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View Full Version : LR308 project rifle Update: Oct 9th 600-meter range Range Report)


SoCalXD
09-23-2012, 5:37 PM
http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/FAR-1_zps4ca05f4b.jpg

Upper:
Rainier Arms Ultra Match 18” SS Barrel, 1/10, 6-groove, Mid.
PWS FSC308 Muzzle Break
DPMS Upper, Bolt & Carrier
Troy TRX-308 13.8” Battle Rail w/Squid Grips & Ergo Rail Covers
Noveske TRX Bipod Stud, Noveske QD Sling Mount
Harris SLM Bipod
Magpul Backup Sights
Burris MTAC 1-4x\MGM Switchview Cat-Tail\PEPR QD Mount\Bubble Level

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/FAR-2_zps8881d5a0.jpg

Lower:
Fulton Armory FAR-308 Lower
Geiselle SSA-E Trigger/Hammer
BAD Ambi Safety (Hybrid x 2)
VLTOR EMOD Stock Combo Kit
Ergo Ambi Tactical Grip
M.I. Endplate sling hook adaptor
VTAC Padded Sling, QD front, HK-hook rear
Obligatory bullet button and 10/20 Magpul LR20 Magazine

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/FAR-3_zps4085834b.jpg

I took it out last weekend; broke-in the barrel and sighted in the BUS & the optic using 100rds of AE 150gr Ball and Hornady 155gr Steel Match. I was able to shoot a 300yrd, 5-shot, 4” group from the bipod. Not too bad considering the fresh barrel, mediocre bullet weight and the variable crosswinds. I ordered up 7 different boxes of premium 168gr & 175gr factory match ammo last week, which should be in via UPS on Wednesday for a mid-week range trip in order to determine what the barrel likes best.

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/FAR-4_zps83574de7.jpg

BTW, I’m really digging the scope. It seems just as fast at CQB distances as my EO-Tech (and far more daylight visible!). Once I got it dialed in at 100yrds, the 300yrd BDC dot was dead nuts on. I’m looking forward to a Pala trip to ring some steel out to 600 to see how the BDC holds up. It’s no tactical match scope, but as an EBR/OBR/DMR rifle scope, it seems like a great solution for the price.

Feel free to make suggestions, provide constructive criticism, or ask questions!

See ya at the range!

BucDan
09-23-2012, 6:10 PM
Looks really good! Very slick and simple. Now as for my question so I get an idea... How much did that sweet rifle cost ya?

SDgarrick
09-23-2012, 6:14 PM
Looks like a very usable DMR. I dig the 1-4x. keep us in the loop.

Jpach
09-23-2012, 6:45 PM
Nice looking rifle!

SoCalXD
09-23-2012, 8:31 PM
Looks really good! Very slick and simple. Now as for my question so I get an idea... How much did that sweet rifle cost ya?

Well... I didn't keep a detailed list, but it looks like around $2200 without optic & mount (so, that's $2700 with optic). I had considered just ordering a rig from Fulton Armory, but with a 2-3 month fulfillment time, and not quite the configuration I wanted, I just decided to build one myself. That did cost me $40 in new head-space gauges, but I had all the other tools I needed.

SoCalXD
09-23-2012, 9:24 PM
Nice looking rifle!

Thanks!
I was just checking out your rattle can job on your LMT... man, you are brave to do that! Good thing it came out looking good! I painted all my AKs, but I'm hesitant to go to town on my ARs! Maybe I'll look into Duracoat... I have a FDE furnitured rig that needs FDE receivers too!

chozenfew805
09-23-2012, 9:53 PM
Nice looking rifle!

:iagree:

berg
09-23-2012, 10:19 PM
Looks really good. I'm interested in seeing your results with better ammo.

My only suggestion is to move your rear BUIS back a few notches.

G38xOC
09-23-2012, 11:10 PM
looking good there

ky2970
09-24-2012, 4:29 AM
That's a sweet .308 you got. Gotta love those PWS comps right? Dual purpose: look badass + completely negate muzzle climb :cool:

FMJBT
09-24-2012, 7:58 AM
Looks GOOD! I like the fact that you're using a lower power optic on there. A lot of guys go overkill on magnification. 4X will still get you out there a LONG way, especially on a semi auto that has the capability of rapid follow up shots.

My only suggestion for improvement would be to move the rear sight back a bit, as mentioned above, and to get a BCM Gunfighter charging handle. The BCM handle or equivalent is almost mandatory on an AR with optics IMHO.

robert101
09-24-2012, 10:02 AM
Very nice build. I love that scope mount - wish I had one.

