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I have been getting my 223 Remington ready for a 900 yard instruction/challenge coming up this year. I have done a ton of working up loads at 100 yards. I have shot coarse loads then fined tuned them with .1 grain load workups then finally played with seating depth. I am down to two loads that I will now go to 300 yards then 600. I am looking for advice on my next steps since this is my first venture into getting out more than 400yds. Should I load up both for the 300/600 range or choose one horse and run it? Any other advice?


Rifle is a Remington 700 with a 25" Lilja, 7 twist barrel with a Zeiss V4 6-24x.

Load 1: Berger 85.5gr Hybrid Target, CFE223, Lapua Brass, Rem 7 1/2 primer for 2654 avg fps with an SD of 15.4.

Load 2: Hornady 75gr ELDM, LeverRevolution, same brass/primer for 3037 avg fps, and an SD of 9.4.

Load 2 just seems like it might be a bit hot but the brass did not exhibit any signs but that is not the greatest indicator.

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If you are tuning a rifle for long range, it’s best to do development at long range.

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Hornady 88’s and lever would be my first choice
I’m running them 2660 out of a 20” Montana

Just checked bc on your Berger pretty much same /same as the 88’s

Last edited by raghorn; 02/20/24.

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Originally Posted by himmelrr
I have been getting my 223 Remington ready for a 900 yard instruction/challenge coming up this year. I have done a ton of working up loads at 100 yards. I have shot coarse loads then fined tuned them with .1 grain load workups then finally played with seating depth. I am down to two loads that I will now go to 300 yards then 600. I am looking for advice on my next steps since this is my first venture into getting out more than 400yds. Should I load up both for the 300/600 range or choose one horse and run it? Any other advice?


Rifle is a Remington 700 with a 25" Lilja, 7 twist barrel with a Zeiss V4 6-24x.

Load 1: Berger 85.5gr Hybrid Target, CFE223, Lapua Brass, Rem 7 1/2 primer for 2654 avg fps with an SD of 15.4.

Load 2: Hornady 75gr ELDM, LeverRevolution, same brass/primer for 3037 avg fps, and an SD of 9.4.

Load 2 just seems like it might be a bit hot but the brass did not exhibit any signs but that is not the greatest indicator.

You are not really telling us what kind of accuracy/precision you are getting with these loads. That would be great info. Since you said 400 yards, what kind of groups are you getting at that distance? Even 3 shots for wind checks works for me, if you don't mind.

If it were me, I'd choose one load and run it, but since this is the longrange forum, I'd be looking for loads that shoot 1", or smaller, groups at 400 yards. Generally if they are shooting that well at 400, 600 is going to be pretty good as well.

As for "developing" loads at "longrange", like someone said, I'd probably develop them at 100 or 200 yards, then confirm/check at 400-600 yards. The wind being the main reason why I would not consider working up loads at say 600 yards. Too many variables to deal with when doing it that way. At 100 yards, you don't have to worry as much about the wind. Shoot groups of a minimum of 5 shots (10 shots even better), to confirm your accuracy/precision. Even at 100 yards, you'll see poor loads and accuracy nodes. With a good precise rifle, I'd look for ragged hole groups, and then confirm at longrange. Easy peasy...

Also, for bullets, I'd run the Berger over the 75gr ELDM. I've also had better luck wth 77gr TMK, SMK, 69 SMK, and 88gr ELDM bullets. YMMV..


Originally Posted by raybass
I try to stick with the basics, they do so well. Nothing fancy mind you, just plain jane will get it done with style.
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Two things will kick you in the nuts at distance....vertical dispersion and wind. Get your ES/SD as low as possible to mitigate vertical dispersion, and shoot in the wind to learn what it does. Long range with a 223 is an uphill battle. Not impossible, but not all that easy either.


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I was pretty tired when I wrote this thread and cannot believe I left out some information, especially group size! My local range is 10 minutes from my house but is only 100yds. I can get to a 300yd range in 45mins and the CMP range is a bit over an hour away. Those are my next stops.

Load 1: Berger 85.5gr Hybrid Target, CFE223, Lapua Brass, Rem 7 1/2 primer for 2654 avg fps with an SD of 15.4 with a group size of 0.655” at 100 yards.

Load 2: Hornady 75gr ELDM, LeverRevolution, same brass/primer for 3037 avg fps, and an SD of 9.4 with a group size of 0.725” at 100yds.

Both loads are small clusters, no vertical or horizontal tendencies. The Hornady load definitely had a more forgiving powder load as I had essentially 0.2gr range where the groups remained under 0.9” but was more sensitive to seating depth. It has better SDs though. The Berger load did not seem to care about either but the SDs were always in the teens.

