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Reloading for .223 bolt action

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by raddiver, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. raddiver

    raddiver Well-Known Member

    I've tried to do some reading and searching of older posts here, but didn't come up with too much. (probably because i don't know what to search for)

    I'm adding .223 to the list of calibers to reload. This will be my first time reloading for rifle. Some of the things I've read say i don't need special dies if I'm loading 223 for semi-auto. But with bolt action there are a couple of different steps or items that might be needed.
    My barrel is a 1:9 and i was told that a 55gr to 62gr would be the range that I'm looking for

    Can someone here give me a clue? Here is what I'm looking for:
    what dies do i need?
    I'm assuming these are small rifle primers?
    What is the most common powder for loading 223 (top 2 or 3 is OK too)?
    What are some common gotchas for beginners when learning to load for rifle?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Can someone here give me a clue? Here is what I'm looking for:
    what dies do i need?
    Most any brand will do. I started with a RCBS full length die set and a Lee Collet neck die.
    I'm assuming these are small rifle primers?
    What is the most common powder for loading 223 (top 2 or 3 is OK too)?
    I started w/ Accurate 2230. I would suggest IMR 4895 as a starting powder.
    What are some common gotchas for beginners when learning to load for rifle?
    Don't crimp. Only size enough to make the cartridge funtion in you chamber.
  3. wingman

    wingman Well-Known Member

    I load for the 223 using lee dies both full size and collet neck die, powders, h322,h355, varget, Blc2, h4895 all good. On bullets I've found in a 1/9 nothing beats the 52 gr match Berger or Sierra for accuracy, I've tried 55, 60, 64, 69 in various brands and they all shoot well but never beat the 52 for consistency however it will vary from gun to gun, I now have three 223's all prefer the 52gr.Best brass if your really into accuracy is Lapua.
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you should invest in a reloading manual or two. These questions are well answered by the bullet manufacturers' manuals as well as other printed manuals.

    Your 1-9 twist barrel is pretty flexible. You should be able to use 40 grain bullets, maybe some of the 34/36 grain bullets. On the heavy side, 69 to 77 grain bullets may or may not stabilize but you won't know until you try.
  5. gab909

    gab909 Well-Known Member

    If you are shooting a bolt gun, buy some good factory ammo first. Shoot it, guard it, and get a neck sizer. A collet neck sizer, or personally, I have the RCBS one in 223 and 22-250.

    Depending on where you live and the temp changes between summer and winter, Varget is pretty dang awesome, and it is my goto in 223 and 22-250. Will work with all types of bullets and weights. Everything from 40 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips to 70 gr Speer soft points.

    Get a case trimmer, deburring tool, good scale, trickler, and some good calipers.

    Go on line, look at the Hogdon web site, get your data there. If you get into loading unusual stuff, then get a manual or two.

    A good spotting scope, so when you get the itch to take ou a squirrel at 300 yards, he isn't that hard to find
  6. redbullitt

    redbullitt Well-Known Member

    I like the varget too... But I have not used it in lighter bullets; I shoot 69smk and 70vld and it works very well.

    Ramshot tac has worked well too.
  7. raddiver

    raddiver Well-Known Member

    I have a few. Ive been reloading pistol for close to a year now. But rifle is a new area for me.

    I decided on my way into work this morning that i wanted to give it a shot. Hence not having data readily available. where i will pick up my components is closer to work than home (which are over an hour from each other) So i asked to get some information before i left tonight.

    So is the only difference between the full length and the neck, is that i will do a full length once, then neck size only after that? (provided the brass is used only in that gun?)
    any adverse affect by doing a full length every time? (other than brass longevity)
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    What type of rifle are you asking about??

    Neck Sizing is not going to work if it's an AR-15 or other semi-auto.

  9. raddiver

    raddiver Well-Known Member

    Savage 200
    Hence the title "reloading for 223 BOLT ACTION" :p sorry Rc couldn't resist. :)
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I can see that Clearly now!

    I missed it the first time around!!
    Getting old don't ca know!

