M14 Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey yall, I've started handloading recently. So I'm in the drawing-board stage of load development.
As for components, here's what I've got:
LC brass
CCI #34 milspec primers
IMR-4064 powder

So yeah now I have to choose a bullet for development of a pet load! Figured sharing the journey would be a really good way to get input from whoever wants to share it, and hopefully learn something and be pointed in the right(-er) direction than I was before it was shared.

So here's the thread. Follow it, or don't, I'm mostly just chronicling my selection process here.

Rifle information:
  • Rifle-- Springfield M1A-NM
  • Barrel-- Springfield 22" NM Stainless
  • Twist-- 1:11" RH 6-groove
  • Optic-- Millett DMS, 1-4x24mm (ARMS #18 mount, ARMS #22L rings)
The rifle wears walnut and irons for most of the year, but the scope goes on for hunting season, along with a beater stock. As most of you know, iron sights suck in low light.


Load Application:
  • Hunting game such as deer, boar, and alligator (yep GI5) at ranges from approximately 0-350yds.
  • I've chosen to hunt with my M1A because (a) it's semi-automatic which affords rapid follow-ups if necessary, (b) I have the 5rd mags required by law for hunting with, and (c) what better way to get intimately familiar with a rifle than to take it into the field?

Performance Criteria:
  • Execute supersonic flight to at least double my maximum anticipated range (to ensure sufficient velocity upon arrival at target). So, supersonic to at least 700yds. This should be easy to satisfy, but I have to set the bar somewhere, so there it is.
  • Penetration to vitals and delivery of sufficient terminal energy. (I expect this to be pretty much necessary for potentially dangerous prey such as boar and gators.)
  • Expansion needs to NOT be explosive, as is common with varmint-oriented bullets. Probably not many of those to be found in this caliber, but nonetheless I want to stay away from rapid expansion. Moderate, controlled expansion is what I want. (That's correct, right? Feel free to educate me!)
  • Ballistic coefficients will be considered, but I do not expect to be seriously prioritizing BC's since I'm only planning to hunt out to 350yds. Wind calls, if necessary at all, will be slight. take a backseat to sectional density.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I started this mess with just a list of ammo manufacturers to investigate:
- Barnes
- Berger
- Federal
- Hornady
- Lapua
- Nosler
- Remington
- Sierra
- Silver State Armory
- Speer
- Swift
- Winchester

I went through each one's product lineup and charted out every single %$&@ing offering they had in Microsoft Excel. Not a lot of pure free time, so it took quite some time to complete, but I finally finished just the other day. Now comes the task of sorting through it and eliminating options, all the way down to one chosen projectile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It is my understanding that 1:10 twist for a 308 can handle bullets from 165-220gr. I have a Savage 10FCP in 308, with 1:10 twist, and it really likes the heavier bullets.
It is also my understanding that the M14/M1A is a very picky rifle and that there is a rather narrow range of components, where you need to stay inside this small window in order for the rifle to function properly.
(I do NOT know what those parameters are, but that's what I keep hearing.)

I know the Sierra 168 MatchKings are very popular around here, and I've heard praise for the Nosler 155gr Custom Competition and Berger 155gr Match Hybrid Target bullets. But I'm looking for a hunting round.

With this in mind, and knowing that most of what I've shot through my M1A is in the 147-168gr range, I've decided to start my search in this 150-170 window and then possibly work up in bullet weights until an optimized configuration is discovered. Obviously the 160's will have better sectional density than the 150's, but the difference is slight, so I'll just start my search at 150gr.

In my own research, I've had to resist the natural urge to look for the flattest-shooting, highest-BC bullet. Those bullets are usually made for match competition, not hunting. Anything that didn't expand much, got scratched right away.

...So I've got this enormous chart with bullets and their details... after much sort-eliminate-repeat, I've arrived at three stand-out options (all have S.D.=0.253):
  • Barnes 168gr Tac-TX BT (BC= .470)
  • Berger 168gr Classic Hunting (BC= .496)
  • Nosler 168gr Ballistic Tip Hunting Spitzer (BC= .490)
Between these three, I like the Barnes most. It has the lower BC, but seems to me like it's the most versatile of the three by a fair margin.

It's totally possible that there's a different one out there that I've skipped, though. Lemme know if you've got any pointers on a non-listed option and I'll put it back on the table for mulling over and whatnot.

