OAL question


April 4, 2012, 04:47 PM
Hello all,

I'm about to work up a new .223 load using 69 gr SMK for a Rem 700 SPS Tactical (1 in 9 twist). I'm not sure of the powder, will see what the local store has in stock. Hoping for Varget, H335, or AA2230. From what I've read the 69gr is pretty forgiving.

The only other load I've done for this gun is a 55 gr VMAX over 24.3 gr of IMR 4895, which I seated to make the OAL 2.26. Groups ranged from .3 to .75 when I did my part.

I realize that 2.26 is the limit because of mag size, is it worth experimenting with seating the bullet closer to the rifling? I made a couple of lightly seated dummy rounds and chambered them, averaged 2.31. I understand that that number is accurate only with the 69gr SMK.

When I make up rounds with a range of charges will I necessarily have better luck if I seat them at 2.28? 2.27? Is that a good starting point? I don't want to introduce too many variables because I'm still new at this. Should I find what produces good groups at 2.26, then experiment with seating depth?

This is all complicated by the fact that I do my reloading away from my home, and really have only one range trip to figure out what works. I'm willing to accept that I may not get the best possibly groups if I don't experiment with OAL, but the rifle will at this point still shoot better than I.

Should I stick with 2.26, or go a bit longer assuming it will tighten the groups a bit?



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April 4, 2012, 05:39 PM
You cannot assume anything, and since the gun is shooting better than you right now, I would call it good for now.

April 4, 2012, 06:44 PM
I think I agree, that with groups ranging from .3" + your very good to go!

If I'm loading with an unrestricted seating depth, I start at the lands and work back as needed. But thats my reloading style. I loaded some 110 gr. TNT's 7mm RM yesterday, and they only have .097" in the mouth, and they still fit my 700 magazine, and have plenty of neck tension. Even though your deffinitely loading a very accurate combination, checking out other OAL's is the beauty of reloading, we can if we want to.

April 4, 2012, 07:32 PM
A col that fits/feeds from the magazinge is where i would start with the 69 gr SMK . Then buy different burning rates of powder to test. I run IMR 4198,4895,3031, 4064. IMR 4198 gave the best groups of the 4 powders. But the 68 gr Hornady did better with IMR 3031. Savage Axis 223, COL for both bullets at 2.300" Longest the magazine will feed at.

April 4, 2012, 07:33 PM
Thanks guys, I think you're both saying what my gut was telling me. I don't really have the experience to start changing a bunch of things at once. I will start at 2.26 and then once I have a charge weight that shoots well consistently I will consider starting to work with seating depth.

the .3's are definitely not average lol. I would say most of the groups I have shot with the VMAX load (prob 12 or 14) are in the .75 range for 5 shots. The few groups I have shot below .5 are three shot groups. I would say that once the groups get nice and consistent I'll spend some time trying to perfect the load. Even if I can shoot .5's consistently that's more than enough for me. I need to spend less time shooting groups and more time shooting targets, if that makes sense. So long as the load is minute of golf ball I'm good to go lol.

Thanks again,


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