6mmintl
09-24-2012, 10:53 AM
Id call it a mid range rifle with the 18" barrel, dont think it will go out beyond 700-750 yds with the short barrel and still have sufficient velocity to maintain 2 MOA accuracy.

Bring it out to Sacto for one of the 3x 600 yards prone matchs to find out.

ky2970
09-25-2012, 6:46 AM
My only suggestion for improvement would be to move the rear sight back a bit, as mentioned above, and to get a BCM Gunfighter charging handle. The BCM handle or equivalent is almost mandatory on an AR with optics IMHO.

Agreed. Especially a scope that extends all the way to the end of the receiver.

SoCalXD
09-25-2012, 10:55 AM
All good suggestions, thanks!

MBUS:

I mounted the rear BUS forward to insure I had unobstructed access to the stock charging handle. I tested it extensively (with eyes closed!) in different locations, from different shooting positions and found that even though the MBUS sights had no real snagging on the sides, they still slowed me down unless they were completely clear of the rear charging handle access area, at speed. Since they will rarely if ever be used, I'm not much concerned regarding the sight radius reduction (and though the MTAC at 1x does allow for co-witness, I would have to mount the optic way too far forward to make that work... heck, the QD scope mount allows for removal of the scope in a few seconds, so co-witness no big deal, other than the secondary benefit of insuring the optics are still zero'd after re-attachment/bumps).

Charging Handle:
Good tip. As a Southpaw, I wasnt sure if there were any ambi options out there... just ordered a a TacOps.

Max Effective Range:
I built this as a primary Battle Rifle, good out to 600 yards, so I think 6mm's maximum effective range estimation is spot-on, if not a little optimistic. It took every ounce of self disipline I had to not buy a Vortex 4-16 PST for this rig, but for my intended use, the 1-4x with BDC will be much faster to get bullets on target at those ranges, for me anyway; I was gifted with an M21 rifle and a training slot in the Army MTU at 19 years of age, back in the 80's (I know, "Old Guy!"), so my naked eye range estimation out to 600 is pretty much still spot on, so no solid need for milling for this rig (though Burris was good enough to ID a half a dozen Mil measurements on the MTAC reticle, should I need them!).

I'd love to hit the Sacto range... next time I plan to visit my friends in Tahoe I'll pack the rig and come down the mountain. For my local options in San Diego, I think Pala is the only viable option, short of "going commando" on BLM land!

Thanks again for the feedback and suggestions!


*** UPDATE ***
Ok, make that "Almost" Finished!

I just ordered a few more parts from Brownells: A TacOps Ambi Charging Handle, A Geiselle SSA "Enhanced" trigger (I stole the current SSA from my 5.56 rig, but I just couldn't live with a stock trigger on my 5.56, so I thought I'd try the lighter trigger of the Enhanced version on this rig), An offset scope level to help with the longer shots, some Butler Creek covers, and a complete spare bolt and firing pin (because one is none and two is one!).

I'll get some updated photos up this weekend, including a range report with photos using the good ammo that came in today (Hornady 168 & 178 BTHP, SSA 175 OTM, Federal 308 GMM 168 & 7.62 GMM 175). I hope one of those will find a sweet spot, because I don't want to use anything pricier!

motorwerks
09-25-2012, 7:42 PM
Thats almost EXACTLY what mine looks like. :)

CrysisMonkey
09-25-2012, 7:42 PM
"She's a beaut Clark"

Great rifle. We need more lr-308 builds out there.

killshot44
09-25-2012, 8:20 PM
Well, nicely put-together rifle and owner seems to have a good balance of expectation and objectivity.

Wait a minute.............is this still Calguns?

STI
09-25-2012, 8:39 PM
Nice rifle. I just put a PWS FSC30 on my LR308, going to try it this weekend. I also got a DPMS Miculek comp just to see which one I like better.

Model94Guy
09-25-2012, 8:48 PM
Nice job, do you think you could built a truck gun 308 for under a $1,000.-?

FMJBT
09-25-2012, 9:12 PM
Do you reload at all? If so, it's definitely possible to get more range out of that barrel. The 1:10 twist shouldn't have a problem stabilizing heavier bullets like the 190 Sierra Match King. I've found that the new Hodgedon CFE-223 powder is excellent for pushing heavy bullets out of shorter than average barrels. My current setup for long range 308 is running a 16" midlength barrel and does great out to 1000 yards running the 190's with CFE. Initial muzzle velocity isn't as high as other rounds, but the bullets high BC allows it to hold that velocity better than lighter bullets. It's taking the concept behind the 6.5 Grendel and scaling it up to 308. Your 18" barrel should have no problem pushing out to 1000 with some tailored handloads. The 4X scope might not be optimal for shooting that far, but the rifle will definitely do it.

