Author Topic: Questions about loading 223 for AR  (Read 5544 times)

Offline Ken325

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Questions about loading 223 for AR
« on: July 09, 2010, 03:26:56 PM »
I am new to reloading and I have a few questions about loading Rem 223.  First of all I want to say that my new Remington R-15 VTR (slightly modified AR-15) specifies that you should only use 223 ammo.  This causes some problems because I keep getting advice for loading 5.56.  I need to stay away from 5.56 solutions.

First question- I saw some videos on YouTube about slam fires in AR platform weapons.  The person making the video (ammo smith) strongly recommended using military grade CCI primers.  These primers are harder and more resistant to slam fires.  The problem is these are magnum primers intended for higher pressure 5.56 loads.  All the load manuals that I have seen list standard small rifle primers and I am afraid to change things.  Any recommendations?

Second question- Should I buy bullets with a cannelure?  I saw on a forum where they recommended cannelure for semi-autos to prevent failure to feed problems.  Do I need to do something different when loading bullets with cannelures?  Do I need a special crimping step or something?

Third question- should I avoid certain brands of brass?  A guy at the range saw me picking up brass and told me to avoid Remington UMC brass.  I have a lot of Remington UMC brass and I would like to use it if possible.  As soon as I figure out what I am doing, and get a load worked up, I would like to make up about 500 rounds. I will need more brass if I can’t use what I have.

Fourth question- Any recommendations on a bullet for self defense, my barrel has a 1:9 twist.  One forum said use match grade hollow points in as big a bullet as your barrel will stabilize.  It also said to avoid varmet bullets. I am currently using 55 grain black hills soft points and I am a little disappointed with my groups.  I’m getting about a 2 inch group at 100yds.  The group has a horizontal oval shape and I was told this could mean that I am using too light a bullet.  I intend to try something in the 65grain range as soon as I find something in stock that I have a loading manual for. 

I appreciate any help that I get.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 04:39:42 PM »
1.  Yes, the cci 41 military primers will increase pressures.  (I've never had an issue with regular primers, i keep the bolt and firing pin clean. )
2. I have used both cannelure and plain with success.  Cannelure allows for a stronger crimp to be more certain that you won't get bullet setback which screws all sorts of things up including feeding.   Never had issues, you can put a sufficiently firm crimp on a plain bullet but you should be careful not to overdo it and damage the jacket.  Any crimp die will work but the lee factory crimp die for 223 will put a beautiful crimp into a cannelured bullet.
3.  Send all your UMC brass to me.   

Seriously the only brass I've ever had consistent issues with is AMERC sh*t. Pick up everything and inspect it, leave no brass behind. ;)

4.  Google Fackler's "ammo oracle" page and you will find that fmj at the appropriate velocity is quite damaging. 1x9 is likely suited more for 55g is 16".
 
Good luck.


Offline OJ

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 04:55:28 PM »
^^ what he said

BUT....

I've heard that Federal primers are a bit "soft", and so have never used them in anything.  I usually stick with CCI and MagTech.

I thought UMC was handgun only.  Most of my brass is Lake City surplus stuff.  Works GREAT.  I like Hornady, too, but it seems to be a lot harder - takes longer to trim to length.

For defensive use, I'd stick with factory ammo.  You're probably not going to be able to duplicate its velocity without having pressure problems, plus reloads bring potential legal hassles you don't need.

Offline OJ

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 04:57:30 PM »
Come to think of it, all the Remington .223 brass (R-P headstamp) was ridiculously easy to trim, suggesting that it's a bit on the soft side.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 07:27:31 PM »
The R-P is good stuff imho.  I like it because it is about the only "name" brand 223 that does not ever have a crimped primer pocket to mess with.

Offline Ken325

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 10:18:06 PM »
So the CCI primers cause higher pressures.  Do I need to find a recipe in a reloading manual that specifies CCI primers and rem 223?  I'm not finding that for REM 223 just 5.56. I am seeing Winchester primers or small rifle listed for rem 223.  I don't want to adjust the powder charge or change the recipe till I am more comfortable with reloading.  For now I want to follow the directions exactly.  I guess I will use regular primers and be careful.  I read that most slam fires are caused by a sticking firing pin or a dirty bolt so I will also keep the bolt and firing pin clean.  Just wanted to see if anyone had a strong opinion on this or had experienced a slam fire. 

Appreciate the information on brass and cannelures.  I will use all my brass.

I did not understand this sentence. 
Quote
1x9 is likely suited more for 55g is 16"
Are you saying that 55gr is used in a 1:16 twist barrel?  What would be a good choice for a 1:9?  I want to try a bunch of bullets to see what works best in my gun but it would help if I knew what other people are using.  I'll read the article you cited. 

Quote
For defensive use, I'd stick with factory ammo.  You're probably not going to be able to duplicate its velocity without having pressure problems, plus reloads bring potential legal hassles you don't need

I'm trying to stockpile a thousand rounds and I am tired of paying $10/ box.  I'm not sure how reloads will hurt me in court unless I make an exploding bullet or something.  I am also interested in getting a round that is dialed in for my gun and that uses high quality components.  I think my gun is capable of better accuracy than I am getting.  I don't think it is me because I can shoot a 1 inch group with my 30-06 using a similar scope.  I think it is my ammo or gun and I need to trouble shoot.  I am also very interested in learning about reloading because I think it is a good skill to have.  I think it will make me a better shot and let me shoot more.  I mentioned self defense because I was using my work computer and I do not want to ask "what would work best on people?".  At the same time this stockpile is because I want to be ready for TEOTWAWKI. 

