The Ultimate Collection of 223 Reloading Data - 7 Brands of Bullets - 1 Year of Work!

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Haagen Dazs, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Haagen Dazs

    Haagen Dazs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 19, 2012
    I've been loading for my 223 for the last year and a bit now and (excluding the Berger 90gners I've got in the basement) I'm DONE!!!!

    This is going to be a post of my findings and final recipes for you reference. Feel free to add your own and comment! Bear with me cause there's LOADS of data *pun intended*.

    *****Fixed the problem with the invisible pictures. Had to break up this one post into 4 different posts******

    I first bought the rifle after getting my RPAL in 2010. I decided on a Savage 12 VLP DBM in 223 with a 1:7" twist. An official shout out goes to Elwood Epps for hooking me up. The wait was antagonizing (2 months..?) But once it landed at the store, it was literally at my door with 24 hours! And the price was the best by far.
    Ok, so anyway, I first outfitted it with a cheap bipod and a Sightron SIII 8-32x56mm FCH. I later sold that for a Vortex PST 6-24x50mm FFP MRAD, but after learning the turrets were not up to the task, I sold it and bought an SWFA SS HD 5-20x50mm FFP MRAD and will never own any other scope. Dealers: bring these into Canada!!!. The rings were and have always been Burris Signature ZEE rings with inserts and the base is a Farrel 20MOA. Shout out to Mystic Precision for supplying ALL of the reloading equipment, tools, gauges, and components you see in this thread! Also, I added a Horus ASLI at some point; a great tool!


    So....
     
  2. Haagen Dazs

    Haagen Dazs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Part 2/4

    So after building my workbench and loading some 223 for the Norc M4, I started loading some precision stuff and (after days of f******ing around in the woods) found a place with ~300 yards to shoot in. This place was later shut down due to douchbags who can't clean up their shells, but I digress...

    My Reloading area as it stands today:
    [​IMG]
    My favorite place to shoot until it was shut down.
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223%20Load%20development/guns005.jpg
    [​IMG]
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/guns006.jpg
    [​IMG]
    Not everything went as planned.....
    [​IMG]
    The components I used in all of the development are as follows:

    Lapua 223 Cases
    CCI BR4 Small rifle benchrest primers
    Hodgdon Varget
    Dies: Lee Neck only - Redding Body only - Forester Benchrest Seater (w/o micrometer) - RCBS Universal Decapping die
    Brass was universally deprimed and cleaned in my Stainless Steel tumbler before each firing. Most of the time, I'd just neck size only.

    Bullets:
    Sierra 65gn Game King
    Sierra 69gn Match King
    Hornady 75gn A-MAX
    Nosler 77gn Custom Competition
    Lapua 77gn HPBT
    Hornady 80gn A-MAX
    Berger 80gn VLD
    Berger 90gn VLD (Not part of this thread.... yet)
    Half way through the load development, I bedded my Savage 12. That was alot of fun and worth it in the end. No dramatic increases to the inherent precision of the rifle was noted, but looking at the unbedded stock, I could see a few hot spots. I made a thread dedicated to that if you're interested.


    Bored already? Here's a pic of a friend shooting my 12ga, totally applicable to this thread!!


    ***All final recipes are summarized at the bottom of this 'report'***
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012

  3. Haagen Dazs

    Haagen Dazs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 19, 2012
    Part 3/4

    ...
    ***All final recipes are summarized at the bottom of this 'report'***​


    Ok, so getting on with the data. The first bullets tested were the Hornady 75gn A-Max and the Sierra 69gn MatchKing. Unfortunately, I lost alot of the pics and targets so there is little info. The spreadsheets have most of the important stuff anyway!

    As you can see, the groups shot from my stock, unbedded Savage 12 are not too shabby. I realized that 3 shot groups were relatively inconclusive and switched to 5 shot groups for the last half of the brands of bullets.


    No pics of the Sierra stuff, but as you can see, it's too light for the 1:7" twist.


    I also wanted to develop a bit of a small game 'hunting' round. The results are kinda laughable as the 65gn bullet was too light for the fast twist rate.

    Sierra 65gn GameKing Table:
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/LoadData-Sierra65GK.png
    [​IMG]


    Bored again? I found a video to go with that other pic!
    [ame="http://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223%20Load%20development/?action=view&current=Range010.mp4"]223 Load development :: Range010.mp4 video by s25075 - Photobucket@@AMEPARAM@@file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid1237.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fff476%2Fs25075%2F223%2520Load%2520development%2FRange010.mp4@@AMEPARAM@@file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid1237.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fff476%2Fs25075%2F223%2520Load%2520development%2FRange010.mp4[/ame]​


    Moving on, after finishing that load data, I thought I'd give the Ladder Test method a try. All of the next 4 brands of projectiles went through a Ladder test of 3 stings of 8 (24 rounds). I used the chrony to give a velocity node and the elevation of the 'groups' to determine a precision node. I colored each projectile of a similar charge weight in order to see where it printed on the target.
    After the Ladder test, Each brand of bullet went through 3 more rounds of testing, each with 5 groups of 5 rounds each. The final round was used to determine seating depth and the 2nd and 3rd were used to find a good charge weight.
    Overall, I wasn't crazy impressed with these projectiles, especially compared to the Lapua 77gn HPBT.....
     
  4. Haagen Dazs

    Haagen Dazs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Part 4/4

    Overall, I wasn't crazy impressed with these projectiles, especially compared to the Lapua 77gn HPBT.

