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Old 01-12-2019, 10:07 PM
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aczrad
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Newbie looking for advice on 223 lead free



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I'm new to reloading for rifles. I have reloaded shot shells and 9mm. I'm wanting to start with.223 for varmints and predators. I have two rifles for this, a Savage axis and a win70, both 1:12. I'm leaning towards 50gr.l, but smaller would be great too. I'm going to just start with lead free because I live in California. Anyone out there with ideas on bullets, powders, etc. I've been all over the net and have two manuals, so I have good starting references, but looking for real world experience. Thank you in advance for any pointers
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Old 01-13-2019, 06:24 AM
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Sorry, I haven't been forced out of lead bullets yet so no first hand knowledge of shooting lead free. What I can state is any bullet made from a lighter material needs to be longer than any given weight lead bullet. Your twist rate will keep you in the lower weight bullets even with lead. It's the length not the weight that determines if the bullet will be stable with the twist rate.

Speaking of which, is your Axis and older model or different barrel? Mine is a 1/9" and likes most anything from 40 gr tipped flat base to 68 gr HPBT bullets.
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:22 PM
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56S, thank you for your reply, I read a lot about the bullet length lead vs LF, that's why I was going to start with 50's, but I'm leaning towards 40's now. I still have a few months to shoot lead, so I may try both to start. A lot depends on what I can source locally. I'm going to look for W748, rem 7.5 primers, they seem to work well with most loads I'm looking at. Opinions on powder? Benchmark and varget seem to do well also
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:26 PM
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I forgot to mention, Savage website states axis is 1:12, I didn't run a rod through it as I did with my older M70. I did email Savage and am waiting for response. It is very accurate with 50gr lead, so I'm assuming 40gr LF should be close to same length
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:38 PM
Squeezer
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Magnum primers with ball propellants

Quote:
Originally Posted by aczrad View Post
I'm going to look for W748, rem 7.5 primers, they seem to work well with most loads I'm looking at. Opinions on powder? Benchmark and varget seem to do well also
I load for my CZ527 in .223 Rem (1:9" barrel), and have had good results with Sierra and Speer mid-weight lead-core bullets using Varget and CCI primers.

I have had better results with H335 (Hodgdon) using magnum primers. I generally use magnum primers with double-base (ball) propellants.

Here is a recipe I am tweaking:
54.9 grain Speer #1032 HP bullets
H335 25.0 grains
CCI 450 primers
Lake City 2008 cases 91.6 grains (fired twice, trimmed once)
COAL (to ogive) 1.903"
0.020" leap
3,150 fps average for 5 rounds
Extreme Spread 59.08 fps
Standard Deviation 26.36 fps
0.972" group at 100 yards

Here is my current recipe for longer bullets:
69.1 grain Sierra MatchKing #1380
Varget 26.4 gr
CCI 400
LC08 92.4 gr (fired three times, trimmed twice)
COAL 1.908"
Leap 0.020"
3,085 fps
ES 29.85 fps
SD 11.40 fps
0.666" group at 100 yards

Regarding primers, I have found that some primers fit some cases better. For example, Federal primer pockets are relatively tight for CCI or Win primers. CCI primers work better for me in Remington, Winchester, Lake City, and Lapua cases.

You might have noticed in the recipes above that I sort my bullets and cases by weight. I have decided to assume that primers don't vary much.

These recipes are specific to my barrel, of course- I merely shared them as samples.

Last edited by Squeezer; 01-13-2019 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:40 PM
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I have used the 36 grain Barnes Varmint Grenade with great success, I know they also have a 50 grain version as well. I have a Smith and Wesson 1500 1 in 12 and a CZ 527 with 1 in 9. Both get me 1/3 to 1/2" accuracy at 100 yards. I am using 14 grains of Alliant 2400 with CCI #400 primer. I don't have a chronograph, I figure I am getting ~2850 fps. I switched to loading like this when 22 Mag ammo was so hard to find. It is a fun load to shot plus very reasonable load cost.
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:38 PM
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Nosler online load data -

https://load-data.nosler.com/load-data/223-remington/
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:37 PM
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Thank you gets for the great info, it really seems like there are so many variables it can be overwhelming. I've decided to forgo lead free for now, I'm going to start with a basic load from my nosler manual. W748, CCI 450 primers(no Remington 7.5 locally at the moment)with 40gr nosler varmint. OACL 2.26 per manual. I loaded 10 with 26gr and 10 with 27. Most accurate in book is 28gr, but I'm a little apprehensive to go 100%on first attempt. Anything look off? We are getting rain next few days so I will report back in a week or so with results, good or bad. Thank you again
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:58 PM
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56S, yes, my Axis is 1:9, I emailed Savage, I also called Winchester to verify it's 1:12. I've tried a few different loads and have had mixed results. I have found a couple I am going to revisit and try to make better. When Barnes states 1:10 or faster for the 50VG, they aren't joking, tried in my 70, sprayed them everywhere! Haha, won't do that again. Tried W748 and H335, the later giving me better starting groups. I'll keep experimenting. Thank you all
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Old 02-03-2019, 05:21 AM
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You can test for twist rate yourself pretty easily. Get a cleaning rod and make a tape flag at or near the handle. Place a tight-to-bore cleaning patch on your jag. Note the position of your tape flag when the jag/patch is at the chamber. Mark your cleaning rod with a sharpie just where the rod enters the back of the action. Push your rod slowly towards the muzzle until your tape "flag" near the handle has made one full rotation. Mark the cleaning rod again with your sharpie just where the rod enters the back of the action. The distance between the two sharpie marks is the number of inches it takes for your barrel's rifling to make one full revolution, or as they say, the twist rate (e.g. 1 revolution in 9 inches, or 1:9).

I bought a a CZ 527 Varmint .223 in what was advertised as a 1:9 twist. 69 grain bullets were keyholing at the target, though. Performed the above test and discovered that the barrel was actually 1:12 (!) With 50 grain bullets, everything started to click into place.
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2019, 05:14 PM
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I've been experimenting and came up with some decent loads, but I have a question regarding COAL. I've gotten best groups shorten coal from 2.26 to 2.25 with NoslerBT LF 35gr and 28g of TAC. I'm not changing it for the Savage, it shoots well, but I'd like to get Win shooting better. Can I go to 2.245 or 2.24 without raising pressure too much? Seems like the lead free like a touch more jump.
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