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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK... bought my first varmint rifle today. I will get it on January 13 (CA waiting period), so I have a little time to prepare - I need to choose a scope and load some rounds.

I picked a new Savage model 12 VLP in 223 . I only plan to punch paper from 100 to 300 yards (maximum distance on my local range) for a while.

Questions:

1. Which bullet weight(s) would do best with the 1 in 9 barrel twist?

2. What kind of scope would you put on it? I do have a Leupold 4x12 I never used, but wondered if something with more power would be better?

3. I do have a Dillon press and dies for the 223: what kind of powder/primers are best for 223 varmint loads? What brand cases do you guys prefer using? I do realize each rifle may have its own preferences, but I have to start somewhere!

JLC in San Diego
 

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I have found the white box Winchester

The white box Winchester 40gr have worked the best in my Savage. I did try a host of other brands/weights and these have worked the best.
I have a Leupold 6x20 on my .223 and it works well for paper and squirrels.
Where are you in the USA?
Steven
 

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What I use.

Hello JLC from Central West Virginia. I like the 50 or 55 grn Noslers-.224 dia. and the Hornady V-Max of the same weight for varmints and critters. They work well with Hodgdon Varget Powder for me. For nonformal paper targets I like the Sierra 69 grn HPBT bullet. Due to different weather temps I like the extreem powders. Hodgdon says the extreem powders is are not affected by temperature changes.
I used Federal Magnum Primers.
Good luck with the Savage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Tobias. I'll load some rounds with the 40 grain Winchester bullets DRT uses, some with the powders/bullets you use, and experiment! Time to open the reloading manuals too!

JLC in San Diego
 

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Win/USA White box

45gr HP in the 40 round Varmint-Pak is what you want. They shoot around 5/8" for 5 at 100yds and clock 3530fps from my Savage 12. For handloads, 50 or 55gr VMAX or Nosler BT's are good with lots of powders in the general burn rates of AA2230, W748, VV135, Varget, H335, etc..
 

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i'll second the positive rating for the 45 HP white box Wincester Varmint rounds. have had excellent groups with it in my Cooper Model 21 MTV
 

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I like W 748 powder and 50 or 55 gr Ballistic tips, Or try some Benchmark powder as well, same bullet choice. I currently shoot 26grs of Benchmark, with a 50 gr Ballistic tip, rem 6 1/2 primers and shoots very well. I would drop down a grain or so and work up, 26grs is a fairly hot load. Chrono at 3395fps through a CZ American 223.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to all who replied... I just ordered online several boxes each of various 55 and 60 grain varmint 223 ammo. I will also buy several of those Winchester white boxes with the 45 grain rounds. I could not find the 45gr HP in the 40 round Varmint-Pak (manufacturer?), so I will keep looking.

I also checked my reloading manuals. I do have some 55 grain bullets as well as some 748 and 3031 powder - I also have CCI and Winchester small rifle primers, so I am ready to go!

JLC in San diego
 

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Just be advised that several on the board, including me have had some "hot" white box ammo. Very sticky bolt lift, so you may not want to go hog wild and only buy one till you see whassup.
 

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When I got my (used) Savage .223 about 5 years ago, I was advised to load up some rounds with 69 Sierra Match Kings because if it didn't shoot those really well, then I'd probably be wasting my time. I tried a couple of powders and found that my gun prefers W748 touched off by Federal 205M primers. I won't specify the charge because you'll need to work it up for your particular gun. As for brass, I like Winchester most of the time, but for competition I bought some Lapua and turned the necks. Folks disagree about the need to turn necks when using a factory chamber, but I also have a 6PPC and needed to buy the tools anyway. Try seating the bullets about 5 thou off the lands.

As for a scope, my Savage wears an Elite 4200 6x24 and I love it. Another good scope in that price range is the Weaver V-24.

From what others have reported, you'll probably be extremely pleased with your VLP. Good luck!
 

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With a 1-9 twist you will probably do best in the 50-55 gr bullet weights, some rifles with that twist can handle the 69 gr bullets but the only way to know is to try them.

