Favorite 223 Rem varmint loads with 50-55 grn bullets [Archive] - Varmints Den

: Favorite 223 Rem varmint loads with 50-55 grn bullets

08-11-2007, 08:53 PM
I prefer 50-55 grn bullets and my main interest is smaller critters, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and the like although I do drill an occasional coyote or badger. This request is just to compare notes with other varmint busters.... I'll start with one of my favorites: Lake City, WW, or Remington brass / Speer 52 grn HPs / 27.0 grns W748 / CCI 400 or WSR primer / seated just shy of the bottom of the case neck. What do you like???? Thx in advance for any loads you care to share....

08-11-2007, 10:55 PM
I really like 50 Gr bullets with BLC 2. Loads like a dream and is very accurate MV is near 3400 fps. I like the Hornady SPSX's, Speer TNT and the V-Max's

08-11-2007, 11:35 PM
Like VV N-133, with 50 VMax, speed around 3500 only problem is over 95 degrees I see pressure sign it's too heat sensitive for mid late summer PD hunts.

Paul Workman
08-12-2007, 06:58 AM
I prefer 50-55 grn bullets and my main interest is smaller critters, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and the like although I do drill an occasional coyote or badger. This request is just to compare notes with other varmint busters.... I'll start with one of my favorites: Lake City, WW, or Remington brass / Speer 52 grn HPs / 27.0 grns W748 / CCI 400 or WSR primer / seated just shy of the bottom of the case neck. What do you like???? Thx in advance for any loads you care to share....

...for the temp problem. G'dawgn must be close to the top to begin with if 95 degree temps are getting sticky (the bolt, that is). My point is, N133 is not especially any more temp sensitive than average, I find. (However, to minimize temperature effects, I keep my ammo in the shade in one of those soft insulated lunch-size coolers, and if it is real hot, I'll put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and put it in the bottom (on rare occasion).

All the .223s I've fussed with dote on N133 around 26 grains (give or take a couple tenths) under a 50V-Max or Nosler 50BT, Rem case (important - due to being thin allows a bit more powder;) ), fed 205m primer. I get excellent accuracy and speeds around 3550, seated at or close to the lands in EVERY Rem 12 twist.

That said, the .223 is the easiest caliber I've ever loaded for in terms of the number of powder/bullet combos that work well in the little case. 748, BLC2, Varget (heavier bullets), N135 (55 grain pills!!) have all done well for me, and others will no doubt report other powders too. (I often hear a lot of good stuff about Benchmark being very close to N133 - performance wise.)

IMO, the 50 grain pills are about the ultimate bullet weight for the kind of shooting you describe - which is "zackly" the kind of chores I assign to my .223s. YMMV.

Speaking of N133...These are some recent 5-shot groups using N133 under a 52 grain Berger match blt:


These happen to be from a 9-twist Savage - point being the N133 works with light for twist bullets in 9-twist guns as well.

Hope this helps.


08-12-2007, 10:22 AM
I have always used 748 myself with bullets anywhere from 40-52grs, I have never been able to convince myself to go with a different powder(maybe a mistake on my part) I use anywhere from 27-27.5grs, its very accurate and a breeze to load, I have tried these loads in 3 or 4 different rifles all with the same great results, good luck with your experiments.

08-12-2007, 10:35 AM
Give Ramshot Xterminator powder a try. I get very good velocities, great accuracy and it is less expensive than others. I have used the 50 gr Speer TNTs and Hornady's 50 gr SX. Both shoot really well and are less expensive for high volume applications.

08-12-2007, 11:01 AM
I like the 50 gr V-max with either Win748 or Accurate 2015. They fly fast from 3400 to 3500 fps. I get the 3500fps when the temp is above 85* and I use Win 748.

Keith in Ga
08-12-2007, 11:57 AM
I have yet to find a load that my Tikka varmint really doesn't like. My favorite load(s) are with Benchmark 25.5 grs. and just about any 50 gr bullet. It shoots really well with Calhoon bullets, but also likes blitzkings, v-max, and TNT's. Velocity runs around 3200 fps, not smoking, but very accurate. I use mixed cases, Fed match primers, and seat the bullet where it will fit the magazine (very scientific). After mounting another scope on the gun, and sighting in, I shot a .181 group with 50 gr blitzkings. Almost a shame it has sit in the gun safe for a year without shooting!

