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Old January 9, 2012, 06:20 PM   #1
PunchinPaper
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Reloading M1 Garand Ammo..Pointers plz

Hi,
I am about to start loading ammo for the M1 Garand.
While not new to reloading 30-06, I am new to reloading 30-06 rds for the M1 Garand or any semi auto 30-06 for that matter.
I have been shooting M2 Ball in this rifle.
I would like to tighten my groups up, so I figured I need to hit the loading bench. I have the latest Hornaday loading manual, it has a section with load data just for the M1. I normally shoot their bullets alot ,for one they are good quality bullets and thats what my LGS carries the most of.

I have searched online for M2 Ball projectiles it seems sources have dried up.
I did find some 147 gr FMJs for decent prices.
Does anyone know where to buy bulk bullets for reloading M1 ammo?
What weight bullets can I load for this rifle without using an adjustable gas plug? Does anyone know of a list of ideal powders for this application?
I have 125gr B-tips and 180gr SSTs on hand and W760 powder.
I wonder if it would be possible to load some M1 safe ammo with the
components I have already. I understand I will most likely be heading to my LGS for bullets and powder. Another thing: I never crimp my rifle bullets, is a crimp needed with M1 ammo? As long as I have good neck tension I should be good right? Well thanks in advance.
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Old January 9, 2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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Purchase a Wilson Type Cartridge Headspace gage. I like the simplicity of a “go” , “no-go” gage.

Good pictures and description at
http://www.realguns.com/Commentary/comar46.htm



Full length resize the case to gage minimum. I recommend using small base sizing dies. Always use small base dies if using firing range pickups, or if you are shooting this ammunition in a commercial chamber. Such as a match Garand.

Trim cases below max trim length. I trim to minimum.

Prime cases by hand, verify that each primer is below the case head. It is not a bad idea to ream pockets to depth. Do not use Federal primers, Federals are the most slamfiring primer ever in Garands: they are too sensitive for gas guns. I recommend CCI #34 primers or Tula 762 primers as they are advertised as being Mil Spec.

Use IMR 4895 or equivalent. H4895 and AA2495 are virtual duplicates, the main differences due to lot differences. A bud of mine uses 46.0 grains IMR 4064 with his 168’s, IMR 4064 does not throw as well as 4895 but he weighs all his charges. You should use no powders faster than IMR 3031 or slower than IMR 4064. Good rule of thumb.

For 150 grain bullets keep your velocities below 2700 fps, better to average 2600-2650 fps which is equivalent to GI ball ammunition in my rack grade rifles. Match ammunition was loaded with 174's and that is the heaviest bullet to use in a Garand. That load chronographed at 2640 fps in military acceptance barrels. No one should try to push a 174/175 any faster in these mechanisms. The gas system was not designed for magnum level velocities. As long as you stay within military velocities with the proper powders you don't need to use a vented gas cylinder lock plug.

I shot Hornday 150 FMJ's, they are not target bullets, but they shot a lot better than military bullets.

Sierra 175 Matchkings are wonderful bullets and I use them at 600 yards.

30-06 cartridge OAL should not exceed 3.30” for best clearance in the magazine. Shorter is fine.

My load with 168’s is very accurate. This is the load I use out to 300 yards.



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Last edited by Slamfire; January 9, 2012 at 06:49 PM.
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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Midway has the best prices for bullets. They have 150 FMJBT on-sale for $175 a thousand.

I use 4895 w/ these bullets. I believe I use 46.5 grains and that duplicates M2 Ball.
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:28 PM   #4
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Very informative Thanks slamfire.
I have read of people getting MOA accuracy or better from Garands, is this common or are they blowin smoke?
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Old January 9, 2012, 07:32 PM   #5
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Thanks Kevin
Looking at your targets again I suppose MOA would depend on how many rds were fired for the group. Since the center of your target is pretty much missing.
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Old January 9, 2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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FWIW======I always used the 168 match bullets in my M-1 and 4064 powder..and the Small base sizing die...If your using the older rifle and want to get serious with your shooting,I suggest getting target sights and a darn good trigger job...These are the most important issue's with the Grands...
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Old January 9, 2012, 09:27 PM   #7
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It is generally recommended to load between 147-173gr bullets for the M1/M14 using standard jacketed bullet loads. 147 or 150gr FMJ sound good, many also like 168 HPBT bullets.

