Why the 69 gr SMK when we have the 53gr VMax?


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mwsenoj
March 9, 2012, 03:35 AM
I have been trying to figure out a "long" range bullet solution that will let me at least hang in the dust of my buddy and his Savage 308 rig-done-right. I have a 20" bbl with a 1in9" twist in 223 and I had my heart set on a 75gr pil but it seems that they will likely be right outside of the optimal range of twist for my rifle. I started to look at the 69gr SMKs and was very surprised to see the drop table out to 1k yds. My 53 gr V-Max going 3300 fps beat the SMKs flyin @2900fps in spades. Why would anyone shoot the 69 gr SMK? Am I missing something?

Also, as a side note, I would love to hear any suggestions for bullets that my 1in9 rifle might like out past 500 yds.

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e305/jones3420012001/photo.jpg

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mwsenoj
March 9, 2012, 03:43 AM
I forgot to mention that I checked the BC of both bullets after the surprise and the Vmax has a BC of .290 vs. the ~.301 BC for the heavier slower SMK

Kachok
March 9, 2012, 03:56 AM
I worry very little about the BC of 22 cal bullets, to put it nicely they all suck, step up to a 6mm or 6.5mm and you can push .550 and .600+ BC no 22 cal can even come remotly close. If you want to dust a Savage 308 get a Savage/Sako/Tikka 260 Rem or 6.5x55, vastly better external ballistics, both will rival max load 300 Win Mag with a 123gr LS .547BC at 3,000fps.

mwsenoj
March 9, 2012, 04:04 AM
I worry very little about the BC of 22 cal bullets, to put it nicely they all suck, step up to a 6mm or 6.5mm and you can push .550 and .600+ BC no 22 cal can even come remotly close. If you want to dust a Savage 308 get a Savage/Sako/Tikka 260 Rem or 6.5x55, vastly better external ballistics, both will rival max load 300 Win Mag with a 123gr LS .547BC at 3,000fps.
Well I don't think I agree with that. Berger has a 75 gr with a bc of .423 and a little further to the extreme are some of the 90 gr .224 pills with a bc in the mid to high .500s

Either way, I am stuck where I am at because I don't have the $ to do a barrel swap not to mention a 6 or 6.5 gun.

Kachok
March 9, 2012, 04:10 AM
Well I don't think I agree with that. Berger has a 75 gr with a bc of .423 and a little further to the extreme are some of the 90 gr .224 pills with a bc in the mid to high .500s

Either way, I am stuck where I am at because I don't have the $ to do a barrel swap not to mention a 6 or 6.5 gun.
How many factory 22 cal barrels will stabalize those 90gr 22 cal pills? I don't even think that the rare 1:7 twist on some ARs will keep that from keyholing, standard factory twists 1:9-1:14 don't stand a chance. If you have to use a 22 cal I think you are on the right track with the A-Max, good match bullet without a doubt, but don't just look at drop because drift at range is much more important since drop is most often a known variable.
BTW the Burger 90gr VLD is listed at .551BC but no factory bolt gun that I know of has the twist needed to keep it streight.

JDGray
March 9, 2012, 06:35 AM
I shoot 69gr SMKs because most times, a 100yrd group looks like one hole on paper. I have no problems hitting steel at 600yrds(11"x18" section of truck frame)

Master Blaster
March 9, 2012, 09:05 AM
Why?? ACCURACY. But you should try both and see which one shoots better in your rifle.

jinxer3006
March 9, 2012, 10:00 AM
Better BC of the SMK = less wind drift
Trajectory is easier to compensate for at long distances than wind drift (trajectory is constant). That's why people use heavier bullets for long distance.

HJ857
March 9, 2012, 12:55 PM
Thanks for starting this thread. That bullet is very interesting and I'd never heard of it before. I ran some numbers on it, making some assumptions on velocity and it stacks up really well against the 77SMK.