  11. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Well-Known Member

    As you'll learn sooon enough, the worst part of loading for rifles is the prep work associated with trimming. Personally, that is why I love neck sizing so much. You can certainly FL size each and every time if you want. You will have to lube all the cases first, then do the FL sizing, then remove the lube. Then you have to go through and measure each case to see if it's below the maximum length. Then you have to trim them back. Then you need to chamfer and debur the case mouths. Finally, then you can prime them and charge with powder. But if you neck size only, usually the cases don't grow in length very much at all. Typically, you might be able to neck size 3-5 times. You don't have to lube them and you'll probably not have to trim. But at some point, maybe 3-5 times, the neck sizing isn't working anymore. At that point you will have to knuckle down and do a FL sizing and trimming. So make sure you have some way of FL sizing as well as an efficient method of trimming.
  12. raddiver

    raddiver Well-Known Member

    So i picked up a 2 die RCBS set. This one is steel. I suppose i probably should have held off and ordered the carbide ones online. The store didnt have any, and im an instant gratification kind of guy. I asked if they had any neck sizers... No. So i guess ill be ordering that.
    I also picked up IMR 4895 and a brick of cci 400's.
    Can i just say "HOLY CRAP!" I bought a pound of bullseye 2 months ago and it was 21.00 a pound. Now its 30.00!
    Oh it it doesnt stop there. 2 months ago i also bought a brick of cci 300's or maybe it was 500's..... anyway 34.00 a brick. Now 43.00 a brick! Oww c'mon. why is it every hobby i have does this?
    "ohh look RAD is into this hobby now.... Jack up the prices and make him pay, cause you know he will!"

    i digress
    Anyway, There was a silver lining in all of this. I found out that the 380 shellholder and shellplate i have will also work with .223. So at least i saved 40.00 there.
    Hopefully someone who currently has a setup for 380 and wants to load for 223 will see this and i'll be able to save them some frustration and some cash.

    Thanks for the help guys. Yes even you Cfullgraf :p
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Carbide dies are really not available for bottle neck rifle cartridges and those that are available still require lubricant, are meant for high volume loaders and are expen$ive. So, steel is pretty much it.

    Yes, many 380ACP shell holders will work with 223 Remington although if your press manufacturer makes a 223 Remington specific shell holder you might want to put it on a future "buy" list.

    Glad to be of assistance.
  14. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    I think your local shop is just a touch on the high side (like 30% too high).
  15. SteveW-II

    SteveW-II Well-Known Member

    > I'm assuming these are small rifle primers?

    They are, but don't just use 'any' small rifle primers. Rem 6.5 won't take the pressure. I use CCI 450s which are magnum primers for 24 grains of TAC behind a Nosler 69 gr HPBT. Thats almost a max load so work up to it. I have HEARD that Win SRP don't work too well in 223. I don't use them so don't KNOW. Rem 7.5 are also good.
  16. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    More info on the Remington primers please.

    Win Standard SR primers have been used on 90% of my .223 cartridges w/o issues.
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    If memory serves me correctly, when Remington developed the 222 Remington they had problems with pierced primers when using the 6-1/2 small rifle primer. They developed the 7-1/2 small rifle primer to solve the problem.

    If using Remington primers in the 222 Rem, 223 Rem and 17 Rem, it is advisable to use the 7-1/2. There may be some other cartridges that benefit from the 7-1/2 for similar reasons.

    I use alot of Winchester small rifle primers in my 223 Remington loads without issue. I have never seen any reputable advice to not use Winchester small rifle primers in 223 Remington. That is not to say the advice is not out there somewhere, i just have not seen it.
  18. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the info.
  19. wingman

    wingman Well-Known Member

    I've used Rem 71/2 & Winchester small rifle primers in thousands of rounds never had a failure and find little difference if any in accuracy between the two. I've never used any other brand.
  20. Huckelberry75

    Huckelberry75 Well-Known Member

    W-748 amd IMR 4895 have done well for me on 69gn Nosler CC's.

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