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Thread: AR15 with Lee C225-55-RF mold - terrible groupings

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    AR15 with Lee C225-55-RF mold - terrible groupings

    First time casting for my AR15 (Windham Weaponry AR15 5.56 1 in 9 twist) using a Lee C225-55-RF mold and bullets gas checked and sized to .225".
    I do cast for several handgun calibers.

    I did some load testing shooting five shots each with Win 748 powder at 22.0 grn. to 25.0 grns. at .5 grain intervals, and using a chronograph, rifle scope and bench rest.

    I checked zero at 75 yards with my standard FMJ reloads (25.8 grn. Win748 @ 2.250" COAL) and then started my lead cast load testing.

    The groupings were all over the place with some not hitting the paper target (8-1/2" x 11").
    I might get two, maybe three on paper but that was it and the grouping was around 10 inches or so.

    After shooting the 23.5 grain loads and still having bad groupings I checked the scope mounting and it was tight so I checked zero again with my standard loads and it was right on.

    I went all the way to 25.0 grains with the same terrible groupings and not all hitting the paper. Re-checked zero again - OK.

    Velocity at 22.0 grains = 2224 fps avg. and at 25.0 grains = 2655 fps avg.
    No leading at all.

    I'm puzzled!
    The cast bullets are tumble lubed with Lee Liq. Alox.
    Should I wipe any lube off of the seated bullets in case that is causing problems?
    The bullet has a flat point compared to pointed on my FMJ reloads.

    Anyone have success with the C225-55-RF cast bullet?

    Tips, advice, suggestions???

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Jupiter7's Avatar
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    Too fast. I'd also disassemble the BCG and check for lube buildup and/or lead. I've had best luck around 1800-1900 with .223.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    "I did some load testing shooting five shots each with Win 748 powder at 22.0 grn. to 25.0 grns. at .5 grain intervals, and using a chronograph, rifle scope and bench rest."

    Looks like you used the data right out of the Hodgdon manual for the 55 Grain Bar TSX bullet. You probably would be better off to work with the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook data for cast bullets.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Boolit_Head's Avatar
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    Not sure but the liquid Alox might not provide enough lube at that speed. Try a handful of conventionally lubed or better yet powder coated boolits to compare the results.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    You didn't say what alloy but I would bet you need a higher BHN to get groups to settle down. I am running a powder coated flat base n my 6.8 @ 2000fps with decent 3" 5 shot 100yd groups.
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  6. #6
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    runfiverun's Avatar
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    yep alloy will play an important role in the 223's success.
    I use a 4/6/90 alloy and weight sort [into .1 weight groups] and toss the outliers.
    that's after visually culling anything that isn't near perfect.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  7. #7
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    bruce drake's Avatar
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    Too fast for that bullet. throttle it back to 1900fps max. You may find your best accuracy is even slower but getting the load to a more respectable 1900fps will allow you to a better starting point. Even gas-checked, that bullet is probably having all it can to be stable at that speed.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Slow down a little see if things improve.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by robg View Post
    Slow down a little see if things improve.
    WAY too fast for that bullet. As was mentioned, get under 2000fps. Don't change anything else and see what happens. Changing more than one variable at a time will just leave you guessing and frustrated. Clearly you are too fast so slow down first. If that doesn't help then start changing other things like alloy. You are at least at COWW hardness right?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I don't agree with slowing down. I took mine to 2500 fps just to get it to cycle, but they are powder coated WW and sized to .227. Try some unsized first. Don't know if you are crimping or not, but my experience is they must be crimped for feeding. Otherwise there will be stoppages. Mine is also a 1:9"
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for the replies and advice.

    The speed issue makes sense.
    I am going to redo my testing and load some lighter loads in order to get the speed down to 1800-2000 fps and see how that works.
    I am going to shoot some 15.0 grains to 21.0 grain loads of Win748 in one grain increments to see which load brings me in that range.

    I am using an air cooled alloy that gives me a BHN of 20.0 for my boolits.

    I'll report back with my results in a day or so.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by upnorthwis View Post
    I don't agree with slowing down. I took mine to 2500 fps just to get it to cycle, but they are powder coated WW and sized to .227. Try some unsized first. Don't know if you are crimping or not, but my experience is they must be crimped for feeding. Otherwise there will be stoppages. Mine is also a 1:9"
    Are you using the Lee C225-55-RF mold for your boolits?
    If you don't mind, what is your load data that you use?

