Tikka 223 Reloading

wildcat33

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I've found a lot of information on here about 223 loads, and some specific to tikka, but I wanted to share my reloading data and experience for my Tikka 223. Hopefully others will post whats working for them as well.

Rifle: Tikka T3x Lite 1:8 twist
Rings: Sportsmatch T-084, torqued to spec w/loctite
Optic: Bushnell LRTS 3-12
Magazine: Mtn Tac (Max COAL 2.620")

Case: Lapua
Primer: CCI BR-4
Powder: CFE-223
Bullet: 75gr ELD-M

Max COAL (i.e. distance to lands, measured with hornady tool): 2.432"
Jump: ~0.010"
Loaded COAL: 2.422" (for reference, unknown munitions loads the 75 ELD-M to 2.420")

Hornady Book Max Load: 26.5gr CFE-223 w/75gr BTHP

I saw mixed load data for max loads with some manuals reporting 25gr for the 75gr class. I did consider the recent post by Form on load dev, however given the mixed input my research was providing I started my development back at 24gr to stay on the safe side:


24 grains:
10 shots, ~2" @ 100yrds
No velocity measured

24.5 grains:
10 shots, ~2" @ 100yrds
No velocity measured

25 grains:
10 shots, ~1.5" @ 100yrds
Vavg: 2769, SD 26
Had some wildly high velocity values with magnetospeed sporter, have had a sprinkling of abnormal values from this chrono. Not sure if I may have an issue.

Next range trip, repeated 25 grains:
10 shots, ~1.5" @ 100yrds
Vavg: 2809, SD 17
Notably higher V than previous session. I noted in previous thread a mention of an accuracy node around 2800. Im finding better accuracy around 2850 to 2900 however.

25.5 grains:
10 shots, ~1" @ 100yrds (cheating slightly on this one, 9 rnds in 1" with one that shit the bed)
Vavg: 2843, SD 17

26 grains:
3 shots, ~0.75" @ 100yrds
Vavg: 2910, SD 9
No signs of pressure, plan to load more and shoot a 10 rnd group



At this point it seems like my loads are converging at best accuracy around 25.5 to 26 grains. At 25.5gr and 2843 fps, the ballistics show ~1420 fps at 1000 yrds and 8.5 mils. I'm pretty happy with this as many folks have reported mixed results with both CFE-223 and ELD-Ms. Could I have done this development in less rounds? Probably, but its winter, I have time, and its fun to work through the process.
 

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Mulyhuntr

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Nice, just started development with my superlite and the 75 eld-m's. Best group so far .55" (3 shot) but most around an inch. Definite velocity node from 24.6 to 25 of Varget and 2800fps. Going to test seating depth next.

All that was with new win brass, but just found some lapua (scheels has it in stock) to work with.
 

Vern400

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Nice, just started development with my superlite and the 75 eld-m's. Best group so far .55" (3 shot) but most around an inch. Definite velocity node from 24.6 to 25 of Varget and 2800fps. Going to test seating depth next.

All that was with new win brass, but just found some lapua (scheels has it in stock) to work with.
Ditch 3 shot groups. They can prove you're BAD but can't prove you're good. I go til my barrel heats up and I "lose the group". Then I can back off one or 2 rounds and hold myself accountable for every shot.

And remember the first shot is the one that counts the most. You have good initial results. I've found bullet jump matters more than powder charge many times. I usually get that almost nailed first. Good luck.
 

Mulyhuntr

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Agree, I wasn't necessarily shooting for groups. I was trying to find a velocity node and decided to shoot 3rds each charge.

I've found tikka more sensitive to powder charge than seating depth.
 

Lawnboi

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B85B6B67-6412-43E2-AB7B-7CD001427712.jpeg I don’t have much in terms of pictures and can dig up some data but overall Iv loaded a number of bullets from 60-77 grains in my t3x lite.

I found the lands similar to yours, fairly short chamber. Of all the loads Iv made its shot an average of around 1.25”. Sometimes much better but overall it’s been a 1.25” gun over the last couple thousand rounds.

I havnt been able to really tune any low ES loads with the 223. Don’t know if it’s the chamber or brass I’m using, but just hasn’t happened. I’m happy with a 40 ES on that rifle.

Components Iv played with include Lapua and Hornady brass. Currently burning up 500 pieces of Hornady I have from factory ammo. Bullets include Hornady 75bthp, 73eldm and 75eldm, 77tmk and 60tmk. Honestly all the bullets shoot well out of the rifle.

Powder has been Varget or XBR. With the short throat I havnt been able to load enough Varget to get any crazy pressure.

Most of my heavier ammo hasn’t fit in the factory mags. 75 bthp fit fine but that was about it from my loading. Even the 60tmk load I have, .060 off jam won’t fit.

