testing factory ammo questions

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by emn83, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. emn83

    emn83 Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    First real post here. So, I'm just getting into rifle shooting in general, got my Savage this last summer, and will have it where I want it equipment wise by mid June (waiting on a new stock). In the mean time, I am starting to look at ammo (not hand loading yet, need to convince the wife it's worth it).

    Any way, I am looking for some wisdom when it comes to testing ammo, for comparison. I have 5 brands I am looking at for my initial testing:

    Hornady Match 168gr A-Max
    HSM Trophy Gold 168gr VLD
    Nosler Custom Match Grade 168gr Custom Comp.
    Remington Premier Match 168gr SMK
    SSA Sierra 268gr OTM

    My current plan, when The range I'm going to reopens, is to shoot a couple fouling rounds, not necessarily of the ammo above (I have some Remington Core-lokt laying around) and then shoot groups of 3-5 rounds of each, letting the barrel cool in between, and putting up a fresh target for each brand.

    Where I shoot there is a 100 yard and a 200 meter range.

    My questions are:

    am I missing anything in my plan (another ammo brand to try, any shooting info you might need to give me advice, etc...) ?

    and,

    Which distance would be better for an initial test, the 100yd or the 200m? I am also considering testing at both distances just to see how things work out.

    Any advice and or comments would be welcome
     
  2. hnts4fun

    hnts4fun Well-Known Member

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    Re: ammo comparison shoot questions

    Welcome!

    Did I miss the caliber of your Savage? I saw you chose a lot of 168 grain bullet weights to try, which could mean of 308?

    In my opinion, if you have shot the rifle/scope combo before, and it's shooting to point of aim, 100 yards would be good but 200 yards would be better. If you have not shot the rifle/scope combo you might want to start at 25 yards to make sure it's on the paper. A rule of thumb that I have grown up with is, "on at 25 puts you on at 250".

    I have read nothing but good about Savages and I think you're in for a lot of fun. Do a lot of reading here and you're sure to get pointed in the right direction.

    Take care and good shooting!
     

  3. emn83

    emn83 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, yes, it's a Savage 308. I only got the scope recently (Christmas), so I don't know it's ultimate performance, as the only range available to me is 50 yards and was shooting 2.5 inches high, but when I cranked the elevationdown, it was hitting POA when I had adjusted it. it's now set back shooting 2.5" high at 50 with a guestimate zero of 275 yards (using SSA 175gr ammo and Point Blank ballistics software). I forgot to put in my first post that I might be trying the SSA 175gr as well
     
  4. Red hunter

    Red hunter Well-Known Member

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    Save some energy and put up several targets at 200. Unless you need the exercise. 400 yard walks you will put on a few miles on the dogs before the day is done. mark your targets for what ammo so you will not get them mixed. Bring your cleaning gear to clean barrel thoroughly between brands. Keep ammo not being used in a shaded place so temp does not give false reading.
     
  5. emn83

    emn83 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice Red hunter, totally forgot about cleaning the barrel between brands. I keep a sharpie marker in my range bag for marking targets. plan was to mark them all prior to even getting to the range.
     
  6. hnts4fun

    hnts4fun Well-Known Member

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    Federal makes a proven accuracy round in this caliber; Federal Gold-Medal Match using a 168 grain Sierra Match King bullet. This round is standard with all the police marksman types in my area. You mention that you are waiting for a new stock. Before you get serious about choosing your most accurate load, be sure you have buttoned up everything tight. By that I mean, torque your action, scope rings, and scope base screws to proper spec. Read up on proper barrel break-in procedures, be methodical, and document range conditions/your results. Don't be in a rush to do too much during one range session.

    You're on your way :)


     
  7. emn83

    emn83 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    I'll probably add the federal match ammo to the list...it will be a nice long day at the range or may be 2 days, 3 brands of ammo a trip.

    the barrel on my rifle is broken in, I did that soon after I got it.

    New stock is because I really don't like the savage stock on it (low end model plastic stock)
     
  8. reelamin

    reelamin Well-Known Member

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    My money is on the Gold Medal. No question the best all around accuracy out of all the rifle variables available. Some will do better in a specific rifle, but Gold Medal is the benchmark for sure.

    I prefer 100 yds to start, 3rnd groups. After narrowed down to couple then stretch distance and number.

    Savage rocks for a stocker....equal a lot of "custom" guns for accuracy...especially when you start the next phase....reloading!!!
     
  9. emn83

    emn83 Well-Known Member

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    my plan as I am formulating it, is to find like the best 3 at 100 yards, then take those 3 over to 200m and see how they do. Eventually of course, I want to get a chance to really stretch it out there
     
  10. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the prior post, Federal 168 Gold Metal should be on your list. Great lot to lot cosistancy.
     
  11. emn83

    emn83 Well-Known Member

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    Federal 168 Gold medal has been added to the list, up to 6 brands to try, looks like I'll probably end up shooting over 2 days come summer.

    Thanks for all the input so far, it's been good to see where I can improve things even before I pull the trigger for the first test
     
  12. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I would site in the rifle at 200m and shoot groups there. I shoot 168gr VLD's out of my 7WSM (I reload for it though). I have read about the theory that they take ahwile to settle down and to shoot groups at a minimum 200m. I never really believed it until I tried it myself. My groups at 100 were about .8" but when I shot at 200 my groups were .6" This was repeated on another string so I now shoot the VLD's at 200m for grouping. I would shoot at 300, but unfortunately the only range by my house is only 25, 50, 100, 200 yards. I'm still new to the long range shooting, but I'm pretty sure one of the many people here with far more experience than I have can explain the reasoning for this if you wanted.

    As far as ammo, just shoot them and see which one your rifle likes. It may not be the best system, but it does give you an excuse to shoot more :) If its a hunting rig, I always had good luck with my remmy 700 .308 with the 168gr Ballistic Silvertips factory ammo, but that was my rifle.

    Good luck with your choices, make sure you keep us informed on what works best for you.
     
  13. shortpants

    shortpants Well-Known Member

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    I've done this exact same thing recently. I strongly suggest testing only 1-2 different loads per session. It takes time to do it right. By the time you get through 2 the winds will most likely pick up quite a bit from the still air in the early hours, lighting conditions change, shooting technique starts to suffer, and you rush through the end of the day testing because you promised you'd be home by a certain time and you are now running late. If you want good and fair results from your tests you need to keep conditions the same. Keep track of which ones you started with and when you test them again switch it up so you are shooting a load that you ended the day with the first day and now your starting with it on another day.
    Set up a target for zeroing at 25yds which will put you 2.5-3" at 100yds. Set up 3 targets @ 100yds. Clean bore then foul twice. It is recommended you foul with the same load you are testing. Zero. Now shoot a 3 shot group into each of the 3 100yd targets allowing the barrel to cool completely between each group. Clean the bore and foul with the next load to be tested and verify zero. While the barrel is cooling walk down to your 100yd targets and replace them with 3 fresh ones. Make sure to make notes on the previous targets as to what load it was. Go back and shoot the next 3 groups allowing barrel to cool between. If you feel the conditions are fair and your not feeling rushed you might get in a 3rd load before calling it a day. After you have gone through all 6 loads this way start over at 200 except reverse the order in which you shot them as mentioned previously. After getting through this 4-6 days of shooting you will know who the winner is. If possible shoot every shot through a chronograph to keep track of your ES.
    Best of luck!
    Jason
     
  14. midwesthunter

    midwesthunter Well-Known Member

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    My savage 308 loves 175 smk. Black hills makes this. I thinks 175's or 155's will perform better out to a 1000 then the 168's.