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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks, I have a pretty long list of questions, so here goes; if you can give any advice about anything here, that would be great!

• My first issue is with .308 bullet weights. Everyone seems to rave about the 168 SMKs, so I started using those, and I’ve got decent accuracy from them, but the groups tend to open up at longer ranges (600m or more). I’ve read that they are ok out to 1000m if you can push them fast enough, but I’m using Reloader 15, 42 grains out of a 24 inch barrel, and all I can get is 2450 fps. I’ve done some searches online, and talked to some people, and the recommendations are either 155 grain bullets (I can’t afford to shoot the scenars much, but sierra MK Palmas are ok) or 175 grain bullets (again, probably SMKs). If this is true, why are the 168s so popular?

So the question is, what bullet weight do you recommend? In the past, I’ve tried 150 grain Federal American eagle ammo, which grouped about 3 inches at 100m does this mean my rifle doesn’t like lighter bullets or was it just bad ammo (or bad marksmanship)? The rifle is a R700 with 24 inch 1-12 twist bbl. Also, with RE-15 will I still have trouble getting high enough velocities to make use of the higher BC bullets? Ultimately, I’d like a load that is 0.5 MOA capable (the rifle has got 0.147 inch groups before so that’s not a problem), and stable (and accurate) to 1000m, hopefully that’s not too unreasonable from a .308. Or would anyone recommend sticking with the 168s?


• Second question; I’ve ordered a box of 155 Palma MatchKings and a box of 175 SMKs, but the only place I can load test is a 100m range that is 2 hrs drive away and costs a fortune to spend a day there, so I’d like to get my load testing done in as few trips as possible. Should I make up several batches with different powder charges, find the most accurate, then play with the seating depth on that load, or should I test different seating depths on all the different powder charges, all at once? I have also ordered a Hornady headspace gauge and bullet comparator, so I will set up my die to bump the shoulder back 0.002-3, is that the best way to do it?

I’m also switching from Federal brass to Winchester brass, can this have a significant effect on reloads? (I’ll do all the testing with the new Winchester brass, so it’s basically starting from scratch).


• Here’s where I’ll spark a debate: I’m considering a new rifle that can shoot to 1000-1200m, I’d like a .338 Lapua Magnum, but the rifles (and ammo) are pretty spendy! So I’m thinking of a .260 – cheaper brass (I can neck down/up from .308, .243, 7mm-08 ) and cheaper bullets, and less powder, less recoil too! Other possibilities are the 6.5 x 55, not quite as flat as the .260 I think, but a very common round over here, they’re popular on the continent, and decent rifles are easily available (a .260 I’d probably have custom built/ semi customised). Also, the .243 win seems to be popular, though I haven’t seen it in use as a long range cartridge, it has reasonable ballistics, rifles are easily available too, but I have read that for long range shooting with heavy bullets, you need a custom barrel with a tighter twist to make the .243 a contender, is this true?
I should note this is pretty much purely for targets, so a humane kill isn’t a consideration (not that I’d try shooting an animal at 1000m), but I would like something with a reasonable punch, just in case :twisted: . Another choice would be the 6.5 Grendel, which I could have built on a straight pull AR15 platform, which would be awesome (semi autos are illegal here). How does this stack up against the .260, .243 and 6.5x55? Does anyone recommend any of the WSMs for long range shooting? I think the .325 WSM is a cool cartridge, but probably not that great long range, and not easily available. The .300 WSM is also used by an excellent shooter I know, but I’m not sure about ammo availability/cost.

I’m leaning towards the .260 as it is a bit less common, which is cool, but shouldn’t be too expensive to load for or to get a rifle for (a rebarreled .308 is easy enough to get). What are your recommendations for these cartridges in terms of long range ballistics, cost of ammo, barrel life etc.? I’ve been put off the 6.5x47 (apparently it’s not as flat as the .260) and the 6.5x284 (a barrel burner), but if anyone recommends these, I’d welcome their input. There’s also the 6.5 Creedmore, but I have yet to see any rifles or ammo available this side of the pond.


• Another minor point, I have not had any problems with case head separation, but I was wondering, surely if it was going to happen, the head would be more likely to come off when you resize the case, than when it is confined in a rifle’s chamber, or am I wrong?

