Recommend a load for .223 rem, 1-9 twist, 20" barrel


September 22, 2009, 04:28 PM
Been doing much googling lately and comes up constantly so thought I'd give it a shot.

Have a Remington 700 SPS tactical in .223 w/ 1-9 twist and a 20" barrel. Making a trip to Cabelas tonight and hope to get a selection of components to start working up a load for it. Can anyone recommend a load that is working with the heaver bullets, same twist, and barrel length? 200-400 yard target practice and possibly some whitetail hunting.

So far it does not like 55gr elcheapo PMC FMJ, purchased 55gr SP reloads, and some Fiochi 55gr FMJ ammo.

Thinking of going with some 60-75gr bullets depending on what they have stocked. I've got a small supply of varget, benchmark, and some 50gr V-max bullets that I found in my misc reloading box from some time in the past. Wouldn't mind picking up some powder that would also work well with a 30-06 & 300 Win mag if there is one that works in all three.


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September 22, 2009, 04:37 PM
All I can tell you for sure is your 400 yard target / match bullets will not be the one you should be deer hunting with.

Many consider the .223 marginal on deer anyway, even illegal in some states, and closer range and bullet construction will determine the outcome.

It's hard to suggest a "universal" power for .223, 30-06, and .300 Mag without knowing what bullet weights you intend to use in each.

Probably your best bet is go through a couple of good reloading manuals and take some notes as to what works best in which caliber with what bullet.
Then compile the results so you can make a sound decision.


September 22, 2009, 05:37 PM
Didn't mean to imply that I'd use the same bullet for both hunting and target use. A recommendation for both would be great in the 60+ range. I'm hoping they carry 69gr Sierra match and some 65 gr hunting bullets.

I've done some research and H4895, IMR 4895, and Varget all seem to be in loads across the board for the calibers I'm concerned with.

I'm going to be looking @ at a Tikka 30-06, 300 win mag, and 308 win. I've got many hundreds of 30 caliber bullets of all sizes and 308 win brass and dies already. Always used varget for that.

Hoping someone with the same gun/setup as me can chime in on what they prefer.

September 22, 2009, 05:58 PM
Go to the Nosler bullet web site, go to the reloading guide, click on the 22 cal tab, you will see two 223 Rem data sets down the left hand side of the page. One is for heavy bullets in 1:7 twist. I know you listed 1:9, but these won't be too far off. The asterisk * marks the accuracy loads, which are fairly reliable in most rifles even if the rate of twist is different.

Also, check web sites for Alliant, Accurate, and Hodgdon for more loads.

Of course, you will have to do your own workup. Pick a premium bullet, select a powder recommended by the manufacturer for that bullet weight, start low and work up methodically.

September 22, 2009, 06:36 PM
I have great success with the Sierra 63 grain spire point bullets and the Speer 70 grain bullets. I shoot the Sierra's over Varget and the Speer's over BL-C(2). The 63 grain bullets also behave well over H-4895. IMR 4895 did not work near as well. I also have a Reloader 10X load that works really well with 40 grain bullets.

My gun is a Kimber Longmaster Classic with a 1:9 twist 24" barrel. It doesn't shoot 50-55 grain bullets worth a hoot but the heavier bullets make one ragged hole at 100 yards.

September 23, 2009, 12:55 PM
Well Cabelas was out of every bullet in the 55-69gr range in every brand. No primers at all for anything but shotgun.

Picked up a hundred Hornady 75 gr BTHP match and going to work up with some Varget from 20-25 and benchmark 20.5-22.8. Have some 50gr Vmax to work with and Benchmark in the 24-26.5 seems like something that could work.

Now if I can find primers within 50 miles or so.

September 23, 2009, 01:00 PM
I also have a 20" barrel, 1:9 twist. I have had great luck with a 60 gr. V-Max, over H335 powder. I don't know the exact charge right now, but it was a tad bit under the max load. When I approached max, the groups widened a bit. Good luck!

LTR shooter
September 23, 2009, 04:21 PM
Have a Remington 700 SPS tactical in .223 w/ 1-9 twist and a 20" barrel

I have a 700LTR which is similar to your SPS Tactical , 20" barrel and 1 in 9" twist.

The 69 Sierra MatchKing has been my main "heavy" bullet providing excellent accuracy with H322 and Benchmark.

The Berger 55 Varmint Match (not cheap!) has been exceptional using H335 , Benchmark and VV N-133.

