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Old September 2, 2013, 10:41 AM   #1
precision_shooter
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Short barrel .308 loads?

I just ordered a Savage 10-PSR. It's not listed on their website, it's a distributor special. It's a 18" heavy barrel with 5/8-24 threaded muzzle. 1in10 twist with 5R rifling chambered in .308. Should make for a good woods gun...

Any of you have a similar rifle and developed a load that works well and willing to share?

Only suggestion on powder so far is Varget (which I can't find anywhere)...
Planning to use 150gr SST bullets...

TIA,
PS
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Old September 2, 2013, 12:59 PM   #2
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I shoot a Ruger M77RSI which has an 18'5" barrel. Barrel is quite skinny and very fussy about ammo. So fussy in fact that it took me two years to find a load that would at least be a consistant 1.5" shooter. My other fairly short barreled rifle in .308 is a Remington 660 with 20" barrel. It shoots any load just fine and is not fussy at all.
I would think that your rifle should shoot just about any load fairly decently and just a normal search for a load will bring something the gun is happy with.
I prefer 165 gr. bullets in the .308. Powders like the 4895's, Re15, Varget,
W748, H335 among others are all good in the .308. The load that worked in the RSI was a max load of W760 which really is a bit too slow for the cartridge. It's just the only one that fussy rifle will shoot. I'm sure one of the other powders mention will serve you well.
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Old September 2, 2013, 02:08 PM   #3
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Every gun is unique to some extent; "identical" rifles using ammo from the same box can demonstrate tendencies to be consistently fast or slow.
Your short barrel will deliver bullets slower just because the bullet will exit the muzzle sooner, and thus have less time for pressure to accelerate the bullet.
My experience has been that there is very little to gain from trying to taylor a handload to a short barrel. Just use 150 or 155 grain bullets and an appropriate charge of an appropriate powder and let the chips fall where they may. Work on accuracy and velocity just as you would if it were a 22" barrel.
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Old September 2, 2013, 02:40 PM   #4
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Hello Precision_shooter. If I remember right,There was a article I read that the Police snipers did. Any how it was about long barrel compared to short barrel. The end results were always the same.

Very small loss is FPS
Accuracy loss was non-existant. I do not know what rounds they used,but the short barrel was everybit as accurate with same loads through all their testing.

Find a load it likes ,sight it in and have at er. IMHO- stick with RL-15 and H4895. I have 9 Savages and only one of them likes Varget Powder.
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Old September 2, 2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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The same load that produces the best speeds from a 22-24" barrel will also give the best speeds from a 16-20" barrel.

Lots of good powders that work with 150's. Varget or RL-15 are my go to powders, but I wouldn't cry if all I could find were 4064, and 4895. 3031 has done well and I've used Ramshot TAC with good results with 130 gr bullets. It is supposed to work well with 150's too.
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Old September 2, 2013, 08:07 PM   #6
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While it is generally true that the load that produces the highest velocity with a long barrel will also produce the highest velocity in a shorter barrel, that does not equate to that same load being "best". I don't mean accuracy either. There is more to consider. Short barrels have higher muzzle pressures, which are responsible for an awful lot of the noise and even a substantial part of the recoil.

For instance, if I ask QuickLoad for the fastest load under a 150gr SST using a 24" barrel, without getting over 107% compressed, it gives me IMR4895, BLC-2, Win748 or IMR 3031, all within 11 fps of each other at about 2,990.

The recoil with a 7lb 8oz gun is about 11.06ft.lb on bullet exit and totals 17.41 ft/lb with the "Gas After-effect" with about 8,100psi muzzle pressure.

If I shorten the barrel to 18", those same 4 powders are in the top of the list for velocity (about 2,810) but the muzzle pressure is up to about 11,000psi. Recoil at bullet exit is now at 9.76 and total after gas effect is 15.99.

If I were willing to give up just 20fps, down to 2,778, AR-Comp gets me 9.37 and 15.05, a further reduction of 6% of recoil, a muzzle pressure reduction of 1,300psi (12%) and with just a 1.1% reduction in velocity. For the curious, AR-Comp gives up about 75fps tp the others at 24" but even there drops recoil to 16.23, a 6.8% reduction for just 2.3% velocity.

That may not seem like a lot and any one of us may or may not care but it is very close to bringing the blast of that 18" barrel down to 24" levels. Personally, I like losing 6% of my recoil for virtually no down-side.
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Old September 3, 2013, 09:18 AM   #7
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Very interesting Brian,

Do you have load data (charge weights) using AR-Comp? I like the idea of less muzzle blast with minimal loss in velocity/performance...
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Old September 3, 2013, 10:28 AM   #8
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CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond or not covered by currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Alliant doesn't list the 150gr SST with AR-Comp but they do show the 150gr GMX and the 155gr A-Max.

Alliant says max load with the 155gr A-Max is 43.6, QL thinks it would be 43.9gr. That's pretty good agreement.

Unfortunately, Alliant says the 150gr GMX max is 44.5gr, which QuickLoad thinks is energetic, to say the least, at about 73,000psi. Not much agreement there.

