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.308 loads, 155 vs 168

This is a discussion on .308 loads, 155 vs 168 within the Accuracy forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I need some ideas. Up to this point, I have loaded 155 palma bullets as my go to accuracy load, with 155 a-maxes as an ...


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View Poll Results: What bullets?
150 HPBT SMK 7 6.36%
155 HPBT SMK 13 11.82%
155 HPBT SMK Palma (new) 8 7.27%
168 HPBT SMK 81 73.64%
175 HPBT SMK 15 13.64%
Moly 5 4.55%
No Moly 33 30.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 110. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 31st, 2012, 09:38 PM   #1
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.308 loads, 155 vs 168

I need some ideas. Up to this point, I have loaded 155 palma bullets as my go to accuracy load, with 155 a-maxes as an "almost as good" substitute load. BL-C2 has been my go-to powder so far because I can load every rifle round I load with the same powder. I settled on the 155s because that was what shot best out of my first .308, a FAL, and I have never revisited that choice. Now I have this monstrous gift certificate from Sierra to use and I am wondering if I shouldn't reconsider my bullet choice, at least.. I am likely going to be able to buy a lifetime supply of bullets, so I need to be a bit more sure than I am.

I also have more rifles to feed now... In addition to my FAL -which truth to be told has always been a 4 minute gun with milsurp, 3 minute with handloads, I now have a couple AR pattern .308's [16" bushmaster and 20" DPMS] and a 18" M1A, all of which are more accurite than the FAL. It seems everyone else on the net likes 168's better than 155's, especially for the M1A. Another consideration is I also still have some SA milsurp that I shoot at closer ranges [<100y] and on hoser 3 gun stages, so being able to load to a similar trajectory and POI is a distinct advantage of the 155's.

Right now 90% of my shooting is under 200y, although sometimes at very small targets, with a very few stages out to 4-600 yards. I may shoot the occasional hi-power match to "practice" my long range shooting, but even then, the longest range within reasonable driving distance is 600y and most of the matches near me are held at 200y. I also do 90% of my shooting with irons. Occasionally I will toss a red dot on for matches without long rifle shots, but I only own 1 rifle that could take a magnified scope easily.. and at worst that would be a 1-4 or 1-6.

So, given all of this, and with the caviat that of course I would work up a load and test in each gun, should I stick with my 155's or venture into the unknown world of 168's?

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Old July 31st, 2012, 10:23 PM   #2
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VERY INTERESTED IN THIS THREAD! I just bought my M21 and I have 200rds of 168 Federal SMK, and 200rds of 155 Lapua which will be handloaded. I have a Nightforce 3.5x15 OR a Mk4 4.5x14 which im deciding to mount. So I would like to know as well what the general consensus is in bullet.

Needless to say im SUBSCRIBED!

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Old August 1st, 2012, 04:46 PM   #3
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If it ain't broke........! With an M21 I'd start with 168's but in a non match grade barrel the 155 Palma's should do just fine.

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Old August 1st, 2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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I'd stick with the 155gr bullet. I've never used the Palma so I can't say how it performs in my rifles but I've always gotten very good groups with my Amax bullets.

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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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155 is a decent performer at stuff less than 200yds but if the wind picks up at all you are going to wish you had some more weight behind the bullet. I have never met a .308 that couldn't stack 168s on top of each other. What twist rates, velocities are you running?

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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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I use Nosler 155 and 168 CCs together with 175 SMKs. My preference is the 155 gr projectiles. Less recoil and they group outstanding. My best loads are with 155s. I use Nosler and will order Nosler 175 CCs when I run out of Sierras. For the gas gun I doubt it matters much. Certainly doesn't in my experiences. YMMV.

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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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My standard shoots the heavier 168 and 175 gr bullets best. I opt for 168s. It shoots lighter bullets well too, just not quite as well as the heavier. Truth be known, you will need to try different bullet weights in your rifle to find what's best. What works for mine, may not work for yours.

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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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As the original poster said,
Quote:
Right now 90% of my shooting is under 200y
therefore I feel that the 155s will do the job most of the time without the recoil and slightly cheaper.


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Old August 1st, 2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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I will tell you from your poll, my bullets are destructive to a barrel. They will burnish in moly that's almost impossible to remove, even with a steel pick. It is especially bad in the throat area. Do not use moly bullets. You've been warned........
Most barrel manufacturers will void any warranties on their barrels if they find signs of moly coated bullets being shot through them.

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Old August 1st, 2012, 07:59 PM   #10
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My M1A will shoot a ragged hole with 168s. It's about 3MOA with 155s.

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Old August 1st, 2012, 08:14 PM   #11
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You need to buy a couple of boxes of each and see what the rifles prefer. Then buy the majority of your bullets in that weight. If time is of the essence, buy the 168s

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Old August 1st, 2012, 10:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axclr8 View Post
I need some ideas. Up to this point, I have loaded 155 palma bullets as my go to accuracy load, with 155 a-maxes as an "almost as good" substitute load. BL-C2 has been my go-to powder so far because I can load every rifle round I load with the same powder. I settled on the 155s because that was what shot best out of my first .308, a FAL, and I have never revisited that choice. Now I have this monstrous gift certificate from Sierra to use and I am wondering if I shouldn't reconsider my bullet choice, at least.. I am likely going to be able to buy a lifetime supply of bullets, so I need to be a bit more sure than I am.

