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GLShooter

22 LBC Not Your Average 22 -- Long With Pics

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I made it to the range this week to try out a new barrel in a chambering I have only mentioned here in passing.  This one is a 22 LBC. It is a wildcat made up using 6.5 Grendel brass with a straight neck down to 22 caliber. No shoulder movement or angular changes are done.   Case capacity is the largest of any of my AR sized rounds exceeding the 22 Nosler and even the 22 NXS. Since it is Grendel based one has to address that MAP should be held in the 55,000 PSI range that is a bit less than the 6.8 based offerings. With the higher capacity the pressure differential is mitigated to some extent. Also with the use of an enhanced, stronger, bolt the limit can be pushed a bit more.

 

I have had this barrel for a few years mounted up on an upper but my meanderings around the wildcat cartridge worlds and other testing has not brought it to the forefront until recently. I had a small batch of brass already formed as 22 LBC that I had done right after the upper was made up so I was already through the labor intensive part. The cases are made up using a 6.5 Grendel Redding Type S full length die and four bushings although it can be done with three. Alternatively I just happen to have some custom dies that will take me from 264 to 243 in one step to cut down some time if I wanted to go that route.  With enough dies set up on a progressive a fellow could knock out a hundred formed cases.

 

All loads for the day were new Lapua cases set off with CCI 450 primers.  I used four bullets and five powders with some getting five and some getting three charge weights.  Variance between steps was 0.3 grains as I really wanted to nail this one down in the first trip and based on case size and charge weights 0.3 is perfect for my needs though 0.2 might well be the ideal best practice.   Distance to lands was established using the Sinclair Bullet Depth Seating Tool utilizing one of my original fire formed cases made after assembly. And I chose to load about 0.010 off.  The chamber is about 0.010 tall, machined in, on the shoulder compared to new brass but the DTL is relatively short as the reamer was designed purposely for zero free bore allowing for magazine length loading even in a 2.260 box.

 

 The barrel is a 24” BHW bull barrel configuration 1:8 with a rifle gas running a TA adjustable block.  The lower used was the one I use for long range matches with a Giselle HS two stage trigger.  For the test I mounted a 6X18 Nikon on top with the good turrets.  Range conditions were pretty decent starting at 91 degrees with a final group shot at 99.2. Wind was only a slight variable up to 4 MPH for the morning. Velocities were recorded by my LabRadar.

 

I started out with the 55 Nosler Ballistic Tips over a charge of 8208 XBR. This powder has done well in my other Grendel based cases and I have a short ton of it on the shelf. The first five were sent down range to get sighted in and no group resulted from that exercise.  BY and large swapping a scope/base combination from upper to upper has you relatively close at 100 yards and this one was only out about six inches.  Velocity was a dandy 3661 and I liked that.

 

Unfortunately after that first set went down range I found the LR would not let me set up for a new string. I messed with it for about ten minutes trying to reboot, erase and generally anything I could think of to get this running correctly. The LR allows me to just pull an SD card at home and transfer data right to my Excel spreadsheets.  Out with the cell phone and a call to Kansas, where they are repaired, was made. I chatted with the tech for about ten minutes and we ran through what I had done. I have 635 data files on an 8 GB SD card and he was astounded at that. He felt that potentially the card was just too full. I ended up yanking the card and running the LR on internal data memory. Not bad but I then had to transcribe the numbers by hand onto my Excel sheets. Not hard just an inconvenience. I’ll scrub the SD card and try it empty next time and if no joy then off to the Land of Oz it goes.

 

So with one speed on the books I moved on to the next of 8208 at a weight of 31.6.  The rest of this powder was shot with three shot groups.  Three down range and the smile started to tug its way up. The next three were a bit bigger but I was not in the mood to complain. You can take a peek at the targets and understand why I wouldn’t trash these coming in at 0.381 and 0.434 respectively wit very nice speeds. This bullet is a bomb when it hits PD’s at these speeds.

 

zOk4w6g.jpg

 

8208 out of the way means I was  moving on to CFE 223. This is a powder that in the last few years has given me outstanding speeds and often best of group  in my testing in the small cases.  The first group was tall but not overly large at 1.021 but still sub-MOA. Clocked at 3705 I felt I might have a potential here.  At the next two levels the groups got smaller and the sped came up to a nice 3769. At 0.763 and 0.671 they let me know that the barrel would shoot.  The final, I shot four weights here, at 35.3 clocked at 3799. This is screaming for a 55 in an AR but alas I slapped the trigger on shot #3 and opened this one up to a huge 1.079. Over an MOA but I think I will  claim operator error on this one.

