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Old January 24, 2013, 10:39 AM   #1
Wyoredman
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Varget, the .223 and CCI 450 primers

I am fresh out of .223 rem, so last night I decided to make some up. Well, after looking at my supply cabinet, I realized I was out of H335 and CFE223 but I did have a pound of Varget.

Now I have never used Varget in the 223, so it was back to the reloading manuals. They were quite a bit different, surprise, surprise! One thing I did notice right off, though, was that they all suggested small rifle primers and I use small rifle mag primers (CCI 450) for my normal 223 loads so that is all I had on hand.

How are these mag primers going to affect the Varget loads?

Secondly, I began noticing that even the lower end loads of 25.0 grs of varget were being compressed in the case. I am using the 55gr Nosler Ballistic Tip seated to 2.250". As I built loads for work up, by the time I reached 26.5gr Varget, some of the cases were nearly filled to the neck! I never did get to the Max listed in the manuals of 27.5gr. I don't think that much powder would fit in the case!

What have been your experiences with Varget and compressed loads? Have any of you used the CCI 450 primers with this powder?
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:48 AM   #2
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Maybe someone with access to Quickload could see what the predicted pressure of a 26.5gr charge of Varget, a CCI 450 primer and a 55gr Nosler BallisticTip would be shot from a 20" AR barrel? Maybe?
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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I had the same powder weight issues you've found. I even see some loading books showing 28 gr of Varget as max. Well...no kidding that's max...I had heck getting 27 grains into a case. Anyway, pour the powder slowly into the case and tap it on a hard surface and you can get a bit more Varget in there. Many folks speak highly of Varget, but I haven't found a gun or load that works that well with Varget, so it has become the powder at the back of the cabinet.

It's a lot of work getting the powder into the case, but I did have some luck and accuracy with Varget behind the 55 gr Nosler BT and CCI BR4 primers. I think the powder weight was 27 grains, but I don't have the load book in front of me. I think that was max or nearly max, so I know you know not to start there.
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:53 AM   #4
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I've only used Varget with slightly heaver bullets (62 grain) and stopped trying to get more in at around 26.5 grains. Yep, it's bulky.

As for the Mag primers, as you are starting to put together a loading, I don't see any problem using maggies over standards. Start with a bottom charge and work up the charge till you get the results you want or the first signs of any pressure. I don't expect that will happen.

Sort of off topic. I have found (no scientific measurements taken) that Varget produces a more noticeable concussion from a 16 inch barrel in comparison to 748 powder (at near the same velocities). This doesn't make a lot of scene to me as the two are close to the same burn rate. Just throwing it out.

Be safe,

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Old January 24, 2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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use it in all my 223 loads. My max on any of them is near the 25 area so barely compressed. 52 grn to 69 grn typical loads.
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Old January 24, 2013, 01:05 PM   #6
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We shoot 69 and 77 grain bullets and use about 23 grains of Varget. I'm very happy with it, although a finer powder would meter without the occassional shearing of a "stick" in my powder measure.
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Old January 24, 2013, 02:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reasurances! I wish I could find some H335 or CFE223! Load work up is a pain in the cold!

Still curious about Quickload predicted pressures.

I plan on shooting some of these test rounds Saturday. Nothing like last minute load work up before a coyote hunt! Might just need to break down and buy some of the $25.00/20 box of factory at the sporting goods store
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Old January 24, 2013, 03:54 PM   #8
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I've loaded up to 27.5 many times with the same bullet ( 55gn NBT ) But my C.O.A.L. was in the lands for my rifle. ( 2.345 ) just loaded up some for a pig hunt

give me your barrel length,largest charge weight and length of te loaded round.I'll put in the numbers on QLfor ya.
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:02 PM   #9
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Barrel Length = 20"
Charge = 26.5gr Varget
Primer = CCI450
Bullet = Nosler Ballistic Tip 55gr
COAL = 2.250"
Twist = 1:9

Thanks a million!
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:07 PM   #10
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OK just took a look at your load with a 22 inch barrel.Your load is HOT I SAY HOT.( its at 60664 PSI ) and running 3255 FPS from a 22 incher.

