Help identify this powder

BrianID

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
78
Last year on cyber Monday I purchased bulk ammo directly from Nosler for a great price of $99 for 400 rounds of 223 Rem with 40 grain ballistic tips. My motivation for the purchase was a great price, quality brass to reload and some cheap practice ammo. I wasn't expecting to get better ammo than I've been able to load for my 223's. I would like to replicate it and hopefully learn something in the process about creating quality ammo. I'm trying to figure out what type of powder it is and hope someone might be able to identify it.

They shoot around 3700 fps in my bolt 223 with 22" and 3700 fps in an AR 223 with with 22" barrel. I'm consistently getting 5 shots less than 1/2 MOA and often 5 shots less than 1/4" MOA. To get 1/2 MOA with 40 gr Varmageddon's I have to slow them down to 3400 fps. At 3700 fps the group opens up to 1 MOA.

The main reason for this project is to hopefully learn how to make better quality loads, not necessarily create the exact ammo Nosler sold me. I was frustrated by the fact that I put considerable time and effort into creating quality 223 ammo and it doesn't shoot as fast or tight of groups as bulk ammo that I purchased for less than $0.25 each round. I have a couple theories on why the cheap bulk ammo shoots better than my handholds. I've never tried 40 gr Nosler Ballistic tips and maybe it is just the bullet. I have tried 40 gr bergers and 40 gr Nosler Varmageddons without as good of results. I think my brass and primers as as good as the bulk Nosler ammo. My suspicion is that if I try a different powder than the CFE 223 that I'm using for Nosler Varmageddons, I may get better results.

I looked at the Nosler manual to get an idea of what powder Nosler might select. This picture is from the Nosler 8 manual. The Nosler 7 manual has the exact same information.

12dI9yv4SjKUw9ATp9nlfA.jpg


Before I pulled the bullets, I suspect that A-2015, Viht N120 or Benchmark where likely powders due to velocity. (24" barrel was used by Nosler and I shot this bulk Nosler ammo in two different 22" barrels at 3700 fps.)

I pulled 5 bullets and weighed the powder. It varied from 25.6 gr to 25.9 gr. I was disappointed by the variance in powder weight but this was sort of expected in bulk factory ammo.

I know it is not Benchmark powder. the below picture shows Benchmark in a cap and the powder from the Nosler factory ammo in the silver pan.
QRpDtAc9TZWL3kzVLt+J8Q.jpg


This next picture shows CFE 223 in the cap and the Nosler factory ammo powder in the silver pan.
150slaPLSJm8ow+wLbN1gg.jpg


It also isn't A-2015. The below picture shows A-2015 in the red cap and the Nosler factory ammo powder in the silver pan.

fullsizeoutput_4a2.jpeg


I also have Varget, H414 and Superformance on hand and know it is none of those.

My suspicion is that it is Alliant 1200-R or Viht N120.

The concentricity is as good or better in my hand loads than this factory ammo. The powder weight variation in my hand loads considerably better than the Nosler bulk ammo. I would think that I should be able to make just as good of hand loads as this bulk ammo.

At the moment I'm going to try A-2015, Benchmark and CFE 223 with neck turned Norma brass and BR4 primers and some Nosler 40 gr Ballistic tips. It may take a month or more for me to run some tests but I'll post results when I do. If I get 5 shots consistantly 1/4 MOA at 3700 fps, I'll stop testing and use that as my formula. If not I'll look at buying Alliant 1200-R, Vihnt N120 and possibly another powder or two. I also have Winchester primers and federal primers I might try. I could also try using the once fired Nosler Brass (which from I understand is made by Norma)

This is mostly a project to learn how to be better at loading ammo. It is much less expensive to practice and test hand loads from 223 than my 338 Lapua or 300 Win mag. Hopefully I can learn something from this that will improve my ability to load ammo in the future.

Do any of you know what powder this is or have any ideas on why my loads are not as good as cheap bulk ammo from Nosler?
 

MagnumManiac

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Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
2,183
We don’t know, it could be a bulk powder or it could be canister powder...I would put my money on it being a bulk powder which is not available as a canister powder to the reloader.

