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Bullet choice for 200-500yd stages


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Hey guys, I'm currently shooting 55gr hornady fmj-bt w/cannelures over 25.5gr of CFE223 for everything from 5yd paper hosing out to the 430yd steel at a match this last weekend. I struggled to hit that 12"x12" plate at that range with that ammo, so I'm looking to get some better bullets to load up for stages with targets past 200yds. Currently looking at hornady v-maxes in 53gr, 55gr, and 60gr because they're still fairly cheap relative to a 69gr or 77gr SMK. My barrel is only a 1 in 9 also, so I'm afraid it wouldn't stabilize the longer bullets. What do you guys load up for longer range stages?

 

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The Hornady 68gr BTHP bullets are pretty cheap and would work fine in a 1:9 twist barrel.  
 
Out past 300 yards the heavier match bullets make it much easier. 
Those seem to be priced pretty well. Using 69gr load data, my ballistic calculator shows 3 inches less drop at 400, and 12 inches less at 500 than my current 55gr. Should be a goog option if the rifle likes them.

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With a 9 inch twist, the 68 or 69 grain bullets will work, Hornady 75 BTHP might work. I've been shooting either 55 VMax or 55 Nosler Ballistic Tips at Rocky Mountain 3 Gun since 2011, out to 550 yards.
How are those for you? I looked at those, and they should be close for my reticle.

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ive always liked 77 smk or 77 tmk.  you might think about getting a faster twist barrel someday. i was same as toothandnail, never had to change zero for the close stuff 
It's on the list. I'm shopping for an entire new rifle actually. My girlfriend and I shoot on a snug budget because we're buying a cnc mill in the spring, so we actually both share a cheap diamondback db15 with some upgrades, and it's really hard on the rifle. I'm considering the ruger ar556 mpr so I can buy-in for cheap, and upgrade over time.

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I tried 77s and couldnt get enough velocity from an 18" barrel to be ballistically better than 55gr FMJs for drop but obviously buck the wind better. I'd look at the Hornady 62gr HPBT.  I load them into ASC stainless mags to get a longer COAL but it isnt necessary.

Edited by jon49erfan
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Drop is predictable....wind isn’t. Get whatever shoots best and bucks the wind well. My favorite is the 75 hornady....it might stabilize in 1:9 but the 68s and 69s will work well at distance also.

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5 hours ago, Ryanwarner37 said:

How are those for you? I looked at those, and they should be close for my reticle.

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I zero my scope at 300 yards with the 300 yard mark, since that's as far as I have available. If I had a 400 yard range, I'd zero it the same way. The longer the distance you can zero at, the better.

 

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I zero my scope at 300 yards with the 300 yard mark, since that's as far as I have available. If I had a 400 yard range, I'd zero it the same way. The longer the distance you can zero at, the better.
 
I never even considered zeroing like that. :facepalm: before 3 gun, bdc reticles were foreign to me. Definitely setting that up when I check my zero before the next match.

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12 hours ago, Ryanwarner37 said:

I never even considered zeroing like that. :facepalm: before 3 gun, bdc reticles were foreign to me. Definitely setting that up when I check my zero before the next match.

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Bruce Piatt posted this method years ago. 

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As others have said, 69s should work in your 1/9 barrel. Hornady's  can be had for a decent price. I shoot the Hornady 55 fmj a lot, but do prefer the hevier bullets for longer range steel that has to move to indicate hits. 

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On 10/8/2018 at 12:54 PM, AustinT said:

Drop is predictable....wind isn’t. Get whatever shoots best and bucks the wind well. My favorite is the 75 hornady....it might stabilize in 1:9 but the 68s and 69s will work well at distance also.

 

The 75gr Hornady's are extremely "iffy" in a 1:9. In my experience the Hornady bullets tend to be longer than other manufacturers based on the profile. This is especially true in their AMax line. 

 

I liked the 68/69gr bullets for the velocity bump over 75/77gr. Significantly flatter trajectory and buck the wind pretty well up to 500 yards.

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My combo is a 55gr for close stuff to 300 and a 77gr Nosler custom comp for 300 out. I tried the 68/75gr from Hornady and couldn't get them to shoot well from my ar, I think they were jumping to much freebore at mag length loading. I use Benchmark for my heavy loads, I have tried Varget but I think it's too slow for an 18" barrel. 

Edited by NateTSU
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On 10/8/2018 at 9:46 AM, Ryanwarner37 said:

Which 55gr? Just fmj's?

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I get better results with the hornady 55g SP.  I found it shoots good enough for just about any 3gun target in terms of accuracy.  It’s #2266 from hornady and sometimes costs less than fmj.  

 

You Could also look at the 62g hornady.  Several people here are using that bullet since it’s cheap like the 55g fmj but more accurate.  

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I use 69 smk over a stout load at 2911 avg and it works very well at distance. At major matches I also use 55 nosler ballistic tip for hoser ammo and will use it to 300 yards with confidence. People have asked why I shoot expensive bullets for hoser ammo but it is literally a $10 difference at a major match for piece of mind knowing I am running good ammo. I've spent more money on dumber ideas many times. 

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 1:54 PM, AustinT said:

Drop is predictable....wind isn’t. Get whatever shoots best and bucks the wind well. My favorite is the 75 hornady....it might stabilize in 1:9 but the 68s and 69s will work well at distance also.

Very good point. Too many people just look at trajectory and say the 55 shoots just as flat but fail to look at what the wind does to a lower BC projectile. The wind is not your friend when you start stretching out. There are so many good ballistics programs now, it is very easy to compare loads and bullets on paper. How accurate they will be requires range work of course.

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I have always used 55 grain bullets. I like the Sierra and Nozler ballistic tips. I've never seen the use of a heavy bullet for what we do. Maybe I don't know much about wind and what it does to a "low B.C." bullet, but  I seldom can't hit targets out to 600+ in any condition and that is using real iron sights. With an optic where you can see exactly where your holding off, I couldn't imagine needing anything heavy!

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Like Kurt, I ran 55gr Ballistic Tips for many years (Limited Division, but with a red dot - I am younger than him). However, in the last 2 years I have switched to Sierra 77gr TMK. It took some work to find a load that shoots with acceptable accuracy out of my lightweight 18" barrel while maintaining maximum velocity. BC is excellent; these bullets shoot flat and resist the wind very well. What I really like about the heavier bullets for our game is how they hit harder; there is nothing more frustrating than when you can see your hit on steel through your scope but the RO does not call the hit because they can't see the target indicating sufficiently... targets move with authority when hit with 77 grains of hate :roflol:

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