If you can pull them and seat the bullet longer you might be OK.QL says 2.355 to be safe for that load ( 26.5gn ) but its a Max load
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:12 PM   #11
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5R milspec, Thanks for that info. I was worried about that. The gun is an AR, so I am not sure I could get that length to fit the mags very well. Damn.

Thanks for the help, none the less, very much appriciated. (60664 psi - dang!)
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Old January 24, 2013, 05:06 PM   #12
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Too bad you're not closer, I'd trade you a lb of H335 for your Varget.....
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Old January 24, 2013, 06:41 PM   #13
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I have used Varget with Wolf magnum small rifle primers in my 223 bolt action (1-9) with a variety of bullets including:

- Hornady FMJ 55 gr
- Hornady SP 55 gr
- Berger Target 55 gr
- Hornady 68 gr Match
- Sierra MK 53 gr
- Sierra MK 69 gr
- Hornady Z-max 50 gr

For all these, accuracy has decreased over 24 grains of varget for the lighter bullets. The best results I have had is with the Hornady Match 68gr bullets with 23 grains and 25 grains (worse results below, in between and above that load).

For the 55 gr bullets the best accuracy in my rifle is around 24 grains.

27.5 grains for a 55 gr bullet sounds like an awful lot. Hodgdon's site does show 27.5 as the max for one of the 55 gr bullets they list (55 GR. SPR SP) but 24.0 and 25.1 as the max for two other 55 gr bullets. Do you have a load data source that specifically lists 27.5gr as the max load for the Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet you are using?
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:28 PM   #14
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overthere, Negative. I don't have a Nosler manual. I do have a Sierra, Hornady, Hodgdon and Lyman manuals and their max Varget loads for 55 gr. bullets are as follows:

Sierra - 27.2 gr
Hornady - 26.4 gr
Lyman - 27.8 gr
Hodgdon - 27.5 gr

So, a load work-up to 26.5 gr using the Nosler Balistic Tip shouldn't be that dangerous...BUT the added CCI 450 primer may make the differance! If 5R's QuickLoad prediction is correct, 26.5 gr may be high pressure!

I have a chrony, so I am going to shoot them and see if my velocities aproach what his QL predicted.
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:34 PM   #15
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Wyoredman,

Do you have a 223 or 5.56 chamber? Or something different?

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Old January 24, 2013, 11:10 PM   #16
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I have loaded Varget in the .223 and have always sort of believed that you can't put too much Varget in a .223 Remington case with conventional bullet weights (55 gr or less). The Lyman 49th Edition manual lists a maximum charge of Varget as 27.8 gr with a 55 gr bullet for a velocity of 3346 in a 24" test barrel with pressure listed at 51,400 c.u.p.. They actually show a higher velocity with the 55 gr bullet than they do for the 40 gr v-Max at 28.0 gr of Varget. I myself have chosen 26.0 gr of Varget with the 55 gr bullet (Nosler Varmageddon, Ballistic Tip or Hornady Z-Max). I have loaded 27.0 gr with no pressure signs in either of my bolt guns, nor my AR, but seem to get better accuracy at 26.0 gr. I am really surprised that Quick Load indicates such high pressure at 26.5 gr of Varget. I haven't used the CCI-450 primer with Varget, but have loaded both 26.0 and 27.0 gr with WSR and Wolf 223 primers with no pressure signs whatsoever. I do load lighter charges with heavier 73 gr bullets, usually 23 to 24 gr.
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:34 PM   #17
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Jimro,

I have a 5.56 chamber. The gun is a DPMS Heavy 20" barrel AR. It is my coyote rifle.

2ndTimer,

I noticed the pressure in the Lyman manual also. I looked up the SAMMI spec for the .223 Rem at work today and I think it was around 58,500 PSI, so 5R's QL prediction is a bit surprising. Then again, the CCI450 may make the differance. Hopefully the Chrony will tell the story.
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Old January 25, 2013, 08:52 PM   #18
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OK just to make sure I went back to check QL I choose 223 SAAMI the first time. ( my bad )

This time I just went with 223 rem and came up with this.