SoCalXD
09-25-2012, 11:57 PM
Nice job, do you think you could built a truck gun 308 for under a $1,000.-?

Ya, its called a CMP M1 Garand with their 308 Criterion barrel option! OR... a Ruger Scout! Of course, some of those DPMS 308 ARs are pretty cheap, as are the R25 Remington hunting rifles.

My "Truck Gun" is usually a 12 guage pump, or an AK47, depending upon the threat level assesment. I like to keep them cheap and reliable... I can live with an 870 or an AK gone missing due to vehicle theft, but not a pricey upfitted AR rig!

SoCalXD
09-26-2012, 12:05 AM
Thats almost EXACTLY what mine looks like. :)

Cool, lets see the photos & specs!

SoCalXD
09-26-2012, 12:29 AM
Do you reload at all? If so, it's definitely possible to get more range out of that barrel. The 1:10 twist shouldn't have a problem stabilizing heavier bullets like the 190 Sierra Match King. I've found that the new Hodgedon CFE-223 powder is excellent for pushing heavy bullets out of shorter than average barrels. My current setup for long range 308 is running a 16" midlength barrel and does great out to 1000 yards running the 190's with CFE. Initial muzzle velocity isn't as high as other rounds, but the bullets high BC allows it to hold that velocity better than lighter bullets. It's taking the concept behind the 6.5 Grendel and scaling it up to 308. Your 18" barrel should have no problem pushing out to 1000 with some tailored handloads. The 4X scope might not be optimal for shooting that far, but the rifle will definitely do it.

Great tips!
I have a nice progressive reloader gathering dust, due to shooting mostly 223 and 9mm over the last five years. Ill be saving brass and buying some 308 dies and bullets soon though! I wasnt sure about the LR308's ability to cycle the the heavier bullets like the 190gr... no problems?

FMJBT
09-26-2012, 7:58 AM
Great tips!
I have a nice progressive reloader gathering dust, due to shooting mostly 223 and 9mm over the last five years. Ill be saving brass and buying some 308 dies and bullets soon though! I wasnt sure about the LR308's ability to cycle the the heavier bullets like the 190gr... no problems?



As an 18" mid length, it will probably be over gassed with heavier bullets, so an adjustable gas block might be a good idea if you decide to shoot them regularly. I still have to put an adjustable block on mine, the recoil is pretty stout even with a decent muzzle break. I attribute this to the bolt carrier slamming back into the buffer tube a bit harder than it should. I think once that is tuned out with an adjustable gas block it will be a lot more pleasant to shoot. It's probably not as bad as I make it out though, I can still spot my own rounds through the scope most of the time.

I honestly didn't think a 16" barrel would make it out to 1000 yards, even with the heavier bullets. I tried it on a whim just to see what the limitations of the shorter barrel were, and found it to be surprisingly consistent at that distance. It hits at about 60-70% on an 11X18" steel plate at that distance, so I think an estimate of 1.5 to 2 moa is just about right. The same size plate at 650 yards is easy money, 100% hit ratio as long as I don't screw up. 100 yard performance was kind of surprising however. The 190 grain bullets are evidently not the best choice for shooting groups at short range. I dont think they are fully stabilizing until a bit further out, my groups at 100 yards stay at around 2" with the 190's. They seem to settle down into a stable trajectory at around 200 to 250 yards, as those groups also sit right at about 2". My barrel is a 1:11 twist, which I think is right at the limit of being able to stabilize the 190's within a 16" length. Your 1:10 barrel will probably group much better at 100 yards than mine does.

SoCalXD
09-26-2012, 9:39 AM
As an 18" mid length, it will probably be over gassed with heavier bullets, so an adjustable gas block might be a good idea if you decide to shoot them regularly. I still have to put an adjustable block on mine, the recoil is pretty stout even with a decent muzzle break. I attribute this to the bolt carrier slamming back into the buffer tube a bit harder than it should. I think once that is tuned out with an adjustable gas block it will be a lot more pleasant to shoot. It's probably not as bad as I make it out though, I can still spot my own rounds through the scope most of the time.

I honestly didn't think a 16" barrel would make it out to 1000 yards, even with the heavier bullets. I tried it on a whim just to see what the limitations of the shorter barrel were, and found it to be surprisingly consistent at that distance. It hits at about 60-70% on an 11X18" steel plate at that distance, so I think an estimate of 1.5 to 2 moa is just about right. The same size plate at 650 yards is easy money, 100% hit ratio as long as I don't screw up. 100 yard performance was kind of surprising however. The 190 grain bullets are evidently not the best choice for shooting groups at short range. I dont think they are fully stabilizing until a bit further out, my groups at 100 yards stay at around 2" with the 190's. They seem to settle down into a stable trajectory at around 200 to 250 yards, as those groups also sit right at about 2". My barrel is a 1:11 twist, which I think is right at the limit of being able to stabilize the 190's within a 16" length. Your 1:10 barrel will probably group much better at 100 yards than mine does.

