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Old December 5, 2021, 11:41 AM   #1
Shadow9mm
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Need help downloading 223

I'm trying to do some ballistic gel testing for some hunting bullets with 223 to see what velocities they open up at. They are rated down to 1500fps want to see if they actually work at that speed. Not sure where to start. Hoping someone would have some guidance.

Currently have
Cfe223
Bl-c2
Benchmark
Big game
Power pistol
H110
Hp38
Aa#7
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Last edited by Shadow9mm; December 5, 2021 at 12:45 PM.
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Old December 5, 2021, 12:50 PM   #2
TX Nimrod
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I’ve used BlueDot and 800X with 40-50 grain bullets in the .223, not what you are looking for unfortunately. One issue you may have is bullet rpm. Your reduced loads will have about half the rpm of normal loads, meaning the forces on the bullet will be much less. This may impact how the bullet performs in the gel - bullet rpm reduces much more slowly than velocity does. Too, the reduced stability may cause bullet yaw and it may not impact the gel straight on.

The above is just theory, but something to consider. IME when a manufacturer says the bullet “expands” down to a certain velocity that usually means minimal expansion - maybe not even expanding past bullet diameter - so not usable expansion. It’s a good idea to test, although the best test would be at full hunting velocity and the test medium at the expected impact distance.




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Old December 5, 2021, 02:55 PM   #3
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FOR COMPARISON ONLY

7gr of H110 under a 55gr bullet shows a muzzle velocity of 1900fps in the .22 HORNET

You won't find low speed loads in standard .223 data, not because it can't be done, but because its not what most people are looking for, so the testers don't spend time and money doing those loads and putting them in the common data.

So, if you're going to develop short range low speed loads, you are entirely on your own and "off the map" as it were....

I did, some 50 years ago create "gallery loads" in some rifle cases using pistol powder. These loads are "tricksy" and one screw up can result in a really bad accident. So, I will not recommend it, or give the details of what I did. I will say that a double, triple (or more) overcharge of pistol powder is difficult to spot in a large rifle case, and that can result in serious damage to your gun and even to you. So don't do that!

Now, here's an alternate way of looking at it,
go to a ballistic table and see what range your load is down to 1500fps.

The 55gr Hornady SX bullet with a 3200fps muzzle velocity is down to about 1450fps at 500 yards, according to the table in their book.

You could, if you have the range, set you ballistic gel at that distance, and shoot it with full power loads to see what the bullets actually do. Few people have that option.

Or you can make a rational judgement about what you might shoot at that distance and how important expansion (and how much expansion) is required.
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Old December 5, 2021, 06:51 PM   #4
Shadow9mm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
FOR COMPARISON ONLY

7gr of H110 under a 55gr bullet shows a muzzle velocity of 1900fps in the .22 HORNET

You won't find low speed loads in standard .223 data, not because it can't be done, but because its not what most people are looking for, so the testers don't spend time and money doing those loads and putting them in the common data.

So, if you're going to develop short range low speed loads, you are entirely on your own and "off the map" as it were....

I did, some 50 years ago create "gallery loads" in some rifle cases using pistol powder. These loads are "tricksy" and one screw up can result in a really bad accident. So, I will not recommend it, or give the details of what I did. I will say that a double, triple (or more) overcharge of pistol powder is difficult to spot in a large rifle case, and that can result in serious damage to your gun and even to you. So don't do that!

Now, here's an alternate way of looking at it,
go to a ballistic table and see what range your load is down to 1500fps.

The 55gr Hornady SX bullet with a 3200fps muzzle velocity is down to about 1450fps at 500 yards, according to the table in their book.

You could, if you have the range, set you ballistic gel at that distance, and shoot it with full power loads to see what the bullets actually do. Few people have that option.

Or you can make a rational judgement about what you might shoot at that distance and how important expansion (and how much expansion) is required.
my 500yd range has been closed for over 6 months due to insurance issues..... even if I could shoot at that distance, tagging a 6in by 6in block and getting it in at the right angle would be difficult at best.

would working down with cfe223 be a bad idea? I know pressures will not be optimal, and it wont cycle the gun, just trying to figure if it would be safe for a few tests. not something I have any intention of doing regularly.
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Old December 5, 2021, 08:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
even if I could shoot at that distance, tagging a 6in by 6in block and getting it in at the right angle would be difficult at best.
this was kind of my point. if you can't tag a 6x6" block at 500yds, when the bullet velocity is down to the level you are interested in, what is the point of being concerned with expansion or lack of same at that range /speed??

