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Old January 25, 2010, 04:12 PM   #1
Dead-Nuts-Zero
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223 compressed load data

My first attempt at reloading 223. Have never loaded a compressed load in any cal.

Using Varget, my charts show a compressed load for the Max loads, but not on the starting loads or any in between. I think I was loading 25.5 as starting load, it looked like it would be close or maybe slightly compressed.

My question - At what point does the compressed warning start? It would be somewhere between the start and max load, both my books (Lyman & Speer) show only the max as compressed. Is this common to list it this way?
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Old January 25, 2010, 04:15 PM   #2
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im loading 40 grain bullets with varget@29.0... and its half a grain below max listed...and its compressed for sure.
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Old January 25, 2010, 05:43 PM   #3
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27.5gn of varget is compressed with a 55gn NBT.so I think you are OK.and it isn't compressed till you hear it crushing the powder.no just kidding.just remember to start low and work up.and if someone gives you a load to try lower it by 10% and you should be fine.one load might work for my rifel and be OK but maybe not the same for your rifel.
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Old January 25, 2010, 05:55 PM   #4
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Why risk a compressed load???? You are crushing the powder and that cannot be good. Varget is not the best choice for .223 Rem. RL-15 or TAC would be much better. TAC especially for the small projectiles up to 64 gr. Above that RL-15 works much better.

Think about what a compressed load is doing....crushing the powder and changing the density of the material. A stick powder is a stick for a reason. You are turning stick powder into black powder. Be safe and use your head!!!!!!
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Old January 25, 2010, 06:20 PM   #5
Tim R
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Think about what a compressed load is doing....crushing the powder and changing the density of the material. A stick powder is a stick for a reason. You are turning stick powder into black powder. Be safe and use your head!!!!!!
Ahh, no he's not....... Compressed loads for 223 are common in some shootng circles. These compressed loads have been proven over many years.


I shoot High Power with a AR and every 77 and 80 gr. SMK round is a compressed load. I use 24.4 grs of Reloder 15 for these bullets with a Remington 7 1/2 primer in Lake City brass. The ammo shoots pretty darn good in my opinion.

Varget is a good powder for 223, just ask the 1000's of High Power shooters who use it. I don't use Varget in 223 because R-15 burns cleaner and gives good groups. However, if I had not found R-15, I would more than likely use Varget.

If you put enough Varget in a 223 case to shoot the 77 and 80 gr SMK's it too will be a compressed load. A compressed load is just not that big of deal. I do know if you use 760 and put enough of it in a 223 case to shoot a 55gr FMJ, it will push even a crimped bullet back out of the case over a day or two. (no I didn't do it but saw it)
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Old January 26, 2010, 01:38 AM   #6
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I use 23.3 gr RL-15 behind a 77gr SMK in a LC case/CCI 41 primer. OAL 2.255". At or below one MOA for sure. U don't need a compressed load to shoot 190+ from 600....you just choose the correct powder.

My loads just never shot well with Varget. My AR-15 shoots better with TAC/RL-15 and my M1's, M1A's, and 03a3s shoot better with IMR-4895/4064.
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Old January 26, 2010, 04:26 AM   #7
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Sorry, looks like I didn't word the question very well, I didn't get the type answers I was looking for. Let me try a different approach.

First off…“WARNING … THIS CHART IS ONLY AN ILLISTRATION“
“DO NOT LOAD FROM THIS CHART”


In the two books I have (don’t have my books in front of me) I found something like this…

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Start Max.

25.9 gr. 3,251 fps --------- 27.2 gr. * 3,605 fps

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* = compressed load


They don't list the starting load as compressed, only the Max load as compressed in both my books.

My main question…Do the other publications out there also list it this way?

Its my thinking that they would prefer to warn us at the start of the scale rather than at the end.

I understand that compression could fall anywhere between depending on my seating depth etc, and that its my responsibility to read and understand the complete chart before loading.

It just seems to me for liability reasons, they would prefer to warn you of possible compression at the beginning, or better yet at both ends.

Reason I ask, if I am overlooking something here, then I would like to know what it is before I continue.

My powder Choice…
I had about three reasons for selecting the Varget over other powders. Being my first attempt at loading rifle (only having pistol powders), I scanned the charts to see what powder would be the most universal for use in as many of my center fires as possible. Varget was listed on most every .223 load and ranked quite well for some loads. Varget like most powders is (or was at that time) in short supply. Varget had the shortest estimated backorder time of all my choices. Had same problem with bullet selection, had to take what bullets I could find at the time.

