Favorite .223 bullet-powder combo


April 17, 2007, 07:28 AM
I'm new to the AR world, juwst put mine together last week. I'm interested in some different bullet-powder combinations that have worked well for plinking and match target shooting. I've loaded up some 55gr Hornady over 24gr of H335, but have not fired them yet. I'd like to get some different weight bullets to try and would like a little direction.

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April 17, 2007, 07:45 AM
I'm new to 223 shooting (T/C Contender, 1/12" twist - rifle and handgun) and will be starting with a 55 grain HPBT over 26.5 grains of BL-C(2) for both.

April 17, 2007, 08:37 AM
P0832177 speaks true.

Now...somthing else to consider...a TC will like a diffrent powder than an AR...and a bolt rifle will like a diffrent powder than either one of those two.

HOWEVER, the 223 is a fairly flexible platform...and the BLC2 choice is a good one...I prefer it over many other powders in my Contender. Top choice is still going to be H-335, though.

Your mouse gun might not like that, however...you will want to start experimenting with diffrent powder bullet combo's...thats why you got into reloading...tailor that load to that platform. Be careful however...cases like mine I have a TC in 30 WCF and a Model 94 Winchester...make sure you segregate the brass and use diffrent colored boxes if you can find them.

Good luck guys

April 17, 2007, 08:48 AM
My starting load of 26.5 grains BL-C(2) is right in the middle of the minimum and maximum loads of 25.5 and 27.5 grains as given in my manual. How is this doing something wrong?

April 17, 2007, 09:10 AM
Thats a good place to start mek42. BL-C(2) is a good powder although, like many, after trying H335 against it in the .223 I chose H335.

H335, BL-C(2), W748, Tac, Exterminator These are all good choices to try with 40 to 60 grain bullets in the .223.

At around 60 grs and heavier many are having good success with Varget as well. :)
TAC is usefull with the heavier bullets as well.

April 17, 2007, 10:04 AM
I always have been the type to start low. I do this as 4 of my "target" loads for my 308, 2 for my 12" 223, and 1 for my 45-70 are all starting loads.

There are some folks out there that think accuracy and velocity are actually the same thing...in some cases, a rifle will shoot better with a hot-rod load...most of mine don't require this to get top accuracy, which is what my main goal is...that and a load that will also allow my brass to live a long, long time. :)

Lastly, all firearms are different...a mid-range load like what your talking about there MIGHT be too hot for a particular firearm...you would miss signs of high pressure and just graduate right to primers falling out and, in the case of a TC, the action being really hard to break open.

Just be careful and have fun. :)


April 17, 2007, 10:15 AM
P0832177, I am not asking for loads picked out of the air. I understand good reloading technique. I am interested in what others have found to work best in their AR's. Not a stupid, bang your head question. :rolleyes: I know full well I will need to work up the load that's not the point. The point is to survey the bullet-powder combination landscape to hopefully avoid wasting money on powder and bullets that don't work well together.

April 17, 2007, 11:14 AM
Lastly, all firearms are different...a mid-range load like what your talking about there MIGHT be too hot for a particular firearm.

Just not likely. The powder manufacturers go to great lengths to be safe with their data. I preach safety so I guess I should be agreeing with you, but I just have never had even a remotely hot load starting in the middle of established data. Be smart, be safe, don't pay me no nevermind. :)

April 17, 2007, 11:41 AM
Yes, work up the load.I have some older manuals with different max loads. Don't start there.The Speer 10 is too hot. Max loads can lock a bolt action up in hot weather. I use Olin 748, SR Mag primer and the Hornady 55 grain bullet. Hornady and Sierra both have techs(800 calls) that will help you.