The SST is a more conventional bullet though, and quite similar to the A-Max, so it's probably reasonable to expect similar loads. The SST and the A-Max are both traditional "cup and core" lead/copper bullets and they're both boat-tailed. The A-Max is slightly longer (.013" according to QL) and 5gr heavier so it stands to reason that the slightly lighter and shorter SST would have a slightly higher max load.

QL agrees with that logic and says that the max load for the SST would be 44.4gr.
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Old September 3, 2013, 11:01 AM   #9
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Adding two non-scientific views.

First, with no sound detection or concussion equipment, both my daughter and I think that with comparable loads fired from an AR/.223, those with 'Varget' produced more concussion than 748. So much so that I no longer load with 'Varget'. I find this odd as 748 and 'Varget' are so close on the 'burn rate' tables.

Second, I have a Rem 600 with an 18 1/2 inch barrel in .308 Win. It is fully capable of velocities of 2850 FPS with 150 grain bullets. However! It is soo light (and I am so arthritic) that the recoil is not acceptable. I load for the weapon.

Velocity comparison of tailored loading. Same loading, 150 grain FMJ BT, mixed LC brass, same primers and powder charge of 748.
Weapon number one - Remington 600, 18 1/2 barrel with 1 in 10 twist.
Weapon number two - Spfd Armory M1A, 22 inch barrel with 1 in 11 twist.

#1 - 2468 FPS
#2 - 2677 FPS

Velocities taken at 10 feet and are statistically valid with over 15 samples taken.

This is about 109 FPS loss for 3 1/2 inches of barrel (and gas system loss). I have shot/tested military ammunition with bigger velocity spreads than this.

Load with care,

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Old September 3, 2013, 02:04 PM   #10
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I've got a Ruger M77 RSI in 308 and it shoots real well with a moderate load of IMR 3031 and 150 gr SST bullets. It's the rifle I've shot the least in the last 4 or 5 years, so I don't have detailed target results, but it's certainly shooting less than an inch at 100 yards.
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Old September 3, 2013, 03:45 PM   #11
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oldpapps, your velocity tests with two different barrels and one longer than the other is not a good comparison. I doubt the peak pressure's the same in each one. And their bore, groove and chamber dimensions are probably not the same. Too many other things to change muzzle velocity besides barrel length.

I've clocked the same 7.62 NATO M80 ball load in a near new 22 inch M1A barrel with 200 or so rounds through it and a 26" Win. 70 barrel with over 4000 rounds through it. Muzzle velocities were only 12 fps apart; fastest one was from the M1A barrel with tighter bore and groove dimensions than the Win. barrel.
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Old September 3, 2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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May or may not help you one bit, but here goes anyway.

My little Ruger Compact in .308 shot the factory Remington 150gr CL's so well that for the first 8 or so years that is all I fed it. Of course I was picking them up for around $10 per box and buying them 10-12 boxes at a time when I needed more.

When my hard headed then 3 year old grandson decided he wanted to shoot him a pig, I went for the Hodgdon Youth loads using this same rifle. With the scope and 5 rounds it hits the scales at 6.5#. We started with the lowest loads and after he got his pig and grew a bit we kept increasing them a little at a time. What I found was the accuracy was great, even better than the Remington 150gr loads.

What this leads up to is, that I have worked up loads with several of the "BEST" powders recommended for this caliber. In my rifle I settled on the 150gr Nosler Solid Base, the 150gr CL, either loaded over H-4895 and lit with a Winchester LR primer. My velocity is just under 2800fps, but the accuracy for 5 rounds is well within 1" under most conditions.

Any of the other powders I tried simply could not hang with this powder or bullet weight combination. The closest to it was RL-15, and it certainly was well within minute of deer or hog at just under 2", but I could not get it to tighten up.

So when you get down to it, like what was mentioned above, your rifle will let you know what IT likes no matter what you want to put in it.
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Old September 3, 2013, 09:40 PM   #13
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Bart B.

I fully agree with what you have said and your added data also adds to my view that barrel length has little effective effect upon the effectiveness of a given round. The biggest change is so very small in the over all view. I could have referenced .223/5.56 loadings out of 20 and 16 inch barrels but as the OP is dealing with .308s, I felt staying with that chambering wood be better.

I've played with comparing M1 Garands and 1911A1s and Model 29 S&Ws. Standard deviations is in most cases greater than the statistically valid averages of produced velocities.

End results are my views that shorter barrels are better over all. Minimal decrease in obtained velocities and stiffer barrels for the most part. With optic sights barrel length is not needed for better/finer sight alinement. The only advantage is minimal gains in velocities with the disadvantages of weight, cumbersomeness due to long barrel and many more external stress points with added harmonic distortions.

For the OP, my advise is to pick a powder, use it to 'load for the weapon' and find whatever performance that can be obtained. Then try another powder. Keep doing this until you find 'the one'.

I find that after I have squeezed as much out of a weapon that I see as practical, I soon looses interest in that weapon and move on to another. This is what I load for. I no longer get to go hunting, so I hunt for the best out of one weapon, at a time.