I have yet to test fire my first loads (shooting S&W AR-15) so can’t comment on performance yet.

The only complaint I would have at this point is that the Varget was difficult to run thru my Lyman powder measure, the sticks tend to wedge and takes extra force to cut and crank them out. Whenever I had a difficult crank, it would weigh about .3 gr. more than desired so had to dump a few and recharge. Once I work up the load I want, I will probably have all the parts to switch to my Dillon and hopefully won’t have that charging problem.

Thanks for all the great advise.
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Old January 26, 2010, 06:52 AM   #8
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G'day.
Is there any problem with using a compressed load?
Are not powders that fill the case preferred?

I have checked 3 different books and only 1 shows "compressed" loads and lists them as "F" for FULL. I suspect it is for reference purposes.
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Old January 26, 2010, 07:54 AM   #9
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I don't think the manuals are thinking about "liability" when they designate a load as compressed. They are just warning you that it will be extra work if you want to use that powder and take it to the max. Before you get to "compressed", you will get to "needs a drop tube or some shaking to settle the powder as it is put into the case". In fact, some of the loads that don't have the "C" warning may also over-fill the case if you don't use a tube or a shake. The warning isn't about safety, it is about process. If you don't want to do that, then don't buy that powder.

Exactly WHERE in the load table compression starts will depend a lot on how you size your brass. If you are neck-sizing and have a generous chamber, you will need less compression than if you are small-base, full-length sizing for an auto-loader with a tight chamber. The brass in the first case will have a larger internal volume when you are loading powder.

As for safety, if the manuals publish the data (and indicate that it was pressure-tested), then you can assume that the powder/bullet/case combination did NOT produce unsafe pressure spikes. The companies test a lot more loads than they choose to publish. The ones that produce hinky behavior are left out of the manuals.

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Old January 26, 2010, 08:19 AM   #10
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It just seems to me for liability reasons, they would prefer to warn you of possible compression at the beginning, or better yet at both ends.

No need for any warnings or liability reasons. Compressing an approved and tested powder charge in and of itself does not increase pressure or the dangers of handloading. Hell, Hornady #7 doesn't even list whether a charge is compressed or not.

Compression is a good thing!
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Old January 26, 2010, 08:35 AM   #11
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Compressed loads using a recommended quantity of grained powder are no big deal. I've reloaded the .223 for over 40 years. Most of my 55 grain bullet loads using IMR 3031 are compressed. They are also very accurate.

Most .223 reloaders overlook IMR 3031 for 55 grain and lighter bullets. That is a mistake.
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Old January 26, 2010, 09:36 AM   #12
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The mistake is not using TAC or RL-15. Handloading is about consistency and what is consistent about crushing powder???? Changing from stick form to powder????

I would like to see load data from some compressed loads....ES, SD, accuracy at 100 yards. How consistent is this ammo??? If the ES and SD are large than POI will be variable.

If you have any data please post some.
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Old January 26, 2010, 12:03 PM   #13
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DNZ,

There's no correct way to do what you suggest. SAAMI and CIP only define outside case dimension limits for their compliant manufacturers. Different makers design different inside geometries and get different case volumes, so a consistent point of compression among all brands of case in the same chambering often doesn't exist.

The other reason is powder drop. If you drop the powder into the case through an extended tube, as some measures and powder funnels have, it will pack rather tighter. I have done experiments done with drop tubes up to three feet long, but have gotten considerable improvement in packing from just 6" tubes. Sometimes getting the powder to drop in with the case slightly tilted under the measure helps, too, by swirling the powder in the case.

Others will load from a regular measure, then set the charged cases atop a fish tank pump so the vibration will settle it before seating the bullet. It's all a matter of how the grains settle and if that orientation minimizes empty space?

As the powder packs more tightly, flame fronts tend to have a harder time getting through them, so there is a little bit of compensating influence there. But getting the extra space out is why compression can be done at all. Some powders are slightly elastic and can pack without crushing grains. The powder Hornady used for its Light Magnum line, for example. I was told IMR 4007 has some of that going for it, but I've never owned any, so I can't vouch for that statement from personal experience.