I know the 223 is a challenge for sure and probably more of an expert’s tool in this arena but I had a spare 223 action laying around that needed a barrel. I do enjoy a challenge though. If I enjoy LR shooting, I will build a more capable rig and relegate this one to 600yds and under. If I am doing something foolishly or missing some important steps, please let me know.

Last edited by himmelrr; 02/21/24.
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You sound on track to me. Not much I would do different other than get it out at distance and see how they hold up.


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Yep, pretty much on track. The only thing I can add that's from my own methods, is when working up a long range load I concentrate most on what the chronograph is telling me, and on making everything as concentric as I can at the load bench. I don't even pay attention to 100 yard groups. But what I can say is, when setting/confirming zero at 100 yards with a tuned load I can fire a hole in the paper, then aiming at that hole in a no wind condition wallow that hole out a little bit with consecutive shots.


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Originally Posted by himmelrr
I was pretty tired when I wrote this thread and cannot believe I left out some information, especially group size! My local range is 10 minutes from my house but is only 100yds. I can get to a 300yd range in 45mins and the CMP range is a bit over an hour away. Those are my next stops.

Load 1: Berger 85.5gr Hybrid Target, CFE223, Lapua Brass, Rem 7 1/2 primer for 2654 avg fps with an SD of 15.4 with a group size of 0.655” at 100 yards.

Load 2: Hornady 75gr ELDM, LeverRevolution, same brass/primer for 3037 avg fps, and an SD of 9.4 with a group size of 0.725” at 100yds.

Both loads are small clusters, no vertical or horizontal tendencies. The Hornady load definitely had a more forgiving powder load as I had essentially 0.2gr range where the groups remained under 0.9” but was more sensitive to seating depth. It has better SDs though. The Berger load did not seem to care about either but the SDs were always in the teens.

I know the 223 is a challenge for sure and probably more of an expert’s tool in this arena but I had a spare 223 action laying around that needed a barrel. I do enjoy a challenge though. If I enjoy LR shooting, I will build a more capable rig and relegate this one to 600yds and under. If I am doing something foolishly or missing some important steps, please let me know.


How many shots in the groups?

How many shots for each SD calculation?

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You are gonna have to shoot at the distance you want to be good at.
100 yard groups don’t mean that much actually as they relate to vertical.
For example
The rifle/load I’ve been shooting the past couple weeks will consistently put three shots in .3-.6” at 100. The smallest group was in the .12 range with the largest .7.
That same load has probably 24” of Vertical at 1250.


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Originally Posted by rcamuglia
If you are tuning a rifle for long range, it’s best to do development at long range.

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This.

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Originally Posted by mathman
Originally Posted by himmelrr
I was pretty tired when I wrote this thread and cannot believe I left out some information, especially group size! My local range is 10 minutes from my house but is only 100yds. I can get to a 300yd range in 45mins and the CMP range is a bit over an hour away. Those are my next stops.

Load 1: Berger 85.5gr Hybrid Target, CFE223, Lapua Brass, Rem 7 1/2 primer for 2654 avg fps with an SD of 15.4 with a group size of 0.655” at 100 yards.

Load 2: Hornady 75gr ELDM, LeverRevolution, same brass/primer for 3037 avg fps, and an SD of 9.4 with a group size of 0.725” at 100yds.

Both loads are small clusters, no vertical or horizontal tendencies. The Hornady load definitely had a more forgiving powder load as I had essentially 0.2gr range where the groups remained under 0.9” but was more sensitive to seating depth. It has better SDs though. The Berger load did not seem to care about either but the SDs were always in the teens.

I know the 223 is a challenge for sure and probably more of an expert’s tool in this arena but I had a spare 223 action laying around that needed a barrel. I do enjoy a challenge though. If I enjoy LR shooting, I will build a more capable rig and relegate this one to 600yds and under. If I am doing something foolishly or missing some important steps, please let me know.


How many shots in the groups?

How many shots for each SD calculation?

All were from 5 shot groups and 5 MVs for SD.

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SD estimates from that small sample size are not reliable.

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Originally Posted by beretzs
You sound on track to me. Not much I would do different other than get it out at distance and see how they hold up.

I agree. I'd probably be trying to ring better precision out of it. Even if we are only talking 100 yards. The real test is going to be 10 shot groups, as that will tell you much more about how consistent the load is. I know some guys are saying chronograph this and chronograph that, but I'd just as soon let the rifle tell me what it likes on paper. The op is shooting, roughly .6-.7" 5 shot groups. How big are those groups going to be if they were 10 shots? Probably much bigger. Something like a .6" 10 shot group is what I'd look for:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Then like I said earlier, test that load at 400 yards:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

A good load, should shoot sub 1" at that distance. I'm showing a .223 rem for example, since that is what the op is asking about. However, that is from one of my AR's. Don't ask me what the es and sd numbers are because I could care less. I shoot, and let the bullet do the talking. The target downrange is always going to tell the truth.

