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  #1  
Old 07-06-2006, 05:57 AM
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Light Loads for 308


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I am trying to develop a light load for a 308 that would have a comparable recoil to a 270 for my son. I have probably over complicated the whole process already. I figure that the recoil is a function of the burn speed of the powder, length of the bullet, velocity, bullet weight as well as the gun stock design.

I am looking at keeping the velocity around the 2450 to 2525. While I would like to run a 150 grain bullet, my manuals tell me the velocity level fits the 165 grain better. I would like to use IMR 4350, a slower burning powder. I have information on IMR 4350 for use with a 165 grain 308 bullet but not for a 150 grain. In a 270, at 150 grain, the velocity is listed at 2524.

Here is my question. Has anyone loaded IMR 4350 in a 308 at 150 grain bullet, I will be using a Hornady SP? What were the results? What load level would you recommend to achieve the range of velocity I am looking for? Or am I completly barking up the wrong tree?

He will be hunting in the woods, longest shot will be about 60 yards. He will be using a Remington 700 or a Savage Model 99.

Thanks for the help. I checked the archives and found some information on using the H 4895 but felt that may be too hot a load for what I am looking for.

Thanks for the help.

Brad S
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2006, 07:32 AM
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Recoil is affected by bullet weight as well as velocity. Don't forget you can also get a recoil pad that he can fit on his shoulder, as well.

I know for a fact that you can find a "starting load" for a 147 gr. FMJ out there somewhere. I am at work and don't have my manuals with me. Now I am sure that some will disagree with me on this, but a load for the 147 and the 150 will have VERY LITTLE diffrence in them...if at all.


I shoot 308 all the time and I have plenty of pet loads for my mauser at the house...with bullets ranging from 110's all the way up to 200's...Light enough to let your mom shoot all the way up to "buddy loads" that would make you cringe...

308 is one of those North American specials that can dang near do it all.

D
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2006, 08:25 AM
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Hmmmm.... it's my impression that a .270 already kicks harder than a .308 ?

If you want to get him started practicing now, then you might consider a 125gr. bullet like a Ballistic Tip. Then, when hunting season gets here, go with a 150gr. soft point, just use starting load data if you need to keep recoil down.

Best of luck.
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  #4  
Old 07-06-2006, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG
Hmmmm.... it's my impression that a .270 already kicks harder than a .308 ?

If you want to get him started practicing now, then you might consider a 125gr. bullet like a Ballistic Tip. Then, when hunting season gets here, go with a 150gr. soft point, just use starting load data if you need to keep recoil down.

Best of luck.

Mike
I have not shot a 270 before so I was not sure of the recoil on the caliber. Based on my math calculations, comparing the 270 to the 308, that would make sense. The velocity as well as the bullets tell me the kick would be harder with the 270.

What is your opinion regarding the use of IMR 4350 in the 308? What would be the reason that it is not recommended in the 308 by any of the manuals or on the IMR website?

Thanks.

Brad
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2006, 09:48 AM
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BradS, I'm pretty new to reloading but I've spent many many hours at online calculators and flipping back and forth from this page to that page and back again. There is something that I think may help: It would seem a slower powder would make for a softer recoil (more shove and less snap...shotgunners love this one) but compare loads using same bullets and different powders. The slower the powder the MORE powder it takes to reach a given velocity. Now venture over to any of the numerous recoil calculators and type in two loads. Use the same bullet and same velocity and you'll find that the MORE powder the more recoil. Sooo. If I were looking for a soft load I would try a faster powder (which your load will use less of) and a see if there's some way to weigh the rifle down just a bit...make it barrel heavy if possible. This all may look good on paper but I would still strust your own shoulder over the online ballistics generators. Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 07-06-2006, 09:57 AM
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Brad,

I agree with Mike, in that a 308 has less felt recoil than a 270, with all things like rifle weight being equal. I think Chuck Hawks has something on line that has statistics of felt recoil for hunting cartridges. Saw that once.

4350 impresses me as being a little slow, honestly- and with a light bullet I think you would have low pressure issues. I expect that if you did load the more traditional short action powders to about 90%, and kept that fine Hornady bullet, it ought to be pretty good. A load as such is loaded to 300 Savage levels, and my daughter can handle my 99 Savage 300 with no issues. I have a old PAST recoil "sissy" pad left over from my Alaska rifle days, so I got her started with it, but she neither needs it now, or wants it. It was good to get her started with it, though.

I'd look at 3031, or 4320 in the IMR line, and see what the 90% load looked/ felt/ shot like. If it turns out to be too much, its time to look at the smaller bores i.e. 243 etc, in my humble opinion.

Hope it works out for you Brad.

Best.

Steve
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  #7  
Old 07-06-2006, 10:49 AM
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The latter posters have it right. 4350 is just a bit too slow for most .308 Win applications, and that's even more true for light bullet use.

Check out the Hodgdon website and look for Youth Loads. The .308 ones use the 125 - 135 grain bullets over 4895. Sadly, Hodgdon has decided to discontinue their version of 4895 (a colossal error IMHO) but the IMR version will suffice.
From Hodgdon data, try 38.0 with the 125 Ballistic Tip for about 2600 fps.
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  #8  
Old 07-06-2006, 01:25 PM
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I second looking into IMR 4320. IMR 4350 will be too slow for decent performance in the .308 behind a light bullet. It really shines in heavy-for-caliber bullet applications in cartridges like .270 Winchester and 30-06. I do get good performance out of IMR4350 in my .243 with 100 grain bullets and even pushing those at nearly 3000fps, there is so little recoil it will be where my kids start with centerfire.
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  #9  
Old 07-06-2006, 08:17 PM
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I only use 4350 in the .30-06, with bullets heavier than 180 grains.

