Check out what my new loads did....Hot?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by new308handloader, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    I made it to the range today and shot 50 of my new .308 Win loads:
    (Hornady Match brass, CCI BR2 primers, 45.5 gr Varget, Hornady 168 gr A-MAX, OAL 2.800)....but I think they are too hot (I wish I had a chrono). They shot decent groups under an inch. One case out of 50 showed pressure signs (see pic) of a ring around the base and I think a cratered primer....all of the other cases had primers that looked the same but no ring around the base. What surprised me the most was what happened to the paper target...the holes were jagged and ripped. The first pic is Fed GMM factory loads and the holes have very defined edges like normal (by the way this is an excellent group!)...the other two pics are my loads with the jagged edges. Has anyone experienced the same thing with very fast or over pressure loads?

    Attached Files:

  2. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

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    Good grouping. it would seem like the bullets are doing the tumbling thing but what is odd is that they are grouped so nicely. Usually with tumbling the bullets are all over the page. I can't see the pics of the brass, too fuzzy. Maybe someone will chime in with more info. What is the twist rate in your rifle? You may be spinning the bullets too fast with that load.
  3. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Did these seem to extract hard or did you notice brass deposit on your bolt face? Thats a fairly distinct ring around the case according to your picture. You ARE at max with those loads, I'd seriously back off and start from minimum and work up, varget is one hell of a powder, I doubt you need max to find your most accurate round, it certainly wouldn't be worth blowin up your gun either!
  4. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Thanks Cyclone......that's what I thought at first, that they were tumbling....the barrell is a 20" 1 in 12 twist.
  5. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    312 - They did not extract hard. They were neck sized only and this was their 2nd loading....no brass deposit on bolt face....but I could tell when shooting them that they had some serious kick to them. I am definately going to back off on the powder and start from the beginning...hopefully with some good Lapua brass....I may even goto 155g Lapua or Sierra bullets.
  6. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

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    Well werent you loading these rounds the same. 45.5 gr chg with amax's. i would have to go back to see what you were doing last time. i think as 312 said you reached the limit.
  7. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Yes....this is the same resipe....2nd loading....Only difference is this Hornady Custom brass has the nickle oxide coating which makes it look shiney grey (it is not moly but looks like it), but besides that it is the same in every respect.
  8. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    What was behind your target. By that I mean was your target mounted to something that had been shot before or was it up against a flat smooth surface.

    If your target is mounted on something that has been shot up pretty well and there is nothing directly behind your point of impact your can get the ragged tears like in your lower pictures. It's hard for me to tell, my old eyes are starting to suck, but do you notice if the bullet holes in the target are out of round /oblong.

    Next time you go to the range bring a piece of cardboard or cardstock with you and mount that and then your target to the target board if you can.

    I've received my best 100/200 yd accuracy with my bullets doing between 2,550 to 2,650 fps. using 168gr. Sierra Match Kings. Have you tried any loads using between 40.3 and 42.5 grains of Varget.
    With a 26" barrel 41.9 grs. of Varget should give you 2,600 feet per second. This is coming from the Sierra #5 manuel.

    Their (Sierra's) listed accuracy load is 42.0 grs. of Reloader 15 giving you 2,600 fps from a 26'', 1/10 twist barrel Savage 12VSS. This is with a 168 gr. HPBT match bullet (Sierra MK).

    As a side note, last time I chronoed some Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr rounds they were in the above velocity range. This was at least 10 years ago.

    Art
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  9. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    You beat me to it, Art. If you are shooting at a target that is supported or "stretched" tightly, you will get nice round holes. If your target is "loose," you will get ragged holes.

    Pops
  10. RodneyJ

    RodneyJ New Member

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    Not real sure but I dont belive it's a tumbleing problem I would not think that a 1/12 twist rate is to fast for a 168 gr bullet
  11. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Thanks Art......The target was firmly taped to a new cardboard backing...The factory GMM group in the pic was on the same target.
    I am not certain about the shape of the holes...I can't quite tell if they just have very jagged holes or if they are oblong...some do look oblong...if they are then they are obviously not stabilized.....When seating the bullet, the "pointy" side goes in the case, right? :) My 20" 1 in 12 my be too short and too slow a twist to stabilize the 168 gr at very high velosities?

    I have not tried the 40.3 to 42.5 grains of Varget range......I actually started at 43.0 grains and went to 46.0 grains. I will work up some load in that range and give them a try...I was just hoping I could find a recipe, using the A-MAX, that was both accurate and hard hitting so I could use one round for multi-purpose. But, if I have to choose between the two...I pick "accuracy".
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    The Greenhill Fomula says a 1-12inch twist is questionable for the 168 gr long bullet. That twist is better served by the length of most 150 grain bullets. But unstable bullets typically deviate more off the path then your results show. How close are you to the target? If those are 100 yard groups they are certainly good enough and no change of bullet length (weight ) is necessary.

