Best Powder for .223?


The Mighty Beagle
November 26, 2003, 07:13 PM
Here's what I have:

1. Hornady Lock-N-Load AP (progressive) press with finicky powder measure
2. SAR3 .223 AK w/16" barrel

Here's what I think I need:

1. Easy-metering ball powder which
2. burns fast enough for a 16" barrel to give good velocities and is
3. compatible with the small case volume of .223 (I don't wanna have to compress it or load casings "to the brim").

What propellant am I looking for?

P.S. Just a pet peeve, but please don't post to tell me you don't know but I can 'do a search' at 'XYZ forum' etc. etc. Thanks in advance.

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November 26, 2003, 07:20 PM
Well, it's not ball, but it meters fairly well, although I do my rifle loading on a single stage setup, and verify/trickle charges on a beam scale.

But, I've had very good luck with Varget and 50 & 55 grain bullets in my Bushmaster Varminter. 24 " barrel, 1 in 9 twist.

Is BL/C a ball powder? I have it on my list to try out as well...

November 26, 2003, 07:28 PM
I'm getting pretty good results with BLC-2 and it meters excellant. I have better results with IMR 4064 but I hand weigh each charge, it being extruded and all.

RL-15 and Varget both come highly recommended but I haven't had the chance to try them yet.

November 26, 2003, 08:17 PM
I am going to give Hodgdon Benchmark a try for my first go round with 223 this very evening! :D It's a very fine stick powered that is supposed to metter very consistantly. About 23 grains should get a 55gr projectile up to 3000 fps out of a 24" barrel. That 23 grain load is a 10% reduction from the published maximum, so you could prolly work your load up to 3200 or so (24" barrel) if there are no signs of overpressure.

I've heard good things about Varget and BLC-2 as well. If memory serves BLC-2 is pretty close to what goes in US manufactured M16 food.

Dave R
November 26, 2003, 08:52 PM
Hey! Another crazy guy who reloads for a SAR-3!

I have had good results with H335 in my SAR-3. Its a ball powder that meters well. I use 24.2 gr of H335 with a 55gr Nosler Ballistic Tip and get 1.5 to 2" groups. Best was 1.4. That only happens when the barrel is cold, though. With a hot barrel I have not been able to get good groups with any load.

23.5gr of H335 with a Speer 45gr. bullet worked pretty well, too.

Edited to add I have had good results with H4198, but that is a stick powder.

The Mighty Beagle
November 26, 2003, 10:01 PM
Hi Dave! Yep, just got my SAR-3 and it was love at first shot. My Romanian was very nice in terms of fit, and works great despite the fact it came with a 5.45 bakelite optimistically marked "223". Yeah right, the thing only works with 10 rounds because the follower is totally wrong. But the gun works flawlessly with the wrong magazine, which really impresses me. I guess I now understand why people who get the SAR rifles lovingly adorn them with aftermarket parts.

Of course, I just had to try reloading for it, since it gets 1" groups at 50 yds with UMC ball if the barrel is cold, with almost-nil recoil/muzzle rise. Unfortunately, I'm hampered in my quest by having to replace the ultra-crappy Century Int'l hammer, which is beating my bolt into an early grave. I am planning on posting my accuracy results with the SAR-3 after the gun is fixed and I have accumulated some powder.

To the other nice gentlemen who replied ...

Thank you all so much for sharing these loads and powders. I am somewhat new to reloading for rifles and powder choice is a still a bit confusing. I wish I could afford to try 'em all, but alas my area ususally only has a very limited selection of rifle powders to try and I don't intend on paying haz-mat fees for ordering any more cannisters than necessary (I'm still mad at UPS over the extra fee).

Varget - I may try this first, since Wally-World carries it here. Sounds like BLC-2 is what I want though. I will try the H335 as well, since I've heard good things.

I've tried 3031 by hand, but it really needs to be compressed to fill right. Unforutunately, I shot all the test rounds up before realizing my scope may be on the fritz.

Mike Irwin
November 26, 2003, 11:16 PM
Friend of mine swears by BLC-2 for .222, .222 Magnum, and .223, as well as .219 Zipper... He likes the small calibers, I guess...

Dave R
November 27, 2003, 12:27 AM
Beagle, PM sent regarding SAR-3 mags.

The Mighty Beagle
November 27, 2003, 07:45 AM
Hey, does anybody know if Win. 748 is a ball powder?
Their powder pages were buried and not real informative either.
"The low flame temperature of 748 extends barrel life versus other similar speed powders. It can be used in a wide variety of centerfire rifle loads including 222 Rem, 30-30 Win, 308 Win, and up to 458 Win. Mag. Combine Winchester components with 748 to duplicate 308 Win factory load ballistics. 748 is recommended for use with the new 308 Fail Safe bullets."

