Die and Bullet selection for 308 Win

DartonJager

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Apr 1, 2016
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A little history first.
For a very long time I have been agenizing over which chassis rifle to buy to use as a dedicated long range platform to teach myself longer range shooting. I kept going back and forth between the Savage or Ruger precision rifle system. Well as fate would have it the choice was made for me by the laws of economics.
Three years ago I stumbled on to a deal so good on a 24" heavy barreled Savage 10 FCP with 5-R rifling, Savages propriety DBM Accustock and Accutrigger I couldn't pass on it. As in less than half of MSRP for a NIB rifle good of a deal. I have been longing for years to buy a dedicated long range rig to teach myself how to shoot well at longer ranges. I got the Savage 10 FCP as such a good price I bought it confident I could always sell it for what I paid for it if and when I finally made up my mind and bought a chassis rifle.

Well as things turned out in the last few years I spent so much money on other firearms, optics and reloading supplies a $1k-1.3k+ single use rifle just wasn't in the budget so I decided to give the Savage a try last summer.
Topped with a plane Jane Weaver GS 4.5-14x40mm and shooting some Generic Federal blue box Power Shock 150 and 180 grain loads all I can say is so this is what is meant by a "significant emotional shooting accuracy experience" at both 100 and 200 yards and this was with the cheapest ammo federal makes for 308 Win and about as cheap of factory ammo you can find for 308 Win. This rifle just flat out shoots great.

So accordingly I am very excited to see what this rifle will do with well made consistent handloads. I already have a Forster BR/MM bullet seater gifted to me by a friend who bought 308 Win dies before the rifle and decided to go 6.5 CM instead.

So what other dies will serve me best considering this is a 100% factory rifle I plan to make no upgrades or changes to besides a better scope, 20 MOA base and a rings. I am leaning towards what has worked well for me in my other factory rifles and buy a Redding Body Only sizing die and a Lee Collet die and possibly a 21st century expander die and 1-3 different sized to be determined mandrels. I'm looking to try to keep this a relatively simple and economical project as I sill have to spend a sizable amount of $$$ on a scope yet. I have several very suitable powders and Fed LR/M primers.

As far as bullets go will I be best served by Burger's 168 grn Hybrid Target or should I stick with the 308 Win standby of Sierra 168 SMK.
And unless someone can recommend to the contrary I will be going with standard LR primer Lapua Brass.

This rifle is to be my platform to learn and become proficient at longer range shooting and transfer this knowledge to using my hunting rifles for longer range shots on game if and when I reached an acceptable level of proficiency. I am trying to do this as economical (NOT CHEAP) as I can.

Thanks again,
Arthur.
 

Wolf76

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Love them or hate them, Berger bullets are very accurate. Varget with federal 210s or cci br2 are money. Lapua or ADG brass will treat you well.
Dies: Forster bump neck is my favorite But redding body plus Lee collet is a great choice. I don't buy any regular lee or rcBS dies.
Don't forget to check your runout.
There's no need for the 21 century mandrels if you buy a collet die.
 

Jud96

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Jun 30, 2013
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Michigan
Hornady dies with micro adjust
Sinclair mandrel die
Berger 185gr Juggernauts
H4895, Varget, or AR Comp
Lapua or Peterson LR brass
Federal 210, CCI 200s, or BR2s
 
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XSIVSPD

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I've been really happy with my lee collet dies, and they're cheap too!

Same experience here with a savage 10t. $400 nib on clearance and it shot everything I put through it under moa other than cheap surplus 762x51. Great rifle, but was so accurate with everything that it took some of the joy out of finding a good load lol
 
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Savage 12BVSS

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Love them or hate them, Berger bullets are very accurate. Varget with federal 210s or cci br2 are money. Lapua or ADG brass will treat you well.
Dies: Forster bump neck is my favorite But redding body plus Lee collet is a great choice. I don't buy any regular lee or rcBS dies.
Don't forget to check your runout.
There's no need for the 21 century mandrels if you buy a collet die.
Was going to post you some suggestions but they are already in the first reply.........only difference is I use the forester body die with spindle removed and lee collet neck die. Lapua brass and suggested powder and primers. Savages can really shoot out of the box and yours is no exception, bedding the action around lug and pillars never hurts. Good Shooting!
 

RT2506

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Jan 10, 2008
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Just a note on the blue box Federal ammo. A friend of mine, now retired, had a fishing and hunting store for over 30 years. He was also a gunsmith. He offered a sighting in service for those who could not do it or was just too lazy to. If they did not bring their own ammo he would have them get the Federal blue box no matter what caliber. Yes it was the cheapest. BUT! My hunting buddy did all the sighting in and when I was there for my 3 week stay for deer hunting I would go with him on is weekly range trip on Thursday and help sight in the rifles. This Federal blue box ammo was some of the most accurate ammo I have ever seen across the board. It also had a pretty good cup and core bullet that kills deer really well.

Yep those ugly old Savage rifles will sure shoot most of the time. I always said if Savage would put a decent trigger on their rifles they would really shoot well. Well they did with the Accutrigger.
In my experience if you are going to go really long range, over 500 yards, you really need at least the Sierra 177 gr Match King or heaver bullet. Don't overlook the Nosler Custom Competition bullets either as I have found them to be as accurate as the Sierra but cost less. I have shot a lot of the Nosler 155 and 168 in vintage military matches and they shoot.
 

DartonJager

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Apr 1, 2016
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730
Have all powders and primers recommended on hand so I' m GTG there.
Am I correct in taking from the bullet weights recommended I should start no lighter than 177 grain Sierra MK
Or similar weight Berger?
As per the great advice I've received so far seems as I already have a Forster BR/MM all I need to buy is a Lee Collet Die and a Redding body only die to start and either Sierra 177 MK or the Burger or Nosler equivalent.
 
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LongWalker

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Aug 6, 2016
Messages
239
Hornady dies with micro adjust
Sinclair mandrel die
Berger 185gr Juggernauts
H4895, Varget, or AR Comp
Lapua or Peterson LR brass
Federal 210, CCI 200s, or BR2s
This with also trying VV N550. I had virtually the same rifle with a 20" bull barrel that loved the 185 Jugg.

With the short barrel I was holding almost 40 MOA at 1000 yards but it would drop them in there sub MOA all day long.
 

XSIVSPD

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Oct 12, 2016
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Palmer, AK
For bullets, in my 308 savages I've always wound up in the 178-190gr area. The Savage has a 1 in 10 twist barrel so you're good to go with almost anything you'd be likely to want to try
 

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