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Good .223/5.56 Powder Choices?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by peeplwtchr, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. peeplwtchr

    peeplwtchr Member

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    Hi All-

    I am looking for powders which are very accurate, and also interchange between these loads. Initial research shows that for cost/plinking TAC is great for 55g and 75g.

    For more precision and less temperature sensitivity, Varget is better. It is over 110 here for 2 months per year. You wouldn't believe the wierd s**t I see in my groups at that temp., even with a really good chamber fan.

    I want to initially go with 2 powders. All reviews said they both metrer well. Let me know what you think about my choices please.
     
  2. forty_caliber
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    forty_caliber Contributing Member

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    Can't go wrong with Varget it's a go-to powder. I buy this one in 8# kegs. Has a wide range of use cases with load data for several cartridges.

    Can't speak to TAC.

    .40
     
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  3. wild willy

    wild willy Member

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    Tac meters a lot better than Varget.For accuracy in my guns I would say Varget .I have guns that shoot Tac very well but some that don't.I think I've always been able to find a Varget load that shot well.
     
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  4. Horskinator

    Horskinator Member

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    I have only used IMR4198. I have not branched out looking for a super duper accurate load. I have not found a reason to switch as my results have been decent through my 10.5" suppressed SBR and my 20" suppressed DMR builds with my loads.
     
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  5. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    I've found Varget & RL15 to both be very accurate even with cheap 55gr BT
     
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  6. buba68

    buba68 Member

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    Yes, Varget is one of the better go to powders for 223. H 335 and IMR 8208 are also good powders. H 335 is one of the better powders for 55gr fmjbt bullets.
     
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  7. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I would avoid any of the H or W ball powders in high temperatures. I've had some weird stuff with BLC2, H335 and W748 in other calibers at extreme high and low temperatures.

    Varget is a great powder, but meters not so good. R 15 I found to meter a little better. IMR 4320 would be an interesting pick. It meters great, I know it works well with the heavies, don't know about the 55s. H 4895 also meters well. It is among the most popular for high power shooters using 75-80 grains and is known for temperature stability.
     
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  8. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    Precision and hunting loads I use Varget; throwing charges short and trickling to top off. I also use a 5" drop tube as it's tough to get the heavier Varget charges into a .223 case. It is relatively temperature insensitive and provides great accuracy and chrono stats.

    3Gun match ammo and practice stuff I use; TAC, CFE223, H335, A2460. All meter well for me and provide decent accuracy.

    5.56 equivalent loads I use TAC pretty much exclusively. I also just developed a 77grn OTM load that's sum-MOA and low double digit SD that does well out to 547yds.

    So, IF I was choosing 2 powders, I'd go with Varget and TAC.
     
  9. Allen One1

    Allen One1 Member

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    I have had pretty good luck with CFE223. It meters good and can cover a wide range of bullets. For lighter bullets H335 has done a good job. Varget is great but it is hard to find every time powder supplies tighten up and it doesn't meter a well as I've needed.
     
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  10. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I shoot a lot in the southern NV desert, so my temperature extremes can go from the 40's and 50's, to 120F. In my testing, I've seen some pretty nutty stuff with velocities within the same load (sometimes even the same lot #) and this also shows up in factory ammos, too.

    Generally speaking, any ball powder will show temp sensitivity at temperature extremes. My suggestion is to work up and load two different loads for your temperature zones, particularly if you are loading for accuracy, and that is with the same powder, even, and doubly so if you are loading at the top of the load data. If you can find a noted temperature stable powder (like Hodgdon's Extreme line, and IMR's Enduron powders) you might be able to work up a single load... but those are typically extruded powders that do not meter well. There is always a trade off.

    Also, generally speaking, you would load for accuracy with the heavier (and more expensive) bullets... find what powder works best there, and then just substitute it for your 55grn plinking load... if you want to try to stick with one powder. Personally, I use H335 for 55grn and 62grn blasting ammo; it meters well enough, and I am not at the top of the load data so even in 120F NV heat I don't get into pressure problems. I am still working on loads with the 69grn SMK... I can tell you H335 is not the powder I'll settle on there.
     
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  11. coondogger

    coondogger Member

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    H322 with 45-55 grain bullets has worked very well for me.
     
