Loading 62gr M855 help?


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wlemay
February 8, 2012, 06:44 PM
Hello, I am new to reloading & on a budget.

I have bought a little lee loader & intend to start reloading my spent .223 rounds in an attempt to save a few bucks. I figure I can go from spending 30cents plus per shot with factory ammo to spending about 17cents a pop on components for re-loads.

I found pulled M855 bullets for a very low price & would like to use those;

HOWEVER all I have is standard .223 brass (not "5.56" nato stamped) it's mostly PMC and prvi partisan stamped HCC 84. Are these any good for reloading? If figure I can always load them a bit light or use a different powder if need be...

Any help for the reloading noob? =]

Like powder type, how many grains of powder, comments or general suggestions? I really want to know about the prvi HCC 84 brass... I bought a 500round can of this stuff at the gunshow & haven't shot much yet; I want to know if it is worth reloading.

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WesM
February 8, 2012, 06:48 PM
I'm in the same boat and interested to hear answers as well.

MtnCreek
February 8, 2012, 06:49 PM
M855 is .224 cal and both .223 and 5.56Nato use that cal.
Your 5.56 brass is basicly the same as .223rem brass.
I wouldn't try to load them hot. Your brass will last longer and you'll have less risk of getting over pressure.

Do you have a friend with a good manual that you could borrow?

NeuseRvrRat
February 8, 2012, 06:54 PM
where are you getting your "nato spec"?

wlemay
February 8, 2012, 07:00 PM
I wouldn't try to load them hot. Your brass will last longer and you'll have less risk of getting over pressure. -Im trying to steer clear from that!

where are you getting your "nato spec"?
- In all honesty I do not have any figures for pressure or velocity. I understand that "nato" rounds tend to be higher pressure than most standard .223 loads: I want to get as close to whatever those numbers might be without compromising my brass (or my rifle for that matter.)

Btw my rifle does have a 5.56 chamber.

NeuseRvrRat
February 8, 2012, 07:24 PM
none of my manuals differentiate between .223 Remington and 5.56x45. as with any reloading, you need to follow published data, start at the starting load or 10% below max, and work your way up.

one of the best parts of reloading is tailoring your load to your firearm. i don't see the appeal of trying to match M855 exactly.

kingmt
February 8, 2012, 07:31 PM
Different chamber but same ammo. Just get .223 data for the powder you pick.

joustin
February 8, 2012, 07:35 PM
I load these bullets over 24.5 grains of H335 with good results. Just work within the charges listed in your manual and see what works for you. Standard M855 shoots OK in my gun but I have tweaked the mentioned loads COAL and crimp to make it better for my EBR.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk

wlemay
February 8, 2012, 07:44 PM
Cool beans.

So I should be OK with regular powder (leaning towards H335 or W748). I will probably load them light say 22gr and work my way up to 25gr of powder (1.61997grams)... I will of course buy a nice loading manual before I go get all the supplies (I am just trying to figure out what I will need). I have an old triple beam lab scale that goes to .001grams so I can convert grams to grains & see just how much powder the little scoop that the loader came with holds.

I picked the M855 because they are CHEAP and my rifle seems to like 55gr+ bullet weights.... I figure they will make dandy plinkers.

NeuseRvrRat
February 8, 2012, 07:48 PM
i'll be interested to see how neck sized only brass cycles in your AR

MtnCreek
February 8, 2012, 07:54 PM
So I should be OK with regular powder (leaning towards H335 or W748). I will probably load them light and work my way up to say 25gr of powder (1.61997grams). I have an old triple beam lab scale that goes to .001grams so I can convert grams to grains & see just how much powder the little scoop that the loader came with holds.

That sounds like a stout charge of H335.

I strongly suggest verifying your scale reads correct.

wlemay
February 8, 2012, 08:09 PM
That sounds like a stout charge of H335.

I strongly suggest verifying your scale reads correct.

The scale is correct; I got the 1.62grams = 25gr by using a converter. (I fully intend to start well below that weight & work up until the action on my rifle will cycles well & I get decent groups.... I will not go above said 25gr)

I was reading some load charts online & 25gr +/- was recommended across the board for most .223 bullet weights and powder types. The only reason I am telling you guys this is because I am new and want second opinions.

Hell you gotta start somewhere right? I am just trying to make some budget plinkers... I will work my way up to finely tuned master piece's some other time... As long as my rifle doesn't blow up, I don't have duds, & I can hit a can at about 100yards I will be happy.

