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Thread: What's the heaviest bullet any of you have put in a .308?

  1. #1

    What's the heaviest bullet any of you have put in a .308?

    Hello chaps.

    Been a while since I've been here, but I'm looking for a new reloading project and I'm hoping some of you might help me with a bit of preliminary information.

    Here's the background: I've got a mate who's thinking about getting and running a .45-70 as his woodland stalking rifle. His variation's gone in and he seems pretty sure to get it. I'm rather jealous of that and I'd love to get one too, since I've always liked the idea of using one of "ye olde" ex-blackpowder calibres and it fits with my personal approach on ballistics / meat damage etc. Only problem is that I probably don't do enough stalking at this point (with a 6-month old to look after) to justify another deer rifle to the FEO, so it'll have to wait a few years until I can hunt more often.

    So, all that in mind, I thought it might be fun to see if I could copy the approach, if not the implementation: I'd like to load up a really heavy (for calibre) bullet in my .308 at moderate velocity and see how it behaves. This would be mostly as an exercise in reloading, but if I came up with something that worked, I might have the option in future of going after one of those hairy pig things with the tusks and the grunting, etc.

    Here are the questions:

    1. How good is the Miller Stability Formula?
    If I use the calculator on the JBM website with numbers taken from the reloading manuals and bullet maker's websites, I can get values of around 1.6 for a 200gr RNSP or even a 220gr RNSP bullet, which suggests sufficient stability in my 1-in-12" barrel. If I change the values to reflect an ogive bullet of those weights, I get results indicating severe instability as I'd expect, but it looks like an RNSP could work. Does anyone have any experience of how much one can rely on Miller coefficients in the real world?

    2. For those of you who are .308 owners / reloaders - what's the heaviest bullet you've managed to load successfully (and do you have any tips on doing it)?
    I include with the question a request for anyone who's got recommendations for powder or particular bullets. Alliant is easiest for me to get and I can probably get RL17 off the shelf - I'm told this may be a good candidate?

    I'll add a few more thoughts.

    The first, in case anyone thinks I'm trying to do something unusual / silly / etc., is that I realise this may be silly / impractical, but I'm a curious person and I'm interested in pushing the boundaries and seeing whether I'm capable of making this work.

    Second thought: yes, I realise I could just put a variation in and get a .30-06 / .300 Win Mag / .300 Weatherby on my FAC and load heavier bullets in a bigger case which was designed for them, but financially it's impractical and it will be hard to get a 300 magnum past the FEO when I'm not long into my first FAC. I'll probably apply for the Weatherby when I do my next renewal (just for fun!), or when I've got more frequent range access to justify it. Oh, and I like my .308 -another hat tip to the person on here who helped me find it.

    Third: my rifle details - Heym SR20 with 24" barrel and 1-in-12" twist.

    Fourth: if anyone can identify a candidate load and run it through QuickLoad to give me some idea of velocity, energy, etc., I'd very much appreciate it.

    With thanks in advance to anyone who can offer some insight on this subject,

    Adam.

  2. #2
    May I humbly suggest you investigate the idea of a soft cast paper patched bullet. It would seem to fitt he bill of what your wanting to a "T" .

    Another thing to check with jacketed soft points in the heavier weights is the velocity that they are designed to work at. The 308's case is a bit limited in capacity for the 200+ grain weights. I tried the 200 grain Speer spitzer in my Brno 601 and it didn't like them. Also tried some 220 grain Hornady RN with similar poor results. Did not get around to trying them in the P-H 100 Lwt. The only cast bullets I had to hand were some 215 grn ones for the 303 which are a little too large in diameter..

  3. #3
    So, are you looking for hunting loads, for use on red deer, or just punching paper at long range?

  4. #4
    220 match hpbt just to try, norm is 190 vld's in target rifle, 150 hunting rifle.

  5. #5
    Hi Brithunter,

    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    May I humbly suggest you investigate the idea of a soft cast paper patched bullet. It would seem to fitt he bill of what your wanting to a "T" .
    "Soft cast" I understand, "paper patched" I do not. Can you explain what this means?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    Another thing to check with jacketed soft points in the heavier weights is the velocity that they are designed to work at. The 308's case is a bit limited in capacity for the 200+ grain weights.
    Agreed. I plan to buy a bigger .30 calibre at some point in the future, but as noted above, it's not practical. Also, the success or failure of this experiment won't affect any hunting in the immediate future, so if I find that the bullet doesn't expand in, for example, ballistic gelatin, I can just not use the load and discard it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    I tried the 200 grain Speer spitzer in my Brno 601 and it didn't like them. Also tried some 220 grain Hornady RN with similar poor results. Did not get around to trying them in the P-H 100 Lwt. The only cast bullets I had to hand were some 215 grn ones for the 303 which are a little too large in diameter..
    Just out of interest, what barrel length did you use for these? I've read that if you're going to push such heavy bullets at decent speeds, you need a long barrel (maybe more than 24") to get the best out of them...

    Thanks,

    Adam.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern View Post
    So, are you looking for hunting loads, for use on red deer, or just punching paper at long range?
    Neither, specifically. If I come up with something stable and accurate then maybe Red deer, but mostly this is just about giving myself a new project and because I'm curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by paul o' View Post
    220 match hpbt just to try, norm is 190 vld's in target rifle, 150 hunting rifle.
    So you're basically saying you've managed to stabilise a 220gr ogive bullet in a .308? Can you tell me what the twist rate on your rifle is?

  7. #7
    mine was a 1-10 shilen 28" tube later chopped to 26 and why i went to 190 vld's. a -7 up to 10 will do the job 8 being the best we found why ? think we got around 2200 fps ish with n160 nothing that made me jump around 3" at 100 so this was't the way to go and as wished to shoot them in matches they were crap but ha ho we have to try don't we .

    what "was" the rifle it was a custom rem 700 added to a aw stock with the above barrel built by pal in the states i don't paper punch in comps anymore just cant find a good recipe for paper

    .308? Can you tell me what the twist rate on your rifle is?
    Last edited by paul o'; 04-07-2014 at 13:40.

  8. #8
    See above :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by neutron619 View Post
    Third: my rifle details - Heym SR20 with 24" barrel and 1-in-12" twist.

  9. #9
    have fun boss but out of interest why are you wishing to push a very heavy pill around again .

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by paul o' View Post
    have fun boss but out of interest why are you wishing to push a very heavy pill around again .
    In short:
    - it gives me a new reloading project
    - it stimulates the mind on an enjoyable subject
    - because I can
    - it might do for big deer or boar
    - mate is getting a .45-70 and if I can't have one too, I thought I'd try a bullet even slower and even heavier in his honour (but not necessarily on live game).

    It might work, it might not - but it'll keep me busy and gives me something shooting related to do when I can't afford the money or time to actually go out shooting.

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