't!)

  8. sumpnz

    sumpnz Well-Known Member

    You can buy 5 round mags for most semi-autos (and detachable mag bolt actions) so that they are legal to hunt with. The other way to make yourself legal is to plug the mag so that it can only hold 5 rounds and in such a way as to make it very difficult to remove the plug in the field.

    At least here in AZ the mag can have any capacity you want so long as it is either fixed, or the rifle is not semi-auto. A 30 round fixed mag in a semi-auto is OK, and a 30 round detachable mag in a bolt gun is OK. But if it's a detachable mag in a semi-auto it cannot have a capacity in excess of 5 rounds.

    Edit to add: The mag restriction only applies to centerfire rifles. You can hunt with a .22 rimfire with any size mag.

    Also, after re-reading the regs, the mag restriction applies to fixed mags as well on semi-autos. My bad. (R12-4-303 "Prohibited Devices and Ammunition, Sec 4: Semiautomatic centerfire rifles with a magazine capacity of more then five cartridges).
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    150-grain quality SP.

  10. 49hudson

    49hudson Well-Known Member


    150gr BTSP, works well in my Saiga and would probaly do fine in your carbine.
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Use whatever bullet weight shoots well in your rifle, but with a hunting bullet. There are lots of good 168 grain hunting bullets you can work up a load for. They'll do fine. Mind you, it sounds like you havn't shot your rifle much. Practice, off hand, shooting at 100 yards, at a 9" pie plate until you can hit it every time with the ammo you intend to use for the hunt.
    Please remember that hunting isn't about taking game. It's great if you do, but it's more about the time you get to spend with all those family guys that are teasing you. Especially, if one of 'em is your da. Trust me.
    Oh and be sure you have a mag that is legal for hunting like the other guys have said. You may have a reason to buy another rifle. Not that an AR-10 is inadequate for hunting. .308 is .308. However, it could be that where you are only allows 5 rounds in the rifle. Find out. Think CYA.
  12. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Any 150-165 hunting bullet should be fine, provided that:

    1. It shoots accurate enough to point of aim in your gun, and
    2. It runs in the AR10.

  13. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

    Sounds as if 150-165 gr bullets should work fine in your A-10. Any good PSP in that range should be ok on deer at 1-200 yds or even longer if you are up to it.

    If you have trouble with any of the hunting ammo working in your gun, be sure to try the ballistic tip type. They are pointy like FMJ but are GOOD game bullets.

    Good luck and have fun hunting.
  14. mpthole

    mpthole Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for the excellent replies and suggestions! :cool:

    I've checked the regs and can find no magazine restriction, but even if there is one, I already have a 5-round mag so it shouldn't be an issue. There is a restriction on rifle length, both for barrel length and overall length. I've already measured and the gun meets both of those criteria.

    Even though I do some hand loading, I'll plan on finding a factory round that shoots accurately and feeds well. I just don't have the time right now to work up a load.

    Time to start practicing those off-hand shots! :)
  15. ACP230

    ACP230 Well-Known Member

    I killed my first buck with a Browning BAR with Remington 150 grain Core-Lokt Pointed Soft Point factory loads. It was in .30-06, but I figure the same loads in .308 should work, if your gun likes them.

    After I took up reloading I bought the same Remington bullets and used them in .30-06 and .308 loads. I haven't killed a deer with my .308 loads yet, but they shoot as accurately as my target reloads in my M1A.
    They shoot to the same point of impact as my target reloads too.

    I'd check out Remington factory 308s. They may be less expensive than some other ammo suggestions, if that matters.
  16. molonlabe

    molonlabe Well-Known Member

    I use a 168gr bthp not the match Sierra as they will not reliably expand. The Gameking from Sierra works well. I use 3031 and get very good accuracy out of my M1A and Bolt action.
  17. srsmith

    srsmith Well-Known Member

    Use bullets *designed* for DEER HUNTING.
    The WI whitetail is lightly built and the ranges are almost always less than 150 yards. The bullet should penetrate fully after expanding in the body cavity.

    I prefer the Hornady 150 and 165 gr hunting bullets.
    These expand quickly leaving with a large exit wound to put the animal down fast. The added penetration/slower expansion you get with a bullet like the Speer hotcore is not as effective.

    Pick a load that runs well in your gun.
    I know there are some AR10 folks on this forum who can give guidance.

    Oh, and as some of us have learned: TURN DOWN the MAG on the SCOPE !
    It doesn't matter what bullet you use if you can't find the target.
    The deer I shot last fall was 15 yards away.
    An easy shot at 1.5X... would have been impossible at 9X.

    Be Safe and Have Fun !
  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Good advice. Missed taking a shot at a nice doe because scope couldn't be turned down further...
  19. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    Don't use the Hornady light magnum .308- not recomended for gas actions due to pressure curves.
    The Rem/Win/Hornady factory loads should work fine.
    I've had good results with the 165g Sierra GameKing and IMR4895 in my M1A Bush rifle. Killed a rather large buck in norhtern MN once and a couple average deer and antelope in the western states.
    and ditto on the LOW scope power.
  20. mpthole

    mpthole Well-Known Member

    Thank again for all the great info!
    I learned this one the hard way too! My first time out a couple of years ago, the one and only potential shot I could have had was missed because my scope was on 9x. It was in that early twilight just before full sunrise and the deer was about 15-20 yards away. By the time I figured out what was going on - scope on too great a magnification - I lost the shot. Well... I could have shot him in the butt, *but* I wanted a "clean" shot for my first deer so I just put the safety back on.

    This year I'll be using iron sights and getting some practice in on pie plates at 100 yards before I go out for the season.

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