I also have more rifles to feed now... In addition to my FAL -which truth to be told has always been a 4 minute gun with milsurp, 3 minute with handloads, I now have a couple AR pattern .308's [16" bushmaster and 20" DPMS] and a 18" M1A, all of which are more accurite than the FAL. It seems everyone else on the net likes 168's better than 155's, especially for the M1A. Another consideration is I also still have some SA milsurp that I shoot at closer ranges [<100y] and on hoser 3 gun stages, so being able to load to a similar trajectory and POI is a distinct advantage of the 155's.

Right now 90% of my shooting is under 200y, although sometimes at very small targets, with a very few stages out to 4-600 yards. I may shoot the occasional hi-power match to "practice" my long range shooting, but even then, the longest range within reasonable driving distance is 600y and most of the matches near me are held at 200y. I also do 90% of my shooting with irons. Occasionally I will toss a red dot on for matches without long rifle shots, but I only own 1 rifle that could take a magnified scope easily.. and at worst that would be a 1-4 or 1-6.

So, given all of this, and with the caviat that of course I would work up a load and test in each gun, should I stick with my 155's or venture into the unknown world of 168's?


Well this is hard too answer there is no magic one size fits all bullet, you didn't mention the avg. weather conditions for your area durring your shooting, but you did mentioned a few Matches what kind are you shooting the most?

My guess is that your a 3gun Action guy? 90% of your shooting is under 200yds with irons but you mention the use on occasion of a red dot. Does that fit?

If your the 3gun type, where its run and gun fast and furious, pumping them down range speed and accuracy count most, but so does recoil managment. a 155 SMK/Palma with a M/V of 2800fps recoils nearly as much as a 168 SMK at 2600/2640fps. I don't feel these bullet weights are your best bet for this style of fun.

Enter the 135 SMK its great inside 300yds plenty accurate, very zippy and the recoil is on the same level as the Ar/15 or less. A perfict fit for this style of shooting game when the double tap or mulitiple shots won't wreck/spoil your aim when the clock is running.

If your shooting the NM course, and the majority of them are reduced Matches(100-200yds) the 135 SMK is still tuff too beat. I just can't see using the 155/168 for short work, the truth being is that it would be a real waist of a good bullet, they need more distance too stretch there legs and for you too take advantage of there higher B.C..

If your only shooting the full distance out too 600yds 2 maybe 3 times a year? get 3 or 4 boxes of the 155/168 or 175's, get your load development done and save the rest for when you actualy shooting out too 600yds. Holding them in reserve isn't going to make them go bad or spoil. I've never used Moly its always seemed like it was to much trouble/mess and the added expence, to many rumors too keep track of so my ammo gets loaded naked.

Opinions are like belly buttons, most people have one, for what its worth my .02


Last edited by Phil McGrath; August 1st, 2012 at 11:44 PM.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 10:42 PM   #13
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168's were my standard for years. Every gun I have likes them. I've been playing with the 155s lately and they do give good results, at least in the guns I've tried them in. They probably show better long range potential than the 168s if you push them fast enough (by long range, I mean 600+).

Okay, I'll admit my ignorance. What's the difference between the 155 and the 155 Palma?

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Old August 1st, 2012, 11:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexIndian View Post
168's were my standard for years. Every gun I have likes them. I've been playing with the 155s lately and they do give good results, at least in the guns I've tried them in. They probably show better long range potential than the 168s if you push them fast enough (by long range, I mean 600+).

Okay, I'll admit my ignorance. What's the difference between the 155 and the 155 Palma?

155 SMK(2155) is the std HPBT the 155.? Palma(2156) has a differnt bearing lenth and spikier/sharper nose, so the BC is higher. Sorry I could be more help I don't shoot either one. For me its 125/135/168 or 175, and when my suply of 125 runs out, I will just use the 135/168 or 175's

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Old August 2nd, 2012, 11:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axclr8 View Post
So, given all of this, and with the caviat that of course I would work up a load and test in each gun, should I stick with my 155's or venture into the unknown world of 168's?
For the M14 and extended range targets, the 180gr. is the best choice. You will have people tell you that they will bend your op rod, but it is an old wives tale. If your operating rod spring is the proper length and strength, according to G.I. specifications, and you use the proper powder, this bullet will outshoot any of the others on your poll list. Only custom reloads are recommended. Do not buy factory produced ammunition in this bullet weight to shoot in your M14. Those loads are designed for bolt guns in .308 and do not allow for the port pressure and ogive radius/bullet length restrictions on the M14. A meplat trimmer should be utilized before loading any projectile of this weight or length to preclude any chamber pressure spikes. Due diligence should be used in researching loading manuals and burn/pressure rates before proceeding with my recommendations.

There has been much work done on the 155's lately. For your type shooting, I would suggest sticking with load developement for that weight, for all distances listed in your post. 700yds. and beyond, I would go with the 180gr.

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