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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a good starting load using IMR3031 under the Nosler 168 HPBT and LC brass for my Socom16. I can't really find a definitive answer out of 6 different sources, one that I would trust. Most of the load info I see is obviously for bolt rifles... they are pushing 2700fps. I don't think I'll be getting that out of the 16" barrel... at least not more than once! dance2
 

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Start with 37.0 for easy light accurate load. I am shooting 40.0 with the 150/155 SMKs. The 150/155s are coming out at 2650 in my double lug gun with 22 inch barrel.
 

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This may not be the answer you are looking for, but for an example, there is a limited set of numbers for imr 8208 xbr. They only give you a max load. I deducted 15% from that , as is the precedent for using military brass. I went to the middle of this and the max for a start for my application. Turned out to be a mild recoil with good grouping results
 

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It would not occur to me to shoot a powder that fast with a bullet that heavy in an M1A.GI3
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It would not occur to me to shoot a powder that fast with a bullet that heavy in an M1A.GI3
...out of a barrel that short? I suppose it will either be pure genius or pure crap, but I'm willing to give it 10 rounds worth. GI6
 

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Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it won't work in your M1A. It's not the way I would approach a load for one of my gas guns. Using a faster burning powder your more likely to reach high chamber pressures before you achieve reliable functioning. I’ve used 3031 in bolt guns in .308 but with light bullets (under 150 grains) in the past. There are people on this forum who use some very good ballistics software to project the port pressure along with the chamber pressures. It may be interesting to see how 3031 stacks up behind a 168.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The 3 powders I work with are IMRs 4064, 4895 and 3031, until now just under a 150grn FMJ, this is my first venture with the Socom and the 168's. This may be why there is so little data for IMR3031 and the 168's.
 

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168'8

These are Sierras, not sure how the Noslers compare. I have shot out 2, 22" barrels with the 39.5 load. I have heard that was the original load for Fed GM, not sure but my rifles like it.

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 39.5 IMR 3031 2533 200 U12, 300 U4/16, 600 U12/28

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 39.5 IMR 3031 2405 -40 deg.

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 40 IMR 3031 2651

168 HPBTM CCI 200 IVI 91 41 IMR 3031 2779
 

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3031 is a good powder for short barrels. It's what I use for the 17.5" barrel on my .30-'06 Mauser 98 Scout rifle. Haven't tried it in an M14 type but it is reported to be within the safe range of powders for the gas system, at the fast end. Worth a try.

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 39.5 IMR 3031 2405 -40 deg.
You took chrono readings at -40 degrees F? Props bro. GI8
 

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I am leaning toward IMR 4064. It has been used for MANY years by the "Old Timers" for 30-06 and .308 reloads.
 

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I am leaning toward IMR 4064. It has been used for MANY years by the "Old Timers" for 30-06 and .308 reloads.
For what barrel length? 4064 is at the very slow end of burn rates for the M14 gas system. The rule of thumb is use faster powders for shorter barrels... For charges of different powders that give the same chamber pressure, you want as much of the powder as possible to burn in the barrel to give the highest MV. If you use 4064 in a SOCOM 16" barrel (OP's question) you will be blowing a lot of unburned powder out of the muzzle, and not getting the best velocites you can from a short barrel.
 

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These are Sierras, not sure how the Noslers compare. I have shot out 2, 22" barrels with the 39.5 load. I have heard that was the original load for Fed GM, not sure but my rifles like it.

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 39.5 IMR 3031 2533 200 U12, 300 U4/16, 600 U12/28

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 39.5 IMR 3031 2405 -40 deg.

168 HPBTM CCI 200 LC 89 40 IMR 3031 2651

168 HPBTM CCI 200 IVI 91 41 IMR 3031 2779
after reading this post I went out and got a pound of 3031. Also picked up 200 pieces of brand new winchester brass. Will load some and test in my poly. Im thinking starting with 38grains then working up to 40 grains behind 168 gr SMK's
 

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after reading this post I went out and got a pound of 3031. Also picked up 200 pieces of brand new winchester brass. Will load some and test in my poly. Im thinking starting with 38grains then working up to 40 grains behind 168 gr SMK's
Make sure you check your dimensions on that Win. brass. I picked up some a few weeks back and the guy who sold it to me said all I would have to do is run the expander ball through. I did, but then I thought I should check some numbers. Most head spaced at 1.628, but some were in between 1.630 and 1.632. My socom is H.S at 1.631. Trim length was inconsistent, 2.002-2.010.Good lesson learned.
 

