Yesterday I shot some Federal high energy .338 mag. w/225 gr Trophy bonded bullets.
The crono said they were going 2910 fps.
Thats hot, about 4200 lbs of energy.
I have handloads that go about 2850 fps with no signs of pressure, so I could probably match the 2910 fps, but I'm sure that would be up at the limit.
By the way, the Federal high energy stuff was very accurate, the best factory load I've seen so far.
Hi elmo, welcome to Moosies, I'm sure that you'll like it here. Our moderator for this board, danr55, is a whiz as is Califhunter and others. They have helped me and many others of all levels of expertise in reloading immensely, so along with welcoming you I'd like to thank them.
Now back on your question, I'm sure that there are several if not many of us that can match them or exceed them on speed, but all of that speed might as well be up a wild hog's butt if the bullet doesn't hit exactly where you intend it. Don't get me wrong, some of these factory rounds shoot well, and they should for $1-$2 a round. A good reloader can match them for well under a buck, probably .30-.50, and have the gratification of knowing that YOU did it yourself.
You might be interested in scrolling down a few topics and reading the one deadeye2 put in a couple of weeks ago on Hornady loads--bad brass (or something like that)and read some of the downside of factory loads.
I decided to look up the claimed performance of the Hornady ammo you mentioned. They list a 165 gr, BTSP at 2880 fps. It is important to remember this is out of a 24" barrel.
My handload of the same bullet clocks in at 2735 fps out of the 22" barrel on my Model 70. I could push it further, but this load consistently groups in the 1/2" to 3/4" range, so squeezing another 50 or so fps out of it doesn't do me much good if the groups go to hell.
Yes, that ammo is hot, but if someone wants to make a hot rod out of their .308, they should have bought a .300 win mag to begin with.
Elmo, Two years ago, I had a most unhappy experience. My neighbor bought a Remington Model 7 stainless in 7mm-08. He brought it to me, as he does with all of his rifles, and ask me to work the trigger and build some loads for the rifle. His nephew bought the same rifle and brought it to me at the same time.
I did the work and build some loads. The nephews rifles shot all of the loads under 1 MOA. Greg's rifle, on the other hand, wouldn't shoot any of the loads worth beans. So we fiddled with it for about 3 weeks and never got it to shoot better than about 3/4 inch. Well, he went to the range one day with a box of Hornady Light Magnums that someone at work had given him. He settled the rifle in and took a shot. Then he took a second shot. (Missed the paper completely the second time.) A third shot enlarged the hole from the first shot. The forth shot missed the paper. I bet you can guess what was happening. the second and fourth shots went through existing holes. The rifle loved the light mags, so I got bumped by factory ammo. Thats not to say that that will always be the case, but my hunting partner loves federal premium ammo. So it will eventually be your call. Factory ammo is not what it used to be. It is much more consistant, and because commercial loaders have access to powders that hobby loaders don't, they can do things that we can't. So, I guess it's your call. I load because I shoot lots of different calibers that you can't buy ammo for, and besides, I enjoy it. It is realy quite interesting.
This is more of a "how do they do it" than a "how do I hot-rod a .308" question. With two lawyers behind every tree, I would think the folks at Federal and Hornady would be a little leery of pushing the pressure envelope to get those velocities. So my question is, Do they know some Voodoo that lets them get the speed without the high pressures that you would expect.
For all the various canister powders that we as handloaders have access to, there are plenty of powders that we do not. Much, if not most, factory ammunition is loaded with powders uanvailable to us.
With some load development, and collaboration between ammo makers and powder manufacturers, they may be able to achieve velocities at lower pressures than we can because we do not have access to the same powders.
Hey, the factory boys have to be able to do some things we can't, otherwise they wouldn't sell any ammo, now would they?
Our big advantage as handloaders isn't so much pushing bullets at higher velocities out of the tube, but rather the flexibility to tailor our ammo to each individual rifle, to get the most out of that rifle's potential.
Nodak Hunter, Just as a point of information. Everything I've read about 308 winchester and my own experience with that round says that velocity is opitimzed with barrel lengths between 21.8 and 22.8 inches. You may want to file that away for future reference. If your experience is different, please let me know as that is the only caliber I have been able to quantify in a case capacity vs. barrel length relationship. I would be curious if you have other information.
Hey Dan, the Steyr .308 heavy barrel rifle I ordered has a 25.6" (650mm) barrel length. The same rifle also comes in a 20" length barrel of the same .790" contour.If you are correct (and I don't doubt you are), can you speculate on what the Steyr folks had in mind with these barrel lengths.
