Author Topic: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance  (Read 366 times)

Offline darylu

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Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« on: December 14, 2020, 07:57:27 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I've struggled for several months now and read hours and hours of posts and articles on the 224 Valkyrie.

I have two rifles set up - 24" BSF 6.5 twist and ARP 20" 7.7 twist.  I have truly hundreds and hundreds of rounds through the 24" - maybe a couple hundred through the 20".  Maybe even more that 1,000 through both.

First, I absolutely understand the 224 benefit with the heavier projectiles.  I have the 88 ELDM load dialed in and there's no way to match that in the 5.56.

Over the last several weeks, I've worked with 77 BTHP in the 5.56 and found some tremendous loads.  Johnny's has a whole series on that.  Under 1 MOA with 2,750 to 2,800 FPS in 20" 1:7 Basllistic Advantage barrel.

So, I'm thinking the 224 must be able to do better?  Nope.  Interestingly, all published data lists lower charges for the 224 V in lighter bullets than for the 5.56.   It was funny when I was reading glowing reports about the 224 and folks were publishing velocities that were clearly inferior to 5.56 capabilities.   I'm guessing it is, at least, partially due to the lower SAAMI pressure spec on the 224 vs. no official pressure spec on the 5.56 - but it is certainly higher.  Is there more to it?

So, my main  question, is anyone getting safe loads in the 224 with 77 BTHP or equivalents that are any better than the 5.56 loads I'm finding?

It seems with the ARP barrel, as in the 6.8 - (and I use the ARP "superbolts") there must be more to achieve?  But, I've not found a post on those aggressive loads.

Why this quest for velocity?  Who knows - but part of it is to eek every inch of potential performance in my coyote loads for those occasional longer opportunities.  I have had success with the new 6MM ARC at longer ranges but believe the 224 V is also up to the task if I can keep those velocities up.  The 88 ELDM is 950+ foot lbs at 400 yards.  Usually, a bit more than I need.  I'm not sure yet how the 20" 7.7 twist will do with the 88 ELDM - have to really test that yet.  But I'm sure it would shoot the 77 bthp well and would like to be able to get that to 2,900 FPS + and it would clearly out perform the 5.56.  I have a 24" 5.56 barrel on order and I'm pretty sure that will take it to 2,850+.

Hunting suppressed at night with the 223 bullet has been noticeably quieter than my 6MM ARC which is quieter than the 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC.  I've used them all including the 6.5 Creedmoor.  So, that's another reason I'm trying to maximize performance in a .223 bullet rather than just move up in cartridges.  And, of course, brass costs start to creep up as well.

Of course, accuracy is equally important.  From sand bags if I can get 3-shot groups well under 1 MOA, that's about as good as I can do.  The 5.56 load had several at under .5 MOA when I can keep it together.  Same with the 224 ELDM.

Offline Mousegunr

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2020, 06:08:01 PM »
Finally, someone speaks up on this forum and says what we have all been thinking: “The emperor has no clothes”.

The 224 Valkyrie is not the wiz-bang highly accurate, super fast 1000 yard AR cartridge the advertising led us to believe.  Time to move on...

Offline darylu

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2020, 07:19:08 PM »
Yes, thanks.  I think the key to it's success is to get the throttle limiter off a bit.  If the engineers would develop the chambers, bolts, etc. to higher pressure tolerances, and the brass followed the lead, there would be much more to talk about.  Again, with the 88 ELDM, the exterior ballistics are fantastic and start to exceed 6MM ARC, 6.5 Grendel, etc. in that 300-400 yard range.  I'm not an engineer or ballistics expert, but something tells me if we could push that cartridge to 60K +, there would be a lot more to talk about.

I think that's where development and marketing totally missed it.  They are not competing with the .223 in 77 grain and under - they are competing with 5.56 - that 6k to 8k in increased pressure allows much more in the load development.  At this point, the 224 V's home is with the 88 grain +.

The brass definitely won't hold up well over limits.  Even pushing the limits frequently results in over expanded primer pockets.  I've used Starline, Hornady, and Federal.  All are good, but have the same limits.

224 V is not the only one.  I think the 22 Nosler hype is quite similar.  At SAAMI pressures and limits, I'm having a hard time finding any benefit of that over a solid 5.56 load.  I saw some 22 Nosler loaded hot with impressive velocities and groups, but the brass was torn up.  I have no doubt those loads were pushing 70k pressures.

Offline Xaddo

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2020, 05:23:46 AM »
 I think the only way the Valkyrie beats 223 performance is with the heavy projectiles as it was designed. It does this with much authority if you look at the numbers.
 I have 1800+- rounds on my 24” 7twist Krieger and it’s still holding .5 moa. The majority of those rounds were at 1000 yards. Took it to 1000 as a novelty at first but it bucked the wind and held accuracy so well that I put my other rifles away and focused on it for a year or so.
88 ELDs with Re-15.
 So when used as intended ( with heavy high bc projectiles ) the Valkyrie beats 5.56 performance hands down in my opinion and experience.
 Not meant as an argument, just wanted the share my different view and experience.