NeuseRvrRat
February 8, 2012, 08:23 PM
a scale is as much of a safety device as it is an accuracy device. budget plinking rounds will hurt you just as quick as any handloads.

what is the range of your lab scale? in general, scales are less accurate at either extreme end of their range. i'd be careful using a scale meant for a few kilograms to weigh things that only weigh a few grams, especially when a bad measurement can seriously injure me and those around me.

MtnCreek
February 8, 2012, 08:28 PM
I was reading some load charts online & 25gr +/- was recommended across the board for most .223 bullet weights and powder types. The only reason I am telling you guys this is because I am new and want second opinions.

Forget everything you currently know about reloading because picking up bits and pieces and making assumptions will get you in trouble. Not at all trying to be mean, I just think your headed for a damaged rifle at this point. Do you know anyone near you that reloads? Where are you located?

RustyFN
February 8, 2012, 08:36 PM
I will probably load them light say 22gr and work my way up to 25gr

The scale is correct; I got the 1.62grams = 25gr by using a converter. (I fully intend to start well below that weight

Get a manual. You don't want to start well below that weight, you want to start at the starting charge in the manual and work up. I would also recommend a scale that reads grains. Reading grams and converting won't give you tenths of a grain very accurate.

rcmodel
February 8, 2012, 08:39 PM
(1.61997grams)... The first thing you need to buy, after a reloading manual, is a set of reloading scales that weigh in grains.

Converting Grams to grains, while trying to absorb everything else you don't know yet is a dis-assed-her waiting to happen!

Nothing related to reloading or powder measurement in the U.S.A. has anything to do with G - Grams.

Everything is done in g - grains.

And never the Twixt or Twain shall meet, hopefully.
But Mr. Murphys Law being in full force, all the time you are reloading, you can bet it will.

rc

eam3clm@att.net
February 8, 2012, 09:01 PM
The lee kits only resize the necks of the cases and does nothing to set the shoulder back or size the case body. You may have problems getting the reloaded round to chamber it you are loading for an autoloader. You most likely will be ok if you are loading for a bolt gun. Since you said that your chamber is 5.56 it is assumed that you are loading for an AR. I would suggest getting some type of press that will accept full length sizing dies. Lee makes a hand press that is around 30.00 and the dies are around 25.00. You will need a caliper to set bullet deapth. The lee case trimmer system works and is cheap. A good reloading manual is a must have item. You would be better seved by getting a scale intended to read in the right unit of measurement required being grains. Im not sure what you mean as a weaker powder. Powder is ranked in burn rate not power.

MtnCreek
February 8, 2012, 09:27 PM
see just how much powder the little scoop that the loader came with holds.
I missed that before. You are still a long ways from knowing enough to safely reload some ammo, but we're getting closer! The little scoop is a volume measure, cc's if I remember. Lee data (probably came with the kit) will give data based on that scoop. For now, I would stick to the scoop and the cc data and forget about the grains and grams.

Do you have the instructions that came with the loader? Going through that a few times will probably get you headed in the right direction (at least enough were we can better help).

NeuseRvrRat
February 8, 2012, 09:34 PM
iirc, the Lee instruction sheet doesn't even list H335 for use with the scoop that comes with .223 dies. pretty sure it doesn't list it for 55 gr FMJ anyway. not 100% sure about 62 gr FMJ.

what i'm getting at is using the one single dipper can severely limit you. even if you use the dippers, you really need a good quality scale that is graduated in grains to check the dippers.

we're not trying to be hard on your or discourage you from reloading, we just want to make sure you reload safely. i'd hate to know that someone came to THR for advice and ended up blowing something up.

wlemay
February 8, 2012, 10:38 PM
what is the range of your lab scale? in general, scales are less accurate at either extreme end of their range. i'd be careful using a scale meant for a few kilograms to weigh things that only weigh a few grams, especially when a bad measurement can seriously injure me and those around me.

Get a manual. You don't want to start well below that weight, you want to start at the starting charge in the manual and work up. I would also recommend a scale that reads grains. Reading grams and converting won't give you tenths of a grain very accurate.

The scale max's out at 100g. It can measure down to 1/100 of a gram or .015 grains. It came from a science lab & I trust it.

The conversions are not an issue for me; I have excellent conversion software programmed into my calculator & installed on my pc. I am in an engineering major (crunching numbers is what I do.). All I have to do is calculate the number of grams I need and set the scale to that number. of course I will use the Lee scoop to verify that i don't have to much & I will weigh; re weigh, and check my calculations before any powder goes in a shell.

You may have problems getting the reloaded round to chamber it you are loading for an autoloader.

