.223 Precision Reloading

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by chrishf12, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    A lot of interest in precision/match quality reloading for .223 lately. Let's use this is thread to share knowledge for us that are just starting out.

    Feel free to share best loads, groups, load tests, test rifles etc. Also post up any deals to match quality components!

    I would like to try loads that other people have had success with to see what shoots best between my rifles. Don't forget to add specs of the rifle as this makes a difference!

    Bullet
    Powder
    COAL
    Primer

    Disclaimer: Always work up! Do not trust end loads without first working up watching for pressure signs in your rifle.
     
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  2. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    I loaded up 60 rounds of 69gr SMK last week. Going to be trying out CCI vs Tula primers with this load on Saturday.

    69gr SMK
    25gr Varget
    2.260 COAL
    Primer CCI 400 vs Tula

    Pics to come!
     
  3. Bailey Boat

    Bailey Boat Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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    I have a Rem 700 in .223 and have a sub MOA load that I worked up last summer but if I told you what was in it I'd have to kill you!!
     
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  4. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    I don't have my load data in front of me right now (I'll post it later) but I've gone two different routes so far to get decent accuracy with my AR. The Hornady 55SP bullets have always given me better than 1 MOA (under 0.6 on a good day) @ 100 yards. I've not shot them past 100 yards yet, and I don't expect them to carry well past 300 yards. I've also had good luck with the Hornady 75 bthp, which have been about 0.75" @ 100. I've shot them out to 300, but only on steel so I don't know the group size, but I bracketed the steel target (shot at the edges) and they seemed to be very accurate. I've played with the Sierra 77gn, but have not done what I would consider a full workup yet.

    All my accuracy loads so far have been with Varget powder, and shot from a PSA upper with a 20" free floated stainless barrel, Wylde chamber, 1:8 twist.

    Amen!!
     
  5. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    I use Lake City brass that’s in great to very good condition. Flaws get it sent to the plinking brass bag, generally after 3-4 firings.

    I size the brass with an RCBS small base. I uniform and make sure there is no crimp. I trim/check length, and then use a Lyman VLD chamfer tool on the case mouth. Reprime the case with a handheld primer tool. I use an RCBS Chargemaster for powder throwing and I calibrate it every use. I use RCBS Competition Seater dies and slowly work down to OAL.

    My go-to is:

    77gr Sierra Tipped Match Kings
    23.6gr RE15
    CCI BR4
    2.262”

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Goofyfoot2001

    Goofyfoot2001 Member

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    I 'm an AR nob and in fact don't even own one. I do own a semi-auto .223 however and isn't the point of the .223 to blast away indiscriminately, sometimes just at the ground, or better, into muddy water? Aiming being a secondary function?
     
  7. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    You are confusing this with an AK or SKS conversation
     
  8. Tom7

    Tom7 Active Member

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    Bullet: Nosler 77gr OTM Custom Comp w/cannelure
    Powder: Hodgdon Benchmark 22.0gr
    COAL: 2.260"
    Primer: CCI BR4

    Everything done "by hand". Each charge weighed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  9. hlpressley

    hlpressley Member Vendor

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    Thanks for posting this. I don't have enough experience to contribute, but I'm definitely listening!
     
  10. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    Following loads shot from 20" 1:8 Wylde chamber. CCI #41 primers, LC brass. Lee collet crimp die.

    Hornady 55SP, seated 2.200". Varget 26.5gn, 3045fps. Best 3 shot group 0.5" @ 100yds, consistently < 1.0".
    Hornady 68BTHP, seated 2.252". Varget 23.5gn, 2703fps. Best 3 shot group 1.2" @ 100yds.
    Hornady 75BTHP, seated 2.255". Varget 24.2gn, 2688fps. Two 3 shot groups, 0.62" @ 100yds.
    Sierra 77 TMK, seated 2.258". Varget 23.5gn, 2625fps. Best 3 shot group, 0.75" @ 100yds.

    I will say that I never got these group sizes with a stock trigger. I added a 2 stage Geissele trigger and cut my group sizes significantly. I was rather disappointed with this gun at first, I could not get under 2.0" groups with any factory ammo. At one point, after I added the new trigger, I tried some Winchester black-box 77 match ammo and got about 0.75", but that cost about $1.20 per round.

    I also experimented with crimping, and discovered that no crimp gave better accuracy, lower standard deviation, and slightly lower velocity. I only ran that test once, I still want to go back and tweak some of the loads above using no crimp. I'm not worried about bullet setback, at least with Varget powder. All of the loads above are compressed loads, and I believe I have enough neck tension without crimping.

    ON EDIT: All of the above loads were done using Redding dies, and powder dropped with a Chargemaster. I have since acquired a Wilson chamber style seating die that I will use from now on, it is much more consistent in seating depth, and less runout as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  11. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    I will agree a good trigger makes a huge difference in decent groups and great groups

    It’s my experience that neck tension shouldn’t be an issue and crimping unnecessary in a properly set up system. I’ve never experienced set back issues with any of my plinking rounds or precision rounds and I’ve tested OAL after multiple loading, unloading, and measuring cycles.
     