April 17, 2007, 02:29 PM
In my Bushmaster varminter I use 24.5 grains of varget behind a 55 gr v-max and the results are great. This is a medium load, work up to it though:)

April 17, 2007, 03:39 PM
No you do not understand good loading technique as you posted you loaded up XX over XX in XX. First off, you did pick a load out of the air, reread your post? So this is Bang he situation

Next, the high end of 55gr bullets with H335 is about 25.3gr or there abouts.
A prudent reloading would reduce 10 percent and work up, so let us see?
25.3 - 2.5gr meand the start load 22.8 increment at 0.3-0.4gr on up or so.

No, it's using my Hogdson load manual coupled with my Lyman manual. Lyman says 26grs Hodgson says 25.3gr. So, 24gr is not a load I pulled out of thin air. I did do a search and found some powder-bullet combo's that were helpful. I just thought since there were so new AR owners and new reloaders a nice up to-date list of favorite .223 loads would be helpful.

April 17, 2007, 05:29 PM
PO832177....ease up on distra. Give your advise, but don't be so hard on him in the process.

April 17, 2007, 06:33 PM

Chill out, distra didn't asking for the perfect load for his AR he just asked what others are using. Unless you know some secret method for developing a load that the rest of us don't please share because I pick a random load out of the book and work it from there.


I am currently using 23 grains of Data Powder 2200 with a 55 grain Nosler BT or Winchester SP. My current load has been very accurate at yards in every AR with a 20" barrel and a 1 in 9 twist we have tried it in so far producing dime size groups at 100 yrds. Unfortunately, I am running out of 2200 so I will need to find a replacement. My goal is to choose a powder with a similar burn rate so I am thinking either X-Terminator by Ramshot or 2230 by Accurate. It really all depends on you gun, your ability and exactly what you want to accomplish. If you want a long range load you may want to go to a heavier bullet in a longer barrel and slower twist.

April 17, 2007, 08:35 PM
According to my Lyman manual, the starting load for H335 powder 23.5gr and the max is 26.5gr for 55gr FMJ. Soooo, that's why I selected 24gr as starting load. :neener: The air had nothing to do with it. :D

Now, thanks to those to post their powder and bullet combinations.
Summary of what I've compiled so far:

Powders for light bullets 50, 52, 55, and 62gr:
N133 (expensive?)

Anyone have experience with Accurate Reloader10X?

April 17, 2007, 09:03 PM
I prefer Varget . . . whatever you choose, work your way up . . .

April 17, 2007, 11:34 PM
I’ve had good luck in my RRA Varminter 8/1 twist (at 300 yards and less) using VV- N540 with 69gr SMK’s moly in a Wylde chamber but I’m above MAX loads for naked bullets.

If you list the twist and make of your barrel and what distance you will be shooting the people here could probably be more helpful.

You might look here -



April 18, 2007, 06:37 AM
Bullet, great info! Thanks for the links. My AR has a 20" 1 in 9 barrel and will mainly be shooting out to 300 yrds.

April 18, 2007, 07:35 AM

With the specs on your barrel and distance, then a range of 62-69 gr. bullets and either H-335 or Varget would be a smart place to start.

To make matters better, you can find on the cheap lots of pull-down 62gr. bullets and go to places like Pats Reloading or similar for pull-down powders as well. This is good stuff, I have 8lbs of it in the cabinet and as a typical ball powder meters very well and you will get a good, consistent burn, and its relatively clean. There are two types, IIRC...WC-846 and WC-844...and those come in two types...T designation is a Tracer specific powder. I am using the 846 as I use it for 308 as well as 223. He is saying that the 846 is almost gone, though...but the 844 seems to be holding up. :)

I suggest these items as it will allow you to do three things...get more comfortable with the reloading process with a "gas" gun, allow you to do a large amount of reloading cheaply (100 dollars for a 8lb jug of powder isn't too bad) and will give you a good amount of plinking ammo to get comfortable with the rifle and see what it likes to shoot as far as bullet/powder/primer combo's go. I hope this helps a bit and gets you going on a very rewarding and addicting hobby. :D


April 18, 2007, 11:40 PM
Here’s another link -


April 19, 2007, 04:21 AM
after reading a boat load of info online and in my books.
I started off with the following load
AA2230 24G
Hornady FMJ/BT 55G
CCI 41 arsenal primers.
using once fired LC brass

this is my start load and as soon as my buddy gets his crono out to the range
i will be working up from here.

