Developing a 223 Rem Varmint Load

This morning I continued with my developing a 223 Rem varmint load.  The load will be tested at the range tomorrow in the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint rifle that I am currently reviewing.

What with the festive season, visitors, local trips and a visit to Japan, this is the first chance I have had for hunting and shooting since early December.  A few readers were kind enough to enquire if I was still in the land of the living!  Yes, indeed, and all is well.

I began my load development, following my standard approach.  That is, I set the bullet seating die to position the 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip at 10 thou off the lands.  Keeping that depth constant, I then tested a range of propellant charges, starting at the recommended minimum and carefully working up towards maximum, always keeping a close watch for any signs of pressure.

I was particularly pleased with the results from the Weatherby Vanguard HSP as it demonstrated a fondness for the 55 grain Nosler BT.  Best accuracy was in the zone of 25 to 26 grains of AR2208 (Varget in the USA).

Handloading for Best Accuracy in a 223 Rem Varmint Rifle

This morning I set my balance for 25.5 grains and charged 30 cases with AR2208.  I then loaded a series of three-shot test lots, varying from 5 thou to 45 thou clear of the lands.  I did that in 10 thou steps.  Based on the first lot of testing, I am hopeful of finding a load that delivers about 0.5 MOA.  For an off-the-shelf factory rifle with a medium weight varmint barrel, that is excellent performance.

With a new rifle, this initial load testing is by necessity slow.  I treat loaner review rifles as I would one of my own.  That means breaking-in the barrel properly.  That starts off shooting one round then cleaning the bore thoroughly.  In the early sessions, I have at least reached the shoot three rounds then clean stage.  After the next, session I should be at the shoot ten rounds and clean point.

When the rifle is demonstrating good grouping, it is a bit frustrating to be spending so much time in just barrel cleaning.  However, breaking-in a barrel properly pays dividends in the life and accuracy of the rifle.  It is very much worth doing, no matter how enticing the results of the test shooting are.

While my main interest is in developing a 223 Rem varmint load for the Vanguard HSP, I will not be neglecting factory ammunition either.  I am expecting that some of the available factory loads will also be good performers, making a great combination for those folks who do not reload.

For the Latest News, Reviews and Stories

Signup for the Aussiehunter Newsletter

In order to keep my readers up to date with the top posts, gear reviews and news I’ve started the Aussiehunter Newsletter. No need to worry about spam and you can unsubscribe anytime. Its easy, just submit your email using the form below.

Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle Accuracy

Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle Accuracy Today I put in a big range session, testing a variety of handloads in the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint rifle in 223 Rem.  Once again, I was highly impressed with this rifle’s inherent accuracy.  It is the most accurate...

read more

Cartridge Case Head Separation

Cartridge Case Head Separation Cartridge Case Head Separation This is a problem that can arise with multiple reloadings.  I have been watching out for it with my 223 Rem cases.  I figured the normally robust little cases would develop this sooner or later because I...

read more

Trail Cameras and Wild Dog Monitoring

Trail Cameras and Wild Dog Monitoring A couple of days ago I did an early morning wild dog stand on my neighbour’s farm.  I spent an hour or so on the fence that runs along the ridge line.  The cattle came up the steep slope to visit me, hoping for a scratch or maybe...

read more

Trail Cameras for Hunting

Trail Cameras for Hunting Trail cameras are a wonderful asset for hunters.  Now you can see the game present in an area and what time it was near the camera.  That information is invaluable, but does not guarantee success. Yesterday afternoon, at about 17:45, my...

read more

Accuracy in the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle

Accuracy in the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle After my initial testing of the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle in 223 Rem I was pleased with its accuracy.  I decided it was time to take the rifle out for a field test, hoping to shoot some marauding wild...

read more

Seeking Wild Dogs

Seeking Wild Dogs Seeking Wild Dogs After doing a few chores, we were setting the patio table for late breakfast.  It was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning following the recent rain.  As always, the first things on the table were a pot of strong brewed coffee and my...

read more

Stake-out Stand for Wild Dogs

Stake-out Stand for Wild Dogs This morning I again rose at 5AM.  Today I did not waste any time with coffee but set off to my neighbour’s farm.  I turned the vehicle lights off before I turned and coasted through his gate and down the track, but not as far as I...

read more

Trail Camera MMS Alerts for Predator Hunting

Trail Camera MMS Alerts for Predator Hunting This morning I was up at about 5AM.  I had some breakfast and brewed a pot of coffee while waiting for first light, which is around 05:50 at the moment.  My last sip of coffee was interrupted by the chirp of my mobile...

read more

Using Trail Cameras for Predator Hunting

Using Trail Cameras for Predator Hunting This afternoon I resumed my pursuit of the wild dogs responsible for attacks on cattle and calves.  The monsoon trough has retreated to the north, after delivering eight inches of rain.  There are still a few showers about, but...

read more