222 Bench Rest Loads

Discussion in 'Handloads for all Sako models' started by robert44, Aug 25, 2013.

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  1. robert44

    robert44 Member

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    I am wondering what bullet weights and twist rates where used back in the day when the 222 ruled for bench rest shooting. I seem to remember most shooters using the 52 grain HP flat base bullet in the 222. M995 mentioned the use of 45 grain pills. I wonder if BR shooters started out using 45 grain bullets in 14 inch twist barrels and then switched to the 52 grain bullet in 12 inch twist barrels???


    I know that each gun is different, but what are some good proven bullets to use for BR shooting in a 14 inch twist barrel? My local reloading shop has a good selection of .224 bullets but is very short on powder. I scored 3 cans of IMR 4198 so I will be using that for now. I would appreciate any info regarding loads and twist rates used when the 222 ruled BR shooting. Thanks!
     

  2. cmjr

    cmjr Well-Known Member

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    My load is 21.8grs of H4198 and a 40gr Berger flatbase, this is a stout load in my rifle so I would back off of it a little.
     
  3. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Even though there are many members here that are very knowledgeable about reloading , this forum is more tuned to the Sako rifle & acquiring/collecting them. A much better approach would be to review forums like Small Caliber Club, Saubier, & 6BR. You can search their archives & get a VAST amount of information about reloading the 222 Rem. The members there will share detailed info on all the aspects of fine tuning a reload for your rifle. Everything from what powders are best suited, to case preparation, to bullet seating depth, & so on & so on. Not trying to deter you from using this site, it's just that it would be more advantageous for you to explore these sites with regard to reloading questions. Whatever works in someone else's rifle is irrelevant to yours. You will have a lot of fun researching these things & self-educating yourself, as no one can answer your questions definitively. It's all about the experiment. Have fun!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  4. robert44

    robert44 Member

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    Thanks guys for the input!
     
  5. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary SCC Board Member

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    Robert,

    When the .222 was the king of benchrest calibers the most "revered" load was typically a 52 grain hollow point benchrest bullet (various makers including Sierra and custom bullets) propelled by a stiff charge of Hodgdon's BL-C(1) powder. Old benchresters hoarded that powder for years, since the supply ran out very soon after it became popular. Hodgdon replaced it with BL-C2, but the benchrest community, being the only sporting group perhaps more superstitious than baseball players, never thought that "2" would do what "1" would. Incidentally, benchresters "back then" used almost exclusively 1-14" barrels in their .222's, but when they experimented they usually tried going with an even slower twist on the theory that the slowest twist which would still stabilize the bullet put the least stress on the bullet and therefore would be the most accurate. Fashions come and go, and nowadays everybody seems to want an ever-faster twist.

    In my experience in varminting and informal target shooting (not serious bench shooting), it is almost impossible to find a "bad" load for the .222. It does well with a number of powders and bullets, but it is hard to beat the classic 50 grainer for all-around accuracy and usefulness. Over the years I've shot H-4895, H-335, WC-844 (milspec H-335), H-4198, AA2200, and maybe one or two others in my Sako .222's and all perform similarly with the right charge. The only complaint I have on IMR-4198 is that the kernals are rather long, so it doesn't flow too smoothly through a powder measure.

    A little secret that few people seem aware of: The .222's SAAMI standard pressure maximum is about 8,000 CUP lower than the .223. The only reason for this historical in that the .222 was originally a sporting cartridge which was used in several action types, while the .223 was a military cartridge and the additional pressure was needed to achieve an arbitrary velocity threshold. The cartridge heads and bodies are identical and in similar rifles can be loaded to the same pressures. Although I certainly don't advise normally exceeding published maximums, in your Sako the .222 can very safely be loaded to virtually the same velocities as the .223; or put another way, the .222 will launch a bullet of about 5 grains less than the .223 at about the same velocity. I've found that loads in the .222 which push the pressures from the 45,000 CUP range up to the 50,000 CUP range not only provide more velocity, but also generally group a little better. Case life has never been an issue with .222 loads judiciously increased to slightly higher pressures, and since the case is the weak link in any breaching system, you know you are safe if the primer pockets never expand and you can neck-size only for many multiple reloadings. Always let the condition of the fired case be your guide.
     
  6. robert44

    robert44 Member

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    Thanks stonecreek! You cleared up my questions.
     
  7. manitou210

    manitou210 Member

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    The fellow who designed the 222 rem Mike Walker used imr 4895 another good choice is win 748 and VT 133
    here is my load win 748 Sierra 53 gr lapua cases cci br 4 kissing lands.
    trying some VT 133 showing great results also

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

     
  8. L-46

    L-46 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice shooting!
     
  9. roninflag

    roninflag Active Member

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    i use I-4198 even with the long kernels. mostly 50 ballistic tip. but also 50 sx, 52 berger. lapua brass, 205m, every load from 19.5 up to ... shot great. never needed to try anything else. 2 sakos, 2 rem.
     
  10. David Henzler

    David Henzler Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to try these loads in the L46. I understand that it has a 1:15.8 twist. May only shoot light bullets well. I have two 461's and a Rem 660 that shoots 222 as well. All will be evaluated eventually.
    20170605_115848_001.jpg
     
  11. ricksengines

    ricksengines Well-Known Member

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    That sure is some mighty fine shootin. Interesting that the loads performed that well without doing any tweeking to them. Just proves that every now and then a rifle just out performs regardless of the stuff that is driven down the spout. I would put that one under my pillow and keep it forever.

    rick
     

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