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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

Been dialing in loads for my SAI Scout.

I am doing this with a 168gr Berger VLD - for to hunt with and some shooting fun to 600yds.

My 40gr "max" load (Hornady 7th edition) is apparently an accuracy node with my 18" barrel as it is shooting good groups at 100yds @ ~2450fps @ 15" from the muzzle. I have a basset mounted Sightron 5-16x Mildot and the only accuracy mod is Tubbs final finish barrel lapping which made a considerable difference vs factory new.

No Pressure signs, my brass shows little to no op-rod strikes.

Zediker's essay shows 168SMK over 41.5 H4895, CCI BR-2, LC Brass, COAL 2.005, LOAL 2.80 as optimal in 22" match rifle.

I am guessing there is another accuracy node between where I am and that load and I wouldn't mind the + on MV for the 600yd stuff. I plan on loading in .2gr increments, looking for pressure signs, etc...

Will the Berger's spike pressure faster than the SMK's? Is there any relationship to Ogive shape & chamber pressure?

I have noticed a very short change in seating depth toward the lands can dramatically increase muzzle velocity with the same charge.

Thanks for taking a look at this, appreciate the feedback.
 

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Hello All,

Been dialing in loads for my SAI Scout.

I am doing this with a 168gr Berger VLD - for to hunt with and some shooting fun to 600yds.

My 40gr "max" load (Hornady 7th edition) is apparently an accuracy node with my 18" barrel as it is shooting good groups at 100yds @ ~2450fps @ 15" from the muzzle. I have a basset mounted Sightron 5-16x Mildot and the only accuracy mod is Tubbs final finish barrel lapping which made a considerable difference vs factory new.

No Pressure signs, my brass shows little to no op-rod strikes.

Zediker's essay shows 168SMK over 41.5 H4895, CCI BR-2, LC Brass, COAL 2.005, LOAL 2.80 as optimal in 22" match rifle.

I am guessing there is another accuracy node between where I am and that load and I wouldn't mind the + on MV for the 600yd stuff. I plan on loading in .2gr increments, looking for pressure signs, etc...

Will the Berger's spike pressure faster than the SMK's? Is there any relationship to Ogive shape & chamber pressure?

I have noticed a very short change in seating depth toward the lands can dramatically increase muzzle velocity with the same charge.

Thanks for taking a look at this, appreciate the feedback.

I'm going for memory here so work with me, my notes went into the $%^& can, I tried the Bergers along time ago when my rifle had a new 22in Krieger barrel the chamber was cut with a PTG M-852 reamer and headspace was on the tight side.

My load data is nearly the same as yours but I use a std Win Large rifle primer and 41.5grs H-4895, my coal was at 2.83 for accuracy I didn't find any, the VLD's like too be closer too the lands or so I was told, I got as close as I dared and no luck so I backed them up no luck again, I was looking for a load that I could use at the 600yd line and not turn the windage knob so much, they didn't work like I wanted and I didn't want too invest the time or effort and moved on.

Just because they didn't work for me don't let that hold you back.

Working untell you get too the lands you will gain some velocity not alot, when you start too touch the lands the preasure is going too push up some if you jam into the lands the preasure is going to ramp up fast, so get close but don't touch!

Ogive shape has no effect on chamber preasure, but berring lenth does. I don't remember what the berring lenth was on the Berger 168 VLD but I think there shorter than the Sierra or Nosler.

41.5gr of H-4895 is a mild load for preasure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi Phil,

Thank you for the reply your info is very helpful! Bearing length makes sense as a factor in chamber pressure. My Hornady Manual has 40grs H4895 as "max load", but when I got there it behaved pretty mild on the chrony and brass.

At this lower load pressure, 40 grs, the Bergers are settling into 2 - 2.5 MOA at 2.810 LOAL, with consistency. I went up to 2.825, velocity/brass abuse went up accuracy did not.

I will still .2 gr my way up to 41.5gs H4895, I see where it is still a mild load. I am looking for another accuracy node that puts me in the 2550fps range.

VERY curious to see how these stabilize out to 600. 100yd results don't necessarily correlate to mid-long distance it seems.

Thanks again.
 

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Most of the 168gr - 175gr bullets produce their greatest precision at about 40 - 41.5 grains of IMR type powders and most often the tightest groups don't coincide with the fastest speeds.

That being said, my best accuracy is right up at the top end for my bullets but then I use a different powder than most people do. I get sub MAO groups from my Loaded model and MOA out of my SOCOM using IMR 3031 powder. The longer barreled Loaded model rifle works well with 41.5 grains of powder and the SOCOM works best with about 39 grains; both using the 175gr Berger VLD.
 

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I don't know how tuned your rifle is, my rifle was set up for National Match shooting and I had the works done. If your getting 1-1.5moa and your happy with that load stay were your at. I like too keep my loads mild or midrange for there preasure with a 22in barrel for me that works out to about 2600fps +/- in my rifles with 168-175gr bullets.

