Re: New to LR Hunting .308 advice
Welcome to long range hunting and the most addicting sport you will ever be apart of. I for one congratulate you on your purchase of a Savage rifle. I own 2 and plan to purchase more when money allows.
My first suggestion to reloading before considering what to purchase is a good manual. Lee and Lyman are not specific to anyone company of bullet or powder, but offer some very good reading on the basics of reloading. Reading this material will help you to get a basic knowledge of what one needs to look for when choosing equipment and accessories to reload. Also take notice to all the safety precautions when handleing powder and primers.
The .308 is an excellent rifle for ranges to 500yrds for harvesting game. Using a premium bullet in the 150grn to 175grn class will kill anything you want it to at that range. General powders used are Hogdon Varget, and Alliant Reloader 15. These powders seem to produce optimum efficiency and velocity with the bullet weights I suggested. Some other powders to consider would be IMR 4064. You want to use a Large Rifle Primer of some type. CCI 200 and Federal 210 are the most popular, but can be extremely hard to find. Remington 7 1/2 and Winchester WLR are good selections also. Wolf makes a decent primer, but I have yet to use them.
The powder weights in the books are a good starting point for any reloading novice. You should pick a velocity that you think should be sufficient for the game that you want to kill. Your manual will offer its suggested powder load to attain this speed. The only drawback is the test rifle they used. It is important to remember that your rifle may not shoot identical numbers that are being showed in the manual. Always start in the middle and work your way up. You need to watch for signs of over pressure i.e.; ejector marks on the rim, bulging in the brass, hard or sticky bolt lift, and cratered primers. If any of the above happens, you need to stop shooting that load and start over backing down a grain or two.
It is good practice to step up loads when starting fresh in .5grain incriments. You will find the loads will go to a tight group and open up again. As your loads increase you may find 2 nodes of accuracy. One at a low powder charge and one at a higher powder charge. Another variable is the temperature. The powders above are designed to be more stable with temperature, but you will see some change in either accuracy or pressures. A load that shot well at 45 degrees may be to high pressured at 85 degrees.
For deer at 500yrds, a velocity of no less than 2650fps should be the minimum (strictly my opinion) speed with the .308. The faster you can scoot the bullet in this caliber the better as long as you can maintain the accuracy without over pressuring your chamber. Between 2650 and 2750 will be sufficient. You want to make sure that your grouping is at least 1" or perferably less at 100yrds. This in theory this should result in a 5" or less group at 500yrds. With practice and good reloading you should be able to attain smaller groupings.
Finally, practice, practice, practice. There is no substitution for getting on the range and shooting. This is highly necessary to be able to get your quary as efficiently and ethically as possible. Because you are reloading, you will be able to make a few more trips to the range. It is also necessary to practice to the ranges that you are wanting to hunt. The farther you shoot the more wind becomes a key factor in your ability to hit your intended target.
Take care, and have fun with your new addicting hobby,
P.S. Get your rifle glass bedded unless it has pillar bedding.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
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Last edited by liltank; 10-22-2009 at 03:29 PM.
Reason: Rifle work suggestion