Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

Well, They Were Cheap…

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 11•18

On my last outing to the range I was encouraged by the smaller groups I got by adjusting overall cartridge length by 0.50″. There is another guy I’ve seen at the range a couple times doing load development for .223, so I got to talking to him.

He imparted to me that he was running the same twist barrel as myself and had difficulty getting really accurate loads with 55 grain bullets. It seems his rifle ‘likes’ 68 grain projectiles.

I recalled I had read somewhere that 68 grain Hornady hollow point boat tails we’re a mainstay of 3 gun shooters. So on my way home I stopped by a local gun and reloading supply shop to pick up some. Alas all they had were the same 55 grain pills I was already shooting. But they did have some 62 grain ‘bulk’ bullets. No name, just sorted in plastic bags. And they were inexpensive to boot. It seemed a reasonable risk, at the time, to buy them locally without paying shipping plus having to pay more to get what I wanted. And 62 grain was close enough to 68 grain, in fact it was right between the 55’s I had been shooting and the 68’s; so the money was plopped on the counter and away I went.

Then the cold, for NC, weather set in. My unheated garage was unpardonably cold after two weeks of 20’s, teens and single digits temperatures. But being NC, the pendulum swung the other way, and with two days of 50’s I was in the garage with the door open and Chris Tomlin playing on Pandora while I measured powder for ladder loads and was seating my soon to be pet accuracy load.

About that seating… Houston we have a problem! I had set the cartridge overall length to 2.250″ for the first round and the case end was right in the middle of the cannelure, perfect. But the next round the cannelure was not visible and the length was too short, like 2.242″ short.

After measuring a random sample the bullet lengths were all over the place. The bullets pictured below had lengths of .917″, .923, .924″, .926″ and .928″. Weighing them on the powder scale I got 62.5 grain to 66.9 grain. By comparison the Hornadys we’re all within 0.001″.

So what to do? Shoot them anyway!

Not the ideal equation, but I kept diddling with the seating die until I got the seating length between 2.245″ and 2.255″ and left the powder charges were already conservative, not close to Max charge.

With the wide range of weights and projectile lengths there is no way I expect to get consistent groups. If the manufacturer is that lax with length and weight, how can I expect consistent jacket thickness and concentricity?

Close only counts when playing horseshoes or lobbing hand grenades. Let’s see how close these things lob.

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