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Thread: Tikka M55 .308 designed for what load?

  1. #1

    Tikka M55 .308 designed for what load?

    Hi all,

    I have a Tikka M55 in .308, I'm new to reloading and I only shoot target with this caliber. I have been told that as its an older rifle it will have been designed to shoot a heavier load - this makes sense as the throat is extremely long. What I have been unable to find through my searches of the web is what heavier load will it have been designed to fire?

    I understand every rifle is different and I should experiment with as many different bullets, powders, primers, charge weights and lengths as possible but knowing what my rifle was designed to fire in the first place would be a good starting point.

    Any pointers/ info on the bullet weight the rifle was originally designed for would be gratefully received - thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    It was designed to shoot with any standard .308win load - simple as that. That is unless it has been re-barrelled at a later date with some custom load in mind.
    If it is a standard rifle it will be at least 25 years old. These rifles were of excellent quality and originally would have had a barrel made of Bofors steel.
    Have you considered the possibility that it may have had considerable use and depending on the powder loaded and/or the rate of fire the throat may be worn hence longer than normal?
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  3. #3
    8x57 - thanks for the reply.

    The round count is around 2000 (ish) and is still the original barrel - apparently these where throated long as standard to accommodate heavier bullets and that's what I'm hoping to find out.

    The overall condition is consistent with a rifle having a round count of this value and a bore inspection completed by Steve Kershaw shows some wear around the COR (Commencement of Rifling) but once again is consistent with this round count of average loads.
    Last edited by stu47; 20-06-2015 at 16:24.

  4. #4
    You are going to end up loading the 168-gr target bullets or 150-gr hunting bullets to within a few thousands inch of 2.800 inches. Either will work fine. Most newer Tikka and Beretta .308 barrels are 1:11 twist, but the older M55 and M65 were the more common 1:12. They were designed or 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition.

    Before loading, go buy some less expensive FMJ 150-gr ammunition, some 150-gr hunting ammunition ( like Federal Classic ), some 165-gr hunting ammunition, and some 168-gr target ammunition loaded with 168-gr Sierra or similar, and maybe some 155-gr rounds. Shoot those, and they will get you started in the direction of what your rifle prefers, in terms of length and weights to load.

  5. #5
    +1
    150s will be fine I use pro-hunters but in he newer 1:11 could try some geco 165 or 170g good backup cheap factory by RUAG for testing


    Quote Originally Posted by Southern View Post
    You are going to end up loading the 168-gr target bullets or 150-gr hunting bullets to within a few thousands inch of 2.800 inches. Either will work fine. Most newer Tikka and Beretta .308 barrels are 1:11 twist, but the older M55 and M65 were the more common 1:12. They were designed or 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition.

    Before loading, go buy some less expensive FMJ 150-gr ammunition, some 150-gr hunting ammunition ( like Federal Classic ), some 165-gr hunting ammunition, and some 168-gr target ammunition loaded with 168-gr Sierra or similar, and maybe some 155-gr rounds. Shoot those, and they will get you started in the direction of what your rifle prefers, in terms of length and weights to load.

  6. #6
    Cheers Gents!

    I'll post my results/ findings when completed.

    Once again, thanks lads.

  7. #7
    My M55 is relatively new to me,so have not tried many loads as yet.
    I have used Sierra Matchking in 150g and 155g. It seems to like them.

  8. #8
    +1 to Southern's comment - the 168-gr target bullets or 150-gr hunting bullets both shoot very well in my M55 (which had a new Border barrel fitted a couple of years ago).

    Andrew

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern View Post
    You are going to end up loading the 168-gr target bullets or 150-gr hunting bullets to within a few thousands inch of 2.800 inches. Either will work fine. Most newer Tikka and Beretta .308 barrels are 1:11 twist, but the older M55 and M65 were the more common 1:12. They were designed or 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition.

    Before loading, go buy some less expensive FMJ 150-gr ammunition, some 150-gr hunting ammunition ( like Federal Classic ), some 165-gr hunting ammunition, and some 168-gr target ammunition loaded with 168-gr Sierra or similar, and maybe some 155-gr rounds. Shoot those, and they will get you started in the direction of what your rifle prefers, in terms of length and weights to load.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    It was designed to shoot with any standard .308win load - simple as that. That is unless it has been re-barrelled at a later date with some custom load in mind.
    If it is a standard rifle it will be at least 25 years old. These rifles were of excellent quality and originally would have had a barrel made of Bofors steel.
    Have you considered the possibility that it may have had considerable use and depending on the powder loaded and/or the rate of fire the throat may be worn hence longer than normal?
    I'm with you on this one. Find what ammo was popular in that production period and that's what it will shoot well.~Muir

  10. #10
    Stu47, you don't say what kind of M55. They came in various forms and names. The one with a deep dark walnut stock including adjustable buttstock and forend stippled on the underside, detachable magazine, and large black plastic bolt-knob was designed primarily for various 300 metre Scandinavian competition disciplines, but was often seen on our ranges as a short to mid range prone rifle for single-shot use. They are well made rifles which used to command good prices, but have now fallen behind competitively against today's equipment. I'd say you're very lucky to have found a good original M55 irrespective of exact model with a reasonable round-count and I'm sure it'll give you a lot of pleasure.

    So far as the factory ammo of their era was concerned, 300M disciplines tended to use 168gn Sierra MatchKing (SMK) target loads, although it could run up to the same with the 190gn SMK. You still sometimes come across battered cartons of old Norma 190gn match ammo.

    The long throat is not actually relevant to loading as factory ammo was and still is loaded to the SAAMI COAL of 2.800" or thereabouts. Heavy bullets were seated deeper in the case than light ones and they all took a long jump to the rifling lands in such a throat. It does reduce pressures / MVs considerably though, but people didn't run at the sort of levels often seen now and the 168gn SMK at 300M neither needs nor benefits from very high velocity loadings.

    So far as today's ammo / handloading and bullet choice are concerned, rifles of this type and chambers of this configuration tend to like good old fashioned relatively short-nose tangent ogive designs. It's really more a case of finding which of them your barrel and chamber prefer. The older model 155gn SMK (p/n 2155) is often a good performer in such rifles and is a very capable match bullet. The last lot of GB NRA sourced ammo in the blue cartons made by RUAG and its newly arrived NRA Match replacement from GGG in Lithuania both use this bullet and will shoot well in a rifle like this to 600 yards, maybe 800. The 168gn SMK and its newer 175gn sibling are both very tolerant designs and work well in most such rifles. They're also reasonably priced for handloading. However, there is plenty of choice for handloading with similar designs from Hornady and Nosler, a trio from 155-185gn from Lapua, the Hornady A-Max range which suit some barrels better and so on. Avoid VLD and Berger Hybrid designs. For handloads there are scores of recipes and a double-figure range of powders that suit bullets like the 168gn Hornady, Nosler CC, and Sierra MK - Viht N140 and N150; IMR-4895 and 4064; the now virtually impossible to get Hodgdon H4895 and VarGet, Lovex SO62, Reload Swiss RS50 (also known as TR140).

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