The factories use the fastest powder they can get away with and use industry techniques to get good consistent start pressure by crimping, this is why most commercial ammo is so good across a wide array of firearms types. Duplicating this is often hit & miss.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.
 

aushunter1

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Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
739
Location
Australia
Dont worry about what they used, like most factory ammo its more than likely their own mix!


I would just use the same projectile, choose a primer & 1 powder that's in the range for the weight of projectile & start load development.

If you cant get a result from that powder then move onto the next.

Starting load development with 3 different powders imo is just a waste of consumables & barrel life, unless your trying to keep your local store in business??
 

J E Custom

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Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,369
Location
Texas
Some factory loads are loaded with a proprietary powder that cant be purchased and velocities are sometimes hard to match. I would not recommend trying to identify any powder, just shoot it up and start load development as aushunter 1 recommended using any of the suggested powders. H 335 and H 4198 are good places to start and Vit N 120 also.

J E CUSTOM
 

BrianID

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
78
Ya ought to be calling nosler up and seeing about bulk buying more loaded rounds.....sounds awesome..
They don't offer them anymore on the Nosler website. If they show up available somewhere again I'll be temped to buy a bunch more. I think Nosler's goal last year was to get ride of the last of their inventory of this particular round. Fortunately I bought 1200 rounds. I'm actually more frustrated that with all my effort in creating quality hand loads over the years and I get shown up by factory ammo that costed me less than $0.25 a round. I can't even load 40 gr Nosler Ballistic tips or other varmint rounds for less than $0.30 per round. That is considering I find good prices on the bullets and powder and I consider my time and the brass $0.00. Hopefully I can learn something from this to create better ammo in the future.

Magnuim Maniac, Aushunter1 and JE Custom,

I've heard that Weatherby ammo and others are loaded with powder that isn't available on the shelf. I was just being hopeful that Nosler was using a powder that is widely available. I'll do some tests with the Nosler Ballistic tips and powder I have on hand to see if I can duplicate the results. I've been experimenting with many different loads in my bolt action 223 for about 5 years and haven't come up with ammo as good as this cheap factory ammo. I've tested over a dozen different types of factory ammo in my bolt 223. Before buying these cheap Nosler rounds I hadn't found any factory ammo that shot better than 1 MOA in my gun. I thought I was doing well with my hand loads when I created several different rounds that would consistently shoot close to 1/2 MOA. I was equally excited and frustrated when I first shot this bulk factory ammo and see that it shoots better than any rounds I've been able to put together myself. Hopefully I'll learn something from this and become more skilled at rolling my own.
 

J E Custom

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Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,369
Location
Texas
There are other things besides powder that could be the difference in you loads and theirs like the primers they use, neck tension, crimping and case volume compared to your components that could be the difference. any one of these things could make the difference.

It Is quite a task to find these differences and in many cases impossible. It would be worth trying to compare components, but don't be surprised if you cant find the difference. I have seen volume differences in the cases of less than 2 grains make a difference in accuracy.

I hope you find a load that duplicates the factory loads, but in many cases I have been unsuccessful
with many cartridges, specially in the velocity.

J E CUSTOM
 

blvette75

Active Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
42
Some factory loads are loaded with a proprietary powder that cant be purchased and velocities are sometimes hard to match. I would not recommend trying to identify any powder, just shoot it up and start load development as aushunter 1 recommended using any of the suggested powders. H 335 and H 4198 are good places to start and Vit N 120 also.

J E CUSTOM
I agree with J E Custom try the IMR4198 and other options with crimp and or different primers and different COAL. You may not hit that velocity with the current powder options listed. The other option is to call the Nosler custom ammo shop they may be able to load some for you. Can't hurt to ask.
 

azarcher10x

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
80
Last year on cyber Monday I purchased bulk ammo directly from Nosler for a great price of $99 for 400 rounds of 223 Rem with 40 grain ballistic tips. My motivation for the purchase was a great price, quality brass to reload and some cheap practice ammo. I wasn't expecting to get better ammo than I've been able to load for my 223's. I would like to replicate it and hopefully learn something in the process about creating quality ammo. I'm trying to figure out what type of powder it is and hope someone might be able to identify it.

