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Mar 25th, 2012
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223 load decision #7101693
03/05/18 06:02 PM
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Actually, I donít have to decide any time soon, but sooner or later I will. I decided to shoot the 260 and 223 today. Both shot little groups right where they should, so I have no complaint. But, I remembered that I had a box of 223 rounds with two different powder charges behind the same bullet - 40 gr Nosler BT. Now would be a good time to see which shot better. No wind and I havenít had much coffee. I had some loads with 26.9 gr of H335 and some with whatís my standard load of 26.3 gr of H335. The 26.9 gr loads shot into a tiny (unmeasured) group in the middle of the bullseye. Hmmm, maybe I should go to that load, but test the other load too. And the 26.3 gr loads shot into a tiny little group (different bullseye) at the same place on that bullseye. Two good loads are better than one, but which should be the chosen load next time I load up ammo? Should I go with the hotter load, or stay with the milder load for hopefully increased brass life?

Brass was Winchester, well prepped, and has been shot a bunch. Still hanging in there though.

Rifle is a Ruger Hawkeye, tuned and rebarreled by Horizon.

Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7101708
03/05/18 06:07 PM
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IMO, run a 223 as warm as you (safely) can. Brass is plentiful and cheap.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7101779
03/05/18 06:49 PM
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What twist??

My 8 twist bolt gun runs on Varget with a 77 or 69 Sierra SMK or Berger 70gr

My 8 twist AR loves AR Comp and the same bullets as above including the bad azz Nosler 77 RFD

RL-15 is second, no reason to try anymore but I did shoot TAC, Vita Vouri?, 322, 8082,


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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7101817
03/05/18 07:31 PM
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Can't argue with Chad, because I'm sure he knows a heck of a lot more than me on the subject. I worked with win 748 powder. When I worked up the loads for 55gr. bullet in the 748 powder, I actually found that the most accurate load was toward the mid range of powder range at 24.6 gr. Tested it multiple times same results. I was always confounded until I checked the Nosler manual and it verified my results, saying in 748 the lowest powder charge tested was the most accurate. All that to say, sometimes faster isn't necessarily better.

In your case, it looks like either option would work, so run the faster one. It'll shoot flatter.

Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7101852
03/05/18 08:01 PM
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Buzzsaw, the rifle twist is a one in 9. I shoot the 40ís for coyote, skunk, armadillo, and such. Iíve switched to 60 gr Partitions for heavier critters. No reason to change powders, since H335 works for all I shoot (40ís, 55ís, 60ís, and 65ís).

The really good thing about this rifle is that it shoots the 40ís and Partitions into the same group, if not the same hole.

Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102061
03/05/18 11:21 PM
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Buzzsaw, both of my 223's shoot the 77's Nos CC great with Varget or RL15. One gun is a 7 twist, other is a 8 twist.







Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102137
03/06/18 12:38 AM
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According to the Nosler 8th edition manual, W748 was the most accurate powder tested for 40-grain bullets. The most accurate charge of W748 was 28.0 grains (also the max). Other powders tested with 40-grain bullets include Varget, H322, Re7, Alliant "Varmint," H335, IMR 4198, AA 2015, VV N120, and Benchmark.




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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102150
03/06/18 12:43 AM
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Oops...somehow I transcribed H335 into W748. Didn't mean to veer off into the weeds...but here I am.
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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102155
03/06/18 12:45 AM
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But getting back on track, Nosler's best H335 load with 40-grain bullets was a 27.5 grain charge.




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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102236
03/06/18 01:41 AM
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27.5 of H335 was the load I used in the first barrel. The second barrel shows pressure signs at 27, so I canít get to that 27.5 max.

Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102299
03/06/18 02:33 AM
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Two loads that shoot well, the hotter load is not over-pressured, shoot the hotter load.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102378
03/06/18 03:36 AM
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Well I think I would keep the 26.3 and 26.9 targets. Next I would load 26.5 and 26.7. Or at minimum split the difference and load 26.6 and compare. If they shoot another nice tiny group to the same poi, you have 2.2% of your maximum charge weight to imbed your load into. If I found pressure signs at 27 this time of year I would most likely want to drop down a bit more than 26.9 to thwart the possibility of hot summer weather increasing pressure enough that I need to alter the load in the summer months. 0.1 grain of powder is less than four tenths of one percent of your maximum That would likely not be enough buffer to avoid pressure signs on an especially hot summer day, (Particularly if you are in the sun) and cause your load to break down in the summer.

Last edited by Smokey Bear; 03/06/18 03:37 AM.

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Re: 223 load decision [Re: Smokey Bear] #7102592
03/06/18 01:54 PM
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Why not let it be? I don't understand people that find a great load, and want to keep meesing with it. Reproduce it, and go practice!

Last week I ladder tested a powder and bullet I am less familiar with, in an Ackley Improved cartridge, on formed brass. I had to find pressure as well as the powder node I needed to focus on. I accomplished both.

Sunday I group shot three powder charges, and found the winner. Today I will be reproducing that load, and running it out to 800 yards. The remaining loaded rounds will be for practicing and killing coyotes and hogs. Project done.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102604
03/06/18 02:02 PM
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If you run those two loads out to 300-500 yards you will possibly see a difference in group size. Theoretically the fuller case will give better consistency. Theory does not always play out in practice though as we all know.

Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102678
03/06/18 02:58 PM
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I do not agree with that theory. If the fuller case load is actually out of tune with the barrel harmonics, it will shoot poorly. Back to Sunday, I shot three loads for 4X shots (sporter barrel) at 300 yards. The lightest load shot the smallest. That is not the first time that has happened, and it will not be the last.


I do, however, agree with group shooting beyond 100 yards. Chad always does it at 200. I will go 200, or 300, or 500, depending on what rifle I am testing, but 200 yards is my minimum distance. A poor load can shoot decent at 100 yards, at 200+ it will show that it is out of tune.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: FiremanJG] #7102733
03/06/18 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
Why not let it be? I don't understand people that find a great load, and want to keep meesing with it. Reproduce it, and go practice!

Last week I ladder tested a powder and bullet I am less familiar with, in an Ackley Improved cartridge, on formed brass. I had to find pressure as well as the powder node I needed to focus on. I accomplished both.

Sunday I group shot three powder charges, and found the winner. Today I will be reproducing that load, and running it out to 800 yards. The remaining loaded rounds will be for practicing and killing coyotes and hogs. Project done.


You could let it be and make adjustments if needed in 3-4 months this summer. When I was younger and crazier, I chased speed first. Not going to post some of the things I tried that taught me lessons other than to say I have first hand experience with the foot on the bolt. I now take a more cautious approach and prefer to seek a load I am confident will hold up for 12 months.


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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102752
03/06/18 03:54 PM
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Well, here's what I look at when picking a powder or a load for a certain set up.

Take the 223 Rem with the 55 grain bullet. With Win 748 powder, this is a VERY slow burning powder for that combination. Crum listed a powder charge of 24.6 grains that shot very well. That's awesome, nothing wrong with that. But with a powder charge of 24.6 grains of 748 with a 55 grain bullet, you are getting an 88% burn with that powder combo in a 16" AR platform. With a bolt gun, you are getting a 91% burn with a 20" barrel. So there is a lot of wasted energy with this load, and it will make the ammo seem "dirty" (especially in an AR platform). 2950 fps in 20" barrel. The ammo can easily shoot just fine, but it's not very efficient.

If you push that same load up to 26.9 grains for a max load (55K psi), you get a 95% burn rate, which will help make the ammo less dirty. 3200 fps in 20" barrel.

But, if you use H335, at max charge (55K psi) of 24.8 grains, you get 2997 fps in a 16" barrel with 95.6% burn, and 3167 fps in 20" barrel with 97.4 burn. This will run much cleaner and be much more efficient with the use of the given powder. So for a 55 grain bullet, I would be looking at powders in the H335 burn rate for the best efficiency. H335 (WC844) is a near perfect powder for the 55 and 60 grain bullets in the 223.

