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.223 handload suggestions for new Mini 14?

This is a discussion on .223 handload suggestions for new Mini 14? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; So... Last summer, I sold my near-new Windham AR to fund a new 583 series Ranch Rifle. A week ago, I was finally able to ...


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Old February 25th, 2017, 05:25 PM   #1
 
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.223 handload suggestions for new Mini 14?

So... Last summer, I sold my near-new Windham AR to fund a new 583 series Ranch Rifle. A week ago, I was finally able to get an open bench on the 100 yd line, after two previous visits at only 50 yds. With my handloads that I originally made for the AR, I was able to get about 2" to 2 1/2" groups (about 20 shots each group) at 100 from sandbag rests, using a 2 moa red dot sight. My first loads were 23.0 grs of Hodgdon Benchmark under a Hornady 52 gr HPBT bullet. All of my cases are Winchester .223s. With an 0.040" ASI gas bushing installed on the barrel, there were quite a few failures to eject, so I popped the 0.045" bushing in there. After finishing off the 23.0 gr loads to sight back in and settle the action, I then switched to my loads with 24.0 grs of Benchmark and shot for groups.

I'm pretty pleased, initially, with the groups. I did perform a trigger job on the rifle after the first time out last year. I was able to noticeably reduce the pull weight and a bit of the creep, in addition to smoothing out the 2nd stage pull. The only other plans I have for the rifle is some epoxy stock bedding in the action area, and possibly a SOCOM Accu-strut, but I'm turning to honing my handloads in the meantime.

I did do my research before I bought the Benchmark for the AR, so I think it's a pretty good .223 powder to start with. I am only working with the Benchmark powder, currently. My only other rifle powders on hand are for .30 cal M1 loads (IMR4064 and IMR4895) and 7mm08 (H414).

I could go up a grain or two in powder charge, to book maximum. I have been seating the 52 gr bullets out a bit, to the rear edge of the cannelure (cannelure exposed above case mouth). On the bullet inventory: I do have some 55 gr bullets to play with: Nosler flat base hollow point and Hornady flat base spire point (soft point). I also have 200 Nosler 77 gr HPBT bullets that I intended to try in my fast-twist AR, but I'm not sure how well they'll do in my Ruger 1:9 barrel at 200 yds and under.

Any ideas on different bullet types/weights or powders that might improve the 'accuracy' are appreciated.



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Old February 26th, 2017, 03:14 AM   #2
 
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Have you considered CFE 223?

I have had good results out of my AR platform 223 running 26.9 grs under a 55gr Hornady.

Just another option.



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Old February 26th, 2017, 08:15 AM   #3
 
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In my opinion, the mini will never be accurate enough to really fine tune a difference in powders. Think your time would be better spent trying different bullets and charge weights
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Old February 26th, 2017, 09:23 AM   #4
 
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The IMR4895 you have on hand is a good .223 powder.
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Old February 26th, 2017, 09:47 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark204 View Post
Have you considered CFE 223?

I have had good results out of my AR platform 223 running 26.9 grs under a 55gr Hornady.

Just another option.



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Have you noticed a strange odor from shooting CFE223?


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Old February 26th, 2017, 09:53 AM   #6
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I extensively load for .223, here are a few suggestions I have for you. I worked up these loads for particular rifles I own, and they produced the best results for me, which in turn lead to me producing an ammo can full of each, and what I duplicate. I also included others I have tested that did well.

Benchmark and the sierra 52 grain hpbt
H4895 and hornady 75 grain bthp
H335 and hornady 40 grain vmax
Varget and extreme 55 grain fmj w/c

Here are some I have done that also do extremely well, i tried these when powder was hard to come by.

Cfe223 and sierra 77 grain match king bthp
AR comp and 75 grain hornady bthp

Here are some other great 223 powders I have used but due to not being able to find them easily locally, I do not use these as much as I like.

Imr 3031
W748

My case overall lengths usually are between 2.250" and 2.260" to keep them fitting my magazines. I only use cci primers in my loads.
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Old February 26th, 2017, 10:16 AM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by patkelly4370 View Post
Have you noticed a strange odor from shooting CFE223?


