Reloading Materials

Now, lets apply the knowledge obtained from all these reference sources to our Triple Deuce.  We will now assume the handloader has a press, scale and priming tool.  Then lets look at some additional loading equipment including dies, a powder measure, overall length tool and some specific handloading components including brass, primers, powder and bullets.
It is a good practice to buy new dies from the major manufacturer of your choice.  New dies from most manufacturers are reportedly produced on CNC tools and are more dimensionally consistent than some older dies.  The choice of full length or neck sizing dies is dependant upon the intended use of the loaded cartridges.  Some handloaders use full length dies and adjust them to only size the neck of the case.  Then if you ever need to full length size you have that option by simply readjusting the die.  If you want to get fancy, upgrading to a bushing type sizing die will allow the handloader the opportunity to size the case neck only as much as needed to hold the bullet in the neck by choosing a specific bushing.  A micrometer is needed to measure the outside diameter of the loaded cartridge neck.  This sizing process does not work the brass as much and also results in better concentricity of the seated bullet due to the reduced stretching of the neck over the bullet.  Bushing type dies and their instructions are available from Forster/Bonanza, RCBS and  Redding.  These cases that are neck sized should only be used in the one rifle in which they were fire formed.
Powder Measure
The value of a good powder measure can not be overstated.  Find one that will meter conventional extruded powders and ball type equally well, consistently and accurately.  Be a smart shopper for this essential device.  Read reviews, ask questions and do your home work.  Many conventional measures do not meter extruded powders like IMR4198 well at all.  It will then be necessary to weigh every charge.  Other powders like H322 meter more easily.  Plan on spending up to $300.00 for this tool.  Take a look at the Harrell's.  Some also report having great results from the Quick Measure by Johnson Design Specialties.  


Preparation is the key to success with many endeavors.  This is especially true with handloading.  To prepare the brass and load it for best accuracy there are a few more tools that will be needed.  These are a primer pocket uniforming tool, a primer flash hole deburring tool, a neck chamfering tool, a case trimmer, and Hornady Lock-n-Load OAL gauge and Bullet Comparator measuring tools.  With these tools on hand we can begin the process.  Basic cartridge case sorting and preparation including primer pocket uniforming, flash hole deburring, neck mouth chamfering, overall length check and case trimming are good standard practice.  When using the Lock-n-Load OAL tool I prefer to use a case that is fireformed in my particular rifle rather than the universal cases marketed for the tool.  This provides more accurate measuring that is specific to your individual rifle, but requires light machine work and threading to the fireformed case.


Once the brass is all prepped you can move on to priming and loading.  Sometimes, the availability of reloading components such as brass and primers is intermittent.  Winchester brass is currently the most economical and readily available while still maintaining good quality.  Some handloaders have also had good luck with Remington brass.  Lapua seems to produce the most uniform brass of all.  In years past the manufacture of Lapua .222 brass was reportedly outsourced and its quality seemed to suffer.  The current production brass that became available in 2009 is manufactured in house and is of fine quality representative of Lapua's excellent reputation.  The going price is subject to change but earlier this year it was less than $50.00 per box of 100.  Norma brass is quite expensive but some still prefer it.  There were some claims that it had a smaller primer flash hole like the PPC and BR cartridges.  Norma says that their manufacturing standard hole size is 2mm +- .10mm or .0787" +- .004".  For factory rifles strive for a case with a thicker neck that will tend to offer a better final fit in the generous SAAMI factory chamber.

Some retailers report that the availability of primers is a problem and the cost has risen dramatically.  For the Triple Deuce primers by CCI, Federal, Remington, and Winchester will work quite nicely.  More specifically CCI BR4, Federal 205 and 205M, Remington 7 1/2, and Winchester standard small rifle primers are fine choices.

