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Old March 18, 2007, 08:25 PM   #1
NukeCop
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Magic load for the M1A?

I bought the ABC's of reloading, and a .308 Only reloading book. I plan on reading both before even buying the equipment(RCBS rock chucker). I'm curious to know if any of you folks have got load that you really like for punching paper.

It just has to be economical, accurate, and safe(no MAX powder charges)
Thank you!
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Old March 18, 2007, 09:05 PM   #2
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Every gun is different. There is too much peak pressure dependency on exact chamber dimensions for true universal loads. That said, some loads do rather better than others over a range of firearms. I don't know what range you want to shoot at? If you are going to participate in service rifle matches, you will need to shoot out to 600 yards.

A good starting point is Dan Newberry's web site's Optimum Charge Weight loads. For match shooting these are:

155 grain Sierra Matchking
45.6 grains IMR 4895
Winchester or Lapua case
Federal 210 or WLR primer

168 grain Sierra Matchking
43.6 grains of IMR 4895
Federal Gold Medal primer
Winchester case

175 grain Sierra Matchking
42.4 grains IMR 4895
Winchester case

175 grain Sierra Matchking
45.0 grains of Varget
CCI BR-2 primer a must for best accuracy
Winchester case

The next-to-last load is very good in my M1A with the Federal 210M primer. I will be trying it with the CCI #34 primer this year. That is a magnum level primer, so it may need slight adjustment for that. Note that Winchester .308 cases are light and have about 5% more powder capacity than most others. Do not swap it for any other using these loads. In particular, don't put military brass in place of the Winchester, because the military brass has significantly less case capacity. The 42.4 grain load of IMR 4895 in a Winchester case will drop to about 40.6 grains in a Lake City match case.

The first load above is better for the rapid fire phases because of its lower recoil, and is good enough for the offhand slow fire, though not quite as accurate as the 175 grain SMK in my rifle.

Nick
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Old March 18, 2007, 09:21 PM   #3
TimRB
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"168 grain Sierra Matchking
43.6 grains of IMR 4895"

This seems warmish to me. 41.5 grains of H4895 pushing a SMK168 is considered a classic load for the M1A/M14. Not saying 43.6 can't be done, or even that it's unsafe, but I certainly wouldn't start there. (I'm also not saying that H4895 and IMR4895 are interchangeable.) Hornady would not have you loading IMR4895 with a 168 grain bullet past 41.4 grains, and Sierra would have you stop at 41.3. Go figure.

Tim
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Old March 19, 2007, 11:17 AM   #4
30Cal
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They do seem hot, but I shoot surplus brass, so I have to back down 1.0 - 1.5grs anyhow. I'd recommend coming down a full 4-5grs from the loads listed above for starters. I suspect that Dan Newberry has a leade that begins about halfway down the barrel.

Quote:
155 grain Sierra Matchking
45.6 grains IMR 4895
Winchester or Lapua case
Federal 210 or WLR primer
With this bullet on an LC case, 2.82", WLR primer, I get gas leaking around the primers at 41.5grs IMR4895 from time to time.
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Old March 19, 2007, 05:23 PM   #5
NukeCop
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Excellent responses folks, thank you! I love hearing what other people are doing, it gives me a "real world" starting point and I like to know what "proven" for others. Keep'em coming... Anyone got loads in the 147grain range they'd like to share? I'm prolly gonna try duplicatioin the NATO Ball M80 load. I've got 7200 pieces of LC once fired brass. Is brass that ran through a M240B a bad idea?
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Old March 19, 2007, 06:16 PM   #6
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You may have to send it through an SB die to be able to chamber it. Try and see if the FL is adequate.

Ty
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Old March 22, 2007, 12:00 PM   #7
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30 cal,

Newberry will have tested in several rifles and taken colaborative data from others testing the load to verify it.

The M14 and standard M1A have the long NATO chamber. It has both a long throat and a 0.004" longer minimum headspace. The exceptions are barrels chambered with the special Clymer match reamer designed just for M852 ammunition loaded with the 168 grain SMK.

Note also what I mentioned earlier, that the Newberry loads are strictly for Winchester brass. Winchester designed special high capacity semi-baloon head cases for ammunition for the U.S. hosted Palma Match in 1992. They later adopted this higher capacity case design as their standard .308 case. I haven't measured the Lapua to see if they've followed suit?

In that Winchester case, Quickload predicts the peak pressure to be about 48,000 PSI for the 155 grain SMK load. In an average NATO chamber it will be 47,000 PSI. If you put the same charge in a Lake City case, with 3.4 grains less water capacity, then fire it in a S.A.M.M.I. minimum chamber, the prediction jumps to over 55,000 PSI. If you then make the mistake of using H4895 in place of IMR4895, it jumps to about 61,000 PSI. Given lot variations on top of that, it is perfectly possible to imagine coming up with a leaky primer even with a lower load. There just isn't any escaping working loads up with the components you will actually use.
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Old March 23, 2007, 02:55 AM   #8
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I have used 42.0 or IMR 4895 under the 168 grain MatchKing with good results.
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Old March 23, 2007, 07:54 PM   #9
Tim R
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Go to: http://www.njhighpower.com/

Yeah, I know NJ......but the site has good loads for the service rifle in reloading stuph. 308 is towards the bottom of the page.

I know each rifle is different but if a service rifle won't shoot these loads, something is up.
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Old March 23, 2007, 08:16 PM   #10
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My blasting/ economy load is surplus 147gr. FMJ's over 45.0gr Win 748.
Never really shot them for pure accuracy, but I have gotten 5-6 in groups more than once at 200 yards with Polytech M14. It's a mild/ middle of the road type load according to my Lyman Manual.
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Old March 24, 2007, 05:43 PM   #11
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My favorite and most accurate load consist of a 168gr SMK over 41.4grs of H-4895 in Lake City brass with a Federal GM 210 M primer. I seat the bullet to obtain a COAL of 2.80". This load, IN MY RIFLE,a SAI NM with a 1 in 11"twist barrel will have an average MV of about 2635fps and print a three quarter inch group at 100yds. To be safe, start with a reduced charge and work up gradually. Also, be sure to seat the primers BELOW the surface of the case.HTH

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Old March 24, 2007, 07:18 PM   #12
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155, 168, and 175 SMK's all shoot, though the latter two tune in a bit tighter in my M1A. I've tried a number of 147 grain FMJ's and had pretty crummy (for match shooting) results from them all. Shooter John's 5-6" at 200 yards seems to me to be about as good as I've been able to make any 147's shoot, and I've sampled a lot of Winchesters that shot almost twice that wide. Part of the problem seems to be the insistance by the manufacturers on putting a cannelure on the short bearing length of these exposed base bullets. This distorts them too much. If you can find some smooth ones, I don't see why they should be any worse than other smooth bullets in the 150 grain range (for their type). You want to get more like 2" or better at 200 yards for most match shooting.

Before you get too hung up on the 147 grain bullet-based NATO load, you will want to check this archived article out. In summary, it states that "standardizing" the 7.62x51 between NATO nations was the first attempt ever to do such a thing, and it didn't go very well. The article examines 7.62 NATO ball ammo from 12 NATO countries. The external dimensions are pretty consistent, but that's where it ends. They found bullet weights anywhere from 122 to 186 grains. Pretty wild charge weight variations, too. Ballistic were no match to one another.
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