My subsonic .223 recipe

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Jer
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My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Jer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:24 pm

I've been tinkering over the past few weeks trying to use different powders and loads to create the perfect (for me) subsonic .223
So, after another full day of experimenting, I've landed with the best recipe I can make for a 55 grain round and my weapon platform. YMMV....
Here is a general step-by-step on making subsonic .223 ammo:

Everything needed to create a subsonic 55 grain round that will deliver 128 ft/lb energy at 1000 FT/s
Bullets, casings, scale, sharpie, cotton balls, punch tool, Trail Boss powder

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As you can see, the Trail Boss powder is seriously huge. It's primary design is for Cowboy Action type firearms - but it's large signature and slow burn rate make it an exceptional choice for creating subsonic .223 or even subsonic .308 ammo.
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Everyone's weapon is different so don't use this recipe and expect the exact same results. This was tested and dialed in on an AR-15, 16" barrel, 1:8 twist, mid-length gas system, with a YHM Phantom Suppressor.
The cases were trimmed to 1.743" and the Over All Length (with seated bullet) is 2.220" using a Speer 55 grain HPBT projectile.
3.8 grains of the IMR Trail Boss powder is what I fine tuned. This gives me 1005 FT/s at 123 ft-lbs of energy. (In comparison a 40 grain .22lr round at 1000 FT/s is 88.8 ft-lbs)
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After charging your primed case with the 3.8 grains of powder, rip off a tiny piece of cotton from a cotton ball - (quarter shown for size comparison.)
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Stretch out the cotton so that it looks like a bad Halloween spider web - very wispy and airy.
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Using your punch tool, gently push the wispy cotton into the case. (NOTE: the amount of cotton shown in the photo is more than necessary and was just for the photo. It wasn't showing up well with the amount that I actually use - use less than pictured) This will keep the 3.8 grains of powder over the primer hole ensuring full ignition of the powder when the primer is struck.
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Couldn't get a great photo, but the cotton should fully cover the primer and be significantly lower than the bullet base when seated.
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After seating and crimping the bullet in the normal fashion, take a black sharpie and color the tip of the round black so you don't get them confused with your super-sonic ammunition. And now you have a subsonic .223 that can be whisper quite and still take down game out to 100 yards.
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Remember, this is a 55 grain projectile at 1005 FT/s delivering 123 ft-lbs of energy. With proper shot placement (all shots should be properly placed) you CAN take down deer sized game out to 100 yards with this round. In a true SHTF scenario, this could be a life saver if you need to kill your food silently without alerting those zombies around you as to your location. I feel this is a very useful load to have and I'd be very interested in seeing what others came up with in regards to .223 subsonics.

I have not yet tested my grouping at 50 and 100 yards with this recipe as I am waiting for new scope rings. But once I have, I will post my groups.
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by johndoe3 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:48 pm

As you can see, the Trail Boss powder is seriously huge. It's primary design is for Cowboy Action type firearms - but it's large signature and slow burn rate make it an exceptional choice for creating subsonic .223 or even subsonic .308 ammo.
Jer, the Trailboss powder is a fast burning pistol powder, which is why it works well for subsonics. Here's the chart on burn rates where Trailboss burns approximately like Titegroup, WST and VV 310. The advantage of Trailboss for 308 subsonics is that it takes up so much room in the case as compared to Titegroup.

http://www.imrpowder.com/burn-rate.html

To indicate how fast this powder is, I did a Quickload simulation of your load above. The powder has 100% combustion in 3.4" of barrel--that's a fast powder.
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Jer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:05 pm

I suppose it's subjective.
You are absolutely correct in what you say, but I was comparing it to powders such as Titegroup, Bullseye, Hodgdon's CLAY, & Titewad; all of which burn faster than Trail Boss.
On the chart I was looking at when I wrote that (http://www.imrpowder.com/burn-rate.html) Trail Boss is the 19th down the list. Granted, there are 126 other powders that are slower than Trail Boss, but it's the perspective I was looking at when I wrote it that caused me to say slow burning.

But you are correct - it is a fast powder.
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by jmorris » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:31 pm

Do you have a can that you can take apart? How much of your cotton ball is caught in it?

I haven't had any issues using 10 grains of TB in 308 with a 170 and adding nothing. Folks use it because it is bulky.

You do know that a .22lr puts out the same ft/lbs, right?

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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Jer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:37 pm

jmorris wrote:Do you have a can that you can take apart? How much of your cotton ball is caught in it?
No, the YHM Phantom is a single piece can that's made of Stainless Steel. Like I said earlier, I only saw a little cotton stuck on the first baffle and it was easily removed with a pair of tweezers. Running a few super sonic rounds through the suppressor will burn out anything that's left - then it's off to the ultrasonic bath that I have which I use to clean it with monthly anyway.

jmorris wrote:You do know that a .22lr puts out the same ft/lbs, right?
Sigh....
I am aware. Kind of:
I've gone round and round on this with some other folks on other boards, but here is the gist:

A 60 grain Aguilla SSS .22 at 700 fps is 65 ft-lbs
A 40 grain standard velocity .22 at 1050 fps is 98 ft-lbs.
A 55 grain .223 at 1050 fps is 134 ft-lbs.
THIS SPECIFIC load is at 1005 fps is 128 ft-lbs. So, in fact it is 30 ft-lbs higher than a standard, unsuppressed .22lr.

