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Old April 4, 2011, 07:11 PM   #1
stu925
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.223 Rem load in Mini-14

Finally got the chance to test some of the loads I worked up for my new Mini-14. Figured I'd share my results and thoughts. Components used were: Armscor 62gr FMJ bullets, H335 Powder, CCI 450 Magnum Small Rifle primers, and once fired Winchester brass. Cartridge Overall length was 2.220 which is about as long as I can go in the magazine.

Long story short, the most accurate load so far is 23.0gr H335 under the 62gr bullet, smallest group was 1.58" with an average group size of around 3" at 100 yards (had one flier in each of the other 3 groups which was a result of me jerking the trigger). If not for the fliers, Average group size would have been around 2". Average velocity for this load is 2618fps. I'm sure I can shrink this group with more shooting to smooth out the trigger. Rifle has about 200 rounds through it as of today.

My thoughts are that the Armscor bullets for the price shoot pretty well in this rifle for a plinking bullet. Since 23.0gr of powder was my starting load I'm not sure if I should back it off 1/2gr or not to see if accuracy improves. I did find out that the faster I drive these bullets, the worse the groups get so backing it off may help a little. Also test fired these loads in a friends Colt HBAR, none of the loads shot well. Overall the Mini-14 shoots pretty well but I suspect bedding the action and a trigger job would shrink groups quite a bit, I'll have to put a few more rounds down range before I decide on doing those.

Stu

Last edited by stu925; April 4, 2011 at 08:09 PM.
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Old April 4, 2011, 09:18 PM   #2
tobnpr
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I don't use the bullets or powder you do (Varget and SMK 69's in my 7 twist Mini), but if you've never been over to the Perfect Union forum you can probably find the info you're seeking there...

Trigger job doesn't help the rifle, but definitely helps the shooter . I did my own, 3 lb. pull, no creep and just a hint of takeup.

Which model Mini do you have?
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Old April 5, 2011, 10:16 AM   #3
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I agree with the p.u site,I've gotten lots of info. there. I just had a trigger job done on my 195 series by great western gunsmith (gun doc) and my groups were cut below half. Mine is 1-9 and I even got 55gr. shooting very good 1 1/2"
or less @ 100yds.
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Old April 5, 2011, 10:44 AM   #4
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Stu,

A couple of thoughts: Two things you are doing are known to be able to raise peak pressure in a load under some circumstances: seating deeper and using a magnum primer. In addition to those, while most .223 cases have fairly similar case water capacity, not all do, and if you are using a heavier make with less internal capacity, that could increase pressure too.

Since your load should fill the case pretty well under the bullet, you probably don't need the magnum primer, and you might get better accuracy from a mild one like a Federal 205 or a Tula or Wolf SR standard primer. The benchrest shooters do. The trick is not to let the case fill go down. With those mild primers you'll probably go half a grain to perhaps a grain more powder for same velocity (that's how you'd check load comparability), and that improves case fill further. In addition to tighter groups you'd probably see lower standard deviation in muzzle velocity if that change was working, but YMMV.

What is your barrel's twist rate and what is the length of those bullets? I'm curious what the stability margin is. Also, what is the barrel length on your model? What case are you using and what does it weigh on average?

Check out Dan Newberrys OCW site for a systematic method of finding a best load.
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Old April 5, 2011, 04:47 PM   #5
steve4102
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The Perfect Union is a good place to find out all about the mini. There is also a new site with a dedicated Mini section as well, charlie6.org.
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Old April 5, 2011, 09:32 PM   #6
stu925
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I'm a member over at P.U. but don't visit much anymore. I find PU more difficult to find what I'm looking for now for some reason. Although if I go with the trigger job, I'll probably have gun doc do it unless I can find someone locally with Mini experience. I'll definitely check out charlie6 though.

As for magnum primers, a friend of mine had them and I ended up with them since he had no use for them. I have this disease where I can't stand to watch components go unused. When my speer manual said use mag primers I figured I finally had a use for them. Probably unnecessary, next batch will be with standard small rifle primers since I see no other manuals are recommending the magnums. Cases are Winchester, average weight of a prepped case is 91.5gr. Bullet length is .810" Barrel is 18.5" with 1:9 twist. Rifle is a 581 series Ranch Rifle. No signs of excess pressure with any of the loads I worked up but it definitely shows a preference for the lighter loads.

Stu
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Old April 5, 2011, 09:46 PM   #7
M.O.A.
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hay stu give hornady 68gn hpbt match bullets a try there some what cheap and shoot very good

also try 24gn of varget powder that is what i have had the best luck as of yet
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:34 PM   #8
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M.O.A,

Are you running the 68's with a 9" twist? I ask because the Miller stability calculator at the JBM site shows its stability to be less than optimal at around 2600 fps. On the other hand, I've noticed before people having success with .224's that the calculator thinks should need more twist, so it appears to err on the low side of stability factor (high side for twist) with small bullet diameters for some reason, where it seems to be about right on with .308 caliber projectiles. Just asking to get added feedback on it.


