I loaded and shot my first rounds of .223 using Hodgdon H335 and Hodgdon CFE .223. I used the Hornady Manual data and loaded some H335 at 22.4 gr and some at 23.0 gr. I loaded the CFE .223 at 26.0 All the loads went bang. All of the loads cycled fine. All the loads were just as accurate if not more accurate than XM193 5.56mm and Remington UMC .223 (which I also shot to compare). The H335 at 22.4 left the cases a little sooty. The 23.0 didn't. Does .6 grains really make that much of a difference in sootiness of cartridges? Anyway, I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to do now. Do I keep loading closer and closer to max until accuracy suffers? Or do I just find a load that is clean burning and accurate no matter how close to max I am? What do I do?