What bullet are you using/reloading?

Discussion in 'Mossberg MVP Rifle General Discussion' started by tevan0707, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. tevan0707 Member

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    I'm curious what bullets everyone is using in their MVP Varmint 223/5.56? I took mine to the range yesterday and tried a wide variety of ammo, 55 GR FMJ, 55 GR V-MAX, 55 GR SP, 62 GR Steel penetrator, and 68 GR BTHP. Surprisingly enough, all grouped within an 1 MOA (with the exception of the FMJ rounds, but they were cheap Tula, all the rest are reloads) at 100 yds using the same powder charge. I like the fact that I can have such a variety and still expect relative accuracy to one another.

    My next trip I'm hoping to have and few ladder tests built up. I really want to try the 53 GR V-max due to its higher BC then most other 22 bullets. But, I'm also going to stick with the 68 GR because I want to be able to reach out there. I haven't tried anything heavier since the twist rate couldn't handle it very well. But, I may get a wild hair in the future.
  2. Keith Moderator

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    Are you looking long range hunting, long range target, or both? That will help determine the right bullet for you. Match bullets are great for target but stink for hunting, as an example.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. tevan0707 Member

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    Typically I use A-max bullets for everything, and I've been spoiled with the ELD Match & ELD-X bullets for my 300 WM (if only they would make them for 22 caliber). The I like the BC of the 68 GR bullets, but the 53 GR V-max has the highest BC of the varmint bullets.
  4. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Berger 70gn VLD's at 2950 (great mid-range target bullet)
    Hornady 75gn BTHP at 2850-2950 (best for maximum range target or tactical)
    Hornady 40gn Z-Max at 3350 (for the squirrel vapor deposition method of agricultural fertilizer application)
    Sierra Varminter 40gn at 3450-3500 (sometimes bullets blow up 15ft from the muzzle, more violent than z-max)
  5. tevan0707 Member

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    I didn't think those kind of velocities could be achieved with those heavier bullets. What powders are you using?
  6. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    WARNING: I'm running off book with some of my .223 loads and don't advocate trying to replicate my results. I know what I'm doing and it is dangerous and hard on brass and gun parts. Also, not all loads are over max so never make assumptions when it comes to my loads. I'm loading for competitions that require a little generosity in the pressures department and also necessitate other special loading practices.

    NOTE: My .223 loads are LOOOOONG. I get another 2-3grains of powder capacity just because of how far out my bullets are seated. That means that something which would be a dangerously overcharged compressed load at SAAMI COAL may be nowhere near dangerous or over pressure for me in my rifle. My chamber's throat is wicked long to allow that without getting deep into the lands. That said, I also still routinely jam my bullets into the lands, partly for consistency and partly for that last .1gn of capacity. So, NO COMPARISON TO YOUR RESULTS SHOULD EVER BE MADE. If you want my results, get a chamber custom cut. I lucked out and mine came this way.

    Now then: Benchmark and IMR 4064 have delivered the best FPS performance so far without getting really far off the reservation either for book load data or actual pressures encountered especially if you're going to go SAAMI max COAL. If you want to try and get the same results I get without going off the reservation at all then compressed loads of Varget or H4895 is your ticket "by the book" but, I hate compressed loads (they're messy) and do not advocate their use. Running off book charges of benchmark and 4064 at SAAMI max COAL gives clear beginning pressure signs like flattened and mushroomed primers, case head expansion and the bright ring of death. Even without getting pressure signs though I've gotten over 2900fps with 75gn hornady's using 4064 and benchmark strictly because of my generous chamber (as previously described).

    You can easily replicate my performance and stay on the reservation by getting your gunsmith to recut your chamber to .223AI. You'll get the same actual capacity that I get from long loading and be able to load SAAMI max COAL.
  7. tevan0707 Member

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    Thanks for sharing! I am definitely sticking to the safe side of things when starting my loads. I also use 4064, so I'm glad that I can (if I ever wanted too) get those same results after having the chamber cut and everything.

    With all those different bullets weights, do you have a dope card for all the different zeroes? Or do they all group somewhat the same? Granted it's a perfect world.

    I want to try the 75 GR BTHP, my 308's love the 178 Hornady BTHP.
  8. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    All zero's are done at 100m. I do track the delta's among the zeros so I can use archived drop charts that I keep around if I want and just dial the delta. I don't do that though. I check and re-zero each time I have a match or otherwise go shooting. Verifying the zero is quick and since I use 100m for all zeros, it's super simple and fast to lob 3 rounds and double check. For the most part they all have POI within a couple inches of each other at 100m which helps. Beyond 100m they all get dramatically different, especially the light ones.

    I created and still publish for free (and provide free support for) the BallisticXLR ballistics spreadsheet for Excel. For me to put together a new DOPE card for a rifle is a non-issue. I do it often for others. I also keep printed copies of my established loads printed out on waterproof/bloodproof/tearproof Revlar media. Revlar looks like paper but doesn't suffer any of the frailties of actual paper.

