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Old February 25, 2016, 09:56 PM   #1
Roadkill2228
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What is the best .223 powder (in your experience)?

Hi all, I got a new gun! its a cabelas (Canada) exclusive savage axis snow camo stainless steel .223 remington, very excited, have shot it a few times now, in love with that cartridge (zero recoil! I've been shooting a lot of .300 win mag lately so this is a nice break for my eardrums and arms). I plan to reload lots, the load I've used so far has been real nice (53 vmax and H335)...here's my question. What is the best .223 powder for 55 grain bullets? Factors to consider are clean burning, temp sensitivity, consistency, accuracy, efficiency, metering does not matter, I weigh every charge by hand and then load cases one at a time.
I'm out of powder suitable for .223 and am going to buy some. Right now I'm looking at H335, IMR 3031, CFE 223, and Hodgdon 8208BXR as my likely candidates. I do have some Leverevolution powder (I know it's not for .223 per se, yet I also notice that many powders suitable for .30-30 work well in .223) - could that work? I also have IMR 4064 but I'm just going to assume that's way too slow. What say you?
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Old February 25, 2016, 10:22 PM   #2
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i have one also, not snow though
25.5 Varget
CCI-BR4 Primer
60 gn Hornady a max
2.26 COL plus or Minus a few.

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Old February 25, 2016, 10:25 PM   #3
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I started reloading 223 using Varget and H4895. Then I couldn't find those so I was forced to change. I found Reloder 10x and have been using that ever since. I'm loading for an AR so I have other things to worry about like functioning, but I've found it shoots great, clean burning and accurate.
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Old February 25, 2016, 10:35 PM   #4
TimW77
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What is the best .223 powder

There is NO best rifle, cartridge, caliber, bullet, etc.

Depends on specific uses...

What is best for me may not work for you...

This is especially true of the .223 Rem with such a wide range in bullet weights and barrel twists available, there is NO one powder that can be best for the entire range of bullet weights...

A powder that works well with the very heavy bullets may be unusable for the medium and lighter bulets...

Does NOT make it the best powder but for the heavier 75g to 90g bullets I like Accurate 2520 and Reloder 15...

Many good "general purpose" powders are available to cover the mid range of bullet weights, NONE ARE BEST. Reloder 10X, Win 748, Accurate 2230, IMR 8208, H/IMR 4895 among many others are good but none are best...

T.

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Old February 25, 2016, 10:43 PM   #5
Roadkill2228
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Varget...hmmm...have never seen that stuff available anywhere! But that's interesting, I'm assuming then that other .308 powders might be appropriate in .223? And as for H4895..I don't have that but I do have IMR 4895, is the burn rate similar, are the applications similar?
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Old February 25, 2016, 10:57 PM   #6
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Alliant's AR-Comp. As the name implies it a powder for competition. It fits your criteria & meters well from a powder measure. I've had great results with bullets in the 50 to 60gr range.

Good luck & good shooting!
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Old February 26, 2016, 12:35 AM   #7
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"And as for H4895..I do have IMR 4895, is the burn rate similar, are the applications similar? " - Roadkill2228

Most burn rate charts I have seen, such as the one in the Lyman 49th, show them to be similiar. That does not mean identical. I would treat them as DIFFERENT powders. Ergo start fresh and use the Hogden load data as a start reference.

My own experiance is with IMR 4895. I began using it back when it was labeled as DuPont IMR 4895, over 30 years ago. If you have it, I would suggest you might really like some of its features. For 223, I usually recommend it for new reloaders, many of whom seem to have difficulty getting their AR's to cycle well on their reloads. The load range in Lyman 49th for a typical 55 grain fmj is 23.0 to 26.0 grains. There are two things that make this a great 223 powder for a beginning reloader. First, you simply cannot get an overcharge with it, as there is not enough room in the case. If you were to try to put more than the Lyman maximum charge (26.0 grains) it will overflow most brands of 223 cases. Second, depending on the quality of the bolt and buffer spring combination, most AR's will at least cycle almost across the entire Lyman load range, which would give the maximum play area to find an accurate load and still function the AR.