Rocky Raab
08-12-2007, 12:49 PM
Years ago, I had two standard loads to try in a new rifle. If it didn't like either one, it probably wasn't a shooter. The first one was a duplicate of QuickRick's: brass of your choice, WSR or BR4, 27.0 W748 and a good 50-gr bullet like a Sierra BlitzKing, VMax or Nosler BT. The other load changed only the powder: 24.0 H322 - just in case the rifle didn't like a Ball powder.

Today, I still have two "no-fail" spherical/extruded loads for new .223s, but I now use either TAC or Benchmark - 25.5 grains with either one.

08-12-2007, 01:24 PM
Which I understand to a point. I've shot a lot of 748, at least 100 lbs over the years. Loads were worked up in 70-80* temps, then went to SD and Wyoming to massacre p. dogs in 85-100* temps. I NEVER and I mean NEVER ran into problems.

One thing for sure, you have to exercise a little common sense when you are planning to shoot in 20+ hotter temps than you are working up loads in.

I ALWAYS determine what is my max load for a particular lot# of powder/bullet combo. I will load one shot and one shot only, increasing my powder charge by 0.5g-1.0g(dependiing on the cartridge and type of powder used) at a time until I see, hard bolt lift, case head scuffing, etc. I need to know exactly what is a Maximum load for my rifle. When I determine what is a maximum load, then I can work with accuracy issues next. Once I determine what is my accuracy load, then I have to take into account the temp change that I anticipate.

I know that I can not load right up to My established MAX load, then travel to where the temps are 20*-25* hotter and not have all kinds of pressure & accuracy issues.

I can't stress enough the issue of keeping your ammo out of the SUN! Powders have really gotten a bad rap over the years and it is mostly due to the fact that the ammo has allowed to get warm or hot to the touch. I learned the hard way to keep your ammo covered with some kind of thick material that will keep your ammo from heating up. The ammo that you have in the truck or car should be kept in a storage cabinet of some kind that will insulate it against the heat. Storing your ammo in a Plastic Igloo ice chest with no ice in it is a great way to protect your ammo from extreme heat.

The guys that live up North that shoot with ice dripping off the end of the barrels could give us some lessons in how to work up loads in 70* temps then try to shoot in 30* temps...I know nothing about working up loads for extreme cold situations.

The original post was what was your favorite load for a 50-55g 223. My load for mid range shooting (250 yards) is with 27.0-27.5g of 748 (~3450-3500 fps) with a 50g. When I want to push out the yardage or give me a little more wind bucking ability, I will go to 26.0 of N133 (26.3 for less than 90*temps) with the 50's going 3650 in my 26" barrel.

When I want to blow the living crap out of huge jackrabbits, then the old 55g Sierra lead tip blitz at 3500+ is the ticket loaded with a case full of n135. This same load puts huge and I mean monstrous holes in coyotes. The Sierra 55g lead tip blitz at 3500 is like using a chain saw on anything you need to kill. When late Sept, fat old p. dogs get hit with the 55g sierra blitz at 3500 fps, they are barely recognizable when hit! You can get extreme accuracy using 2015 with the 55g Bullet in the 3400 fps range, but the N135 will give you the fastest velocity with extreme accuracy, use a Mag primer such as the 7 1/2 or CCI-450.

It is advisable when ever you are encountering hot temps to develop your loads using a thicker cupped primer such as the 7 1/2, CCI BR4, or CCI450. In developing Max loads, I believe that the 7 1/2 is the slightest bit tougher, but only the slightest bit. Since it is hard to find the 7 1/2's, the CCI's are the only option.

