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H335 powder for Mini 14 .223 loads?

This is a discussion on H335 powder for Mini 14 .223 loads? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I've been working with a jug of Hodgdon Benchmark and some leftover IMR4895 powder and 52-55 gr bullets. The Benchmark has given some great groups, ...


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Old April 24th, 2017, 09:20 PM   #1
 
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H335 powder for Mini 14 .223 loads?

I've been working with a jug of Hodgdon Benchmark and some leftover IMR4895 powder and 52-55 gr bullets. The Benchmark has given some great groups, but is rather pricey for plinking loads. I've been looking at getting a jug of less expensive, but decent powder for 100-200 yd plinking loads. H335 powder seems pretty good, but not a unanimous 'yes', from what I'm finding. Any ideas here?



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Old April 24th, 2017, 09:39 PM   #2
 
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H335 is a great choice. Meters well. Was my go to for years when I shot P-Dogs. BLC-2 is good as well. And CFE-223.
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Old April 25th, 2017, 03:16 AM   #3
 
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I've used BL-C(2), CFE-223 as well with pretty good success. just picked up a lb of TAC, if I get a chance to shoot that and this thread isn't ancient, I'll post up.
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Old April 25th, 2017, 03:53 AM   #4
 
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My standard H335 load is 24.5 grains in military 5.56 cases with a Hornaday 55 grain soft point and CCI 400 primers. Shoots 3/4 to 1 inch groups in all my AR rifles, Ruger American Ranch, and 1.5 inch group in my Mini 14 Ranch rifle.

I don't have a chronograph so i cant give velocities. I've shot this load for years and no issues due to temperature changes. I've used other powders in 5.56 but H335 meters well and has not given me any reason to use a different powder.

I use it in my 6.8 SPC II also with good results.

Your mileage may vary....
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Old April 25th, 2017, 04:38 AM   #5
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H335 is one of my favorites, my pet load for my mini 14 target is the 40 grain vmax with H335. I use a #450 small rifle magnum primer from CCI seeing how its really fine for optimum ignition.
Very capable powder and versatile. It has produced under .500 at 100. I also use this powder in the 338 Federal. Has worked well for me in .223 with the 52 grain bthp sierra also.
For heavier .223 rounds like the 69, 75, and 77 I use only one powder H4895. I have not been able to beat the results with it I am getting. But H335 is a great powder, use my benchmark for my 6.8spc, 6.5 grendel, and 308. I have used varget, w748, BLC2, and cfe223. Have a friend that likes AR Comp. Imr3031 is great also. All good choices.

Only downside to H335 is that make sure if your using a drop or auto charge to wipe out the hopper with a dryer sheet, it has a habit of sticking being so fine. This does not effect charge weights, more so leaving powder in the hopper stuck to the sides making a little more cleanup time compared to other stick powders. I usually set my auto charge to 1.4 grains before the target weight to trickle, and it works great.

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Old April 25th, 2017, 09:21 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacky View Post
H335 is one of my favorites, my pet load for my mini 14 target is the 40 grain vmax with H335. I use a #450 small rifle magnum primer from CCI seeing how its really fine for optimum ignition...
Ah, yes: the great primer debate for H335 (and many ball powders). I read about great results with standard SR primers, and others that swear by magnum SR primers. Most of the published load data I see uses std primers. I use H414 ball powder in my 7mm-08, and get fine results from standard primers, while some handloaders swear that you need to use magnum primers with my load for reliable ignition.

BTW, I have a case of 5K CCI #400 std SR primers...
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Old April 25th, 2017, 06:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firescout View Post
Ah, yes: the great primer debate for H335 (and many ball powders). I read about great results with standard SR primers, and others that swear by magnum SR primers. Most of the published load data I see uses std primers. I use H414 ball powder in my 7mm-08, and get fine results from standard primers, while some handloaders swear that you need to use magnum primers with my load for reliable ignition.

