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  #1  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:59 AM
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Default AR-15 bullets: what do you use?

I realize it is not a S&W related question, but I take a chance.

I finally broke down and bought a new Armalite 5.56 NATO. I plan to reload it on my 550B and if things go well, perhaps move it to the 650. I will use regular hornady 223 brass.

I know a few people on this forum reload for the black gun, so I have two short questions for you:

1) What do you use for bullets? I was planning to use 69 gr HPBT, but is it a good choice for a short 16" barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 9?

2) Am I too optimistic in thinking to eventually use the 650B machine to reload the 223 cartridge?

Regards,
Guy-
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:06 AM
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Default Go to m4carbine.net reloading forum...

...many experts there. ar15.com is useful, too.

Key thought is "What do you intend to use the rifle for?" The answer to that question drives the bullet conversation.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:20 AM
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...yes I forgot to mention the use: will be for a new match we are introducing in our ppc league. Basically paper punching up to 100 yds, occasionally at 200 yds. Thanks for the sites, this is a new world for me.
Regards,
Guy-
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:38 PM
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I use Hornady brass and you can use up to a 73gr or so bullet with the 1:9. So your 69 should be fine. All depends on powder and what your gun likes. Both my bolt action and AR are 1:9 and i was shooting 55 grs and just bought some 68 gr BTHP to try those..

I load mostly for a bolt action so I only neck size and do not own a Dillon so can't say on that.

This link is helpful.

223 Rem + 223 AI Cartridge Guide
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:44 PM
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Beginning to Load for the AR-15 (223 Remington) | The Reloading Press

I googled your question and there is a bunch of info to sort through, of course. One thing I read was that a 1-9 twist works better with lighter bullets. So...I reload mine on a 550b and it works well.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

Hobie
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:07 PM
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I use Nosler BalTips...50 grain backed by H335 or AA2015 to acheive 3050-3100 fps. Its a tack driver out of my 24" Bull barrel and nearly the same out of my 20" HBAR. The 24" is a 9" twist and the 20 an 8". These loads are for P'Doggin and load on the slower side in case its really hot out.
Under 300 yds...1 shot, one less reactive target.
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmcgust View Post
I realize it is not a S&W related question, but I take a chance.

I finally broke down and bought a new Armalite 5.56 NATO. I plan to reload it on my 550B and if things go well, perhaps move it to the 650. I will use regular hornady 223 brass.

I know a few people on this forum reload for the black gun, so I have two short questions for you:

1) What do you use for bullets? I was planning to use 69 gr HPBT, but is it a good choice for a short 16" barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 9?

2) Am I too optimistic in thinking to eventually use the 650B machine to reload the 223 cartridge?

Regards,
Guy-
Sir, the vast majority of my AR loading was for high power competition, and I mostly used Sierra Match Kings: 77s for the 200- and 300-yard lines and 80s seated long for 600. This was for a 20-inch rifle with a 1:8 twist barrel. I did run a few of my 77-grain loads through a 16-inch carbine with a Wilson 1:9 barrel, and they grouped fine. I'm told that not all 1:9 barrels will stabilize 77s or even 75s. You should be fine with 68s or 69s.

With the case prep involved in bottleneck rifle cartridges, you can't really get the full "progressive-ness" out of a progressive press with rifle loads that you can with straight-wall pistol loads. You can still use the big Dillon, but at minimum you'll have to remove the case after full-length resizing to wipe off the case lube, and as long as you're at it, that's also a good time to clean the primer pockets, do any necessary trimming, etc. Once the case prep is done, then you can use the press as usual for powder charging, bullet seating, and (if you wish) crimping.

Hope this helps, and Semper Fi.

Ron H.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:42 PM
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69gr is a bit heavy for 1.9 twist. 62gr will work better.I stay with 55gr Hornady FMJBT. Cannot remember the powder charge and am not at home right now.
I reload using a Dillon 550B and/or a Lee Classic turrett. It is not practical to use a progressive press with a bottle neck cartridge that is being loaded for use in an AR platform as the case needs to be full length resized and then trimmed, etc, etc before dropping powder, seating, and crimping.
I also find that I can buy 55gr FMJ ammo by the case for about 5 cents per round more than it cost me to reload it. Don't know why I continue to reload that caliber.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electraclyde View Post
69gr is a bit heavy for 1.9 twist. 62gr will work better.I stay with 55gr Hornady FMJBT. Cannot remember the powder charge and am not at home right now.
I reload using a Dillon 550B and/or a Lee Classic turrett. It is not practical to use a progressive press with a bottle neck cartridge that is being loaded for use in an AR platform as the case needs to be full length resized and then trimmed, etc, etc before dropping powder, seating, and crimping.
I also find that I can buy 55gr FMJ ammo by the case for about 5 cents per round more than it cost me to reload it. Don't know why I continue to reload that caliber.
Either your getting expensive components, or you've got a great line on ammo. If I was to take the money for a case of 55 gr FMJ ammo I could buy Nosler 75gr OTM and be loading match quality rounds at a good savings. Your experience is not at all what mine is.