And, forget about reduced loads cycling any semi auto, unless you're willing to modify the gun specifically to do that. Very few guns, even ones with adjustable gas systems are adjustable enough to cover that range without some kind of modifications.
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Old December 5, 2021, 09:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
this was kind of my point. if you can't tag a 6x6" block at 500yds, when the bullet velocity is down to the level you are interested in, what is the point of being concerned with expansion or lack of same at that range /speed??

And, forget about reduced loads cycling any semi auto, unless you're willing to modify the gun specifically to do that. Very few guns, even ones with adjustable gas systems are adjustable enough to cover that range without some kind of modifications.
Smh... I understood what you were getting at. You apparently did not understand what I was getting at.

The problem is not tagging the block, but tagging it in the center of the block, and in line with the block so it stays in the block from end to end.

With good loads my rifle will hold 1moa. So about 5in at 500. I would rather not take shots on game at that distance other than varmints, just curious to see if it would work. So in short I can tag the block, but no guarantee on a center shot.

At 500 the bullet will be coming in from a pretty good angle. While I could calculate the trajectory and angle, and rig a mount to hold it at the right angle, if I can't tag it in the center and keep it in the block its a moot point.

Thus trying to down load
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Old December 5, 2021, 10:05 PM   #7
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I load low power bottle neck rounds using pistol powder a lot.

I can run you some Quickload data, but you left out all of the needed details.

Accuracy of calculated velocity is much better with:
  • Bullet weight & brand if common, weight and length if not common
  • AOL (with info above to get seating depth)
  • Barrel length

I went ahead and ran a couple of powders (faster is better for this type of loading), a 55 gr Speer a random AOL & 16" barrel

Code:
Cartridge          : .223 Rem. (SAAMI)
Bullet             : .224, 55, Speer SP 1047
Useable Case Capaci: 26.819 grain H2O = 1.741 cm³
Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 2.260 inch = 57.40 mm
Barrel Length      : 16.0 inch = 406.4 mm
Powder             : Hodgdon HP38

Step    Fill. Charge   Vel.  Energy   Pmax   Pmuz  Prop.Burnt B_Time
 %       %    Grains   fps   ft.lbs    psi    psi      %        ms
-30.0   20     4.20   1417     245   13128   2173    100.0    1.559
-26.7   21     4.40   1456     259   14067   2264    100.0    1.498
-23.3   22     4.60   1493     272   15023   2355    100.0    1.446
-20.0   23     4.80   1529     285   15998   2446    100.0    1.399
-16.7   24     5.00   1564     299   16992   2537    100.0    1.357
-13.3   25     5.20   1598     312   18005   2627    100.0    1.319


Cartridge          : .223 Rem. (SAAMI)
Bullet             : .224, 55, Speer SP 1047
Useable Case Capaci: 26.819 grain H2O = 1.741 cm³
Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 2.260 inch = 57.40 mm
Barrel Length      : 16.0 inch = 406.4 mm
Powder             : Alliant POWER PISTOL

Step    Fill. Charge   Vel.  Energy   Pmax   Pmuz  Prop.Burnt B_Time
 %       %    Grains   fps   ft.lbs    psi    psi      %        ms
-12.0   22     4.40   1380     232    9482   2963     98.2    1.708
-08.0   23     4.60   1428     249   10144   3095     98.8    1.646
-04.0   24     4.80   1475     266   10829   3222     99.3    1.590
+00.0   25     5.00   1520     282   11535   3344     99.7    1.539
+04.0   27     5.20   1564     299   12263   3461     99.9    1.492
+08.0   28     5.40   1607     315   13014   3573    100.0    1.449
Now if you are talking 22" barrel the HP 38 numbers are

Code:
Cartridge          : .223 Rem. (SAAMI)
Bullet             : .224, 55, Speer SP 1047
Useable Case Capaci: 26.819 grain H2O = 1.741 cm³
Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 2.260 inch = 57.40 mm
Barrel Length      : 22.0 inch = 558.8 mm
Powder             : Hodgdon HP38

Step    Fill. Charge   Vel.  Energy   Pmax   Pmuz  Prop.Burnt B_Time
 %       %    Grains   fps   ft.lbs    psi    psi      %        ms

-33.3   19     4.00   1474     265   12206   1436    100.0    1.979
-30.0   20     4.20   1515     280   13128   1499    100.0    1.899
-26.7   21     4.40   1554     295   14067   1561    100.0    1.830
-23.3   22     4.60   1593     310   15023   1624    100.0    1.769
-20.0   23     4.80   1630     325   15998   1686    100.0    1.715
-16.7   24     5.00   1667     339   16992   1748    100.0    1.666

