Newby - 223 Reloads


February 20, 2013, 07:23 PM
My velocities are not matching up very good at all to any of my 3 reloading books (Lyman, Hornady, other) for the Hornady VMax 55gr and H335.

I'm using Standard WSR primers and setting my COL to 2.250". Cases are 223 Remington and bumped back 0.002" from my chamber.

I'm shooting a Bushy Varminter 24" 1:9 twist.

String 3, which I think is still a little light, is "just" starting to flow primers, raising a little around the firing pin hole. I had a lot more data but lost it somehow but it all jived with what is below.

Any ideas?


String #: 1
High Velocity: 2818
Low Velocity: 2749
Average Velocity: 2785
Extreme Spread: 69
Standard Deviation: 24
BULLET: 55gr V-Max
GRAINS: 21.6

Velocity # Velocity Power Factor Foot/Lbs
1 2818 154.990 969.720
2 2783 153.065 945.781
3 2777 152.735 941.708
4 2777 152.735 941.708
5 2749 151.195 922.813
6 2807 154.385 962.164


String #: 2
High Velocity: 2879
Low Velocity: 2836

Average Velocity: 2860
Extreme Spread: 43
Standard Deviation: 16
BULLET: 55gr V-Max
GRAINS: 22.4

Velocity # Velocity Power Factor Foot/Lbs
1 2873 158.015 1007.942
2 2861 157.355 999.540
3 2849 156.695 991.172
4 2861 157.355 999.540
5 2842 156.310 986.308
6 2879 158.345 1012.156
7 2836 155.980 982.148
8 2879 158.345 1012.156


String #: 3
High Velocity: 2911
Low Velocity: 2867

Average Velocity: 2890
Extreme Spread: 44
Standard Deviation: 18
BULLET: 55gr V-Max
GRAINS: 22.8

Velocity # Velocity Power Factor Foot/Lbs
1 2892 159.060 1021.318
2 2867 157.685 1003.736
3 2911 160.105 1034.782
4 2892 159.060 1021.318
5 2867 157.685 1003.736
6 2911 160.105 1034.782


Factory Monarch 55gr FMJ (Academy)

String #: 4
High Velocity: 3392
Low Velocity: 3358

Average Velocity: 3373
Extreme Spread: 34
Standard Deviation: 12
Grains: 55

Velocity # Velocity Power Factor Foot/Lbs
1 3367 185.185 1384.365
2 3375 185.625 1390.951
3 3358 184.690 1376.974

4 3375 185.625 1390.951
5 3392 186.560 1404.999

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February 20, 2013, 07:32 PM
Well for starters, your 21.6 grain load of H335 is 1.4 grains lower then the Starting load of 23.0 grains suggested in the Hodgdon loading manual.

MAX is 25.3 grains.

Where did you get your data??


February 20, 2013, 08:06 PM
Hornady 9th edition Start 20.8 @ 2800 Max 23.2 @3200
One Book One Caliber Start 20.8 @ 2800 Max 23.2 @ 3100
Lyman Start 24.3 @ 3142 Max 27.0 @ 3270
Hodgon doesn't list the VMax 55gr.

I notice the VMax 55gr loads lighter than other 55gr bullets.


February 20, 2013, 08:25 PM
I agree that your load seems light. Your velocities don't seem to be to far apart.
Are you measuring ever charge?

February 20, 2013, 08:32 PM
Hornady 9th edition Start 20.8 @ 2800 Max 23.2 @3200
One Book One Caliber Start 20.8 @ 2800 Max 23.2 @ 3100One book One load is old data copied from other powder & bullet manufactures.
They are a small publisher, not a ballistics lab.
They got the same data as Hornady from copying the Hornady data.

The 100 FPS velocity difference is a typo.

Hornady data is notoriously lighter then other sources, V-Max or not.

You can safely use the Hodgdon data for a starting load with any brand 55 grain bullet and work up, as always.


February 20, 2013, 11:40 PM
Carbine85 - I'm using a progressive (Dillon 650) and I checked 10 dumps in a row and they were all on the money, well 0 to -0.1g of each other.

RCModel, Thanks, I will continue working up on the powder then.

Why am I starting to get a barely noticeable raised lip around my primer at 22.8 grains. I don't see it at 22.4g. Is it due to the WSR primers being slightly thinner material?

Last but not least, some of the load data shows using magnum primers for H335 but other's do not. I don't mind experimenting as I should and work up but I also want to learn and be safe while I'm doing it. Which is actually correct?

The WSR's were the only primers in town and my CCI400's are on back order for who knows when.

Thanks again,

February 21, 2013, 12:49 AM
Sorry for the picture quality. This is range brass I reloaded. I did notice one or two primers didn't feel very tight when they pressed in like the others.

Any problems here?

February 21, 2013, 09:05 AM

Primer cup thickness.

Winchester = .021"

You want harder, get CCI450, or Rem 7 1/2, those are .025".

The thinner the primer cup the more it's going to flow.

Don't worry about it in 223 with soft commercial primers, unless the crater changes from smooth to sharp ridges and the primer edges are no longer round, but flattened out filling the primer pocket completely.

