This month we are concentrating on loads for the .308 Winchester using only premium, high-performance bullets. While there were limited earlier examples of maximum performance hunting bullets, the popular use of premium bullets for hunting in the U.S. began about 1950 with John Nosler's Partition.
The very first samples of these bullets didn't set any records for accuracy but were certainly accurate enough for most hunting applications and had terminal performance far superior to the more conventional bullets at the time.
Hunters gradually found that the combination of good expansion and predictable weight retention produced more reliable kills than the conventional bullets at the time. But Nosler Partition bullets cost something like twice what conventional softnose bullets cost at the time—something like 10 cents each vs. five cents. I can remember getting letters in the mid-1960s asking if there weren't any five-cent bullets that worked as well as the Noslers. Things haven't completely changed. I recently received a letter saying that the shooter had never used "expensive" bullets and never had any trouble getting his deer.
As for that latter comment, I have to think that that shooter had lots better-than-average hunting skills and didn't ever take any marginal shots. So each year he saved himself five cents, perhaps a little more at today's prices.
For the shooters who accepted that the premium bullets were better but wished they didn't cost so much, I had, and still have, this comment. When you look at the cost of a hunt, even a day hunt close to home, paying a little extra for premium bullets is the cheapest form of insurance for a successful hunt that you can buy. The bullet is the smallest part of the total cost. The worst possible outcome is to hit the animal with a poor-performing bullet and have it run away, only to be lost and die in the brush.
|Bullet Weight (gr)||Primer||Powder||Case||Starting Load (gr)||Max. Load (gr)||Max. Load Velocity (fps)|
|Barned TS (165)||Fed. 210||Hodgdon Varget||Frontier||41.0||45.0||2,775|
|Barnes TS (165)||Rem. 9.5||Accurate 2520||Remington||38.0||43.5||2,750|
|Swift Scirocco (165)||CCI-200||IMR 4064||Remington||38.0||43.0||2,750|
|Swift Scirocco (165)||Rem. 9.5||Alliant R1-10||Frontier||33.0||38.0||2,700|
|Hornady IB (180)||Win. WLR||RamShot Big Game||IMI||43.0||48.0||2,650|
|Hornady IB (180)||Fed. 210||IMR 4320||Remington||36.0||41.0||2,600|
|Nosler AB (180)||CCI-200||Accurate 2495 BR||Remington||39.0||43.0||2,675|
|Nosler AB (180)||Win. WLR||Alliant R1-15||IMI||38.0||42.0||2,625|
|Nosler Part. (180)||Win. WLR||Hodgdon BL-C (2)||IMI||39.0||44.0||2,650|
|Nosler Part. (180)||CCI-200||Winchester 748||Frontier||39.0||43.0||2,600|
|Speer TB (180)||Rem. 9.5||Winchester 748||Frontier||39.0||43.0||2,625|
|Speer TB (180)||Fed. 210||VihtaVuori N530||IMI||33.0||38.5||2,575|
|Swift A Frame (180)||Fed. 210||VihtaVuori N530||IMI||39.0||43.5||2,625|
|Swift A Frame (180)||CCI-200||Winchester 760||Remington||41.0||46.0||2,575|
|Sierra GK (150)||Rem. 9.5||Accurate 2460||Frontier||30.0||33.0||2,200|
|Sierra GK (150)||Win. WLR||Allaint R1-7||Remington||26.0||29.0||2,200|