By using a thick cup'd primer, you give yourself a slight edge with pressure increases from popping a primer, which can burn your bolt face and burn your firing pin. On one p. dog trip, I had 14 primers pop in 2000 rounds fired through that gun, my bolt face looked like the face of the moon and the firing pin looked all whopper jaw'd from being burnt, that cured me of 205's for field work. I suspected several reasons for my popped primers. The temps on that late July early August hunt were in the 100's, the 205 is a thin cup, and the shooting was so good that I kept the barrel hot allowing the round to "cook" in the chamber for up to 20 seconds while I was acquiring the next target. I did not think that 15-20 seconds was a long time, but it is long enough. The shooting was hot and furious to say the least, and I had to learn to throw the round on top of the magazine follower and not close the bolt until I had acquired the target, ready to pull the trigger. In otherwords, letting a round cook in a warm chamber causes the brass and powder to heat up....NOT GOOD! This is another reason that powders get a bad rap for being temp sensitive.

Benchmark, H322 both are hands down winners in accuracy, but they are harder to meter in a powder measure than 748 which also applies to N133 and 135, I have to weigh everyone of those charges. I put up with the N powders because of the extreme speed with accuracy that I am getting.

In searching for easy to meter powders, I tried two lots of AA2230 and got a spread of 200 fps difference with the same powder charges...I think an idiot is in charge of establishing quality control. I had the same issues with AA2460, shot great, but the next lot was 200 fps slower than the first lot with accuracy issues. I really feel as if Cheech and Chong are running the ballistic's lab at Accurate Arms. I shot a keg of AA 2520 and the next lot# was way off. I think that if you want to shoot AA powders, buy two or 4- 8 lb'ers at at time and you will be ok.

When you look at pictures where guys are shooting p. dogs out in the open with the lid on the ammo box open, you know that their ammo is cooking. If you shoot this way, then cover your ammo box with a rag or a hat, it will lower the temp of your ammo by 20*+. My first dog hunting trip, I put the ammo in an old Cigar box, loose. I just opened the lid each time to get a round which kept the ammo much cooler.

I've rattled on for a long time, but I just get tired of all the nonsense that I read on how powders are temp sensitive. Well all of them are temp sensitive, and you have a lot to do with how sensitive they become by controlling how hot the ammo gets and how close you load the ammo to that particular gun's MAXIMUM load to begin with.

CJ in Wy
08-12-2007, 01:56 PM
For those going dogging it is especially important to watch both the guns and ammo in the sun. Here @ 5500' the sun has a lot more effect than @ sea level or even 1500'! This pic was taken when the air temp was right @ 90* and the sun was already past it peak heat but still shows an accurate temp. Its been much hotter and I'm surprised the dang thing aint melted!


If left in the chamber in the sun around here the rounds will almost cook off.
This was the result of heat=pure and simple! I have shot this load combination for years and thousands of rounds. The only difference with this round was I put it in the chamber and expected to use it but the dog went down. I then forgot to unchamber the round,got a big surprise when I went to shoot the next dog a couple minutes later,yes it only takes minutes :eek:


When I lived in Mn I would leave my prairie dog test loads on the dash of the pickup to check for heat sensitivity but its a much better practice to keep them out of the sun as it can get too hot to be safe with any powder!

08-25-2007, 12:26 PM
Not to change topics but why are so many people sold on using 50 gr. in the .223 and not 40 gr. I 'm new to shooting and the .223 but I figure if I use a 40 gr. bullet insted of a 50 with a given powder wt. I should get more velocity and perhaps longer range and better accuracy. Am I out in left field.??

Craig D.
08-25-2007, 01:45 PM
Speaking of N133...These are some recent 5-shot groups using N133 under a 52 grain Berger match blt:


These happen to be from a 9-twist Savage - point being the N133 works with light for twist bullets in 9-twist guns as well.

P. Paul, since those are fireforming loads, pleeze show us some groups with formed brass. I think I may have to go to the gunshop and look at SAVAGES today :D

08-26-2007, 11:38 AM
Norwester, a light bullet will come out of the barrel a lot faster they also slow down a lot faster due to not having enough weight. If you want to find out what I'm talking about, do this:
Get out a good trajectory program and run two loads in the external ballistic program. Take a 45 gr. Sierra SP and a 55 gr. Sierra SP and give them normal reloading manual velocities. For sure, the 45 gr. bullet will come out fast, probably have the higher velocity out to 300 yds but then you will find that the heavier bullet, even though it started out with a slower velocity at the muzzle, will be going faster and when it gets out to 500 yds, will be going faster and the drop will be less. Works that way every time!! Besides that the heavier bullet will buck the wing a lot better too and you'll see that if you give your ballistic program a 15 mph 90° speed.

