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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2 types, I got the SIERRA 77 gr. HPBTs that Black Hill's uses in the Mk 262 Mod 1 that has become the most effective 5.56 NATO load. The other is the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match that's loaded in another highly respected load, the TAP-LEO (T2) that runs about 150 FPS faster than the personal defense civilian version.

Did some loading yesterday and I'm glad I bought more of the less expensive Hornady's. My REDDING seating die actually liked the Hornady's better and there was less OACL variation with the secant ogive bullet.

Only used one powder with the SIERRA's and they're charged with X-Terminator. I made 3 different loads with the Hornady 75s. BTW, both of these bullets have cannelures. The Hornady loads got charged with X-Term., TAC and W748 and I made ladder loads to get up to the recommended velocities for these bullets.

Last time out we used an improvised rest as I mentioned. We had no problems sighting in without bore-sighting first. At 50 yards I was able to get 5 round groups into the 1" 10-ring of the Midway target without great difficulty and we only used the Hornady 55 gr. FMJ-BTw/c loads I made except for me shooting the water jugs with a single SIERRA 65 gr. SPBT.

When we moved out to 100 yards, things weren't so peachy. Couldn't get the rifle solidly rested where we grouped and chrono'd the 65 gr. SIERRA's. The best 5 shot group I fired was a pretty mediocre 1.2", but considering how much the barrel was walking it really wasn't that bad.

Like I said, the 3 round factory group with the same Hornady 55 gr. bullets was about .48" at 100 yards and the CRX-16 has a minute-of-angle gurantee. The rest issue has already been resolved and I'm not concerned that this AR isn't a tack-driver.

Headed to the range in about an hour to test these newest loads out if possible. I'd like to be able to chrono as well. Because of the Colt/Bold Ideas test group, I immediately set my own goal of doing the same with 5 rounds rather than 3 and there won't be a rest problem! Kinda odd with X-Term being the faster burner of the 3 powders, but the data shows higher velocity. So far it's been the cleanest of the three although I wouldn't call TAC or 748 dirty. Funny how it's all working out because I originally bought the X-Term. for 170 gr. True Cast GC bullets in .30-30. It was made originally for .223 and just guessing beforehand, I expect it will produce the best groups. We'll talk later. ;)
 

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Suggestion: Shoot 5 round groups, not 3. more the better.

lol i see you will be doing 5 rounds now.

I've been using TAC here lately with 77gr SMKs without the 'lure. 24gr seems to do OK. destroyed the center 1"ring at 100 yards just yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
KS, I shoot 5 round groups in anything smaller than .270 Win. Near the end of our last session we did shoot a few 3 round groups with the Horn. 55 gr. FMJ-BT. I was really surprised about the amount of elevation change when we switched from 50 to 100 yards. The 50 yard groups were dead on, but the 65 gr. SIERRA SPBTs were about 4" high which we corrected. I'm sure we'll be making another correction with the 75 & 77 gr bullets. Sure hoping the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match will be the cat's meow as they can be bought in 600 ct. bulk packs. And as I said, the seating die liked them better with the secant ogive. Haven't taken a peak inside the die yet to make sure they are seating on the ogive. ;)
 

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Did some loading yesterday and I'm glad I bought more of the less expensive Hornady's. My REDDING seating die actually liked the Hornady's better and there was less OACL variation with the secant ogive bullet.

...

Headed to the range in about an hour to test these newest loads out if possible. I'd like to be able to chrono as well. Because of the Colt/Bold Ideas test group, I immediately set my own goal of doing the same with 5 rounds rather than 3 and there won't be a rest problem! Kinda odd with X-Term being the faster burner of the 3 powders, but the data shows higher velocity. So far it's been the cleanest of the three although I wouldn't call TAC or 748 dirty. Funny how it's all working out because I originally bought the X-Term. for 170 gr. True Cast GC bullets in .30-30. It was made originally for .223 and just guessing beforehand, I expect it will produce the best groups. We'll talk later. ;)
My apologies if this post doesn't make much sense or I end up rambling. I'm just now about 6 hours out of knee surgery.

I found that my REDDING die seats the 69gr SMK much better than the Hornady 52gr match or a 60gr Nosler Spitzer. I believe it is because of the ogive, and I'm sure when you open it up you'll find that it seats those long bullets very well.

KS, I shoot 5 round groups in anything smaller than .270 Win. Near the end of our last session we did shoot a few 3 round groups with the Horn. 55 gr. FMJ-BT. I was really surprised about the amount of elevation change when we switched from 50 to 100 yards. The 50 yard groups were dead on, but the 65 gr. SIERRA SPBTs were about 4" high which we corrected. I'm sure we'll be making another correction with the 75 & 77 gr bullets. Sure hoping the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match will be the cat's meow as they can be bought in 600 ct. bulk packs. And as I said, the seating die liked them better with the secant ogive. Haven't taken a peak inside the die yet to make sure they are seating on the ogive. ;)
Any reason you went with the Hornady's over Sierra MatchKings? Is it just price difference or something else that drew you to them?
 

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Rifles are finicky. Diff bullets, diff powders, even diff primers can make a huge diff in accuracy from a precision rifle.
I do 3 shot groups in my original workups for a new bullet/cartridge. Saves bbl wear, time & $$. The best 3shot groups get shot again as 5shot, @ 100 & 200. If all is well, then load dev is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My apologies if this post doesn't make much sense or I end up rambling. I'm just now about 6 hours out of knee surgery.

I found that my REDDING die seats the 69gr SMK much better than the Hornady 52gr match or a 60gr Nosler Spitzer. I believe it is because of the ogive, and I'm sure when you open it up you'll find that it seats those long bullets very well.



Any reason you went with the Hornady's over Sierra MatchKings? Is it just price difference or something else that drew you to them?

taylorjr, the bullets were selected based on terminal performance testing from an article I read. The SIERRA 77 gr. HPBT MK w/c is what Black Hill's loads in the Mk 262 Mod 1 and has proven to be the best 5.56 NATO load we've used and even some special operations units are going back to 5.56 NATO because of it. The article I read was fairly graphic and came from a somewhat controversial website, but I believe the author made some very conclusive points when he wrote it in 2010. The conclusion was that with the longer/heavier Open Tip bullets, 2750 FPS at the muzzle is minimum for best performence: tumbling with some fragmentation.

At that time the Hornady 75 gr. TAP/LEO T2 was coming online and the author mentioned a preference for the T2 load. So, I bought both bullets to replicate the Mk 262 Mod 1 and the 75 gr. Hornady TAP/LEO T2.

OACL variation wasn't bad at all with the 77 gr. HPBT MK, it's just that it was even less with 75 gr. Hornady BTHP-Match w/c. The Hornady bullet costs much less and can be bought in 600 ct. bulk packs.

You guys may know this, but neither SIERRA nor Hornady show the cannelured bullet in their catalogs, but Midway definitely has both.

