OK.....I am a believer. 308/RL-17/208 AMAX = sweet spot
After all the buzz lately about RL-17 in a 308 and me being the 308 nut that I am just could not resist the temptation to go out and see what it is all about. I loaded up some 168 AMAX's, 200 SGK's and 208 AMAX's for testing the other day and went to the range today to see what would become of this. Well all I can say is that I am encouraged.
First the 168's. I loaded up 3 groups of 3 + two foul shots for the clean barrel. Loads were as follows. 48.0, 49.0, 50.0 grains of RL-17 under the 168 AMAX loaded to 2.840 OACL and .020" off the lands. The velocity for the 48.0 load was right around 2800 FPS. Velocity for the 49.0 charge was just over 2850 and the velocity for the 50.0 charge was 2903. Yes you read that right. 2903 with absolutely NO pressure signs whatsoever. The bolt lift was if there was a virgin case in the chamber and the primer had no crater, no excessive flatness and there were no marks on the base whatsoever. This load also group 0.3 MOA. It gets even better.
Next I moved on to the 208 AMAX. I only loaded 3 bullets total just to test velocity. After the test, I could make a decision as to where to go from there. I started low with 45.0 and jumped to 47.0 and then jumped to 49.0 grains. The first (45.0) was a dissapointing 2484 FPS. After the second shot things were looking up with 2609 FPS. The extraction and cases/primers were all flawless so I opted to torch off the 49.0 load. Jenny belched out that dag gum 208 grain AMAX at an astounding 2714 FPS. After seeing the chrony I thought "Oh boy....this bolt is going to be sticky...." Much to my utter amazment, the bolt lift was just as easy as with any other normal load I have ever fired. No case markings and no primer crater ZILCH! The amazing part about this is that all 3 of those 208's that were 2 grains between them for a total of 4 grain from start to finish, repeat after me......4 grains of difference, the group was under 1.200 MOA. UNDER 1.200 MOA! This opens a whole lot more possibilities.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, 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.