TESTED: Hodgdon’s CFE-223 Smokeless Powder

Have you used Hodgdon’s CFE 223 ball powder? CFE stands for Copper Fouling Eraser and is designed to provide greater accuracy for longer periods of time with less cleaning, making it ideal for competition and varmint shooters. It’s also not just for 223! 


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Cartridges Left to Right, .204, .223, 6mm Creed, 6.5 Creed, 30-30, .308, 30-06, 375

CFE 223 was introduced in 2012 and has become quite popular for the 223/5.56 cartridges as well as for similar sized cartridges like the 204 Ruger.  Initially I thought it would only be good for 223-sized cartridges. As I learned more about this powder, I was impressed with the wide variety of cartridges it is well suited for, from the little 204 Ruger up to the 375 H&H! 

About Hodgdon’s CFE 223

From the manufacturer’s product page:

This spherical propellant yields top velocities in many cartridges such as the 204 Ruger, 223 Remington/5.56mm NATO, 22-250 Remington and the 308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO, plus many, many more.

CFE 223 contains our Copper Fouling Eraser ingredient, originally used in military propellant, which greatly deters copper fouling and contributes to longer periods of top accuracy with less barrel cleaning time.
Being a spherical powder, metering is superbly accurate.
Available in 1 lb. and 8 lb. containers.

Burn Rate Analysis

As you can see below, CFE-223 is in the prime burn rate range for cartridges like 223 Remington and 308 Winchester:

CFE 223 Cartridges and Loads

*All data is from Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center. So far I have only used it in my 204 Ruger, although Gavin has used it for 223/5.56, 308 Winchester, and more! Accuracy and velocity are both excellent.

Here’s what Hodgdon’s load data yields for 223 Remington:

Powder Comparison

We compared four powders under the microscope: two spherical and two extruded.

Ramshot Magnum and Hodgdon CFE 223 are both spherical powders, which allow for better metering in a progressive press. Varget and H-4198 are both extruded powders.

We compared the powder lengths under a microscope and found the following results. 

As we expected, the two spherical powders were very close. Even with a 400x microscope, tiny measurements were hard to discern. We couldn’t tell a difference in the length of Varget vs H-4198, though it is visually obvious Varget has a larger diameter.


Hodgdon’s CFE 223 is amazingly versatile. Being able to use it in many different rifle cartridges makes it very useful for the handloader. It’s also formulated to reduce or eliminate copper jacket fouling, a big advantage for high-volume shooters. As a spherical powder, it flows easily through a powder measure, making it ideal for progressive reloading presses. Overall, it has several great attributes that make it ideal to have in your cabinet. 

Concerning limitations, CFE 223 is fairly fast burning for a rifle powder. As a result, it may not work best with heavier bullets in some cartridges, and will not be suitable for Magnum rifle scenarios. 

If you are looking for a powder for small rifle cases like  204 Ruger and 223 Remington, Hodgdon’s CFE 223 is one of the best powders available. 

Get the Gear

Find CFE 223 at Midsouth Shooters Supply or directly from Hodgdon. Midsouth Shooters Supply shows the 8 lb jug priced at $232.89 and a single pound of CFE 223 at $32.67 as of 4/3/2022. 

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Guy Miner

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