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  12. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    Have you seen any difference in the accuracy of the TMK vs SMK?
    Also does measuring charges with the chargemaster require trickling up? Or is it spot on each time? **Edit the Chargemaster is the automatic charge measure and scale. My mistake!


    Impressive I have been using H335 with my 55gr loads. I will have to load up some Varget to try out!
    I completely agree that the mil-spec triggers are horrible for any kind of precision shooting.

    One thing I am going to try this weekend is a different shooting position. I have been using a folding table shooting from a seated position, after seeing the group difference from @hlpressley I will have to change this up!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
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  13. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    The Chargemaster depends on the powder but I did a little “Mod” with a drinking straw and it’s way better. But RE15 always measured more easily than a very long stick powder like 4198 or Varget. You can reprogram the Chargemaster also; it’s got a high speed to do the bulk fill and you can set it to go to low then trickle like .5 or .2gr away from your charge. The further away, the less likely it’ll over throw

    In my rifle, the TMKs shoot better than SMKs. Don’t have any recent test targets but they also shine the further out you go

    Recently got some Hornady 75gr ELD-Ms to try. They are even longer than the TMKs and those crush some powder. Not real thrilled there
     
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  14. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    The group you posted on the other thread shows that you may be better than me!
     
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  15. nbkky71

    nbkky71 Active Member

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    One of the best loads I ever ran through my A2 NRA/CMP service rifle snagged me a 197-12X at 600 yards (with irons) at the 600 yard line.

    Berger 82gr MT
    23.3gr ARCOMP
    CCI450 primer
    LC brass
    2.50" OAL

    All charges were tricked up using a GEMPRO scale, accurate to .02gr and loaded using RCBS custom competition dies.

    I had a brain fart with the math error that day.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  16. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    I've played with H335, but only in my carbine with plinking loads, and so far I have only shot those at 50 yards. H335 works well with regular powder measures, Varget - not so much.

    I shoot all of mine from a table, usually with a Lead Sled Solo. I am beginning to see the advantage of a better rest, though, the Lead Sled that I am using is not as steady as I would like.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  17. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    THAT is impressive. My eyes are not good enough anymore for irons at that kind of distance.

    The Berger 82s are too long to fit the mag. I have not played with > mag length yet, and I may not try since I have a 1:8 twist, I think ~ 77 is the upper limit for me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  18. AR10ShooterinNC

    AR10ShooterinNC Happy to be here

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    This is from my AR-15. Load is LC brass, CCI primer, 25.5 grs varget, 69 SMK.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    Well 6 months later.
    Right column is 69gr SMK, 25gr Varget, 2.26" OAL.
    Left column is 77gr Nosler CC, 23.4gr 8208XBR, 2.26" OAL.
    I didn't notice any difference with the Tula vs CCI primers.

    I was expecting a little tighter groupings from these loads, only getting about 1 moa, but it could have been me as well.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  20. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    Trying out some 8208xbr with 69gr smk and 77 nosler cc. I think I am the limitation on some of these groups.

    These are over max so work up.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  21. AR10ShooterinNC

    AR10ShooterinNC Happy to be here

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    Groups 1 & 2, look like the place to start refining that load, they shot to the same place.
     
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  22. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    Group 3 was actually 24.3 grains and in between the group 1 & 2 charges.
    I believe that I need to work on myself some as well. I think that will pull out some of the small inconsistencies and flyers.
     
  23. Bunsen

    Bunsen ACME Labs

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    With Varget there is a node right around 24.0gr. What scale are you using to weight your charges with by chance? Dependent on the scale your margin of error could be 0.05 +/- or more. To me it looks like your are right in the node with the 69gr loads I would load up 10 rounds each at 24.0 & 24.4, shoot a 5 round group for each charge weight, and then a 10 round combined group (keeping track of which shots are which load of course). I think you will find they all have the same POI.

    For the 77gr loads you've likely gone above the node (23.2 gr upper limit) as the 23.4gr looks like a scatter node to me. I'd drop down to test 28.7gr-23.2gr.
     
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  24. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    These were loaded with a Frankford Arsenal digital scale, it only measures to one thenth of a gr. The Frankford is a new scale to me, so I was verifying charges on an Ohaus beam scale but still only one tenth of a gr scale.

    I appreciate the advice on the 69gr load. I will try that for confirmation before I start playing with my seating depth. I think the 24.3gr will be the charge weight I settle on if I do not see anything funny in the next few groupings.

    I have to rerun the group 4, 77gr load of 23.4gr. Previously the 23.4gr load was .6moa. This group was terrible due to no fault of the rifle. I may end up rerunning a few charges for this bullet as I seemed inconsistent.
     
