The purpose of the testing shown in the targets on this page was to determine if a useable load could be found at low velocities in a .223 using NATO full metal jacket boat tail bullets. Such loads could be used for plinking, short-range recreational target shooting and/or small game hunting. Such loads would also be user-friendly to ladies and children when recoil might be an issue.
When I shoot experimental or developmental loads, I document and photograph the targets. I do save the actual targets, but it’s much easier to access them in a photographic file. Furthermore, they’re available for others to see and hopefully find something useful.
I tried to include as much documentation as possible on each target. There are a few that are missing some documentation and there’s one or two that have incorrect documentation. Where there are mistakes or omissions, I have included notes to reflect such.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A TRAINED, PROFESSIONAL BALLISTICIAN. THE DATA ON THE TARGETS IS FROM MY OWN RESEARCH, BUT I DO NOT CLAIM THAT THIS DATA IS SAFE. SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO USE THIS DATA, BE ADVISED THAT YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I AM NOT AND WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, INJURIES OR FATALITIES THAT RESULT FROM USING THIS DATA. I HAVE MADE IT AVAILABLE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
THE FOLLOWING TARGETS WERE SHOT WITH AN H&R RIFLE WITH A 1:9 TWIST BARREL USING 55 GRAIN NATO FULL METAL JACKET BOAT TAILED BULLETS.
THE BLACK SQUARES ARE 7/8″ BULLET HOLE PASTERS.
NOTE: Target data shows large rifle primers. Obviously, this cannot be.
NOTE: When I started working on low velocity load development, I first tried to determine the lowest charge that would expel the bullet from the barrel. I made note of the charge at which the bullet stuck, added one grain and started the development upward from there.
Below, at the 2.5 grain target, I noted “1st shot stuck in barrel, no group”. I thought I had established the bottom of the charge window in this combination and started at 2.5 grains. Obviously, I was mistaken. Rather than attempt to fire the remaining four test loads, I proceeded to the 3.0 grain group and continued.
NOTE: Thomas Edison said “I have not failed a hundred times. I have found a hundred ways that don’t work.” I was curious to see what results I would have from lubing FMJ bullets, so I coated the bullets used in the following test with Alox and graphite.
NOTE: This is the only target I shot using two different powders and charge weights. Both targets were shot at one hundred feet, five shots per group.
In the test ammunition used to shoot the lower target, I used cotton fiber as a charge locator. I pulled fibers from cotton balls and weighed out one grain of fiber for each round. The fiber was pushed into the cases over the charges and lightly tamped with a short section of 1/8″ diameter steel rod.
NOTE: The 3.8 grain group in the target above looked good, so I loaded three more groups of five each at 3.7, 3.8 & 3.9 grains. The 3.9 grain group in the target below appears to be the best. Except for the flier in the 3.8 grain group above, that’s a beautiful ‘one ragged hole’ group. It puzzles me why the 3.8 grain group in the target below opened up a bit.
I failed to include in the target documentation that I used small rifle primers in this test.
THE FOLLOWING GROUP OF TARGETS WERE SHOT WITH AN H&R RIFLE WITH A 1:12 BARREL.
NOTE: I did not fire more than one shot per group until I got to the 5.1 grain group.
NOTE: This group of tests produced some interesting results. The POI of the first shot of the 3.0 grain group was eleven inches low of POA. I did not fire the next two rounds of that group. At 3.3 grains, the POI not only came way up, it produced a semblance of a group. At 3.6 grains, the group not only fell apart, two of the three bullets key holed with a yaw of 90 degrees. At 3.9 grains, the group tightened back to an estimated 3 MOA, but two of the bullets key holed at very close to a 90 degree yaw. The size of the 4.2 grain group is very similar to the 3.9 grain group, but there was no key holing. At 4.5 grains, the group opened again. At 4.8 grains, the POI dropped and held roughly steady to 5.4 grains.
NOTE: Although the results of this test are useless, there may be a useable load between 7.0 and 8.0 grains. The 7.5 grain group indicates that further testing is warranted.
NOTE: the first two shots of the 4.8 grain group are both in the left hole. Please see the note on target number 14.
NOTE: This test produced some good results. The first two shots of the 4.2 grain group went in the single hole to the lower left. On the second shot, I thought sure I had found the load. I cannot say if the third shot is a flier or the load is just not useable. The 5.1 grain group, however, is certainly a useable load.
NOTE: Having gotten what I considered to be good results with the 5.1 grain group in test number 12, I decided to load five more groups at .1 grain increments across the 5.1 grain load. Murphy showed up and threw a flier in the 5.1 grain group. Test number 13, go figure.
NOTE: On reviewing the results of target number 11, I loaded five more groups from 4.6 to 5.0 grains in .1 grain increments. The 5.0 grain group is certainly useable.
NOTE: After reviewing the results of target number 1, I went back to that criteria and tested again using the 1:12 barrel. This target was shot using charge increases of .2 grain increments. I find it noteworthy that groups 5.0, 5.2 & 5.4 are similar in that each group is about the same size and each group has two bullets in one hole and a flier.
This concludes my report of testing done to date using NATO full metal jacket boat tail bullets. I have another group loaded for testing, but the weather is prohibiting me from getting out to my range for a few days. As soon as I get this next group shot, documented and photographed, I will post the results.
Thank you for dropping by and having a look. I hope this report has been of some interest.