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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Started for discussion purposes only and for use in the M14 type rifle. We are not talking bench rest rifles in this thread please.
The question continues to be raised as to which powder is consider to be " best" for our favorite rifle's menu. Having tried many different brands, I have come to the conclusion that within a broad range of burn rates , there are many that are more than acceptable for personal use. Haven't really found any one more " accurate " than any other. I realize I only shoot when the ambient temperature is between 20 degF and 95 degF so within that 75 deg range every thing I try seems to be effective after ladder tests have been completed.
During 10 dot test targeting I have had no trouble cleaning a 10-10 using BL-C 2, 4064, 4350, 4895, 8208, N-135, RE -15 and Varget pushing bullets from 110 gr to 175 gr.

Finished up my tests using 100 rnds of each RE-15, N 135 and IMR-8208 XBR this past week. Maybe the fact that I only shoot out to 300 yds is a handicap that should be taken into consideration, but for my purposes I have decided that powders make very little difference overall. Sub moa in my test M14 rifle is sub moa consistently over all choices.

In conversations with some that swear by one particular propellant over another, when the question is asked, what others have you tried, the answer is almost always the same.
Joe Schmo said this or that was the best so I bought some and haven't really tried anything else. Or when so and so googled "best powder for the M14" this one came up so it must be the best if the internet says so. Geesh! Another good question is " how many rounds using this wonderful powder have you put down range" ? Funny some of the answers received. Most of the time it is not enough to make any conclusion at all. Most prolific answer has been 41.5 gr of IMR 4895 and everyone knows it. Really?

So the final brain fart is, " dance with the one that brung ya and be happy you can dance at all".
 

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Over the past decade, I've seen enough market fluctuation that I've tired to build a portfolio of different loads. I've had great luck with H4895 in the M14s and use it behind the 125 TNT, 150 SMK, and the 168 SMK and have used these loads in a few of my rifles and fired countless matches. Others have not had any luck. It's all a fun hobby.

I've had decent luck with Benchmark behind the 150 SST, although, it has been a few years since I've loaded any of it.

Lately, most of my load workups have been with the mouse gun. I fell into RE15 being the goto powder and after a few years have found it to be very temp sensitive. (My Findings, not absolute). Shooting Michigan Matches, I have fired in everything from single digits to near triple digits. With that in mind, I've been experimenting with powders that supposedly more stable. We shall see as the continuous test goes on...
 

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IMHO 4350 is too slow under just about any circumstance. It's my go to powder for .30-06 and 275 Rigby bolt gun loads.
Other than that, a lot depends on the bullet weight and how hot you're loading.
+1 that RL15 is probably as good as it gets.
ymmv
 

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Morning Art,

My application parameters have a slightly different focus but all based on IMR 4064. I only worked with 2 powders to keep it simple. IMR 4064 and IMR 3031. The 4064 won.

First priority is a extremely accurate load for my 308 R700 bolt rifle. I’ve spent considerable time developing this and the major ingredients are 168 gr BTHP pills over IMR 4064 ignited by CCI primers. I’ve set the OACL for max to suit the rifle.

Second priority is my semi M1A. I’ve developed a load using the same basic ingredients but changed the OACL (2.810”) and charge weight of IMR 4064 to get a very decent but probably not optimized accuracy on the semi rifle.

My thinking is that I can use the same raw materials for both rifles. Of course the brass needs to be treated differently depending on what rifle I designate it for.

If I need hits at over 300 yards then I can go to the bolt gun. If I can’t easily get to the bolt gun I can scatter hits with the M1A out to 600 yards based more on my abilities than the rifles.

The negative aspect of this strategy is when I can’t get the specific raw materials and I have to substitute I need to develop new recipes. Given what may be coming down the road I will proactively begin looking at a plan B, C and unfortunately D.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input gentlemen. This is exactly the sort of first hand knowledge that needs to be shared among friends here on the forum. Probably not of any interest to most members, but to those of us that load, it is invaluable.
 

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Most prolific answer has been 41.5 gr of IMR 4895 and everyone knows it. Really?
There are a number of tried and true recipes, that's one of them. As JMM mentioned, not every generic load is particularly 'optimized' for your particular rifle... and that would be my case... I'm loading for a Socom16, but that load, for example, will get you 90% there no matter what you are shooting... the rest is up to you. IMR4064 is probably a very good choice for 168's and 175's in a standard 22" barrel, but not so much in my 16" barrel... which is why I've discounted it. It is, however, my powder of choice in my .308 Savage bolt gun... with a 24" barrel.
 
