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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, newbie from NW Indiana. I'm new to the one shoot thing so this will be interesting. I'm currently practicing with a Howa 223 heavy barrel I just got from Santa. I'm preparing for a 300/500/600 in about 6 weeks in my first target event. Any helpful advice send it my way.
 

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Hey guys, newbie from NW Indiana. I'm new to the one shoot thing so this will be interesting. I'm currently practicing with a Howa 223 heavy barrel I just got from Santa. I'm preparing for a 300/500/600 in about 6 weeks in my first target event. Any helpful advice send it my way.
Learning to hand load along with lots and lots of practice is the best advice I can give.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks NorCal- I'm trying. I got my scope zeroed on an oddly warm day a few weeks ago. I have found a range about 2 hours away that shoots out to 1000 yds and I believe I will join just to get on the longer targets. It's hard shooting at 20 degrees and they have a shoot house that is heated. So it's my hope to get a lot more rounds on this before the event.

As far as reloading I have been reading a ton on it. My concern is I will push the loads to much just to see how far I can push it. Not good I know but I also know myself. But I love the idea of fine tuning the loads.
 

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5.56 will not cost much per load.
My 52 HPBT Loads are about the same cost per shot as high end imported 22LR ammo.
68 and 69 HPBT are not much more.
With my 1/9 barrel the heaviest I can go is the Hornady 75 HPBT.
Until you are shooting past 300 yards you can stick with the lighter cheaper bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm now working on what grain I can use. I have heard nothing more that 62 grain and I've heard up to 77 grain. Mine is also 1/9 so it give the 75s a shot.
 

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Get a copy of Glen Zediker's "Handloading for Competition" and read it cover-to-cover. There's not a book on the planet that will give you as much information for competition .223 ammunition (and basically everything else) as that one.

If you ARE going to handload, then you should go into it with a different mentality. Accuracy, at ANY speed, is what wins target matches...not speed. We really don't give a crap what speed the bullet is going because it only has to kill paper. My point: I have no idea how many mph my 600 yard load is doing. I DO know that it is a less that 1/2 Minute load, and it hangs tough for maybe 2/3 Minute at 600 yards.

In the 9-twist, if you need the windage, run the 73 Berger in front of Varget or Reloder-15. You might TRY a box of Berger 70 VLD, but I don't know if they will punch round holes or not. The 69 Sierra MK is a spectacular bullet, and will shoot as many X's as you can hold windage for; I was NOT overly impressed by the Sierra 69 TMK.

What do you mean by "Northwest" Indiana? Where's the 1,000 yard range?

-Nate
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hate, there are 2- Young's long shot in Wolcottville and Hillside Shooting Sports in Roanoke that go to 1000. I've only just got the rifle and just got the scope close to zero. As such 1000 might as well be miles for me. I've shot at 50, my next day will be shooting at 100. Then at 100 with a few different grains. In a few range trips I will look to 200/300 and possibly 500.

So here is where I'm sure I show a lack of experience. And I'm not going to be upset if corrected so please do so. I have read there are 2 ways to defeat the wind... speed of the round or weight of the round. So I assume a middleweight bullet at a higher speed is best of both. What is middleweight, I don't know yet, nor do I know what speed to expect or attempt. Hence my concerns. I am watching a lot of YouTube videos on it and seems that I would enjoy reloading.

I see Berger and Sierra MK tend to be the gold standard. Which is odd to me considering there are so many variables in reloading that to see those two tossed out as the go to bullet means something. As I am not reloading yet I have found Black Hills 69 grain SMK I will buy to see how my Howa likes it. I have heard they are outstanding manufacturers and the grain should be good out to 600 I have heard. I have not looked much into Bergers yet. Are there factory rounds you would suggest with this on top?
 

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So what you are saying is that you don't have a safety pin on your shirt collar? Good. Those guys never last around here. :)

First up, a different mental approach would be useful for the wind: you're never going to defeat it. All you can do is work with it, and try to get really good at understanding what it is and what it needs. It's not big deal, or it is a big deal, but you can't do anything either way!

Speed and bullet length (not really weight, strictly) can both be used to get happier with the windage on your rifle, but the problem with .223 as far as wind is concerned is that in no way are you EVER going to go fast enough to make a lot of headway in windage. Take this, for example: you need about 800 fps more than 5.56 is capable of delivering to begin to make a 55 FMJ equal the windage of the Mk 262 Mod 1 Loads (pushing a 77 Sierra Matchking) at 600 yards...which is about where things get interesting.

See what I mean?

For .223, 55-60 grain bullets are middleweight already....the range being defined by 35 through 90 grains.

What you need to be looking at for shooting in any wind at much range is "heavy" weight bullets at moderate speed. For a 9-twist, what I said above is my best advice. You MIGHT get the 75 Hornady or the 77 Sierra et al. to stabilize barely, but I'd say it's not worth your time to just see them go sideways in the winter.

Here's frank: for factory ammo, the Black Hills 69 Sierra load will be more than enough to learn 5-600 yard .223 shooting, for about as long as you want to learn. The 69 Sierra is that good, and the wind with it at the 600 yardline is tough enough for most anybody to lose at least a few out of an otherwise 20-shot 1 MOA group.

