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Old June 2, 2013, 11:26 AM   #1
Wrangler5
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Load for 62g FMJ in 223 bolt gun

I came across several thousand 223 cal, 62g FMJ boat tail bullets, with cannelure. They are steel core, and are supposed to be the current military SS109s. They do not show signs of being pull downs from surplus ammo - no marks on the bullets at all.

Anyway, in looking for load data I start with the Hodgdon info, as I have Varget, BLC-2, Benchmark and CFE powders available. While they don't list a 62gFMJ, they do list a 62g Swift Scirocco and a 63g Sierra soft point. But the recommended loads for the 63gSP are all well above the 62gSCIR. (The starting Varget load for the 63g is 0.4g above the maximum load for the 62g.) The min/max velocities listed for the Swift bullet also are lower for each of the powders than for the Sierra bullet.

Looking at load data for those powders and the next lighter bullet, the Hornady 60g VMAX, I see differences between the VMAX and the 63g Sierra that strike me as normal for the slight difference in weight between the two bullets. (I've been reloading for close to 30 years, so I've been looking at these kinds of tables for a while - just never noticed this kind of difference before.) The Swift web site says that the Scirocco is a premium hunting bullet ($52+/100 !!!) which "produces positive expansion at minimal velocities." So maybe they're just not designed for top speed, and the Hodgdon data is just an anomaly in the "normal" progression of powder charges for increases in bullet weight.

My normal inclination would be to use the 63g Sierra data, and keep the usual eye out for pressure signs. (I've experienced primer flow and sticky bolt lift when shooting ladders with this gun and other bullets, so I have an idea what to look for.) But I'm just wondering if there's something about the 62g Swift bullet/data that would suggest I should dial back to those lighter charges for the 62g FMJ?
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Old June 2, 2013, 12:08 PM   #2
arizona98tj
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Yet another data point to add to the mix.

5.56x45 NATO 62 gr (but not a FMJ)

Edit: OP, were the twist rates for those different loads given? I'm thinking that to keep the velocity the same, coming out of a higher twist rate barrel, a little more powder might be used.
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Old June 2, 2013, 12:09 PM   #3
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Geez, I'd like to find a find like that!
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Old June 2, 2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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Arizona98tj, thanks for the link. I ask about 'em regularly, but Reloder 15 and TAC have been unavailable in my local store for as long as I can remember. The powders I mention in the OP are only available intermittently, so I buy a pound (store limit, per visit) when I can. (My barrel seems to like BLC-2 the best, based on a variety of bullets I've worked on so far.)

The Hodgdon data is a download from their web site. All loads were made using Win cases trimmed to 1.750" with WSR primers, and all fired from a 24" barrel with 12" twist. NOT the twist you'd typically use with heavier bullets. While it does give "comparable" data across all bullets, I don't know how reliable the loads would be for folks shooting 80-90 grainers in a 7" twist barrel.

My barrel is 26" with 9" twist, so I don't shoot over 69 grainers (except the 75g Hornady AMAX, which do well in my gun - when I can find 'em.) I should be safe with any of the published load data.

Armoredman, the bullets came from a client who no longer has any guns that use 'em. We came to a mutually satisfactory understanding regarding the relative value of tax advice and unfired bullets. If he'd had more, I'd have given him more advice, even though I understand they tend not to be the most accurate pellets out there.
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Old June 2, 2013, 01:32 PM   #5
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The very finest load I've ever done regardless of caliber is a 60gr VMax over 25grs of Varget at 2.25 col shot through the lowly Savage Axis in 223. I also had spectacular results over 24.5 grs Varget. Work up to that 24.5 with your 60 and let us know what happens.
I really enjoy heading out to the desert with a 223 bolt gun.
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Old June 2, 2013, 02:39 PM   #6
Wrangler5
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My rifle is an equally lowly Marlin, but it too loves the 60g VMAX. Haven't tried Varget yet, but the 11-shot ladder I did with BLC-2 put 10 of the 11 shots into one ragged hole that measured 0.544 MOA CTC at 100 yards. (Shot #10 was outside the group, and opened it up to 0.909 MOA.) This was with powder charges from 25.0 to 27.0 grains, which gave velocities from 2807 to 3060 fps. Never seen anything like that kind of accuracy over that wide a velocity range. Later 3 shot groups with 26.4 and 26.6g were under 0.35 MOA, on either side of 3000 fps.