The sun/intermittent cloud cover played hell with chronographing. The sun would come out so I'd put the diffusers back on and by the time I started firing a string, the sun would be behind a cloud and vice-versa. So, some of the numbers I'm gonna post came from less than 10 round strings with one being 14 rounds where we tried to chrono 20.

We improved the rest situation somewhat, but not well enough, so we're talking about getting a Caldwell? Lead Sled. Groups were better than Monday's but not by any great amount. These Colt's Competition rifles come with an MOA guarantee and the test target that came with the CRX-16 showed 3 rounds at .48" @ 100 yards. They're also made for Colt's by Bold Ideas in Breckenridge, TX, only about 75 miles north of me, which I like very much. Never really expected I'd own an AR in .223/5.56, but the article concerning the Mk 262 Mod 1 and Hornady TAP T2 had an effect. I thought if I ever owned one it would be an AR10 in .243 or .260 Rem. I've liked the FN SCAR since its introduction but realistically, I'm just not going to fork over the kind of money that FN is asking. Besides, FN has something in common with Ruger that I don't like; they both hammer forge their barrels whereas the Colt's Competition rifles have match grade and air-gaged button rifled barrels.

I did kinda shoot one 3 round group as they were the first 3 of 5 I shot with my SP spotting. The first 3 rounds later measured .5" (pretty much duplicating the test target) but the next 2 rounds made the group spread to 1.1". The good thing was that 4 rounds were in the top left quadrant of the Midway Bullseye with the other at .1" outside the ring. That was with the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match w/c and TAC. Would have had another group well under sub-MOA if I hadn't let a shot get away from me. To be honest, we fired and chrono'd 45 of the Hornady bullet loads and only 20 of the SIERRA bullet loads after shooting the laddder loads that I didn't bother chrongrahing. My opinion so far is that the Hornady is every bit as accurate if not moreso than the SIERRA.

Here's the rundown as chrono'd at 15'.

Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-M w/c loaded with X-Terminator and a CCI-400 primer, Lapua cases: average velocity 2733 FPS, ES 84 and an SD of 27.5 for 10 rounds. That was before the sun/cloud issues.

Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-M w/c loaded with TAC and CCI-400 Lapua cases: average velocity 2824 FPS, ES 54 and an SD of 23 but only 4 shots registered. Obviously it has the velocity and was the most accurate load overall.

Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-M w/c loaded with W748 and CCI-400, Mixed headstamp cases: average velocity 2713 FPS, ES 106 and an SD of 36.8 for 7 rounds.

SIERRA 77 gr. HPBT MK w/c loaded with X-Terminator and a CCI-400. Winchester cases: average velocity 2641 FPS, ES 111 and an SD of 29 for 14 rounds. The next loads with this bullet will be charged with TAC. The load I used came from the Lyman 49th .223 data which was .5 grs. higher than Ramshot shows for 5.56 NATO with the same bullet. We had a primer failure with this combo. I know it wasn't high-seated and I'm doing that on the press with the Safety Primes system that's working very well. Tried a second strike and still no joy. I'll pull the bullet tomorrow. First time I've ever had a failure with CCI primers. Western used the WSR in their 5.56 NATO data but CCI-400s were all we could get.

With the lack of available 5.56mm NATO data for W748, we'll probably push on with X-Terminator and TAC. X-T came close enough to the velocity goal of 2750 FPS with the Hornady where TAC exceeded it. Haven't decided about using Varget yet but it's waiting in the wings, although data is lacking as in the case of 748. With X-T, TAC and 748, I'm not weighing individual charges because in testing, I haven't found it necessary. X-T and TAC are so dense and fine-grained that the test charges were just too uniform with the Uniflow and I weigh again after finishing with a particular load, so I'm not concerned with trickling that I'll have to do with Varget. Who knows, maybe if I weighed each individual charge, I might improve accuracy. Then again, a good rest is definitely gonna help. As of this point the prime parts look to be the Hornady bullet charged with TAC. I'll also try 2520 if any becomes available. ;)
 

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While I own some 8lbs of TAC, I have not reloaded for my AR type rifle or the Mini14 as of yet since I have a sufficient quantity of other ammunition and I don't shoot my rifles much. I have in the past done some rifle reloading, but I'm mainly a pistol guy and so I don't claim any expertise in the rifle reloading field. I do know from persons I run into at the range and elsewhere that if you are using bullets heavy for the caliber in .223 or 5.56 you are going to get the best velocities from TAC. Some people claim that Varget will give slightly better accuracy with lighter bullets, but no one complains of accuracy using TAC either, and with heavy bullets there seems not to be a better choice. For those who use progressive loaders for AR type rifles, TAC also seems preferred because of its uniformity from an auto powder measure. These are mostly 3 gun competitors that I know of, but they tend to shoot some long range matches too, so I have no doubt TAC will excel with bullets from 62grns on up.
 

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...OACL variation wasn't bad at all with the 77 gr. HPBT MK, it's just that it was even less with 75 gr. Hornady BTHP-Match w/c. The Hornady bullet costs much less and can be bought in 600 ct. bulk packs.

....

Here's the rundown as chrono'd at 15'.

...

Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-M w/c loaded with TAC and CCI-400 Lapua cases: average velocity 2824 FPS, ES 54 and an SD of 23 but only 4 shots registered. Obviously it has the velocity and was the most accurate load overall.

...

With the lack of available 5.56mm NATO data for W748, we'll probably push on with X-Terminator and TAC. X-T came close enough to the velocity goal of 2750 FPS with the Hornady where TAC exceeded it. Haven't decided about using Varget yet but it's waiting in the wings, although data is lacking as in the case of 748. With X-T, TAC and 748, I'm not weighing individual charges because in testing, I haven't found it necessary. X-T and TAC are so dense and fine-grained that the test charges were just too uniform with the Uniflow and I weigh again after finishing with a particular load, so I'm not concerned with trickling that I'll have to do with Varget. Who knows, maybe if I weighed each individual charge, I might improve accuracy. Then again, a good rest is definitely gonna help. As of this point the prime parts look to be the Hornady bullet charged with TAC. I'll also try 2520 if any becomes available. ;)
A couple notes for you 57k - Did you gauge your COAL with a bullet comparator? or just rim to tip with calipers? I've noticed that the Sierra's I load (69gr MK) have quite a bit of variance at the meplat, but are very uniform at the ogive. It's almost to the point that I may need to trim them at some point for complete uniformity. I've also got some 52gr Hornady Match on hand that I use in the wife's bolt gun, and every round I've loaded has seemed to have very uniform meplats and ogives.

For now, the variations in the COAL for me aren't a big deal, as I am loading to mag length in my AR. If I were to ever load the 69gr in my wife's bolt gun, I think I'd be using a bullet comparator to ensure a uniform jump to the lands with the Sierra's.

