With a new rifle to test and review, a Weatherby Vanguard varminter in 223 Remington, today I loaded some pet loads for its first session at the range. It has been a fair while since I loaded and fired any 223 Rem varmint rounds, but luckily, I have a variety of projectiles I kept for a rainy day.
First up I full length resized and tumbled thirty fired cases. After a couple of hours of tumble cleaning I primed them and loaded my Lyman electronic scales with AR2208 (that’s Varget in the USA). I also set up my faithful old RCBS balance scales to use as cross check on the Lyman (being paranoid does not mean they are not out to get ya!).
I had plenty of projectiles to choose from in .224 but figured I should stick with the varminter theme, so I loaded the following rounds. These are based on proven loads in rifles from years ago. I reduced the propellant charge by about 1 grain to be on the safe side with a new and untried rifle.
36 grain Barnes Grenade over 28.0 grains of AR2208 (Varget)
40 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 27.5 grains of AR2208 (Varget)
50 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 27.0 grains of AR2208 (Varget)
52 grain Hornady HPBT over 26.5 grains of AR2208 (Varget)
55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 26.0 grains of AR2208 (Varget)
62 grain Swift Sirocco II over 24.0 grains of AR2208 (Varget)
The first thing I had to do was make a drop tube. I did that from a couple of robust drinking straws taped together. Loads of 26 grains AR2208 and above pretty much fill the shell (I am using Nosler brass). Dropping the charge down through two straws results in a bit better packing of the charge, allowing the projectile to be seated without undue compression of the propellant.
So, okay, the Sirocco is not really a varmint projectile. However, I have been impressed with its accuracy in my testing so far. While I would happily use it on small deer (and will be doing just that in the next few weeks) it should also be a great choice for big varmints like wild dogs, pigs and goats.
Tomorrow I will strip the Weatherby Vanguard down and photograph it. Then I will torque and Loctite the action and scope mount screws. Next Wednesday is range day, more about this rifle and loads after that.