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Best Powders For 223 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. Hogdon2. IMR3. Accurate
HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. - CFE223 Best Powders For 223IMR POWDERS - IMR 4198 POWDERACCURATE 2230 POWDERS
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The .223 Remington is one of the most versatile cartridges used in the modern world. However, when it comes to gunpowders that can be used for optimum performance of this cartridge, the options are very limited.

Therefore, shooters need to make a sensible choice when it comes to ammo and buy the most suitable gunpowder with respect to their guns and the cartridge itself. In this article, we shall help you in choosing the best powders for 223 cartridges. There are many factors that one needs to consider before making a decision about gunpowders.

Reloading And The Craze For .223 Remington

The process in which a gun owner hand-loads his or her cartridge by manually assembling all its parts is called reloading. An important step in reloading is the filling of gunpowder in the brass case of the gun. One of the biggest obstacles in successful manual reloading is the selection of the most suitable gunpowder.

The 5.56×45 NATO cartridge was specially designed for US Army troops that were fighting the battle in Vietnam in the 1950s. Years later, a civilian version of the same ammo was produced that was called the 223 Remington.

With the use of the 223 Remington in civilian shooting, the caliber sizes of the same range were slowly forgotten and went out of fashion. The accuracy, terminal velocity, and trajectory of the bullet that was ejected out of the 223 Remington caliber helped it in becoming the favorite ammo for hundreds of shooters.

Top 7 Best Powders For 223 2021

1. HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. – CFE223

HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. - CFE223 Best Powders For 223

The HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. – CFE223 SMOKELESS POWDER is one of the most trusted gunpowders when it comes to .223 caliber guns. A great problem encountered by rifle owners is copper fouling that occurs inside the barrel when the rifle is kept unused for several months.

Gunpowders like this one have a special propellant ingredient in them that prevent the degradation of copper and settling of metal grime inside the barrel. This ingredient is known as CFE 223.

It is smokeless gunpowder, which is commonly used in military settings as well. Using this gun powder makes it easier to clean the gun because it does not create a mess since it burns when you fire a shot. For any gunpowder, metering is a crucial function. This gunpowder meters in a balanced way, such that a consistent supply of powder keeps burning for giving the ideal load to the rifle.

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2. IMR POWDERS – IMR 4198 POWDER

IMR POWDERS - IMR 4198 POWDER

The IMR 4198 POWDER is a favorite amongst both small and large-gun owners. Using this powder with .223 caliber has yielded great results. Hence, many call it the best powder for reloading 223. The smooth burning of this powder makes it a reliable option for hunters from all across the globe.

The IMR 4198 POWDER has high stability due to several premium chemical stabilizers used in preparing the mix. The powder does not degrade even at high temperatures, and one can store it for years altogether without worrying about spoilage. Many users who reviewed the performance of this gunpowder suggested that its combination with the .223 Remington is the best that they have ever used.

IMR has been producing some of the finest gunpowders for decades now. As their tagline suggests, they have certainly given many legendary powders to shooters.

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3. ACCURATE 2230 POWDERS

ACCURATE 2230 POWDERS

The ACCURATE 2230 POWDER is another great gunpowder for .223 guns. It burns quickly, and the accuracy that you get while shooting with this powder in your rifle is simply amazing. The Accurate Powder company has produced many smokeless powders, but the 2230 series is the best one for all serious loaders.

Besides big rifles, using it for handguns and shotguns will also give great results to the shooters. The powder is compatible with compression loading, although one needs to know the right technique for doing so.

Since the powder was originally produced for the .223 Remington, it is hailed as the best powder for .223. Being tailored to cater to the needs of all kinds of 223 users, the gunpowder is a very reliable option. Overall, for efficient and accurate rifle loads, using the ACCURATE 2230 POWDER will be a good choice.

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4. HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. POWDER H335

HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. POWDER H335

The HODGDON POWDER CO., INC. POWDER H335 comes from the house of Hodgon, a pioneer in gunpowder production for the specific needs of .223 guns. For users like deer hunters, long-range shooters, bench-rest shooters, etc., Hodgdon Spherical Powders are the gold standard when it comes to reloading powders.

Almost all the .223 gunpowders available in the market today are either fast-burning or offer only a smooth firing experience at low ejection velocities. The Hodgdon Spherical Powder H335 is an all-around propellant, offering the best of both worlds to the shooters. The loading density and charge weights are highly balanced. Thus, both over and under-use of the powder is prevented very effectively.

In all, the Hodgdon Spherical Powder H335 is military-level gunpowder with a proven record of providing excellent results. Hence, it is one of the best powders for 223 cartridges.

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5. IMR 4895 POWDERS

IMR 4895 POWDERS

The IMR 4895 POWDER is one of the most versatile gunpowders that is commonly used by sports shooters. It works well for .30-06 rounds and is developed for military-level performance. Since it is compatible with a variety of cartridges, the powder can be used by gun owners with all kinds of firearms. Shotguns and handguns used in sports events are filled with this gunpowder.

