How much bullet will a 1:12 barrel stabilize?

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Apr 10, 2011
Lost in Texas
I have a Rem 700 SPS V in .308. It has a 26" barrel with a 1:12 twist. Will it stabilize 175 grain and/or heavier bullets? -Earl
I'd like to load as heavy as possible for hunting like... Sierra 220 g pro hunters or Nossler 180 g ballistic tips. What do you think?
the .308 does not push 220's very well to begin with. I would think you would have a hard time getting enough velocity out of them to spin them fast enough to stabilize.
the best loads for the .308 are usually somewhere between 150 and 170 grains. my own rifle has a 1:12 twist and it really likes Hornady 150gr SST over a charge of Varget. Depending on what you're hunting, the 150 to 170 should be planty with the right bullet selection. Once you pass that, you begin losing some of the good stuff about the .308 and you may be best served by going to a .30-06 or similar.

I've never had a deer walk away from a 150 bullet. Just an opinion.
The 308 is at its best with 150-165 gr bullets. You could shoot 180's or even heavier if you wanted to, but there is no need to do so.
Twist formula

Just copy this and paste it into a spread sheet (block C1 is a good option).


Then copy and paste this (to make it simple, put the 'Where' in block E2).

Sg - is the stability coefficient and should not be less than 1.4, but more is ok
C4 - Caliber in inches (.223 for both .222 and .223)
C5 - Bullet Weight in grains
C6 - Bullet Length in inches
C7 - Barrel Twist in inches per turn
C8 - Muzzle Velocity in fps
C9 - Temperature in degrees F (59F normally used)
C10 - Pressure in inches of mercury (29.92 normally used)

This will put the variables in the 'C' column from row 4 to 10. The numbers will have to be typed in to the 'C' column. The location that you put the formula will display the final calculation value.
the new 165 gr barnes solid is the way to go. It will outperform the heavier bullets.
I don't hunt anything other than paper so don't know how much help this will be! :rolleyes:

I have a Rem M700 ADL Varmint 26" heavy barrel with 1:12 twist. I shoot 168gr BTHP over Varget getting sub MOA groups out past 500yards. I use it for bench rest shooting only! With the new stock and optics, it weighs in at 25lbs so I wouldn't want to hump it through the brush! :what:

You never specified what you're shooting at but if you are hunting North American (non dangerous) game, IMHO, there is PLENTY of stopping power in the 150 - 170gr range of bullets!

For dangerous game, though, you're gonna want some more horsepower!;)
Thank you for all the good responses. Just like Gtimothy, my .308 loves 168 smk over 46g of varget. They are the most accurate loads I've developed. They're great. Anyway, I'm deer hunting in east tx this year and I will not be making more than 200 yard shots. Someone gave me some Win 190g soft points for .308. I haven't had time to try them out yet... I figure if I can get 2 moa or better I'll try hunting with them. I'm a big fan of large chunks of slow moving lead for hunting purposes. If they work out, it got me to thinking I'd like to go even heavier. I was really curious if anyone had first hand experience loading heavy bullets in 308. Thanks again for the good responses. -Earl
Personal opinion from 60 years of deer hunting. 150 grain is is more than enough for deer.
I think it has to do with more than just twist. I have a savage axis .308 with 1:10" twist 22" barrel and so far it refuses to spit out anything heavier than 168gr with ANY accuracy. I shot win super X 180 and it wouldn't stay on a 8.5x11" sheet of paper at 100yrds. I heard much the same as has been said here that there is no reason to go heavier than the 150-168gr range that .308 loves and shoots so well, so I didn't waste any more money on it. When I get into reloading and work out a couple loads I may venture into the heavy bullets again just to see if I can make them work but only out of curiosity. The added recoil of the heavier rounds also seems excessive for what little gain there may be found.

Oldpapps: that looks like and awesome setup! Can't wait to try it out, thanks for the info.
According to the stability calculator at, a 1/12 308 should have no problem stabilizing a 220 grain Sierra or Hornady round nose.
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