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Old August 11, 2014, 09:41 PM   #1
Comrade Mike
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Are all .224 55gn FMJ's created equal?

How do you guys load your bulk 55 gn FMJ's in your every day .223 loads? Do you load develop for each brand (Hornady, winchester, extreme, etc.) of bullet? Or treat them all the same and stick with the powder charge that works across the board?

Talking moderate powder charges, nothing pushing the envelope.
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Old August 11, 2014, 09:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comrade Mike View Post
How do you guys load your bulk 55 gn FMJ's in your every day .223 loads? Do you load develop for each brand (Hornady, winchester, extreme, etc.) of bullet? Or treat them all the same and stick with the powder charge that works across the board?

Talking moderate powder charges, nothing pushing the envelope.

They will all be terribly inaccurate if that's what your asking. But IMO if the bullet is actually different it deserves it's own workup
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Old August 11, 2014, 09:54 PM   #3
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For bulk and surplus FMJ bullets the charge is all the same. With some of the hunting bullets meant for loads used in my bolt action .223 rifle I do use different powders and loads. (like Varget and a 55gr GameKing bullet)
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Old August 11, 2014, 09:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by R.W.Dale View Post
They will all be terribly inaccurate if that's what your asking. But IMO if the bullet is actually different it deserves it's own workup

I think you're misunderstanding my question. I'm not asking about loading a 55 grain Sierra matchking and a 55 grain Nosler varmageddon on the same powder charge.

I'm talking loading extreme full metal jacket bullets the same as Hornady or Winchester ones. same profile more or less, same weight, same design.
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Old August 11, 2014, 09:58 PM   #5
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Back when I loaded such bullets I noticed different brands had slightly differing profiles.
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Old August 11, 2014, 09:58 PM   #6
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Hornady is a creature all to itself and should be treated with more respect and time than most other 55 grain FMJ. Hornady does an excellent job of making each bullet as consistent as possible. The result is a more accurate load if you take your time to do it. Which is probably what you should do if you are going to spend the little extra money on them.
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Old August 11, 2014, 10:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by longdayjake View Post
Hornady is a creature all to itself and should be treated with more respect and time than most other 55 grain FMJ. Hornady does an excellent job of making each bullet as consistent as possible. The result is a more accurate load if you take your time to do it. Which is probably what you should do if you are going to spend the little extra money on them.

There you go OP
And straight from the horses mouth so to speak
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Old August 11, 2014, 10:23 PM   #8
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Back when I loaded such bullets I noticed different brands had slightly differing profiles.
yes.
I even noticed slightly differing profiles in every batch of any brand bulk 55 FMJ-BT I ever bought for $3.00 a 100.

Except for Hornady at $4.75 per hundred!
They were always the same shape at least!

rc
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Old August 11, 2014, 10:26 PM   #9
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Are all .224 55gn FMJ's created equal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmodel View Post
yes.
I even noticed slightly differing profiles in every batch of any brand bulk 55 FMJ-BT I ever bought for $3.00 a 100.

Except for Hornady at $4.75 per hundred!
They were always the same shape at least!

rc

At some point I decided that just because I'm going to load a large quantity that shouldn't automatically = suck

A good bullet that has a chance of being moderately accurate does not have to add significantly to the cost of a batch. The midwayUSA dogtown bullets being a prime example.

In my experience FMJ-BT bullets are a waste of the ability to handload
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Old August 11, 2014, 10:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rcmodel View Post
yes.
I even noticed slightly differing profiles in every batch of any brand bulk 55 FMJ-BT I ever bought for $3.00 a 100.

Except for Hornady at $4.75 per hundred!
They were always the same shape at least!

rc

Now I'm confused. What are you trying to say?
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Old August 11, 2014, 10:59 PM   #11
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Now I'm confused. What are you trying to say?
That he is OLD!
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Old August 11, 2014, 11:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Comrade Mike View Post
Now I'm confused. What are you trying to say?

That FMJ-BT bullets are just terrible bullets. They excel at NOTHING but being cheap and going in the general direction of a target.
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Old August 11, 2014, 11:35 PM   #13
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Yes, I'm old.

Yes, back then the difference between $3.00 and $4.75 was a pound of hamburger.

And no, it didn't matter when lighting up beer cans & dirt clods at 50 yards with an AR & a mini-14.

A guy could afford a pound of hamburger and still shoot a lot at those prices!

I totally agree with R.W Dale though.
My 'serious' rifle hunting & target loads use the best bullets I can buy.

But you don't need to spend a buck a pop on .223 ammo to kill empty cans & blue rock with an AR-15 at 50 yards.

rc
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Old August 11, 2014, 11:36 PM   #14
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So "load them all the same if they're moderate loads and buy better bullets when you want better performance" is the answer I'm getting from this thread so far.
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Old August 11, 2014, 11:47 PM   #15
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I have gotten some decent results with bulk 55gr. fmj's and varget. I have actually gotten sub MOA 5 shot groups with 55gr. fmj's from Hornady.

In my experience, not all bulk 55gr. fmj's are created equal.

Some like Hornady are made with a true cannelure that can be crimped into,
some have slight impressions instead of a true cannelure.

