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.223 AA2230 a few insights please?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JRadice45, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone, I just got back from a 4+ hour range session working up a new load. I was using once fired r-p brass, cci 400 primers, hornady bulk 55gr fmj and spt projectiles. I used aa 2230 powder in ladder intervals starting at 22.5, 23, 23.5, and 24 grains of powder. They were all loaded to 2.20 col with some slight variations.
    Rifle is a Colt MT6700 H-BAR 20" flat top with a riser rail and knock off aimpoint (tac-point) red dot, dpms mangonel buis.

    During testing slow fire (min between shots) I concluded that the 23.5 grains of powder gave me the best groups. During smei-rapid fire (6 shots 3 mins) the only ones that grouped well were 23 grains and 24 grains.
    I noticed 22.5 grains the primers looked good, 23 grains the primers looked flat, 23.5 grains the primers looked good-same as 22.5grains, and 24 grains the primers were flat with some backing out.
    With this in mind, I would like input as to where load development should go, 23.5grains with the charges going up and down in .1 incriments? like 2 up and 2 down? I'm a little confused as to what I should do at this point.
    Also correct me if i'm wrong but I think the primers flattened at 23 grains because of lower pressure while the primers at 24 grains backed out and flattened due to high pressure? ( I think 24 is near the upper limits in the lyman loading manual, 47th edition )
    I have also established that my rifle is more accurate with the softpoints rather than boat tail fmj (the base comes into play yes?) Any input would be appreciated.
    Also, I don't have a chronograph, but can muzzle jump be a clear indicator of different velocities? Even at 24 grains of powder, those loads did not feel quite as strong as factory fmj, rem umc 55gr. the factory also didnt group as well.
    Thanks all - Jay
  2. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't put too much stock into reading primers. Primers are notorious for giving you false feedback. Accurate Arms manual shows 25.0g as max load for 55 grain jacketed bullet at 2.230" overall length. As long as you're not over the powder manufacturer's published max, don't worry about primer signs. If your bolt locks up or the cases get bulged, you know you have a problem. Otherwise, stick within the manufacturer's data and you're good to go.

    Keep developing, this time at 0.2 grain increments. Maybe load at 2.230" to keep with Accurate's load data (online at http://www.accuratepowder.com/data/Accurate v322 web publication.pdf).

    If those are the Hornady bulk fmj, they are good bullets but not match bullets. All bulk fmj will give you group size variance that is unrelated to your powder charge (or primer or brass). That doesn't mean you won't find a good load, it just means you shouldn't expect match-grade accuracy.
  3. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    There are many ways to approach this situation. As you have already found, the Hornady FMJ/BT are not the most accurate choice. Many threads here mention that problem. I realize they are well priced but for better accuracy, a good SP or match type BTHP will generally give you what you need to compete in matches. What do other good competitors use? Your loads seem to be inline charge-wise for that weight bullet. The Accurate powder site actually lists 25gr. as the max for 55gr., but not all guns are the same, and your work-up is good. What is the twist rate of the barrel? I would get one or two other bullets to try, based on your barrel twist rate before deciding on a "best load". If the twist is relatively fast then perhaps a heavier bullet would work better. Also is that the only powder you have? AA2230 is good, don't get me wrong, but there are many good powders for the 223.
    It's not likely. If that's the case then why do the 22.5 & 23.5 charge look fine?
    Trajectory would be a better indicator of velocity than muzzle jump, if you have a range to test to maybe 300 yds. Zero at 100 and shoot to 250 or 300. Ballistic tables can give you velocity based on bullet drop with correct bullet BC.


    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I use 25.0 gr. AA2230 in LC brass with all 55 gr. bullets. Works very well in semi-autos and bolt guns.
  5. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    The bbl is 1 in 9 sorry, forgot to mention that. Also this is not for match use, however match type accuraccy is no a bad thing. I use the bulk because I try to stay within a budget. I have found however at 100 yds the softpoints have grouped very well.
    I have used h335 as well. I switched because I was having primer flattening issues even at the low and high ends of published data so I decided to step away and try a different powder.
  6. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    Just for the heck of it, I'll repeat. Don't let primers alone dictate your reloading program.
    Primers lie. Seldom do they take an oath to tell the truth, and when they do they have their fingers crossed behind their backs.

    Both H335 and AA2230 are known to be excellent .223 powders. You can't lose with either. Reloader 15,
    IMR/H-4995, and W748 are also excellent choices along with a host of other powders mentioned in these Forum pages.
  7. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    So what other signs do I look for? I have been checking the headstamp and rim for wear/shiny spots where the ecector and extractor come in contact and cannot find any. I don't really know how to tell if the bolt is unlocking roughly or if it is sticky because its a semi... I also don't want a primer to back out completely and lock up my rifle.
  8. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    JRadice45, as it has been noted, the flat primers within the powder range that you list is not indicative of high pressures. Are you having an issue with the bolt? Is the bolt going to battery after each shot?
    From what you say, you're looking for problems that are not there. I would use the 23.5gr. of AA2230 with a 55 gr. bullet. Do you crimp the bullets with a cannelure? H335 and AA2230 are nearly identical in burn rate, with 2230 the slower of the two. If the brass primes too easy, discard it. Not every piece of brass is going to be perfect, and you need to weed out the bad stuff. Pop out the primer and reuse it if there is little resistance when you prime a case. I use a Lee hand primer and you can feel the differences when priming. Eventually you will need to trim the case length to spec.