The Sierra 52 MatchKing performed very well with H335 and VV N-133.

September 23, 2009, 11:25 PM
Varget or IMR4064.

Many consider the .223 marginal on deer anyway

RC, That's the understatement of the year.

Even with the heaviest bullet you're just taking a excellent prairie dog cartridge and turning it into a good ground hog round. Not even adequate for coyote. Deer? Don‘t do it.

Even with light bullets, H322 and N133 seem too fast for best results. Yeah, they'll work, there's just better choices out there IMO.

September 23, 2009, 11:40 PM
I would never use a 223 for deer, but I have to recognize that dozens of people on this Forum report taking deer with 22 caliber centerfire cartridges every season. I read it every year. Do a search and see.

And it shouldn't be surprising that a 223 takes a deer. Except for monster bucks, most deer are smaller than an enemy soldier, yet 55 and 62 grain bullets kill soldiers every day. Most of us would not hesitate to use an AR15 for home defense against a 200 pound intruder, but hesitate to use it on a 120 pound deer.

I would never do it, and I'm not advocating it. Just making an observation.

September 24, 2009, 12:10 AM
Guns don't shoot magic lightening bolts. They shoot bullets. Bullets have mass, velocity, and diameter. A .223 has the velocity, but it's sorely lacking in the other two areas.

September 24, 2009, 12:28 AM has pages of .223 loadings between 40 grain and 90 grain. The 77 grain hpbt I have used in the same twist with excellent results. You can download and print all the .223 info in just a couple of minutes. Hope that helps.

September 24, 2009, 06:13 AM
I have a 20 inch .223 1:9" barreled upper. It will stabilize everything up to 75gr bullets, but won't shoot good groups with anything but 52 and 53gr bullets. It likes 52 and 53gr bullets and 26.5gr 748, with CCI regular primers, in LC or WW cases. This load gives little knots at 200 yards, if there's no wind.

I've tried 69 and 75gr bullets in it, but no joy.

September 24, 2009, 03:49 PM
Welcome ochadd
My 223s have 1in 9 twist and shoot the 50 to 60 grn bullets vary good. The best groups were with the 52 grn match couple different brands, but same results one jagged hole after 10 rounds. H335, Benchmark and Ball C2 were the powders I tried with the 50 grn range. Varget worked well with the heaver bullets, but best groups were with the 50 / 52 grn match bullets.
As far with deer hunting with it, can be done but there are better choices some states do not allow its use for big game.
Good Shooting

September 24, 2009, 06:27 PM
68 or 69g HPBTM projectile for punching paper. Perhaps the 75g HPBTM if your barrel will stabilize it (some 1:9 will, some won't).

64g PP for "larger" game. .223 Rem is marginal for deer, but then deer across N. America vary in size from "large dog" to "small moose".

September 27, 2009, 09:02 PM
I've shot 36gr-75gr hand loads in my 1:9 20in AR.

The 36gr VG were not the most accurate(~.7in group at 100 yards) for me, but 40gr Sierra HP, 50gr V-Max, 52gr Sierra Match, 55gr Blitz King, 60gr HP, 63gr Sierra SMP, 69gr SMK, and 75gr Hornady BTHP worked great.

AA2230 covers all these bullets and performs well and is easy to measure. I use R15 and Varget for heavier bullets, but the AA2230 worked well with the 75gr Hornady, but it is not covered by AA's data. They use 2460 and 2520 for the bigger bullets.

I took a small buck with 50gr bulk ammo in this rifle. It fell dead, it's heart lungs were mush and there was tiny exit hole so minimal meat damage. As compared to my hunting partner, that shot a doe with 150gr 7mm Rem Mag that ran off into the woods with gut shot. It had a fist-sized exit hole. FWIW, typically, I use a 7mm Mag for all my hunting, even coyote.

The 52gr have been the best for me. And I recommend them for under 200 yards. For longer distances, I would go up to the 69gr SMK, Hornady 68gr or Nosler 69gr Custom Competition. Remington makes a 62gr match bullet as a component, but haven't heard of anyone shooting them.

Berger recommends up to 73gr bullets for 1:9 twist. I have some 73gr but haven't loaded/shot them.

I got better accuracy with the 69gr and 75gr bullets with seating to the lands, but the lighter bullets did well at 2.26in OAL or shorter.