On your powder choices, I've done quite a bit of reading on powders for 223 as I've laid here in my recliner, and TAC is definitely a good choice for getting the velocity you are looking for while being very easy to meter. I need to revisit my workup because I think I could push the 69gr even faster than the 2550fps I was seeing. I hadn't seen any pressure signs in LC brass even with the soft CCI 400 primers i use.

I also think that CFE 223 would work extremely well for you. It's a spherical powder that shows a max load with velocity over 2800fps with a 75gr VLD in a 24" barrel. I think you could easily get to 2750 with it, and it has to meter well because it is spherical.

Varget got me to 2750fps out of a 16" barrel with a 69gr SMK, but it does not meter well at all. If you want to use it with any sort of accuracy, you'll need to trickle each charge. I also never noticed any sort of stellar accuracy with it, and I tried it in my AR with 69gr's and in the wife's CZ with 52gr's. My last test will be with the wife's CZ and the 69gr I have - I'm hoping with the longer barrel that it performs better than it did in my AR.

While I own some 8lbs of TAC, I have not reloaded for my AR type rifle or the Mini14 as of yet since I have a sufficient quantity of other ammunition and I don't shoot my rifles much. I have in the past done some rifle reloading, but I'm mainly a pistol guy and so I don't claim any expertise in the rifle reloading field. I do know from persons I run into at the range and elsewhere that if you are using bullets heavy for the caliber in .223 or 5.56 you are going to get the best velocities from TAC. Some people claim that Varget will give slightly better accuracy with lighter bullets, but no one complains of accuracy using TAC either, and with heavy bullets there seems not to be a better choice. For those who use progressive loaders for AR type rifles, TAC also seems preferred because of its uniformity from an auto powder measure. These are mostly 3 gun competitors that I know of, but they tend to shoot some long range matches too, so I have no doubt TAC will excel with bullets from 62grns on up.
I never saw very good accuracy with Varget with 52gr bullets, even out of a long barrel. For heavy bullets, I'm comfortable with Reloader 15, CFE 223, TAC, Varget, or IMR 8208XBR. Although I haven't found a good combo with Varget, and have yet to test CFE 223 or 8208XBR in my guns, I doubt I'll have any problem with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A couple notes for you 57k - Did you gauge your COAL with a bullet comparator? or just rim to tip with calipers? I've noticed that the Sierra's I load (69gr MK) have quite a bit of variance at the meplat, but are very uniform at the ogive. It's almost to the point that I may need to trim them at some point for complete uniformity. I've also got some 52gr Hornady Match on hand that I use in the wife's bolt gun, and every round I've loaded has seemed to have very uniform meplats and ogives.

For now, the variations in the COAL for me aren't a big deal, as I am loading to mag length in my AR. If I were to ever load the 69gr in my wife's bolt gun, I think I'd be using a bullet comparator to ensure a uniform jump to the lands with the Sierra's.

On your powder choices, I've done quite a bit of reading on powders for 223 as I've laid here in my recliner, and TAC is definitely a good choice for getting the velocity you are looking for while being very easy to meter. I need to revisit my workup because I think I could push the 69gr even faster than the 2550fps I was seeing. I hadn't seen any pressure signs in LC brass even with the soft CCI 400 primers i use.

I also think that CFE 223 would work extremely well for you. It's a spherical powder that shows a max load with velocity over 2800fps with a 75gr VLD in a 24" barrel. I think you could easily get to 2750 with it, and it has to meter well because it is spherical.

Varget got me to 2750fps out of a 16" barrel with a 69gr SMK, but it does not meter well at all. If you want to use it with any sort of accuracy, you'll need to trickle each charge. I also never noticed any sort of stellar accuracy with it, and I tried it in my AR with 69gr's and in the wife's CZ with 52gr's. My last test will be with the wife's CZ and the 69gr I have - I'm hoping with the longer barrel that it performs better than it did in my AR.



I never saw very good accuracy with Varget with 52gr bullets, even out of a long barrel. For heavy bullets, I'm comfortable with Reloader 15, CFE 223, TAC, Varget, or IMR 8208XBR. Although I haven't found a good combo with Varget, and have yet to test CFE 223 or 8208XBR in my guns, I doubt I'll have any problem with them.

taylor, just a dial caliper measurement, but one thing pretty consistent with the 5.56 NATO data is the 2.26" OACL for magazine functioning established by NATO/CIP. For the SIERRA 77 gr. HPBT MK, I set OACL at 2.255" to allow for OACL variation and none went beyond 2.26" So far we haven't had any issues with loads being too long for the mags. With the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match I shot for 2.250" where all of the loads came in between 2.251 and 2.254". So yeah, I believe the lower OACL variations are due to Hornady's secant ogive unless the bullets are actually being seated by the meplat. To be honest, all I've done is look into the seating die which doesn't really tell me anything: gonna have to take out the seating stem for a closer look but I'm not gonna do that until after I've loaded my next batch of handloads since it's set pretty close for either bullet. BTW, you were correct! The standard REDDING full-length sizing die works perfectly and the small-base die is unnecessary for this rifle.

Also, some cases grew after the first firing so for the sake of crimp consistency where I'm taper crimping into the cannelures, I trimmed a few cases back to the norm of the others. Even a few of the new Lapua cases stretched a bit with .223 charges. The exception here is with the WIN brass where most of it is underlength.

As far as powders and data, well, I've had and used W748 for years starting with .30-30 which took me to X-Terminator for Oregon Trails True Cast GC bullets and it's exceptional so I started using X-T in my jacketed bullet loads as well. Data is an issue for 748 as well as Varget where it just isn't there. Hadn't seen any Berger data but I doubt I have a need to spend more and there's no bulk pack pricing. Western does an excellent job providing 5.56 NATO data. It's not perfect as I mentioned where Lyman data for the 77 gr. SIERRA .223 Rem. and X-T was actually .5 grs. higher than Western's 5.56 NATO data. Unfortunately, 2641 FPS is all it produced and I'm not sure TAC will get it to the 2750 FPS level. The one Western powder that might be capable is the one Fred mentioned. AA 2520 shows to push these bullets 25 - 40 FPS or so, faster. According to NOSLER, CFE 223 becomes too compressed and won't produce the velocity with bullets this heavy. And of course, good ole Hodgdon, LOL, doesn't give any 5.56 NATO data. Lyman shows Varget to be the most accurate powder tested with the 69 gr. MK, but the article was very specific concerning the superior terminal performance of the 75/77 gr. Open Tips starting out at 2750 FPS at the muzzle. X-T came very close with the Hornady 75 and TAC pretty easily exceeded it. I'm thinkin' it might take 2520 to get the 77 gr. SIERRA MK up there. It's hard to say because Western tested in a 24" barrel with a 1 in 7" twist. The velocities listed for MAX Charges are 2902 FPS with TAC and 2925 FPS with 2520. From the 16" barrel, I'm not optimistic, so here again, the Hornady 75 with TAC is getting it done in velocity and accuracy is already good enough for its intended purpose and a more stable rest certainly won't hurt anything. If I do get into loading with Varget, I'll probably start hunting for some RL15 that definitely has the velocity potential.


