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Thread: Best Factory Match grade .308 ?

  1. #1
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    Best Factory Match grade .308 ?

    I'm new to F/TR and will be using factory match grade ammunition for a while through a Savage 12 F/TR. I looked at the 155 Palma loads in the JBM ballistics calculator and on paper it outperforms 175 HPBT Federal and Black Hills. What about real life? What is the best cartridge to use?

  2. #2
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    Black Hills 175gr loads in the red box has always shot pretty good out of my guns and its a bit cheaper (not a lot) than FGMM...

    Corbin (Corbon?) sells some premium 'factory' ammo, some of which is loaded with a Lapua 154gr Scenar. It's not something you'll find locally (even in Seattle), but mail-order only. If you google for it you should find their website. Some people really like that stuff; haven't tried it myself.

    I think Savage tested the guns with some Hornady 155gr TAP loads that use the 155gr A-Max - as you know I feed mine premium handloads, so again I can't really say what to expect, but its another option worth looking into.

    Biggest thing is get started handloading soon - it's considerably cheaper (if you don't go hog-wild on the equipment end of things) in the long run (until you decide to sink all your 'savings' into just shooting more )

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monte
    Biggest thing is get started handloading soon - it's considerably cheaper (if you don't go hog-wild on the equipment end of things) in the long run (until you decide to sink all your 'savings' into just shooting more
    What was it, the top five finishers at the Nationals were shooting 185gr bullets? I know of a handful more who are making the switch...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBG View Post
    I'm new to F/TR and will be using factory match grade ammunition for a while through a Savage 12 F/TR. I looked at the 155 Palma loads in the JBM ballistics calculator and on paper it outperforms 175 HPBT Federal and Black Hills. What about real life? What is the best cartridge to use?
    Your rifle will tell you which load is the "best" to use. Otherwise you, and we, are just guessing.

  5. #5
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    best load

    I am also very new to this sport. I will tell you what someone told me. Regardless of which one of those loads is best, your gun is capable of shooting way better than you can. Pick one, if it groups descent go shoot your barrel out. Get another one and do it again. I am not saying that good ammo isn't important, I'm saying perfect practice is much more important. Someone on on this forum gave me that advise and it has served me well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdsii64 View Post
    I am also very new to this sport. I will tell you what someone told me. Regardless of which one of those loads is best, your gun is capable of shooting way better than you can.
    I don't agree. Crap ammo is a complete waste of time, unless you are engaged in barrel break-in, or want to see if the $200/case corrosive FMJ surplus ammo can group better than 3 MOA at 100y if "you do your part".

    You cannot know whether your marksmanship/skill is up to par unless you remove the significant variable that crummy ammo constitutes.

    Give Tony Boyer a world-class rifle with crap ammo, and he won't win anything.

  7. #7
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    Bill,

    Get a grip. The intent of what was said was not 'go shoot surplus FMJ', but to spend less time fiddle-farting around at the loading bench and more time behind the trigger working on a consistent position and learning to read the wind. Eaking the last nth degree out of the ammo will come along as the shooter gains experience and learns how to tell when the stray shot here and there was shooter induced, or load induced. In the beginning the important part (for F-Class & High Power) is to get a decent load and get out there. With a .308 Winchester, you can't hardly throw a stick without hitting a load that shoots pretty well - that cartridge has been pretty well mapped out over the last few decades What is 'in vogue' changes slightly over time, but as far as what 'works', there ain't much new under the sun, and new shooters would do well to keep that in mind. Some loads do shoot better than others in individual guns, but whether a new competitor can call the wind better than the load can shoot often makes a bigger difference.

    Monte
    Last edited by milanuk; 10-19-2009 at 12:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    Ammo for Savage 12 F/TR

    I have the Savage 12 F/TR rifle in .308. I have tried a number of different brands and bullet weights with it. All of the "high quality" ammo I have tried was very accurate- Federal, Hornady, and Black Hills.

    It does shoot other ammo better than a lot of other guns, but I did not get nearly as good of results with Winchester 147 FMJ, PRVI 168gr, or 175gr match, hunting ammo or various bulk ammo. Some of them shot pretty well, but not like the higher quality match ammo.

    My standard factory round for the Savage 12 F/TR is Federal Gold Medal Match with 168gr Sierra MatchKings. The 175gr SMK are great, too, but much harder to come by and more expensive. At even price I would pick the 175gr as I want to extend my shooting from 600 yards to 1000 yards.

    My first two targets at 600 yards (5 shots) using the Federal Gold Medal Match with 168gr SMK were 2.5" and 3.5". It does shoot extremely well at 100, 200 and 300 yards. I shoot mostly at 300 yards and it is really great.

    I handloaded several 155gr bullets inlcuding the Lapua Scenar and Sierra. They shot well, but didn't group as well as the 168gr. MatchKings.

