Reply To: School of Hard Knocks !!!

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Benjamin Mitchell

Funny you ask this question as me and some fellow shooters learned a lesson last night. A friend ask me to load him a ladder style test with some new bullets he purchased. Before he shot hand loads he had been purchasing factory loaded ammo for his .308 (Federal 168 grain loaded with sierra BTHP). When he purchased his components for me to load he brought me some Sierra 175 grain TMK bullets. No big deal right? Well as I am loading I ask him what specific length he wanted and he said just load them the standard 2.800″. No problem, so I loaded them all. We went to the range yesterday and put some targets up at 300 and commenced to shooting. As I’m looking in the spotting scope I see bullets flying all over the place! Hitting the target beside the one he was aiming at, hitting dirt, going hay wire. We packed up our bags and collected the targets and started scratching our heads as to where we went wrong. Through some lengthy reading I found several accounts of people having the same issue. Basically there is a huge difference in the sensitivity to seating depth between the BTHP (SMK) and the TMK. Due to the TMK’s shape it has to be seated very close to the lands. TMK’s are not a good selection for a rifle that has to have the rounds loaded to SAMMI length or a limited magazine length. If your limited in the length category you may want to stick to the SMK or some other traditional non-VLD style. Hate we wasted so many rounds to find this out but I’m glad I could share my colossal waste of time so that someone here wont make the same mistake!