The application of the data found in the manufacturer’s data bases is fairly straight forward.  I religiously use the load data right off the Hodgdon web site.  Recently I have gravitated toward using the old tried and true IMR4198 and H4198 powders for hunting using 40gr bullets.  These two powders provide a velocity edge over the other powder choices while still maintaining safe and acceptable pressure levels.  You can see this in the Hodgdon data where a max load of IMR4198 yields 3583 fps whereas H322 produces 3313 fps.  So for hunting where higher velocity and terminal performance are important and accuracy is as good or close, I would choose one of the two 4198 powders.  This situation is similar although not as dramatic with 50gr bullets.  

For target shooting H322 works extremely well.  H4895 also provides impressive results and is a chosen powder for accuracy baseline testing by some manufacturers.  I have begun experimenting with Vihtavuori N133 and Accurate 2015.  Both seem very promising.  H322 and H4895 are two that I am certain of.  Some shooters and manufacturers insist that there is no consistently more accurate powder for the .222 than H322.

Choosing the proper bullet is a very important consideration. In order to obtain the best results from your Triple Deuce the first thing you must decide is the intended use and desired terminal performance of the bullet.   Generally there are game bullets and there are target bullets.  Target bullets are recommended only for targets because they are designed to provide optimum accuracy, not a specific amount of expansion as for game. There are a large variety of target and game bullets available in the .224 diameter from many manufacturers. Most of these will work well in the Triple Deuce but there are also some that will not work quite as well as others, especially for hunting.  The newer polymer tipped bullets from Hornady, Nosler and Sierra usually work extremely well in the Triple Deuce for hunting and casual target shooting.  Prior to the existence of the polymer tipped bullets, a large variety of conventional hunting bullets were designed and manufactured.  This was done to provide the desired expansion in groups of chamberings or velocity ranges and subsequently will require a bit more analysis than the one size fits all polymer tipped bullets.  For instance, Sierra makes many fine hunting and target bullets in the .224 diameter.  The Varminter Blitz, Varminter SMP, BlitzKing, Match and MatchKing bullets are all appropriate for the Triple Deuce.  The Varminter Blitz, Varminter SMP, and BlitzKing for hunting and the Match and MatchKing for target shooting.  The Varminter Blitz bullets (1340 50gr & 1345 55gr) have thinner jackets and a softer core and should provide the most violent expansion of all which is especially desirable on prairie dog sized game.  These Sierra Varminter Blitz bullets were designed specifically for cartridges like the .222, their thin jackets and softer core provide rapid expansion tuned to its medium velocity. The Blitz's flat base also provides consistent accuracy and trajectory within the 225-250 yard effective range of the .222.  Their Varminter SMP series of bullets are for older, slower twist (1:14) medium velocity rifles similar to the .222.  They are intentionally short so that they stabilize well in medium velocity, slow twist rifles and have a generous exposed lead tip to provide aggressive expansion.  These SMP bullets could be used in the higher velocity 22's but do not have the long range trajectory abilities of the pointier Blitz and SPT bullets.   On the other hand Sierra's 45, 50 and 55gr Varminter SPT bullets (1310, 1330, 1360) are designed for very high velocity .22 caliber cartridges like the 22/250 and 220 Swift and will not work as well as some others for hunting in this application.  These details are explained in their reloading manual but not usually found at the point of retail sale.  Similarly, Hornady used to include a note in the box with their SX bullets.  It read "Hornady SX bullets are for use in cartridges of velocity up to 3500 f.s. Accurate and deadly at 222 velocities they are NOT intended for cartridges of higher speed."  Although a "hard" bullet in the .222 may not affect accuracy, it will affect terminal performance for hunting.  Also, the use of thin jacketed bullets in a 22/250 or 220 Swift may cause the bullet to disintegrate before reaching its intended target.  Likewise the 50gr Speer TNT bullets have a 3400 fps maximum velocity and are also perfectly fine for the 222.  So, to ensure the desired expansion with varmints, it is important to evaluate what bullets are offered and then make an appropriate selection based on the technical information from the bullet's manufacturer.  I strongly suggest that the handloader read up or call the bullet manufacturer first to discuss what is appropriate for the caliber and application being loaded for.  Range testing and tuning of the selected bullets, powder and primer combination will provide the best combination of accuracy and terminal performance. 

