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Which powder for .223 Rem & .308Win?


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I'm getting back into reloading after a period of absence and inaccuracy! However, I'm keeping it simple and cheap, so...

 

Ideally I'm after one powder to serve both my .223Rem with 1:12 twist and .308Win with a 1:11 twist. Both rifles have 20" barrels and are only really for hunting purposes, with a small amount of range work out to 300yards. Therefore accuracy of 0.5" at 100 yards is perfectly acceptable! I'm thinking about using 55gn Gamekings in the .223Rem (for fox and small deer) and 150gn Gamekings in the .308Win (for deer)

 

From what I have read, Varget and H322 (N140 and N130 comparably) are either too slow or too fast for either one or the other calibre. So, in the middle ground burn speed between these we have H4895 or the Viht equivalents N135 and N530.

 

I know many on this forum are looking for much greater accuracy than I am, but given my intended applications am I being realistic in what I want from one powder to perform these two roles?

 

Also, am I likely to find reasonable stock/supply of H4895, N135 and N530 in the UK?

 

Which out of the three should I go for and why (pro's and cons - e.g. price, availability, temperature stability, clean burn etc)?

 

Does anyone already use any of these powders for these calibres, if so, do you have any good loads to share?

 

Finally, how much effect will quality brass have on this operation? From my period of non-reloading I have a reasonable amount of Prvi once fired brass, but am contemplating buying new Lapua...just wondering whether it's worth it given my opening paragraph (although I do have both full length and neck sizing dies).

 

Thanks in advance,

Oly

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Varget for both , 24.2g in the 223 with a 75g Amax (mines a 1-8 Sako) and 45g in the 308 with a 168 Amax . Having said that I've used the vit powders a lot in other rifles and have never been disappointed ?

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I was thinking along the lines of varget, but have heard that you can't get enough in to properly power the lighter 55gn rounds. And my twist isn't fast enough for much heavier.

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I was thinking along the lines of varget, but have heard that you can't get enough in to properly power the lighter 55gn rounds. And my twist isn't fast enough for much heavier.

 

Oly, I went back over old records. I used Varget compressed in the 223 with a 50grn Nosler ballistic tip. It was an excellent load.

 

I switched to Benchmark pushing a 50grn Nosler ballistic tip for accuracy and speed and I seemed to be able to buy it more readily. H335 was an absolute stunner with 55grn, but hard to find in those days.

 

All loads were using Lapua brass and Fed GM205m primers. The CCI never returned the same velocity or ES as Federal. The rifle was a bog standard Sako 75 varmint laminate stock with a Reflex suppressor.

 

Take your pick. Click

 

 

ATB

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Hiya Oly,

 

My gut reaction was Varget for both, however I have just ran "Quickload and if you really want a powder to do both the .223rem and .308win using 55grain and 150 grain respectively Quickload is suggesting Viht 530 as a starting point. For both calibers you get a case capacity between 95-100% with good velocity too.

 

Varget is a great powder in the .223rem when using heavier bullets, I had consistent sub 0.5" groups at 100yds with my .223ai using Varget, but its not a good choice for the lighter bullets.

 

If you give Norman Clark a ring I am sure he would have the Viht 530 on the shelf.

 

If you want more quickload info just PM me.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Varget was my first thought, but then like you say, it does prefer heavier bullets in .223 Do most other gun shops stock N530? Given how close it is to N130 is there any reason not to go with this one?

 

Oly, I went back over old records. I used Varget compressed in the 223 with a 50grn Nosler ballistic tip. It was an excellent load.

 

I switched to Benchmark pushing a 50grn Nosler ballistic tip for accuracy and speed and I seemed to be able to buy it more readily. H335 was an absolute stunner with 55grn, but hard to find in those days.

 

All loads were using Lapua brass and Fed GM205m primers. The CCI never returned the same velocity or ES as Federal. The rifle was a bog standard Sako 75 varmint laminate stock with a Reflex suppressor.

 

Take your pick. Click

 

 

ATB

 

Many thanks, that is very interesting. Having just looked over the Sako website think the 75 varmint laminate had a 1 in 8 twist and mine is a 1 in 12 twist - I can't work out if is this likely to help or hinder the load in my rifle!! Any ideas?

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Hi Oly,

 

Try using Lovex S060, previously sold as Accurate 2015 or Accurate Bench Rest 2015. It is a single base propellant ideal for both .223 and .308. The user guide and load data is online from Lovex. The added advantage is that Lovex powders are significantly cheaper from most sources,

 

Cheers

 

Alan

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Varget was my first thought, but then like you say, it does prefer heavier bullets in .223 Do most other gun shops stock N530? Given how close it is to N130 is there any reason not to go with this one?

 

 

 

Many thanks, that is very interesting. Having just looked over the Sako website think the 75 varmint laminate had a 1 in 8 twist and mine is a 1 in 12 twist - I can't work out if is this likely to help or hinder the load in my rifle!! Any ideas?

