Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Unknown

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I ordered a large quantity of the Sierra 155 Palma bullets. I'm using CCI-BR2 primers, and either LC77 cases, LC75M, or Federal GMM brass. All the brass is prepped the same. Flash holes deburred, primer pockets uniformed, brass all trimmed to same length, deburred outside, and inside with a VLD reamer.

Velocities between the 3 different cases is within 20fps with the same load I had been using: 168 Nosler competition, Reloader 15 powder.

I'll be primarily shooting the ammo out of a Sako TRG22, but will also shoot this ammo in a DPMS LR308 with 24 inch tube, and a FNAR with 20 inch heavy fluted barrel. Although it would be great if the load would shoot in all the rifles, I really want it to perform best in the Sako.

My load of 168 grain bullet and Reloader 15 gave inch groups in all rifles, better in some...

So, if anyone has suggestions for a good load using 155 Sierra Palma bullets (2156 I think), Varget, and CCI-BR2 primers, I would really appreciate it.

I'm an accuracy over velocity guy if that makes any difference. All the velocity in the world doesn't do a damn bit of good if I don't hit what I'm aiming at.
 

BobinNC

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Unknown,

Recipe suggestions??? Are you baking a cake??

It's not your fault, as there are many posts like this one. I'm not sure exactly what you would glean from any data provided?

Hodgdon says minimum 44 gr to a maximum of 47 grains with a 155 gr Sierra and Varget. Your rifle may like a load somewhere in between or maybe not.

I used 46.3 grains Varget, Lapaua case, Fed 210M primer, and the Sierra 2155, 2.825" COAL . I now use 46.5 Grains Varget, 155.5 Berger, Lapua case, and Fed 210M primer, 2.860" COAL.

I know of no substitute or shortcut in reloading that allows you to not work up a load; in your rifle, with your components.

Now in a rifle, chambered for a cartridge that has no data (like a wildcat) then a load recipe has some merit. Ditto for new bullets, or a newly released powder. They might provide a baseline for a reloader, for which none exists.

But load data for all manner of 155 grain bullets and Varget in a 308 winchester abound. My pet load may work, and be accurate and be safe in your rifle, or it may not.

Ladder testing and OCW Load development exist for a reason, and mine or anyone else's data is damn near useless in your rifle, with your barrel and chamber, and your powder lot, and potentially dangerous.

Since we really have no idea(and neither do you) what load will be both accurate and safe in your rifle(s), without up working it up from below, exactly what are your hoping to discover by asking?

And armed with a good load, from someone else's rifle, what would you do with that information?

Would you not start @ 44 grains, as recommended by the powder maker and work up? Or would you start at the load data given you? Or somewhere else? Run a ladder test? Use an OCW development formula?

Just curious....

Thanks,

Bob
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Bob,

I agree with what you say about working up a load, and that there isn't a substitute or short cut for it.

If a number of people post that they had best accuracy between x and x+3 grains, then that is merely a starting point for me in working up a load.

I have nearly 35 years of data and books with all sorts of recipes (combinations of components, just like a cake), but usually I find that when a number of people recommend loads within a certain range, that is an excellent place for me to look.

As in the threads where people ask what powder has given the best results for 308, the resounding favorite was Varget, with all other powders falling in behind it. That doesn't mean another powder won't work best in my rifle, but it does mean that Varget has a high chance of working well.

If there is some consistency in the response to my posting, then I have a place to look before heading to the range to check velocity and accuracy of the various loads. Sure, it still takes research, but any help with a place to start would be nice...
 

BobinNC

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Unknown</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Bob,
If a number of people post that they had best accuracy between x and x+3 grains, then that is merely a starting point for me in working up a load.
</div></div>

Unknown,

I have no quarrel with your post, and you seem to have some experience, save the one item noted above.

Perhaps I'm taking you comment too literally, but if ten posters found their best "accuracy" between 45.6 and 46.1 grains of Varget for example, are you stating your going to start your load development there?

If so that's the problem I have with reloading recipes. Too many folks look at them as a shortcut, or a substitute for real load development.

But hey, it's your rifle, feel free to develop loads any way that makes you comfortable.

Bob
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

If ten people said they got best results between 45.6 and 46.1, I would expect to begin to see groups improve somewhere between 44.5 and 47. But another consideration I have is what the numerous manuals I have list as both max, and minimum loads.

