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CFE 223 First Impressions
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:40 am    Post subject: CFE 223 First Impressions Reply with quote

I have just finished my first round of loading with CFE 223, Hodgdon's newest powder made for the 223 and of course well suited for the 308 Win. Here are my first impressions.

Here is the push from the Hodgdon site:

Introduced in January 2012, this versatile spherical rifle propellant incorporates in its formula CFE, Copper Fouling Eraser. This ingredient, originally used in military propellant, greatly deters copper fouling. It contributes to longer periods of top accuracy with less barrel cleaning time. Being a spherical powder, metering is superbly accurate. CFE 223 yields top velocities in many cartridges such as the 204 Ruger, 223 Remington/5.56mm NATO, 22-250 Remington and the 308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO, plus many, many more. Match, Varmint and AR shooters will love this one!

This is a fine powder and it gets everywhere. No leakage from my powder measure but the slightest tap and it would leap out of the case. It was a bit sticky in the funnel and the slightest misalignment of funnel to case and powder would leak through the gap. The bottom of the top seal in the powder canister was covered with powder and when I pulled it back this powder went everywhere. Seems like it is more prone to static cling. Lesson learned to tap canister cover before opening.

Excellent metering. I weigh every charge on an electronic scale and only one in 50 was slightly under and one slightly over (less than 0.1 grain judging from trickle in and out). This was probably my timing rather than the powder or the measure.

Velocity Spread:
Unfortunately I was unable to use my chrono as a misty rain was falling. However all 10 charges (5 rounds each) resulted in near MOA accuracy and three loads (25.2, 26.0 and 26.2) resulted in groups that could be covered by a penny. I am thinking that this powder has to be consistent to allow that level of accuracy. I believe with a bit of fine tuning it can do better. BTW all were CCI 400, FED Brass (FL sized) and Hornady 60 grain Varmint (#2275) which is a hollow point, flat based hunting bullet and seated at 2.250 OAL.

This is one of if not the cleanest powder I have used in my 223. The spent casings when cleaned in my ultrasonic cleaner with new solution left little residue in the water. Fifty rounds is hardly a good test of bore residue/fouling but a single wet patch followed by a dry left the barrel shining.

I like this powder. I am going to repeat the three best loads and chrono the velocities. I stuck with the spec OAL but I will try a bit longer and see how this affects accuracy. I am also going to try this powder with 168 grain A-Max's in my 308. If others are using it I would like to hear their impressions/experience.

La a'Blair s'math n Cairdean
(Friends are good on the day of battle)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Re: CFE 223 First Impressions Reply with quote

Interesting, the Ramshot TAC line of powder as well as Alliant RL-15 have been available for a few years before with the anti copper fouling before Hodgdon's powder became available, but no big advertising like Hodgdon's powder.

I've tried them except the Hodgdon version, both powders I mentioned above burn clean and meter well and I must say the RL-15 for the 223 is a little bit cleaner burning. On the other hand it is the BS that the powder manufactures say their test loads Speeds (fps) is the truth where in my book their speeds for the given bullet or powder are not real world and only a marketers dream.


Limitations are but boundaries created inside our minds.
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Joined: Nov 20, 2006
Posts: 348
Location: Cen.Iowa, by way of SWIowa

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: CFE 223 First Impressions Reply with quote

They use "special" LONG barrels to test the powders with I am told or I have read. I am going to load some 75gr A-MAX's for my dad for his AR to give him for his birthday in about 10 days give or take. Last he shot these he said they were GREAT performers. I am using right near 22Gr Of RAMSHot TAC. Rifle seemsto really like 'em so I see no need to change anything. And yes loading to a total length of 2,24 as per the tech at Hornady I talked to on the phone.

What do I know: I am just a line animal.
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Joined: May 16, 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:39 am    Post subject: Re: CFE 223 First Impressions Reply with quote

keep us posted, MacD. I'm very interested in your results, including how temperature stable it is.

"To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth." - Theodore Roosevelt

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: CFE 223 First Impressions Reply with quote

I have been trying CFE223 powder for a while and, so far, I'm impressed. I have been using it in my .17s, .223s, and 22/250 with good results. Do be careful to stay under maximum for any caliber when using this powder because it seems to be a little "hot". Maximum for the .17 Remington using a 20-grain VMAX is listed as 27.4 grains, but anything over 27 grains is causing a very slight flattening of the primers in my rifles. Even stopping at 27.0 grains, my loads are still clocking just under 4,400 fps (4,387 fps average for 10-shot strings corrected for 15' from the muzzle) and accuracy is impressive.

The same can be said of my .223 and 22/250 loads. I am hitting the velocities listed for maximum loads using less than maximum charges. This isn't too unusual in these rifles since they all wear 26" barrels and Hodgdon's test rifles are listed as 24". It still bears repeating that a person needs to start low and work up carefully, especially with a small cased cartridge like the .17 Remington.

I haven't shot enough yet to determine if the anti-copper fouling really works, but the bores do seem to look cleaner after shooting. Maybe just wishful thinking!

If you can't hit it with one, you probably can't with two either!

The biggest problem with a closed mind is that it never seems to come with a closed mouth.

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