A powder in the suitable burn rate range for the action of this type of semi auto gas rifle such as IMR 4895, H4895, AA 2495, BL C2, H335, Win 748, IMR 4064 (and there are others).

Winchester or CCI primers of any type will be fine when seated properly. A primer pocket Uniformer from Sinclair or Redding is always handy to have to ensure this. Some say Federal are too soft a primer some say fine. I get lots of Winchester locally so I stick with those.

All of my rounds are Full Lenth sized with RCBS or Lee FL dies.
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:28 PM   #8
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Boy sell that garand an buy a glock!
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Old January 9, 2012, 10:46 PM   #9
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Yea ok deadeye..Thanks
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Old January 10, 2012, 09:18 AM   #10
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MOA is certainly possible but 2-3 for a good rifle is much more likely. When I put 8 rounds on a standard size Post-It note at 100 it makes me smile. Naturally this is with the standard sights which are excellent. I'm not sure that a scope would help that much.

You won't get anything close to a good group using the bulk 147 gr. "machine gun" bullets. For accuracy you've got to buy good bullets.
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Old January 10, 2012, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Very informative Thanks slamfire.
I have read of people getting MOA accuracy or better from Garands, is this common or are they blowin smoke
The Navy reported in the 70's that their 308 Win conversions could hold three inches at 300 yards.

However when you are talking rack grade Garands, I don't believe it. I have shot in enough Garand matches to know an outstanding rack Grade will shoot within seven inches at 200 yards. The average rack grade won't hold the nine ring.

I believe there may be exceptional Garands. But I also believe shooters are firing off a bunch of five shot groups, tossing the big ones, and claiming the small ones as typical, when they are statistical flukes.
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Old January 10, 2012, 12:59 PM   #12
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That's my experience, too. A rack grade gun often needs either a new barrel or at least a short cutback and recrown, for starters. My first Garand was a DCM Garand and didn't shoot all that well, maybe 3 moa as it arrived. After bedding it and other accuracy work I still had to cut about 1/4 inch off the muzzle and recrown it. The next group out of it after doing that was 10 rounds into 0.7 inches at 100 yards from prone position with sling, using handloads with Sierra 168's. It loosened up a bit over time and had metal fouling accumulation issues I've written about elsewhere. But it was pretty much a slightly sub-1 moa gun until I shot the barrel out. I just got a new Criterion barrel that's waiting for it in the basement workshop, and am going to be interested to learn what it will be able to do with that.

The accuracy work disqualifies that rifle for as-issued Garand matches, like the John C. Garand match. For those you are allowed to select parts and do a little limited fitting that doesn't require non-GI type parts. These include stock inletting in place of bedding, peening the gas cylinder spline to remove rotational cylinder fit slop, picking a gas cylinder lock whose threads happen to be timed to come tight right at 6:00, and etc. This outfit claims in can get you a 1 moa rifle by careful selecting and assembly, but in my view the price takes away from one of the original purposes of the as-issued matches, which was to let folks as-issued guns have a match where they could be competitive without investing a fortune in bells and whistles.

The primer issue is worth attention. Slamfire's told us before of two dangerous out-of-battery slamfires he experienced with the Federal primers in Garands. I shot them for fifteen years in blissful ignorance and never had a problem. But I've tried to estimate, based on the number of slamfires I've been present for in the past, how common they are, and came up with something like 1 in 20,000 rounds on average. The ones I've seen have always been at big matches where the total number of rounds fired was about that many. 20,000 rounds, if fired through one gun, is enough to shoot out five barrels. With many competitors taking an interest in the game only for awhile, then retiring without having shot out a single barrel, you can guess that most never fire enough to have an even chance of experiencing a slamfire. So, anecdotal statements like "they always worked fine for me" can't be given much serious weight, as that's the probable outcome for most shooters, given their lifetime round count.

The out-of-battery slamfires tend to destroy the gun and injure shooters, so my policy is expect the best, but plan for the worst. The chances are that I could keep shooting the Federals successfully, but if I ever do have an out-of-battery slamfire that seriously injures me or the guy shooting next to me, I'll be questioning why I didn't take the simple precaution of using a harder primer. So, I switched first from the more sensitive Federal primers to the CCI to #34's, then just recently to the less expensive and more consistent KVB762 primer sold by TulAmmo.

