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223 handloads

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Unread 03-15-2005, 01:02 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 24
223 handloads

I need a new handload for a 223. Any ideas?
If It Flies It Dies
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Unread 03-17-2005, 04:11 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Northeast Missouri
Posts: 28
Re: 223 handloads

Sorry late in reply, been busy. I shoot a lot of .223 and have extensively loaded 52 & 53 gr. Hornadys, 52 gr. Sierras, 53 gr. Barnes XFB and XLC, 55 gr. Nozler Balistic Tips, 60 Gr. Nozler partitions, and 70 gr. Speer Semi-Spitzer. I have used BLC-2, Win 748, H335, RL-15, IMR 3031 & 4895, and Ramshot TAC, which is now the only powder I use in .223. Everything above worked good enough but to save you pages and pages of data, that I'm not sure I could still find, I would say this: For varmints I would use 52gr hollowpoint match bullets by Hornady, Sierra, or maybe Speer. Some people really like the 40gr Nozler BTs loaded really hot, especially for prarie dogs, but I haven't tried them. All of the 52 grainers have shot really well for me for thirty years or so, and I now shoot 52 Hornady Match bullets with 25.5 to 26 gr. of TAC. In a 24 in barrel that should get you between 3300 and 3350, or maybe a little more. I shoot a 20" barrelled Model 7 now, so I live with much lower velocites. I liked 3031 really well for a lot of years, and shot pounds of 748 and R15. All three of those got a lot of good groups but the 748 and R15 didn't produce the published velocities for me. TAC produces the published velocities and has given me fantastic groups with every bullet I have shot it with. My first two groups out of the M7, with the factory stock (but a lot of fitting on my behalf) were right at 3/8" at 100 yrds.....If you are interested in something bigger, such as deer, I think you would be very pleased with the 53 gr. Barnes X. It punches a hole/permanent wound channel about two inches in diameter in deer (almost identical to a .44 mag revolver shooting 240 gr. JHPs), and the few that I have shot have been full penetrations with one exception. The one I recovered took out several inches of spine, then went on forward through the neck and lodged under the skin in the front side of the neck (Shot from rear and slightly higher than deer/impact velocity 3000/mature whitetail buck field dressed 165 lbs.). Have friends who have hunted deer with .223 for years that wouldn't know a Ballistic Tip from a walnut, and they usually make one shot kills every year, sometimes at ranges that I won't repeat here. They don't know the .223 is not suppose to be good for deer with varmint bullets, and don't understand what I tell them, because they keep making quick, clean, kills with any bullet they shoot. I don't know of any lost deer...but they don't try tricky shots, they keep them in the ribcage, and they are exceptional shooters. One also hunts alot with a 7mm Mag, and says that out to about 200 yards he has had more instant kills with the .223 than the 7mm. And, he has probaby killed more deer than most people have seen. Go figure. I read in magizines all the time about the .223 not being good on deer past 100 yards or so. Not that I want to take up that debate, but with good bullets and good placement, the results clearly show otherwise. By the way, the 60 gr. nozler partitions and 70 gr. Speers are both great bullets for deer, and probably hogs, etc. If you have specific question about anything I have mentioned, let me know. P.S. As this is a forum for Long Range, I will tell you that when the wind is blowing hard and gusty, my 500 yard groups are VERY bad. As much as I like the .223, I don't think it is a good cartride for anything but playing on paper beyond 300 yards in the wind. Sorry for the rambling. Greg.
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Unread 03-17-2005, 05:54 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 90
Re: 223 handloads

I could not agree more!! I have been using my 223 (700 VLS) for years on deer. I have never lost one yet. Shot placement is very important and knowing when to pass up on a not so perfect shot is important also. My favorite load is 26 grains of H-varget behind a 52 grain Hornady A-max with CCI bench rest primers. People who shoot a 223 know that a deer head size target is easy to hit out to 200 yards. Its not for everyone, but in the right hands I would suggest giving one a try. I know you will like it as I do and many others. Some other bullets that have worked well for me are the 50 grain V-max, 50/55 grain Noslers, and many of the 52 grain match hollow points. It seems that I shoot the A-max the most. Other than Varget, I have tried 335, Blc-2, and W-748. I load for a 308 (700 VLS also) so I always have Varget on hand. That powder seems to work the best in everything I put it in. The 223 is an easy caliber to load for and many load combinations have worked well for me. I hope this information helps. My advice is to work up as many load combinations as you can and then spend some range time to see which one works the best. For me thats the best part of reloading (range time)!!

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Unread 03-17-2005, 07:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Connellsville, PA
Posts: 128
Re: 223 handloads

If you want something with a little less weight that screams, try the 40gr V-Max with some IMR4198. My 700 VLS shoots 23.0 gr of the stuff extremely well. Not the best BC, but then if I want to reach out past 300 or 400 yds, I'll usually go with something different.
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