Everglades 223 62gr Version 2 Load Development – A Dilemma

The Dilemma

A dilemma is a problem offering two unrelated possibilities, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable. Time and or the perception of time strongly influencing the decision-making.

At my last posting I had put together some ladder loads for BLC(2), CFE223 and Varget powders for the 223 62gr Everglades FMJs. With the hot weather behind me I set in cranking out rounds until I was out of powder. No problem, I’ll just stop by the new Academy and pickup a pound of Varget which had produced my most accurate load to date. Except Academy did not have Varget, they didn’t have an empty bin location for Varget either.

The shop I previously bought powder and primers at is 20 miles away, along the route to where I worked up until two weeks ago; it was so convenient. I will still frequent the other shop, it’s a mom and pop; I like to support local businesses. Now I’m completely out of powder and have a long New Year’s weekend and the next closest mom and pop closed at 2:00PM.

Let the mental gymnastics begin.

Let’s see, what else is popular for 223 that I haven’t experimented with? Looking at the relative burn rates of powders over at HodgdonReloading I noted that Varget, BLC-(2) and CFE223 are at the relatively slower end of the spectrum of Hodgdon powders for 223. Varget has produced my best groups to date, it is the fastest relative burn rate of the three. So in my mind I’m thinking I want to experiment with a faster powder; knowing that burn rate is only part of the equation. Also I am collecting brass towards reloading 7.62×39 so I looked at the powders recommended for that cartridge (I’ve now created a trilemma – an actual word), the overlap is H322, H335, H4189 and H4895, all four are on the shelf. Now I’ve gotten myself into a mental quadrilemma – yes also a word.

The Choice

H4895 is the next faster powder than Varget, followed by H335. H322 and H4198 are faster still. Max charges of H4895 are compressed. After a few minutes muddling it over in my head I pickup the H335 and head to checkout. Justification? It is top third fastest for 223 and bottom half fastest for 7.62×39; if it won’t work well in 223, it just might be acceptable in 7.62×39; and I’m experimenting here, I’m hypothesizing that the faster powder will burn more completely before exiting the barrel, giving less turbulence around the departing projectile, resulting in better accuracy. We’ll see about all that.

Everglades 223 62gr Version 2 Load Development - A Dilemma 3The Plan

Back at home I started looking at load data in my paper manuals as well as Hodgdon and Hornady online recipes. There is so much variation in data from a low minimum charge of 19.3 grains to a scary looking 26.4 grains, also there are dramatic differences in cartridge overall length. I think I’ll move towards the middle charges if you don’t mind. Since I’m comparing load data for similar weight, but different bullets, I’ll approach maximum charges cautiously; at any signs of over pressure I will stop and tear down the cartridges to recover the powder and bullets.

Everglades 223 62gr Version 2 Load Development - A Dilemma 5

My previous ladder loads seemed to do well in the 2.24″ to 2.25″ COAL range (This is MY Wylde chambered barrel, 2.25″ may be too long for your barrel, develop your own loads for your barrel. You load ammunition at your own risk!), but with the bullets seated to the middle of the cannelure the COAL is 2.22″. I’m going to do two ladder loads, one at 2.22″ and one at 2.25″

Everglades 223 62gr Version 2 Load Development - A Dilemma 7

So…they are all loaded and sitting on the bench. Let’s see if the weather will hold up to shoot them Monday or Tuesday while I’m off work.


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