.223 bullet choice for AR-15


March 13, 2008, 01:43 PM
Im looking to load some .223 for AR-15, 20in Barrel with a 1-9 twist, for anti-personnel. These will be my SHTF loads, for defending my family and house, plan to load 1000 rounds and put them in storage. I have a beretta 92fs with 1000 rounds already in storage, and Remington 870 with 500 rounds in storage. Looking for a bullet that will put a human down better than the military FMJs, I was thinking of using the 60gr Nosler Partition. I use my AR-15 for 3-gun and paper punching now, I run 55 FMJs out to 200 yards. At 200 yards with a 3x9 scope I can keep the 55s inside 5 inches. If I swap in a 52 match I keep them inside 2.5 inches.

Thanks, Mark

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March 13, 2008, 02:11 PM
Just about any hunting bullet you can name will be better then FMJ at longer range.

My mags are loaded with 55 grain Nosler Ballistic-Tips right now.

I'd look at them or Hornady V-Max in 55 or 60 grain weight for explosive performance at any reasonable range.

Notice what Hornady TAP Law Enforcement ammo is loaded with:




March 13, 2008, 02:33 PM
My M-4 shoots the 55gr Nosler Ballistic tips very accuarately (1:7 twist). Although I personally don't like the Ballistic Tip bullets for big game, they may be optimal for HD or varmits. Not sure how they would do against a BG, but I think they would do well, but not positive if they would penetrate enough if they were wearing body armor or kevlar. Any thoughts or experience with how they would perform on varmits, body armor or humans?

March 13, 2008, 02:34 PM
If you want the best bullets for people, I'm pretty sure the 77-grain takes the cake. they definitely work best for the 16" and shorter crowd, and we'll see what the other responses are, but my suggestion is to go with a heavy bullet that will break up well. That's the big advantage of the heavier bullets over the standard and light bullets in the short barrels, they are longer and so their velocity window for fragmenting is much wider.

Someone will come along shortly and either support my suggestion or shoot it down. maybe both. But I say 68-77 grain.

March 13, 2008, 02:38 PM
I'm going to try out some heavier bullet weights. My rifle did not shoot 68gr Hornady BTHP well at all. What brand in 77gr do you suggest. I think there is a Nosler and a Lapau isn't there?

March 13, 2008, 02:49 PM
You're probably going to get progressively worse performance as you go heavier if the barrel is already not stabilizing 68 grain. However, it has to do with bullet OAL as well as weight, and there also seems to be some voodoo involved, so buy small lots and try. :)

Consider the Hornady 75gr TAP as well. The lighter grain TAP rounds have penetration problems that, apparently, are not present in the heavier grain variety. The real issue is whether or not your rifle will handle it well.


March 13, 2008, 02:49 PM
NG VI, 77-gainers will not work in the 1-9 twist.

I'm looking for medium sized games bullet, I don't want the bullet to come apart. Does any one make a 22 cal bullet that is not match or designed to come apart on contact?


March 13, 2008, 02:59 PM
I would try the Barnes X bullet series or the good old Nosler Partition. Any of the cheaper soft points sold by Remington and Winchester should work also.

March 13, 2008, 03:20 PM
Learning every day...
I was thinking specifically about the 77 grain Sierra matchking, the one used in the MK. 262 Mod 0 that has been seeing lots of use in Afghanistan because of the longer engagement ranges more frequently encountered there. Every time I've read anything about short-ish barrels long bullets are always brought up. also I am surprised that 1/9 is not fast enough for the 77, learning more every day...

March 13, 2008, 03:31 PM
But I say 68-77 grain.Make sure they have a cannulure like the MK. 262 Mod 0 military bullets.
If not, they will not break, just maybe bend a little.

If the military didn't have to conform to the Hague Convention, they would be using the Plastic-Tip bullets too.


March 13, 2008, 06:46 PM
Odd how Afghaniland saw the first fielding of the 7N6 5.45mm Soviet round, and the Americans copied it several years later in their 77 grain 5.56mm round. Same basic idea, but the 5.45 still does maintain the British sliding steel core design, which has proven quite effective at producing quick bullet yaw.

As far as the OP's question goes, try a box of 60 grain and 75 grain Vmax bullets. Shoot them at various targets to verify your accuracy, and then through different materials to determine their terminal performance. I think you will find that there is a grain weight in there that will work very well for your intended purpose without too much "overpentration."

March 13, 2008, 11:44 PM
Sierra is now offering the 77gr SMK with a cannelure as a component bullet to civilians. As far as self defense all the bullets are compromises in regards to expansion versus penetration. Do you want something that penetrates(TBBC) or rapidly expands (Varmint Grenade). For cheap bullets Nosler(Shooters Proshop) sells blemished bullets on their website and I bought a quite a few 22cal 60gr Partitions in DEC for less than $14/100.They currently have 60gr BT for $12.95/100. the only down side is they charge $11 bucks for S&H so usually it pays to order in big quantities. They also currently have 69 and 77 gr CC in stock.

March 14, 2008, 01:28 AM
Be advised that the SMK 77gr OTM available online is not the same bullet used in the Mk262 which has a much different (deeper) cannelure.

Someone with more experience may be able to hop in here, but I have to say if you are going to load the .223 for the purpose the OP stated I see no good reasons in using mil-spec FMJs. Not while there is better rounds available.

March 14, 2008, 01:44 AM
If you can find them .... look for the 70 gr Round nose Speer hunting bullets. They were a favorite of the "short line" shooters who wanted to seat the bulllets close to the lands and still make magazine length. This was before SMKs came out in 77gr. Structure of bullet is more for hunting than match .... As with anything ... practice with what you have, learn it(distance, wind etc .. ) and make the hits count.

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