Jump to content
MartyZ

Need advice with CFE223

Recommended Posts

So I bought a bunch of CFE223 to load with 55gr FMJBT w/c pills, ran 5 sets of loads ranging from 25gr to 27.4gr, and ran them through my SPR. All loads grouped nicely, and all cycled the gun, but not a single one locked the bolt back on empty mag.

Now, before anyone says to check the gun, I did, and my other reloads, 68gr with 8208 run perfectly, and lock the bolt back. Also, the timing indicates low power as it ejects to about 5 o'clock.

I know the logical next step is to keep going up in in powder weight, no brainer there. But here is the issue, at 27.4gr, I am just about at the max on both Hornady's and Hodgdons' reloading specs. So my question is, how high have others went safely? At what point would I be playing with fire, 28gr, 29gr, etc...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MartyZ said:

So I bought a bunch of CFE223 to load with 55gr FMJBT w/c pills, ran 5 sets of loads ranging from 25gr to 27.4gr, and ran them through my SPR. All loads grouped nicely, and all cycled the gun, but not a single one locked the bolt back on empty mag.

Now, before anyone says to check the gun, I did, and my other reloads, 68gr with 8208 run perfectly, and lock the bolt back. Also, the timing indicates low power as it ejects to about 5 o'clock.

I know the logical next step is to keep going up in in powder weight, no brainer there. But here is the issue, at 27.4gr, I am just about at the max on both Hornady's and Hodgdons' reloading specs. So my question is, how high have others went safely? At what point would I be playing with fire, 28gr, 29gr, etc...?

What velocity are the round showing? 

How do the spent primers look?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I sold my chrony last year, so no velocity numbers. Primers show no sign of over pressure. Standard rifle buffer and rifle length gas system, non adjustable.

Just as an fyi, it spits out factory pmc bronze 55gr all day with no issues, so I don't think it's the bullet weight.

The funny thing is that it cycle with no issues. It just needs that extra mm or 2 to lock back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MartyZ,

The 55gr PMC is advertised as 3200fps and it looks like your load should be right about there also.  So, maybe you're down to a question of bullet length and seating depth.  I'm not sure what length bullets are in the PMC rounds or what their COL is, but maybe you're running a lower pressure if your 55gr FMJBT w/c is a shorter bullet loaded to the same COL and leaving you with more empty space inside the case?  Too bad you don't have chrony data.  That would surely help sort things out.  If you're oh so close to a load that would lock the bolt back, maybe your reloads would work after sitting in the sun on one of those 90+ degree days and not so much on cooler days.

-Longranger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, JackDaWack said:

I would think something else is off, honestly. Anything from 25 to 27grains should fully cycle the action.

The action cycles just fine at all loads, just doesn't lock back on empty. I tried my 68gr reloads at the same time and the bcg locked back with those. And interestingly, those have a velocity of 2900fps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, MartyZ said:

The action cycles just fine at all loads, just doesn't lock back on empty. I tried my 68gr reloads at the same time and the bcg locked back with those. And interestingly, those have a velocity of 2900fps

Kind of an apples to oranges as it's a heavier bullet.  

Also, comparing velocity is apples to oranges as some powders produce more pressure than others.  

I've not loaded CFE223 for precision so I can't help you there.  

I have safely gone beyond book loads in the past with Varget and 80's(single shot bolt gun).  Just monitor for pressure.  Go slowly.  I would tell you to go up in .2 increments if you decide to go there.  Load single shot.  If you get your bolt lock, check the primers and if you're not piercing or have heavy flattening you should be ok.  Load another 10 up and check.  

Remember go slowly and proceed  with caution if you decide to go that route.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd trim the cases down to 1.750" and seat the bullets so that the COL is 2.200". At least then you'll be consistent with the Hornady load data as a starting point.  Beyond that, any chance your gas system is a little gumpered up or leaky?  Maybe you're operating close to the lower limit of the pressure needed to produce a full stroke cycle. Just for reference, how close to the 1.750" case length are you now?

-Longranger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a chrono... for reals.  You really don't know the velocity.

Where is the brass ejecting? i.e. what position?

Adjustable gas block?

Have not tried CFE223 but IMR 8208 generally gives good solid velocities and temperature stable.  Same for H4895.

If you want to borrow my chrono, come... 

Otherwise who knows.  Having good baseline facts would help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MartyZ said:

I stated originally that it ejects at around 5 oclock, so it's under powered. Why would I want an adjustable gas block when other ammo works? I am tayloring the ammo to the gun, not the gun to the ammo.

Ah. Missed the 5 o clock.

And was not suggesting you need it, was asking if you do.  Quite possible the adjustable gas block was working itself loose and recently saw that with one gun here.

Borrow a chrono and see what it is shooting at...   

To answer your questions specifically...

Quote

 But here is the issue, at 27.4gr, I am just about at the max on both Hornady's and Hodgdons' reloading specs. So my question is, how high have others went safely? At what point would I be playing with fire, 28gr, 29gr, etc...?

