Bullet weight


April 5, 2010, 07:08 PM
Im thinking about building an AR an Im trying to find out what the advantages and disadvantages of midweight, heavy and light bullets are. What are your opinions? Heavy? Light? Why?

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April 5, 2010, 08:16 PM
If you go with the fast twist of 1in7" and use the heavier bullets, being able to use some lighter bullets can be a compromise. Properly stabilized heavy bullets(80gr and up) will give you 600yd ranging.
I recommend using a 1in9" twist which will allow you to use all but the real heavyweight bullets and any of the mid to light bullets and generally accuracy is good for all. The lighter (55gr) bullets will allow much cheaper plinking. The heavier match type bullets do cost a lot more.

That's providing that you reload.


April 5, 2010, 09:54 PM
How heavy will that 1:9 twist stabilize? Would 50-55 gr. bullets be fine through it if I wasn't concerned with accuracy past about 50 yards? Also, are heavier bullets generally better than lighter ones? Why?

April 5, 2010, 10:29 PM
The 1:9 will be plenty accurate.

If you have a line on a good deal on one, I say go for it.

The differences are quite small, and most shooters can't demonstrate any practical superiority of one versus the other on the range.

Basic 1:9 barrels are plentiful and cheap.

You can get better barrels and special ammo for special applications after you master the 1:9.

If you want a pat answer, I say get a Krieger 1:7 barrel with tight match chamber.
A master shooter will be able to demonstrate the abilities of that equipment.

There are probably some things that the Krieger won't do though.
Like shoot Wolf ammo without choking.

April 5, 2010, 11:19 PM
1 in 9 is a good twist rate. Unless you're shooting long range competition, the 55 grain (M-193) bullet will do anything you could reasonably ask of a 5.56X45. And the M 193 bullets are available bulk packed by the thousand.

April 5, 2010, 11:37 PM
Basically the "general" trend with the 224 bullets is like any other caliber, if you're looking at one end of the spectrum versus the other.

Light-for-caliber bullets (35gr-45gr) when used in the 223 are going to have the highest attainable muzzle velocities. They'll shoot the flattest out to a certain distance (150-200 yds at least usually) but will lose velocity the quickest usually due to their low weight. Most of the lighter bullets you can use in the 223 Rem are going to be intended as, or act like, frangible varmint bullets.

Medium weight bullets (50-60gr) will offer a balanced mix of velocity, flat shooting with less drop than the light bullets at distance. In the 223 a lot more "hard" bullet options are available in terms of target/FMJ bullets from the mid-weights on up. Mids-on-up also start to include controlled-expansion bullets (partition/TSX) suitable for larger-than-varmint use. You'll still find soft varmint bullets in the mid-weights if that's your thing.

The heavyweights (65+gr) will have the slowest muzzle velocities to some degree, but these bullets will shoot the farthest with the least drop and wind-drift the heavier they get. The vast majority of the heavyweights are match bullets, with some controlled-expansion designs. There aren't many "varmint" frangible designs in these weights at 223-rem velocities, but I guarantee you a gopher won't know an 80gr matchking in the head from a 40gr Vmax :)

Personally I tend to like the mid-to-heavyweights but I also shoot a few "big 22's" on top of a 223 Rem. Fast enough and anything explodes hehe. If you shot a ton of close-range-only target and varmints I'd say you'd be happy with a slow twisted barrel. Personally think 1:9 will do you perfect unless you want the heaviest-heavies. And in my wordy opinion, bullets much above about 65gr don't offer much benefit until about 400+ yards.

April 6, 2010, 12:34 AM
Thank you depoloni for the explanation. I highly doubt I will be making shots past 400 yards with a 5.56 nato upper. I havent had much time or experience with shooting at any great distance. If I were to start, I would probably assemble a separate upper just for that. Something with a longer, heavier barrel possibly chambered in 6.5 grendel or 6.8 rem. At this point its all speculation but learning seems to satisfy the craving for things that go bang while I have no money:banghead:.

From what I gather though, a 1:9 or 1:8 will stabilize just about anything you feed it well enough for offhand shooting. This would include bullets designed for small to midsize game (deer would probably be pushing it for me at this point). Is this right?

April 6, 2010, 11:14 AM

A 1/8 or 1/9 is the best twist to get for general all-around use.

All of the best controlled expansion deer hunting bullets are in the 60 - 65 grain range.

All of the best small varment bullets are in the 40 - 60 grain range.


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