For those shooting F-TR in .223, which powder?

Discussion in 'Competition Forum (All Calibers)' started by clunker, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. clunker

    clunker Gold $$ Contributor

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    Now that I have started reloading for my hunting rifle, I want to start thinking about my .223 for 600 yd competition. It's totally the wrong rifle (light/short barrel, 1:10 twist), but I want to try the sport before investing in a more appropriate setup. I've already picked the brass and primers, and I've narrowed bullet choice to three options at 69gr. Most of you are probably shooting heavier bullets, but 69 is the most I think will stabilize in my Tikka.

    Now the big question. What powder do you guys use? I need to narrow down my options to three, or I'll end up shooting out the barrel before I find a good load.
     
  2. Mike McCasland

    Mike McCasland Gold $$ Contributor

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    Not many folks are running that config in F-T/R (as you've called out) so not sure how much of a response you'll get. That said, given the criteria/scenario, I'd be trying Varget, H4895, and 8208 XBR...maybe N140 (flip a coin there).

    Might be worth trying the 69gr TMK for it's slightly higher BC.

    You'll get blown around a lot at 600 with that combo though; pray for calm winds and getting the first relay. ;)
     
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  3. clunker

    clunker Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yes! Not the best setup, but it's good enough to have some fun at the range. TMK's are one of the three I'm considering. The Lapua Scenar-L shoot better than any other factory ammo I've tried, so they are a candidate as well.
     
  4. sawcarver

    sawcarver Gold $$ Contributor

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    I run 69gr TMKs out of a 1-9T with h322 it shoots really well. I would take it and try shooting a match or two then you know if you like it. Good Luck!

    That being said the rifles we normally at 600 use shoot 80.5gr bergers and N-140
     
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  5. AJC

    AJC

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    If you cant find varget, which I run with 80s you may consider arcomp.
     
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  6. mac86951

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

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    I had good results with AR comp at 600y; but I did find that it's day to day (maybe temperature) consistency wasn't quite that of H4895.

    Varget, and N140 are also often found on the line.

    With a 69; I see someone already mentioned h322, I'll add n135 and imr 4166

    Check your ballistics tables for wind drift and understand that it's doable, but a challenge. Don't get frustrated, and watch those flags!
     
  7. Ned Ludd

    Ned Ludd Gold $$ Contributor

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    H322 or H4895 would be my choices with 69s. Either one should work well, so I wouldn't waste barrel life or bullets unnecessarily testing three different powders, or even three different bullets, if they all weigh in at 69 gr. I'd probably start with the 69 SMK and either one of those two powders (take your pick) and go. The 69 SMK has a well-established reputation for precision and relative ease of tuning. It's not the optimal choice for F-TR simply because of the BC, but you don't have much say in that due to the 10-twist barrel. Shooting what you have is much better than not participating at all, so my hat is off to you simply for choosing to get involved.

    Load up the 69s as best you can, watch the wind flags like a hawk, and you'll do fine. Hopefully, you will enjoy the experience enough to keep at it, and you can choose to upgrade to a faster twist barrel throated for 80-90 gr bullets at some point down the road. Best of luck with it.
     
  8. clunker

    clunker Gold $$ Contributor

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    Great info everyone. Thank you!

    After more research, I'm leaning toward H322 or H4895. It looks like I can squeak out a bit more velocity with H4895, but it sounds like the powder does not meter as well. H322 seems to offer more precise metering, but it might not be the best choice if I eventually advance to 90gr TMKs. Hodgdon does not list any bullet weight higher than 80gr for H322. Does that sound about right?
     
  9. Ned Ludd

    Ned Ludd Gold $$ Contributor

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    H322 will work with 80s, or even 90s, but it really has too fast a burn rate to be optimal for those heavier bullets. As you noted, it also has very small kernels and good bulk density, so in .223 Rem loads with 80-90 gr bullets, you end up with a case fill ratio that may also not be optimal (i.e. < 90%). It can certainly be made to work with those heavier bullets, but tuned velocities will be slower than with a powder such as H4895 or Varget. FWIW - on a "relative" basis, H4895 kernels, although not as small as those of H322, are most definitely not "large", perhaps only 2/3 to 3/4 the size of a kernel of Varget. H4895 should meter reasonably well. If you're planning on going to the heavier bullets eventually, I would suggest that you start using H4895 now with the 69 gr bullets. You will only end up more familiar with its properties whenever you do decide to switch to a heavier bullet.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  10. r bose

    r bose

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    I'm gonna get laughed at but don't discount the 70g Nosler RDF. Had someone who wanted to TRY 600 yd shooting and he used them in his 1/10 twist. Shot very well easily holding the 10 ring FTR target. Want speed? Use 2000 MR.......... Work up to approx 28.5g and don't be surprised to see 3100 FPS out of a 24" barrel. Use hard primers 450's or 7 1/2's
     
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  11. clunker

    clunker Gold $$ Contributor

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    Pretty much what I was thinking, but much appreciated to hear it from someone who has experience with both powders. Looks like I'm starting with Lapua brass, CCI BR4 primers, H4895 powder, and Sierra TMK 69gr bullets. Considering my entire extended family is very much anti-gun, I'm anticipating the .223 dies will be a belated Christmas gift to myself.
     
  12. KiloTrooper

    KiloTrooper

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    Load them and send them to the target. Your family will come around as they see the discipline and enjoyment of your sport.

    -Kyle
     
  13. Dgd6mm

    Dgd6mm

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    The 70 Nosler RDF is definitely a good choice for your 600 yard target. Being limited by twist I would definitely give it a try. My buddy's Savage shoots them good out to 600 and a little beyond. Also you've had good recommendations on powder, pick one or two and give it a go.
     
  14. rmist

    rmist

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    H4895 !! Like you I started with a factory barreled Rem Varmint 700 with a 26" barrel. Once I shot a few matches I had a barrel made in 7 twist throated for the Berger 80.5 gr pills. I tried Varget but H4895 was much better. It took me to High Master at 600 yards. Good luck and enjoy !!
     
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  15. MGYSGT

    MGYSGT Silver $$ Contributor

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    When I first started shooting F TR I had one of those Rem 700 with the fat 20" barrel and a 9 twist. I loaded up Serria 69's and about 25 gr of Varget with a CCI small rifle mag primer. Had a good time at 600. Shot a 198/197/189. Did ok until the wind got me in the last relay. So I say load them, shoot them and have a good time.
     
  16. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold $$ Contributor

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    90 VLDs, 24.2 Varget, 205M
     
  17. Longtrain

    Longtrain Silver $$ Contributor

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    I love the 69 SMK, easy to tune, very accurate. I shot a 300 yard FClass match a year or so ago and the shooter next to me was shooting 69’s. He shot very well, and since his rifle was accurate and he read the wind, he scored well.
    I was shooting a 223AI with 80.5 Berger’s, even though I gave up much less wind we stayed neck and neck. So, the short story is the 69’s will work, it will allow you to taste the fruit of the poisonous tree. It will teach you what the wind can do to your perfectly centered break. Good luck, have fun.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
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  18. DR_2297

    DR_2297

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    2000MR will give you superior velocity and can shoot some tiny groups. It’s what I am loading for SR and Palma rifle in 223 with heavies (77 on up). 8208 is another good choice and of course good ole varget is always a winner.

    if you really want to shoot 600 + with 223 you need an 8, better yet 7 twist barrel and a chamber suitable for 80s on up to the new 85.5 Berger. Or just go all out and shoot 90s
     

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