What are your thoughts on my decision processing so far?

(Thanks for coming along for the trip, I know there are people here who know a ton, and enjoy helping others. I'm looking forward to getting something figured out and worked up.)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,039 Posts
What rifle are we setting up for hunting again? the M1a with its 1/11 barrel or a Savage with its 1/10 barrel? What works best in one the other surely will not!

Ahhh, so you lost me........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Working on a load for my M1A, sorry for any confusion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,686 Posts
i say Nolser ballistictip, 165's. there cheaper than Bergers and Barnes.

i mostly hunt with a bolt action .30/06 or a Mosin Nagant and use factory ammo with partitions or fail safe bullets because i may only shoot hunting ammo 10 shots a year or so and that does not break the bank. all of my reloading time goes to match ammo, i cant afford to buy that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I lost my original Excel file with the sorting process. Probably on a thumb drive somewhere. But felt like giving the process a 2nd go and seeing what happened.

I added another criteria to my chart, though: a column for BC/SD - Ballistic Coefficient divided by Sectional Density. This dimension was added to account for bullet design. Since SD is just a function of bullet weight, the higher BC/SD values indicate that "this bullet has a high/low BC for its weight." I thought it would give valuable insight into the elimination process.

So, I took this huge list of 110 prospective bullets - tabulated with BC, SD, BC/SD, and suitability for: target shooting (0-600yds), varmints, coyote, boar, deer, elk, ram, bear, moose, bison, combat, and light/medium armor piercing. The idea is to get one bullet that can be used in target competition, but which also performs well "in the field." Combat and AP aren't huge considerations, but I threw them into the mix to see what would happen.

Sorted by bullet weight, and eliminated everything below 165gr, as well as everything 180gr and above. It seems that the M1A/M14 is better suited for bullets within the 165-180gr range. (I could be wrong, but that's my understanding.) That cut out a lot of the field, leaving 39 options.

Sorted by BC, and eliminated everything below 0.450, because I felt like it. This left 26 options.

Sifted through them and eliminated the options which were only good for target shooting. 11 options left.

Back to the BC/SD consideration, I saw that the values for every remaining option were between 1.8-2.0 (actually, 1.826-1.988). I eliminated the ones below 1.9, and that left 7 remaining.

Somehow the 175gr Sierra MatchKing was still on the list. Impressive BC of 0.505, but according to Sierra's specs, it'd be more like 0.496 in the velocities I'll be working with. Adjust, and BC/SD<1.9, so eliminate the 175 SMK.

Of the 6 remaining, 4 are 168's, one is a 165, and there is a Barnes 175gr LRX hunting round. It has BC=0.508 which makes me smile, but 168gr is a very well-established weight for the M14 and so that makes me want to eliminate it. It has a (relatively) low BC/SD value anyways (1.924). So, whatever. It's getting pulled off the table. The 165 as well, for the same reasons. Four left.

Three have polymer tips, one is a hollowpoint. Eliminating the hollowpoint. Three left.

The remaining 3 options are:
[BC=.490] Nosler 165gr Ballistic Tip Hunting (Greentip)
[BC=.490] Nosler 165gr Ballistic Tip Hunting (Silvertip) (Not sure what the difference is - if any - but it's still in the running.)
[BC=.503] Nosler 168gr E-Tip

Anybody have testimony to offer for these rounds? Are the first two basically identical (am I looking at 3 options, or 2)? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks guys! GI5
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,686 Posts
http://m14forum.com/rammac/154098-165gr-ballistic-tip-tac.html

these were green tip, i did not know there was a silver tip. also, TAC takes less a powder charge than 4064 so i would make 41gr my start load, maybe 40.5gr. accuracy was not great with that load but i could hunt with it. i shifted gears to match ammo for the time being, but i will follow this thread for tips.

i wish Ohio allowed rifle hunting for deer then i'd be able to say whether its a good bullet or not for game. i have not been elk hunting out west since i got into match shooting... i think i just figured out why i have not been out west in a couple years!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,135 Posts
Have you looked at the Sierra 165gr hpbt? I was looking for 165gr spbt and the store owner said that the hpbt was tougher than the spbt. The hollow point looks just like the 168gr SMK except for what looks like crimps to control expansion. I loaded some for a friend's 30-06 and was getting about 1-1-1/2" groups at 100yds. Not to impressive but with my bad eyes I thought it was OK.
Bob
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top