JSG, I agree but I'm not sure I'd go up to 75/77 grs. with the Mini-14 if it is 1 in 9" twist rate. The 1 in 8" twist rate is set specifically for 50 - 77 gr. bullets. Might work, might not dpending on your accuracy expectations. If I couldn't load the 75/77 gr. Open Tips, I'd use a soft point like the SIERRA 65 gr. SPBT GK's I have. 64 gr. SP's are the heaviest bullets I've ever used in the Mini-14 and if your's is an older one, there's the issue of whether or not it's spec's for 5.56mm NATO. The newer ones are but even with their SR 556, Ruger used the 1 in 9" twist rate.


BTW, guys, we're totally satisfied with the Hornady 55 gr. FMJ-BT w/c for a general purpose bullet. Neither of us our lkely to shoot deer with .223 or 5.56 but I wanted to see how the SIERRA 65 gr. SPBT GK would do in a "need to" situation. The 75/77s are specifically for stopping bad people from doing bad things.

In this case the Abomination did us a favor. We were pretty much in favor of the 7.62 X 39mm round until Barry wrote his executive disorder stopping the importation of rifles and ammo. As far as semi-autos, I've always preferred the SKS over any AK variant and I've never been able to handload for any of the ones I've owned. Then there's the Russian law that forces manufacturers to use the 2-step case-neck, so, Russian ammo is all we've typically shot and it's gone. Bye-bye SKS and Saigas! ;)
 

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taylor, just a dial caliper measurement, but one thing pretty consistent with the 5.56 NATO data is the 2.26" OACL for magazine functioning established by NATO/CIP. For the SIERRA 77 gr. HPBT MK, I set OACL at 2.255" to allow for OACL variation and none went beyond 2.26" So far we haven't had any issues with loads being too long for the mags. With the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match I shot for 2.250" where all of the loads came in between 2.251 and 2.254". So yeah, I believe the lower OACL variations are due to Hornady's secant ogive unless the bullets are actually being seated by the meplat. To be honest, all I've done is look into the seating die which doesn't really tell me anything: gonna have to take out the seating stem for a closer look but I'm not gonna do that until after I've loaded my next batch of handloads since it's set pretty close for either bullet. BTW, you were correct! The standard REDDING full-length sizing die works perfectly and the small-base die is unnecessary for this rifle.

Also, some cases grew after the first firing so for the sake of crimp consistency where I'm taper crimping into the cannelures, I trimmed a few cases back to the norm of the others. Even a few of the new Lapua cases stretched a bit with .223 charges. The exception here is with the WIN brass where most of it is underlength.

As far as powders and data, well, I've had and used W748 for years starting with .30-30 which took me to X-Terminator for Oregon Trails True Cast GC bullets and it's exceptional so I started using X-T in my jacketed bullet loads as well. Data is an issue for 748 as well as Varget where it just isn't there. Hadn't seen any Berger data but I doubt I have a need to spend more and there's no bulk pack pricing. Western does an excellent job providing 5.56 NATO data. It's not perfect as I mentioned where Lyman data for the 77 gr. SIERRA .223 Rem. and X-T was actually .5 grs. higher than Western's 5.56 NATO data. Unfortunately, 2641 FPS is all it produced and I'm not sure TAC will get it to the 2750 FPS level. The one Western powder that might be capable is the one Fred mentioned. AA 2520 shows to push these bullets 25 - 40 FPS or so, faster. According to NOSLER, CFE 223 becomes too compressed and won't produce the velocity with bullets this heavy. And of course, good ole Hodgdon, LOL, doesn't give any 5.56 NATO data. Lyman shows Varget to be the most accurate powder tested with the 69 gr. MK, but the article was very specific concerning the superior terminal performance of the 75/77 gr. Open Tips starting out at 2750 FPS at the muzzle. X-T came very close with the Hornady 75 and TAC pretty easily exceeded it. I'm thinkin' it might take 2520 to get the 77 gr. SIERRA MK up there. It's hard to say because Western tested in a 24" barrel with a 1 in 7" twist. The velocities listed for MAX Charges are 2902 FPS with TAC and 2925 FPS with 2520. From the 16" barrel, I'm not optimistic, so here again, the Hornady 75 with TAC is getting it done in velocity and accuracy is already good enough for its intended purpose and a more stable rest certainly won't hurt anything. If I do get into loading with Varget, I'll probably start hunting for some RL15 that definitely has the velocity potential.


JSG, I agree but I'm not sure I'd go up to 75/77 grs. with the Mini-14 if it is 1 in 9" twist rate. The 1 in 8" twist rate is set specifically for 50 - 77 gr. bullets. Might work, might not dpending on your accuracy expectations. If I couldn't load the 75/77 gr. Open Tips, I'd use a soft point like the SIERRA 65 gr. SPBT GK's I have. 64 gr. SP's are the heaviest bullets I've ever used in the Mini-14 and if your's is an older one, there's the issue of whether or not it's spec's for 5.56mm NATO. The newer ones are but even with their SR 556, Ruger used the 1 in 9" twist rate.


BTW, guys, we're totally satisfied with the Hornady 55 gr. FMJ-BT w/c for a general purpose bullet. Neither of us our lkely to shoot deer with .223 or 5.56 but I wanted to see how the SIERRA 65 gr. SPBT GK would do in a "need to" situation. The 75/77s are specifically for stopping bad people from doing bad things.

In this case the Abomination did us a favor. We were pretty much in favor of the 7.62 X 39mm round until Barry wrote his executive disorder stopping the importation of rifles and ammo. As far as semi-autos, I've always preferred the SKS over any AK variant and I've never been able to handload for any of the ones I've owned. Then there's the Russian law that forces manufacturers to use the 2-step case-neck, so, Russian ammo is all we've typically shot and it's gone. Bye-bye SKS and Saigas! ;)
I have to apologize 57k, I thought your CRX was an 18" barrel, not a 16".

To be careful with my 223 loads, I've had to load to 2.250 or even shorter. For some reason, Magpul's 10rd Gen 2 mag doesn't like rounds at 2.260". I've had a couple rounds look non-concentric after loading them and removing them from the magazine. with the variation in meplats, I may have to load even shorter sometimes. My next test will be if my best Reloader 15 load in my AR can be tuned any more by seating it deeper than 2.250". I may also try single loading them, and go to 2.270" and up. I don't like a single shot AR (that's what the bolt gun is for) but if I can shrink the groupings just a bit, this load could average half MOA or better.

I'm glad the full length die has worked well for you. I have been very very happy with the results so far, and I think the die sizes the rounds just enough. High quality stuff from REDDING, as always. I actually ended up getting a REDDING Type S Neck Sizing die with a .247 bushing for my wife's Lapua brass, but haven't had time to set it up or run any of her brass through it. I can open up my seating die for you and hopefully see what it looks like with a 69gr SMK (secant ogive) and a 52gr Hornady Match (tangent ogive).

