300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

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300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hoot » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:04 pm

Despite Zooka's report that these did not fly as well as their 150 grain cousins, I decided to give them a try with my longer 2.40 COL and tight, smooth necks. The results imply that as you get them closer to the lands, they do better. Even the worst of the groups, with the exception of the 50gr load performed rather well. The SDs are a result of fastidious case preparation with emphasis upon consistent neck tension. I started high and went higher, to get the cases as close to full as possible. There is great worth in utilizing full cases with the short, squat calibers and Varget, with it's great temperature tolerance seems to be the perfect match. Interesting to note that there was no velocity increase between the powerful 49.5gr load and the 50.0 gr load, but the difference in how they flew speaks for itself. These were hot loads no doubt, but if you don't make a regular habit of loading them, I don't think case life will suffer. I was dismayed nonetheless, when I went to clean the gun after I was done, only to discover that the fit between the upper and lower had loosened up a small amount. This is where Bill Engvall steps in and says, "Here's your Sign". The aluminum hinge points are not cut out for this kind of stress over a long period of use. As you know, I use one lower across several uppers and after spending last summer developing that same number of rounds in 450 Bushmaster, I fear the thumpers are taking their toll on the RRA NM lower. Still, I felt compelled to show what a full barrel load of Varget can do. I know IMR 8208XBR is the darling of this caliber, but it does not come close to filling the cases before you run into excessive pressures. Though more tolerant than many spherical powders to extreme temperature variations, field reports of IMR 8208XBR are trickling in, suggesting it is not as tolerant as Hodgdon's Extreme powders. Almost the same performance as 8208 can be had with H4895 and it is more tolerant to temperature extremes by design, so It may be a better choice for lighter bullets. The last entry in the table was me finishing up work left over from last Saturday that got rained out. I did not report those results as despite being loaded to the lands, the Hornady 160 gr FTX-MX bullets just don't deliver the groups and the one included was no exception. That's too bad since I bought a box based solely upon their profile, which seemed ideal for this caliber. Just goes to show you that appearance isn't all it's cracked up to be. Oh well, you win some, your loose some.

Here's the results:

Image

Yielding the following groups:

Image

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And the ill-fated Hornady's

Image

If I were going hunting and wanted the most bang-for-buck, the 49.5 grain loads are hard to beat, but they do beat up on the gun despite the brass not looking any the worse for wear and tear. A better choice would be the 48 or 48.5gr loads. They don't give up much to the 49.5 load and were a lot easier on the gun. Loaded to 2.40 COL, they're a good choice, which leads to:

Today's Quandary:

In running these tests at 2.40 COL, I'm compensating for the chamber's unusually long throat. While they represent the pursuit of the highest performance standards possible, they are after all, outside the 9 dots in what the average Joe will encounter as most casual shooters don't modify their magazines and uppers to accommodate what it IMHO a poorly thought out chamber design. So, do you want me to do twice as much work and also shoot each of the experiments with loads seated at 2.26 COL? The effect that the longer jump to the lands is after all not always insurmountable, depending upon the bullet being used. Many of the modern, spire point bullets simply will not seat to 2.26 without the ogive being beneath the case mouth, which in my school of thought, is unacceptable. Other shooters can choose to abandon that tenet, but I do not like doing so. These range reports are multi-purposed. First they allow me to share with you the result of my recreational pleasure from shooting different combinations of bullets and powders, but it also is to provide reloading data as to what to expect when you combine bullet x with powder y in case you are considering loading some yourself. So far, it has been my observation that if you drop between a half and one grain of powder, you get similar velocities at 2.26 COL as 2.40 COL, but the resulting groups can vary from wildly different to not much difference at all. The latter seems to be holding true for flat base bullets with short ogives, where the jump to the lands is minimized. With long, slender ogives, the differences are much more pronounced. So, tell me what you'd rather see. Load results using my modded setup that show how good it can be and allow you to plan your attempt at duplicating them with a stock setup, load results of what you can achieve with a stock setup only, or the more costly both?

Respectfully submitted,

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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby stdriver » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:36 am

Hoot: I am very impressed with your results using speer hot cor bullets and varget powder. I purchased a box of the 150 grainers and a pound of varget to try and duplicate your results. I am not having good results using boattail bullets and any of the powders I have on hand. Most groups are ranging in the 1 1/4 to 1 1/2. while fine for hunting, I am trying to find the full capabilities of the upper I have. I will keep you posted on my results,

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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hookset » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:54 am

Hoot
I have found your postings extreemly valuable. Especially since you have taken the time to provide load tests for those choosing not to modify for longer OAL like myself. I am conserned over the Speer HC not being produced any longer and was considering experimenting with Remington CoreLoc on top of Varget after I get through the breakin period.

My 1st hunt with the rifle will be for Elk and was also considering nosler partition since I have had good results with their performance. I would prefer to use the 165, but due to overall length considerations and seating depth may need to go with 150's.

