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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody. I just bought a brand new Springfield Armory M1A Standard.
I have been a Reloader for quite a while. And I have been doing a lot of reading on Hand loading ammo for the M1A. And I am seeing a lot of people saying don't use Varget Powder in the M1A because it can damage the Operating rod. I have some 308 ammo I loaded with 41 grains of Varget CCI Large rifle primer and Hornady 150 gr FMJ-BT. Now I checked my Hornady handbook 7th and 9th edition and this load is not anywhere near the max it is just past the starting load they list. Also in the Hornady handbook in there Service Rifle data for the M1A this has its own page separate from the regular 308 data it lists Varget for there 168 HPBT bullets. And it says in there text ""We have had good results using VARGET"" Does anyone think I will have any problems using this ammo in my Standard M1A since it is loaded with Varget? I would like some information from anybody who reloads for a M1A.
Thank you very much for any help.
 

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You will be fine with Varget as long as you don't try to hot rod your ammo. For comparison I use powder slower than Varget in my M1As.
 

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I never used Verget, but if you're within min/max load range, you should be fine. I use Accurate 2520 in my M1-A. Meters great and burns close to 4895.
 

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I never used Verget, but if you're within min/max load range, you should be fine.
Almost what Nez is saying is that if you use Varget stay inside of midrange velocitys. Hot Rod loads using slower powders are a Big No.

Varget is slower than IMR-4064, how much slower we don't know could be a little could be alot only that its slower.

I also use powders that are slower without issues the trick is too ballance the load and bullet weight and bearing lenth and don't try and drive them to hyper speeds.
 

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2 know it all M14 shooters I know thought they could use Varget in their M14 rifles .Both bent OP rods and now they are using 4064. Like Forrest Gump says "stupid is as stupid does" Varget is too slow for the M14
 
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2 know it all M14 shooters I know thought they could use Varget in their M14 rifles .Both bent OP rods and now they are using 4064. Like Forrest Gump says "stupid is as stupid does" Varget is too slow for the M14
This is where I am confused. If anyone here has a Hornady reloading book go to page 421 and look at the 308 Winchester Service Rifle section. This load data Hornady has on this page is ONLY for the M1A. and for the 155 gr A-MAX bullet they list Varget starting 37.6 43.2 max They also list it for there 168 grain 178gr bullets. Now why does Hornady list the Varget powder in there service rifle data which is only for the M1A if it will damage the Operating rod?
I don't understand why they list this powder if it could hurt the Rifle?
 

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My impression is that it is OK to use in moderation. There are other better powders out there for sure. I have reloaded some with Varget and I got OK results with it. You really should chrono your loads and watch the brass for excess pressure signs. You will see flatened primers before you see high velocity with Varget.
If thats what you have to load with though, go for it. Just dont try to go over max load.
Ken
 

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This is where I am confused. If anyone here has a Hornady reloading book go to page 421 and look at the 308 Winchester Service Rifle section. This load data Hornady has on this page is ONLY for the M1A. and for the 155 gr A-MAX bullet they list Varget starting 37.6 43.2 max They also list it for there 168 grain 178gr bullets. Now why does Hornady list the Varget powder in there service rifle data which is only for the M1A if it will damage the Operating rod?
I don't understand why they list this powder if it could hurt the Rifle?
Because people put misleading things on the Internet all the time . If I had a dollar for every misleading overload in the manuals out there I would be rich. Talk to any experienced M14 shooter and reloader and they will tell you Varget is too slow and will ruin your rifle . Earlier 175 grain long range match ammo was loaded about 10 years ago with RE-15 . Then in the sandbox they found out the pressure spike was way too high in 120 degree heat and the folks went over to 4064. One Marine sniper lost his eye due to the excessive pressure with RE-15 ( using an M 40) plus a few rifles wrecked. If stubborn people want to continue to use Varget with all the good information out there well stupid is as stupid does.
 

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I use a lot of varget. Some great results.

Have I broken any of my rifles? No, but After about 15 years of potent loads, I did bend one op rod. It may have been a re-weld. I forget.

So, there you go ...
 

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I've only had success with that powder in my 223 match loads. I tried it in a 308 bolt gun and didn't like the results. Now that gun uses Reloader 15.

For my M1A standard, I;m using WC846 I bought in bulk a few years back. works great. I'm not going to use a expensive powder in a standard rack grade. I'll save it for the match guns.
 

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2 know it all M14 shooters I know thought they could use Varget in their M14 rifles .Both bent OP rods and now they are using 4064. Like Forrest Gump says "stupid is as stupid does" Varget is too slow for the M14
I think you could not be more incorrect in your position regarding Varget damaging oprods. I have reloaded and shot Varget in about every type of semiauto 308 rifle made from simple Saiga 308, Remington 7400, FAL, PTR, several 308 AR platform rifles, Remington 700 PSS since it came out. I have yet to find a better all around powder regardless of the bullet weight in 308 caliber for me. If you review a powder burn rate chart http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html you will see Varget is right in the mix with the other powders commonly accepted for M1A's and M1's. I am not arguing Varget is the most accurate powder in all rifles but that it is consistently accurate in a wide variety of rifles. When used as per manuals specs you are not going to damage your semiauto-oprod or bolt action no matter what some armchair gump tries to tell us.
 