There are a few reasons that I developed this load. Some of the main reasons are:

1) I wanted to learn.
2) I don't own a suppressor for a .22
3) When out and about in the woods in a SHTF scenario I don't want to be regulated to having to carry two different weapons - my AR-15 in .223 and a suppressed .22lr.

Having the ability to instantly go from supersonic rounds to subsonic rounds with a simple magazine change is a very very handy tool to have. Since I always shoot suppressed on the AR (regardless of ammo type) It's a quick swap over. Pull a mag / push a mag - and poof - whisper silent. Having the ability to have a laser firing .223 that takes my hand loads at 3,000 fps while also having a <100 yard EXTREMELY silent weapon platform can be advantageous - and not having to switch weapons to do is is fuzzy balls awesome!

I will be using a BDC reticle scope so I will have the math printed out on a small sticker on my butt stock so that I can know exactly where the holdovers are for my subsonic ammo without having to adjust the scope.

And since I will be, as mentioned, loading 62, 68, and 75 grain sub-sonic .223 rounds - they will be significantly better than a .22lr. The initial 55 grain was my test bed.
The 62 grain at 1050 fp/s will = 151.74 ft-lbs
The 68 grain at 1050 fp/s will = 166.43 ft-lbs
The 75 grain at 1050 fp/s will = 183.56 ft-lbs
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by johndoe3 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:27 am

Jer, your reasoning makes perfect sense to me. You're right, carrying one rifle that can accomplish supersonic and subsonic tasks is easier and a lighter load than to separately carry both a silenced pistol and rifle.

If you use the same load minus the cotton stuffing, do you get inferior performance such higher velocity variance and SD? (since 3.8gr gives you 46% fill with your load, and thus you shouldn't have any problem of it not igniting)
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by WhisperFan » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:12 am

I have a similar recipe

5.1 grains of TrailBoss pushing a 55 grain moly coated bullet (no wadding) provides 1022 fps with a CCI small rifle primer.
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Jer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:22 pm

johndoe3 wrote:If you use the same load minus the cotton stuffing, do you get inferior performance such higher velocity variance and SD? (since 3.8gr gives you 46% fill with your load, and thus you shouldn't have any problem of it not igniting)
It is precautionary and nothing more.
When I was working "down" the load, I didn't feel the need until I got below 4 grains.

At 3.8 grains I tilted the case sideways and shined a light inside a charged case and saw how much movement the powder had, and how far it could pull away from the flash hole. I just didn't want to take any chances.
There ---may--- not be any need for it, but the last thing I want happening is a squib when on suppressed shooting. That can be catastrophic if I fail to check. So, maintaining the powder over the flash hole for me is a bit of mental security and possibly an aid in the consistent burn of the powder. YMMV.
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Jer » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:31 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7JJSZCWIAg

Here is a video a made a few minutes ago. Sorry for the quality - hard to take a video of yourself shooting.
It's 1 shot of my .223 suppressed recipe. Bullet impact is just below brush pile.

Not bad me thinks....
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by doubloon » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:50 pm

Pretty cool.

Does the cotton required weigh enough to register on the scale?
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Jer » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:36 pm

Nope. But after tinkering I think its almost accurate to say that the required cotton would weigh just under 0.1 grains. Probably close to 0.094 grains if I know my scale...
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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by hardcase » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:30 am

I'm not really an expert on the ratio of case volume filled vs not filled, BUT: When I first started loading .38 spec rounds I did notice there was a lot of empty space in the case. This worried me at first for the same reasons you started using cotton. After 4-5 hundred .38 spec loads, I quit worrying as I had no indications of unburned powder, at least due to primer issues. I've shot cases with just the primer and they are really quite powerful for such a little thing.

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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Glacierwolf » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:25 pm

I'm not sure using cotton is such a great thing.

Back in the late 1970's I was on three different pistol teams in Maine. (those were the days - no wife, no kids, no life...... just me and all the toys an E-4 in the military could afford) One of them we did allot of action pistol shooting with 357mag revolvers (called combat shooting back then). The club load required someone going to Sears and buying a pillow made of Dacron fibers every few months. We would insert the small amount of Bullseye load into the case than add a pinch of the Dacron to keep the powder where it needed to be. Worked awesome - never had any burnt residue from the Dacron in the barrel.

Going to a synthetic fiber that burns completely might be the next step for your load here. Assuming it doesn't build up in the can. There must be someone here who has done this trick with a can here somewhere?

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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by Garrett » Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:27 pm

Glacierwolf wrote:I'm not sure using cotton is such a great thing.
I wonder if the cotton is actually helping or not.

I played with Trailboss in .223 a few years ago. It was easy enough to get subsonic loads. However, standard deviation was huge. Of the three shots fired over the chrono, I got 1035, 885, and 923. (I usually shoot more. I seem to remember having a hard time getting the chrono to pick up the shots... shooting indoors... in the basement... while the wife was gone. :shock: )

I wonder if using some kind of filler to position the powder toward the rear of the case would help give more consistent velocities.

I was shooting these out of a 23" T/C Contender. I wonder if going to a shorter barrel would help. But if I'm going to do that, I might just get a different chambering as well - something more suited to subs.

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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by wacki » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:19 pm

Cool idea.

I have a liberty constitution. If you want to send me ammo I'll be more than happy to shoot it and take before / after photos of the baffles.

I'll be happy to send you cash for the ammo parts.

I have a 75 grain NOE and ACE mold I'm waiting on that this would be perfect for. She I get those molds (who knows when) I'll have to try this out.

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Re: My subsonic .223 recipe

Post by saigatechusa » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:12 am

red dot is my favorite new powder

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