By Mark V. Lonsdale, STTU
As many of you have discovered, one upside of the “stay at home” directive is plenty of time for reloading and shooting. Apart from 9mm and 45 ACP load testing with Berry’s Bullets, the bulk of my time has been working with three .300 Win Mag rifles and a new .338 Lapua Magnum. But for the last couple of days I’ve been dusting off the .308 Wins.
Digging around under my loading benches I found a bulk box of a thousand 168 grain Sierra Matchkings (SMK) and a large can of IMR 4895, both about 30 years old. Back in 1982, when I ran my first law enforcement sniper school, and was regularly shooting in Greenlight Sniper competitions, my pet load was the 168 SMK pushed by 42 grains of IMR 4895. This combination produced consistent 0.5″ groups on a good day, and still sub-MOA on a bad day.
My .308 Win Robar SR60D built for me by Robbie Barrkman in the mid-1980s. Blueprinted Rem 700 action, Schneider 24″ barrel, in a McMillan Baker Prone stock with Badger lower metal. This predated the McMillan SR90, M40A4, and A5 stocks.
My current .308 Win tactical training and PRS rifle is a Robar blueprinted Rem 700 action with a 24″ Bartlein 1:11.5″ twist Heavy Palma barrel, with a Piercision brake, in a McMillan A3-5 adjustable stock (one of my favorite all around stocks). The scope is a Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25X
Today’s results with the 30-year old powder and bullets demonstrated that the powder had not deteriorated over time. Probably the product of keeping it in a cool dry environment.
On the left is one of my current loads – 43 grains of Varget pushing the 168 SMKs out of Peterson brass with Federal 210M match primers. COAL was 2.810″ — On the right is 43 grains of the 30-year old IMR 4895 pushing 168 SMKs, COAL 2.840″. Both groups are 0.65″
The 43 grains of Varget clocked in with an average muzzle velocity of 2,647 fps out of a 24″ barrel. I have since moved up to 44 grains of Varget. The 43 grains of IMR 4895 had an average MV of 2,721 fps out of the same rifle.
Stay tuned for the results of the .300 Win Mag resting