They shoot around 3700 fps in my bolt 223 with 22" and 3700 fps in an AR 223 with with 22" barrel. I'm consistently getting 5 shots less than 1/2 MOA and often 5 shots less than 1/4" MOA. To get 1/2 MOA with 40 gr Varmageddon's I have to slow them down to 3400 fps. At 3700 fps the group opens up to 1 MOA.

The main reason for this project is to hopefully learn how to make better quality loads, not necessarily create the exact ammo Nosler sold me. I was frustrated by the fact that I put considerable time and effort into creating quality 223 ammo and it doesn't shoot as fast or tight of groups as bulk ammo that I purchased for less than $0.25 each round. I have a couple theories on why the cheap bulk ammo shoots better than my handholds. I've never tried 40 gr Nosler Ballistic tips and maybe it is just the bullet. I have tried 40 gr bergers and 40 gr Nosler Varmageddons without as good of results. I think my brass and primers as as good as the bulk Nosler ammo. My suspicion is that if I try a different powder than the CFE 223 that I'm using for Nosler Varmageddons, I may get better results.

I looked at the Nosler manual to get an idea of what powder Nosler might select. This picture is from the Nosler 8 manual. The Nosler 7 manual has the exact same information.

View attachment 202041

Before I pulled the bullets, I suspect that A-2015, Viht N120 or Benchmark where likely powders due to velocity. (24" barrel was used by Nosler and I shot this bulk Nosler ammo in two different 22" barrels at 3700 fps.)

I pulled 5 bullets and weighed the powder. It varied from 25.6 gr to 25.9 gr. I was disappointed by the variance in powder weight but this was sort of expected in bulk factory ammo.

I know it is not Benchmark powder. the below picture shows Benchmark in a cap and the powder from the Nosler factory ammo in the silver pan.
View attachment 202059

This next picture shows CFE 223 in the cap and the Nosler factory ammo powder in the silver pan.
View attachment 202060

It also isn't A-2015. The below picture shows A-2015 in the red cap and the Nosler factory ammo powder in the silver pan.

View attachment 202063

I also have Varget, H414 and Superformance on hand and know it is none of those.

My suspicion is that it is Alliant 1200-R or Viht N120.

The concentricity is as good or better in my hand loads than this factory ammo. The powder weight variation in my hand loads considerably better than the Nosler bulk ammo. I would think that I should be able to make just as good of hand loads as this bulk ammo.

At the moment I'm going to try A-2015, Benchmark and CFE 223 with neck turned Norma brass and BR4 primers and some Nosler 40 gr Ballistic tips. It may take a month or more for me to run some tests but I'll post results when I do. If I get 5 shots consistantly 1/4 MOA at 3700 fps, I'll stop testing and use that as my formula. If not I'll look at buying Alliant 1200-R, Vihnt N120 and possibly another powder or two. I also have Winchester primers and federal primers I might try. I could also try using the once fired Nosler Brass (which from I understand is made by Norma)

This is mostly a project to learn how to be better at loading ammo. It is much less expensive to practice and test hand loads from 223 than my 338 Lapua or 300 Win mag. Hopefully I can learn something from this that will improve my ability to load ammo in the future.

Do any of you know what powder this is or have any ideas on why my loads are not as good as cheap bulk ammo from Nosler?
I load 36 gr. Barnes Varmit Grenades with identical ballistics to yours. I'm using 29.0 grs. of TAC. Clover leaf accuracy (100 yds.) You should be able to load the 40 grs. exactly the same.
 

thwatson2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
182
IMR 8208 xbr would be my guess. More of a short cut, I’ve used it before and the numbers seem to make sense....just a guess
 

epoletna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
231
Location
Northern Nevada
As several people have already said, this might not be a canister powder that you can buy at your local gun store. Most commercial businesses that are loading large quantities of ammo buy a powder with the burn rate and specific energy that they need to get for the velocity they want. And visually comparing the powders you have with what is in the Nosler bullets is not going to tell you much, if anything.

I would guess that it is not a Vit powder -- they are generally more expensive in the store, and would probably cost Nosler more to purchase.

Try to find a powder that will give you the same velocity and see if you can duplicate the accuracy. More than that is probably not possible unless someone at Nosler will tell you what they used.
 

