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Thread: Low velocity bullet advice

  1. #1

    Low velocity bullet advice

    I am currently working on a .308 load. I am putting together a tracking/woodland rifle. It will have a short light sporter barrel, probably about 17 inches, a small 1-4 24mm illuminated scope an no bipod, worn on the back, backpack style, and hopefully not getting caught up whilst being dragged about by the hound.

    I expect shots to be taken from PB to 100 yards, so I'm not fussed about BC, trajectories or wind. I also want to load it down to about 2200 fps, just achieving the legal minimum energy with a 165/170 grain bullet. Hopefully this will mean I don't have to moderate it which is another bonus.

    The issue is which bullet. It has to expand at velocities from 2200 to 1800 fps, reliably. That seems to rule out the Barnes bullets and anything that is bonded. The ones that seem to come up top of the list on the reliable expansion at low velocity front are Nosler 168 BT, Hornaday 165 SST and 168 AMax (I know...but they do work well at low velocity for exactly the reason that they don't at high velocity) and Speer 165 BTSP.

    In terms of load I am looking at a fast burning powder to try to burn all of it before the end of the barrel. Favourite at the moment having done a bit of research is H4895 which people seem to think is pretty accurate in .308's.

    The rifle will probably work well on driven Boar as well with something like a 180 Partition at 2400fps, light, quick, pointable with the right scope on top.

    Does anyone have any experience of having done anything like this before and if so what bullet/powder combination did you settle on? Any advice on other aspects of the project gratefully received.

    Thanks for your help.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  2. #2
    I can't comment from any experience of doing this but take a look down at the bottom of this page:

    It seems that Nosler design their partition for 1800fps upwards so it might do your job. The reason the Partition came to mind is that I considered that perhaps having the second core behind the partition means that you can make the front end softer than might be the case with a normal bullet as you are getting the best of both worlds.

    I have a lot of success with a 150 grain Partition from my 308 but it is probably leaving me at 2700fps or so however I've shot deer to about 250 yards with it, giving a calculated impact velocity of around 2100fps, and it has been very effective at this distance and velocity. It must be said that I can't see any logical reason for you to "load down" to 2200 if you can get more.
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  3. #3
    Firstly, i have not done this myself so I don't have personal experience. I remember quite a few guys in NZ were developing subsonic loads for various rifles. As you say an issue is finding a projectile that expands adequately at lower velocities. I believe many used 30-30 projectiles in their .308 Win. Do a bit of a Google - plenty of info on this.
    Good luck,

  4. #4
    Cant see the need for expensive premium bullets if they're being shot at relatively low velocities. Load the heaviest bullet that will stabilise, and use a basic cup and core bullet from hornady, Speer, sierra etc. I also don't see the point in limiting your velocity. You say that you hope you wont need to moderate it - I don't think it'll be quieter than any other .308

  5. #5
    Subsonic 30 calibre won't make deer legal.


  6. #6
    Nigel just a question is this going to be a dedicated tracking rifle? if so you don't have to stick with the legal load for shooting deer as you are dispatching an injured deer, My rifle is set to shoot cast loads around 1400-1800 fps perfect for tracking and following up with the hound. very good at dispatching wounded deer even bigger deer, expansion is very good with a lead load light recoil have a look here for a suitable bullets then pick a powder to suite, atb wayne
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  7. #7
    .308 with 17in barrel shooting 165-170gr bullets at 2200fps = LOUD.

    You certainly need decent hearing protection. Can't see the point of downloading to 2200fps?

  8. #8
    Just nipped off to have some tea and get back to lots of comments. Thanks chaps.

    Logic of loading down to min legal energy is based on less noise, less recoil in a light rifle and less chance of ricochet. If it means I don't have to fit a mod less weight as well. At 2200 fps with a 165/168 it will still shoot +/- 1" to 150 yds just in case a longer shot is required on a track.

    At 2200 fps the cartridge is running 41psi according to Powley against a .308 case max of 62k psi. That's 1/3 below max pressure. A fast burning powder should not be burning powder outside the barrel and the low pressure should keep it relatively quiet - against loading to 2550 fps/62k psi which you could do. My 6.5*47 Lapua is very acceptable without a mod running 59k psi and 39 grains of R15 and I think the .308 will load lighter than that.

    Good point on not paying for premium bullets. Points towards that Speer BTSP. Mereside, really interesting on the cast bullets. How do they perform over 100 yds or are they really just a PB HD option? What load of which powder do you put behind it for those velocities?

    Thanks guys.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  9. #9
    But adding mod will also reduce recoil. Granted it will add some weight and length but that's a price I'd be happy to pay- I realise it's a personal thing, of course.

    Incidentally, lower velocity doesn't necessarily mean lower chance of ricochet; often the opposite.

    Cast bullets can certainly shoot well enough to take deer to 100yds (and more). If you don't want to cast your own, you can have them cast to your alloy spec (ie. not just hard cast for target) by people like Donald at Shellhouse (UK). Cast bullets are ideal if you aren't chasing velocity (being mindful of the minimum energy requirement, of course.)
    Last edited by xavierdoc; 23-02-2015 at 21:21.

  10. #10
    Just a thought , would a low velocity heavy bullet not be more likely to ricochet than a higher velocity more frangible design? Think of the 22lr. From what I understand you Are trying to replicate the 30/30. If that is the case why not try the flat nosed 30/30 bullets? They should expand reliably at the velocities you are aiming for

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