5.56x45 NATO load data


May 13, 2012, 01:06 AM
Hi all,

I have a 5.56 Nato 16" rifle and need load data for the NATO round with BL(c)-2. If anyone has data that is much appreciated. I have a few loadbooks but none have the right data. I have 55 grain FMJ, 55 grain HP, and 62 grain FMJ to load up. Any help is much appreciated. Thank you.

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May 13, 2012, 01:19 AM
What is the "right" data? Can't you use .223 Rem data and load it towards the upper end?

I've just started loading this cartridge, with the same bullets as you, but the only powder I have tried so far is Varget.

May 13, 2012, 01:30 AM
I loaded Varget IIRC at 26 grains or so with 55 grain FMJ. Shot ok, but never put it on paper. I guess I could just use the data I have. For some reason, I was thinking that 5.56 Nato is a different, hotter load than .223 Rem.

May 13, 2012, 02:16 AM
I'd just go with Hodgdon's online data. The two cartridges are close enough you'll be fine at a starting load and working up.

May 13, 2012, 02:21 AM
Ramshot is the only company that I know of that lists 5.56 data. Cartridge dimensions are identical to .223. Chamber dimensions have a longer leade to deal with the extra pressure.

May 13, 2012, 03:56 AM
I'd just go with Hodgdon's online data.

That's not a bad idea. I just don't know if the gas system has a different pressure area like the M1 Garand. I don't want to beat it up too bad,fps wise, just make a few boxes of shooters and some HP for hunting. I picked up a few mags at a gun show and wanted to load them up. I scrounged up a bunch of brass at the range last year and finally have some time to work with them. All mil-crimp stuff so it will take a few hours to load it up. It looks like 26.0 grains is about in the middle, so I will prolly start there and work up to 27.0 or so...

May 13, 2012, 04:05 AM
A guick look comparing Ramshot data with Hodgdon data shows:

Ramshot 5.56 Nato max pressure <62,350 psi

Hodgdon 223 Rem max pressure <54,000 psi

I am not sure if the pressure is a linear equation or exponential.

Anybody else have an idea?

May 13, 2012, 09:51 AM
Just because your gun is chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge doesn't mean you have to load to those pressures. That allows you to shoot 5.56 NATO ammo if you buy it but again, no reason to load to those pressures. Just use the online data and call it good...

May 13, 2012, 09:41 PM
Just work up your own load using accuracy as a basis, and you'll be better satisfied. You'll wind up with a load more accurate IN YOUR GUN than any you can buy, and it will most likely fall well BELOW 5.56 pressure levels when you do find your barrel's accuracy node. ALL my ARs (5) shoot/perform best with 223-level loads and every one is capable of MOA or less at 100 yds.

The only advantage to owning a 5.56 is "if it fits, it fires"--you can use both 5.56 and 223. A 223 is limited to 223 only and 5.56 surplus would possibly over-pressure the gun.

June 28, 2012, 01:49 AM
Accurate Powder has the metallic cartridge data online, also lists the Nato loads for the higher pressures, you will see the warning above the start of the data for the nato loads


June 28, 2012, 07:04 AM
Load to pressures projected to be lower than 55,000 psi.

While higher pressures might be viable for one-time military use, the primer pockets take a beating
above 55 and will open up enough that you'll throw the brass away in 5-6 reloadings.

Besides, as a handloader you can tailor pretty much whatever velocity you want using different powders.
(Pressure is not your goal.)

June 28, 2012, 01:46 PM
For clarity.

The 5.56 "NATO" round is a hot load, hotter than most .223 factory rounds with 55gr. bullets. It is not, however, a NATO round, even though marked with the NATO cross. The true NATO round is the 62 gr. SS109/M855.

But for reloading, .223 and 5.56 are identical. Nearly all load data is for the .223. Just to complicate things, .223 uses a .224" bullet.

Brass cases originally loaded as 5.56mm rounds, and some others, have crimped primer pockets that need to be swaged or reamed to remove the crimp prior to priming.

June 28, 2012, 01:52 PM
The newest Hornady 8th edition has a section for 223/5.56 service rifle. BL(c)-2 with a 68g BTHP 22.9g - 2500fps to 25.6 - 2800fps. It doesns list anything less that 68g so go with the 223 data.

