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Alright reloaders, I'm in a pickle. I have a Sako A7 in .308 winchester and with my Barnes TTSX bullets and Reloader 15 powder,

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  • Alright reloaders, I'm in a pickle. I have a Sako A7 in .308 winchester and with my Barnes TTSX bullets and Reloader 15 powder,

    Alright reloaders, I'm in a pickle. I have a Sako A7 in .308 winchester and with my Barnes TTSX bullets and Reloader 15 powder, I can't get better than about a 1.25 inch group. I live in a totally lead free zone, so i need to stick with copper. What do you guys think of the Nosler E-Tips as a substitute? Has anyone actually used them for hunting? Or should I switch to different powder? I've heard good things from Hodgdon Varget....What do you think will work best for me? Please help! Deer season starts in 7 days!

  • #2
    Try varying your powder charge or primer. Your culprit may be seating distance off the rifling. If you only have 7 days, go buy a box of premium ammo and zero in and go hunting. Inch and a half is not bad anyway for a deer rifle.

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    • #3
      In all honesty I wouldn't bother trying to get a better group until after the hunt. 1.25" @100 is a 2.5" group at 200 and 3.75-4" group at 300. If your a good enough shot, the rifle will work just fine.

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      • #4
        You will be fine. A couple things to check: of course the scope mount rings. Stock screws, etc.
        Then, if this is a load that has been shooting better look at the bore for copper fouling. The other thing is determine if your game shot should be from a fouled barrel or a clean barrel.
        Lastly, have you been weighing your charges of Re-15? I have had great success with that powder although not tried it for .308. My .308 works best with W 748.
        I have not used E-tips although I do use just about every other Nosler bullet.
        Good luck.

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        • #5
          Yeah! What they all said!

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          • #6
            deer season starts in 7 days where you live? lucky! where do you live?

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            • #7
              Panfry, first off don't panic. A 1.25" group won't get you many blue ribbons in a benchrest competition nowadays but it is fine for deer hunting. It means that your bullet may wander as much 5/8" from your point of aim on average at 100 yards. That is plenty accurate to deck a deer out to 300 yards or so. It is also more accurate than the average human’s ability to aim under duress in hunting conditions. RL15 should be fine for you (especially for 165-180g bullets), however my favorite powder for accuracy in the .308 is Varget. I would not hesitate to use RL15 for hunting though as it is quite accurate and usually generates a little more velocity that other accurate powders. 4064 is another top accuracy powder for the .308. For good .308 loading info, see 6mmbr dot com and click on “.308 Win Info Page”.

              Barnes bullets are great for accuracy so I wouldn't worry about changing bullets. If you have been shooting copper bullets for a while, you may have pretty severe copper fouling in your barrel and I suggest cleaning it with Barnes CR-10 before accuracy testing. Excessive copper will destroy your accuracy. You should clean it every 100 shots or so with this solvent. It is quick and easy to use and does a wonderful job removing copper with the least of effort.

              It is common for any bullet to group large or small based on the specific powder charge and seating depth you use. There is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to accuracy. You have to find the one best load for your specific rifle. I suspect that your A7 will shoot much better than that once you develop a load for it. In a recent Barnes 175g LRX load development for my 30-06, groups ranged from 3+ inches to .3 inches as I stepped across loads with 4 grains of powder difference.

              To find your best load follow these steps:

              1. Load three cases at each powder weight: Max charge -4 grains, max - 3g, max - 2g, max - 1g, max charge. Load them to the length suggested in your reloading manual. If none is shown, load them .050” short of touching your lands or .2” short of your magazine length, whichever seems to look best. Be certain that your overall length does not exceed your magazine length for hunting. It can for targets and varmints where you can load them one at a time but not for hunting. Barnes bullets like to be close to the rifling but they can easily get too long to fit in your magazine.

              2. Shoot each specific load carefully, 3 at a time, off an extremely solid rest (sandbags work great) at 100 yards. Start with the lightest loads and work your way up watching carefully for signs of excessive pressure (flattened primers, tough extraction). Make special effort to squeeze the trigger smoothly so that your trigger squeeze won’t influence results. Make sure you record which group is which and measure them, selecting the best group for the next step. Let your barrel cool a few minutes after each group and wait at least a minute or two between shots.

              3. Do this step only if necessary. You should have good enough accuracy by this point to go deer hunting and can wait until deer season is over to continue if you prefer. In this step, you take the most accurate charge and vary bullet seating depth to improve accuracy further. Again load three cases for each bullet seating depth you will test. Push the bullet into the case .050” more and .100” more. Then make two sets with the bullet seated less than in your best group. Let the bullet stick out of the case .050” more and .100” more. Make sure that the longer seating still fits in your magazine and in your chamber OK. You can vary seating depth more or less to your liking. Generally, you can expect accuracy to improve as you extend the bullet closer to the lands. Pressure and bullet speed will also increase as you move toward the lands so you have to step up carefully watching for signs of excess pressure. The bullet may hit the maximum length for your magazine before hitting the lands of your rifle.

              4. Shoot these groups again and take the best group. Start with the shorter cartridges firs and work your way up watching pressure. That will be your best seating depth for that bullet. Normally, this load will be fine for hunting and you need go no further unless you are doing competitive shooting or very long range varmint shooting.

              5. Next make your last set of test loads. In this one you need to vary the powder charge by .2 grains and .4 grains more and less than your most accurate load. This tunes you in to the most harmonic load for your rifle and makes slight adjustments to compensate for pressure changes brought on by changing the bullet seating depth.

              6. Next, to potentially get even more accuracy, cycle through these steps with different powder. Try Varget (especially for the 130 and 150g bullets) for sure and any other powder the guys here recommend. Each rifle is different and no one powder does it all.

              This is what I go through for each load I shoot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see your Sako grouping under 1” if you do this but don’t feel bad about a one inch group. That is very good for hunting purposes, especially with over-the-counter barrels. It just so happens that the .308 Win is a VERY accurate cartridge and the Sako A7 is often a very accurate rifle so taking the time to get your best load will make your shooting even more enjoyable. Best of luck! I hope this helps.

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              • #8
                My powder of choice for the .308 over the years has always been WW748. I have had many 1/2 inch 3 shot groups at 100 using 748..I don't even look at any other powder when I start loading for the .308.

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                • #9
                  My powder of choice for the .308 over the years has always been WW748. I have had many 1/2 inch 3 shot groups at 100 using 748..I don't even look at any other powder when I start loading for the .308.

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                  • #10
                    I loaded my 308 with the TTSX using Varget and it shoots one raged hole at a 100 yrds

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                    • #11
                      20 years ago, you would have had to buy a custom rifle to do much better than that. Go hunting and work on dialing in the load after the hunt. I don't know many guys who shoot 1 moa under hunting conditions, anyway.

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                      • #12
                        Greenhead, the load in question is a 130 gr Barnes TTSX. I have done that under hunting conditions with my go to rifle a 7mm WBY mag.

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                        • #13
                          I recently shot a 3" group standing, offhand, no sling at 100 yards with the 7mm Roy. Dang sure Minute of Deer.

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                          • #14
                            3" offhand at 100 with the big 7 Roy guarantees pounds of deer.

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                            • #15
                              jimbo,
                              You know it!

                              Comment

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