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The last article I saw on this said that the majority of your long range shooters that are winning are shooting Berger's almost exclusively. None are shooting .308, all some form of 6.5mm round.

That said, SMK's are so readily available and used by so many that load data exists with just about every powder imaginable. Frankly, I'd be shocked if there was a better bullet for the cost.
 

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Poll from Precision Rifle Blog > Bullets

Not semi auto / M1A related but >

> The top PRS - Precision Rifle Series competitors were polled and the Berger "Hybrid" 105 gr was by far the most used & winning bullet in the 6.5mm & 6mm class.

Sorry our beloved 308cal is almost defunct in PRS competition due to the 6.5 Creedmoor having better wind bucking capability > due to well defined data and according the pro PRS guys

Here is the poll .
http://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/12/27/best-bullets-brass-primers-powder/



Read the other polls they are VERY interesting, but sadly RNGR4 no semi autos being used by the pro's.

Suggestion > PRSS = Precision Rifle Semi auto Series GI2
 

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I shoot alot of the Nosler cc's, but I have to admit I'm not loyal. The best bullet to me is the one that's cheap (aside from soft tipped and fmj), and the Nosler isn't cheap anymore. I find whatever their is a deal or sale on and I make it shoot good, or the best I can make it shoot.
 

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In .308 and .224 bullets, for ME, Sierra Match Kings have been the easiest to make accurate ammo with. Berger and JLKs have been great, but were finicky for me. Specicificaly, for me, the .224 Berger 80 grain was a problem. My handloads were sub-par. However, when Bamban loaded them for me, they were great.

My best guess was it had something to do with my seater die, which was a Redding Benchrest Micrometer.
 

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I guess the answer would hinge on how extensive your definition of "empirical" is. If you were to evaluate all of the variables associated with accuracy, to include the bullet brand and weight, barrel, barrel twist, primer, et cetera, and conduct enough replicated test, with sufficient observations per variable and replications of variable to give a definitive answer to satisfy a statistician..... the barrel would be worn out and then would be ready for a do-over.
If on the other hand, you are talking about slightly more than casual observations as to what a rifle prefers, then I suspect we have all done some of that. The conclusion in that case would be - different bullets for different folks and different rifles.
When I shot HP extensively, Sierra Match Kings were the ticket and my rifles really liked them. However, when you added the "human" factor into the mix, I could shoot as good of scores with the Hornady match bullet as the Sierra. But when I really got down to testing @ 300 yds, prone with my left arm in a sling and resting on a sand bag - the Sierra generally shot a little better group (casual observations --- I did not do a statistical analysis of groups as I never shot enough groups with each bullet to be statistically valid).
My friends who shoot F-class (bench rest on the ground) swear by Bergers and some still shoot Sierra and a few Nosler. Some benchrest shooters I knew shot hand made custom bullets.......

I hate to give you such an answer, but there simply is no absolute answer for all barrels, rifles, shooters and circumstances. With the M1A, I have found that if you select a quality bullet (by reputation in the target shooting game) and have a quality built gun/barrel, and do the shooters part - you will not be disappointed.

I shoot ATA trap and I very often look at the trap forum, trapshooters.com...... very frequently there is the eternal question, 71/2s or 8s??????
Pretty much the same deal............
....I gave up using big, complicated words like 'empirical' when whey stopped paying me to include them in studies. I like Nosler's 'cuz they're easy to spell....so in a nutshell, what DOC said works for me......��
 

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One of the first and best things my dad taught me in my edumacation on reloading was "1 gun - 1 load".

Goes for semi-auto pistols, revolvers, any and all rifles. Period.

I have a pair of .222 Rem bolt rifles. One is a circa 1953 Sako heavy barrel 1:12 twist tack driver that has spolied a lot of young kids shooting something with virtually zero recoil and 1/2 inch groups all day, and a custom built mannlicher on a 1960s Sako action and a 1:10 twist Douglas barrel. Mannlicher shoots 3/4 inch groups hot or cold, rain or shine. The "sweet" load in each rifle is totally different! And the 1:10 twist loves the 69 and 70 grain bullets a LOT. It would be my "live off the land" and "trunk" gun before even my SOCOM.
 

