Critique my .223 load . . .


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dmftoy1
January 7, 2006, 07:53 PM
Ok, my second batch of .223 (5.56) loads was shot today and I'm trying to figure out which way i want to go with the next batch. Here's the spec:

LC04 Case
Winchester SRP
H335 Powder (24.4 grains)
55 grain Winchester FMJ bullet
2.240 COL

Rifle - 20 Inch RRA A3 with wylde chamber. (homemade lower)

My first 10 shot string (after fowling) had the following stats:
2961 fps (high)
2855 fps (low)
2906 fps (Avg)
35.49 (Std Dev)

My second 10 shot string:
2928 fps (high)
2812 fps (low)
2885 fps (Avg)
45.73 (Std. Dev)

The strings were fired "relatively" rapid fire . .say 5-7 seconds between shots. Basically enough time to glance from the scope over to the readout to see if the chrono had registered the shot.

I'm not a great "rest" shooter but this stuff wasn't as accurate as the XM193 that I was shooting before. There was a light wind and I was shooting off a bag of corncob media and put 4 shots into an inch and 1/4 at 100 yards (was going to be a 5 shot string but used one more fowling than I thought I did. :) )

I'm not seeing the velocities that the manuals say I should for this amount of H335. Could that be because the rifle is pretty new? (It's had maybe 100 rounds through it). I'm thinking my next step is to length out the COL to 2.250

Any and all input is welcomed.

Have a good one,
Dave

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dakotasin
January 7, 2006, 10:21 PM
your standard deviations are unacceptable.

start by maxing out your col. i seat bullets to the end of the mag in my ar. assuming your chamber is throated for it, i suggest that's your first step.

second... whay are you shooting 24.4 grains? what method made you determine that was the charge to use? generally, accuracy will start wild, tighten up, then go wild, tighten back up, and then open up again as powder charges are constantly upped... what i'm asking about is your load development method...

Point Blank
January 7, 2006, 11:10 PM
Your accuracy will improve once you buy better bullets....not cheap ones ;)

Try some Sierra Matchkings,Hornaday Match bullets,Nosler Match,or any that are better than this.

If your looking for extreme accuracy shoot the match bullets if you can.

asknight
January 8, 2006, 01:10 AM
your standard deviations are unacceptable.

start by maxing out your col. i seat bullets to the end of the mag in my ar. assuming your chamber is throated for it, i suggest that's your first step.

second... whay are you shooting 24.4 grains? what method made you determine that was the charge to use? generally, accuracy will start wild, tighten up, then go wild, tighten back up, and then open up again as powder charges are constantly upped... what i'm asking about is your load development method...

Yep, maxing out the COL will get the bullet ogive closer to the rifling lands and should cut the standard deviation WAY down to a more acceptable level. 2.26" to 2.27" is about the max of my magazines, yours may be a bit different.

H335 is an acceptable powder for building accurate loads in the .223, but I think your luck of the draw here has placed you right in the "go wild" accuracy stage. Try backing it down one grain max in 0.5gr increments, you can also go up one grain (MAX 25.4gr) in half grain increments. You should notice accuracy changes, for the better or worse by doing that.

If that doesn't get you below 1MOA, then look into the quality of your bullet, and the sizing/cleaning of your cases. Make sure they're all the same length for consistency, and make sure your primer pockets are spotless before repriming. Point Blank was correct in his assertation that higher quality bullets will likely be required.

Also, shoot a little bit slower when shooting for groups than you are currently doing. Some of your inaccuracy may be coming from impatience on the bench. :eek:

dmftoy1
January 8, 2006, 08:44 AM
Thanks guys! I thought the standard deviation was crap but being as this is my first rifle attempt I wasn't sure. I keep it real close to 10 fps for my pistol rounds. (FWIW)

The 24.4 is a strange number, but basically I had set the press up for 24.5 but it was a "hair" light for 24.5 and a hair heavy for 24.4 so I recorded it as 24.4. (if that makes any sense. ) I got a better scale for Christmas so hopefully that will help. :)

I'll extend the COL out and play with that a bit more. I had originally been playing at 2.260 but saw a primer or two on the first 100 that weren't "pierced" but didn't look the same. (I would describe it as a really deep dent with almost a needle prick in the center) This being my first attempt at rifle loading I assumed that I was jamming into the lands or some crap like that and causing a pressure spike. (just extreme paranoia on my part) So I had taken one of my factory rounds that I was very happy with and miked it and set myself very close to it's length. My magazines will easily handle 2.260.

