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Reply with quote  #1 
I bought a 223AI Savage a couple of months ago and loaded up some 69gr SMKs to use for fireforming. With 26gr of Varget I got consistent .5 inch groups so for a factory barrel I am pretty happy with it so far.

Now that I have some fireformed brass I am ready to start some AI load development with the SMKs and 70gr Berger VLDs. I emailed Berger and Walt Berger was kind enough to email me some some data for the 70s for the parent 223 using Quickload.

The Sierra manual states a max load for the 223 and 69gr SMKs with Varget as 26.4gr so I plan on starting at 26.2 and going up in .2gr increments until I get pressure signs and come down a bit. Now for the problem. The Quickload data that Walt sent me has the 70gr VLDs and Varget as a max load of 24.8gr. For bullets that are only one grain different and pretty close in bearing surface length that is a fairly large spread. Both the Sierra manual and the info from Berger list a OAL of 2.260.

Does anyone have any experience with the 70gr VLD in a 223AI?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Reply with quote  #2 
I've been shooting a .223 AI for the last several years as a XTC gun. You did not say what bbl twist you had?
The biggest advantage to them is being able to shoot the heavier bullets a higher velocities.
Be aware that Quickload is only a guide, your particular rifle, especially a bolt rifle, may be able to handle heavier loads, also results from quickload are very dependent upon imputed seating depth, so watch your seating depth when loading. I have had my best results seating out engaging the lands, loading single shot. You will be best off working up loads for your own rifle, preferably on a warm day.
One of my .223AI's was a 1:9 twist, it shot 75 Amax's very well, as well as 75 Berger's, just would not handle 80's.
Both Varget and RE-15 worked very well, I'm reluctant to publish detailed loads for many reasons.
Reply with quote  #3 
Sorry, it's a 1-9" twist. With a growing family and work obligations being what they are I don't get to shoot as much as I used to so I'm just trying to get the most out of my shooting time as possible. I'm hoping for 100-150fps more than that from a basic 223 but am not expecting magnum velocities. Just wondering if anyone had any experience with these components and could get me in the ballpark. Thanks

Reply with quote  #4 
I shoot several standard 223 and three 223 AI's.

From Hodgdon's website, standard 223 loads:

69 GR. SIE HPBT Hodgdon Varget .224" 2.235" 24.0 2784 39,200 CUP 26.0C 3010 50,200 CUP

69 GR. SIE HPBT Hodgdon H4895 .224" 2.235" 24.0 2870 41,100 CUP 26.0C 3069 49,700 CUP

69 GR. SIE HPBT Hodgdon Benchmark .224" 2.235" 21.5 2770 39,700 CUP 23.5 2970 49,700 CUP

75 GR. JLK VLD Hodgdon H4895 .224" 2.250" 22.5 2696 39,900 CUP 24.5 2905 50,000 CUP

75 GR. JLK VLD Hodgdon Benchmark .224" 2.250" 21.5 2610 41,900 CUP 23.5 2829 49,400 CUP

My 223 AI's provide 3300 fps with 69 gr HPBT Nosler or Sierra (with a little room to spare in the pressure & cartridge capacity departments) and 3150 fps with 75 gr AMax's.

Believe you will be getting more than 3150 with 69 gr bullets.

I use CCI450 primers, Win, Rem, or RORG (Royal Ordinance Radway Green milsurp brass).

I would highly recommend using H4895 or Benchmark. Benchmark meters a little better, but H4895 delivers the goods rather well. up your own loads bud.

Samples from a 1:9 twist 26" barrel.

5         3311.1                 26.2         h4895         55 gr vmax
6         3363.4                 26.4         h4895         55 gr vmax
7         3392.3                 26.6         h4895         55 gr vmax
8         3399.6                 26.8         h4895         55 gr vmax
9         3437.7                 27         h4895         55 gr vmax
10         3423                 27.2         h4895         55 gr vmax
11         3463.5                 27.4         h4895         55 gr vmax
12         3468.9                 27.6         h4895         55 gr vmax
13         3496.4                 27.8         h4895         55 gr vmax
14         3520.9                 28         h4895         55 gr vmax

SHOT         VELOCITY                 h4895         69 Nos
1         3115.2                 25        
2         3014.2                 25.2        
3         3011.7                 25.4        
4         3039                 25.6        
5         3076.2                 25.8        
6         3117                 26        
7         3126.7                 26.2        
8         3152.5                 26.4        
9         3169.7                 26.6        
10         3194.4                 26.8        
11         3247.9                 27        
12         3254.6                 27.2        
13         3279.7                 27.4        
14         3295.3                 27.6        
15         3346.1                 27.8        

STRING 04                                
SHOT         VELOCITY                 h4895         75 amax
1         2948.3                 24.6        
2         2948.3                 24.8        
3         3015.8                 25        
4         3008.4                 25.2        
5         3061.7                 25.4        
6         3073.7                 25.6        
7         3079.6                 25.8        
8         3109.1                 26        
9         3167.9                 26.2        
10         3155.4                 26.4        

Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for the reply acloco. I'll definitely give H4895 a try.

Reply with quote  #6 
Thought I'd give an update on the situation. After trying the Bergers I found that the gun just does not like them. Varying seating depth affected group size more than the powder charge did and I could not get anything to group under an inch. Oh well, I guess I finally found one of my guns that don't like

I took acloco's advice and tried some 69gr SMKs over H4895 and things tightened up nicely. I went up to 27.2gr with no pressure problems and nice half inch groups. At 27.5gr the primers were starting to crater a little and the groups got a little larger so I'm settling on 27.5gr. For a factory Savage barrel I'm pretty happy with it.

Thanks for the help.

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