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Considering trying some CFE223 and wanting some opinions. I've been using Varget, but as mentioned considering trying CFE223. Is there much difference between the two?

Would be shot from an AR15
 

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I just got into rifle Reloading about 18 months ago & all I load currently is .223 Remington.

I got CFE 223 on Graf's Reloading's recommendations, as they said everyone was giving it great reviews.

Personally, I had very accurate results with it in my Rossi Wizard single shot rifle.

Next purchase was BL(c)2 & I am having similar great results with it.

I use the same Hornady 55 grain SP bullet you use & have tried FMJ 55 gr. also with good results.

I have not got to Varget yet, but there are too many people that have posted good results with it and the .223 for it not to work well.
 

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The best accuracy results I achieved with the bullet you mention was with Varget.
After I ran out I decided to try the CFE223 and my AR15 likes it just fine.
 

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crracer 712, I know everyone rants and raves about powder .... which is the most accurate .... or which produces the highest velocity ..... but in all honestly, the brand of powder is the least of your worries. Here's why: if you find a powder that will drive your bullet to the same velocity as factory ammo, chances are excellent you found a good accurate load.

All powders have their "properties" .... some meter much better in a powder measure, some are temperature compensated and will produce virtually the same velocity from below zero to 100 deg. Also, some powders are more "bulky" because they are doped with retardant to slow down the burn rate. As such, you can't cram enough powder in a 223 Rem case to develop factory velocity. CFE has a unique property and that is to reduce jacket fouling in the bore to just about nothing. Why all the hoopla about "factory velocity"? Because ammo companies have done exhaustive testing and found 3240 fps is the optimum velocity for a 55gr bullet in a 223 Rem (24" barrel). In fact if you look at the stats for all popular brands of ammo, they will indicate that same velocity. For a 62gr bullet, 3025 fps is the standard factory velocity (also from a 24" barrel). When a combination of the rifling twist rate, barrel length, and the ammo itself all comes together .... both power and accuracy are optimum.

The variables that affect accuracy more than the brand of powder are: proper and uniform bullet seating depth, accurate powder charges, properly sized, trimmed, and prepped cases, good quality bullets (match grade bullets are even better but bulk grade bullet pretty much suck). Matching your rifle's twist rate to the proper bullet weight is very important. You just can't expect any ol' twist rate to work with all bullet weights. IMO, the variable that is the most important of all is a bullet that is concentric with the case. The bullet should NEVER have more than .003" (+or- .0015") runout .... less is even better. By using a the right equipment, you can adjust bullet runout to perfection after the cartridge is loaded. If you use the right dies, runout is never an issue to begin with. Why is runout a problem? If a bullet enters the throat of a rifle then proceeds into the bore without getting damaged, it will go downrange with a much better trajectory. If a bullet is not concentric with the case, it will enter the throat and bore ever so slightly off center, which in turn will damage the bullet (many tons of pressure pushing on a little bitty bullet) and cause it to literally "whiffle" downrange. Another significant issue can be a rifle's throat depth. Most rifles have "average" depth throats .... some have deeper throats, which require bullets to be seated out farther .... some have short throats and are more accurate with deeper seated bullets. When rifle throats are at either extreme, you will have to fine tune your bullet seating depth.

Over the years, I have used many different powders in 223 Rem ammo. Once I get a load to produce about 3200 fps with a 55 gr bullet, accuracy starts zooming in. The reason why I settled on Varget is not because it is more accurate or powerful .... it's strictly because it is temperature compensated and performs virtually identical in a hot or colt barrel. My pet load is 26.5 gr of Varget, a Winchester Small rifle primer, and a Hornady 55gr V-Max bullet with an OAL of 2.250". This load shoots exceptionally well in every rifle I have ever tested. Yes, there may be a load that is slightly more accurate in a particular rifle, but this Varget load always works quite well.

Right now I'm reloading for three different 223 Rem / 5.56 NATO rifles. I have a Remington 700 with a 1:12 twist and a 24" barrel. I also have a Ruger AR556 with a 16.1" barrel and a 1:8 twist. My son's rifle is a Colt HBAR 20" with a 1:9 twist. All three of these guns shoot my 55gr reloads better than factory ammo. Back when I was loading Win 748 (also 26.5gr with a 55gr bullet) or IMR 4895 (26gr with a 55gr bullet) I also got excellent accuracy in all the 223 Rem rifles I test fired. The key was ... all my loads produced velocities very close to factory 3240 fps plus I took the time to do the steps necessary for consistent quality. I see no reason why CFE power should be an exception .... it should shoot just as well as other brands.

So ... if your load doesn't shoot well, check the velocity. If velocity is close to factory specs, your reloading practices may need some fine tuning and it's doubtful a different powder will improve accuracy.
 

