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Range Report with Sierra 180 gr SPT

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britrifles View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 26 2019 at 5:38am
I tested a new load yesterday in my LB No. 4 Mk 1*/3.  200 yards prone slow fire, NRA SR Target.  Temp was 43 deg F.  

Load Details:

Case: DI ‘43
Primer: WLR
Powder:  38.5 gr. Varget (max load in Sierra 5th ed.)
Bullet:  Sierra 180 gr SPT (flat base soft point, #2310)
COAL:  3.070 in.

Results were poor.  I shot two 10 shot groups with the same result, vertical stringing.  This rifle has never shown this behavior with any load.  I suspect the powder charge is insufficient, even though it is max charge at 2300 fps in the Sierra manual for this bullet.  The Hodgdon website gives 41.0 gr for max at 2440 fps for the 180 gr. SIE SP.   Here an example of how published data varies significantly.  

My Match load is 40.0 gr. Varget under the 174 gr Sierra MatchKing.  

Even if I tweak the powder charge, I doubt I will gain accuracy over the 174 gr SMK with this bullet.  



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2019 at 8:34am
I've found the same thing with Varget. Low Velocities even at maximum charge.
When it came out it was everybody's darling but I never got on with it in .303.
Same with H335.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2019 at 10:23am
Shamu, 

I have had very good results with 40.0 grains of Varget with the 174 gr SMK in the .303.   Published data varies widely, and most of it is well under Hodgdons website recommended loads. 

For example, the Sierra 5th Ed manual gives a max load of 38.5 gr Varget with the Sierra 174 gr MatchKing and 180 gr SPT at 2300 fps. Hodgdon gives a starting load of 38.0 and max of 42.0 with a 174 gr BTHP at 2509 fps, 43,800 CUP.  

I suspect Varget is sensitive to case fill, particularly at cooler temperatures.  I’m finding this same issue with the .30-06.

To confirm my results were not an issue with the rifle or shooter, I shot this group Prone Rapid Fire right after my 180 gr tests.  This load is 40.0 gr. Varget under Hornady 174 gr Match bullet. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2019 at 12:13pm
I've been using Hornady 174 BTHP GRAF with 40.0 grains of Norma 202 and magnum rifle primers.  Cases are of no importance here. Ballistics are parallel to that of the MkVII rounds. I did switch from the Hornady  ELD 168 to the Sierra TMK 168 for the 7.62mm still using 40.0grns of the Norma 202. Groups tightened up  a smidge with that change up. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2019 at 2:41pm
The data is so varied with Varget, as are the MAX loads!
My actual tests gave me:
39.2 Gr = 2361 W/ 150 Gr Hornady
39.4 Gr = 2363 W/ 150 Gr Hornady
39.6 Gr = 2385 W/ 150 Gr Hornady
Jumping up to a different manuals suggestions:
41.4 Gr =  2430 W/ 150 Gr Hornady
This is close to the max for that manual but over  from the other. No pressure signs found though.

If I was a bit more of a wild man I'd go up in 1/10 gr looking for pressure signs, but I'm not.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2019 at 5:01pm
I’m quite sure 40.0 gr Varget with 174 gr. Match bullet is quite safe.  Recoil and velocity is less than the Mk 7 service bullet. This is 2 grains below max published by the powder maker (Hodgdon).  I’ve probably shot over 1000 rounds with this load now in my No. 4 .303.  

40.0 gr. Varget also works very well in my 7.62 No. 4 with a 168 gr. match bullet.  Outstanding accuracy out to at least 600 yards.  
Varget does not seem to perform well with reduced charges, particularly in cooler weather.  For the .303, 40.0 grains is about minimum for an accuracy load with the 174 gr. bullet.  

I’ve been so impressed with this load that Ive already burned thru three 8 lb containers using it in .303, 7.62 and .30-06.  




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