T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223

I know it’s late in the day, but Happy Easter everyone.  We had an absolutely beautiful day here in Southern Illinois. Highs reached the mid 70’s and only a slight breeze from the South.  I took the T/C Compass back out this afternoon for round two.  If you haven’t check out the first post here’s a link to it.  The T/C Compass is Back!!!

A few days ago I loaded up some Speer 168g Match bullets with IMR4895 and CFE223.  So far I have not been impressed with these bullets.  They are cheap, I mean like $22 for 100 match bullets.  I realize sometimes you get what you pay for, but I had to find out.  Up to this point, I’ve only had a couple 1 inch groups, and I’m on my second box.  I’m really coming to the conclusion that these are not the best shooting bullets out there.  I’ve got 20 left, so I may revisit a couple of my better groups.

 

So back to today’s outing.  The first charges I loaded up in the Starline Brass was IMR4895.  I picked up this powder a while back at my local gun shop thinking it would be another powder for 308 other than Varget.  My charges for today were 42.1g, 42.5g, 42.9g, and 43.3g.  All of the load data I am using is from the Hornady Manual.  Last Fall I was playing around with Hodgdon’s site, and keep getting into pressure problems with their max loads resulting in pulling some bullets.  I kept the same overall length as my last range session at 2.820″.  I am also using CCI No. 200 Large Rifle primers. All groups today were 5 shots at 100 yards, using my Sightron S-Tac 4-20×50 scope.  I also tore in to the trigger this week.  I smoothed out the sear surface and did a little adjusting to the pull weight.  Right now it feels great at an estimated 3-4 pounds.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 4

 

Here is the first target from today.  As usual, barrel heat was an issue with this thin barrel profile.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 6

 

All shots felt great today.  I didn’t have any pulled or bad shots on my part.  This is very typical of what I have shot in the past with these bullets.  The best group came in at .811″, and I may load up a few more of that charge with my remaining bullets.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 8

 

Here is the brass from these 4 groups.  I have noticed that this rifle leaves a slight ejector mark on all rounds, and the cratering is not as bad as the last rifle but still present.  There were no pressure signs with these rounds.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 10

 

After each group, I gave the rifle around 5 minutes to cool down, and after my last group of IMR4895, I got out the Ruger PC Carbine to give the rifle some extra cool down time.  This is the third time out with this rife and I’m in LOVE.  I’ll save the details for another post, but I highly recommend this rifle.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 12

 

So the next test loads were with CFE223.  I had originally picked up this powder for cast 223 bullets, but I haven’t had any success with it… or the cast 55g bullets in general.  Today’s test charges were 46.0g, 46.4g, 46.8g and 47.2g.   The results were nothing to brag about.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 14

 

Once again all shots felt great.  Groups ranged from 1.3 to 1.8 inches.  I even had a WTF (Why The Flyer) on the last group.  The brass also showed no pressure signs.

 

T/C Compass .308: Speer 168g Match w/ IMR4895 and CFE223 16

 

So, some final thoughts on these Speer 168g Bullets.  As of right now, I am not impressed with these bullets.  I have shot them in 3 different rifles now and have had similar results in all of them.  I may load up the remaining 20 with my best charge of Varget (43.4g) from the other day and the 43.3g charge of IMR4895 from today.  I think I want to try the Hornady 168g Match bullets next.  Since this is a budget rifle, I am trying to use some budget bullets.  I also have some Sierra 150g Spitzer Boat Tail’s to play with as well.

I am fully confident in this rifle.  I see no issues with it compared with the last one.  I feel that barrel heat and harmonics are the 2 main issues that I will have.  I think limiting myself to 20 rounds per outing will be a good move.  I also want to try some Reloder 15.  I think that will be a great powder to try.  If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them in the comment box below.  I appreciate everyone taking the time to read my articles, and I am very happy with this new format for my content.

 


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Phill
Phill

I’ve had great results with those bullets in my AR10 using H4895.

TinMan
TinMan

Right on. I have a pretty good feeling that some better bullets will get you where you want to be. Still, those are some good groups with budget bullets. Great writeup man. Had mine out yesterday so I could get some fire formed brass for my Compass. Tread sent me some 75 grain A-max bullets to try out and I’m going to do my best with those. Looking forward to reading about the PC!

tommy
tommy

Hey Josh, Happy Easter to you also. I know you’ll figure this 308 out as you have printed some good groups so the accuracy is there though it may take mixing and matching to get there. Don’t give up on it, I’m enjoying the journey along with you. Looking forward to your write up on the Ruger PCC as I have been on the fence for a while trying to decide to pick one up or not, good thing is I could shoot it at a indoor pistol range.

Jerry 1911
Jerry 1911

Josh, barrel heating is definitely one of T/Cs big drawbacks. I think that is why T/C only uses a 3 shot group in their “MOA guarantee”, because 5 shots, and you start getting stringing. My .243 T/C can sometimes have the same issues, depending on the powder, bullet, velocity, etc. I’m beginning to zero in on a load that it likes for a 5 shot string, but I won’t try the milk jug 1000 yard challenge, unless I could be confident that I could hit it in the first 5 shots.
Keep plugging, there has to be a magic formula, somewhere