My reloads suck

So I have this Winchester 100 semi-auto in 308 winchester. I've been trying different bullets and different powders to find a suitable reload, and to date, it's been an epic fail. Powders I've tried are A2520, IMR 4895, IMR 4064, and Win 760. Bullets I've tried are Speer 150 gr mag-tip, sierra 165 gr gameking, speer 165 gr deep curl, and a herters 180 gr soft point. Primers used are cci 200 and federal 210m. Groups have been 3-5 inches, in any and all directions.

So today, I went to Wally world, and bought a cheap box of winchester 180 grain power-points as a baseline average. 4 shots @ 1 1/4". Problem solved. @ $16.50 a box of 20, I'm not even gonna worry with reloading. Anybody else have experiences like this?


  • buddybbuddyb Member Posts: 3,822 ✭✭✭
    I have had good luck with IMR 4064,Sierra 15 grain Gamekings,Win. LR primers.I cant remember exact powder charge but they chrono at about 2800 FPS. I don't think I have seen a rifle that did get acceptable accuracy and many were tack drivers.Those were bolt guns and that Winchester 100 may be a completely different animal. 
  • hadjiihadjii Member Posts: 971 ✭✭

    Oh yeah. Winchester 100 is a completely different dog. I do reload for about a dozen other rifles, from a 222 Remington to a 375 ruger to a 450 bushmaster. Every one I have loads worked up for will shoot anywhere from a 1/4" 5 shot (custom barreled 6.5-06) group to a 1 1/4" 5 shot (lever action 338 MX) group. I figure at $16.50 a box, and no more rounds than I'll put through this rifle, reloading ain't even worth the trouble.

  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,575 ******
    Unbeknownst to most, the M100 was released with great fanfare in 1961. Thereafter, Winchester managed to produce 1/4 Million of this model. By all the reports I've read, few to none ever shot 'accurately', with accuracy being defined as 1 MOA or more conveniently 1" at 100 yards. Most, by report and articles as reviews, suggested what you found, 3"-5" at 100 yards. Even some of the master gun scribes failed to find the magic recipe to achieve the desired 1 MOA.

    The mystery is why do all the reloads end in miserable groups when reasonably priced store bought ammunition seems to handle the qualification? If everyone got groups in the same range even from commercial ammo, I'd say consult the list of 25-30 I've found with that rifle. But when commercial works and handloads don't, shoot commercial!


  • hadjiihadjii Member Posts: 971 ✭✭

    I noticed a little bit ago, when comparing fired commercial brass to fired handloads, the primers on the commercial brass are quite a bit flatter than the handloads, which leads me to believe I'm not loading stout enough, even though I'm at a max load according to nosler reloading manual. At any rate, I shot 4 rounds of the winchester factory rounds. The rifle is within an inch of where I want it @ 100 yards. I have 16 rounds left for a one week hunt on the lease I'm on in Louisiana, so I should be good. I'll have my 6.5-06 and a 25-06 along for hunting fire breaks or clear-cut, so I'm good for long shots as well.

  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,575 ******
    edited September 25
    I noticed a little bit ago, when comparing fired commercial brass to fired handloads, the primers on the commercial brass are quite a bit flatter than the handloads, which leads me to believe I'm not loading stout enough, even though I'm at a max load according to nosler reloading manual.

    Two observations:

    - Some brands of primer cups are thinner than others so they show more flattening than let's say the thicker military primers with similar loads.

    - Maximum loads listed by reloading manuals and online resources are the results of their individual testing with their equipment and testing procedures. That's why we all suggest the mantra of 'start low, working up slowly, watching for signs of pressure.' Your findings may vary based on your equipment, your interpretation of pressure indicators and the physical constraints of your rifle, chamber and barrel. So it's obligatory to work up loads rather than jumping to the maximum loads immediately.

    While saving your commercial ammunition for the hunt, you could attempt some new reloads to test your theory about the increase of pressure, just be careful.

    As an aside, when I'm asked to evaluate a shooter's reloads and performance, I generally find that the reloader stops at the first sign of a smaller group without paying any attention to increasing the load while looking for better (smaller) groups. That first accuracy node is a significant accomplishment for many so they hesitate to move off of it. Most cartridge/loads can show as many as 4 nodes in increasing higher velocities and smaller groups.  That progression is documented by shooting groups with associated documentation.


  • hadjiihadjii Member Posts: 971 ✭✭

    Discovered another problem with my reloads. I did a random check on overall length. With the herters 180 grain, I was loading it at 2.750". I then jammed a bullet into the chamber just tight enough where it wouldn't come back out without a bit of pressure. Put a cleaning rod down the barrel, and took a measurement. Jotted down the dimension, then took another check without the bullet. Seems the max length it can be is 2.610". Wow! That's a problem. The way that herters bullet is shaped, most of the bullet is in the case at 2.610". That ain't gonna work. Gonna have to use a different bullet for starters. I think I'll chronograph the factory ammo to give myself a ballpark target to shoot for, and see what happens.

  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,575 ******
    Compare the same bullet weight/caliber but different shapes. The contact point with the lands is different for each depending on the ogive.

    That OAL does sound short even for the M100! Sounds like it might be time to start measuring CBTO, Cartridge Base to Ogive to prevent that same problem in future.


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