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  #1  
Old 03-20-2020, 04:35 PM
kbm6893 kbm6893 is offline
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Default Proper Load Data for .223 and CFE223

I'm about to get into loading .223 ammo. I have 55 grain FMJ bullets coming and I've chosen CFE223 as my powder. I put that info into the Hodgson site and it came back with two loads:

55 grain BAR TSX FB, starting load of 24.7 grains and a COAL of 2.180

55 grain SPR SP, starting load of 26 grains and a COAL of 2.200

I have some books I will check but I figure I'd start here. First of all, I have no idea what types of bullets were listed on that site. I just load for plinking and bought a 55 grain FMJ. Second of all, could I use either of those recipes with the bullet I have. I intent to load just over minimum powder. I will load up a few, to see if they pass before I settle on a recipe.

Thanks for any help!!
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:55 PM
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What platform are you shooting these out of? What bullets are you planning on using? Do you know how long your rifle's throat is?

The main difference is the SPR SP was loaded longer and has a .4 grain higher max listed which might account for the slightly higher starting loads. Either starting load should be safe in any in spec .223 chamber. Work up as normal. If it was me I would use 27.5 as my max.

Any reason in particular why you're set on using a minimum load?
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Old 03-20-2020, 06:03 PM
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OK, the first bullet, the BAR TSX FB is a Barnes lead free bullet. Here is a link to the bullet on Midway <<<LINK>>>

The second bullet is most probably a Speer 55 grain spitzer point. Here is a link to Midway for the bullet I am referring to. <<<LINK>>>

If loading a lead free bullet, I would go with the Barnes data set. If your FMJ bullets have a lead core, go with the Speer dataset.

If you start with minimum loads, either datasets would work. If you are loading for the AR platform and 5.56 x 45, any 223 data should be safe, because the gun is good for 60,000+ psi loads of 5.56 ammo.
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Old 03-20-2020, 06:05 PM
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The Hornady 9th edition starts at 24.8 grns and maxes out at 27.4. The bullets include 55 Vmax, 55 FMJ, 55sp,and their 55grn sp SX. My plinking load for my AR15 is 26.0 gr with the Hornady 55 grn fmj.
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:44 PM
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It’s a 55 grain fmj from 223bulkbullets.com. I’ll be shooting them out of my M&P Sport 2. Reason for a minimum load is I’m just looking to punch paper and why waste powder? I’ll probably bump It a bit from minimum but definitely nowhere near max.
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Old 03-21-2020, 12:43 PM
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Use the second listing, the one with the Speed soft point bullet. I think the first one is using a Barns all copper bullet.
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Old 03-21-2020, 02:25 PM
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Here:

Take Aim at Rifle Reloading Data | Hodgdon Reloading
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:04 PM
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I already checked that site. Itís where I got the data I posted in the original post.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:15 PM
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For information only(standard disclaimer). I've found 25.5 gns of CFE223 most accurate in my S&W sport. OAL 2.200, 55 grain boat tail and standard base. Mostly Xtreme bullets. YMMV
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:12 AM
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I would not worry about "wasting powder" and loading minimal velocity loads.

That rifle is made to shoot 5.56 spec ammo. I use Hornady 55 grain bulk FMJ and Ramshot TAC powder. When I was working up loads with the chrono, I noticed that the best accuracy was right around .223 SAAMI velocity, i.e. around 3175 fps out of the 20" rifle length barrel. The slower loads were markedly less accurate, and accuracy increased as the powder charge increased. To a point. Pushing it up to NATO velocity made the standard deviation increase, and the groups open up a bit. That was just my experience; yours may differ.

But don't be afraid to run that rifle like it was made to do. A good hot load will function the rifle action correctly.

Remember: That's a NATO chamber so seat your bullets to M193 overall length, not .223 civilian overall length.

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Old 03-24-2020, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Just another 22 shooter View Post
The Hornady 9th edition starts at 24.8 grns and maxes out at 27.4. The bullets include 55 Vmax, 55 FMJ, 55sp,and their 55grn sp SX. My plinking load for my AR15 is 26.0 gr with the Hornady 55 grn fmj.
This is the data I'm using. Hodgdon typically has really solid data, but their 55g 223 data is pretty lackluster and uses really weird projectiles. Especially the 55g Hornady FMJ data where they list Trailboss, Tightgroup, and Clays...super strange.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:34 AM
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This is the data I'm using. Hodgdon typically has really solid data, but their 55g 223 data is pretty lackluster and uses really weird projectiles. Especially the 55g Hornady FMJ data where they list Trailboss, Tightgroup, and Clays...super strange.
This data is for shooting subsonic, probably thru a suppressor. Does not cycle the action on an AR; have to be loaded "single shot"
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AManWearingAHat View Post
What platform are you shooting these out of? What bullets are you planning on using? Do you know how long your rifle's throat is?