At the time I wasn't willing to do alot of load development with the VLD, I was hoping too take a known accuracy load and swap out the pill and call it good. When I started to moving them forward and back I desided that they were more work than they were worth after 300rds I had a good idea my rifle just didn't like them. So back too what did work in my rifles.

Looking back I should have tried a few different powders and played with the M/V a bit 2600fps maybe a little slow for them to work there best, at the time I was using IMR/H-4895 powders only they have always worked great for me, I should have tried some Varget or 4064, but the frustation had set in, I was done.

Rammac has done alot of load development with his SOCCOM, I think his load data would work much better for you(less time/money) in your rifle than mine, but its good too get a extra view.

Your correct what works good @ 100yds may not work best @ 600yds. 200yds is a much better indicator of how its going too play out @ 600yds if you have the range too do that type of load development, sometimes when 100yds is all you have thats what you make work.

Oh, by the way 600yds is mid-range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, by the way 600yds is mid-range.
HA! Some day, it will be for me too! I do have the ability to get to 200yds, now that I am honing in- that's good advice and I will bring it back to that with my few "chosen" loads. Thanks!

RAMMAC- 175 Bergers are next on my list now that I have some indication the VLD profile is going to shoot in my rifle. I like the idea of greater sectional density for hunting and its still moving @~1600fps @ 600. Theoretically they will still open on deer size game at that rate. Not that I would take that shot with the M1 at this point....

By the by I use www.nikonhunting/spoton/.com to get an estimate for Ballistic performance. I do not own any Nikon equipment nor specifically endorse Nikon, but I do endorse free ballistics programs that allow you to use g7 ang g1 form factors as well as a comprehensive range of atmospheric variablesGI1

Thanks again Phil and RAMMAC for the advice, I have learned much and there is MUCH to learn...
 

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VLD's are long and can be a different sort of challenge to get to shoot well than are the more traditional tangent ogive match projectiles.
I am curious: Have you checked the total indicated runout (TIR) of your VLD's as loaded?
In particular with a shorter 18" barrel, have you considered using some of the tangent ogive Sierra 168 grain Match Kings? Tangents are a lot more likely to group well if "jumped" into the lands/grooves across a throat as compared to secant ogives like VLD's if "jumping" is a necessity...and it assuredly IS a good idea to jump the projectiles when using a Service Rifle.
 

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VLD's are long and can be a different sort of challenge to get to shoot well than are the more traditional tangent ogive match projectiles.
I am curious: Have you checked the total indicated runout (TIR) of your VLD's as loaded?
In particular with a shorter 18" barrel, have you considered using some of the tangent ogive Sierra 168 grain Match Kings? Tangents are a lot more likely to group well if "jumped" into the lands/grooves across a throat as compared to secant ogives like VLD's if "jumping" is a necessity...and it assuredly IS a good idea to jump the projectiles when using a Service Rifle.
I haven't been able to check the runout because I don't have the tools for it. Like most of the precision preparation steps that are available, I'm not sure how much value this would be with the M1A. I'm not against testing the value of adding that step to my cartridge prep but I'm not sure how much of a benefit I would see.

So far the greatest improvements I've seen in regard to the SOCOM is switching to IMR 3031 powder and using new, unfired, Lapua brass. Of all the things I've tested in the process of finding the most precise cartridges, just those two things improved my groups most and they produce the most consistent results. For all intents and purposes, if I use a new Lapua case, all I have to do is prime the case, drop the powder charge, and seat the bullet and I'll get the same tight groups as if I'd spent time trimming, turning, uniforming, weighing, etc.

As for 168gr SMKs, I usually use 168gr Hornady A-Max bullets and they do very well, but I do most of my shooting at 200 yards or less. Phill is the long range guy and he would be more qualified to talk about how the SMKs perform.
 

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Here is a good info on Berger VLDs. lifted out of the Berger web site. FYI, I hunt with 155 VLDs at magasine length out of my M1A hunter, and they are close to .040 jump.

VLD Bullet Design

The VLD (Very Low Drag) bullet design was born from a request made by the US 300 Meter Shooting Team. It was determined that they were dropping points late in the matches due to recoil fatigue. Bill Davis and Dr. Lou Palmisano were asked to design a bullet and case combination that shot flatter than the 308 case and 168 gr bullets the team was using at the time. After a design was created Walt Berger was approached to make the bullet. The 6mm 105 gr VLD was born and shot by the US 300 Meter Shooting Team using a 2” PPC (modified 220 Swift). This combination shot with less felt recoil and a flatter trajectory than the 308 case using the 168 gr bullet and higher scores were the end result. This successful bullet design soon found its way into all long range target competition and the VLD shape spread into all other calibers.

The VLD bullet design is a combination of two very specific features. The first is a boat tail which is common on long and heavy bullets. The second and most important design feature is the long secant ogive. It is this ogive shape that allows the bullet to experience less drag as it flies to the target. This reduced drag is how the VLD shoots flatter and is less affected by wind (less drift) than other bullets. Reduced drag also translates into higher retained velocity. These are important results if you want your bullet to help improve your accuracy by requiring less sight adjustments when conditions change.

