Varget and 175gr SMK's

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by adam330, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. adam330

    adam330 Well-Known Member

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    Why does Sierras reloading manual say the max load of varget is 41 gr and in hodgdons manual i believe it says 46gr is the max laod! Why is there such a big difference? Where should i start out?
     
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Start out low because each rifle and each brand of brass and each brand of primer will affect what is actually max load. Even the Lot# of Varget will cause problems with max.

    There are also a lot of differences between the pressures caused by different brands of bullets of the same weight. As a general rule the Sierra bullets have a tougher jacket than some other bullets and may cause pressure problems earlier than softer jacketed bullets.

    There are reasons the internet is full of pictures of blown up guns.
     

  3. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Start real low, like 35-36grain then load one bullet in each 0.5grain increment till you notice a sticky bolt, flattened primer, on an ejector mark (shouldnt see this unless you got wayyy too much pressure). Once you notice any of these signs back off atleast one full grain, that's your max for that batch of powder, with that primer that bullet at that dept, using that batch of cases. If you change any of those variables, back off a bit and test again. May seem like a hassle but beats having your gun ruined, your face reorganized, or having loaded an entire batch of ammo that you can't shoot and have to pull.

    And Buffalobob is right, the sierra mks have a thicker jacket than your average bullet and that can cause more pressure. There is a reason reloading manuals tell you never to start at or near the max, this is it.

    Stay safe,
    Oliver
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I am going to shoot the hot Varget loads in January F-class when the weather is cold. I tested it last week and under 40 degrees it is not max like it was in September. That will save me from having to pull bullets. lightbulb
     
  5. adam330

    adam330 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info so far, but i think i was looking more for the reason why the max loads are so much different between the sierra and hodgdon manuals, for the exact same powder and bullet? You would think they would be fairly close? Does sierra rate theres lower to be on the safe side, i have noticed alot if not most people shooting thise combo are over the max recomended load according to sierra! Either way i will start out low and work my way up checking for pressure signs.

    Thanks again,
    Adam
     
  6. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    I load my 178gr a-maxs in my .308 over 44.7grains of varget. I know people who load up to 45grains with them. Not sure about the Sierra mks sincei don't shoot them.

    To answer your question about the different max loads, that's because for most 175grain bullets, you can probably safely load up to 46grains. But for the Sierra 41grains may be the max, I do believe this is a little conservative however.

    Buffalobob,
    have they decided on a date for the Jan f-class match? If it's not on the first weekend that means I can try my new f-class custom :D
     
  7. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Loads in manuals are based on liability. Some companies are willing to expose themselves to more liability than others. Clearly Sierra is a company that does not like a lot of liability.

    Oliver - f-class match should be the sunday of the first full weekend in January (the 3rd). That's the last weekend of deer season, so I won't be there.
     
  8. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Matt,

    I know they usualy are on the first Sunday, but I though I heard it was going to change for this upcoming year, they were going to do it on the second or third Sunday of the month.
     
  9. Johnboy

    Johnboy Well-Known Member

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    way to go Oliver.thats the kind of info you need to pass on to someone.and yes sierra likes to be safe.and for what its worth 44 grains of varget will be a good place to start. John
     
  10. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    44 grains of the currently available lot of Varget will lock my bolt up to where I cannot hammer it open with my bare hand. In the wrong brand of brass on a hot August day it would probably destroy the rifle. In some brands of brass it would be just fine.

    As I explained before and I will explain one more time for the slow learners. There are a lot of variables in reloading. In a custom match camber you will normally have your bullet seated very close to the lands with little or no jump. This alone can cause a 10 percent increase in pressure. How long you let a cartridge sit in a hot chamber before firing can cause enough pressure to change bullet velocity sufficient to get a 0.5 MOA high strike at 1000 yards.

    The cartridges I had to quit shooting in August only had 43.4 grains of Varget in them. Starting at 44 grains is a recipe to hurt oneself and other bystanders.
     
  11. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    44grains is pretty hot for 175mks, and it only takes a few rounds in 0.5gr increments to work up, it costs about 4dollaes worth of reloading supplies, really no reason not to start at 36grains or so.

    44 grains would still be relatively warm for most other bullets in that weight range, but would work for 175 and <175grain bullets, but it's better to start lower just to be safe. It would be hot for the 175mk however. But maybe John shoots the a-maxs like myself so no to call him out. But it is true what Buffalobob said, there are a lot of variables affecting reloads, start low, wasting a bit of powder > wasting a lot of your face.
     
  12. Johnboy

    Johnboy Well-Known Member

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    well sorry to have upset ya.and for me I can even load this in a rem case at a SAAMI spec of 2.800.so do you think my pressure isn't as high as yours is.and all of my shooting is done in the summer.and I would even start at 44g with a 168g bullet.its just that 44g of varget seem to be a good starting place for my rifel.and yea I know one rifel isn't the same as another.but if it will make things better try 43.0 g of varget.or you can try 42g of 4064 and work up from that.4064 gives me the same as varget when it comes to accuracy.and while I am at it try r15 with 43g.they all give me good results.but rather shoot varget when I have some.but hey this is what works for me and just me opinion.
     
  13. chazmatic

    chazmatic Active Member

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    I see this was posted back in 2008. I feel like I have been working on the "wonder" load this long. I shoot long range with (2) 308 howa 1500 custom rifle I made up. Both 24 inch heavy barrels of course. leupold and monark 6-20x44 power for both. We shoot 2 3 4 5 hundred yards paper 2inch bull two shots per target.
    I have found that heavy is good! my load is 44 gr. varget behind 175 smk winchester brass with oal(would you believe) 2.70.
    I am proud to say I have beat 4 5 6 7 8 thousand $ rifles. Much is to said about practice! Brass prep>primers>correct powder weight. you people know the rest.
    I am 68 so you never get too old good eye sight (praise the LORD). viet nam vet.
    I would love to hear from you guys. I am in west central Alabama> Demopolis.
    By the way this is a great sight!!!...CHAZ
     
  14. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Chaz,

    Just a quick heads up here; there's a lot of bad information here in this particular thread. The SMK jackets are actually some of the thinner ones out there, not thicker. Sierra used 40.5-41.0 grains of Varget for their standard QC test loading for many, many years, and probably still are. It gives right at 2,550-2,600 fps in the test barrels (24"-26") and delivers very consistent accuracy. Some to the higher loads I've seen listed here may or may not produce excessive pressures, but their accuracy will generally go downhill once you get much over the 2,600 fps mark with this bullet. That's a bit of a sweet spot for the 168-175, and they shoot very well there.