Handloading for an AR

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Hey forum people!

Not new to reloading but new to .223, and new to loading for a (fully) semi-automatic rifle (mid length AR).

Brass: Once fired, FL sized, trimmed to 1.745
Primers: #7 1/2
Bullet: Generic (RMR) 55gr FMJ loaded to 2.225

I've taken the rifle out once and fired a total of 10 shots (function test, I assembled the lower); 1/2 were white box, the other 1/2 23.3gr of 2460 - worked as I imagine it should (I'm a bolt guy :) ).

While I wait for a much more appropriate time to head back into the woods I've loaded the following in very small batches (enough to test functionality and get chrono #s).

24.0gr Norma 202
23.7gr 2460
24.6gr TAC
25.5gr BL-C(2)
23.0gr 3031
26.5gr Varget

Anything jump out? Any recommendations?
 

gmerkt

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Looks like you already know what you're doing. Of the six powders on your list, I use the bottom three. Your loads are all about in the middle for the 55 gr. FMJ bullet.

Re. the BL-C(2), some people might prefer H335 which is a little faster burning. Especially for the lighter .224 bullets. The BL-C(2) is preferred for the heavier .224 bullets, like 70 gr. and up.

I like the stick powders for bolt action .223's. But from experience, I know 3031 and Varget both work well in AR's. I also like H-322 and XBR 8208. To my disappointment, I only recently discovered that IMR 4320 has been discontinued. That was one of my faves in bolt action .223's. And worked well in the AR's too.

Another powder I use is Vectan 3000, which you can get on discount and comes in half kilo bottles which is over a pound.
 
OP
Benchrest
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Thanks for the feedback gmerkt, I'm hoping I can get decent results out of Varget, 2460, & 202. I have a good amount of each and none (actually, don't think I've loaded 2460 for the .308) worked with 168 SMKs.
 

Zathras

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I mostly use CFE223 for .223, but have tested a bit with Varget and it worked fine (shifted point of impact quite a bit, but a good group). Best of luck to you. You have inspired me to try some of the small amount of 2460 I have.
 
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Are you loading ladders for each powder or just randomly picking a charge for different powders?

For the AR I isually go with TAC, Varget, or IMR8208XBR and run the heavier pills like 69 or 77gr. I've got some phenomenally accurate loads with those powders.

TAC is especially flexible in bullet weight from my experience and gives great velocity.
 
OP
Benchrest
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Are you loading ladders for each powder or just randomly picking a charge for different powders?

For the AR I isually go with TAC, Varget, or IMR8208XBR and run the heavier pills like 69 or 77gr. I've got some phenomenally accurate loads with those powders.

TAC is especially flexible in bullet weight from my experience and gives great velocity.
Pretty much a random / bored in my garage type of thing, just to get a baseline of what works then go from there (again, hoping it's 202 and 2460 as I've got 8lbs of each).

When "things" settle down I'll get some 69gr MK or TMKs, and I do have XBR to try.
 

2ndtimer

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You should get decent results with all your listed loads, possibly better as you gradually work up the powder charges. I have no experience with IMR-3031 or Norma 202, but have run the rest of your group, TAC being my favorite with all bullet weights. I believe you will find 2460 will work just fine with most bullet weights. Be glad you have an 8 lb keg.
Keep checking Mid-South Shooters Supply for the bulk Hornady 62 gr BTHP bullet (they are the sole source on line). Shoots almost as well as the Nosler 69 gr Custom Competition and just behind the Sierra Match King at less than half the price (pre-panic, anyway). They have been out of stock for a few months, but aren’t discontinued, according to Mid-South. Apparently, Hornady just can’t say when Mid-South can expect to receive another shipment.
 
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2460 should be right in the wheelhouse for burn rate for 55gr-62gr plinkers, I don't have any experience with it though.