More great info. Thanks much for the insight. I may just shoot some test strings at 200 or 300 as well to see if there is any diffence in the heavier bullets to settle down at distance, at least if I see anything unexpected at 100.

SoCalXD
10-01-2012, 12:09 PM
I went out to the range on Saturday, only to realize when I pulled into the parking lot that I left the box with all my 308 Ammo in it at home (Doh!). So, I trudged back out there Sunday for a do-over.

I added a couple of items to the rifle that were untested: a TacOps-1 308 Charging Handle, a Sinclair offset 30mm bubble level (a good investment), and a Geiselle SSA-Enhanced trigger.

To bottom line this for you, The Hornday ammo won 1st, 2nd & 3rd place out of this barrel, at least with me behind the gun. YMMV

After a cold bore shot and a couple of 5-round warmup groups to check the RTZ of the PEPR QD scope mount ( initial shots were 1" low, 1" right... but... I did loosen the clamps after removing them last time, so this wasn't really a qualified test of RTZ), I managed to shoot my best 5-shot group of the day, with the Hornady 155gr Steel Match (of all things!):

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/155-HSM.jpg

You'll note six shots on target. The 3rd shot was a called and confirmed flyer, so I added an extra round to the mag to insure a 5-shot group. At slightly under a 1" MOA, I can say that I am quite happy with this barrel, and this ammo. Of course, at 155gr, this round will not buck wind or maintain energy as well as the heavier bullets past 200yrds, but as a closer range round, it seems pretty darn good!

FYI: I cleaned the barrel after each string I shot.

Taking Second Place was the Hornday 178gr Match:

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/178-HM.jpg

I noticed a a slight bit more recoil than the 155gr Hornday, but nothing that would effect shooting comfort with higher volumes of use.

Rounding out Third Place, was the Hornday 168gr Match:

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/168-HM.jpg

At this point, you might notice my groups were almost a few inches to the right... this was due to the 20-30 mph wind at 3/4 value coming from 8 O-clock later in the afternoon: not exactly ideal conditions to test ammo! (You may also notice six shots on target... counting is hard!)

4th Place goes to the venerable 168gr Federal GMM:

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/168-GMM.jpg

I expected (and hoped) for a better than 2" MOA for the historical Standard Bearer of 308 Ammo accuracy, but I guess it was not in the cards on this day.

5th place, and not to far from all the remaining match ammo, was 178gr Hornday Super Performance Match:

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/168-HSPM.jpg

I decided to shoot a 10-shot group for the SPM, and I threw out the low left called flyer. I noticed a "more like 30-06" recoil with with round (which is expected, since that is exactly where it is on the power chart!). I wouldn't normally have tested this higher power round in a shorter barreled semi-auto, but I was interested in it's cyclic function in a Mid-gas port gun... Hornday has some interesting charts on their website, explaining how these Super Performance rounds are best used in a full length gas-tubed barrel due to pressure levels. I am pleased to announce that these 10 rounds performed flawlessly, without beating me or the gun to death.

Next up, and really just as close as the Hornady SPM, was the 175gr/7.62x51 Federal GMM:

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/175-GMM.jpg

You might notice there is a hole missing from this string... I'd like to think it was a same-hole shot, rather than another miscounting while loading the magazine... but considering my history here, I can only say "counting is hard!"

Lastly, just for a reference, was a 10rd string or the cheap stuff: 145gr Silver Bear FMJ, which I paid $0.40 a round:

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/145-SB.jpg

To be honest, I didn't try all that hard to get precision grouping with this string, so I think we could safely throw out the upper right flying and agree that this will shoot a 3" MOA out of a decent barrel: Plenty good for the Zombie Apocalypse, and as always, the shiny steel cases of the Silver Bear worked flawlessly, as they do in my 556 rigs as well.

Oh, a few things did not work flawlessly though: I also tested (or tried to test) the 175gr OTM Silver State Armory rounds... Three of the Five test rounds stuck in my chamber, out of battery, on the way in, before (trying) to fire. The last stuck round required I remove the rifle from the line and eventually pry my bolt carrier open with a flat-head screwdriver to get it out of the chamber, since pounding the crap out of the bullet with one-piece rod from the muzzle did nothing but push the bullet into the case! As I am not a reloader, and therefore do not have the measurement tools to MIC these rounds, I just gave the remaining box to a tactical bolt gun shooter down the line (with explaination), who will probably not have an issue chambering these as I had in his factory 700 barrel. He WAS a reloader, so I'm sure he will measure these before he fires them.