April 26, 2007, 08:51 PM
So I made it to the range this past weekend and fired off some loads out of my Stag lower + model1Sales 1/9 upper. Let me say I'm REALLY enjoying this AR15 :D I loaded the following:

55gr Hornady FMJ
24, 23, 23.5, 24.5, 25 gr H335
50gr Hornady Vmax
24, 25, 26gr H335

Here are some range data (5shot group at 50yrd)
55gr + 24gr H335 0.59"
55gr + 23gr H335 0.99"
55gr + 25gr H335 0.98"
50gr + 26gr H335 0.28"
50gr + 25gr H355 0.39"

Those Vmax bullets rock! The 55gr FMJ are not bad either.

April 26, 2007, 09:35 PM
I first started loading for .223 Rem using the current Lyman manual plus the Hodgdon quides. I did encounter some pressure signs using some middle recipies which had me wondering.

It was only later that I came across the Sierra Manual data that has a dedicated section for the AR-15 which gives lower start and max charges. Since then I have experienced no pressure signs and really good accuracy.

My favorite load for 55-gr FMJBT is 24.8 grains H335 or 25.0 grains AA2230. BL-C(2) has also been great for me when using the starting levels.

Mr White
April 26, 2007, 10:57 PM
60 gr Hornady HP 25.0 gr H4895. CCI primers.
I use this load for 100 yd reduced course matches and it works pretty well.

April 29, 2007, 01:21 AM
I haven't loaded any .223 yet, plan to this weekend, but I bought H322. According to my Speer #13, H322 is a good .223 powder and is used by many bench rest shooters. (I actually wanted AA2230, but the store didn't have any so H322 was my 2nd choice based on the books description only)

Anyone have any feedback on this?



April 29, 2007, 08:42 AM
H322 used to be the darling of the benchrest crowd when the .222 ruled the roost (& some .222 Mag-ballistic equivalent to the .223) and even for a while when the .22 and 6mm PPC came along. N133 rules the roost now.

H322 should shoot great in the .223. I believe H335 may be the most used in the .223 with 40 to 60 Gr. bullets. I settled on H335 in my .222 Mag heavy barrel for velocity/accuracy. Never tried H322. I was hoarding it for my bench gun. :)

April 29, 2007, 02:55 PM
I played with H-335 & H-322, last year. Same bullet and primer. 3 different loads. HBAR 20" 1/7.
I saw no difference in accuracy. All about the same. Nothing scientific. Both good powders.

April 29, 2007, 03:32 PM
For shooting accurately the .223 at varmints 1,000 rounds per day with no bore cleaning or over heating, I like 15 gr Blue Dot, 33 gr Vmax moly 3600 fps in a clean bore burnished with Lyman moly bore cream.

April 29, 2007, 04:16 PM
I typicaly use BLC-2 for 55Gr. "mil-spec" loads, but the Varget works great for 62 Gr up. The great thing I've found with Varget, is that 40* or 110* outside, the chrono shows Varget to be VERY stabil velocity wise, which indicates stability presure wise also.

April 29, 2007, 11:55 PM
I am using H335 for the contender, and 4895 for the AR. I usnderstand the AR and Mini14 have a slightly looser chamber, so I keep the brass segregated, that is, the contender brass is only for the contender.
I neck size only the contender brass also.
I am using 24 Gr, H335 with a 50 gr bullet, vmax.
No pressure signs. I drop the load and recheck when I change jugs of powder, then work it back up. the company is pretty consistant from batch to batch.
BLC2, 3223, 4895, H322, are al good powders, so is Varget.
Get the powder in 1 lb bottles, and try several loadings of each until you find the exact combo you like: powder type, amount, bullet type, seating depth, brass, etc. Then bulk up on your powder and other components.
Good luck.

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