Match Grade Bullets for .223

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by clunker, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. clunker

    clunker Silver $$ Contributor

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    In anticipation of learning how to reload in the near future, I've been looking at bullets for my .223. It looks like there are several choices for varmint rounds, but I am not seeing much for target shooting. The problem is that my rifle has a 1:10 twist which loves weights between 60-64gr, and I can only find weights 55gr and below or 69gr and up. So far, the only manufacturer who seems to offer any match grade bullet in the desired range is Sierra Match King 60gr. Is the twist so unpopular that no one supports it? The match kings are great bullets, but that does not mean my rifle will like them, so I was hoping for some alternatives.
     
  2. swadiver

    swadiver Silver $$ Contributor

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    your 1 in 10 twist won't do 55 gr bullets? kind of unusual. maybe try a box of 55 gr Berger match bullets. shoot great in my 1 in 12 twist .223
     
  3. geraldgee

    geraldgee Gold $$ Contributor

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  4. clunker

    clunker Silver $$ Contributor

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    Maybe I should have been more specific. The rifle has performed beautifully with everything from 40gr to 69gr, but since I hope to compete in F-TR, I want the highest weight that 1:10 can reliably stabilize. At 2,500 feet, Scenar-L 69gr bullets shoot great, even though Lapua suggests a minimum 1:9 twist. Not sure I want to risk it at sea level.

    I missed that one. I thought all the 69gr and higher bullets recommended 1:9 or faster. Thanks!
     
  5. natdscott

    natdscott P100, HM, DR, experienced beginner. Gold $$ Contributor

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    Try the 69 SMK, and when you figure out that it's inherent accuracy (stellar) is not enough to get you where you want to be at 600, you'll get a new barrel for 80's.
     
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  6. clunker

    clunker Silver $$ Contributor

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    I like the way you think. Since this is a factory rifle (a very accurate one, I might add), I don't intend to use it in competition for very long. I'm just not ready to shell out $4k for a custom until I have a little experience in some matches, and this little Tikka will eventually graduate to become my go-to varminter.
     
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  7. natdscott

    natdscott P100, HM, DR, experienced beginner. Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just remember when you do start spending money to spend first on the tube and then on the smith.

    Actions, triggers, stocks, paintjobs, scopes, blah blah blah...

    ...are alllllll behind those other two in importance.

    Some of us have 1/2 minute AR-15s at 600...on $100 aluminum receivers.....but I won't even blink at the invoice from Wisconsin that gets me there.
     
  8. wkdickinson

    wkdickinson Silver $$ Contributor

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    If you are serious about shooting F-TR, stop wasting time and money, just buy a Krieger "drop in "1:7.7", get the tools to install it yourself, shoot 80gr SMKs and be done with it. It will shoot light bullets just great too.
     
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  9. clunker

    clunker Silver $$ Contributor

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    That makes a lot of sense except for two problems. First, I don't ever want to change the barrel on this rifle until it stops shooting. Can't really explain why, but there is something magical about your first rifle that you bought for a song on clearance that can push pins. I would feel the same way about a classic car. A supercharged small block V8 would be much more fun to drive, but there is something special about the stock straight six.

    Second, the money for a proper competition rifle will not be available for a few months. After talking with other F-class shooters at tournaments, I will have a much better idea what I want to order.
     
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  10. natdscott

    natdscott P100, HM, DR, experienced beginner. Gold $$ Contributor

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    Helluva plan, sir.
     
  11. swadiver

    swadiver Silver $$ Contributor

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    don't even worry about it. find the heaviest accurate bullet your current rifle will shoot and go out and have fun, when you shoot this barrel out or just want something different, you can rebarrel with a faster twist barrel and do the heavier bullets. enjoy the F/TR shooting. it's a lot of fun
     
  12. grovey

    grovey Silver $$ Contributor

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    I'd try the 60gr and 69gr Sierra TMK first in a 10 twist. The regular 69GR shot pretty well for me , but the BC sucks compared to the TMK's. That said I haven't shot either.
     
  13. Ron Blain

    Ron Blain

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    As to Sierra:
    [​IMG]

    My 223 bolt gun has a 1:12 and anything above 55 grains is pretty much a train wreck. Other bullets I like in the slow twist are the Hornady #2249 52 gr BTHP and Sierra #1400 53 gr HP Match. My advice would be try a few of the heavier 69 grain flavors and see how they group. See what looks like it has possibilities.

