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.223 out to 600 yards


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9 minutes ago, Tmcfarland said:

do you use the bell? I had noticed in the instructions for the die it had said something about not using the bell for BT rifle bullets. I would assume that the only thing that adds would be over working the brass a little. Not too big of a deal since I use mostly range brass I pick up

I just barely do, helps placing bullets by hand your uniforming the neck anyways to 0.221 just opening up the mouth a little to 0.222 doesn't hurt.  I normally run only BT bullets but on occasion come across some flat base Vmax or other brand cheap and want to load them up. This way all my brass is ready.

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I might suggest the following in attempt to expedite things:  Buy a box of sierra, Berger or Lapua 69 or 77g bullets.  Load them in a case with 24g of Varget, Reloader 15 or TAC and match primers.  Shoot them at 200 yds.  See how that Hornady stuff shoots or buy a box of Federal GM .223 and shoot it/ them at 200 yds. 

- If one of those suggested loads with one of those bullets does not shoot you have a rifle issue or a reloading process issue.  If that hornady stuff or the federal stuff shoots good then you have a reloading issue.

- Don't forget to adjust parallax. 

- Don't forget to include as much information as you can.  " I shot a 1/4" group" is useless information.... 1/4" at 1 foot, 100 yds or 1000 yds...

- The further range you can test ammunition the better; shoot 10 round groups and let the rifle cool a little in between.  Its almost always hard to tell "Which is better" at 100 yds, its almost a statistic impossibility.  At 200 or 300 or 600 its quite apparent....but we have to make due with what we have.   

 

 

 

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On 9/24/2016 at 2:16 PM, Tmcfarland said:

Well, went down to the local Academy and bought some Hornady 75gr HPBT MATCH ammo to shoot so I can see how it shoots out and I found I am way too hard on myself about my loading if this is the norm. Not to knock Hornady but come on! Set me straight if I am headed down the wrong path please, but with the COAL variance of .022" between 20 rounds, I kick mine back if it is more than .003" difference. The cases all measured the same and looked good but I am very interested in seeing how these MATCH rounds chrono and group.

Also, got the Hornady head space gauge and M die in and will build some more rounds tonight. I have been over processing my brass according to the head space gauge so I will reset the size die to just bump the shoulder about .004 to .006 as suggested by others. Another question that I have is since the M die opens up the neck to .221" or so and the projectiles are .222" or so will I need to crimp more? I just barely bump the edge now. 

Shoot the Hornady 75gr HPBT MATCH ammo before you get too critical.  I'd also recommend you buy a box of Federal Premium Gold Medal Ammunition 223 Remington 77 Grain and shoot four groups with it.

 

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On 9/26/2016 at 0:43 PM, dauntedfuture said:

I might suggest the following in attempt to expedite things:  Buy a box of sierra, Berger or Lapua 69 or 77g bullets.  Load them in a case with 24g of Varget, Reloader 15 or TAC and match primers.  Shoot them at 200 yds.  See how that Hornady stuff shoots or buy a box of Federal GM .223 and shoot it/ them at 200 yds. 

- If one of those suggested loads with one of those bullets does not shoot you have a rifle issue or a reloading process issue.  If that hornady stuff or the federal stuff shoots good then you have a reloading issue.

- Don't forget to adjust parallax. 

- Don't forget to include as much information as you can.  " I shot a 1/4" group" is useless information.... 1/4" at 1 foot, 100 yds or 1000 yds...

- The further range you can test ammunition the better; shoot 10 round groups and let the rifle cool a little in between.  Its almost always hard to tell "Which is better" at 100 yds, its almost a statistic impossibility.  At 200 or 300 or 600 its quite apparent....but we have to make due with what we have.   

 

 

 

Got the TAC powder in tonight, finishing up on the brass prep and will load some tomorrow. Sure would like to have a range at my back door, it would make this so much easier

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Ok so the first outing with the Tac was not so good...about the same as the others. I have ordered a higher magnified scope to ensure I am aiming in the same spot for each shot, picked up a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 FFP ERB2C reticle. Great reviews on this scope and it will be going on the next inevitable purchase of a long range shooter (SMH did not want to go down this rabbit hole). More reports coming after the next batch

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On 9/27/2016 at 9:22 AM, RDA said:

Shoot the Hornady 75gr HPBT MATCH ammo before you get too critical.

It did ok, thought it would be better. I may just not be that good at precision shooting, hoping the higher magnified scope will make a difference with being able to see the grid lines on the paper

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On 9/27/2016 at 10:23 PM, Tmcfarland said:

- Don't forget to include as much information as you can.  " I shot a 1/4" group" is useless information.... 1/4" at 1 foot, 100 yds or 1000 yds...

