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Old January 29, 2011, 05:53 PM   #1
gregjc9
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Getting closer on my 223 reloads

Tested my 2nd attempt at 223 reloads. This time around I tested Hornady V-Max and Midway DogTown, both 55gr, COAL of 2.250, primers CCI 400. The rifle is a RRA AR15 with a 20" S/S Predator Persuit upper and 1:8 twist. I tested both sets of bullets by first shooting 5 rounds of PMC ammo, to foul the barrel and to use as a gauge. Each group was 5 rounds at the following charges of H335 (per Sierra manual):

23.6
24.3
25.0
25.7


The Hornady V-Max bullets had the following groups:
1.49"
1.62"
1.75"
1.32"
The PMC OEM ammo had a group of 1.36"


The Midway/Dogtown bullets had the following groups:
1.51"
1.30"
.96" <<<<<
1.76"
The PMC OEM ammo had a group of 1.75"


Looks like the DT ammo outperformed the Hornady in my AR. Using 25.0gr as the middle load, I'll load some test rounds in .2gr increments and see how these fare.

I'm surprised the Hornady didnt perform any better. Powder maybe? I did notice there was a significant difference in the shape of the bullets between the V-Max and the Dogtown, as I had to really crank down the bullet seater for the V-Max after seating the DT, both to the same COAL.

Attached are some pics of the bench, and the resulting targets.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0858.JPG (43.6 KB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0859.JPG (43.3 KB, 94 views)
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Old January 29, 2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Told ya didn I ??!!!...

Nice shootin.
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Old January 29, 2011, 08:41 PM   #3
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Yes you did pardner. Many thanks.
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Old January 29, 2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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YVW... I love those bullets... I have over 2k of the 34grain and 4k of the 55grain now... I shoot .223 alot
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Old January 29, 2011, 08:52 PM   #5
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Are you going for hunting rounds or accurate match kind of loads? If match then try Sierra 53 gr HP. They worked real well for me in my tests today.

How long are you waiting between shots? Also do you shoot 5 from one batch then move on or do you shoot one then move on Ito you've shot all round robin style?

Still good stuff for your second ones. Keep at it. It's addicting. Groups will shrink too.
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Old January 29, 2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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From what I have heard(from a reliable source)/and what I have seen...

... 22 caliber flat base bullets are more accurate than boat tail.
...22 diameter is too small to stabilize accurately with boat tail.

It has worked for me so far.
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Old January 29, 2011, 09:19 PM   #7
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DR: I have read that more than once, that FB is more accurate than BT. I still have some testing to do with some 65gr SMK BT and some 75gr Hornady Match BTHP. The 1:8 is supposed to like 65-75gr, but right now I'm diggin these DT 55gr'ers.

Looking closer at the grouping for the DT, and how they seem to be left-right, this is probably me not getting behind the scope exactly the same each time. I expect with more time and practice I can shink this some more.

Lloyd: This is just a paper puncher, wanting to try and roll some good, accurate rounds for my own enjoyment. I didnt wait very long between shots, probably a minute or less. It was cold as hell today, and I still wanted to shoot my CZs before I completely froze. Also, I shot all 5 rounds of the same powder charge at the same target/dot, then moved on. I've read about shooting in a round-robin fashion, but doing it that way really doesnt make much sense to me. Seems like it would be harder to see how each charge weight does this way. But I know I'm still learning and have a long way to go.
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Old January 29, 2011, 09:31 PM   #8
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.223 isnt too bad... but the .22-250 was throwin the hell outta boat tail bullets... fixed that right up with the flat based DogTowns.
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Old January 29, 2011, 11:40 PM   #9
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Greg: The round robin thing is definitely a preference thing, not performance. For me, I really tend to look where I'm hitting and correct it. And when I'm just going for group size that's not good. So I load one round of one, shoot it and then forget. Taking out the mag and reloading each time also gives my barrel time to cool down. I'm in So Cal so I need that time. Flat bases are definitely the way to go with .223. I've heard that it's because BTs help achieve stability over a distance that .223 isn't going to be shot. I don't know though. I'm no expert. Keep grinding out the reloads and improve. What kind of trigger do you have on that gun?
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Old January 30, 2011, 08:55 AM   #10
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Lloyd: I have a RRA 2 stage trigger kit. I didnt want to go overboard with triggers until I knew more about what I would need/want. So far, I think this has served me well, if I just do my part. Thanks for the info.
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:05 AM   #11
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Have you tried Benchmark or Varget powder?

My RRA Predator Persuit is shooting between 1/2 and 3/4" at 100 with a V-Max 55 or a 55 Nosler BT and 25.5 grn. Benchmark. (Around 3300 FPS). This is a hot load and should be loaded as such. It shot just as good with the Varget, but it requires less Benchmark for the same speed, so that is what I use.

