Bryan (or anybody else) would you consider a load hot (and hard on a barrel) given the following:
1) 2645 fps .308 Win - Lapua brass/165 gr. Accubond/46 gr. Varget/CCI BR2 primer
2) 20" heavy fluted barrel treated w/Tubb's Final Finish
Since treating the barrel, velocities (as expected) went down about 100fps. So I went up to what is nominally considered a "hot" load - 46 gr. of Varget - for that cartridge. I'm still getting the accuracy I want and show no over pressure signs, although I'm sure it's incrementally harder on the brass. If it was a 24" barrel I'd answer my own question: No. But given the shorter length, I wonder a little bit. My guess is that the answer is still no since the velocity is below the 3000+ velocities achieved with .30 magnum cartridges.
I would not consider 46 grains of varget behind 165 grain bullets to be hot in a 308 Win. It's probably getting near max, so if you have good accuracy don't be tempted to go any hotter.
As far as being hard on the barrel, .308 Winchesters have great barrel life, from 3,000 rounds minimum for high rate of fire competition rifles to 15,000 rounds + for low rate of fire hunting rifles.
Thanks for the reply. I'm definitely not going any further than 46 gr. I'm not even sure I could stuff a bullet in there with any more powder, but since I reached the target velocity I want I'm good to go for this rifle.
All due respect to Bryan, but yes, the load sounds a bit warm. A muzzle velocity of 2,650 isn't too fast for a .308, until you start talking about a 20" barrel. Just watch your pressure signs, to include primer appearance (they'll lie to you, too!) bolt lift and extraction ease, case life and primer pocket tightness, etc.. If any of these shows up, I'd drop that load back by at least a grain or so and re-evaluate. You might also take a look at some of the Vihtavuori 500 series high-energy powders as another way to boost velocity a bit while dodging some of the pressure problems. I'd suggest the N540 or possible N550 as good prospects.
Varget's a great powder in the .308, but yeah, your load sounds a bit warm to me . . . two eyes, ten fingers, no replacements, you know?
As far as I can tell from my tests and measurements, there is just a minor amount of change to the brass vs. my 44 gr. load. Bolt lift and extraction feel just the same and it was not a problem to eject the fired cases. Regarding primers, are there other things I should be checking for besides flattening and cratering. It seems to take as much pressure in the press to pop them out as it ever has. However, I realize that as the brass is repeatedly worked it will change and require more detailed inspection.
I appreciate the advice and will certainly keep careful track with this load. It is as far as I will ever go with it and I do measure/trickle every charge so I won't accidentally drop anything over that.
And therein lies the rub; lot's of differences from gun to gun. Bottom line is, how is YOUR rifle handling it? From what you're saying, it sounds like it's just fine. No extraction issues, primer pockects staying tight after multiple firings, etc.. As I said, primer appearance can be an indicator, but they'll lie to you, too. I place more stock in the other indicators, specifically a combination of these indicators, than I do primer appearance. I generally used a much lighter load for accuracy testing, and a slightly lower velocity, but that was with 26" barrels. It was this velocity discrepencey (from the shorter bbl), along with the actual charge weight itself that prompted my response. Sounds like you're fine here.
They really can be individuals, and the often need to be treated as such.
I am convinced after reading this article and messing with a 300WSM that I want to buy a 260 rem. Rifle. And although the 260 rem. cartridge may grow in popularity, it may be some time for BerettaUSA to decide to add this caliber to the Tikka T3 line of rifles they import from Finland. I wanted to ask this forum for their experience with modifying a rifle... say that I get the Tikka T3 in 243 win. Is it possible to send it to be reworked and get a good 260 rem. keeping the same barrel?
Thank you in advance for sharing your recommendations.