INFO I put in was 20 inch barrel 55gn NBT at 2.250 with 26.5gn of Varget

QL now say that the pressure is at 60641 PSI and should be running at 3188 FPS Its still on the high side but a safe load to use BY QL

sorry for that,its not hard to pick out the wrong thing sometimes.With that said I'd run with what you have for I have run many loads from QL myself and found them to be true.But its in your hands to shoot them or not.
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Old January 25, 2013, 09:04 PM   #19
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SRM primers will raise your pressure up to 5k.
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Old January 25, 2013, 09:18 PM   #20
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IN all mt AR rifles, for some reason I have had great accuracy with 25.5 grains of Varget using either a Hornady 55g FMJ or Montana Gold 55g FMJ. Why do you need a max charge..?
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Old January 25, 2013, 10:40 PM   #21
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I can't speak for the others on why a fellow would need a max load of Varget, but in my case the closer I got to max the better it shot. That's the good news. The bad news is that it still wasn't shooting as good as I wanted or expected it to eventually shoot. I was just about convinced that 27.5 grains of Varget would give me the great shooting load that I wanted, but putting that much Varget in the case was just too slow and troublesome and I was putting a lot of powder on the floor and bench, so I just decided to try some other powders. I didn't want years of trying to pack all that Varget into a little case. Unfortunately, I didn't have a powder that made the 55 gr BT shoot great, but I did have powders that did it for me on the 40 grain BT and the 65 gr GK. But...I still have a hankering (Texas term) to make that darn 55 gr BT shoot well, so I'm sure I eventully will.
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Old January 27, 2013, 09:55 PM   #22
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I shot the Varget loads over my chronograph. The 26.5 gr loads of Varget with the CCI 450 primers and 55 gr Nosler BT's were pretty accurate and PLENTY fast at 3250fps. I think they are close to max in my gun, even though the brass and primers didn't show any obvious signs of overpressure.

Here is the chrony data from the 20 rounds I tested (4-5 shot groups):

Caliber: .223 Remington
Rifle: DPMS Heavy Barrel AR-15
Bullet: 55 gr Nosler Balistic tip BC:
Powder: Varget
Primer: CCI 450
COAL: 2.250"
Case: Mix Load Manual: Sierra
Test Date: 1/26/2013

Charge: 26.5 gr Notes:

VELOCITY
1 3259 fps Average 3250 fps
2 3300 fps Min 3174 fps
3 3244 fps Max 3300 fps
4 3267 fps ES 126 fps
5 3236 fps SD 32.78 Group Size:
6 3267 1 0.852
7 3267 2 0.882
8 3220 3 1.049
9 3276 4 0.637
10 3228 AVG 0.855
11 3236
12 3220
13 3259
14 3252
15 3252
16 3288
17 3267
18 3191
19 3174
20 3300

The 4 groups averaged 0.855"! Pretty good. Here is the target:

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Old January 27, 2013, 10:07 PM   #23
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Standard Deviation of 32.78 and Extreme Spread of 126 is terrible. For rifles, you're looking for a SD of 10 or less and and ES of 50 or less.
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Old January 27, 2013, 11:36 PM   #24
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I agree, but the target looks pretty good at 100 yads!
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Old January 28, 2013, 10:48 AM   #25
Wyoredman
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I attribute the large ES and SD to having used mixed headstamp brass. When loading to near full case capacity, the powder in some of the smaller volume cases compresses more. This is just my theory, anyway.

I have some G.F.L. headstamps that were almost 100% full while the LC and PMC still had some room left in the neck with 26.5 gr of varget. This is what I attributed the velocity spread to, but I didn't keep track of brass durring shooting for velocity over the chrony.

EDIT:
BTW - if I disreguard the top two velocities (both 3300) and the lowest two velocities (both <3200) the Average for the remaining 16 measurements is still 3252 and the SD drops to 19.5 with an ES of 68fps. Alot better but still not below 10 SD.
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Last edited by Wyoredman; January 28, 2013 at 12:48 PM.
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