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223 range report

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by kmw1954, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Still working on this and made some headway and also a continuing setback.

    First the headway. my original loadings were with a 55gr Hornady Varmint SP (#2266) and it shot fairly well with a ladder of TAC starting at 21.7 and then increasing by .3gr up to 22.9.. The 21.7 stunk and the 22.9 fell off sharply with what looked like an accuracy node between 22.3 and 22.6 gr.. So I laddered 223., 22.4, 22.5 and 22.6 gr.. Not much difference between these loads. I knew the 55gr bullet was on the light side when I started but again it was all I could find locally.

    After starting those loads I found some 62gr Hornady at Midway and the price was OK so I purchased 500 and then started a ladder load with this and again the TAC powder. Started at 22.5 up again by .3gr to 22.8, 23.1 and 23.4 gr. There was a vast improvement over the 55gr bullets at all levels with the 23.1 and 23.4 gr showing the best.

    I am sure there is much to improve on my part with practice. Both the 22.1 and 22.4 groups were within 1.75" @ 100yds and they were strung out vertically and about 1.2" wide. These were again 6 shot groups and each had 3 shots that were touching.

    Now for the setback. I am still getting Failures to Fire and before everyone goes off about high primers and light strikes as in the last thread I have to explain this as I observed this. Today I had 8 different loads to test and I was shooting them in 3 shot strings, 6 shots at each target.

    As it worked out I had 8 misfires out of 16 firing cycles. As it turns out each first shot of the session of 3 shots failed to fire. There also was one cycle where there was no misfire and one cycle were there were consecutive misfires.. There were no random misfires, all were on the first shot after loading the magazine. Seems strange to me. Seems a high primer issue would not always fall exactly on the first round, consistently.
     
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  2. hardheart

    hardheart Member

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    How are you releasing the bolt and getting that first round chambered?
     
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  3. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    What rifle ate you shooting. May have crud in the firing pin hole. Or a weak hiring pin spring.
     
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  4. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I high primer wound not always cause a misfire on the first shot. I presume you're shooting a semi auto and the bolt is not completely closed when the misfires occur. Make sure the bolt is pulled completely back before you release it to chamber a round.
     
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  5. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    More Info here; The gun is a Savage Axis Bold rifle, 223, 22" barrel, 1:9 twist, 4 round magazine.

    As Stated previously there seems to be an issue with this model gun on the Savage forum and a weak spring. Some have replaced the spring and that resolved the issue. So far I have not looked into picking up a new spring but it is on my list to replace. Also in these reloads I am using CCI #41 primers and have never used these before. Again it was all I could find and had to trade a friend for them. I wish I could find some regular rifle primers to see if that makes a difference.

    I did also short stroke the bolt on 2 occasions today and didn't even chamber a round. OOOpps.
     
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  6. hardheart

    hardheart Member

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    Well, if there's multiple reports of a spring issue, I'd say there's a good chance you have the same problem. The 41 is supposed to be harder to set off inadvertantly, which means it's basically harder to set off, as the primer has no idea if a strike is on purpose or not. Not that they won't fire, but if you have a spring issue, a primer that requires a more deliberate strike isn't going to make it any more reliable
     
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  7. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    If it's an AR. I bet you aren't getting the bolt closed tightly.
    I have issues with this if my size die isn't turned down far enough.
    It took me a bit to figure it out.
     
  8. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    I had an axis 2 in 223, gave to my SIL, so he could work on rifle skills cheap, but I did run into the same issue, though my misfires were more random. When I first started shooting that rifle I had bought some fed 223 Ar bulk ammo and some other milk pack Ar ammo to get a supply of brass. That ammo wasn't real accurate but, at the time I was working on my skills as well, having just gotten back into shooting, hunting after shoulder injury. After I started reloading for 223 with win srp, cci srp and fed srp the problem went away. I figured that the spring was weak or the pin wasn't protruding enough. I never corrected the problem since it didn't happen with softer primers.

