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223 load workup


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Relatively new to reloading, about 500 rds done in the past year. Trying to workup a new load for 223 with Varget and 69 grain SMK. Shot today with 23.5, 24, 24.5, 25, and 25.3. Best group was with 25 gr at 0.84" at 100 yards. I have a few questions, the more I read the less I understand.

1. Is the lateral string in this group indicative of anything? Shooter, load, rifle etc...?

2. I sat the bullets at the book recommended 2.235". I checked the COAL on the rifle with the hornady gauge and I have a lot of room to go up. Yes I need to use magazines. How should I start to increase COAL? Should I start with the powder charge that worked best, or will that invalidate the results I found at the previous COAL?


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You really need to look at the crono data and see what kind of ES you are getting. A single 5 shot group can inform you of potential or at least tell you if a load is NOT going to shoot, its harder to evaluate what is best. Without knowing about your rifle and glass its hard to tell but if it was be i would just load 25g and go for it and call load testing a day.

If you compare some of the lateral groups its about the same as some of the vertical on other groups. I might suggest that a 10 shot group would have rounded out all of the groups so that the vertical and horizontal are about the same. Also consider that wind effects horizontal groups and velocity variations effect vertical groups.

Provided you are shooitng in an AR and that you are shooting 69SMKs, just seat them to magazine length, they are not going to shoot better seated out or if they do its negligible.

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