If you're consistently crimping your rounds, I would always check lengths, and trim to 1.750". Neck tension can vary if your crimping die has a varying amount of material to crimp. Have you resized each Lapua case? To me, that's what stretches the case, not the actual firing. I believe cases actually shrink when firing - high pressure pistol rounds is one example for me. I find 9mm brass loaded at the top end shrinks when fired, and stretches when sized. In my experience, the same is true for rifle brass - I've shot my Lapua 223 brass 2 to 3 times in a CZ527 with a very very tight chamber, and when compared to a piece of virgin brass, there's almost no visible change shown on my headspace comparator. When I size the neck, however, I trim just the slightest bit off each time, then the case is ready to debur and chamfer. So far, I haven't had to bump the shoulder back at all, and I doubt with how tight the chamber is that I'll ever have to.

I understand that Varget / Hodgdon doesn't show data for 5.56NATO, but I think you can hit 2750 fps if you;re comfortable with pushing it. Lyman #49 recommends 25.6gr under a 75gr A-max at 2843fps out of a 20" Colt AR15, 1:7 twist. With a 16" Colt, I think you'd average just under 2700fps. Lyman #49 doesn't indicate that 25.6gr would be a compressed charge, but I think you could get up to 26.0gr and you'd be starting to hear powder crunching.

When I did testing with Varget, as I got into the upper charge range (25.8 and 26.1gr) I saw a flat spot begin to develop, which indicated to me that I was quickly approaching an actual maximum. I loaded a 69gr SMK over 26.1gr Varget at 2.250", and averaged 2752fps over 5 shots, with an SD of 15.9 and an ES of 40. This was a compressed load, but Varget is a powder that works much better under compression, unlike TAC or other dense, fine grained powders. You will have problems with bridging in your Uniflow, but I'm sure you'll trickle charge all Varget loads. I have found some of Lyman's data to be a bit warm, especially one example with Varget and their 52/53gr match bullet data. They recommended 28.0gr (compressed) at 48,700psi. I don't think this would have even fit into the case as 27.0gr left about 1/8" empty at the very mouth of a 223 Lapua Match case. My other 2 sources for load data showed 26.0 and 27.0gr as maximum loads, so I shot for the middle and set 27.0gr as maximum. This workup was one of my OCW tests, so I went about 1% over to 27.2gr. As I saw with the 69gr SMK over Varget test, a flat spot began to develop and I stopped with 27.2gr

I recommended CFE223 in error for your MK262Mod1 application - Like I said, I thought you had an 18" barrel, and if you pushed it above max by 5% or so you could hit 2750fps as Hodgdon's 223REM data notes 2875 fps at max load. Those 2" make a big difference :smile:

I've done some more comparisons with my chrono data on TAC. My current testing only goes up to 24.2gr, and Ramshot's 5.56NATO data shows 25.4gr as maximum load. Their velocity out of a 24" barrel is 3050fps. When I compare my personal chrono data extrapolated up to 25.4gr, and their data reduced from a 24" barrel to a 16" barrel, I'm showing right at 2650fps maximum for my AR. How you hit 2824fps with a 75gr HPBT baffles me. Possibly bullet construction and barrel characteristics?

I've basically already recreated a variation of the MK262Mod1 with a 69gr SMK. I haven't read your article 57k, but I think a 69gr SMK's terminal performance isn't too far off a 77gr SMK. If I were attempting to truly recreate the MK262Mod1 with a 77gr SMK, I believe Varget, AA2520, or Reloader 15 would be my first choices. For the progressive loader, 2520 or RX15 would give the best performance, both in the reloading room and in the field. Both supposedly meter very well with 2520 being a spherical powder and RX15 being a short cut, small diameter extruded powder. I really hate how Varget meters, and if I can't get good results out of the wife's gun with it, I will probably be selling it off or giving it to a buddy who loads 308.

If you think I'm wrong with any of these points, let me know.
 

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I have to apologize 57k, I thought your CRX was an 18" barrel, not a 16".

To be careful with my 223 loads, I've had to load to 2.250 or even shorter. For some reason, Magpul's 10rd Gen 2 mag doesn't like rounds at 2.260". I've had a couple rounds look non-concentric after loading them and removing them from the magazine. with the variation in meplats, I may have to load even shorter sometimes. My next test will be if my best Reloader 15 load in my AR can be tuned any more by seating it deeper than 2.250". I may also try single loading them, and go to 2.270" and up. I don't like a single shot AR (that's what the bolt gun is for) but if I can shrink the groupings just a bit, this load could average half MOA or better.

I'm glad the full length die has worked well for you. I have been very very happy with the results so far, and I think the die sizes the rounds just enough. High quality stuff from REDDING, as always. I actually ended up getting a REDDING Type S Neck Sizing die with a .247 bushing for my wife's Lapua brass, but haven't had time to set it up or run any of her brass through it. I can open up my seating die for you and hopefully see what it looks like with a 69gr SMK (secant ogive) and a 52gr Hornady Match (tangent ogive).

If you're consistently crimping your rounds, I would always check lengths, and trim to 1.750". Neck tension can vary if your crimping die has a varying amount of material to crimp. Have you resized each Lapua case? To me, that's what stretches the case, not the actual firing. I believe cases actually shrink when firing - high pressure pistol rounds is one example for me. I find 9mm brass loaded at the top end shrinks when fired, and stretches when sized. In my experience, the same is true for rifle brass - I've shot my Lapua 223 brass 2 to 3 times in a CZ527 with a very very tight chamber, and when compared to a piece of virgin brass, there's almost no visible change shown on my headspace comparator. When I size the neck, however, I trim just the slightest bit off each time, then the case is ready to debur and chamfer. So far, I haven't had to bump the shoulder back at all, and I doubt with how tight the chamber is that I'll ever have to.

I understand that Varget / Hodgdon doesn't show data for 5.56NATO, but I think you can hit 2750 fps if you;re comfortable with pushing it. Lyman #49 recommends 25.6gr under a 75gr A-max at 2843fps out of a 20" Colt AR15, 1:7 twist. With a 16" Colt, I think you'd average just under 2700fps. Lyman #49 doesn't indicate that 25.6gr would be a compressed charge, but I think you could get up to 26.0gr and you'd be starting to hear powder crunching.

