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.223: Best weight for target shooting?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by marklbucla, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. marklbucla

    marklbucla Well-Known Member

    In shooting .223 at say around 100-200 yards, what bullet weight is generally optimal for accuracy/consistancy?

    I don't own a .223 yet, so I'm not confined to any twist rates.
  2. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Well-Known Member

    I have a Ruger Model 77V in .223. It likes Sierra 52gr HPBT Match bullets and 53gr Hornady Match bullets.
  3. depoloni

    depoloni Well-Known Member

    Not being sarcastic and hate to give you the "nothing answer" - but if you're looking for the most accurate bullet shoot the most accurate bullet. Forget weight.

    Certain factors, in your rifle, will mean it'll like a certain weight best (and possibly even a certain brand). Twist rate will eliminate certain options on either the light or heavy end of things. Since you're not invested yet, I'd recommend something setup to shoot the heavier end of the spectrum because, with exceptions, the heavier weights are generally your match bullets and do buck wind and hold velocity better.

    I've got a 225AI that's setup for a 1-10 twist and I love it. Whatever you do choose though, the gun will choose the bullet not the other way around.
  4. Historian

    Historian Well-Known Member

    As has already been stated, the rifle not the bullet will determine how accurate any given weight might be. I have a Bushmaster Varminter. The rifle has a 24" barrel with a 1/9 twist. This limits me to shooting lighter bullets at lower muzzle velocities. I love the rifle and would not trade it for a slower twist but I am pretty much limited to bullets under 70g. Right now I am loading a 60g Nosler ballistic tip BT over 22g of H335. I am shooting sub 1" groups at 100 yds. on calm days. The cartridge OAL is 2.250" Part of the fun of reloading is experimenting until you find a formula that gives good results with your rifle. It has taken me about a year to find the formula that I am using now and I am still looking for something that will give even better results. So...learn your rifle. Take the time to experiment with different loads, and practice, practice, practice. Good shooting.

  5. marklbucla

    marklbucla Well-Known Member

    So, all else held constant between two rifles, as long as the twist rates match the bullets, you'll get equal accuracy?
  6. Historian

    Historian Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. Every production rifle has slight differences. What works very well in my rifle might be a bust in yours. Mine's a semi automatic. Yours may be a bolt action or different make. It all comes down to finding what works well in your specific piece. That's why experimenting (or field testing) with your rifle is important.

  7. tlen

    tlen Well-Known Member

    I'd recommend getting a 1:9 twist rate or faster barrel so you can shoot heavier bullets if you want. You can always shoot lighter bullets but with a slower twist rate you are limited to them. I had a 1:10 twist and got sub 1" groups with 69 gr Sierra bullets.
  8. the_right_reverend

    the_right_reverend Well-Known Member

    Remington 700 Varmint Special in .223 1 in 12 with a 12 power Redfield Metallic Silhouette does dimes at 300 yards using Nosler 52 grain match HP
  9. NuJudge

    NuJudge Well-Known Member

    I have shot 1:9, 1:8, and 1:7 twist .223 barrels, all 20".

    The most cussed of them was the 1:9, which only shot 52gr bullets well. It would stabilize up to 75gr bullets, but everything heavier than 52s did not give good groups.

    The 1:8 barrel shot 52's, 69's and 80's well, but would not shoot 75's.

    The 1:7 seems to shoot everything well. I have not tried 75's in it yet.

    The common thread in this is that 52's seem to shoot well in everything. For 100 yards, or 200 yards without wind problems, try them first.

    The 52gr bullets will also be cheapest. For an AR, I would suggest a 52gr bullet, 26.5gr 748, an LC or Winchester case, and a CCI primer.

  10. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Well-Known Member

  11. depoloni

    depoloni Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm reading your question wrong, and this is a better answer actually (original poster).

    All things else aside, "X" rifle with "X" twist to shoot "X" weight...
    Any weight bullet can be just as accurate. If it's all else the same to you, I'd suggest going with twist/etc to shoot the heavier bullets well since they do tend to buck wind better if nothing else. Shooting heavier bullets offers you more "match bullet" options too as the more premium brands tend to offer heavier-end 22 match bullets.

    The best I can offer you "all things aside" is generalization, but for what it's worth:

    - The "general most accurate" tend to be the sierra matchkings, berger match bullets, Nosler accutip/ballistic tip, Hornady A-max, etc.
    - Below that, it's a big pool of remington, winchester, and non-match/hunting speer/nosler/sierra/hornady/etc bullets.

    The trick is that some rifles will indiscriminantly shoot the "winchester/etc bulk" bullets as well, or sometimes better, than the pricier match bullets. I suggest, to try and answer your question, you start with the nosler, berger, or sierra "match bullets" first if accuracy is paramount secondary to cost. My rule of thumb is this - if a rifle shoots rem-chester bulk bullets as good as match bullets I'm pleased, but I always start with match bullets if I'm seeking peak accuracy because a rifle that won't group them well won't group rem-chester bulk worth beans usually.

    If you'd like to go bulk first and see if you get the accuracy you need to forego spending the extra loot on fancier bullets I'd suggest sierra pro-hunters. They always seem to shoot big holes if me and my rifles are up to it, and they're definitely more economical than matchkings/etc.
  12. jhansman

    jhansman Well-Known Member

    I always got great results from Sierra's 60gr. Varminters in my Savage .223. 55s were too light, 69s wouldn't group.
  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Maybe you had a bad day with the 75's. I have used 75 Hornady match bullets for years, they shoot very well. The target below was shot in competition with a 1:8 Douglas barrel. I was happy, though I would have been happier with a perfect score.

    Shooting 100 or 200 yards, there is absolutely no reason to shoot 75's, as the wind is not that much of a factor. My best overall bullet out to 300 yards is the 69 Sierra Match King. I did buy a bunch of 68 Hornady match, at a good price, and I cannot tell any difference on target.

    Friends of mine who experiment for the slightest edge, tell me that the flat based bullets in the 50 grain region (maybe those 52 Match bullets) are best for 100 yard shooting. These friend will shoot perfect scores with these things in their 1:8 match AR's.

    In my experience, any Hornady/Sierra match bullet will give outstanding performance.

  14. NuJudge

    NuJudge Well-Known Member

    Was that 75gr the Boat-Tail Match or the Low Drag version?

  15. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    Maybe Mark just wants to buy a good box of .224 match bullets, so he'll have a reasonable excuse to buy a new rifle.

    Way to go, Mark! I like your thinking.

    Mark, nearly every .223 Rem shoots 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip extremely well. It's a great place to start with virtually any rifle you buy. You can't lose. With 55g NBT as your baseline, you can experiment with other premium bullets from there.
  16. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    did not know they made a low drag bullet. Been out of the market.

    I used a Hornady 224 22 CAL 75 GR BTHP MATCH.

    My friend would have recommended a Hornady 224 22 CAL 53 GR HP MATCH for 100 yard target shooting.

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