The effect of cracking grains will vary with the powder. In flake powders it is almost impossible to break the grains by compression. In sticks it is usually easy. Sphericals, in particular, depend heavily on surface penetration by the deterrent coating to control their burn rate. If you could split them, exposing the undeterred core to the ignition flame would speed the burn rate up considerably, but fortunately that is rather difficult to do.

IMR Trail Boss instructions are that it should not be be compressed because its grain shape is critical and pressure spikes result from breaking it up, which happens easily. Check with the manufacturer about whether the powder you want to compress is considered OK to do it with? The easiest way is often just to look and see whether the manufacturer lists any compressed data for a powder or not? But they all have technical lines you can call and ask if you want to double-check?

Ease of flame travel through the interstices between grains is the biggest plus for stick powders. They tend to have better immunity to inexactness of the charge because of it (see Hatcher's Notebook on his experience with fine and coarse grained powders in loading National Match ammo). However, I now prefer to prove that by firing one of Dan Newberry's OCW round robins.

Varget is a bit slow for best performance with light bullets in the .223. I don't like to go slower than Reloader 10X for 55 grain bullets and lighter. I shoot a match AR, so I most often choose IMR4198 and flat base 53 grain MatchKings for 100 yard reduced target matches. IMR 4198 is the powder Stoner designed the AR action to use, and I still often find I am getting best accuracy from it. 30 years ago, I also drilled many a cloverleaf with my .222 using IMR 4198, and back then I was just using a Lee Loader and powder scoop.

The problem with your powder measure is what is called grain cutting. That does, indeed, break grains. Two powder measures handle it better than a metal drum measure. The inexpensive plastic Lee Perfect Measure has a patented wiper design that minimizes grain cutting, though it still happens sometimes. One of my Perfect measures seldom does it, while the other does it more often. The primo measure for stick powder, though, is the JDS Quick Measure. It absolutely never cuts grains, and is guaranteed to keep stick powder charges within 0.2 grains. I have one of these and can attest that it lives up to its claims. It uses adjustable tubes to set the charge, which takes a little getting used to, but it works very well and may be adapted to progressive presses.
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Old January 26, 2010, 06:16 PM   #14
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Handloading is about consistency and what is consistent about crushing powder????

Well, I've been doing it for over 40 years and it works well for me. It also works well for many other shooters I know. My Remington model 722 with its heavy Douglas barrel and my CVA 527 make consistent 5 shot 100 yard groups that measure .75 moa or less using a compressed load of IMR 3031 and the 55 grain Sierra HP Game King bullet. I do not know what the ES and SD are, neither do I care.
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Old January 26, 2010, 10:52 PM   #15
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Nothing personal, but nobody bothered to answer his question. Everyone want to express their opinion.

The answer is that the compressed charge is only at the max amount of powder listed in the manual.

The reason it is listed as a warning is that the powder will push the bullet up out of the OAL that you have set. To test for a compressed load, put one together and set it at the specific OAL, then leave it sit overnight in the morning re-check your OAL or wait two or three days then test it again. If your bullet has moved up to a larger OAL, then you have a compressed charge!!

ALL powder will settle down into the case as it stands (a little) pull a bullet apart that you think is full to the neck and check and you will see that the powder has settled down into the case. (some).

To avoid a compressed charge:

1. Load to 0.50 grain less powder than shown as a compressed charge in the book.

2. Or use an extended DROP tube to insert the powder into the case.

3. Or put a soft (light) crimp on the case to insure that the bullet will not move.

Depending on the length of the bullet used and who manufactures the case will determine the amount of compression on the powder. Mil cases have less room and will compress more than say a new Winchester case. It's all based on volume.

Me I just load to 1/2 grain of powder less, and it has no real results on my accuracy.

Good luck
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Old January 27, 2010, 06:07 AM   #16
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The reason it is listed as a warning is that the powder will push the bullet up out of the OAL that you have set.

Been there and done that. Measured the OAL length of both light and heavy compressed loads. The OAL will not increase with loads that are lightly compressed. A compression of a 1/8" column of powder in the case neck matters not at all and it will not cause a change in the OAL when the case was full neck re-sized.