Also, you don't have to have a 100% full case to get the most consistency. I have used some reduced recoil loads with about 70-75% case fill with a much faster burning powder that turned in some VERY low extreme spreads for velocity. The key is mating up the cartridge and the weight of the bullet you are shooting to the right powder burn rate. Kind of like what I mentioned with the 223 and Win 748 powder. If I wanted to do a reduced load for a 223 Rem with a 55 grain bullet, 748 would be the wrong powder to do so, since it's so slow burning and would have a high % of unburned powder as a reduced load. I would lean towards a much faster burning powder, even faster burning than H335, for a reduced load. Having a consistent load doesn't have to have a 100% case fill. But it does have to have the right powder for the right burn rate to make it efficient.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: Smokey Bear] #7102771
03/06/18 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: Smokey Bear
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
Why not let it be? I don't understand people that find a great load, and want to keep meesing with it. Reproduce it, and go practice!

Last week I ladder tested a powder and bullet I am less familiar with, in an Ackley Improved cartridge, on formed brass. I had to find pressure as well as the powder node I needed to focus on. I accomplished both.

Sunday I group shot three powder charges, and found the winner. Today I will be reproducing that load, and running it out to 800 yards. The remaining loaded rounds will be for practicing and killing coyotes and hogs. Project done.


You could let it be and make adjustments if needed in 3-4 months this summer. When I was younger and crazier, I chased speed first. Not going to post some of the things I tried that taught me lessons other than to say I have first hand experience with the foot on the bolt. I now take a more cautious approach and prefer to seek a load I am confident will hold up for 12 months.


I completely agree. That's the main up-side to load testing in July, August, and September. If it doesn't over-pressure now, it never will. That is also the reason I ONLY use temperature stable powders. The last thing I need is another factor negatively affecting my load development, later in the year. Even counting in a summer load development, I don't want a major loss in speed, in winter. It throws off everything beyond 100 yards.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7102793
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Re: 223 load decision [Re: ChadTRG42] #7104212
03/07/18 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Well, here's what I look at when picking a powder or a load for a certain set up.

Take the 223 Rem with the 55 grain bullet. With Win 748 powder, this is a VERY slow burning powder for that combination. Crum listed a powder charge of 24.6 grains that shot very well. That's awesome, nothing wrong with that. But with a powder charge of 24.6 grains of 748 with a 55 grain bullet, you are getting an 88% burn with that powder combo in a 16" AR platform. With a bolt gun, you are getting a 91% burn with a 20" barrel. So there is a lot of wasted energy with this load, and it will make the ammo seem "dirty" (especially in an AR platform). 2950 fps in 20" barrel. The ammo can easily shoot just fine, but it's not very efficient.

If you push that same load up to 26.9 grains for a max load (55K psi), you get a 95% burn rate, which will help make the ammo less dirty. 3200 fps in 20" barrel.

But, if you use H335, at max charge (55K psi) of 24.8 grains, you get 2997 fps in a 16" barrel with 95.6% burn, and 3167 fps in 20" barrel with 97.4 burn. This will run much cleaner and be much more efficient with the use of the given powder. So for a 55 grain bullet, I would be looking at powders in the H335 burn rate for the best efficiency. H335 (WC844) is a near perfect powder for the 55 and 60 grain bullets in the 223.

Also, you don't have to have a 100% full case to get the most consistency. I have used some reduced recoil loads with about 70-75% case fill with a much faster burning powder that turned in some VERY low extreme spreads for velocity. The key is mating up the cartridge and the weight of the bullet you are shooting to the right powder burn rate. Kind of like what I mentioned with the 223 and Win 748 powder. If I wanted to do a reduced load for a 223 Rem with a 55 grain bullet, 748 would be the wrong powder to do so, since it's so slow burning and would have a high % of unburned powder as a reduced load. I would lean towards a much faster burning powder, even faster burning than H335, for a reduced load. Having a consistent load doesn't have to have a 100% case fill. But it does have to have the right powder for the right burn rate to make it efficient.