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Old January 30, 2011, 09:16 AM   #12
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Bill: No I havent, I started out using H335 to get my feet wet with reloading rifle. I've read a lot about Varget not working well in case activated powder drops like mine, so I doubt I will go that route. Benchmark is a possiblity. I know the V-Max should perform better than they did, they may need a different powder. When I get these loads dialed in, I'll try Benchmark with the V-Max bullets.
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:45 AM   #13
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I load for a bolt action Savage Model 12. I load 55 grain bullets with 25.0 grains of H-335. This is listed by Nostler as the most acurate load, with the most acurate powder tested. It works so well for me I am not going to fool with trying to tweak the load. It shoots better than I can hold most of the time. With V-Max, or BTFMJ 10 shot groups can be hidden under a half dollar most times, and when I am doing my part correctly a nickle will cover the group up.
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Old January 30, 2011, 03:59 PM   #14
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M&P: I think I've decided on 25.0gr for 55gr FB. Oddly though, the BT V-Max just did not perform as well in my AR.



If you guys would bare with me one more time, I tested some more rounds today.

5 rounds at each of the following weights of H335 produced the following groups using Dogtown 55gr FMJ HPFB, 2.250 COAL, CCI 400, PMC brass:

24.4gr = 1.40"
24.6gr = 1.78"
24.8gr = 1.62"
25.0gr = 1.16"
25.2gr = 1.14"
25.4gr = 1.40"
25.6gr = 1.41"

Yesterday I was able to a 5 round grouping of .96" with 25.0gr. Today was a little warmer, and I probably wasnt as on top of my game as I should have been. Today I did get 4 rounds within .76" at that load. I may have pulled one.

Anyway, it does seem to me that with the 55gr Dogtown bullets, 25.0gr of H335 is the go-to load for my AR.

(DR, I did order 1K of the Dogtown bullets. )
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Old January 30, 2011, 04:04 PM   #15
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Looks like some pretty fine shootin....

... I love my .223s.
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Old January 30, 2011, 06:27 PM   #16
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My best groups were from sierra varmiter bullets which have the flat base. While it shoots 65 and 69gr. very well the varmiters always do better. From what I have seen with my handloads supports the flat base over boattail bullet theory. I have used IMR-4895 and W-748 powder but now I use only Tac in my .223 reloads.
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Old January 30, 2011, 06:47 PM   #17
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It's funny how the flat base shoots better than a boat tail. If you look at any grain weight of SMK's you will find they are all boat tails except their 52 gr. match bullet.
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Old February 1, 2011, 12:29 AM   #18
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I'll second LloydXmas' endorsement of the 53 Sierra Match King HP flat base (#1400) - I had a tough time getting better than 1.5 inch groups from my 20" HBAR AR and was getting a bit frustrated until I tried that bullet. Just last weekend I shot 5 X 5-shot groups with the load that showed the most promise during testing (26.5gr BL-C2 incidentally), the average group size for those 5 groups was 0.745 inches (@100 yds). I'm using the RRA 2 stage trigger as well.

I haven't tried the Dogtown bullets yet myself, but I probably should. So far my AR does not seem to like any BT bullets that well, although I've had good luck with BT designs in bolt action .223s. They seem to best when pushing the max load, which I'm not keen to do with the AR anyway. Every rifle is just different. There's probably not a significant advantage to the BT design unless you're shooting 300+ anyway.
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Old February 1, 2011, 02:11 AM   #19
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Yeah. Last weekend I tested 53 gr SMK with the flat base and if I'm allowed to throw out my own mistake (I pulled one round and knew it the second it went bang) then I had a 4 shot .567" group. My best ever and it's out of a stock 16" barrel. I wish I had a 20" bull barrel to really see what these guys could do.

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Old February 1, 2011, 09:32 AM   #20
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Lloyd, very nice. What twist is your rifle? Mine is 1:8, and I thought 53gr bullets would be too light for this twist.
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Old February 1, 2011, 10:26 AM   #21
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53 gr bullets work great out of my 1/8 twist barrel with WC844 (H335). My most accurate load and most used of conventional bullets is the Hornady 55 JSP with H335. My most accurate match load is with Sierra 69 HPBT and H380. H335 works good with the 69 but H380 edges it out for best. Keep working, you will find what your rifle likes best, and that is part of the fun.
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Old February 1, 2011, 10:50 AM   #22
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Mine is 1:9 so it goes from the 40s-70gr. With your barrel it will still shoot those fine. You may have trouble with hints in the 40s but youcan also handle heavy stuff. 1:8 & 1:9 are great do-all twists. We can nearly shoot all grains of .223. I'd like to try the 69 SMK BTs next but I don't think they will do as well at 100. Probably better at log distance than the 53grs though. Just experiment with loads and shoot tons. You'll get much tighter groups soon.
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Old February 1, 2011, 11:00 AM   #23
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I have some 69s and 75s loaded and ready to try. I'll report back how those work out.

Thanks guys, looks like I'll be adding some 53gr'ers to my list.
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Old February 1, 2011, 11:27 AM   #24
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Primers can also make a difference. Do not change primers without reducing your maximum load.

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Old February 1, 2011, 11:37 AM   #25
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Just an FYI
Changing powders can disrupt accuracy for a few shots.Your plan of pre-fouling the bbl with 5 shots of commercial ammo may be working against you.
Also,suppose I was trying to compare TAC to Varget to RE-15 to H4895 by just shooting consecutive strings.The fouling of the previous powder might give me misleading results.
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