Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Bitmap left a bunch of good reloading information on my Sunday post. For anyone interested in reloading you should check it out. I agree with what Bitmap is saying, but my problem is that the 7.62x51mm round is not the same as a .308 Winchester. The specs call for a 12,000 difference in pressure. So I could shoot 7.62x51mm out of my bolt action, but not the other way around.

Now I do use the same components. A Large rifle primer, H4895 powder and a 168grain HPBT. I use 39 grains of powder for the 7.62x51mm and 40.2 grains for the .308 Winchester. This gives me about 2 MOA from the M1A, and 3/4 MOA from the Remington 700. If I use 7.62x51mm in my Remington, I shoot about 3 MOA.

I've found that if I load the rounds long, I can squeak another 1/4 MOA of of my Remington 700, but the rounds will not load into the internal magazine. So my hunting ammo is 2.80 COAL, where my bench rounds are 2.92 COAL. I could easily seat the bullets deeper if the poop hit the fan, so that's not an issue.

Yesterday, I put 7 rounds into 3/4" at 100 yards. Five of them were in 1/4" or so. Now that's zombie hunting! If I could get a bit more consistent, I could get to the 1/2" MOA I am seeking for egg shoots.

I don't mind having different loads for each rifle. Each weapon has it's own purpose, and these don't overlap with each other. The M1A is a battle rifle, and 2 MOA is plenty. The Remington 700 is to put food on the table and to pull headshots on zombies out to 600 yards. The shotgun is for food on the table and close-quarters assault. If I ever have to kick in doors, that's what I'll use. The Sig220 is for personal protection. The .22's are for practice, small game and varmit shooting.

Thankfully, I have all the bases covered. I would love to buy a few more weapons, but considering my financial situation, I can easily make due with what I have.

Bitmap, thanks for the information! I've never used AA powders. I use H4895 for the rifles, Unique and Blue Dot for pistol, and Clays for the shotgun. I weigh my bullets for the rifle and use the odd ones for the M1A. Only those that weigh exactly 168.0 grains are used for the Remington 700. I use the Nosler Balistic Tip and Combined Technologies for hunting, and Nosler Competition HPBT for the bench shooting and the M1A rounds. For primers I prefer use CCI large rifle because they do not slam-fire like the others in the M1A. I use the bench rest version for the Remington 700. The bench rest primers are about 50% more expensive, but I have 2000 of them already :p

I need to shop around and do some research on 168 grain bullets. I'm concerned the thin-skinned 168 grain Nosler competition HPBT won't be effective enough at stopping zombies. I could use 168 grain ballistic tips, but they are about 5 times as expensive. I'd like to run some tests to see the differences, maybe in the spring I can.


theotherryan said...

An M1a and a good bolt .308 like the Rem 700 series is a very desirable combination. On I intend to pick up in the not that distant future. Could have gotten it already but I sort of went different ways, some wise and some less wise. I will probably keep buying guns as finances allow until I have a dozen of everything, TEOTWAWKI which I imagine would really slow gun buying or I die.

Bitmap said...

.308 and 7.62x51 aren't the same? Here is something you might want to look at:


If Walt Kuleck and and Clint McKee say it's ok, I'm not going to argue. Who is Walt? The author of the following books:
The M14 Complete Assembly Guide
The M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide
The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide
The AR-15 Complete Owner's Guide

Who is Clint McKee? He runs Fulton Armory.

From Walt in the thread:

You are comparing apples and kumquats. SAAMI specs are in Piezo-measured psi, military, in crusher-measured CUP (Copper Units of Pressure). There is no meaningful nor practical way to correlate the two measurement systems.

The difference in cartridges, whether dimension or performance, are negligible, if any. The only consideration is whether your rifle has a "long" military chamber, e.g., the USGI military chamber. Unless you have one of the 50 or so M14s in private hands, or one of the few thousand 7.62-MM "Navy" Garands, you'll not see a USGI 7.62-MM military chamber in a US-made rifle.

Check the headspace; if it falls within .308 Winchester specifications, you're good to go. M1As, Fulton ARmory M14s and Titan UPRs, other AR-type .308s are all chambered for .308 Winchester dimensions.

I have two "7.62-MM" marked rifles. One, an Ishapore 2A, has a "long" military chamber (the bolt closes on .308 NO-GO, though not on FIELD). I will use only cartridges with military brass in order to stand the gaff. My Sterling-converted 7.62-MM No 4 Mk 1*, on the other hand, is .308-Winchester headspaced.

Note that we have never found a 7.62-MM (that's the US Army way of saying "7.62x51mm 'NATO'") cartridge that did not fall within .308 Winchester SAAMI dimensions, so the .308 chambers found in Fulton Armory rifles and M1As and the like accept 7.62-MM cartridges just fine.

One of my correspondents has written a marvelous FAQ article which will be up on the Fulton Armory FAQ Page in due course.

M1s can have some issues with the pressure curve of the ammunition and when I load .30-06 I use loads intended for the M1. The Accurate Arms loading manual has a section for Service Rifle and High Power loads. You can also get adjustable gas cylinders for the M1 and set them for commercial ammo. The M1A is self adjusting and works fine with commercial ammo. The FAL is adjustable and I've never heard of anyone having trouble with one when it was adjusted properly.

One thing I've found is that 7.62x51 brass from rounds fired in belt-fed guns are way oversized and can be difficult to resize. When my dad finds those he runs them through a regular .308 size die first then through a .308 small base die. I haven't had to do that but I have found some case lubes work better than others i.e. with some lubes you can run those oversize cases through a SB die and you can't with other lubes. I've loaded brass fired in FALs, M1As and HK-91s and none were nearly as oversized as the mil surplus stuff from beltfeds.

As far as accuracy goes it sounds like your loads shoot very well. However, I worry less about what a rifle will do from the bench and more about what I can do in the field. To approximately quote Jeff Cooper (I searched but couldn't find the quote. It came from the old Gunsite Gossip):

A marksman can shoot 1MOA groups from a benchrest with no time limit.

An expert marksman can hit a reasonable sized target within the range limit of his equipment from field positions against the clock.

A master marksman can shoot up to his rifle.

I'm nowhere close to a master marksmen by that definition.

Keep loading, keep practicing, keep training.

ourhappyhomestead said...

I'm right there with you on the setups, although I haven't been able to afford a 700 yet... got the good ole CZ elk rifle in 30-06 that will take a zombie at 600 yards, so I decided to move with the M1A first... sooner or later I'll move my long range over to .308 as well... 850 for close range/small game, some .45 for getting backed into a corner and the .22 for honest to goodness survival. Once I had a "reasonable" ammount of .308 stocked up along with reloading components (what's reasonable to one man might be homicidialy psycho to another) I've been putting most of my leftover money into hoarding .22 ammo... several guns, cheap to shoot and in all honesty, if I've got to survive on my ammo for an extended period (like years) from a food perspective there's nothing I'd rather have than 10K rounds of .22