I don't tend to individually clean the primer pockets. Does that make a big difference? I had been cleaning the cases, resizing/depriming, trimming (followed by chamfer/debur) and then repriming. All of the cases I shot were miked and were within .002 of each other. They were right above the minimum trim length though if that makes any difference. (1.752) The one thing I wondered about was that the crimping cannelure is above the rim of my cases . . seemed like they should be right in the middle, but then my COL would be way low.

I do have higher quality bullets on the shelf, but I figure I need to burn a bunch of the cheapies first while I'm playing until I get things figured out. Seems like it was a lot easier to figure out .45 acp loads. :) My logic is that if I get the cheap bullets shooting as well as I can then the same techniques should be even better for the good ones. Would you recommend working up with the good one's instead?

Thanks again for all the advice.

Regards,
Dave

redneck2
January 8, 2006, 10:43 AM
One of my "new revelations" after handloading off and on for 40 years is the difference between the relationship of the bullet ogive vs. bullet tip. I just always used OAL for pistol and .010-.020 off (or whatever) for rifle bullets

AR's are kind of a different program. I've been told by a very experienced power shooter (and tend to agree from experience) that AR's can be seated to max mag length.

If you use a Stoney Point comparator on the ogive, you'l find the distance the ogive is off the lands varies a LOT by bullet brand and style. Pointy bullets have the ogive back further and stubby bullets move it ahead, even with the same OAL

I shot some Nosler 55 BT's, 26.0 Varget, Win cases, Fed match primers. Got two consecutive 1/2" groups at 125 yards with my Bushie Varminter. Luck, skill, or just good components?? Don't know, but I'm ready for coyotes.

dakotasin
January 8, 2006, 11:17 AM
dmftoy- you need to evaluate your development process. because rifles can actually be very accurate at range, it is a little different than handgun developments, where there really isn't much expected accuracy-wise. you can actually see the difference in accuracy from charge to charge.

start at your minimum charge weight, shoot a group. increase the charge weight (in a 223 increase should be between .3 - .5 grains), shoot a group, and repeat the process until you reach your max. doing it this way will allow you to see what a huge difference a little powder can make, and the revelation that factory ammo cannot perform w/ handloads.

once you start to trust your development process, you can move on to more advanced load development processes that require only 1 range trip and a few shots, and really surprise yourself. but you have to understand the basics first, and trust yourself and your rifle to perform.

Jim Watson
January 8, 2006, 11:24 AM
Better bullets will shoot more accurately. Although 4 into 1.25" at 100 is not bad for ball.

Ball (Hodgdon "spherical") powders seem to burn more uniformly at or near maximum charges. Ease the load up and see if the SDs don't come down.

Try some extruded powder. I get better accuracy with Varget or Re15 than 2520 in the heavy bullet loads I have been working with.

taliv
January 8, 2006, 04:08 PM
so let me get this straight...

based on the precision of your press and scale, you think you've got the powder somewhere in a .2g range
you're not a great rest shooter
you're shooting a nice, but not "match" rifle
you're using very cheap bullets
you're using surplus brass with minimal prep
you just started your load development

and you're shooting 1 MOA


where's the problem?


i guess what i'm saying is you already know what you're doing and what you need to do and it sounds like you're doing fine.

when i buy the cheapest stuff i can find (m193 pulldowns and accurate dp73) and don't do any case prep, i get slightly better Std.dev. but it doesn't matter at all. if you go up and down 100fps in a string, it's no big deal for waht you're doing. that's not going to make you miss a tin can at 100yrds or a paper plate at 300yrds. i just consider these cheap, fun, blaster rounds. i'm sure not going to take the time to scrape 10,000 primer pockets to drop 10 fps off the std dev. (if you're very lucky)

you really haven't shot the rifle enough for it to wear in, or to get used to it. you don't know if the 1 MOA was your sight picture or your hold or the bullets or the powder measure or the barrel or the wind. it's going to take a LOT more shooting to figure that out.

just keep doing what you're doing.

dmftoy1
January 8, 2006, 09:24 PM
Well you guys inspired me this morning and I went and played a bunch more. (at the reloading bench). I got my dies set for a 2.257 COL and miked every single round. It was pretty educational. From what I can see there's a pretty decent variation in COL due to the shape of the bullets. Some have a much more pronounced point than others and I seevariations from about 2.252 - 2.271 . . . (do higher quality bullets have less of this?)

