308 loading advice

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308 loading advice

Post by Cal-ApeR » 07 Nov 2018, 5:35 pm

How to make a long story short.
Many many years ago, I received a new Stevens 200 in 308.(Savage 10 without accutrigger). These came with a HEAVY trigger and horrible flimsy stock. All that aside, the action has a reputation for being strong and accurate. I also have a Stevens 200 223 which is a tac driver right out of the box.

Now the 308....

I cannot for the life of me to get it to shoot. I have dropped a riflebasix trigger in and also purchased a Hogue full alloy bedded stock. Nothing improved too much. The best group I've managed is 1.5". I know this is suitable for game but I've never had a rifle I couldn't get 1" or better out of. My challenge is to better this.

I've tried HEAPS of projectiles from 150-180gr. No luck. I've tried some basic load development in there but don't feel I'm getting anywhere. I'm mainly using 2208.

I'm yet to play too much with the seating depth but will try it next. Is depth likely to markably improve my groups or is it normally only a marginal improvement from those with more experience?

My old fella tells me to be happy with it as is and that not every firearm is capable of amazing groups. Would love to prove him wrong.

Any advice or suggestions as to how you guys would tackle things would be appreciated. Btw - I was hoping to smack pigs and deer with this rig I once I've found a decent load.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Cooper » 07 Nov 2018, 7:11 pm

I'd try different powders namely AR2206h and 8208. What about a lighter projectiles in the 130-135gr range? Have you try any factory stuff?
Could be one of those situations where something you think probably won't work does! Hopefully it works out for you.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Wm.Traynor » 07 Nov 2018, 7:23 pm

"What shape are your groups"? This was the question that was asked of me decades ago and it's still the one I ask of myself when tuning a rifle.
If there is more vertical dispersion (called "elevation" by old fogies like me) , than horizontal, then your bedding, scope mounts and rings, take-down bolt tension could be crook.
Note that I am not familiar with the Hogue bedded stock.
If the horizontal dispersion is the greater, then wind enters into the picture; also bedding again, because the fore end could be contacting the side of the barrel.
That is not the end of it. For instance, the muzzle might be dodgy. That will do for now though mate. Tell us what shape your groups are :thumbsup:
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Mistermac » 07 Nov 2018, 7:32 pm

I have a friend in our rifle club who owns a Savage 308. He could not get a group out of it whatever he did, changed triggers tried all different loads.
I had a look at his rifle and was going to adjust his trigger.When pulling it apart and undoing the 3 take down screws I noticed that the three pillow inserts were cutting into the action leaving 3 clear ring marks on the action. The rifle was sitting on them and not on the wood as it should.
I think it is worth checking it out could make all the difference and will group a lot tighter.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by SCJ429 » 07 Nov 2018, 7:34 pm

For this barrel 1.5 inch groups are not bad, some will not group better than five inches. The shape of the group will tell you a lot, there are many causes of vertical dispersion. If you can use a known bullet that groups, the Speer Hot Cor is a great budget choice and fill the case up. The 308 likes high pressure and 100% case fill. The 2208 powder works well in this case. Load it close to the lands if you can and choose a primer that can work with the pressure, CCI BR2 works for most. Good luck with it and I hope you prove the old fella wrong.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by bigrich » 07 Nov 2018, 7:46 pm

if it has a 22" barrel try ar2206h . i load 45.2 gn in my 308 with 150 sst's and my 308 groups pretty good . i found changing powder tightened groups in my 6.5x55 . good luck mate and play safe :thumbsup: :drinks:
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by BRNO_Bigot » 07 Nov 2018, 8:34 pm

Check the barrel as well (or get a gunsmith to do it).

As someone on Youtube said the other day (and I agree) "You can't load your way out of a crappy barrel".

So have it checked (scoped) and if it's really bad, just accept that that's the best you're going to get.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Oldbloke » 07 Nov 2018, 9:09 pm

Don’t know how experienced you are.
AR2208 should be fine.
My understanding is 150 to 180 gr bullets seem best for most 308 cals. I use hornady interlocks.
About 20 thou of the lands is where I usually start and end. Seems to work for most.

Have you swapped out the scope to confirm it’s the rifle?
Heavy fouling?
Hunt safe, look after the bush & plug more pests. :thumbsup: Better to load on the mild side. :o The greatest invention in the history of man is beer. :drinks: "Often the written message doesn't convey all of the information"
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Cal-ApeR » 07 Nov 2018, 10:20 pm

Thanks for the replies fellas.

I'll try answer most questions.

1) tried another scope. All good. Same result.
2) photos are typical sort of grouping. Not so much vertical.
3) Fouling isn't bad. Sweets and G61 seem to work alright.
4) Have tried a few factory rounds. Remington, Hornady, Federal. Mixed bag but no real improvement. Same sorts of groups.
5) Originally tried 130gr but they were dismal.
6) I'm nothing special in shooting department but after putting down the 308 I used some roloads in the tikka 243 and averaged under half inch so know don't think it's all me.

Would love to get this thing shooting but maybe it is just a crappy barrel.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Stix » 07 Nov 2018, 11:57 pm

Looks like you have some great responses here & although i dont have much for you, i empathise as im struggling with some similar issues myself at the moment with more than one rifle...!!

Im far from an expert, but the first thing that came to my mind reading your original post was to try a really light bullet.... :unknown:
Assume you've tried a full spectrum (charge weight) load test(s).
Maybe check the twist...? :unknown:

I knew a guy who couldnt get his groups down to less than 2 odd inches at 100 metres.
:allegedly: had it checked out & his 30 cal barrel was significantly greater than 30 cal.
So maybe its worth getting the bore checked for correct bore diameter as well... :unknown:

Hope you get it sorted...it'd be good to hear all you try & the results you get. :)
The man who knows everything, doesnt really know everything...he's just stopped learning...
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Gormanchov » 08 Nov 2018, 10:07 am

Hey Cal,

I was experiencing the same issues with my tikka T3 in 308. Was doing a heap of load development (approx 100-150 rounds) shooting 5 shot groups and struggled to get a group lower than 1-1.5”.