To summarize, for hunting applications, the Sierra Varminter Blitz 50 (1340), Hornady 50 SPSX, and Speer 50 TNT conventional lead point bullets are perfect for the .222 as are the Sierra BlitzKing and Hornady V-Max bullets.  The newer polymer tipped bullets are frequently accurate enough to perform double duty as both hunting and casual target bullets.  For strictly targets, Sierra Match 53 and MatchKing 52's, Hornady 52 A-Max & 53 Match, Bart's 52 Match Grade, and Watson 52's, all work very well in my experience.

Load Evaluation
On my 722 rifles the magazine length limits the finished OAL of the cartridge.  A short very pointed bullet like the 50gr SPSX will allow for a distance of .010 off the rifling and still comfortably fit in the magazine.  The 50gr V-Max and BlitzKing bullets are shaped in a more arching fashion and result in a longer OAL to the ogive, unfortunatley they end up longer and therefore will not fit in the magazine at .010 off.  A sacrifice is then necessary and the distance off the rifling must be increased to accomodate the magazine length. 

Keep in mind that the Triple Deuce cartridge was originally designed to push a 50gr bullet at 3200 fps.  Its case capacity was chosen to accomplish this task with powders in the correct burn rate.  The use of heavier bullets like 55 or 60grs will not provide the performance that this cartridge was designed for.  Additionally, most .222 Rem rifles came with a 1:14 twist barrels.  It is very unlikely that this rate of twist and the cartridge's designed velocity will stabilize these heavier (longer) bullets.  It is common for rifles that produce higher velocities, like the 22/250 to have difficulty stabilizing these heavier 55 and 60gr bullets.  So, it stands to reason that the Triple Deuce, with its slower velocity will not be able to stabilize these heavier, longer bullets.  The bottom line is to stick with 50gr and lighter bullets for best results in the Triple Deuce.

The loads that have consistently worked best in my Remington 722 and 700 rifles have the following specifications:

3100 fps velocity with 50, 52 or 53gr bullets
.010 - .020 off the rifling; for target shooting you can run tighter
Choose component combinations from the lists below and experiment to determine what works best in your rifle.
Each rifle is different, but this information provides a good starting point. 

The common preferred reloading components for the Triple Deuce are listed on the left below.  Go on to the data page for some loads I have tested.


                          Load data on the next page! 

                     Preferred Reloading Components

    Lapua (NowAvailable!)
    Norma (very expensive)

    CCI BR4
    Federal 205,205M
    Rem 7 ½

    IMR4198,H4198, IMR4895, H4895
    N130, N133,N135

         Hornady – 40 V-Max, 50 V-Max,
                        50 SPSX
         Nosler – 40 Ballistic Tip, 
                     50 Ballistic Tip
         Sierra – 40 HP, 40 BlitzKing, 
                     50 Blitz, 50 BlitzKing,
                     50 SemiPoint
         Speer - 50 TNT

         Bart's - 52 FB
         Hornady – 52 A-Max, 52 BTHP
                        Match, 53 HP Match
         Sierra – 52 HPBT MatchKing,
                     53 HP MatchKing


      Lapua (Now Available!)
      Super-X  (old production)
      Winchester (inexpensive, common)
       CCI BR4
       Federal 205M
       Rem 7 ½
               H4198  and IMR 4198 with 40 &
               50gr bullets, especially for
               H322, N133 & H4895 with 50 &
               53gr bullets, excellent accuracy
           Hunting: 40 or 50gr V-Max, Sierra
                50gr Varminter Blitz, Hornady
                50gr SPSX
              Target:  Sierra 52 & 53gr MatchKings
                52gr Bart's and Bart's Watson

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