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Thread: Newbie Question - which do you pick first

  1. #1

    Newbie Question - which do you pick first

    Hi All,

    Just about to start reloading after 7 years of factory ammo and the last few months researching and reading about it - including on here and finally after a demo, earlier on the year from IanF.

    My Sako A7 (1-11 twist) .308 with 20" barrel is quite ammo fussy - loves 150g Federal soft points and Winchester Ballistic Silver Tips, hates Geco, PPU and so on.

    The purpose is for woodland stalking for muntjac, roe and fallow, with 200 yards being a rare shot and most within 100 yards - the usual.

    I'd like to find the ideal long range foxing/roe load with c.130g, the ideal load for woodland fallow and anything else at 150g and then a heavy bullet (170/180g) for the occasional North Cornwall and Devon (or scottish) Red deer.

    I know 150g will do it all if you shoot it in the right place, but I thought it would be fun to try something a bit different.

    So, newbie question - which do you choose first - the bullet weight and then the type of the type/make and then weight of the bullet?

    Will reloading enable me to choose a bullet and then modify the load until the rifle likes it, or will the rifle ignore my efforts and only like a particular make and weight of bullet, that I need to find by trial and error?

    I'm hoping to avoid trying loads of expanding bullets I then can't use and have to sell to avoid using up my FAC allowance, but I accept there will be a road to travel, before I reach Nirvana....

    Advice/comments/derision welcomed.

  2. #2
    I'd adopt a process based on effect, availability and price but that's just me!
    Yes, reloading should allow much better load tailoring but I'd caution against chasing the accuracy goal beyond your needs in the field unless you find it as much fun as hunting. It costs a lot of time and money (including barrel life). You ought to find a couple of sweet spot per bullet...
    You might, however, find none.
    The 308s I've owned (3 in 30years) were all good natured and shot almost anything into 1.5MOA and most decent bullets into sub MOA or better.

  3. #3
    Personally I'd start with the heavy load as you will be able to use it in all the scenarios you describe and meat damage will be less with a heavier slower bullet than a fast 130g should you come across a fallow up close. Something like the Sierra Game king 165g HPBT. It's based on the famous 168grain Matchking so will be ideal for long range as well as a good hunting bullet. Plenty of powders will work so it's good to go to your local shops and see what they stock and then go online or in your reloading manual and see which of those will work with your bullet choice. If you start with the heavy round you'll. E able to spend more time shooting it in all circumstances while you play around with more specific loads otherwise you'll spend ages between the ranges while you develop 3 rounds rather than out hunting.

  4. #4
    Id check whars available local to you on a regular basis by that i mean bullets and powder no point in finding a perfect load in any weight if you cant find the components

  5. #5
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    Get some 150 gr. Nosler Partitions and find an accurate load with N140. End of story.

    You can thank Dula for the advice on the N140, he recommended it and it has been fantastic in my 20" .308.
    Last edited by A Guy Out West; 08-12-2016 at 19:44. Reason: Adding

  6. #6
    I've always used 150grn pro hunters on everything from Muntjac to Sika ,150grn "anything non exploding" seems to be a good match with .308 and N140, with the added bonus for me that the POI at 100m is almost identical to my 155grn SMK load, so no messing around with scope settings when practising on the range (I tend to take a lot of target ammo shared between 2 rifles so it cuts down on the number of expanding bullets I need to buy )
    PS Daunstey Guns is a good source of reloading bits and bobs.
    "Politicians must be allowed to panic. They need activity. It is their substitute for achievement"
    "'The matter is under consideration' means we have lost the file. 'The matter is under active consideration' means we are trying to find the file."

  7. #7
    One bullet = one zero, one load development, one trajectory to learn, one load to have confidence in, one set of reloading components to keep in stock etc.

    Also any reasonably engineered rifle should shoot every bullet well, sure there will be a little variation due to bullet construction consistency and so on but this should be tiny, so really you want to decide on the outcome you want and then pick a bullet to produce this outcome and then load this bullet for your rifle.

    Some time back I took a number of bullets and loads, including at least one bullet that I didn't know even who made it as it was given to me, and shot them at a target prone and off sticks. Now I'm not a great shot (and I would contend that anyone who is telling you they are consistently shooting tiny groups in field conditions is kidding themselves anyhow) but in the end the target had about 20 rounds in it and the group was just about the size I might have expected had I done the same thing with a single bullet and load. Take a look at the posts for your entertainment, real all the info I posted as it details exactly what went on:

    http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.u...n-these-groups

    http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.u...up-gets-bigger

    http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.u...he-group-grows
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  8. #8
    Thanks guys, that's exactly what I needed to know. Good tip on Dauntsey's - I'm a regular and they are all very helpful and most reload as well. I know I only need minute of deer from my rifle in the field, but I like the idea of finding a load and bullet that gets the most from me and my rifle. i don't have the beard for Bisley but enjoy going there from time to time to see what I can do at more extended ranges. Much appreciated.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by tarponhead View Post
    Thanks guys, that's exactly what I needed to know. Good tip on Dauntsey's - I'm a regular and they are all very helpful and most reload as well. I know I only need minute of deer from my rifle in the field, but I like the idea of finding a load and bullet that gets the most from me and my rifle. i don't have the beard for Bisley but enjoy going there from time to time to see what I can do at more extended ranges. Much appreciated.
    Have you read any books on reloading?? That would be a really good place to start and would have answered 90% of your concerns expressed in your post.~Muir

  10. #10
    As Muir, said, get some good reloading books, and download the current load data from the powder manufacturers.

    Since your rifle likes 150-gr Federal and Winchester Ballistic Silvertips, the place to start is trying to replicate those, with Speer 150-gr flat base and Nosler 150-gr BT, at twice the price of the Speer. So start with Speer, Sierra or Hornady.

    Once you have the easiest one licked, load a mild 125-gr Sierra Pro Hunter to the same speed as that 150-gr you got working, so they shoot to the same point as the 150-gr out to 200 meters. You can find tons of 125-gr loads used by match shooters in the USA in their Garands and M1A rifles on reduced targets.

    And you don't need to fuss with 180-gr for red deer. The 150-gr will do them in just fine.

    Now you don't have to fiddle with your scope or holdover out to 300 yards.

    But, as you become a rifle nut, you will want to drive the 125-gr to 3,000 fps, then load up 130-gr TSX or TTSX, 165-gr boattail SPT, 168-gr match bullets, shoot targets at 300, 400, 500, 600 yards.

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