Sierra 195 gr. Tipped MatchKing (TMK) REVIEW and load development: 308 Winchester and IMR 4064
Sierra recently expanded the Tipped MatchKing (TMK) line with the introduction of a 195 grain .308 diameter bullet #7795. Advertised with a G1 ballistic coefficient of .610 above velocities of 2,000 feet/second (the ubiquitous 175 SMK has a G1BC of .496 between 1,800-2,800 feet/second), Sierra recommends the 195 TMK for barrel twist rates of 1:10″ or faster.
Compared to other common .308 diameter match bullets, the 195 TMK is on the higher end of the weight spectrum for the 308 Winchester and on the lower end for the 300 Winchester Magnum. Note how it stacks up next to some other common .308″ diameter match bullets; (above, from left to right) 168 Sierra MatchKing (SMK), 175 SMK, 175 TMK, 190 SMK, 195 TMK, and the 220 SMK.
The best way to test bullets is to shoot them. Time to break out my trusty 308!
The test gun is a custom built Remington 700 chambered with a Manson 308 Match reamer. Referred to as “OD 308” in my range book and notes, this rifle is one of my favorite shooters. It was built with the following parts from Brownells:
- Remington 700 short action receiver
- Shilen #7 Select Match barrel, 1:10″ twist
- Surgeon short action detachable magazine bottom metal
- Badger Ordnance Maximized scope base
- Badger Ordnance Embedded Front Rail
- Surefire brake
- McMillan A5 stock
- Timney 510 trigger
- Spuhr ISMS mount
- Nightforce 3.5-15
- Harris bipod
To learn more about how I built this rifle, take a look at Building a Custom Remington 700 .308 Tactical Rifle.
Trying to pick a powder to start load development with for the 195 TMK was a no brainer. The obvious choices were IMR 4064 and Varget. I’ve had great luck with both, but have been more of an IMR 4064 guy lately, so I went IMR 4064.
WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only. They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours. Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Using a overall length gauge, I determined that in my rifle, the the bullet will touch the lands at an overall length 2.953″. This is far longer than a standard AICS magazine can accept (typically in the 2.850-2.885″ range depending on your magazine and how much space you want in front of the cartridges). Since the 195 TMK was primarily designed as a match cartridge (where each round is individually loaded) this isn’t much of an issue for single feed applications. Since some guys only shoot from magazines, I decided to see how it would perform at magazine length as well. For testing purposes I loaded two different overall lengths, 2.940″ (.013″ off the lands) and 2.880″ (fits in an AICS magazine, see image below). The decision to start .013″ off the lands was based off my experience with the other TMKs, which seemed to like a shorter jump.
After carefully examining a wide range of data for 190 to 200 grain bullets in the 308 Winchester, I decided to work with 5 different charges from 40.5 grains to 42.5 grains in .5 grain increments. This was an educated guess based off of my experience and NOT the result of testing in a ballistics lab. These loads are shown for reference purposes only. Please READ THE DISCLAIMER on this site before proceeding.
I headed to the range on a brisk November day with my OD 308. Targets were 2″ orange dots targets at 100 yards. All shooting was done prone, from a bipod with a rear bag. The Nightforce 3.5-15 scope was set at 15x. All ballistic information was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. Temperature was 54F.
I used Lapua brass that had been previously fired 7 times in this rifle (that’s right, 7 times)! To size the brass, I used a Redding Competition Bushing Neck Die with Titanium Nitride bushings. This prevents working too much of the case and has provided me long case life with all of the rifles I’ve used these dies for.
Primers are Wolf large rifle hand seated with a Sinclair priming tool. For some reason less informed shooters seem to confuse the quality of Wolf’s centerfire ammunition with the quality of their primers. Russian primers are excellent and I’ve found they produce some of my most consistent results with cases that use a large rifle primer.
The results are shown below:
Standard deviation for the loads ranged from 5.3 to 20.5 feet/second. Average standard deviation was 12.5 feet/second.
Group sized range from .502″ (.479 MOA) to 1.057″ (1.010 MOA). Average group size for all ten loads was .692″ (.661 MOA).
The data produced quite a few different promising loads that deserve another look and fine tuning.
So how does the 195 TMK stack up against my other preferred bullets? Let’s take a look.
For comparison purposes, I selected the 42.0 grain, 2.940″ load, with a muzzle velocity of 2,539 feet/second and an SD of 6.9. This load is compared to loads for the 190 SMK, 175 SMK, 175 TMK, and 168 Federal Gold Medal ammunition in the test rifle. In other words, these aren’t maximum loads, but loads that I have developed and would feel comfortable shooting a match with in the rifle shown (you may note the 190 SMK is fairly slow, but this is what the rifle liked). Also note that this rifle has a relatively short 22″ barrel compared to those you might find on a purpose built f-class rifle.
The table below displays bullet drift and path in mils (MRAD) for 200 yard increments out to 1,000 yards. It assumes the shooter is at sea level, has a 100 yard zero, and the temperature is 59F. The lowest (or best) path and drift values for each given range are highlighted with bold font.
Of the loads shown, the 195 TMK is quite the performer out to 1,000 yards, providing the best drift values at each interval shown in the table above. Also note, that at 1,000 yards, the 195 TMK has .6 mils less drop than the 175 SMK load, with .7 mils less drift! Compared to 175 TMK, it has .2 MORE drop and .3 mils LESS drift at 1,000 yards, and to the 168 SMK Federal gold Medal, it has 1.9 mils less drop and 1.1 mils less drift at 1,000 yards. For the 308 shooter, this is a pretty impressive step up in performance.
For the known distance 6mm and 6.5mm crowd, consider this- when compared with my 23″ barrel 2700 foot/second 6.5 Creedmoor 142 SMK load (9.3 mils of drop and 2.1 mils of drift at 1,000 yards), the 195 TMK only has .2 mils more drift! Not too shabby!
Assuming your 308 rifle has a 1:10″ twist that can stabilize the 195 TMK, it is certainly worth a look for the increase in performance! I’m most likely switching over to the 195 TMK from the 175 SMK, I don’t see many downsides. I’m also confident that further refinement of the load development process will yield smaller groups.
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