New Savage .223


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2008
Northern, IN
Ok I got a steal on a new model 10 savage diped in brush camo the predator one. I broke the barrel in shooting a tottal of a 100 rounds through it, but am disapointed in the performance from the factory ammo i have shot through it. With a clean barrel i fired one round through it to make sure all oil was burned up. Then a 3 shot group and would reclean and follow suit letting gun cool down between 3 shot groups. First test was Hornaday 40 grain vmax factory 3 shot group at 100 yards .375" i was happy next was same but in 55 grain that spread the group out to 1.5" was disapointed next was some cheap Rem. umc 55 grain FJ it was a 1.375 group. Finished it up with some Rem match 62 grain HP first two shots were almost in the same hole then a flier moved the group to 1.5" I shot 3 diffrent groups for each and all were almost identical the 40 grain biggest was .5 and smallest .25 the rest stayed the same with the Rem match always throwing a flier either second or third shot. The rifl is a 1:9 twist so i figured it would like the heavier bullets better. Any suggestions on some handload combos? If i can use the lighter bullets i would prefer for the speed and a little easier on the fox.
get you some load books. h335 is popular. i used varget. load is printed on the label.
I never heard of a savage 223 that didn't like 69gr matchkings over varget.

You may want to try the 35gr hornady bullets if you really want something light & fast.
I don't have my little .223 Savage (110FP) anymore, but I wrote down some of the load data for when I had it. I hope it can help you out with your rifle. I think Savage's are great shooting and very accurate. I have a 112BVSS in .300WM that is producing sub-MOA groups at 560yds with my 180gn Ballistic Tip's.
First I tried the 69gn Nosler J4 Competition ahead of Varget and Rem 6.5 primers. I didn't get velocities for these groups though. 25.0 = .8245", 25.5 = .9450", 26.0 = .7565"
Then I tried H4895, same bullet and primers. 24.5 = .3525", 25.0 = .303". Little tighter.
Then I switched bullets and went to the 69gn Sierra MatchKing, H4895, R6.5, 25.0gn's went .212" @ 3004fps. Temperature that day was 93 deg F. I loaded a few of these bullets for shooting crow's and targets and groups ran .25 or tighter.

Six months later I decided to try the 55gn Ballistic Tips. WOW! Imagine my suprise. I used W748 powder and 6.5 primers. OAL was 1.8865" (measured from ogive to base).
24.5 = .75", 25.0 = 1.00", 25.5 = .162", 26.0 = .3175", 26.5 = .136"

I did try the 69gn SMK again with 6.5 primers and BL-C(2). 24.0 = .5625", 24.5 = .6275", 25.0 = .371". Think that was the last of the 69gn bullets and I pretty much just terrorized the neighborhood crows with those 55gn'rs until I traded it. That's not a lot of load data but gives you a couple of bullets and powders to try. Good luck with ur Savage. JohnnyK.
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Thanks guys all my loading manuals are around 10 years old, thats why i was just wondering if there was any new data out there? I'm purchasing the new nosler so i will give that a try. I will be hunting coyotes probably out to 500 yards with it so i will be playing with some of the loads provided. I will post some of the loads i try also.
I've ran about everything from 35gr to 77gr through the savage 223's that I've had and was impressed by just about everything. Don't give up on the rifle just yet.
I always had pretty good luck with benchmark powder behind 50 grain ballistic tips in a remington. As far as my experience goes with savage I had a 270 in a savage with a laminated stock that held a 1.5" group at 400 yards as a rule. All day long I could repeat 1/4 MOA.

Sometimes it can take a while to find the right load, but I would keep trying. The gun could be the shooter that you have been looking for. Then again it might not be, but there is only one way to find out.

Best of luck.
There must be ½dozen Savage barrels laying around here with a few more that have been sold or traded. Without exeption the 1/9 twist like to be shot dirty...It sometimes takes 10 rounds before they settle down and then I'll go 100-200 or more between cleanings.Try giveing the cleaning rod a rest and see what happens?
As for powders Benchmark and Tac seam to get the best out of the lighter bullets with R15 and BL-C2 working for the heavier ones. Find myself useing a lot of 40 grainer in front of a full load of Tac for most of my shooting as only one barrel refuses to shoot the liter bullets.
Just picked up some 69 matchkings going to do some reloading. also found some 30 grainers going to load up. Trying some varget and H4895 and BL 2 went to a small gun show and was getting powder for 10-12 bucks a pound so loaded up. will post results loading the 69er's first
My Savage .223 been on order for... about 4 months, should be here soon... HOPEFULLY!! The winters about to end, SPRINGTIME :):)

Anyhow... I got a lb of H335 and a lb of Varget. I made some loads with 69 grain sierra matchkings... going to pick up a few boxes of hornady 68 grain hpbt's too.

I think they'll be a winner load there.. I'll find the most accurate load and use that combo, I'll burn up the other combo.. should still be plenty accurate though - as long my "bad" loads hold 1.5 MOA I'll be plenty happy as I'll just adjust my scope for em and use em for busting clays/bottles at 200.

I've read a lot of people like H335 for the light weight bullets and varget more for the heavy ones.
Twist that tight, you may want to stay away from the lighter bullets. I have a feeling your rifle will settle in with the heavier bullets much quicker. Just a thought.

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