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Best powder for a 308 M1A?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Gas, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Gas

    Gas Gig Harbor, Washington, United States Active Member

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    I hear Varget is about the best on the market right now, anyone else have any luck with something else? :huh:
     
  2. SAR1846

    SAR1846 Oregon Member

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    Have heard folks mention 4895 & Re15 as well as Varget for handloads. HtH
     
  3. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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  4. taroman

    taroman Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Count me in as a Varget user. Its becoming the powder of choice for gas semi-autos. Because its popular, its getting hard to find at times. I got a lot of it from Dan-Dee in Sweet Home before convincing our new LGS to stock it.
     
  5. BillCh

    BillCh Vancouver Active Member

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    I've loaded up a few rounds with Varget. While it did OK. I wasn't convinced It was best for me. Its to slow for that gas system.
    I use Varget for my 308 and 223 and is a great performer for those. I did some legwork and IMR 4895 and H4895 are by far the most recommended powders for the M1A/M14.

    Right or wrong, I ordered an eight pound jug of H4895 and a brick of CCI #34 primers.

    I'll let ya know how it turns out.

    B
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Bill,

    When you say it's too slow for the gas system, what do you mean? Do you have failure to functions with it?

    The real strength of varget and why so many people like it is it tends to be very temperature insensitive, especially in auto-loaders, where the round may sit for up to a minute in a hot chamber. Most powders will tend to boost pressure and velocity under these circumstances.

    I don't see any problems with your choice, 4895 is a great powder, and has been with us for a long time. It's also the go-to powder for .30-06 in M1 Garandes.
     
  7. BIG_GUNNUT

    BIG_GUNNUT North Central Oregon Active Member

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    You have to be careful what powder you use in an M1A or Garand. If the powder is to slow you'll start bending or breaking OP rods. The two best powders for the M1A and Garand are IMR4895 and IMR 4064.
     
  8. usrifle

    usrifle washington Member

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  9. BillCh

    BillCh Vancouver Active Member

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    What I mean is I think its to slow for the M14/M1A gas system. I have not done extensive testing with Varget in my scout. The loads I have tried were 155gr. A-Max/41.8 Varget and 168gr. Sierra MK/41.5gr. Varget, both with new Lapua brass. The A-Max did OK. I did have a FTE or two with the MK's.(out of 10)
    As anecdotal as it may be, none of the Sierra MK's felt right.
    I agree that Varget is a great powder. I believe it may be the better powder for the lighter bullets fired from my blot rifle. I've used Benchmark and 748 in my .223 but prefer Varget. It just makes life easy. :thumbup:

    The 4895's are apparently the "standard" this particular type of rifle. I am no expert my any means in this area so I have to rely on the information of others. There seems to be a popular consistence in favor of either IMR4895 or H4895 over Varget.
    However, I reserve the right to change my tune in the future if need be.

    B
     
  10. TonyBen

    TonyBen NW Oregon New Member

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    Another +1 for IMR-4895. I have yielded some good results with it. I have some RL-15 and 4064 ready but I haven't tried them yet. I hear they are good as well as H4895.

    Before the 4895's there was IMR-3031. That was the powder of choice for a while and may be better suited for the newer shorter barrelled M1A's like the SOCOM and the bush model.
     
  11. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Hmm... ok I had never heard of this happening, but it doesn't really surprise me. I would actually surmise that varget would perform better with heavier bullets in this case, as it would increase pressure/burn rate while trying to push that heavier lump of lead out the muzzle. I think this problem is likely due to the differences on the scout gas system vs a standard M1A gas system. I imagine they have a smaller gas port hole, to restrict the volume of gas, which for standard cartridges would be higher closer to the chamber.

    As I said, I have limited experience with .308 semi-autos, but I've used varget extensively in .223 and always found it to be a consistent performer.

    As has probably been mentioned elsewhere, the nato standard powder for 7.62x51 nato was originally BL/C2 pushing a 147gr FMJ-BT bullet. While I'm sure this powder gives good function, I've never found ball powders to be anywhere near as consistent as IMR type powders.
     
  12. TonyBen

    TonyBen NW Oregon New Member

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    The standard and scout/bush models have the same gas system. The only one that is different is the SOCOM. The gas port in the barrel is bigger in SOCOM's.
     
  13. therifleman

    therifleman kennewick Member

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    all rifles are not equal and therefore what powder works for one may not work worth a dam in another. Welcome to the wonderful world of reloading. Trial and error is the only way to find the best combination for your particular rifle.