Wind drift numbers are not hugely different. The SMK wins for energy but loses in drop, but I'd assume that the terminal effect of a Vmax to be a lot better than a SMK at any range.

There isn't a lot of info that is easily googled other than it's a VLD design and that makes me wonder if it will shoot well out of a mag length AR load. We'll see because I just ordered some!

Tomekeuro85
March 9, 2012, 03:22 PM
The wind drift will kill you... The BC of the 53 is terrible in comparison and there will be a huge difference between the 75's and 53's. Yes it goes faster and in turn drops less... but the wind will make up for the drop.

HJ857
March 9, 2012, 06:08 PM
Hmm. The numbers I ran shows 46.45" for the 77 SMK at 600 yards, in a full value 10 mph wind. The 53 Vmax shows 49.14". Are you certain of your opinion?

mwsenoj
March 9, 2012, 07:06 PM
Regarding shooting well out of a mag length, it shot lights out in my mini14 and Hornady sells the superformance factory loads with it too but I have heard of possible problems when shooting superformance powders in a gas gun.

helotaxi
March 9, 2012, 08:05 PM
The higher velocity of the 53gn VMax makes up for the slightly worse BC in the wind drift department as well. To around 500yds, the VMax shoots flatter and has about the same wind drift. Past that the BC of the 69gn and heavier SMKs start to pull away. The 53gn VMax is the highest BC explosive varmint bullet in .224 caliber.

As far as accuracy goes, I've never heard of anyone complaining of VMax accuracy. Higher BC bullets aren't automatically more accurate. I have a couple hundred of the 53gn VMax and they're good shooting bullets. They're also a lot cheaper than the SMKs. My rifles have shot the 69gn Nosler better than the SMK, FWIW and I'm waiting for a day where I don't have work and the weather doesn't suck to go try out the 69gn Barnes Match Burners. Both the Nosler and Barnes are a good bit cheaper than the Sierra. My rifles also really like the Hornady 75gn HPBT.

But again, none of the heavier bullets have an advantage over the 53gn VMax until you're past 500yds.

Tomekeuro85
March 15, 2012, 01:32 PM
Hmm. The numbers I ran shows 46.45" for the 77 SMK at 600 yards, in a full value 10 mph wind. The 53 Vmax shows 49.14". Are you certain of your opinion?


I was referring to more 75 amax, also with the high bc plastic tip. It may only be 3 or so inches, but in competition that is significant. And i'm sure it's much better to use the 75 or even 80 amax as they have a better bc than the smk hollowpoints.

I don't have any valid research to prove this but I'm sure it exists... and probably is the reason you dont see people using 52 or 53gr bullets in 600yd f-tr for example.

SlowFuse
March 15, 2012, 04:22 PM
HJ857 the VLD will turn your AR into a single shot. You'd have to seat them to deep to get that 2.25 length.

helotaxi
March 15, 2012, 07:46 PM
You don't see them in long range competition mostly because they don't offer an advantage past about 500 yds. If shooting farther than that, it makes sense to use something else. Turning the AR into a single shot for High Power isn't a big deal since the slow fire stages at long range require single loading anyway. 80gn SMK and AMax are the standards there. For the shorter ranges, no reason not to use the 53gn VMax.

wanderinwalker
March 15, 2012, 10:59 PM
Interesting. I've never heard of anybody using this bullet for Highpower match shooting. Is this a newer design? If there's one thing I'm confident of, if it shoots better and is cheaper, somebody will try it.

On the other hand, many of us know the drop and drift cold for our favored 68/69/75/77gr ammo at 200 and 300 yards. Learning new tricks can be painful!

fishshocker
March 16, 2012, 12:46 AM
Somethings fishy with the chart.
1166 lbs energy at 600 yards with 223?
I don't think so....

fishshocker
March 16, 2012, 12:49 AM
Oops, I didn't see dashed lines at first, Nevermind.

helotaxi
March 16, 2012, 05:58 PM
Interesting. I've never heard of anybody using this bullet for Highpower match shooting. Is this a newer design? If there's one thing I'm confident of, if it shoots better and is cheaper, somebody will try it.It's been out around a year. Was challenging to find for some time.

