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 .223 reloading for accuracy 
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 Post subject: .223 reloading for accuracy
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:33 am 
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I've reloaded/shot a few thou rounds now (pistol/rifle) for plinking, and now I'm taking my first try at working up an accurate load for my DPMS Panther 20".
I've read the basic steps are.
-load 5-10 rounds each at varying powder charge from starting to max
-seat bullet so it's just touching rifling
-fire those rounds and pick the best grouping
-from that powder charge group, load more with that charge, and now change seating depth, decreasing OAL
-fire those sets and pick best grouping
From here you could experiment with different primers, etc.

Here's my issue I ran into last night. I'm working with Sierra 69gr HPBT matchkings.
I dont have my notes on me, so I'm using generic numbers here.
I measured my chamber OAL with a frankford gauge to be say 2.5"
Hodgdon says to load this round at 2.3"
I loaded some at 2.5" but found they wont fit the magazine. So I seated them a little deeper so they fit the mag, say 2.4"
Am I just going to have that compromise if I want to feed them from magazine. Just load the first set so they fit mag, and then decrease the OAL in steps from there, down to the 2.3" listed with Hodgdon?

Which brings me to the next question... What about when I get these 69gr figured out, and want to do the same with the midway dogtown 55gr's. My first thought is the 55gr wont be long enuf to seat so it 'just touches rifling' So again I'll be left with comprimise OAL.

Am I missing something here, or is this all part of the game?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:36 am 
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I know there's a Rifle reloading for accuracy thread over at MnGunTalk. HammAr, Pinnacle, and a couple others have participated and IF you can convince one of them to share recipes and experience, I'd jump on it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:41 am 
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Well, you have discovered one of the problems in precision reloading for a auto-rifle. Unless you want to load each round by hand, they will need to function from the magazine. And if you want to load each round by hand, you should have bought a bolt action. ;)

I would not recommend seating the bullet so it is touching the lands. I think it is better to back it off a couple thousandths. I have read of increased pressure problems with a bullet that has already engaged the lands before it is fired. Start with a couple thou off the lands or max length for reliable function.

When I have been looking for an accuracy load, I start with powders first, then I would consider OAL. I load them in 1gr increments of five rounds each. Usually across a 10gr spread if that powder permits. I hove considered taking the best powder load and working that down into ½ or even ¼ gr increments on either side, but I've never felt compelled to go down that far. The groups were small enough.

My guess is you won't notice any difference switching primers.

Another thing to consider in your groups is the flyer problem. It is a common discovery that the first round that is chambered manually will not group with the next four which are cycled automatically. This also happens with bolt rifles too when the first shot is from a round not loaded from the magazine, but dropped directly into the chamber.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:45 pm 
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thanks guys, I went over to the other forum and read thru the posts.

I'm not really looking for 'match' accuracy. Just 'good enuf' to sit back and say, wow I built them myself, better than the factory. I wont have to worry about seating at the lands because the mag wont allow it. I did read in the other thread about high pressure if you go under the min cart OAL, so I'll just watch for that also.

Did this same process for my pops a few weeks ago. Worked on a 40gr vmax load for his bolt .223. I think we loaded 5 rounds at 5 powder weights, and set the cart OAL to what was listed in book. Shot them under not so ideal conditions but saw a distinct difference in groups, with the best being just under 1moa. He was happy with that, so we quit and duplicated that load. (yeah I know, I should have waited for ideal condiditions, and shot more per powder weight, but he's kinda stingy that way. I was just shocked he let me do the shooting)

I want to take mine a step further and see what I can do in the AR. I'm not so stingy ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:02 pm 
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Sounds like you have a handle on it. I would just be aware of the 4+1 flyer "problem" when you go to measure your groups. Try to remember which one was the first shot and consider excluding that one from your measurement.

A four-shot (or even three shot) group should give a pretty good idea. Heck, anything after three is extraneous anyhow, you aren't going to make the group any smaller. :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Quote:
DeanC wrote:
It is a common discovery that the first round that is chambered manually will not group with the next four which are cycled automatically. This also happens with bolt rifles too when the first shot is from a round not loaded from the magazine, but dropped directly into the chamber.


I have wondered that. I thought my grandfather's 30.06 was shot out because I would always get one flyer. I tried to sight in with one shot a week always with a cold barrel and couldn't get accuracy. When I finally started shooting from the clip and sighting with a warm barrel I would get excellent groups.

Now the big question. Why?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:16 pm 
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Yeah, when I shot the rounds for my pops, ran a snake down the bore, the first round was a factory load off target, next 5 were the test rounds, 'on target'...and repeat..

I figured I'd do the same.. last round put in mag would be factory round, and shot off target, next 8 will be the test loads, semi-fed and 'on target'


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Kinda scares the critters away warming up the barrel doesn't it? I mean before taking the shot that counts??? 8)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:32 pm 
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It depends on the critters....


what manuals do you have ?

there are some very good manuals that have details on loading for hte AR, I think Layne simpson had a series about "presicision reloading for the AR platform" not sure but you might dredge it up on google.

Varmint hunter magazine had a another very good article on it, but I do not have my copies here, they are at the deer shack I forgot them up there.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:42 pm 
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Quote:
Kinda scares the critters away warming up the barrel doesn't it? I mean before taking the shot that counts???


I guess I was referring to the fact that if you load from the clip and not just dropping in the first round it seems to make a difference. The cold barrel to warm barrel has been 1" at 100yds vs. 4" to 6" for a cartridge dropped in compared to from the clip.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:15 pm 
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Tex wrote:
Quote:
Kinda scares the critters away warming up the barrel doesn't it? I mean before taking the shot that counts???


I guess I was referring to the fact that if you load from the clip and not just dropping in the first round it seems to make a difference. The cold barrel to warm barrel has been 1" at 100yds vs. 4" to 6" for a cartridge dropped in compared to from the clip.


Sorry - Just poking fun.

That is significant differnces in the shots.

I noticed that in my rifle this year. 2 sets 3 rounds shot - 1 is 1" high, 2 others are 3" high at 100yds. All were loaded from the clip. Slow fired from a bench laying the rifle across a rather thick Pack. Virtually no L-R derivation, only the vertical. Both targets had the same pattern and nearly identical holes.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:08 am 
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Finally had a nice day yesterday to head to the 'rents and do some shooting with the test rounds I had loaded up.

Not ideal shooting <<< was not able to keep his heartbeat out of the crosshairs since I dont have a good vise, and was just shooting off a bag.

With the Sierra 69gr HPTB match, my best 2 groupings out of 5 different powder loads looks like were 8 of 8 rounds in .8"

I also loaded up some of the Midway dogtown 55gr spitzers. Had 6 diff loads with 5 rounds each. My best grouping out of those was 5 of 5 in .512"

I'm happy with either of those. I'd venture a guess my results would be better yet if I took the slacker out of the equation.
Time to load up some more ;)

BTW, with the 55gr dogtowns, they must have a steeper ogive than the 69's. I was able to hang them out far enuf to touch the lands, but I did seat them a couple thou off as recommended.


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