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#2000574 - 02/07/08 Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting
Seafire Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 21289
Loc: Southern Oregon USA
I'll post this on the Predator and Varmint Shooting forum also...

This will answer the question of why, that I get tons of emails on..

Well varmint season is starting to be seen over the horizon.. I am getting more email requests all of a sudden for load data.. in various calibers besides 223...

However, I also get the usual number of questions from people who haven't tried it, won't ever try it and think those that do, are playing Russian Roulette with their health and safety....

First, I have never received an email from anyone at all in over 4 years now about a problem with Blue Dot in a rifle... but I sure have had a boatload of requests for data, in about any caliber you could think of....it has been safe in my rifle, and safe in other people's rifles evidently.. no one is complaining it has been a problem.. or dangerous..

However, for a short list of WHY I use blue dot in the 223 for sage rats.. and prairie dogs...

1. Economy... 500 rounds to a pound of powder.. this gets more appealing as the cost of shooting goes up..

2. Accuracy... Blue Dot has proven to be one of the most consistently accurate powders of any I have handloaded, in any caliber.. and the chronographed velocities contain the lowest deviation spread that I have seen on ANY powder.

3. Barrel Wear... using a max of 14 grains of Blue Dot in a 223, barrel wear is kept down dramatically... I personally had one rifle that was maintaining accuracy when I traded it that had 15,000 rounds down the barrel.. and the person who got it, put another 2000 rounds down it, and at 17,000 rounds down the barrel, it would still turn in groups that could be covered by a dime at 100 yds...

4. Barrel heat.. in the field when the shooting gets quick and fast, using only 14 grains of powder max, it takes a long time for the barrels to heat up and make accuacy decline... the barrel also cools down much quicker if you let it rest, because it didn't heat up that much in the first place...I have spent an afternoon shooting 500 rounds of 223 ammo loaded with Blue Dot and never had to set the rifle off to the side to cool, because of barrel heat... I did have to take a breather to drink some water, or eat a sandwich.. of give my eyes a rest from scope squint... but not because of barrel heat... 500 rounds in 5 hours, I didn't stop to let the rifle cool down... 3 to 4 shots every 2 minutes and you can shoot all afternoon with Blue Dot in the 223...

4. Barrel Cleaning? even tho I always take a Bore Snake and some oil in the field with me, to clean the barrel when the accuracy goes away... even on 400 and 500 round days, I don't stop to clean the bore with Blue Dot, accuracy just seems to hang in there...

5. Lack of Recoil... with only 14 grains of powder or less, recoil is so low, that you will not loose site picture in your scope.. and you can see your hits thru the scope.. recoil is so low, that it will NOT cycle the bolt on an AR or a Mini 14... being able to see your hits, and lack of recoil are two big features that folks cheer about the 204 Ruger...

6. Noise.. and Scareing the game away... when you are burning 14 grains of powder or less, you have a lot less Kaboom, out of the barrel compared to loads that are burning 24 to 28 grains of powder.. people complain that sage rats and prairie dogs get wise to the shooting because of the noise... well with Blue Dot and 14 grains of that, I am not noticing the varmints only appearing further out... at times they are back up and close enough to my truck ( I shoot off the hood of it most of the time).. that they are a blur in a 4 x 16 scope turned down to 4 power! I have to wack them with a 10/22 and a 1.5 x 4 scope because they are so close... so evidently the noise from the 223 isn't scareing them away and to come up further out....

This is put forth strictly for the 223.. and prairie dogs and sage rats...

however, I am still looking at velocities of 3375 fps with 40 grain bullets, 3800 fps with 30 grain Berger bullets, and 2975 fps with 55 grain Bullets....

so I am getting 22 hornet noise, recoil and barrel heat/wear.. with MVs that are much higher and much more accurate than the averaqe Hornet will give you...

with the rising costs of primers, the primer actually figures higher into the cost per round , than the powder does using Blue Dot...

So all in all I thought I'd put this general notification out and hopefully answer a lot of questions that I get every season on this...

cheers
seafire
Feb 2008..
_________________________
Originally Posted By Rauncho_Bozo:

I run rigs harder than you can ever dream of, and have NEVER needed to replace valve cover gaskets as a routine maintenance item. Even under severe duty schedules.. Nor has ANYONE I've ever known.