The CCI's may be better for spherical propellants, as CCI optimized their magnum primers for those in 1989, but I use stick powders, so I can't say for sure. The Tula primers (they are made in Tula, Russia) are harder to seat, so I find I am running my brass through crimp removal even when there is no crimp, as that makes seating easier.

The 760 powder you have is too slow for a Garand. The muzzle pressure it presents to the gas system will be about 10% too high, and that can bend op-rods that aren't in tip-top new condition.

The Garand's sensitivity to charge weight and powders is a confusing topic. The Hornady loads, for example, are milder than loads used in the past or the surplus ammo you get today. If you look at John Clarke's match loads from the 1980's, Hornady will usually max out a grain or two lower. I believe this is in a misguided attempt to protect the op-rod, as the receiver and bolt and barrel of the Garand are extremely strong. I say misguided, because I believe the reduced loads are based on the assumption the lower the load the easier it will be on the op-rod. In fact, pressure in the gas system peaks about where Hornady's maximum loads are, then starts to go down as you load still higher. This is happens for several interacting reasons. One is that peak pressure increases faster than muzzle pressure as you increase powder charge. A higher peak puts more acceleration into the bullet earlier in its barrel travel, and one result is the pressure gradient between the bullet base and the chamber increases as the expanding gas has a harder time keeping up with a faster moving bullet. The faster bullet also spends less time between the gas port and the muzzle, giving the lower muzzle pressure less time to drive gas into the gas cylinder. So it works out, in some examples I've run, that as powder charge goes up the last three to five percent, the muzzle pressure might increase 6% while velocity causes gas port pressure exposure time to drop by 7%. The result is less gas driven into the cylinder rather than more. At the CMP forums, member Ericc, who has a gas cylinder pressure measuring rig, has posted a plot of gas port pressure profiles and impulse declining with charge increase above a point. The powder that showed this most clearly was the relatively fast Benchmark.

It's a funny business and the powders have to be in the right burn rate range for it all to work out, but it does. With very light bullets (100, 110, and 125 grain bullets) you'll find some newer powders like Reloader 10X and Benchmark expand the selection below the 3031 burn rate line. With very heavy bullets you can run H380 (civilian WC852) and IMR4320, but they will run the op-rod smartly, and there is usually no need to resort to them when slightly faster powders will be gentler with it and will shoot well. It seems to me John Clarke even had an IMR4350 load using 190 grain bullets. Heavy bullets give the slower powders more time to burn up and cause you to use lower charge weights of them, and that combination reduces port pressure. But it also means a slower bullet and longer gas port exposure time, so it isn't always a gimmie that it works out. The heavier bullets also increase the recoil impulse, and that pounds on the inletting and just generally shakes things around harder. Going to 190 just doesn't seem necessary when the 175 grain Sierras work so well and are so close to the weight of the 173 grain BT FMJ's the military qualified the gun for shooting in the first place.

For the 150's, I am gradually concluding the best powder may be the (unfortunately) expensive Vihtavuori N135. It produces lower gas port pressure and has low energy density, so there it has lot of bulk. You can use 90% load density under a Hornady 150 while running the gas port at 10% lower pressure than an 82% load density of IMR4895 does in achieving the same velocity. I'm not the only one at the CMP forums to have noticed the happy relationship between this powder and the 150's in the .30-06 and the low extreme spreads and reduced charge position sensitivity the high fill percentage produces.

The bulk 147 grain bullets I've tried have all been disappointing. This can change. One of the worst I ever tried were Winchester 147 grain bulk FMJ's; even worse than surplus pull-downs, never grouping under 3 moa no matter what you did with them. Then more recently I saw one post from a fellow who was doing alright with them. I think outsourcing has caused some seriously unfortunate quality irregularities in many bulk bullets.