I am running a 581 series Mini-14. I have yet to see any .223 or 5.56 that it can't feed & shoot reliably. However I do appreciate your input... it's all part of the learning curve for me.

iirc, the Lee instruction sheet doesn't even list H335 for use with the scoop that comes with .223 dies. pretty sure it doesn't list it for 55 gr FMJ anyway. not 100% sure about 62 gr FMJ.

what i'm getting at is using the one single dipper can severely limit you. even if you use the dippers, you really need a good quality scale that is graduated in grains to check the dippers.

You are correct. I plan on buying a real reloading manual. That card it came with is nice but I want something better.

As far as the little lee kit; It's just to get started & see if I am up for loading quite a few rounds (I don't shoot that much anyways... maybe 100-200 rounds per session; 1-2 times a month). I would hate to blow a few hundred dollars on a advanced set up if I don't use it much! Plus I like doing things by hand; as long as nothing blows up in the process I think it will be an interesting hobby.

Anyways I appreciate the advice; for now I will stick with the little hand loading kit, get a decent manual, read it, then figure out what powder, primers, and bullets I want to use.

Any ways no harm no foul right? I don't have anything aside from the lee kit right now, so it's not like I'm in a hurry to make bullets tonight & possibly blow my gun up... I will sit down & do some reading first.

NeuseRvrRat
February 8, 2012, 10:55 PM
I am running a 581 series Mini-14. I have yet to see any .223 or 5.56 that it can't feed & shoot reliably. However I do appreciate your input... it's all part of the learning curve for me.

yeah, but you haven't tried any once-fired, neck sized only handloads, either. give it a try, they might cycle fine, but you need to realize you're venturing into a different world now.

The scale max's out at 100g. It can measure down to 1/100 of a gram or .015 grains. It came from a science lab & I trust it.

so you've got a 0-100g scale and you want to use it for weighing charges that will never exceed 2g? you really think that's a good application for such a scale? i do not.

The conversions are not an issue for me; I have excellent conversion software programmed into my calculator & installed on my pc. I am in an engineering major (crunching numbers is what I do.). All I have to do is calculate the number of grams I need and set the scale to that number.

yeah, i've got a B.S. in mechanical engineering and would never consider reloading without a scale in grains. they're $20-30. you can't afford not to have one.

always funny when noobs make a thread asking for advice (most of which can be found in the stickies anyway) and then have a reason why they don't want to follow the advice you give.

kingmt
February 8, 2012, 11:01 PM
You could use Varget since a full case of it would be able to blow up your gun. I don't know anything about the Lee Loader so this is only what I read: It only sizes the neck so the body of the case that was expanded doesn't get resized. It may not chamber without sizeing.

Scimmia
February 8, 2012, 11:24 PM
I am running a 581 series Mini-14. I have yet to see any .223 or 5.56 that it can't feed & shoot reliably. However I do appreciate your input... it's all part of the learning curve for me.

People keep telling you this could be a problem, but nobody's explained why.

When you fire a round, the case expands to fill the entire chamber and seal it. Because of this, a fired case is larger than a new, unfired case. If you don't size the case back to it's original dimensions, it's not going to feed the same way, and could cause feeding problems.

A full length sizer die will resize the entire case back to (roughly) original dimensions. The Lee Loader kit does not, it only sizes the neck back to original dimensions, leaving the body and shoulder larger than they should be.

From the Lee Loader description on Lee's website:

Recommended if you’re loading for a bolt action rifle in small quantities.

denton
February 8, 2012, 11:37 PM
If your brass was fired in your rifle, you might get by without full length resizing. Odds are, you're going to get some stuck/misfed cases. Semi-autos like a fairly loose fit in the chamber.

If your brass was fired in someone else's rifle, definitely plan on investing in a stuck case remover.

5.56 and 223 have different pressure specifications. They are not only different numbers, they are generated in different measurement systems. So it's hard to directly compare them. The physical difference between the two cartridges is that the 5.56 has a longer throat. But an M16 magazine is made for a 2.250" cartridge which won't come anywhere close to using the whole throat of the 5.56. M16 ammo is made 2.250" long, which is fine for the 223.

If you use 223 reload data, you'll be fine. But do get a reloading manual and read it carefully. Reloading is fun and safe but rather intolerant of error.

Anyway, M855 bullets work just fine in the 223. Just be aware that you can't shoot them at an indoor range. They have a hardened steel penetrator tip inside the jacket, ahead of the lead slug. It was designed to penetrate a Russian helmet, and will possibly penetrate the back of the range. It's not real armor piercing, but needs a little different treatment.