BTW, I have a case of 5K CCI #400 std SR primers...
Yeah, thats an entire other debate right?
I am old school, ball powder, magnum primer. Stick powder regular primer. This has always been something i have followed learning the trade from my elders. But I have always wondered this. Being a career firefighter I have seen alot of things ablaze in 22 years. Sawdust will ignite easier due to more surface area, as opposed to the same amount of solid wood. So why does ball powder with more surface area harder to ignite than stick powder with less surface area? Maybe iowegan will see this and have a deeper explanation. I think a good possible indicator of the correct burn would be chamber thats dirtier, a sooty muzzle etc. Also changes in velocity taken from a chronograph. This could possibly give clues I suspect.

But I understand, if you have 4k standard primers, then use powder thats compatible. I only use CCI primers, easier to tell between most factory loads and my loads. They have always worked great for me anyhow, and thats the easiest to find locally. I keep several maybe 2k to 4k of small magnum rifle, small rifle, and 2 to 4k of large magnum rifle, and large rifle primers. Same with my pistol primers, that way I can load what I wish, and I load for over 20 calibers. I keep a stock of benchmark, h335, varget, w760, w780, h4895 imr4831 and US869. Pistol is a bit simplier w231, and H110 or w296.

Last edited by Tacky; April 25th, 2017 at 06:31 PM.
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Old April 25th, 2017, 07:13 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMB808 View Post
My standard H335 load is 24.5 grains in military 5.56 cases with a Hornaday 55 grain soft point and CCI 400 primers. Shoots 3/4 to 1 inch groups in all my AR rifles, Ruger American Ranch, and 1.5 inch group in my Mini 14 Ranch rifle.

I don't have a chronograph so i cant give velocities. I've shot this load for years and no issues due to temperature changes. I've used other powders in 5.56 but H335 meters well and has not given me any reason to use a different powder.

I use it in my 6.8 SPC II also with good results.

Your mileage may vary....
Yep.
24.5gr of H335 with a 55 gr bullet. That's been my load for years. I use CCI 450 SRM primers though. Runs around 2970 or so over my chronograph.
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Old April 26th, 2017, 05:22 AM   #9
 
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As others has stated H335 is a great powder, with a Sierra 52 Gr BTHP Match from the Sierra 5TH Manual ive found that 26.5 Grs produced a group I covered with a dime.
Now I load single stage so I have none of the issues others has stated with H335. Using Winchester standard small rifle primer just as the Sierra Manual calls for
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Old April 26th, 2017, 07:14 AM   #10
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Tacky, Magnum primers for ball powders, standard primers for extruded powders ..... your elders taught you well. Here's the theory Darwin. Ball powders have a much larger surface area compared to an equal weight charge of extruded powder. As such, it will ignite too fast and exceed chamber pressure limits so the manufacturers dope it with retardant, which now makes it much harder to ignite .... thus a magnum primer is needed.

All rifle powders are much slower burning than handgun or shotgun powders. You can verify this by looking at a powder burn rate chart. That said, burn rate charts don't quantify the burn rate, they just put the different powders in burn rate order. The best way to quantify smokeless gun powder burn rate is to determine how much bullet travel is needed to get a complete burn. Obviously the diameter and weight of the bullet plays a big roll concerning powder burn rate, as does the case capacity of the cartridge. BTW, QuickLOAD is an excellent resource for determining bullet travel for a complete burn.

In very simple terms, the powder that provides a burn rate that best matches a specific bullet weight and case capacity, while achieving the desired velocity without exceeding SAAMI max pressure standards, will be the best choice. With rifle powders, there really isn't much difference in burn rates like there is with handgun powders. As an example, fast burning Bullseye powder in a 38 Special with a 148gr bullet takes about 2" of bullet travel to totally burn up. W-296 or H-110 slow burning handgun powder with a 158gr bullet takes about 15" of bullet travel to totally burn up (same bore diameter). As you can see, this is a huge difference .... a 1:7.5 ratio. Typical rifle powder takes 16~22" of bullet travel to burn up .... a much more narrow range .... a 1:1.4 ratio. That's why several different powders can be successfully used in a specific rifle cartridge and still provide good accuracy.