Another thing that didn't work flawlessly was the TacOps-1 308 Charging Handle: It managed to scrape the anodizing, and some aluminum, from the lower left and right side of the new DPMS upper receiver... due to making significant contact at the front/lower portion of the handle. This might explain why the handle didn't go back into the full lock position for the first half a dozen strings. I also noticed that the bolt did not nearly as easily go into full battery, compared to using the stock charging handle. And finally, there was a bit of right-leaning twist to the TacOps-1 handle, which would explain why the upper left side of it lenth lost all it's anodizing and became quite rough. I luckily brought my original DPMS charging handle to the range, and after swapping it back in, it allowed the above observations to become clear. It's a shame that the TacOps didn't work, since I really liked the latch design. Needless to say, The TacOps-1 308 is going back to Brownells this week.

Finally, the Geiselle SSA-E trigger worked very well. Technically though, it did not really increase my 100 yard accuracy over the standard SSA trigger had a few weeks ago at the range. Honestly, I can live with either of them, and in restrospect, on this 500yrd EBR/SPR/DMR (mid-range) rifle, I could have easily and without reservation saved $30 and gone with the 2.5/2lb trigger pull of the SSA over the 2.3/1.3lb trigger pull of the SSA-E. Though... I did notice that the SSA-E was capable of shooting faster than the SSA with a few high speed strings I shot, but considering the recoil of the LR308 over that of a AR556, I don't think the LR308 would benefit from the additional trigger speed. I might throw the SSA-E into my 556 Rig to see if that potential additional trigger speed is more usable with the lower recoil gun. If you are going for a long range LR308, with a barrel and scope to match, than the SSA-E would probably be a good choice. For me, with a 4x scope for close to mid-range work, not so much.

I plan on doing a Do-over on this ammo test (sans the SSA!) at the range on a day with less wind, just so I can confirm my numbers. I'll post them here when I do.

As always, feel free to post or PM questions, especially if you are planning on plunking down your hard earned dollars on any of these items!

G38xOC
10-01-2012, 1:09 PM
Looks like u had a great day at the range

FMJBT
10-01-2012, 1:44 PM
Looks like u had a great day at the range

Agreed^^^

Seems like a pretty productive session. I rarely get a chance to shoot that many groups at South Bay. I do a lot of sitting around waiting for cease fires though :) Hit me up next time you head out there, I have a few hundred rounds of 308 I've been meaning to shoot one of these weekends. I've been waiting for the nearby BLM land to open back up, but it looks like thats going to be a while since we haven't had rain down here in months.

762.DEFENSE
10-01-2012, 2:12 PM
:thumbsup:

I dig it!

SoCalXD
10-08-2012, 10:55 PM
I loaded up my KLR650 motorcycle today and had a nice 45 mile AM ride up to Pala Range in San Diego North County. Here is a slightly outdated photo of the Range; It's all steel targets past 100, all the way out to 890 yards in the upper right corner (arrow):

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/FAR308/palarangeyardsx1089.jpg

The blue Hex shapes are the ranges and areas I shot at today: 415, 480, 600 & 625 yards. There were 2-4 tactical silhouette targets at the ranges I was shooting at, consisting of a mix of B27, IPSC, Mother-in-law, 18x18, 18x36 and various sized round swingers. I concentrated on shooting the B27 and IPSC, since that is what I am used to shooting and seem more appropriate for tactical training.


For reference, here are the details on the view of the Reticle of the MTAC 1-4x, (SFP, Laser Etched, Illuminated, zero reset):

http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq215/krakenbound/BU200429_or1_zpsa49f2009.jpg

As you can see by the BDC rectical, it maxes out at 600 yards. That's a shame, considering I had another 300 yards of targets past that to shoot at in front of me. But hey, I'm the one who decided that I needed a 1x-Xx scope so I could use it up close (so I wouldn't have to add an additional CQB sight solution to a 4x-16x scope), and I decided on a BDC reticle, for quick hold over shots, rather than either dialing or doing math for MIL hold over, such as the Vortex would have provided. Technically; I could still dial up the BDC reticle, in 1/2 MOA clicks, using the 500 BDC reticle stada dot, out to 900 pretty easily, but I'll save working up those numbers for another day at the range.
[update: here are the ballpark numbers on those dialups, which I will start with next range trip]:
CLICKS:
600: +10
700: +20
800: +30
900: +45
1000 +63 (and the MTAC scope has the adjustment range to get there without a canted base... sweet!)