My favorite 5.56 powder is TAC. It performs well and is pretty clean burning.

Hope that helps.

wlemay
February 9, 2012, 02:08 AM
The Lee Loader kit does not, it only sizes the neck back to original dimensions, leaving the body and shoulder larger than they should be.

Ahh this would have been a key bit of information I could have used BEFORE I got the loader. I saw how the loader is used & watched videos of it... It appeared to me that the whole case got re sized; not just the neck, I guess I was wrong. I figured banging it into that tight die would "smush" the whole case back to close to it's original dimensions... before any of that I bought the loader at a local gun store & I told the employee I am on a budget & want to get into small scale reloading.... The employee straight up told me it was "everything I need for reloading" aside from a scale & mallet.

I just now did some reading and saw more that a few statements that said: if you only use the lee loader on the brass shot from one gun it should be okay. However I am a little sketch about this now...

All of the brass I have is stuff that I have shot out of the rifle I intend to use the reloads on. It is an auto loader so I guess I will have to wait and see if the cases get stuck (I am sure some will)... If they do start getting stuck then I guess I have to buy a a set of dies. Anyways in the mean time I have the tools necessary to deal with a stuck case. If this turns into a problem I will stop until I can get better tools. Anyways it will be a while before I start reloading... So I will probably have proper tools before I do anything else.

yeah, i've got a B.S. in mechanical engineering and would never consider reloading without a scale in grains. they're $20-30. you can't afford not to have one.

always funny when noobs make a thread asking for advice (most of which can be found in the stickies anyway) and then have a reason why they don't want to follow the advice you give.

I had no Idea that scales in grains were so cheap... I still am pretty confident in the scale I already own (it is a $300) chemistry scale. I will use it for my preliminary tests but in the future I will take your advice and get a reloading scale & calipers.

Also I don't know that I refused to follow any advice people gave me... since my last reply people have actually STARTED giving me relevant Information that I never knew. There is a big difference between implying that you maybe should not do something and telling you straight up "that wont work: this is why". This is why I continue talking to people on this thread: I try to come up with a solution within my means and others will tell me why I am wrong or what I could do better. Sometimes people can be blunt about it & talk to me like a child; I can deal with that; it can piss me off... But I suppose it is part of the learning curve.

Either way it will be a while before I start doing any reloading; in hindsight it was dumb to buy the loader right away. But it led me to ask invaluable questions & I will continue checking this thread to see what else I can learn. Just please don't talk like you are "holier than thou"... That is the only thing I hate about this forum; I'm a grown man, talk to me like one.

Tim the student
February 9, 2012, 03:36 AM
It can measure down to 1/100 of a gram or .015 grains. It came from a science lab & I trust it.

Those scales are vulnerable to error as much as any other scale. Please ensure it is both as precise and as accurate as you seem to think it is.

I try to come up with a solution within my means and others will tell me why I am wrong.

Because they don't want you to blow your rifle up, especially when they may be on the bench next to you. Please read the sticky for new reloaders.

If they do start getting stuck then I guess I have to buy a a set of dies

And a press for those dies.

Just please don't talk like you are "holier than thou"

I don't think anyone has. People have been trying to help you here.

I suggest you read all the stickies, and then peruse this forum when you are not busy reading your (still to be had) manual. Once you get your manual, read it. Then read it again.

kingmt
February 9, 2012, 07:42 AM
I believe most reloaders are very blunt & caring of others even more so of other reloaders. You aren't being talked down to just the way we are.

I know my info was a little patchy but parts of your question was outside of my experience so I tried filling in the parts I know hopeing someone would come behind me to fill in the rest. I actually could get by with that scale but agree maybe it would be best to take the calculation out since you are trying to learn. Just so you know converting at 3 places is already giving you +/- .2gr then whatever the scale variance is.

helotaxi
February 9, 2012, 07:45 AM
And because no one explained the difference between 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington:

The brass and cartridge dimensions are the same and they use the same brass, regardless of what's stamped on the head. The difference in the rifles chambered for each is the transition from the chamber to the rifled part of the barrel. The 5.56 chamber has a longer section without any rifling and the angle on the front edge of the lands of the rifling is shallower. These two features reduce the pressure spike caused be the bullet being deformed into the rifling (called the engraving force). This force is what drives the peak pressure in a typical rifle firing cycle.

