223 reload question

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by jhanhart, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. jhanhart

    jhanhart New Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    Hi all just a quick question. I'm reloading 223. Rem cases with 55 grain Hornady fmj. Varget powder. When I add 25.5 grains of powder in cases it almost fills the case up. You can still put the bullet in and set it but you can't hear the powder shaking around inside. I'm new to this I've reloaded 100 9mm 50 270 rounds had no problem they shot great. But I was just wondering if this was to much powder. Thanks
  2. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman New Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Merrimac Valley, MA
    I have not adopted the find the right powder and load recipe that allows you to fill the brass to its max, but others have and don't seem to have any problems. I know for a fact a few of my reloading friends do so on pistol calibers as to assure there is never a double charge or overcharge - it would be very easy to spot when the brass/cartridge overflows.

  3. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    It is called a compressed load. Loads become compressed when the powder of choice has a burn rate that is on the slow side for cartridge. Varget is on the slow side for the 223. That does not mean it is a bad choice, on the contrary it is a good choice for the 223. It just means you have to add more powder to get the same results as if you were using a faster burning powder.

    Compressed loads are desired by many handloaders (me) and usually produce ammo that is both accurate a very consistent.
  4. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    Are you sure that you have .223 rem casings and not 5.56 Nato cases?(the Nato cases have a + with a circle around it on the head.) I ask this as I was loading for .223 and in one instance I noticed the powder (Varget) came almost to the top. I dumped the powder and recharged the case again. It did the same thing, when I inspected the case head, it had the Nato symbol on it. The rest of my cases where .223 rem and they were filling about half way up the shoulder. I am assuming the reason for the difference in space is that the Nato cases are a little thicker and does not have the space volume as the regular .223 rem has. I do not know if filling the Nato cases fuller with the same amount of powder is a problem or not. Others with more knowledge can answer that. Hope this helps.

  5. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    Chuck, Your experience with the 5.56 case is unusual. Most 5.56 Military brass has more case capacity that 223 Civilian brass. Did you by chance get a good look inside that Nato case and see if there was anything unusual like polishing media, dirt, mud or maybe a big ass spider?
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Compressed loads are common with Varget in the .223. 25.5 sounds about right for a 55 gr bullet in .223.
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I don't particularly care for compressed loads myself! With 25.5 grains of Varget, you are getting pretty close to the max load for 55 grain bullets, so Hornady #7 says. Just a suggestion, but you might want to look at the thread (up in the sticky area) that talk about ladder tests. You would probably be a lot better off if you started at the beginning weight of powder and work up until you find something that shoots good in your rifle.

    I was loading some 34 and some 45 grain .223s the other day and the Lyman #49 calls for start load of 25.2 an a max of 28.0 of Varget (for 36 grain). As I was loading up my ladder test ammo I found out that some of my PMC brass would not even hold 26.5 grains of powder, much less 28!! I am going to get me some IMR-4198 so I won't have compressed loads (the range is 20.7 to 23)
  8. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2011
    Wichita, Ks
    IMR-4198 is a fast burning powder, so the pressure can spike very rapidly and as such can be a more dangerous load than a compressed load with a slower burning powder like Varget using a 55 grain bullet. I think H335 would be a better choice than IMR-4198.
  9. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

    Mar 11, 2006
    NW Louisiana
    janhart...That is the very same load and components I generally load for my AR platforms...Fired a few hundred without problem..I like it..
  10. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Thanks for the info, I saw the 4198 listed in the Lyman 49 manual and it was a thought I might try. I will look at H335 loads and consider that, I do like Varget and use it more than any thing else, it just works in just about every rifle I load for.
  11. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    Thanks for the input, no I did not inspect the inside of the case. I usually do a inpection before I start reloading and did not think about it when the problem came up. I will re-examine the casing and take a look inside and see if there is a problem. I just ASSUMED it was the Nato casing as I have not reloaded Nato casings before. Thanks again.

  12. Regular Joe

    Regular Joe New Member

    Sep 28, 2010
    You were already right. NATO cases are generally thicker, and therefore hold LESS powder. The guy who says otherwise needs a few more decades of study.
    The other main difference between commercial and NATO is that NATO brass has slightly longer necks. Pay attention to pressure signs if you approach max loads with NATO brass. NATO loads are rated for about 6,000 psi higher pressure than commercial .223, but if your rifle is marked ".223", stay with a little less powerful load. Since NATO brass IS a little longer, pay attention to case length, and trim as necessary.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    Now now, no need to be rude, especially when you are mistaken.
    This is from the experts at Sierra.
    The conventional wisdom to reduce loads with military brass is familiar to most reloaders and is generally good advice. The rationale here is that the military cases tend to be somewhat thicker and heavier than their civilian counterparts, which in turn reduces capacity and raises pressures. This additional pressure normally requires a one or two grain reduction from the loads shown in most manuals or other data developed with commercial cases. While this is most often the situation with both 308 Winchester and 30-06 cases,it is less true with the 223 brass. We have found that military cases often ha ve significantly more capacity than several brands of commercial brass. Again, take the time to do a side-by-side comparison of the cases you are working with and adjust your load as needed. There may be no need for such a reduction with the 223. Know your components and keep them segregated accordingly.

    You can also go here and read all about the 223/5.56 case and case capacity. You will find that the Military brass tested has more case capacity than civilian brass.

    Then of course there is this.

    I took Sierra's advice and measure case capacity in grains of H20 myself. I have three kinds of brass, LC, Remington and GFL(Fiocchi). I tested five of each and took the average.

    GFL dry weight-102.4gr
    With H20-131.4
    Case capacity in grains of H20-29gr

    Remington Dry weight-95.2gr
    With H20-125.1gr
    Case capacity in grains of H20-29.9gr

    LC 5.56 Dry weight-96.3gr
    With H20-126.7gr
    Case capacity in grains of H20-30.4gr.

    You are mistaken here as well. The external dimensions of 223 and 5.56 are identical. The chamber of the 5.56 has a longer throat, but the case is the same. As this is a reloading forum, find us a set of 5.56 dies that allow for this difference in case dimensions you speak of?
  14. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2011
    Wichita, Ks
    I just did a side by side comparison of my NATO spec brass and Win, R-P and Hornady brass. Since we are in the reloading thread, all brass was resized and trimmed to 1.751 inches.

    My findings were that most brass for all manufacturers weighed from 91-94 grains and when comparing the volume using TAC powder there was basically no difference in volume between the NATO and commercial brass. For the samples I used, the NATO spec brass at 91 grains held more powder than the commercial.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of 5.56 having a higher pressure rating is because the 5.56 has a looser chamber than the 2.23 and as such can handle higher pressures without sticking cases. The brass weather commercial or NATO spec can handle higher than the rated specs, I've heard in excess of 75,000 PSI.

    As far as dimensions, my caliper, which is good to 5/10,000 of an inch, could not tell the difference between the NATO and commercial cases.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  15. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    The 5.56 has a slightly larger chamber than the 223, but this is not so it can handle higher pressure ammo. The 5.56 chamber is larger so that it will feed reliable in a dirty battle field situation. This is also one of the reasons the the long throat of the 5.56. It's the long throat of the 5.56 that allows to a higher pressure round. Think Weatherby chambers.
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