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#2000899 - 02/08/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Seafire]
whelennut Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 4786
Loc: Minnesota
Seafire,
I might give it a try.
My son got a little tired of shooting max loads with H335!
Where I am shooting 200 rds per day is a big day so I am happy with Varget.
How did you ever get the idea to use Blue Dot in the first place?
whelennut
_________________________
I like to do my hunting BEFORE I pull the trigger!
There is only one kind of dead, but there are many different kinds of wounded.

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#2000906 - 02/08/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Seafire]
Steven_CO Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 3371
Loc: West Slope, CO
How finicky is this load? Some loads vary widely with just a tenth of a grain in small cases. Just curious.
_________________________
Steve


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#2000917 - 02/08/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Steven_CO]
Seafire Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 21289
Loc: Southern Oregon USA
All the loads I worked up are safe, as there has been alot of testing with this.. I got the idea from the James Calhoon web site and just did more work with it..

it is not finicky at all.. the only thing one needs to do is watch his loading techniques.. do one round at a time, to insure you don't double charge some of the lighter loads...

seat a bullet before going to charge the next case is all...

Now I do all my loading that way....
_________________________
Originally Posted By Rauncho_Bozo:

I run rigs harder than you can ever dream of, and have NEVER needed to replace valve cover gaskets as a routine maintenance item. Even under severe duty schedules.. Nor has ANYONE I've ever known.

UBER!!!




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#2001003 - 02/08/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Seafire]
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 14195
Loc: Land of loons
Good report! I have a can sitting on the shelf. Now is the 14 grain load good for the range you mention - 40gr to 55gr.?
Thanks.
_________________________
I hope they feel all dogs matter.

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#2001151 - 02/08/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: bigwhoop]
Smokey262 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 377
Loc: SE Wisconsin
Seafire, I have been meaning to thank you for awhile now. Some time ago I emailed you asking for the data and was pleasantly surprised at what I received.

Using your loads, I loaded up several batches with varying charges of Blue Dot and 40gr Ballistic Tips. Took them to the range and was positively delighted at the results. 13.5gr was giving 5 shot groups in the 0.4" to 0.5" at 100 yards. This was a Savage 223 with a 26" 9 twist barrel.

I have also loaded some up using this powder/charge and the Midsouth Varmint Nightmare Extreme bulk 55gr SP bullets. I have not tried them yet, but if they hold .75 MOA or better then it is good enough for low cost plinking.

With a pound of powder good for 500+ rounds and these bullets at $38.55/500 a guy can shoot centerfire for 15 cents a pop. That's cheaper than 17 HMR.

Thanks again for your investigations and willingness to share

smokey262

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#2001482 - 02/08/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Smokey262]
Seafire Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 21289
Loc: Southern Oregon USA
Before anyone tries loading these up on their own, send me an email or a PM, with your email, and I will forward you the load data, that I have worked up....

for the short of it...

what I personally load...

14.5 grains for a 40 grain bullet
14 grains for a 50 grain bullet..
13.7 grains for a 52 or 53 grain bullet
13 grains for a 55 grain bullet...

I consider each of these max for those bullet weights.. and usually average about 10 firings per rifle case, before it goes bad... all of this is shot in used brass, that I have either gotten in bulk, picked up at our local range.. or sometimes out on forest service property where guys have shot the crap out of stuff and left brass laying all over the place, I bring it home, tumble it and the size it.. toss out the junk and use what is left over...

All of the above loads have proven safe in Lake City, Winchester, Remington, IMI, and Federal Brass... the only brass I have had dislike for, has been WCC head stamp for some reason.. inconsistent quality...some of the European stuff has been finicky also.. but I don't accumulate much of that...
_________________________
Originally Posted By Rauncho_Bozo:

I run rigs harder than you can ever dream of, and have NEVER needed to replace valve cover gaskets as a routine maintenance item. Even under severe duty schedules.. Nor has ANYONE I've ever known.

UBER!!!




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#2003378 - 02/09/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Seafire]
kelbro Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 06/24/06
Posts: 369
Loc: AZ
Seafire sent me his .223 data last year. I stepped up through the list (using 40gr AMax) and found two sweet spots. Nice, low-recoil, accurate loads and the barrel never heated up. Didn't load up to 14.5 but I may try that tonight. Got plenty of BlueDot and a couple boxes of AMaxsout there.

