223 90 vld first range report

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by carlsbad, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. carlsbad

    carlsbad Details matter. Silver $$ Contributor

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    Well, months ago you guys helped me pick the 223 ISSF reamer to build my 223. Today I took it to the range for the first time to do some testing after shooting my 6xc in our monthly "varmint" match. Barrel is a 28" Krieger 4 groove 7 tw.

    Results were good but not great. the 90 vld bullet I've read can be fidgety and I saw that right away.

    I loaded varget with loads of 23, 23.5 and 24 grains. The 23 grain loads were consistent and well behaved. Vel was 2630 and sd was good, single digit for 5 shots.

    The 23.5 was what I shot most. I had 20 rounds and they sped up a little as I shot them which is to be expected. 2650 to 2700 fps. I'd say 2670 av. SD hard to say since it was speeding up.

    24 grain was not a good load. MV was 2715 to 2772. :(

    Accuracy at 100 yards early on was not great--in the 3/4 moa range. But that was early.

    Later on I couldn't shoot the 100 yard targets so I did most of my shooting on the latter rounds on steel at 225 yards in the wind. Accuracy was on par with my 6xc on these targets so probably the barrel is settling in.

    Saw no pressure signs. Primers are pretty flat on all 3 loads. I use a .059 firing pin so no cratering which is good...but cratering is no longer available as a pressure sign. No indications of any leakage around the primers (new Lapua brass)

    Next time I'll go on up to 24.5 grains and I may try some 80 grain bullets too.

    One problem. Because the bullet is so long in front of the nose it hits the flat end of the barrel below the chamber before the shoulder bumps it up. So it won't single shot feed. Of course it is too long to mag feed. Had to manually slide each round into the chamber. I tried using a magazine with the round sitting on top and a single shot sled I made (very similar to a bob sled) that works well with .473 base cartridges. Same results with both. Are there any suggestions on how to get this long bullet to single shot feed easily?

    thanks,
    Jerry
     
  2. boltfluter

    boltfluter Gold $$ Contributor

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    Jerry,

    Could you make a sled with the ramp moved back to hit the shoulder earlier. Just a thought.

    Paul
     
  3. carlsbad

    carlsbad Details matter. Silver $$ Contributor

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    Not sure. Any ramp will get in the way of the bolt. I think I may have to make a low point in the back of the ramp so the back tips down rather than the front tips up. --Jerry
     
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  4. BP1

    BP1 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Jerry,I've been shooting the 90 vld with great results had two fellas on this site that gave me some good advice to get started.I have heard stories about the 90 blowing up and on Saturday I witnessed it first hand myself out of a rifle that had 400 rounds on it without out being cleaned.So for now on I will clean it after every match and practice session.I am shooting 24.2gr of varget at 2820 with a rem7 1/2 just touching the lands.I have made mid range master after about 5 matches with it.The little 90 also is really fun and challenging at a 1000yds too.
     
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  5. gstaylorg

    gstaylorg Silver $$ Contributor

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    I've never had that particular issue...my .223 Rem actions used with the 90s are single shot and have a feed ramp and coned bolt face, so they feed 90s just fine. However, I have another .223 bolt gun that I shoot the 80.5s in F-TR that has a DBM. They're too long to fit into the mag, but in F-TR/F-Open you have to single feed. During matches, I load (lay) the 80.5s directly on top of an AICS polymer mag and simply close the bolt. They feed into the chamber perfectly from off the top of the mag. I do the same thing with a couple .308s using either the AICS (steel) mags, or Magpul (polymer) mags. If you have some different .223 mags, you might give them a try and see if any will allow you to feed right off the top with the mag in place.

    With a 28" barrel, you're going to have slightly lower velocities at various different accuracy nodes as compared to a 30" barrel. Further, you will need to run slightly higher pressure to achieve those velocities. There should be a node with a 28" barrel and Varget somewhere in the neighborhood of 2780 - 2820 fps. Currently, you're not quite up to that range yet with your 24 gr load. You may or may not find that brass life suffers at 24.5 gr (or higher), only way to know for sure is to try it. Alternatively, you can stick with the 2630 fps range, which should be very close to a slower node for Varget and a 28" barrel. However, you'll be giving up a fair bit of performance, possibly unnecessarily. I think continued coarse testing to find your window(s) for optimal charge weight, followed by further fine increment testing will be useful.

    FWIW - I'm using 23.9-24.0 gr of H4895 in the .223 chambered with the .223 Rem ISSF reamer (0.169" fb), which gives me 2840-2850 fps from a 30" barrel. Brass life is not so great, maybe 3-4 firings. COAL for that load is ~2.641" with the 90s seated at ~.018" off the lands. A similar load with Varget in that rifle would be at around 2820 fps and noticeably better brass life.

