Trying to match a factory load when reloading - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default Trying to match a factory load when reloading

I have a nice .308 with a Leupold VX-3 CDS-equipped 3x9 =x40 scope. The custom dial is made to match the Federal Premium 165 BTSP which shoots the best in my rifle.

With no experience in rifle shell reloading (a lot of shotgun), I would like to match this load as closely as possible so the bullet will fly the way the Federal does. My desire is to not have to buy a chronometer and multiple powders to figure this out with the precision that serious marksmen invest. I have saved my brass and I'd just like to learn of one good load, get the right components and load shells for my own use.

These are the numbers I'd like to match:

Caliber: .308 Winchester
Bullet Weight: 165 grain
Bullet Style: Sierra® GameKing Boat Tail Soft Point
Muzzle Velocity: 2,700 FPS
Muzzle Energy: 2,671 ft.-lbs.
Ballistic Coefficient: 0.404
Case Type: Nickel-plated brass
Primer Type: Boxer primed, reloadable
Corrosive: No

Is this a reasonable approach? Has anyone worked up a handload that works out to these specifications. If so, what components do you use? Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 11:22 PM
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Ah if only it were that simple.

It's NOT.

I guess I'd go about the task as listed below. BUT without a chrono you have no way to know the velocity you are actually getting from the Federal load nor with the reload either. So matching is gonna be next to impossible.

Try to determine what bullet Federal is loading and start with that bullet. You can't buy the powder that Federal loads as they use non canister powders as do all such manufacturers. So the best you can do is to check several loading manuals and select the powder or powders they say are most accurate or at least those giving the velocity range you want.

Once you have the powder and bullets in hand you likely should use the same Federal primers they use. That gets you as close to their components as you can get. Pick a starting load and work up from it. Some folks use what's called the ladder method. I never have so can't speak to how well it works.

I load three or sometimes six rounds of ammo with each load usually in either one grain or half grain increments. Seat bullets to same overall length as factory ammo since it works well in your rifle. Now go out on a calm day and shoot the absolute best groups you can. Forget those that are least accurate and load more of those that did best. Repeat the shooting but this time shoot at least two and better still three groups. Better still would be 10 shot groups with shots about 2 minutes apart to allow barrel to remain reasonably cool.

By the time you've done that you should have a good feel for what is the most accurate powder charge. From there if it's not shooting as well as the factory load, then try adjusting the overall length both longer and shorter in 0.010" increments.

Sadly there just are no shortcuts and there is no guarantee that any one given powder will do what you are looking for in your rifle. Good luck in your quest but if you aren't willing to invest the time and effort to do it right you really will be better off just buying factory ammo you know works well.



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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 06:22 AM
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Like bill said you aren't going to get it exact. You can buy the fed cases, primers and the sierra bullet. How id approach it (with a chronograph) is to buy a can of 4895 and a can of something like ramshot tac, benchmark, 748 ect (or some other similar burn rate ball powder) and try both powders working up to the speed you want. Keep in mind that feds velocitys are probably obtained in at least a 24 inch barrel and most of us that shoot 308s have 18-22 inch barrels so the first thing you need to do is find out how fast that fed ammo actually shoots out of your gun and go carefully. Many times your going to have to settle for less because like bill said the ammo makers have access to powders we don't and can sometimes get a 100fps that just isn't obtainable handloading. By the way my dad uses that same ammo. He has a blr in 308 and that fed premium ammo just shot better then my attempts at beating it. that said I didn't spend months trying. He just settled on that ammo and bought himself 10 boxes of it and it will no doubt last him the few years he has left. Ill say this. If your not already a handloader and have to buy all the equiptment to do it and your only dealing with one gun its hardly worth the bother. Im an avid handloader and still probably have more money into loading gear then I would have spent if I bought factory ammo for every rifle. Its handgun ammo that I save on because I go out and shoot 500 rounds in a day. Only way I really save money in the long run with rifles is loading rounds like the weatherbys that cost big bucks to buy.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Perfect advice, and thank you for your keen insights and perspectives. I will buy a few more boxes of the Federal Premiums and stick with them. I very much appreciate your help. You have prevented me from a large expenditure and probably a wild goose chase.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 01:15 PM
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The only reload I was able to perfectly match my handload to a factory load, and this quite by accident, was in a 338RUM. It ran over the chronograph at a nearly consistent 2860 ft/sec with a 250 grain bullet, and behaved exactly like the Remington boxed ammo I shot up that was bought at the time I purchased the rifle. I think matching a 308Win load to a factory load is going to be a whole lot harder from my loading experience with this cartridg, but maybe I am wrong, because I have been wrong a time or two in my life. LOL
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paveglass View Post
Perfect advice, and thank you for your keen insights and perspectives. I will buy a few more boxes of the Federal Premiums and stick with them. I very much appreciate your help. You have prevented me from a large expenditure and probably a wild goose chase.
this is most likely the wise choice^ ^ ^ ^
chasin' geese didn't used to cost near as much as it does now.
if i had to start from scratch these days as much as tools and components
cost now as opposed to when i started, i'd find what works well in my
firearms and buy a case of that lot number ammo and call it good

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We have a people control problem.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 05:13 PM
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I began loading ammo some time in the '60s, don't recall just what year it was. Until then I shot only factory ammo and some of it was real good but these days factory ammo is way better than back then.

