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09Jul

HODGDON BENCHMARK AND VARGET RIFLE POWDERS

Loads were tested in a Steyr SSG .308 Win calibre rifle. The velocity was measured using a CED M2 chronograph., Posted in Rifle Reloading

HODGDON BENCHMARK AND VARGET RIFLE POWDERS
A Steyr SSG .308

As the name implies, Benchmark Extreme Extruded propellant was developed for precision cartridges. As such, it is ideally suited for bench rest and small varmint cartridges like the 6mm PPC, 22 PPC, 6mm BR, .223 Remington and .222 Remington. Additionally, it performs well with match bullets in 308 Winchester, especially the 150 – 155 grain versions. With small, easy metering granules it will flow easily through powder measurers. A good choice for loading .22 center fire and .30 caliber rifles.



The first

CALIBRE

BULLET

WEIGHT

GRAINS

POWDER

MAKE

HODGDON

POWDER

WEIGHT

GRAINS

AVERAGE

VELOCITY

IN FPS

EXTREME

SPREAD IN

FPS

.308 Win

168

Benchmark

41.0

2554

55

.308 Win

168

Benchmark

41.5

2585

9

.308 Win

168

Benchmark

42.0

2599

29

The first of Hodgdon’s Extreme Extruded Powders, VARGET features small extruded grains for uniform metering, insensitivity to hot / cold temperatures and higher energy for improved velocities over other powders in its burning speed class. Easy ignition and clean burning translate into superb accuracy, higher scores for target shooting and clean one shot kills for hunters. This powder is a good choice perfect powder for competitive shooting with .223 Remington and heavy bullets and other .22 center fire calibers. It will offer good performance and velocity in such popular cartridges such as the .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .308 Winchester, .30-06 and many more .22 center fire and .30 caliber rifles.

CALIBRE

BULLET

WEIGHT

GRAINS

POWDER

MAKE

HODGDON

POWDER

WEIGHT

GRAINS

AVERAGE

VELOCITY

IN FPS

EXTREME

SPREAD IN

FPS

.308 Win

168

VARGET

45.0

2634

47

.308 Win

168

VARGET

45.5

2665

13

.308 Win

168

VARGET

46.0

2687

22

All the above loads were assembled using Lapua 168 grain BTHP Scenar bullets. The rounds were loaded to an overall length of 2.800 inches. The loads were shot in a Steyr SSG in .308 Winchester calibre with a 26 inch barrel. The velocities were recorded in feet per second ( FPS ) using a CED M2 chronograph. The velocity was an average of three rounds. The extreme spread is the difference between the highest and lowest velocity in feet per second ( FPS ). The rifle was supported front and rear. All loads produced groups below one minute of angle at 100 meters range. If all your shooting is done at 100 to 200 meters then the lower powder charges will work OK. If you are shooting out to 600 yards the higher powder charge will give you a flatter trajectory and better bullet stability at the longer ranges.

In addition

In addition to using the 168 grain BTHP bullet, loads were assembled using 145 grain FMJ bullets, as this is also a popular bullet type and weight in this calibre. These loads were assembled using both Benchmark and Varget powders. The rounds were loaded to an overall length of 2.800 inches. The loads were shot in a Steyr SSG in .308 Winchester calibre with a 26 inch barrel. The velocities were recorded in feet per second ( FPS ) using a CED M2 chronograph. The velocity was an average of three rounds. The extreme spread is the difference between the highest and lowest velocity in feet per second ( FPS ). The rifle was supported front and rear. All loads using 145 grain FMJ bullets produced groups of between 0.75 and 1.25 minute of angle at 100 meters range. If all your shooting is done at between100 and 300 meters then these loads will fulfill your needs.

CALIBRE

BULLET

WEIGHT

GRAINS

POWDER

MAKE

HODGDON

POWDER

WEIGHT

GRAINS

AVERAGE

VELOCITY

IN FPS

EXTREME

SPREAD IN

FPS

.308 Win

145

Benchmark

42.0

2527

68

.308 Win

145

Benchmark

42.5

2569

9

.308 Win

145

Benchmark

43.0

2596

9

.308 Win

145

VARGET

46.0

2621

48

.308 Win

145

VARGET

46.5

2651

20

.308 Win

145

VARGET

47.0

2672

3

For those who prefer a heavier bullet for hunting the following loads were assembled using Hornady 165 grain SST bullets. The SST bullet is designed for expansion at long ranges, even when the velocity is decreasing. If you neck shoot deer at close range this is a good choice, as the bullet will disintegrate and produce a large wound channel. When using a conventional soft point bullet there is not enough resistance in the neck of the smaller species of deer to achieve proper bullet expansion, which results in a small wound channel. The group size got better as the powder charge increased and ran from just over 1 minute of angle to 0.7 MoA.

CALIBRE

BULLET

WEIGHT

GRAINS

POWDER

MAKE

HODGDON

POWDER

WEIGHT

GRAINS

AVERAGE

VELOCITY

IN FPS

EXTREME

SPREAD IN

FPS

.308 Win

165 SST

VARGET

45.0

2541

29

.308 Win

165 SST

VARGET

45.5

2555

40

.308 Win

165 SST

VARGET

46.0

2570

19

Steyr Scout

The following loads were tested in a Steyr Scout in .308 Winchester calibre with a 20 inch barrel. The velocities were recorded in feet per second ( FPS ) using a CED M2 chronograph. The loads were assembled using 150 grain FMJ bullets, as this is also a popular bullet type and weight in this calibre. These loads were assembled using both Benchmark and Varget powders. The rounds were loaded to an overall length of 2.800 inches. The groups were between 0.75 and 1.3 MoA. These groups shot with the Steyr Scout are slightly bigger than were shot with the Steyr SSG. The Steyr Scout is a light weight rifle and bounces around a bit during recoil. The telescopic sight used on the Steyr Scout was also of a lower magnification and had a thicker aiming reticle.

CALIBRE

BULLET

WEIGHT

GRAINS

POWDER

MAKE

HODGDON

POWDER

WEIGHT

GRAINS

AVERAGE

VELOCITY

IN FPS

EXTREME

SPREAD IN

FPS

.308 Win

150

Benchmark

42.0

2386

73

.308 Win

150

Benchmark

42.5

2463

31

.308 Win

150

Benchmark

43.0

2493

27

.308 Win

150

VARGET

46.0

2513

35

.308 Win

150

VARGET

46.5

2576

10

.308 Win

150

VARGET

47.0

2595

26

 

Rifle_Loads_R2web

The Steyr SSG was supported front and rear to keep it as stable as possible.

 
Rifle_Loads_R3web
This three shot group used Hodgdon Varget powder and Lapua Scenar 168 grain BTHP bullets.


Examples

Rifle_Loads_R4web

These four groups used Hodgdon Benchmark powder and Lapua Scenar 168 grain BTHP bullets.


 
Rifle_Loads_R5web
Lapua Scenar bullets are capable of superb accuracy. This three shot group is sub 0.5  minute of angle at 100 metres range.

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