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MJinPA

Ball powder for 77 gr 223?

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My go to powder for 77 gr smk is Varget. I typically only load 100 at a time so using my single stage and trickling powder is no big deal. However, I’m thinking about buying and loading in bulk (1-2k) and loading on my 650. I’d prefer not to run Varget or similar stick powder through the dillon powder measure bc it does not meter as well as a ball powder. Has anyone found a ball powder that can match the accuracy and velocities of their favorite stick powder?

 

 

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I'm only loading 69's and 55's right now, but I have a bunch of 77gr's that I'll start loading eventually.  From my research, TAC seems like a pretty popular choice.  Although it's not a ball powder, 8208 XBR also seems like another popular choice.  It's still extruded, but cut shorter than Varget and does actually meter better, though not as good as a ball powder still.

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I haven't loaded any 77gr, just 55 and 62gr but TAC meters like water.  It's an extremely fine ball powder.

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1 minute ago, JohnnyD said:

I haven't loaded any 77gr, just 55 and 62gr but TAC meters like water.  It's an extremely fine ball powder.

I load 55s with H335 and it meters like water too. I'm just wondering if I can get similar performance (3/4 moa out to 700 yards) using a ball powder with 77s. I'm sure I can run varget through my dillon measure but I would think that charge weights would be inconsistent with a stick powder.

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MJ

i use Varget in my 550. It’s like cutting corn flakes with a spoon. Annyoying for sure. 

 

I havent noticed terrible variance but quit looking years ago. Load holds the 10 ring at 600 yards, which is better than I can hold with a sling and open sights these days. 

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I use TAC with Nosler 77 Custom Competition with my Dillon 550. Works great.

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You have 7 hours to kill, right?   It is a 14 part series.  

Edited by chevrofreak

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I use H-335 and it seems to meter pretty accurately.  I'm using it with 55gr bullets but the bullet weight would not make any difference.

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I shoot 75/77 class bullets for 3 gun.  You will get higher velocities with the ball propellants as a rule owing the the higher nitroglycerin content.  I have tried the older propellants like 748 and BLC-2 and there ok but I find that they do not have a broad accuracy node and are more finicky.  I found CFE 223 accurate across a broad range basically from 24-25 grains with a 75-77 grain bullet.  It is easy to find a load for and accurate in a lot of guns.  You can safely load way above that 25 grains according to the last two Hornady manuals for a 75 grain HPBT.  TAC is also good and there is a known accuracy node (IMO) between 23 and 24 grains.  Western powders has 5.56 data published for this propellant and 2520 as well and you can go much higher like the CFE but I lost accuracy in hand lapped match barrels.

 

I use 8208 XRB because its temp stable and meters good through my Dillon measure with lower SD's than any ball propellant.  I think it is the most accurate powder I have ever used.  Make sure you check all the load data, the manufacturers website says 23.2 is max for a 77 SMK.  The Lyman, Hornady and Berger manuals I have are more conservative than that sadly.  Make sure you work up to 23.2 if you try it.  When I called Sierra they quoted me the 23.2 for the TMK as well.

 

I load for 3 match rifles on a 650 and the ammo is solid sub moa, SD's are in the high teens.

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I shoot 75/77 class bullets for 3 gun.  You will get higher velocities with the ball propellants as a rule owing the the higher nitroglycerin content.  I have tried the older propellants like 748 and BLC-2 and there ok but I find that they do not have a broad accuracy node and are more finicky.  I found CFE 223 accurate across a broad range basically from 24-25 grains with a 75-77 grain bullet.  It is easy to find a load for and accurate in a lot of guns.  You can safely load way above that 25 grains according to the last two Hornady manuals for a 75 grain HPBT.  TAC is also good and there is a known accuracy node (IMO) between 23 and 24 grains.  Western powders has 5.56 data published for this propellant and 2520 as well and you can go much higher like the CFE but I lost accuracy in hand lapped match barrels.
 
I use 8208 XRB because its temp stable and meters good through my Dillon measure with lower SD's than any ball propellant.  I think it is the most accurate powder I have ever used.  Make sure you check all the load data, the manufacturers website says 23.2 is max for a 77 SMK.  The Lyman, Hornady and Berger manuals I have are more conservative than that sadly.  Make sure you work up to 23.2 if you try it.  When I called Sierra they quoted me the 23.2 for the TMK as well.
 
I load for 3 match rifles on a 650 and the ammo is solid sub moa, SD's are in the high teens.

Great info! I have some cfe223 that I’ll try. Will also try TAC as others have mentioned before ordering in bulk.


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You have 7 hours to kill, right?   It is a 14 part series.  

Wow! How can someone talk about this for 7 hours?!?


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1 hour ago, MJinPA said:


Wow! How can someone talk about this for 7 hours?!?


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and never say any thing use full.

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3 hours ago, AHI said:

and never say any thing use full.

I often skip to the shooting because group size and velocity is all I care about. 

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if you really want to use Varget...

 

Remove the Dillon powder measure and get a RCBS drum measure with case activated linkage, meters Varget to +-.01 gn.

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I use ar comp for just about everything 223. I have not tried it in 77 though. It’s cheap and easy to find and I can use it for 308 too

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Cfe  223 works really well in my rifle meters great 

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I use 23.5 Cfe223 for a light 55 gr hoser. 23 gr 8208xbr for 77TMKs. I found a bit better accuracy out of hornady 73 elds, and they’re cheaper. 8208, varget, and shooters world precision powder were pretty much the same in accuracy, in my gun. 8208 and precision meter well from Dillon measures.


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I use tac and 8208.

75/77gr if i had to choose 1 8208

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If you like to use Varget, you can polish the inside of your powder measure and it should provide more consistency.   I tried it using with RL-15 and it increased consistency  to acceptable levels on my 550.

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