    I'd also suggest that now might be a good time to find out where your rifle wants to shoot with regard to seating depth. I started everything out .010" into the lands, because that's where many of the people that really worked out how to shoot the 90s in F-TR a number of years ago had their best results. However, that never worked well for me...groups were so-so, like you're describing. Over time, I found that as I seated them incrementally farther out, there was a window between about .003" to .006" into the lands that gave one-hole groups, but it was extremely narrow. When I got to .015" to .018" off the lands, it again tightened up to one hole, and the window was at least two to three .003" increments wide. I never looked back. My 2nd .223 behaves very similarly, with groups tightening up at .018" to .021" off the lands. If you do a rough determination of what "general" region the rifle wants for seating depth now, it may save you some time and effort later. For example, if you're seating bullets .010" or more away from what the rifle really wants, it may well be that none of your tested charge weights look nearly as good as they might actually be. I don't normally test seating depth first, but the 90 VLDs are an exception to that in that they are fairly finicky. If they're not near that spot, they may not group well at all. Finding the approximate seating depth spot first may be the better approach. You can then optimize charge weight and possibly finish up with more seating depth work (validation).
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  6. carlsbad

    carlsbad Details matter. Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thanks for the replies. I like what I'm hearing. Sounds like I may make it to about 2800 with some more powder. All my barrels are 30" except this one, couldn't find one. If I don't make this one do what I want, I can make it into a plinker/tactical match gun and find a 31" blank somewhere.

    But your discussion of a node at 2630 seems to match my results. I'll go back to the range next month with some loads looking for a 2800 node. If I can't find it, I may just shoot the 2630 node. Should be ok out to 600 at least. borderline at 1000.

    My COAL was approximately on the lands based on an old post here I saw from gstanglord and I used 2.638. I'll remeasure the lands now that I have shot a few rounds and find .015 jump to try next.

    I shot all remington actions that I customize myself. I have some single shot actions and they have a dip in the bottom allowing the rear of the round to dip. I'll try to mimic that in my sled.

    thanks for the help,

    Jerry

    I
     
  7. gstaylorg

    gstaylorg Silver $$ Contributor

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    For a quick/dirty seating depth test, I'd recommend .005" and .010" into the lands, close to "touching" (maybe .001" to .003" off the lands), and .015" and .020" off the lands. You can always go back and do a finer (.003" increment) test when your final charge weight has been identified, but one group each for the 5 seating depths listed above will pretty much cover the majority of seating depths that I'm aware different people have been using successfully. I don't typically do it this way, but it ought to give you a fair idea of where it wants to shoot without too much effort, and possibly add some clarity your subsequent charge weight testing. Good luck.
     
  8. skiutah02

    skiutah02 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Hopefully helpful:

    4 barrels. All Bartlien, HP, 4-groove, 1:7 30 in.

    Barrel #1: Tested EVERYTHING, 900-1000 rounds of testing, best seating 2.074 CBTO with Hornady tool, 0.007 into lands, around 2.665 COAL (bullet lot dependent)

    Barrel #2: 2.074, 0.007 into lands. Knew what to look for. Tuned in 100 rounds. Has cleaned the 600 yd target in at least 4 states. Used at 2016 FCN for 11th place at midrange (1 more point would have given me 9th).

    Barrel #3: 2.042, 0.025 off lands. Tuned in 35 rounds after original owner gave up after 800-900 rounds. Shot a 200-14x in first 20-match. Shot 3rd or 4th highest overall agg in 2016 FCN MR team match.

    Barrel #4: 2.075, 0.008 into lands. Tuned seating depth in 14 rounds. Has not shot less than a 197 in a 600 yd match yet, but only has a few hundred rounds on it. This one is going to Nebraska, Greg :)

    Greg has given good advice. I would try 2.074 CBTO, increase powder charge carefully using either H4895 or Varget until you hit above 2800-2810 on two consecutive shots, then load 3 each at 2.074, 2.055 and 2.035 at that powder charge. One of these 3 groups will tell you about where you need to be. If you cannot repeatibly put 3-shots in same hole with an accurate rifle because you are new to the sport (we all were af one time), then do more than one 3-shot group at each seating depth (Berger recommends two 3-shot groups). Then use the chosen seating depth to do futher powder, fine seating depth and elevation-at-distance tests.

    Greg is the only 90vld shooter I know who seems to easily tune the 90s without struggle. I had to pay my dues to get a handle on this finicky round.

    I have given this advice (and other hints) about the 90vld to a number of shooters and they all have been happy (esp. Gene)

    Good luck,

    Drew
     
  9. gstaylorg

    gstaylorg Silver $$ Contributor

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    Not sure how someone can replicate your CBTOs Drew, unless they're using the exact same calipers/inserts as you. Even then, the CBTO measurements may not be the same. For that reason, I usually try to stick with distance to lands measurements. Regardless, I think we're on the same page as to what to try with regard to roughing out a seating depth.