The main difference is the SPR SP was loaded longer and has a .4 grain higher max listed which might account for the slightly higher starting loads. Either starting load should be safe in any in spec .223 chamber. Work up as normal. If it was me I would use 27.5 as my max.

Any reason in particular why you're set on using a minimum load?
???????????

First you say any "start" load should be fine then ask why using min powder?


General safe loading practice is preached as start at min an work up (as you stated)??
The OP is new to the caliber.


Fir the OP did you buy a Hornady or Speer manual yet??
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:56 PM
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CFE223 comes in to it's own and really shines the closer to max you get. Experimenting with it I was surprised at how slow burning it is for its name. It's great for larger cartridges too like 22-250.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:30 PM
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???????????

First you say any "start" load should be fine then ask why using min powder?


General safe loading practice is preached as start at min an work up (as you stated)??
The OP is new to the caliber.


Fir the OP did you buy a Hornady or Speer manual yet??
I have the Hornady. No mention of a 55 grain fmj bullet. But the load data that came with the Lee die set has it listed at 26 grains to start, I believe. Which is why I intend to start at just a hair over that and weigh every charge as always.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:43 AM
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I have the Hornady. No mention of a 55 grain fmj bullet. But the load data that came with the Lee die set has it listed at 26 grains to start, I believe. Which is why I intend to start at just a hair over that and weigh every charge as always.



And I seem to remember someone just starting out and learning to load 38 special!
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:54 PM
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My gun liked 26.7 grains for the 55 grain bullets. I had been loading at 26.0 and saw the groups tighten up after the bump. It may just be paper, but it’s more fun to shoot clover leaf groups and worth the additional powder.
David
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:02 PM
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I have the Hornady. No mention of a 55 grain fmj bullet. But the load data that came with the Lee die set has it listed at 26 grains to start, I believe. Which is why I intend to start at just a hair over that and weigh every charge as always.
Why weigh every charge? If I had a powder measure that threw such inconsistent charges that I had to weigh every one, I'd get another one.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
???????????

First you say any "start" load should be fine then ask why using min powder?


General safe loading practice is preached as start at min an work up (as you stated)??
The OP is new to the caliber.


Fir the OP did you buy a Hornady or Speer manual yet??
Yes I am asking why he is so sold on using just over the minimum load listed in his manual when that is almost never the accuracy load for a given combination. Test over the whole range and find what prints well. I'm saying if it was me interpreting his data 27.5 would be my absolute max for my test. What is unclear here?
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AManWearingAHat View Post
Yes I am asking why he is so sold on using just over the minimum load listed in his manual when that is almost never the accuracy load for a given combination. Test over the whole range and find what prints well. I'm saying if it was me interpreting his data 27.5 would be my absolute max for my test. What is unclear here?

I already stated the reason in the post you quoted. It is not hard to understand.
At this point in his reloading he is and should be starting at the min load. It is a 'best practice"

OK?
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Old 03-31-2020, 07:39 PM
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My notes have a COL of 2.200" and starting load of 26.0gr for that bullet and powder combo. Max charge is listed at 27.8gr.
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:11 PM
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And I seem to remember someone just starting out and learning to load 38 special!
Yes! Thank you, o Wise One!
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:42 PM
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Why weigh every charge? If I had a powder measure that threw such inconsistent charges that I had to weigh every one, I'd get another one.
It doesn't throw inconsistent charges. It's dead on every time. But there's always a first time and I'm in no hurry. 50 rounds at a time take me less than 30 minutes. I'm ok with that.

I just wish there was a range for me to shoot them at. I plan to load 5 rounds at 26 grains, and 5 at 26.3. Shoot them to make sure all is well and then settle on my recipe. Doubt i'll notice any difference and if so I'm probably settle on 26.2 or 26.3. Sure not going to make any quantity until I can shoot a test run.

