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Is there a standard beginners load for .223 in ar-15?


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#1 KevenW

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 07:58 PM

Is there a standard load for a beginner for .223/5.56 in an ar-15 16" barrel with 1 in 9 twist? I should be getting my dillon 550 tomorrow hopefully, and I already bought 3000 cci 400 small rifle primers today. I have some prvi partison empty cases that I've shot, prob 200 or so. I think they are crimped though and I don't have a swager yet. Somebody can recommend a good one if you don't mind. Anyway, I'd like to have some info on what to start off with. I do have 2000 once fired brass on the way from gunbroker. 50% lc and 50% mixed, some crimped some not. I don't really know what powder to get, seems like i'm seeing more people using varget than anything but Im not sure what number powder. I guess I'll go with some 55 gn bullets but dont know what brand to get really. I'm not trying to get super accurate right off the bat. just something to load and get the swing of it and do some just for fun target shooting for now. Please be detailed on the powder and bullets. Thanks!

#2 warpspeed

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:24 PM

There are lots of published loads. Pick up the Sierra Manual or Hornady manual. The Hodgdon website will also yield some recipes.

For a beginner I strongly recommend reading one of the above reloading manuals before starting.

I like Varget for a powder. I don't think that you will find a better powder for the gas operated 223 rifles. It may not be the easiest to get into teh case but once its there, it works great.

I think that WIN 748 is a popular choice but I have no experience with it. I hear it works a little better with the lighter bullets.

IMR 4198 has a good reputation with the 55gr bullets too.

As for bullets, the Hornady 55gr FMJBT are the best bang for teh buck. As accurate of an economy priced plinking bullet you will find.

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#3 KevenW

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:32 PM

thanks warpspeed! I have a speer 13 manual i've been reading. Just wondering if there was a common gererally really good load. I'll get into the speer manual i have and check em out again. thanks!

#4 technetium-99m

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:13 PM

25gr of AA2230 under a 55gr bullet is a great load.

#5 styx

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:50 PM

Try 24.5 grains of H335 under 55 grain bullets. With H335, you'll get more consistant velocities with magnum primers.

#6 DougCarden

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:31 AM

Please get the bound manual from Sierra. It is in the binder where you can add or take out pages to use. They have a section on .223, and also a section on loading for ar type gas operated rifles.
It is a must read if you want to load rifle, IMHO......
Best $30 you will spend towards not screwing up components or your rifle...... :cheers:

Oh, yeah........go back into the rifle reloading section here and look up .223, and spend a couple days reading all the info......good stuff from George and the rest of the guys...

Do your research, and go slow

Be safe,
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#7 punxsutawn

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:06 AM

+1 on the AA2230. It has worked very well with both the lighter bullets as well as the 69 grain Nosler BTHP's I currently use. I had been using W748 which did well, but the AA2230 really tightened up the group for me.

#8 Graham Smith

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:22 AM

Montana Gold 55gr bullets over 24.5gr of AA2230 just plain works. BUT... I strongly suggest that you start by shopping around your area to see what powders they have available.

As to brass, reloading .223 is a PITA because you run into so much military crimped stuff, and even if you don't you have to deal with trimming, champfer, etc. If you are just starting, do yourself a BIG favor and buy some pre-processed brass (already trimmed and swaged). You really will save money in the long run because you don't have to spend a lot of time up front dealing with brass prep.
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#9 KevenW

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:03 AM

thanks guys! this is the info I was looking for!!!!!! I'm gonna jot this down in my reloading notebook and take it with me today and buy some stuff! Much appreciated. I'll check out that rifle section also.

#10 MarkCO

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:06 AM

With 55 grain, I've been using A2230 or A2200 for going on 20 years now. I keep trying the other stuff, but keep coming back to the tried and true. TAC seems to be the best for me with the 69 grain slugs.

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#11 caz41

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:18 AM

Also if you plan on doing plenty of 223 reloading, buy the dillon super swage 600. BE sells them here and you will not be disappointed.
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#12 KevenW

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:51 AM

Caz, I'm finding that I should have went ahead and ordered that dillon swage...... I have 3,000 rnds of prvi partisan and just ordered 2000 polished cases off gunbroker, 50% lc and 50% mixed, some crimped some not. so i'm def. gonna be needing a swage. I'm hoping I can dig enough non crimped out to get the swing of things. I gotta go dig up a notebook to write these numbers down to take to town with me and get some bullets and powder.

#13 KevenW

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:07 AM

I have a lee single stage, does anybody make some kind of swage die that I could use on the press? i've been trying to figure out something to use that press for. Hopefully somebody makes something like that so I don't have to spend $110 more right now.

#14 caz41

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:12 AM

I have a lee single stage, does anybody make some kind of swage die that I could use on the press? i've been trying to figure out something to use that press for. Hopefully somebody makes something like that so I don't have to spend $110 more right now.

I can't help you out with the Lee press at all.

As far as not spending the money right now for the dillon 600 here is a link to what I started out with. It will get the job done, but if you want to do a few thousand pieces of brass with it, it will not be fun.

http://www.midwayusa...ctNumber=176759
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#15 KevenW

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:14 AM

hey Caz, i was told on another forum that rcbs makes something that works great on a single stage press for primer pocket swaging. I'm going to their site to check it out.

#16 KevenW

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:16 AM

thanks

Edited by KevenW, 18 February 2011 - 10:18 AM.


#17 major9

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:40 PM

The RCBS swager is Midway part number 447022. On sale now.
Ignore the part in the description that says "uses removable shell holder (sold separately)"
You do not need a shell holder for this operation.

