Good general-purpose powder for loading .223/5.56 ??


April 10, 2012, 11:20 AM
Hey guys,

I just built my buddy an AR platform rifle in .223/5.56 for his birthday, and in return he bought me a set of dies for reloading (he comes over and uses my reloading rig more than I do sometimes). We're going to the gun show this weekend, and are gonna grab some components to start reloading for his AR. What's a good general-purpose powder to grab for reloading this cartridge? All I have currently is Win 231 (all I load so far is pistol) so obviously need to get something suited for rifle. We're gonna be topping it with 55 gr boolits or a little heavier. For now we're just looking to make some plinking range ammo, but would like to get something capable of working up power/accuracy loads later. I have browsed through my load tables to see what options are out there, but figured I'd consult the experts and see if there is a favorite for loading for ARs.

Oh, I have the lee auto-disk pro powder measure. I don't have the double-disk kit yet, but wouldn't mind getting it if need be, so large-volume powders requiring the double disk kit are fine.

Also, its a standard direct-impingement AR (not one of the gas-piston types) so would be nice to use a powder that wasn't TOO filthy burning.

Thanks guys!

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April 10, 2012, 11:24 AM
You might try BLC(2). Great powder.

April 10, 2012, 11:25 AM
If you don't mind an extruded powder, 4895 is hard to beat.

April 10, 2012, 11:27 AM
I have the lee auto-disk pro powder measure.
H335 ball powder. Meters well in Pro Auto Disk/Perfect Powder Measure.

highlander 5
April 10, 2012, 11:28 AM
Ww 748

April 10, 2012, 11:29 AM
W-748 is all I have used since 1970.
No reason to change now.


April 10, 2012, 11:33 AM
I'll go with the H335 for a GP powder, it is all I use in a dozen different 223/5.56 guns and is suitably accurate in them all.

April 10, 2012, 11:35 AM
Wow, thanks for all the quick recommendations. I'll have to look them up. I am just getting into the reloading game, so not familiar with most of these powders offhand.

One thing I forgot to mention, I will also be setting up to reload 7.62x54R soon for my Mosin Nagant and my PSL/Dragunov. So if there are powders that would also work well for larger heavier cartridges, those would be ideal. No need stocking up 2 powders when one will do.

again, thanks guys!!

April 10, 2012, 11:49 AM
Hodgdon website ( is showing load data for 7.62X54R for H335 in 110/125/150 gr bullet weights.

If I had to use one powder for both cartridges, it would be either H4895/IMR4895.

April 10, 2012, 11:56 AM
My go to for 55-62 grain is H335. Anything heavier I use Varget.

April 10, 2012, 12:05 PM
The good news is lots of powders work well in .223.

H335, AA 2015, N130, N133, W748, AA 2230, TAC, Varget, IMR or H4895, BLC-2, among others. I am using an old surplus powder (SRB-118) for my plinking ammo in .223.

If you are shooting 55 Gr FMJ bullets, the powder is not a big factor, as the open/erratic based FMJ doesn't shoot very well anyway.

April 10, 2012, 12:16 PM
if you want it to meter well, 100% go with TAC or H335, i use them both, but prefer TAC as its usually a tiny bit cheaper it seems.

April 10, 2012, 01:37 PM
My main powder is H335 (for 55 g) which was for sale awhile ago at Widners (8# their number 844) and is, from what they say, identical. For anything heavier, as was mentioned, I use Varget. I like the way H335 meters.........Varget not so much.

April 10, 2012, 02:29 PM
For 55 FMJ, I use AA2230. For 69 SMK target loads I use Varget.

But any of the powders listed so far will serve you well.

April 10, 2012, 04:47 PM
For the .223 family of rounds (including my 6x47), i like w748, BLc2, and Imr 4895.
Honestly if i had to use only one powder for most things it would be 4895, works well all the way up to the 06.

April 10, 2012, 04:55 PM
Ramshot Tac is cheaper than H335 so that's what I use. They both burn clean and meter well.

April 10, 2012, 06:20 PM
H4895 works pretty well and is a very versatile powder.

Redneck with a 40
April 10, 2012, 08:36 PM
I've been loading my 55 grain .223 rounds with H4895 from day one. I'm very pleased with its performance, great velocity, great accuracy. H4895 is all I will use for .223.

April 11, 2012, 12:49 AM
IMO a charge of 25.0gr Hodgdon H335 under a 55gr bullet is the "classic" .223 load. Hodgdon BL-C(2) and Winchester W748 are also good powders for the .223. All are ball powders and will meter well in your Auto-Disk but I think you will need the double-disk kit.

I use 25.0gr H335 under a 55gr bullet for all my semi-auto .223 ammo and Hodgdon Varget for my bolt action rifle ammo.