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Old 04-11-2020, 07:04 PM
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Those loads sound fine. You can get free data on the Speer website as well as a few others. I typically load using 5.56 data and I use Bob's Bulk Bullets too. I think Speer shows 27.2 grains for CFE223 and 55 grain FMJ.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:40 PM
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Default Hey, I remember a guy....

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And I seem to remember someone just starting out and learning to load 38 special!
That started loading .38 Special, except he was using LEE SCOOPS AND HAND LOADER TOOLS!!!

Can you believe it.?
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Old 04-11-2020, 08:00 PM
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You can't have too many paper load manuals. There is certainly free information on bullet and powder companies websites, but seldom is the data complete. 55 gr. FMJ bullets are often similar but data may not be the same. Compare, for example, data from Speer, Hornady, and Sierra books for their 55 gr. FMJ bullets. This will give you a good basis to develop a starting load, and a safe one, too. Good luck in your endeavor-
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:50 PM
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I loaded up 3 dummy rounds today and lightly crimped them. Like barely crimped them but a hair. COAL was 2.200. Loaded them into my AR mag and manually cycled the bolt to feed and extract them. No change in OAL. Gonna load 5 rounds of 26 grains CFE 223 and 5 of 26.3. When I finally get to try them out Iíll settle on one and start making them. I have other handgun rounds I can load until I can shoot the .223. Iíll post again when I get to try them out. Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:42 PM
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The faster you go, the sooner the barrel wears out.
Accuracy can be a goal.
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Old 04-13-2020, 05:29 PM
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That started loading .38 Special, except he was using LEE SCOOPS AND HAND LOADER TOOLS!!!

Can you believe it.?
Not quite! I was using Red Dot because that was all I could find during the drought, and it didnít meter well, so I got into the neighbored and then used a trickler to get to my target load.

Lots of guys told me Iíd bail on single stage, but Iím happy loading small amounts frequently to build up a stash. 50 rounds In a session. Drop powder, weigh, seat bullet. When 50 done I crimp them all at once.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:27 PM
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Not quite! I was using Red Dot because that was all I could find during the drought, and it didnít meter well, so I got into the neighbored and then used a trickler to get to my target load.

Lots of guys told me Iíd bail on single stage, but Iím happy loading small amounts frequently to build up a stash. 50 rounds In a session. Drop powder, weigh, seat bullet. When 50 done I crimp them all at once.
.....and kept it that way. I used a Lee balance scale ($18) until they made cheap digital scales ($32) from Harbor Freight. This evolved over 40 years and I still use the RCBS single stage I graduated to from the hand loaders. I've replaced a few cheap tools to streamline the process.
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:39 PM
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Just found out my club outdoor range is open still. Gotta do the work from home thing tomorrow but Iím sure I can squeeze in loading ten rounds and going to the range for ten minutes to let them fly. Iíll report back if I still have a hand to type with!
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:53 PM
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Scoop and weigh is here to stay.
Used with a 5-0-5.
I always firm up the mouths on my 223s in the Colts.
That old grip, 1979, eases the bend in the wrist a bit.
Gaboon Ebony on the far side.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:07 AM
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Different loads with the same powder is because of the shape/design of the bullet being used. The taper of the ogive can cause the bullet to be seated out longer, or shorter. If the bullet is long and tapered you will have a longer OAL, If it is a shorter more squat bullet the ogive may be further out requiring a shorter OAL.
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:49 PM
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Usually the long pointy type bullets are "Ball" or of a "HP" design and of medium to heavy weight for caliber, for long range target work.
Short range bullets will work ok with just a normal flat base with a round or flat tip shape, for out to 250-300 yards on calm days.
Nothing wrong with a standard flat base Spitzer bullet for general shooting use, that are usually a lot cheaper to buy.

You might try a light and longer heavy bullet out in your weapon to see if your barrel will shoot one better than the other, though.

55FMJ 16" with 1:9 twist 2825-3150fps 69gr 2595-2755fps +/-

Have fun.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 04-14-2020 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-14-2020, 03:23 PM
kbm6893 kbm6893 is offline
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Proper Load Data for .223 and CFE223  
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Fired 5 rounds of 26 grains and 5 of 26.5. All fed fine and extracted fine. Expended brass landed in a nice neat pile. I still have ten fingers. I'll load 26.3 and call it good.

CFE223 is AWESOME. Meters like sand and dead on every time.
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