5 shot groups on a "precision" longrange .223 rem should be more like in the .2-.3" range. IMHO. When the groups start dipping into that realm, you know you are getting somewhere. But again, 10 shot groups show you so much more.

After everything is confirmed, I generally just shoot 3 shot groups at distance. The 22 cals can be quite impressive, but are affected by the wind, the reason I don't suggest trying to develop a load at 600 yards. You will be pizzing in the wind, so to speak..

Here's a 22-250 that I bought for cheap because it "would not shoot", according to the seller..
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Like I said, if you can keep even a 3 shot group down around an inch, that's what I look for. That 22-250 does it consistently.

Then check at 600:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Also, if you find a bullet like the 77gr TMK outshoots the 88 ELDM, I'd run the 77 and not look back. Even if the numbers (sd and es) say otherwise. It's all about what the rifle is telling you.


Originally Posted by raybass
I try to stick with the basics, they do so well. Nothing fancy mind you, just plain jane will get it done with style.
Originally Posted by Pharmseller
You want to see an animal drop right now? Shoot him in the ear hole.

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Why drop from 10 to 3 shot groups at the longer distances?

Last edited by MikeS; 02/21/24.

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Originally Posted by MikeS
Why drop from 10 to 3 shot groups at the longer distances?


Because I don't need to shoot that many shots in the form of competition I do, which is longrange varmint silhouette. 3 shots at distance is also a great way to check POI in the wind. Which I shoot in all the time. Also, after your load is confirmed, it's a waste of expensive components and ammo.

Why don't you post up some of your 400 and 600 yard groups. I shoot 10 shot groups on occasion to check the load as well, but the wind can be a biotch. This is after everything is confirmed. You know what I mean by confirmed, right?

5 shot group at 600 yards:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

10 shot group at 500 yards:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I'm all ears and can't wait to see some 400 and 600 yard targets, if you so kindly want to post them. That is what the OP is asking about, in this thread. Enlighten us both. 3 shot groups will work, if you want to post them.


Originally Posted by raybass
I try to stick with the basics, they do so well. Nothing fancy mind you, just plain jane will get it done with style.
Originally Posted by Pharmseller
You want to see an animal drop right now? Shoot him in the ear hole.

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BSA, you say you don't need more than 3 shots for your competition?? The Elko LRVS match stages consist of 2- 5 shot strings with a 30 second break between do they not? You may find it helpful to correct for wind after your first shot in practice and keep working towards center while tracking mirage the whole time. It's a learning curve I know, but with practice I'd expect you'll move up out of the "Marksman" class in no time at all.

I posted several targets last year after you were triggered by a simple question, for both 600 and 1000 yards. Still waiting on the 1000 yard targets you promised back then, what happened there? I'll see if I can dig up at least another 500 yarder for you. As you probably know it will be with sling and iron sights. And certainly on a regulation size target face unlike what you posted above.

PS, the wind is you friend when it's hurting the competition.


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I did find that the factory Sierra Matchking Competition 77gr SMK shot 5 shot groups at 300 to .905 for .3 MOA. I assumed that the load was not fast enough to stay supersonic through 900yds so I never shot it again. Should I throw that load into the mix?

I understand the limitations of these initial findings. Next week, I will be shooting several 10 round groups at 300yds and keeping track of MVs as it is not a big deal to set up my chrony. I will load up 50 of each and see how they run. I appreciate the help.

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I think you're on track buddy. You have a solid plan.

No idea on that factory Sierra ammo, but you might as well throw it into the mix. 300 yards should give you a decent idea how your load shakes out.


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Run the 85.5gr bergers chit can cfe 223 switch to n540 I’m getting 2730 out of a 20 inch service rifle. Bullets are arriving on target at 1300 fps at 1000yds. Hardly anyone runs hornady bullets in competitions. It’s either SMK or bergers. My short line load 200-300yd 77 smk, 600yd long line load 80 smk, 1000yd load 85.5gr bergers. I use varget with my 77 and 80gr smk. As stated N540 with 85.5 bergers. If you have to use hornady switch to the 80gr eld-m Bryan Litz tested them and the true bc is .505 I have verified that b.c all the way out to 1k yds.


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Then STFU. The rest of your statement is superflous bullshit with no real bearing on this discussion other than to massage your own ego.

Suckin' on my titties like you wanted me.
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