  9. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    AA2460 + 55 FMJ bullets in .223 = Fantastic in my experience. Really hard to go wrong with it, H335, WW748, etc for trying to duplicate M193 loads.
  10. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    Smitty, the bolt was going into battery after every shot, even rapid fire.
    I do crimp the cartridges, both the fmj, and spt have cannelures on them.
    I also use the lee hand primer and can feel the difference between a good and bad primer pocket.
    I also trim my brass when it is out of spec. I'm just wondering why then are my primers backing out at low loads...? wierd.
    Anyhow I looked at my book and 25 gr is the max charge so i'm probably going to load 10 of 23.5, 23.7, 10 of 24.2,.4,.6 with the soft point projectile and see what happens.
  11. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    Well for this sunday I made 30 rounds of fmj boat tail (for sighting fodder) also bought a cheap scope for some more accurate testing.
    I chose to load 10 of each; 23.5,23.7,24,24.2,and24.4grains, all with 55grain hornady bulk softpoints loaded to 2.20oal with a crimp, r-p once fired, cci400 to be shot out of my 1in9 colt 20".
    During resizing I noticed the cases actually grew, I am assuming this is due to the fact that I don't lube the case necks.
    How can I check for case head seperation on my brass with basic tools, as I notice a ring on some of the brass, but it seems like it is the die scratching the brass.
    As for adjusting the die per my rifles chamber... that didnt go too well. Most of the fired brass I had would fit in the chamber, but not drop in with the "rattle fit" however it would go in with a bolt assist to snap over the rim, as factory cases would so a little more detail as to how I set up my sizing die would be appreciated as well. Thanks guys - J
    Edit- Also would polishing up the decap pin/neck expander with a dremel, buffer wheel, and some jewlers rouge help out in lieu of lubing the case necks, or would the two combined be better? I'm using a lee die and when I had it apart I noticed the expander has machining/turning marks all over it which gets left in the necks of my cases.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  12. Jayman

    Jayman Well-Known Member

    I've never gotten great results from 55gr FMJs no matter what powder or primer combo I tried. I found a decent load that was warm and ran the gun well, and just stuck with that.

    If you want match level accuracy, there are plenty of good choices. Sierra is a good choice, if you want a lighter bullet, their 53gr Match King is supposed to be excellent, and if you want heavy, their 69gr Match King fits the bill. Either should run fine in a 1:9 barrel. I've heard really good things about the Hornady offering, although I must warn you that their 68gr OTMs don't seem to run so well in a 1:9 barrel, I think you need a 1:8 or 1:7 to make them behave.
  13. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    OTM? I have seen this before but cannot seem to figure out what it means... probably something simple. Anyhow for accuraccy I'm shooting 55gr Softpoints. FMJ for fodder/plinking.
  14. Jayman

    Jayman Well-Known Member

    Open Tip Match. A hollow point by another name. :)
  15. nitesite

    nitesite Well-Known Member

    OTM = Open Tip Match which is designed for absolute accuracy but does not guarantee any expansion.
  16. Khornet

    Khornet Well-Known Member


    bottleneck rifle cases usually grow with firing and resizing even if the necks are lubed, but neck lube is a good idea. Be sure to check case length and trim as it gets near max or you'll get high pressures.

    Most full-length dies I've ever used didn't go all the way the the extractor groove, and you can see on the case a sort of bright area where the die stopped sizing. That's not a problem. If case head separation is developing, there may be a narrow and quite bright ring around the case, but the best way to check is to feel inside. Near the base on the inside will be a groove developing around the case wall, and you can feel that with any slim slightly curved probe such as you could make from a paper clip. If you're getting that, you have headspace problems.

    I've sized to match the chamber for my M1 but not my AR. For that I use a case gague, which I recommend.

    I use the RCBS X-Die for my semiautos now. It has a special design that prevents case growth and works well. Others here have been happy with it.

    I agree with the others about 55 gr bullet accuracy.
  17. ZXD9

    ZXD9 Well-Known Member

    I run 25.4gr of A2230 with Hornady 55gr FMJ bullets and OAL of 2.23". I don't have the reloading guide in front of me but it lists a load max of 26.0gr. It has been an accurate load out of my RRA Stainless 16" barrel.
  18. JRadice45

    JRadice45 Well-Known Member

    ZXD9- My manual (lyman 49th?) lists aa2230 with 55 gr fmj max charge at 25 with starting charge at 22.5
    I bought 200 69gr Sierra Match Kings to play around with and see what happens.
    K Hornet Thanks for the explinaton between sizing ring and stretch ring.
    How does the X-die work exactly? and how is it set up if any different compared to a standard fl die. I ask this because my club's VP,gunsmith,experienced shooter also reccomended the x-die or other small base die to me. I was under the impression small base was used to bring brass shot in a machinegun back to normal spec. He said it sizes the base better without pushing the shoulder back as much as my lee fl die.
  19. amlevin

    amlevin Well-Known Member

    I guess I am in the "Hot and Fast" crowd. My .223 load for my AR w/16" Disapator Barrel is 25.7 gr of AA2230 and a Winchester 55gr FMJ-BT. It runs down range at 3140 fps (Avg) and my groups at 100' are 50 Cent sizes.

    FWIW, Lee 2nd Edition shows 26 gr as max load with pressures far lower than NATO loadings for this round.
  20. ZXD9

    ZXD9 Well-Known Member

    I'm out of town but called home and had someone check on this for me. The Lee manual 2nd Edition has the following ranges:

    Min 23.4 Max 26

    EDIT: I see someone beat me to it. That's what I get for starting a thread and then talking on the phone too long.

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