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varget and benchmark for 223


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#1 roscoe

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 11:41 AM

I've always heard you will get a little more speed with Varget than with Benchmark. Well I went to the range to try a few new 223 loads and I am confused. The groups with Benchmark were slightly higher than the groups with Varget. Why?

I was shooting 55gr. Blitzkings out of a 18" heavy bbl.

My different powder measurements were:
Benchmark:
24gr
25gr
25.6gr

Varget
24gr
25.5gr
26gr

Any ideas why it seems the benchmark loads are faster? Thanks.

#2 TJD

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:42 AM

Have you tested for speed?


I see this more when shooting hand guns. I notice the faster round clears the barrel before the recoil can lift the gun. A slower load will exit the barrel higher on the arch of barrel lift.


#3 roscoe

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 03:25 AM

I see. No I havent been able to test the speed. A chrony is next on my long list of things to buy. Did you think shooting at 150 yds would be the thing to do to see if the varget loads were still rising?

#4 Red

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:27 AM

I misunderstood...by "higher" I originally thought you meant faster. You never said at what distance the targets were at?

Whenever you change any componant, anything can happen. Barrel harmonics plays the biggest part. I just find the combination that shoots tightest. A chronograph is a useful tool that all handloaders should have, but a hundred or so feet per second isn't going to mean anything in the real world anyway.

#5 roscoe

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:41 AM

yeah, I was shooting @ 100yds.
I'm not necessarily going for the fastest load, just courious why they were shooting the way they were. I actually just started reloading this year. I love it!

#6 TJD

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 10:08 PM

Red is correct find the most accurate load, make sure there are no high presure signs then re-sight you gun and go hunting. I forget who said, "A fast miss is still a miss."

#7 roscoe

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:06 PM

I have to agree. Thanks for the advise guys.

#8 Mush

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 03:06 PM

IMHO and what I have read is that each powder/bullet combo will shoot different in each barrel. What works in mine may not work in yours. Barrel twist may also be a factor for the same caliber...However if we are information shareing,

CZ American 223 with 1 in 12 twist, 50 to 55 grain. Mine shot less than 1 inch at 100 yards out of the box with factory ammo - it didn't seem to matter: Rem, Federal, lake city, etc. With my hand loads I got down to 1/2 inch at 100 yards.

The best group was with Nosler 55 BTip and Reloder 10x, medium weight load. Down to 1/2 inch at 100 yards.

Less than 3/4 inch at 100 yards
Benchmark and any 50 to 55 grain Sierra then Hornady.
H335 and Varget were about the same with less than 1 inch to 3/4 inch.
Factory UMC 45 grain HP factory was around 3/4 inch.

X-terminator I am still working with but RL 10x still seems to be the best for me.

IMR 3031 was the worst - just lucky to hit a 2 foot by 2 foot paper.

Edited by Mush, 09 October 2009 - 03:08 PM.


#9 MarinePMI

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 03:24 AM

I think the difference you're seeing is due to that 18" barrel of yours. IIRC Benchmark is a much faster burning powder than Varget, so you're probably loosing velocity as the Varget is not completely burning. If I have a chance, I'll verify using QuickLoad, as it'll tell you roughly the % not burned based on a load and length of barrel.

At any rate, that'd be my guess...

Edit: Remember, for a truly efficient load (read: to see the full benefits of a particular powder/bullet combo), you'll want the pressure to peak (i.e. velocity) just at the end of the barrel (say an inch back from the muzzle).

You can figure this out with a chronograph on your own. Just take your existing Varget load, and start loading down in .2gr increments. Shoot these over a chrono and determine when velocity starts to fall off. That would probably be the most efficient powder load...

Edited by MarinePMI, 13 October 2009 - 03:28 AM.


#10 roscoe

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:30 AM

Thanks guys. MarinePMI, I think i will try your technique and i'm curious what QuickLoad would say.

I'm hoping to order a chono after deer season and hit the range a little more and figure my gun out. Yeah i was thinkin maybe the short barrel might have some thing to do with it. By the way, In case it makes much of a difference, my twist is 1 in 10.