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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After getting screwed over by my local gun shop for over a year on an LE FDE 17s order, I was able to locate one at a decent price and it should be here later this week or Monday at the latest. So, in celebration I loaded up some rounds for load development.



I'm trying out the 165 Hornady SST (interchangeable with the Interbond), 168 Berger Hunting VLD, and 180 Nosler Partition. I'm leery of using the Berger for hunting, but if it is significantly more accurate I'll give it a shot. I need to get the Nosler to shoot and then choose between the other two to cover my intended usage. My bullet choices were made based upon the rifle's primary purpose of hunting and I live in Alaska. My goal is going to be to take all of the major big game species in Alaska with this rifle.

Since 7.62x51 is normally only loaded to 50k PSI, I settled on Varget as my powder because most of its maximum loads are either just below or right at that level. It also didn't hurt that I had 8 lbs of it sitting around. My brass is Lapua and the primers are Federal 210M seated well below flush.

I'm using Redding dies with my Rockchucker press and loaded all of them to 2.800" with a little variance due to tip abnormalities. Average runout for my loads, as measured with a Sinclair runout tool, was .002" +/- .0005". I put a light taper crimp on all of the rounds with a separate Redding crimp die.

I'll post back with velocities and accuracy as the testing occurs.
 

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Congrats on your soon to be SCAR and sounds like it has been a long time coming. Would be interested in hearing what you think of your loads after you have a chance to shoot them in the new SCAR. Thanks.
 

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'Grats on the in-bound Mk 17. I'm sure you'll love it.

Your SST is capped a little too far off the case mouth, don't you think? It should be somewhere on the cannelure. What length did you trim your case down to? And how many grains of Varget did you use for each load?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's all brand new Lapua brass and came in at 2.008", so no trimming before first firing.

Cannelures are only needed if you're going to roll crimp. I used a very light taper crimp and seated the bullet to the longer COAL. The difference between where I seated them and the middle of the cannelure is .060". I suspect with the profile of that bullet that it won't be touching the lands with the extra distance, but I could be wrong.

I'll post my loads after I've had a chance to pressure test them in my rifle. I don't want to post an overcharge and have someone less experienced at reloading try it in their rifle.
 

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It's all brand new Lapua brass and came in at 2.008", so no trimming before first firing.

Cannelures are only needed if you're going to roll crimp. I used a very light taper crimp and seated the bullet to the longer COAL. The difference between where I seated them and the middle of the cannelure is .060". I suspect with the profile of that bullet that it won't be touching the lands with the extra distance, but I could be wrong.

I'll post my loads after I've had a chance to pressure test them in my rifle. I don't want to post an overcharge and have someone less experienced at reloading try it in their rifle.
I've used Varget in the past and gotten good results, but the thing that puts me off of it - especially with .223/5.56 - is the bulk of the powder; it makes me worry about compressed loads.
 

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Good luck with your 17 . Let us know how much below max loads.....what gives the tighter groups with Varget.
Get some great trigger-time in.
 

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I've been having great accuracy from my 175 SMK (I know this is not the bullets you are using, but just want to share it) and 168 SMK loaded for 43.5 and 44 grains of Varget, LC brass, and #34 primers, with an OAL of 2.800".
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've been having great accuracy from my 175 SMK (I know this is not the bullets you are using, but just want to share it) and 168 SMK loaded for 43.5 and 44 grains of Varget, LC brass, and #34 primers, with an OAL of 2.800".
Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have almost the exact same load as you with the Hornady bullets except for the primers, and I have gotten good results.
Good to hear. I like them because they're relatively cheap. I'm hoping I can find a load that puts five in an inch.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Got a chance yesterday to get the scopes mounted and get them on paper on my little range behind my house. Today I went to the gun club range and shot my hand loads. It was a brisk 4* F with a light breeze. To try to keep temperature out of the equation I left the rounds in my running truck and only brought them out five at a time. I loaded and shot one at a time and kept the others in my pocket to keep them warm. The low temps were nice because I didn't have to wait long to shoot from a cold barrel again.

My loads consisted of five rounds each at .5 grain increments from min to max. I used Hodgdon's online data for the Partition and the SST and Berger's data for the VLD.

Surprisingly, all of the bullets had the same accuracy nodes at 42.0 to 42.5 grains and again at 44.0 grains. The Partition turned in five shot groups of 1.125" at 42.0 and 42.5 and 1.165" at 44.0. The SST had .990" at 42.0, 1.010" at 42.5, and 1.105" at 44.0. The VLD had .675" at 42.0, .845" at 42.5, and 1.005" at 44.0. The worst group went a little over 2.5" (with a flier), but most of the "bad" groups were around 1.75".

Tomorrow I'm going to shoot the 44.0 Partition, 42.0 SST, and 42.0 VLD over the chronograph to get some speeds. Then I'll load up 10 each of the ones I settle on and verify their accuracy again. The 44.0 Partition, if its accuracy holds, is an easy decision because its going to be my out to 200 yards load for moose and bear. The others I'm not sure on yet. The accuracy of the VLD was impressive, but I'm still leery of using it for hunting. I know it works but you can't take those shots that will require going through bone, and sometimes that might be the best or only shot (like in a follow up situation where the animal needs to be put down right now).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
While prepping my brass for reloading I noticed something about the brass from the VLD loads. Their length after re-sizing was greatly varied and went from not needing any trimming to needing a whole lot of trimming. I also noticed some of the brass was pretty difficult to re-size. Berger's load data is pretty conservative compared to other 165/168 load data, and now I believe it's rightly so. The good news is the 42.0 grain load wasn't in the brass that needed a lot of sizing or trimming so its still usable.

Both the Partition and SST loads were all pretty equal in amount of sizing and trimming needed. I'm really leaning towards trying the 44.0 grain load of the SST again to see its accuracy over 10 shots. That may end up being my go to load.

Unfortunately, after all of the brass prep I didn't get a chance to shoot any over the chronograph. Maybe tomorrow.
 

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You should look at the Nosler Custom Competition bullets; same jacket at the Berger and far cheaper. I'm still working on my load with 2000MR, LC Match Brass and 155 gr NCC. So far my best grouping has been 1.2" with 44.1 gr 2000MR and 2.72 COAL and a light LFC. I haven't run this past a chrony, but it is probably moving at about 2550 ft/s. I think I can do better, but will probably need to move to brass sorting (seeing +/- .5 gr on this brass), use of a better primer than Wolf LR and maybe NCC 168 gr. Any other changes than that will probably have marginal effects as my Dillion 550B seems to throw powder charges of 44.0-44.2 gr; much better than Varget so I hear, but still some additional load variation that I cannot eliminate.
 

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Their length after re-sizing was greatly varied and went from not needing any trimming to needing a whole lot of trimming. I also noticed some of the brass was pretty difficult to re-size. Berger's load data is pretty conservative compared to other 165/168 load data, and now I believe it's rightly so. The good news is the 42.0 grain load wasn't in the
I'm thinking there's a pretty big swing in case wall thickness going on. Did you weigh the cases?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Nope, didn't weigh them. All brass from the same lot and only the Berger loads were wonky. The partition and SST loads were fine.
 

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I'm interested to know the upper and lower end of the loading on the 180gr. I'd like to try 180's as well but my 308 service rifle data only goes up to 168gr. (must be old, maybe I need a new book)
 
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