Well for sure it was not a 1/4" group, haha. that would be a dream

 

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The best thing that ever happened to my precision shooting skills was an accurate .22 rifle and a pile of ammo. If I'm not happy with load development in my AR I'll shoot the .22. If the .22 isn't shooting 10 shot groups at or under 5/8" at 50yds  I know without a doubt that I need to brush up on my fundamentals. I've saved myself a lot of frustration and ammo this way.

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11 hours ago, TonytheTiger said:

The best thing that ever happened to my precision shooting skills was an accurate .22 rifle and a pile of ammo. If I'm not happy with load development in my AR I'll shoot the .22. If the .22 isn't shooting 10 shot groups at or under 5/8" at 50yds  I know without a doubt that I need to brush up on my fundamentals. I've saved myself a lot of frustration and ammo this way.

that's a handy tip! I to have a pretty dang accurate .22 rifle and a pile of ammo for it. I will take that along with me if for nothing else but to relieve the stress of frustration!

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Check out this video, you may find it helpful as to your bench technique:

 

The video may not be literally applicable to your AR but the principles are sound. And there's more to it than this but its a good start. How/what are you resting the rifle on now?

The other thing I can suggest is to do your testing at 100. The further away you test the more it becomes a test of your wind reading ability and less a test of the gun and load. Get it shooting at 100 then move out to longer distances.

You might want to look into buying some wind flags. Flags are really important, I like these:  http://www.brflags.com/index.html

 

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1 hour ago, wheelie said:

How/what are you resting the rifle on now?

That video has some great tips in it thanks for the link.

I had started with the Caldwell Matrix rest 101600-large.jpg

I actually bought it for my pistol a while back and it worked pretty good for it but just can't get comfortable for the rifle and it is hard so any movement is really noticeable. I just bought the Caldwell Deadshot Tactical bags 934693  They are fairly soft and the outshell looks like it will last my lifetime..

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Ok, so I ended up purchasing the Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 FFP with the ERB2C reticle. The scope is amazingly clear and it shows me exactly how bad I am at grouping bullet holes, lol. I was rushed a lot to beat sundown so I will try to give it another whirl on Sunday after the USPSA pistol match. I had to reset my gas block (which didn't take too long), sight in the scope to at least hit paper which surprisingly only took 4 rounds with just eyeballing it onto the rifle, and then go through the 30 rounds I built.

1.25" at 100 yards is the best I could get this trip out and that was with my close range 55gr rounds. I really need to work on my technique I believe after watching some of the videos that wheelie posted from gunworks, I think that will help a lot.  

I am also thinking I need to shorten the rounds just a little, the best and most consistent groups I get are from my close range rounds and they are loaded at 2.180" using 26 grains CFE223, just not sure if I will be able to get the velocity needed to get out to 600 yards. Anyone here at all that loads shorter than mag length?  

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Today showed some promising results. Did some experimenting with shortening the rounds. Started off with the 75 grain BTHP with 23, 23.2 and 23.4 grains of TAC at 2.20". Best was the 23.4 load and was able to hold it to a 1.03" group. Traveling at 2629fps it's slower than I would have thought it to be but still will be moving 1508fps at 600 yards so it seems it still be flying right3e369042e43127feee62b3022c0e1e82.jpg


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So here is a new question for you; I suspected to see higher velocities than I did by shortening the COAL from 2.250" to 2.200" but actually I didn't see the change. All pressure indicators were good so no problem there. Hornady manual shows 2.250" COAL using TAC at 20.3gr to be 2600fps, 22.1gr to be 2700fps and 23.8gr to be max load at 2800fps. Did I starve the powder of needed air space? Anyone know whats going on? 

My loads were 2.20" COAL using TAC at 23gr for 2613fps, 23.2gr at 2634fps and 23.4gr at 2629fps

 

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I tried to scan over what I could of the last 4 pages. I saw you have a 18" wylde.

What brand is the barrel?

What contour is the barrel? 

What is on the muzzle? 

Free floated I assume?

What trigger?

Has this AR ever shot a good group @ 100yds at least?

What are the ES and SD of your loads?  What's your powder drop consistency?

Some barrels just have messed up rifling or muzzle threads or crown.  Certain brakes can hurt accuracy. Triggers with slow lock times need an extra measure of on-target hold to be consistent. 

If you really want good ammo it takes a lot of time of brass prep, brass sorting, bullet sorting etc.   

 

Nick

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14 minutes ago, fastshooter03 said:

I tried to scan over what I could of the last 4 pages. I saw you have a 18" wylde.