Berger and Sierra are so heavily recommended because they are so much more consistent at winning when things really matter. They kill well. They fly well. They pound steel well. And they perforate paper targets extra-good.

This, compared to basically any other brand within normal price range, who at some times or another, have really put out some bullets that sucked. That, or they couldn't keep uniformity between lots close enough to allow shooters to buy 2 boxes of 500 a year apart and be able to leave their load the same. (I'm talking about Hornady on that one. Hornady makes great bullets most of the time. But when they haven't, nobody forgets. In other words: they are fighting an uphill battle against Yellow and Green boxes, even thought their bullets are good.)

Bullets are a lot like custom grade barrels: generally, the increase in price is commensurate with a virtual guarantee that you will get a truly EXCEPTIONAL product...not just one that is "pretty accurate most'a the time".


Now I know it's "only 100 yards", and you might even think it looks a little hokey, but go look up the Highpower guys here: www.sjvrp.com

...and see if you can't learn something from them. It'll be worth your time, I guarantee it. (And I don't guarantee a damn thing.)


-Nate
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the info guys. I hope at some point to put it to good use. More importantly I hope to pass on to my boy. He is starting to take an interest in shooting.

Nate- it's funny you pointed SJVRP out. I actually saved that link to visit one of the clubs. My issue is right now I work 1000-2000 during the week. This means I would not make a meeting to become a member. I dont think any less of 100 vs 600 or 1000. You still have issues to overcome. One being the thought that 100 is easy. In my time on the range I watched people mow down 200,250 and 300m targets but wiff at 50 and 100. No **** I watched an our E8 waste 6 rounds on the 50 during a record qual. Anything can humble you if you try to look past it, I assume precision shoot as much if not more than everything else.

As far as reloading goes I have looked at a lee progressive. I want to wait a bit to make sure I can shoot often enough to justify the initial expense at this point. I picked 223 because it is cheaper the 308. And I've heard about the limits of 223 and would like to see if I could push them in my area. I figure master the wind and other environmental factors with a cheap round and move up once I burn this barrel out. The BH is what was often suggested in all I have checked out lately. They seem reasonable compared to the rest price wise. Do you have anything or know of anything against blue box? I was thinking of getting several boxs of 69 grain and using that for all my practice at this point.
 

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A progressive could work, but I generally recommend a guy start with a decent single stage press. Doing ONE thing at a time is in some ways preferable to somebody that is learning. Do you have anybody nearby that can help teach?

Yeah, you're right. There's not a lot that can be taken for granted if you really want great accuracy and precision in this sport.

Now about Black Hills. No, I have nothing at all against Blue Box. I suppose you MIGHT outshoot it, but I doubt it unless your rifle just doesn't like it...which is unlikely. But still start with a 50-rd box, and make sure the rifle will be okay with it, then order several.

The only thing I wouldn't do a lot of is keep the blue box casings for reloading later: I just don't know how many firings are on that brass BEFORE you get ahold of it.

I like where your head is with regards to practicing with a cheaper round with decent barrel life. You should get 3-4,000 rounds of life at good accuracy, and that's a fair amount of experience if you spend those rounds wisely and shoot in the wind as much as possible. Some of us find that in spite of it's stature, the capability of the .223 Remington on targets is a lot greater than credit usually given. My personal best at 1,000 yards stands at 94.0%.

-Nate
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nate- you have given me a TON of info.. I am going to get a blue box of BH 69 grain. I think I will also get a red box of 77 grain to see if my 1-9 can handle it. I am anxious to get out of the range again and have decided to join Young's Long Shot. They have steel and target frames out to 1000, though I'm only interested in paper out to 300 right now. I think it just time to put all the info to use and see how good a student I am.

Again thanks for the info. I will share the results once I get to the range.
 

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No problem; I just try to help where I can. When you're looking at your paper targets from the 77's, make sure to look at the edges of the hole. They should show a uniform and concentric ring of gray/black around the hole itself. If the gray is slightly offset or oblong in one direction, your bullets are unstable.

Course...they could also just go fully sideways. Generally that effect requires no additional explanation! hehehe :cool:

-Nate
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No problem; I just try to help where I can. When you're looking at your paper targets from the 77's, make sure to look at the edges of the hole. They should show a uniform and concentric ring of gray/black around the hole itself. If the gray is slightly offset or oblong in one direction, your bullets are unstable.

Course...they could also just go fully sideways. Generally that effect requires no additional explanation! hehehe


-Nate
Just wanted to update you and what I've done since we last talked. My Howa loves 69 grain BH so far. I've reached out to 500 yards on steel as of now. I did have an insane 5 shot grouping today, for me anyway. 2nd 5 rd man were all cover by a dime. So obviously the rifle is a good one. If only I could learn to be as consistent. The rest were quarter or larger.
 

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Nice work!

Handloads will help the issue with groups being consistent
 

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Nate I have followed everything you have said on this and will follow everything else you say to the letter your depth of knowledge is amazing
Lawrence
 
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