I realize you are looking for a good load for a Bolt, rather than an AR. Some of the things I just referred to still apply, don't have to worry about an overcharge (you just can't) and of course the entire load range available for accuracy testing. I know, thats sorta expected for a Bolt rifle, but not usual for an AR. So here are more good things. I have recently tested two different lots of Dupont 4895 (1984 and 1987) versus two lots of current (2010 and 2015) IMR 4895. I used a 20" barrel on a TC Carbine. I used mixed cases and Hornady V-Max 55 grain bullets with powder charge ranging from 24 grains to 25.8 grains. (I did not want to crimp for the test ammo so I did not go above 25.8 grains as I would need a crip to hold against the powder compression.) All of the test velocities obtained could have been from the same lot of ammo. The most notable difference in velocities was between the 2010 and 2015 stuff, with the real old stuff right in the middle.

If there is a downside to IMR 4895, it is velocity. It will probably run 150-200 fps slower than most other powders you could use. If you are looking for accuracy, rather than velocity, just hunt for it, it will be there.

edit to add: I forgot, expect about 280 rounds per pound, less if you spill some.
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Old February 26, 2016, 05:39 AM   #8
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As someone already said.....there is no one "best" powder.....lots of them will work well.

As for what works for me.... I use IMR-4895, also. Great accuracy.....and my Savage (Stevens 200) bolt rifle loves it, as well as my AR. Same loads for both.

I use 24.0 grains, under a 68 grain Hornady BTHP Match bullet, Winchester SR primers, mixed brass = sub 1/2" groups at 100 yards, 1" or slightly better at 200 yards (in the bolt gun - my AR is not quite that accurate).

For 55 grain bullets (Hornady SP or FMJ), I use 25.0 grains, Winchester primers and mixed brass.

Obviously, the most accurate load(s) for another rifle will likely differ a bit. But, I have used H335, W748, IMR-3031 and the IMR-4895. I've settled on the 4895. It just works - so I don't plan on "fixing it".
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Old February 26, 2016, 06:03 AM   #9
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Roadkill-The 223 is as easy to load for as the 308 is. I just gave you that recipie because I have same rifle you do. I have also given that same load data to about 10 people and they say it is the best they have ever shot also. I used to use RL-15, and 4895. I also used to use Rem 7 1/2 primers ( Junk). made the switch and have never looked back.
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Old February 26, 2016, 06:50 AM   #10
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these are my powders for 223/5.56 in my AR H335, IMR 3031, CFE 223 with H335 being my favorite
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Old February 26, 2016, 07:46 AM   #11
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First thing I do is look in the manual and see what there is the most data listed for that you can find on the shelf. In my case that was RE7 and IMR4198 last time I loaded them, and both worked out fine.
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Old February 26, 2016, 10:12 AM   #12
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I get great results with H335 behind 40, 55, 64, and 65 gr bullets. But like it was said earlier, there's no best powder. I also got good results from AA2230 and Varget. Unless the OP is shooting bullets of 70ish grains or higher, H335 is a very good choice.
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Old February 26, 2016, 10:38 AM   #13
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I load 50-55 grain bullets most for AR.
I use AA2230/Ramshot X-terminator(possibly the same powder but different package-same charge weight)and WCC844/H335(same? interchangeable data anyway). I'm fairly conservative and satisfied with the performance of these two choices.
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Old February 26, 2016, 11:00 AM   #14
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I'm sure there's a lot of good loads for a 223 bolt gun shooting 55 gr bullets.
I have a Savage model 10 with a 20 inch heavy barrel, 1in9 twist that I shoot 55 gr bullets in exclusively.

My favorite load for that rifle is 27.2 grs of IMR4320 topped off with Sierra's 55 gr JHP Gameking bullet, Sierra number is #1390.
This load shoots consistently 5/16 inch groups at 100 yards from the rifle listed above.

The other day I tried some Sierra 55 gr Blitzkings with the same powder charge, they shoot to the same POI with the same groups.

I love shooting my 223 rifles, cheaper to shoot and easy on the shoulder.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter.
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Old February 26, 2016, 01:46 PM   #15
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I use only stick propellant in 223/5.56. Ball propellant is good for machine loading as it meters quickly but much of it is very erosive on barrels. I have used Varget, IMR4895, 4198, VV 140 and VV135.
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Old February 26, 2016, 02:42 PM   #16
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Hey thank you everybody for chiming in. I've been re-reading my reloading manual (Hornady 8 - not the hugest fan), the Hodgdon online load data resource, and Nosler online load data...