Well, you really need a chrono AND you need to look at the brass for signs... primer cratering? ejector marks?

Also... the brass will vary quite a bit.... so are you using 5.56 military brass?  223 once fired? Or a mix?

Internal case volume will vary and that will have a measurable impact.  

Of course, you didn't state what your major goal was... is it absolute accuracy?  Is it getting it to shoot as soft as possible with acceptable accuracy?

Is 55 grains going to be your primary bullet?  Distance, etc.

Once again if you need to borrow a chrono, let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, MartyZ said:

This plinking ammo only. I need to test it with my carbine and mid-length rifles also.

Ok. So in that case if you just want it to run and lock back likely need a bit more powder.  

Pictures of the brass and are you going to go through the trouble of sorting brass by head stamp or weight in future? 

Testing out some 223 loads with mixed brass I recently saw swings of about 150 fps based on brass. 

Also with 8208 at least my own results out of a 16" were significantly slower than the books. 

But ultimately it comes down to your gun and what your brass is telling you. It will quickly tell you when you are at or approaching limits. 

I have not used cfe223 so not familiar with its properties but also keep in mind that based on where we are at and the current season.... I.e sea level and humid... Things will be different. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used CFE223 with great success with 69 and 75 grain bullets but IIRC it would never hold the bold open with the 55's just like you're seeing. I do have an adjustable gas block and turning up the gas would fix the issue but I had to remember to turn it back down to use other ammo which isn't ideal.

 

I think the CFE223 is simply a hair too slow for this application and consequently the port pressure is a hair too low. Maybe you'll get lucky with your loading adjustments (or maybe you'll end up with cartridges that won't feed) but you may just have to get a faster powder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Shocker said:

I've used CFE223 with great success with 69 and 75 grain bullets but IIRC it would never hold the bold open with the 55's just like you're seeing. I do have an adjustable gas block and turning up the gas would fix the issue but I had to remember to turn it back down to use other ammo which isn't ideal.

 

I think the CFE223 is simply a hair too slow for this application and consequently the port pressure is a hair too low. Maybe you'll get lucky with your loading adjustments (or maybe you'll end up with cartridges that won't feed) but you may just have to get a faster powder.

That's not encouraging news. The only reason I got this powder was because of how well it meters to crank out large numbers of plinking ammo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm liked it in my 55gr FMJBT. But I was also shooting bolt so I wouldn't have the same problem. Was finding 25.5 gr of CFE 223 was pretty solid grouping. I think ideal will be slightly higher like 25.7. Loaded up three different grains of match ammo. Excited to test those, though if I'm not shooting really far out, I doubt I'll need anything about the 52gr Matchking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, MartyZ said:

That's not encouraging news. The only reason I got this powder was because of how well it meters to crank out large numbers of plinking ammo.

I’m not sure how much you bought but that sucks.. if you want a good metering powder for 55gr pills give H335 a try. I have had good success with it and it meters like water. I load these rounds on my progressive press, no issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought 4 pounds for now, Ixm hoping to use it for my .308 plinking ammo also.

Anyway, I took the OAL down to 2.210. Couldn't take it down any further because the canalure already disappeared. I will try them out again this weekend. Hopefully bringing it down from 2.235 to 2.210 will do the trick. I will also test with my carbine and mid-length rifles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting.  SAAMI spec on case OAL is 1.730"-1.760".  So, there's still a little room to go lower if needed.  I'm curious to hear the post-weekend report.  Is your SPR chambered for .223 Rem, 5.56, or .223 Wylde?  Just thinking about any differences in chamber volume (albeit small) that might be in play here as well.

-Longranger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, just got back from the range, and here is the story.

With OAL at 2.210, I still did not get lock back with my SPR, however, it did lock back ONCE, and ONLY ONCE, at 26.2gr, so it's right there.

Now the SPR is a 20" rifle length barrel with a rifle buffer tube.

I also tested all loads in my other 2 ARs, and in both I got lock back consistently with ALL LOADS. My other 2 ARs are:

16" Mid-length with carbine buffer tube

and

16" Carbine length piston  with carbine buffer tube

So I guess my only choices are keep my 68gr with 8208 loads for my SPR and load the 55gr with CFE223 for my other 2 ARs.

Or

Swap out the buffer or buffer spring, not sure which one, on my SPR.

Suggestions???

By the way, I also made up some .308 loads for my AR10 with CFE223 and Hornady 150gr spire points (got 900 free last year with my press purchase), and got some real nice loads at 47.6gr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it sounds like you need to decide if you want to lighten the rifle buffer weight a little and have a bit more recoil on all your other loads just to have consistent locking with the 55gr at the lower charge or run the 55gr above the recommended max charge or just save the 55gr ammo for the carbines. Your call. I'd use the 55gr ammo in the carbines. 

-Longranger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...



×
×
  • Create New...