    Sounds like you've got barrel #4 dialed in nicely. I'll be happy to give you three 197s for the NE State Match ;). I have rifle #2 loaded up and ready. With one exception (I think you can guess which one), I've been pretty happy with it in 600 yd matches so far:

    199-14X
    198-9X
    197-9X
    198-13X
    199-10X
    186-9X
    198-6X
    200-11X
    196-6X
    196-8X

    The person you really ought to be worried about is Gene. He's had that .223 working extremely well this year; it will be rather ironic if he outscores you with it after you helped him dial it in ;).
     
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  10. skiutah02

    skiutah02 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yeah, those scores are about what I expect from you (damn it, :)) And, yeah, Gene already wholloped me at the Sierra Cup using my 90vld advice so I've gotten used to the sting...While we were waiting in line to register, he was showing me his targets based upon the testing/cleaning I had suggested and I knew we were all going to be in trouble...

    However, it is more "fun" when its a close competition. I know you agree.
     
  11. gstaylorg

    gstaylorg Silver $$ Contributor

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    Gene got me at Sierra as well, and by two Xs at the July ENGC match. He's on fire. I told him I dropped a couple on purpose just to give him a false sense of security LOL. Glad to hear your coming...earlier this spring you weren't sure. It should be a very fun match...but who knows what the wind conditions will be. It was pretty tricky at the July match. I will probably have the 200.20Xs loaded up as well...you know...just in case it's howling.
     
  12. raptor1ronin

    raptor1ronin

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    I also Jump My 90VLD'S .20 off the lands and its a laser out to 900 Yards
     

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  13. Twitchy

    Twitchy

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    I'll add my 90g VLD info too. I also just started load testing with the 90s. I'm using a 30" Shilen throated from my dummy rounds. COAL for the VLDs is 2.668"ish. I actually had it throated for 90g SMKs, but the VLDs work too, just seating a bit further out.

    Below are my charge weights (Varget) and velocity.

    Lapua/Fed205/Varget/90g VLD-30" 1/7 barrel.

    So far I've only got about 90 rounds out. Accuracy was fairly good across the board, but I found a good node right around 23.2g of Varget and another around 24.2g.

    I'm planning on bumping up to 25g for testing and decide where to go from there.



    [​IMG]








    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. carlsbad

    carlsbad Details matter. Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thanks guy. I'll digest this and make plans for my next range trip. I'm thinking now I'll do seating depth at about 23.2 grains to catch the node at 2630 and then I'll take a few round loaded above 24 to see if I can find a higher node.

    Lots of great info here shared very unselfishly.

    --Jerry
     
  15. raptor1ronin

    raptor1ronin

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    23.8 grains of Varget and I get 2820 for my sweet spot. Using 1-6.7 Bartlein 5r 32". I also have a long freebore.
     
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  16. carlsbad

    carlsbad Details matter. Silver $$ Contributor

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    Update. Busy summer so I haven't done any more load development. What little shooting I've been doing has been with my 6xc. Won a local match yesterday so it is good to be shooting a rifle that is performing well.

    I did, however, fix the feeding problem. I decided not to modify the sled I made from aluminum that works great for 308 based cartridges. Bought a Bobs Sled for 223 and modified it. The problem is that the feed ramp does not elevate the nose of the bullet quickly enough to keep it from hitting the breach end of the barrel before the tip is high enough to enter the chamber. Can't raise the nose so I lowered the tail. With the unmodified bob sled installed the bolt engaged the round at about the middle of the primer so I had plenty of room to lower the rim.


    Here is a photo of the modified sled which might make it easier to follow my explanation:


    20170904_083016 (2).jpg
    I machined the back 90% of the cartridge channel about .090" deeper with a 3/8" round nosed bit. I started with .060" but that wasn't enough. The short section on the right was not modified. The bolt still engages quite a bit of the top of the round and the rim stays down low enough to get the tip of the bullet into the chamber. At first I tried machining a ramp but found that the ramp would have to be so deep that the bolt would not engage the rim at the back end. Lowering the channel and keeping it level turned out to be the correct solution.

    I am surprised nobody else has had this problem and post my solution here in case anyone else does have the issue with the extremely long rounds loaded for the 223 ISSF chamber.

    More load development soon. Thanks to all for your help.

    --Jerry
     
  17. gstaylorg

    gstaylorg Silver $$ Contributor

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    Both my .223s are single shot/feed, so no mag follower required. On another .223 in which I shoot the 80.5s, I toss them in on top of the AICS mag and they feed just fine. They're not quite as long as the 90s, but they're not short either. I believe the issue you're having is due to the center groove being too low. You don't need to mimic feeding a round from way down low in the mag, you want to pick it off the top and have it go straight in the chamber as possible. In other words, the center groove may be way too low. If you bring the height of the loaded round up to where it doesn't have to go all that much higher to enter the chamber, it might work better.
     

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