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Thread: newbie question, choice of .223 Rem bullets?

  1. #1
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    newbie question, choice of .223 Rem bullets?

    I am easing into 100 yard benchrest, centerfire, with two rifles, an older Sako A1 heavy barrel, and a newer CZ 527FS, both .223 Rem. These are both slower twists, so i am looking at 50 gr., 52-53, 55, and 60 gr. bullets. I don't expect the CZ to shoot as well as the Sako. Of these bullet weights, are there one or two I should be focused on in working up loads? And are there some recommended powders for these bullets at 100 yards? I am using Lapua brass for the Sako, Black hills brass (after trying Hornady) for the 527, just to keep the fireformed cases separate, going to try neck sizing, and competition seating die, just got the new dies.
    I had not planned on replacing these rifles, budget being what it is, although i have been tempted by a Savage 12 LRPV, used to own one in .204 Ruger, and I used a Savage 12 6BR in F class before that became too much like work.
    You definitely lose a step around 80 I am finding.
    Thanks for any advice, I learned a good bit from the powder scales thread.

  2. #2
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    Try them all but I think you'll settle on the 52-53 grainers.

    One question though...Are you planning to shoot registered competition?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbur View Post
    Try them all but I think you'll settle on the 52-53 grainers.

    One question though...Are you planning to shoot registered competition?
    I am not aware of any registered competition around here. We have had some informal inter-club 22 benchrest, which seems to be dwindling, one club has F class and high power with 600 yard max, but no formal benchrest that I know of. Heavy on trap and IDPA, neither of which interests me.
    So it is more for my own satisfaction and entertainment.

  4. #4
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    Edward, if you haven't, please do check out the series Al Nyhus recently did on accurizing the A1.

    I've spent time with two of them and got smashing results with a more conventional bedding setup but BigAl really took it to the next level.

  5. #5
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    Donít spend a penny until you get out into the world of BR competition in Coast Maine. You need to meet guys like Pete Wass ( search here and text him). He can steer you to the many registered competitions in Maine. Attend a match and be awakened. Youíll learn more good stuff in one day than, well, you know.............

  6. #6
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    Three

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Ashley View Post
    I am not aware of any registered competition around here. We have had some informal inter-club 22 benchrest, which seems to be dwindling, one club has F class and high power with 600 yard max, but no formal benchrest that I know of. Heavy on trap and IDPA, neither of which interests me.
    So it is more for my own satisfaction and entertainment.
    ranges in Maine shoot registered IBS score. Lincoln County Rifle Club in Damariscotta, Orrington Rod and Gun in Orrington and Capitol City in Augusta. https://internationalbenchrest.com and look at the schedule, score category.

    All matches so far this year in Maine have been cancelled because of CV19. Orland Bunker is the match director at LCRC and a good one to talk with. Like Francis said don't buy anything until you explore what registered competition is all about and what equipment it takes to compete. A savage, although a nice rifle, will not cut the mustard in the competitive environment. Good luck with whatever direction you take.

  7. #7
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    I appreciate the advice, but I am not looking to get into serious benchrest competition. I have been to Lincoln County, and enjoy the folks there, shot some 10 meter air gun a few winters ago. Have never been to Capitol City, seems like a trip too far. Our rimfire competition from Falmouth Rod and Gun has been with York County Clubs for the most part.
    A Savage 12 would be a budget buster for me right now, unless I sold a bunch of stuff, I am not looking to buy a rifle. Just want to enjoy the ones I have. I just received a Redding Competition seating die and a Forster neck sizing die, which I figure will do better than my Lee dies, I have a lot of Varget powder left over from F Class days, and an assortment of bullets and primers, so I will book the advice re 52-53 grain bullets and try them out. So far I had been playing with 50 gr and 60 gr Hornady V-Max, the 60 gr A-Max is discontinued. The ones I will try next are Sierras. Not sure whether flat base or boat tail are better at 100 yards, will keep trying them. We get some pretty stiff winds at times on our range, mostly from behind, but will quarter at times with gusts, and strange things going on downrange, swirling, the range is an opening in the woods, but open behind to westerly winds.

  8. #8
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    You have a lot of choices. I've had good luck with Sierra 50 grain Blitz King, 52 grain SMK and 53 grain flat base. Also speer 52 HPBT match, and don't forget Berger 52 and 55 grain flat base. H322, H335 and Benchmark may have an edge on Varget and CFE223 and TAC can't be ignored.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtmarmot View Post
    You have a lot of choices. I've had good luck with Sierra 50 grain Blitz King, 52 grain SMK and 53 grain flat base. Also speer 52 HPBT match, and don't forget Berger 52 and 55 grain flat base. H322, H335 and Benchmark may have an edge on Varget and CFE223 and TAC can't be ignored.
    Thanks, I try them out.

  10. #10
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    also the Hornady 50 and 55 vmax shoot very well

  11. #11
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    Blow the bullet down boys. Blow the bullet down.

    Ed, Before you invest any more money get two to three wind flags. They can be as simple as a couple of stakes with surveyor's tape stapled on top. Using them will improve your groups. Tim

  12. #12
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    The 223 if a fun gun and cheap to shoot. One day i may invest in some Berger Bullets.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Ashley View Post
    I don't expect the CZ to shoot as well as the Sako.
    I am not so sure about that, my CZ527 is the most accurate factory barreled 223 that I own.
    favorite load is 50gr TNT's with N133

  14. #14
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    I have a Cooper .223 with a 14 twist. It gives great accuracy with Fiocci 40 grain plastic tipped loads, 50 to the box, and inexpensive. Somewhat wind-sensitive however.

  15. #15
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    brass question

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleB View Post
    I am not so sure about that, my CZ527 is the most accurate factory barreled 223 that I own.
    favorite load is 50gr TNT's with N133
    I have one pound each of H335, Benchmark, CFE223, and VV 130 and 133 on the way from Midway, plus a 500 count box of Sierra Matchking 53gr HP, so some good fun lies ahead.
    My Sako A1 does in fact outshoot my 527FS, but I have not given up on the CZ. The fact that it is a Mannlicher stock may hurt the accuracy as well, not sure about that, but all those contact points for the barrel, I have to wonder.

    My question for today is about brass, I am dedicating my Lapua brass to the Sako, neck sizing only, marking the brass so that the fireformed cases go in the same way everytime. I had been using two different batches of Hornady and BHA brass for the 527, same process as above. I understand that Black Hills factory match ammo is highly regarded, and from that I have assumed that their brass is good, probably better than Hornady. Any feelings about that?

    I do not have any Winchester brass at hand, I do use that for my 1885 Highwall 45-70, since I understand you get better obduration with it. Which may not be a factor for .223 Rem. Any thoughts on that? Stick with the Black Hills? (I don't even know who makes their brass.)

    Thanks for all the good input, looking forward to continued good fun. I enjoy my time at the loading bench almost as much as time at the range bench. Almost...
    Ed

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