Nato 5.56 Questions

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by ChuckR, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    Hey Guys,
    Awhile back, with the help of this forum and all ther great people here, I started reloading .223 brass for my AR-15. Did my ladder tests using Varget powder and 55 grn bullets. My powder range was from 23.4 to 26.4, and again with the help of this forum was able to find a powder charge that with the 55grn bullet was a good match for my rifle. Now comes my problem, I bought 1000 new Lake City 5.56 brass cases. Wanted to do ladder tests to determin what powder charge of Varget and a 55 grn bullet would work best. Here are the problems I ran into;

    1- When loadind up rounds with Varget powder, going from 23.4 to 26.4 in .2grn increments. I could only load up to 26.0 grn as any more and the bullet would compress the powder. So I stoped and did the ladder test with what I already had made up.

    2- While doing the ladder test, I checked each bullet fired for signs of over pressure and found none. But I did have powder marks down the side of the case from the mouth area.

    Talking with the range master and a few of the old timers at the range, it was suggested that the Varget powder might be too slow of a burning powder for Nato case and the 55grn bullet and the case was not expanding fast enough in the chamber. And that I should try a slightly faster burning power or a heavier bullet ( 69 Grn was suggested).

    I wanted to run this past you guys and see what you thought, and if you agree with the above would it be better to go with a faster burning powder or a heavier bullet or does it really matter. Sorry for the long winded story, but I wanted to give you guys all the details I could. Thanks

  2. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    There is nothing wrong with compressing powders. It fact it is preferred by many. If there is load data to support the charge then it is safe to compress the powder, even heavily compress the powder. Working up of course.

    Now that you have "fire-formed" some of your new brass, size them and work the load up again. See if things improve.

    Varget is a slow powder for the 223 and as a general rule slow powders work better with heavier bullets.

    Got a picture of these sooty necks?

  3. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    Thanks for the reply, I was using my Hornady reloading guide and for the 5.56 shell it had no info for the 55grn bullet. So I was using the load info from the .223 section. I was trying to be carefull and not have any over pressure problems. SORRY I have no pictures of the cases, as I threw them in the tumbler when I got home. I bought some 69 grn Nosler bullets to try in some new 5.56 brass and will try loading 55grn again in the brass I just used. Again, thank you for taking the time to help me.

  4. Hedge

    Hedge Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Check out the Hodgdon web site for loads. Varget loads compressed at the weight you're using.

    Try some IMR 8208 XBR. I think you'll find a good load in the neighborhood of 24 gr.
  5. USMCSpeedy

    USMCSpeedy Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    Chuck, Is your rifle chambered for 5.56 or strictly 223? Most are 5.56. I've found that because of the longer throat in the chamber on the 5.56 that lower pressure rounds I load with mil spec brass in mine get a little black residue on the neck as well. I've never let it bother me and it hasn't affected the accuracy enough for me to worry about it.
  6. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    My rifle is chambered for 5.56, I also happened to meet a old friend of mine that has also been relaoding for many many years and he told be the same thing that you have. Again I appreciate the time to help me understand what is happening. I like to shoot the 55 grn bullet and now I can with the knowledge nothing bad is happening. Thanks.

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