Best .223 Load

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by FTK87, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    I'm looking for a .223 load just for plinking and burning up ammo. I'm getting an AR-15 this weekend and have a couple of questions as I generally load for accuracy.

    1) When making a plinking round that doesn't have to have MOA accuracy, or stopping power for that matter, do you need to test several loads?

    2) If I don't need to test several loads is there anything wrong with using the minimum powder? (just to save powder for more bullets.

    3)Someone once told me that for an AR you need "small based .223 dies" is there any truth to this?

    4)lastly, the components I have to use are 55 gr. Hornady SP, Varget, and some H4350(which I'm not sure if I can use for this load anyhow, i don't have my manual here) so out of those does anyone have a good beer can shooting load?

    Like I mentioned, I don't need anything really accurate or powerful, just somthing to send lead downrange. Thanks for input

    FTK
  2. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    I use 26.0 grains of W748 for my 55 gr. .223. It gives me excellent performance in my Mini-14, so I would think it would also work good in your AR-15. COL is 2.20" for this load Another one I like is 25.5 grains of H4895 that is a good load for 55 gr. .223 loads. :)
  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    If you have read the history of the M-16 (the AR-15 in full auto or burst fire for the military) you would know that the powder used for these guns could be tricky to pick. It seems Gene Stoner developed the gun for one type of powder and the Military, in all its wisdom and by committee, decided to change powder types. The result was not good. So........

    You need to research reloading manuals to find reloading recipes expressly for the AR platform, not ones developed for varmint bolt guns. The Sixth Edition (and perhaps even later editions) of the Hornady Reloading manual has a section on the 5.56 x 45 mm NATO round (.223 in military uniform with a few slightly different dimension). The powder and bullet suggested there are the ones to use. Other reloading manuals and AR specific books may also have similar section expressly for the AR. It makes no sense to reveal the problems of old by not heeding the lessons of history on the AR.

    Anyway that's my opinion.

    LDBennett
  4. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    Good info LD I will definatly check that out. What about the small based dies?
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    FTK87:

    I do not have to use the small base die and you should not have to either unless you start getting failures to feed. It is a tool that is available but not often used. I have never seen one. I have several semi-auto rifles (two Garands, a Hakim, a FAL, a modern Browning Semi-auto in 7mm Mag, and the AR -15 style gun). None require anything other than a standard Full Length Sizing die set.

    I never quite understood the need of such a die because full length sized cartridges reloaded with a standard die sets is suppose to reproduce factory dimensions. If the gun won't take cartridges reloaded with standard dies then it should not be able to take factory ammo as well (????).

    I will recommend that all cartridges that are to be used in semi-auto center fire rifles have at least a roll crimp. Better yet is the Lee Factory Crimp Die. It is more tolerant of cases just outside the correct "trim to" and "Max OAL" dimensions but ideally all cases should be within those tolerances. There is no need for them all to be the exact same OAL with this Lee die as they would have to be with the roll crimp provided by the Full Length Sizing die set (seating die).

    The Lee Factory Crimp Die horizontally squeezes the cartridge neck onto the case near the end of the case in about four places. The standard roll crimp vertically folds down the end of the case to crimp the case into the bullet, perhaps bulging it to the point where the throat of the case will not fit into a tight chamber. It must be properly adjusted for the exact length of the cases or the crimps will not be uniform (or effective) if all the cases are not the same length overall. The Lee Factory Crimp die is not nearly so critical in this regard. Unlike other Lee tools, this one really works with its only malady that the working surfaces (the collet outside faces) MIGHT gall over time of usage and MIGHT need stoning to remove the galling. Newer version than mine MAY have licked this small problem.

    Hope this helps.

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009
  6. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    One thing that may help you in the long run is to use some ball type powder, in that small case mouth stick powders are going to give you hell unless you have more than a lifetime to reload I know I dont :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    While todays ball powders are different from those of the the 1960's (I'm told ????), the switch to ball powder from stick was the problem faced by the Army in early deployment of the rifle in Vietnam. Seems a committee decided that a better price on powder was a good thing only to upset the operation of the AR platform. I say stick with recommended powders for the AR platform and avoid issues. Probably any powder recommended in the 5.56 Nato section of the Hornady manual will not give trouble and several are ball powders. As stated above, those ball powders would meter better during reloading, I would think.

    LDBennett
  8. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    I love AA2230 ball powder that was developed for the .223. It meters great. Way better than stick powder for the small case. I don't know what it is about the smaller weight of powder as compared to a .308 or 30-06 size loads with my Hornady powder measure but it seems to catch more kernals of stick powder & chomp them in half. I too have never used small base dies on the .223 for my AR's or my minnie 14. I did use them on ammo for my .308 benchrest rifle but that was because the chamber was very very tight.
  9. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    Thanks for all the help, I just bought the "Complete book of the AR-15" by Guns and Ammo and there is alot of helpful info in there as to reloading for the AR.
  10. mt_goat

    mt_goat New Member

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    What twist rate is your barrel? 55g bullets may be too light for a high twist rate like 7 to1. If so, try some 68g or 75g.
  11. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    my barrel is a 9 to 1 so 55 should be good, only should have to watch out if i try anything lower than 40 gr. which I have no use for anyhow.
  12. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    well I just loaded up some 55 gr. hornady sp, backed by 25 gr. of varget(minimum) and they cycle nearly perfect ecept for one. I need to shorten the OAL by .0200 and they will be good to go. since these are just for plinking/stockpiling, is there any reason to go beyond the minimum load, to save powder. They cycled fine, the only reason to change OAL is that they are too tight in the magazine.
  13. riverrat373

    riverrat373 New Member

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    I would recommend that you work up your own "best load". Always be careful of loads that other people recommend!
    ( Nothing personal guys, it's just good sense)If you do try their loads, back off a bit and work up to the load.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
  14. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

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    I know And if the rounds were for MOA accuracy i would worry about finding my best load, but since they are just for plinking, pest control they don't have to be the most accurate, just somthing cheap to safely shoot.
  15. GW1

    GW1 New Member

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    H335 is a very good powder. Small ball powder and you use less per load than others. Also IMR4198 has proven to be a very accurate powder in my AR15 once I worked it up to my rifle. Made a great varmint round using 55gr varmint nightmare bullets. You will have to work your way up to a load. Do start low and you never know, you may find that your rifle likes a low powder load.

    GW1--
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