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To be honest with you no, I run my Colt pretty wet, so I mostly smell the Ballistol burning off.



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Old February 26th, 2017, 06:21 PM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by msp3903 View Post
In my opinion, the mini will never be accurate enough to really fine tune a difference in powders. Think your time would be better spent trying different bullets and charge weights
Hopefully, your opinion comes from loading for the Mini 14 (newest 583 series), as that's what I am leaning toward.
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Old February 26th, 2017, 06:31 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by Tacky View Post
I extensively load for .223, here are a few suggestions I have for you. I worked up these loads for particular rifles I own, and they produced the best results for me, which in turn lead to me producing an ammo can full of each, and what I duplicate. I also included others I have tested that did well.

Benchmark and the sierra 52 grain hpbt
H4895 and hornady 75 grain bthp
H335 and hornady 40 grain vmax
Varget and extreme 55 grain fmj w/c

Here are some I have done that also do extremely well, i tried these when powder was hard to come by.

Cfe223 and sierra 77 grain match king bthp
AR comp and 75 grain hornady bthp

Here are some other great 223 powders I have used but due to not being able to find them easily locally, I do not use these as much as I like.

Imr 3031
W748

My case overall lengths usually are between 2.250" and 2.260" to keep them fitting my magazines. I only use cci primers in my loads.
Thanks for the comprehensive info. Way in the past, I had read that IMR3031 was a good .223 powder, but don't see much on it lately. I have also seen some support for IMR4895 in the .223. Speaking of Varget, I do have two lbs of it, but I picked it up for my friend, who is intending to start loading .308 for his Ruger GSR

BTW, I am using the CCI #400 (SR) primers for all my loads.

Tacky: I see you load the lighter and heavier bullets, but nothing in between. Did you experiment with any bullets in the 60-ish grain weights?
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Old February 27th, 2017, 05:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by firescout View Post
Thanks for the comprehensive info. Way in the past, I had read that IMR3031 was a good .223 powder, but don't see much on it lately. I have also seen some support for IMR4895 in the .223. Speaking of Varget, I do have two lbs of it, but I picked it up for my friend, who is intending to start loading .308 for his Ruger GSR

BTW, I am using the CCI #400 (SR) primers for all my loads.

Tacky: I see you load the lighter and heavier bullets, but nothing in between. Did you experiment with any bullets in the 60-ish grain weights?
Yes from what I have seen the imr3031 was a military powder, it burns clean. Yeah for the heavy bullets the h4895 is the only powder I use, its produced the best results for me.

I do shoot some of the factory military 62 grain, but have not reloaded anything in that weight. It seems their are more options on the market lighter or heavier, not much middle. I did some work with the 69 grain smk, it produced great results equal to the 77 and 75 match bullets. Cfe works well with it out of a 1n8 twist 24" barrel. I got the same results in accuracy with the 69, 75, and 77. I stuck with the 75 bthp hornady since its cheaper in price compared to the sierra smk by 7 bucks per 100.

I like the varget since it can be used in many rounds and calibers. But it can be hard to find locally since its popular. I have 8lbs of benchmark, couple pounds of varget, H4895, H335 and many others. Lately have been mostly working with imr 4831, superformance, and w760 for the 243.

If you need some specific data, I can give you some recommendations from my recipe book. PM me if you wish.

Last edited by Tacky; February 27th, 2017 at 05:29 AM.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 10:49 AM   #11
 
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Hopefully, your opinion comes from loading for the Mini 14 (newest 583 series), as that's what I am leaning toward.
My opinion comes from the fact that in a good rifle, a 223 can be a laser beam accurate round and in my own loading of that caliber for 30+ years, that the difference between good loads and GREAT loads, as far as accuracy are pretty small. Basically, it's a hard round to screw up, if you stick with the right powders and bullets. Being that you can usually separate the good and great rounds in only a very accurate rifle, that leaves the Mini out of the equation.