When I did testing with Varget, as I got into the upper charge range (25.8 and 26.1gr) I saw a flat spot begin to develop, which indicated to me that I was quickly approaching an actual maximum. I loaded a 69gr SMK over 26.1gr Varget at 2.250", and averaged 2752fps over 5 shots, with an SD of 15.9 and an ES of 40. This was a compressed load, but Varget is a powder that works much better under compression, unlike TAC or other dense, fine grained powders. You will have problems with bridging in your Uniflow, but I'm sure you'll trickle charge all Varget loads. I have found some of Lyman's data to be a bit warm, especially one example with Varget and their 52/53gr match bullet data. They recommended 28.0gr (compressed) at 48,700psi. I don't think this would have even fit into the case as 27.0gr left about 1/8" empty at the very mouth of a 223 Lapua Match case. My other 2 sources for load data showed 26.0 and 27.0gr as maximum loads, so I shot for the middle and set 27.0gr as maximum. This workup was one of my OCW tests, so I went about 1% over to 27.2gr. As I saw with the 69gr SMK over Varget test, a flat spot began to develop and I stopped with 27.2gr

I recommended CFE223 in error for your MK262Mod1 application - Like I said, I thought you had an 18" barrel, and if you pushed it above max by 5% or so you could hit 2750fps as Hodgdon's 223REM data notes 2875 fps at max load. Those 2" make a big difference :smile:

I've done some more comparisons with my chrono data on TAC. My current testing only goes up to 24.2gr, and Ramshot's 5.56NATO data shows 25.4gr as maximum load. Their velocity out of a 24" barrel is 3050fps. When I compare my personal chrono data extrapolated up to 25.4gr, and their data reduced from a 24" barrel to a 16" barrel, I'm showing right at 2650fps maximum for my AR. How you hit 2824fps with a 75gr HPBT baffles me. Possibly bullet construction and barrel characteristics?



I've basically already recreated a variation of the MK262Mod1 with a 69gr SMK. I haven't read your article 57k, but I think a 69gr SMK's terminal performance isn't too far off a 77gr SMK. If I were attempting to truly recreate the MK262Mod1 with a 77gr SMK, I believe Varget, AA2520, or Reloader 15 would be my first choices. For the progressive loader, 2520 or RX15 would give the best performance, both in the reloading room and in the field. Both supposedly meter very well with 2520 being a spherical powder and RX15 being a short cut, small diameter extruded powder. I really hate how Varget meters, and if I can't get good results out of the wife's gun with it, I will probably be selling it off or giving it to a buddy who loads 308.

If you think I'm wrong with any of these points, let me know.

No need to apologize, buddy, but yeah, getting the req'd velocity is a little more challenging from the 16" barrel. My next attempt at the Mk 262 Mod 1 will be with TAC. I'm there and beyond with TAC for the T2 load and I don't think we've found its true accuracy potential. Hopefully we will with a sturdier rest. The one we're using now is plastic!

Yeah, I'm crimping, but I'm Taper Crimping into the cannelure. So far it's working great and I use the same trim length at 1.750". So far, no OACL issues with 10 or 30 round mags and my longest loads that have varied to 2.26" were with the SIERRA 65 gr, GK and the 77 gr. MK.

Not using a headspace comparator yet, but from gauging as close as possible with my dial calipers it appears that the REDDING FL sizing die is getting the shoulder exactly on the money. One more reason to love REDDING, LOL! And I did size the Lapua cases when they were new, BTW.

I'd have to call Western to find out, but for whatever reason, they loaded the 80 gr. SIERRA HPBT MK to higher veocity than the 77 gr. HPBT MK with higher powder charges. Other than the cannelure and 3 grs. less weight, I don't see how they could be that different but with TAC, they go a full grain heavier.

Getting back to the Lyman 20" barrel data, they didn't use TAC with the 77 gr. MK and the highest velocity obtained was with AA 2230 which is X-Terminator. The Max load shows 2827 FPS but from the 16" CRX we actually got 2641 FPS with 14 rounds that registered. As I mentioned before, Western loaded .5 grs. lower and TAC runs about 1 gr. slower than X-T give or take. The Max TAC load in 5.56 in the Western Data is 24.8 grs. and only .6 grs above the X-T data in .223 from Lyman. For some reason, Western just didn't want to push this bullet as hard as the 80 gr. HPBT MK. But, I can tell you now that the probability is greater than 75% that will be ordering 600 of the Hornday 75 gr. BTHP-Match w/c. Slightly better accuracy for less money? I think we're pretty well decided on the T2 load over the Mk 262 Mod 1.

Okay, on the Varget Lyman data thing, I think it might be close. I had to use the 75 gr. A-Max data for W748 with the 75 gr. Hornady. It did pretty well. They got 2810 FPS (24" barrel) where we got 2713 FPS with 7 rounds registered and I really can't imagine much difference between the BTHP-Match and the A-Max, so we definitely did better than expected there. But, if we don't order any more of the SIERRA 77s, I think we're pretty content to push on with TAC and the Hornady 75. Personally, I wish we had RL15 rather than Varget. With either of these 2 bullets and looking at NOSLER data as well, RL15 performs better. Plus the metering thing. None of them are gonna get close to X-T and TAC in that regard, though. They both flow better than hour-glass sand.

Don't know if I answered all of your questions, but I'm getting pretty lengthy here. Feel free to point out anything I overlooked. ;)
 

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No need to apologize, buddy, but yeah, getting the req'd velocity is a little more challenging from the 16" barrel. My next attempt at the Mk 262 Mod 1 will be with TAC. I'm there and beyond with TAC for the T2 load and I don't think we've found its true accuracy potential. Hopefully we will with a sturdier rest. The one we're using now is plastic!

Yeah, I'm crimping, but I'm Taper Crimping into the cannelure. So far it's working great and I use the same trim length at 1.750". So far, no OACL issues with 10 or 30 round mags and my longest loads that have varied to 2.26" were with the SIERRA 65 gr, GK and the 77 gr. MK.

Not using a headspace comparator yet, but from gauging as close as possible with my dial calipers it appears that the REDDING FL sizing die is getting the shoulder exactly on the money. One more reason to love REDDING, LOL! And I did size the Lapua cases when they were new, BTW.

I'd have to call Western to find out, but for whatever reason, they loaded the 80 gr. SIERRA HPBT MK to higher veocity than the 77 gr. HPBT MK with higher powder charges. Other than the cannelure and 3 grs. less weight, I don't see how they could be that different but with TAC, they go a full grain heavier.

Getting back to the Lyman 20" barrel data, they didn't use TAC with the 77 gr. MK and the highest velocity obtained was with AA 2230 which is X-Terminator. The Max load shows 2827 FPS but from the 16" CRX we actually got 2641 FPS with 14 rounds that registered. As I mentioned before, Western loaded .5 grs. lower and TAC runs about 1 gr. slower than X-T give or take. The Max TAC load in 5.56 in the Western Data is 24.8 grs. and only .6 grs above the X-T data in .223 from Lyman. For some reason, Western just didn't want to push this bullet as hard as the 80 gr. HPBT MK. But, I can tell you now that the probability is greater than 75% that will be ordering 600 of the Hornday 75 gr. BTHP-Match w/c. Slightly better accuracy for less money? I think we're pretty well decided on the T2 load over the Mk 262 Mod 1.

