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mioduz

What to change Next on a Cheap .223 Load to improve Accuracy

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I am trying to develop a overall Cheap-o 55 Gr Load that has as good as I can achieve accuracy.  My efforts have been relatively fruitless in gaining more accuracy.  

 

Lighting, Hornady, and Berry 55gr (no discernible difference in accuracy)

24.8-.25.8 Gr H335 (2700-3100 FPS)

Standard deviations in the mid 30's

 

Groups have yet to be less than 2" at 100

All Dies are LEE except for M-Die (optional)

 

 

Currently Loading on a XL 650.

Resized with LEE Sizing Die

Trim to 1.750

M-Die (optional if using bullet feeder)

CCI400 Primer

Powder drop H335 25.4 Gr 

Seating with Lee Die to Canelure depth (i cant recall the exact measurement off top of my head)

Lee Factory Crimp Die

 

 

MY ASSUMPTIONS:

1.  My SD numbers are reasonable for cheap bulk type ammo so my powder and throw are doing their job

2.  I've settled in around 28-2900 FPS feeling that should be a good speed 

3.  I should be able to create a load with sub 2" accuracy at 100 yds with these components

4.  Lee dies work just as well as more expensive dies for the intended purpose

 

 

Im tempted to try different dies.....becasue i feel like everything else is in line......but I also dont beleive that the LEE dies really could be at fault.

 

Your thoughts??

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, mioduz said:

Your thoughts??

Yeah. Is your rifle any good?

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Just now, ChuckS said:

Yeah. Is your rifle any good?

shooting a 69gr amax yields 1" group

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2 minutes ago, mioduz said:

shooting a 69gr amax yields 1" group

What can it do with 55 Gr?

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Just now, ChuckS said:

What can it do with 55 Gr?

 3" Avg "group"  5 and 10 shot groups

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Never heard of a 69gr Amax.

Are you using mixed brass?

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2 minutes ago, mioduz said:

 3" Avg "group"  5 and 10 shot groups

Did you try any commercial 55 gr stuff?

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1 minute ago, ChuckS said:

Did you try any commercial 55 gr stuff?

I need to...

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Some 1:7 barrels don't like short 55 grain bullets. Will it shoot commercial ammo of that weight accurately?

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6 minutes ago, TonytheTiger said:

Never heard of a 69gr Amax.

Are you using mixed brass?

 

You appear to be correct (I loaded these a LONG time ago and apparently I dont recall correctly)

After checking on what is actually made im guessing they are actually 60Gr Vmax bullet (I should pull one to find out for sure)

 

Yes mixed Brass

 

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6 minutes ago, DesertTortoise said:

Some 1:7 barrels don't like short 55 grain bullets. Will it shoot commercial ammo of that weight accurately?

 

My dillemma is all my guns are set up with 1:7 pretty much.  Pretty annoying when you wanna just plink with cheap ammo

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Check the concentricity of your loaded rounds.  I bet there will be room for improvement there...  If the bullet tip wobbles when you roll it on a flat piece of glass held at eye level, you have found one of your problems, perhaps the biggest one.  

 

If you can ditch your "M" expanding die, that may help your concentricity. 

 

Sorting your brass by headstamp and number of firings will help too.  

 

HP's and Ballistic Tip bullets usually shoot better than FMJ's.  I know they aren't as cheap as FMJ's, but if accuracy is what you are looking for, better bullets definitely help. 

 

I do get "decent" accuracy with Hornady 55 FMJ's, but I'm still only getting around 2 MOA.  I don't know if those bullets are capable of much better, especially in a fast twist rate barrel.  

 

I use straight-line Wilson dies and an arbor press to seat bullets for my most accurate rifle rounds.  Yeah, it's slow, but it yields more concentric loaded rounds, and more concentric rounds group better.  

 

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Try the Midsouth 62 BTHP projectiles. They are relatively cheap and shoot in my 1-7 barrels - the same 1-7 barrels that will not group 55s. 

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Oh yeah, I wouldn't use a factory crimp die on rifle rounds!  

 

6 minutes ago, ranger said:

Try the Midsouth 62 BTHP projectiles. They are relatively cheap and shoot in my 1-7 barrels - the same 1-7 barrels that will not group 55s. 

 

https://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item/001532276c500/22-caliber-point224-diameter-62-grain-bthp-with-cannelure-500-count

 

Not a bad price.... out of stock, of course!  

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1 hour ago, Ken6PPC said:

Check the concentricity of your loaded rounds.  I bet there will be room for improvement there...  If the bullet tip wobbles when you roll it on a flat piece of glass held at eye level, you have found one of your problems, perhaps the biggest one.  

 

If you can ditch your "M" expanding die, that may help your concentricity. 

 

Sorting your brass by headstamp and number of firings will help too.  

 

HP's and Ballistic Tip bullets usually shoot better than FMJ's.  I know they aren't as cheap as FMJ's, but if accuracy is what you are looking for, better bullets definitely help. 