For years we have relayed that it is best to jam the VLD into the lands for best performance. This works for many rifles however there are many rifles that do not shoot the VLD well when the bullet is jammed. We have learned that the VLD can shoot best as much as .150 jump off the rifling. VLD bullets can be sensitive to seating depth and it has been found that these bullets shoot best in a COAL “sweet spot”. This sweet spot is a COAL range that is usually .030 to .040 wide.

The quickest way to find this sweet spot is to load ammo at four different COAL. Start with a COAL that allows the bullet to touch the rifling. The next COAL needs to be .040 off the lands. The third COAL needs to be .080 off the lands. The last COAL needs to be .120 off the lands. One of these COAL will outperform the other three by a considerable margin. It has been reported that the VLD bullets don’t group as well at 100 yards but get better as the bullet “goes to sleep” at further ranges. We have learned that by doing the four COAL test you will find a COAL where the VLD bullets will group well at 100 yards. Once the COAL that shoots best is established you can tweak +/- .005 or .010 to increase precision or you can adjust powder charges and other load variables. Frankly, those who do the four COAL test usually are happy with the results they get from this test alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tricky but satisfying VLD's...

Hi Bamban,

Thanks for putting up the VLD info off the website. I believe it was one of your posts that directed me to read Mr. Berger's essay on seating depth adjustment. Many Thanks!!

Oddlly, when I did the 4 cartridge test, the shortest LOAL 2.810 shot the best, close to MOA, with even dispersion of rounds from POA. The longest I could get to feed from the magazine - 2.840 - was pretty erratic as well 2.830, 2.820.

After I am done dialing in charge (as written above) I am going to try some .005 seating increments up and down to see if there is anything left to gain.

After I get the load dialed, then I am going to look at my rifle. The only accuracy Mod I have done is David Tubbs final finish- it really helped. My trigger is REALLY nice, I wonder if when they put the NM front sight, they didn't reach over into the NM parts bin and put a NM trigger group. The take-up is smooth and the break is clean and light.

The scout is the only M14 style rifle I own, however I have the bug...I think a nice Loaded might be in my future...
 

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After experimenting with seating depth I get the best groups with my loaded model when the bullet is about 0.075" off the lands but with the SOCOM I'm a lot farther away than that. The loaded gives me some very nice group sizes while the SOCOM groups are quite a bit larger. The SOCOM usually gives me groups that are about 1.5 MOA or so, good enough for hunting out to 300 yards but not target quality. I wanted the bullet for it's game taking reputation so the groups are adequate for my needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am also looking at 168gr Ballistic Silver Tips. My understanding is they are tangent Ogive and might be easier to Dial. As I am going to use the load for hunting, I want a proven performer on game.

Having said that, I have my eye on a Loaded M1A, i would certainlly try the tried and true 168 SMK load to see how much accuracy I could get with a proven round. Then I would start fiddling with other bullets.

Whelen said "only accurate rifles are interesting"- i am curios to see how "interesting" my scout is without spending a small fortune in mods, so the 168SMK may be in my future as a control round.

Never been a fan of doing things the easy way!
 

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Thanks for all the contributions. I was able to find a bunch of 168 VLD's in a store in Memphis and I loaded up since they were all they had.

I got some "Benchmark" powder too, since they (and everyone else) is out of 4895.
 

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VLD bullets, as others have stated, can be a bit twitchy.

For hunting bullets in an M1-A I have had excellents results, both in accuracy and in taking game with the following bullets;
Sierra 165 HPBT Gameking, [My brother and dad have used the 165 SPZ as well], the 165gr Ballsitic Tip, and when the need is for deeper penetration the 165 Nosler Partition.

I load these bullets over 39.5gr of IMR 3031.
Several of my buddies have shot these loads in their M1-A's and other 308's too.
These are not hot loads, but still start at 38gr or so and work up.

For a factory load the Winchester 168gr Ballsitic Silvertip has shot great in any M1-A I have shot it in, and I have killed several deer and pigs with that factory round. [Except the 3 SOCOMS I have shot, which only shot 6" and up with every load I tried, including Federal Match...

However all the above loads shot great in Bush Rifles.DI2
 

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A while back I picked up a couple boxes of the Berger 175gr Tactical OTM bullets after reading a piece by Brian Litz of Berger. IIRC, they have a hybrid ogive and were designed for use in magazine-fed guns that don't allow seating near the lands. His testing gave him sub-MOA results at 1,000 yards through a 20" LaRue OBR. Unfortunately, testing them in my M1A or my OBR is still one of my unfulfilled projects. Maybe now that spring is almost here.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey NE450NO2,

I have a fondness for the 165 Sierra Game king HPBT over 39.5 IMR3031 as well.

One Question- What approximate OAL do you run yours?

I have loaded my 168 VLD's to group in my Scout just over 1MOA with consistency. I think the 165 Game Kings should be able to do the same. My guess is its a seating depth issue at this point.

Thanks!
 
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