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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 1/18/2015 5:07:12 PM EST
I just switched jobs, and I'm finally able to get back into reloading. I'm still trying to develop a good long-range load for my 18" AR. I'd be happy with consistent 1.000" groups or less.

WOA 18" SS barrel, 1-7 twist
HTA Kestrel 556 direct thread suppressor
FF Troy rail
SWFA 3-15x42 optic

My loads are as follows:
77 gr Nossler HPBT with cannelure
Once fired IVI 10 brass
Benchrest primers
Varget powder

I worked up some loads this summer, and got inconclusive results. These were loaded .3gr apart, starting at 22.0 and working up to 23.8. The best were in the 22.6-23.2 range, so I worked up another batch in that area.

Here are some from the original groups. Each load has 6 rounds. After I load the mag, I fire the first into a different target so each of the rounds is chambered the same way.


Good-


Not so good-




The new batch I did were from 22.6 up to 23.2, .2 gr apart. I made two 6-round batches for each load.

Good, but not consistent-



consistent, but not as tight as I would like-



So, I'm trying to figure out whats going on. I don't think its my shooting thats causing the flyers. I'm not great offhand, but I'm pretty steady off the bench.

I like the looks of the 22.8gr target, but that flyer bugs me.

Note that I have to load up and drive to a range. I can't just load another batch and shoot off my back porch. Should I work up another ladder and keep testing, or just roll with the 22.8 gr load?

Link Posted: 1/18/2015 5:54:01 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/18/2015 5:54:26 PM EST by Tophatman]
[Edit: Disclaimer, I'm an enthusiastic amateur, not a professional]

One group isn't really enough to base a full production run on although an OCW test can certainly help you narrow down the accuracy node. If you have the skills and distance to do a ladder test (I have neither) then a lot of people have had good luck nailing down their AN's with that. I find OCW to be easier.

That one flier could have been bad neck tension, a nick on the base when seating, a gust of wind, you pulled it without knowing.

Have you tried groups with can on and off? I typically don't bother since I never shoot without one but I also know what my rifle was capable of pre-can and post-can hasn't impacted it, if anything it's tightened it up a bit. Or it could just be practice on my part.

I don't settle down for a load until I've done a broad OCW, then a narrow OCW and then confirmed with a couple of groups. But I also just enjoy shooting and reloading so my methodology isn't for everyone.

In my own personal experience with a SPR it can take time to find 'the' load for a given barrel. My current SPR can do 1MOA ish 'all day long' with several of my loads but Privi Match is 1.5 MOA, Wolf is just a hair under 2 MOA. PMC and reloads using Midsouths' Extreme 55gr are 3 MOA.

50gr Vmax's over Benchmark are .75 MOA. .5 MOA on a good day and no wind.

I've tried H335, H322, Benchmark, RL15, Varget, 4064. My current end game for powders I've setting on is RL15 69grs and Benchmark for the 50-55gr's.

I've used everything from Hornaday 55gr Bulk FMJ (surprisingly good), to Nosler 77's (not worth the cost premium for me). I settled on Nosler 69's for a heavy(ish) out to 600 yards and Vmax 50's for the <200 yard shooting.

I did not have good luck with the 75/77. They weren't bad, about what you're seeing, just not as tight or consistent as the lighter rounds.

Federal GMM primers and Remington 7.5's have worked well for me. CCI's seemed to add a little bit of inconstancy to my distance shooting so I now only use them for plinking ammo. I've not tried Wolf personally but I've heard some people that say it's good for them.

System is what I call a CSPR (Cheap SPR). Or it started off that way but even with stock parts and MOE furniture non FF it still shot just as well, just not consistently -

PSA 20" CHF chrome lined 'premium barrel"
PSA M-16 BCG
PSA Lower and Lower Parts Kit
FF tube off ebay
Geissle 2 stage trigger
MOE grip
CSTR stock
Glass - Vortex PST 6x24x50FFP in 20MOA Bobro QD mount (this glass moves between hosts which is why it's worth everything else combined)
Link Posted: 1/18/2015 5:55:42 PM EST
A chrono would be good to have. That might give you an idea if the fliers were velocity induced or flinch. With the info given, I'd be inclined to think either will work for most any purpose you might have.
Link Posted: 1/18/2015 6:27:19 PM EST


I only been shooting with the can, it's pretty much dedicated to this rifle.

I do have a chrono and the Caldwell app on my phone. I have groups and data for most of these. What should I be looking for? How much std dev and spread is normal?

Link Posted: 1/18/2015 7:24:19 PM EST
Hand weighing each charge when using Varget in .223 is probably a requirement to get and keep sub MOA groups.

My standard match load with 69 grain bullets is 24.5 grains. 23.5 with Sierra 77's.

I drop charge the 24.5 grain loads on my Harrell's measure and they're good for 10's and X's at the 300 yard line in NRA tournaments. The 10 ring is 2 MOA in diameter. While these loads, drop charged from a premium measure, shoot just fine as is, I don't require sub-MOA to be competitive. 1 MOA is good enough, my 69 grain loads have occasionally flirted with 1/2" on good days, never bigger than 1.25" on a bad day.

I use 2.250" OAL for 69 and 77 grain bullets to insure I don't get surprises at the range, namely bullets binding inside the magazine because they're too long.

Not every rifle will shoot well with every powder. Your 23.2 grain load of Varget looks great, human error is a factor no matter how good you are. Other powders to try include RE-15 @ 23.0 to 24.0 grains, VihtaVouri N140 @ 23.0 to 24.0 grains or H4895 @ 22.0 to 23.0 grains with 75/77 grain bullets.

New barrels sometimes need a couple hundred rounds to settle in, it may or may not shoot better after it's had a few more rounds down the tube.

I think you should load up and run with 23.2 grains and see how they do over the course of a season. When it comes time to reload the cases again test again to see if anything has changed. Barrel throats grow longer with wear and revisiting your load before next winter sets in is a good idea.

Link Posted: 1/18/2015 8:47:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/18/2015 8:48:16 PM EST by Molon]
Originally Posted By mustangduckk:

My loads are as follows:
77 gr Nossler HPBT with cannelure
Once fired IVI 10 brass
Benchrest primers
Varget powder



View Quote



Varget would not be my first choice of powder for the 77 grain Nosler. Try some of the powders mentioned by borderpatrol as the 77 grain Nosler is easily capable of sub-MOA accuracy with the right load. The 10-shot group pictured below was fired at 100 yards from one of my match-grade AR-15s. The group has an extreme spread of 0.807".







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