.223 Hornady Brass - No Expansion!!

evetseel

Member
Hi all, im new to reloading. I have only been involved for circa 2 months. albeit a bumpy start, ive managed to develop a load that works relatively well for me in my Remington 700 1:12 . I do most of my development at 200yds and i'm getting sub moa results. So one could say, happy days leave it at that! whereas that is the most logical approach, i enjoy the science behind reloading and tweaking the specs to see how it manifests on paper, its in part why i reload.

Now in terms of specification, i am shooting Hornady brass, CCI primers, alliant RLX10 powder with hornady 55Gr SST BT bullets. Im loading a 22.4gr charge (.1 gr over the max load data) and im getting an average 3050 FPS. My brass is not expanding and I've shot the x30 casings i am using, around x3 times. The sooting around the neck is not as preventable as it was from the factory ammunition, with the 1st and 2nd uses, but none the less, i am not yet needing to re trim the casings. This grinds my gears slightly and my OCD, as in terms of bullet seating and ultimately case pressure, there is a theoretical deviation due to the un-expanded non trimmed cases. My average is 3050fps but the average deviation is around 75 fps.OK, its minimal, but none the less its there. There is literally no expansion going on bar possibly around 10 thou on one or two of the cases. they are all staying below the SAMI tolerance for case trim length.

You could probably argue, that if case expansion is not occurring at all, then case pressures should in turn stay relatively uniform. why not just continue to run as i am. Well, as i mentioned previously, i like to tinker and i would like to begin moving the bullet seating closer to the lands to understand how this effects the groupings. i measured up last night, and according to my findings, there is 300 thou of head space available when comparing to a COAL of 2.250.

Any thoughts, why my brass is not expanding? for further info, I've also run x2 sako casings, and found the same results - no expansion! whats going on? is it that the maximum load data is well below the threshold and i could load heavier to bring the case pressure up to get the fire formed case? how much is advisable? i appreciate that is a Noob question, but i begin to get a littel nervous when considering exceeding that load data. i suppose if im not getting expansion, then this would at least be the first tell tale of high pressure?

any advise would be gratefully received!
 

Gunner223

Well-Known Member
I have a Tikka T3 Lite in 223 1;12 My load is 25-5g of n133, Lapua brass , cci primers ,55g bt's and just a few thou of the lands, this produces 3350 fps, and sub moa at 200yds, a deadly foxing round.
And i dont get any expenditure with my cases either.
 

Sonicdmb73

Well-Known Member
From my all be it quick look for data on 10x in 223 and more so in my 20 Tac. It’s probably not the ideal powder for 55’s. But more suited to lighter bullets.
If you want to keep using 55’s Vihtavuori N140 is the top (REACH compliant) powder in my Lee manual for 3343 with a max load.
The fact you’re 300fps below that would have me looking at a different powder. I have used less than ideal powders but it was a compromise I accepted sooty necks because accuracy was very good.
 

evetseel

Member
I have a Tikka T3 Lite in 223 1;12 My load is 25-5g of n133, Lapua brass , cci primers ,55g bt's and just a few thou of the lands, this produces 3350 fps, and sub moa at 200yds, a deadly foxing round.
And i dont get any expenditure with my cases either.
Many thanks for the info. This certainly restores my faith. Am i reading the load data correctly by understanding that you are running 3.1 gr over the max load data? only reason i ask is to understand what is permissible for exceeding general load data.
 

Gunner223

Well-Known Member
Thats the load i use, 25-5g not sure what the max is for N133 but ive reloaded the same brass 4 times now , all the primers are still tight and the brass is in good condition.
It took a while to get this load , i started around 21g and worked my way up until i got an accurate fast load.
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
Hi all, im new to reloading . . . .

. . . only reason i ask is to understand what is permissible for exceeding general load data . . .

. . . i begin to get a littel nervous when considering exceeding that load data
Those statements are a bit scary to read in the same post! I don't mean to sound deliberately harsh, but I certainly wouldn't be going anywhere NEAR maximum loads for the time being, let alone try to exceed them and chase the lands.

My advice would be to start again and WORK-UP to a safe load that gives you good accuracy, but also allows you scope to experiment with seating depths while remaining within safe pressure limits. Your approach seems to me to be an accident just waiting to happen. I can't stress this highly enough, don't exceed maximum loads!!! Especially with your limited experience. And again, I don't mean to sound overly harsh, but I urge caution!

Your cases ARE expanding, otherwise you'd have no obduration and this would manifest itself pretty obviously. You're not getting stretching of the necks, which is no bad thing, but I'd suggest using a crimp (but NOT if you insist on exceeding maximum load!!!) This will likely tighten your velocity spread, and reduce the sooting you've been experiencing.

If you can't get the results you want within the stated safe loads with your existing powder, I'd have another look at the load data and use a different powder that will keep you (and others) safe. If you're staying within 200 yards you don't need to be chasing velocity
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
i measured up last night, and according to my findings, there is 300 thou of head space available when comparing to a COAL of 2.250.
300thou headspace sounds dangerous, but also highly unlikely.

In any case, AFAIK the headspace is off the shoulder in .223, so the COAL should have nothing to do with it.
 

evetseel

Member
Those statements are a bit scary to read in the same post! I don't mean to sound deliberately harsh, but I certainly wouldn't be going anywhere NEAR maximum loads for the time being, let alone try to exceed them and chase the lands.