Anyway, Hodgdon has a great description of their powders here: (http://)

I forgot to add in my original post that my powder measure 'sticks' every 4th load or so with H1000, which looks like it ought to meter well. And when I say 'sticks', I mean as the casing comes down out of it it continues to dump out all kinds of loose powder all over my press and the floor. Anyone with a Hornady LNL knows how big a pain it is to totally disassemble it because of a few grains of loose powder fouling up the primer ... Of course wasting all that powder isn't so great either.

Black Snowman
November 27, 2003, 09:17 AM
I believe H1000 is a longer extrusion than Varget and so should be less finiky about getting hung up in small orfaces, like funnelling down to .22
I've used it in my .308 loads and it meters pretty well through my cheap Lee Perfect Powder Measure with a baffle.

The drop tube on it gets down to .20 so it should fill a .223 case just as easy as a .308

November 27, 2003, 09:45 AM

748 IS a ball powder and I have found that it works wonderfully in the .223 Remington. Both mine and my dad's AR-15s feed (almost) exclusively on this powder in handloaded trim. Varget will work well also; I have been trying it for my Match Rifle due to dire warnings about pressure spikes with 748. (Admittedly, I've never had this problem with 748, even on hot days here in NH, but we'll see.) Try either, you should be pleased.

The Mighty Beagle
November 27, 2003, 10:35 AM
Thanks Wanderin and Snowman, sounds like either would flow ok through my measure.

November 27, 2003, 11:09 AM
.223 seems to work well with anything.

Lying around at my house for .223 I have:

Of those, I use H335 and IMR4895.
The H335 is higher velocity, and the IMR4895 is more accurate for me.

Denny Hansen
November 27, 2003, 11:26 AM
I've had really good results using Accurate 223.


November 27, 2003, 11:37 AM
I've had good luck w/AA2230

i use it exclusively in both .223 and .308

AR's,mini's,daewoo's,fal's all love it;)

+ it meters well in the xl650

happy thanksgiving:)


November 27, 2003, 12:02 PM
since Wally-World carries it here

Not to highjack here, but this is at least the second time I've seen someone mention reloading supplies available at Wal-Mart. What part of the country are you in? My WallyWorld quit carrying handguns back in the 70's, and only has long guns and ammo now, and depending on which store you go to, those supplies vary from a little to not much...

Dave R
November 27, 2003, 01:17 PM
Wal-Marts in Boise, ID carry powder, bullets, wads, misc. accessories like funnels, loading blocks, brushes, shell holders, case trimmer, hand priming tool, etc.

But no primers.

The Mighty Beagle
November 27, 2003, 06:42 PM
I'm located near Jane Lew, West Virginia. I have access to 1 Wal-Mart and 2 Supers, and they all carry powder, bullets, primers, and reloading accessories to the point that they've shut down the local gun shops from doing it.

Problem is, their selection of powders stinks, especially with handgun powders. People on here talk about Power Pistol and AA#5, but if you live here you better like old standards like Bullseye and Unique. During hunting season, some 296 powder shows up. The rifle powders may be easier to find ... I know WM carries a lot of Hodgdon.

November 27, 2003, 07:07 PM
I have only seen one ref so far to Vhit N-133 (powder is specially recommended for this exact cal) ..... I rate that powder. It is clean burning and good metering ... tho like all Vhit stuff .. somewhat pricey. I had probs working up suitable loads that would cycle the Mini .. settled on 24.8 grns Vhit N-133 for a 55 grn FMJ ... pretty much a max load.

Putting this thru a M77 and comparing with factory it certainly is a hotter load ... POI being just higher .... haven't remembered to do a chrono comparison.

I know a few who find Varget very acceptable but yet to experiment with this ... but intend to.

November 27, 2003, 08:16 PM
Winchester 748 works real well and meters even better.

November 29, 2003, 12:00 AM
BLC2 for me!

December 1, 2003, 02:26 PM
Loaded most everything mentioned through .223, except VV and Norma powders.
I perfer BL-C2 @ 26.9gr (Though 27.0 is same, my measure throw's 26.9)
This is my go-to load with a Nosler BT seated to 2.25" (50 or 55gr), to test "accuracy" of any .223 Rifle. Bl-C2 is a spherical powder, essentially the same as Win748 which gives same results.

I use match prepped Federal, though Rem. or Win. will do.
Usually have Federal 205's on hand so use those, though CCI's or WinSR will do too!, Especially the CCI-BR's.

#2 is H335, at 25.0gr. Sometimes slightly more accurate than the Bl-C2, but usually a dead-heat.

I would suggest if you're loading in volumn that you try the Mil-spec surplus powders that are essentially H335 and Bl-C2 in "bulk" military dress. WC-842, or WC-846.
Much lower priced !!!

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