Second Range Report – Savage Model 10 FCP-SR and Primary Arms 4-14 ACSS FFP Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308

In the first post on this rifle, here, I shot 175gr rounds from various manufactures from Berger down to Fiocchi (cost & inherent accuracy wise).   This time, I’m shooting 168gr from various manufacturers:  IMI, Federal, Fiocchi, and Mag Tech.  Berger doesn’t make a 168gr HPBT match, at least, easily found for sale. So, I’ve got 4 match grade HPBT rounds to compare.

As you can see by reading the first report, the Berger 175’s were top notch in accuracy and quality of production.  Lapua brass, match primers, superb projectiles, and bordering on ‘scary’ accuracy.

Now, to be fair, I fouled the barrel prior to my anecdotal evidence experiment, and didn’t clean the barrel inbetween brands.  So, the Fiocchi had the dirtiest and warmest barrel temps to deal with.  To rule that out, next phase, after the 168’s, I’m shooting the Fioochi first and the Berger’s last, with IMI (new batch of 175gr Match) ad Federal in the middle.  We’ll see how that goes.  Digression complete.

Something else I’m doing doing different is checking impact of the torque of the action screws on accuracy.  Savage says they should be torqued between 30 and 35 inch pounds.  I’ve torqued them as close as I could to 33 inch pounds.  So, we’ll see what happens.  If the first 3 shot groups (yeah, I know, 5 rounds is a better test and I’ll do that later) are more than an inch, I’ll adjust the torque to 35 pounds.  If it shrinks it, great, if it opens up more, I’ll back it down to around 30 and see what that does.

Here’s the results as they were shot.

185 Gr Federal “Juggernaut”  – HUGE disappointment as these rounds are loaded with Berger bullets and about as expensive as the Berger/Lapua 175gr below (about $1.24 per round).  I really expected them to equal, if not best, the Berger brand.  While not ‘bad,’ per se, the 1.5 inch large group was either a fluke or an indicator of possible QA concerns due to the lack of consistency.

Small:  .416 Inches

Large:  1.5 inches

Avg:  .897


Berger 175 gr HPBT: The most accurate, and most expensive round in the 175gr range.  You do get what you pay for!  $1.24 per round, delivered.

Small:  .311 inches – I’m thinking with some practice, I could easily do “one hole groups” with this ammo.

Large:  .837 inches

Avg:  .574 inches – Basically a half inch at 100 meters.  On average.  Don’t get NO better than that with factory loaded ammo!!

Prime 175 gr HPBT:  I could easily stick with these due with the price point of .94 per round delivered; 30 cents per round less expensive than the Berger (which is a SUPERB round).  If I were to be concerned with budget, this would be my round of choice.

Small: .540 inches

Large:  1.04 inches

Avg:  .730 inches

Federal Match 175 gr HPBT:  Meh.  Federal Match oughta be better out of the box.

Small: .478 Inches

Large:  1.88 inches

Avg:  1.26 inches

Barnes “Precision” 175 gr HPBT:  (Rounds had obvious water spots on the projectiles from improper storage – could have had something to do with performance, but all brands were purchased from the same distributor – no other problems noted whatsoever.)  Will not use – actually feel I wasted the money on the test ammo.

Small: 1.61 inches

Large:  2 inches

Avg:  1.74 inches

MAGTECH ‘First Defense’ 168gr HPBT Match:  If I go 168gr, these are going to be my round of choice…..these are the ‘poor man’s’ accuracy round.  A real sleeper!  Excellent performance all around.  Average about exactly between a half in and three quarters of an inch group at 100 meters!  REALLY good factory load alternative for 168’s.

SUPERB performance, especially when one notes MAGTECH is an ‘economy’ brand.

Small:  .383 inches

Large:  .832 inches

Avg:  .670 inches

IMI 168gr Match (HPBT):  Meh. I expected more out of IMI ‘sniper/match’ rounds.  All 3 groups were very consistent, two of which were within .001 size differential.  They do shoot the same, but the inherent accuracy wasn’t tight enough for me to consider these as my ‘go to’ round.

Small:  1.07 inches

Large:  1.30 inches

Avg:  1.22 inches

Federal 168gr Premium HPBT Match:  Not happy AT all….my rifle doesn’t like this round; surprising, in that it likes other 168’s.  I really thought this round would be at the top of the 168 crowd….