Ammunition manufacturers spend a lot of time testing different powders to get the optimum burn rate for a specific cartridge and bullet weight combination at the desired velocity. I like to follow their lead by using a powder that emulates a factory load .... same velocity with the same bullet weight. Emulating a factory load will almost always yield an accurate load. For example, a 223 Rem with a 55gr bullet is rated at 3240 fps from a 24" barrel by nearly all ammo manufacturers. That means their data agrees very close so it's just a matter of finding a load out of a reloading manual that will safely produce 3240 fps with a 55gr bullet. I found 26.5gr of Varget will produce 3220 fps in my 24" barreled Remington 700 .... very close to optimum specs. At the range, it proves to be a very accurate load. Further, it chronographs with very tight velocity spreads over a wide range of temperatures. I have also found the 26.5gr Varget load with 55gr Hornady V-Max bullets is also very accurate from virtually any 223 Rem or 5.56 NATO rifle. My 16.1" Ruger AR556 and 18.5" Ruger Mini-14 seem to like this load a lot.

Many years ago, I spent a lot of range time with a couple 223 Rem rifles and a chronograph. I was looking for the optimum load .... best accuracy at 3240 fps with a 55gr bullet. I found 26.5 gr of Win 748 with a magnum primers was excellent .... very accurate with a very tight velocity spread. I used this load for several years until I encountered a problem. I was prairie dog hunting and got into a target rich environment ...... lots of shooting in a short period of time. Turned out .... I could shoot 3~4 rounds in about 10 seconds.... then my bolt started sticking and was very hard to unlock. After 5 rapid fire rounds it was nearly impossible to unlock so I had to wait for the gun to cool down. About this same time period, Varget was introduced and boasted of being "temperature compensated" .... called "extreme rated" by Hodgdon. Armed with Varget loads, my next prairie dog hunt proved the concept .... I could shoot at least 10 rounds in rapid fire and still not have the bolt lock up. Since then, I have been using Varget powder with great success.

As for cost .... there really isn't much difference in cost per round of any rifle powder .... maybe a penny a load. I feel it is worth a penny a shot more if I'm getting the performance I want. If you shoot enough, buying powder in 4 or 8 lb kegs will save $$$.
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Old April 26th, 2017, 07:27 AM   #11
 
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Albeit I don't have a mini 14, I do run CFE223 in my SP1, 27grs with a 55gr pill and WSR primers is ideal out to 400yds, and that's with a 4x scope. I'd stretch it out farther but the eyes aren't what they were 30 years ago.

The copper fouling eliminating properties of the powder do work.


Just my .02 worth.



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Old April 26th, 2017, 07:29 AM   #12
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Thanks iowegan, I was pretty sure you had a better explanation of the what and why's, and that confirmed my suspicion. Thank you for adding that Information, I am sure it will help me and and others as well.

I have never ran into the sticking bolt as you have, always wanted to try Prarie dog hunting but in the east our varmints are coyotes and you dont see 50 or more of them at one time. Now feral hogs thats a different story. But that information is also interesting, and informative.

My only question is why do the manuals sometimes list a ball powder with a standard primer as the guys stated above? Does case capacity and powder chrage whether its 98% full versus lets say 60% full play into that?
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Old April 26th, 2017, 09:53 AM   #13
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Tacky, Reloading manuals don't always consider all the attributes of different powders .... they are more concerned about chamber pressures being within SAAMI specs and velocities being in the "normal" range for a specific cartridge. Temperature extremes, cycle rate, metering, and velocity spreads are just a few of the attributes that are NOT considered in most reloading manuals.

