223 REMINGTON FACTORY AMMO V RELOADS

 

This all came about while I was having a discussion with a friend who was not a reloader. The point I was trying to make to him was that even simple preparation of the cases would improve the accuracy of the load. We decided to find a rifle of known accuracy, get hold of as many different brands of ammo for that rifle as we can. Then we are going to shoot those factory-loaded ammo and check them for accuracy. Then we will take all the cases, full length resize and trim them to uniform length, deburr the flash holes and uniform the primer pockets. We then will take a recommended load from any reputable loading manual. Then we will shoot them all checking for any change in accuracy. And just to make the test more uniform, we will shoot each lot of brass separately. We agreed that they will not be any load development at all, we will not use any BENCH REST or MATCH bullets. The NOSLER 55-grain Ballistic Tip bullet was chosen, so we used NOSLER’S excellent reloading manual # 4. A maximum load of 25.5 grains of IMR 4895 was suggested by the manual for this bullet. We did not have any IMR powder, so we picked the HODGDON equivalent, and reduced the charge by ˝ a grain. Again, playing around with bullet seating depth for maximum accuracy was not allowed. So we settled on the maximum allowed for the 223 REMINGTON, which is 2.260".

We fired all the factory ammo, then prepared the cases as mentioned above. The cases were primed – he was watching me like a hawk, so I wasn’t allowed to use MATCH primers either! The powder measure was set to drop 25.0 grains of H4895. All cases were charged and the bullets were seated. The results are shown below.

We found a box each of the following factory ammo:

1. HIRTENBERGER 55 GRAIN SEMI-POINTED SP

2. REMINGTON 55 GRAIN POINTED SP

3. REMINGTON 55 GRAIN METAL CASE

4. WINCHESTER 55 GRAIN FULL METAL CASE

5. WINCHESTER 55 GRAIN POINTED SOFT POINT

We had to give up on the HIRTENBERGER ammo. After the first three rounds blew their primers, we decided not to take any more chances. In fact, looking back, I remember on a number of occasions in the past of having similar results with their 308 MATCH ammo and some 7mm REMINGTON magnum hunting ammo. A gentleman, who was not known for his extreme generosity, gave me two full cases of 308 MATCH by HIRTENBERGER. After firing a few rounds and finding that they were far too hot, I pulled all the bullets out, so we can reclaim the components.

Factory ammo group on the left, and their reloaded brass on the right:

REM 55 SP

1.043

1.199

1.404

1.411

RELOADS

0.426

0.403

0.425

0.223

         

REM 55 FMJ

1.013

0.829

0.541

1.298

RELOADS

0.597

0.237

0.238

0.350

         

WIN 55 SP

0.409

1.043

0.869

0.784

RELOADS

0.304

0.602

0.413

0.497

         

WIN 55 FMJ

1.049

0.777

1.260

1.233

RELOADS

0.613

0.254

0.300

0.266

         

AVERAGE

FACTORY

1.010

RELOADS

0.384

So, through the simple procedure of just working on the cases, we were able to improve the accuracy potential of our rifle by a factor of 2.6 times. Ok, this is only one rifle and four lots of ammo. Also, some rifles might not show as much improvement as this one did, especially if the rifle is not as inherently accurate as the 40X

I have had literally hundreds of rifles brought in for load development, and without exception, every single one shot better with reloads. In fact, you might be amazed at the accuracy of some of the factory-produced rifles.

Following is a photo of our targets. The factory loads on top, with their respective reloads underneath.

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Last updated 28 December 1997