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Old May 19th, 2020, 10:24 PM #1
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Maximum powder charge...

Loading for a 308...using both 168 & 175 grain SMK bullets. I understand published loads will be conservative for the sake of safety and liability. I understand that you work up slowly...watching for pressure signs.

Just curious...how many grains above published maximums have you gone before getting into trouble?
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Old May 19th, 2020, 10:55 PM #2
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You shouldn't shoot above published maximums. To do so without a pressure test fixture is like being a blind test pilot. You might not think too much about hurting yourself but how about the guy at the bench next to you?
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Old May 19th, 2020, 11:36 PM #3
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This kind of question is why so many guys recommend multiple books. Reference as many sources as possible. Doesn’t answer your question but it has given me a few loads that I didn’t realize were possible with only one manual.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 06:18 AM #4
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Have to understand the motivation of why push the limit.

You a Competition shooter looking to gain that edge? Or trying to flatten the 308 until it keep up with your buddy's 300WM?


***EDIT--I'm skipping over the actual work it takes to get to the point of the story***

The reason I say all this is because in a short season I have burned through 5x reloads of that brass, and that 8# of powder was gone. and Starting over with all new components.

Years ago down at Quantico I told Ed Shell what I was doing to make it work.

He shook his head and said WHY?

He was right. It wasn't necessary, it was a lot of work to keep up and quite frankly, wasn't very enjoyable.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:15 AM #5
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When Berger’s reloading manual calls for a max load of 41.3 grains of H4895 for a 168 grain bullet in a 308 rifle but Sierra’s manual has a max load of 43.4 for the same weight bullet and powder, I am inclined to wonder why.

I am Looking for accuracy...plain and simple. I am using Scott Satterlee’s load development method which uses a range of Powder weights to try to find an accuracy node. A faster load will maintain its accuracy for a longer distance. Hence the question...
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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:24 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boisepaw View Post
When Berger’s reloading manual calls for a max load of 41.3 grains of H4895 for a 168 grain bullet in a 308 rifle but Sierra’s manual has a max load of 43.4 for the same weight bullet and powder, I am inclined to wonder why.

I am Looking for accuracy...plain and simple. I am using Scott Satterlee’s load development method which uses a range of Powder weights to try to find an accuracy node. A faster load will maintain its accuracy for a longer distance. Hence the question...
The reason why you have different max loads for different powder manufacturers is because they use different firearms to test with. No 2 guns are the same. I can tell you from experience that max loads are not as conservative as people think. My son a I both bought 2 new savage rifles and I loaded up a ladder test for both guns, His gun showed pressures signs at nowhere near max published loads mine went well over with no signs. To be safe start low and work your way up. It's not fun when primers start blowing out and bolts start sticking or bass gets stuck in your chamber from over pressure. Also Chronographs are a great tool also.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 08:21 AM #7
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The OCW method actually has you load above max, but each increment is very small, and you check for pressure signs after EACH round fired.

The concept being that if one increment has no pressure signs, the next increment will not be dangerous. It any increment shows pressure signs, you DO NOT FIRE THAT INCREMENT AGAIN.

Max in the book is a guide. It is NOT the safe maximum for YOUR rifle. Your chamber may be such that the max for that rifle is lower than the book. Or you may be able to go higher.

Also, ANY change in components can change that maximum. A change in case brand or primer can make the difference. Even if you change lots of power, if you running at or near max, you should drop back and work back up.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 09:34 AM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRick View Post
The reason why you have different max loads for different powder manufacturers is because they use different firearms to test with. No 2 guns are the same. I can tell you from experience that max loads are not as conservative as people think. My son a I both bought 2 new savage rifles and I loaded up a ladder test for both guns, His gun showed pressures signs at nowhere near max published loads mine went well over with no signs. To be safe start low and work your way up. It's not fun when primers start blowing out and bolts start sticking or bass gets stuck in your chamber from over pressure. Also Chronographs are a great tool also.
Yep! In addition, bullets of the same weight, but of differing configurations, will have amongst other things, different bearing surfaces. They can thus have different pressure specs and performance characteristics.

Lots of entirely valid points in this thread. From not being a "blind test pilot" as John so aptly states, to the utility of multiple manuals, to the possible effects of changes in components, to changes in temperature and differences in rifles, to not trying to make a 300 Win. Mag. out of a .308 Win., to proper OCW incremental charge methodology.......ALL valid points by their respective writers!

PLEASE folks, take the "all about the lawyers" crap with a huge dose of salt. With such simplistic drivel, the tendency becomes a mindset amongst some to want to completely dismiss the data as being complete garbage. Garbage to be ignored. Drives me nuts when some jamoke decides they know more than Sierra and Hodgdon and any and all of the other industry accepted publishers combined. Joe's Bar and Grill isn't a ballistics test lab.

Is the published data absolute in every instance, and all of the time for every gun and load combination? No. But it most assuredly isn't garbage to be ignored.
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Old May 21st, 2020, 01:47 PM #9
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All good comments. Too many variables not to work up loads. Different lots of powder, Data manuals not updated recently, varying case capacities, and rifling twist rate all play into it in addition to those mentioned above. I've never been one to use a hornady manual for Sierra bullets but I have compared Sierra data with the powder manufacturer data when using Sierra bullets. Safety, safety, safety
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Old May 21st, 2020, 02:47 PM #10
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I have manuals from back in 1980 and newer. I have noticed as new manuals come out the MAX load goes down. Is this Difference in powder, Difference in testing methods or Lawyers?
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