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  #1  
Old 08-11-2012, 01:23 PM
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CFE in .223 results


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I have made my second trip to the range with CFE 223 to shoot in my Savage .223. This time I used Nosler 55 and 60 grain Ballistic Tips and Sierra 69 grain HPBT bullets. Not bad results. I shot 5 groups under an inch at 100 yards (5 shot groups), one with the 55 and 2 each with the 60 and 69 grain bullets. One group with the 69 grainers was 0.45. It seems the 55 and 60 Noslers shoot best right at the maximum load while the Sierra 69 shoots best at around 24 grains of powder, well below maximum.

This doesn't seem like too bad of shooting but I went back to compare with what I have done in the past with other powders in the .223 with various bullets. Just looking at loads that shot half inch groups or better at 100 yards over the past few years, I find the following: with 55 grainers I have shot 5 groups under a half inch using H4895 and 1 group under a half inch using Varget; with 60 grainers 1 group under a half inch using Varget and for some reason no groups ever recorded as even being shot with H4895; and with 69 grainers 1 group under a half inch with H4895, 2 with Varget, and 2 with CFE223.

So far, I have only broken the half inch barrier with one group using CFE223, with the 69 grain Sierra bullet. Obviously, this is going to take a lot more shooting to really be definitive. I would like to shoot H4895, Varget, and CFE223 on the same day under the same conditions to get a true comparison. But generally I can say my gun seems to like 55 grainers and H4895.

I am about to go clean my guns now so I will see if I think the CFE223 has less fouling than with other powders. If it seems significantly less, I will report on that as well.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:01 PM
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If you can, I'd be interested in the type of fouling. I find 748, as an example, to appear to be a fairly heavy carbon fouler. However, I find its carbon fouling to be extremely soft and quick/easy to remove. I cannot say the same for some other powders I've used. Of course, I'm sure we're all interested in the copper levels vs. your rifle's norm.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:12 PM
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Watching a movie right now letting my cleaner do its work. My initial impression is there is about the same about of copper fouling (blue) as as with other powders, but after the movie I will find out. Should be able to tell in a little bit.
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Old 08-12-2012, 04:39 AM
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OK, I sprayed the barrel with Break Free BCF (bore cleaning foam) yesterday afternoon, and then again just before going to bed last night. Then this morning, I ran some patches through it. The first patch was about as dark blue as I can ever remember seeing a patch. But no more blue after that first patch. The next two patches had some black on them and the fourth patch came out clean. Usually it takes more than four patches to come out with a clean one. Granted, this is somewhat subjective, but in the past, I always have several blue patches and it took considerably more than four to come out with a clean one. Also, something unique is the first patch being so dark blue and no blue whatsoever on the subsequent patches, just black fouling. So yeah, I think the CFE223 may indeed cut down on copper fouling, at least a little bit.

This was after shooting 48 rounds of jacketed bullets (Nosler and Sierra) through a clean barrel in 90 degree weather.
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:42 AM
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byrl, I've been using "Wipe out" foaming bore cleaner and getting pretty much the same cleaning results as you but without the use of CFE223 powder. Now, go back and re-clean using the same procedure as you described and see if the first patch comes out blue again. I'm not saying you weren't thorough, I'm sure you were, but I'd hazard a guess the first patch on the re-cleaning would be pretty blue as well. I'm curious is all.

I'm a bit apprehensive about the use of a powder that has "cleaning agent" in it 'specially considering the amount of ammo I have been known to go through during a varmint season. My semi-retired, best shooting varmint rifle (788 in .223) has seen (as near as I can calculate) over 10,000 rounds. I wonder what it's life would have been like if it had seen a steady diet of CFE223 over the last thirty years.

RJ
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recoil junky View Post
I'm a bit apprehensive about the use of a powder that has "cleaning agent" in it 'specially considering the amount of ammo I have been known to go through during a varmint season.
RJ
Well, if it puts you mind at ease, Win 748 and 760 have had the same compounds(tin/bismuth) for AT LEAST the past 2 decades. Obviously I can't say if the levels are identical or not, but they most definitely are present per the MSDS sheets over the years.
Interestingly, you can read about the French experimenting with it, for copper cleaning A LOOONG time ago. Grab yourself a copy of Hatcher's Notebook.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:38 PM
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Well, I repeated my bore cleaning regimen as suggested, as a test, and no more blue. I did get a tiny bit of black again, just a few streaks on the patch. Therefore, it would appear that all copper fouling was removed with my first cleaning procedure.
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:45 PM
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Having never used the afore mentioned Winchester powders I can't say anything good or bad about them.

I'm thinking that CFE223 (and other powders) with the cleaning agent in it (them) are meant for military "throw away" barrels, not for ones that we want to last a loooooong time. Is the barrel that's on my semi-retired 788 any better than anybody else's barrel? I doubt it, but it still shoots good enough that the rifle was treated to a new scope this year.

Now this is just my thoughts, but I'll stick to what I've been using, it's worked do far.

RJ
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:36 PM
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Well I am not advocating changing to CFE223. I was low on powder for my .223 and .308 and thought I would give it a try since it is the newest thing on the block. With more shooting, if it pans out to be as good or better than my standby H4895, in accuracy, economy, and cleanup, then I will likely continue to use it. If not, back to H4895. Right now, it appears to be about as accurate as other powders in my .223. The cleanup does seem to be easier. I haven't tried it in .308 yet as I have been shooting cast bullets in that gun for a good while. But I imagine I will buy a box of jacketed bullets just to try them out with the new powder.

But I have no complaints with H4895. It shoots well with several bullet weights in both .223 and .308, and does pretty good with reduced loads with cast bullets. Very versatile. And I never thought I had a problem with copper fouling. It's always nice to have a new toy to play with though.
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:50 PM
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Thumbs up

Good report byrl and thanks for the re-cleaning test. It's good info for us all.

RJ
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:44 AM
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I've put hundreds of rounds thru my RRA LAR-15 with 748win powder and I gave up trying to clean it. It simple will not copper foul. I use Gunslicks foaming bore cleaner and I get little to no blue on my patches even after well over 100rds thru the barrel.

Then again, my barrel comes from Rock River factory lapped, so that has something to do with fouling too.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for the follow-up, byrl!
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:00 AM
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Interesting results. If I decide to try this powder, I'll run comparative cleaning with a home brew version of the Foul Out (the patent is now expired) that I put together that has a Coulomb counter built in so I can measure how much copper has been removed.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclenick View Post
Interesting results. If I decide to try this powder, I'll run comparative cleaning with a home brew version of the Foul Out (the patent is now expired) that I put together that has a Coulomb counter built in so I can measure how much copper has been removed.
Now _that_ is a terrific idea for a way to compare cleanliness!
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