Since I started to reload I've mostly shot reloads and have rarely bothered with factory ammo other than my carry ammo for handguns and ammo the manufacturers sent me for reviews back when I was doing regular reviews on here.

Most all the rifles I have now have only seen my reloads in them and sometimes over the years it has taken a lot of work to find good loads the rifles like. Most of the time I'd go thru at least 100 and often way more than that just to find a good accurate load. But sometimes I just seem to hit on it with almost no effort.

My Limited Edition Remington 700 .257 Whby magnum is an example. It has never seen a factory round fired thru it so I had nothing I was trying to match. But I bought it as a long range deer/antelope rifle so had high expectations for accuracy from it. So far it has really delivered on my expectations and with minimal load workup to get it.

I knew up front I wanted all the accuracy I could get but also all the velocity it was capable of. I still had some loads I had worked up in a previous Weatherby Vanguard so tried them first. That gave me two loads that shot well under an inch even before I began working up loads. Then I experimented using less than 50 bullets and found two new loads that delivered three shot groups at 100 yards around a half inch for multiple groups so loaded those and am happy with them.

Those two use the Nosler 120 PT and the Nosler 110 AB. I have a bunch of Nosler 115 BT and 115 PT bullets on hand and hope to work up loads as accurate with them as the 120 PT and 110 AB but just haven't do so yet. My old load for the 115 BT is one of the under an inch loads and a little tweeting of it hopefully will do that once I ever get around to doing it.

For these I wasn't trying to duplicate any particular load but was searching for both maximum velocity and accuracy and this rifle made doing both really easy.

With some rifles over the years I chased accuracy with hundreds of bullets down the barrel never finding it. With some like my M700 varmint rifles I developed literally dozens of different loads that would put 5 shots into well under an inch at 100 yards and most were around a half inch down to quarter inch size groups. I put thousands of rounds down range with those varmint rifles and never had a problem finding accurate loads in them.



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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 05:41 AM
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Bill I had a 257 cdl. Wish mine would have shot like yours. It was a decent shooter. Id say a 1.5 inch gun. But I tried MANY loads and never got much any better then that. It would still be in the safe if it shot like yours. Beautiful gun!! Buddys cheap vanguard shoots 3/4 of an in without much effort but looks, well like a black plastic gun.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 07:02 AM
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http://www.65guys.com/10-round-load-...t-ladder-test/


These guys also cover this on YouTube in an interview with Mr Satterlee.
A friend and I are working up a new load. He has purchased a chronograph which should arrive on Friday. Having worked through the ladder system before and now being older and less steady on the bench I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to accurately find the nodes for accuracy. This method seems to get to the same results quickly. I would think that this or a similar method is used in load development by manufacturers.

According to Mr Satterlee once he finds the velocity node he has been able to change powders, find the same velocity range with the other same components and dial to in the same load accuracy. I hope to test this method over the weekend.

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Last edited by littlecanoe; 10-24-2018 at 07:25 AM.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 07:30 AM
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While I generally reload all centerfire rounds I shoot there are some exceptions. I haven't reloaded any shotgun shells in about 10 years, occasionally I'll buy 5.56 or 9mm ammo, and I don't reload for my Remington 30-06. Found a used Remington 78 with a scope in a gunstore that looked like new in the sales rack. It was $170 so after giving it the once over for any serious flaws I bought it. Replaced the tasco scope with a new redfield and sold the tasco scope for $20. Didn't have any 30-06 that wasn't beat up from going through an M1 so I bought the cheapest ammo bass pro shop had that day. Federal blue/silver box 168gr sp. Had bore sighted it at home and the first shot was on the paper at 100yds. 2nd shot didn't seem to be nor did the 3rd. So I walked down to the target to look for any extra holes in the backer when I saw the original hole looked a little ragged Sighted the gun in (the first group wasn't a fluke) and bought 8 more boxes of that ammo on the way home as I figured I'd be hard pressed to work up a reload that worked that well. I've taken deer in three states so far with that ammo and still haven't reloaded for that rifle.
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