For my 55gr plinkers I use H335 or WC-844, a very similar milsurp powder, at velocities around 2900fps out of a 16" barrel. Its accurate, and doesn't seem to be pushing my brass too hard.
 

gmerkt

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bulk Hornady 62 gr BTHP bullet (they are the sole source on line).
Yes, this is a good bullet. Midway has sold these as factory seconds in 100 count boxes from time to time. Ordinarily, as you say, it's a bulk bullet. I've looked it up in the Hornady line-up and found it before, offered only in four figure bulk packaging. I looked just now, can't seem to find it but it may be there somewhere.

Back to the OP, I should add that 748 is a powder that I've used in .223 for many years with success. A couple of other stick powders I've used, IMR 4895. Also both 4198's but they are crunchy through my powder meter. I think I've reached the end of the line with my 4198 and won't be going back.
 

v0lcom13sn0w

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Hey forum people!

Not new to reloading but new to .223, and new to loading for a (fully) semi-automatic rifle (mid length AR).

Brass: Once fired, FL sized, trimmed to 1.745
Primers: #7 1/2
Bullet: Generic (RMR) 55gr FMJ loaded to 2.225

I've taken the rifle out once and fired a total of 10 shots (function test, I assembled the lower); 1/2 were white box, the other 1/2 23.3gr of 2460 - worked as I imagine it should (I'm a bolt guy :) ).

While I wait for a much more appropriate time to head back into the woods I've loaded the following in very small batches (enough to test functionality and get chrono #s).

24.0gr Norma 202
23.7gr 2460
24.6gr TAC
25.5gr BL-C(2)
23.0gr 3031
26.5gr Varget

Anything jump out? Any recommendations?
i use both blc2 and varget. i also use h335. it burns a little cleaner than blc2. blc2 is my go to for multiple calibers.

my own rule of thumb is usually between 23 and 26 grains of powder(amongst the popular powders for this caliber) will be sufficient for cycling an AR. youre powder charges are right in there. i think youre gonna be good! good luck!
 

kisfish

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Are you loading ladders for each powder or just randomly picking a charge for different powders?

For the AR I isually go with TAC, Varget, or IMR8208XBR and run the heavier pills like 69 or 77gr. I've got some phenomenally accurate loads with those powders.

TAC is especially flexible in bullet weight from my experience and gives great velocity.
I run tac as well. I run 69 grain smk's. Shoots tiny groups and meters really well. Four shot group at 100 yards

0502171258a.jpg
 
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Nice group :)

I haven't nearly the expectations from my rig, figure it's a bit more 2-3 MOA stock :)
I would be extremely unhappy if that was the performance out of any of my ARs with handloads.

What are the details of your AR?
Got a good barrel? Good bolt? Trigger?

Is the barrel free floated?

If you've got all of the above I would expect a minimum of MOA with hand tailored ammo.

Actually I'd expect smaller groups than that with match grade Bullets and brass sorted for heasdstamp.


The following was done with mixed headstamp range pickup brass through an AR that has close to 10,000 rounds through it with a 1-4X scope.

image.jpeg
 
OP
Benchrest
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I would be extremely unhappy if that was the performance out of any of my ARs with handloads.

What are the details of your AR?
Got a good barrel? Good bolt? Trigger?

Is the barrel free floated?

If you've got all of the above I would expect a minimum of MOA with hand tailored ammo.

Actually I'd expect smaller groups than that with match grade Bullets and brass sorted for heasdstamp.


The following was done with mixed headstamp range pickup brass through an AR that has close to 10,000 rounds through it with a 1-4X scope.

View attachment 750612
1st venture into ARs, range plinking toy :)

PSA upper, no free-float, mil trigger, $80 Bushnell dot... If it ends up being better w/ tailored ammo then I'm happy.

For now I'll stick to bolt guns if I need precision :)
 
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1st venture into ARs, range plinking toy :)

PSA upper, no free-float, mil trigger, $80 Bushnell dot... If it ends up being better w/ tailored ammo then I'm happy.

For now I'll stick to bolt guns if I need precision :)
Understood. With a username like ""Benchrest", I'm sure you're proficient at putting together accurate ammunition. :)

Hopefully you're pleasantly surprised!;)
 
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