For example if 5 out of 8 loading manuals show 46.8 as the max load, then it is highly unlikely that I'll go over that. But, if my components show a velocity with a 155 grain bullet of only 2400 fps when I'm at 46.8, I would think something is horribly wrong. Conversely, if a starting load is shown as 42 grains, I would probably start a bit above 42...maybe around 43 and see what is happening with both accuracy, and pressure signs.

I know many people rely on flattened primers as their indicator of excess pressure, but many loads are far over pressure before primers flatten. That info was given to me by the people at Federal ammo, and I'm willing to bet they have far more experience with better equipment and pressure gauges than I have access to.

In any case, the recommendations of folks on the internet are just to give me ideas. If there is as strong consensus of where the best accuracy is found, then I'll expect to see some improvement around there. However, as you know, every rifle has it's own idiosyncrasies and preferences.

Just because 10 other TRG22's prefer a certain load, doesn't mean that my rifle will prefer the same load. But my rifles preference is probably somewhere close to what the 10 other TRG's like.

I don't fancy the idea of ruining a rifle, or injuring myself, so I err on the side of caution. There are many recommended loads I have rejected because loading manuals say that the charge is over the max..I just don't want to risk either rifle, or self.

When I said that x or x+3 grains is a starting point, that is where I would start to expect to see some improvement in accuracy...presuming that the loads I start with at x-3 or x-5 don't show problems as I'm working my way up to x+3.

All the above presumes that the loads are consistently within the recommended loads in the manuals. I think far too many people take what someone on the internet says as gospel without verifying it first.

If 10 people tell me that some load is great, I'll still check manuals to make sure I'm not risking rifle, or self by loading some idiotic proof load into my rifle.

Thanks for taking the time to respond...now if I can only get some people to tell me about the loads that have worked out well for them.
 

BobinNC

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Unknown,

Thanks for responding, and clarifying. As to loads have you looked here:

308 Load data

About 8 pages of data, maybe what your looking for is in there.

Thanks,

Bob
 

MitchAlsup

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

I used to use the 2155s with Win cases, CCI primers, 47.8 gr Varget, OAL 2.943 (0.015 from the lands) in my long throated Remmy.

I now use 155 Scenars instead with the same recipie.

However, I don't know what the throat of you TRG is going to look like (length), so: Warning, this recipie is on the edge of sane pressures, start at least 3.0 gr low and work up slowly watching pressure signs.
 

MinorDamage

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: MitchAlsup</div><div class="ubbcode-body">However, I don't know what the throat of you TRG is going to look like (length), so: Warning, this recipie is on the edge of sane pressures, start at least 3.0 gr low and work up slowly watching pressure signs. </div></div>

The measurements for my TRG happen to be 2.307 Base to Ogive. I don't know what the COAL works out to be with the 155s...the 175s are 2.882. That of course is just a ballpark, but I assume the reamers will be pretty similar.

Josh
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Mitch,

Thanks! There is the pressure issue, plus the 2156 that I have has an ogive much further rearward in order to get the higher BC. I had used some of the 2155's with good results, but figure that this 2156 bullet is more like the Scenar as far as ogive goes.

My TRG as about 3K rounds through it so far, and although the bore and chamber are chrome lined, any rifle with that many rounds through it should show some erosion at the throat.

Even before I start loading, I'll have to use my overall length to throat gauge to see how far out to seat these new bullets.

I just finished weight sorting 500 of the bullets (whew), and the brass has already been weight sorted.

There was an interesting article on 6mmbr where a fellow who won the 308 benchrest matches a year or two ago said that the primer brand wasn't too important to his match winning load...it was powder and bullet type, powder charge, and seating depth that made the biggest difference in his loads.

I figure I need all the help I can get, so I DO pay attention to brass, primer and darned near anything else I can think of..

Bob and Mitch, thanks for the assistance.
 

Swan

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Here's a shortcut: start at 47grs. You'll be fine.
 

Mudcat-NC

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

I would NOT start at 47 grs of Varget. Do NOT do that.
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

Even without looking at manuals to double check, I think starting loads for the 155 is around 40 grains..as I don't fancy ruining myself or my rifle, I'll be conservative and start out low and work up with a little more realistic starting point than 47 grains.

