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Old August 13, 2002, 07:14 PM   #1
Gary H
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308/20"barrel/Clean Light Load needed

I've got my brass trimmed, but never loaded 308. My wife wants to give Silhouette a try. I'm looking for a light recoiling, but accurate load. Right now I have 168 gr Sierra Match and Varget, but I'm willing to try another combination. Hornady shows 32.6gr/2100 fps and Speer 42.0/gr2539fps, but are we talking lots of unburnt powder with these light loads? Is there a better combination of powders and bullets?
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Old August 13, 2002, 11:30 PM   #2
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Gary,
I'm taking out my new Standard M1A tomorrow for the second time (First time with reloads) I'm loading 150 Hornady SST's and 44-46 gr Varget, PMC brass and CCI 200 Primers. I'm guessing 2500-2600 FPS. I will be taking my Chronograph, I'll let you know.
I also have a few hundred Portaguise surplus ammo that I will compare it to.

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Old August 14, 2002, 12:35 AM   #3
Gary H
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My Hornady data shows 44.9 gr. as the max load for the 150 SST. Velocity with this load is listed as 2700 fps out of their test barrel. (Tested with Federal primers and 22" barrel) So, how does the change in primer, change the end results? If your load figures are correct, it would seem that the primer change greatly influences result.

But, I'm looking for a very light load and not a maximum. I've never had a unburnt powder problem with anything but a light load, but never reloaded a rifle cartridge previously.

Last edited by Gary H; August 14, 2002 at 01:33 AM.
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Old August 14, 2002, 09:18 AM   #4
Northwest Cajun
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Gary
If you go to the Hodgon website it shows 47gr is max for 150's with Varget. It is also a compressed load. That goes to show you that there is a VAST difference with published loads.
I backed down 3gr to start but after this batch( which is my first for 308) I probably use even less. I'm using a Semi Auto so I want to make sure I get the action to work properly.

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Old August 14, 2002, 09:54 AM   #5
Gary H
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I would guess by the lack of response that nobody loads 308 light. I would think that with the longer barrel and heavier bullets, unburnt powder might not be the problem that it can be with handguns.
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Old August 14, 2002, 11:10 AM   #6
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You may want to ask this over at benchrest.com - Some of the folks there are experienced with small bullet/fast moving .308 loads.
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Old August 19, 2002, 12:50 AM   #7
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Even at the higher end (velocity-wise) of things, a lighter buller will kick quite a bit less.

130s are no slouch in a .308 & something along the lines of a Hornady 130, with a bit of tweaking, should give quite acceptable accuracy certainly at 100 yds, probably well past 200.

Depending on the distances involved, the heavier bullet will win out out though for toppling steel targets, even at reduced velocities.

10% reduction from max is standard when working up a load, so looks like a 5 grain drop (from max) wouldn't be any problem - couple grains below that shouldn't hurt.

Nifty thing about reloading is you can (usually) do 'bout anything you want & if you can't with certain components, you most certainly can with others.

I've a dandy ~175 gr cast bullet load that runs right at about 1500 fps - very accurate, almost no recoil & very mild report. Still shoots through 12" of dead, or live, aspen trees at 50 yards.

Costs about a nickle to shoot.
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Old August 19, 2002, 09:33 AM   #8
Norm Lee
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light loads for 308

How light do you really want to go?

You might try some IMR 4198 or 4759.

I have had real good luck with about 17.5 gr. of 4759 pushing a 147 fmj.

A little less than that should do the job on the 168s.

Cheers,

Norm
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Old August 19, 2002, 03:47 PM   #9
Art Eatman
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Gary H: First off, I'm not sure why "unburned powder" is a concern. What seems to be important is her reaction to recoil.

If it's at all feasible, do something like load three rounds each: With 20 grains of 2400 or equivalent burn-rate powder, use the whole spectrum of weights of 30-caliber bullets you have on hand. Let her shoot, and stop when recoil appears to be of concern. (I don't think it will, actually.) I imagine a heavy bullet off the benchrest might be noticeable, but not from offhand.

If your rifle is around eight pounds, a non-max load of whatever is your regular powder and a 150-grain (or, as suggested above, a 130-grain) bullet shouldn't have enough recoil to bother anybody around 120 pounds...