Okay, on the Varget Lyman data thing, I think it might be close. I had to use the 75 gr. A-Max data for W748 with the 75 gr. Hornady. It did pretty well. They got 2810 FPS (24" barrel) where we got 2713 FPS with 7 rounds registered and I really can't imagine much difference between the BTHP-Match and the A-Max, so we definitely did better than expected there. But, if we don't order any more of the SIERRA 77s, I think we're pretty content to push on with TAC and the Hornady 75. Personally, I wish we had RL15 rather than Varget. With either of these 2 bullets and looking at NOSLER data as well, RL15 performs better. Plus the metering thing. None of them are gonna get close to X-T and TAC in that regard, though. They both flow better than hour-glass sand.

Don't know if I answered all of your questions, but I'm getting pretty lengthy here. Feel free to point out anything I overlooked. ;)
I guess I need to revisit my 69gr load with TAC. I never got close to the velocities you've seen with the 75gr T2 load with a lighter bullet. I know one reason that I didn't go higher is that I don't believe my Lyman manual listed anything for it. Now that I see Ramshot has 5.56 data (I was already loading LC 13 cases), I believe I can push it faster. I know in my TAC workups I saw no signs of pressure, even with the soft-cupped CCI 400's I have in hand.

I really believe these REDDING dies are perfect - I have noticed the same thing too, even when I'm just messing around with LC cases, I can't seem to excessively bump the shoulder back without the shellholder touching the bottom of the die. I know REDDING sells shellholders with various vertical offsets, but at this point, I'm not having any issues chambering the rounds that I have (even the new Lapua brass that's been fired twice) so for now I'm not worried. I have heard of a work around of lapping the face of a shellholder, but like I said, I'm not having trouble yet so I'll leave well enough alone.

I didn't FL size the Lapua cases when I got them, I just neck sized them as i have heard they can have too much neck tension when they arrive from the factory. I just got a new REDDING Type S neck sizing die and I'm excited to try it out. I also need to get a concentricity gauge and a neck turner, but for now I'm okay, especially with the Mrs getting on me about how much I spend ;)

I have been doing some more reading on barrels, and it seems with loads in test barrels with MV 3000-3500fps, the Remington Catalog 2003 states that 1" changes results in 30fps drop, not the 40fps to 50fps I've been going by to this point. The 43rd Edition of Lyman's Reloading Handbook concludes: "The rule of thumb is that high speed, high pressure cartridges shed more speed in short barrels than do the low speed, large bore types." Perhaps both are correct, and 30 to 40fps per inch loss is more correct for 223/5.56. Source is this: RIFLE BARREL

I'll have to do some more tests with Hornady's bullets. I bought a 500ct box of 69gr Sierra MK's, and finally found a good recipe with Reloader 15 for my AR15, so I'll stick with those until I run out. If I buy anything of Hornady, though, it'll be the 68gr BTHP-M round, and I'll run a few quick tests to see if my 69gr SMK recipes would line up with the 68gr HDY HPBT-M

One thing, could you see what the length of the 75gr HPBT is from the base to the meplat? My AR is 1:8, and I'd like to see if that round would be stable in my AR - I'd like to go heavier if possible but I know the 80gr+ bullets are for 1:7 only.

I've got about a pound and a half of Reloader 15 sitting here and I'm loving it. Like I briefly mentioned earlier, Reloader 15 meters much better than Varget does. Although i trickle charge my workups and subsequent 50rd accuracy test of a potential load, I think my Hornady LnL Powder Measure should drop within +/- 0.15gr as it's a fine grained short cut extruded powder, very similar to Benchmark or AA2015.

I saw you mentioned earlier that you were fine with a 55gr FMJ as a plinking load - I still think you should try CFE223. I believe it's even finer than TAC and was developed specifically for the 55gr round. Give it a shot if you ever get ahold of a pound.

Just broke my mouse and I think I covered everything. Whew! Good timing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
taylor, brother, I'll be brief. If I'm still around tomorrow I'll reply by each paragraph. Unfortunately, I have a propensity for speaking my mind to the younger generation and I just left an F-Bomb in the Revolver section concerning a very bright younger member's new acquasition of a S&W M15 that was the kind of deal worthy of lust from any of us. My good friend, JSG, has made several attempts to help me show restraint, so it's all on me.

The distance from the base to the meplat on the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match w/c is .986" according to my Mitutoyo's. The cannelure is higher on the Hornady, but the Boat-tail is also longer. As far as true bearing surface, they look pretty close.

If the admin's boot me, so be it. Like I quoted from Col. Jeff Cooper, I knew how to ride, shoot straight and speak the truth from my Dad long before I ever read a gun rag. So, E. Pluribus Unem, In God We Trust or Molon Labe, or just read what a true Hebrew said in my sigline. Otherwise, FredJ338 and JSG will keep things straight around here. ;)
 

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Concerning CFE223, BL-C(2) is basically the same thing. it doesn't have the copper anti-fouling component and therefore burns a bit faster, but it is everything CFE223 is. I have a lot of BL-C(2) but i'm really not sure what to do with it. I primarily run 2520 in plinking loads because of the velocity i can get out of it. I remember working up a full power NATO M193 load out of CFE223 and was pretty pleased. It was accurate enough for plinking, but i wouldn't take it to the 600 yard line.
 

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Knight, I hadn't ever used BL-C2 but had heard good things about it in 223. I've seen it in load data in my research before. I've heard that it can be temperature sensitive... I hope that's not the case with CFE223.

I was just planning on putting together some cheap plinking rounds with it. If you weren't in Wisconsin I'd come take that BL-C2 off your hands ;)
 

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I just compared the load data on Hodgon's site and for the majority of bullet weights, CFE 223runs about 0.5gr to 1.0gr higher on both the starting and max loads. Would that be due to the fact that the CFE agent makes CFE223 burn slower than BL-C2?
 

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I just compared the load data on Hodgon's site and for the majority of bullet weights, CFE 223runs about 0.5gr to 1.0gr higher on both the starting and max loads. Would that be due to the fact that the CFE agent makes CFE223 burn slower than BL-C2?
That would be my suspicion. The CFE agent must slow down the burn rate just enough to drop it one below BL-C(2) on the Hogdon burn chart. Which would make sense because if you added something, like a cleaner, to something it's going to effect how it burns, usually not for the faster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I guess I need to revisit my 69gr load with TAC. I never got close to the velocities you've seen with the 75gr T2 load with a lighter bullet. I know one reason that I didn't go higher is that I don't believe my Lyman manual listed anything for it. Now that I see Ramshot has 5.56 data (I was already loading LC 13 cases), I believe I can push it faster. I know in my TAC workups I saw no signs of pressure, even with the soft-cupped CCI 400's I have in hand.

I really believe these REDDING dies are perfect - I have noticed the same thing too, even when I'm just messing around with LC cases, I can't seem to excessively bump the shoulder back without the shellholder touching the bottom of the die. I know REDDING sells shellholders with various vertical offsets, but at this point, I'm not having any issues chambering the rounds that I have (even the new Lapua brass that's been fired twice) so for now I'm not worried. I have heard of a work around of lapping the face of a shellholder, but like I said, I'm not having trouble yet so I'll leave well enough alone.

