Sometimes I don’t understand myself. At times I do the same thing every time, but other times I do things differently. For example, when I buy a snow cone, I always try a different flavor. On the other hand, I always wear a scrub suit to work every Tuesday. I have the same confusion w/ gunpowders. Although I have a number of standard powders I use over and over because they perform quite well and make me content, I’m always a sucker to try a new gunpowder.
I’ve been trying out two fairly new gun powders, Accurate LT-30 and Hodgdon CFE BLK. According to Hodgdon, BLK “was designed expressly for the 300 Remington AAC Blackout cartridge…it performs beautifully in many smaller–capacity cartridges like the ….221 Fireball.” I’ve been using IMR 4227 many years in my 221 Fireball rifle and have been very pleased w/ it. It pushes 40 grain bullets to 3450 fps w/ three shot groups frequently less the ½ MOA. Nevertheless, I bought a pound of BLK last summer. Initial groups were very accurate, but I didn’t get a chance to chronograph any until recently. Published data showed 40 grain bullets going 3550 fps (24” barrel). It looks like I’m going to load up some rounds w/ it in the Fireball for this summer’s prairie dog hunt. 20.5 gr of CFE BLK gave a group 100 yard group of 0.1” (it was only 2 shots since I was pushed for time and was mainly checking velocity) at 3550 fps (22” barrel). CFE BLK has met the challenge of a new powder having found a useful spot. Nevertheless it won’t replace 4227 quite yet as I still have 6# of it!
My experience w/ Accurate LT-30 has been a different story. LT-30 is supposed to have the accuracy and burning range of 4198 but w/ more velocity. In addition, it has small grains that meter like a spherical powder. H4198 was accurate in my 221, but the velocity was subpar and it didn’t meter well. I first tried LT-30 in my XP-100 in 22 BR. Vihtavuori. N130 has been my standard powder in this gun for 25 years. It gives excellent accuracy and velocity and is milder than any other powder I’ve tried in the gun. In the 22 BR, LT-30 gave similar velocities and accuracy, but had more muzzle blast than did N130. After my 22 BR experiment, I read an article on the net where a shooter used LT-30 in his Fireball. The accuracy was very good, but none of the loads were chronographed. I sent an email to Accurate but they did not have any chronographed load data for LT-30 in the 221. Using the article as a reference, I loaded up some LT-30 w/ the 40 gr Hornady V-Max bullet. While the loads were very gentle and accuracy was good, velocity was subpar. 17.5 gr shot into a 3 shot group of 0.54” w/ a muzzle velocity of only 3005 fps. 18.0 gr shot 0.63” w/ a mv of 3050 fps. Pressures were ok, but I don’t think I can expect LT-30 to equal the velocities I get w/ 4227 or BLK.
So I guess in this experiment w/ two new powders I batted 0.500. In baseball, I'd be a superstar. While BLK CFE has a role, LT-30 doesn’t (so far). Maybe I’ll try LT-30 in my son’s 223 Rem or my 6 BR XP-100 since the factory has load data for those cartridges.
221 Fireball w/ CFE BLK Loads
Good luck and good hunting.
Funny that you bring up CFE BLK as I recently loaded up my first test rounds with it. Mine are in 300BLK subsonic. I've had the can since it first came out and have been using a lot of other powders for sub loads, mostly I4198, but decided to give it a try.
Another powder I've had for years but never really did anything with until recently is Lil Gun. Hodgdon lists it having the highest velocity with 125's in the 300BLK so I gave it a try. Very accurate and extremely fast! Have you tried Lil Gun in the 221? It should be a good option. It wasn't around when I was playing with the 221 years ago...
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I recently just switched to CFE BLK for my XP100 221. I dont have a chronograph
so cant give numbers but it meters better than 4198 and at 200yards(range limit)
it almost becomes boring.
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