Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Handy Handgun Holsters
Friday, December 9, 2011
Federal Guard Dog ™ Home Defense Ammo

Hodgdon CFE 223 Powder
Hodgdon is introducing a new gunpowder that precludes copper fouling in rifle barrels. This is huge, especially for shooters of high volume rifles like the AR.


Powder fouling and residue is pretty easy to clean out, but copper fouling left behind from when the tight-fitting bullet goes down the barrel at high heat/high speed is, at best, a real pain to remove. And if not removed, over time it degrades accuracy.


The new powder is called CFE 223 (Copper Fouling Eraser). It works in a number of different cartridges, but really excels in the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO and 7.62x51 NATO cartridges.


In addition to not fouling barrels, this new powder also is top performer in delivering peak velocities at acceptable pressures.


When the powder was announced recently, I asked Chris Hodgdon: “Does this CFE stuff really work?” Of course, he said yes, but also sent a pound of the CFE for kicks and giggles.


I did the normal things like load some and shoot it for velocity/speed consistency. It passed with flying colors.


Through the 16-inch barrel of an Anderson Manufacturing AR, a suggested maximum charge of CFE 223 powder loaded into a Winchester .223 case with Federal 205 Primer and topped with a 55-grain Hornady spire point bullet delivered a median velocity of 2,942 feet per second. Through a Colt M4 with 24-inch barrel, the same load delivered a median 3,134 fps. Standard deviation was 25 and 29.


I then loaded some Winchester .308 cases with a maximum suggested charge of CFE, using Federal 210 primers and 150-grain Sierra Game King bullets (great hunting bullets for .30 caliber) and shot them through a converted Mauser rifle with 24-inch barrel. Median velocity is easy to remember: 3,006 fps. Standard deviation was 36. Getting 3,000 fps out of a 150-grain .308 load within acceptable pressure is significant. Traditionally, it has been somewhat of a challenge to get that speed from a .30-06, for example.


Then I proceeded to load 100 .223s with the new powder and shot them quickly through an AR that had a fully cleaned barrel – running it a bit hot but not overly so. Following the quick 100 shots, I cleaned the bore over several days. Virtually no indication of copper on the patches – even after several days.


Normally, I would expect to see at least some green on the patches from copper fouling following such a shoot. There was the tiniest hint of a green tinge after two days on one of the patches, but it was so faint that we’re talking microscopic amounts of residue – could even have been residual, it was so faint.


Subsequently I corresponded with old buddy Ron Reiber at Hodgdon, and although he said they had not specifically tested for such, that the additive in the powder that precludes fouling, if anything, would extend barrel life. Not bad.


Looks like Hodgdon has come up with a real winner in CFE 223.


Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at


hodgdon cfe 223

HODGDON CFE 223 powder works great for high volume shooting.

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