Quote:
Mil cases have less room and will compress more than say a new Winchester case.
This is a popular myth. I weigh the cases for my accuracy loads and this is not true of US military cases. Matter of fact the heaviest cases are American Eagle, some Federal Match loads, some Brit military loads and Lapua commercial cases. Go to case weights and look at the table.

http://www.ar15barrels.com/tech.shtml
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Old February 16, 2010, 09:03 PM   #17
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Dead-Nuts-Zero
Are you useing Mil -Spec Bras ie WCC, LC or are you useing commerical brass IE FC, WIN, RP. due to the fact Mil-Spec brass as les internual space then Commerical brass you will runout of room faster. Thus far i have had real tight groups with ball powders in the .223 H380, H335, BL-c-(2) and there much easier to load
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Old February 17, 2010, 02:42 AM   #18
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Why risk a compressed load???? You are crushing the powder and that cannot be good. It doesn't do a darn thing to the load! In fact compressed loads often shoot BETTER than non-compressed loads. Varget is not the best choice for .223 Rem. RL-15 or TAC would be much better. TAC especially for the small projectiles up to 64 gr. Above that RL-15 works much better. So you have a couple of favorite powders. So do a lot of people, there's a bunch to choose from. That doesn't mean you have to diss on his choice. It's YOUR opinion, that's ALL!

Think about what a compressed load is doing....crushing the powder and changing the density of the material. A stick powder is a stick for a reason. You are turning stick powder into black powder. Be safe and use your head Oh? That's strange, I didn't know you could make black powder out of smokeless by crushing it????¿!!!!!!
I'm continually amazed at how much bad info is parlayed by self appointed experts on forums like this. I've seen this before, people all excited because it just doesn't seem right to compress smokeless powder in any shell. Black powder HAS to be at least 100% fully loaded, it's best when mildly compressed.

Slow burning smokeless powder often has to be compressed in order to get enough of it a shell to reach the desired velocity. Standard operating procedure.
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Old February 17, 2010, 08:26 AM   #19
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A little off topic, but still an important observation to the question.

I did not understand the differences between shells. Why would manufacturer AA shells be any different than manufacturer BB shells of the same size. How much internal difference could there really be.

I took some shells and cut them in half and was amazed. Some had thicker walls all along the shell casing, some just near the heads. Even among the same manufacturer there were differences in thickness of the casings. (I do not know what lot numbers the shells were, just the head stamps were from the same companies.)

This would explain the difference in compressed loads. What would be a compressed load in one shell would not necessarily be a compressed load in another.
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Old February 17, 2010, 05:04 PM   #20
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It's applicable because of exactly what you observed: a load that's compressed in some cases may not be in others. The earlier advice to drop the charge half a grain may or may not change a compressed load to an uncompressed one. There's too much difference in powder densities as will as in internal case volumes, not to mention charge differences or that some powders can compress to higher percentages than others before bulging the case. Too many variables for a fixed number to work universally. Even for uncompressed loads, the internal volume difference in the cases may change the pressure.

All these factors add up to why the standard safety practice is to drop the powder charge 10% and work the load back up, watching for pressure signs, whenever you change anything. Changing anything includes just changing lot numbers of any of your components.

As to the reason case volumes can vary, it is simply that SAAMI and NATO only regulate exterior dimensions of the cases, not the interior dimensions. It is then up to the maker to provide internal dimensions that withstand his intended loads or, in the case of NATO, loads that meet the NATO spec requirements, such as they are.

I too have noticed that the tendency of military cases to be heavier in 7.62x51 NATO did not carry over consistently to 5.56x45 NATO. Again, you have to check the lot of brass you are working with? Assuming external dimensions match (and they don't always; rim thickness and rim and head diameters have tolerances, too), since cartridge brass is 8.53 times more dense than water, you can figure you gain roughly a grain of water capacity for each 8.53 grains lighter that a case is. However, you need a base measure of capacity to know what percentage change that is?

Weigh some cases fired in your gun that you haven't yet decapped or sized. Pick one that's average. This case will be near the size of your chamber, and its internal capacity, thus expanded, is the space the powder burned in at start pressure, and the value that affects peak pressure in cartridges running over about 30,000 psi. Measure the lengths of the cases to be sure yours is also about average length. Fill that case with water level with the mouth (no meniscus) and weigh it again. The difference in the two weights is the case water capacity in grains. Take that capacity and add or subtract the weight difference in another brand or lot of case of the same length divided by 8.53. Divide the first case water weight capacity by the newly arrived at case water capacity and take the square root of the result. Multiply the result times the powder charge used in the original case, and you will be very close to the charge that produces the same pressure in the second brand or lot of case (the one that weighs differently).
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