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Handloads for the 308 Win AR pattern rifle


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Does anyone have any loads they like for these rifles?  I have tried Varget (43.0gr*) with 175gr Sierra HPBT and it did well for accuracy but the action did not cycle with any confidence.  I have some MidwayUSA unknowns in 180gr BT with red plastic ballistic tip.  I am ready to buy more powder and would like to know what has done well for you?

*Standard Disclaimer:  I am old and gray and fat and if I blow myself up it is no big loss.  Do not try this load at home unless your Will is current and you have a signed valid liability release exempting all parties of all responsibility.

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That disclaimer cracked me up, man...  <lmao> <thumbsup>

That red-tipped bullet you saw might have been a Hornady A-Max or a V-Max - those are the only ones I know of that have a red plastic tip.  Some other manufacturer might be making them now, though, as Hornady's .308 A-Max around that weight is 178gr or 208gr.  I'd like to see more on the 180gr stuff you found, and whether it could be loaded to magazine length.  That's cool.

A-Max and V-Max are both stupid-accurate stuff.  <thumbsup>

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These bullets were offered by MidwayUSA last week as "blemished bullets."  The price looked good to me.  They are packaged in plastic boxes 4" square by 1 1/4" thick,  100 bullets per box,  with the MidwayUSA logo as repackaged reloading components.  If you are interested,  give Midway a call but do not wait around?

The bullets look fine to me.  I already have some similar handloads with 175 Sierra,  HPBT,  COL 2.800 to 2.810 and all this ammo does fine in magazines for the bolt guns. The 175gr HPBT Sierra I fired on the one day at the range with the DPMS only had two rounds in the mag once-- the rest were single loaded-- but that experiment worked fine.  The COL above is my standard unless there is a definite reason to load some other COL.  This Sierra loading did very well at the range.  All hits in a half-inch wide spread a couple of inches tall,  on centerline and nominal 2 inches high.

I got out the left-over rounds of the 175 Sierra and tried loading the magazine.  The nominal 2.805 plus or minus loaded fine except for one 'long' round that would still work provided it was at the top of the mag.  If you keep all loads for the AR 308 Win at 2.800 and not more than 2.805,  all should be well.  I get nervous if the COL is below 2.800,  but some of my loads have run as short as 2.795 and I have not seen a problem yet.

The Russian ammo I fired that day mics at 2.655 plus or minus a couple of thousandths,  140 grain.  It would be OK in a firefight for covering fire but the group was more of a spread from the DPMS than a group.    Both 10 round clips fed fine from the magazine however.  I kept the scope settings from the hand loads:  6" dia pattern about 10" high and 10" left at 100 yards.  I can only wonder if the bullets were 'jumping'  too far into the rifling?

I found it very interesting that 5 shot groups from both my bolt guns using the Brown Bear ammo made essentially a one-hole group on centerline and 2" high.  I was shooting from the shoulder with my support hand resting on sand bags at the wrist.  My nerves were not great that day and my muscles that mattered were not doing well either;  by late in the week I had a severe cold which answered the question.  I do better if the fore ends are on the sand bags and I wonder what all these guns would do from a mechanical support.

I am thinking that I will need to buy another press and set up a bullet seating operation dedicated to the DPMS that also uses better (more expensive) dies than I currently have.  That will let me at least try to control the 'jump' distance and keep the COL  very precise.

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It is time for one more observation about these handloads.  Given,  from the previous post,  a maximum COAL of 2.800,  there are a lot of options.

The best thing I found was an Internet reprint from the Sierra manual for the 308 Win that got my attention that has loads for most of the bullets and most of the powders I currently have on hand.  I am just going to have fun experimenting with these loads.  And I do check my own copy of the Sierra manual to be certain that the Internet copy is valid.

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Can't really help you with the particular bullet or powder. I've been using WC846 ,its mil. pull down powder , a little dirty , but I use it in 308,30'06 & 223 with great results in all those cal..

It is hard to give a load on it ,because all that pull down stuff is diff. lot by lot & what may be good for one lot may not be good for the next.

I've been using it because I have so much of it & its about twenty years old, like most of my reloading equipment & even most of my primers (do have some new now ,been running low).