Offline darylu

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2020, 07:32:11 PM »
Yes, that's pretty much exactly what I acknowledged on those heavier bullets and I'm quite satisfied with the 88 ELD load and performance.  I agree completely that the 88 ELD beats any 5.56 hands down.

My inquiry was about maybe me missing some opportunity to eek out performance with lighter bullets that beat out the 5.56.  Especially in the 7.7 twist 20" ARP - where I've not yet put the 88 ELD through the ringer.  I don't know how it will perform in that twist rate.

My only issue now with the heavier bullets is a lack of choices for "hunting" loads.  The 88 ELD has performed well on coyotes to date - no complaints there.  But there is always that camp "don't use target bullets for hunting" ... but that will always be the case.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed to maybe see a heavy VMAX to try.  The 87 VMAX in the 6MM ARC is outstanding and exterior ballistics are pretty similar to the 88 ELD. 

Thanks for your reply.

I've tried the RL15 but just seem to get my top accuracy and good velocity with the BLC2.  I really tried with the CFE223 but it was a disappointment.

Offline darylu

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2020, 07:36:51 PM »
Xaddo,

Do you find it puzzling that so many ammo manufacturer's have so many offerings in those lighter bullets for the 224?  It is odd that they just don't focus on, as you said, the load this rifle was intended for.  Oh well, they must know more than me since they're making the millions!

Offline Xaddo

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2020, 05:40:01 AM »
I don’t understand the lack of hunting bullets in the 90 grain range. I guess they think everyone is just out to punch paper. Fortunately for me my rifle loves the factory 90 grain fusions. Shoots them .5-.7 moa. I originally bought them for the brass and was very surprised when the first 5 were under .5”. One hole. First factory Ammo I have hunted with in 20 years! They are very effective on game too. Not sure about long range though, they have a pretty rough blob of lead out front!
 I have harvested several deer with the ELDs that took instant dirt naps, but all were neck shots. Don’t know how they would perform in the boiler room. Don’t think I would go there

Offline darylu

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2020, 07:06:39 PM »
Xaddo - that's interesting on the Fusion.  I have the component backordered.  I also have the Sierra 90 to experiment with yet.

I'm using the 24" BSF 6.5 twist with Innovative Arms suppressor.  I'm reasonably satisfied but just seem to get a moderate "flyer" with the 88 ELD.  I'll get two almost touching ... then maybe one 1.5" away.  Then I'll get 3 shots < MOA.  Nothing horrible, but not great, consistent performance.  When I switched from CFE223 to BLC2 - that helped noticeably.  I just got N540 in as my final experiment to just nail down a recipe and live with it.

Offline DangerousDan

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 10:04:53 PM »
Not sure I understand . I have a 224 Val 20 inch 1-7 twist Light Barrel  a 22inch Heavy 224 Val  1-7  and a 224 val 24 inch Bolt gun 1-8 twist The all have there strong points . I also have a 223 AI 1-7 twist Long trout . I have them all shooting under .750 or less at 200 yards . There is just no way a 5.56 can keep up with any of these . There is not enough room in the case with bullets 75 gr or bigger . My reason for fooling with the 224 Val was simple It has very little Kick and it is easy on my old bones  After Cemo all My plates and Pins Hurt . my 338 Lu shoots lights out at a 1000 yards  But so do these Pea shooters with less than 30 grains of powder  . It did take me a few to learn the ropes of the 224 Val  I don't shoot off the shelf ammo so reloading is part of the shooting fun . Just My 2 cents DD

Offline Xaddo

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2020, 03:00:16 AM »
Darylu, I had trouble finding an accurate load at first. My accuracy goal was .5 moa and I went through several hundred projectiles and many powders until I tried Re-15 with 88ELDs. I have shared my recipe (88ELDs,25g Re-15,2.3” COAL) But it only seems to work in my rifle😎

Offline darylu

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2020, 07:47:03 PM »
Thanks on that Xaddo.  RL15 was ok for me, but not as good as the others.  I have a great 5.56 load with that, though.

Offline smurfslayer

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Re: Help on "beating" 5.56 performance
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2020, 09:52:12 PM »
re Hi Everyone,
...
So, I'm thinking the 224 must be able to do better?  Nope.  Interestingly, all published data lists lower charges for the 224 V in lighter bullets than for the 5.56.   It was funny when I was reading glowing reports about the 224 and folks were publishing velocities that were clearly inferior to 5.56 capabilities.   I'm guessing it is, at least, partially due to the lower SAAMI pressure spec on the 224 vs. no official pressuspec on the 5.56 - but it is certainly higher.  Is there more to it?

So, my main  question, is anyone getting safe loads in the 224 with 77 BTHP or equivalents that are any better than the 5.56 loads I'm finding?

...

A buddy bought me a box of Sierra 77TMK for Christmas last year I think, and I loaded a variety of charges.  Of all powders to come good... RE17 at 28.0-28.6 grains.  All printed 2x 5 shot groups at under MOA with 28.3 getting me .865.  I did not chronograph them, but by the Sierra book that should be close to your target velocity.  Next I had power pro 2000 at 26.8 grains at .832 MOA average.