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Slow Velocity with CFE 223 and 62 grain gold dots?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by The_Savage, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    Howdy all,

    Just got into reloading, and I finally chronoed my 223 load after finding a good accuracy for it. However, I'm getting 2400 fps average from a 16" AR-15 barrel using 62 grain speer gold dots and 25.5 grains of CFE223 powder. Is my powder scale messed up? Is the weather too cold? (30 degrees F, 591' elevation)
     
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  2. mrawesome22-250

    mrawesome22-250 Member

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    Hodgdon shows 2900fps with a 25gr charge and a 24" barrel.

    With your 16" barrel I think you are exactly in the ball park of where it should be.
     
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  3. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    That's a possibility, plus the low temp.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  4. Ej3

    Ej3 Member

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  5. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Use a factory box of ammo as a sanity check. For 223 factory ammo I always assume a 20 or 24" test barrel. You could also grab a set of check weights to verify your scale. I find them very helpful and can be considered a safety item.
     
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  6. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  7. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    So I weighed one of the 62 grain bullets with the scale, and it was on. I'm going to try 26 grains of powder and a 2.230 COAL tomorrow, and also test some factory loads. I guess I should ask this: do I even need more velocity? Assuming a hunting usage for this cartridge.
     
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    You do not need more velocity if your increased powder charges lead to blown, pierced, leaking primers. Gotta tell you, load them hot in cold weather and you will be seeing smoke coming out of the loading port in spring, when those rounds blow primers.

    As @AJC1 said, use factory ammunition as a check. Personally, I am surprised your chronograph works in 30 degree weather as mine would not. If I placed the battery on the vehicle dash and warmed them up to the range, my chronograph would function until the batteries got cold. But, without a "standard", you really don't know if it is your ammunition, the weather, or chronograph misalignment. Or, everything is working as it should and you are getting 2400 fps for real. I don't move too fast in 30 degree weather and neither will your bullets.

    With a 20" barrel, if I pushed 68 grain match bullets near 2800 fps, I got pierced primers. I kept my 75 Hornady Match less than 2700 fps or I had problems. Per my chronograph, 73 Berger Moly Coat, Black Hills went 2724 fps. And you have four inches less barrel, maybe what you are seeing is real.

    And if it is, I would look real hard at what you are hunting. If it is gophers, it is OK. If it is poodles, maybe the small poodles, but not the French Poodles. All this round has is velocity, and when that is gone, might as well be tossing atlatl's.

    Jcb9CAR.jpg

    pgZp6Vt.jpg

    So, test the factory ammunition, test your reloads. If you have blown, leaking, pierced primers, cut your loads by a half grain, and continue cutting until all pressure indications go away. And ignore published numbers, or the numbers on your chronograph. What you get will be: it is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
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  9. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Cfe223 is somewhat slow powder and needs more barrel to get full velocity. General rule with rie powders is 35 to 60 fps loss per inch of barrel. Test barrel for velocity would likely be 24 inches, so at 16 you are down by 8. Your 25.5 grains at 2900 fps less 400-500 fps seems right in line with your results. A heavier powder charge may have less additional velocity than you may hope for as its just more gas for muzzle blast. Try a slightly faster powder for the short barrels.
     
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  10. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    Would Alliant Power Pro 2000-MR be a good choice?
     
  11. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    All right, I went back to the range today in 27° weather, and tested some factory loads. Some 5.56 FMJ 55 grains were about 2,950 ft per second average. Then I tested some 64 grain 223 Remington gold dot factory loads. They were about 2,600 ft per second average. Next, I tried my hand loads with the 26 grains of the CFE 223 and a COAL of 2.230", and now I have an average of 2,640 ft per second, with a standard deviation of around 23. But now the accuracy has opened up to over two MOA, and I'm not satisfied with that, so I've ordered some alliant powder, and I'm going to continue reloading once temperatures hit the 70s, as that seems to be the safest bet. Thank you guys for all your help, and if you have anything else that could help, I'd appreciate it.
     
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  12. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    That seems pretty slow, I've never been 500 fps under book velocity in a 16".