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  12. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    Hodgon Benchmark is what you are looking for :D
     
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  13. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    Benchmark
     
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  14. Ramone

    Ramone Member

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    I've think I've seen slightly better results using Benchmark for lighter bullets, and Varget for heavier bullets, but it's slight enough ( and my testing really isn't rigorous enough) that it's hard to say for sure
     
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  15. sfl_gunner

    sfl_gunner Member

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    TAC and 4198 for plinking. N140 for accuracy. Zero complaints from me after thousands of rounds fire.
     
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  16. Skeptic13

    Skeptic13 Member

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    Varget is at the top of my list for accuracy but if you don’t already have a stash of varget you will have a very hard time finding it. Lately I have been researching powders with similar burn rates and buying powder I can find. Then working up loads for the powder I have.
     
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  17. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    I use W748 , it's a ball powder and meters easily.
     
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  18. mrawesome22-250

    mrawesome22-250 Member

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    I buy Benchmark in 8 pound jugs. Great accuracy and velocity from 40gr to 75gr bullets. I hunt and shoot from anywhere between ~20-95 degrees and it always puts that bullet where I want it. Love the stuff in 223Rem.

    Also it has extremely short cut sticks which measure good enough for blasting ammo. Any long range varmint/target loads I still throw low and trickle up.
     
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  19. Edcnh
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    Edcnh Contributing Member

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    I use Varget for shooting 69gr bullets which works great in my rifle. Never tried reloading the 55gr as the heavier bullets seem to work better in my rifle. But where I live 90 degrees is considered really hot so I have no experience with temperature sensitivity in high temperatures.
     
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  20. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    What type of accuracy are you looking for? Are you hunting or shooting service rifle competion or just plinking. Does 1/4 of an moa or less make a huge difference to the shooting you do. Powder is down the list of important things for raw accuracy and barrel and bullets are at the top. Are you shooting a smk or burger target bullet and your trying to get that last little bit. A final thing to know is the barrel and bullet will tell you what powder works best. Tac, acc2520, cfe, all ball powders that you should try.
     
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  21. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I primarily use Varget for 69s and 77s.

    I just tested loads for 55BTs using Varget on Friday, 3 of the 5 loads were < 3/4ths MOA, the 4th was crap and the 5th was 1.23" of MOA, all groups were for 5rds out of an 18" barrel at 100yds. 55 grn is about as light as I'd go with Varget. As I said earlier, it's tough to get that much powder in and at less that close to max the ES & SD sucks. As luck would have it the best load is also the best load in one of my 16" guns, so it's an elusive "win-win"

    It's without a doubt my favorite "precision" powder for .223 as I get good accuracy and chrono stats, better stats than I can get with ball powder. Luckily I'm sitting on 13 lbs of it.
     
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  22. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    In 1968 i tested numerous powders for use in the .223: Settled on IMR 3031. Continue to use IMR 3031 in my .223/5.56mm reloads using bullets to 55 grains. IMR 3031 works very well for me.
     
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  23. jebova2301

    jebova2301 Member

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    I am also a huge fan of 3031. It doesn't meter good at all, but my god is it forgiving. If you are just loading plinking rounds, it has such a wide charge range that if you are anywhere remotely in the middle of it, you don't have to worry about over/under on the charge. When trickled, it can give great accuracy. The best part is it tends to stay on the shelves a little longer than all the other powders because people don't like the way it meters.

    Aside from that, for my blasting ammo, I use surplus WC-844 powder. It gives me reasonably accurate ammo, and the price is normally great. For precision, I typically run 8208xbr or 3031.
     
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  24. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I love Varget for the accuracy it's capable of even if it is crunchy in the powder measure but H322 gives me just as good or slightly better in the accuracy department and meters much nicer. BLC-2 meters as easy as water but I haven't been able to attain the accuracy with it as I have with the others. Close but not quite but a coyote would never notice the difference. Varget is unobtainium around here now but I have plenty of H322.
     
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  25. GoldieMI
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    GoldieMI Contributing Member

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    21.5 grains of H322/80SMK in WCC brass - off Bipod and bag
    .510-.525 Groups of 5 (5 groups of 5) @100 yards
    2689.4 Average Velocity
    4.83 SD
    11.74 ES

    that was my morning work today. H322 works great in 223 and 6.5 Grendel both for me. Saves the N133 for my PPC gun.
     
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