New to LR Hunting .308 advice


Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2009
Hey guys I am new to this site and to rifle hunting as well. I have been bowhunting all my life and been ery succesful at it. However I am a new dad and started a new business and don't have the time to get out every weekend and take long stretches off of work in the fall. So I want to take up rifle hunting I am not crazy or anything I know it is going to take time and dedication and I have some realistic goals it think. I would like to be able to shoot and take game out to 500yds or so. I borrowed a savage rifle from a friend for an antelope hunt this fall and was able to take two nice anmals with it. I liked it so much I went out and got one I did a little research and found that the caliber I wanted was a .308 so I bought one today. It is a savage model 10 with a nice laminate stock and a *** cabelas 3-12 power scope.

I am also wanting to start reloading as my neighbor died a few years back an his familiy gave me all of his hunting gear and he had a decent reloading setup. So I am thinking of using the stock setup to find a load that the rifle licks and after that getting a scope made for it like a huskama or a leupold with the cds. The reason for this is alos because I have a disiease in my eye that I can not see fine images very well and th nikon bdc and leupold bc reticles i can not see the tiny marks very well.

Anyway just wondering if you guys had any suggestions on loads to start with in the .308 I am going to be hunting everything from antelope to elk and like I said at ranges starting out of 500 yds unless things go well then we can go farther. Also if you have any suggestions to things I can do to the rifle to make it a little more accurate at long ranges. The reson I chose this rifle is it is in my price range and I have been tld you don't need to do much with them to be accurate.

Thanks for your time and sorry for the long post.
Welcome to long range hunting and the most addicting sport you will ever be apart of. I for one congratulate you on your purchase of a Savage rifle. I own 2 and plan to purchase more when money allows.

My first suggestion to reloading before considering what to purchase is a good manual. Lee and Lyman are not specific to anyone company of bullet or powder, but offer some very good reading on the basics of reloading. Reading this material will help you to get a basic knowledge of what one needs to look for when choosing equipment and accessories to reload. Also take notice to all the safety precautions when handleing powder and primers.

The .308 is an excellent rifle for ranges to 500yrds for harvesting game. Using a premium bullet in the 150grn to 175grn class will kill anything you want it to at that range. General powders used are Hogdon Varget, and Alliant Reloader 15. These powders seem to produce optimum efficiency and velocity with the bullet weights I suggested. Some other powders to consider would be IMR 4064. You want to use a Large Rifle Primer of some type. CCI 200 and Federal 210 are the most popular, but can be extremely hard to find. Remington 7 1/2 and Winchester WLR are good selections also. Wolf makes a decent primer, but I have yet to use them.

The powder weights in the books are a good starting point for any reloading novice. You should pick a velocity that you think should be sufficient for the game that you want to kill. Your manual will offer its suggested powder load to attain this speed. The only drawback is the test rifle they used. It is important to remember that your rifle may not shoot identical numbers that are being showed in the manual. Always start in the middle and work your way up. You need to watch for signs of over pressure i.e.; ejector marks on the rim, bulging in the brass, hard or sticky bolt lift, and cratered primers. If any of the above happens, you need to stop shooting that load and start over backing down a grain or two.

It is good practice to step up loads when starting fresh in .5grain incriments. You will find the loads will go to a tight group and open up again. As your loads increase you may find 2 nodes of accuracy. One at a low powder charge and one at a higher powder charge. Another variable is the temperature. The powders above are designed to be more stable with temperature, but you will see some change in either accuracy or pressures. A load that shot well at 45 degrees may be to high pressured at 85 degrees.

For deer at 500yrds, a velocity of no less than 2650fps should be the minimum (strictly my opinion) speed with the .308. The faster you can scoot the bullet in this caliber the better as long as you can maintain the accuracy without over pressuring your chamber. Between 2650 and 2750 will be sufficient. You want to make sure that your grouping is at least 1" or perferably less at 100yrds. This in theory this should result in a 5" or less group at 500yrds. With practice and good reloading you should be able to attain smaller groupings.

Finally, practice, practice, practice. There is no substitution for getting on the range and shooting. This is highly necessary to be able to get your quary as efficiently and ethically as possible. Because you are reloading, you will be able to make a few more trips to the range. It is also necessary to practice to the ranges that you are wanting to hunt. The farther you shoot the more wind becomes a key factor in your ability to hit your intended target.

Take care, and have fun with your new addicting hobby,

P.S. Get your rifle glass bedded unless it has pillar bedding.
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Thanks for all of the advice when I picked up the gun today i also got a reloading book by hornady i am making my way through it and am learning a lot aready in the first few chapters.