My advice would be to start again and WORK-UP to a safe load that gives you good accuracy, but also allows you scope to experiment with seating depths while remaining within safe pressure limits. Your approach seems to me to be an accident just waiting to happen. I can't stress this highly enough, don't exceed maximum loads!!! Especially with your limited experience. And again, I don't mean to sound overly harsh, but I urge caution!

Your cases ARE expanding, otherwise you'd have no obduration and this would manifest itself pretty obviously. You're not getting stretching of the necks, which is no bad thing, but I'd suggest using a crimp (but NOT if you insist on exceeding maximum load!!!) This will likely tighten your velocity spread, and reduce the sooting you've been experiencing.

If you can't get the results you want within the stated safe loads with your existing powder, I'd have another look at the load data and use a different powder that will keep you (and others) safe. If you're staying within 200 yards you don't need to be chasing velocity
Firstly thank you for your reply. i would like to emphasise two things. No.1, my load development started 10% below min load data. the 24.4 gr charge was worked up to in 0.5 increments and is currently the most accurate it has been in the porcess.

secondly, i have not adjusted my COAL to anything other than the SAAMi guide. My desire of moving out toward the lands, will it not reduce the pressure, and FPS? assuming i maintain my current charge? why would it be dvisable to return back to a reduced load if my intention is to increase case capacity? im lost.....
 

Orion

Well-Known Member
300thou headspace sounds dangerous, but also highly unlikely.

In any case, AFAIK the headspace is off the shoulder in .223, so the COAL should have nothing to do with it.
Maybe the OP can inform what his '300 thou headspace' refers to?
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
If you end up contacting the lands it may well cause a dangerous pressure spike if you're already exceeding the maximum load. I'd find a replacement powder and start over. It's only advice, so it's entirely up to you if you take it or not
 

David N

Well-Known Member
A novice view: rifle Tikka T3 lite .223

I am using N133 and 53gn Vmax. unable to look at FPS, so observational.

The Coal is important my first home load was 2.222 with 24gn. good grouping. I took the coal from 55gn Varmint round. Then played with coal and now using 2.260 and 24.8gn. slightly better grouping, still below Max. each time started from min load but never reached Max load. Non of my loads have excessive pressure signs.

What is apparent to me by increasing the Coal I got less pressure and accuracy for the same powder load. I therefore need to increase powder load to regain same pressure (?FPS). With the Max Coal being used for my magazine. Both round worked well on my local fox. I use the longer Coal round as its closer to the Lands which i understand is meant to make it more accurate.

Also I have lost confidence in my cheap electronic sales, so bought Rcbs 505 scales. just doing a quick comparison, weigh the same thing but come out different by around 0.2gn. So I will be starting over again.
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
Maybe the OP can inform what his '300 thou headspace' refers to?
Reading it through again, it looks as though the OP emphatically doesn't mean headspace. Headspace (firearms) - Wikipedia

It looks as though what's meant is that with the specific bullet being used, a COAL of 2.550" (2.250" + 300thou) would have the bullet just in the lands. I've only ever had one .223, but compared to mine (SAKO), that seems a long lead.

As pointed out, moving the bullets closer to the lands can be done safely: but part of that is knowing exactly at what COAL the particular bullet in question is touching the rifling.

As others have further pointed out, improved understanding of the behaviour expected of the brass, and of the terminology, will increase the safey, efficacy and general satisfaction with the reloading process.

Not having to trim brass (i.e. because it's not being stretched too much) I would regard as a Good Thing. In the fulness of time, when the cases start to separate above the head, it becomes clear where the little heaps of brass-shavings on the bench have come from.:(

That isn't to say that you can't trim them in the pursuit of consitency: they don't have to be trimmed to minimum - you could just make sure they're all the same length below maximum. That way your lust for consitency (a helpful trait for reloaders!) will be satisfied - and if you do decide to crimp, that crimp will most likely be more uniform also.
:)
 
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Orion

Well-Known Member
I suspect you may be right - an example of incorrect terminology being applied due to misunderstanding of a component’s actual description/naming convention?
 

Blobby159

Well-Known Member
Thats the load i use, 25-5g not sure what the max is for N133 but ive reloaded the same brass 4 times now , all the primers are still tight and the brass is in good condition.
It took a while to get this load , i started around 21g and worked my way up until i got an accurate fast load.
For quite some years I loaded 50gr Sierra Blitz (quite sleek looking, pointy nose, lead tip) over 26.5gr N133. Giving me really spectacular accuracy and velocity Circa 3,350fps in cool/cold UK weather. Really GREAT foxing round.. Same load under 50gr V-Max and that is another cracker!!..

Something that made me eventually change my powder type though was that this powder has some temperature/pressure instabilities (my findings).

On hot Summer days when a chambered round is in hot sunshine and ambient temperatures in general, a few high pressure signs like really flattened primers did occasionally make a showing.... But as most of my foxing is/was in the cool UK Autumn thru to Spring that wasn't too much of a bind yet.. It is a shame though cos the loads themselves - with both the bullets above at least - were really all one could ask for from a .223 Rem 700 rifle..

ATB ..... and shoot safely


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