broken, those are great groupings with SST's. I had a REM700 SPS Tac that shot a best group of .3MOA (not consistently but that's amazing for an entry level, off the shelf tac rifle). Of course it was with handloading.
The way I look at rifles now is completely different that a few years ago, when I got into the way of the gun
Personally, for a combo target/hunting rifle:
- Know the twist and stick to 1 weight that's best. 1 for hunting, 1 for target. If you're rifle shoots 1/2MOA with 168's amd 1MOA with 175s, why use 175s? Us target/precision guys like the same for hunting...it's not that the animal knows, it's that we do...OCD If you want to go way heavier or way lighter than what your rifle shoots best, get a different caliber or twist. A deer won't know the difference between a 175 & 150. My rifle's 1:10 and loves the 175 Barnes LRX (& TTSX 165/168), which will take anything in North America down, depending on distance and shot placement. Off a bipod, I'd rather shoot .5MOA with my .308 than 1-2MOA with a magnum...unless there's a charging Grizzly involved
- Always measure to OAL at the Ogive. This means investing in a OAL gauge & comparator. Hornady's is good for the job.
- Measure to better than a 1/10 grain powder with a digital scale. I found a great one on Amazon for under $60, that measures to 2/100 grain. It works great for me. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00
- Neck size (or FL with a custom die to your chamber, worth it for long run)
- Always Chrono. The low cost Stoney Point is a good enough rifle rest, without one, or at least a bipod, consistent aim point will be off.
Find your ideal load and bullet seating using this method, it works: http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/...g-vld-bullets/
IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE SAME POWDER LOAD AT EVERY WEIGHT RANGE. THIS ISN'T A SPEED TEST ONLY ACCURACY. YOU CAN WORK ON SPEED AFTER. JUST USE A POWDER LOAD THAT YOU KNOW IS CONSISTENT.
Your rifle is a 1:12 twist so theoretically it should shoot best with bullets under 168gn. So, I would try 150, 155 and 168 Amaxs. I found IMR 8208 XBR better than Varget for consistency (although slightly less speed) and it's temperature insensitive. It's my preferred powder now.
I would use the Interbond's (for lead bullets) over the SST's as they will be closer to the Amaxs. Amaxs will fragment on game, so if you're planing on eating what you shoot, I wouldn't use it (unless you stick to head/neck shots). Plus you said that your area is heavily wooded - bad for target bullets contacting branches as their internal makeup is different than hunting bullets (ask Hornady).
All the best.