I recommend ball powder for .223 and lighter bullets. It's easier to deal with in the small case.

Since you have a bolt-action, I recommend some nice Lapua, Norma or Nosler brass. I prep a lot of brass, and it gets old after a while with high volume shooting in semi-auto. Remington, Winchester, LC, etc. all work pretty well for me, but I typically use Remington/Winchester.

September 27, 2009, 09:36 PM
terminal ballistics for 55g m193 are quite good (better than many larger calibers), especially from a 20"+ bolt gun, and are certainly more than sufficient for a humane kill.

however, that and many 223 projectiles are designed to fragment, which i wouldn't really want to be picking out of my teeth or passing through the old digestive tract after eating the meat.

expanding projectiles in 223 are almost certainly inferior to those of any larger caliber, and well... if that's all you've got and you need the meat, i wouldn't judge you. but you'd probably be better off with a bow or some junker 30-30.

as for targets from 200-400... 69g SMK and varget.

September 28, 2009, 06:46 PM
I would never use a 223 for deer, but I have to recognize that dozens of people on this Forum report taking deer with 22 caliber centerfire cartridges every season. I read it every year. Do a search and see.My wife had an uncle who had a couple very nice bucks on the wall he took with a 22 rifle, as in 22 long rifle rim fire. This was in Wisconsin, so we are talking 175-200lb+ deer. That was all he hunted with, and took a lot of deer with it. He claimed he only took head shots, and never took a shot beyond 30yds. Wife's cousins confirmed it, so I couldn't argue with him. I had to wonder how many deer walked away from his stand with a headache.

Let it be known, I would never do that. I went from 165gr to 180gr in 30-06 for the north woods, because of how far they can go with no heart. The 180gr cut that distance way down. Last year one of those 180s knocked a buck right off his feet and he laid there twitching for maybe 10 seconds.

September 30, 2009, 11:40 AM
Most smaller deer won't make it far when hit with a decently constructed bullet and a decently placed shot. On another site there is some guy with a SIG-556 shooting hogs with 75 grain bullets of all sorts, and they all have only one hole too. The M855 argument was that that round had supposedly better (theoretical) terminal ballistics out to 300m than M80 - yep, uh-huh, said with a straight face too.

Would I? No. Do others? Yes. Do others do that well? Some.

Since you asked for a recommendation, I'd go for any Nosler with the plastic tip (Ballistic Tip, Accubond, and Partitions for the bigger animals) in the high 60 to mid 70's range for your twist rate. Solid copper projectiles, like the Barnes and Nosler versions, could go lighter to be effective. For match bullets, I'd start with the 69 grain Match Kings like everyone else, and then try heavier and lighter bullets to see what the barrel really likes.

October 2, 2009, 12:33 PM
Update after a couple of hundred rounds of trials.

I'm using G.F.L cases from Fiochi and PMC cases from PMC. Put the factory rounds through the rifle, trimmed them to 1.75, and then neck sized them only.

Best 200 yard groups so far were:
50 gr Hornady V-max, 2.275" OAL which is 0.01 off the rifling, CCI small rifle primers.
0.78" five round group, 0.87" five round group using 25.3 gr Benchmark
0.87" five round group using 25.5 gr Benchmark

75 gr Hornady HPBT match CCI small rifle primers, can't remember the OAL as I'm not at home.
1" five round, 1.1" five round using 24.5 gr Varget

The V-max only had 0.47" verticle difference with 25.3 grains which is what I understand to be more important than horizontal movement. The verticle movement using 25.5 grains was 0.65". I forgot about sorting the cases by brand and had strange groups. After the first five rounds the group looked to be 1". Shot the second five round group and I was left with two distinct, and tiny, groups. I'm guessing it was the difference in cases since I verified each powder charge and OAL for each round.

I've since sorted cases and loaded a new batch but haven't had a chance to try them out. Also have some Winchester virgin brass I'll get to try soon enough.

I'm astounded at the accuracy of this rifle/load. I took it prairie dog hunting last year and shot only purchased reman/reloaded ammo using the same 50 grain V-max with little success. Maybe 2.5" groups consistently. Now I'll be a destroyer. I've got just over $1000 into the setup for the rifle and Bushnell elite 4200 6-24 scope with Warn rings. My brother is sad seeing as we bought identical setups and he didn't like the trigger so he sold it off. Who knows it may have shot the same.

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