Old reloader looking for .223 help!

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volshooter

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 12, 2002
Messages
1,524
Just bought a .223 barrel for my TC Encore. I have plenty of surplus ammo as well as brass. I am impressed with the performance of this surplus ammo but I know I can do better with handrolled.
I am asking for forum members to "show me the honey hole", so I don't have to build up a load. The .223 is the last round I would have thought I would ever reload. (again, I am impressed with groups and upon closer inspection the round has much more merit than I ever gave it.
I look forward to any tips ya'll can give me.

I find my old Speer manual less than comforting with my new project.
 

Cholo

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Messages
5,695
I like my old Speer manuals. I havn't loaded .223's since '83, but settled on 26.5 grs of 748 with a 55 gr Sierra Blitz. Great on goundhogs! This was in a Rem 788 rifle. I don't own any new manuals that might have better loads for a short barrel.
 

slippingaway

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
525
I'd have to look through a bunch of notes for an exact charge, but on the recommendations of several here I loaded up 62gr bullets, some with Varget and some with H-322. Both seem to be great powders for the cartridge.
 

Sagebrush Burns

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
354
My recipe of choice is: Hornady 52 BTHP, 27.0 H-335, CCI-450, Winchester brass. Gives 3400 fps and 9/16" 5 shot groups in my Remington M700VS. Does excellent work on prairie dogs and rock chucks.
 

Divernhunter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
263
I have loaded the 223 for many years for a Rem Varmit rifle. I have loaded the 223 for a 15" encore pistol barrel for 7+ years. Mil ammo 55gr is 2495FPS for comparison to my hand loads. I have tried about 9-11 different powders. My go to load which is deadly accurate and fast for a 55 gr bullet is 28.5grs of Win748 with a mag primer in comercial brass or what I have shot thousands of round of Mil bras with 55gr bullet and 27grs of Win748. The mil brass load goes 2992FPS in the 15" encore. The comercial brass 55gr load does 3080FPS.
Another load I have tried is 26grs of H335 with a 55gr bullet. I di have sticky cases at 27grs.
All 55gr bullets were my favorite Hornady 55gr SX or reg Hornady 55gr SP. With the SX bullets I get explosive results on ground squirrels and no strays bouncing off into places I do not want.

Another load which worked well on PD's in Wy was a nosler 40gr BT bullet and 28 or 28.5grs of H335 with factory brass. I have not tried this with mil surplus brass and you would have to reduce the powder if you did. With 28grs I got 3420FPS and with 28.5grs of H335 I got 3530FPS. With 40gr bullets I also used Benchmark and 28grs gave 3350FPS. Win748 powder gave 3215FPS with 28.5grs and with a compressed 30grs gave 3340FPS.

Accuracy was excellent with all loads but I really like Win 748 with 55gr bullets. I wll not bore you with all the other powders and combos I have tried. All FPS were at 20 feet from the muzzle approx over my chronograph.
 

Rusty W

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
109
I have had good luck with BLC2 powder & 55gr Noslet BT bullets. I started with a NEF Handi Rifle and got 1/2" groups with Fed 205M primers, standard Win SR primers would only do 1". It had a 1 in 12 twist and shot 64gr winchester soft points into a 3/4" group. I sold the NEF and bought a Savage 12vs with a 1 in 9 twist. It shoots the 55v-max into a little clover leaf at 100yds. I tried IMR 3031 and it was accurate as well but I had to hand charge each case. The ball powder is much easier to meter.
 

Ethang

Blackhawk
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
693
Reloading for an Encore is different then for a bolt gun. Being a hinge breech it headspaces differently. I reload the 204 Ruger for an Encore. Once you get it dialed it is great, but it can take a bit more fine tuning then a bolt gun. Mike Bellm used to have a forum with some very good reloading information on it. I don't know if it's still up or not.

All that said for my 223 I got the most accurate load using Varget, but the velocity was slower. Using Vit N133 I got great velocity and very good accuracy. I used V-max 50 grain bullets.
 

ra

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
264
As has been said, a lot of powders work well in the 223 cartridges. I have shot 222 for years in Contenders and have had best accuracy with BLC-2, followed closely with RL-10.

ra
 

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