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Author Topic: New to reloading, could use advice on .308, and bullets for deer and larger  (Read 658 times)

Offline Caz

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Turns out my neighbor has reloading equipment he doesn't use, and I'm getting low on my ammo inventory. I've always used whatever I can pull off the shelf or order bulk online, so I'm not up on match grade ammo. But here's the deal, I want to start making some ammo to hunt for deer and elk with.

My rifle: Savage 10 in .308, bull barrel, unsure twist. Vortex 4-12x40mm on top. I'm within 1MOA at 300 yards using American Gunner 155gr, bulk box stuff. If I could tighten that up, great, but I'd like to put together a load that can push a heavier bullet reliably with killing power out to 400-500 yards and keeping sub 1MOA. Where I hunt, I couldn't imagine having to shoot further.

I'll be using the brass I've saved over the years, all once fired, but I'm open on advice for powder, primers, bullets. Initial thoughts are:

Bullets:
Rem CoreLokt in 180 grain
Sierra GK 180gr Spitzer BT
Hornady SST 180 grain interlock spitzer bt

Powder:
IMR 4064
Reloder 17
Varget

Other than that, I have a long winter and will get a reloading manual. What should I know? Thoughts on the bullets or powders? Aside from just shooting what I load, is there a way to determine quality and consistency?

Offline Stein

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There are many ways to skin that cat, I've stumbled through many and here is my current method:

1.  Buy quality brass like Lapua otherwise you need to shoot the different brands.  For 30-06, Winchester was way better in the testing I did compared with Remington, Federal & a few others.  Use a known good primer like Federal 210s.
2.  Pick a powder and bullet.  I like H4350 and Barnes 168 TSX, should work in .308 but maybe a bit heavy.
3.  Start loading at the book minimum up to maximum in .3 grain increments, 5 shots per load.  Shoot through a chronograph to see which loads have the most consistent velocity.  Pick any length, start at maximum mag length or .10 or .20 off lands or whatever you want. 
4.  Using the load that has the best consistency as well as good consistency on either side (+- 0.3 grain), start with your long length and then go down in increments and load 3-5 at each length.  Shoot for groups and pick the one that has smallest group with good groups on either side.

I didn't invent this, many guys load like this.  First find your powder for tight velocity spread and then find the cartridge length that works for your rifle.

Your biggest challenge will be finding the components right now.

Offline Caz

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True, that will be a challenge, but my local Sportsmans has had plenty of bullets and at least the Varget in all the time. A little harder to find brass and primers, but I can consistently pick up pound of powder and packs of sierra gk.

Now do you have to re-adjust grains of powder per load if you change bottles of powder? Not even brand, or product, just bottles?

For handloads, what is considered a minimum killing speed for say, an elk? 2200fps at muzzle? Or is it measured in a different way?

Offline Stein

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Different powder lots may change slightly, but for moderate ranges it usually isn't a big deal.  I would try a few before I loaded a hundred.

For any animal, there are two things I consider, energy and speed at the target.  Speed is required to open bullets and energy is required to kill them.  The velocity depends on the bullet, for my TSX, it's 1500 fps (at the target, not the muzzle).  A rule of thumb for elk is 1500 ft lbs.  You can use an online ballistics tool once you know your bullet and muzzle velocity and see what the limiting factor is, it depends on the particular round but from my experience the limiting factor is usually velocity.

For deer, I don't mind dropping to 1200 even 1000 ft lbs, but again I need 1500 fps for the bullet to reliably open so the energy isn't a factor.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 02:14:50 PM by Stein »

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Varget and Nosler 165 grains, Accubond or Partition, take your pick.

Offline wadu1

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For what it's worth, I load 150 TSX and 165 TSX with 43gr of Varget. Both group well in  my Rem 700 VTR the 150 for deer and the 165 for elk and bear.  :twocents:
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Offline Calvin Rayborn

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180gr you're gonna start getting some significant drop at 500yds. 150gr Barnes X-bullets (TSX) all the way for me. I've seen those solid coppers do some serious damage on bull elk out to 500.

Offline Calvin Rayborn

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For what it's worth, I load 150 TSX and 165 TSX with 43gr of Varget. Both group well in  my Rem 700 VTR the 150 for deer and the 165 for elk and bear.  :twocents:
:yeah:

Offline gadwall

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Varget and Nosler 165 grains, Accubond or Partition, take your pick.


The above is probably a great place to start.  PM sent
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Offline woodswalker

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I use 165 grain Nosler Partition and a load of IMR 4064 or RL-15  powder depends on WHICH rifle it is for.
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Offline haftard

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Re: New to reloading, could use advice on .308, and bullets for deer and larger
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2020, 02:02:47 PM »
I load up my savage 308 with irm 4064 and 180g horady interlock. Same,thing as the sst just lead tip. They shoot good. Im right about about .9 moa. Im sure it would knock the *censored* out of a deer at 500 yards.

Offline jamesjett

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Re: New to reloading, could use advice on .308, and bullets for deer and larger
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2020, 02:22:31 PM »
Barnes 168gr. TTSX with 46grs. BL-2(c).  Barnes like to be seated deep. .090 for my .308

Offline gadwall

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Re: New to reloading, could use advice on .308, and bullets for deer and larger
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2020, 06:57:06 AM »
Barnes 168gr. TTSX with 46grs. BL-2(c).  Barnes like to be seated deep. .090 for my .308

Thanks for posting the pic of that group.  Great to see results like that after putting the time in. :)
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Offline Jolten

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Re: New to reloading, could use advice on .308, and bullets for deer and larger
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2020, 07:55:01 AM »
I'd it's a factory barrel it should have a 1-10 twist
The best equipment in the world is useless to the idiot who doesn't understand it.

Offline hunter399

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Re: New to reloading, could use advice on .308, and bullets for deer and larger
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2020, 09:31:38 AM »
180gr you're gonna start getting some significant drop at 500yds. 150gr Barnes X-bullets (TSX) all the way for me. I've seen those solid coppers do some serious damage on bull elk out to 500.
I Agree with Calvin
Gonna be dropping fast with 180 grain at 500
I load 150 with blc2
Not gonna share my load data cause every rifle is different and it's at the top end.
Two birds in the Bush is always better than one in the hand-that way you can always go to the Bush and hunt another day .conservation=Better hunting.
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