Newbie Question - which do you pick first

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
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.
 

Barkingsnake

Well-Known Member
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.
 

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
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.
 

shakey jake

Well-Known Member
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
 

A Guy Out West

Well-Known Member
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.
 
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kennyc

Well-Known Member
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 :D )
PS Daunstey Guns is a good source of reloading bits and bobs.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
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.uk/showthread.php/79582-Opinions-on-these-groups

http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.uk/showthread.php/80265-The-multi-load-group-gets-bigger

http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.uk/showthread.php/80806-The-fun-continues-and-the-group-grows
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
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.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
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
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
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.
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
Thanks Muir, good advice and I have been reading some, as well as articles and videos from various sources including Gun Digest, but they are understandably neutral on bullet choice - you pays your money and takes your choice.

Southern has got to heart of what I want to do as a start and then if I can make it work for me, i will see what I can do on the range, but matching speed for the field and bullet weight for the quarry will be perfect for what I want.

Many thanks for your responses.
 

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
Also check out arms24.com and alpinhunting.com as you can get hunting bullets delivered to your door which makes choosing and sourcing bullets a bit easier rather than just relying on what your local place stocks. By all means if your local can get them then it's worth supporting them and building a good relationship but if not then it's an easy (and often cheaper) way of sourcing hard to find bullets, for example the Barnes TSX or TTsX
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
Interesting - how does that work with expanding bullets? I thought it was RFD or F2F issue only, as they have to be entered onto your FAC. Great, if it can be done legally.
 

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
As the companies are abroad it's perfectly legal only canthe do it from within the UK!!! Do a quick search on here for "expanding bullets by post" and you'll find its been discussed many times.
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
Great websites - the best I have seen. I shouid look at mainland Europe suppliers more. A good friend of mine sources spares directly from Beretta in Italy for a fraction of the price and time available from Brownells for the same items, for example. I will have a good look at the treads you mention, to make sure I do it right.
 

Dorsettaff

Well-Known Member
Find a bullet/powder/case combo that works well for you and that you can source "easily" and stick with it. After many years of phaffing about I've just about nailed it for most calibres I shoot:-

.243/85grain GK/Superformance
.30-06/ 165 Speer SPBT/RL19
.30-06AI 150 Speer SPBT/H414
.300WM/180 Accubond/RL22
6.5 x 55/140SST/RL17(RL22)

A good site is Wiederleden-Alzey.de Lots of stock and delivered direct to your door from Germany!

I wouldn't get too hung up on ultra speed ...just find a bullet/powder combo that your rifle likes. For what its worth heavy & slow is often better than light(ish) bullets at speed even for vermin....There are the remains of a crow in the New Forest that didn't like a 140SST coming at it from 300m!
 

375 mag

Well-Known Member
if your rifles shoots 150 bullets accurately then I'd stop right there it will save you loads of time and expense.
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
Good point - I'll stick with them and try different bullet types. Just out of interest, will the barrel harmonics change over the life of the barrel as it wears and change the preference of bullet/load?
 

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