    I bought an m11 savage that doesn't have misfires on MIL spec primers, but I did have an issue witg some out of spec factory vmax's misfiring. Had 20 out of 50 not go bang. I fixed it by pulling the suspect cartridges down, running the cases throughy 223 dies and reloading them. They all fired normally.
     
  9. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Thanks for following along!

    Once again, this is my first center fire rifle and the first that I am reloading bottleneck cartridges. Will be the first to admit I still have much to learn on both fronts. Seeing for myself just what a change of bullet weight can do. Groups dropped by half of what they were with the 55gr bullets so now I know not to bother with that weight! Also learning a bit about optics as well. I noticed today that the longer I shot I started having more difficulties with focusing on the target. The reticle would stay clear but the target would blur.

    I certainly wish I could find primers as I am now excited to load some more of these 62gr bullets and then even try some 67gr Match bullets I have but for now I am going to save those until I have regular rifle primers and I can get to a nice consistent group.

    Oh and I just looked back and these 62 gr. loads have smaller groups at 100 yards than the 55 gr. did at 50 yards!
     
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  10. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Not unusual... the longer bearing surface of the 62grn bullet usually translates into a more accurate bullet... and then you mix in the barrel rifling.
     
  11. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Don't write off all 55s, I'd throw in a gold dot, a nbt, a sierra blitzking, a Barnes, and a Berger before I wrote off all 55s, my 1:9 barrels don't mind 55s at all, but for deer or serious conditions, I run 62s. Bullet construction and b.c. is my bigger deciding factor here.
     
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  12. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    I'll second that. My axis 2 liked hot loads Max or nearax charges with every bullet I tried. What length are you loading your cartridges to. My axis liked 2.235 " oal for 50 and 55 gr pills. It would shoot bug holes half in or less 5 shot groups. Rifle was scary accurate, I really miss it, but I wouldn't change giving it to a new rifleman for anything.

    I had worked up loads with 3 different powders h 4895, blc2 and imr 4895. Those are the 3vi use most in 223.
     
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  13. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    I have a savage axis II with the acru-trigger chambered in 223rem. I haven't had any issues with lite fp hits. But I only use wwsr, federal sr & s&b sr primers in the savage and all of my ar's.

    What I have noticed is that if I don't pull the trigger strait back I'll get a misfire. This is from me not fully engaging the acru-release (center trigger that sticks out not going back all the way) and it blocks the fp release on the bolt. I also noticed that if I fill the mag the 1st shot stands a better chance of being a misfire due to the rounds left in the mag putting upward pressure on the bolt (extremely strong mag spring). This affects the sear/trigger engagement. I have done nothing to the trigger on that rifle even though it's adjustable. I use/shoot it as it came from the factory.
     
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  14. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I'm glad you got some good results.

    You can't judge your lack of accuracy from the 55 gr bullets. Because you were having ignition problems when you were shooting then.
    On the scope. Better quality equals less eye strain.
     
  15. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    With a 22' 1 in 9 barrel, I would think about going the other direction in bullet weight. My favorite and most accurate are the 40 grain Nosler Varmageddon and 40 grain VMAX. That's my experience with a 16' 1 in 9.
     
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  16. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    The ignition problem was happening with both bullet loads not just the 55 gr. and there is little doubt that the 62gr significantly out performed the 55gr bullet. Here are a couple pictures of the targets.

    001.JPG
    23.1gr Ramshot TAC

    002.JPG
    23.4gr Ramshot TAC

    As to the scope I would like to move up to a 4X12 or 4X16 and like many have been looking at the Vortex scopes.
     
