Reloading 5.56 with MilSurp Components

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by zant, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. zant

    zant Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    Got a bunch of LC brass-bought 2k-55gr FMJ-and a 8lb can of 844 pulldown...Normally I reload with non-milsurp powder so specs are really throwing me....every book/site is giving me way different specs on the powder-some say 23gr,some 25gr and a few at 28gr...too much varience for me(oh and SOMEONE shot my Chrono:))...I'm shooting a 16" HB...any thoughts/facts would be appreciated Thx..
  2. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    If you don't know the lot number for your powder, you're going to be in trouble. From what I understand, powders used by commercial ammo makers aren't quite like the typical powders you use off the shelf at your local gun shop. There is some variation between lots, but the ammo factories have the equipment to measure pressures and adjust loadings accordingly. It's really unlikely you have the same equipment available.

    In order to find safe loads for your powder, you need to find out the safe data for that exact powder you have. You need data for your lot.

    This is how I understand it; someone else may come along and correct me in a bit, as I have never used any surplus powder. Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011

  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    CJ is right. Some of the ol timer reloaders may chime in with some data, but this is exactly why I steer clear of milsurp pulldowns. As a gunsmith i have seen too many blown up guns from folks using them.

    I did just pilfer thru my data sheets and also confirmed the rumor by google, but it seems WC844 can be carefully developed with reloading data for H335. Be careful and mind your pressures. General consensus is that WC844 is a tad faster than H335, so you will hit pressure spike a tad sooner with H335 data. Again.. tread carefully.
  4. skyfire1

    skyfire1 Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    South Florida
    You know there was a reason I didn't purchase that great deal I saw the other day on WC844 or 846
  5. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    Yep, unpredictable burn rates for sure, sometimes its good and sometimes you will overpressure loads even when using a suggested minimum load as I did on my M1A, turned in to fertilizer in a hurry
  6. medalguy

    medalguy Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    I use a lot of pulldown powder but I've been reloading for 45 years. Here's the scoop. Commercial powders which are called cannister grade are formulated and adjusted to have the same burn rate from lot to lot, so the can of Unique you buy today will have the same burn rate as the can you bought in 1995. More or less. Military powder is what is called bulk grade. It is also made in large lots, but the lots are tested to determine burn rate and velocity, and the load is adjusted to meet the desired rate. For that reason, the load will usually vary slightly from lot to lot of ammunition.

    When you buy bulk grade powder, it is imperative that you use a chrono to determine the velocity you get from a specific load. And yes, if you buy another container of a different lot number, you have to do the development all over again. However, the powder doesn't usually vary all THAT much from lot to lot. Specifically, I have used two different lots of WC846 to load 7.62 NATO ball ammo, and the load to achieve the desired velocity of 2800 fps varied about 0.4 gr from lot to lot. Now if you're loading near max, that difference can be very important. Personally I load quite a bit below max-- hot enough to function my weapon but not much over that. To reduce the work involved, I have found it beneficial to buy the powder in large quantities of the same lot number.

    Zant, I don't know which lot of WC844 you have, but the last lot I bought was LC12610 and I found 25.0 gr behind a 55 gr M193 bullet worked very well. HOWEVER (caution here) I would strongly suggest you do a ladder test starting well below that load and work up, using a chrono. That part is mandatory. There's nothing wrong with pulldown powder, as long as you know what kind of powder you are working with and something about its characteristics.

    Use the load that will work best in YOUR rifle. What works for me may not work well for you.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  7. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    I agree. Use H-335 data and work up the load. I use 24.8 grains of WC844 under a 55 grain Hornady FMJ-BT. Very accurate.
  8. zant

    zant Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    Thanks for info/input..appreciate-its lot#12610(same as medalguy)...don't normally use it but the deal I got on a case was incredibile...friend misordered-he wanted 846,so I'll work up load...and get Chrony fixed:)
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