February 21, 2013, 09:41 AM
I have Hornady #9 and I think there might be a mistake with their data. With their 52gr and 53 gr bullets the H335 data is 22.3gr to 25.4gr. (more in line with the Hodgdon data)

I highly doubt you are seeing a pressure problem. Those primers are still completely round on the sides and not filling the primer area of the case. Like said above, the primers you're using have a thinner cup than the primers recommended for use in a semi-auto. CCI#41 primers and SR Magnum primers are recommended for your application more than the primers you're using. (although I have used CCI-400 primers many times) I don't think there is a problem here... BTW, my normal charge with a 55gr bullet is 25.0gr H335 and I do not see any overpressure signs. If you look at the data for the 5.56 NATO rounds in the same manual you will see a load data which is higher in the .223 section. Unfortunately they don't list H335 in the 5.56mm data which is surprising but if you compare other powders you will see what I mean.

Also, you rarely match the velocities listed in any manual because they use test barrels under laboratory conditions and many times those barrels are much longer than what you are using.

February 21, 2013, 12:19 PM
Your primers do not appear to indicate high pressure. An older Hornady Manual, 5 th edition, lists the following loads for a 55 grain v-max bullet for H335: 20.8 grains @ 2800 fps; 21.6 grains @ 2900 fps; 22.4 grains @ 3000 pfs; 23.2 grains @3100 fps(maximum load). This data was obtained in a Remington 700 with a 26 inch barrel (1" in 12" twist) with Winchester WSR primers. You state your barrel length is 24" and you are using CCI 400 primers. Your velocities are in line with the data reported by Hornady considering you are using different primers and your barrel is 2" shorter.

February 21, 2013, 12:52 PM
Again Thanks. I'm learning from you all. BTW, I'm using WSR Primers.

I'm only seeing the raised ridge around certain rounds and I believe the pockets are slightly loose on those particular rounds.

I just shot 20 more thru the chrono:
10 @ 23.3gr Max 3030 Avg 2985 fps
10 @ 23.8gr Max 3108 Avg 3070 fps

The 23.3 gr shot the best group so far. I'm only shooting 50 yards right now and they were all just a tad over 1/2". Center of target pretty much gone.

The 23.8 started spreading out to about 1.250".

Primers look fairly good so I'm going to work up a little more 24.3 and 24.8.


February 21, 2013, 12:55 PM
The Hornady data with H335 powder isn't realistic. Trust Hodgdon data. Your loads are showing that the Hornady data doesn't match real world ballistics in most rifles. My tests show Hodgdon's data to give the velocity that they show and most users of H335 with 55 grain bullets in .223 Rem. shoot between 24 and 25 grains. I use a lot of Hornady bullets and their other data proves safe and close to my results, just not H335 with 55 grain bullets in .223 Rem. You being a newby to .223 and your testing using Hornady's data shows your concern for safety and will protect you and your firearms for the future. Good to see a new reloader approaching the hobby safely and scientifically.

February 21, 2013, 04:05 PM
Shoot the one that groups the best. I never saw a squirrel move out of the way because a bullet was going 100 fps slower. They aren't that fast.

Also, is a bushy Varminter a Bolt gun? FPS will vary from Bolt to Semi Auto

February 21, 2013, 05:37 PM
That was funny. Sure, I plan to stick with the one that groups the best, but right now, I am learning and experimenting and then will pick my favorite load from the data I collect.

Never hurts to have too much data. I just hate shooting all those rounds tho.... :)


February 21, 2013, 06:13 PM
If they're grouping that close at 50 you may need to reach out to 100 to really get a good idea of what's grouping better. :)

It's never a bad thing to find what you can GET to, velocity wise, just be careful as you get close. Shorter AR gas systems can get kind of twitchy when you are pushing high velocity, plenty of guys (including me) have snapped bolts in half.

It looks like that Varminter of yours has a mid or full length gas system, so it shouldn't be as big of a concern. Just stay aware that there's a lot that can go wrong in an AR, and once you start beating it up with lots of full power loads, it accelerates the process. :)

On my autoloaders, I tend to stick on the soft side of it's functional range (the range that the rifle will function with 100% reliability measured in dead winter when everything is working against me). This is mostly to reduce wear & tear, prolong the barrel life a little, etc.

But if you're pushing for accuracy you might find your rifle prefers the high end. If you're shooting longer ranges (400-600) you definitely want to get that bullet out as fast as possible, as long as it remains "functionally accurate", as you need all the help you can get with something as light as a 223.

February 21, 2013, 07:20 PM
The varminter is a AR semi with the 24" SS Heavy barrel and free floating fore-end.

Item: F1005318

24.5 grains started pulling back in on the group and 25.0 is bumping 3200 fps and doing a wonderful tight group. Only about 1/2 the rounds read on the chrono as it's cloudy and almost dark out.

I think the 25.0gr is going to be my favorite like most others mentioned. I believe I'm going to stop right there for now and leave a little room. This weekend I'll take it out to 100 yards and see what she does.

Thanks a million for help and the push in the right direction!!!


February 21, 2013, 07:35 PM
Yeah it doesn't say what length gas system it is. I'd assume rifle (full) length. You can tell for sure by measuring the front of the receiver to the gas block.

Should be able to load whatever you want, really. Carbine length gas systems are the only ones I get somewhat nervous about when loading (broke a bolt in an AR pistol once).

February 21, 2013, 07:48 PM
Once again you guys are the greatest. This is the exact info I was looking for.

Thanks again. :)

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