 

shSVYJE.jpg

 

I only shot two powders with the BT’s but am happy with what I saw. I had a batch of Bob’s Bullets 55’s loaded up. These are the ones that I keep looking at and shaking my head over. A 55 FMJ is pretty much cannon fodder for me but these defy all my forty plus years of bench work when you put the blades on them. They have shot well in my 223/556 guns and how they would handle the speeds of this wildcat and group might well be one of those Artie Johnson moments, “Very Interesting”  I was not to be denied here!!

 

My loads of AR Comp went from 29.9 to 30.5. Best at 29.9 showed me 0.572 and the worst at 30.5 taped out to 0.898 Speed topped at 3668 but groups were vertical and if it was not shooter induced it’s telling me that more propellant is in order. This ain’t no 16” 556!!

 

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Smiling a bit I moved on to H 4895. This one seems to do well on groups with no rhyme nor reason and speeds are often impressive. These groups also showed vertical but size wise were pretty consistent. The first charge of 30.6 gave me a five shot 0.760 group at a speed of 3629. With the charges bumped all the way up to 31.5 pushed it up the chart to 3729. Not a bad gain of 100 FPS with an increase of less than a grain.


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I guess in the scheme of things a fellow reaches a goal and once there he moves the goal posts a bit. When I started shooting last century ANY rifle that would shoot under an inch was dang near a gift from the gods. This one with the most basic of bullets did that for me and then some.  Seven groups shot with two powders gave me an average of 0.787.  Out of an AR with me behind it this is outstanding IMHO. AS I mentioned this is a 1:* twist barrel and they aren’t supposed to do this well.

 

With all the 55’s gone I picked up a box of Sierra 69 SMK’s over Big Game and H380. These were all three shots except for one that I loaded up five on.   I don’t shoot a lot of match bullets in these wildcats as they are more  live game oriented but sometimes you just got ‘a find out how they will do when you put the slicks on ‘em and run them through the quarter. The SMK is the Gold Standard that all others are measured by at any weight out there and these have always stood me in good stead. We now have the tipped version with a better BC  that I have not tried but today it was all old school.  Remember that BC comes at a price for stability and may be marginal in certain twist rates or specific barrels.

 

I fired the first batch over 33.0 of Big Game form Western. This is a sleeper powder that many don’t know about. It is one that punches out of its weight class in 17’s BTW. I have found the speeds adequate in moist chamberings I’ve tried it on. Three pulls later and I could see that it didn’t hate the SMK’s at all. The clock said 3276 and at home the calipers said 0.233. Now that is what I call a load. Bumping up 0.3 twice gave me groups that got a bit bigger but I question the guy at the tiller sometimes on those and with a bit of mirage thrown in the mix it never helps. 0.6 grains only got me 30 FPS so that would indicate I’m either at a plateau or that I’m just maxed out. To that end a review of my notes indicates at 33.0  I was pretty full and the other two levels were nothing more than an afterthought experiment.   Proof via chronograph that full is full and some powders at 100+ densities don’t gain a thing.  This powder agged at 0.318. If I want to shoot this one at 500 yards I belie I have it down on this barrel.

 

aMCP4kX.jpg

 

I was a happy camper at this point and had some hope for the H 380 and the 77 Nosler.  I normally don't go to different weights but ideally if you can stick to one powder back to back you help the groups,  Murphy reared its head and in the next eleven rounds I had tow cases that just wouldn’t fire. I was at the ragged edge of shoulder height/placement so perhaps Murphy decided to do a drive by.  The results on the first group were a 0.980 for four at a sedate 3140 and this was my first FTF. The next load up at 32.3 gave me two in the same hole and I’m starting to get RLS behind the gun at this point. Of course Murphy showed up and this was my second FTF!!!! OMG!!! (well not exactly what I said..) I got it home and the two were 0.026 CTC. I would pay $100.00 bucks to know where that next one would have gone.  Oh well buckle down with three left and it looked adequate through the scope.  The chrono says 3201 which would be my bottom speed I want for this cartridge and measured at a nice 0.372. Overlapping these three and the previous two eyeballing would have been right on the 0.372. Maybe a revisit is in order? 