Magnum primers were specifically designed for large capacity cases that use a huge powder charge. A couple examples are 300 Win Mag, 7mm Mag, 300 H&H Mag, etc where powder charges in excess of 70 grains are common. Slow burning rifle powder, especially magnum rifle powders, burn almost like a fuse where one granule ignites the next granule and that granule ignite the next granule, etc. This is called a "serial burn" and if the series is interrupted .... such as an air gap between granules, the fire literally goes out, leaving unburned powder in the bore and erratic velocities. So, in order to get all the "hard to ignite" granules burned before the bullet exits the muzzle, it takes a magnum primer flash that creates a longer flash duration and a higher flash temperature. Consider this .... when a rifle powder charge is ignited by a primer, the initial pressure is enough to push the bullet out of the cartridge and literally blow much of the unburned powder down the bore. To keep chamber pressure under control, retardant is added to the powder, which compounds the problem. You now have "hard to ignite" powder granules blown down the bore and away from the normal primer flash . If they don't get ignited, velocity will drop and will vary considerably. When all powder burns like it should, velocities are higher and much more uniform.

Magnum primers can have some strange results with some powders. They can cause a double peak in pressure or oddly enough, a lower velocity. Why? Magnum primers will increase the burn rate with all smokeless gun powders .... no exceptions. If a powder burns up too fast, it will NOT continue to propel the bullet as a powder that keeps burning until the bullet exits the muzzle. Powders that were not formulated for magnum primers do not have as much retardant added so they often produce a lower muzzle velocity with magnum primers than they do with standard primers ... strange but true. So to answer your question, the "strange results issue" is why some loads are listed with magnum primers whereas the same powder in a different manual is listed with standard primers. A good example of this is W-748 ... a ball powder that is NOT considered a magnum powder but is often listed with magnum primers.

A huge amount of powder burn information was learned when the shooting industry went to piezo pressure testing in the early 1990's (versus the older crusher method). Turns out, multiple piezo electronic pressure sensors on a rifle barrel can be coupled to a computer and will chart the pressure from the moment the primer flashes until the bullet exits the muzzle. This is how the shooting industry discovered double pressure peaks and found out how far the bullet had to travel before the powder totally burned up. Of course the results of piezo testing has been applied to the manufacture of newer powders, making them formulated better for specific applications. In the past is was mostly a process of elimination and experimentation with some luck thrown in.

Powder manufacturers continue to make many of the older powders, even though they don't function as well as newer powders. This is because many shooters found a powder that seemed to work OK 40~50 years ago and don't want to change. We see all sorts of customer flack when any of the old powders get discontinued so of course customer demand drives the market. I think its a matter of time before the powder manufacturers eliminate the older powders and replace them with newer powders with more favorable attributes. Many of the old numbered IMR powders ... such as IMR 4895 are still very popular but don't have temperature compensation and meter poorly. I highly suspect these powders will be replaced in the not to distant future .... in fact many IMR powders have already been discontinued.

The negative thing about many of the newer powders is .... even though the newer powders perform better, they are pretty useless without sufficient load data. In years past, there was a 10 year cycle between new reloading manuals. Now it seems like a new manual comes out every two years to accommodate the new powders and even that may not be often enough to keep up with the rapidly changing developments in reloading components.
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Old April 26th, 2017, 02:34 PM   #14
 
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Now I'm even more uncertain about a good .223 plinking powder. I really like the performance of Benchmark, but it's $181 for 8#, where H335 is $158. CFE223 is $160, and Varget is $184. As for comparing .223 loads, I calculate that a 2 gr difference equates to 160 more rounds out of an 8# jug. To me, that's significant. CFE223 loads are about 2 gr more than the faster powder loads. There's also the matter of the 5K+ CCI 400 SR primers I have on hand.
If H335 is going to be a 'crappy' powder with the std primers, maybe I should get 16 lbs of a powder that will work better with my std primers and allow me to 'burn them up', before investing in magnum SR primers and accompanying ball powder. IMR 8208 XBR looks like a possible option, but it's still $176 for a jug.
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Old April 26th, 2017, 03:42 PM   #15
 
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Was just looking at the Alliant RL 10X loads on their website, and found all their lighter bullet .223 loads use the CCI 400 or Win SR primers. 22-23 gr for 52-55 gr bullets.
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