    The 75's are epic pills. I get them to 900m supersonic pretty easily. Very forgiving bullet.
    Ulfberht likes this.
  9. tevan0707 Member

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    Have you tried using 75 GR hornady A-max bullets? I'm thinking of trying those since I had a brain far and remembered the MVP has a 1:9 barrel rate. Better yet, can you load them to magazine length, or are they single feed only?
  10. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. I might use them if there is some gain for whatever my use case might be. For now the A-Max's are 2 cents more a bullet, don't really give me anything I really need for the shooting I do and still have the (I contend highly suspect) melting tip issue which is exacerbated by long ToF and high MV, both of which I do a lot of in .223. Basically, there's a lot of things about the A-Max that delivers additional benefit. The BTHP's are a little cheaper and very consistent and manage to get me to the 900m gong and they group well with most any load if I jam them into the rifling a bit.

    I do use A-Max and SST bullets in larger diameters for high power silhouette. Out to 500m they're brilliant and overall I've had good luck with them in various things out to a mile. Most everything else I do at long range is done with Berger and Sierra match bullets.
  11. tevan0707 Member

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    Looks like I will be using either the 75 GR Hornady HPBT, or the 77 SMK since the 75 GR A-max can't be loaded to mag length. And then inside of 300 yds ( varmint hunting) I will use the 53 GR V-max bullets.
  12. GrocMax Active Member

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    3350 on 40's? surely a misprint?
  13. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Nope. I could get them up around 3500+ with a hotter load or by switching to a slower powder but it gets up to a compressed load really quickly with IMR 3031 in .mil brass and prints best when not pushed all the way anyway. I also now reserve Benchmark for heavier bullets in .223. I got some BL-C(2) in recently to experiment with which could get them up to 3600+ and I may try that and see if I can do it without the z-max to go puff right out of the muzzle.
  14. GrocMax Active Member

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    Grey misting them at 3500 sounds like a barrel issue, that's only 280K RPM, majority of high velocity varmint bullets can handle 300K+. There are low velocity varmint bullets with thin jackets, zmax ain't one of them.

    Accurate 2200 is velocity king for lightweight bullets for me in 223, 223AI, 6x45, 6TCU and 6BR.

    Good ol' H335 is a excellent universal powder for 223 based cartridges.

    Try Rem 7 1/2 and CCI 450 primers.
  15. GrocMax Active Member

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    Oh if you've got quite a few rounds down it, break out the JB or Iosso and scrub the bejeezus out of the throat to the first 6-8" or so till a patch no longer feels tight there. Only way to get hard carbon buildup out, chemicals WILL NOT touch hard carbon deposits.
  16. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    From what I found a couple years ago when researching how fast I could push varmint pills I found that Hornady at that time recommended <290K RPM for their V/Z-max .224" plugs. I'd rather not be at the ragged edge of bullet structural integrity, all it gets me is more burned powder. Besides, they group pretty well at the lower speed.

    Sierra's and Speer's were reported (and I've experienced) as even more fragile. Sierra recommended under 220K rpm for their varminters which explains why they'd pop occasionally at 290K. Once I found the page with that info on it I changed my loads for super light bullets.

    I think the manufacturer recommended RPM limits are a bit on the conservative side universally but they do seem to give a decent idea of fragility.
  17. GrocMax Active Member

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    zmax is not quite the same as a vmax, I don't think the zmax has exactly the same alloys/construction, just shares dies. Sierra makes both high and low velocity varmint bullets and tell you which one they are. Speer TNT's are notoriously fragile in some P/N's.

    A 58g 6mm zmax at 3200 fps (160K) pokes a hole in a prairie dog no exit, to so-so if hit bone first. 58 vmax explodes them. 58 zmax at 3900 (240K) from a 6BR vaporizes them. They had to do something to keep costs down on the zmax, I suspect they have straight jackets not the normal vmax jackets, and different P/N zmax bullets might perform differently.

    22 cal 40 50 and 55 blitzkings, 70g 6mm BK's can handle speed, the 39g 20 cal is fragile and a dirty barrel shows up quick. They explode hitting raindrops or a gnat. Never seen a Nosler varmint bullet couldn't handle speed. 70g 6mm Speer TNT can't handle 300K OR a dirty barrel. 34g VNE/Dogtown in either 20 or 22 cal is a surprisingly accurate, cheap short range varmint/plinking round can handle speed.

    Both spin rate and velocity contribute to critter acrobatics, circus hits are more fun. Scrubbing barrels every 50 rds is not fun, one learns, decent barrel, clean burning powder (varget is excluded from that list), hBN, go to town. H335 burns real clean at upper pressure and is a very good catch-all 223 case powder.

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