Favorite .223 bolt gun loads using CFE223 and 55gr Nosler Spitzer or 50gr ZMax?

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by AEntrekin, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. AEntrekin


    May 17, 2019
    (Cross-posting from the main reloading forum at someone's suggestion.)

    First things first: I've looked in several reloading manuals and gotten their advice. I'm looking for more than that.

    I have a bunch of these bullets (both the Nosler 55gr Spitzer #39526 and the Hornady 50gr Z-Max #22262) and an 8-lb jug of CFE223 that I'd like to load for a prairie dog trip. The gun is a Sako .223 bolt action, 25" barrel.

    Knowing that *I* am completely responsible for the rounds *I* load (so absolving anyone from liability and hopefully eliciting more responses), do any of you have recipes that have worked particularly well with this combination of powder and bullets?

    Thanks for your suggestions.
  2. jpx2rk


    Dec 21, 2015
    You need to find out "if" your gun likes CFE223 or not. Your sako may not like CFE or those bullets, but may like another powder/bullet combo. Only way to find out is to load up some test rounds at varying powder charge(s), and go shoot 'em. See which powder load/charge shoots the best, then try 1/10gr above and below the best, and keep refining. No one can give you the "magic" formula for your rig.
    JSH, AEntrekin and Mark W like this.
  3. mac86951

    mac86951 I prefer my targets level and unmoving Gold $$ Contributor

    Dec 17, 2012
    Honestly, I think CFE223 is a bit slow for those projectile weights. It'll work for sure, and loading will be like the old 222 and 4198; fill it to the neck, seat a bullet and call it good.

    You want a ball powder I'm guessing for bulk reloading? If not try benchmark, or 4198.

    You want CFE for copper eliminator? Try VV-N133

    H335 or wc-844 for plinking.

    See above posts for excellent load work-up advice.

    AEntrekin likes this.
  4. searcher

    searcher Gold $$ Contributor

    May 16, 2010
    The 50 V-Max is very forgiving bullet, though can like some powders FAR more than others - as with most bullets. Personally - I shot that bullet in a number of rifles and never found CFE223 to be a super accurate load for me - or at least others were better. I'd also try a bit of RL7, IMR8208XBR and Accurate LT32 if you have any. These powders rock with that bullet in most guns.
    AEntrekin likes this.
  5. Carbide


    Aug 13, 2012
    It will work with the heavier bullet at top end. Did not have luck with lighter bullets. I would test in temperatures you expect to be hunting in before loading up a few hundred!
  6. brians356

    brians356 Gold $$ Contributor

    Nov 18, 2013
    I have to emphatically disagree. CFE 223 is great for those bullet weights in 223. Hodgdon's fastest loads for both 50 and 55 are with CFE 223, and neither are compressed. They seem to be in the sweet spot for bullet weights. I get 3500 fps from CFE behind Speer 50 TNT and good accuracy in a stock 700 VS.

    PS the OP already has 8 lbs of CFE 223. Sooo...
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
    JSH likes this.
  7. McFred


    May 14, 2015
    I use BLC-2 with 50 Vmax and 50 Nosler B-Tips seated long in my 24" .223 Bolt gun. They run about .5 MOA and 3450fps or so. CCI 450 primers retain rounded corners and primer pockets have stayed tight over a few reloads, so it must be alright. I did not have good luck with any .224" calibers with any bullet combos (50-70grains) in 4 different .223 Rem rifles, so I have not bothered to purchase any more.
  8. Rsadams


    Sep 5, 2015
    Someone else's loads are really no good to you... You need to find out what your rifle likes , every one is different even the same rifle... You can buy two rifles exactly alike and it's very unlikely they will like the same exact load the same.... Load up some ( 5-10 each ) with different charges starting low and working up until you find what that rifle likes... Run them across a cronograph and let the targets tell the story... You can play with seating depths later to refine the best load.... Don't forget to test at the distance you will likely be shooting at because a great load at 100 yards doesn't always perform at longer distances.... Everything is about testing... Even if you rifle doesn't exactly love that powder you can still make it work probably good enough since you have 8 pounds of it.... Also remember that a screaming hot bullet isn't always an accurate one....

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