    I chrono'd my 55gr 8208 handloads at just under 2,700 fps and AE xm193 at ~2,750 fps out of my 10.5" last weekend. Those are both 55gr so 7gr lighter, but also with 5.5" less barrel. My 69gr and 75gr loads chrono a little over 2,800 fps and ~2,730 fps out of my 18" AR respectively, for comparison. I have read that CFE 223 is particularly temp sensitive, so maybe that's part of the issue.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  13. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    Hmm my rifle must not like the powder. But the temperature sensitivity doesn't explain the factory load.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  14. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Just curious, so going from 25.5 to 26 got you some of the velocity you were looking for but accuracy suffered.
    Did you ladder from 25.5 to 26? Only reason I ask is sometimes .2 gr can make a difference in how accurate a load shoots.

    Overall I like Ramshot TAC for .223, it seems to shoot well for me and meters well from my measure.
    TAC is a bit faster burning than CFE-223
    80 VihtaVuori N133
    81 Hodgdon BENCHMARK
    82 Hodgdon H335
    83 Ramshot X-Terminator
    84 Accurate Arms 2230
    85 Accurate Arms 2460s
    86 IMR, Co IMR 8208 XBR
    87 Ramshot TAC
    88 Hodgdon H4895
    89 VihtaVuori N530
    90 IMR, Co IMR 4895
    91 VihtaVuori N135
    92 Alliant Reloder 12
    93 Accurate Arms 2495BR
    94 IMR, Co IMR 4166
    95 IMR, Co IMR 4064
    96 NORMA 202
    97 Accurate Arms 4064
    98 Accurate Arms 2520
    99 Alliant Reloder 15
    100 VihtaVuori N140
    101 Hodgdon VARGET
    102 IMR, Co IMR 4320
    103 Winchester 748
    104 Hodgdon BL-C(2)
    105 Hodgdon CFE 223
    106 Hodgdon LEVEREVOLUTION

    Lots of people like H335 for .223, it also meters well if that matters to you.
    I have not tried everything in .223 (lots of things to try) I would place what I have tried in this order
    TAC, 8208XBR and BLC(2) [tie], H335
     
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  15. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    I'm going to try some new laddering this weekend. I figured out that instead of waiting for a 70° weather, I could just use the indoor building and use a heater to heat it up to 70°.
     
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  16. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    Got rid of my junk Caldwell Chronograph and went with the Magnetospeed. Dumb thing says my 30.2 grain power pro 2000mr 62 grain loads were going 2840 fps when all the data says at least 3180.
     
  17. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    2000MR is a pretty slow burning powder and could be too slow for your AR causing problems with the gas system. I'm guessing that if you turned the lights off, the muzzle flash would be quite impressive from all the unburned powder.

    Take a look at the list Dudedog posted. 335, 8208XBR, 4895, and TAC are all popular powders for 50-60 grain class bullets.
     
  18. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    But the published data...
     
  19. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    I have a friend that likes CFE223 but he is running over max loads, in an 18 inch AR- with a rifle length gas system, and a 24" bolt gun. I think the powder likes to be run hot.

    I rarely look at the velocity numbers of published data as it depends on a lot of things including barrel length, pressure, throat, etc. Some of those powders may not come to life until 20 inches down the barrel.
     
  20. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    Well, after using power pro 2000mr, I'm getting 1.28 inch groups at 100 yards and 2850 fps, and I'm happy with that. Thanks everyone for all your help, and I'll look into those other powders if I need more velocity.
     
  21. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Glad Power Pro 2000 worked out for you.
    Sometimes guns just seem to prefer one powder over another.
     
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  22. The_Savage

    The_Savage Member

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    Hey I don't know if anyone's still watching this, but do you think over-gassing might cause this? My rifle likes to eject shells forward, and I think maybe that might be causing lower velocities.
     
  23. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I was going to comment on how much stretch your getting on the brass. Indicates your over gassed. There are several ways to correct this. One is the use of heavy buffers, the other adj gas block. I actually use both along and a silent capture RS setup.

    If you have a lightened bolt that's working against you. If you have it dialed in right the brass should eject in the 3:00-4:30 direction. Also it will not dent up the brass as much for it's not hitting and bouncing forward.
     
  24. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    Ejection pattern does not always indicate that you are overgassed.

    Just a guess but I think you would be ripping case rims off if there was still pressure in the chamber and barrel when the bolt unlocks.
     
  25. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    He's getting excessive stretching in the brass, which is a indicator of extracting the brass a little too early, under higher pressure.
     
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