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.223 Load Recommendations
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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44marty
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Location: Cheshire, MA; USA

PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

I load for the .204 Ruger - very similar to the .223
The powders that have given very, very impressive groups are IMR 3031, IMR 4895, and IMR 4064. The IMR 4895 seems least sensitive to small variations in powder charges and volume capacities of different brass. The .204 just LOVES max loads of 3031. The IMR 3031 powder also shoots well in very cold weather, with no noticeable drop off in performance down to -5 deg. F (much colder than that, and I've been staying indoors. Yeah, I know, what a wimp . . . )
Groups tend not to be nearly as good from my rifle with RL-15 or Varget powders. IMR 4350 and H 4350 grouped only a little better than the Varget. (Too bad - The Varget was so highly recommended for the .204, and by so many people, that I picked up 8 lbs to try since the 1 lb containers have been on backorder forever. Guess I'll burn up the Varget in my K-31.)

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

chambered221 wrote:
slimjim, hows your OAL in comparison to the factory stuff ???

The cartridge overall length for the 40gr VMax Fiocchi is 2.245 average. I adjusted my die to achieve 2.243. I haven't taken apart a Fiocchi to see what type of powder they use. My experience with the .270 showed that if I changed my brass, I got significantly different groupings. I'll try some Fiocchi brass also.
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

44marty wrote:
The powders that have given very, very impressive groups are IMR 3031, IMR 4895, and IMR 4064. .... The Varget was so highly recommended for the .204, and by so many people, that I picked up 8 lbs to try since the 1 lb containers have been on backorder forever.

I have some 4895 and lots of Varget to try. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on these 40gr VMax. Figured if I could get them to shoot good I'd have a nice varmit round.

You'll certainly have plenty of opportunities to use Varget in the future.
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44marty
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

Good point, SlimJim - I'm finding Varget listed for all my rifles (and my neighbor's) with one bullet weight or another.

So many things to play with, so many excuses to shoot

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:45 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

Slim....don't waste your time, or the ammunition, pulling apart one of the FIOCCHI rounds mate. You will find it extremely difficult, if not totally impossible, to identify the powder by sight...and you will find that the powder MIX (yes mix !) they use will vary from batch to batch in order to maintain they velocity they desire.

Much better off doing your own load development mate. Don't discard the Varget just yet mate...best accuracy we got was with Varget at .5 gr below maximum in a .223 Ruger...trying to remember if it was with 55 gn or 62 gn bullets.

Cheers, Vince

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:48 am    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
Slim....don't waste your time, or the ammunition, pulling apart one of the FIOCCHI rounds mate. You will find it extremely difficult, if not totally impossible, to identify the powder by sight...and you will find that the powder MIX (yes mix !) Vince

Vince, thanks for the insight. I've been hearing about mixing powders lately to obtain higher velocities. Makes sense, faster burning to start the bullet off then slower burning to finish the push. I think Hornady is doing this in their Superformance ammo.
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
I'll try some Fiocchi brass also.

Changing your neck tension could achieve the same out come !!! (+ or - .001 difference might be all you need)

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

chambered221 wrote:
Changing your neck tension could achieve the same out come !!! (+ or - .001 difference might be all you need)

This is not an option with my current reloading set-up. Its amazing all the variables there are to control during the reloading process.
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

That's right......sorry !!! I forgot you don't have a press !!! Shocked

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Ask as many people needed, sooner or later your question will be answered the way you want it answered !!!

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

There is a big difference between the blended powders that are used by the ammo makers and the "duplex loads" that reloaders have tried in the past. Don't use two powders in a reload - at best they can be erratic and at worst they cause pressure spikes and ruined guns and shooters.

Blended powders are homogenous loads - they are never layered. Each kernal has a blend of different powders that achieve the pressure levels and velocity the ammo makers want for a particular run of ammo. The next blend may be different but the pressure curve and velocity will be very close to the former load.
As a reloader we just can't duplicate that kind of control or blend.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

PaulS wrote:
There is a big difference between the blended powders that are used by the ammo makers and the "duplex loads" that reloaders have tried in the past. Don't use two powders in a reload - at best they can be erratic and at worst they cause pressure spikes and ruined guns and shooters.

Agree completely!
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

I got out to the range this past week before I took off on a business trip. The rain came in and the wind blew. When the shower past, it became nice and calm so I got to send some 69gr Sierra MatchKings down range with TAC powder at 100 yards. Here are the results of 3-shot groups from 22.7, 23.0, 23.3, 23.6, and 26.9. I superimposed the five groups over the POA. Groups go from dark green (22.7), to teal (23.3), to deep blue (23.9). Max load is 24.1 gr. Results are better than with the 40gr VMax. Nice POI cluster across the powder range. Scope was zero'd for 250 yards.

I really like the 23.6gr TAC powder load. I think I'll load up 10 shots with that and do 5 each 0.1 gr of powder above and below. Plus I'll take some velocity measurements. When every I get a light 16-inch barrel to shoot better than 1 MOA, I happy!

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

After shooting my bow some this morning (haven't used those back muscles in a while), I drove to the range for an hour session to shoot my latest loads. Wasn't quite as I expected as the 5-shot groups didn't pattern the same as the 3-shot (the 3 taped up holes from the last range time). Still, I was pleased with the results. Looks like the dark blue load is as good or better than the Fiocchi target ammo with the 69gr SMK. Note, this is at 200 yards.

I plan to load some more with 23.7gr of TAC. Next time out I'll get some velocity measurements. The range was too crowded and I didn't have enough time to set-up the chronograph and make it back home for lunch.

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moritz
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:40 am    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

I've found 55 grain Speer soft points very accurate in my 223, ahead of 26.5 grains of Varget. (OK it has a 22 nch Bartlein Barrel). I call it the crow sploder cos thats what it does right out to 200 yards
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:06 pm    Post subject: Re: .223 Load Recommendations Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
Slim....don't waste your time, ....

I've come to the conclusion that this is what I'm doing. My reloads have been non repeatable in performance while I continue to shoot tight groups with both 40 and 69gr Fiocchi. I shot a 5-shot 3/4 MOA group this morning with the 69gr SMK Fiocchi. My loads were around 2.5 MOA today and seating depth had no affect.

These reloads were with neck-sized only cases that were being shot for the 3rd time. Case lenght has not been growing. I did use a gauge to measure the shoulder on my cases and they were at the limit, maybe a .001 too long. However, another shooter had his full-sized reloads and they measured the same. I did have two cases that failed to extract. I believe that neck-sizing only would work for me if my loads were more toward the minimum load. With my loads getting in the upper half of the min-max load range, there wasn't enough case to chamber wall clearance to cleanly cycle with consistent extraction.

So for now, I'm going to buy more Fiocchi ammo for target practice and continue to load my deer/hog loads in new cases. That way, I won't be wasting my time.
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