Be safe and enjoy all,

OSOK
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Old September 4, 2013, 06:35 AM   #14
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[B]End results are my views that shorter barrels are better over all. Minimal decrease in obtained velocities and stiffer barrels for the most part. With optic sights barrel length is not needed for better/finer sight alinement. The only advantage is minimal gains in velocities with the disadvantages of weight, cumbersomeness due to long barrel and many more external stress points with added harmonic distortions.

For the OP, my advise is to pick a powder, use it to 'load for the weapon' and find whatever performance that can be obtained. Then try another powder. Keep doing this until you find 'the one'.

I find that after I have squeezed as much out of a weapon that I see as practical, I soon looses interest in that weapon and move on to another. This is what I load for. I no longer get to go hunting, so I hunt for the best out of one weapon, at a time.

Be safe and enjoy all,

OSOK

Oldpapps- Ha Ha-- I feel like I am talking to myself here. Ditto on all you said. The fun is Load development
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Old September 4, 2013, 09:00 AM   #15
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldPapps
First, with no sound detection or concussion equipment, both my daughter and I think that with comparable loads fired from an AR/.223, those with 'Varget' produced more concussion than 748. So much so that I no longer load with 'Varget'. I find this odd as 748 and 'Varget' are so close on the 'burn rate' tables.
What's really interesting about that is that the predicted muzzle pressure of a max load of 748 under a 55gr V-Max in .223 is actually higher than a max load of Varget. A difference in muzzle blast though, that I failed to mention in my other post, is unburned powder.

Gun powder is oxygen deficient. It has it's own oxygen but it doesn't have enough for complete combustion. Any unburnt powder that exits the muzzle while it is still above its ignition temperature with burn on contact with the oxygen in the air. Even powders that burn "100%" still have remaining fuel due to lack of oxygen.

In regards to a 748 versus Varget load, even though the 748 has higher muzzle pressure, that load is predicted to have burned 95% of the powder when the bullet exits as opposed to the Varget load that has burned 89%. Essentially, the Varget load has twice as much remaining powder burning in the air.

I don't know if the amount of noise contributed by the remaining unburnt powder has ever been quantified.

In the case of the OP, not only are the muzzle pressures higher with the 4 mentioned highest velocity powders but all (except 3031) also have small amounts (~2%) of their charge unburned. AR Comp has lower pressure AND 100% burn.
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:26 AM   #16
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hog rifle

I just worked with my recently acquired used Savage Hog Rifle, 20" tube, I suppose 1-10" rifling, I doubt 5R.

I ran a series of loads with 150 Sierra Pro Hunt, 150 SMK, 165 Nosler Bal-Tips, 168 gr Speer MHP, and 180 gr Nosler Bal-Tips. I seated all bullets .0010 off the rifling, or tried to. That was about all the .30 slugs I had on hand. I used VArget powder, as I have had good results with it in other .308 rifles. I also used 4064 with the Sierra 150 Pro Hunts, as that has been a good combo in other rifles. It became quickly apparent the Hog Rifle was not shooting the 150 Pro Hunts as well as the others, though 3 shot groups ran 1.3" avg.

The biggest problem was a long throat. C.O.A.L for all bullets tried exceeded recommended spec. The 180 BT's ended up at 2.920"! I ended up with the best groups coming from 180 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips and 43 gr of Varget. Those plunked 3 shot groups consistently into the .700 range. Recoil was a bit brisk compared to the 150's I tried but there was a clear tendency for the rifle to shoot heavier slugs better. I suspect the increased support of the slug at the neck was one reason. There was not much slug in the case with the 150's, though 150 SMK's did OK but it is not a game bullet.

As a control, W-W 168 factory match shot very well too, as did my 168 gr SMK reloads, unfortunately, again not game bullets. Disappointingly, 165 Nosler Baltips did not shoot very well, seated all the way out to 2.940. I could have moved those back to the 2.920 range and see if they did any better, but did not.

Have not run the 180 load over the chrono yet.
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:47 AM   #17
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Bamaranger,

Don't worry about loading .010 off the lands with a factory chamber. Some bullets handle a jump better than others (as you witnessed with the 168 HPBT bullets).

I'd try a 168 Nosler/Winchester Combined Technology Ballistic tip bullet in lieu of the 168 HPBT bullet in your hand load. Of course do a normal load workup for the different bullet, but you should get excellent results with as far as accuracy is concerned. Another bullet to try is the 165 Barnes TSX.

For giggles, you might try picking up some bulk Rem Corelokts and Winchester Power Point bullets. They can shoot surprisingly well from some rifles, and they'll kill hogs just fine.

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Old September 6, 2013, 12:08 PM   #18
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thanks

Yeah, I'll watch for some win/rem 150's. I doubt I spring for a Barnes or the combined tech bullets.

I would really like to shoot 150's from the rifle, recoil is noticeably less. Not really a dedicated hog rifle for me, just intended as a hard use GP rifle in my favorite caliber. Using an affordable game bullet fits in that plan. The Sierra 150 psp are shooting into 1.3" which is certainly minute of critter, but the idea of a consistently sub moa rifle is appealing.

That 180 Nosler Bal-Tip is one long slender bullet!
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