Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

More .223 Play

Written By: richardwcraver - Dec• 23•17

My last .223 post I was shooting 1.5″-ish groups at 25 yards. I had shot some 50 yard groups previously that were around 3″ with factory ammo. I wasn’t exactly happy with it, but I wasn’t terribly disappointed as this is a budget rifle that I sourced the parts over a period of 6 months to a year. The barrel was a no name bought on GunBroker.

After my last outing I decided to stay with the 23 grain load of ARComp powder as it grouped tightest and experiment with case overall length. The amount of free bore that the bullet has to jump before contacting the rifling is one of the recipe parameters that handloaders experiment with trying to increase accuracy.

My previous loads had a cartridge overall length of 2.200″, measured from the case head to bullet tip. I had measured my bolt to rifling length by long seating a bullet in an empty case, chambering it with finger pressure, then carefully removing it by pushing a dowel through the barrel. I did this three times and got 2.7″-ish, give or take 0.003″. Now I know how long I can seat the bullets before touching the rifling.

This batch I loaded is seated at 2.250″, 0.050″ closer to the rifling. I’m rather impressed with the results, even if I am just a novice reloader.

The 50 yard group is just a bit larger than the previous 25 yard group.

And the 100 yard group, my first shots at 100 yards, were not only on the paper, but about the size of my previous 50 yard group with factory ammo. About 2.5 MOA from a budget build rifle.

I also loaded and shot some V-Max varmint tip bullets of the same weight. They scattered a bit more than the Full Metal Jacket Boat Tails, but still shot consistently.


I may load some out to 2.255″ and 2.260″.

It occurs to me that besides being a lesser quality barrel, the twist rate may be too high for 55 gr bullets. So I also picked up some 62 gr bullets to experiment with. I couldn’t find 68 gr locally, but if 62 gr shows an improvement, I’ll try 68’s also.

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