HJ857
March 16, 2012, 08:43 PM
Even harder to find load data!

I have initial test results for the folks that have an interest. I'm testing against my standard load, which is a 77 SMK over 23.7 grains TAC, matched cases, Wolf 223 primers. Everything out of an 18" stainless barrel, 1:8 twist. Weather conditions are identical.

My shooting is limited to 600 yards, so I do not calculate past that. These numbers include a 10mph full value wind, which is an arbitrary number just for comparison. 70 degrees, 825' elevation, 3.25" sight above bore.

I use a very light crimp with the Lee FCD. All three loads printed 7/8" for six shots. I did test the 53 Vmax's with and without a crimp. There was no difference on paper at 100 yards. Interestingly I found that the uncrimped loads ran 10 fps faster than the crimped ones. I need to re-test this, and I only used the crimped rounds for these test results.

The 25.4 grain load showed no pressure signs. I'm going to bump up the load to 25.7 grains and run the full test again this weekend. I hope to get both MOA or better accuracy at 3200 fps out of an 18" barrel. If I can, then I'll have a whole bunch of 77 SMK's up for sale real soon.

Baseline load.
77 Sierra Match King, 23.7 grains TAC

Range Velocity Impact Drop ToF Energy Drift
0 2651 -3.25 0 0 1202 0
50 2530 -0.95 0.76 0.06 1094 0.66
100 2418 0 2.87 0.12 1000 1.36
150 2308 -0.54 6.48 0.18 911 2.53
200 2202 -2.73 11.73 0.25 82 4.22
250 2098 -6.72 18.78 0.32 753 6.47
300 1997 -12.69 27.81 0.39 682 9.31
350 1899 -20.85 39.03 0.47 617 12.78
400 1805 -31.41 52.66 0.55 557 16.94
450 1714 -44.66 68.97 0.64 502 21.82
500 1627 -60.86 88.23 0.73 453 27.48
550 1543 -80.36 110.79 0.82 407 33.96
600 1464 -103.5 136.99 0.92 366 41.31

53 Vmax, 25.0 TAC
Range Velocity Impact Drop ToF Energy Drift
0 3052 -3.25 0 0 1096 0
50 2881 -1.1 0.59 0.05 977 0.68
100 2724 0 2.22 0.11 873 1.43
150 2573 -0.08 5.04 0.16 779 2.71
200 2428 -1.47 9.17 0.22 694 4.56
250 2287 -4.34 14.78 0.29 616 7.03
300 2152 -8.89 22.06 0.35 545 10.17
350 2020 -15.32 31.23 0.43 480 14.04
400 1894 -23.88 42.53 0.5 422 18.73
450 1773 -34.87 56.26 0.59 370 24.29
500 1659 -48.64 72.76 0.67 324 30.81
550 1550 -65.57 92.43 0.77 283 38.36
600 1449 -86.12 115.72 0.87 247 47.03

53 Vmax, 25.4 TAC
Range Velocity Impact Drop ToF Energy Drift
0 3131 -3.25 0 0 1154 0
50 2957 -1.13 0.56 0.05 1029 0.68
100 2797 0 2.12 0.1 921 1.4
150 2643 0.01 4.79 0.16 822 2.63
200 2495 -1.23 8.71 0.22 733 4.42
250 2353 -3.86 14.03 0.28 652 6.8
300 2215 -8.08 20.93 0.35 577 9.83
350 2082 -14.07 29.61 0.42 510 13.56
400 1953 -22.09 40.31 0.49 449 18.07
450 1830 -32.38 53.28 0.57 394 23.42
500 1712 -45.28 68.87 0.65 345 29.69
550 1600 -61.15 87.42 0.74 301 36.96
600 1495 -80.42 109.37 0.84 263 45.3

helotaxi
March 17, 2012, 12:25 PM
TAC is a little on the slow side for the 53gn. Switching to a faster powder should get you a bit more velocity. 3300fps should be doable with something like 2230 or X-terminator. Benchmark also works very well with that bullet weight.

