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Old 4 February 2015, 16:17
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Anyone Reload?

I just finished my AR and would like to start reloading .223/5.56. The rifle is chambered for 5.56, 18" 1/8 twist barrel.

I am picking up numerous reloading manuals to peruse and learn from.

Does anyone have a good starting load using the 69 Gr. and 77 Gr. Sierra Matchking bullets that their AR likes?

Thoughts, input are appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 4 February 2015, 17:34
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Just remember that the max load in the manual really does mean the max load.....LOL
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Old 4 February 2015, 18:06
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For the 69g smk, are you loading for accuracy or for rock n roll?

OAL cannot exceed about 2.255" and still reliably be loaded into a magazine.

However, you will likely find the best accuracy from your weapon with OAL approaching 2.395". With most AR chambers, maximized accuracy occurs when the distance between the leade and the bullet ogive is less than 0.0010". The cartridge length needed to get a 69g smk into these tolerances far exceeds the length that will fit into a magazine.

Sinclair makes good sleds that drop into any magazine, facilitating single loading of your AR. If accuracy is your goal, then get one.

Good brass will last you many reloads and should be considered. Lapua makes good brass for .223.

Varget is an outstanding powder for .223, but you need a good powder measure to accurately meter it, because they are chicklet-sized grains. If you wanna just rock n roll, there are ball and flake powders that meter much easier.

If you get really dorky about maximizing accuracy, feel free to hit me up with questions. I have reloaded .223 for over 20 years, both for rock n roll and BR shooting.

Regards,
Danny
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Old 4 February 2015, 18:53
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Thanks for the input. I am interested in targets around 500 yards and would appreciate the input and advice. I have been reading up on Varget and will pick up a pound and play with it and see what it does. I have heard good things, consistent across all temperatures, consistent FPS, but does not meter so well.

With the 69 and 77's being longer, is it possible to load these two bullets, and have them fit in a mag?

If not at all possible, then I will look at the device you mentioned.
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Old 4 February 2015, 19:41
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It is possible to load 69 smk to 2.255" and retain decent accuracy. However, you will have trouble fitting all that shit in the case of you use Varget, as it is a big extruded powder. You would be better off with 2230.

The real problem is finding a powder/bullet combination that maintains accuracy at 500m. You won't be able to get enough muzzle velocity out of those bullets to keep them supersonic at that distance, while still loading to magazine length.

At those distances with either 69 or 77 smk, you will want Varget at close to max loading weight, and even then I think your bullets will go transonic before 500m, when shot out of an 18" barrel. You don't want to compress Varget (I.e. Over-stuff the case with powder) because it ruins accuracy in AR platform weapons. BLOB: you need to single-load .223 at those distances.

Varget burns slow, and it likes longer barrels. With a 24" barrel, you can smack the shit out of groundhogs at 500m. Varget is still good in an 18" barrel, but you won't get the same velocity. Once the bullet goes transonic, accuracy really suffers.

To answer your other question, 77g smk can be loaded for magazine length, but it has poor accuracy beyond 200m in an 18" barrel. I don't know of anyone who reloads that bullet to 2.255", especially with a 1/8 twist barrel. You will have far more success with the 69g Sierra or a 70g Berger VLD.

Regards,
Danny
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Old 4 February 2015, 19:47
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One thing to add -

If you want a good accuracy load out to 500m, for groundhogs or other varmints, and keep the OAL to magazine length, look at Hornady 60g VMAX bullets. They work great in 1/8 18" barrels and have devastating terminal ballistics on small game.
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Old 4 February 2015, 20:47
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Uh, 69's and 75/77's are easy to keep supersonic at 600yds, we use them mag length all the time for things like the national infantry trophy. 1000yds is a problem....

Try 24.0 N140 or RL-15 with a 75/77 loaded to 2.255. S/F....Ken M
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Old 4 February 2015, 21:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EchoFiveMike View Post
Uh, 69's and 75/77's are easy to keep supersonic at 600yds, we use them mag length all the time for things like the national infantry trophy. 1000yds is a problem....

Try 24.0 N140 or RL-15 with a 75/77 loaded to 2.255. S/F....Ken M
E5M,
I apologize for being unclear. I was speaking of using Varget and its limitations in case volume with larger bullets. When I go back and re-read my post, I see what you mean. You definitely have more leeway in pushing bigger bullets with smaller-grain powders.

You just can't push a 77g bullet with Varget, without creating a compressed load, when bullet seated to 2.255". That was my only contention.

V/R,
Danny
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Old 5 February 2015, 00:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EchoFiveMike View Post
Uh, 69's and 75/77's are easy to keep supersonic at 600yds, we use them mag length all the time for things like the national infantry trophy. 1000yds is a problem....