The best handloads in the world, would be hard pressed to make a Mini a 1 MOA rifle on a consistent basis, yet you are dealing with a round that has 1/4 MOA or better capability.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 11:56 AM   #12
 
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Tacky, that's strange that you can't easily find IMR3031. I use that for 30-30, as it's an old standby. Here in WI it's easy to find.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 02:00 PM   #13
 
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My opinion comes from the fact that in a good rifle, a 223 can be a laser beam accurate round and in my own loading of that caliber for 30+ years, that the difference between good loads and GREAT loads, as far as accuracy are pretty small. Basically, it's a hard round to screw up, if you stick with the right powders and bullets. Being that you can usually separate the good and great rounds in only a very accurate rifle, that leaves the Mini out of the equation.

The best handloads in the world, would be hard pressed to make a Mini a 1 MOA rifle on a consistent basis, yet you are dealing with a round that has 1/4 MOA or better capability.
So, you don't handload for a new style Mini 14...
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Old February 27th, 2017, 02:28 PM   #14
 
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No I do not. I also doubt the loads tacky provided above are specifically for a new Mini 14 either. Both just providing info on the 223 round in general and our experiences. The absolute best load for your rifle can only be determined by YOU. Even if I had a Mini and a pet load for it, does not mean that it would be the best in your Mini. Every rifle is different.

But if you want to try other powders, you already have two on hand that work just fine in .223. IMR 4064 and 4895 are both used in .223 rounds with bullets from 40grs to 80grs.

So, you have 3 powders and 3-4 bullet weights already on hand. That leaves a LOT of things to try. There are a solid 15 different powders that can be used for a .223 and bullets from 36-80 grains

Personally, with the components you already have on hand, the next thing I would try would be those 77gr Noslers, over about 24.0-25.0 grs of 4064. While that barrel may seem slow for a 77 grain bullet, if you boot them out pretty good, they generally do just fine. 25.0 grs under that bullet will be a compressed load

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Old February 27th, 2017, 06:14 PM   #15
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Tacky, that's strange that you can't easily find IMR3031. I use that for 30-30, as it's an old standby. Here in WI it's easy to find.
Yeah its strange like that here. It comes in spurts at my secret honey hole where I get my powder. A couple months out of the year it will be around, then missing once it gets sold out until next year. Its the same with h335, varget, benchmark, and a few others. I usually stock up on my favorites when I am able. I could buy 8lbs of it right now, but since I do not have loads worked for them, and a few pet loads, I am reluctant to start over with 8lbs. Why i have 4 or 5 pounds of varget, h335, and 8lbs of benchmark. I keep imr 4831, w760, 780 supreme around as well. My only 3 pistol powders i use are w231, h110 or w296. Usually see more hodgdon powder than IMR, very slim on alliant and accurate.





Quote:
Originally Posted by msp3903 View Post
No I do not. I also doubt the loads tacky provided above are specifically for a new Mini 14 either. Both just providing info on the 223 round in general and our experiences. The absolute best load for your rifle can only be determined by YOU. Even if I had a Mini and a pet load for it, does not mean that it would be the best in your Mini. Every rifle is different.

But if you want to try other powders, you already have two on hand that work just fine in .223. IMR 4064 and 4895 are both used in .223 rounds with bullets from 40grs to 80grs.

So, you have 3 powders and 3-4 bullet weights already on hand. That leaves a LOT of things to try. There are a solid 15 different powders that can be used for a .223 and bullets from 36-80 grains

Personally, with the components you already have on hand, the next thing I would try would be those 77gr Noslers, over about 24.0-25.0 grs of 4064. While that barrel may seem slow for a 77 grain bullet, if you boot them out pretty good, they generally do just fine. 25.0 grs under that bullet will be a compressed load
Yes some of these are used in a new mini the target model, and my older mini 14, 1988 model. As well as rounds I have used in many of my other .223 rifles. The mini target likes the 40 vmax with h335, the older standard likes the 75 bthp with h4895.

You are correct that many variables have to be undertaken and worked through when finding a round a rifle likes. I have done that many times. But I also think that just because many broadcast that the mini is not a 1 moa rifle, thats not always the case, and its not set in concrete somewhere among the firearm gods. I happen to be optimistic and believe it can be possible given that right circumstamces even though thats not what the rifle was designed for. But that just my opinion, and everybody knows what opinions are like.

The other loadings have been proven in other rifles, but giving more options for the OP to try. They may set the right circumstances that could create 1moa possibly.
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