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Old November 12, 2009, 04:27 PM   #1
beeker77
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Long Range handload problems

At a two-day long-range match last month (my first ever), I did okay on Saturday, shooting Lake City M118LR .308 in my Palma rifle, but did terrible on Sunday, shooting my handloaded Lapua brass: Sierra MK HPBT 175gr over 42.0gr of Varget, with Winchester 8½-120 Primers; rated at 2690 FPS, but the projectiles were going subsonic at 900 yards.

Fortunately, I had enough M118LR left from Saturday, so I was able to finish out the Sunday match after giving up on the handloads. My scorer on Sunday said I should try the same handload again, but bump the charge up to 45gr, which BTW is listed as the Never Exceed load in the Lee manual.

Thoughts?
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Old November 12, 2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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Beeker,

In a Lapua case with a Fed 210m primer I'm running 43.5 gr of Varget to get that speed in a very fast barrel. I have run as much as 44.2 gr of same in a more "normal" speed barrel.

When you get around to loading the LC brass back your charge down a bit as it has less capacity (h2o) than the Lapua.

I take it that you are using a "book" speed not a chronographed speed, book speed is only a number as a result of a test barrel (ours will vary slow & fast). Also I have not seen the best result on ES/SD from the Winchester primers.

FYI,
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Last edited by L Puckett; November 12, 2009 at 06:30 PM.
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Old November 12, 2009, 06:51 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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Quote:
Sierra MK HPBT 175gr over 42.0gr of Varget, with Winchester 8½-120 Primers; rated at 2690 FPS,
That velocity takes me 44 grains of Varget in a 28" Pac-Nor.

45 grains will give "pressure signs" in my Savage.
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Old November 12, 2009, 08:07 PM   #4
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No Chrono (yet); 210M Primers

Yes, that velocity (2690fps) was the 'book' speed, not from chronograph. A chrono is on my Christmas list.

And I think I'll use the rest of the Winchester primers on less critical event loads. I have plenty of the Federal 210M so that's what I'll use for the next batch. Actually, I think I'll do two batches for testing; say... 20 or so rounds with 43.5 grains, and another batch with 44 grains.
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Old November 12, 2009, 08:22 PM   #5
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Don't forget air density

Remember, the colder the air the more resistance the bullet will encounter- ie will slow down. I shot a 1000 yard FTR recently with Lapua brass, 178 Amax, 210 primer, and 44.4 grains Varget out of a Remmy 5R (24") and I still had to come up an extra 2 minutes to stay on center. I used the same exact load etc a couple of months before when the temp was in the mid 80's, but the temp on this day was in the mid 50's. I'm not exactly sure how much velocity was shed on the way down, but the guys in the pits said the bullets were barely coming in supersonic.
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Old November 13, 2009, 05:33 PM   #6
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Book velocities are just reference and your configuration may vary wildly from what the book says because of several factors but most importantly barrel length.

I too am not at all impressed with Winchester LR primers. In fact I only shoot Win primers in my pistol loads, when I don't have anything else. The LRs I have left do make decent 22 targets though and make a little puff when you hit them.
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Old November 13, 2009, 08:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
did terrible on Sunday, shooting my handloaded Lapua brass: Sierra MK HPBT 175gr over 42.0gr of Varget, with Winchester 8½-120 Primers; rated at 2690 FPS, but the projectiles were going subsonic at 900 yards.
Does M118 stay supersconic at 1000 yards?

How fast do you have to push a 175 to have it stay supersconic at 1000 yards?
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Old November 14, 2009, 04:32 AM   #8
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Just a thought out of left field... but is the Lee reloading book the only one you reference? My go-to book is Lyman, but regardless, I always cross reference with another source or two. Why? I guess I'm just (insert whatever word is more acceptable than "anal" here) that way. I'm really close to amazed at the differences in the printed data.

And, I gotta do the '+1 thing' on the question of how hard you gotta push a 175gr pill to keep it supersonic at 1000. I just don't see that it needs to be that fast to retain it's spin and flight path, but I could be wrong.
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Old November 14, 2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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A lot of guys use 45 grains of Varget in their rifles. It is "hot" but it has reported to shoot tight with 175 SMK's.

Also there have been problems between lot numbers of Varget, sometimes as much as a grain difference to achieve the desired velocity.

That is why I use IMR4064 in my 308 loads, better consistency, but a lot of guys are having just as good of luck with Reloader15.

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Old November 14, 2009, 10:23 AM   #10
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You need to be pushing the limits with a 308 to keep it super sonic out to 1k.

Have you tried VV N540 or 550? I got some VV N133 for my 223 and It was smoking fast. I was running a mid range load and the velocities were 200fps above book listed for the max load. The 500 powder have a little extra kick with some nitro coatings. GOOD STUFF in my book.

check out 6mmbr.com for some good 1k loads for the 308....
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Old November 15, 2009, 07:58 PM   #11
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For what it's worth I have had excellent results using N-540 in several calibers pushing the heavier bullets. Just like Vihtavuori claims.
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Old November 16, 2009, 06:24 PM   #12
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The only way you will know if its a max load is to try it in your gun. The books show max loads for their test gun not your gun. I've been 2gr over max in certain books with no pressure signs. Some guns will be maxed out before the book data.
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Old November 18, 2009, 03:00 AM   #13
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what I'm using

A good friend who has helped me start in FTR advised the following when I made inquiry about .308 loads over max:


"There's not an F class shooter in the country whose shooting .308 at listed max levels or below at 1000 yds." I was shocked.

My own load is 44 gr Varget, 175 SMK , Fed 210M, and w-w brass w/ every trick done I know. No probs in my rifle.

I still am learning about the wind.
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Old November 18, 2009, 03:08 AM   #14
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while I'm at it

In my first long range load, I used IMR 4350, primarily 'cause it was giving the best groups at 100 yds, using a manual listed max.

At my first match, on day #2, by afternoon the temps had reached the high 70's, maybe 80's. (it was in the high 40's when I developed the load, and the day before as well) I started experiencing hard bolt lift, high flyers on target, and shot my worst score of the weekend.

I believe the 4350 was showing sensitivity to temperature change. Have since switched to the Varget as advised previously, w/ good groups and no pressure signs to date.
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Old November 19, 2009, 10:04 PM   #15
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Your powder charge seems fairly light for 1000 yards. I am running 44.9 grains of Varget behind the 174 SMK and no problems staying supersonic out of a 20" tube. I would start increasing your loads, watching for pressure signs of course, and look for something that groups well in the 44+ grain load. I have had several long time successful competitors reccomend 45.0 grains behind the 175 SMK, but be careful as this is max charge weight according to all of my reference sources.
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