Try 24.0 N140 or RL-15 with a 75/77 loaded to 2.255. S/F....Ken M
E5M thanks for the load suggestions. Sierra lists 69 and 77 SMK's with 24.1 gr. N140 as an accuracy load. The same you suggested with an OAL of 2.26.

Would you have any idea about pressures with this load? Of course I will be starting below 24.0 and working up.
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Old 5 February 2015, 19:02
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Now for something completely different. A fun little load I use in my single shot 223. 2.1g reddot and a 55g cast bullet. Gives me about 1350 FPS. It would not cycle an auto but its fun as hell as a single shot. It has replaced my 22lr for small game up close. Increase the powder charge to 3.5g and you can duplicate a 22WMR. You can even duplicate a 22CB with velocity between 650fps and 700fps. That one is a tack driver in my rifle out to about 100ft.
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Old 5 February 2015, 21:12
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Quote:
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Now for something completely different. A fun little load I use in my single shot 223. 2.1g reddot and a 55g cast bullet. Gives me about 1350 FPS. It would not cycle an auto but its fun as hell as a single shot. It has replaced my 22lr for small game up close. Increase the powder charge to 3.5g and you can duplicate a 22WMR. You can even duplicate a 22CB with velocity between 650fps and 700fps. That one is a tack driver in my rifle out to about 100ft.
Sounds like a great candidate for suppressed shooting in my backyard. I will load some of these up this weekend.
Thanks for the tip!
Regards,
Danny
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Old 5 February 2015, 21:49
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Any chance to play with the powder to cycle the bolt, while keeping the FPS down? Or would there have to be other hardware changes to cycle the bolt?

ps. I do not reload but am looking to learn.
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Old 5 February 2015, 22:17
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Originally Posted by 8654maine View Post
Any chance to play with the powder to cycle the bolt, while keeping the FPS down? Or would there have to be other hardware changes to cycle the bolt?

ps. I do not reload but am looking to learn.
The short answer is that you would have to lighten the buffer, buffer spring, bolt carrier and get an adjustable gas block installed to cycle the bolt with reduced fps.

With .223, this still means supersonic muzzle velocities and mediocre accuracy at best in a DI gun. I don't know enough about piston guns to know if it would work though.

Regards,
Danny
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Old 5 February 2015, 22:22
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Thanks.
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Old 6 February 2015, 07:40
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Checked my log book - I've loaded the following w/ good results (1/9 twist, tho): Hornady 68g BTHP, 25.0g H4895, trim length 1.760, COAL 2.235. Siera MK BTHP, 25.0 up to 25.3g Varget, 1.760 trim length, COAL 2.245. Varget's a great powder if you're going to shoot in a wide range of temperatures.
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Old 6 February 2015, 18:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chesie View Post
Sounds like a great candidate for suppressed shooting in my backyard. I will load some of these up this weekend.
Thanks for the tip!
Regards,
Danny
Be sure to use cast bullets, jacketed takes more umph to get it out the barrel. Stuck jacketed in barrels suck.
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Old 6 February 2015, 20:32
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Be sure to use cast bullets, jacketed takes more umph to get it out the barrel. Stuck jacketed in barrels suck.
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Old 6 February 2015, 21:06
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Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
Just remember that the max load in the manual really does mean the max load.....LOL
This is not sound guidance for a first time reloader.

If you shoot used brass, especially from a semiauto, you will no doubt have to trim your brass. I mention this as I am wrestling with the same issue and my new case trimmer. Lots of youtube stuff on it, but its a must for reloaded .223.
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Old 11 March 2015, 17:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
This is not sound guidance for a first time reloader.

If you shoot used brass, especially from a semiauto, you will no doubt have to trim your brass. I mention this as I am wrestling with the same issue and my new case trimmer. Lots of youtube stuff on it, but its a must for reloaded .223.
I missed this earlier.

If you're reloading lots of brass, there's the Gracie and the Giraud trimmers.

http://www.matchprep.com/trimmer.htm
http://www.giraudtool.com/prod02.htm

I've got a couple Gracies because the Girauds weren't invented yet, but the Giraud is the better unit. That said the Gracie will still be running for your kids if you take care of it (lube, clean up chips, basic stuff)

I have a couple of hand powered units for limited run, off the wall stuff (.43 Mauser, WTF?) but every time I use them I appreciate the Gracies. S/F.....Ken M
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Old 12 March 2015, 01:10
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So I have a Dillon 550. What is a good powder/load for 55gn? I would like as much accuracy as I can get, with a more common bullet in order to shoot 3 Gun type matches. I'm trying to balance economy with performance and ease of manufacture..

With the Dillon and 9mm I have noticed a fair amount of spread in powder charge weights with the current powder. For rifle bullets I'd like to avoid this. Is there a powder that works better with the machine to provide more consistent loads?
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