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#2005299 - 02/09/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: kelbro]
RockyRaab Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 14760
Loc: Ogden, Utah
I'm also a proponent of BD loads, ESPECIALLY in the smaller .22 centerfires. I confirm what Seafire says in every respect. Blue Dot is the gunpowder equivalent of crack: it doesn't take much trying to get you hooked.
_________________________
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


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#2005303 - 02/09/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: RockyRaab]
Steven_CO Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 3371
Loc: West Slope, CO
Is there any data available for other small cartridges rounds, like 17 FB, 17 Rem, 204 and so forth?
_________________________
Steve


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#2016289 - 02/14/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Steven_CO]
Grand Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 11/14/05
Posts: 2476
Loc: Central Cal.
+1, I be very interested in .221 Fireball loads.
_________________________
Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms: Should be a convenience store, not a government agency!

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#2016337 - 02/14/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Steven_CO]
Seafire Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 21289
Loc: Southern Oregon USA
 Originally Posted By: AI_fool
Is there any data available for other small cartridges rounds, like 17 FB, 17 Rem, 204 and so forth?


I recently did a report on the 204 Ruger using 32 and 40 grain V maxes...
_________________________
Originally Posted By Rauncho_Bozo:

I run rigs harder than you can ever dream of, and have NEVER needed to replace valve cover gaskets as a routine maintenance item. Even under severe duty schedules.. Nor has ANYONE I've ever known.

UBER!!!




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#2024331 - 02/17/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Seafire]
Dave_Skinner Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 6183
Loc: The Treasure State
BD the equivalent of crack! Good one, Rocky. Fo' True, Bruddah!

Great stuff, but I'm going to say it gets touchier the smaller the case. I found it super-duper both in the 223 and 22BR under 40s and 35s, but a case-wreckin' harridan in the Fireball. Accurate, just hairy. "Reading cases" did NOT work for me with Blue Dot in the 221.
Don't quote me, but right now around 10.5 to 10.8 seems to be the right load in that expensive Fireball brass under a 40 grainer, and that varies with the primer.
But I trashed a bunch of cases to pocket-death finding that out. Lil Gun is good under 40s as well.
_________________________
Up hills slow, Down hills fast Tonnage first and Safety last.

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#2024356 - 02/17/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: Grand]
VAnimrod Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 61130
Loc: gone
 Originally Posted By: Grand
+1, I be very interested in .221 Fireball loads.


Yep.

Otherwise, I'm going to have to try to figure it out on my own this year......
_________________________



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#2027525 - 02/19/08 Re: Benefits of the 223, Blue Dot and Prairie Dog Shooting [Re: VAnimrod]
Seafire Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 21289
Loc: Southern Oregon USA
Well guys, I can recommend this.. those having troubles with Blue Dot in the smaller cases are just trying to squeeze too much velocity out of them, OR are not working up properly...

I am looking at doing the 17 Fireball myself as a rebarrel.. just has to work around the budget right now which is kinda tight ( for most of nowadays right?)...

However, for anyone working up with ANY case, I can recommend the following...

fill the case up to the brim with Blue Dot.. I call that full case capacity...

take 20% of that figure and start working up from that point.. that won't give you a squibb load...

I also recommend to start with pistol or small pistol primers..

Figure what 50% of that FULL CAPACITY, is and use that as a stopping point to work toward...

start working slower ( in smaller increments ) once you get to 40% of FULL CAPACITY...like in a fireball case, I'd start working in 2/10 grain increments..from 40 % of max case capacity... then 1/10 grain increments if I was playing with over the 50% FULL Capacity mark...

in a Hornet or Bee case, I'd work in 1/10 increments from 40% of full case capacity.. and 2/10s grain increments from 20 to 40% of maximum...

a little extra work and time and focusing on details will be well worth it in the long run...

hey ANYONE who wants to send me a barrel that is threaded for a Savage action, chambered in any of the smaller rounds, I'll be more than happy to do the load development with Blue Dot on it...

So far the 204 is the ONLY sub 223 caliber I have blue Dot tested on.. but it still maintained the same patterns as the 223 for capacity...

other folks have written me for advise and I gave them the above info, and they have tried it and it has worked just fine...

many of them have been in wild cat stuff, like a 22.250 AI necked down to 20 cal; and 19 cal...or a 22 BR necked down to those.... the responses back have shown they have found acceptable results without blowing up anything...

do the math ahead of time before you hit the reload bench, and 3/4s of the work is already done and you have boundaries you know you are safe within...only trying to squeeze the max amount of velocity is where folks get back into trouble, and that is not what I was working with Blue Dot to accomplish....
_________________________
Originally Posted By Rauncho_Bozo:

I run rigs harder than you can ever dream of, and have NEVER needed to replace valve cover gaskets as a routine maintenance item. Even under severe duty schedules.. Nor has ANYONE I've ever known.

UBER!!!




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