The 2 powders you named are very good for the 308. You could also try I-3031, I had very good result with it and 165gr bullets in a Rem788.
I am not confident anymore with the A-max in .30 caliber for hunting. Last week I tried the 208Amax on small deer (+/- 90 lbs) and I think they are not strong enought. No pass true and we didn't recover any bullet fragment. Your decision though!
The A-Max is soft alright, but I havn't heard of a penetration problem with the 208gr. at 308 velocity, esp. on 90# animals. And I don't get the no pass throughs, yet no fragments, seems like I am missing a detail or two, but it is late.
You will not make peace with the Blue Coats, you are free to go.
Well I just happened upon 2#'s of 4895 and 8# of 4064. I bought a couple pounds of varget at a local gun show. I think i'll be alright. I found some 165 game kings too.
Any suggestions on what to expect with the 18", 1 in 10 twist of the 788
I have a Rem Model 600 in .308 and it shoots well with 45-46 of Varget under a 165 Interlock.
The Amax is a target bullet and as such, can be problematic on game. I have a friend that uses them and gets along OK. I just can't see using a target bullet when there are such good bullets available.
You will get along fine with the Game Kings. It should perform real well at the low velocities of the .308 carbine. The Interlocks that I use have taken deer and elk and perform well at the .308 velocities. The recovered bullets have been intact and well-mushroomed.
I think that you should be looking at the 2500-2600 fps range in the carbine with the 165. With 46 grains of Varget, mine is around 2600 with the Interlock, so the GK should be nearly the same.
With the 165 gr bullets I would give Varget and IMR 4065 the try first. CHECK YOUR DATA OUT IN SOME LOADING MANUALS. Some of the data given here is over max loads given in the manuals. Each rifle is a different critter so what shoots for one rifle may be waaaaay over pressure in yours. The 308 Win. is one of those calibers that does not loose a whole lot of velocity when the barrel is shortened some. You should be able to get around 2550 easy with 165 gr bullets. The Sierra game king and pro hunters are good bullets. I mainly used 150 Sierras until I discovered that the 125 Nosler ballistic tip killed deer like lighten struck them. Good luck on your quest.
I've always liked nosler accubonds and I've had good luck with them in a 270. I like experimenting with different loads. I like the idea of picking up speed with the 125-130 loads with the carbine. Accuracy is my concern there. I also like the thought of the 165 hammering down like Thors hammer haha. I've got a little time to experiment. I just realized I have some barnes 130 ttsx pills around somewhere.
The a-max is a soft bullet. Not really meant for hunting. It basically gets half way through the animal and starts blowing apart. Which is devastating but no blood trail is left. Although i did shoot a 312lbs black bear with it and he only ran 17 yds. Bullet went in behind the shoulder and what was left of the bullet(which wasn't much) was in his opposite shoulder. It left his insides a mess but he didn't bleed a drop. I was using a 6.5 140 a-max for that. Don't really recommend it. Just doesn't have any penetration.
I used to load IMR 3031 and 4064 exclusively for the 150 - 168 gr range. Notice the I used to part. After purchasing a chronograph, I started to notice a wide variance in velocity for all the IMR powders in the different calibers. Usually only after the temp dropped below 20F. The powder I now load in the 308, 7mm-08, and 243 is Varget. Very consistant across the chronograph at any temp. Groups if I do my part consistantly under the 1/2 inch mark. Most would not notice the temp problem for normal hunting. But I spend a good portion of the winter calling coyotes. The variance was opening my groups up to around 2 1/2 inches once the temp dropped. I have not had this problem with Varget. Big fan of the 788, I have several 308, and 243's. Also the 223, and 7mm-08. Still looking for the elusive 44 mag. All of the 788's have been under 1/2 inch shooters.