    Next, the Lapua 77gn. I had some really nice groups come out of these and they seem to be more precise than the Hornady 80gn A-MAXs, but less precise than the Berger 80gn VLDs.


    Next up, the Hornady 80gn A-MAX. Overall, It underperformed the 75gn A-MAX for some reason. It's hard to compare the 75gn to the 80gn because of the different methods used but if I were to try one of the two again, I'd be tempted to just go for the 75gn A-MAX.

    Hornady 80gn Table of Results:
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/LoadData-Hornady80.png
    [​IMG]
    Hornady 80gn Ladder Test: (I found it was easier to number the shots and the reverse side of the board because the colors showed up better, sorry. Also, there's a typo in this pic, should say 2011, not 2012.)
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/PortageGuns166.jpg
    [​IMG]
    Hornady 80gn MV vs Charge Weight Graph:
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/Graph-Hornady80.png
    [​IMG]
    Hornady 80gn Round 2/4:
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/PortageGuns167.jpg
    [​IMG]
    Hornady 80gn Round 3/4:
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/PortageGuns168.jpg
    [​IMG]
    Hornady 80gn Round 4/4:
    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/PortageGuns169.jpg
    [​IMG]

    Finally, the Berger 80gn VLD. I found these to be the most inherently precise projectiles of the lot. They provided me with the most consistently tight groups and love to be jammed. For these projectiles, take note to Round 4 and how I seated the bullets for a wide variety of jumping and jamming. The corresponding velocities are also cool to look at.


    [​IMG]




    Still bored? Here's another video of another friend helping me with some load development for the M1:

    http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223 Load development/th_PortageGuns133.jpg
    [ame="http://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff476/s25075/223%20Load%20development/?action=view&current=PortageGuns133.mp4"]223 Load development :: PortageGuns133.mp4 video by s25075 - Photobucket@@AMEPARAM@@file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid1237.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fff476%2Fs25075%2F223%2520Load%2520development%2FPortageGuns133.mp4@@AMEPARAM@@file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid1237.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fff476%2Fs25075%2F223%2520Load%2520development%2FPortageGuns133.mp4[/ame]​



    RESULTS:
    Finally, the summary of what I found to be the best loads in my rifle.​



    • Sierra 65gn Game King - 26.2gn Varget, COAL = 2.310" (Touching the Lands (TTL))
    • Sierra 69gn Match King - 26.1gn Varget, COAL = 2.360" (0.010" Jump)
    • Hornady 75gn A-MAX - 24.1gn Varget, COAL = 2.510" (TTL, doesn't like Jump or Jam)
    • Nosler 77gn Custom Competition - 24.3gn Varget, COAL = 2.359 (1.972" to Ogive, 0.015" jump. Likes jump or TTL. Potential at 24.6gn Varget)
    • Lapua 77gn HPBT - 24.0gn Varget, COAL = 2.360" (1.951" to Ogive (TTL). Doesn't like Jump or Jam)
    • Hornady 80gn A-MAX - 24.6gn Varget, COAL = 2.515" (1.942" to Ogive, 0.015" jump, good ES/SD when Jumped or Jammed)
    • Berger 80gn VLD - 25.0gn Varget, COAL = 2.487" (1.981" to Ogive, 0.010"-0.025" Jam, 24.5gn and TTL shows potential)

    Basically, I'll be using the Berger 80gn bullets (unless the 90gn ones work out when I get started again). My second choice would be a toss up between the Lapua 77gn HPBT and the Hornady 75gn A-MAX.


    Look forward to hearing your comments and questions, hope all this helps or is useful!​

    Kevin​



    Update #1:
    What I did to find the lands was disassemble the bolt, load a loaded round with the bullet seated out too far and then seat it in a bit further until the bolt would close without resistance. I have the Hornady OAL gauge but no modified case yet (I just had to have it custom made from my fired brass...). Once I get that case I'll update the values with the couple leftover bullets I've got.​

    The scale I used was a modified RCBS 5-0-2 Scale but later got a GemPro 250 before loading the Nosler 77, Lapua 77, Hornady 80, and Berger 80. This scale is amazing and I highly recommend buying one. Each charge was weighted to +/-0.01gn (down to the individual kernel).

    My old 5-0-2 Scale with a piece of paper and needle taped into position. Use a webcam and laptop to make reading it easier and less painful on your neck!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Clint Idaho

    Clint Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Nov 4, 2011
    Re: The Ultimate Collection of 223 Reloading Data - 7 Brands of Bullets - 1 Year of W

    Impressive amount of work. Really liked the pictures, even the one's with the rifle and bullets. Did you do any testing of lighter bullets for stability in your twist rate?
     
  6. Haagen Dazs

    Haagen Dazs Well-Known Member

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    Feb 19, 2012
    Re: The Ultimate Collection of 223 Reloading Data - 7 Brands of Bullets - 1 Year of W

    Thanks! And the only light bullets I tested were the 65 and 69 Sierras. Too light for the rifle and the poor groupings are good evidence of that.


    Just did the math on the 65gn Sierras; (in a standard atmosphere) they have a stability factor of 5.4 =O. Typically aim for 1.2-1.4.

    JBM - Calculations - Stability
     
  7. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    Re: The Ultimate Collection of 223 Reloading Data - 7 Brands of Bullets - 1 Year of W

    Nice shooting.

    Looks like you put forth a lot of thought and effort.

    You should have enough data to be fairly confident in your setup.

    Thanks for posting.
    -- richard
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    Re: The Ultimate Collection of 223 Reloading Data - 7 Brands of Bullets - 1 Year of W

    A great collection of information and work.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.