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I am working up an accuracy load for the 223 cartridge for the Ruger American Ranch rifle with the 16-1/8” barrel. H335 isn’t working out too well and as I understand can be temperature sensitive. I use the rifle in Montana where we have significant temperature extremes. I want to use a a ball or fine powder so I can use the powder measure and not have to trickle every charge. What loads have others used with success in this firearm.
 

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You probably picked the wrong barrel length for accuracy, however my AR-556 (16.1") does pretty well with Varget powder. It is extreme rated, excellent for 223 Rem and will maintain constant velocities from zero to 125 deg F. I load a 55gr Ballistic tip over 26.5gr of Varget. Pretty accurate at 100 yards or less, which is exactly what the gun was designed for. Varget doesn't meter as well as ball powder but it isn't nearly as bad as longer extruded powders.

I used to load Win 748, a ball powder that meters as perfect as possible, however it is about the worst powder you can find for velocity variations due to different temperatures. Guess you just can't have everything!

Looky here: Extreme Rifle Powders
 

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I’m gonna throw CFE223 into the mix. It not listed by Hodgdon as an “extreme” powder but I’ve had good results at temps between 30 and 90, YMMV. Meters excellent should you use a powder thrower.

Regardless of powder, as long as you’re not on the upper end of your load and you find your charge node you should be ok.
 

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You probably picked the wrong barrel length for accuracy, however my AR-556 (16.1") does pretty well with Varget powder. It is extreme rated, excellent for 223 Rem and will maintain constant velocities from zero to 125 deg F. I load a 55gr Ballistic tip over 26.5gr of Varget. Pretty accurate at 100 yards or less, which is exactly what the gun was designed for.
I run a similar loading (55 gr FMJ boattail over 27 gr of powder) in my Aero midlength 16” barrel. It is as accurate as I want at ranges I can see, with iron sights. After that, my eyes are the limiting factor.

Varget burns cleanly and though I use scoops and not my powder dropper, it is fast enough for the few hundred rounds that I fire annually.
 

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I’m gonna throw CFE223 into the mix. It not listed by Hodgdon as an “extreme” powder but I’ve had good results at temps between 30 and 90, YMMV. Meters excellent should you use a powder thrower.

Regardless of powder, as long as you’re not on the upper end of your load and you find your charge node you should be ok.
I would say CFE223 is one of the worst temperature sensitive and excessively slow burning powders I've used. Unless you shoot heavy pills, I don't recommend that powder one bit unless your circumstances don't give you much options without paying an arm and leg for powder.


If you're looking for accuracy and shooting with 1/7 twist barrel, need to go with the heavy pills and the match grade powders.

Varget, H4895, IMR4320, IMR4064, IMR4166, Reloader 15, Shooters world Match rifle, etc. Nearly ALL of those are single based powder.

I don't shoot .223/5.56mm, but I've shot a ton of .308 Win/7.62 NATO in a match grade piston gas gun which uses those powders.


I believe the temperature sensitivity is being overblown a bit out of proportion at least for the plinking ammo part of the discussion.

The .223/5.56 and all the small rifle calibers that have a medium or faster burning powder are much more affected by powder charge variations due to small case volume which are also multiplied by temperature variations.

How you solve this problem is you get a chrony and you start working up loads using an optimal weight charge approach.


Even with less expensive ball based powder and cheaper bullets, you can identify a velocity node(plateau) where a wide amount of charges give you with little velocity change.

Not always but often you will find accuracy within those velocity nodes.

Why do I say this? I use this technique to "tune" how I load up making 7.62 NATO M80 145 to 150 gr FMJ reloads using Win 748 or WC-846 ball powder.

Those give me 2 MOA or better performance for only 0.35.
 

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I am with Iowegan, varget is a great powder for the .223. I use it, along with benchmark, h335 and h4895 for my .223's. The h335 I run with a 40 grain vmax in my mini target. I use the h4895 with a 75 grain bthp match bullet in my 1n7 and 1n8 ar's. I use the benchmark and varget for the 52 grain bthp, and 55 fmj cannlure with great results. I only use cci primers with my loads.

I have used w748 and cfe 223 in the past however was not pleased with the results, that also includes superformance powder as well. Had too much variances.
 

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Another good powder to use with the 223 is IMR 8208 XBR. It is a little better with heavier bullets but does good with 55 gr ones to. It is a shorter grain powder than Varget and measures well through my Lee powder measure.
 

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I like CFE223 in my ARs and Mini 14 as well as my RAR 308.
 

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Lutz48 H335 has proven very accurate in my handloads from 50,52,55, grain bullet weights, but i dont shoot the Ruger American Ranch Rifle. Consistency is the key to accuracy and consistency starts at the loading bench. Cleaning the primer pockets, trimming if need be to the same length. Using the same brand of brass and primers.
 

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I’m gonna throw CFE223 into the mix. It not listed by Hodgdon as an “extreme” powder but I’ve had good results at temps between 30 and 90, YMMV. Meters excellent should you use a powder thrower.

Regardless of powder, as long as you’re not on the upper end of your load and you find your charge node you should be ok.
Welcome to the Forum and hello from Illinois!