    I think you might be going about this load development in the wrong way. The trick is to pick a base line (brass, primer, powder, load level, seating depth) and only change one thing at a time. Jumping from case to case and starting load development near max usually makes load developement the only thing the gun gets used for, and you never arrive at a ammo that you can load up in any quantity that you trust is consistent and just go shooting. Start at the starting load and work the load up and only change one thing at a time.

    To condense the load development I load up five sets of ammo for each test session initially. I shoot at least three five shot groups at five different levels of powder load evenly spaced between min and max powder loads. I average the grouping at each level and decide where the best possible accuracy might be. But if while firing those groups (lowest level first) I don't fire higher load levels if there are any signs of excessive pressure. The next range session I more finely devide the load levels around the best group of the last range test session. The next range testing refines the seating depth but I always try to start with the bullet a few thousandths off the rifling. I rarely if ever change primer but that is still another range test session. The final test session (if all is going well) is to load up fifty rounds, at the desired proven recipe, and fire ten 5 shot gorups and average the results. If the test results are not acceptable at all I then start all over by trying a different bullet or powder but I only change one thing at a time. I usually buy Remington bulk brass (slightly more durable than Winchester in my experience and much less expensive than any European brass) and stick with it.

    If you do the testing scientifically you can end up at an acceptable best result. Your way you'll be at it forever, in my opinion, and never home in on the best load for your gun. But we all get to choose how we do the job, so noone's way is THE answer. Just my opinion.

    LDBennett
  13. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Yep, pointy end first. :D
    I think the A-MAXs will work with your barrel. It's just the speed that you're pushing them is possibly causing them to go a little squirrely.

    From prior post you and I know it's neither the rifle or the shooter, so it's gotta be the load. I haven't gone back to see what bullet you were shooting in your post from a while back. Those seemed to be doing pretty dam good other than the flyers you were getting.

    The factory load that you shot, the Fed GM, shot pretty damm good itself. Thats a 168 gr. bullet. It is a Sierra Match King. I have never compaired them but I'd be will to bet that Hornady didn't stray far off the Match King path when they came out with their match bullet and the A-MAX after that.
    I'd just try to slow it down a tad.

    The Load that I shoot is 41.5 grs. (summer) - 42.5 grs. (winter) of Vihta Vuori N-150
    behind a 168gr. Match King (this load WILL NOT shoot good in a barrel shorter than 24"). My speed is about 2630 fps average. The powder in the case dosen't even reach the shoulder of the case. This load shoots like a banshee.


    Art
  14. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

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    With groups like that, I don't think I would worry if the bullets are tumbling or not tumbling. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it very well. I would not change a thing.
  15. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    Thanks LD.......how you come up with a load is great information. All 5-shot groups from 100 yards. I didn't realize 1 in 12 was questionable for the 168 gr +.....previous factory loads shoot just fine, and even though my hand loads have pretty good groups I think I will start from scratch and still use Varget and CCI BR2 primers, but I am going to get rid of my mix and match of various brass and get a bunch of good stuff (Lapua or Nosler) and then go with a 155 grain bullet. I have read good things about Sierra and Lapua's 155s, but I really want a multi-purpose bullet so that I can do more things than just shoot paper...so I think a will stay with the A-MAX but just go to 155 grain......then I will REALLY start at the low end and work up a load using the method you described. I am just neck sizing using Lee collet dies which is suppose to give good accuracy, but do you think it is worth it to get a nice quality match grade seating die?
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  16. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    I can't help it, I have been bitten by the reloading bug and nothing short of perfection will be good enough! :)
    I am working under the assumption that hand loads can be made better than factory loads....and that Fed Gold MM group was good and I want my handloads to be as good if not better. That being said, I do have 100 of these loads loaded up and I will not throw them away or de-assemble them....I have marked them as "HOT?" and put them in storage to be used for the end days, the revolution, or an invading UN force! :)
  17. new308handloader

    new308handloader New Member

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    LD....I have taken your advice about how to go about finding the best load.
    I am starting over and have loaded 10 (two 5-shot groups) 42.5gr, 10 43.0gr, 10 43.5gr, and 10 44.0gr....when I find which of those loads shoot the best, I will start at that load and make 50 more...i.e if it likes the 43.5 best then I will load up 43.3, 43.4, 43.5, 43.6, & 43.7......and then I will play with OAL starting from that best load.......going to the range tomorrow to test my 1st 50.....Thanks!
  18. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    new308handloader:

    You can try the 0.1 increments but my testing has found that you only need to try incremental steps of about 0.5 grains when loading powder quantities in the 40+ grain range. Most powder measures will only throw charges to + or - 0.1 grains anyway. But give it a try and prove to yourself that small changes like 0.1 grains make little differences. Or maybe I'm wrong???

    LDBennett
  19. zfk55

    zfk55 New Member

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    A .308 fired from a 1:12 barrel nominally should use a 168 to a 170 grain projectile. That's not to say that some loads in some rifles do well with a bit lighter or heavier projectile, but that range is optimum.

    zfk55
  20. paul T

    paul T New Member

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    Agree, My 24in 1 in 11 twist blaser 308 barrel shoots great with the Lapua 185g scenar but the 155 scenar dosent yield as good acuracy.
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