The specified max pressures for the 5.56 and .223 are essentially the same (though measured differently and in different units) but the chamber specifications for the 5.56 allow a hotter load to remain within those pressure limits. Firing a 5.56 spec load in a spec .223 chamber has been shown to produce pressures well outside established safe limits for any cartridge and well into the range of "proof loads" that are used as a one-time test to ensure that a rifle is adequately strong.

There is really no reason to try to duplicate NATO spec loads. Develop your loads for accuracy. The fastest loads aren't usually the most accurate and all the velocity in the world doesn't matter a whit if you can't hit what you're shooting at. There is plenty of load data out there for the bullets you have within normal .223 parameters. SAAMI doesn't recognize 5.56 as a specification that is safe for the reloader.

Jeff H
February 9, 2012, 09:08 AM
You could use Varget since a full case of it would not be able to blow up your gun.

Fixed it for ya, and it is a decent suggestion if the OP is insisting on doing this cheap without the scale. At least Varget will keep from blowing up the AR.

MtnCreek
February 9, 2012, 09:15 AM
The Varget statement is not really something that I would tell a new reloader that is already shown that he makes assumptions that are not safe. I've loaded some .223 on the ragged edge of voodoo with Varget. If you load Varget without compression, then the statement may hold true.

Superdave70_02
February 9, 2012, 12:01 PM
My suggestion would be to get the ABC's of reloading and read it first. It will answer most to all of your "why" questions.

Most people who reload keep a min of two reloading manuals to compare data. Sometimes there is a variance in data from just one source.

Online data should be taken lightly and only used if verified by published data. You do not want to use somebody's "bubba data" that may not be safe in your firearm.

Powders vary greatly in burn rate. Study more about powders. Just because 24-25 grains of one powder works doesnt mean that is the case for every other powder brand. A load manual will list a min/start and max.

Be safe and have fun.

denton
February 9, 2012, 12:47 PM
A good lab scale with the precision he stated should be just fine. There is no reason to prefer a dedicated reloading scale, other than the inconvenience of doing the units conversion.

Stuck cases are hard to get out. Sometimes you can drop a cleaning rod down the muzzle and just give it a little whack. Often it's a lot harder than that, and really not something you want to risk.

A serviceable reloading setup isn't that expensive. You can pick up a used Lee press for around $40, or their hand press (will help you develop upper body strength, maybe not the best solution) for around $50, including a tube of lube. I think the price of pair of Lee RGB dies is around $22 [one to full length form the case and one to seat the bullet], and a shell holder is about $4. Of course, you need case lube. I use RCBS Case Lube 2, put a few drops on a folded paper towel, and use a Q tip to lube the inside of the neck. A Lee Perfect Powder measure is under $25 and will speed up the process quite a bit. Digital calipers that are more than adequate are available from Harbor Freight for around $16 if you watch the sales. Before you use the brass a third or fourth time, you'll want the Lee case trimmer that works in your drill. All together, that might be $12 for all the pieces. The most important thing to get is a good reloading manual. I don't know if Hornady still puts out their economy paperback manual, but it used to be around $12. It has reload info for just a few popular cartridges, but I'm pretty sure that 223 is among them, and that's all you need.

I started out with a Lee Loader for my bolt action 30-06. The only equipment I had was that plus a little balance scale, and I made decent ammo. You can make good ammo with very basic equipment, and it will work for you, but I worry that you're going to have less success using a Lee Loader for a semi-auto.

FROGO207
February 9, 2012, 09:23 PM
FYI I have 3Mini 14's and a Lee loader. I used it for a single shot 223 that I own. Made great ammo with it BUT the stuff I made with it from reused brass from the same Mini 14 would not chamber 4 times out of five on average. Go ahead and try it as you have the thing already----unless you can take it back to the LGS and trade it back in on what you will ultimately need. One thing that you could do is to buy some bullets and size a few brass. Then load the bullets without any primers or propellant making inert dummy rounds. Load them into a magazine and see if you can cycle them through by hand without pushing on the charging handle. Beware the 5.56/ military/NATO brass has a crimped in primer and the crimped part of the primer pocket will have to be removed before you can insert a primer (needed to be done with any reloading system) or you will pop a primer while trying to insert it with the Lee loader.

See the sticky above for the new reloader---valuable info available there as stated above.

On another note you can go to the local library and probably find one or more reloading books to read for free.

You have learned your most important lesson already-----The LGS guy may not know ANYTHING about what he is selling you despite working in a gun store.

Yes we all tend to be like a concerned uncle/aunt about this to a new reloader with this reloading stuff but we want you to be successful and safe above all you know.:) Welcome to the madness we call reloading.:D

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