But if you are going to do that with your rifle, I would be interested in watching the show...from a distance.
 

Swan

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Unknown</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Even without looking at manuals to double check, I think starting loads for the 155 is around 40 grains..as I don't fancy ruining myself or my rifle, I'll be conservative and start out low and work up with a little more realistic starting point than 47 grains.

But if you are going to do that with your rifle, I would be interested in watching the show...from a distance. </div></div>

Don't be scared. I've gone to 48grs without too devastating of effects. Thats why they make shooting glasses.
smile.gif
 

JFComfort

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Swan</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Unknown</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Even without looking at manuals to double check, I think starting loads for the 155 is around 40 grains..as I don't fancy ruining myself or my rifle, I'll be conservative and start out low and work up with a little more realistic starting point than 47 grains.

But if you are going to do that with your rifle, I would be interested in watching the show...from a distance. </div></div>

Don't be scared. I've gone to 48grs without too devastating of effects. Thats why they make shooting glasses.
smile.gif
</div></div>

LOL!! Damn straight! Just devastating on brass.
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

The shooting glasses posting brought back some memories. I used to teach firearms at the police academy. When buying some new glasses, the sales tech recommended I consider the polycarbonate lenses. I complained that they scratch easily, and was countered by the resistance to impact from frags. So I gave them a try.

The next week when teaching, a piece of bullet jacket came off a metal target back at me and shattered the left lens. It looked like someone had hit it with a hammer, but the entire lens was still in the frame.

I returned to the optician's office and asked about the guarantee, and when they saw the lens, they said something like, "Holy crap,! What hit that?", I said, "A bullet fragment." They were really impressed and wanted to keep the lens to show people, but when they removed it from the frame, I guess the release of pressure from around the lens took the support the lens needed to remain intact, and it broke... Needless to say, I'm a fan of polycarbonate lenses...although I still bitch about their tendence to scratch more than glass lenses. The solution is have a pair of polycarbonate for shooting, and glass for everyday use..
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

At least once in the days when Palma ammo was issued, the load was SRA 155SMK loaded to USGI/NATO M-80 Ball Nominal OAL (SRA spec is 2.775" with this bullet), Fed 210M primer, 46.0gr Varget, and I'm not sure about the case, but I'm leaning toward commercial, probably Win or Fed. This is a 'stiffish' load, and Fed brass has a tendency to develop loose primer pockets sooner than most others when pressures get into the upper end. Varget has a tendency toward some velocity drift between production lots, so be prepared to make some <span style="font-style: italic">small</span> adjustments. I, too, would not start at 47.0gr, but that's just me wearin' a belt and suspenders, both...

Greg
 

MitchAlsup

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Swan</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Don't be scared. I've gone to 48grs without too devastating of effects. </div></div>

Those of us who push the edge of the pressure envelope should do so with a bit of edumacation on barrel steel(s). These are forged heat treated steels with young's modulus around 100-110 K PSI. Similar metals are used to make the actions.

Now steels have the property that if you apply pressure less than about 1/2 of Young's modulus, the steel with (essentially) never fail due to grain boundry weakness. That is, the barrel won't come apart when the pressure is at maximum. So, basically anything under 50K PSI will end up in a situation where you can shoot until the rifling is gone and neither the actiion nor the barrel will "go ballistic" on you.

OK, but we don't shoot an infinite number of rounds! By the timeyou get to 55 K PSI you are in the range where the barrel is slowly comming apart and the action is slowly taking a beating. But we can still get (maybe) 50K rounds through the action and replace the barrels a couple of times and thing little of it other than the normal wear and tear on the weapon.

Steping up to 60 K PSI and wear (and by this I mean movements of tollerances in the action and assembled barrel) is increaseing rapidly, and the action may only see 25K rounds befor it just does not feel right anymore. But we have still gone through a couple 4 barrels and had a good time of it all. Here, we are actually pushing the envelope and a grain boundary defect in the steel could manifest itself as "Kaboom" near the end of the life of a barrel. Also note: brass is starting to move like putty.

Most SAAMI specs stop near the 58K PSI range for good reasons.

Stepping up to 63K PSI and we have the life of the components again, and increase the chance of a kaboom by something like 4X ovr the life of the weapon. Brass is flowing like mud-brick at these pressures. See below.

