To load or not to load 80grain 223

Andrew Massi

Andrew Massi

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Jun 4, 2018
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836
Location
Lincoln Ca
So looks like I'll be sending them back, you think going max weight like 77grains is what I should get? I always thought in the middle would be best.
The 77gr sierra tmk was designed to mag feed. Works great with 8208, varget, h4895, blc-2, tac.
 
6

6pakzak

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Nov 30, 2021
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650
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New York
I got sierra 77gr on the way, can't remember which ones as most were out of stock and my friend got birthday discount at Midway and told me the ones I wanted came back in stock, what kind of load varget would you recommend with them
 
A

aschler

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Mar 9, 2021
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Location
St Louis
I'm pretty sure those 80 ELDM's will need to be seated long. I haven't handled them but the 75 ELDM needed to be seated out long for AR15's so Hornady made the 73 ELDM just for AR15's. A call to Hornady would clear it up for you.
I loaded up the 75gr A-Max to 2.295" OAL, you needed to slightly taper crimp it because the ogive was just inside the case mouth. I used a PRI mag which allows loading longer than a standard USGI mag. They functioned fine but I only did it because I had the bullets lying around. I assume the A-Max and ELDM share a similar body shape.
 
2

25-06Stick

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Oct 27, 2021
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We shoot tons of 80 class bullets in the slow fire prone event of the CMP and NRA matches. By rule matches are single load only. Our barrels range from 6.5 to 8 twist. Some 8s will shoot the 80 class and we found just would not shoot them precisely at 600 yards no matter how much effort is undetaken.

Here ia the issue, some button barrels the twist tolerance is the culprit. You may emd up with the slow side of the tolerance 8.xT, that would not shoot the 80s. And if you are lucky you may end up with a barrel faster than 8.0T.

When we say barrel won't shoot, it means low X count at 600, or shots not on call. One of our top shooters, the President's Hundred overall winner at Camp Perry in 2018, called and told me about his barrel that will shoot 200 at 600, but low single digit X count. He rebarreled, the next match he shot 200-13, all shots on call.

Manufacturing tolerance might get you.

Another shooter, an accomplished Palma shooter who dabbles in service rifle competition had an 8T barrel that just will not shoot any 80 class bullets. He tried prone with sling on the bench, off a bipod, and finally a machine rest. Still would not shoot any 80s, any load, any powder, any primer. Off the competition AR it went. It shot the short range (200-300) ammo loaded with 77 class bullets with no issues.
I'm with you on this 100%! Sage advice from guys who know the AR rifle and a formula (of sorts) for getting long range accuracy. Like your National Match shooting friends, I have had good luck running heavy bullets in the 1:7 twist in my National Match rifle. IMR 8208 and Varget have been the go-to powders. I don't doubt that my 1:7 twist NM rifle would shoot the 80gr bullets, and I have the single feed follower, but I just never bothered with the 80's, as it shoots the 77gr SMK really well. I'm building a bolt rifle around the 223, and my barrel is a 1:7 twist. I'm going to try the 80gr Berger VLDs in it, as I don't think it will be any issue at all. I may post a range report when the rifle is back from the smith and I get some load tests worked up.
 

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