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4895 or 4064, that's all you use... It's a question of gas expansion and timing, it's tied into the force that the bolt goes back with against the spring pressure trying to push the bolt forward.... Sorta complicated formula.... Save the gun, use 4895 or 4064....
 

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4895 or 4064, that's all you use... It's a question of gas expansion and timing, it's tied into the force that the bolt goes back with against the spring pressure trying to push the bolt forward.... Sorta complicated formula.... Save the gun, use 4895 or 4064....
Correct ! ;Smart man....
 

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A lot of M14 match shooters use varget with good results.
However, their rifles are set up to run the slower powders and heavier bullets.
Most use an over bored gas plug with a vent and heavier op rod springs.
 

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I was building up loads with TAC, similar to Varget in the burn timing. I gave it up after Gus Fisher, RAMMAC, and a local person (as well as much research on my part) finally got the relationship between the powder pressure/time vs. the rifle timing into my head enough to fully understand the relationship of why it causes problems in this design.

It shot my loads, some were ok in accuracy, but the timing of the peak pressure with a fairly slow powder in addition to the timing of the rifle itself is what causes the issues if I understand it correctly.

However run an adjustable gas plug and you can fix the timing of the rifle stress to match the pressure spike issues.

Take it for what it is worth, but if guys like RAMMAC and Mr. Fisher tell me no, you bet your butt I will listen. They have both forgotten more than I have ever learned.
 

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Like any other powder, Varget can be a good powder for your rifle, and then again it can be bad; it all depends on how you load your ammo, the conditions the ammo will be fired under, and the condition of your rifle. But compared to IMR 4064 it will wear the rifle more.

Varget and IMR 4064 are very similar in many respects but there are some important differences that are difficult to recognize without examining the technical information about how the powder burns. The bottom line is that Varget burns with a very constant rate until it reaches max pressure while 4064's burn rate increases slightly until it reaches it's max value. Both powders burn about the same after max pressure has been reached. This results in pressure timing differences (the time/pressure curves are different) with Varget reaching max pressure just slightly sooner than 4064. How these powders burn (vivacity) and the pressures that they create are a factor of the powder itself and how the cartridge is built (usable volume after seating the bullet, crimping, etc) and the environmental conditions.

Varget's Characteristics. The graph shows the energy that the powder burns with, the blue section represents when the powder is increasing in it's burn energy and the green line represents when the burn energy is decreasing.


IMR 4064's Characteristics. The graph shows the energy that the powder burns with, the blue section represents when the powder is increasing in it's burn energy and the green line represents when the burn energy is decreasing.


Given the same amount of powder, 4064 will produce just slightly faster muzzle velocities. You would need a few tenths more (around a half a grain) of Varget to produce the same muzzle velocity as 4064. But Varget will burn slightly cooler than 4064, the advantage being that you can push hotter loads with Varget without producing as much throat erosion. Also, you can pack more Varget in a case than IMR 4064, Varget doesn't take up as much volume per grain (higher bulk density). Varget also produces slightly less pressure during it's entire burn time, that includes at the gas port.

I know that people will call BS on that last remark because they will say that they have seen rifles damaged by what looks like higher pressures; but I think that they are misinterpreting what they are seeing. Nobody can look at a catastrophic failure of a rifle and claim to know exactly what happened, it requires lab testing to find out what really happened, and even then there is some degree of guessing. My opinion is that while Varget doesn't produce pressures that are as high as 4064, how it produces it's max pressure is the important point.

Most people assume that pressure is the force that will damage a rifle, but in reality it's usually not the pressure, it's the forces created by the pressure that normally causes damage to the rifle. The moving parts of the rifle are given momentum through the force produced by the pressure of the hot gasses that the burning powder produces. While Varget produces a slightly lower max pressure than 4064, it stays there for a slightly longer time and it gets there sooner. So the real difference between the two powders is how the peak pressures occur. Since Varget gets to max pressure quicker it pushes the rifle parts up to speed quicker which has the effect of "pounding" the parts as compared to how 4064 builds momentum in the parts. What makes Varget attractive is that you can match the military's M852 National Match speeds with slightly lower pressures than 4064. But when you are using bullets of 168 grains or higher, that pounding effect will become more of a problem. Greater mass will create greater momentum and that creates greater forces that the parts have to deal with, eventually you will exceed the metal's strength and something will break.

Personally, I think that Varget will work reasonably well pushing 147 - 155 grain bullets up to military speeds (about 2780 fps at the muzzle which would be equivalent to something like the M80 ball ammo). But for bullets that weigh 168 grains or more I'd prefer to limit Varget to a charge weight that produces no more than about 2550 fps (in the M1A rifles). As I've said, I think that the problem is that with the increased mass of the heavier bullets there will be greater stress on the parts than with 4064.
 

