168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

This is a discussion on 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches within the Cartridges & Calibers forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Gentlemen, My best load in my box stock r700 vsf shoots under 1/4" 5 shots at 100 yards. I shot in practice at 600 yards ...

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  1. #1
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    168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    Gentlemen,

    My best load in my box stock r700 vsf shoots under 1/4" 5 shots at 100 yards. I shot in practice at 600 yards the other day and got 15 shots in 6 1/2". Wind and mirage were messing around somewhat.

    What do ya'll think, should I keep on using this load and practice at this distance or try another bullet with a higher BC and maybe not get as accurate a load.

    By practice I mean shooting, reading the wind better and dealing with the mirage.

    Sincerely,
    Dave (Bubba) Thornblom

  2. #2
    Senior Member gsmithplm's Avatar
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    I've seen people shoot 1/2 MOA at 600yds with factory Federal Match 168gr bullets. So the bullets are capable of very good accuracy at that distance.
    Graham Smith, SFC, US Army (Ret)
    "There's no right way to do the wrong thing."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Knightstalker's Avatar
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    Dave, do you have a 175/178gr load developed for your rifle? If not, read below. If yes, skip to the end.

    If I were you, I'd try to go on a calmer day with maybe a little overcast. When the mirage came up, did you reduce your magnification on the glass any?

    Either way, at 600, wind is a major factor. Maybe also try to work in 5 to 7 shot increments instead of 15. Depending on your barrel, you may be heating up and stringing those later rounds out. Another problem with a hot barrel is barrel mirage that's completely unrelated to normal mirage. That's why you see the F-Class and Palma guys using these: http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pid=3 ... rage-Shade

    So don't count out a load that performs well at 100 just yet. Lemmie ask you this, how does that load preform at 300 yards? Are you still sub-half MOA or is there a breakdown in accuracy before you get to 300? If you are nice and tight at 300 as well, you know that the breakdown is occurring between 300 and 600 and in that case, you can likely fault shooter error, equipment shortcomings (barrel mirage, stringing, insufficient optics, etc.), physical conditions or you may simply find that the 168 isn't cutting it at 600 yards and you will need to develop a 175/178 grain load, but remember, the .308 Palma is 155gr and those guys drill at 600! Granted, the velocity is up quite a bit.
    ----------------------------------

    If you have a 175gr load developed, go try them side-by-side with the 168gr load in 5-7 round groups and see which one you like better.

    Personally, after getting a really nice load for 168 SMKs, I am putting it in the books for 300 and am going to develop a 175/178 load for anything beyond 300 yards. When I get a good one, I may never load another 168 for this rifle. The price is darn near identical and consistency and the simplicity of having a single load that works at all ranges is worth the extra 1.5 cents per round.

  4. #4
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    Dave,
    Is this your 8208 load? If it is then I'd shoot it again just to verify it's the load.
    Sully

  5. #5
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    Thanks for the reply Gentlemen. Yes this is my 8208 load and it is accurate at 100, 200, 300 (1.625" group at 300) and 400 yards. The wind is a factor at Pala every day but it usually doesn't come up until 10:00 AM. So if I could get there early enough to beat the wind I would have better conditions for sure.

    The reason I shot 15 rounds is that is what their match requires. They have gongs beside each target. You can verify your sight settings on the gong and then address your target. You have 15 minutes to shoot your 15 rounds for record. Ya'll might be right about needing more magnification. My scope is a Leupold 4.5x14 AO Tactical. But I will just have to use that scope for awhile longer.

    I have some loads developed with the 175 SMK and the 178 Amax, but they are not as accurate as the 168 is. May need to tweek things a bit.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice and the ideas. I do appreciate it. The dispersion of shots in my group was horizontal. Vertical dispersion was just under 4 inches.

    Sincerely,
    Dave (Bubba) Thornblom

  6. #6
    Senior Member Knightstalker's Avatar
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    How much wind are we talking?

  7. #7
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    It varies from 6 or 8 mph up to 18 or 20 mph. Gusty. And then sometimes it will stop for 20 or 30 seconds and pick up again. This is at the range at Pala, California, that I shoot at. The other range that I shoot at is outside of 29 Palms, California. Wind there starts about 9 in the morning and blows about 4 to 12 mph all day. This where I developed this load. Elevation is about 2800 ft. Elevation at Pala is about 1400 ft.

    Here is the clincher, at 29 Palms we have concrete benches to shoot off of. At Pala we have rickety wooden benches. I read on 6mmBR this morning that the heavy caliber 600 yard benchrest boys are shooting 4.53 inch 5 shot groups in the Nationals at Sacremento. I have shot on that range and it is about as bad as Pala.

    Sincerely,
    Dave (Bubba) Thornblom

  8. #8
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    I just went through my ammo inventory and found that I have a load using the Hornady 178 grain Amax and 43 grains of Varget that shot a 4 shot group at 100 yards that measures .382" center to center. I haven't tested it on paper at longer ranges, but I was able to hit all the gongs on the hilside at the range at 29 Palms (out to 450 yards), just using the mildots in the scope with this load still zeroed at 100 yards. Couldn't tell you about any groups. All of the gongs are at least 1 foot by 1 foot or bigger. I also have a load with 175 grain SMK and 43.1 grains of RL-15 that shoots 4 shoot groups of .628" at 100 yards. I say 4 shot groups as on both groups I had a called flyer. (Flinch)

    I have some 155 grain SMKs loaded but my rifle hates those things. I just need to shoot all of those so I can have my brass.

    Sincerely,
    Dave (Bubba) Thornblom

  9. #9
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    Hey Avolcek,

    In answere to a question you asked in your first post on this thread, "Dave, is it the shooter or the load." Well I went to the range early today and got there before the wind did. So, the trueth is that it was the shooter and the wind but not the rifle or the load. I was the only one there this morning. At 600 yards, I got a 5 inch 5 shot group and a 4.875 inch 5 shot group and a 4.75 inch 5 shot group with that same ammo. No wind, no distractions, no mirage, and no 15 shot groups heating the barrel up to start walking. That sure beats the 6.5 inch group I got the other day. If I put those 3 groups together they would all fit in the 5 inch group for a composit 15 shot group. I meant to shoot some 178 grain loads, but I forget to take them with me. I guess I am going to have to start making out a list so I don't forget things to take to the range.

    Sincerely,
    Dave (Bubba) Thornblom

  10. #10
    Senior Member Knightstalker's Avatar
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    Re: 168 grain Sierra for 600 yard matches

    Quote Originally Posted by avolcek
    Dave I think you are fine. Now it's just practice
    Completely agree! You are in good shape now, Dave.

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