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Table 1 ‐ 223 Remington Twist Rates’ Applications Twist Rate


Optimal Bullet Weight / Type 1‐12”


35‐53gn all types All 55gn flat‐base and shorter boat‐tail models


Limitations / Comments


Standard SAAMI twist rate for the cartridge. Marginal for longer 55gn boat‐tail models. Some short (flat‐base) 60‐64gn bullets are designed for stability in 1‐12” rate. May not stabilise standard weight non‐lead (copper) sporting bullets due to their extra length.


1‐9”


55‐70gn all types except VLDs Shorter 73‐75gn HPBT Match designs


Unsuitable for very thin‐jacketed light bullets designed for the .22 Hornet and .222 Rem. Marginal for 70gn VLDs and longer 75s such as the Hornady A‐Max. Needed to stabilise some lighter (55gn) non‐ lead sporting bullets due to their extra length.


1‐8” 65‐80gn BTSP and HPBT Match


Marginal stability with some 80gn VLDs. Still suitable for heavily constructed 50‐55gn FMJs, match and sporting bullets but risks overstressing more fragile designs.


1‐7” 77‐90gn HPBT Match and VLDs


Let’s move onto the first few post sighting-in shots exiting Shortie’s muzzle. The 62gn Remy factory ammo quickly demonstrated the benefits to be obtained through handloading, albeit proving marvellously consistent with 1.25”, 1.35”, 1.35” and 1.35” five-round groups at a modest 2786 fps and not so modest 64 fps extreme spread.


So, it was time to try some handloads and see what the little beastie could do. Twenty odd leftover rounds from my Southern Gun Co. SSR-15’s .223 Rem days (it’s now 6.8 Rem SPC) that employed the old 73gn Berger BT Match over a mild load of H4895 produced half to one-inch five-shot groups for an average of 0.8 inches - better but not stellar.


It was then a case of starting handload


Suitable for most 68‐75gn match bullets, but risks overstressing lightly constructed models and any lighter bullet.


development from scratch, revisiting my loading records from a decade ago for the Remy 700 VS and lighter bullets. That rifle never performed well with the usually reliable 52gn Sierra Matchking but excelled with its 53gn Hornady A-Max rival, especially over Viht N133. With the same make and profile barrel, albeit six inches shorter and with a 25% faster rifling twist, it seemed possible the same preferences would apply – not a bit of it!


The SMK produced very creditable smallest groups of 0.35 in. and 0.4 in. while the best the A-Max could manage was 0.7 in., in a five group average of 1.05 inches over a charge weight range of 1.4 grains of Vihtavuori N133 (see Table 2).


Trying various sporting bullets over recommended


Table 2 ‐ 52gn Sierra MK and 53gn Hornady A‐Max Results with Viht N133 Pre‐Tuning Sierra MK


23.6gn 24.0gn 24.4gn 24.7gn 25.0gn


0.9” 0.4”


3,062 fps / 56 ES 3,128 fps / 22 ES


0.35” 3,186 fps / 46 ES 1.3”


3,214 fps / 70 ES 0.85” 3,249 fps / 32 ES


Hornady A‐Max 0.7” 1.2” 1.4”


3,067 fps / 19 ES 3,139 fps / 19 ES 3,192 fps / 31 ES


0.85” 3,230 fps / 24 ES 1.1”


3,268 fps / 40 ES Target Shooter


37


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