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One of the handiest tools that I have used beginning in 2019 was the ShotMarker. Whereas the velocity value given at the target isn't a gold standard (seems to be subject to wind), it can show you trends over temp changes and if you have a flier, it makes it harder to blame to the ammo and not the nut behind the trigger. The problem I have with the traditional chrono is taking the time to set it up. I must be the laziest man alive. Problem solved with the shotmarker as I can shift positions and no changes need to be made.
 

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My view is that several criteria are involved -
1) the maximum target distance concerned - low ES MV is needed for true 'long range'.
2) temperature sensitivity if weather conditions demand concern
3) appropriate burn rate demanded by bullet weight and MV
4) high % of case fill - to give consistent ignition and MV

I like 4064, but for best results, each charge needs to be weighed. For short and medium distance, thrown charges are OK.
 

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Art,
I agree with you on the your powder selection. I would find my favorite being any one of Them in a 8lb caddy or better yet in an 8lb case for FREE. FREE is the BEST CHOICE.
Pfc out
PS Art you would be hard Pressed to find ANYONE disagreeing with me
 

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I've tested and proven good loads with 4064, 3031, and H4895.
I've got a few others to prove yet in the M1A, re15 is among them.
 

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Timely and thanks for posting. Been thinking to I need to at least get an 8 pound jug first chance I get and have not shot anything but Varget so was wondering what would be a good choice provided I found any available.
 

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there are a lot of "good" powders - but some have characteristics that make them better or worse from a gun standpoint. I have not used the reloader series in the M1A, except in 6.5 Creedmore. I had RL 15 on hand in qty and used it for 100 gr loads. Way more accurate than I am. Reloader 16 is the choice at both Federal and Hornady for the 130 -140 gr bullets. Got this right from the sources at the company that I know personally in the ammo loads worlds there. I would imagine that they would work well in 308 as well for comparable loads. The burn rate is a big deal - to create good pressure curves. the Reloader series as I have been told, seems to burn cooler, and gives higher velocity with less barrel wear than some contemporary powders. RL 17 would probably be a good choice in 150-175 gr bullets.

I found that BLC-2 gave me the best accuracy in 165 Gr bullets in 308, but those were in bolt guns and an Armalite AR-10. That is what I use for hunting and fancy shooting
I use WC 844 or 846 for MG ammo, fired in M60s, 1919s and M240s. The pressure curve is closest to USGI ammo with 147Gr FMJ. I got like 32 lb, of surplus powder - mixed it in a big bucket and then filled the jugs just to make it more uniform before working up loads.
I am currently doing arun of 7.62 but am out of WC, so I am using up a lot of H414 canister powder I had picked up cheap. worked up loads to as close to USGI velocity spec and it runs the guns just fine.
 

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Wandered off into the weeds recently based upon the lack of components and have been working with cast bullets in a Scout. Have found that for 100-200 yds that shotgun powders will work well for 150-165 grain cast bullets at less than 2100 fps. i.e. Red dot, Green dot, W231, HP-38, 2400, etc. This is still a work in progress but figure if everything drys up, I can roll my own this way. If you are interested in this, visit the Cast Boolits forum but plan on spending hours there as there is a world o information there.
 

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My experience has been finding accuracy nodes for any powder (from 3031 to Varget) with the 4 main weights of bullets (125,150-155, 168, 175).
I could write a book about what my 4 nodes( pertaining to the weight of bullet) are for about 10 or more powders. Anyone can do it.
I agree with Art, all or most powders, within the burn range, will work swimmingly.
Now, the powders I’ve found that shoot all the weights well, 3031, i4895 and V135. With 8208 in there somewhere. My personal favorites, 3031 and V135.
 

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Competing with the M1A I started with the "Classic" 41.5 gr IMR 4895 under a 168 SMK, then moved on to AA2520, then Varget. All gave great accuracy and my leg points came with the 2520.
My belief is that as long as what you do is consistent, detailed, and drive that 168SMK at 2600 fps you will do just fine.

Art, the sight cover looks great on my N.M. Garand!!
 

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I would be curious to know what your load data is using the IMR 8280xbr. I have a buch of IMR 4895 IMR8280xbr and IMR4064. I typically use the 4064 for the garand, the 4895 for the 14 and 8280xbr for the 15
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I would be curious to know what your load data is using the IMR 8280xbr. I have a buch of IMR 4895 IMR8280xbr and IMR4064. I typically use the 4064 for the garand, the 4895 for the 14 and 8280xbr for the 15
I have been loading a bunch of LC M118 LR cases with 150 gn Berger fb target bullets over 41.5 gn of IMR-8208 XBR and ignited with 210M primers recently for my precision M14s. Runs in the neighborhood of 2650fps. Does a decent job for my uses. Target was shot this month with that load. All my test are with 10 rnd groups at 100 yds , cold clean bore.

150 Berger.jpg
 
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