.223 Remington and .243 Winchester are the two most suitable guns for using the IMR 4895 POWDER. As far as caliber sizes from the 30s range are concerned, the .375 H&H Magnum also fires perfectly with this powder. Overall, it is a reliable powder that is quite affordable as well. The price per gram of this gunpowder makes it a great buy for any gun owner living in any part of the country.

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6. HODGDON LIL’ GUN POWDER

HODGDON LIL' GUN POWDER

The most trusted name in the reloading gunpowder manufacturing industry brings yet another premium product- the Hodgdon Lil’ Gun Powder. The powder is specifically made for smaller guns, providing the benefits of advanced propellant designs to shotgun owners.

The fitting of the gunpowder inside the rifle case is very important for efficient performance. Previously, the gunpowder fitting in 410 bore shotguns was not apt, which led to many performance issues. This powder even provides room for compression loading, which can be used to seek better firing results.

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7. HODGDON POWDER VARGET

HODGDON POWDER VARGET

The HODGDON POWDER VARGET is versatile smokeless gunpowder meant for all kinds of guns. Rifle reloading specifically becomes easier with this powder as it maintains consistent loading in high-power settings. It is mostly used in rifles despite its great versatility. Repeated loading of rifles is best supported by the fast-burning nature of this gunpowder.

Compared to many other popular gunpowder variants, this one costs much less. The grams of gunpowder obtained per dollar are much more than that offered by many other premium manufacturers. Ultimately, it reduces the overall asking price for completely filling up the case, which is important when you are going out for long shooting expeditions.

The powder is very stable due to the use of chemical stabilizers along with other active ingredients. Due to this, you can store this fast-burning gunpowder in a good unit for almost 20 years. Even in damp and rainy conditions, it will not get ruined after reacting with water. It can give a great performance under almost all temperature conditions.

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Factors To Consider

1. Composition Of Powder

The composition of the gunpowder is an important factor that one must consider before buying a smokeless propellant for rifles. Essentially, only two types of smokeless powders are available, based on the composition. These are the single based and double based gunpowders.

The two main ingredients used in preparing any gunpowder are nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose. If the powder contains only nitrocellulose, then it is called single based gunpowder. If the gunpowder contains nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose, it is a double based gunpowder.

When it comes to performance, one cannot say which type of gunpowder is the best simply based on two ingredients. Many special chemicals are added to gunpowder that makes it burn better and make the firearm more efficient. However, many users suggest that single based gunpowder can burn more smoothly than double based smokeless gunpowder.

When you want high-velocity ejection and require a faster terminal performance of the bullet, it is better to use double based gunpowder. However, one cannot deny that double based gunpowders create a lot of mess, and it sometimes becomes difficult to handle for the hunter.

Besides, there are several exceptions to this observation because many manufacturers have modified their double based preparations to make them burn smoothly without creating a lot of mess. Generally, single based gun powders have a longer shelf life, while the double based ones can last for a maximum of 20 years only.

2. Burning Rate

The speed with which the gunpowder burns when you pull the trigger is called its burn rate. Every shooter wants the burn rate of their gunpowder to be as high as possible so that the ejection velocity is on the higher side.

However, as discussed before, double based powders are meant for extremely high-velocity actions, but the mess they create is difficult to manage. Therefore, you need to search for a gunpowder variant that burns at a higher burn rate, but smoothly as well.

Traditionally the difference between single and double based gunpowders was very prominent, and anyone who wanted to shoot bullets at higher velocities had to select a double base powder only.

With advancements and new formulas for gunpowder manufacturing coming into the industry, several new variants have been developed with which you get the high-velocity and burn rate of a double based powder and the smoothness of a single based powder in the same mix.

Since we are talking about the .223 caliber rifles in this article, you must know that there are specific gun powders like the Hodgdon H322 that burn very fast and are the most suitable options for this caliber range. If you are using a larger caliber size for your rifle, you can use a simple single based smokeless gunpowder that burns at a relatively slower rate but still provides the desired success.

3. Bullet Design

The kind of bullets that you use in your rifle also needs to be considered while choosing gunpowder. It has been seen that bullets of a larger size and weight work well with a gun powder that burns slowly.

Larger bullets cannot possess a very high terminal velocity once you pull the trigger and eject them. So, using slow-burning gunpowder is the best option so that you can at least maintain higher accuracy. For all other kinds of bullets, be it small or medium-sized, using a double based or any other intermediate mix will be a safe option.

4. Storage

In the olden times, gunpowders could not be stored for long and had to be used instantly after purchase. However, with the development of modern firearms, the composition of gunpowders was also modified to make them suitable for storage.

Today almost all popular varieties of gunpowders are available in gel form. Being gelatinized, these gun powders do not get spoiled in damp and moist conditions. Hence, one can store them for very long periods.

Spoilage of gunpowders does not just cause wastage of money but also damages rifle interiors and storage units. It is because the degradation of gunpowders produces nitric acid in large amounts.

A gelatinized gunpowder is meant to absorb much of this nitric acid because chemical stabilizers are added to them. Usually, gunpowders come in plastic storage bottles because the interiors of a metal container can start rusting and change the composition of the powder.

