This article was written by Travis Fox
Trainer loads are critical for preparation for things like hunting and rifle matches. In this story we’ll take a look at precision 308 Winchester trainer loads from start to finish!
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The 308 is a time-proven cartridge for accuracy and long barrel life. This makes for a great practice platform for my wintertime shooting activities. Recoil management along with wind reading skills are the primary skills gained with shooting the 308. I installed a factory Savage .308 barrel on a Bighorn Origin action. An EC Tuner Brake was also installed for future tuning. This barreled action was then put into the highly adjustable XLR Element Magnesium chassis. This is topped with the Athlon Midas Tac 5-25 scope.
Why the .308? Many factors come into play.
- Long barrel life allows for high volume shooting without a fear of “burning up” a barrel.
- The heavier 308 bullets have a higher recoil impulse over the lighter competition cartridges. In order to spot the bullet impact good recoil management skills must be developed.
- The slow velocity of the 308 bullet has a longer time of flight thus wind reading skills must be improved.
- Brass annealed on the AMP Mark II
- Area 419 Zero Press with full length RCBS sizing dies a rotation of the turret, and the LE Wilson Mandrel die to ensure consistent neck tension.
- Chamfer of the case mouth.
- Primer seating on the Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater.
- Powder load 42g of Ramshot Tac via the RCBS Matchmaster dispenser using the Area 419 funnel set. This was after a test of 401, 41.5, 42, and 42.5.
- Seating of Hornady 168 BTHP bullets with the RCBS Competition Bullet seating die
I typically use Gordon’s Reloading Tool (GRT) to evaluate loads. Here is a screenshot of the load data
Load testing was done to find a good “node’ and a good velocity SD. Both the 42g and the 42.5g loads had single digit SDs and acceptable groupings. Since the test is done in colder temperatures I will go with the lower charge of 42g.
Up on the ridgeline it is time to put in the practice. Shooting a 308 off of the Two Vets QDT Tripod really forces good recoil management in order to see impacts.
Overall I am very happy with this combination. The rifle fit with the XLR Element chassis to how the Ramshot Tac flows like water with every powder dispenser we have here at Ultimate Reloader makes it all work well. The Hornady 168g BTHP provides great impact feedback on target or with misses. This is a great package to slow down and work on basic skills.
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