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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I loaded some Berger 168 grain "Hunting" VLD's with 36 to 44 grains of Varget to develop a good big game load for Alaska. The recommended minimum is 38, and the recommended maximum is 42, I am dyslexic (as well as impatient) and rushed my process. I got to the range about 1100, it was 31 degrees, 0 wind, pretty good day for shooting!

Shooting 5-shot groups, this is what I got:

1st Load: 36 grains, 2" groups @ 100 yards, completely disappointing!

2nd Load: 37.5 grains, 1.5" groups @ 100 yards, better, but I'm not happy.

3rd Load: 39.5 grains, three shots in one hole, two shots touching at the edge of the 3-shot hole, AWESOME (I thought)!

4th Load: 41 grains, three one-hole groups, two .5" groups (I stopped there, no need to push it)!

Load info:

Berger 168 Hunting VLD
41 Grains of Varget
CCI #200 primers
Federal Match Brass
COAL: 2.825

I am VERY pleased with this combination, I am intending to use M118LR surplus brass, so I will have to rework it. I guess I will start at 40 grains with the thicker brass. I also am going to chronograph the next iteration so that I will have a good data set. My buddy, while spotting, got more excited than I did, asking me to develop some .300 WM loads for him with these bullets.
 

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I've been working up a load for .308 using 168g NBT's. The hodgdon website and the Nosler reloading manual both list the max load at 46grains. The nosler manual even shows this using a magnum primer and federal brass. I know that the military brass will be thicker and hard to work with but you should be able to get a bunch more than 41grains of Varget. As a matter of fact the Hodgdon website lists 42grains as the starting point. I think you'll be disappointed when you run that load over a chronograph. I think the lowest load I ran over the chrono was 43.5grains of varget. It clocked in at around 2600fps out of a 24" barrel. The heaviest load I shot was 46.5grains as 46grains showed no pressure signs in my gun, it clocked in at 2770fps. I have one more load I'm going to test and that's a load with 46grains of varget with a magnum primer. I'll post the results to that in a new range report when I get it. I just think you can get a bunch more out of your current load.

The reason I've been working on the 168grain bullet is because I can't get it to outperform a 150grain bullet. I have a load that has 150grain nosler BT's clocking 3000fps and .5"groups and 100yards. For any 168grain bullet to outperform the 150grain load I already have, it'll have to go faster than 2800fps. I got over 2800fps on a warm day but can't duplicate it. Hopefully the magnum primer solves this problem for me. If not, i'll be back to the 150grain BT's and not worry about a heavier bullet because I'll know I'm getting the max out of my gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With the projectile length, it impedes on the capacity of the case. These are some LONG bullets. They also have less bearing surface while inside the barrel. With these characteristics in mind, I believe that they aren't as slow as they may seem. They might just be disappointing when I run them across the chronograph, we will see. I hope not though, they shoot very accurately.

This is the data that I was given from the manufacturer:

" 308 Winchester
Bullet Powder Start Load Approximate Start Velocity Max Load Approximate Max Velocity Fill Ratio
168 Grain VARGET 38.0 2428 42.5 2685 96.7%

Load data was generated using Quick Load a 24 inch barrel a COAL (cartridge over all length) of 2.810 inches and your COAL and velocity could be a little different. "

My COAL is indeed different, and my velocity is as well, I am shooting them out of a 20" barrel. I guess I will find out on my next range session. Thanks for the input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They're averaging 2455 fps, not too bad. I'm planning to work up to 44 grains in .5 increments and see if they can retain their accuracy.
 

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If the bullet is that long and hindering case capacity that bad I'd suggest going to the 155g bullets. You'll get a flatter shooting bullet with more energy. Just a suggestion that you may want to try. You might be pleasently surprised.
 

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Also, something to keep in mind when working up a load. Just because you went up .5grains and the accuracy comes apart doesn't mean that when you go up another .5grains the accuracy won't come back. It's been my experience that when you find an accurate load and go up in powder that the accuracy will come apart. Continuing to go up in powder the groups will start to come back together. You may find another sweet spot with better velocity and energy than you are currently getting.
 
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