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Thread: Reloading quandry.....

  1. #1
    Plinker rb288's Avatar

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    Reloading quandry.....

    I have been reloading for several years now, and have run into a conundrum.
    On my 308 loads, using 178gr AMAX bullets, and Varget powder, and a 2.800 oal, I am getting, consistently, over 50 loads, better accuracy, 1/2 moa at 100 yds, from velocities around 2100 to 2200 fps, vs 1 moa accuracy from velocities at 2400 to +2500 fps.

    My question is, which is the better load to finalize for.
    My purpose is a general purpose hunting, shooting, SD, round. I don't do a lot of "long distance" shooting, 400 to 500 yds is about my limit.
    1 moa is more than adequate for those purposes, and higher velocity does have it's advantages, but, extreme accuracy at lower velocity also, has it's benefits.

    Any thoughts from the reloading gurus here would be greatly appreciated.

    Just looking for some feedback.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Grandmaster red_zr24x4's Avatar

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    I'd go with the lower velocity/ more accurate load myself.
    Less powder, more accurate, little easier on your shoulder and gun
    "Courage is Being Scared to Death, but Saddling up Anyway" - John Wayne
    INGO# 3207

  3. #3
    Sharpshooter rosejm's Avatar

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    I think the answer to your question lies in here: "How does that 178gr AMAX bullet perform at those velocities?"

    While accuracy has its place in all forms of shooting, it's more critical to target shooting. Doesn't matter how the bullet reacts after it hits the target, when the target is paper or steel.

    However, when hunting (or SD) the bullet's terminal performance is likely more important to you. Most bullets are designed for a specific set of impact velocities: varmint, tipped, bonded, HP, etc...

    Sometimes that terminal performance varies greatly depending on the bullet design. Often shown in +P+ hollow points that are simply hotter loads vs. different HP bullet design. Lots discussed online about .223/5.56 performance out of SBRs & Pistol length barrels as well.

    Read a recent article advertisement about Federal's new Terminal Ascent bullet that talks a bit about that performance vs. velocity: https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...rule-them-all/

  4. #4
    Expert DadSmith's Avatar

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    I'm with the more accuracy line of thinking. If you put a bullet in a vital organ its over. Accuracy trumps power imo.
    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

  5. #5
    Marksman Whip_McCord's Avatar

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    Why not load both? You have a more accurate load for target shooting, using less powder, less recoil, and less wear on the gun. For hunting, use the hotter load, more "lethal" round for game. Win win.

    In my load data spreadsheet, I have lots of loads that I worked up. I have 14 loads for 38 special, depending on the use and/or gun. That's just one example. I have load data for 26 cartridges that I worked up over the years and 87 total loads. Not every situation requires the hottest load. Not every one requires the most accurate.

    If you do have two loads with the same bullet, keep the ammo boxes well marked. I also like to color code the primers or the entire head of the case with different color Sharpies. That way when the ammo is out of the box, you will not get them mixed up.
    A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer. Bruce Lee

  6. #6
    Master avboiler11's Avatar

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    While accuracy matters...2100fps is sloooooooooooooooow from a 178, even with a 16" gas gun.

    How much Varget are you using? Depending on your brass, I'd probably start at 42.5gr and work an OCW up to 44.0gr in 0.3gr increments. Once you narrow down OCW, if you don't have significant magazine constraints, I'd start tweaking OAL out by a 5 thousands toward 2.82" and I bet you'll get both accuracy and velocity.

    Or, press the easy button and switch to the 168 ELD-M and use 44.4gr Varget in Hornady brass to duplicate the Hornady 168gr TAP factory load (2640fps from a 20" 700 AAC-SD).
    "'Gun guys' can find a way to get butthurt about just about anything."

  7. #7
    Expert Trapper Jim's Avatar

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    Accuracy First. Velocity Second. There is only one level of dead. Much has been played around with, marketed, created more sales and guns with Shortened faster calibers that all do the same thing. Those of us that were weaned on the standards of 22.250, .243, .270, .30-30, .308 and 45/70 all share the same theme.... consistent bullet placement first and humane kills. I have played the velocity game and it never got me anywhere but erosion. Especially in naked unlined barrels. While I will admit Australia and Sweden mAke some great powder, I still prefer USA made propellant.
    No Compromise

  8. #8
    Expert two70's Avatar

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    I'll give you the answer that should have been the first given and only one needed but that you probably won't want to hear, work up loads with bullets better suited to your intended purposes. IMO, it is a false quandary you are holding yourself to when your chosen bullet doesn't fit your stated purposes very well in the first place.

    As to your actual question, you're talking about a 1/2 moa difference vs. a velocity low enough to court borderline bullet performance. A full 1 moa wouldn't make any practical difference at any reasonable range on a human target or any animal you are likely to hunt with .308, where as a starting velocity that low may well limit your effective range or risk a wounded animal due to poor bullet performance.

  9. #9
    Expert DadSmith's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by two70 View Post
    I'll give you the answer that should have been the first given and only one needed but that you probably won't want to hear, work up loads with bullets better suited to your intended purposes. IMO, it is a false quandary you are holding yourself to when your chosen bullet doesn't fit your stated purposes very well in the first place.

    As to your actual question, you're talking about a 1/2 moa difference vs. a velocity low enough to court borderline bullet performance. A full 1 moa wouldn't make any practical difference at any reasonable range on a human target or any animal you are likely to hunt with .308, where as a starting velocity that low may well limit your effective range or risk a wounded animal due to poor bullet performance.
    Why I always side with accuracy. Doesn't matter the bullet as long as you hit a vital organ the target you are shooting is going to go down.be it lungs, heart or brain.

    Thought I would edit this so you know I prefer a humanely killed animal or bad guy. Thus a good expanding deep penetrating bullet is always the best way to go.
    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

  10. #10
    Sharpshooter

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    Handgun hunters perhaps better understand the importance of bullet expansion. I punched a doe at 15 yards. But the 7mm bullet that knocks down a 50 pound steel ram would not expand at the lower velocity from my handgun. 7mm hole going in, 7mm hole coming out after going thru both lungs. No blood trail. Lucky I found the deer. I switched to Noslers and ran faster loads and killed more deer.

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