HJ857
March 17, 2012, 04:56 PM
The problem is that I like to standardize loads, so I have nearly 20 pounds of TAC on hand. Switching powder would be a little annoying. For my use, 3131fps is acceptable, so more is just a bonus.

Interesting test today though. I swapped out the standard Stag 3G brake for a FSC556 brake and upped my charge to 25.7 grains. Those loads averaged 3072 fps which is 59 fps SLOWER than the 25.4 charge with the Stag brake. The FSC also shot 9 inches low but grouped very well.

Will test the 25.7 load again with the Stag brake tomorrow.

helotaxi
March 17, 2012, 06:33 PM
I use a lot of TAC as well but I've never gotten the accuracy that I want from it. I use it almost exclusively for bulk loading with medium to heavy bullets that I don't have grand expectations for with regard to accuracy to begin with.

HJ857
March 20, 2012, 11:02 AM
Just for the sake of being thorough, I'm posting my final results. Someday there may be some person that Googles 53 VMax with TAC and this thread may come up and have some use. First off though, thanks Helotaxi for your insights, much appreciated.

My final load was 26.2 grains TAC, and I think that's book max for all 53 bullets that I could find a reference for. I see no pressure signs at all though and I think it could go higher.

The final velocity is 3176 at the muzzle (calculated via JBM), with the chrono being 9 feet forward during testing.

At 600 yards the velocity is 1534, energy 277, drop with a 100 yard zero is 76.76", a 10 mph full value wind drifts 43.79 inches.

So the load has notably better ballistics than a 77 grain SMK out to 600.

TAC does not give maximum velocity, though I think it's reasonable. I only require a one MOA accuracy, and the TAC load gives that, but not by much.

Helotaxi looks to be correct in that TAC is not the best powder for the 53 grain Vmax, though it is definitely workable.

helotaxi
March 20, 2012, 02:12 PM
It's too slow for that weight bullet. Doesn't reach max pressure though it does sustain the reduced pressure well. Just a bit faster powder like X-Terminator/AA230 in a ball powder or Benchmark or IMR 8208XBR would yield better velocity and the latter two are known for producing excellent accuracy. I've heard of people getting excellent results with CFE 223 and it produces the highest velocity in Hodgdon's data as well.

Waywatcher
March 20, 2012, 09:16 PM
[Tac is] too slow for that weight bullet. Doesn't reach max pressure though it does sustain the reduced pressure well. Just a bit faster powder like X-Terminator/AA230 in a ball powder or Benchmark or IMR 8208XBR would yield better velocity and the latter two are known for producing excellent accuracy

I'm not sure this is the whole story, helotaxi. I have used both Benchmark and Tac over a chronograph, on the same day from the same gun with the same bullet, same primer, same case and even the same charge weight (of 25.0 grains.) Benchmark, at least the lot that I have, grouped badly at 25.0 grains and had close to the same average velocity as Tac; which grouped much, much better. (From my DPMS Bull 20 with 55 grain NBTs.)

25.0 grains of Tac gave me an avg. of ~3000fps with a 2% extreme spread.

25.0 grains of Benchmark gave me an avg. of ~3070fps with a 3% extreme spread. I was getting consistent flyers as well which blew the groups to about 2".

25.0 is close to max for Benchmark, and close to the middle-of-the-road for Tac, when consulting multiple sources of data. I had very good luck with 25.5 grains of Tac which gave me about 3050fps, a 2% ES, and nice consistent groups. Also burns just a touch cleaner.

helotaxi
March 20, 2012, 10:05 PM
Hodgdon's has published loads for a 55gn bullet with 25.6gn of Benchmark...and we're talking about a 53gn bullet with Hodgdon's published max of 26.0 and several published sources listing accuracy loads @ 25.7gn.