Stu,

The Miller stability calculator shows your 62 grain bullet getting a stability factor of about 1.9 with your 9" twist. More than enough.

If you want to find the rifle's accuracy potential, bite the bullet, so to speak, and ante up for a box of the flat base 64 grain Berger match bullets. At 100-200 yards flat base bullets are generally easier to make shoot small groups. Boattails tend to be harder to make group well for several technical reasons. It's not that they won't, but it can take dotting more "I's" and crossing more "t's".

Inspect the boattails of your inexpensive bullets carefully. Chuck a few lightly, nose-in, into a variable speed drill and turn them slowly. Watch them where the front end of the boattail meets the bullet bearing surface to see that it turns perfectly evenly. If there is even the tiniest error, the bullets will never group really well.

Primers: I have to partly take back what I said before. Now that I know you're using a case that's not small inside and that those bullets are short enough that seating depth (inside the case) isn't deep, I think, from your velocity, you are probably only running about 36,000 psi peak pressure, which are pretty low for a spherical propellant, so the magnum primer may still be beneficial (see page 2, paragraph 2 of this article). The magnum primers may still be doing better for you in that circumstance with a spherical propellant. I'm guessing you'll get better case fill, velocity, and ignition characteristics working up to about 24 grains of Benchmark. At that point, for which the standard primer can then do better for you. But that's just a guess, so YMMV, and you need to work up the load slowly.

BTW, it's not unusual to find more than one accuracy sweet spot, so you may well find you've got groups growing with more powder then shrinking again as the charge gets still larger. Try the Newberry method and see what happens.
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Old April 6, 2011, 01:09 PM   #9
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Don't have any experience with the Armscor bullets, but since they're a "price" point bullet I'm going to assume they're manufactured with less precision than a match grade bullet.

IMO, everyone that handloads should have a bullet comparator and an OAL gauge to get the most consistency from their efforts.

Too inexpensive not to have these precision tools.
The bullet comparator measures your bullet length from the ogive- not the tip of the bullet. This will provide you with a more consistent length.

The Mini's got a pretty long throat, so the OAL gauge may not be of as much value if you're loading to mag length. But it's invaluable for other rifles since you can know exactly what your distance to the lands is, and experiment with different loaded lengths to maximize your accuracy.
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Old April 6, 2011, 04:43 PM   #10
M.O.A.
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unclenick yes im shooting a 1-9" barrel but closer to 3000 fps i dont know about the miller calculater but it is what my gun maker and the bullet maker said to shoot

i use 25.5gn for varget but thats a compress load and i dont think it well go in the mag of a minni

for me the 68gn bthp and 25.5 gn var. and cci small. in win. brass get .75moa or smaller im still trying for the .50moa
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Old April 6, 2011, 07:14 PM   #11
stu925
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Quote:
Don't have any experience with the Armscor bullets, but since they're a "price" point bullet I'm going to assume they're manufactured with less precision than a match grade bullet.
You're right about that, as much as .3gr weight difference, although most are only off by .1gr.

I will definitely check out those Berger bullets, I'm sure I'll have to order them since components are kind of hard to come by locally. Basically I bought the Armscor stuff for plinking, superb accuracy wasn't really my goal with them. Now that I know they shoot pretty well, I'm actually pretty excited to see how accurate this rifle really is (especially given the Mini's less than stellar reputation for accuracy).

Stu
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Old April 7, 2011, 08:54 AM   #12
paknheat
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Have you thought about adding a mo-rod or an accu-strut to your mini? That may help with your accuracy issues. Or have you thought about using a 60 gn bullet like the Nosler Part. or the Hornady Spire Point? I know they are hunting bullets, but for plinking, hunting, multi purpose? anyone else have any expierence with these in their handloads?
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Old April 7, 2011, 07:17 PM   #13
stu925
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I've considered building my own strut, but so far accuracy doesn't really seem to be an issue. I have an old recoil reducer designed to go in the unused barrel of an O/U 12 ga., considered using that for a stabilizer but I'm pretty sure it's mercury filled so I may just buy one if I decide to go that route. I really hadn't considered any hunting bullets, but may look into them later on down the line. Disassembled the trigger group last night and polished all the surfaces on the hammer and sears breaks much better but by no means a full trigger job. We'll see if it helps, I can always polish more if needed.

Stu
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Old April 8, 2011, 06:58 AM   #14
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Good morning stu925, i too have a 581 series mini-14. It's the all-weather ranch model. So far the best load i have found for it has been with H-4895 powder and the siearra 55 gn s.p. bullet. This has been the 1-m.o.a. load in my mini. Ufortuneatly, it is not what i want for my mini. I am currently testing the nosler 60 gn partition, which i believe is one of the best made hunting bullets for the .22 cal rifles. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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