BL-C(2) will work very well for your 7.62X54R ammo so if you want only 1 powder to do both that might be the one for you. I would buy both powders because I feel it's better to buy powders that do the best job that can be done instead of trying to do everything with only 1 powder. (unless you have no choice or powders aren't available)

April 11, 2012, 01:30 AM
I'm late to the party but will toss in my opinion:

I have tried:
Varget--Too slow burning for general purpose. Only applicable to heavier bullets.
H4895--Good burn rate, but difficult metering, and compressed charges.
Benchmark--Easy metering and accurate, but velocities were not what I wanted. Also only applicable to the lighter bullets.
Tac--Easy metering and consistent good groups, good velocity, clean burn. Burn rate is nearly identical to H4895, which means the bulk of bullets are fair game.

Of those that I have tried, Tac is definitely what I would call Good General Purpose in .223 for AR use.

April 11, 2012, 01:47 AM
WC 844, WC 748, H 335 any of these meter well and can be very accurate with the right bullet.

April 11, 2012, 01:50 AM
Can't go wrong with BL(C)-2 or H335. Currently my favorite is CFE-223. Meters well and gets lots of power.

April 13, 2012, 12:09 PM
TAC is my general purpose powder of choice. Good results and meters very well.

April 13, 2012, 12:21 PM
I use TAC, mostly.

April 13, 2012, 12:26 PM
I'm trying to decide between ordering 2 jugs of WC-844 or SMP-842. (the logical choice would be one of each, so that's out ;))

So far all I've tried is Varget, and it works great but it's expensive, and it goes *crunch* when I try to throw it with the powder measure.

April 13, 2012, 12:39 PM
Looks like as many answers as people. What does that tell you? .223 will eat many powders just fine..I use Varget on short course and RE-15 at 600...

April 14, 2012, 12:23 PM
For a 55 gr range load, I use IMR4198. Not top velocities but good accuracy and uses less powder.

April 14, 2012, 01:51 PM
Well if you are going to a gun show you should be able to find some WC-844. It is the pull down equivalent of H-335. It will use the same load data just start at the starting charge and work up like any other round.

April 15, 2012, 10:13 AM
RL-15 for 69-80 grn bullets

April 15, 2012, 11:16 AM
Since I first found it, I have used TAC exclusively, up until that point I used H322. I like the TAC better, and it meters very well in my Hornady powder drop.

April 15, 2012, 11:41 AM

loose noose
April 15, 2012, 11:49 AM
AA2230 meters very well and has a large range of application from the lightest .224 bullets to the heaviest, It is also an excellent powder in the .30 caliber (.308). BTW welcome to the fraternity.

April 15, 2012, 12:38 PM
What do you all think of AA2200.. I just got an 8lbs Keg from a guy for like $20 and am going to work up a load... I know it was discontinued, but is now being manufactured again, or something like that..

Looks like about 24-25 grains, under a V-Max 40 gr. Looks pretty good
or 22-23 grains, under a V-Max 50gr. will work also..

This is for Varmint hunting..


April 15, 2012, 05:26 PM
my rifle likes both Varget, and Benchmark. and with the right bullet, reloder 7 makes for a good sub m.o.a. load (20g with a 55g v-max).

April 15, 2012, 07:13 PM
Be sure you get a good powder drop that can handle dropping 20-27 gr of powder. Also get a scale to measure with and a good manual or two!

**** Read the manual 2x on how NOT to blow a gun up!***

Diffent bullet manufactures and powder companies may vary a little in the charge weight for starting loads.

I like Reload 7 for 55 gr bullets and Reloader 10 for my mini 14. I like the faster burning powders with a short barrelled rifle, and semi auto.

I look to the Alliant web page for use of their reloading guide.

ole farmerbuck
April 15, 2012, 07:56 PM
Well I might as well put in my 3.5 cents worth. I use BL C-2 in the 223 bolt guns and IMR8208 in the AR's. While p-dog hunting, the chambers get pretty warm and with the bolts,I dont have to chamber a round till I'm ready to so I dont mind using a temp sensitive powder. But with the AR's, a round gets pretty warm sitting in the chamber waiting to get shot sometimes so I like the IMR8208 for that reason. Just my thinking.

April 15, 2012, 08:36 PM
Another vote for AA 2230. I think the 223 is what it was made for.

Hondo 60
April 15, 2012, 08:45 PM
Varget or RL15.
My first pound was RL15 & worked outstandingly!
Extremely accurate even with 55gr FMJs

When I went back to the store a 2nd time they didn't have an RL15, so I got Varget.
I would rate it just 1/16th of a hair under RL15.

April 15, 2012, 08:58 PM
Can't go wrong with BL(C)-2 or H335. Currently my favorite is CFE-223. Meters well and gets lots of power.

Ditto. I had prefered H335 over BL(C)-2, but used both. Just started using CFE-223 and have had very good results so far - more testing needed.

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