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Tony,
I only shoot for group during initial load development. This is after using the chrono to get to the speeds I know work best across two different rifles I use. After then shooting for groups, I then confirm it is a good load on match day. Usually works out well.

What I have found:
  • 168-175SMK/NOS needs about ~2600-2640fps for best accuracy in my rifles. Oddly (or maybe not so), I settled on 42.2 grns of 4064 for the 175 bullets, and this is what I later read that a long time service shooter and M14 smith Derrick Martin recommended.
  • 185 Berger LRBT needs 2525-2550fps

I also use "ontarget" freeware for group assessment, which makes it quick and easy. I just snap a picture of my group with my camera and later download it to the computer and the software helps me pick out the best group. I pay most attention to mean radius or average distance from center. I shot 10 shoot groups prone with irons.

My last 10 shot group was just under 1 MOA (3") at 300 yds with prone and irons (I have pic RNGR1)
That was it.
600-1000yd load development done.
Tested and confirmed by great match scores.
It was with the berger 185. Since that time, I have used it steadily in my rifles and have no reason to switch and try anything new.

In conclusion, I would recommend researching some standard loads (IE: 168 SMK with 41.5 ect..) and not waste too much time or barrel life reinventing the wheel. There are some standard loads out there that shoot great in many different M14s. I feel the newest spoke to this wheel of standard loads is the 185 Berger at a sensible speed. Get your load refined if needed, accept a 1.25-1.5MOA 10 shot group and shoot matches. There is not much that improves your accuracy more than match shooting.

Best,

JW
 

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Tony,

In addition to what I said above, When you start shooting at 900-1000yds, that is when you need the best rifle you can afford and the best load possible.

At 200, 300 and even 600yds a 1.25-1.5 MOA rifle will yield a good shooter decent scores. When you drop back to 800yds, it actually gets a little easier. The target is the same as the 1000yd target but you are 200yds closer. It is fairly forgiving at that distance.

At 900 yds shooting gets noticeably harder, and at 1000yds sometimes you are wondering "what the heXX?" At these distances it is best that you have a rifle that is in the 1.0-1.25MOA range. .75MOA, or less, would be better, but I have not seen one of those models that shoot 10 shot groups that small.

In our quest to achieve the utmost, we often fail to accept (or think of) improving the biggest factor - the shooter.

A .5MOA rifle with a 5 MOA hold is all over the place.

A 1.5MOA rifle with a .5MOA hold shoots a damn fine score...
 
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