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Loading 62gr M855 help?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wlemay, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. wlemay

    wlemay Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  2. WesM

    WesM Well-Known Member

    I'm in the same boat and interested to hear answers as well.
  3. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    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?
  4. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    where are you getting your "nato spec"?
  5. wlemay

    wlemay Well-Known Member

    -Im trying to steer clear from that!

    - 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.
  6. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Different chamber but same ammo. Just get .223 data for the powder you pick.
  8. joustin

    joustin Well-Known Member

    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
  9. wlemay

    wlemay Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  10. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    i'll be interested to see how neck sized only brass cycles in your AR
  11. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    That sounds like a stout charge of H335.

    I strongly suggest verifying your scale reads correct.
  12. wlemay

    wlemay Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  13. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    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?
  15. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  17. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    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).
  19. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. wlemay

    wlemay Well-Known Member

    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.

    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.

    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.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

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