The MTAC scope performed very well at these medium ranges... mostly. I stuck with just the black reticle throughout the day, as it was a bright day and no need for illuminating the rectical. The BDC stada dots were easy to see, get on target and dope for wind at 400 - 500 yards. The 600 BDC "window" was not nearly as easy to get on target though, as the 2 MIL thick, primary retical circle obscured all the space and targets around the primary target, making it much slower to settle on an aiming point, and quite kludgy to dope a full target width or more of wind (effectively obscuring the entire target.. a moving target at 600 would be really tough to hit with this scope, no matter what method you use, other than dialing down so you could use the 500 yard BDC dot).

The magnification level of 4x on tactical sized targets at 400-600 was great. I didn't feel I needed any more magnification than that to get center hits. Again, I don't shoot "High Power Tactical", I shoot practical/tactical, which means the only precision I need is to get a solid hit on an 18"x24" target, or so. Don't get me wrong... there is certainly a place for precision shooting... the guys to the right of me were shooting a 300WM Rig and getting very precise hits on the 700-800 yard targets; very cool, but for my useage model, the semi-auto box-fed feature of my rifle more than made up for that tacticool precision.

Even with it's BDC and related max range limitations, for the $400 price, the MTAC is a bargain. That's not to say that I won't be looking at the SWFA 1-6x once it hits the shelves (or any other 1-6x or 1-8x with a big circle and some sort of MIL features in the $1k price range), but at two times or more the price of the MTAC (or Vortex), it better be good!

AMMO:

I shot the same factory match ammo as I did on my last 100 yard ammo test: Hornady 155 BTHP Steel Match,168 BTHP Match, 178 BTHP Match & 178 SuperFormance BTHP Match. Federal 168 GMM, 175 GMM, and last but not least, Silver Bear 145 FMJ.

Here are my impressions, based upon my notes and recollection:

- The 155gr Hornady was accurate, but required extra dope for the wind past 400. It was also pretty darn low powered at 400+... barely sounding the steel when it hit. It has less than 900 FPE at 500, where as the 168 & 178gr still had 1200-1400 FPE.... might not sound like much difference, but it is in the real world [Edit: In "My Real World": considering my usage models, historical Army experience, etc... YMMV]. So, as a close range match/tactical load, it's great. but as an all arounder for a LR308 SPR/EBR/DMR, it's not.

- The 175 & 178 gr rounds required noticeably less wind doping than even the 168 gr loads at 500+ yards. I'm sold on the heavier bullets.

- The 178 Hornady SuperFormance Match was very impressive at 600 yards... shooting flat, bucking wind well and hitting with serious authority. it's my favorite factory round among all I've tested, even though it was not quite as accurate as the standard power 178 load in my previous 1oo yd precision test (but at my usage model of 600 yards max, it's plenty accurate enough at 1.4"@100 yards). It also does recoil a bit more, but that's a negligible issue for me. bottom line, I get 15-20% more power at distance than I do with any other load, for 3% more money, and it cycles in my mid-gas barrel: I'll take it!

Oh, the 145gr Silver Bear... at $0.40 a round, it's tough to beat for a general factory range training round. It had plenty of of power and enough wind bucking ability to hit a B27 at 480 yards over and over again, with a decent amount of authority. The only problems with using it as a cheap load is hard primers and dirty shooting; I had 3 of 40 rounds today Fail to fire. All three had okay primer strikes. All three fired on the second go around (after waiting 1 min for each one of them to cook off, of course!). And man, it is smokey! Much dirtier powder than the premium loads. I guess it's up to you... if you are okay with a 5%+ failure rate (as I am for training), and a bit more time cleaning, then the cheap Silver Bear is great if you don't reload (I suspect a reloader could get a better bullet, better powder and a better primer into real brass for around the same price). I got mine from Cheaper Than Dirt, and they have it in a soft point round as well, which could work better as a dual purpose target/backup hunting load.

So, I'm already stocked up on both the Hornady 155gr Steel Match and the Silver Bear, both of which have their place for my use. I plan on shooting the Hornady 178gr Match loads (standard and SuperFormance) for distance shooting, as well as stocking it up on it as an all around load. Once I get enough brass saved up to make setting up the Lee Load Master worthwhile, I'll be able to cut my cost of long range ammo from $1.30 a round to maybe half of that (which means I can shoot twice a much! Yea!). If any of you reloaders have any suggestions for 178gr hornady bullet loads, using 308 brass, let me know!