Agree on the case prep, I found it much better to size/decap all the cases first, then trim if necessary, and then back to the 550 with a universal decapping die in first position. Trying to do it all in one go did not produce good results

For the OP, Midway has bulk 55FMJ on sale quite often, and for practical rifle should work just fine. I load the heavier weights, but all of my guns are 1:7 or 1:8 twist, and work well with the 69-77gr weights. A standard 1:9 may or may not stabilize heavier bullets, but 55gr in your gun should let you shoot the eye out of fly at 50M. Enjoy your new EBR
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Last edited by 2hawk; 12-31-2011 at 04:03 PM. Reason: sp
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  #10  
Old 12-31-2011, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmcgust View Post
...yes I forgot to mention the use: will be for a new match we are introducing in our ppc league. Basically paper punching up to 100 yds, occasionally at 200 yds. Thanks for the sites, this is a new world for me.
Regards,
Guy-
Well, you don't need the longer/heavier bullets for 200yd shooting. IMO, best bang for your $$ are the 55gr FMJ from Hornady. Buy thru Wideners & they are $72/K. Very good bullet for 300yds or less.
I'm loading my ammo on a 550B using RCBS X-dies. No case trimming after the initial setup (supposedly) I have one test batch of 24 that I am monitoroing to see if I get any significant stretch. Use Hornady OS case lube & you don't have to remove case lube either, making progressive loading a better deal. I could set my 650 up for the 223, but hoonestly, I don't need the speed advantage as I only shoot about 100rds of 223 a month. I can load 400rds an hour easily on the 550B.

Last edited by fredj338; 12-31-2011 at 06:55 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:26 PM
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whatever is cheap and on sale. unless you have a heavy barrel target type rifle or just want "match grade" accuracy the midway usa dogtown 55gr sp/hp works really good. they are sold in boxes of 500 for like $45/so. alos check out some of the manufactures web sites as they sometimes sell overruns/seconds pretty cheap.
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  #12  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
I also find that I can buy 55gr FMJ ammo by the case for about 5 cents per round more than it cost me to reload it. Don't know why I continue to reload that caliber.
Where are you buying your loaded ammo and for how much per 20 rounds?

I load 223 for around $0.15 per round not counting brass. The cheapest I can find 223 or 5.56 ammo for is around $6 per 20, so I am loading for half of what new ammo cost.

To the OP, do you intend to load from a magazine? That will dictate your bullet choice to some degree. But for punching holes in paper at the ranges you listed, I just use 55 grain FMJ. By far the lowest cost bullet I can buy. I pay $0.076 each delivered.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:04 AM
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I'd be looking at the 55g bullets also or 62g pulldowns (m855's). 100yd to 200yds is point blank range for a AR in 223.

A common load that seems to be an excellent starting place for load developement is 25.5g of blc-2 powder & a 55g to 62g bullet. They to use faster burning powers in your short bbl's AR, you'll get better performance. They also sell pulldown powders (military sirplus) that are cheap & flat out work in the .223's. I like the 846 better than the 844 but that's just me.

Check out gibrass, it's a great place to buy reloading components in balk.Welcome to Bartlett Reloaders - Jeff Bartlett

Another must have for your new AR is a conversion kit (22lr). These thing are a blast, easy to use & you can get in a ton of trigger time in for little $$$$.

Kep um in the black
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2012, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
Well, you don't need the longer/heavier bullets for 200yd shooting. IMO, best bang for your $$ are the 55gr FMJ from Hornady. Buy thru Wideners & they are $72/K. Very good bullet for 300yds or less.
I'm loading my ammo on a 550B using RCBS X-dies. No case trimming after the initial setup (supposedly) I have one test batch of 24 that I am monitoroing to see if I get any significant stretch. Use Hornady OS case lube & you don't have to remove case lube either, making progressive loading a better deal. I could set my 650 up for the 223, but hoonestly, I don't need the speed advantage as I only shoot about 100rds of 223 a month. I can load 400rds an hour easily on the 550B.
Fred is giving you some good advice here. You don't need heavy bullets to hit 200 yards with accuracy. I use 55 grain Winchester FMJ to do local 3 gun matches. They are pretty cheap. I have not had good results with Accorr (I believe that is how they are spelled - even cheaper than Winchesters from Midway). My AR is also 1 in 9 twist. I load on a Dillon 550. Powder selection is important. The Dillon dispenses H335 great. I use 23 grains under the 55 grain bullet in (usually) Lake City brass.
As a side note, I have had to switch to small base dies for proper feeding in my AR. I did not get the X-die. I am interested to hear Fred's long term results with his X-Die.
Good shooting,
Mark
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmcgust View Post
I realize it is not a S&W related question, but I take a chance.