Hornady still rolls their own and has the best cost/precision ratio in .308 150 FMJ's, IMHO. Sierras and Lapua's shoot great, but the price is significantly higher. If you're willing to spend money on high end bullets, the most accurate 150 I've found is the Berger flat base HP match bullet. It's a great bullet for learning the 150 grain accuracy limits of your rifle, but I don't want to spend .50 cents a bullet rolling ammo that won't qualify under rules at some matches. If I ever discover one of the smaller makers can give me the same precision as Hornady at a better price, I'll switch, but so far no luck.
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Old January 10, 2012, 01:27 PM   #13
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Unclenick has nailed it, as always. The M1 is a little different to load for, but it's not a daunting task.

I would also suggest this for a good read about loading practices and some recommended loads...especially the "exterior balllistics" link.
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Old January 10, 2012, 07:48 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the great info guys.
It have truley learned from it.
I will head to my LGS tomorrow and see what components they have in stock.
I will report back with details.
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Old January 11, 2012, 03:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
The Navy reported in the 70's that their 308 Win conversions could hold three inches at 300 yards.
The Navy had Don McCoy working for them though. There was a reason the Navy M-1's always shot better than everyone else's even in 30-06.
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Old January 11, 2012, 04:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
The CCI's may be better for spherical propellants, as CCI optimized their magnum primers for those in 1989, but I use stick powders, so I can't say for sure.
I was told Winchester primers were optimized for ball powders since this is what they sell.

I don't use the Mag primers in my M-1 loads, but I do use CCI 200's. I don't know if I've hit Uncle Nicks numbers for rounds but I'm working on it.

I would also agree a field or rack grade CMP M-1 is not going to give you the best groups. One way to tighten would require a new barrel.

Having said that, try some IMR 4064 wth a light to mid range load using a 155 gr. Palma SMK and a CCI 200 L/R primer in GI brass. Can't say it will work for you but it's a good combo in my 3 service grades.
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Old January 11, 2012, 03:34 PM   #17
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Tim,

I think that's what caused them to make some of their primers into standard/magnum combination primers. They went through a period, though, where they increased the primer sensitivity in answer to some complaints, and then there were complaints they'd overdone it and were touchy like Federal, so they undid some of it. The sensitive ones were the ones without nickel plating from about 10 or 15 years back. I still have a few factory primed case of theirs like that. Anyway, I won't run them in the Garand, given the variable sensitivity history. Just the #34 and KVB762's now.

This article on primer basics has information good for all reloaders to know.
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Old January 11, 2012, 07:19 PM   #18
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Unclenick: Interesting reference.

I had been skeptical about the old “high primers” theory put out by the ex Ordnance Officers who were the technical writers for the NRA.

Wayne Faatz tried to duplicate his slamfire, with Federal primers, and the theory at the time was that only “high primers” and your old worn out rifle, were the causes for slamfires. Those ex Ordnance Officers totally ignored primer sensitivity as a cause. Never addressed it even though one of them, William Davis, had calculated the probability of slamfires in the M16, with primers of different sensitivity.

I think the omission was a cover up.

Anyway, Wayne Faatz had a difficult time getting high primers to slamfire. First he tried high rifle primers and the only thing that happened was that the bolt face seated the rifle primers flush. No bang. Then he tried high pistol primers, no bang, just flush seated primers. He finally put a flattened pistol anvil under a pistol primer, then he got a bang.

Not that many reloaders are in the habit of putting extra anvils, washers, rabbits, etc, below their primers.

But here, unless the anvil is properly supported and the primer seated, CCI is saying the primer is not going to go off.


Quote:
The real story is that Boxer primers leave the factory with the anvil higher than it would be when seated in a cartridge case. Seating so anvil legs touch the bottom of the pocket lets the anvil tip penetrate into the pellet of mix. The nearly universal recommendation of having the primer cup bottom 0.003 to 0.005 inch below flush with the case head exists to set the proper amount of priming mix between the cup and the anvil tip.



This critical distance is known as the bridge thickness. Establishing the optimum thickness through proper seating means the primer meets sensitivity specifications but does not create chemical instability. However, failing to set the bridge thickness through proper seating depth is the number one cause of primer failures to fire. The bridge thickness is too great with a high primer, even one whose anvil legs touch the bottom of the pocket.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:48 AM   #19
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The high primer thing is a funny combination of contrary influences. Mark Humphries says that every time he's been present for a slamfire and gone to look at the unfired ammunition he's found it to be handloads with high primers among the remaining unfired rounds. On the other hand, every time you hear of failures to fire, especially in handguns, the first thing you tell the shooter to look for is high primers cushioning the ignition blow by forcing some of the firing pin momentum to be given up to seating the primer deeper.