I have both the RCBS Swager and Dillon Super Swager.
I'll say that the absolutely best way to swage a case is a Dillon 1050. :devil:

My next choice would be the RCBS Swager.
I like this over the Super Swager because you load the case onto the swage punch itself.
On the Super Swager, you load the case onto the support rod, then move the rod/case to the punch.
If you don't align the case to the punch, you CAN destroy the primer socket.
There is a lot of mechanical advantage. There probably is a trick to using the SS, but I don't want to play.

#18 NuJudge

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:56 PM

If you want to see how well you and your rifle can do, 26.5gr of 748, CCI small rifle primers, and an LC or WW case has shot little knots through every AR I have tried it in. It is wind sensitive beyond 100 yards.

I have 1:9 barrel that will stabilize up to 75 grain bullets, but it only groups well with the above load (others have better luck). I have 1:8 and 1:9 barrels that group beautifully with everything up to 80 grain bullets.

Be really careful with what other people say works for them in the .223. Different chamber & throat designs may well give you very different pressures than the other guy. Also, be aware that a lot of Service Rifle competitors regularly load at the ragged edge of disaster for long range use. Here is a website that lists what a lot of Service Rifle shooters like:
http://radomski.us/njhp/

#19 ScottyPotty

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 06:25 PM

hey Caz, i was told on another forum that rcbs makes something that works great on a single stage press for primer pocket swaging. I'm going to their site to check it out.


That will probably not work on your lee press. The Lee ram is a larger diameter than the RCBS and the cap on the swager will not fit on it.

Get a case gauge - this is one of the most important tools for reloading. It is also very very important for auto feed rifles. If you new to reloading then I would strongly suggest starting off with a few thousand pistol rounds. Before jumping into rifles - especially auto feed ones.

#20 twodownzero

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 07:05 PM

Please get the bound manual from Sierra. It is in the binder where you can add or take out pages to use. They have a section on .223, and also a section on loading for ar type gas operated rifles.
It is a must read if you want to load rifle, IMHO......
Best $30 you will spend towards not screwing up components or your rifle...... :cheers:

Oh, yeah........go back into the rifle reloading section here and look up .223, and spend a couple days reading all the info......good stuff from George and the rest of the guys...

Do your research, and go slow

Be safe,
DougC


This is probably the first time I've ever found myself disagreeing with Doug's reloading advice, and I do so reluctantly, but I would strongly recommend NOT using Sierra's loading manual for rifle.

Sierra's manual is notoriously conservative to the extreme, in my experience. Furthermore, it seems intuitive to me that the manufacturers of the powder, rather than bullets, is a better source for load data in general.

Also, my personal experience with .223 has been that all modern manuals are somewhat conservative when compared to older ones. Assuming that the powders that still have the same name have not changed materially, which I understand is a big assumption despite the potential liability if they were too different, it seems also that such conservatism is irrational, especially since I'd bet guns are built to much better tolerances and from much better materials than they were 30 years ago.

My suggestion is that you start with data from your powder manufacturer and contrast it against other sources (like one of the big-name reloading manuals). I also suggest that you use a chronograph. Even a cheap chronograph can go a long way with rifle cartridges especially.

If there's one source of data in which I have little confidence, it's that manual from Sierra. I'd come up with concrete examples of the differences I've observed between Sierra's data and that from the powder manufacturers, but I'm separated from my books by several hundred miles at this point.

While researching loads has never failed me, that particular manual doesn't seem to have much to offer the rifle reloader.

As always, YMMV, and my advice is worth what you paid for it. The best load is always the one that works best with your components in your rifle, anyway.
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#21 KevenW

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 08:01 AM

I have a case gauge for 223 so got that covered. I'm still in the process of figuring out how to best mount my press to my steel desk. trying to avoid putting the 3/4" plywood on top if possible.... i'm gonna use the desk as a general work surface from time to time also and it'll get beat up I think and look terrible.

#22 rsrocket1

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 12:42 PM

I have a lee single stage, does anybody make some kind of swage die that I could use on the press? i've been trying to figure out something to use that press for. Hopefully somebody makes something like that so I don't have to spend $110 more right now.


+1 on the RCBS swage die. Pick up a kinetic bullet puller and something else to get yourself above $50 and get a $10 rebate from RCBS.


If you have a Lee Breechlock Challenger, you cannot use the cup on the bottom to knock the shell off the swage post. The primer catch box gets in the way. You need to either make a flat surface for the cup to sit on out of a block of wood or simply grab the shell and work it off by rotating the head in circles until the shell comes off. This method works just fine for me.

And just like trimming, save yourself a lot of time by presorting those shells that need it and those that do not. Use the swaging post to check your brass to see if you need to swage or not. Then put only those that require swaging into a separate container for that process. It will save you time.

Edited by rsrocket1, 21 February 2011 - 12:46 PM.


#23 George

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 04:32 PM

+1 to 26.5gr WW748 under any FMJ 55gr bullet. Set OAL to 2.230-2.235" and call it macaroni. This is a safe load to just go and duplicate to start. Not minimum, but not maximum. Will function the gun and should shoot fine in most any AR variant.

Any name brand SR primer will do. Try to use one lot brass if possible to keep things consistent. Don't crimp to start and only taper crimp lightly if you do.
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#24 KevenW

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:17 PM

I have a dillon 600 swage on the way that I found cheap. Thanks for the help from everybody. Is $87 shipped for 1000 hornady new 55gn fmjbt bullets a pretty decent deal?

#25 George

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:43 PM

I have a dillon 600 swage on the way that I found cheap. Thanks for the help from everybody. Is $87 shipped for 1000 hornady new 55gn fmjbt bullets a pretty decent deal?

Yep, going rate for a good 55gr FMJ is just over 8 cents per so with shipping covered that's about right.

Gotta' buy 5-6k plus to get any better deal.


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