Need Some Assistance With Powder Choice


November 15, 2010, 11:39 AM
Hello, I am new to these forums and I have come here for some assistance. I am going to start handloading my own .223 rounds. I have brass, bullets, and primes already chosen. What I am coming to you guys for is to ask your advice on the type of powder that I should be using. I have been doing a lot of reading and perusing of many different forums and I seem to be just as confused as I was when I started looking into this. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Here are some specifics:

Barrel: Stainless Bull 24" RRA AR15

Bullets: 68/69 gr BTHP

Brass: Lake City

Primers: Wolf

Thanks in advance for your help.


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November 15, 2010, 11:54 AM
hodgdon H4895
accurate 2230
alliant reloader 12
hodg BLC-2
winchester 748
IMR 4895

November 15, 2010, 11:56 AM
Add H335, AA 2015, TAC, N130 & N133 to that. Good news is the .223 is not real picky.

Welcome to THR.

November 15, 2010, 12:22 PM
Thanks for the assistance guys. Next question: where/what website can I find the best buys on powder?

November 15, 2010, 12:26 PM
Powder Valley ( is hard to beat for pricing.

November 15, 2010, 12:53 PM
You've got to understand that you pay a $24 HazMat fee for shipping powder and/or primers, even if it's only 2 blocks. Add onto that the regular shipping fee. So that makes shipping 1 pound of powder terribly expensive. You're much better off to buy small amounts locally.

However, if you can find 5 or 6 buddies who all need bulk powder and/or primers, then you can split the fee among the group and it becomes a really good deal.

November 15, 2010, 01:32 PM
And Varget

November 15, 2010, 01:38 PM
Walkalong, thanks for pointing me towards I have been looking at powder prices for a few days and their prices are definitely among the best, if not the best. It's also nice to see that most of their stuff isn't "out of stock".

Rfwobbly, you are 100% correct. I intend on ordering a minumun of 8lbs. Even with the hazmat and s&h, it's still considerably cheaper than buying from Gander/Dunhams (my only choices around here). In the store, I'd pay $30.00 per lb., but when ordering online, I can get it for $20.00 per lb. That's just on one 8 lb. can order. I'll probably include some other stuff to get my money's worth.

November 15, 2010, 08:41 PM
Based on Powley’s equations, your predicted ideal powder speed, with these bullet weights, is in the range of Varget and 4064. With your 24” barrel, and a max load, using one of these powders, you should be able to safely work up to a velocity of around 2,990 fps.

General Lee
November 15, 2010, 09:08 PM is another place to buy powder pretty reasonably.

November 16, 2010, 01:49 AM
The reloading manuals often suggest the best performing powder or the most accurate powder in their tests. It is worth looking at what they found before settling on a powder.
Varget or imr 3031 would be my choice.

November 16, 2010, 03:52 AM
The "classic" .223 powder is H335 IMO. I get good results with it with most bullet weights. If you're just starting out I suggest trying it first. I recently gave Varget a try and it's my new favorite .223 powder especially with a 55gr bullet. I was able to shoot several sub 1/2 MOA groups @100 yards using Varget.

BL-C(2) isn't bad either but for the most part it works better in the other NATO round, the 7.26mm/.308 Win. H335 is kinda like BL-C2's little brother for the smaller NATO round, the 5.56mm/.223.

If you can get to a store and buy your powder you're probably better off because of the HAZMAT fees and S&H charges. Unless you're buying 2X 8lb jugs of powder and 5000 primers it's really not worth buying online IMO.

November 18, 2010, 12:40 PM
OK guys, what are your thought on Hodgdon Benchmark Powder vs. Varget Powder?

November 18, 2010, 12:57 PM
I've been loading for my precision AR for a little while now and have found that either Varget or Reloader 15 under a 69 or 77gr Sierra Match King will allow you to literally drive tacks, provided that you are up to the task.

The following are my recipes. If you want to try them, I'd suggest starting low and working up.

77gr SMK seated to 2.255
24gr Reloader 15 or Varget (my rifle likes RL15 better)
Lake City case
Remington 7.5 primer

69gr SMK seated to 2.255
25.3gr Reloader 15 or Varget
Lake City case
Remington 7.5 primer

Either of these shoot consistent sub MOA out of my 18" 1:7 twist douglas barrel. Many like Varget because they say that it isn't temp sensitive, but over the past year or so, I've noticed that I have to rework my load whenever I got a batch from a different lot. I've been using more Reloader 15 and have found that it is more consistent from lot to lot, I get tighter spreads on the velocity and haven't found it to be at all temp sensitive. I'm loading mostly for .223 and .308 right now and use Reloader 15 for both.

Just be aware that altough you will get better results with a stick powder (like RL15 and Varget), stick powder doesn't always throw well from powder measures in progressive presses. I use a Hornady Auto Charge with RL15. For bulk loading of ammo that doesn't have to be the most accurate that it can be, I use TAC and load progressively. I did 100 rounds the other night and it only took me about 2.5 hours.

November 18, 2010, 01:41 PM
Varget is my fist choice with 55 gr bullets, followed by BL-C2, (blc-2 only because I already use it in my .308 loads) Recently I tried a Trailboss load 4gr trailboss with a 55 gr bullet just to see what it would do. Trailboss was on par with .22 mag energy, with almost CB cap noise, just not enough gas to cycle the action.

November 18, 2010, 02:43 PM
I don't load 223 but I'll pull out the Nosler manual for ya.
The most accurate load in their test was 23.5 gr AA2230 with the 69 gr HPBT. It pushes 2870 fps in a 20" 1:7 twist barrel.
The fastest load was 26gr of W748 with the same bullet. 2957 fps!
Both of these are max loads with their respsecive powders so work up with caution. Both were fired with Nosler brass and WSR primers.

Hondo 60
November 18, 2010, 04:10 PM
I've used RL-15 & Varget in my 20" 1:9 AR.

I wouldn't buy powder on line.
The extra Hazmat fee of $20 - $25 is a killer.
And that's above & beyond the regular shipping fee (not instead of).

November 18, 2010, 06:07 PM
I've not seen anyone recommend viewing to compare powders and charges to your manuals. They distribute Winchester, and Hodgdon, and own IMR powder manufacturing.
It is the latest data and can be used as such. Several powders will give you good performance with the heavier bullet that you mentioned.
I like H4895 in 223.


November 18, 2010, 09:22 PM
I think you should take into consideration the press you will be loading on. If you want a powder that meters well enough that you won't have to weigh every charge, or are loading on a progressive press, I would suggest a ball powder like AA 2230. If you are weighing every charge, it doesn't matter so much.

November 18, 2010, 09:43 PM
I have used Varget, with good results - and because I have a large quantity of it on hand, I've used it in 30-06 as well.

I loaded out my most accurate rounds, using IMR-4895.

I'm currently trying to develop a load with AA 2460, simply because it meters very well through my powder measures.

Good Luck in whatever choice you make, and welcome to the High Road.


ole farmerbuck
November 18, 2010, 09:55 PM
I stocked up on 335 since i was having good luck with it till IMR8208 came out. Now I've stocked up on it. I use it in the AR's and 22-250 with excellent results. Bl c2 in the bolt 223's since i stocked up on it too! If i could only have one powder, it would definitely be the 8208.

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