All these reloads were at SAAMI spec length for the 308. I ended up measuring the max OAL by using the same technique in the link below and then set my COL 10 thou off the lands for the first run and worked back in 10thou increments to 50thou off. Literally the same loads as the week prior with no change to the cleaning/shooting regime and I was grouping 0.4” to 0.9” at 100m, gradually opening the groups as it moved back.

I’ll take some photos after work to show the difference, went from being a very un-happy reloader/shooter to very satisfied very quickly.

https://youtu.be/TWmIwPwLyyg

I didn’t take the ejector out of my bolt and it seemed to work just as well. Did the process 5 times with different pieces of brass/projectiles with measurements each time till I was happy.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Cal-ApeR » 08 Nov 2018, 6:53 pm

Thanks, looking forward to this. Can only hope.
Keen to see your results.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Oldbloke » 08 Nov 2018, 8:25 pm

We are now discussing coal. Here is how I do it.

One way to measure seating depth only requires a fired case, a bullet, and a set of calipers. The ogive or curved part of the bullet is the part that first
makes contact with the lands, so measuring with a bullet and fired case will only give you a measurement that is useful for bullets of the same shape.

Different bullets and bullets of different weights will have different ogive shapes, so keep this in mind when measuring and using your seating depth. If you change bullets, you will need to re-measure your seating depth with the new bullet.

Starting with a fired case, insert a bullet into the neck with your fingers. The bullet should freely slide into the case with little to no resistance. Next, lightly press the neck of the case against a hard surface to slightly dent the case mouth enough that it will grasp the bullet.
Now Insert the base of the bullet into the case just enough that it is held by neck tension. Now, carefully insert the round into the camber of your rifle and close the bolt, but do not pull the trigger. As you close the bolt, the bullet will contact the lands and be pushed back into the case.

Open the bolt and carefully withdraw the case and bullet. The bullet should still be in the case, (if it is at this point I measure the overall length with a vernier caliper & repeat a few times) or it may be stuck in the barrel. If it is still in the barrel, remove it by either tapping the butt of the rifle against the bench or the ground, or push the bullet gently out with a cleaning rod. Measure the cartridge overall length with your calipers. This is your rifle’s seating depth with that particular bullet. Repeat the procedure several times to get a more accurate average. Now, when you want to load bullets a certain distance off of the lands, simply subtract the desired amount of “jump” from the seating depth to get the desired overall length. For example: Rifle’s

Seating depth = 3.430 Desired “jump” to lands= .015 Load cartridges to an OAL of 3.415
Hunt safe, look after the bush & plug more pests. :thumbsup: Better to load on the mild side. :o The greatest invention in the history of man is beer. :drinks: "Often the written message doesn't convey all of the information"
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Gormanchov » 08 Nov 2018, 9:14 pm

A269A347-9D52-4511-9CD5-4A9D07E4B17A.jpeg
SAAMI spec testing
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This is one of the testing targets, 100m off a bench. SAAMI spec handloads.

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COL testing
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This was using 45.5gr as the load and only changing seating depth. Started tightening up again at 50thou.

B19256F2-4F7E-4E5F-911A-98E24C1D4F73.jpeg
10thou off the lands load
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This was the last testing I did before settling on a 150gr SST load, top left starts at 45.5gr and goes up in 0.5gr increments.

I use the Hornady comparator to measure from the ogive for all my reloading, I find it gives me a more consistent round hence the COL term I mentioned in my last post. It took me a lot of rounds down range before I worked out how critical seating depth is to the accuracy in my loads. I went through the same frustration with my Howa 223 before I left SAAMI cartridge length out of it and set my seating depth to give me 10thou jump.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by SCJ429 » 09 Nov 2018, 6:59 am

It can be very frustrating chasing an accurate load for SST, I gave up and got better results with a cheaper Speer projectile.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Gormanchov » 09 Nov 2018, 9:23 am

It was a frustrating time, was much easier using the experience of getting an SST load to develop the others I now use.

The SST’s shoot well now I’ve got it sorted, average 0.6 to 0.7MOA out to 400m from the actual shooting I’ve done.
I use them as my training round since they shoot well and I can pick boxes of 100 up cheap when on sale. Last time I looked at my excel spreadsheet I’m pretty sure I was down around 80c/round.

Now I’ve got loads sorted for 155 Palma matchkings for F-class, 130/150gr Barnes TTSX for deer/goats/pigs and about to start playing with the 135gr Sierra varmint hollowpoints. Aiming to run the Sierras slow for a light recoil training round for the missus as well as working them up to light speed to see what they do to foxes etc.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by Cal-ApeR » 09 Nov 2018, 3:32 pm

Gorm, sounds like you've got it sorted! I'll be in the shed tomorrow and will get some measurements going. Will post what they are vs what I've been seating them at. Thanks for the info.
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Re: 308 loading advice

Post by SCJ429 » 09 Nov 2018, 6:01 pm

Wow, 0.7 MOA at 400 metres is 2.8 inches, that is unbelievable shooting with those SST projectiles. I have never seen anyone have much luck with them.

Regular price for Speer 30 cal projectiles is between 42 and 48 cents each. If you want the lightweight TNTs you can pick them up in bulk for under 30 cents each. They would be dynamite on foxes.
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