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Very good advice from Iowegan. I have been reloading the 223 for a long time since the 70's. I have used and continue to use WW748 mostly. I have tried other powders and most worked acceptably well but I kept coming back to 748 because it meters so well. Lately I have gotten interested in shooting bullets of 60 grains or a little heavier. So I am trying CFE 223 because it is supposed to reach the desired velocities with less trouble. That we shall have to see yet.

In the past I did a lot of nuisance animal work and shot a lot of bulk bullets. No they are not as gilt edged accurate at least for me. However the shooting I was doing did not require sub MOA precision but as I was shooting a lot at times expense was a concern. I still use bulk bullets when I can get them in the Mini 14 because it is not a precision shooter as it comes from the factory and shooting hogs they do an acceptable job.

Match the bullet to the desired task at hand and use the more commonly recommended powders and you will be OK.
 

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I've been using Varget and CFE223 and they work just fine in the 223/5.56 rifle. Also Winchester 748, BL-C2, H335, H332, IMR4898, H4898, Benchmark, Ramshot Tac, AR Comp, and IMR XBR8208 will all produce some very accurate loads if you take the time to work up for your twist rate of your rifle.

I have been trying to work up as close as I can for factory XM 193 ammo and Ramshot Tac, BL-C2 and H335 are doing very well reproducing that ammo. Also Tac seems to work very well with 62 gr. pulled XM855 bullets and Black Gun 62 gr. SS109s.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I guess I shoulda added a but more information. I don't have a problem with Varget, it's extremely accurate for me in my AR loads.

I was looking to try CFE223 as I believe it is a ball powder correct? Currently I load 223 with my Lee single stage press and I use the perfect powder measure to load the powder. I do this because I have a little system of a couple finger flips to help settle the varget extruded powder in the perfect press and I get consist powder output.

I load pistol ammo with my Lee Turret press, I'd like to try loading my 223 on this press, but it's a no go with the varget and getting any sort of consist powder drop, so I figured if CFE223 were a ball ammo, perhaps I could use it when loading in the turret press?

I like the Varget as far as accuracy and it doesn't seem to be very dirty. IIRC, When CFE223 came out I did a little reading of various review and thought I saw a few people complaining of it being rather dirty. It was new, and maybe people just don't like change or want to think their old powder is inferior, or whatever, but it was enough for me to pass at the time because I was satisfied with my 'system' for varget. However, I find I'm having a lot more empty 223 brass in my stash than I used to (apparently shooting more...) and single stage is about as slow reloading as it gets. I'm not going to anti up for anything better reloading equipment wise at this time, but since 223 will work on the turret press if I could find a powder that would work in it, it'd speed up my reloading quite a bit.


My pet load is 26.5 gr of Varget, a Winchester Small rifle primer, and a Hornady 55gr V-Max bullet with an OAL of 2.250". This load shoots exceptionally well in every rifle I have ever tested
I'd have to double check my cheat sheet on the grain, and if I swap the Vmax for the fmj and/or sp, that's pretty much my only load as well.

I believe Varget is the ONLY powder I've used to load 223, I started loading it before CFE223 was out IIRC. I think the only other powders I have for my rifle loads are IMR 4350 &4198, but use those for 243/30-06 respectively. I may have tried some 4350 originally with 223, but I either wasn't impressed, or sought something better out at the time, thus the Varget.

I have several different powders I use for various pistol loads.
 

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I'm also a long-ish time Varget fan as Iowegan recommended it to me several years back, loading for an AR. Great stuff but has been difficult to source. I've also used H335 and H322 when I couldn't score Varget with good results. I'm getting ready to give XBR 8208 a try since I found a local source and am reading up on it. I agree 110% regarding case prep and assembly care being the largest element for accurate handloads. I just bought a Ruger American Ranch 5.56 and I'm hoping accuracy in this rifle will equal what I got from 2 different AR's with Varget.
 

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(zombie thread)
Thanks for this thread.
I'm about to load my first .223 rounds.
I have Hornady 55gn FMJ-BT and CFE223.
Any update on satisfaction?
Thanks all.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 

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Once I tried 26.5 grains of CFE223 with a Hornady 55 grain soft point, I quit looking. The stuff meters like water, and my RARR 5.56 loves it. Under an inch at 100 yards most of the time, and the other day I put three in the same hole.
 

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Once I tried 26.5 grains of CFE223 with a Hornady 55 grain soft point, I quit looking. The stuff meters like water, and my RARR 5.56 loves it. Under an inch at 100 yards most of the time, and the other day I put three in the same hole.
Good call, I did 26 and 27 grains and couldn't be happier with the results.
The TAC and Varget are right up there though.
 
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