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Best .308 bullet for hunting/target?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by sprink, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. sprink

    sprink Battle Ground, WA Member

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    I recently bought a .308 that I plan to use for target shooting (out to 1000yds when my shooting improves) and deer/coyote hunting. I've never reloaded before but have a friend who can help when I'm ready. I'm hoping to find a single bullet that'll do those two things well. I was looking for something in the 160-180gr neighborhood only because it's what most guys online have seem to have had success with using the same rifle (Savage 10pc) from what I've read. Looking to get a few opinions so I can start working on load development. Thanks.
     
  2. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Sierra Game Kings, Beger hunting VLD's it Nosler Accubond longrange if you can find them
     
    johnboy likes this.
  3. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I'll be honest, the 308 is pretty marginal at 1000 yards, and your choices are generally the 155gr Palma match with a stout load and a long barrel. The 168's fall out of the sky at about 850 yards, I don't know precisely why, but the 168's just don't shoot to 1000 yards with any reliability. 175's are a bit better and more predictable, I'm guessing the aspect ratio of the 175's gives it enough stability to survive transonic flight without yawing.

    There is a massive difference between a hunting and target bullet. I know berger has been advertising their VLD's for hunting use, but I don't have much to gauge it off, so I havn't taken the plunge. My typical hunting load is a barnes TTSX 150 which I've put on targets out to 800 yards regularly.

    My "long range" rifle is a savage 10FP, to push the envelope a bit, I'm strongly considering rebarreling to a .300WSM. (perhaps just cutting a fresh chamber, not sure yet) and a much larger rifle in the overbore .375 Ruger (again, based off a savage 110 long action in this case). Which should still deliver over 2000 ft/lbs at 1000 yards.
     
  4. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    I've got the same rifle pc10 only shooting to 400-500 yrds at this time I'm shooting everything from 125gr noslers to 180gr sierra and hornadys with barnes and bergers mixed in.
    For deer and coyotes only I would stay with 125gr noslers and 130gr barnes running them at 3000fps hits at 500 yrds are no problem.
     
  5. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I don't think a bullet that heavy is needed for coyote, but a 168 grain BTSP of any of the major brands works well for deer.

    Since you want something that works out to 1000 yards, I would consider the Barnes LRX or one of the other X-bullets they offer. The problem with many conventional bullets is they are designed for expansion within a certain velocity range - too fast and they can explode, too slow and they don't expand well. A solid bullet like the Barnes X-bullets that is designed to work on a wider range of velocities will work better at a wider range of distances.

    That said, firearms can be picky about the bullets and the loads you try - part of it comes down to the harmonics of the barrel and how it responds to the bullet load combination. A bullet and load that shoots well in one rifle may not shoot well at all in another.
     
  6. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I am using up some NOS Sierra 150 gr HP BT match bullets in my 30-30 (only because that's the only .30 cal rifle I own) and these have improved it's accuracy by about 50% or more. Typically though the 'match' style bullets are not satisfactory for, or even legal for hunting. And as mentioned before some rifles can be picky and the seemingly 'best' recommended bullet may not perform well in your rifle, while some rifles seem to shoot anything well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  7. sprink

    sprink Battle Ground, WA Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I was afraid that I was going to have to try a lot of different bullets to find one my rifle prefers. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of money to try everything out there. If I could narrow it down to three (Amax, SMK, SGK, accubond, VLD's, and Im sure there's other great ones I didn't list) to get me going. I plan to do more target shooting than hunting if that makes a difference in what I should be looking at. Thanks again for the help everyone.
     
  8. whiskey00buck

    whiskey00buck Seattle New Member

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    Why not just stick with the match kings and then buy a small lot of the game kings to prep for the season? Its really tough/expensive to find a round that does both. And you're not likely to shoot deer longer than 400 yards in most states.
     