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I tried this exact combo in my 22in M1A barrel. I can't find my data but I believe I used data from Hornady and their 168BTHP. I only fired 5 rounds. Group was good but the recoil didn't feel right. It just felt really sharp and quick, I shot the remainder in a bolt that loved it. In a 16" barrel it may be perfect let us know what you find!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I tried this exact combo in my 22in M1A barrel. I can't find my data but I believe I used data from Hornady and their 168BTHP. I only fired 5 rounds. Group was good but the recoil didn't feel right. It just felt really sharp and quick, I shot the remainder in a bolt that loved it. In a 16" barrel it may be perfect let us know what you find!
The Hornady Service Rifle data is the first place I go to, they do not have data for IMR3031 and I figure if they don't have it, there must be a reason.

I will try a load of IMR3031, probably around 37-38grn to start, and clock it to see if it's even viable. I will be out in Nevada over Christmas and won't be able to reload so I have to just take what I think will work and go from there. I don't really want to load a bunch of rounds and then turn around and have to pull the bullets, either.

If I can find a box, I'm going to use FGMM 168grn as my barometer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Follow up...

Went out to the range today and fired my handloads over the chrono:

LC brass, CCI #34 under the 168 Nosler HPBT

36.0grn IMR4064, 2080fps avg;

36.0grn IMR4895, 2000fps avg;

37.0grn IMR3031, 2230fps avg.

These were all starting loads but I was not impressed with the velocity, I was impressed with the accuracy. The IMR3031 showed no overpressure signs and the recoil and case ejection was nothing more than the other loads or even the surplus.
 

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My socom likes 3031, works better than anything I've tried. Must be the burn rate.
Not sure where I started but I ended up around 39.5-39.6 in LC brass. Would have to check my notes but it chronos at 2450-2480 with the CC Noslers..

The Speer manual has a 168 grain listing in heavy brass for service gas autos.
 

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I've been working on developing a good 168 gn load for my SOCOM 16 for the past year; yes I said a year. I've had a lot of issues with my SOCOM and as I got more accurate with my ammunition I had to tweak the rifle more and more. I've finally gotten the rifle to the point where I can depend on the groups representing the load and not some mechanical aberration caused by the rifle.

I have tried three powders;
  • IMR 8208 XBR
  • IMR 4064
  • IMR 3031

I have worked with two bullets;
  • Hornady 168 gn A-Max
  • Barnes 168 gn TTSX

Cartridge Overall Length;
  • 2.75" - 2.86"

Cases;
  • Lapua
  • TTL 2.006"
  • Primer pockets uniformed
  • Flash holes uniformed and chamfered

Primer;
  • Winchester Large Rifle

I started out by using the Federal 168 gn Gold Medal Match ammo for a standard to compare against. My groups would vary, on the average, around the 1.25" size plus or minus about a quarter inch at 100 yards from a bench, using sand bags.

So far the two best loads have been with the Hornady A-Max bullet (I intend to find others that are more appropriate for hunting but the A-Max is a good standard for load development) and the IMR 4064 and 3031 powders. The loads were;
IMR 4064
  • 41.8 grains
  • COAL 2.82" (at the bullet tip) & 2.192" (at the ogive)
  • Group sizes are averaging around 1.25"

IMR 3031
  • 40.2 grains
  • COAL same as above (have not tried other seating depths yet)
  • Group sizes are averaging just a hair over 1"

The 4064 load is not at max pressures but going any higher doesn't improve the groups. The 3031 load is right at max pressure. At 40.3 grains I started pushing my primers out and by 40.8 grains the primers were blowing out on almost every round, I put the limit at 40.2 grains even though, according to my QuickLOAD software, the chamber pressure should be at about 49,000 psi. My guess is that the pressure curve for the gases just doesn't work well with the SOCOM barrel length. The muzzle velocities for the 3031 are slightly higher that what 4064 gives me (3031 seems to push the bullets about 50 fps faster) and the chamber pressures seem to be slightly higher with 3031.

I like the fact that 4064 seems to not beat my rifle up as much but I sure wish I could push the muzzle velocities up a bit while keeping the group sizes down. IMR 8208 is my pet powder right now and I might work with it some more now that I have worked the bugs out of the rifle and I have identified a valid, safe powder range for these other powders (this helps guide me when choosing a charge weight).
 
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