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Thread: 4831 in the 308

  1. #1
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    4831 in the 308

    I've been having very good luck shooting 4831 in my 308's using 165 and 180 grain bullets. Many one hole groups at 100 yards out of my Savage model 12and 1 1/4" groups out of my Savage 99CD.

    Anyone else shoot 4831 in their 308?

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    I started with 4831 in my .308s, then switched to Varget at Charlie Petty's recommendation. I'm going back to 4831 though, as I've been less than impressed with the Varget.

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    4831 is MUCH too slow of a powder for the .308. You simply cannot get enough powder in the case to get any meaningful velocity out of it.

    Don
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    How many grains and have you shot these over a Chrony to test velocity?

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    I've never tried it in the .308, having just begun playing with that cartridge, but I've used it in .243 Winchester, which is very nearly the same cartridge case. As we all know, the .243 is a direct descendant of the .308.

    I wrote it up over at Castbullet and published my results. If you'll look at the tables, you'll find that 4831 turned in good velocity with heavy bullets in that caliber. The accuracy wasn't what I was looking for, but that may have been more attributable to my rifle and barrel rather than the powder. Those figures are with my barrel, my chronograph and my reloading manuals. Your mileage might vary.

    As I did more experimenting with my rifle and various loads, I found that the load that particular rifle likes best uses Reloder 22 powder, which is listed as slower than any of the flavors of 4831 on any of the burn-rate charts. Using Reloder 22 and 100 grain bullets, I get better than 3000 fps with great accuracy.

    My current load for .308 Win uses Reloder 15 powder and while I haven't shot much of that caliber I've reloaded some for my sons. We've found that it turns in good numbers for that caliber and excellent accuracy. Again, these are our rifles and our loads. You might find something different.

    I'm sure you're doing all the smart things, using published data and good reloading practices. Be safe and smart, but don't be afraid of the slow-burners. There is always the chance you'll find something really interesting.

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    I've never tried it in the .308, having just begun playing with that cartridge, but I've used it in .243 Winchester, which is very nearly the same cartridge case. As we all know, the .243 is a direct descendant of the .308.
    Ah, but the .243 Winchester is an overbore cartridge, whereas the .308 Winchester is not. When you reduce the bore size in relation to the case capacity, then slower burn rate powders become much more efficient.

    As I did more experimenting with my rifle and various loads, I found that the load that particular rifle likes best uses Reloder 22 powder, which is listed as slower than any of the flavors of 4831 on any of the burn-rate charts. Using Reloder 22 and 100 grain bullets, I get better than 3000 fps with great accuracy.
    I did some load development work with both 4831 and Reloder 22 with heavy bullets in the .30-06. I also found Reloder 22 to deliver higher velocities (~125fps) than 4831. This has nothing to do with their relative position on the burn-rate charts, but rather the greater energy generated by the nitro-glycerin in a double-base powder such as the Reloder Series of powders.

    Don
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    Then there's the old standby, IMR 4895...

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    I like IMR 4895 in the .30-06 and I'm liable to try it in the .308.

    There is still a lot of hunting season left in this state, so my piddling at the bench time is limited. Then there's that whole Christmas thing, and the grandkids seem firmly set on celebrating that.

    Seriously, guys, I love Christmas, but I'll be glad when the weekend gets here. I plan to hunt all next week.

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    One more time, guys; powder selection is dependent on bullet weight. BULLET WEIGHT.
    4831 does well in .308 Winchester; it is at the best with heavier bullet weights - 165 and up. The 180s tend to like 4831.

    It is not so good with bullets of less than 150 grains. 150 is a toss up. One doesn't get maximum velocity, but the full case gives a uniform burn and consistent pressure curves.
    My opinion; guaranteed worth twice what you paid for it.
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    4831 does well in .308 Winchester; it is at the best with heavier bullet weights - 165 and up. The 180s tend to like 4831.
    Sure, it will work fine, if you don't mind velocities of about 2400fps, which is a good 200fps slower than you would get using a suitable .308 powder.

    Don
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    I was using 180's

    How fast wasn't of any intrest to me as I was punching paper and 180's over 4831 wound do 5 holes in one group at 100 yards time after time out of my Savage model 12.

    I have some now loaded up with 165's and will try them next week.

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    I must admit that I have just recently started reloading rifles, I have been loading handgun ammo for about 30 years. The fasination with muzzle velocity is interesting. My thoughts are that if you can get get MOA accuracy with 2400 FPS velocity, why try and get the bullet go faster?

    Am I missing something?

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    And that the type of accuracy I'd like in every one of my rifles, which are meat hunters, not just paper punchers. If they do that well time after time and get me meat, I don't care it they're chugging along at 2400 fps or running 3200 fps. Oh, my shoulder knows the difference between a pussy cat load for the .308 to the shoulder buster from the 300 RUM.

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    CSM, I am sure that I may have talked to you at "A Place to Shoot", or at Nimrod. If not, I shudda.

