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Hi Folks,

I’m just starting in my longer range apprenticeship and am very much at entry level. I have been shooting my Howa 308 at 600 yards regularly and get very good results using SMK 155 (#2155) bullets.

However, I am just starting out with shoots at up to 1000 yards about 3 or 4 times a year and just wonder whether I should explore other bullet choices. Having done research on this and other forums I find my mind a little boggled to be honest.

Anecdotally, I’ve been advised to go for the Sierra 168 TMK bullet to suit my needs which is very informal, just long range plinking really. What would others with similar experience and expectations advise?

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If it is a few times a year and you are just starting out then the 2155 is absolutely fine. Sure there is better but if you are just learning and only doing the occasional LR shoot then it will be fine provided you are pushing it fast enough ie 2900 FPS / probably need a 26”+ barrel. 

The 168 SMK is literally the only choice I wouldn’t recommend for 1k. Yes it can work but there are thousands of pages written on it being sub optimal. If you want to try something else that’s affordable and in regular supply then the 175gr Sierra TMK or SMK is perfectly good enough. Again, there are better of course. 

Spend your time, money and effort on good instruction vs trying to find the optimal bullet would be my 2 cents at this stage of your journey. 

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Thanks TJC, I did wonder if I was being steered down the wrong lane tbh. I think I'll explore some further loads on the 155 first then and get hold of some 175's to play with when I next pick some bullets up.

I have a 24" barrel with a 1 in 10 twist rate. I get about 0.5 - 0.75 moa at 100yards and consistently in the 0.75 to just over 1.0 moa at 300 yards. Not done the maths at 600 but I bet its opening up by then! Usually v Bulls or 5's with the odd 4 though at that range so I have confidence in the 155 bullet and my load which is giving about 2450 fps with low 40's g of N140.

Recognise that ranges outside my comfort zone will require a whole new learning curve so I think I'll build the powder up a bit with my current bullet at first and see how I get on.

Thanks again.

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I believe you can go up to about 43gr N140 with the 155gr and your current 2450 FPS would appear to suggest the same. Your bullet will lose quite a lot of it’s ‘stability’ at 1k at 2450 so if you can get it over 2800 that would be good otherwise you will be going transonic around 800 yards. 2900 might be possible but in a 24” barrel you will have to push it a bit harder / night not be wise if you aren’t an experienced reloader. As a reference, I’m getting 2640 FPS with the 155gr from the NRA RUAG ammo out of a 20” barrel so you have some room to accelerate the load. Mind you, 1 MOA groups at 300 yards is good going.

BTW your 24” 1:10 barrel would be ideal for the 175gr bullets. 

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Thanks again TJC, I’m pretty experienced in reloading but mostly for old milsurp stuff but as I say, on a new curve with this new found interest in going a bit further.

I’ve made up a few rounds across the Vihtavouri data range for 155’s and borrowing a labradar next week to see what data I can generate.

Fascinating stuff all this.

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I use 46grains of RS50 with a 155 SMK (2155) , in an L42 and an AI. Load recommended by Fultons.

It did quite well at 1000 with the L42 recently

 

 

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Thanks Roy, been tempted by RS powders before but I’m one of those folks who tends to put off change! Think I’ll do a little research.

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RS powders, as well as Vit N140, are used exclusively in my .308 target rifle which I regularly use in club comps, this has a 32'' 1-12 twist Border barrel.

To try to keep it S/sonic at 1K I used 46 grains of RS52, and the same amount of Vit N140. The RS52 gets a 155 SMK # 2156 bullet up to around the 3,000 fps mark with this load and it performs very well. 

I have also experimented with Sierra MK 175's using Vit N550 - 43.5 grains. This works very well too, despite the 1:12  twist, and shows no "keyholing" in the target, even out to 1K, so your 1-10 will love the 175's but I think it would benefit from a longer barrel in order to get the speeds up a bit. 

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Thanks ez. It’s encouraging that there seems to be a consensus here that 155g bullets are OK in the right load. I think I had been given a “bum steer” by a couple of self appointed experts who told me that they were hopeless for that sort of range.

I’ve owned the 308 for a few years now but until recently rarely shot it. All I’m doing in honesty, is putting off the inevitable , i.e. buying something else! I have been mightily impressed with the 6.5 creedmore cartridge that others have been using and think I’m tending towards that - maybe next year if I get my bonus!

In the meantime, the load development continues!

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18 hours ago, SMLE said:

Thanks ez. It’s encouraging that there seems to be a consensus here that 155g bullets are OK in the right load. I think I had been given a “bum steer” by a couple of self appointed experts who told me that they were hopeless for that sort of range.

I’ve owned the 308 for a few years now but until recently rarely shot it. All I’m doing in honesty, is putting off the inevitable , i.e. buying something else! I have been mightily impressed with the 6.5 creedmore cartridge that others have been using and think I’m tending towards that - maybe next year if I get my bonus!

In the meantime, the load development continues!

Hi mate.

I know the 155 bullet gets a lot of stick from some quarters, especially at the long distances, but in proper NRA comps at Bisley these are the "issued" rounds (Ruag, GGG). HPS supply competition standard rounds using the 155 grain SMK #2155 too, and nobody can say the top TR shooters don't know what they're doing!! A couple of weeks ago my club (Royal Navy TRC) were shooting "Ruag" 155's out to 1100 yds in a comp and there were some very good scores being put up, despite the bullets being trans-sonic at that distance.