  17. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    There are a few possibilities for your ignition issues. Being an old military rifle enthusiast, I am familiar with most of them. Hard or insensitive primers...unlikely in your case. Headspacing issue with rifle and/or cases...a possibility if you are excessively sizing your cases, check measurements against cartridge specs of both your sized and fired cases, paying special attention to shoulder setback. Primers not seated deeply enough...they should be .03-.06 below flush. Even a little more is acceptable so long as the pellet is not crushed. I go deeper in ammo intended for my M1 and AR rifles. Mechanical failure of firing sequence...your suspected weak spring, dirt, grease, mechanical impedence of firing pin travel. This may be worsened with a harder primer such as your 41s. Have you examined the primers after the first click? You may see a shallow dent indicating a light strike. These are the things to rule out in your case. I would start with confirming primer seating depth, and a thorough clean/degrease of bolt components. Use only a very light oil which retains liquidity in cold temperatures such as CLP, JB 80 or Kroil to lubricate bolt internals.
     
  18. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    In the true nature of testing you may want to try different designs. Throw a few botails and a couple of flat bases in the mix.
     
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  19. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    A 4-12 makes a nice dual purpose scope.
    The issue with trying to read accuracy if you're having primer ignition problems is. You don't know how well each primer is lighting the powder.
    I understand that small rifle primers are hard to find right now.
    Because of that. I agree you should stay with the 62s for now.
    I would disassemble the bolt and clean it. If you haven't already.
    I had an Axis 2 in 270 that gave me the same issue. It's bolt looked like it was pumped full of cosmoline when I got it apart. After that my dead primers went away.
    Sorry if we keep reverting to the primer issue. It's like trying to adjust a carburetor when there is a known bad spark plug.
     
  20. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer Member

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    I would keep working up your powder charge with TAC. Our group of AR’s ( and a friend’s Savage bolt gun) hit a sweet spot at 24.5 gr with the Hornady 62 gr BTHP. I tested up to 26.0 gr, but accuracy seemed to fall off above that 24.5 gr charge weight.
    I have also loaded a bunch of 55 gr FMJ and SP bullets with that same 24.5 gr load of TAC for a reasonably accurate plinking/practice load that is easy on brass and gun.
    I also like a slightly higher power scope than 3-9x on a .223. Personal preference is 4.5-14x, have various Leupold, Burris and Nikon in that configuration. My Vortex Viper mounted on my Stag Model 6 24” heavy barrel is a 6.5-20x, and I keep it at 14x to use the mil-dot reticle. Mirage tends to make much above 14x blurry on warm days afield going after gophers and prairie dogs in Montana.
    Here is a pretty good deal on that scope:
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/2420772363
     
  21. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Guys again thanks for the encouragement and suggestions.

    Case sizing and seating depth has already been gone over numerous times and all checks out. I have been reloading pistol rounds for a long time and know what a High Primer is, looks like and how to measure them. The primer strikes all look normal and looks as they should if fired and also look like every other one that has fired. The strike is deep into the cup. Also I believe that if this was a High Primer issue it would be random and not always the first round on each loaded magazine, which is what has happened here on the last range session..

    Tonight while on line and looking for a replacement Firing pin spring I came across pages of posts regarding FTF issues with the Savage Axis dating all the way back to 2017 and there were even a couple of them from this forum that were not mine!

    Also tonight I did take the bolt apart and completely washed everything down with a cleaning spray that actually is used for electric motors. I did not find anything that looked unusual, worn, broken or out of place and it actually was quite clean. I also believe this was cleaned before as the bolt handle has been replaced so it would clear the scope. I also have the original handle. Never did find anywhere to get the spring and from what I read in one of the posts was that Savage will not sell one to the public has to be a FFL/gunsmith.
     
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  22. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    Safari arms 22.00, brownels is out of stock but lists them.
     
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  23. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Thanks for the lead, I will keep a watch.
     
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  24. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    Wolff makes (sells) extra power striker springs for your Savage, but it looks like they are temporarily not taking orders
    https://www.gunsprings.com/index.cfm?page=items&cID=2&mID=54
    The striker depth (firing pin protrusion) is also adjustable.
    All in all, it sounds like it could be a 'perfect storm'. Buncha relatively small stuff that builds on each other, causing headaches.
     
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