F T/R Competition  Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

b_4

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I emailed Berger Bullets and asked them for their load data for the 155.5 fullbore bullet, 308 Winchester and Varget powder and received the following info:

<span style="font-weight: bold">Start Load.....Start Vel.....Max Load.....Max Vel</span>
40.0.............2527.........44.6.........2764

However, if you go to the Hodgdon Varget website and look up the load data for 155 GR. SIE HPBT

<span style="font-weight: bold">Start Load.....Start Vel.....Max Load.....Max Vel</span>
44.0...............2759.........47.0C........2909

To make matters more confusing my Lyman manual lists the max load at 48 grains of Varget, compressed and Hornady gives the same max as Berger. The Berger max is BELOW the Hodgdon start and the Lyman start. I emailed Berger and received the folloing reply:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
As a rule our load data will be some what lower than other data as our bullets are longer than most other bullets of the same weight and when seated to the same length case capacity will be some what less. I think if you check some manuals other than the two you mention you will find our data to be pretty much the same. Just from the numbers you mention I think you are talking about varget and we know from experience this powder does very some what from one lot to another.
</div></div>

Can anyone enlighten me about what is going on here and which loading data should I use to work up a load?

Thanks, FYI this is for a Savage 12 F/TR chambered in 308 Winchester
 

USFTR

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

Wow, this is a difference. I seat my 155.5 bullets out there because I use the same chamber for my 185 load. From what I've seen with my rifle/load, Hodgdon load data looks more in line with what I've seen with Lapua brass.
 

scaxeman

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

b-4,

There are a bunch of considerations that go into published loads in a reloading manual. Unfortunately, the lawyers get their mitts in there as well. So generally, loads, even loads listed as "max" will tend to be on the conservative side. The same load could obviously not be used for your Savage F-T/R intended for use at 1000 yards, as grand daddy's lever action .308 from the turn of the *last* century.

In this case, Berger has no idea what components people are using to build their loads, Wild differences in pressure can be seen just by doing something as innocent seeming as changing the type of brass used. Winchester brass is almost 2 full grains of water volume larger than Lapua brass. Lapua brass is itself nearly 2 grains of water volume larger than say, Lake City. The difference between "max" load in a Lake City case can be up to 15,000 PSI greater than the same load in a Winchester case. This is with a caliber with a SAAMI max of ~63,000 PSI.

The loads listed will work perfectly serviceably in your average hunting rifle at 600 yards and in. If you want to push the envelope (and running the same Model 12 F-T/R as you have out to 1233 yards, I understand pushing the envelope), you'll have to work up slowly with your chosen types of components *in your rifle* and see what seems safe to you based on the pressure signs that you see.

Hope this helps,

Darrell
 

b_4

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

Thanks Darrell. I was just amazed that one manual would tell me a starting load of 44 gr and another would list that as the max.

I fired a ladder of 16 rounds using the varget loads in 0.2 gr increments. I'm no expert but I believe primer flattening started at 46.6 gr. I'll probably use 46 grains as my max for now but that is much greater than what Berger states so I thought it was worth discussing here because of the familiarity with both the rifle, Savage 12 F/TR, and components, Berger 155.5, Winchester brass, Varget, and CCI BR2 primers.

I just got a chronometer to double check my velocities as an added check that they are in line.
 

scaxeman

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

B-4,

This is a perfect illustration! I would have called my max load as a little higher than that, but your rifle, more importantly, your chamber is telling you what it is able to run at a reasonable pressure, with the components that you listed (including the lot number of your Varget, which can be a consideration!).

With that load, what sort of velocity are you able to achieve? More importantly, what are you looking to use this load *for*, 1000 yard competition, 300 yard competition, 100 yard plinking, etc.?

Good Shooting,

Darrell
 

b_4

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

Darrell:

It is probably capable of higher, I just have to factor in my level of knowledge and familiarity. I do not have a velocity yet, just got the chrono but I will be competing at 500 yards.
 

scaxeman

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

b-4,

Competing at 500 yards, you won't have to worry about some of the exotic "high-test" loads that some of us use for 1000-1200+ yard competition. Your lower power loads will work just fine for 500, and may actually get you better group sizes to boot. That 155.5 should be quite happy (and quite accurate) in the 2900-3000 fps range.

That chronograph is your friend! Use it often!

Darrell
 

b_4

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

Thanks!

btw what kind of velocities can be expected between 45 and 46 grains?
 

scaxeman

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: b_4</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
btw what kind of velocities can be expected between 45 and 46 grains? </div></div>

Rough guess (and it is rough, there are a lot of factors), would be 2825 and 2900 fps, for 45 and 46 grains of Varget respectively. Maybe ~15 fps increase for every .2 grains of Varget added?

Darrell
 

b_4

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

fyi 45 grains with Winchester brass, CCI BR2 Primers and Berger 155.5 averaged 2833 fps, SD 9 fps. This load did not group well but those are the velocities. Pretty close Darrell!

Edit: Typo on velocity corrected.
 

Surffshr

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: b_4</div><div class="ubbcode-body">fyi 45 grains with Winchester brass, CCI BR2 Primers and Berger 155.5 averaged 1833 fps, SD 9 fps. This load did not group well but those are the velocities. Pretty close Darrell! </div></div>

I'm guessing that's 2833?
 

Jacko Jeebus

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Re: Berger Load Data v. Varget Load Data etc

I have come up with 45.5 gr Varget is my perfect load. At 46.5 gr I was seeing primer signs of a little more pressure than I like. Win or Rem brass, Federal 210m primer, Varget powder.