By the time you get to 65K PSI you are nearing (the lower end of) proof pressures. A proof pressure is the kind of ONCE in the LIFE of the GUN events that can be used to certify that there are no structural issues wiht the grain boundaries of the steels. Brass flows like brake fluid and usually displaies easy to recognize pressure signs, stiff bolt, blown primer pocket, and blow outs near the web. The life of the weapon at these kinds of pressure might be a thousand rounds.

So the fact that you/me/<somebody> got away with big pressure once, dozen, hundred times is no statement of safety for those of us who want to shoot happily for dozens of years with the same weapon and same load. You are free to walk near the edge of safety, but everybody gets to make their own choices. Greg makes a compelling case for even lower pressures than I run in 308. I try to understand the issues and what the shape of the edge looks like. But overall, we are both on the side of live long and be happy we live in a free country--so be safe, or at lest understand the fine line you might walk.

Now 5.56*45 actually runs as high as 62 K PSI. These guns can "get away" with these kinds of pressure because the cartrige is small and the barrel steel is quite good. And then again, the bolts (sometimes the whole BCG) are replaced when wear is detected--something that is not so easy with a bolt action. In addition, the troops don't use reloads, the Lake City brass is quite hard and adds the newness of every case and helps prevent excess pressure from comming out of the chamber in an unprofitable direction.
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

"Prevent excess pressure from coming out of the chamber in an unprofitable direction." That was beautifully said...I like that.

So I loaded up some test loads working up in 3 tenths of a grain at a time. I stopped under Hodgdon's max load recommendation for Varget of 47 grains. As I don't intend this to be a 1000 yard load, I just don't need max velocity, what I really want is accuracy for shooting from 0-800 yards, about 95% will be 600 yards and closer.

I had sorted both the 155 grain bullets, and the Federal GMM brass by weight, so now I'll see what the rifle likes. I have about 8 different charges to test out. That should be enough for ladder and group testing.
 

Queequeg

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Unknown</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Even without looking at manuals to double check, I think starting loads for the 155 is around 40 grains..as I don't fancy ruining myself or my rifle, I'll be conservative and start out low and work up with a little more realistic starting point than 47 grains.

But if you are going to do that with your rifle, I would be interested in watching the show...from a distance. </div></div>

I think that is what Sierra's manual lists, which is markedly lower than what Hodgdon lists in theirs.

155 GR. SIE HPBT Hodgdon Varget .308" 2.775" 44.0 2759 41,300 CUP 47.0C 2909 49,400 CUP

http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp

A lot of folks run the 155s into the mid 47 grain range but it is all above listed maximum. According to Hodgdon's manual you can step up incrementally from 44 grains or take the advice of someone who won't be paying for your seeing eye dog and leap right up to 47+ grains.

I have loaded mine most recently at 47.3 grains with BR-2 or 210m primers in Winchester, Hornady or Federal cases, (less in Lapua or LC cases) to an overall length of 2.820".

 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

My test loads stopped at 46 grains. If there is no pressure sign, and accuracy seems to be improving, I will CONSIDER going higher, but I'm always extremely reluctant to go over any published max load.

I like dogs, but think my border collies might get jealous of all the time I spend with the new seeing eye dog...
 

Queequeg

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

This is why it is good to have many reloading manuals! You'll find some that agree with Hodgdon's loads here and some that exceed them. The Hornady manual is also rather conservative by comparison. But Lyman, Lee, McPhereson, Speer, Barnes, Handloader magazine and other sources contribute to easing some of the anxiety faced in such situations.

Keep in mind that Hodgdon lists 47 grains of Varget under a Sierra 155 HPBT bullet as their maximum. May not work for you but it also just might!
 

Unknown

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Re: Need recipe suggestions for 308/155 palma, varget

So far 44.6 grain yields 2702 feet per second, and .82 inch group at 200 yards. Groups began getting smaller as I approached that load, and grew as I went over it. 2702 FPS is plenty for the shooting I will be doing, and the exbal program shows that with my MET/ENV variables, the load doesn't go transonic until over 1300 yards...that is all I need. The neat thing is even my Stock DPMS LR308 likes the same load as my Sako TRG22, it is only about .25 inch less accurate at 200 yards out of the DPMS rifle.