Obviously the little indentation a floating firing pin makes in a normally seated primer can be deeper if the primer is slightly higher. I'm guessing a slightly high primer might be the worst case, with the anvil feet perhaps touching the cup bottom, but not yet fully pressed in to set the bridge. Old primer pocket fouling underneath the anvil feet might also help support them when a primer is not fully seated, worsening the chance of a slamfire.

If a primer is way too high, it may cause the boltface to help seat it, and that would actually decelerate bolt closing as it turns the lugs into place, thereby robbing the firing pin of some of the forward inertia it hits the pin with after its foot clears the safety bridge. So I can make an argument that there may be a slamfire probability peak, based on a Goldilocks primer height that is neither too high nor too low to discourage it. And perhaps this is increased by fouled primer pockets, but that's just speculation on my part.

I was a volunteer line coach at one of the ORPA Spring DCM clinics at Camp Perry sometime around 1990, when an in-battery slamfire occurred at the east end of the firing line on Viale range. The shooters were firing DCM issued LC M2 ball, so a properly seated military hard primer didn't prevent the problem in that case. The rifles were old and well-worn, and it wouldn't surprise me if one had a bent safety bridge or some such problem, though. I believe the coaches at that end simply handed him a backup rifle and set that one aside for later inspection. I mention that event just to be sure nobody mistakes high primer hardness and deep seating as a cure-all for slamfires. The gun has to be in good condition, too.

From the Allan Jones article, I take it more that a primer with an improperly set bridge will not go off as consistently as one that has it, perhaps incurring some of the ignition delay Jones described for the experimental mix they abandoned, and perhaps not igniting as completely in as short a time frame. The evidence for this is described by Dan Hackett in one of the chapters of the Precision Shooting Reloading Guide. He says:

Quote:
… I have experimented with seating primers to different depths and seeing what happens on the chronograph and target paper, and so far I've obtained my best results seating them hard, pushing them in past the point where the anvil can be felt hitting the bottom of the pocket. Doing this, I can almost always get velocity standard deviations of less than 10 feet per second, even with magnum cartridges and long-bodied standards on the '06 case, and I haven't been able to accomplish that seating primers to lesser depths.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:50 PM   #20
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:51 PM   #21
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I made it by my LGS and they had the 168 SMK's in stock as well as a host of different powders. I do not have a loading manual for those bullets,so I don't know what the best powder choice is. Could anyone point to lets say the top 3 choices for the M1 W/ the 168 SMK.....
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Old January 13, 2012, 01:49 AM   #22
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Lots of good info here. I have concluded that imr4895 under 150 and 168 gr bullets is about ideal for a garand load. I started with varget, but got better accuracy out of imr4895. In fact military ball 30.06 was loaded with imr4895 for a long long time.

Fwiw, I always clean the primer pockets, and trim the brass to avoid any slamfire issues.

Reloading for bolt guns can forgive a lot of mistakes that a semi auto will punish. Check twice, slamfire never.

Learning to load for the garand made me a better, more detailed reloader.
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Old January 14, 2012, 06:18 PM   #23
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My loads for the Garand are 46.0 gr of IMR4895 with the pricey Sierra 168HPBT match part # 2200.
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Old January 14, 2012, 06:37 PM   #24
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I used to run 4896 but found 4064 filled the case better, giving less position sensitivity, and exhibited better temperature immunity and more forgiveness of small charge weight error. It ignites easily and likes the mild KVB762 primers mentioned earlier as producing low MV ES.
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Old January 30, 2012, 11:11 PM   #25
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COAL for 168 gr SMK?

I picked up some SMKs and IMR 4896.
I don't have a sierra manual, could one of you share your M1 acceptable col for this bullet? I was debating the use of the Hornaday 168 col but I know the two are constructed differently. I also know seating depth is normally determined by the rifle in bolt guns for best accuracy. But I want the actual col the book gives. So I can work from there... And yea I know I should buy my own and not trust web load data, from what you guys have posted on powder charges jives with what several of my other manuals show. Thanks for all the help!
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