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Old October 15, 2017, 09:15 PM   #1
Mr.RevolverGuy
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Most Accurate or Versatile 223 Load

This video is long overdue. Almost a year ago I completed the OCW ladder test to find what I believe to be the most accurate medium range loads for two rifles. The intent is to have a stock of one load that I could rely on for target or varmint.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYrL4UK_Kic

The Rifles:
1. Howa 1500 Heavy Barrel 1/9 twist, Fred Choate Aluminum bedded stock, Zeiss Scope.
2. AR15, Wilson Arms Barrel 1/8twist Bull Barrel, CTS Aktive Recoil Buffer.




I was looking for a medium range 100-300 yard load that I could use in both rifles for varmint or target. Depending on the mood of the day, semi auto mood or bolt action mood, I could grab either and just head out. Some days I just get a kick out of working the bolt on a bolt action rifle, other days I prefer the spring rattling of a semi auto AR15.

All loads displayed in this video were safe in my rifles but may not be in yours. This data is not intended to replace the appropriate reloading manuals data and should not be used without verifying and double checking the loads between two different official published reference points — IE reloading manuals. If you elect to utilize any of this data it is at your own risk. These loads did work fine in the rifles indicated above.

Loads: 6 Rounds fired of each load. I waited 5 minutes between groups to allow the rifle barrels to cool.
Reloader 15 25.2gr COAL 2.252 – 60gr Vmax
ARComp 23.2gr COAL 2.250 – 60gr Vmax
H335 24gr COAL 2.248 – 60gr Vmax

It was so windy today my chronograph got blown over twice, so I did not get a chance to measure velocity. I decided to test that another day instead of breaking my chronograph. Though weather conditions weren’t ideal, what fun is there to always shoot in the best weather conditions.

Which load would you chose for the purpose I have stated?
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Last edited by Mr.RevolverGuy; October 16, 2017 at 06:27 AM.
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Old October 16, 2017, 09:10 AM   #2
jpx2rk
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I would use the AR Comp load due to consistency between the 2 set ups for 100 yds. Why did you shoot the 3rd load at 200 vs 100 for the 1st two loads? The H335 load at 200 looks pretty good, what did it shoot at 100?

At what distance(s) do you plan on shooting this "one" load?
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Old October 16, 2017, 11:06 AM   #3
Mr.RevolverGuy
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I was looking for a medium range 100-300 yard load that I could use in both rifles for varmint or target.

Though not scientific it was most about fun and a great day on the range as the reason for multiple differences. I only loaded 6 rounds per rifle per load and decided to make it more challenging.
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Old October 16, 2017, 12:06 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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"...for target or varmint..." Load for target accuracy. A varmint won't care.
"...ladder test..." Doesn't really test anything. Or tell you anything about a particular load's accuracy. It just tells you where the shot hits in comparison to other loads.
And two rifles require their own load development. The chances of any 2 rifles shooting the same ammo the same way are slim.
24 grains is H335 is the max load for a 60 grain bullet. You work up to that or just pick it?
Oh and I'd be using whatever the bottom centre load is and the rifle that shot it.
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Old October 16, 2017, 08:19 PM   #5
Mr.RevolverGuy
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This is not an either or proposition we basically said the same thing --- load for accuracy.

Again said the same thing, I performed the ladder test with both rifles long ago to come up with the loads I shot. The ladder test showed they were only .20 off so I used the same load in this test for both rifles.

24gr of H335 according to the powder manufacturer is the max and should be adhered to, I most always trust the powder manufacturer over anyone else. BUT Lyman 50 says the max is 25.8, and the AR15 Load manual says 25. Yes I did work up to this load when I completed the ladder test.
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Old October 16, 2017, 09:33 PM   #6
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Variety is the Spice of Shooting 223

I will agree with Sierra's recommended "do it all 223 bullet": 55 gr HPBT #1390. There are many powders that will take this bullet faster than Milspec M193 55 g FMJ. The current NATO standard is a different bullet 62 gr with steel penetrator cone M855.