Have you tried either of these bullets, Remington coreloc or NP?

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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hoot » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:42 am

Hookset wrote:Hoot
I have found your postings extreemly valuable. Especially since you have taken the time to provide load tests for those choosing not to modify for longer OAL like myself. I am conserned over the Speer HC not being produced any longer and was considering experimenting with Remington CoreLoc on top of Varget after I get through the breakin period.

My 1st hunt with the rifle will be for Elk and was also considering nosler partition since I have had good results with their performance. I would prefer to use the 165, but due to overall length considerations and seating depth may need to go with 150's.

Have you tried either of these bullets, Remington coreloc or NP?

Hookset


Don't dismay over the Hot-Cor's plight. The DeepCurl is the same profile, including the flat base and should be a drop-in replacement. Some allege that the DeepCurl is the same bullet with a new name. So there's light at the end of the tunnel and I might mention, there are still plenty of NOS Hot-Cors out there on shelves. Just not my local shop's shelves. No affront to this rifle, but if I were going on a costly, possibly once in a lifetime Elk hunt, I'd be inclined to grab a known-good, hard to shoot poorly, bolt gun not a finicky (IMHO) black rifle out of the safe.

I have not shot the Nosler Partition, just the Ballistic Tip in this rifle. Perhaps someone else has. I shot Remington Core-Lokt bullets for many years before I got bit by the reloading bug, just not in this rifle. They're a great White Tail bullet, but then White Tails aren't that hard to kill.

I'd like to try that new Alliant AR-Comp powder. It's spec'd from something like -20 to +160 degrees and just a touch faster than Varget. Alas, none has found it's way to any shelves near me yet. It would bring the speed of RL15 to the table minus the temperature concerns, if it lives up to it's specification. IMHO, RL15 is just about the perfect fit for this caliber, burn wise.

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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hookset » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:07 am

Your point on the elk hunt is very valid. I have had the same debate in my head for a few months, and as each day passes without my AR arriving I wonder about my ability to get it up to the job before I leave. I have never spent much money on hunts, more so prefer to spend the time with good friend and family hunting whitetails, laughing and joking. So, you are right and this is most likely a once in a life time opportunity. So, we will see how the gun performs between the arrival date and Nov...

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Zooka » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:09 am

Hookset,
I have shot the 180 grain Nosler Partition Protected Point in a light load in my 300 WSSM,and it was most acceptable accuracy wise. I havent shot it at highest speeds yet though. It is specifically made with an ogive that allows it to be loaded shorter than the regular 180 grain partition. Here is a pic of it next to a regular Partition 180 grainer:
Image

If you use a modified magazine that gives you 2.30 COAL ability, that will I think allow the regular partition to be loaded; the Protected Point can go with standard magazines. I have modeled some QL loads that can get them up to around 3000 ft-lbs of energy, which is more than most 30-06 heavy loads. Here is a cutaway showing the PP loaded to 2.30, note how much is left outside before the ogive starts:
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And here is the regular partition 180 grainer loaded to 2.30:
Image

That being said, I'm also in your situation of an upcoming once in a lifetime, very expensive (to me) elk hunt. After thinking about it a long time and shooting and loading this black rifle, and after having my 458 SOCOM go "CLICK" on a bunch of very large wild hogs (had a bit of brass stuck in the firing pin hole, so the pin could stick through, just not enough to ignite the primer. This was after test firing earlier that day), well, I went out and bought a Tikka T3 Lite in 300 WSM. An important point, my WSSM weighs in at 12 lbs with scope. Tikka with scope is 7.7 lbs. Makes a BIG difference if humping it up and down Idaho mtns all day, or if taking a fast freehand shot.
I will eagerly use the WSSM on local deer, hogs and paper. But for this big hunt, I am going with light and dead reliable. Just my opinion. -Z
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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hookset » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:17 pm

Zooka
Thanks for the feedback. Not sure what I sill do! I really want to use the AR15 and will work hard to make it happen, but if it doesn't feel right then I will pull the trigger on the bolt!

I will check out the protected point for sure!
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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hoot » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:43 pm

If you're on a tighter budget and want more affordable trigger time to master them, you can roll you own starting with Speer 180gr Spire Points. All you need is an Xacto knife, piece of sand paper, a drill press and a scale. The tips cost you 3 grains, so you end up with 177gr and you can make them precisely 177.0 grains. A lot of factory bullets don't have their weights that closely controlled. I made these back around 1989 for my .300 Win Mag to allow me to load them closer to the lands. They were/are also very accurate.

demo2.jpg


Just unearthing another idea from my bottom drawer. :wink:

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Re: 300 OSSM Range Report: Spr 165HC + Varget

Postby Hoot » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:57 am

I've been busy the past few weeks and will be probably another couple as I've been commissioned to do some load workup on the 450 Bushmaster.

I shall return.

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