I didn't FL size the Lapua cases when I got them, I just neck sized them as i have heard they can have too much neck tension when they arrive from the factory. I just got a new REDDING Type S neck sizing die and I'm excited to try it out. I also need to get a concentricity gauge and a neck turner, but for now I'm okay, especially with the Mrs getting on me about how much I spend ;)

I have been doing some more reading on barrels, and it seems with loads in test barrels with MV 3000-3500fps, the Remington Catalog 2003 states that 1" changes results in 30fps drop, not the 40fps to 50fps I've been going by to this point. The 43rd Edition of Lyman's Reloading Handbook concludes: "The rule of thumb is that high speed, high pressure cartridges shed more speed in short barrels than do the low speed, large bore types." Perhaps both are correct, and 30 to 40fps per inch loss is more correct for 223/5.56. Source is this: RIFLE BARREL

I'll have to do some more tests with Hornady's bullets. I bought a 500ct box of 69gr Sierra MK's, and finally found a good recipe with Reloader 15 for my AR15, so I'll stick with those until I run out. If I buy anything of Hornady, though, it'll be the 68gr BTHP-M round, and I'll run a few quick tests to see if my 69gr SMK recipes would line up with the 68gr HDY HPBT-M

One thing, could you see what the length of the 75gr HPBT is from the base to the meplat? My AR is 1:8, and I'd like to see if that round would be stable in my AR - I'd like to go heavier if possible but I know the 80gr+ bullets are for 1:7 only.

I've got about a pound and a half of Reloader 15 sitting here and I'm loving it. Like I briefly mentioned earlier, Reloader 15 meters much better than Varget does. Although i trickle charge my workups and subsequent 50rd accuracy test of a potential load, I think my Hornady LnL Powder Measure should drop within +/- 0.15gr as it's a fine grained short cut extruded powder, very similar to Benchmark or AA2015.

I saw you mentioned earlier that you were fine with a 55gr FMJ as a plinking load - I still think you should try CFE223. I believe it's even finer than TAC and was developed specifically for the 55gr round. Give it a shot if you ever get ahold of a pound.

Just broke my mouse and I think I covered everything. Whew! Good timing.

taylor, the Western data is very helpful and some of the 5.56 NATO loads don't exceed Lyman .223 Rem. data by much and not all in some cases. It covesr the Accurate line as well as Ramshot as you probably know and they start out with some fairly fast burning powders like LT-32, 2200, 2015 then they get to X-Terminator/2230, 2460 which is supposed to a slightly slower burning version of X-T/2230 but made in the US. Then comes TAC and finally 2520. 2520 shows some modest velocity gains over TAC in 5.56 but remember, those velocities were achieved with a 24" barrel and in some cases slightly faster powders can hold their velocity, or not lose as much of it in shorter barrels. One reason I wanted to look at X-T/2230 vs. TAC. I will not give up on the SIERRA 77 gr. MK or potential Mk262 Mod 1 until I've loaded with TAC which will probably happen later today &/or tomorrow. I lube with One-Shot and have found that lubing a day before loading works great and keeps the fine grained sphericals from sticking to the inside of the case-neck a little better. Like I said, With X-T, TAC and 748, I'm not weighing individual charges, just dropping them from the Uniflow directly into the case. Really can't say one way or the other on the effectiveness of the 69 gr. MK but the TAC 5.56 data shows the load about 55 FPS faster than the Hornady 75.

So far, except for that one incident, the CCI-400s seem to be doing fine. If I had a choice, I'd use the WSR simply because they're what Western used to work up bot the .223 and 5.56 data.

Course, I'm kind of known around here as a REDDING fan-boy and I don't have any problem with that. I actually got 2 different shellholders, a LEE because of the Classic Turret and RCBS were on sale so I got one of them as well. The RCBS actually seems to work best with the LEE Safety Prime and I set up the resizer excatly as REDDING instructs by turning it down to where it makes firm contact with the SH. I was a bit skeptical and thought I might have been better off with a REDDING SH, but that's just not the case. More exacting tools certainly wouldn't hurt, but I just set my dial caliper at the shoulder spec length of 1.438" and the resized cases look dead-on to me. All of my REDDING full-length sizing dies work exactly the same way.

I'm sure the Hornady 68 gr. BTHP-M bullets would be great, but again, the author of the terminal performance test article specified the Hornady 75 and the SIERRA 77 and the cannelured version in both cases. I can defintely recommend the Hornady 75 gr. BTHP-Match w/c, but like I said, to be fair, I want to see what the SIERRA 77s will do with TAC and if they'll achieve the velocity requirement of the Mk 262 Mod 1. I'll report on those results and I'll probably make some more T2 loads for continued evaluation. Maybe we wont have the sun/cloud issues we did last time out and I'll be able to test at least 10 round strings.

Yeah, if I had some RL15, I'd definitely be testing it. Seems to have all of the advantages over Varget. So, if I get to making loads where I do have to trickle and weigh each charge, I'll be on the look-out for some RL-15, plus we shoot .308 where it has a solid reputation as well. Our go-to load for now for the upcoming whitetail season in .308 is the 150 gr. Ballsitic Tip over 44.5 grs. of TAC and it will shoot 3 round groups under 5/8" at 100 yards and velocity is pretty comparable to factory (true velocity) at 2819 FPS and I could easily load warmer if it were necessary. Same with 2520. If I had it, I'd use it in both 5.56 and .308 Win.

I'd have no problem trying CFE 223 with the Hornady 55 gr. FMJ-BT w/c's. I have not seen any yet, but it will have to pretty fine to be smaller than TAC and X-T is just barely larger. You might want to look at NOSLER's online data. Compression got pretty high around 64 grs. and I don't think tey used CFE 223 in their 69 gr. & 77/80 gr. loads because of that. Hodgdon doesn't list bulk densities so you have to rely on other's ratings where I'd prefer to see it from the powder/data provider. BUT as far as X-T/2230 and TAC, X-T is 985 grams/liter and so is TAC. Just slightly different grain sizes but both very fine and my charges have been consistent enough that I just haven't felt it necessary to trickle and weigh each charge. Not out to set a world record or anything, just want to be able to produce the T2 and Mk 262 Mod 1. Since the test target had 3 rounds at .48" and I've pretty much duplicated that at .5" without the best rest in the world, the goal I would like to achieve would be to match the factory group, but with 5 rounds rather than their 3. I agree with y'all on BL-C (2) as well. I've always wondered what the real differences are between it and 748. Sure ain't burn rate according to Hodgdon but I've never seen the definitive word. From what I recall, they were both used to help clean up M-16 loads that had been experiencing malfunctioning issues from being dirty early on in Vietnam. Maybe someone has greater insight on this. Likewise they were both used in development of the .308/7.62 X 51mm. ;)
 
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