What brand is the barrel? 18" Bear Creek Arsenal 1:8 

What contour is the barrel? Heavy barrel with bear claw fluting

What is on the muzzle? Jerry Miculek

Free floated I assume? Yes

What trigger? AR Gold

Has this AR ever shot a good group @ 100yds at least? .75" group is best my ability has produced

What are the ES and SD of your loads?  What's your powder drop consistency? Varies a lot it seems, I hope to bring it down now that I have a load thats close. The last group that shot the 1" group was ES-74 and SD-33.2. Powder drop is weighed out for each one right now so there is no variance. Using a Dillon powder measure so usually it is very consistent. 

Some barrels just have messed up rifling or muzzle threads or crown.  Certain brakes can hurt accuracy. Triggers with slow lock times need an extra measure of on-target hold to be consistent. 

If you really want good ammo it takes a lot of time of brass prep, brass sorting, bullet sorting etc. I do want good ammo and at some point i will get very serious about long distance shooting, but for now I need a consistent round to get me out there to 600 yards. At this point I am sorting out LC brass, decap and swage, using the dillon size/trim die and trimming to 1.750", bumping the shoulder back .005" from the fire form measurement, wet tumbling and loading it up. 

 

Nick

 

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.005" might be a little too much bump IMO. You should be chamfering the inside and outside of the neck after trimming.  I use the vld inside chamfering tool.  Are you sorting brass by weight?  That should be done after all other ops are completed.  Flash hole deburring might help but isn't overly important if you don't have time.  If your brass has too many firings on it that might cause problems as well.

What is your cleaning method?  R U sure you're getting most the copper and carbon out?  How many rounds thru the bore?

The only hornady bullets I've seen shoot are the 60 v-max(3-gun) and 75 a-max(long range single load).  The 75 a-max is too long to be loaded to magazine length.  Not sure why the 68 and 75 bthps have never been that great.  I've even sorted by base to ogive and they still wouldn't shoot. But I know people that have been able to group them so prob bad luck on my part.

You should be using IMR 8208 if you can get it.  TAC might be a little too slow for an 18" barrel.  IIRC I used TAC for a year in 3-gun for long range ammo and it seemed to be consistent one time over the chrono and then the next it had huge ES. 

My current long range 3-gun ammo uses 8208 and 70 berger vlds.  But I am also using bull barrels that I make from Broughten match grade 5c blanks and my heavy duty upper receiver.  I looked at Bear Creek and their barrels are around $100?  You should feel good about doing .75" @ 100. Match grade blanks start @ $300-400 before any work is done to them.   I have cut an rethreaded/crowned a lot of cheapy barrels and the threads and crowns can be very bad.  The miculek comp is ok.  You might want to take if off and see what happens to your POI and groups.  I used to modify Miculeks by drilling-reaming-tapping thru to the first port and adding holes on the top. I like to see into the end of my barrels

You're going to have to weigh each powder charge if you want to get serious about 600. I use a RCBS chargemaster.  You should have the attachments that go on your calipers for checking case headspace as well as base to ogive on loaded rounds to make sure your seating die is consistent and sorting bullets if needed.

The AR-gold uses a light hammer spring and is a little slow.  You need to watch the crosshair and make sure your follow thru is not moving off target.

 

Nick

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1 hour ago, fastshooter03 said:

.005" might be a little too much bump IMO. I can do less if it will be better, took the middle of the road from the instructions from the Hornady headspace gauge

You should be chamfering the inside and outside of the neck after trimming.  I use the vld inside chamfering tool.  After trimming and wet tumbling there is nothing really to clean up, I used to do it but it seemed a waste of time. Next batch I will do that and see if that closes up the ES some.

Are you sorting brass by weight?  That should be done after all other ops are completed.  I am not sorting by weight but did start sorting by headstamp, using only LC for the work up loads.

Flash hole deburring might help but isn't overly important if you don't have time. Just swage at this time, I need about 6 more hours in a day already,

If your brass has too many firings on it that might cause problems as well. All brass is range brass at this time, I do collect all of mine each time so some may have a few more.

What is your cleaning method?  R U sure you're getting most the copper and carbon out?  I break it down and use Q Maxx Black Diamond cleaner on the whole gun. Main powder is CFE223 so copper fouling isn't an issue

How many rounds thru the bore? I purchased this last barrel in April, and at this time I am guessing around 1,000 rounds. 