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  25. Djstorm100

    Djstorm100 Always have a plan Vendor

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    23.3 23.6 of 8208 is a node with a 77smk in just about every 18" ar
     
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  26. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    I've got some 8208, and some 77smk, but have never tried them together. Will need to try that for my 20" AR.
     
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  27. nbkky71

    nbkky71 Active Member

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    Started cranking out some ammo for all the M1 for Vets team guns, for Camp Perry. 500 rounds down... 3500 to go!

    Nosler CC 77gr
    24.0gr Ramshot TAC
    CCI450 primer
    mixed brass

    This shoots about 1MOA through my optics service rifle and 1.5MOA through my iron sighted A2 service rifle. Should do fine for all the team rifles.

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    I actually just got 8208 and 75gr Hornady BTHPs working really together
     
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  29. Djstorm100

    Djstorm100 Always have a plan Vendor

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    It's my competition load. After talking with a few gunsmith friends I may be going with 224v. No reason 8208 shouldn't work. It's a little faster burning so left barrel life but..eh part of doing business. Becareful with 8208 it will show pressure signs quick in AR. I run my a tad slow compare to other but it's stupid accurate.
     
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  30. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    I've been looking at the 224V. Much better ballistics downrange than 223. I'll probably end up with one eventually.
     
  31. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    I may start with the 75bthp. My gun seems to like those. I'm using them with Varget right now.
     
  32. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    Well, I recently worked up and shot some test loads with 8208XBR and Hornady 75 bthp. I only went up to 22.8gn, though, and the numbers I saw made me think there was an accuracy node just a little higher in charge. Since the primers were still well rounded and no other high pressure signs, I worked up a few more steps in charge. I shot those today, and sure enough, the groups tightened up and I found a node at 23.2gn that gave me less than 0.5” @100.
    AD2E084D-E515-43F4-98E7-BDF41590BE78.jpeg

    Almost a 1 hole five shot group.
     
  33. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    Nice shooting!
     
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  34. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    I went a little hotter; worked my charges up and saw zero cratering or other issues at this level. At 23.8gr I saw some rough extraction signs so I stopped at 23.6gr
     
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  35. Bunsen

    Bunsen ACME Labs

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    This is basically a clone load of the factory Hornady VMax offering. I plan on using it on PDogs.

    55gr Hornady V-max bullet loaded to magazine length.
    LC case
    CCI 400 primer
    26.0gr CFE 223

    18" Ballistic Advantage barrel 1 in 8" twist 223 Wylde chamber

    I've noticed that CFE 223 does not play well with other powders. I'd recommend to start with a clean barrel and season the barrel with ~10 rounds before firing for groups.

    The outlier is 100% shooter error on my part. :oops:

    AEROPrecUpper_55grVMax_26grCFE_2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  36. chrishf12

    chrishf12 Carolina Wanderer

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    You guys are showing me up! I haven't loaded or tested any rounds since the spring!
     
  37. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    This whole precision thing is a challenge in several aspects. Equipment. Loads. Shooter. It seems that as I make improvements in one, it starts showing the limitations of the others. I've gotten to the point that I realize just how much I am the overall limiting factor. I have a scope that is powerful enough that I can see my heartbeat affecting the POA. Breathing and timing is important. I have also discovered that any inconsistencies in how I hold the rifle, even minor, can affect accuracy. That was especially true with my lever action rifle and Ruger Blackhawk with scopes. I shot a 5" group with the Blackhawk at 50 yards, bench rested, then changed my grip slightly and shot a 2.5" group. Where I rested the front of the lever action had a similar effect.

    Still learning.
     
  38. 11B CIB

    11B CIB IG: HandloadsAndHoldovers Staff Member Charter Member

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    If I have a scope that can see that clearly, I dial it back so I can’t. I found I will try to Kentucky Windage my groups otherwise.

    You have to approach the target with the crosshairs the same way each time consistently, whether it’s coming from the left and up or whatever, has to be the same.

    Learning natural point of aim in terms of breathing and where my body comes to a rest in between breaths changed a lot for me (for the better). @Yankee Doodle can recommend a KD appleseed where you can learn this in depth and shoot distance at the same time
     
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  39. Grits

    Grits I'm a Dirt Bag. Charter Life Member

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    Here's a group I shot a couple of years ago. [​IMG]

    20" stainless barrel from an AR15

    Sent from my SM-J320V using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  40. jimmyjames8

    jimmyjames8 Active Member Supporting Member

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    Interesting article by Glen Zedicker on Midsouth blog page and news letter (I think its called First Shots. ) The article is about Port Pressure on gas guns and his advice not to use anything slower than H4895. Just starting to play with H4895 up to Reloader #7. RE7 and 55gr bullet can be made very accurate. Two stage trigger helps a lot too.
     

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