If you’ve read this far, thank you. This could probably make up about 3 different threads, but I thought it’s easier this way. If anyone has any suggestions about any of the points above, I’d be very grateful.
Thanks in advance, Sam.
 

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the .243 round is pretty sweet round with a 1:8 or 1:7.5 barrel it can fire the 115 DTAC bc is somewhere around .585 tubbs is coming out with a 111 grain with a BC of .600 and with muzzle volocity reaching 2800 FPS beats the .308 in recoil and flatness of trajectory.
 

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The 168 gr MK was used for years by the US military. And the 168 gr MK is loaded in the Federal Gold Medal Match load. That's why this bullet developed a wide following. Additionally, you can buy the 168 grain bullet everythere--even in England.

Reloder 15 is the powder currently used by the US military in match ammo. So you are using a good powder. But your loads seem a little slow. You should be able to get 2600 fps + with your rifle and the 168 grain bullet. Have you tried IMR-4064 or Varget?

With respect to your 155 gr and 175 loading program, I would concentrate on one bullet at a time. I would start with a seating depth of 2.800" overall length. This is the seating depth used by the Federal Gold Medal Match load and this length is a good place to start.

I would start by loading ammo of assorted charge levels. I would begin by firing the mild loads and I would work my way up. You will have to fire 30 to 50 rounds and you will be at the range all day. And if possible I would use IMR-4064 or Varget if I could find it. Now Reloder 15 is a good powder, but I have never used it.

Once you have optimal velocity and accuracy, you might try playing around with seating depth. What seating depth were you using with your 168 grain loads?

And after you have a good 155 grain load, then start playing with the 175 grain bullet.

Anyway, keep it simple. I fear that you are trying to deal with too many different variables at once. You are going to drive yourself crazy. So get your .308 shooting properly and only then should you get another rifle. I think that the 6.5s run out of steam beyond 1000 yards. At that distance, you have to pay for performance. I say .338 Lapua.

And finally keep exacting records. Squinty may be a dumb schnook, but he keeps wonderful records. Finally, have you British repaired the bridges yet? When we were in England, everywhere we went we saw signs saying, "Weak Bridge". I could never figure that out.

Stay away from pubs and greasy fish and chips. Don't be a schmoe! Eat healthy salmon instead.



Fluffy
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info Fluffy, as ever you have proven yourself to be a very wise cat!
I was seating my 168 SMKs to 2.800 (or as close as possible, I don't have a comparator yet and the SMK bullets vary in length by 0.015 so measuring COAL is not that accurate).
I haven't tried any other powders, and as I still have some RE15 I thought I'd use that, if I can't get the velocities, I'll switch.
The reason I'm planning to test both the 155s and the 175s at the same time is to choose the most accurate. If one bullet shows more accuraccy than the other, I'll use that one in future. I only want to work up one load, I don't want a load for the 155s and a load for the 175s, I'll pick the most accurate, then bulk buy a load of components for it.
Testing the charge weight then the seating depth separately does simplify things, but it means I'll have to go to the 100m range twice, though I might take some reloading kit to the range and see how much I can get done in one day.

As for record keeping, I have kept records for my 168 load development, in fact I still have the targets!

A .338 would be nice, but I'm 19 and don't have a significant income! I'd just like something (preferably with pretty mild recoil) that can easily get to 1000m without getting thrown about by the wind or dropping like a rock (as the .308 does).

Also, with reference to the .243, if there are only 1 or 2 specialist bullets that aren't common, then that pretty much rules it out, even SMKs are hard to find here, always out of stock, everywhere!
 

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I bought an R700 .308 over a year ago with the main purpose to get into long range shooting. After a year or so of reloading and shooting the 308 at 1000 yards, we pretty much settled on two bullets for our 1000 yard reloads. 175 SMK and 155 Lapua Scenars and I have to say, we are using the 155 Scenars more than the 175 SMK. The 155 Lapuas have a higher BC and are easier to get up to speed and have done pretty well at the long ranges.