Thanks for the great explanation. Just learned something smile

How do you figure the percentage burn? Also, what are the benefits of efficient powder burn other than it being cleaner? It seems that if you shoot the max load for any powder in a given bullet size, it's going to be the max efficiency for that powder. How does this correlate to accuracy? Not questioning the logic, just asking out of curiosity.

Last edited by crumrw; 03/07/18 10:05 PM.
Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7104745
03/08/18 02:09 PM
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So can anyone tell me why my 75gr a max load was shooting soooooo poorly? I couldn't get a 2" group 100 yards and at 300 it was literally 8-10" apart. These groups were shot after doing a basic ladder test a choose a range of charge that seemed the closest.

Load data:
Cci small rifle primer
Hornady once fired brass, cleaned a prepped
75gr amax seated about 0.015 back, which looked like I was really shoving the bullet deep
Ramshot tac, don't remember exactly but was all groups were within +/- 0.4 gr of the max in book
Rifle is bone stock tikka 223 varmint with 8 twist.

Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7104748
03/08/18 02:15 PM
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You've got the twist, you've got enough powder. Those were my first reactions.

You did good on every step. I see two things you could change; seating depth, and a change in powder. I don't know the powder you're using, but three others come to mind for that cartridge and bullet.

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Re: 223 load decision [Re: Korean Redneck] #7104835
03/08/18 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: Korean Redneck
So can anyone tell me why my 75gr a max load was shooting soooooo poorly? I couldn't get a 2" group 100 yards and at 300 it was literally 8-10" apart. These groups were shot after doing a basic ladder test a choose a range of charge that seemed the closest.

Load data:
Cci small rifle primer
Hornady once fired brass, cleaned a prepped
75gr amax seated about 0.015 back, which looked like I was really shoving the bullet deep
Ramshot tac, don't remember exactly but was all groups were within +/- 0.4 gr of the max in book
Rifle is bone stock tikka 223 varmint with 8 twist.


If you are feeding this ammo out of the Tikka magazine, then the 75 grain A-max would be seated VERY deep in the case. So deep that the ogive of the bullet is below the case mouth. I have tried these also out of my son's Tikka T3 varmint, with marginal results. The problem is the bullet has a long runway to the lands. If you loaded them to single feed and seated the bullet out long just touching or a few thousandths off, it would shoot better. It would also allow you to get more powder in the case to get more speed.

If you want to mag feed the heavy bullets in your Tikka, go to a BTHP bullet. These do not have a polymer tip, which increase the length of the bullet, and increases the ogive to tip length. I worked up 2 good loads with the 68 grain and 75 grain BTHP Hornady bullets that shot very well. You are able to seat them to the same 2.250" COAL, and get the ogive much closer to the lands to help it shoot better. The 75 A-max is too aggressive to be mag fed out of a 223 Rem at 2.250" COAL.


Your situation is similar to the picture below, but worse. Worse since the ogive of the bullet is into the case, causing even more freebore.



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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7104845
03/08/18 03:42 PM
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For example, the ogive to tip length of the 75 grain Hornady BTHP is .455". The 75 A-max is .619" ogive to tip length. If you seated both bullets to the same 2.250" COAL, the 75 BTHP would be closer to the lands by .164"!! That's A LOT of difference. Yes, the A-max has a higher BC, because it is a longer bullet and more streamlined. But it's not a good bullet to fit and feed out of a normal 223 Mag length of 2.250" for this reason.

I found this picture online, and it shows how the A-max is not only a longer bullet, but you can see the much longer length from ogive to tip. One of the most important measurements that I will look at is the ogive to tip length on certain bullets to know if it will fit in a certain caliber and/or magazine correctly. These days, you have to run these numbers since most bullets are very aggressive for high BC and have a long ogive to tip length.




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Re: 223 load decision [Re: 603Country] #7104871
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One way to check what Chad is saying, is to use a comparator that measures to the ogive instead of the OAL. Then you could fine tune your oal length to make sure your bullets are seated off of the lands by just a few thousandths.

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