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Varget .223 - your experience needed!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tikkat3, Dec 8, 2006.

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  1. tikkat3

    tikkat3 Member

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    I have just had to try Varget, as my dealer is out of H335 and does not have any other powders that I wanted to try out.

    I would be interested to hear your recipes/experience with varget in .223. Below are the results of my initial testing. The results were not the best in my opinion and I have not really found a good, consistent load.

    All were shot from a 1-8" twist Tikka T3 Lite with a Harris bipod at the front and sandbags under the stock, over a Land Rover bonnet. The rifle was absolutely steady for all shots. It was rodded through with a brass jag only after every 10-15 shots. Here are some of the groupings (5 shot groups):

    AT 100m (all with either 55gr Speer FMJ, or 55gr Hornady V-Max, set approx 8 thou off the lands)

    26.0gr - 3 shots at 0.468", 2 flyers, self-induced .(FMJ)

    26.3gr - 3 shots at 0.732", 1 flyer, one just off paper target (shooting high towards top of target). (FMJ)

    26.6gr - messy. 2 shots within 0.440", other 3 at 1.309" of eachother, overall spread 2.5". (FMJ)

    27.0gr - again, scope set too high. 3 shots at 0.757", 2 off paper, but appear to be under 1", judging by entry holes on wood above paper. (FMJ)

    27.3gr - 1.7" spread. (FMJ)

    27.5" - 0.841", but 1 flyer extends this to 1.3". (FMJ)

    27.5 - 0.987" with 1 flyer to 1.498" (V-Max)


    AT 200m (4 shot groups)

    27.5gr - 3 shot group at 0.449" plus a bad flyer. (V-Max)

    26.0gr - 4.8"!!! (FMJ)

    Overall, I was not too happy with the charges. They did not seem to be consistent enough, especially later in the day when some of the charges gave very different results. Some of the flyers were definitely the result of shooter error, but most shots were rock steady on the sand bags.

    I found that the 27.5gr loads gave significantly more recoil than the equivalent max charges in H335 gave. Some of the recoil was hefty for a .223 in my opinion.

    What do you guys Stateside think?
     
  2. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    in 223 i have had good luck w/ varget using 60 grains and heavier bullets (the more heavier, the better it works). lightweight bullets have been ok w/ varget, but nothing great.
     
  3. tikkat3

    tikkat3 Member

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    Thanks Dakota. Varget seems to be ok, but nothing special. I have read elsewhere that it is a good all-rounder through the calibres, but not special for most.
     
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    i've had good luck w/ varget in: heavy-for-caliber 223, and 243. it has done well in all bullet weights in 7-08 and 308.

    essentially, i keep varget around for my 308's, and were it not for my 308's, i'd probably never shoot the stuff myself.
     
  5. waumo

    waumo Member

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    I was on the Varget bandwagon for awhile until I concluded it was OK for
    a lot of different catridges but not the best for any cartridge.

    I gave away/traded the remainder of my supply.

    I've had good results with Benchmark in the 223 with 52/55 grain bullets.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Hard to beat H335 in the .223. Only thing better is maybe W748. Varget did OK for me. Not real excited about it. I also shoot H335 & W748 in my heavy barrel Sako in .222 Mag. Sweet shooter!
     
  7. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    Varget works well for me in 223 with 26.2 grains under a 60 grain vmax...usually arounf 1/2 inch...it works well periodically in my 30-06 and not well (so far) in 308, though I have not tried it with heavier bullets only 150's.
     
  8. YodaVader

    YodaVader Member

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    My 26" Savage with a 1 in 9" twist barrel likes Varget and the 69 MatchKing. These targets were with 25.0 grains with the loading manual listed OAL.

    My 20" barrel 700 also with a 1 in 9" twist likes H335 with 52 - 55 grain bullets. Also H322 with the 69 MatchKing.
     

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  9. Grump

    Grump Member

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    You really shouldn't be surprised at the flyers you're getting. Vehicles are just too bouncy for reliable testing.

    Get on the ground or on a solid bench for your ammo testing.

    That said, and a great big BUT... I'm amazed you've done so well with the FMJ bullets--I've never had great groups with them ever. 2 MOA is about the limit, though I've heard of some folks with Uber-match barrels getting barely 1 MOA.

    Seems like the big attraction of Varget is your zeros are hardly affected by temperature changes. I've used some but haven't really tested it for that. Works okay for me.
     
  10. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    As an AR-15 shooter, a Highpower shooter and a reloading nut, when I load bullets under 60gr in weight in .223 I stay well away from Varget. Win 748 and others are better suited for light-bullet .223 loads, IMO.

    However, for reliability of zero, and consistent, reliable accuracy (if not bench-rest quality) shooting 69-80gr bullets, I have found Varget to be wonderful. It works so well in that application in .223 I haven't tried but one other powder (H4895) and that was a short-lived experiment. RL-15 is supposed to work equally well in the same role, but I've never tried it (the local guy doesn't stock it reliably... BUT, he ALWAYS has at least one pound of Varget).