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  9. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    I should note I made my suggestion figuring he'd be target shooting with a hunting bullet. Frankly I don't feel the .308 is suited for hunting at 1000 yards. Target shooting, yes but taking an animal....no.
     
    johnboy likes this.
  10. sprink

    sprink Battle Ground, WA Member

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    I completely agree with you. I don't think I'd take any shots over 400yds at an animal with this rifle.
     
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  11. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    Sprink

    I've got:

    168gr SMK
    155gr Palma
    150gr SST
    168gr A-Max
    165gr Ballistic Tip
    168gr Custom Competition
    180gr Game King
    168gr Ballistic Silvertip
    150gr TSX
    147 LC Match

    I'd be happy to donate a small sample of each for your friend to load for you. Might find a good starting point.


    Jason
     
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  12. sprink

    sprink Battle Ground, WA Member

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    I'm always amazed by the willingness to help and the generosity of the members on this forum. I greatly appreciate the offer Jason. I don't feel right accepting your offer with out some sort of compensation. I have some Winchester white box 9mm I can trade or cash. If interested PM me. Thank you.
     
    P7id10T likes this.
  13. user

    user Corvallis, OR Member

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    I use Burger VLD hunting (I don't know if there's a target) in my .300AAC, my .257 WBY Mag's (2), and my dad's old .30-06. I and my family (we always shoot load and share) have had great success with VLD's. I saw the biggest accuracy improvement in my .257. I believe it has to do with the velocity. It is so much faster than my others. I also use them for hunting. I've taken a 6x5 bull with the .257. It didn't have any problem putting it down. That was just under 300yrds with a 115 gr bullet. It ran less than 100 ft. I hope that helps =)
     
  14. johnboy

    johnboy Hillsboro Member

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    So many choices....just find an aerodynamic hunting bullet and when/if it works out (180gr) get a lot of them
     
  15. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    If you want ONE bullet that will work well at long range for Target Shooting and at ethical ranges for hunting game I'd take a good look at the Hornady 178 gr A-Max. I've found that it performs very well in .308 loadings and is almost as good as the dedicated target bullets for accuracy. It's an excellent balance of precision target bullet and hunting bullet. May not be all that suitable for dangerous game but I wouldn't be carrying a ..308 for hunting something that could eat me.

    I load this bullet at the same charge weights I use for the 175 gr SMK's. Price-wise they're within a penny or two of the Sierra 175 SMK's and a whole lot less expensive than the Bergers.

    Just a thought.
     
  16. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    i like 165 accubonds or ballistic tips
     
  17. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Well..... you got given some interesting advice early-on.
    First and foremost the 308 is only "marginal" at 1,000 yards if you don't know what you are doing, and choose poor components.
    The reason the 168 SMK's can have trouble reaching that distance, is very well documented at Camp Perry a very long time ago. That is precisely why the 175 SMK was built, and used.

    The main issue comes from tail angles. A steeper angle gives a sexier BC, but causes turbulence when crossing the transonic threshold. That particular bullet's construction was further aggravated by a bad balance of Center of Pressure/Center of Gravity. What specific distance that is, depends on your atmosphere and launch speed.
    A stout load with a light bullet in a long barrel is only needed if you are using a bullet that won't safely cross Transonic, and/or you have a POS scope that runs out of adjustment to dial the correct dope at that distance.

    I routinely shoot my 308 to 1200, and have done some grouping at 1760.
    175 SMK(Nosler CC is a clone) started at a sedate 2550. I'm still supersonic at 1k, and only need 12.2mills of up from my 100 zero.

    If you truly want the science, buy Robert L. McCoy's book " Modern Exterior Ballistics". Was recently reprinted and on Amazon, et. al.
    That original Sierra had a tail angle of 13 deg. McCoy's work shows transonic survivability & BC were best compromised around 8.5 deg.
    Many of Bergers have a tail angle problem for survival.

    Hunting bullets are hunting bullets, match are match. Can't have a car that gets 60mpg ALSO produce 500hp.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  18. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    ..... Doubled, sorry
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014