Here are some pictures of a two popular brands, xtreme bullets and bullethead bullets. You can see the differences in quality between them...the xtreme bullets tend to shoot 1-2 moa for me and the bullethead bullets are true plinkers for me at 2-3 moa.


Xtreme bullet on the left, Bullethead bullet on the right. Both 55gr. fmj plinkers.



xtreme bullets



bullethead bullets



Xtreme on the left, bullethead on the right.


Last edited by silicosys4; August 12, 2014 at 12:49 AM.
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Old August 11, 2014, 11:50 PM   #16
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^^^ this!

Still though, I very often do a separate development for a different bullet, even if it is the same descriptive type bullet. I figure that if I'm going to go to the trouble to reload my own in the first place, I should at least attempt to get as much accuracy from my load as possible, even as poorly as FMJ's shoot, they still deserve some minimal tuning.

And additionally important, and very applicable from a safety stand point, is that any time we change a component, we should at least perform some degree of development, just to make sure pressures are ok, I don't like surprises. Of course that doesn't mean you have to do a close incremental work up, but I really like my eye's and digits.

GS
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Old August 12, 2014, 12:23 AM   #17
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When I first started loading .223, I was new enough to think that I should get match grade accuracy out of bulk 55gr. fmj loads, since they were "hand loaded", lol
It took a long dang time to figure it out but with Hornady fmj's, I was able to get consistent moa and a few sub moa groups before I found out that open tip bullets were better than open base bullets for accuracy.
To better answer the OP's question, I load the same powder charge of varget for all 55gr. fmj rounds I make, but my charge is tuned for the Hornady bullet, which has a pretty consistent cannelure and profile.
Many of the 55gr. fmj's I have purchased have not been so consistent, particularly in their cannelure placement, and each bullet manufacturer has a different setting for their cannelure, so if anything I have to change the seating depth slightly between bullet manufacturers.
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Old August 12, 2014, 12:31 AM   #18
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so "load them all the same if they're moderate loads and buy better bullets when you want better performance" is the answer i'm getting from this thread so far.
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Old August 12, 2014, 12:40 AM   #19
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I think after I shoot up my FMJ's I'm just going to bulk buy a ton of the Hornady soft points and call it good.
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Old August 12, 2014, 06:09 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Comrade Mike View Post
I think after I shoot up my FMJ's I'm just going to bulk buy a ton of the Hornady soft points and call it good.
That's what I did. 1k of midsouth's 55g sp should arrive today, $90 to my door. I have heard good things on them like "they shoot exactly like hornady 55g sp"
Even if they are not as good as hornady's you can still get hornady bullets from many online vendors for $100 per thousand, which is better than LGS prices and is equal to hornady 55gfmjbt
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Old August 12, 2014, 07:37 AM   #21
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I have ended up .1 or .2 Grs different with different 55 Gr FMJ bullets. My sons and I are about to work one up with some X-Tremes. I gave them some to start with. They will be doing it it all, I am just helping them get started safely. I also gave them some surplus powder I have been using for 55 Gr plinking ammo in .223. Not looking for gilt edged accuracy (Duh, it's a 55 Gr FMJ)), just a safe, clean, cheap, plinker load.

But yes, if you just want a safe plinking load you can use with any 55 Gr FMJ, pick something short of max and have fun.

I do have some Hornady 55 Gr FMJ, and have intended to work up an accurate a load as possible with them using other powders, but haven't gotten around to it.
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Old August 12, 2014, 10:25 AM   #22
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How are those Bullet Heads compared to Hornady FMJs?
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Old August 12, 2014, 01:10 PM   #23
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I could never get FMJ groups to tighten up satisfactorily, and I think maybe it's because of the thick, hard metal jacket. Maybe they were designed for higher pressure or something, I don't know. I finally switched to thin-skin jacketed bullets like the v-max, and have no problems dialing them in accurately. Others may have a different opinion of the FMJ's but as for me, I'll leave them to the military and stick with thin-jacketed bullets.
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Old August 12, 2014, 04:51 PM   #24
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"...Are all .224 55gn FMJ's created equal?..." No. A military FMJ has a thicker jacket than a commercial FMJ. However, you load for the bullet weight. Who made it doesn't matter.
"...buy better bullets when..." Only if your rifle is up to 'em. No point spending a pile of money of match bullets if your rifle's barrel, trigger sights, etc aren't up to 'em. Have a .243 like that. Great trigger, sights, bedded stock, with a mediocre barrel. Shoots a consistent minute of deer, but there'd be no point using match bullets out of it.
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Old August 12, 2014, 09:06 PM   #25
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Quote:
I could never get FMJ groups to tighten up satisfactorily, and I think maybe it's because of the thick, hard metal jacket. Maybe they were designed for higher pressure or something, I don't know.
They use the cheapest jackets (The thickness is not as even all the way around), and have crappy bases. The base is everything for accuracy. The concentricity of the jackets is paramount as well. The best jackets are used for match bullets. If the jacket is thin on one side and thick on the other, the lead is out of balance. Like an unbalanced tire.

For accuracy you need a good base, a good jacket, and consistent shape and weight.
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