June 28, 2012, 11:31 PM
I've run BLC-2 from 25.0 - 27.0 gr in 0.5gr increments in my 16" AR. Velocity was 2670 - 2883 fps. CCI mag primers. Temps were cool, 40-60 degrees. Be careful with BLC-2 in hot weather, it can spike on you, it is temp sensitive.
By way of comparison, American Eagle 55gr from Walmart ran just over 3150 fps on a hot day. Regardless, I stopped at 27gr, 26.5 was most accurate for me. That was all I was after.
In 62 gr, I prefer Tac or Varget. Decent results with 748, but I have pretty much abandoned using BLC-2 these days.
If you really want to push a 55gr, look at TAC or AA2230. I achieved highest velocities with those while staying within published data.

June 28, 2012, 11:55 PM
Thank you all.

I haven't tried TAC yet, but I think Ramshot powders are ball. Thing is, I have a bit of BLC2 and a few 55 grain FMJ and would like to build up some plinking rounds. I don't want to "benchrest" an AR15 as "I" think it is pointless. Just looking for some hot loads to run a batch of 500 or so that I can throw into an ammo can for a good day's fun.

Don't really have time to make the necessary trips to the range for dialing in. Of course, I could spend the time to load up 20 different batches, but then I would be down a few hundred bullets. I should have bought more than what I did, but 500 55 grain FMJ was all I could afford.

Anyone know a good source of cheap .224 bullets?

June 29, 2012, 12:16 AM
Anyone know a good source of cheap .224 bullets?

Graf's has the best price I've seen. Less than 8 each for Hornady 55 grain SP's (#2266) if you have a "dealer" account. About 10 if you don't. I bought a bunch of 62 and 55 grain FMJ's from goldenwestbrass.com a couple of months ago, but they are out of stock now. Graf's is slightly cheaper anyway for a better bullet.

Thing is, I have a bit of BLC2 and a few 55 grain FMJ and would like to build up some plinking rounds. I don't want to "benchrest" an AR15 as "I" think it is pointless. Just looking for some hot loads to run a batch of 500 or so that I can throw into an ammo can for a good day's fun.

I think 500 is too many to load at once for an untested load, but goto hodgdon's online load data and see what they say is a max load for .223 and reduce it about 5% or 6% (then I would round up to a multiple of 0.5 grains just because that's what I do) and you should be good to go. Just a guess (I haven't looked it up) you should be about 24.5 or 25 grains.

June 29, 2012, 01:11 AM
SAAMI and the military have different pressure testing methods and equipment. They do not directly convert. Pressure curves are certainly not linear.

June 29, 2012, 01:32 AM
MASTER PO is a great source for military ammo loads. I use his data for loading M1 Garand ammo and he also has a lot of data for the 5.56mm NATO round.
Take a read on that page and then go to the data page linked at the bottom. that data is what you're looking for but be careful getting there. Also, be sure your rifle is chambered for the 5.56mm and not the .223...

June 29, 2012, 04:41 PM
I load 223 for my Ar-15 and I load the 55 grain soft point over 23 grains of H-335. I don't know how close it is to NATO and don't really care. It performs extremely well for me. At 100 yards I took a 246 pound hog with it on April 13th of this year. Head shot, of course.

July 6, 2012, 03:11 PM
I'm going to repeat some info from earlier posts... BLC-2 does get spooky at high temp.... If I had some BLC-2 powder I wanted to use up, it sure wouldn't be a max load with it, it goes over the pressure limit fast.... As in, ok at "x" charge, no dice at 3/10 gr more on the next load. Use .223 data for BLC-2, and next time buy some TAC and use Ramshots 5.56 data, ALWAYS work up the load, Not all 5.56 chambers have the same "freebore" ... Max in a Colt ( typically long throats... ) could go kaboom in a shorter throated 5.56 chamber.

100-150 fps more is not worth screwing up a gun or you. ( Not saying it would, but just not worth it.. ) Your plinking targets will not know the difference. And honestly... max BLC-2 .223 data will probably be 5.56 pressure on a 85+ degree day.

Just my 2 cents.

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