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308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

 
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  #1  
Old 05-19-2013, 07:14 PM
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308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

I finally got my Savage 308 together (except for the magazine - different story) so I started on my first reloads this weekend. For whatever reason, the Hodgdon reloading server was down this weekend until a short while ago...

So I looked to my Berger and Hornady reloading handbooks for guidance.

The Hornady handbook lists 32-43.2 Gr of Varget for 180gr bullets and 31.3-40.9gr for 190gr. The Berger Manual lists 37.5-41.6gr for their 185gr bullet, which is what I am shooting.

So for my first outing I loaded up 40, 40.5, 41 and 41.5gr loads, 5 each. 40, 40.5 and 41gr loads all shot to less than 1moa whereas 41.5 opened up some (or maybe I was getting worn out by them...)

I left the sighting point unchanged from where it was zeroed for 168gr match ammo, and I was surprised that the 185 loads had 3" of extra drop compared to the 168gr bullets. That was suggesting to me that MV was low.

Since the Hodgdon website came back up this evening, I had another look and they list maximum loads at 45gr and 44gr respectively (180gr and 190gr bullets). So that suggests I have a ways to go before I should reach the limit.. I copied some of the data into a spreadsheet so I am less dependent on the Hodgdon website in future...

I loaded this batch to 2.820" COAL. I found that I really dislike the way Savage carried over the DBM magazine geometry to the blind magazine. Squeezing a bullet through the feedlips with a one piece scope rail is a real pain in the butt. With a real DBM one loads from the front and that is fine, but having to actually force the steel feed lips apart to load is a pretty stupid design.... So I am looking at my options. SSS list a feed ramp that fits directly in the action for single shot loading. But delivery or response from SSS has been pretty spotty/slow of late. Alternatively I have to consider if I can get a DBM bottom metal and magazine and inlet the stock for that.

So if anyone could give me any guidance on what is working for them with the 185gr hunting Berger VLD's, lets hear it...
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:11 PM
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Re: 308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

BERGERS easy money! Do a pressure test, which you have already started. Once you have found a maximum pressure for your bullet and powder, back it off 2 grains and do a seating depth test. The details of which are located in the signature line of this post.
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:39 AM
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Re: 308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

When you exhaust your supply of VLD's, it may be worth it to switch to the Hybrids. I recently went through load development with the 185g Classic Hybrid Hunters that yielded OUTSTANDING results. I only had to do a powder charge runup and that was it. I had a five shot, one hole group @ 100 yards when I was done. Total load development consisted of 18 rounds to find the sweet spot.

As the Hunting Hybrids are introduced in other bullet diameters, I intend to use them in place of the VLD's I have been using.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:43 AM
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Re: 308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

I feel lucky I got the 185 VLD's... 185 Hybrids have not shown up in stock anywhere I have looked yet. Nor the 190's not the 210's nor the 215's...

I guess I was surprised at the difference between the max loads in my printed vs the Hodgdon website. It suggests that a lot of work has gone into shooting heavier bullets in the 308's recently. If I had known that the max load was somewhere near to 44gr, I would not have started at 40gr.

Anyhow, at least I know that I have one accuracy node at 41gr, now have to look for a few more higher up on the scale.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:54 PM
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Re: 308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

I used RL-17 with the 185g Hybrids. The Berger manual showed a max of 44.5g @ 2.810 COAL. Alliant shows a max charge of 48.7g @ 2.8 COAL with similar weight bullets. Curiously, bot sets of data show similar muzzle velocities, despite the discrepancy in powder charges.

With a COAL of 2.890, my accuracy node came in at 45g of RL-17, which was the highest charge I tested. Like you, I didn't realize that I could have gone higher in my testing until after I was done. There is enough room to increase my charge that it's possible there is a higher node at safe pressures. I haven't chronoed the load, so I don't really know what velocity I was getting. However, I am getting such fantastic accuracy with this load that I am reluctant to mess with it.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:55 PM
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Re: 308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

Given that the POI is more than 3" lower at 100 than a PPU 168gr match bullet, I think that for sure my velocity is low. The Hodgdon data suggests a little over 2400fps.. I will work up another batch for next weekend and see what that tells me.

42.5, 43, 43.5 and 44. Probably drop down to 3 rounds per load so I don't have to pull too many if any are too hot. I will no doubt have the perfect load right about the time I am out of bullets...
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:32 PM
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Re: 308 185gr Berger VLD reloading

Quote:
Originally Posted by westcliffe01 View Post
Given that the POI is more than 3" lower at 100 than a PPU 168gr match bullet, I think that for sure my velocity is low. The Hodgdon data suggests a little over 2400fps.. I will work up another batch for next weekend and see what that tells me.

42.5, 43, 43.5 and 44. Probably drop down to 3 rounds per load so I don't have to pull too many if any are too hot. I will no doubt have the perfect load right about the time I am out of bullets...
That would be my luck LOL!!
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