View Full Version : .308 Loads for Various Purposes

Mark Anderson
02-13-2003, 10:38 AM

In the .480 Ruger thread you mentioned your .308 loads for small game. Can you please elaborate on the various loads you've settled on in this caliber for various purposes? By choice and financial necessity, I'm a one rifle guy (a Steyr Scout in .308), and would like to figure out the right mix of loads to put through it for the whole spectrum of needs.

I'm interested in whether anyone has found the Hornady 110 grain Vmax useful for small game and varmints (including the two legged variety). Does anyone remember the old Accelerater sabot rounds? Were these useful?

Given the various high quality bullets available, what do you feel the best loads are for game such as antelope, deer (both whitetails and mulies), elk, etc.?

I've seen you mention loading heavier than standard bullets (200 grain plus) into the .308 case, for bear defense. Can you expand on your recipies, reasoning and results?

Ideally, I'd like to follow the philosophy of one rifle, a small handful of well chosen multi-purpose loads, and lots of practice.

Thanks for the guidance.


02-13-2003, 07:20 PM

Let me congratulate you on having a terrific rifle and caliber for all-around use in the lower 48. And for your attitude in getting real good with that combo by shooting everything with it, from squirrels to elk; it'll do moose too, and a credible job defending yourself from bears.

You'll find an Essay on the site here entitled "Handloading of Big Game Rifles". I wrote it some time back and you'll find it covers the theory you're asking me about. I think you'll enjoy it. A lot of small game/big game/dangerous game loads are given there, and for a lot of calibers, including the mighty .308. Maggie, my webmistress, organized the data into it's format back when she was a fledgling, and so you'll find the data a bit "dense" and perhaps hard to follow, but when you figure out the "flow" you'll find it very useful.

Here are the three loads I've used to good effect in .308:

---Small game: 19gr. IMR 4198 powder; MAGNUM primer of any brand; 150gr. Hornady Spire Point bullet.

---Big game: 46gr. R15 powder; Fed. 210 primer; 165gr. Nosler Partition bullet. ( I use this load from antelope thru moose.)

---Dangerous game: 41gr. R15 powder; Rem. 9 1/2 primer; 220gr. Nosler Partition.

On the BG and DG loads start a couple of grains lower and work up if warranted. Again, a read of the Essay will be worth it to you.

Once you get these bedrock loads your plan to then PRACTICE is right on the mark. Beware the man with one gun! He just might really know how to use it!


02-15-2003, 06:21 PM

I went through a rifle course at Gunsite a few years ago and the Steyr Scouts did very well(obviously!). I shot an '03 springfield scout in 30.06 and used 147 gr. and 150gr. fmj military type .308 bullets for the course and still use them for practice. I've found either of these bullets to be inexpensive and give good accuracy for practive work. What ever you do for practice, GET OFF THE BENCH! I don't know what your experience is with your scout but to fully appreciate the concept you need to get out in the field or simulate the circumstances on the range.
I would also settle on a middle of the range practice load to prolong barrel life.
Th Steyr hammer forged barrels last longer than most but when you start having fun with this rifle you will put a lot more rounds through it than most other firearms.
Have fun, RD

02-16-2003, 07:41 AM
Steyr Scout rifle? A fine gun with tremendouse versatility. One gun guy you made and excellant choice.

I haver an M40 that I carry sometimes out and about a fine handgun for sure naturally pointing and accurate. Easy to carry too.

A good inexpensive small game bullet is the Laser Cast Gas Checked cast 165 grain RNFP True Shot Bullet loaded over 14.0 grains of Unique. This load is like shooting a 22 and is quite as well. If you want an inexpensive pratcice load that is easy on you and your gun barrle these bullets are an excellant choice just load em up with 21.5 grains of IMR SR-4759 for about 2000 FPS. Great load for off hand practice. Cast bullets do great job on small game in that they are hard cast and punch clean hole right thorugh and one can eat right up to that hole. I can assure you that a barrle will take literally 10 times the rounds of cast bullets with than jacketed with before throat and barrel wear will appear. The idea of one gun you want it to last and you will do everything with it including practicing.

Now for game bullets I do go the other direction. Nosler is the bullet by which all other bullets are measured in regards to terminal perfomance.

But do not overlook the Barnes-X bullet. I have done some extensive testing on these bullets and compared these and Noslers with regards to penetration and wound channel size and lenght the Barnes-X bullet wins.

For game deer thorugh moose I would shoot the 180 grain XLC BT you can get veloctiies to 2780 FPS with a 24" BBL. If you want flatter shooting smaller game bullet then I would go for the 140 grain XBT with velocities over 3000 FPS.

Ideally you want to load the bullets and powder and primers that will shoot the best out of your rifle. Of course that is half the fun load testing. Pratice practice practice and again do not overlook the gas checked cast bullets inexpensive accurate easy on your gun and you and very effective on game.