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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just got a .308 Howa with a 20" barrel and both the youth and full size Houge overmolded stocks. I bought this because my petite girl friend, while making a great 90yd offhand shot at dusk on her first deer, really crowned herself good with my Model 70 .30-06. That, and we have three young boys who will be shooting soon. I opted for the .308 over 7mm-08 and .243 because reduced loads are available and can be loaded. The gun will have quality optics with good eye relief.

I have loaded .30-06 rounds with 165gr bullets at .308 velocities for years, so I think I know what works there as far as bullet/velocity combinations. I am new to loading down to "youth" level loads though.

My requirements:

-150 to 165 grain bullets.
-175 yd point blank range on deer size lung cavity (sighted in 2" high at 100)
-Solid penetration even on shoulder shots
-Reasonable expansion
-.30-30 level recoil

Please, if anyone has such experience, give me bullet suggestions. Would a 150 gr partition make sense at .30-30 velocities? And potential powders (safety first please). How best can a .308 be loaded safely down to these levels. What are the pitfalls if any?

Thanks.
 

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Why are you requiring the use of at least 150 grain bullets when you are concerned about felt recoil? If I had chosen a .308 over a .260 or 7mm-08, I would go with 125gr Nosler BT's for reduced recoil without giving up accuracy or range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well good point. I just would like a 150 gr bullet. For the immediate future the gun will be used by the GF. She learned her lesson and I think she would handle the full power .30-06 165s fine going forward. She doesn't want a "reduced load". Stubborn. Still, going to a mild 150 in .308 is a step in the smart direction in my opinion. The evening she killed her doe, I also killed one with a bow. So at dark. I had two deer down and she was gashed open and bleeding. I would just assume eliminate that possibility! Most all of our shots will be within 150 yds. I am just going to load them and not tell her they are powered down;-)

The boys are still a year or two away. 130s may be the best for them no doubt. Still, I started with a .30-30 and 150s and recoil was never an issue.

I just don't know which 150 gr bullet to choose. I don't really want flat-points. 200 yds shots are not out of the question and she is a crack shot.
 

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Both my older kids (boy 12 and girl 16) have the same basic rifle as you're speaking of. They shoot Vanguard Compacts in .308 Win.

I load them a 150 gr. Winchester Power Point over 2 grains less than a book max load of IMR-3031. The load groups like nobody's business and neither kid is afraid to get behind the gun. The boy's been shooting this combo since he was 9 or 10.
 

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I would just start with a minimum load for any 150gr. soft point bullet. Should work fine to the ranges you are wanting..... no need for a Partition although they are usually pretty fragile on the front end, and should work too.

But cheap softpoints at modest velocities should work just great.
 

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125grain Nosler BT

I have to 2nd the 125 grain nosler BT for the .308. I loaded up a light load in a 30-06 for my buddy and he shot 3 deer in 2 days out to 200 yards. The recoil was mild and the bullets did a great job at that distance.

I shot the same bullet in a .308 and had excellent results. I did not load them light. They still had a mild recoil even with a higher charge of powder.

I since sold the .308. I think I have a few of the 125s left. I will be happy to send them to you for you to try if you like. If your interested let me know. [email protected]

Darin
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would just start with a minimum load for any 150gr. soft point bullet. Should work fine to the ranges you are wanting..... no need for a Partition although they are usually pretty fragile on the front end, and should work too.

But cheap softpoints at modest velocities should work just great.
Well that is what I was thinking with the partitions. The front end would open up nice at modest velocities but the core penetration would still be good.
 

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Well that is what I was thinking with the partitions. The front end would open up nice at modest velocities but the core penetration would still be good.
Cheap cup n' core bullets would do the same thing...where the Partition shines (and justifies the expense?) is at high impact velocity. With reduced loads it will not do anything better than a plain ol' core-lokt or Sierra Gameking bullet.
 

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I believe Remington loads reduced recoil ammo for several calibers. They have a 125 grain .308 load with less recoil for Deer. Also you mentioned your rifle has a 20" barrel? What is the rate of twist? Is it 1-in-12" or better 1-in-10" twist. That short of barrel need a fast rate-of-twist to stabolize 150 grain + "Spitizer" type bullets especially if they are going to be loaded at lower than factory ammo velocities. Flat nosed 150 grain designed for the .30-30 might work with slower twist, you'll just have to try them to see.
 

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that 130gr speer or any good 125gr bullet at 2500-2600 fps would easily be plenty flat shooting for deer out to 200, probably even 250 yards or so!

if it were me i'd get out the sierra manual and take a look at their accuracy loads for the 125 & 150gr bullets. another thought is to use 300 savage data as the case capacity is within a grain or two of the 308 but it is loaded to lower pressure. i have a remington 700 classic in 300 savage and it is very pleasant to shoot and lets face it the savage round has taken a lot of deer... the only real difference between the 308 & the savage round is the shoulder angle and the neck length, the body is pretty much identical...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is 1-12". Someone tell me if I am wrong, but that should stabilze plain jane 150 grain SPs bullets fine. The standard Model 70s in .308 are 22" / 1-12" and they shoot even 180s fine. Will 2" make any difference? Or is it the reduced velocity you think creates a stabilization issue?
 

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it should be fine, you may not be able to go as slow as you could with a 1 in 10 twist but i'd bet my last dollar that it won't be a factor!!
 

