308 win, 190 VLD, H4350. I found a new love....
Wow. Just wow.
As you know, I am still after 20 years of longrange shooting and hunting, I am still a huge 308 fan and advocate. Recently I've recently been playing with a 28" 5R Bartlein 11.25x barrel. Broke it in according to their recommendations. It shoots reasonably well. I say reasonably because even though I cant seem to find .2-.3 MOA accuracy it shoots every bullet and powder I have tried in it at .375-1.000 MOA. Only a handful of groups have hit the one MOA mark and most are in the .5s with a fair amount in the .4s. From 155s to 190s, seven powders, 4 different primer types and a whole host of charge weights, most are in the .5s. Its hard to beat that even if it means not getting to my beloved .2-.3 MOA zone.
I find that BENCHMARK yields the best accuracy. All groups fired with BENCH average .385 MOA. The largest being .406 MOA. That said, it has the worst extreme spreads. About 25 is normal. Then there is H4895. Extreme spreads are in the single digits but groups average .6 MOA. VARGET has offered a great balance between accuracy and extreme spread. I'm getting 12-18 FPS spreads and an average of just at .5 MOA.
Now we move to H4350. 50.0 grains under the 190 VLD .020" jammed is giving me .5 MOA with 2702 FPS at the muzzle with SINGLE digit extreme spreads! I LOVE IT!!! Now 50 grains with a 190 VLD seated to 2.950" (fits the Wyatt box with room to spare) is fairly compressed, it is still performing amazingly well. All of this is in the Lapua Palma case running Federal 205 match primers.
I did shoot one load over the chrony today as a velocity test @ 49.0 of H4350 under the 190 VLD using the standard 308 case running the Federal 215 match primer. One grain less with the bigger primer showed 2721. Tomorrow I will be testing 48-49 grains with the large rifle and large magnum primers. I find 49.0 fills the case right up to the bottom of the neck which minimal compression since I only seat them far enough to mate the boattail/bearing surface junction of the bullet with the neck/shoulder junction of the case. Pressure? None that I can see. Bolt opens and case extracts as if there wasn't even a case in the chamber. Primers? Look good so far. Ejector marks? None.
A 308 win driven 190 grain pill with a BC near the .6 mark ran at 2700+ with single digit spreads, 1/2 MOA accuracy, temperature stable powder AND safe pressure......I'm in love.
I think at 5000' elevation and 50-60 degrees F. where I hunt deer, antelope and dall sheep, I think this might even be a legitimate 308 1000 yard hunting load (deer size critters). Ooops, I said 308, 1000 yard and hunting in the same sentence. Let the flame begin!
Who knows,,,,,maybe playing with seating depths might improve on 1/2 MOA. OR....,,,,,maybe I should just be happy.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (where the shot goes, how big the group is, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.