[This message has been edited by elmo (edited 02-22-2001).]
That's a tough one Elmo. I would have to guess something along the lines of standard lenght for 30 caliber rifles. The short barrel can also be used on and assault rifle of some kind and the longer barrel would be used in 30-06, any of the 300 magnums, and whatever else steyr builds now. I don't remember exactly what you said you were getting, but is it one of the SSG derivitives? Sniper rifles traiditionally have longer barrels for better aiming. It would be hard to second guess what my Austrian-Bavarian-Deutsch freinds had in mind or who they had it in mind for.
Dan, it's an SBS Tactical. SBS stands for Safe Bolt System. It's a newer (1996) design with some pretty radical features. You might want to check out the factory website. I believe that the SSG's and some of the older hunting designs are being phased out. This rifle is an affordable,($820), eight pound heavy barrel, with an adjustable length of pull synthetic stock, that the factory claims will shoot factory match ammo into sub m.o.a. groups @ 300 meters. I'll believe that when I see it. But with Steyr's reputation, I'm willing to take a gamble on something new.
Sounds great Elmo. For that kind of money though, I can have a new Sako ultra light. I'm too old to be carrying 8 pounds of rifle around the hills.
FYI, the SSG was the original NATO sniper rifle. It was the first one to be accepted by all of NATO's European troops. There was a hunting variation, but not until several years after NATO adopted it. Was pretty much as you describe this one. Hell of a weapon. Sold new, when they were available, in 1985 for around $1600.00.
I'm sorry, I wrote SSB and was thinking SSG. They are not the same rifle. The SSG was the sniper rifle.
Dan AZ www.huntandlodge.com
[This message has been edited by danr55 (edited 02-22-2001).]
I have an old sporterized Mauser in .308 caliber that has a 24" barrel. I worked up many loads for it, and when I later purchased a Model 70 in .308 with a 22" barrel, I expected similar velocities from similar loadings.
After some experimenting, I was a bit puzzled at some of the results, and burned a few pounds of powder and dug up a couple of backstops conducting tests. Here, in a nutshell, was what I came up with:
With "ideal" .308 powders, (specifically Re 15, N140, and IMR 4064) with 165 grain bullets, like charges fired out of each rifle produced similar velocities. (Within about 20-30 fps, neither rifle consistently producing higher velocities than the other)
With powders usually considered a bit on the "slow side" for the .308, 165 grain cartridges, (specifically RE 19, N160, and IMR 4350) bullets were chrono'd consistently faster out of the 24" tube, with some loads over 100 fps faster. Also, not only was I able to obtain higher velocities with identical powders, but my highest velocity with Re 15 in the 22" rifle (2,735 fps) was about 70 fps slower than my best load with RE 19 (2801 fps).
I was thinking about pursuing this further, but new projects came along and ended my tinkering with this particular project.
I realize that this is extremely limited testing, and of course it would have been better to use several similar rifles with different length barrels, but I was working up loads, not testing for Winchester.
In any event, I plan on buying a box of Hornady light magnum cartridges and chrongraphing them out of both a 22" barrel and a 24" barrel to see how things go.
Dan,I think you are right about the longer barrel. This rifle is chambered for .308 and .300 win mag only. They must have optimized barrel length for the mag rnd.
Nodak, I'd sure like to hear the results of your Hornady Lt Mag / barrel length research someday. When my reloading buddy and I work up loads for this rifle, we'll try the RL 19 approach in addition to the standard powders. Thanks for the info.
Nodak, Your results sound pretty much normal for what one would expect. If you tried to optimize load density to optimize performance, and considered velocity, accuracy, and density, you would probably find that the powders in the 4064/8228 range would perform the best and the load density would probably be about 85% to 87%. Velocities should peek at barrel lengths about 22.5 inches long and should be rather flat across the top of the curve between 21.5 and 23.0 inches. The decline after peek should be faster than the increase by about 3:1. Using the slower powders like 4350 would tend to increase load density and decrease efficiency. That is to say that the velocity increase would be proportionally less by weight than with a more efficient burn rate powder like the 4064. It will be interesting to see what results you get from the Light Mags. I am guessing you will find that they perform about the same in both rifles. I know we tested some of the 7mm-08 light mags in a Remington Model 7 ss and a Sako Hunter. The barrel on the Sako was about 1.3 inches longer than the Remington and the velocities were the same within about 8 fps average. That was for 5 groups of 3 shots each. It surprised me. The thing that really surprised me was the difference in accuracy. The Remington loved those rounds. The Sako would tolerate them but much preferred the handloads. Let us know how your research comes out.