The only hornady bullets I've seen shoot are the 60 v-max(3-gun) and 75 a-max(long range single load).  The 75 a-max is too long to be loaded to magazine length.  Not sure why the 68 and 75 bthps have never been that great.  I've even sorted by base to ogive and they still wouldn't shoot. But I know people that have been able to group them so prob bad luck on my part.  I was having doubts about the 68's and the 75's but with the last batch getting tighter I will try some more and then move on to the sierra 77's 

You should be using IMR 8208 if you can get it.  TAC might be a little too slow for an 18" barrel.  IIRC I used TAC for a year in 3-gun for long range ammo and it seemed to be consistent one time over the chrono and then the next it had huge ES.  Heard so many good reports about TAC, a lot from this thread and others here. I do not get any smoke or flash out of the barrel so it must be burning well enough?? I got a good deal on an 8lb'er sos I will be using it for a while.. What is a good average range on ES for rifle? I get single digits on my pistol loads but best so far 15 on rifle. Even the Hornady Match grade I bought got a 38 ES and a 15.7 SD on one set and a 63 ES and a 29.5 SD on the next.

My current long range 3-gun ammo uses 8208 and 70 berger vlds.  But I am also using bull barrels that I make from Broughten match grade 5c blanks and my heavy duty upper receiver.  I looked at Bear Creek and their barrels are around $100?  You should feel good about doing .75" @ 100. Match grade blanks start @ $300-400 before any work is done to them. Did I mention I only have one sponsor? Myself and all this stuff...  

I have cut an rethreaded/crowned a lot of cheapy barrels and the threads and crowns can be very bad.  The miculek comp is ok.  You might want to take if off and see what happens to your POI and groups. I was told that by a friend of mine also, it is my next move on the next outing 

I used to modify Miculeks by drilling-reaming-tapping thru to the first port and adding holes on the top. I like to see into the end of my barrels I hadn't thought about that

You're going to have to weigh each powder charge if you want to get serious about 600. I use a RCBS charge master.  I do weigh and adjust each throw and usually within a hundredth or so. A dedicated powder dispenser like that would be dang handy when developing a new load.

You should have the attachments that go on your calipers for checking case headspace as well as base to ogive on loaded rounds to make sure your seating die is consistent and sorting bullets if needed. Using the Hornady Headspace Gauge but don't have anything to measure base to ogive

The AR-gold uses a light hammer spring and is a little slow.  You need to watch the crosshair and make sure your follow thru is not moving off target. Ok, i guess I need to be enlightened on what a good trigger is, I really like the AR gold, it was such a step up from the CMC trigger i had previously, what do you suggest on triggers?

Todd

 

Nick

 

Edited by Tmcfarland
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My long range 24" has a Geiselle 2-stage or whatever it's called.  It is their hi-speed model I think? Bought it when they first appeared on the scene and really wasn't all that happy with it but it does seem to have decent lock-time.  I don't shoot that rifle often so I put up with it.  My normal trigger is a jewel with the hammer spring replaced with a XP.  They are right around 2lbs and can be single or two stage.

In the AR I like to see a SD of 20 or less. R U running a lightweight buffer/bca system?  That may cost you some performance.

Even the same years of LC brass can have big weight variations.  

The other benefit to modifying the miculek is you get rid of the nut so it is shorter.

Nick

 

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7 minutes ago, fastshooter03 said:

In the AR I like to see a SD of 20 or less. R U running a lightweight buffer/bca system?

I am running  AP Custom Low Mass BCG and Taccom Rifle buffer with a Seekins adjustable gas block. It is set to operate on my 55gr loads.

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I think you might think about asking yourself a few more questions in an attempt to quantify ".223 out to 600 yds."  Almost any .223, or .22 lr will travel 600 yds.  What do you want to do at 600 yds and or what game are you playing, what kind of accuracy do you need?  NRA Highpower, which I have lots of experience in is very different then 3 gun which is also different then bench rest. 

Since this is mostly a 3 gun forum, I have to assume you are wanting to shoot 3 gun which requires less accuracy then NRA HP and much much less then BR ever will.  My standard for 3 gun is a 10 shot group at 200 yds that's 2-3".  that's it... for my NRA HP rifles, I can and have held 1-2" groups at 200 with iron sights so much more prep work is required for my NRA HP Ammunition. 

You also should think about bucking the wind or having a flatter trajectory for 3 gun.  I like 77's for 200 yd+ stages because they shoot better in my guns and buck the wind better.  many top shooters run factory 55 FMJ all the time for 3 gun. 

If your focus is really at 600 yds then I suspect that your going to want a heavy match bullet because it will buck the wind better.  If you have a 5 round group with Hornady 77's that's 1.03 at 100 yds then I suspect that a sierra, berger or Lapua 77 will shoot better but they do cost more.  Sorting brass by weight and head stamp will help decrease Extreme Spread (ES) which I think is really more important then Standard deviation (SD) because even 10 rounds will not really provide a statistically accurate SD.  ES will be a reliable indicator that something is "wrong" or more sorting, weighting, turning necks etc. is required even with 5-10 rounds. 