08-26-2007, 08:07 PM
Keith, that is one of the best posts I've seen in a long time. Lots of good factual information. Reminds me of the "Good Old Days."

Thanks for sharing,

ThJudg (Roger)

08-26-2007, 11:10 PM
I really like it now that I finally tried some.....

Use Rocky Raab's load.... or from Ramshot's website....

Lots of good powders for the 223.... so I almost never tried it...

Try some TAC....though.....

ACCURACY..... ease of metering.....VELOCITY..... Clean Burning....


08-27-2007, 10:17 AM
You may note that the #5 Nosler manual lists Benchmark as the most accurate powder with a 50 grain bullet, and 25.5 grains is the most accurate charge. For what it's worth, Cooper loads 26 grains of H335 under a 50 grain Blitzking in a WW case for their factory load. That's what they told me on the phone, anyway (they actually said 25 grains, but I pulled a round apart and it weighed 26 grains). They said they used a WW primer, but their website shows CCi BR-4 primers, so take your choice. The Cooper factory load clocks 3,300 fps in my Cooper Model 21 rifle, and shoots extremely well. The accuracy of this ammo even surprised my benchrest gunsmith.

I just bought a pound of H335 and a pound of Benchmark to try in my 223. I hope to duplicate the Cooper load with the H335, and am hoping for a speed boost with the Benchmark (without pressure). I tried a few loads with 133, but the accuracy wasn't up to the H335 load, so I decided to stop trying until I needed more ammo.

I have loaded a great deal more for the 222 than the 223, as I have been using the above factory ammo since I got the ammo along with the rifle from Hiwall several years ago. The slightly larger (about 10%) case capacity of the 223 allows use of slower powders than the 222. I have had the best results in the 222 with faster powders (4198 and RL 7). Many folks like H332, which shot well in my 222, but the combo of speed, accuracy, and less powder in the 4198 and RL 7 loads sold them to me. I still have 8 lbs. of AA2200 which works well in my 222. It seems to have a burn rate very similar to H322.

08-28-2007, 11:10 PM
I've used a lot of the AA 2200 in the Duece with 50 gr. bullets. I'd call 23.5 grs with a 55 gr. bullet in the 222 Rem about aMax load, just for safety. Also, approach 25 grs. in the 223 with a 50 gr bullet as a Max load. I went over and got into trouble a coupla times. Now, where AA 2200 really shines is in the 221 fireball!! :) About 21.4 grs of AA 2200 w/ 40 gr. Vmax gives you close to 3300 fps. Back off 5% and start up if you do load for one.

08-29-2007, 01:44 PM
I was running near the bottom of my last 8 lb. container of 748, so I started shopping when I met up with a local shooter that was ordering a supply of Ramshot TAC. I purchased a couple 8 lb. jugs and it's been a super performer in my 1/9 twist AR with 73 gr. Bergers and can generate sizzling velocities with 69 Sierra MK out of a 20" barrel.

08-29-2007, 09:28 PM
I didn't have any N133 so I tried N135 which I use with my .22 BR. Used a 50 g. VMax and 27 g of N 135. Load is extremely accurate and fast enough when you are using the VMax. I don't think you could beat it.

09-01-2007, 12:04 AM
I like 24grs Benchmark with Rem Primers, Rem case and 55 gr nosler B.T I've had good luck with the Benchmark. I also like W748 with 50 gr B.T. same casse and primers.

09-04-2007, 09:07 AM
Fill 'er up with VV N133 (consult loading manual(s))
I use Fed primers and Berger 52 gr MEF (now called simply "Varmint" instead of MEF)

Works great. The Berger bullet is VERY accurate and comes apart "just right." Excellent coyote bullet and also has great terminal performance on chucks and squirrels.