WC 846 is hard to come by now , but do see it from time to time & I will pick up more when I get the chance.

You don't say much about your AR 308, what bbl., trigger, what mags you using  ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is/was a DPMS factory LR-308.  Stainless fluted 24 inch barrel.  I added a CAA "adjustable" pistol grip (from Brownells) and a (modified to fit) Limbsaver recoil pad.  No felt recoil is very nice!  The initial live-fire was with the factory trigger,  long take-up stage and (measured) 6 lb pull.  It was a long way from full relaxed position to break but it was decently smooth.  Dry fire it was OK;  live fire I found it unnerving.  Now the rifle has a Rock River Arsenal trigger that has almost no creep/take-up and a 3.5 lb breaking-glass pull.  Factory mags were used;  two 19 round mags come with the rifle and I purchased a 4-round mag for possible hunting where the small mag is required.  I intend to buy some more mags.  I have a Nikon 6-18 x 40 scope with mil dot reticule in tip-off mounts.  The day at the range I was shooting from my hands with the front support hand resting on sandbags at the wrist while trying to not damage my wristwatch.  That works better with the lighter bolt guns.  Next time I will remove the watch and probably try shooting directly from the sandbag rest.  Except for the semi-auto loading trial mentioned in earlier posts,  the rounds were single-loaded by tossing them into the ejection port and releasing the bolt  to chamber them.

I am loading a few rounds of 180 gr boat tail plastic ballistic tip over some Reloder-15 at 40% and 60% of the average difference between average min and max spec powder charges listed in the 4 manuals I have.  That will give a comparison with the existing results and with some Federal factory 180 gr loads across the LR-308 and the two bolt guns.  Eventually I will have done this with at least 4 different powders and several bullet weights and designs.  I am thinking about changing from CCI Large Rifle primers to Winchester (brand) Large Rifle primers.

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I have loaded bullets as heavy as 190 gr Hornady interlok? with decent accuracy and no problems with overall length. The 190's I crimp in the factory canelure with no problems. I shoot an LR-308 and an HK-91 and in my rifles it is necessary to crimp every round or the bullets will occasionally push back into the case and raise pressures. If the bullets aren't canelured then I use a Lee factory crimp die. My testing shows that even uncanelured bullets shoot more accurately with a decent crimp. I have been using Varget and H-4895 with good results. I'm up to 42 grs of H-4895 with the Nosler 168 gr match bullet and no pressure signs, function fine in my LR-308. In the Hk-91 I'm shooting Hanson 180 gr soft point spitzer because I have a bunch of them and don't care if the cases get screwed up by the fluted chamber. They are pretty accurate and 5 rds will usually do 1-1 1/4" groups at 100 yds.

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If you ever find out what the freebore is on that LR308, I'd be curious.  Sooner or later I'll stick around work and make a gauge myself, but I just don't have time these days.  I just read something a few days ago that mentioned freebore in the autoloaders being pretty long.

I just did an OCW workup a few days ago and landed on 43.2 gr RL-15 with Sierra 168's.  I don't use the A-max's in my LR308 because I had the tips come off in a match once and jammed up the action.

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I found this load will consistently shoot under an inch in my DPMS .308B: Nosler 125 grain green ballistic tip, 47.1 grains of Varget, OAL 2.77-2.80. AVG mv from 18'' barrel 2,775. I think Nosler's web site say's 50C charge is the max, but I've no desire to shoot compressed loads. I'm gonna crank up the powder to 48.0 and see how it shoots out of my new DPMS .308T 16'' in a few weeks.

This load shoots just under and inch with the Hornady 168 bthp bullet: 44.5 gr Varget, OAL 2.78-2.80. AVG mv 2,625. I use to crimp my loads but I've found it decreased my accuracy.

One load crimping didn't effect was the 130 gr Barnes TSX. I liked the accuracy and velocity of the Barnes but wasn't impressed with the expansion at 300 yds, even with a MV of 3,000 fps. I'll stick with the cheaper,sure expanding, just as accurate Nosler lead core bullets.

Use these loads at you're own risk, I assume no responsibility if you are hurt or killed.

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