I'm not sure how you're supposed to compensate for that for consistency but what I did was load 3 sets of 30 rounds with the same COL setting and different powder charges. I miked out 10 rounds of each batch to that were within .002 of 2.257 and put them in a 10 round magazine with a label as to the powder charge. The other 20 of each batch I put in a 30 round magazine for chronographing. I wanted to get out today and shoot some more but the wind was around 25 mph so I figured I'd better not shoot. So here's the plan:

3 different weights with the same COL pretty much at magazine maximimum. 24.0 gr, 24.5 gr. 25.0 gr.

Shoot 2 5 shot groups for accuracy off of a rest
Shot 2 10 shot chrono strings

Repeat until 90 rounds are burnt.

I figure I'll get stats from the chrono strings and try really hard to concentrate on the rest shooting and hopefully one or the other will be a clear winner. Assuming that one shoots better than the other do you then try say .3 above and below the best one to see if it improves?

Thanks again for all the advice,
Dave

PS - The main reason I was a little disappointed with my previous efforts was because the XM193 that I'm shooting will put 5 rounds into about 3/4 of an inch at 100 yards out of this rifle. My experience with the .45 acp was that I could typically find a few loads off of the manuals or a shooting magazine and be beating my factory ammo.

georgeduz
January 9, 2006, 12:59 AM
you need a good powder measure,and a good consistant crimp. you might want start at 26grs of h335,that will put it 3000fps

asknight
January 9, 2006, 01:31 AM
you need a good powder measure,and a good consistant crimp. you might want start at 26grs of h335,that will put it 3000fps

What book did you get that recipe? My older Hodgdon manual shows a 25.4gr MAX at 3260fps with generic 55gr FMJ, and hodgdon.com is now showing a 25.3gr MAX at 3203fps with a generic 55gr spire point soft nose.

Bullet
January 9, 2006, 05:19 AM
dmftoy1 Quote -
“From what I can see there's a pretty decent variation in COL due to the shape of the bullets. Some have a much more pronounced point than others and I seevariations from about 2.252 - 2.271 . . . (do higher quality bullets have less of this?)”

You might check this out –
http://www.sinclairintl.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?category=RESDTCO&item=09-600&type=store

I like these to measure headspace -
http://www.sinclairintl.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?category=REMTHT&item=883X&type=store

dmftoy1 Quote -
“Shoot 2 5 shot groups for accuracy off of a rest
Shot 2 10 shot chrono strings”

Why not just shoot all your rounds through a chronograph for (accuracy and bullet speed at the same time)?

I’ve got a 20 Inch RRA A3 with Wylde chamber. It likes 69gr Sierra Matchkings.

dmftoy1
January 9, 2006, 08:39 AM
This probably sounds stupid but I'm afraid to shoot at a target when using the chrony because I keep thinking that I'll adjust my aim such that I hit the chrony. :) This is stupid because I aim at a consistent point when I take my chrony readings, but for some reason I've been afraid of doing it that way. (maybe because it took my 18 years to buy one. :) )

Have a good one,
Dave

taliv
January 9, 2006, 11:03 AM
yeah, don't sweat that. just shoot through the chrony

IF you shoot the chrony, they'll probably replace it, and you'll have a funny story to tell us all about.

jsut do it

Rockstar
January 9, 2006, 11:24 AM
I wouldn't worry about the standard deviation. Per a couple of posters, do worry about the quality of bullets. I've never been able to get good groups out of Winchester bulk fmj bullets. The best bulk bullets I've found are 55 gr. fmjbt IMI's, but can't find them anymore. Even with the IMI's, accuracy isn't as good as with some of the other quality bullets mentioned in this thread.

Ditto on working up a powder charge slowly!

Double dittos on seating your bullet longer. I load for my AR @ 2.260", which just fits into a G.I. mag.

For 100 yds, try some Berger flat base match bullets. Boattails will probably work better for longer ranges.

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