Other notes:
- Bring the shooting mat next time; no tables left by the time I got there and shooting prone on cold concrete can be hard on the cajones after a while.
- The Geiselle SSA-Enhanced trigger (2.3/1.3lbs) is perfect for this kind of shooting. Not too light, not too heavy, just right. It felt a lot like my old M21 issued rifle's trigger. While not cheap, I've gone to Geiselle triggers in all my AR Rigs; it's +/- $200 well spent on a primary "goto" rifle.
- At these ranges, I didn't need to use the aftermarket 30mm scope level. The stadia lines naturally level themselves with a decent background.
- My naked eye range estimation is not what it used to be; No problem out to 300, but from 400-600, knowing how to use reticle features on a known sized target is important (A decent laser rangefinder is starting to sound like a pretty good investment!).
- Lots of nice rigs on the line today, and a lot of nice guys behind them. A cool shooter next to me (an airline pilot and X-Army guy himself) let me try his SCAR-16... a very light and feature packed carbine, but in need of a better trigger (he said Geiselle wants $400 for a trigger for it... ouch!). Considering the more specialized nature of this range, and it's increased cost to shoot there (both in Rig cost and Range cost), I'd say the shooters were a little older, a lot more experienced and a bit higher on the socio-economic ladder than at the other ranges I shoot at. That can be both good and bad, depending on who you are and what kind of interaction you are looking for on the line.
- This was an expensive day! $65 for a range "membership", $15 for a lane, $80 in ammo and $10 in gas. This was the best $170 I've ever spent! :thumbsup:

CK_32
10-08-2012, 11:15 PM
Nice looking rifle.. Making me want to go out and buy my lower for my build

elsolo
10-08-2012, 11:47 PM
You only need 50 pieces of brass to make reloading rifle "worth it".

What do you plan on using the rifle for "in the real world" where maximum retained energy past 400 yards is so critical?

SoCalXD
10-09-2012, 1:10 AM
RE: real world.
The Hornady Steel Match in 308 is a pretty low powered round... less energy that ball, and much less than most match rounds. If you were going to stock some all-around factory ammo... for distant target shooting at the range... backup hunting ammo... personal defense during urban unrest... whatever your possible need might be, what are you going to go with... a low powered, light bullet out of a steel case whose energy drops off past 200 like it's falling off a cliff? Not me. I'll stick with a heavy bullet, with lots of power, housed in good brass, capable of hitting hard at 600, and beyond. Of course, my "real world" also included an Army issued M21 rifle and a MTU slot at Benning many years ago, so my perspective may be tainted a bit by my military experiences. You and I may not be in the same "real world".

Thanks for the feedback on the cost savings... I'll order up some dies this week!

HKchucksta
10-09-2012, 8:57 AM
I did NOT know there was such a range in SD county! This gets me excited now, I ride up around there to go to Palomar every once in a while!

My question to you is: how the heck did you "load up" your KLR650?? Did you sling your rifle across your back or something?

Thanks for the range report!

SoCalXD
10-09-2012, 10:29 AM
I did NOT know there was such a range in SD county! This gets me excited now, I ride up around there to go to Palomar every once in a while!

My question to you is: how the heck did you "load up" your KLR650?? Did you sling your rifle across your back or something?

Thanks for the range report!

I have aluminium panniers (boxes) and a rear top box mounted on the KLR. The boxes have large footman loops all over the top, which makes for good bungie and tie-down points. This effectively provides a 30" wide by 14" long cargo area behind me (plus the storage area of the top box and side boxes).

I bungie my soft rifle case down across the seat & boxes, bungie and tiedown my range bag on top of that, and I'm off to the range! I only got one long "I think I know what that is on your seat" look from a kid riding shotgun in a truck, but considering the smile on his face, I think he would have prefered to be riding with me than in the truck.

This saved me $20 in gas for the round trip over the cost of driving my truck, and made for a far more enjoyable trip up there! If there is a practical aspect to a big dual sport bike, it's the cargo capability!

I look forward to repeating this trip and config out to South Bay Rod & gun in Dulzura, if not just to gauge the response at the BP Checkpoint on Hwy 94... Those Feds seem nice and respectful as they are asking you where you are coming from and where you are going... but try telling them that it's none of their business, that you are a US Citizen in violation of no INS crimes, and you want to continue on your way! I did that a few weeks ago and got a chance to experience the strong arm of Federal Tyranny first hand, including the violation of my Constitutional Rights via illegal detention... highly recomended for those brave enough and curious enough (and perhaps some may say, "stupid enough"!).

FMJBT
10-09-2012, 11:53 AM
Awesome range report! Looks like I may eventually have to get a membership to Pala if BLM land down here stays closed off.