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In my humble opinion it's accuracy versus cost.

Range and what you expect are the criteria.

I shoot a lot of 200m and then sometime reach out to a max of 600m time to time.
My target is not a 5" bullseye but a steel goat or chicken.

Sierra 168mk's have always done the job.

But I'm sure that if I was shooting at an 8" circle at 600m I'd surely use Lapua Scenar's or Berger's or Nosler's.
But they are MUCHO EXPENSIVE compared to the Sierra's.

And others are right, you cant just have one load plan for all bullets of the same weight.

It's trial and error.
 

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While the linked article does not go into all sorts of bullets... it does cover a LOT of variables on reloading for the .308.

I strongly suggest you consider ordering a disk copy of the Handloader , Dec. 2008 No 257 issue.

It is truly caulk full of great info for the .308.

https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazine/PDF/hl257partial.pdf

Granted the article does not broach the M1A... but the info is very much worth it.
 

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So much depends on the individual rifle involved. My friend and I both have Devine M1A's only 4 numbers apart in the serial numbers. We both use the same charge of 4895. Both rifles will shoot dime size groups at 100 yards. I use the 168 SMK and he uses the Sierra 165 JHP. If we switch the loads between the rifles both of our groups will open up to around 2 inches at 100 yards. You just have to find a load your particular rifle likes.
 

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My humble opinion, you would need to find the node for each bullet as different brands will be made differently. That would require tailoring all of the factors for the best accuracy.
Basically, this.

A skilled reloader can develop a very accurate loading from any match bullet.

In order to distinguish the accuracy potential of Sierra SMK versus Lapua Scenar you would need to develop a load for each (120 rounds) and then shoot at least 100 rounds each to see which one was actually 0.05" better than the other. Were you to compare the entire line of Sierra versus Berger versus Hornady versus Lapua; your barrel would be worn out and you'd have to start all over again.

So, just pick one, then develop a loading that shoots really well, and call it a day.
 

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One of the first and best things my dad taught me in my edumacation on reloading was "1 gun - 1 load".

Goes for semi-auto pistols, revolvers, any and all rifles. Period.

I have a pair of .222 Rem bolt rifles. One is a circa 1953 Sako heavy barrel 1:12 twist tack driver that has spolied a lot of young kids shooting something with virtually zero recoil and 1/2 inch groups all day, and a custom built mannlicher on a 1960s Sako action and a 1:10 twist Douglas barrel. Mannlicher shoots 3/4 inch groups hot or cold, rain or shine. The "sweet" load in each rifle is totally different! And the 1:10 twist loves the 69 and 70 grain bullets a LOT. It would be my "live off the land" and "trunk" gun before even my SOCOM.
I have 2 different modern R700 bolt's in .308 and .300 win mag , almost identical configurations. The.308 is a 26" heavy Varmint , and the 300WM is a 26" heavy fluted stainless Sondero. My 308 is just SO forgiving with loads as far as accuracy , I can load any bullet from 155 to 178gr and my good ol W748 powder and as long as my velocity is around 2540 fps it's a consistent MOA rifle @ 200 meters. Like most rifles I have shot and amazing .2 MOA on certain outings but can't brag that I can maintain .2 MOA "all day long". My 300WM however is a very finicky barrel to shoot accurately. I struggled for a year trying to find MOA , started out with 180's , 190's and 200's using IMR 4350 and R22 and nothing impressive was only shooting about 2-3 moa. Then I got a tip from another forum to try the real heavies , specifically 208 AMax's and H1000 powder , and holy smokes I quickly settled in on consistent MOA groups. I have a Savage FP10 in 223 that's an amazing shooter as well, a very forgiving barrel as far as loads. I also have a Yugo refurbished K98 8mm Mauser that is an absolute LOUSY shooter, best I have yet to observe is 5 MOA with very wild single fliers that I just can't figure out why.
 
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