Anybody else.
Don't know if you have gotten to it yet, but you want to get some specific dies for your caliber. Redding dies are the best as far as I am concerned. You want to get three dies. You want to purchase a full length sizing die, neck die, and bullet seating die. Redding offers an S type neck die that allows you to pick a bushing to choose your neck tension.

The also have a very Micrometer competition bullet seating die. These are nice for fine tuning your over all length. If you have to go in or out a few thousands it takes the guess work out of guessing how deep to turn in or out the screw.

You'll need a shell holder. I would purchase a couple of them. You'll need one for your neck trimmer and your press. Also look for a hand priming tool of some type. These are really nice for doing multiple rounds quickly. Just make sure that you push the primers in the whole way.

You'll want to look into a flash hole cleaning brush. Flash hole deburring tool, neck deburring tool for inside and outside of the neck.

You want to work up to these loads, but typical loads for 168grn Hornady a-max and 168 Sierra Match Kings 43.0 to 44.5 grns of Varget. The charges for RL15 seem to be a bit lower. RL15 I have found has higher pressures. I could not shoot these loads in my rifle. The highest I could get up to is 42.5 with varget and 41.5 with RL15. I just have a tight barrel or something. It still shot relatively well.

I run 43 gr of Varget pushing a 175 Berger VLD, with CCI match primers. I have found this to be very accurate and good for reaching out. It will definately do the job at 500 yards.

Scouts Out
I run 43 gr of Varget pushing a 175 Berger VLD, with CCI match primers. I have found this to be very accurate and good for reaching out. It will definately do the job at 500 yards.

Scouts Out

I forget about Berger because they are a little too pricey for me. But thanks for the reminder. Another awesome option would be the JLK bullet as well.

Bergers arn't what I would call cheap, but they come 100 to a box, for a premium bullet. Alot of other "long range" bullets come in 50 or even 20 count boxes. Also the 30 cal 175 gr VLD is not that popular of a bullet so they are ussually in stock.
I have been looking at Berger and they aren't to bad for price i am considering them or the 175 hornady interbod sst I shot my antelope earlier this year with the interlock out of a .243 and was impressed with accuracy however the core and jacket seperated and I don't know if that is a goo thing. Also what do you think about scope options I am leaning the huskema way so that as I get more confident I have a scope that can help me keep going further.

Thanks again for the help.
I have a Huskemaw on my 308. It's a pretty nice piece of glass, just don't plan on getting the custom turret very fast. I guess the only guys that make them are the guys that hunt on the BOTW show, so better luck after hunting season I hope.
I used my customized 700 .308 this year on antelope and it did great. The farthest shot was only 400 yds though. One of the things you should find out is what twist you have in the barrel. That may be a determining factor on the bullet selection. I have a 1 in 12 and used the Berger 175 VLD. They shot very well with smallest group at 200yds of 1" and largest at 1.25". I'm shooting the 175s at 2680fps with 44.5grs of IMR4064. I think it is very important to have a chronometer to check your velocities. Another important point is case prep. The idea is to get everything as consistent as you can. I'm still learning all the time and have also just got into the long range hunting game. I can't wait to get back out west.

Niceville, FL
I'm a big fan of the .308 Win for a lot of reasons, but it's good to remember that it's no .300 magnum. Muzzle velocity is on the low side, so if shooting at long range, it is advantageous to shoot a bullet with a very high BC, for "free" downrange velocity.

Take a look at both the Berger VLD and the Hornady A-MAX. They're target bullets, made for long range shooting. Loaded right they'll provide excellent precision. With their high BC figures, they retain velocity well at longer ranges and drift less in the wind, both are good attributes. Both have also been shown to have good expansion on game.

The last couple of mule deer bucks I've taken have been with the Berger VLD, and a couple of friends swear by the A-Max for their longer range shooting.

At ranges of about 400 or 500 yards or less, any of the quality conventional hunting bullets like the Sierra Gameking and the Nosler Ballistic Tip will do a fine job. The real high BC bullets like the Berger VLD and the A-Max are just a good way to stretch the effective range of the .308 Win.

Until you determine what your rifle really likes, I'd recommend bullets in the 165/168 grain weight range, Varget powder (work up to Hodgdon's max w/care), Winchester or Lapua brass and CCI or Federal match primers. I've shot various combinations of these components to NRA High Master level scores at 600 yards. They're good and accurate.

Fan of the .308 yes, and a long term user of the same, but I recognize the limitations of the modest size cartridge for long range hunting.

Regards, Guy
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