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I'm new to reloading and I've had fun working up a deer hunting load for my new 6.8SPC AR with an 18" ARP barrel. My old 6.8 SPC carbine (16" BCA barrel) liked Federal 115 grain Fusion (which uses Gold Dot bullets) best, so I bought a Speer reloading manual and a bunch of 115 Gold Dots from the Speer website: 115gr Gold Dot Rifle Component Bullet

The Speer manual said that CFE223 was the fastest powder for that bullet in the 6.8 SPC, so I bought a jug of that.

Last spring when I decided I should try reloading, I wanted to load 30-30 Win as well as 6.8 SPC. I had a variety of once-fired 6.8 SPC brass including Remington brass which uses large primers, so I bought a box of 1000 Winchester Large Rifle Primers since those would work for the 30-30 also. I figured that it would take me forever to go through a thousand primers, and I figured I could always buy Small Rifle Primers later for all my other 6.8 SPC brass. I never imagined that primers would be so hard to find these days, but that is another story.

After buying all the equipment and going through the reloading process I went to the range with a nice load ladder of charges from 30.5 grains to 33.5 grains at .5 grain increments, and two COAL's, 2.260" and 2.275". After a fun day at the range, it looks like my new rifle likes a load with 33.0 grains CFE223 at 2.275" COAL. That load averaged 2561 fps with an SD of 11.3 from my rifle. I'm looking forward to doing some refinement, trying .1 grain increments on each side of 33.0 and playing with the COAL a little bit more. But I was still pretty happy with my results.

After returning home happy from the range I read some posts on here which advised against using CFE223 because it is significantly slower burning than CFE Black, H335 and other popular 6.8 SPC powders. Some folks who tried CFE223 in their 6.8's even reported burning propellant coming out of their barrel!

I may be able to get even better results from those other powders, but I started thinking about why the CFE223 worked pretty good for me. I think that these are some of the reasons my results with CFE223 were okay:
  1. I'm using large rifle primers. I suspect that they get the full charge ignited quickly. Small rifle primers may not work as well for CFE223 in the 6.8 SPC.
  2. I have an 18" barrel. That is not very long, but it is two inches longer than most of the 6.8 barrels folks are using. CFE223 may not work as well in 6.8 SPC carbines and pistols.
  3. I'm shooting relatively heavy bullets for the 6.8 SPC. I suspect that the CFE223 works better with 115 and 120 grain projectiles in the 6.8 than it would with 90 or 95 grain bullets.
  4. I'm using the Lee Factory Crimp Die. The gentle crimp may also hold the bullet in the case a moment longer, allowing the pressure to build and fully ignite the slower burning CFE223.
Like I said in the beginning, I'm new to reloading. I'd appreciate thoughts and advice from the more experienced members of the forum.
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