I have been getting great results with the Hornady 55 gr spire point (soft point) with cannelure, you can crimp them or not, your choice, it doesn't harm accuracy at all, they are fairly reasonable in price, especially when bought in bulk. This is the bullet, but you might shop around for price, Midway went up on them Jan 1, but not everybody has raised the price yet.
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=519381

A lot of people like Varget, but it's a pain to run it through a powder measure, and my personal experience is that it doesn't do anything better than a lot of the ball powders I've used. I prefer the ball powders, Hodgdon H335, Win 748 is very similar, my favorites are the Accurate Arms powders, I've used AA2230, AA2460, and I'm currently playing with AA2520, 2460 and 2520 are as temperature stable as the so called "Extreme" rifle powders, in addition, the military 5.56mm uses ball powder and they are using that in the 100+ degrees days in Iraq, so many ball powders can handle high temperatures just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More questions!

Thanks, John, etc...

Those 55 gr Hornady bullets must be popular. There is only a 10 cents difference in price between the regular and trade price on the Midway site, and that's for the bulk purchase!

I am going to stick to 748 and 3031 powders for a while - that's what I have at hand, and after listening to some of you guys, and checking my reloading manuals, both are very suitable for reloading the 223. I'll try a variety of bullets from 45 up to 60 grains.

Tsiero said not to forget to "break in the barrel". Don't know if Savage recommends anything, but after reading a lot of stuff about this topic on the net, I am more confused than before. Barrel makers have different procedures, and some even say don't bother, just shoot 20 to 40 rounds, don't overheat the barrel doing it, then go home and do a thorough cleaning. What gives? Is there a consensus on that subject among this group, or is it one of these "hot potato" thing?

JLC
PS: Among the ammo I ordered are two boxes of Hornady Varming Express 223 Rem with the 55 grain V-max Moly bullets. What do you guys think of Moly bullets? Never tried any before.
 

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You don't want to get involved with moly right now. Shoot the barrel first, then later, come back and talk about moly. It's a whole 'nother deal.

A simple barrel break in for a factory barrel will do. Clean it well before the first firing, then shoot and clean for several rounds. It's hard to say about a factory Savage barrel, but it's good to use this shoot & clean procedure until you stop getting blue patches. This could get tedious with a fac barrel.

If you want the absolute best bullets for accuracy, you should get either some of Bart's Zia bullets (52gr match) or maybe some Berger 52gr match.
The 748 is good. Lots of powders will do well with a 223.

Rick
 

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Savage 223 load

I also shoot a savage with 1:9 twist. Mine is the 110FP However, but I think this load will work for you.

Hornady 60gr HP
H322 Powder 23 grains
2.26 OAL
Remington Brass
Winchester Primers.
As you know each gun is diff. so you may have to play with the OAL a bit, and maybe the powder charge, but I think it should work for you beings how you are a 1:9 twist like mine.

My gun loves these loads. 5 shot group, 1 flyer, and 4 under .6 @ 100 yds. It is a little much for yotes or any other varmint if you are concerned about the hide, however, for blowing things up and making a dent, they are great.

I have yet to really test this load at long distances. Most of what I do with it, prairie dog, rabbit, etc. It is amazingly accurate and does the job well. Most of the distances are under 200. I think you have sparked me to get to the range and test the long distance on this load. I just have a hard time spending time at the range, when I can be out in the field is all.
 

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+1 on the Benchmark and the 55 Hornady. My 10FP dotes on that load. Does very well with the 50 TNT and the same powder. Last 3 shot group to recheck sight in was .370. Also using the Bushnell 4200 6-24, not a combo for called yotes, but great for PD's.
 

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Yeah, for loaded ammo the Win white box 45gr. is hard to beat even though your barrel's twist will likely prefer heavier bullets. Win748 is a pretty good powder for 50gr. pills and up; but I'd be sure to try Benchmark and H335 for the 50-55 gr bullets, along with VV N133 and TAC (esp. for heavier bullets). Be careful with primer choice, some primers have a thin/weak cup and don't handle the .223 pressure well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Which primers?

This forum is great... so much info!

Which primers are to be avoided? I have only two kinds right now - CCI #450small rifle magnum, and Winchester WSR.

JLC
 

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My 223's all like Hodgdon Benchmark powder.I use 50 grain plastic tipped bullets from Nosler,Sierra and Hornady.Also use Remington 7 1/2 primers and Lapua brass.
 
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