 

Oly, a 1:8 will stabilize heavier bullets, i.e. up to 80grn Berger. In your 1:12 that would be very unlikely.

 

All you are likely to see is a higher velocity with your barrel than I got with the Sako, if everything else stays the same. You may even see improved groups in the slower twist barrel since it is more suited to the 50/55gns bullet.

 

ATB

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You guys with Quickload might want to run H335 through it for both chamberings.

I don't use it but Hodgdon say it's fine for .223 and the NZ Hunter lads use it in their -short- barrelled .308s with great success

 

Chris-NZ

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I have just started to use H335 for my 1-12 twist Sako using 50gr and 53gr V-max and so far have some good results, have a few more loads to try out when the wind drops away a little

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Hiya Chris,

 

I am far from a reloading expert and I only use quickload to give me a rough guide as to preferred powders and expected performances.

 

I just checked out the H335 as you suggested and whilst it may be an excellent powder for both 223rem and 308win it isn't a powder I would have opted for as a first choice because in a 308win with 150 grain bullets you hit the max pressure with only 91% case capacity and I usually find the best loads have 95-100% case capacity.

 

Having said that, I used to use my .243Win with 44 grains of H414 which was only 90% case capacity. :blink: :blink: :blink:

 

Ronny I was always taught that anything over 80% loading density was worth a look.

Manufactures’ of powder admit to bulk density variations between lots of the same powder at +/- 10%. I reckon you might be missing out on a chance at the Holy Grail by using 90%

 

I thought that I was at around the 85% loading density mark with the 55grn bullet and old type Lapua brass with 25.1gns and seating depth.

 

FWIW, I’m still waiting to find out the twist rate for the rifle in question. (I sold it to a mate) I always thought it was slower than 1:8, I know it hated 60grn bullets, it used to pepper a bit of A4 at 100m. :lol:

 

ATB

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Well, I've decided to try it out with H4895 - as it's readily available, supposed to be better for shorter 20" 308 barrels and it slap bang in the middle of the burn rates between the "ideals" for 308 & 223...plus if it doesn't work I only have a 1lb tub of it!

 

So - can any of you boys with Quickload tell me where my optimum load should be and where I should start?!? (Primers are Fed 210M's and 205M's)

 

Cheers for your input so far, it'll be interesting to see where this experiment goes from here!

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no expert myself but i shot a 223 for several years i think the BLC-2 is a powder which gets over looked because of trends out there and follow my leader but i shot it in a few 223 i owned and all ways found it to be very accurate and consistant to through because it is a ball powder but every one to there own.

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BLC-2 is used a lot in commercial loads, because it is, as Barry says, a ball powder...therefore it meters easily.Critical when loading in volume.Its also very dirty.

 

I use nothing but Varget or Vhit 140 in all my .223 and .308 loads.

 

4895 will probarbly give similar results, as its a similar powder, and one of the oldest powders that Hodgdons make.I used to use Vhit 133 behind a 55 grain v-max and that was a stonking load. Nowadays all my 223 is 77 grain smk loads.

 

Dont rely too heavily on quickload.Its not the Oracle people believe it to be. It takes averages. It cant account for barrel types, bore diameters etc.

 

Its far better to test yourself. Expensive, and time consuming though that might be.

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I use 4895 in my .308 with either 150 Nosler BT's or 155 Amax.

I use the same charge of 44.5gns in both super accurate. Not sure of velocity as weather crap to get the chrono out.

As ever this load is quite safe in my rifle but please work up.

Cheers

Dave

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Cheers guys much appreciated. Still interested to hear if anyone uses it in 223...surely I'm not the first!

 

Oly I’ve just abandoned H4895 in my 223. It was a cracking powder in the 204 and I had a tub left…so gave it a go.

 

The caveats are that I was using 75grn Amax and Berger VLD. Your testing may reveal something different. N135 was what I also had left over and it looks like a stonking powder for the same bullets.

 

Nothing beats burning some powder mate…just go with your gut and start experimenting.

 

ATB

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Tried my first loads with H4895 in both .223Rem and .308Win today and it's very promising.

 

In .308Win loads around 44.5gn and 45.5gn with Fed210M primers and 150gn Gamekings are grouping in one ragged hole sub 0.6" and worthy of investigation.

 

Likewise in .223Rem loads around 25.6gn and 26gn with Fed205M primers and 55gn Gamekings are also grouping in one ragged hole sub 0.7" and worthy of more work.

 

I would recommend anyone who's thinking about reloading with one powder for both .308Win and .223Rem to consider H4895. Details of my rifles are at the start of this thread and all loads showed no signs of excess pressure in my rifles.

 

Cheers,

Oly

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  • 9 years later...

I hope the OP managed to find a suitable option in the last 9years...

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