So, there is no doubting that bullet is ok. IMHO I think you may suffer slightly from a quite short barrel length - though thats just my opinion and will always stand to be corrected if needs be.

As for the 6.5 Creed, I got one about a year ago and is proving to be a very good cartridge indeed.

All the best.

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I've had some good scores at 1000yds with 2155's using RS52 powder, Palma brass & KVB-223M primers. MV's are around 3050fps.

Pete

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If you’re looking at 155 bullets, try the new Sierra Palma 155 grain #2156. It is so much better than the earlier model, which had size problems. 

The early 2156 was also jump sensitive but this new one, for some reason I haven’t fathomed out, is very easy to tune.

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Thanks for all the help folks. I’ve made up a range of rounds using my stock of 2155’s and off to experiment next weekend but only at 100yards unfortunately, but I’ll get some MV data and grouping at that range at least. Once that stock is used up  I’ll pop over to Norman Clark and get myself some RS powder and some 2156’s I think and repeat the experiment for some comparisons.

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I had a 26” remington. I used to shoot 168gn amax with 42gn rl15. It was fantastic to 800yds then after that it was crap. I tried other 168gn but results were still a bit rubbish. 

I switched to 155gn Lapua Scenar and 44gn of n140 and it was much better. 1000yd was pretty good. That all i use now for all ranges. 

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I'll buck the trend here and say that unless you can launch the older #2155 at 3000fps, 1000 yds is going to be marginal on terminal velocity and stability.  I shoot .308 with a 24 inch 1/11 and the best results at 1000 have been for me using 190smks driven at 2600fps.  It wasn't optimal, but I used N140 which was a little too fast burning, but I did achieve consistent results and a good number of Vee bulls.  with 155's and 140,  I have load developed up to 45gr N140 before I got any pressure signs and that was delivering just shy of 2900fps.  Be warned though, as temperatures climb, N140 is notorious for pressure spiking as it isn't very temperature stable, so if loading towards the top end of the ladder to drive lighter, shorter bullets faster to maintain velocities above transonic at target, you're better advised to look towards Reload Swiss RS52 (single base) or RS50.  The latter gives better velocites at the cost of higher energy burn (increased barrel erosion over RS52 but only if you stack it up high).

My advice would be to look towards using either the 175 TMK, Lapua Scenar L 175gr, or smk 190.  All of those will be far better suited to 1000 yds than the #2155.

The alternative in 155gr might be the #2156 Palma with its 0.51 G1 BC (2700fps or more).  Driven at 2850 to 2900fps it would be a far better bet than the BC inferior #2155 but only if you have a chamber throated to allow its secant ogive profile to be close and personal with the lands as experience shows that it isn't particularly jump tolerant.

All said and done, I reckon for informal and occasional 1000yd foray use, the 190smk remains a very good choice and doesn;t need to be driven especially hard.  The 168s if you look at them (from other suppliers as well as Sierra) have a large proportion of designs with steeper boat tail angles, and were, I understand, developed more for 600yd competition use.  I haven't found and 168 as stable at 1000 as either their 175 or 190 stablemates with shallower boat tail angles.  That may not be universally true so check boat tail angles before taking the plunge.

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I agree. The 175 grain route is the best. I shoot 168's at 1000 but I live at 3500 ft above sea level so they usually work. I am switching to 175 grain Nosler RDF.~Andrew

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Just a couple of points on VarmLRs recent post.

RS52 as opposed to RS50 is the powder with the higher energy burn and hence produces higher velocities. RS50 will give you slightly lower velocities but you can compensate for the difference with maybe 1 MOA extra on the elevation at 1000 yards.

i mentioned this earlier; the new version of the Sierra Palma #2156 is a completely different bullet to the original. It is not any where near as jump sensitive as the old version and it is very consistent in weight and dimensions. The old one was so bad in this respect you had to sort them if you wanted even half decent groups. The other plus point is that the new ones come factory pointed. If your chamber allows for the 2155 the #2156 will be fine too.

Most MR shooters are now moving away from the poor BC Sierra 190 to the new 200 grain bullet. The BC is a lively 0.8 but they prefer a 9 twist barrel.

 

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Yes, sorry...got my 50 and 52 the wrong way around.  It's confusing because it's the opposite of the slower burning RS62 (single base) and RS60 (higher energy powder) hence I often mix up my 50 and 52!  Must admit Mark that I have found the opposite with the 155's.  I found that the newer higher BC #2156 much less jump tolerant and the older #2155 much more tolerant.  In fact I can load that to mag lenngth and it happily jumps the 50 thou to the lands and produces very tight groups.  Not so the #2156!

If not comp shooting and just in it for a bit of fun and experience, the venerable old 190 will do the job just fine and can be reliably shot from a 1/11 twist.  Better still might be the Berger Juggernaut with its impressive 0.74 G1 BC.  Trouble is, at £62-odd per 100, it's now far from economical to shoot compared with the £36/100 smk option!

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Thanks again everyone for all the useful information, much appreciated. Been experimenting a bit with my current stock and clearly I’m driving my 2155s a bit faster with an interesting spread of accuracy for those loads at 100 yards - that’s as far as I can get at the moment, but a 300 and 600 shoot coming up this week. Looking forward to see how I get on to be honest as this is getting interesting!

I’ve bitten the bullet (!) and put a deposit on. 6.5 Creedmoor so will be on a whole new learning curve soon!

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