Sounds like you are making progress.  Good luck and think more about what you really want your rifle to do and how much money you want to spend.  Don't get discouraged if your rifle is not shooting great.  Experience tells me that many more people claim their rifles are "Sub MOA all day long" then actually are.  A three shot 1.0" group at 100 yds is a far cry from a 10 shot 1" 100 yd group.

food for thought;  You can often pick a few pellets out of a pattern of buckshot that will be "sub MOA"  but that does still not make my benelli a precision rifle.

 

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4 minutes ago, dauntedfuture said:

What do you want to do at 600 yds and or what game are you playing, what kind of accuracy do you need?

Thats odd that this was not explained in the beginning and hasn't been asked but I am preparing for the Seekins Hard as Hell multigun, they have 600+ targets and I have never shot that far before and had only "worked up" a plinking/close range load for the local 3gun matches around here. Max distance here is 100 yards and nothing really too difficult. I will admit that the whole 600 yard thing kind of intimidated me and seeing other shot groups had me really stressing out to find the perfect load. 

 

8 minutes ago, dauntedfuture said:

Sounds like you are making progress.  Good luck and think more about what you really want your rifle to do and how much money you want to spend.

Thanks, I have learned A LOT in the last couple of weeks from all the posts on this thread...head space gauge (check), neck tension - Lyman "M" die (check), sorting head stamp on brass (check), bullet comparator (check), measurement of lands (check) and on and on. I have some loaded and want to check the base to ogive measurement before shooting and then load some more that are closely monitored and see the diffence it makes. All this time I have been measuring the COAL as a basis to good loading. I had no idea that rifle (good rifle loads) loads took so much to do. My hat is off to the precision guys that do this all the time...i am worn out!

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17 minutes ago, dauntedfuture said:

food for thought;  You can often pick a few pellets out of a pattern of buckshot that will be "sub MOA"  but that does still not make my benelli a precision rifle

Thanks dauntedfuture for the humor, very much appreciated and it did make me laugh.

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17 minutes ago, Tmcfarland said:

Thats odd that this was not explained in the beginning and hasn't been asked but I am preparing for the Seekins Hard as Hell multigun, they have 600+ targets and I have never shot that far before and had only "worked up" a plinking/close range load for the local 3gun matches around here. Max distance here is 100 yards and nothing really too difficult. I will admit that the whole 600 yard thing kind of intimidated me and seeing other shot groups had me really stressing out to find the perfect load. 

 

Thanks, I have learned A LOT in the last couple of weeks from all the posts on this thread...head space gauge (check), neck tension - Lyman "M" die (check), sorting head stamp on brass (check), bullet comparator (check), measurement of lands (check) and on and on. I have some loaded and want to check the base to ogive measurement before shooting and then load some more that are closely monitored and see the diffence it makes. All this time I have been measuring the COAL as a basis to good loading. I had no idea that rifle (good rifle loads) loads took so much to do. My hat is off to the precision guys that do this all the time...i am worn out!

I shot Hard as Hell last year (and will again this year) and the number one thing you can do to up your score (if your shooting is already decent) is get in shape. A .1 MOA gun and laser reloads won't do you any good if you are panting and shaking from climbing a rope to get to your shooting position. You don't need to be in great shape (I'm not), but some aerobic exercises to build up your stamina will really help. 

Also, the longest shot last year was 450 yds and you used a stage gun (scoped bolt action) and ammo to take it. Everything else was 300 and in and on steel so you don't need an amazing gun & handloads. I haven't seen the stages for this year; maybe it's different.

I think load development is great and very helpful so don't let my comment stop you, I just don't want you getting frustrated trying to get to a goal you may not need.

HaH is absolutely awesome; it's the only major match I shoot since 2 little kids cuts down the time I can go away for a weekend. In addition to a stage long gun, there was also a stage breaching shotgun and a stage flashbang you had to use. So much fun. 

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48 minutes ago, Huch said:

I think load development is great and very helpful so don't let my comment stop you, I just don't want you getting frustrated trying to get to a goal you may not need.

Thanks for the foresight, I will continue because it is intriguing and I hate and can't leave a problem unsolved.

 

49 minutes ago, Huch said:

In addition to a stage long gun, there was also a stage breaching shotgun and a stage flashbang you had to use. So much fun. 

 Any insight to what the stage gun was? Type of scope?. Can't wait to use the breach gun and throw the flash bang.

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