 

zJaK6Ku.jpg

 

The last batch of Sierra 69 SMK's were real vertical.  The speed was there at 3325 and the calipers showed me 0.666 when I got home. I was pretty pleased looking at that one as it was a reasonable group.   The next bump up to 33.3 was looking good after I looked it over. Minimal speed gain but tight but a  3335 and a 0.431 is not bad.  Last one for the H 380 was at 33.6 and this one looked even better to my untrained eye through the scope.  The clock showed it picked up 25 FPS and that was a bit more in line with my expectations. A nice triangular group gave me 0.256 on the digital read out when I got home and I was tickled to get that. Having fired my three levels on this one the powder gave me an average of 0.451 thus equaling my goal of sub 0.5 MOA.

 

5v2Kc0J.jpg

 

 

 

The last go around for the day would be CFE 223 under the Nosler CC’s. On this one I loaded a first string of five and four strings of three each. I just love this stuff and it did not disappoint. Speeds were not blazing but they were certainly usable. I laid out the first five and started to work. At his point it was finally getting warm enough to shoot at 99.2 so with great expectations I started in.  Five shots and three minutes later I was reaching for the gallon and a half of cold ice water on the bench because I knew I was hot.  Even at 18X a ragged hole is a ragged hole and I knew this one was in the bag.  This was I felt this was probably one of the best efforts I’ve had in a long time with an AR.  When I got this one home the numbers say 3146 and 0.330 CTC so I was not mistaken as to the performance here.  Four more loads to test and the next group rang it at a solid 0.471. Group #3 had a Jiffy Kangaroo show up on the trigger and I threw one up in the stratosphere stretching it to 0.718.  Two more loads that were starting to show vertical but looked virtually reversed so I suspect maybe the operator again.  Three shots is not the best indicator in some situations. Back to back with a 0.377 and then a 0.344 to close out the 22 LBC day sure made me feel good.  Five groups with CFE 223 turned in a best for the day.  The aggregate for the groups was a solid 0.448. It would have been muy bueno better if that kangaroo hadn’t jumped in the puddle but then we all have kangaroos haunting us at the bench on occasion.

 

k6VfOXU.jpg

 

That was my morning’s work on this neat little round. Number crunching over the last two days has really left me pretty gobsmacked in its performance and potential.  Recorded groups combined was twenty four total.  For the day the average group size for all combined came out to 0.568.  Of the twenty four fired only two exceed 1.00” and of the two only one was over an MOA at 1.079.  I had an absolutely great day at the trigger and will put some more fodder to see how it handles a few other pills including some that Newbe wants to see. I’ll contrast some of my data with the Valkyrie when it is all said and done.

 

I’ll relate the 6.5 Grendel experience from the day in another thread and you see a presentation that proves the old adage of life that sometimes it’s chicken and sometimes it’s feathers.  I’ll come back and link it in tomorrow.

 

Greg

 

 

 

 

 

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I know this is an old post but just found it and joined because of it.

 

Greg, have been reading a few of your post on 22NXS and this one... both are very interesting to me.... last year didnt know anything about either chambering but wanted something more from AR platform. 

Having lathes and mills i machined reamers for size die , chamber and a throating reamer (for different bullet/barrels) in 22 Grendel/PPC IMP. 

 

I chambered a 22" 14 twist and a 7 twist for AR Platform which i was impressed with performance and precision enough that i built 2 bolt guns. One on a Ruger AMP (8 twist) and other on a Savage action (7 twist) .

 

LOVE this chamber in all 4 rifles! Just got back from shooting prarie dogs in WY ....  with the 14 twist AR ( 53 gr nosler/8208 @3650) and the Savage 24" 7 twist shooting 88 ELDM @ 3000.

 

Mostly use the Savage as the winds were up to 18-20 mph , 400+ yd shots were pretty easy . 

The 14 twist was used for 200 yd and under shots and had an explosive effect! 

 

Loads tested in 22" 14 twist incudes....

40 gr @ 4140 fps

50 gr@ 3914 fps

53 gr @ 3840 fps

 

27" 8 twist Ruger

75 gr @ 3240 fps

80 gr@ 3150 fps

88 gr @ 3075 fps

 

Havent maxed out any bullet yet , (50 gr is pretty close) pretty happy with performance and accuracy has been GREAT so just having a BALL with them and whatever load i throw at them!

 

Have you done anymore testimg with you LBC?

 

 

 

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I haven't done much as the 22-NXS has been getting most of my attention.  I will be dragging it back out in the near future but as you might have seen I just did up a 243 LBC on a RUGAE and am tickled pink with it. I had ordered up a 22 LBC for it but TA/TO apparently didn't have a reamer. That being said they do have a  20 LBC and when they get some stock in I'll get one of those.