Iv run everything closer to the lands in an attempt to make more room in the cases for powder. With xbr it dosnt seem like as big of deal and I’ll likely play with some more jump eventually, that said it’s hard to leave a load that’s shooting a legitimate inch for 10 rounds over and over.

I can pretty much guess that you could put 24-24.5 grains of Varget in a case with a 75-77 grain bullet and it will shoot well. Same goes for 23.2-23.6 of xbr. With the lighter 60s I havnt played much but a case full of Varget has them moving 3000fps so I’m happy. As always if you’re going to take my advice please work up safely.

I chopped my rifle to 20” and run a suppressor full time. 75eldm turned on for me after the chop. They are a cheaper bullet and what I run in the summer. 24-24.2 grains of varget is getting me 2800 fps. 75 eldm poof prairie dogs pretty well and expand rapidly on predators. They have an awesome BC as well. I’m loading mine as long as possible, .010 off when I started, may be more now as I havnt re measured in the last thousand rounds. During work up I loaded so full of Varget I couldn’t seat a bullet consistently and had no pressure. Found the 75 eldm to be the fastest 75-77 Iv shot.

75bthp shot well for me, loaded .020 off the lands and gave them a go when I was learning to reload for the rifle. They shot well enough and are cheap. Fit fine in the factory mag for me even close to the lands.

77tmk got expensive, but they have always preformed. 23.5 of Xbr gets me 2800fps and is approaching pressure in my rifle. 24.2 of Varget got me 2750 and shot well also. I’m loading these .020 off jam and havnt played with them as initially I worked up Varget and wanted case capacity. I need to play with the seating depth on the Xbr load and see if it does any better considering how well mag length is shooting for so many.

I got the 60 tmk cheap, 18cents a pop and bought them for predators, prairie dogs and plinking. So far they are shooting awesome. Cant wait to take them to South Dakota in the spring and shoot. Decent BC for such a small bullet and long. Easier on the wallet vs the 77s, .38 cents a pop hurts, this ammo I can load for .35 cents a round including primer and powder. 25.5 of Varget got me a comfortable 3000 fps and 1” average.

Careful reading into too much on that first loading with Lapua. Those necks seem to grip the bullet strange fresh from the box. Iv gone to mandreling with wax then tumbling, imperial graphite dosnt stick to fresh annealed brass.

Iv got a proof tikka lite blank in the reloading room ready for a Wylde chamber when this barrel goes, if it ever goes. I’ll likely look at replacement around 5000 rounds, hopefully.

Also, if you don’t have a suppressor for your 223, get one. It’s stupid fun to shoot. The picture above was 400 yards with the 75eldm after the barrel chop. Witnessed 3 consecutive cold shots. I stopped shooting at the little plate after that.
 
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wildcat33

wildcat33

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I’d like to try some XBR but with powder the way it is I’m happy to have a load in 1” range with the affordable hornady bullets and CFE, which I have a good supply of.
 

Lawnboi

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I’d like to try some XBR but with powder the way it is I’m happy to have a load in 1” range with the affordable hornady bullets and CFE, which I have a good supply of.
Varget has been around, good news is a pound or 2 gets you quite a few bangs with the 223. It’s very temperature stable as well. On top of that, I think it shooting so well has to do somewhat with filling the case so well.

Xbr on the other hand has been fairy dust. In the last year I had an opportunity to buy two pounds total off brownells. That’s it. Luckily I bought an 8lber before the big run hit. But it’s out there.

Also keep an eye out for bullets. Scheels had a killer sale a while ago, 75bthp for 14 bucks a box, 75eldm for 18$ a box. Mid south had a few deals on 75bthp recently.

Let us know how cfe223 does in temp swings, Iv heard it is a little temperature sensitive. Another fairly available and sought after 223 powder is ram shot tac, that said it’s also supposed to be a little temp sensitive.
 

FLS

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I’m also working on a 75 ELDM load for a Tikka 223 CTR. So far the results have been underwhelming. Best have been hovering around an inch with H4895. Good speed but only average accuracy. Similar results with 8208 and Varget.
Best results have been with Sierra 77 SMK and TMKs over 8208 and TAC. I’ve got plenty of both, so I may sideline the ELDMs
I shot the SMK out to 500 Saturday prepping for an upcoming local match. 10/10 on a 6 “ plate.
24.5 grains of TAC in LC brass lit by a BR 4 loaded to 2.26 gets me 2846 out of the CTR.
23.5 of 8208 gets me 2810 with the Sierras. 7CD70FE3-5D2A-4555-A403-A475A39FA10D.jpeg
 
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ericwh

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I have a 20" ctr. I am using N135 and found some decent results with the 75 eld-m:

I find it interesting that the "minimum twist" on the Hornady website, for the 75 eld-m, is blank. However the box I got says 1:7...