I finally broke down and bought a new Armalite 5.56 NATO. I plan to reload it on my 550B and if things go well, perhaps move it to the 650. I will use regular hornady 223 brass.

I know a few people on this forum reload for the black gun, so I have two short questions for you:

1) What do you use for bullets? I was planning to use 69 gr HPBT, but is it a good choice for a short 16" barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 9?

2) Am I too optimistic in thinking to eventually use the 650B machine to reload the 223 cartridge?

Regards,
Guy-
My favorite load is a 55 gr FMG pushed by 26 grs. of WW748. Been my go to load for years.
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  #16  
Old 01-01-2012, 05:17 PM
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The .223 is one of the easiest cartridges I have ever loaded, even when loading for the AR-15 style rifle. I have successfully loaded all bullet weights from 35 to 80 grs. for my DPMS carbine with 1:9 twist. I have used BLC2 almost exclusively, and it always performed well for me. The only exception was the 80 gr. bullets with tips cut off so they would feed through the magazine, which shot best with H335.

Dave Sinko
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:14 AM
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Very informative posts from everyone. Based on your comments,

1) I will go for the 55 gr bullets first since it seems to be the consensus for the 1 in 9 twist rate.

2) I will also decap and size on an older rock chucker then trim and finish assembly on the 550B.

I had 3 cans of Hodgdon Benchmark that I wanted to try for this new project....will see how it meters out of the dillon powder measure. All dies will be dillon for now. May buy a Lee FCD later on for crimping. I will also stick to harder cup primers like Win or CCI and keep my Federals for the bolt guns.
Regards,
Guy-
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:12 AM
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I've never seen an AR type rifle that wouldn't shoot the basic 52 grain hollow point boat tail match bullets well. All of the big bullet makers have one. Take your choice.

Benchmark will meter just fine from the Dillon.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:54 AM
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55 gr. Sierra spitzer will do as well as about anything bolt & auto & twist in barrel does not matter much. 27 1/2 gr of 748 will go under 1 1/2 inch @ 200 yards with almost any run of the mill gun with a good scope. They also make it more fun because they are cheaper. Stay away from fmj for accuracy.--thanks.

Last edited by 4barrel; 01-08-2012 at 08:06 AM. Reason: add to it
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:37 PM
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I agreee with others, 55 gr is fine for what you're doing. For further distances with iron sights, I use Nossler match 77 gr in AR with 1 in 7 twist.

I do use a Dillon 650 for reloading the 223. I resize and deprime separately from loading. I have one tool head that only has the resize and deprime die in it. I then lube 600 to 900 cases at a time, throw them in the casefeeder and resize them all at one time.
Then into to the tumbler and then to the trimmer, a Giraud, only way to go.
Last step, into the casefeeder. The tool head has powder, seating, and Lee factory crimp dies. Load away. It really is quick.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:47 PM
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I like 55 gr and 62gr ammo. I have some heavier stuff for hunting, but then again, I have rifles for most specific size game, and the .223 is a dog and cat bullet to me. (And piglets.)

For my plinking, and carbine shooting; Wolf/ WPA. It is 99% as accurate as xm855 and it cycles cleanly. At $190 per 1k rounds, I can afford to shoot a LOT with it. Yesterday with iron sights, my son took a 'yote at 170yds with the 55gr WPA in a DPMS carbine, no frills. It absolutely bowled the dog over, while trotting off at med. speed. The ammo is accurate enough unless you are going to try for less than MOA target shooting.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:19 PM
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Ditto on 55 FMJ over 26.0 W748. No crimp. You absolutely don't need a FCD. Best deal on bullets is the 55 FMJBT "mil-spec" at Wideners.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:57 PM
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I use 69gn bthp smk's in my 20'' bull barrel with 1-9 twist. loaded with benchmark powder.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxie View Post
Ditto on 55 FMJ over 26.0 W748. No crimp. You absolutely don't need a FCD. Best deal on bullets is the 55 FMJBT "mil-spec" at Wideners.
Look closer, the Hornady's are actually $4 cheaper bougth in bulk. Really a smokin deal for the high volumn shooter.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:06 PM
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Out of my carbine RRA I use 53 gr sierra hp flat base and LMR 4198 powder or 55gr sierra fmjbt with h335 same powder with 62gr fmj bullets
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