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Reloading Berger Bullets


need a 12 twist load for .223

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Unread 06-14-2009, 10:41 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Temecula CA
Posts: 390
need a 12 twist load for .223

Went to the range yesterday with my .223 caliber Howa 1500. I couldn't get it to group well at all. Since I know how well these guns can shoot I will chalk this one up to cheap ammo. I am looking for a hyper accurate load that will let me shoot MOA groups out to 500 yards. ( assuming the wind will cooperate). This way I can use the same round to hunt coyotes and the occasional midrange FTR match.

If it makes a difference. my gun has a 24 inch, right hand 12 twist barrel.
.308 Howa 1500, varmint supreme. 24" .820 barrel, Roedale precision brake.
.223 Howa 1500, varmint supreme, 24" .820 barrel.
RRA 20" predator pursuite, Magpul PRS, ALG trigger,
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Unread 06-14-2009, 11:36 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 806
Re: need a 12 twist load for .223

Being a twelve twist... generally I would tell you to load up a 52-53gr SMK (or really a 50-55gr anything) over either 25.0-25.5gr H335 or ~26.5gr Win748, pick a primer, pick a case, and go shoot. If that doesn't drill bug holes, then there is either a gun or a shooter problem, cuz it ain't the load - it works way too well in way too many guns. And then I would tell you to forget about shooting 500-600yds w/ that load - light bullet with little to no BC to speak of is going to get thrown all over the place by even the lightest breeze at those distances. 300, maybe 400, on real calm days.

We have a gentleman who is shooting 500-600yd F-Class matches that I go to, using a Rem700 SPS in .223 w/ a 12 tw barrel. He doesn't do especially well, because of what I mentioned above (wind), but he does have a good time and is learning a thing or two about the wind and his gun. I believe his current load uses Berger 64gr bullets over 26.5-27.0gr Varget - which seems a bit warm, but the 27.0gr load definitely held better elevation on the target @ distance. Even he's realized that he's kind of fighting an uphill battle as such, and has a new faster twist barrel on order. Having seen what a .223 with a *fast* twist (7-8) can do, I think he'll be more than happy when he gets it installed ;)


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Unread 06-19-2009, 10:33 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Kalispell Mt
Posts: 30
Re: need a 12 twist load for .223

My 1/12 twist remmy VS loves 55 b-tips w/27.5 BL-C2,
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Unread 06-20-2009, 07:46 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,469
Re: need a 12 twist load for .223

My Rem700SPS Varmint loves factory Remington 50grain hollow-points. With a 12 twist barrel, the heaviest bullet you will be able to shoot is 55grains.

I tried to shoot 77grain bullets in my rifle because a friend handed me a box of ammo and said 'try these'. From 300 yards I couldn't put one on the paper.
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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Unread 06-20-2009, 08:49 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: az
Posts: 3,153
Re: need a 12 twist load for .223

26.2 of n-133 and 50 baltip is what i use. for longer range/wind the 60 berger or 60 baltip MAY be better. i could not tell a difference. compared to the 6.5-284 the wind really moves them
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Unread 06-23-2009, 11:43 AM
B23 B23 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Spokane, Wa.
Posts: 1,008
Re: need a 12 twist load for .223

I have nearly the same rifle but mine wears a 20in. not a 24. The very first thing, in my opinion, you need to do is spend another $150 and replace the trigger. The factory trigger pull in these things is heavy to say the least. If you're a highly trained military sniper ( I believe those guys train with heavy trigger pull) maybe you don't mind but for me I couldn't order a Timney trigger fast enough. After the $150 trigger swap my little cheapo $330.00 vanguard shoots every bit as good if not better than my Rem. LTR I paid $800. I think you will be amazed at how much better it will group when you put a decent trigger in it.

I started out shooting 50-53's (Nosler BT and SMK) all using Benchmark powder in the 25.5 -26gr range loaded out to 2.26. My Howa really likes 2.26 so that's where I load everything. Didn't seem to matter much it shot them all easily in the .4 at that point I was happy and didn't think I would ever change much from there. Then I read something Kirby Allen wrote and he mentioned the 40's shooting extremely well. I'm usually not a big fan of light bullets but I figured I give some a try just for giggles. I loaded up 10 Nosler 40gr Ballistic Tips over 27.3 gr of Benchmark and my 2.26 length. I would consider my self barely better than and average shooter certainly not what I would call a "marksman". Holy cow batman, Mr. Allen wasn't kidding the 40's flat freakin shoot. Hell I was tickled with my .4 and the 50-53's. The 40NBT's were .2-.3. My 27.3 and 2.26 is/was the only load I have tried with the 40. In more capable hands i'm sure it would do better but I like shooting stuff, things and critters not punching paper so i've never tried any other load.

Unless you are just set on heavier bullets and your 1-12 is going to limit that you may want to give some 40's a try. I know you mentioned out to 500yds and I don't believe 40's would be a very good choice for that distance but I also don't think a .223 out to 500 yds on yotes is a great idea either. I personally don't like to push a 223 past about 300yds on yotes and still feel good about it being a clean kill. Not saying a 223 won't kill them out at 500yds but if that's your range on yotes I would step up to a much hotter 22 cal or something in the 6mm class.
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