I also use CFE 223 and have great results.
 

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16" barrel .223 loads

With the shorter barrels you will find that H4198 or IMR4198 works very well. Burns clean and completely with very good accuracy. You will not get top velocities but very uniform ballistics. Don't get power hungry and load it up to max............H322 may give even better accuracy ( varies from one firearm to another ) and burns very well in the shorter barrels too.............Don in SC
 

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Several years ago (approximately 15 or so) I ran across some ACCURATE 2230-C in the 8# persuasion can. It was a ball powder slightly slower burning than the ACCURATE 2230, however I was advised to use the reloading data for that powder. Do wish I could find it again as the most accurate powder I've ever used is that 2230-C.

It seemed to shoot very well in all of my .223/5.56 NATO, as well as in my Weatherby .223 Bolt Action Monarch. I noticed little to no difference shooting in 100 degree to 30 degree temperatures as well. For example I took it on a PD hunt in Seligman, AZ about 14 years ago and the temperatures when we started shooting were down in the low and mid 40s in the afternoon the temperatures were up in the high 90s, and if I did my part the results were the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Do you say this from experience or conjecture? My cousin has the same rifle putting in quarter size groups at 300 yards with 69 gr. /sierra match bullets! These rifles can be quire accurate with the right loads.
 

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I also meant to add IMR3031, it does well in .223.
 

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Lutz48, Here's some food for thought …. a 24" barrel with the Varget load I posted (55gr V-Max or 55gr Ballistic tip with 26.5gr of Varget) produces 300 fps more velocity in a 24" barrel than it does in a 16.1" barrel (actual chronograph results). A higher velocity will produce a flatter trajectory …… less time exposed to gravity, thus less drop and less time exposed to wind, thus less wind drift and because bullet spin rate is dependent on velocity, the bullet will spin much faster, thus better downrange stability. These attributes favor a longer barrel every time. No doubt, if you use the right bullet, right type of powder and charge weight, a 16" barrel can be pretty accurate at modest distances but it won't beat a 22" (or longer) barrel, especially at extended distances. So, the point of my comment was …. a longer barrel is way less ammo fussy and typically more accurate than a shorter barrel.

I have a newer Remington Mod 700 BDL with a 24" 1:9 twist rate barrel, chambered in 223 Rem. It chronographs my above load at 3260 fps so I can easily maintain 1 MOA out to at least 500 yards on a calm day …. probably farther but I don't have the luxury of a longer range. MY AR-556 has a faster twist rate of 1:8 but because of the lower velocity (2950 fps), it doesn't group very tight at distances much beyond 200 yards, in fact getting a 1" group at 100 yards is a challenge. I have tried bullet weights from 55gr to 70gr and found the 55gr bullets group the best at virtually all distances. Granted, an AR556 is not a bolt action like your American Ranch …. but your rifle does not have a 22" barrel like a Predator or a 26" like a Hawkeye Varmint.
 

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Cheap and accurate load...

I don't have a Ranch Rifle (but plan on getting one soon). However, I did a project to develop the cheapest range load with the best accuracy in 223 for my Ruger Mini-14 with 16" barrel. I selected H335 over CFE223 because of cost. I sort cases and use the same brand for each run and only 223's, size all cases to the same length (1.751"), remove primer crimp with consistent bevel for all cases, meter and check every load, and crimp a bit with a Lee FC die, with Winchester Small Rifle primers. I settled on a low load of 23 grains and it's pretty accurate. 55 grain FMJ boat tail Top Brass bullets (and plan to try X-tremes soon). No noticeable temperature problems here in Phoenix. I'm loading for $0.20/round. I think accuracy is a matter of consistency at the bench.
 

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I am working up an accuracy load for the 223 cartridge for the Ruger American Ranch rifle with the 16-1/8” barrel. H335 isn’t working out too well and as I understand can be temperature sensitive. I use the rifle in Montana where we have significant temperature extremes. I want to use a a ball or fine powder so I can use the powder measure and not have to trickle every charge. What loads have others used with success in this firearm.
I have been struggling getting an accurate load with H335. It is affordable but it's just not accurate in my go to guns. I switched to AA2230 and I have found 24.8 grains to 25 grains with a 55 grain soft point to be nicely accurate in a Mini 14 and a Ruger American with a 18" barrel. I plan on loading up some 63 grain Sierra SMP's with the next AA powder up, AA2460. Both 2230 and 2460 meter extremely well.

I had a 16" barrel on my Mini and found the faster powders (RL10x and AA2015) gave me the best accuracy with 55 grain bullets. (Hornady 55 SP and 55 grain Nosler Varmageddons) but doing some simple math the velocity was less than stellar. The AA2230 and 2460 gave me a little more velocity with only a little loss of accuracy. The Mini had the original skinny barrel and I have since replaced it with the tapered and heavier Ruger 18.5" barrel. I switched to the AA2230 and 2460 after a friend who had a chrono said the 2460 gave him the best velocity out of his 16" AR barrel. Sorry, I do not remember what his numbers were.

kwg
 
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