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New to 308 reloading

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by wbstx11, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. wbstx11

    wbstx11 New Member

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    Hi everyone – I am new to rifle reloading, I have been re loading38 spcl and 45 acp for about 3 yrs; started off with RCBS Rock Chucker &Lee dies, and later got a Lee Loadmaster Progressive (finicky junk!). I will stick to the Rock Chucker for 308reloading. My rifle is a Ruger American22” with 1:10 twist. Mainly I target shoot for personal satisfaction and I wantto see how accurate I can get with this rifle. This is just a hobby for me. Last trip to the range I shot severalcommercial ammos @ 100 yards and averaged 3 groups of 3 rounds each andmeasured the following average results: HornadySuperformance 165gr SST - 1.25”; Fiocchi Extrema 180gr SST 4.5”, FreedomMunitions Remanufactured 147gr FMJ 3.25” and Federal 180gr SP 3.25”. I boughtsome used military brass – mostly LC 12 and LC 13 which I am processing andsorting/culling. I have FL sized, headspaced, trimmed OAL, and drops into chamberOK. My question is: to focus onaccuracy, where would you start? – what are some of the key issues to makepriorities? I have a Hornady HeadspaceComparator, a Wilson case trimmer, a Lyman electronic powder measurer, LeeDelux Die Set, Lee decapping die, and plan to use Varget mostly, also haveRL15. I’ve read a lot, like what I’veread on this site – so I thought I’d ask.
     


  2. Dawico

    Dawico Uncoiled Lifetime Member

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    Good bullets and good brass are the keys.

    Trim your brass all the same and weigh them. Load brass in groups that weigh the same, even if each group weighs much different. In time you will need to buy better and more expensive brass but any will work to start with.

    1:10 twist barrels seem to like heavier bullets but that is a very general rule. I would try 178 gr Amaxes as my rifle liked them, but heavy SMKs should work well too. Most .308s do well with 168gr bullets too. If you want the most out of your rifle stick with match bullets like Hornady Amaxes, Sierra MatchKings, or even others that are more expensive. If you want a good match hunting bullet I like Hornady SSTs.

    I used to load with 4064 but Varget seems to do well too.

    Eventually you will find that your rifle and shooting ability will be the limiting factors. If 1" 5 shot groups are your goal you should be able to do it with what you have. Smaller groups get very spendy.

    One of the keys to small groups is consistency. This is where spending more on brass and bullets comes into play.
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    What he said. Go slow and keep them consistent. Load several different amounts of the same powder and vary them .2 grain. Find the one your rifle likes.! Good luck.
     
  4. Dawico

    Dawico Uncoiled Lifetime Member

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    Concentrate you efforts toward mid range loads too. Hot rodding you ammo usually isn't the best way to get little groups.
     
  5. ed308

    ed308 Well-Known

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    Couldn't have said it better. But make sure that .308 rifle has a good trigger!
     
  6. shortround

    shortround TGT Addict

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    You cannot load an accurate load unless the rifle is inherently accurate for that load.

    Start out with several commercial loadings, and see how they shoot.

    Work up your loads from there.

    Be well.
     
  7. Younggun

    Younggun Ginger Avenger TGT Supporter Admin

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    First steps, IMO, are finding the bullet and powder load it likes.

    Generally AMAX and SMKs work well for most rifles. Learn what ballistic coefficient means and try to find bullets with high BCs that your rifle likes to shoot. A good starting point are the 178gr Amax that was mentioned.

    Powder charge has to be tuned. Like mentioned, faster usually isn't better. I tend to find the sweet spot in the upper mid range. Your rifle may be completely different.

    Learn about the powders. Some don't like temperature swings, some handle them pretty well. Two schools of thought on testing. Load 1 round each on .2 gr increments, find where the rounds settle across several loads. Fine tune in that area by loading 5 rounds each of the charges that groups close.

    Once you get you charge down you can start tinkering with seating depth, and other small variables to see what it likes.

    Making a load that shoots well is easy, finding the perfect load takes a lot of patience, note taking, and time at the range.

    Make sure you have a good scope before you start, a steady shooting platform, and the skills needed to bring the groups together. If you can't tell where te round should have went when you squeeze the trigger, you can end up going in circles.
     
  8. Charlie

    Charlie TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    I've found that the most accurate loads were not at the top end or the bottom end of velocity. 'Guess it depends on whether you're looking at accuracy or velocity. I vote accuracy.
     
  9. wbstx11

    wbstx11 New Member

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    Thanks all for the comments, and most of this is about what I expected, so good confirmation and does give me some priorities which is what I wanted! My scope is a Leupold VX-1 2-7; something of a compromise but I figured quality counts (Leupold) even if I can't afford the super-duper version. I have the trigger dialed down as far as the Ruger adjustment will go, but there is definitely a need here - I am used to light triggers on my pistols. I have already sorted the LC brass into batches by weight, so guess I am going correctly there. I grew up with iron sights, and this is my first 'scope rifle, really shows up the movement! I already have a selection of name brand bullets, mostly 150gr, so I need to add some heavier ones. I plan to start with minimum powder load and work up at 0.2 gr increments as suggested. Thanks all for your helpful advice.
     
  10. Dawico

    Dawico Uncoiled Lifetime Member

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    That is what we are here for.

    Definitely load the 150s up and see what they will do. Your rifle may love them.

    Longer ranges is where the heavier bullets really hold their own. The extra weight helps hold more energy and fight the wind better.
     


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