Still, if you don't want top velocity, and you have some on hand already, it shouldn't hurt to try.

Personally, I'd recommend starting with either Varget or Benchmark. I hate trickling charges....
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2006, 04:21 AM
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Visit the Accurate Reloading site and do a search for "Blue Dot" and .308. I've used Blue Dot powder in the 7.62x54R and moved a 123gr at 2200fps through to 2500fps and a 147gr at 1900fps through to 2100fps. I'll be trying it in the 308Win someday soon but with a 125gr looking for around 2300fps. Only thing you need to carefully watch is the danger of a double charge.
The Lee Reloading Manual has numerous "light loads" for the .308Win and data for powders that you can safely reduce.
Cheers...
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Last edited by Con; 07-07-2006 at 04:29 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2006, 05:39 AM
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Thanks for all the information. I really appreciate the sharing of knowledge. I will check out the Lee manual, do not have that one yet, as well as look into some of the other suggestions. I have heard great things about Varget on the forum. It sounds like that is a great, near universal powder.

Again, thanks for all the help.

Brad S
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2006, 04:54 PM
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If you look at recoil formula, there are only three variables: bullet weight, powder charge weight, and gun weight. Use the 150's with the fastest powder that you can get reasonable velocity with, and you're home free. Something MUCH faster than 4350, btw, which is really a mag powder, slow burner needing large charges.
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2006, 05:37 PM
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As handloaders, we have some latitude with what we can do with a cartridge.
We also have some limits. There is no way that I can make a .50 BMG into a squirrel gun(if I want food)? I would not choose a .22 rimfire for bear.

I must choose a firearm and load to perform a task.
The .308 has a "window" of performace like all other cartridges.

We may explore where that "window" is, but I can't change it.

All of this is big fun to me. I would enjoy a reason to own a new gun .
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2006, 09:15 PM
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It looks to me like Con has the best idea. Blue Dot makes a great reduced load in most chamberings. The most common formula is to take the total weight of Blue Dot that will fit in a case for the proper chambering (strike it off level with the mouth). The figure 40% of that amount as a starting load. You'll probably find around 16.0 gr is going to be close in the .308.

Blue Dot loads give pretty consistent results of around 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" or better at 100 yards. That's more than sufficient accuracy and power for deer sized game.

Here's a recoil calculator that will compare 2 loads or just give results for 1 load.
Recoil Calculator
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  #15  
Old 07-07-2006, 09:30 PM
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Rather than guessing... which can be very dangerous... Try this, Speer lists a reduced load for .308, 125 grain bullet, with 25 grains of IMR 4198 at 1969 FPS, 29 grains at 2185 FPS

With a 150 grain bullet, 21 grains of IMR SR4759 for 1632 FPS; 25 grains for 1925 FPS


There are reduced loads for other bullet weights in this caliber, I'll post them if you want.
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  #16  
Old 07-08-2006, 09:59 AM
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The biggest recoil reduction that you will feel, noticeably, will come from using a lighter bullet. If I were trying this project, I would consider one of the 125 or 130 grain bullets, and then use a powder in the range of IMR 4198 up to 3031. If you use one of these lighter bullets at 240-2500 fps, you should notice recoil reduction, and the bullet should perform OK at the ranges you are talking about.
One of the Gun Digests, more than 10 years ago, had an article on this subject, and the father used 4198 and 110 grain bullets for pronghorn antelope.
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  #17  
Old 07-08-2006, 10:46 AM
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Are those 125-130 gr bullets adequate/designed for deer tho"? If you're just shooting, it won't matter. If you're shooting at critters, I wouldn't drop below the 150 SST's myself...my Hornady chart's at camp so can't check quick...
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  #18  
Old 07-08-2006, 05:10 PM
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This load goes 2500 fps from my Ruger M77 with 18 inch barrel: 45.0 grains of Reloader 15 with a Hornandy 150 gr SPBT. The manual shows 46.0 as max. The Speer 130 grain hollowpoint with the starting load of you favorte 308 powder will give excellent accuracy as a light load. The 130 grain HP has been reported to work on whitetails just fine. Just my .02.
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  #19  
Old 07-08-2006, 08:25 PM
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Using the recoil calculator I posted earlier, I calculated 2 theoretical loads. All components were the same except the powder charge. There was a 150 gr bullet at 2400 fps with a 7 pound rifle, but one load was 20 gr of powder and the other was 40 grains of powder. With just a reduction of 20 gr of powder the recoil went from 13.60 ft/lbs to 9.33 ft/lbs. That's a 31.4% reduction of recoil. If I make everything the same and use a 125 gr bullet in one and a 150 gr bullet in the other, the recoil is 10.78, which is only a 20.7% reduction in recoil. The powder reduction, even though it's less reduction than the bullet, is still a greater amount of reduction.

Obviously there would be a need to change type powder to accomplish this reduction, but in the real world, Blue Dot can give reductions like that compared to IMR 4350 or some other slow burner loads.

Then consider the economy of the load, since you get 350 loads of 20 gr in each pound instead of 175 loads of 40 gr.

It's a win, win situation!
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  #20  
Old 07-09-2006, 06:18 AM
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Well, just for snits and griggles, I tested a reduced .308 load yesterday. It just may be my new favorite .308 load.

I used WW cases, CCI200, 34.0 of Accurate 5744 and the 135 Sierra Single Shot Pistol bullet. Ten shot velocity average was 2621, with a mere 30 fps spread and a pair of one inch five-shot groups.

Practically no recoil, either. Oh my.
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