Last edited by P Flados; December 5, 2021 at 10:19 PM.
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Old December 6, 2021, 02:40 AM   #8
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ok, I get it, its not hitting the block its hitting it center, point on and level. No, not simple. Forget I mentioned that,
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Old December 6, 2021, 05:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
ok, I get it, its not hitting the block its hitting it center, point on and level. No, not simple. Forget I mentioned that,
No worries
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Old December 6, 2021, 05:42 AM   #10
Shadow9mm
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Lehigh controlled chaos 55g. Solid copper. Bullet length .868. Col 2.245
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Old December 6, 2021, 10:40 AM   #11
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You may consider using trailboss. But it may still be tricky to go down to 1500fps muzzle velocity with light .223 bullet, so some distance may still be needed.

-TL

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Old December 6, 2021, 11:39 AM   #12
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If you can hit the center closely enough at 100 yards, and if we assume the BC from Lehigh is accurate at low velocities (it may not be), it looks like a muzzle velocity of about 1740 fps (drops to 1727 at 15 feet) would land going 1500 fps at 100 yards, which about 6.5 grains of Trail Boss should get you and it still gives you about 83% case fill at that load level (assumes a 24" barrel). However, having looked at a lot of Bryan Litz's BC measurements, I am not sanguine the claimed 0.278 BC will hold up at 1500 fps. It would be best, therefore, to use an optical chronograph set out at 100 yards to confirm impact velocity before setting up your ballistic medium.

The Miller stability estimator says you are probably going to need about an 8.5" twist to get reasonable stability at that low muzzle velocity with that long-for-weight bullet. The precision of that stability calculator with .224" bullets are limited, though, so if you work up to a Trail Boss load at about the velocity I mentioned when the chronograph is either on the muzzle or 15 feet out, you want to confirm first that the load groups well from your gun before setting the optical chronograph out at 100 yards. This is to be sure you aren't going to shoot it by mistake. Once you have a load you know groups and has about the right velocity, then shooting the center of the 6" square should not be a problem.
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Old December 6, 2021, 12:02 PM   #13
tangolima
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Dropping the charge to 70% (still safe as per trailboss guideline) would get it close to 1500fps near muzzle. Shooting through an optical chrony at 100yd is pretty tricky and risky (of losing $200). Labradar would be handy.

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Last edited by tangolima; December 6, 2021 at 12:13 PM.
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Old December 6, 2021, 01:02 PM   #14
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Do have e a 1:7 twist so I should be good. Shooting at 100 makes sense. I do have an optical chronograph. It's been shot twice and survived. Would need to confirm zero then shoot over
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Old December 6, 2021, 02:13 PM   #15
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Might be worth calling Hodgdon, too. The only Trail Boss load they list for 223 Rem is a 55-grain FMJ, and it shows a 4.0-grain maximum, which is below their own guidelines for minimum percent fill. I can't account for that.
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Old December 6, 2021, 05:00 PM   #16
tangolima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick View Post
Might be worth calling Hodgdon, too. The only Trail Boss load they list for 223 Rem is a 55-grain FMJ, and it shows a 4.0-grain maximum, which is below their own guidelines for minimum percent fill. I can't account for that.
Saw the same on their data center. It does seem odd.

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Old December 6, 2021, 09:03 PM   #17
9MMand223only
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Hello, I have the answer, generally, in 20" barrel.
http://natoreloading.com/subsonic556/

About 6 grains of Blue Dot using 55 grain, or about 6.1 of AA#7. This is using 55 grain bullets. this will get you close if your using 20" barrel.

Don't forget to shred up some cotton and put it in to hold the powder at primer end.

P.S. the page is called subsonic, but since there was zero load data for those powders, it was all over the place. But enough was done to understand what load will get you close to subsonic, or 1500, or etc.
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Old December 7, 2021, 10:20 PM   #18
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Your bullet is not in QL, but a 62 gr is. I loaded the 62 gr, changed the weight and length and ran it.

Results were 15 to 20 fps faster than previous runs.
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Old December 7, 2021, 10:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
Your bullet is not in QL, but a 62 gr is. I loaded the 62 gr, changed the weight and length and ran it.

Results were 15 to 20 fps faster than previous runs.
Sounds good hoping to do some velocity testing Saturday. Weather permitting
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