Some advise on perfecting my .308 Savage FCP-K Shooting

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by pzareba, May 11, 2013.

  1. pzareba

    pzareba Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    So Im relatively new to the whole long range shooting thing. I started about 3 years ago but got more serious about 2 years ago when I started loading.

    So first things first. I'm not doing this to try to win a contest. I do this mostly to compete with myself and see results. I'm an engineer by profession so I always like making fine adjustments to see improvement.


    .308 Savage FCP-K
    3-15x Weaver Tactical FFP
    Buris Heavy Duty Tactical 30mm rings
    EGW Picatinny Rail
    BiPod (Not a Harris but not a super cheapo one they make these days....not sure the model)
    Rear Bag

    Loading Supplies:

    Nosler CC 168 GR BTHP
    Berger 175 GR Match Burners
    SMK 180 GR BTHP
    IMR 4064
    Winchester Brass (New Never Fired) - 50
    Federal Gold Medal Match Brass (Fired about 5-7 times) - 100
    PMC (Various use) - 500

    The reason I listed all the supplies I have is because times are a little tougher than they used to be and I'd like to use what I have if I can. If need be I can buy certain items if I have too.

    So about a year or so ago I went through the process of finding an optimal powder load (Varget 42.2 grains) that seemed to shoot the best out of this gun. From the bench I was usually able to get them 1/4-1/2 MOA at 100 yds all day long. This was using Nosler CC 168 gr bullets and pretty much got the same results with the different brass. At the time I was only really able to shoot it out to 300 yds. It shot not so good at 200 ( I've heard the bullet doesn't really stabilize yet at this distance). About a 2-3 inch group and about a 3 inch group at 300 yds.

    I have recently been able to shoot out to 500 yards and I wanted to get some more drop data. The way I went about this was as follows.

    FYI - Im zeroed at 200 yds

    I shot every 100 yards starting at 100. I used my existing data that Ive already had out to 300 yards and everything pretty much was the same last time I shot the gun.

    I moved my target out to 400 yards and left my gun dialed in for 300 to see how low it shoots and then to calculate the drop and make the adjustment. I took my 3 shots and went down range and the shots were about 14" low but remarkably it was about a 2-3 inch group. So i thought to myself well thats great Ill just make the adjustment on the scope and itll be perfect. After I made the adjustment and shot again the elevation was "good" but the group went to like 5-6".......

    I did the same thing at 500 yards with almost identical results. It shot low without any adjustment obviously with an amazing 3-4 inch group with 3 shots. Then I made the adjustment and Im at like a 6 " group.

    So I guess my question is what can I do to tighten this up with this gun and what could be causing this? Im not an expert shooter but I do my best to be consistent.....user error? Could it be that my brass has been fired a bunch of time? Maybe certain batches have been fired more? Would this do it? Is this not the best bullet choice? Powder? Primer? Bipod? Could it be incorrect torque on the stock bolts?

    I feel like there are a million variables and I wanted some advice on really narrowing down the variables.

    I've shot some Savage 12's that seemed to do this gun just not designed to be shooting 3" groups at 600 yards?

    I'd appreciate any insight! Im open to any idea.Thank you!
  2. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    Some things that come to mind. First, what was your barrel temp between the smaller groups and larger groups? Second, how about your paralex? Could you move your head around and the crosshairs stay stationary in the center of the target? Best way to do this is to take aim, close both eyes, open them and see if the crosshairs are still where you left them. Third, is your cheek weld consistent? Fourth, do you use an anticant device of any type? Fifth, do you have an established breathing pattern you can repeat.

    The reason I ask? All these things build on consistency from shot to shot, group to group. Fundamentals need to be solid and established. My guess is one of these changed from your first to your second groups. I would bet you concentrated a whole lot more on the initial group. Once you saw what it could do, you rushed the second group.

    You have very capable equipment. I love savages, and know the mod 10' and 12's and can shoot bug holes. I've done it with my model 12vlp.

    As for your components, the standard is 43.5grn of varget and 175smk. The CC's work just as well. Hope this helps.

  3. pzareba

    pzareba Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Barrel temps most likely not the case......every 3-5 shots I would go downrange to look at the targets. 10 min break each time.

    I have a custom foam cheek piece that I made. I try to be consistent. I usually load each round separately. Is it better to load up the magazine and cycle through them without changing cheek position?

    No anti cant device.....the level bubble right?

    The scope has a side focus for parallax. It has predefined settings for ranges. I try to fine tune it by finding the sweet spot. At 500 yards it seems that no matter what I do there is still some slight parallax.

    With breathing I try to have the trigger brake on the bottom of my exhale. Do you recommend a different type of routine?

    Do you think that the brass fired different amounts of times is most likely not the problem? I agree with you that all the other variables have to be perfect as well I was just curious if this had anything to do with it.

    I have not played much with the 175gr bullets but I can try to make a few batches up with the Barnes Match Burners and see how they behave.
  4. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    Sounds like you have a good handle on things. You definitely want to keep your fired brass in the same round count. As you shoot it, it will harden to some extent (hence the annealing process after multiple firings). You may want to try and anneal some of your brass. If you want to stick with 168's, I would suggest the Berger Hybrid. That is what I use in my short barrel .308. It shoots very well out to 900. Probably further, I ran out of turret due to velocity. They have the highest BC of any 168, and most 175 grain bullets. Anti-cant device is definitely the bubble level mounted on your rifle. I highly suggest getting one. They are quite useful and help to keep everything straight.

    As far as parallax and the side focus. I just adjust until its clear. I don't bother much with the pre-set distances on the knobs. If you can adjust the eye piece, set that so you can see a crisp cross hairs. I was told to look through the scope into the sky, preferably on a cloudless day, and adjust the diopter until the crosshairs look crisp to your eye.

    Loading each round shouldn't be an issue. The big thing with that is staying on the gun and not moving from your position as much as possible. I started doing that this year, and have seen some improvement on my prone shooting.