  9. #9
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    thus speaks the mind reader, eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by milanuk View Post
    Bill,

    Get a grip. The intent of what was said was not 'go shoot surplus FMJ', but to spend less time fiddle-farting around at the loading bench and more time behind the trigger working on a consistent position and learning to read the wind.
    The advice that "your gun can shoot better than you can" is bogus. If the rifle is capable of 3.5 MOA performance, how does that benefit a shooter who could hold 1 MOA performance with a better rig? It doesn't.

    Platitudes like that are bogus. The OP should try a few different, high quality, match grade factory loads. Choose the one that works the best, and then the OP will have a baseline from which to learn. An erratic rifle and ammo will not do the newbie, nor any other shooter, any favors.

    Grip that.

  10. #10
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    Bill,

    Where you are getting this nonsense about surplus ammo or stuff that shoots 3.5 moa from, I have no idea.

    I think everyone *but* you, including the new shooters, can figure out that was not what was meant. It doesn't take being a 'mind reader', but some basic common sense. Normally not an issue around here, but you seem to insist on taking this one off on a wild tangent.

    Should the shooter get some decent factory match ammo for a base line (assuming they don't have previous experience w/ .308 Win loads)? Sure. If they'd rather start handloading, are there any number of 'known good' .308 loads that can produce outstanding results with very minimal time spent doing load development? Definitely.

    The argument is simply against the new shooter spending *too much* time at 100/200yds trying to work up a 'one-hole' load, when the limiting factor is very likely the shooter, not the gun or the ammo, and one-hole ammo doesn't do much good if you can't call the wind well enough to stay in the 9-ring to begin with. I've seen that a *lot*... new shooters get so wrapped around the axle trying to work up the ultimate load that they forget what the goal is here - *centering* that group on the target, in the wind at longer ranges.

    There is certainly a balance there - your ammo has to be good enough to help you out, for sure. Ammo that barely holds the 10-ring makes it noticeably harder to get the wind calls right, but when just starting out, the difference between a load that holds X-ring and one that holds sub X-ring is probably not going to be of much benefit. Later, as the shooter develops they may need that 'bug-hole' load... but they'll be able to develop it and recognize it on their own.

    Thats a long ways from '3.5 moa' and 'corrosive FMJ surplus ammo', which nobody but you even brought into the conversation.

    Monte
    Last edited by milanuk; 10-19-2009 at 05:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    I stand by my statement

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Ohio View Post
    The advice that "your gun can shoot better than you can" is bogus. If the rifle is capable of 3.5 MOA performance, how does that benefit a shooter who could hold 1 MOA performance with a better rig? It doesn't.

    Platitudes like that are bogus. The OP should try a few different, high quality, match grade factory loads. Choose the one that works the best, and then the OP will have a baseline from which to learn. An erratic rifle and ammo will not do the newbie, nor any other shooter, any favors.

    Grip that.
    Any modern Fire arm will hold between 1 and 1.5 Moa with modern ammunition.ESPECIALLY A TARGET RIFLE. Very few NEW shooters can hold a consistent 1.5 moa. When you are talking about more advanced shooters then the whole equation is a different animal. It is a waist of time for a new shooter to pine over whether Black hills shoots better than Federal GMM or whether Corbon shoots better than Hornaday. What we new shooters need is quality time behind the trigger. Perfect practice is what turns new shooters into better ones. so I stand by my statement. Go shoot out a barrel. Get another one and do it again. Except nothing but x's in your sight picture when the shot breaks.

  12. #12
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    Dec 2006
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    Match your twist

    I think your F/TR rifle has a 1:10 twist rate. That is the best match for 168/175 ammo. I think I remember reading that a 175 SMK was optimum with a 1:11.25. The 150s and 155s prefer a slower 1:13 or 1:12 twist. Try some different 168s and 175s to see what your gun likes. My factory rifles have all liked FGMM with 168s.

    I have never owned a rifle that shoot any factory ammo better that I could reload it for. Bite the bullet and buy a RCBS RockChucker Combo and a good set of dies (~$300). For around $100 you can get a 100 box of Laupa brass and a 1k of primers (in theory.... they are hard to come by). Start off with some Varget or H4895 with your choice of premium bullet. Step up to an auto-powder dispenser when funds allow. You will never look back at factory ammo again....

    Luck in your choice, Tim

  13. #13
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    Wow. Strong opinions and very interesting. Thanks to all who shared one.

  14. #14
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    Try to pair up with someone's who's BDDT! That way he can keep an eye on you and work though issues you may miss by yourself. Some of us feel you need precise ammo so that if you have a bad shot you'll know it wasn't your ammo. Either you missed a switch (something a partner can confirm) or you did something wrong with your mechanics. With inferior ammo you'll spend some time scratching your bal............head trying to figure out where the heck that shot came from. Best thing is to have someone get into position next to you, you shoot and then compare notes on how and why

  15. #15
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    185's VLD

    AJ300MAG - where did you find the equipment list from the Nationals that listed 185s as the bullet used. Would be interested in viewing that list. My 1:10 twist really likes the 185 VLDs.

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