    As mentioned, I am sizing to .225" but also use the sizer to install the gas checks so I can't see how I could skip that step and shoot unsized.
    I do apply a crimp but not too heavy. Mainly to remove the "belling" from the M dye after seating the boolit.

  13. #13
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Does your boolit look like the one in the top photo? which is Lee's copy of the RCBS design,
    Or like Midsouth's 22 bator(bottom photo), which is seemingly advertised as a C225-55-RF, but it looks way different and they are usually closer to 50gr than 55gr. Anyway, the Short Bator is less likely to stabilize in a fast twist AR barrel...and do better in a 1:12 or 1:14 twist of a 22 hornet or 222rem bolt gun.

    Lee's standard C225-55-RF

    ==============

    22 Bator

    http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...old-C225-55-RF

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce drake View Post
    Too fast for that bullet. throttle it back to 1900fps max. You may find your best accuracy is even slower but getting the load to a more respectable 1900fps will allow you to a better starting point. Even gas-checked, that bullet is probably having all it can to be stable at that speed.
    Ditto!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Cast for the first time with my lee 55g mold yesterday,great mold boolits fell out with no effort .can't get a push through sizer yet so I'm going to use my press to push them on hopefuly .I'll use pistol powder for 22mag speeds

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Rizzo
    I'm using the RCBS mold. Per JonB in Glencoe it was copied by Lee. Am using 21.6 gr. AA2520. I only push them in the sizer deep enough to put the gas checks on. I should not have said "sized to .227" because that's the size they are after PC and I don't actually size them, only put GC on. I kept going up in powder until I had reliable cycling and it turned out to be 2500fps. I shoot them in 3-gun out to 100 yds then switch to jacketed for longer distances. From my memory, I'm shooting about 2-1/2" groups at 100 yds. Plenty accurate for the usual cardboard silhouette. It actually works with unsized and lubed boolits too, but at one match we had to shoot thru a long culvert and there was so much smoke from lube, I couldn't see the targets very well. That's the reason I PC them.
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizzo View Post
    Thank you all for the replies and advice.

    The speed issue makes sense.
    I am going to redo my testing and load some lighter loads in order to get the speed down to 1800-2000 fps and see how that works.
    I am going to shoot some 15.0 grains to 21.0 grain loads of Win748 in one grain increments to see which load brings me in that range.

    I am using an air cooled alloy that gives me a BHN of 20.0 for my boolits.

    I'll report back with my results in a day or so.
    UPDATE:

    Had to have hand surgery so my testing was delayed.
    I reduced my powder loads in order to reduce the speed and found the groupings getting smaller, but still terrible.
    My best 5 shot group was 1-1/2 inches at 75 yards (with one flyer) but it would not cycle. I had cycling issues at 16.0 and 17.0 grains as well. Groups were 5-6 inches in other tests.

    At this point I do not know what to do.
    Perhaps jack up the BHN from 20 to 30 and retest?
    Different powder?, but I do not see why that would help.
    I do cull out any cast bullets that do not look good.

    <sigh> Shooting Lead Cast bullets for rifles is more challenging than I thought it would be.
    Suggestions?
    Thanks

  18. #18
    Boolit Master spfd1903's Avatar
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    I have shot the Bator in my Howa bolt rifle and my bil's Savage bolt rifle. They are both 1:12 twist. Use a 50/50 lead and lino alloy sized to .224. With the gas check and two coats of Alox they weigh about 52 grains. I just got a chronograph, so the velocity has been unknown. Using Accurate 5744, they do a 1 inch + group from the Howa

    at 100 yards and less from the Savage. The powder may not be of any help with your AR.
    "Semper quaerendo plumbum"

  19. #19
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizzo View Post
    SNIP...

    Different powder?, but I do not see why that would help.
    interesting timing, I haven't loaded cast for the AR yet, but last night got my Die setup together for the 4 hole turret (I needed to hone out a Bonanza BR seat die for .226 boolits) and did some case prep...
    ANYWAY,
    I am loading some HM˛ 225-62-1 (kinda similar to the Lee).
    Many others have posted success with H4895 powder, so that is my plan, I have assembling some from, 17gr to 21gr. I do believe the powder can make the difference.

  20. #20
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    cut the bhn and weight sort.
    you can get that boolit up over 2700 fps but you can't slop it.
    pay attention to the target..
    everything matters.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check