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308 from a 16" barrel

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bwsmith, Dec 4, 2012.

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  1. bwsmith

    bwsmith Member

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    I just put together a nice Encore with a 16.25" barrel chambered in .308. And I am looking for recommendations for a good hunting load. Right now I am using Hornady Custom 150gr BTSP but want to work up a load for it to tighten up the groups. Just curious if anyone has information to get the best accuracy out of it while still being lethal at 200 yard max. Lighter or heavier bullet? Higher velocity to compensate for the short barrel or dial it down? No sense reinventing the wheel if others have some good recommendations since I don't get to the range often to test loads. I usually load Hornady bullets, but if there is a better option for this rig to get the most bang to drop a buck I would love to hear it. Never hunted with a barrel this short before.
     
  2. Clark

    Clark Member

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    If it were me, I would do a 125 gr Nosler ballistic tip 42.7 gr H4148 ~ 62kpsi ~ 2,888 fps.
    The case would be 99% full of temp stable powder and 100% burned before bullet escapement. Muzzle blast would be a 10.7 kpsi, so I would hunt over grass and dirt without hearing protection, but avoid rocks or anything else with a high acoustic reflection coefficient.
    I would zero at 200 yards and take shots on deer and antelope up to 8moa correction at 475 yards with 1810 fps terminal velocity.
     
  3. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    i have a little 17" fullbull barrel 308 for my Encore to i dont have a real
    good load for it yet just a cast plinker load
     

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  4. bwsmith

    bwsmith Member

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    I was considering 125 grain but was not sure about their performance on game. But I have several boxes of Nosler BTs in 125 that I use for 300 blk. All about multi-use components.
     
  5. megaton

    megaton Member

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    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought that the twist rate of the barrel determined bullet weight? And its actually the length of the bullet that is the determining factor. The shorter barrel will simply produce lower velocities.

    I recently purchased an armalite ar-10 carbine with a 16" barrel and am just waiting on my brass to arrive before I attempt to work up a load with 168g hornady amax bullets and varget powder. The twist rate is 1/11.25 and I believe that the 168g bullets are approachinv the upper bounds of bullet weight for my rifle.

    The hodgdon site has data from a 15" barrel if you say it is a pistol load, should give you a ballpark as far as velocities are concerned.
     
  6. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    I was just going to suggest that myself. Look under the Pistol Loads for the short barrel Rifle Calibers. THey work out great in the 16" range.

    I shoot both a 30-30 AI Contender with a Super 14, and a Ruger Compact in .308 with the 16.5" barrel. I use 135gr Barnes TTSX as my lightest bullets for either. I found that when the 125 didn't exit from a broadside on a yote at 158yds, they weren't going to cut it on a deer.

    That said, up to around 180grs I have not had any issues as long as I keep my shots within the limits of the velocity needed to open the bullets up. Usually I try for impact velocities at or over 1800fps as a low end. Over preferably but you have to have somewhere to cut things off or start out at.

    That will usually let me get the most I can out of the Tender out to around 250yds with a 150i'sih grain bullet or 100 easily with everything else. This is actually one area that the plastic tipped fast expanding bullet come into their own. You don't have to drive them as fast to get them to do the same job as you would a closed tip or lead tipped bullet, and usually they get at least a double caliber expansion down into that 1800fps rang. The Barnes might be the exception where they have the solid copper, but they still can be driven pretty clippy form the shorter barrels and they DO penetrate out of proportion to their size.
     
  7. critter

    critter Member

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    Here's my experiences. As to the Nosler 125 BT, that is what I use in my TC Contender handgun in super 14" 30-30 Win. It is <1" shooter all day long at 100 yds from the bench. I have used it to take quite a number of moderately sized whitetail deer and it works VERY well indeed. I get plenty of expansion AND surprising penetration from it and quite a number of deer have been DRT. Longest range has been 175 yds-through and through!

    I also have a Ruger compact in 308 with the 16" barrel. In it I use Nosler BT's at 150 gr and IMR 4895. It works really well on our deer too. Accuracy is VERY good in the short, thin barrel and deer go down with it. To be honest, I haven't had a chance at any long shots with it. About 100 yds is my top distance SO FAR, but that's only been due to happenstance.
     
  8. bwsmith

    bwsmith Member

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    It looks like it is a 1:10 twist. It is not marked on the barrel, but it is factory rifle barrel from TC and I think that is their standard twist for 308.
     
  9. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

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    Bonded bullets usually will perform better at the lower velocity. You're only talking about 200yds so finding a bullet that shoots well is really all you need. Depending on what you're hunting, bullets in the 150-165gn range work fine. 165gn Accubond in the boiler room of a very big cow elk from a .308 took care of business and was a complete pass through. Heart was hamburger and most of the rest of the vitals were soup.
     
  10. popper

    popper Member

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    168 Amax works great in my 308 18" carbine, with varget, H4895 or ARcomp. 1:10 twist. lethal at 200 yard
     
  11. Clark

    Clark Member

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    Mostly between 400 and 500 yards I have killed 4 deer with 115 gr BT, 9 mule deer with 130 gr BT, and a mule deer and an antelope with 150 gr BT.

    I have only killed 18 animals in the last 5 years, so my experiences with bullets are just anecdotes, but they are consistent with some Lloyd Smale in MI who has killed over 100 animals with ballistic tips.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=682588&highlight=100
     
  12. bwsmith

    bwsmith Member

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    I have 125 Nosler BTs and 165 Hornady SSTs on hand. I have good Hornady factory loads in 150 and 165. Maybe pick up a box of Hornady Custom Lite 125 grain SSTs and see what weight the barrel likes before I start going too crazy with 3 different weights or will that just give me data on those loads rather than the weight? I just only get to go to the range for about an hour every couple months so I try to get my handloads as close as possible through research before trial.
     
  13. bwsmith

    bwsmith Member

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    Just a quick update. Heavier projectiles definitely group much better with the setup. 168 Amax groups under an inch consistently. I could not get anything lighter to group less than 2 inches

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
     
  14. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I have used the Sierra game king 165gr with excellent accuracy and terminal results.
     
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