Small:  0.90 inches

Large:  1.5 inches

Avg:  1.2 inches



6 thoughts on “Second Range Report – Savage Model 10 FCP-SR and Primary Arms 4-14 ACSS FFP Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308

  1. SemperFi, 0321

    Not a big fan of Federal.
    Many years ago I was sighting in my M-14 (nearly new 1963 TRW bbl, S&B 1.5-6x scope), using std military FMJ from S. Afrika, Portugal, Australia, Austrian Hirtenberger and Federal.
    Worst groups were Federal M80. I found it strange the rifles chosen ammo wasn’t the best.
    While reloading civilian Federal brass I’ve had issues with Federal primers not fitting primer pockets also. Sometimes too loose, sometimes too tight.

  2. Dean M Drews

    I wouldn’t be concerned about clean barrel versus dirty barrel for group size.
    I would be far more concerned about group location. I prefer a consistent dirty barrel over an unknown clean barrel. (I don’t clean my precision barrels) I do clean Chambers and bolts though.

  3. RHT447

    Well done, sir. Much useful info in these articles. I could not tell you the last time I bought a box of rifle ammo, but you never know. As you noted, not everyone is in a position to roll their own.

    Brief bona fides, at the risk of dating myself–
    Graduated US Army Small Arms Repair School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in ’74
    Started reloading in ’77.
    Got my Highpower Rife Master card in 1990 (yeah, square range, known distance, sunny day,
    all that).
    Last retail position I worked was at Huntington’s in Oroville, CA. Yeah, that one, as in Fred
    Huntington, founder of RCBS.
    Escaped Kalifornia in late 2015 for Texas.

    My latest project started a bit ago when Brownells had Howa 1500 barreled actions on sale. Prices kept dropping until I couldn’t stand it and I snagged a 20 inch fluted heavy barreled 308 for (IIRC) $300. I bolted on a Hogue stock that has the aluminum chassis. Later, Midway had a sale on Nikon scopes and I picked up a “BLACK X1000 Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 4-16x 50mm Side Focus Matte” with the MOA reticle (SFP) for $299. Am still working up loads. So far, most promising.

    As noted, Lapua stuff is absolutely top drawer. I am afraid I can’t speak to that as I have never used any. From my Highpower competition years, I have accumulated 308 components enough to be belt buckle deep. Just one of my 50 cal ammo cans is still half full of once fired LC 77 Match brass. Not that military match brass is the equivalent of Lapua, but it is good stuff, and the primer pockets are not crimped. I also have various commercial brass as well.

    I start with a fresh 50rd batch of like brass and use it to work up loads. The first firing irons out any kinks. I use a Redding die to re-size, trim to .005 under max length, and shoot ’em. I do not bother to neck turn. I have tried it in the past, but could not verify any improvement. YMMV.

    I have shot Berger bullets in both 30 and 22 caliber. They are hands down the best for accuracy. Sierra Match Kings are a very close second. One of my favorites is the Sierra 155 gr. Palma. When I started, Berger 30 cal’s were about 25 cents each. Now, they are just too bloody expensive for a steady diet.

    For many years, my favorite powder across the board for 308 was IMR 4064. Only annoyance was the it’s a bit crunchy going through a powder measure. Then Accurate 4064 came out with shorter powder grains and I switched to that. Am still using it. I am also a fan of Varget in both 223 and 308.

    Have a box of Hornady 155 gr.ELD Match bullets that I haven’t tried yet. Hope they shoot in the Howa. Also, Berger has their new hybrid bullet line out. May have to try those too just for grins.

  4. Defensive Training Group Post author

    Thanks for stopping by and for the perspective. My training was a bit different, in that fouling, to a small degree, was good, but one needed to remove copper, lead, and powder residue on a regular basis to ensure the inherent accuracy of the barrel wasn’t degraded.

  5. Defensive Training Group Post author

    We’ve gone down some of the same roads regarding hand loading. My path started with the M1A and all TRW everything save the receiver. I started later, but had some really good mentors. When I decided to change away from the M1A, I had a couple .50 cans of once fired LC Match gifted to me by a friend when he hung up shooting competitively, and I payed it forward. My process was similar to yours when working up loads; I did IMR 4064 almost exclusively with a Sierra 168 Match King. No neck turning for me, either. I did some neck turning, but strictly for bolt guns.

    Nice bit of information for those interested; thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!

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