".22 CALIBER (.224) HIGH VELOCITY 55 GR. HPBT
For rifles, the 55 grain #1390 Hollow Point Boat Tail bullet has been designed for the shooter who prefers the rapid expansion characteristics of the hollow point design. This bullet delivers devastating expansion on varmints and small game, and in many rifles it routinely delivers match-grade accuracy, which are vital considerations for long-range varmint shooting. The large, open point makes this a very dependable bullet for all 22 centerfire cartridges, except the very smallest where case capacity limits muzzle velocities with 55 grain bullets. In handguns, this Hollow Point Boat Tail 55 grain #1390 bullet with its cavernous opening can be used for short-range varmint shooting in handguns chambering the 223 Remington or larger cartridges. This bullet is built with Sierra's high velocity design and is capable of extremely high accuracy. "

However, If I had to choose one bullet, and one bullet only, it would be the Sierra ".22 CAL, 65 GR. SBT GAMEKING, This bullet requires a barrel twist rate of 1x10” or faster. The #1395 was introduced in 2004."
Which is capable of taking up to deer sized game. It is not the most versatile; it is the heaviest BT hunting bullet available from Sierra for 223.

What I like best about loading for 223/556 is you do NOT need to be limited to one versatile loading, especially with the common 1:9 twist.
I can load 36 gr Varmint Grenades at 3863 FPS with A2200 and they do not disintegrate in flight.
I can load 40 gr Nosler BT at 3721 fps.
I can load any manner of 55 gr bullet at 3300 fps with Varget or CFE 223.
I can load Sierra 65 gr BTSP Game kings at 3239 with A2520.*
I can load Speer 70 gr RN at 3024 fps (Varget)*
I can load Barnes 70 gr TSX (Copper) at 2932 fps (CFE223) And,
I can load Hornady 75 gr HPBT 2907 (Varget).

And I can choose to shoot those in a bolt gun or gas autoloader.
* Not personally tested by me yet, but all components are on hand for that purpose.
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Old October 17, 2017, 04:15 PM   #7
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Mostly, i shoot the Nosler 40gr BT, and it’s good for coyotes and yard varmints (I live way out in the country in central Texas). If I was going to pig hunt with the rifle, which I don’t, I think i’d use either the 65 gr Sierra GK or the 64 gr Nosler Bonded Solid Base. I’ve shot them both, and I think the Sierra might be a bit more accurate, but my testing wasn’t that extensive. If i’m going to have an all around bullet, it has to be ‘pig worthy’.
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Old October 18, 2017, 11:07 AM   #8
hdwhit
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Quote:
Mr Revolver Guy wrote:
The intent is to have a stock of one load that I could rely on for target or varmint.
Your distance requirements are different from mine, but when I decided back in the 1980's to standardize my 223 load, I also went for a 60 grain bullet as the best compromise between velocity over the entire trajectory that could be reached with canister powder and terminal effects, so my prejudice is to believe that you're on the right track.

Good luck.
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Old October 18, 2017, 12:17 PM   #9
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[Insert over published load data disclaimer here] H335 is the cannister version of Wester Cannon 844 (WC844) used in USGI 556 ammo. Do your own searches for load data using H335 and WC844. I would place much more reliance on Hodgdon's current published data (which is tame), than on a Lyman manual. You are talking about U.S. Military grade powder that has been certified and adopted. Depending on what chamber you have, you may be able to find higher data. I have personnally used WC844 at 110% of Hodgdon data (in a chamber that allowed over COAL), after working up in small increments. I went even higher and found pressure signs and backed down.
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Old October 19, 2017, 05:58 AM   #10
Mr.RevolverGuy
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Yes I am aware of H335 but I have seen temperature differences in shooting in the winter and summer and I have both extremes. I think I am going to stick with AR Comp which is supposed to be less temp sensitive.

Thanks
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Old October 19, 2017, 11:53 AM   #11
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If you want a hi-lo temp propellant, you might want to try VARGET at some point. I use a 25grn. charge of VARGET behind the Hornady 60 grn. V-max in my M700 bolt-gun with very good results at 100 and 200 yds (never tried beyond 200 yds, yet). I see Marco Califo mentions VARGET in his post #6 for some of his loads. Try it sometime; good stuff in the .223. (IMO). I like W748, too.
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Old October 19, 2017, 06:31 PM   #12
Mr.RevolverGuy
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Haven't tried Varget with lighter bullets but it is the go to powder for the heavies. 75gr, 77gr and 80gr
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Old October 21, 2017, 09:20 AM   #13
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I tried IMR 4166 a while back about a year ago. It gave good consistent results with a range of bullets from 55 to 68 grain. Not the best by any means with any. Though it was still good, and I tried shooting in cold for here.(Low 20's and when it was hot 108) Point of impact seemed be the same for both types of weather. In my Savage they gave sub one inch groups at 100 yards with a bipod, and a sandbag under the rear stock.
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