I prefer the 80gr smk and, maybe, the 77gr RDF.

I would probably prefer the 77gr TMK as a tipped option but I don't like the price. Perhaps it would be worth it.
 

amassi

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77tmk
Lapua brass
Fed 205m
23.7 varget at 2.260 coal
2730 fps out of 22" tikka barrel

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wind gypsy

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My t3x lite 223 8 twist has not been particularly fond of the 75 ELDs and tends to do better with TMKs.
 
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wildcat33

wildcat33

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I was getting a little worried my gun wasnt fond of the ELDs either. At low speeds the groups were not exciting, but they seem to be tightening up around the 2900 fps mark. I plan to get out and confirm with another 10-20 round. If I can keep some consistent groups around an inch, that'll be plenty good for my purposes.
 

wind gypsy

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I was getting a little worried my gun wasnt fond of the ELDs either. At low speeds the groups were not exciting, but they seem to be tightening up around the 2900 fps mark. I plan to get out and confirm with another 10-20 round. If I can keep some consistent groups around an inch, that'll be plenty good for my purposes.

Good info, mine seems somewhat of the opposite. Shot better mid/high 2700s and opened up mid 2800s - 2900. Maybe it needed to be pushed just a little more. I've got a handful of 75 boxes so i might need to experiment again.
 

Juan_ID

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I will have to see if I can duplicate this again but shot this group today with a factory t3x chopped to 20 inches. 23.3gr of xbr cci 450 midway “73 grain tipped match” seconds and a coal of 2.26” loaded in pmc brass of various firings. Going to shoot a few loads in the lapua brass and see if I can get close to this again. Shot this 10 round group also with some tmk’s loaded to the same coal and 22.9gr of h4895 and cci 450s in new lapua brass. I know one of the flyers was on me.
13C55E9C-33AD-4684-85E3-466E50F124B2.jpeg 0DAE5A1E-96A6-4D33-9082-C6B1536474ED.jpeg
 
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Lawnboi

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I will have to see if I can duplicate this again but shot this group today with a factory t3x chopped to 20 inches. 23.3gr of xbr cci 450 midway “73 grain tipped match” seconds and a coal of 2.26” loaded in pmc brass of various firings. Going to shoot a few loads in the lapua brass and see if I can get close to this again. Shot this 10 round group also with some tmk’s loaded to the same coal and 22.9gr of h4895 and cci 450s in new lapua brass. I know one of the flyers was on me. View attachment 386023 View attachment 386028
Factory Hornady match with the 73s shot really well for me. If memory serves they were going a little over 2800.
 

Juan_ID

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Factory Hornady match with the 73s shot really well for me. If memory serves they were going a little over 2800.
For .21 a piece on the seconds I kinda wish I’d have bought more than I did. Will have to keep my eyes open for a good sale on smk’s
 

Lawnboi

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For .21 a piece on the seconds I kinda wish I’d have bought more than I did. Will have to keep my eyes open for a good sale on smk’s
They are definitely more affordable than anything Sierra puts out. 75s are my summer bullet. They can still be had around 25 cents a piece yet. They work well on varmints too.

By the time 77 tmk come back they are going to be 40 cents a piece.
 

SouthPaw

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They are definitely more affordable than anything Sierra puts out. 75s are my summer bullet. They can still be had around 25 cents a piece yet. They work well on varmints too.

By the time 77 tmk come back they are going to be 40 cents a piece.
Do you have load data for the 75s with varget or xbr? I just got a 223 CTR and have a bunch of the 75s to start.

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Lawnboi

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Do you have load data for the 75s with varget or xbr? I just got a 223 CTR and have a bunch of the 75s to start.

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Yea. Varget only, might try Xbr this summer with them depending on what I find more of in the next year.

-75 eldm, Hornady brass, CCI 450s
-.010 off @1000 rounds down (probably way different now)
-Coal was around 2.4”, I don’t have exact in front of me
-24 grains of Varget gave me 2780 out of a 20” suppressed factory barrel, was going over 2800 at 22.5” before the chop.
-Slight crunch on some at 24, may try 24.2 like I did with 77s after my barrel chop.
- I could not physically fit enough Varget in the case to cause pressure, I was so compressed when I stopped I was causing rings on the bullets from the stem, and coal was all over.

Groups over the 300 rounds I shot hovered around 1.2”, not talking 3 or 5 shot but aggregate from what I saw over all 300 I shot last year.
 

FLS

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I kept working with the 75 ELDMs and found the sweet spot for my CTR was,
25 grains of Varget in Lapua brass lit by a BR4 loaded long. .010 off the lands. I had to modify my accurate mags so they would fit. The dot in the photo is 3/4”.
 

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