 

I admire your machining skills. I wish I had gotten in to that end of it at a younger age...lol

 

Greg

 

PS: Smart move avoiding the VMAX's at those speeds..LOL

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6 minutes ago, GLShooter said:

I haven't done much as teh 22-NXS has been getting most of my attention.  I will be dragging it back out in the near future but as you might have seen I just did up a 243 LBC on a RUGAE and am tickled pink with it. I had ordered up a 22 LBC for it but TA/TO apparently didn't have a reamer. That being said they do have a  20 LBC and when they get some stock in I'll get one of those.

 

I admire your machining skills. I wish I had gotten in to that end of it at a younger age...lol

 

Greg

 

PS: Smart move avoiding the VMAX's at those speeds..LOL

 

The info i saw on the NXS was actually on another forum, do you have new updates on this forum?

 

I saw above you said 22 LBC has more case capacity than NXS? 

What are your measured H20 #'s if you dont mind? 

 

Im new to this forum and havent seen your 243 build yet.. will have to look for it. 

 

Thanks, for sure being able to make your ideas materialize into reality is ....NICE! 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, ES350 said:

 

The info i saw on the NXS was actually on another forum, do you have new updates on this forum?

 

I saw above you said 22 LBC has more case capacity than NXS? 

What are your measured H20 #'s if you dont mind? 

 

Im new to this forum and havent seen your 243 build yet.. will have to look for it. 

 

Thanks, for sure being able to make your ideas materialize into reality is ....NICE! 

 

 

 

Yes the capacity is bigger on the LBC over the NXS by about 2%. Basically a bit of a wash as the NXS runs at higher pressure.

 

In MY guns hers' a quick comparison:

 

CASE CAPACITY 223’s

 

223 WIN SX    31.26       1.760

22 VALKYRIE 32.10       1.600

22 NOSGAR    35.78       1.760

22 NOSLER     36.87       1.760

22X6.8            35.24       1.686

22-NXS           37.30       1.775

22 LBC           37.96       1.520

 

I've shot the NXS with 50 to 80's. I've shot the LBC with 50-77's. I need to shoot some 40's in it and some 80's for grins.  BTW a quick way to do the LBC brass is to use the ARC die without any guts and then finish it of with a Redding bushing Type S to save some tedious necking down. 

 

Greg

 

Here's the 243 LBC thread on the RUGAGE.

 

243 LBC/RUGAGE

 

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4 minutes ago, GLShooter said:

 

Yes the capacity is bigger on the LBC over the NXS by about 2%. Basically a bit of a wash as the NXS runs at higher pressure.

 

In MY guns hers' a quick comparison:

 

CASE CAPACITY 223’s

 

223 WIN SX    31.26       1.760

22 VALKYRIE 32.10       1.600

22 NOSGAR    35.78       1.760

22 NOSLER     36.87       1.760

22X6.8            35.24       1.686

22-NXS           37.30       1.775

22 LBC           37.96       1.520

 

I've shot the NXS with 50 to 80's. I've shot the LBC with 50-77's. I need to shoot some 40's in it and some 80's for grins.  BTW a quick way to do the LBC brass is to use the ARC die without any guts and then finish it of with a Redding bushing Type S to save some tedious necking down. 

 

Greg

 

Here's the 243 LBC thread on the RUGAGE.

 

243 LBC/RUGAGE

 

Thanks for the info and the link will check it out.

 

Interesting on the H20 #'s ,

Your LBC chamber is a Grendel necked down without moving shoulder or changing shoulder angle? 

 

What brass was 37.96 gr of H20? 

 

#'s for my brass from IMP 40° chamber is....

 

Hornady 6.5.  36.3 @1.52

Norma 22 PPC 37.5@ 1.515

The PPC  takes 6+ firings to grow to 1.51.....

 

I find that PPC brass ( Lapua 220 Russian would be same) is much easier/faster to make brass from.

I run a .241 mandrel  the run through my size die to fireform.

But ARC die would work great if not changing shoulder angle. 

 

 

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Straight neck down on the Grendel brass in all LBC's. To paraphrase a great man, " I don't shoot Grendel cases much been when I do it's always Lapua..LOL"

 

Honestly I don't think I've ever shot a piece of non-Lapua in any 6.5 variant.  It lasts a long time and is locally available at normal pricing. I use a crap-ton of it in all these cases. :ack:

 

Greg

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5 minutes ago, GLShooter said:

Straight neck down on the Grendel brass in all LBC's. To paraphrase a great man, " I don't shoot Grendel cases much been when I do it's always Lapua..LOL"

 

Honestly I don't think I've ever shot a piece of non-Lapua in any 6.5 variant.  It lasts a long time and is locally available at normal pricing. I use a crap-ton of it in all these cases. :ack:

 

Greg

Well , this post just cost me some more money...lol 

Gonna have to get some Lapua brass !!! 

