Just joined the .223 gang and need advice.


December 13, 2009, 09:37 PM
I got a early Christmas present today. A Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. Now I need advise on what kind of dies, bullets, powder and primers to use. I have been reloading for over a quarter of a century, but never loaded for the .223. It has been over 15 years since I have loaded a rifle round. I have some brass on the way from a friend so that is taken care of. The rifle has a twist rate of 1:9". I have been reading for the last couple of hours but still not sure. Any help will be appreicated.

Oh yeah, I load on a Hornady LnL, but was thinking of digging out my old Rockchucker and Uniflow measure for this.

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ole farmerbuck
December 13, 2009, 09:45 PM
I use a Hornady resizer die in my Hornady single stage press. I either prime at that time or hand prime. Then i use the Hornady progressive to finish the rounds with a Lee Dead length bullet seater. 40g vmax for the bolt guns and 55g vmax for the mini and AR.

December 13, 2009, 09:45 PM
Varget, RL15, or AA2230 for powder...bullets will depend on what you want to use it for.

But 50-62 grains in weight for the bullets...

December 13, 2009, 09:47 PM
I use Lee dies I find em good enough even for SD and target ammo, make sure you get the 3 die set so you can crimp your rounds for that semi-auto. For powder I use Tac for light bullets H4895 for intermediate weights, Varget works well for all weights and Reloader 15 for heavy bullets. If you get some military brass you will have to remove the primer crimp ring by swaging or reaming. For a 1 in 9 twist I would not shoot anything longer than a 69 grain bullet but that is just my preference.

ole farmerbuck
December 13, 2009, 09:47 PM
Oh yea, i do use powder. BLC-2 and H335.

December 13, 2009, 09:50 PM
I have case gauges for all bottle neck cartridges I reload for. It helped me identify a few problems I was having with .223.


December 13, 2009, 09:51 PM
I was thinking of using Varget. Nobody around here sells Accrate powder. As far as what I will be doing with it. Proably just punching holes in paper, I might use to go on a deer hunt later this year (223 is legal in Arkansas).

December 13, 2009, 09:53 PM
Punch paper with whatever you can get cheap...

Deer hunting with a Mini 14....use Barnes 62 grain TSX bullets and keep the shots close (those Mini 14's ain't exactly "precision long range weapons")

December 13, 2009, 09:56 PM
Thanks Ridge Runner, I don't plan on taking any shots over 50-60 yards. I will look into the Barnes bullets. The owners manual did say 5.56mm mil-surplus ammo is okay.

December 13, 2009, 09:58 PM
Yep...5.56x45mm NATO ammo is just fine in a Mini 14.

December 13, 2009, 10:11 PM
Try different bullets.
Use high-quality bullets.

Don't let the barrel get hot or "groups" will turn into patterns.

Get a device to measure how much you set-back the shoulder.


December 13, 2009, 11:05 PM
Lots of Info here http://www.6mmbr.com/223Rem.html

December 14, 2009, 12:20 AM
Wouldnt full length sizing with a properly trimmed case be sufficient for a Mini-14? I full length size for my FN FAL and use the crimp die and they cycle perfectly.

December 14, 2009, 05:22 AM
Buy quallity bullets, some H335, and start driving tacks:) I like Sierras, VMaxs, skip the bulk Winchesters unless your into bad groups:D

December 14, 2009, 06:01 AM
Any die set will work just fine. I happen to like RCBS and Redding dies, but they all work well. I have all major brands.

H335, TAC, BLC-2, Varget, RL15, AA2230, etc will all work. The .223 is not all that picky.

The Mini 14 is not a target rifle, so load work is that much easier. If you buy bulk 55 Gr FMJ for plinking, they don't shoot all that well anyway.

The new ones are supposed to shoot much better, so good bullets are worth a try if you want to work up an accurate load. Full length sizing is the way to go in the Mini.

I used to load .223 on a single stage, but my LNL loads ammo that shoots just as well, and is much faster. I run the brass through to size, then trim tumble etc. If I had to trim I tumble again. Then I hand prime and run the brass through again to load.

December 14, 2009, 12:53 PM
Thanks guys for all the great advise. I will go to my dealer and see what he has in stock. I will try to get some Hornady V-Max bullets and some Varget. I know that I don't want Rem. 6-1/2 primers. Is there a primer that works better than the others?

December 14, 2009, 01:42 PM
Winchesters seat easier.

December 14, 2009, 03:38 PM
Mags, What are you talking about? Brass or Bullets. I placed a order with Midway today. I am going component shopping later today. I decided on Varget and what ever bullets he has, he carries a lot of Hornady) and any primer except Rem. 6-1/2.

I did get lucky today at the range. The guy next to me was shooting his AR and left all of his brass. It was commerical brass of 102 rounds.:p

December 14, 2009, 04:17 PM
I have been reloading for my .223 for about two years now and, after much trial and error, I decided on Forster dies for resizing and seating. I do not crimp and have never had a problem with rounds changing length as a result of cycling or recoil. I have found that a 60g VMax over 23g of H322 works very well for my rifle (a Bushmaster Varminter).


December 14, 2009, 06:05 PM
The Forster dies are hard to beat if you want to load for accuracy in .223.

December 14, 2009, 07:34 PM
Winchester primers seat easier.

December 14, 2009, 09:58 PM
I have loaded 223 about 25+years.I have used the data from Speer #10,Olin 748 and CCI 450 primers with many different 55 grain bullets in my Mini Ranch.The Hornady 55 grain SP w/cannulure have been accurate. With the primer shortage I have used Remington 6 1/2 on alot of loads and it has worked well. Byron

December 15, 2009, 10:12 AM
Byron, i am sure you know Rem 6 1/2 are not to be used in 223/5.56? :confused: Fine if you do use them, your choice. :) Just posting for" Newbies". http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/Remington.jpgThis is what can happen.Primer blow out. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/th_M16A1_20090401_8.jpg (http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/M16A1_20090401_8.jpg)

December 15, 2009, 01:43 PM
243, Thanks for the info. There a small gunshop way out in the country from where I live.The owner is mid 70's.I talked to him about it. He shot a lot of 222 when it reigned as King. He used the Remington 6 1/2 and still does. Prior to getting them from him, I called Remington Tech dept and they said it would be OK.I have sent many down range and at a friends farm out of a Mini and an Old AR SP. I use Olin 748. Your picture is very interesting and a puzzle.
Were your cases military you used? What powder and charge?
I have been loading about 30 years and never seen what happened to your bolt face. I am going to check with some other reloaders and see if they have an idea. Again, Thanks. Byron

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