TAC is a good powder but I've not personally had great accuracy results with it. It is on the slow side for a light bullet in a .223. I have had good results with Benchmark and it was one of the powders I tried with the 53gn VMax. I got better results with 8208, however.

Waywatcher
March 21, 2012, 02:33 AM
Right, Hodgdon's max is 25.6. Hornady's is 24.5, Nosler's is 25.0, and Sierra's is 25.2. Averaged out, it's about 25.1.

But my real point was that it isn't really all that faster burning for practical purposes. Either way, within the pressure envelope, both get the bullet going about the same speed. I have had better results with Tac lately, especially in getting the velocity I want out of a 55 grain bullet.

35 Whelen
March 21, 2012, 09:10 PM
I have been trying to figure out a "long" range bullet solution that will let me at least hang in the dust of my buddy and his Savage 308 rig-done-right. I have a 20" bbl with a 1in9" twist in 223 and I had my heart set on a 75gr pil but it seems that they will likely be right outside of the optimal range of twist for my rifle. I started to look at the 69gr SMKs and was very surprised to see the drop table out to 1k yds. My 53 gr V-Max going 3300 fps beat the SMKs flyin @2900fps in spades. Why would anyone shoot the 69 gr SMK? Am I missing something?

Also, as a side note, I would love to hear any suggestions for bullets that my 1in9 rifle might like out past 500 yds.



First of all, don't let the Greenhill Formula (barrel twist calculation) or internet common knowledge determine what will or will not stabilize in your rifle.
Whether or not a bullet will stabilize has less to do with its weight and much more to do with its length.I have an old Rem. 788 .223 with a 1-14" twist that according to common knowledge shouldn't stabilize any bullet with a length much over that of most 55 gr. bullets. Last week I tried some 60 gr. Hornady SP's and not only did they stabilize, at 3023 fps MV, I got 5-shot groups of a hair over 1" @ 100 yds.

I'm sort of in the same boat as you in that I recently built an AR twhose barrel has a 1-9" twist. I am shooting High Power with it and want to shoot out to 600 yds. The guys with whom I shoot tell me sometimes a 1-9" will stabilize a 75 gr bullet, so I intend to try some Hornady 75 gr. HP's as I think they're about the shortest 75 gr. bullet available. You might want to at least try some of these as well.
Have you considered the Hornady 68 gr. BTHP? It's B.C. is .355 which a bit better than the 53 gr. A-Max.

Good luck in your quest!
35W

helotaxi
March 21, 2012, 09:38 PM
My 1:9's have no problems with the 75gn HPBT, don't even bother trying the 75gn AMax. They are a good bit longer.

The Greenhill formula was based on relatively short (relative to caliber) projectiles. It does a poor job of covering the typical long range bullet. The Miller Stability index does a much better job.

35 Whelen
March 21, 2012, 10:10 PM
My 1:9's have no problems with the 75gn HPBT, don't even bother trying the 75gn AMax. They are a good bit longer.

The Greenhill formula was based on relatively short (relative to caliber) projectiles. It does a poor job of covering the typical long range bullet. The Miller Stability index does a much better job.
Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely look into the Miller index. One other problem though is determining the length of various bullets without having to buy them. Maybe that should be a Sticky!

35W

helotaxi
March 22, 2012, 07:02 PM
Berger lists them on their website, as does Nosler. Sierra, Speer, Hornady and Barnes leave you one your own, but most all of them provide recommendations for min rate of twist.

mwsenoj
May 14, 2012, 02:16 AM
Just an update, I have been able to get the 75 gr Bergers to stabilize out to at least 300 yds. I have been fighting with life and wife and weather to get out and finish load dev. I will try to remember to post here, but I have another post here http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658916&p=8161676#post8161676 that has been covering my grouping.

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