 

I do get "decent" accuracy with Hornady 55 FMJ's, but I'm still only getting around 2 MOA.  I don't know if those bullets are capable of much better, especially in a fast twist rate barrel.  

 

I use straight-line Wilson dies and an arbor press to seat bullets for my most accurate rifle rounds.  Yeah, it's slow, but it yields more concentric loaded rounds, and more concentric rounds group better.  

 

I spun the sized (unloaded) cases and got pretty much the same reading as loaded ammo

 

Spun the cases in a v block with an indicator on neck.

 

Avg .003

High .006

 

What is acceptable amount for non match grade ammo

 

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55 fmj bullets tend to not be very accurate. Try a 55 hp or polymer tipped bullet. 

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4 minutes ago, Don_B said:

55 fmj bullets tend to not be very accurate. Try a 55 hp or polymer tipped bullet. 

 

Is 3" really all to expect??.  I know milspec on xm193 is 4".  I just thought I could do significantly better

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First step is to use brass with the same headstamp. That ought to show some improvement. Other than that, good 55gr FMJ's seem to top out around 1.5 moa. If you shoot groups on paper all day you'll get a few 1" groups but they'll be the exception, not the rule. But if you're doing that then you're missing the point of cheap 55gr bullets.

 

Also don't buy the whole 7 twist hates 55gr nonsense. 99 out of 100 people that say that are shooting 3" ammo and blaming the 3" groups on the twist rate. I'm currently loading for 10 223 barrels evenly split between 7 and 8 twist and I can't find any evidence of 7t disliking 55gr. Like Don B said, try quality bullets, even 55gr or lighter and you'll see a world of difference.

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45 minutes ago, Don_B said:

55 fmj bullets tend to not be very accurate. Try a 55 hp or polymer tipped bullet. 

If you have a barrel that likes them the 55gr Hornadys from the handy 6000 pack in good hand loads with h335 should go closer to 1"

But some barrels just don't like them...

I have a JP that shoots small groups with almost anything.  I also have a larue barrel that shoots tiny groups with heavy bullets but won't do better than 2.5" with the 55s.  I've also had good luck with the Hornady 55 gr flat based soft points.

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Finicky barrels are truly to blame.  I have a 1:7 18" barrel that hates cheap 55gr factory.  I couldn't get it to group for crap.  The gun grouped better with my reloads.   You need to determine what the gun is for.  Do you need sub 1 moa groups?  If I need precision, I'm not loading mixed brass and cheap plinking  rounds.  I would build 10 rounds by hand.  Same headstamp, same length (measure them), same amount of powder measure the powder of each drop.  make it the same!) same OAL. and shoot them.  I know on my 650 with H335, I get slight variations in the powder drop.

 

FYI my load is 24.5gr H335 over a Everglades 55gr V1 bullet.

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Change powder.  TAC is a ball powder that meters consistently and is good for .223.  Same for BLC2.

 

A couple years back my nephew and I built a bull barrel .223 AR15 for him.  Nice 1 turn in 7" barrel/bolt/trigger and scope, with a free float tube and bipod, A2 fixed stock, etc., etc., etc.

 

He bought a bunch of factory ammo (different brands/bullet weights) to see what it shot good groups with.  We sighted it in at 25 yds. then walked over to the 100 yd. range to get his BDC scope set up at 100 yds.

 

He shot several groups with the factory ammo.  I handed him 5 rounds of the stuff I shoot all the time (55 grain Hornaday FMJBT, CCI primers, mixed brass, BLC2 powder).  When we were done and were putting out rifles in the cases, picking up brass, etc. I asked him what his new rifle shot it's best groups with.  His reply was, "That ammo you gave me."

 

His store bought ammo was Federal, Remington, Winchester with soft point 55 grain and up bullets.  The best groups were from the cheap Hornady reloads.

 

Sometimes you just have to experiment with powder brands and charge weights to see what your rifle "likes."

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11 hours ago, mioduz said:

 

Is 3" really all to expect??.  I know milspec on xm193 is 4".  I just thought I could do significantly better

There are just too many variables to say you should get 2" or 3". In the past I have gotten sub 1" groups with 55 fmj but I have not been able to get better than 1.5 for a long while, out of a JP rifle. I have given up on trying to get better that that with fmj. I recently got 1/2 groups with Hornady Vmax bullets. 

 

Another thing i have noticed is the fmj are inconsistent. I might have a 1 1/2" group and try the same ammo later and might be 2 1/2-3" group. I think there is just not the qc on them. 

I would try the 62 hpbt someone suggested. 

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Like others mentioned, the typical fmj .224 bullet is not very accurate due to the inconsistency of the bases mostly. In the past I have been down the road trying to get FMJ's from numerous makers to *consistently* group under a MOA @ 100 meters but it has been a very frustrating endavour. The only FMJ that came close in my experience was the 55 FMJ from Hornady. But that was years back and I don't know about their quality now. Even the more expensive Lapua's and Sierra's performed mediocrely.

 

So don't waste your time trying to chase your tail and get a quality match/hunting bullet so you can at least rule out 1 variable in the experiment.

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