While researching powders for the .308 Winchester, I went to the Alliant site and found this blurb on the product page:
Selected as the powder for U.S. Military's M118 special ball long range sniper round.Well, hell. If it's good enough for the Army, it's good enough for me.
I came late to the .308 Winchester as a sporting cartridge. I fired lots of it when I was on active duty, generally in 100 round belts through machine guns. It was an okay round, but nothing special. It wasn't until '04 or '05 that I ever purchased a rifle in .308, and that was a gift to my son. Load development showed that it liked Reloder 15 powder and Sierra Matchking bullets. When it came time to find a hunting load, it was a natural step to use that same powder with Sierra's Gameking bullets.
Either 168 grain Matchkings or 165 grain Gamekings, the same load works fine. 43.0 grains of Reloder 15, either of those bullets and if the rifle doesn't shoot, you've got some work to do. Every .308 I've shot that load in shoots it extremely well. The bullet leaves the barrel at 2700 fps, real close to published velocity. My ballistic program tell me that sighted in one inch high at 100 yards, it will be down just 2 inches at 200 yards and still carrying 2173 foot-pounds of energy. At 250 yards, it will be down a little over 5 inches and still carrying over 2000 ft/lbs of whack. I don't plan on shooting a game animal over 250 yards away, so that's good enough for me.
Today, I took that load out to the Woodworth Range, along with my Remington Model 700. I had loaded some brass with Gamekings, thinking it might make a good hunting load for this autumn. I fired two groups on the same target. The first 3-round group fell tot he right, so I adjusted the scope and fired the second target. Two pretty nice groups.
So, I adjusted the reticle again, waited for the barrel to cool, and fired another group.
When, I got home, I put my caliper on those groups and found that the average of all three is just 0.845 inches. This from a thin sporter barrel, with a rifle that was made in 1983.
If there are any .308 shooters out there, write that down. If I ever write a book about pet loads, (my apologies to Ken Waters) this is one that's going on top of the stack. It's a winner in every rifle I've ever shot it.