I don't know how I missed IMR 4895 first time around...i have a full pound of it right here right now so that'd be super if I didn't have to go out and buy more powder. I really like what was said about how it's virtually impossible to overcharge with this powder (same reason I'm fond of IMR 7828 in .270 win with 130 grain bullets). I am not necessarily going for full out velocity, it's more for fun and with good case life...a lot of factors seem to point to this powder as being my best choice. I plan to buy some inexpensive 55 fmjs and then some 55 grain varmageddon or vmax bullets, and use the same moderate load for both, hopefully will shoot to the same POI (free floating barrel will help in that regard)

I was reading that CFE 223 burns really dirty so I'll avoid that one I think.

I have never seen Varget or AR Comp available anywhere where I'm at, but if they pop up I'll be sure to buy a can.
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Old February 26, 2016, 06:11 PM   #17
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I'm new the .223 as I just got mine in early December. The only suitable powder I had on hand was Hodgdon H4895 (very similar but not identical to IMR 4895). The first load work-up I tried I achieved 0.5x - 0.7x 4-shot groups at 100 yards. Taking my best group for 5 shots at 100 yards gave me a nice 3/4" group.

I expect you'll have equally good luck with IMR 4895 as well.

Other good .223 powders (by reputation) that haven't been mentioned are Hodgdon H322, Hodgdon Benchmark, and Ramshot TAC. I don't have any H322 yet but I did pick up some Benchmark and TAC this week to give them a go.

Good luck.
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Old February 26, 2016, 07:41 PM   #18
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This is what works for me. H335 for 55gn, 60gn and 62gn bullets. Varget for heavier bullets.
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Old February 27, 2016, 12:06 AM   #19
Chucky64
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Win 748 for me

I bought 16 pounds of W748 and It has not disappointed me in any way.
If you read the Win web site, W748 has a lower flame temp, which
equals longer barrel life. Meters great and has always pleased me with
its results. 26grns for a 55grn FMJ is a great, reliable load for my
AR's and bolt actions
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Old February 27, 2016, 01:15 AM   #20
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Quick question for 4runnerman.

You said " I also used to use Rem 7 1/2 primers ( Junk). made the switch and have never looked back. "

Could you amplify more on why you think Rem 7 1/2 primers are problematic ?
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Old February 27, 2016, 01:19 AM   #21
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IMR 8208 (XBR) is my go to powder.
I have also used Varget, IMR 4895, and H335.
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Old February 27, 2016, 07:17 AM   #22
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No one mentioned BLC2

I finally found Varget the other day after looking for 3 months. I found it in a obscure, small gun shop, in the middle of nowhere. That powder is hard to come by around here.

Can't wait to try it out on my 75g pills
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Old February 27, 2016, 08:15 AM   #23
4runnerman
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hihrolls- When I started shooting the 223, I had the Savage Edge, Used same load to a tee- 25.5 Varget,60 Gn A Max, 2.29 COl 7 1/2 primers. Groups were good ( so I thought). Picked up another 223 ( FVSS ), same load-Groups were good. Got a pack of CCI BR4- After running them through the chrony ( Same load just CCI primrs) My groups went to-well One hole, MV went up over 100 FPS. I should not have said JUNK-sorry for that- I will say inferior to CCI.
I now play a game with 2 or 3 others at the range. We take 9MM case and super glue them standing up to a board- 3 across and 3 up and down. We play tic tac toe now at 100 yards shooting the primers out of them.
As i said- I have given that load to many- Short of them messing with the COL, they now use that same load in their rifles as well. It just seems to be the sweet spot in many rifles.- The whole thing came together when I got rid of 7 1/2 primers and went to CCI.
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Old February 27, 2016, 06:41 PM   #24
On Deck
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Nice

Cartridge: .223/ 5.56
Powder: BENCHMARK
Date Loaded: 15-Sep
Powder Weight: (gr) 24.5
Load Data Source: Hodgdon
Primer Brand: CCI
Bullet Brand: Hornady
Primer Type: No. 41
Bullet Type: Z-Max
COL: 2.21
Bullet Weight: (gr) : 50
Speed (fps): N/A
Rifle: S&W M&P 15 Carbine 16" barrel
Rifling: 1/9, 6 groove
Notes:- 100 Rds. Cycled great, l good groups Powder metered well, too

Last edited by On Deck; February 27, 2016 at 06:57 PM.
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Old February 27, 2016, 11:33 PM   #25
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For velocity H335
For ground squirrels Blue Dot
For 100 yard groups Blue Dot
For 200 yard groups, stick powder
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