Too bad I'm down to less than a hundred of 'em. That's why I'm going to work on a load for the 62g FMJs - I don't expect they'll ever make anything like that kind of group, but at least I'll have something to shoot.
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Old June 2, 2013, 03:43 PM   #7
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I hear ya.

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Old June 2, 2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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That's excellent - that is at 100 yards, rested with scope I am assuming?
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Old June 2, 2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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Oh yeah. I'm on a bench with a bipod for sure.
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Old June 2, 2013, 06:22 PM   #10
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Well, as long as it's show and tell time . . .



This is the 60g VMAX/BLC-2 ladder I mentioned in post #6. Eleven different powder charges. Bench, bipod, 16x scope, 100 yards. The gray squares are 1 inch on a side. (I have no idea what happened to #10 - it was not a called flyer, and there was no wind to speak of. The chrono said it was 2 fps slower than #11, which went back in the big hole. So ?????)
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Old June 2, 2013, 06:51 PM   #11
Mohave-Tec
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That flat bottom VMAX is the straightest shooting bullet I have ever shot up to and at 100 yards. And I love that I was able to load it from mild right on up the a compressed max load and get the same results.
I was going to put a Timney trigger is that $279 Axis but I wonder now if I really should.
Anyway, I bought a close out Nikon Monarch 3-9x40 for the top. $200. That is what I was shooting with in the photo.
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Old June 2, 2013, 10:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
I came across several thousand 223 cal, 62g FMJ boat tail bullets
Great find in these difficult times. Just don't expect the steel core to shoot anything like normal bullets from an accuracy standpoint. If you do, you are in for a BIG surprise.
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Old June 3, 2013, 02:28 AM   #13
Marco Califo
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arizona98tj posted Barnes data for Barnes non-toxic/no lead bullets. While Barnes bullets are excellent, those loads have nothing to do with 62 grn. SS109/M855 steelcore/green tip NATO bullets. The unleaded bullets are longer than those containing lead and it is not reasonable to infer anything from that data is appropriate for steel core bullets.
1:9 twist is fine for 62 - 75 gr bullets. I like the Hornady 75 gr HPBT and they shoot great at long range in my Savage bolt gun. Conversley, as others have noted, you should not expect great accuracy from the steel core bullets.

Also note that steel core and steel clad (even if they look like copper, but stick to a magnet) are not allowed at many ranges, particularly any located on National Forest land.
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:27 PM   #14
schmellba99
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Why would you shoot a ladder test at 100 yards? You aren't going to have enough variation (as shown) to determine what loads your rifle likes best at distance.

Ladders need to be shot at 200 yards minimum, 300 preferred. You need the distance to allow room to see the variation in charge weights. You can just about make any load accurate at 100 yards with minimal effort.

OP - when I get home tonight, if I remember, I'll look up what my load with H335 is on 62 grain projos. This is my AR round, and I've had good luck with it accuracy wise with bulk FMJ projectiles (no steel core though). At least as good of luck as one can expect with a 32 pound trigger that feels like 80 grit sandpaper in an AR anyway.
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Old June 3, 2013, 10:09 PM   #15
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Here is my load data with H335 powder. I don't have anything worked up with Varget in 62 grains as my bolt rifle won't shoot anything over 55 accurately due to twist rate.

62 gr FMJ Boat Tail
H335 Powder
Winchester or Wolf Primer
25.0 Max Charge
23.0 Min Charge
24.0 Range/Plinking Charge

I have yet to have any problems with the middle of the road load, but remember this is my AR I use this load for, and it is not a precision weapon, so accuracy is hitting a 2moa plate at 330 yards reliably.
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