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It is 1-12". Someone tell me if I am wrong, but that should stabilze plain jane 150 grain SPs bullets fine. The standard Model 70s in .308 are 22" / 1-12" and they shoot even 180s fine. Will 2" make any difference? Or is it the reduced velocity you think creates a stabilization issue?
Bird Dog II, your 20" & 1-in-12" twist will shoot fine with factory loads & you should receive atleast 1.5" @ 100 yards. The problem with reloading with 150 grainers in a slow twist is that it is very hard to produce factory velocities in the .308 without getting into pressure problems. I have an old S&W Model "B" in .308 with a 1-in-12" twist with a 20" barrel, and while it will shoot factory 150's fine; I can't get very good accuracy with my handloads. I also have a Browning A-Bolt "Hunter" in .308 with a 22" barrel & 1-in-12" twist and the extra 2" does make a difference. The bullet is allow to build up the proper momentum the extra 2" allows. You might try bullets made for the .30-30 to see if they will shoot for you with light loads or just go ahead and use 125 or 130 grainers. I've noticed that Ruger uses a 1-in-10" twist in their .308 rifles with barrel lenghts of 20" or less.
 

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Bird Dog II,

The military 10" twist in .30 caliber is a holdover from being used to stabilize the very long 220 grain Krag bullets running at around 2300 fps. It is overkill even for 175 and 180 grain VLD bullets, most of which reach peak accuracy with the the 11.25" twist that Kreiger now sells with the Obermeyer 5-R rifling for bolt guns. My calculator shows your 12" twist will even stabilize a long 180 grain Barnes solid at 2000 fps MV. It won't be peak accuracy stable, but it will hold up to deer-size hunting accuracy even in fall temperatures (above freezing). For your 150 to 165 grain conventional hunting bullet range it will be just fine. My Steyr Scout has a 12" twist and its 19" barrel has shot many rounds of handloaded 175 grain MatchKings into half inch circles. These were not reduced loads, but they weren't hot, either. You just need to tune the loads.

The earlier suggestions to use a 125 grain bullet powered by IMR 3031 are excellent. The Sierra #2120 spire point Pro-Hunter loaded to about 2500 fps with 3031 will cut 1/4 off the recoil compared with a 150 grain bullet loaded to that velocity with 4895. It will be 2" high at apogee, at 100 yards and will be 2" low at about 205 yards, where it will still be going 1900 fps and have 1000 ft-lbs of energy. Plenty for deer, who can be dropped by 125 grain .357 magnum bullets at half that energy. I expect this is just about what you are looking for?

A 150 grain Sierra spire point fired at 2400 fps by 3031 will have the same trajectory and will increase the energy on target at 205 yards to almost 1300 ft-lbs, but you pay with about a 15% increase in recoil impulse.

Let me make the suggestion that you move to a long eye-relief forward mounting scout scope for hunting. This will completely protect your lady friend from scoping her brow. At around 2X, these scopes allow very fast target acquisition, good field of view, and to 200 yards you don't need any more magnification anyway, and at 50 yards it doesn't over-magnify. As a result of the modest magnification you don't have to worry that parallax will become a minute-of-deer issue. It think you'll be delighted by how well you can see through one. It will require a special scope base, but is worth the effort, IMHO.
 

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Why not start with the IMR site, and look at their page with youth loads?

http://www.imrpowder.com/PDF/Youth Loads.pdf

Secondly, I have used the Hornady 130 grain bullets with some success for large deer, and I have had complete penetration with them. I have found the Nosler 125 gr BT a bit softer than the Hornady. So, if you are looking for even more recoil reduction consider the Hornady 130 grain bullets as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Well that all makes sense. I have always preferred more twist to less all else being the same. If there was a single premium bullet option in 130gr I might go for it. The Barnes Triple Shock is the only one I can find. I have never loaded the all coppers before and I know they are longer themselves. As a bowhunter, I am a big fan of complete penetration (with decent expansion in bullets of course). If there was a single bonded 130 .308 bullet out there, that would be my choice. I think I will go with this choice. It seems to be the best compromise available: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=311507

I think I will test some moderate 150 loads as well. I will find the sweet spots.

Oh, on the scope, I am getting a Nikon Omega with standard plex. 5" eye relief. I may go that route from now on. I like generous eye relief.
 

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Bird Dog II, I am currently working up a 150 grain load for my "slow-twist" 20" barrel S&W Model B, that will group accurately. When the weather clears up to where I can get out to test a few loads; I'll find the load that groups the best and post it here for you. Right now I am trying Varget, IMR-4064, WW-748, and will try IMR-4320, and a few other powders. The 125 grainers seem to be the most accurate in my 20" S&W .308 rifle using the above mmentioned powders. I am able to get velocities of 2,800 FPS+ with these & 125 grain Sierra bullet.
 

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In My Ruger

I own a Ruger M77 MkII Compact(16.5"bbl). I shoot a 125gr NosBalTip outta it at 2750fps using 748. There is probably a better powder but I got a ton of it.

Moderate recoil and the bullet does a great job on deer and hogs because it is not driven too fast. I have recovered a few and they have expanded perfectly and held together. Most are >118grs. -----pruhdlr
 

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Ideal 308 reduced recoil option

I own a Ruger M77 MkII Compact(16.5"bbl). I shoot a 125gr NosBalTip outta it at 2750fps using 748. There is probably a better powder but I got a ton of it.

Moderate recoil and the bullet does a great job on deer and hogs because it is not driven too fast. I have recovered a few and they have expanded perfectly and held together. Most are >118grs. -----pruhdlr
Pruhdlr,

That is exactly the kind of performance I am hoping to achieve out of a new 30-'06 barrel and 125gr BT's. My wife and I will be hunting in AL next fall and this will be the gun she carries. She's not particularly recoil sensitive, has shook off scope eye from her ML, and really likes the look and feel of the 03A3 I finished an after-market stock on.
 
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