5. Loading Density

Every gun has a particular load-value of gunpowder at which it works best. A combination of gunpowders can be used to achieve maximum efficiency in a gun. However, just adding the powder to the rifle to somehow reach the best load is not a practical approach.

So, you need to consider the load-density of the gunpowder. If you are looking for higher accuracy but lesser ejection velocity, you need to select low-density gunpowder that does not occupy a lot of space in the rifle. Moreover, if you want to fire smaller bullets at higher velocities, choose high-density gunpowder that can move around inside the rifle.

6. Compression Loading

Compression loading is a technique that some hunters use for improving the performance of their rifles. However, for compression loading of a gun powder, you should first check whether it is compatible with compression or not.

For any type of gunpowder, the loading should not be more than 10% of the cartridge space available. Overcompression of the gunpowder load inside the cartridge will cause the case to bulge outwards. This will ultimately jam the rifle such that the ejection velocity will be much lower than what one expects.

7. Cost-effectiveness

The cost-effectiveness of the gunpowder determines the span for which you can use it for shooting. A common standard used for this purpose is to determine the grams of gunpowder that you get per dollar. Generally, the slow-burning gunpowders are less cost-effective and will be highly-priced. Therefore, the shooters who want to fill the entire case of their rifle with gunpowder need to buy the faster burning type because the slow-burning ones will cost a fortune.

This certainly does not mean that any cheap gun powder should be bought and used for shooting. Search for a decent and affordable option, which is safe for usage and ensures better performance.

Best Powders For 223 – Conclusion

So, in this article, we told you about the best powders for 223 guns available in the market today. Primarily, any gunpowder that you use can only reap the desired benefits if the consistency in loading the powder is maintained efficiently.

For that, you need to have an idea about the perfect measure of gunpowder that will be enough for a good round of firing. Many even suggest that buying a gunpowder measuring unit with the powder itself is always beneficial.

In all, the choice of gunpowder will depend on the guns that you use and your personal preferences concerning the shooting habits. Choosing an authentic and licensed gunpowder is essential for the safety of society at large.

All the products that we have discussed so far fall under this category and have given the best results to shooters from all across the world. Therefore, choose any of these gunpowders and see how the power of your firearms increases tremendously.

FAQs on Powders for .223

Q1. Can Wet Gunpowder For .223 Be Dried And Used?

Black gunpowder is usually the safest to work with. In the factories, such gunpowders are first treated with water and then dried to make the final mixture. Therefore, if you use such gunpowder for your .223 Remington, it can easily be dried using conventional methods and reused for firing.

However, one thing that needs to be assessed is the extent of damage that water has done to the composition of the gunpowder. If the powder and its constituents have been completely diluted by the leaching, then even drying will not solve the purpose, and you will not be able to use this powder.

Q2. Are All .223 Gunpowders The Same?

As stated before, there are two basic types of smokeless gunpowders available today. These are the single and double based gunpowder variants. We had also discussed that no single powder is convincingly more beneficial than the other. For faster ejection velocity and quick burning, the double based gun powders are most suitable.

For slow-burning with higher accuracy and smooth finish, the single based gunpowders are the best. For rifles, you will also come across another common type of gunpowder, which is the extruded variety. It has tube-like granules that provide better firing performance in high-power guns like rifles.

Q3. Can You Throw Away Gunpowder?

Just like your expensive guns and magazines, gunpowder is also part of live ammunition. Proper disposal of unused gunpowder is mandatory for the safety of everybody. In certain areas, irresponsible throwing away of gunpowder is a legal offense and can land you in jail as well.

Therefore, if you have some gunpowder, be it active or degraded, do not discard it as it is. Better advice on gunpowder disposal can be sought from local gun owners and experts. It is always better to ask storekeepers about storage and disposal at the time of purchase itself.
 

Q4. How Much Gunpowder Can I Legally Own?

Professional shooting sports, hunting, self-defense weapons, etc., come under civilian use of firearms. Therefore, the storage of the gunpowder used in these firearms is limited and capped. Ideally, a person can own not more than 20 lbs or 9.1 kgs of gunpowder.

Moreover, there are additional advisories and guidelines regarding the storage of gunpowder, too. It should be kept in the original containers if kept inside the house. With special permission, 50 lbs can also be stored. However, any quantity of gunpowder stored in residential quarters must be licensed and authentic.

Q5. What Do The Numbers On Gunpowder Mean?

The old gunpowder manufacturing companies used numbers on the product label to indicate the burning rate of their gunpowder. The same tradition is being followed till now, and all gunpowder containers have these numbers printed on the label.

Among these numbers, the higher ones indicate a slower burning rate. So, the 296 gunpowder variant burns slower than the 231 models of the same company. Similarly, higher numbers, usually around 700, burn at the slowest rate.

Q6. Are Hodgdon And IMR The Same?

Hodgdon is the pioneer in commercial gunpowder manufacturing. IMR started its operations after some years, but soon its sales went down due to stiff competition. So, in 2003, Hodgdon acquired IMR. However, IMR powders are still produced under the same company name as before.

More so, the factories, quality-testing methods, marketing agency, etc., of IMR are still the same. So, although Hodgdon and IMR are under the same ownership, their products are still produced differently.

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