Canhunter35

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
2,808
While unhelpful, I’ve experienced this. Factory hornady ammo with 90gr gmx shot great in my 257, but I could not seem to replicate the load, until I crimped they bullets, I never matched the hornady ammo with accuracy with the gmx, but switched 115 ballistic tips and my own load.
My advice, replicating a load is hopeless.
If you want to use a 40gr bullet I’d try a different powder, a gas gun platform is different than a bolt gun, I think it has something to do with the pressure curve and gas operating system, but maybe test out varget or something that gives more case fill
 

lyle2231

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
89
Location
Hollywood
Last year on cyber Monday I purchased bulk ammo directly from Nosler for a great price of $99 for 400 rounds of 223 Rem with 40 grain ballistic tips. My motivation for the purchase was a great price, quality brass to reload and some cheap practice ammo. I wasn't expecting to get better ammo than I've been able to load for my 223's. I would like to replicate it and hopefully learn something in the process about creating quality ammo. I'm trying to figure out what type of powder it is and hope someone might be able to identify it.

They shoot around 3700 fps in my bolt 223 with 22" and 3700 fps in an AR 223 with with 22" barrel. I'm consistently getting 5 shots less than 1/2 MOA and often 5 shots less than 1/4" MOA. To get 1/2 MOA with 40 gr Varmageddon's I have to slow them down to 3400 fps. At 3700 fps the group opens up to 1 MOA.

The main reason for this project is to hopefully learn how to make better quality loads, not necessarily create the exact ammo Nosler sold me. I was frustrated by the fact that I put considerable time and effort into creating quality 223 ammo and it doesn't shoot as fast or tight of groups as bulk ammo that I purchased for less than $0.25 each round. I have a couple theories on why the cheap bulk ammo shoots better than my handholds. I've never tried 40 gr Nosler Ballistic tips and maybe it is just the bullet. I have tried 40 gr bergers and 40 gr Nosler Varmageddons without as good of results. I think my brass and primers as as good as the bulk Nosler ammo. My suspicion is that if I try a different powder than the CFE 223 that I'm using for Nosler Varmageddons, I may get better results.

I looked at the Nosler manual to get an idea of what powder Nosler might select. This picture is from the Nosler 8 manual. The Nosler 7 manual has the exact same information.

View attachment 202041

Before I pulled the bullets, I suspect that A-2015, Viht N120 or Benchmark where likely powders due to velocity. (24" barrel was used by Nosler and I shot this bulk Nosler ammo in two different 22" barrels at 3700 fps.)

I pulled 5 bullets and weighed the powder. It varied from 25.6 gr to 25.9 gr. I was disappointed by the variance in powder weight but this was sort of expected in bulk factory ammo.

I know it is not Benchmark powder. the below picture shows Benchmark in a cap and the powder from the Nosler factory ammo in the silver pan.
View attachment 202059

This next picture shows CFE 223 in the cap and the Nosler factory ammo powder in the silver pan.
View attachment 202060

It also isn't A-2015. The below picture shows A-2015 in the red cap and the Nosler factory ammo powder in the silver pan.

View attachment 202063

I also have Varget, H414 and Superformance on hand and know it is none of those.

My suspicion is that it is Alliant 1200-R or Viht N120.

The concentricity is as good or better in my hand loads than this factory ammo. The powder weight variation in my hand loads considerably better than the Nosler bulk ammo. I would think that I should be able to make just as good of hand loads as this bulk ammo.

At the moment I'm going to try A-2015, Benchmark and CFE 223 with neck turned Norma brass and BR4 primers and some Nosler 40 gr Ballistic tips. It may take a month or more for me to run some tests but I'll post results when I do. If I get 5 shots consistantly 1/4 MOA at 3700 fps, I'll stop testing and use that as my formula. If not I'll look at buying Alliant 1200-R, Vihnt N120 and possibly another powder or two. I also have Winchester primers and federal primers I might try. I could also try using the once fired Nosler Brass (which from I understand is made by Norma)

This is mostly a project to learn how to be better at loading ammo. It is much less expensive to practice and test hand loads from 223 than my 338 Lapua or 300 Win mag. Hopefully I can learn something from this that will improve my ability to load ammo in the future.

Do any of you know what powder this is or have any ideas on why my loads are not as good as cheap bulk ammo from Nosler?
I would guess H-322 or AR Comp?
 

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