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Trying to decide on a first load to try

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by primalmu, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    I got my reloading press yesterday and mounted it to a workbench I made. I picked up some Varget powder and some Nosler ballistic tips to start working up a load. I don't have a Nosler reloading manual so I've been searching online for a suitable load. It seems like most people loading .308 Nosler ballistic tips with Varget powder are running 46-47 grains of powder. I'm planning on starting with a 10% reduction in powder (probably start at around 42.5 grains) and work up from there.

    My question is, when working up a load, how of an increase in powder is recommended? I was thinking starting at 42.5 grains and going to 43, 43.5, 44, 44.5, etc. Honestly, I'm mostly concerned with accuracy so I have no qualms with loading it light if the accuracy is there. I don't have access to a chronograph right now so I can't really load for velocity at the moment.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Any chance you could share the bullet weight with us??

    rc
     
  3. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    My bad, 150 grain.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You are on the right track.

    But 42.5 will prove to be a very light load, about like a 30-30.

    Hodgon suggests 44.0 is the starting load with Varget & that bullet.
    47.0 is a Max compressed charge giving 50,300 CUP.

    SO it seems you can't get enough Varget in the .308 case to get in any real trouble.

    rc
     
  5. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    Thanks for the info! I hadn't even thought to check Hodgdon's website for load recommendations.
     
  6. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    RCMODEL is right, start at 44.0 but don't take the 47.0 as max, it differs in every rifle. Your idea of half grain jumps is right on track. Load 20 at 44.0 then 9 at 45.0 then 9 at 45.5. Mark them and keep them seperate. sight in with the 44.0's, save 9. you will have 9 left of each weight. shoot 3 each of 3 shot groups for each weight. measure and average. you might see your groups get smaller or larger as velocity goes up. If they get smaller, keep on increasing until pressure signs show on primers or the groups start to spread. there are still many variables depending on just how accurate you want to get. Welcome to our demented world. keep us posted!
     
  7. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    Loaded up some ammo today. I loaded 15 rounds at 44gr (giving me at least 10 to sight in). I don't have enough cases or bullets to load 9 at each interval, so I loaded 5 at 44.5, 45, 45.5, 46, 46.5, and 47gr.

    I got my components at Cabelas, so I spent more than I would have if I had ordered online in bulk (to offset the hazmat fees) or even gone to Walmart. Still, these ran me $0.63/round, or $12.60/20 rounds. Even with expensive components I saved over $7 vs buying new factor ammo (and I'm certain that these rounds are of higher quality than the Winchester ammo I bought).

    The brass I used was a mix of Winchester and Prvi Partisan. I used Winchester for the first 10 rounds at 44gr and will use those to sight in. The remaining rounds are Prvi Partisan so I can ensure consistency while actually testing loads.
     
  8. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    Oh, and just for kicks here is the reloading station I built.
     

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  9. powell&hyde

    powell&hyde Member

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  10. briang7511

    briang7511 Member

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    Not sure if you are producing hunting rounds or plinking rounds in your .308but i have done alot of research and I prefer to use the hornady BTSP. They are cheaper and just as accurate. I have read reviews on almost every hunting bullet and i have noticed a trend with higher velocities and tipped bullets. Check cabelas and midway for reviews, it swayed my opinion of them and saved me a few bucks. I have tested my rounds out to 600yds for accuracy and i can say i am 100% confident in the hornady bullets. Barnes TTSX would be the only tipped bullet i would ever use on game but they are pricey. FYI varget is a tough metering powder, i get good results with 150gr bullets and reloader 15 (meters real good). 165 and 180gr i use 4064. 4064 still meters a little rough but better than varget.
     
  11. primalmu

    primalmu Member

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    Mostly plinking/target rounds, but want the possibility of using it for hunting. I had read excellent reviews on the Nosler Ballistic Tip's accuracy. That said, my Hornady press came with a rebate for 500 free bullets, so in about 2 months I'll have 500 rounds of 150gr Hornady SP bullets that I'll be working a load up for.
     
  12. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    I also load Varget under 150gr Hornady bullets for my .308. Start with the minimum load, then go up in half grain increments. Load five or ten of each powder charge and shoot for group size. Let's say the best groups come from the 45.5 and 46 grain loads. Go back to the range with 45.6, 45.7, 45.8 and 45.9 grain loads. Compare those to your 45.5 and 46 grain groups. Once accuracy begins to fall off, stop there and pull the bullets on the higher charged rounds to reclaim the powder for further loading. Or just shoot 'em up for fun. Be careful to watch for pressure signs as you get to the high end of charge tables.

    Just make the efort to reproduce good range conditions (no wind, consistent temp, etc) and spend a few minutes with a .22 before to "get in the groove" so any fliers won't be your fault and a waste of the several rounds you've loaded for testing.
     
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