FWIW, Art
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Old August 20, 2002, 12:32 AM   #10
Gary H
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Art:

My question partial exposes my lack of experience. I have never loaded a rifle caliber. My equipment to do so has been sitting for almost one year, as have a new Ruger 77 MK2 target and wonderful Yugo 8mm Mauser. I got side-tracked by my pistol and shotguns. When I was loading for Amy's various pistols, I found light loads and unburnt powder to be a problem. I wasn't sure that the longer barrel eliminated this concern when loading light for a rifle. I sounds like it really isn't of concern.

Your suggestions as to approach sound very reasonable. So far, Amy seems to be just fine shooting a 12 ga. 1100 and 20 ga. 870, so recoil may not be a real concern. She is concerned about her ability to hold almost ten pounds of rifle and scope. I think that a bit of weight lifting might be in order. I remember that you had a Rem. 700 titanium rifle that was accurate and very light. The Savage may not prove to have been much of a savings.
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Old August 21, 2002, 07:12 AM   #11
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There isn't anything similar in rifle to a "light/practice" load used in pistol. Doesn't work that way. You have light bullets and you have heavy bullets. Better still you have short, mid, & long range bullets and all that depends on who you talk to. I shoot 155 AMAX out to 1K yds, 168 SMK out to 600 yds and I use mil-match pulled 173s for "Practice" . For hunting I use 165 SGK. I have used 175s of various makers but ... I like the speed of the 155 . Try VarGet or Benchmark as a powder. I'm using CCI200 primers, Lapua & LC LR brass,. making no effort to "touch lands" I just load OAL to 2.823(fits my magwell). I have had 1/2 MOA all the way to 600 yds from a bench using a Harris bipod. Rifle is a Rem 700 with a 21" Shilen SS and glass is Leupold Vari-X IIILR 4.5-14x50(30mm). 155 AMAX works great on coyotes @350+ !!
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Old August 21, 2002, 08:51 AM   #12
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"There isn't anything similar in rifle to a "light/practice" load used in pistol. Doesn't work that way."

Before I disagree, could you please clarify?

A 000 buck & a couple grains of Bullseye, etc. is a great l'il .30 cal gallery load with no recoil. Pretty accurate too.

Cast bullet weights from 110-200+ can be loaded to 'bout anything that'll push 'em out the barrel. Accuracy depending on your load/rifle combo. Same, I guess from reports, about jacketeds, too, though I've never played with downloaded jacketeds.

Do a search at TFL's Reloading forum on an article I stuffed in about SHOOT CHEAP.
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Old August 21, 2002, 10:17 AM   #13
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Be glad to explain. When I shot(20+ yrs ago) competition pistol w/ 45 ACP, I had Full loads and practice loads. Don't remember the exact powder weight but for the close range I could use lead bullets for practice and then jacketed for match. Usually finished a practice with 20 or so jacketed "full" load. If I am practicing for a "tactical/practical" rifle match I use the same load I use in match. SOMETIMES I use the 173 gr as a practice round but that is to make sure I have good zeroes(checking my records) at whatever yardage. Still, The "comeups" for 173 difer from the 175 or the 168 and even worse for the 155. Even trying to use a cheaper 150 won't cut it for 155 data because the trajectory data is all off. If I were only shooting 100 yds it might be diffrent . My loads are all set up to be "mag-tol" (fit in rifle magazine) and I am working on a load that usues 155 AMAX and the Hodgdon Benchmark that equals or betters my old load with Varget. Hope this made sense.
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Old August 21, 2002, 11:47 AM   #14
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clean lite loads in .308

Think I know what you mean. I don't care to see leftover powder grains all over the place, falling into the action, getting into the chronograph eyes. My wife, Amy, likes hot pistol and revolver loads but lite shotgun and rifle loads. For clean burning very lite loads I use quicker powders, about 8 grains of PB has been clean and most excellent for consistency and accuracy for us, with a 145 gr cast bullet. Other folks swear by 13 gr of Red Dot. For longer range loads we use about 20 gr. 2400 under 168 to 180 gr cast bullet. If you don't want to mess with cast bullets, take a look at Hogdon's Youth Data, using H4895; they say you'll get complete burning down to 60% of max loads. Lite low recoiling loads help accuracy and good habits.
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