    Ron
     
  14. Ned Ludd

    Ned Ludd Silver $$ Contributor

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    Absolute twist rate requirements are not written in stone. Whether this is because a given twist barrel may not be exactly the stated twist rate, or (more likely) there is not a well-defined gyroscopic stability coefficient (Sg) necessary for a given length (weight) bullet is debatable. Nonetheless, Bryan Litz recommends a twist rate for a given bullet that gives an Sg of 1.5 or greater. This is probably fairly conservative. I've shot loads in F-TR where the predicted Sg using Berger's Twist Rate Calculator was in the neighborhood of 1.4. They worked just fine. According to Litz, running a twist rate that gives a predicted Sg of less than 1.5 simply means you won't be getting 100% of the intrinsic BC for that bullet, due to a slight increase in pitch/yaw as the bullet exits the bore.

    However, that doesn't mean the bullet isn't stable. Typically, a twist rate that gives a predicted Sg of ~1.1 (or less) is where you might expect to see bullets starting to keyhole at the target. So that leaves a range of predicted Sg from around 1.2 or so, up to 1.49, where you may not be getting 100% of the intrinsic BC, but the bullet will be gyroscopically stable. I had an old Sig 556 DMR that was listed as having a 10-twist barrel. Using the cleaning rod measurement technique, it seemed as though it might have been a bit faster than a 10-twist. Regardless of the actual twist rate, it stabilized 77 gr SMKs just fine. I probably wasn't getting anywhere near the full BC, but the bullets weren't creating oblong holes in the target or keyholing. So you may have a few more options than you think.

    As a general observation, with your 10-twist barrel, you will still be at a disadvantage for F-TR competition in terms of the selection of bullets available to you. If you shoot where there is much wind at all, a 69 gr SMK load may well behave as though you're shooting a precision shotgun. Having said that, there are probably other bullets worth trying, simply to determine whether they can be stabilized sufficiently in YOUR 10-twist barrel. Berger's 73 BT bullet is one possibility that comes to mind, Hornady's 75 BTHP would be another. If your barrel is really spot on 10-twist, chances are that neither of those bullets is going to give stellar results, as the twist will be too slow. Nonetheless, they might be worth a try.

    Probably the best advice you've been given so far is from natdscott above. Can you shoot a 69 gr (or less) bullet weight in F-TR at 300 to 600 yd? Of course you can. However, knowing that they are at a big disadvantage in terms of wind deflection might be pretty discouraging for some people, so you might be running the risk of losing interest in a sport you might otherwise enjoy, simply because of the inherent limitations placed on you by using such a slow twist barrel. As long as you are aware of the limitations of your barrel and still want to compete, you should definitely have at it, even if only to have fun and learn a little bit about F-Class competition. So any experience you gain will not be wasted. The good news is that all you need to do to fix the issue is to replace the 10-twist barrel with a 7-twist barrel, throated for 80-90 gr bullets. Obviously there is some cost involved in that, but it shouldn't be too painful (i.e. not like having a new rifle built from scratch). You can obviously do that at any point, particularly if/when you decide the 10-twist barrel is a limiting factor. So as long as you go into this with open eyes, it shouldn't be a deal breaker.
     
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  15. Texas10

    Texas10 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Not sure how you're going to crack that nut, but here is one perspective. The 53 gr V-Max has a very good BC, and if you run some numbers through a ballistic program, I think you'll see it keeps up pretty well with the 69 gr for a good distance. They are also notoriously accurate.

    I've not shot them at 2500 ft but I bet the performance would be astounding.
     
  16. clunker

    clunker Silver $$ Contributor

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    Great Info! Thank you.
     
  17. 55fairlane

    55fairlane

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  18. damoncali

    damoncali Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just shoot the Sierra 69s. You *might* get away with 77s. Both are good bullets. The 69 is at a major disadvantage ballstically to the 80s and 90s, not to mention the .308s, but you’re not going to win with a factory rifle anyhow. The 77s are plenty capable at 600. If you can keep them all in the 9 ring with that setup, you’re more than ready for a custom, and the experience you gain will show you exactly what you’re paying for and why you want it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  19. Zero333

    Zero333

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    If you're shooting inside 400 yards with your 223rem, I suggest the Berger Flat Base 64 gr Varmint.

    Berger Flat Base bullet shoot very small groups.
     
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  20. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill

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    Sierra 69 Match Kings are frequently on sale. Keep an eye out for them. Since you are just starting to reload, don't get crazy until you have all of the other reloading kinks down pat.

    Enjoy and have fun. If a Savage, you might be very pleasantly surprised at how long you will be using your factory barrel before it gets shot out. Also, if you do need a new barrel, the Savage 12 has a drop in barrel that, even though beyond my personal abilities, is simple as hell to change.
     

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