The 168 and 175 SMK both produce great groups at 100 yards and I think I settled on the 175 SMK between the two for 1000 yards mainly because the 175 just will have a better edge as far as ballistics goes between the two. Less drop and better in wind.

I have not had much luck with the 155 palma SMK. To be honest, I gave them a try a few times and just couldn't get the groups that I got with 155 scenar and 168 and 175 SMKs. The 155 scenar also has a much better BC than the 155 palma SMK. I started to play with 175 berger VLDs but haven't gotten back to them yet so still TBD.

The main powders I'm using now for these bullets are Varget and RE15. I pretty much stick with 168 SMKs and 168 A-max for 560 yards or less and use the 175 SMK and 155 scenars for 1000 yards.

Like I said before, I've only been doing long range shooting for about 1 1/2 years now but this is where I have gotten so far.

BTW, I just purchased a Sako TRG 42 in 338 lapua and just after a couple trips to the 1000 yard range love it. Everything for it is very expensive though, thats for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info Big338, I know the Scenars are good, but they are pretty pricey, as are the bergers! I wasn't sure about the 155 Palmas since the lighter bullets hadn't grouped so well out of my rifle before, I think I'll end up using the 175s. Isn't it a pain though, having two different loads, don't you have to rezero every time you switch loads? I'd like to get just one load that I can stick with at all ranges.

The range I use most often only goes out to 600m, so I don't often get the chance to shoot much further, I have to drive into the middle of Wales to get to the longer ranges, which is a long way for a days shooting, but worth it though! That's kind of the reason a .338 LM would be too big, also, since my club shoots on military ranges, on the gallery type ranges, you have to do a zero test with "high muzzle energy" rifles, this includes .338s, .50 cals, and even some .300 win mag loads. It is basically a test to show that you can put all your shots into an A4 sheet of paper at 200m, they then sign the target and that allows you to shoot there. You have to do this at the start of every days' shooting. The reason is there are buildings too close to the danger area, so if you miss the backstop, the more powerfull rifles could go into a populated area. The zero check is to make sure you don't miss the backstop when you move back to longer ranges. It's a whole load of hassle I don't really want to deal with at the start of a days shooting, and one of the reasons I want to win the lottery, buy a load of land in the middle of nowhere and set up a private 3000m range :D then I could get a .408 Chey Tac (assuming I had $20,000 to spare).
 

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Do you have to be royalty to get guns in England ? I heard you have to be part of a " special crowd or strange circles to get them.
If you have a 1 in 12 barrel i would use 150 or 155 , i heard twist is affected by bullet length and not weight , but their kinda tied together , heavier bullet being longer.
you should be able to get a velocity about 2800 if you use 150gr round, i get 2850 on 165gr on a 24in 30-06, so you could even jack up the load to 2900 or +.
Re15 should do fine , ive used it allot but you can try 4064 , it shoots well in most 30 cal guns.
I adjust my powder charges with + - .03 grain. so 45.7, 46, 46.3 and test 7 -10 round groups like that. you should mess with adjusting leade later , well at least i find it time consuming.
If you neck turn and uniform your brass and then segregate it it doesnt really make that big difference which company you use.
, just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info guys.

The 42 grains of RE15 I use is I think the Never exceed oad listed in my Lee data book, it is maybe half a grain less than the stated maximum in my speer book, so I didn't want to push it too much higher. Anyway, it was the most accurate load, so I went with it, thinking that if it was a little slow, I could just wind the scope up a bit further. However it turns out that the bullets destabilise if they go subsonic at longer range, so that's no good!

Crazy: yes, you pretty much do have to be royalty. every time I renew my licence I realise how restrictive the laws are, and I get rather upset :evil: :evil: :evil:

On another note, regarding the potential new rifle, do you think TacOps would make a rifle in .260 Rem? That would be nice! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Does anyone have any recommendations on the 6.5 calibres?

I've pretty much decided how to proceed with the load testing.

Thanks everyone!