Offline cohutt

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2010, 05:14:00 AM »
Buy a couple of reloading manuals if you haven't yet.  I have Lyman and Hornady and have read both cover to cover.  The first half of both is worth reading before you get to any data at all, as they will go over a lot of the little hows and whys. 

cci 41s are the military ones

cci 400 are the standard small rifle primers

Normal load data can be used with the 400s

RE: 16"
16" in length was what I was referring to.  
The shorter 14.5" M4 barrels didn't allow the heavier m855 bullets to adequately stabilize so the military had a choice:  Faster twist or longer barrel.   They chose a faster twist.
I was suggesting that a 1x9 twist in a shorter barrel (16") might have better results with lighter 55g bullets than 62g.  
1x9 is a good twist rate imho.  It can handle heavier bullets in 20" or longer barrels but also works well with 55g or even 50g bullets.  My 223/AR barrels are all 20" or longer (20, 20.5 and 2 24" ones) and all have 1x9 twists.  The 24" rifles are are tack drivers with bullets up to 70g.

Your reasons to reload are valid.   Not only will you be able to shoot more, you will find loads that put factory ammunition to shame.  
Additionally, the whole process increases your knowledge of guns and ballistics substantially and your enjoyment of all things shooting related will increase.    
« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 05:17:15 AM by cohutt »

Offline cohutt

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 05:25:06 AM »
223 / 556 Ammo Oracle referenced in first response:
clean version updated: http://ammo.ar15.com/ammo/
or "printable" version http://www.razoreye.net/mirror/ammo-oracle/



Offline OJ

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2010, 12:38:30 PM »

I'm not sure how reloads will hurt me in court unless I make an exploding bullet or something.   

You can find extensive discussion of this topic online.  Massad Ayoob explains it very well.

The problem is that the court will NEVER take YOUR word for what the load was.  This wouldn't seem all that important, until you consider the matter of determining the approximate distance at which the shots were taken, which typically initially involves determining the amount of unburnt or partially burnt powder granules on the "victim".  (the closer the distance, the more there will be)

Basically, if you shoot somebody at 30 feet with Hornady TAP, it can be proved that it was at about 30 feet, but if you do it with your own loads, the prosecutor can CLAIM that it was at 100 yards and you were in no danger at the time......and they won't accept any of your OTHER examples of the exact same load as evidence for testing, because they don't HAVE TO.

Offline Ken325

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2010, 12:21:32 AM »
Thanks Cohutt and OJ-  Excellent information

I have the Hornady manual and a bunch of really old manuals.  I need to buy more manuals but I want to try what I have first.  My rifle has a 22 inch barrel so it can probably stabilize a bigger bullet.  I knew about the twist rate determining the bullet size but I didn't know length was important.  Appreciate the help

Offline product85

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2010, 04:10:17 PM »
i 2nd virtually everything cohutt said.

you'll want to stick with 223 ammunition and load data for your handloads as it would probably mean that your chamber and barrel are not intended for use with the more robust 5.56 nato.

1:9 twist ratio in your barrel is the universal at this point though many manufacturers are starting to transition to 1:7 and occasionally 1:8, this means the bullet has made 1 full rotation in 9 inches for a 1:9. the tighter the rifling the heavier the range of bullets gets and lighter varmint bullets are not recommended for accuracy. from what i know of and have heard, with 1:9 you should be fine using 55gr up to 62gr bullets on the heavy side of things and i believe 1:9 is good down to 40 or 45gr.

When loading stick regular primers and reduce the maximum powder charge by 10% then work your way up. you can always get on the powder manufacturers web pages and get current load data. Many times using the load that is 10% less than the maximum published load is often more or equally accurate.

I use a 1:7 and i really like both 55gr and 62gr bullets. i typically load 55gr and recommend a fmj bullet with a boat tail, i have had much success with them compared to plain ol' FMJ.

On brass... i typically only sort my brass for rifle cartridges. Military brass more often than not has the primer crimp that needs to be removed using a purpose built tool. Beware when you pick up brass at the range, many people seem to think taking drill bit to the primer pocket is acceptable... this is where i think not being cautious in examining your brass will allow for a slam fire to occur outside of not seating your primer deep enough when priming. if brass looks like its suspect then pitch it.

Military brass is might be harder to trim for some people because it has been annealed(hardened). I have bags sorted full of hundreds of lake city, R-P, PMC and Federal. I typically just use the military brass for all my reloads, no specific reason its just what i use.

On ammo for defense... DONT USE RELOADS, read the article by massad ayoob and allow that to sway you... then for fun and bettering yourself read everything else massad ayoob's name is on.... :) People seem to rave about hornady tap... i don't have the AR out for home defense, i have a different preference but if the AR is your choice get the right ammo for the job.

Offline Ken325

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2010, 11:24:09 PM »
How about shotgun reloads?  My dad made a lot of #4 buckshot reloads and that is what I currently have in the shotgun that I use for personal defense.  Think that would be a problem in court? 

Everything That I have shot in my AR so far is 55 gr.  I wanted to try heavier bullets (62, 68) to see if it helps accuracy. I also want to try boat tail bullets to see if that helps.  I think my gun is capable of better than a 2" group at 100yds. 

Offline dracphelan

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Re: Questions about loading 223 for AR
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2010, 07:15:36 AM »
Quote
How about shotgun reloads?

Do not use ANY reloads for self defense. As others have said, it only helps the prosecutor make a case against you. To be honest, spend the $5-$10 for a cheap box of buckshot shells. At the short distances in most US homes, what you use won't matter that much.