    Most of my shooting is under 100 yards in George West, Sabinal or Pleasonton, so velocity and long ranges really do not factor in. I am devoloping a load for my new 308 and am zeroing in on about 2500fps, so I guess as long as I can hit a quarter at 100 yards I will be ok.

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    The fasination with muzzle velocity is interesting. My thoughts are that if you can get get MOA accuracy with 2400 FPS velocity, why try and get the bullet go faster?

    Am I missing something?
    The thing is, not so much the 2400fps, as that you have to use a full case of powder (50.5gr) to reach it. Using a suitable powder, such as RL15, you need only about 39gr of powder to run at 2400fps, if that is what you want to do. And, should you decide to live life in the fast lane, you can add a little more powder and send them 180's at 2500fps or 2600fps. The fact that 4831 is not considered a suitable powder for the .308 is highlighted by the fact that most reloading manuals only begin to list it with the heaviest bullets (Lyman lists it for no bullet less than 200gr). In summary, if you already have 4831 and want to use it, fine. But I would not deliberately go out and buy 4831 for use in the .308. Just MHO.

    Don
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    calaverasslim,

    I used to be a moderator on the old American Backyard forum, post at times on the rimfirecentral in either the Savage or CZ sub-forums, and a very small forum the Gunner's Lair.

    An aside to all: to me, bullet placement is far more important that either caliber or speed. Oh, I'm not so foolish as to go for black bear with a .22 or rabbit with my 300 RUM.

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    Archie sez: One more time, guys; powder selection is dependent on bullet weight. BULLET WEIGHT.
    Yeah, that's why I use it for 140s in the 7mm Mag. And for 100 grain pills in the .243 and the .257 Bob. It's more than bullet weight, it's cartridge design, relative "overbore" factor, (aside: I really wish someone would explain overbore in ten words or less), and what is published in the loading manuals.

    I'm just pulling your chain and I understand what you're saying, but lots of time powder selection is based on what is sitting on my shelf. I try to keep a fair stock of powders I'm liable to use, and when I have to load something, I look on the shelf and see what's available. One of the powders I use a lot is IMR 4895 and every rifle cartridge I load for has a 4895 recipe in my binder. It might not be the best powder for the selected cartridge, but it's a good powder for lots of cartridges.

    That's the beauty of this hobby. Most of my handloading these days is for lower-velocity loads. I'm not trying to extract the most possible velocity our of every load. I don't want to make 1000 yard shots. To those of you that do, my hat is off to you. Have fun and learn the lessons that such endeavors will gain you. I've played the high-velocity game and while it was fun, I've moved away from that. Tastes change. I might at sometime have to dig out my notes for an inquisitive grandkid, but I'm taking it slower these days.

    Back to the question at hand: If I had to choose a powder for the .308 Winchester, it would probably be RL15, or Varget, or H335. All good powders for the task at hand. But, if you've got a supply of 4831, understand the limitations, and want to load it anyway, why not?

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    4831

    Well thats why I been playing with shooting 4831 in my 308's. I bought 28# of 4831 at an estate sale (along with a bunch of other suff) So I've been having fun with it. When I first started reloading back in 1958 I could buy surplus 4831 for 10 cents a pound. I used to just fill up the cases on my 3006 Springfield and Jap 7.7 suff any bullets that was cheap and blast away. Uisng a Lyman 310 tool my dad gave me. Kids!

    The gun shop had big cardboard barrels of the stuff all from WWII stock and he would just pour it out into a bag and say have fun.

    I remeber sitting on 30# cardboard barrels of surplus 4895 and talking guns to the guys,I think the price was $15 a barrel (more than a months pay on my paper route) SO 4831 was just fine.

    They also had 30 cal M2 suplus ball bullets foe .02 each and 173 FMJBT for .03 each. Boy those were the days. I can still smell that shop when I think about it....... If I washed the guys 1955 Buick he would give a me a big hand full of bullets and say thanks. Cool old guys. If you liked guns you were his friend and an OK guy even a 14 year old kid like me.....

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    I remeber sitting on 30# cardboard barrels of surplus 4895 and talking guns to the guys,I think the price was $15 a barrel (more than a months pay on my paper route) SO 4831 was just fine.
    Ah, 8mmman, you're giving away your age now. About 4 years ago, I bought up some of the last surplus IMR4895 on the market for $78 per 8# cannister. Looking at current prices, I'd say I did the right thing.

    Don
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    Ya got me!

    Yes I am an old fart. Most of me still woks OK so I'm still having fun.
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    I remeber sitting on 30# cardboard barrels of surplus 4895 and talking guns to the guys,I think the price was $15 a barrel (more than a months pay on my paper route) SO 4831 was just fine.
    I wish I'd have bought a ton of it and put it in bleach bottles. I use 4895 for lots of things, including cast bullets in .30-30 and 45-70. It's the bees knees for cast bullet shooting.

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    I use it in my M1's. Great powder for them. Bought 16# of surplus 4895 a few years back. Now it's out of sight price wise.