    But after trying it in a .30-06 1903A3, I'm inclined to side with the "Okay in many, not superb in any" crowd. Of course, I believe the test of a rifle is to get off of the sandbags and shoot, so Varget shoots well enough for that use! :p
     
  11. nitesite

    nitesite Member

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    My XM15-E2 20" stainless barrel really likes H335 when shooting 55-gr JSPs. Varget has not shown any better results for me. But I shoot 200-yards and under, so perhaps Varget shines at longer distances.
     
  12. Dark Helmet

    Dark Helmet Member

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    I'd try a heavier bullet- you have the twist and burn rate for it.
     
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    My LR AR does very well with 23.5 - 24 gr Varget and a 90 grain JLK or Berger VLD. Last time out, a best of 5 shots in 4.2" at 500 metres. Half inch at 100 is pretty common.
    It has a 28" 6.5 twist barrel to handle those heavy bullets.

    Re15 is so nearly the same I cannot tell a difference except in price and availability; lots more Varget hereabouts at lower cost. I have some VV N550 I will try, it did not work with 90 gr SMK but then nothing did, not well enough to get them to 1000 yards.
     
  14. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    fwiw- i find that varget and rl-15 are nearly interchangeable, too... the one difference i noted is that rl-15 seems to get better velocity than varget out of longer barrels, and varget gets more velocity than rl-15 out of shorter barrels. the difference is minimal, though, at maybe 50 f/s - but has been consistent for me...
     
  15. tikkat3

    tikkat3 Member

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    I have trouble over here in the UK getting heavier varminting bullets (V-Max, SPs). Target bullets are no problem, but I would not weant to use them for hunting varmints (fox, rabbits etc). My local gun stores tend to always have a range of 40-55gr expanding bullets, but never anything above that. It is a simple matter of no demand for heavier expanding rounds in my part of the world, combined with stringent firearms purchasing laws/requirements in the UK.

    55gr V-Max is therefore my ideal varminting bullet. I think I will next try N133 and H322, if I can get hold of any. Varget does not seem to be the ideal powder for my rifle. It is not bad, but also not good. H335 was far better.
     
  16. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    My best luck with Varget has been in 308 with 168 and 175 gr Hornday A-Max Moly. I can't say I've found ANY 223 loadings that I can really write home about, but then I don't have a precision 223 rifle either.
     
  17. langenc

    langenc Member

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    Have been using Relaoder 10x. It was made esp for 223. 50 grain bullets can use 24-25 gr. Start out at 21 or 22 and work up.
     
  18. ranger53

    ranger53 Member

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    I've only shot Varget in a 270, that's right a 270. It performed pretty good. As far as a 223 I choose IMR 4198 or 3031. But my rifles like different things. The Varget is gone and I'm using IMR 4350 in my 270.
    tommy
     
  19. callgood

    callgood Member

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    Not the best for your situation. If you tried approx. 25.3 grains Varget with either a Sierra Match King 69 grain or a Hornady 75 grain BTHP I think your groups would improve. Doesn't help you with your varmint situation, but I think a more correct statement would be your rifle doesn't like Varget and lighter bullets.
     
  20. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    My buddy likes Varget out of his 20" H-bar and I prefer H-335 out of my 16" Oly SUM barrel. Tried varget myself but didnt care for it. Would rather use Varget in my 22-250 which shoots great with that powder.
     
  21. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    Get some 69 gr Sierra HPBT's or 60 gr Sierra's....and try another powder...any powder.

    For some reason, Varget does not shoot accurately through my 1:9 twist Savage either.

    I can shoot 40's to 69's through it with excellent accuracy with AA2230-c, IMR4198, etc, etc.
     
  22. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    Might want to click on this link. 268 yards lasered. Two consecutive 3 shot groups. Bushmaster Varminter AR. Fluted match grade 1-9 barrel , 2-stage trigger. 6.5x20 Leupold VX-III scope, off solid bench.

    http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e283/Indianaoutdoorsman/Gunpix-1.jpg

    26.0 Varget, Nosler 50 BT, WW cases, Fed SR match primers. Loaded to mag length.

    IMO, accuracy is in your bullets and primers, not your powder. Dump the FMJ's (especially if they're cheapies) and get good bullets.

    Trying to get excellent accuracy out of mediocre bullets is like trying to win the Indy 500 on street tires.
     
  23. Dark Helmet

    Dark Helmet Member

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    I was going to mention trying a different primer before giving up.:uhoh:
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Why did you quit shooting so soon?
    I am a target shooter and have to make 20 shots in a row count.
     
  25. g56

    g56 Member

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    I prefer to use ball powders in 223, but I have experimented with Varget. Chrono out of a 24" barrel AR15, this load rips along pretty good.

    26.5 gr Varget in IMI military case
    55 gr Winchester FMJBT
    CCI primer
    Avg 3223 fps
    SD 16.4
    AD 12.3
     
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