 

From other guys running 224 Grendel , (straight grendel necked down)   Hornady  and Norma i am right at 2 gr more capacity...... Lapua brass should put me somewhere around 40 gr H20!

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I'm well known for spending others money.

 

Greg

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13 minutes ago, GLShooter said:

I'm well known for spending others money.

 

Greg

I can see that,  i know all about it, lots of guys wives forbid them to talk to me! Lol

Even lots of guys say im a bad influence.....

 

 

 

 

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Yeah I think I'm on ignore here thanks to some guys wife's.   

 

I noticed on reviewing this thread I have two sets of targets transposed. I'll fix that tomorrow.

 

One thing I have found is that some of these guns shoot so well I can't remember just exactly how well they really do shoot. Back last century when I only had a couple AR's in 233 and 6X45 it was easy to keep track. Now the tiny groups just blur together. Since I've been here I have seen a steady improvement in shooting skills on the forum and one heck of a lot more documentation. Both great improvements.

 

Greg

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I am impressed with the accuracy of this chamber . 

The best loads for each rifle will consistently shoot in the 3's or most times less as long as i do my job.

 

The 7 Twist Savage shooting 88 ELDM's at 3000 fps is consistently. 25" or less for 5 shots. 

Same with the 8 twist Ruger  with 80 ELDM's @3120.

 

Shot the Ruger  at a 1000 yd range month or so ago (before i built savage)  

Most of the .5   moa or smaller plates  had fresh paint on until i got there..... the only one i could not connect on was the 4" @ 1000 yd and was because of CRAZY switching winds. 

 

Another guy building a 22 Grinch sent me a copy of his  reamer print , dimensions are really close to what i machined.

 

I dont have a photo bucket account anymore or would post pics here of some groups i shot.

 

  I have them posted on other forums as well as FB if anyone is interested.

Edited by ES350

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It sounds like you hit the sweet spot on your work.  The case just really performs basically every time anyone works with it.

 

I use IMGUR now and it has served me well plus it is free.

 

Greg

 

PS: Went back and corrected the cross posting on the groups and descriptions.. Always believe the target and not the write up..LOL

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For sure, the PPC/Grendel case seems to perform GREAT  no matter how people chop it up or form it.

 

I finally got to try it out on coyotes, Savage 7 Twist/88 ELDM/Varget  @ 3000 fps.

 

Yesterday was a miss at somewhere around 460 yd.... 

Coyote could be seen just over the crest of a hill (hill 399 yd)..... on other side of valley was some weeds at 633 yd could not get a range on coyote so dialed for 500.... bullet went couple inches over him ..... he didnt know which way to run lol but didnt stop for another shot just ran every direction for a bit before running into standing corn.

 

This morning had another encounter at 240 yds that ended in my favor... 

Standing facing away ,yote's south end was sent skyward on impact , landing in a crumpled pile. Maybe i should call my example 22 Dirt nap or 22 DRT LOL.

 

Yesterday i did a little chrono testing with 75  BTHP and H4350 in the Ruger 8 twist....

 

Ran them up to 3340 fps , primers were catering at this level (and lower levels) but no ejector mark/swipe on case and case expansion numbers were not bad at all.

Being you have a Ruger you probably see the catering primers most are known for...although i KNOW this is a high pressure load. 

For reference ,

22 Nosler data list 32.7 gr /4350 /75 BTHP (compressed load) @ 3049 fpsfps@ 53,700 psi..... 

Being case capacity is close i use 22 Nosler Data (starting loads) as an idea of where to start .

 

I need to bush the bolt or machine a larger pin and retest . 

Was shooting the 75's/4350 at 3206 av with no  pressure signs but accuracy was not impressive compared to other loads in this rifle but still plenty good even on .5 moa plates out too 800 yd.

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On the Ruger I am seeing cratering at low pressures. I have a couple Remingtons that do the same. I watch for it but ignore it. I start looking at the prier edges at that point. If it's rounded like a hump back whale I ignore it. If the edges are squaring up and flattening is being exhibited I go by that.  I am going to contact GRETAN down in Texas to see if he can bush this one If I can't find anyone locally that can do it in a timely manner.

 

I use the  ARC data for starters as it is really translatable and makes life easier across the board as they have bolt gun and auto data out there now.

 

Greg

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