SamM
 

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a 6.5 mm recommendation

Grendel ... 'nuff said
I build mine from 7.62x39 RP brass for the small rifle primer pockets (less brisance)
Shoot 'em outta my 17" Coyote Arms bbl on my contender 1" groups @100 yds all day long w/ bipod.
Never fired a commercial round in it. 6.5 Grendel carbine sm.png
 

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• My first issue is with .308 bullet weights. Everyone seems to rave about the 168 SMKs, so I started using those, and I’ve got decent accuracy from them, but the groups tend to open up at longer ranges (600m or more). I’ve read that they are ok out to 1000m if you can push them fast enough, but I’m using Reloader 15, 42 grains out of a 24 inch barrel, and all I can get is 2450 fps. I’ve done some searches online, and talked to some people, and the recommendations are either 155 grain bulletsspeed test vidmate 123movies
 

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• My first issue is with .308 bullet weights. Everyone seems to rave about the 168 SMKs, so I started using those, and I’ve got decent accuracy from them, but the groups tend to open up at longer ranges (600m or more). I’ve read that they are ok out to 1000m if you can push them fast enough, but I’m using Reloader 15, 42 grains out of a 24 inch barrel, and all I can get is 2450 fps. I’ve done some searches online, and talked to some people, and the recommendations are either 155 grain bullets (I can’t afford to shoot the scenars much, but sierra MK Palmas are ok) or 175 grain bullets (again, probably SMKs). If this is true, why are the 168s so popular?speed test 123movies
They're popular probably because the DO shoot so well out to 600 yds. But I think it's generally known that they're not particularly good out to 1000. I use the 168 SMK's out to 600 and they do really well, particularly at 300 yds or less. 175 SMK's will do just fine out to 1000, but if you're going to shoot at 1000 or greater, you might want to seriously consider the 200 gr SMK (though I've heard it likes a barrel with a little faster twist rate than say a 10:1). For your 168 SMK's, you might want to try a different powder like H4895, AR-Comp or Varget, which have all worked great for me with the 168 gr SMK and the 175 SMK's.
 

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168gr SMK typically goes transsonic around 900 yards. I load the 175gr SMK in Lapua brass with both Varget and H4895, getting 2770fps out of a 26". I have another load for a 20" barrel using Federal brass and Varget getting 2630fps. I use these loads out to 1200 yards. These are loaded using the Hornady BTO gauge and loaded longer than 2.800" but still able to load into a mag. I have had a lot of luck with the 200gr SMK (BC .715) loaded in LC M118lr brass with Varget at 2600fps from my 26" barrel. In the summer it goes trans sonic around 1650yards. Consistent out to 2050 yards. But they will only single load. Please note the box suggests a 1-9 twist, I'm using a 1-10 so I bought some and tested them out to 1200 on steel and impacts were good (no key-hole's)
OAL is 3.150"

The .308 is very capable, but there are plenty of others out there that will get there easier. I'm just a .308 win junkie lol.


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the .243 round is pretty sweet round with a 1:8 or 1:7.5 barrel it can fire the 115 DTAC bc is somewhere around .585 tubbs is coming out with a 111 grain with a BC of .600 and with muzzle volocity reaching 2800 FPS beats the .308 in recoil and flatness of trajectory.
 

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• My first issue is with .308 bullet weights. Everyone seems to rave about the 168 SMKs, so I started using those, and I’ve got decent accuracy from them, but the groups tend to open up at longer ranges (600m or more). I’ve read that they are ok out to 1000m if you can push them fast enough, but I’m using Reloader 15, 42 grains out of a 24 inch barrel, and all I can get is 2450 fps. I’ve done some searches online, and talked to some people, and the recommendations are either 155 grain bulletsspeed test vidmate 123movies
168 SMK is a horrible long range bullet in a .308 but don't lump all 168s together. The Hornady 168 ELD-M is excellent at 1000+. It has a higher BC than the 175 SMK and with Varget you can get them near 2800fps in a 24" barrel.

As to speed, if you are only getting 2450fps from a 168 SMK in a 24" barrel then something is wrong. I shoot 178s in my 20" at 2695 and in my 24" I have them around 2760fps. You need to work up a load better as 42 of RL15 is kind of low. Try Varget. 42-46grns with the 168s.

And of course the .243 or similar 6mm will do better ballistically. Same for the 6.5s but the .308 can be made to shoot just fine at 1000+ but you need to use the right components for the job.
 
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