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This is where I am confused. If anyone here has a Hornady reloading book go to page 421 and look at the 308 Winchester Service Rifle section. This load data Hornady has on this page is ONLY for the M1A. and for the 155 gr A-MAX bullet they list Varget starting 37.6 43.2 max They also list it for there 168 grain 178gr bullets. Now why does Hornady list the Varget powder in there service rifle data which is only for the M1A if it will damage the Operating rod?
I don't understand why they list this powder if it could hurt the Rifle?

Hornady does list this powder in the M1A specific loads, but they are all mild(er) loads.
 

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I was building up loads with TAC, similar to Varget in the burn timing. I gave it up after Gus Fisher, RAMMAC, and a local person (as well as much research on my part) finally got the relationship between the powder pressure/time vs. the rifle timing into my head enough to fully understand the relationship of why it causes problems in this design.

It shot my loads, some were ok in accuracy, but the timing of the peak pressure with a fairly slow powder in addition to the timing of the rifle itself is what causes the issues if I understand it correctly.

However run an adjustable gas plug and you can fix the timing of the rifle stress to match the pressure spike issues.

Take it for what it is worth, but if guys like RAMMAC and Mr. Fisher tell me no, you bet your butt I will listen. They have both forgotten more than I have ever learned.
The line was drawn in the sand at 4064 by knowledgeable people ;and lessons learned by the military and others from experience.With 4064 you can duplicate the military long range match load (after all thats what they use ) or Federal Gold metal match (again 4064) I have fired hundreds of rounds in a day with this powder and it is super clean.Also 4064 does not experience pressure spikes in extreme hot weather as RE-15 or Varget does.I have used my M14 in minus 40 below with 4064 and it is as accurate and reliable as 120 F .And it is magnificently accurate and safe in the M14 system.I just cannot understand why an intellegent person would risk harming their rifle with a "borderline"powder in an M14
 

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Like any other powder, Varget can be a good powder for your rifle, and then again it can be bad; it all depends on how you load your ammo, the conditions the ammo will be fired under, and the condition of your rifle. But compared to IMR 4064 it will wear the rifle more.

Varget and IMR 4064 are very similar in many respects but there are some important differences that are difficult to recognize without examining the technical information about how the powder burns. The bottom line is that Varget burns with a very constant rate until it reaches max pressure while 4064's burn rate increases slightly until it reaches it's max value. Both powders burn about the same after max pressure has been reached. This results in pressure timing differences (the time/pressure curves are different) with Varget reaching max pressure just slightly sooner than 4064. How these powders burn (vivacity) and the pressures that they create are a factor of the powder itself and how the cartridge is built (usable volume after seating the bullet, crimping, etc) and the environmental conditions.
Most people assume that pressure is the force that will damage a rifle, but in reality it's usually not the pressure, it's the forces created by the pressure that normally causes damage to the rifle. The moving parts of the rifle are given momentum through the force produced by the pressure of the hot gasses that the burning powder produces. While Varget produces a slightly lower max pressure than 4064, it stays there for a slightly longer time and it gets there sooner. So the real difference between the two powders is how the peak pressures occur. Since Varget gets to max pressure quicker it pushes the rifle parts up to speed quicker which has the effect of "pounding" the parts as compared to how 4064 builds momentum in the parts. What makes Varget attractive is that you can match the military's M852 National Match speeds with slightly lower pressures than 4064. But when you are using bullets of 168 grains or higher, that pounding effect will become more of a problem. Greater mass will create greater momentum and that creates greater forces that the parts have to deal with, eventually you will exceed the metal's strength and something will break.

Personally, I think that Varget will work reasonably well pushing 147 - 155 grain bullets up to military speeds (about 2780 fps at the muzzle which would be equivalent to something like the M80 ball ammo). But for bullets that weigh 168 grains or more I'd prefer to limit Varget to a charge weight that produces no more than about 2550 fps (in the M1A rifles). As I've said, I think that the problem is that with the increased mass of the heavier bullets there will be greater stress on the parts than with 4064.
RAMMAC - thank you for the analysis. Your data supports the case for the safe use of Varget and many other midrange burn rate powders in reloading for the M14/M1A with M80 weight bullets. Because of the limitations associated with the M14/M1A rifle actions reloading 7.62x51 NATO ammunition with heavier M118 weight bullets requires special attention regardless of the powder used in the reloading process. The use of the heavier M118 bullets is at the niche end of the designed mission of the M14/M1A rifle. The rifle/cartridge was developed to shoot M80 ball weight 150 gr. and 147 gr. bullets in combat not for long range competition shooting. A blanket statement that using Varget in the M14/M1A will blow your rifle up is not accurate unless you are indiscriminate reloader who doesn't bother to review the issues associated with reloading ammunition for the M14/M1A action type rifles. Any powder / bullet combination can cause problems if the guidelines for the rifle are not followed.
 
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