Hornady 178's are excellent bullets. I used them for a while with great success out to 1000 yards through my Savage 10FP and 26" AR-10. They were definitely the most accurate bullet I found for the AR-10, it would produce 100 yard, 5 round groups of about 3/8" on some of my better days at the range. I'll have to check my load book, but I'm pretty sure these were over a charge of 42 or 43 grains of Varget. Lake City brass with BR2 primers. Hodgedon CFE-223 would be worth looking into for shooting 178's also. You might be able to squeeze a bit more velocity out of it than Varget.

I eventually switched to 190's kind of on accident. I had some on the bench for my 300 Win Mag, and a bunch of primed brass that I didn't have any 178's left for. Loaded the 190's as kind of a "Here, hold my beer and watch this" round, and discovered that they are a lot easier to hear when they hit steel at 1000. They also seem less affected by wind, although the drop is a bit more than 178's.

HKchucksta
10-09-2012, 12:04 PM
I have aluminium panniers (boxes) and a rear top box mounted on the KLR. The boxes have large footman loops all over the top, which makes for good bungie and tie-down points. This effectively provides a 30" wide by 14" long cargo area behind me (plus the storage area of the top box and side boxes).

I bungie my soft rifle case down across the seat & boxes, bungie and tiedown my range bag on top of that, and I'm off to the range! I only got one long "I think I know what that is on your seat" look from a kid riding shotgun in a truck, but considering the smile on his face, I think he would have prefered to be riding with me than in the truck.

This saved me $20 in gas for the round trip over the cost of driving my truck, and made for a far more enjoyable trip up there! If there is a practical aspect to a big dual sport bike, it's the cargo capability!

That's awesome! Too bad I have a supersport... I can wear a backpack and bungie down a range bag to the pillion seat. Which means I can bring...my Sig. :(

Guess I'm going to have to drive! Or get a dual sport :p

elsolo
10-09-2012, 1:18 PM
real world. The Hornady Steel Match in 308 is a pretty low powered round... less energy that ball, and much less than most match rounds. If you were going to stock some all-around factory ammo... for distant target shooting at the range... backup hunting ammo... personal defense during urban unrest... whatever your possible need might be, what are you going to go with... a low powered, light bullet out of a steel case whose energy drops off past 200 like it's falling off a cliff? Not me. I'll stick with a heavy bullet, with lots of power, housed in good brass, capable of hitting hard at 600, and beyond. Of course, my "real world" also included an Army issued M21 rifle and a MTU slot at Benning many years ago, so my perspective may be tainted a bit by my military experiences. You and I may not be in the same "real world".

Thanks for the feedback on the cost savings... I'll order up some dies this week!
Thanks for responding, I meant it as an honest question.

I have zero use for that specific ammo either.

I was wondering if you had some specific purpose in mind, but it sounds more like just having the bases covered for universal applications.

I really like 150-155 in my lr-308, but I do load them with a bias for velocity so it shoots flatter. I don't use it for large game, so maximizing retained energy and such is less inportant for my needs because I am more likely to shoot varmints than elk or communists.

gemini1
10-09-2012, 1:30 PM
As you can see by the BDC rectical, it maxes out at 600 yards. That's a shame, considering I had another 300 yards of targets past that to shoot at in front of me. But hey, I'm the one who decided that I needed a 1x-Xx scope so I could use it up close (so I wouldn't have to add an additional CQB sight

On your scope. Could you have used to bottom of the "T" mark for 100 yards zero and still make the dots calibrated, but in this case adding maybe an extra 200 yards?

G38xOC
10-09-2012, 5:30 PM
whoa ..what are rangeeeee...makes angeles range like its under construction

SoCalXD
10-09-2012, 11:54 PM
On your scope. Could you have used to bottom of the "T" mark for 100 yards zero and still make the dots calibrated, but in this case adding maybe an extra 200 yards?

You are correct sir! that's not a bad idea! However, some of those dots would most likely be zero'd on some difficult to remember distances, e.g.: 100, 300, 390, 482, 574 & 665. I guess it would be similar to how Nikon does their True Ballistic Calculator. Once you spent a day in the desert figuring out the exact numbers, you could just tape them to your stock.

I think it would be a little simpler and a bit more useful for longer ranges to dial up the 500 yard BDC dot though. That would still give you the easy to remember range numbers for the BDC dots when the range turret is at the Zero Reset, but for further shots, with likely a bit more time available, use the dial and tape the range dope info for that 500 yard dot to the stock, i.e.:

600: +10
700: +20
800: +30
900: +45
1K: +63

I still like your idea though, and if you were just trying to get a few more increments for BDC, it would work well!