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    I also think 4831 is too slow a powder for the .308 but it's hard to argue with "one hole" results.

    4350 is the slowest powder I would use in the .308 or 30-06 and usually not with a 150gr bullet but with heavier bullets. (165/168gr mostly)
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    So far not mentioned...

    4831 is a slower burning powder than RL15, it seems. Using a 165 or 180 grain bullet, one can achieve the same velocity with either RL15 or 4831. One uses less powder weight of RL15.

    The difference is the RL 15 load will have a much sharper pressure curve than the 4831. The peak pressure develops sooner and the result is more of a shock to the action and brass. The recoil will be the same in magnitude, but 'sharper' with the faster powder. Additionally, the full case of powder will burn more uniformly than a case with loose powder. Ask any benchrest shooter.

    USSR's first posting on this thread gave a blanket condemnation of 4831 for any projectile in the .308 Winchester cartridge. That is simply bad - incomplete - information. 4831 is a very poor choice for 110 grain bullets, but a very good choice for 180 or 200 grain bullets. That is the basis of my statement regarding powder choice is dependent on bullet weight.

    Paw Paw suggests there is more to the matter than bullet weight. He is right and also incorrect. One does not select 4831 for very heavy bullets in .357 Magnum, for instance. The over all case capacity has an influence as well. However, in no cartridge does a heavier bullet perform better (faster with less pressure) with a faster powder than a slower powder. The reason some loadings do well with faster powders is the desired result is a lower velocity round. That's why full charge loads in .44 Magnum use 2400 or H110 and plinking loads use Bullseye.

    Overbore: another discussion.
    My opinion; guaranteed worth twice what you paid for it.
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    Well, there's simply so many holes here - where to start?

    4831 is a slower burning powder than RL15, it seems. Using a 165 or 180 grain bullet, one can achieve the same velocity with either RL15 or 4831. One uses less powder weight of RL15.
    "it seems"? If you simply look at a burn rate chart, I can see where you would get that impression. However, what burn rate charts don't show you is the degree to which one powder is slower or faster than another. In this instance, 4831 is A LOT slower than RL15 (have you actually used these two powders?). And, No, you cannot achieve the same velocity with 4831 as with RL15. There are a couple reasons. One, you don't have enough case capacity in a .308 case to get enough powder in to operate at a high enough pressure to generate the velocity. And, two, Alliant's Reloder powders are double-based powders (they have nitroglycerine), while 4831 is a single-base powder that generates less energy. A RL15 based .308 load will generate up to 200fps more velocity than any 4831 based load.

    The difference is the RL 15 load will have a much sharper pressure curve than the 4831. The peak pressure develops sooner and the result is more of a shock to the action and brass. The recoil will be the same in magnitude, but 'sharper' with the faster powder. Additionally, the full case of powder will burn more uniformly than a case with loose powder. Ask any benchrest shooter.
    If you take a 200gr Sierra MatchKing bullet and produce two loads at 2300fps (that's as fast as you'll get with 4831), one which is a 49.5gr load of H4831, and other which is about a 38.5gr load of RL15, the H4831 load will recoil more. Why? Because when you calculate recoil, the weight of the powder charge is added to the bullet weight in the calculation.

    USSR's first posting on this thread gave a blanket condemnation of 4831 for any projectile in the .308 Winchester cartridge. That is simply bad - incomplete - information. 4831 is a very poor choice for 110 grain bullets, but a very good choice for 180 or 200 grain bullets. That is the basis of my statement regarding powder choice is dependent on bullet weight.
    As mentioned above, due to the slowness of the powder and lack of case capacity in the .308, it is a poor choice regardless of the bullet weight. It will work, but that does not make it a good choice.

    Paw Paw suggests there is more to the matter than bullet weight. He is right and also incorrect. One does not select 4831 for very heavy bullets in .357 Magnum, for instance. The over all case capacity has an influence as well. However, in no cartridge does a heavier bullet perform better (faster with less pressure) with a faster powder than a slower powder. The reason some loadings do well with faster powders is the desired result is a lower velocity round. That's why full charge loads in .44 Magnum use 2400 or H110 and plinking loads use Bullseye.
    Not sure what to make of comparing powders used in straight-walled pistol cases with rifle powders used in bottle-necked rifle cases? "...in no cartridge does a heavier bullet perform better (faster with less pressure) with a faster powder than a slower powder. The reason some loadings do well with faster powders is the desired result is a lower velocity round". Wrong. The primary reason to use a faster powder than 4831 is not to load a light charge weight and get a lower velocity round, rather it is to use a normal powder charge weight, operate within a normal pressure/velocity range (something you cannot do with 4831 in the .308), and thru load development, find a sweet spot pressure/velocity-wise that your particular rifle likes. The idea that a 100% fill capacity loading of a very slow-burning powder will always be the most accurate load is ludicrous. Just MHO.

    Don
    Never underestimate the amount of toil and angst a cheap SOB will put himself thru to save 50 cents.

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