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Ar15 223, carbine powders?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TheCracker, Feb 4, 2012.

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  1. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    I finally got my first ar15 last week! Wanted one years. I've been shooting a mini 14 and wow the accuracy is amazing when compared, but that's a whole other topic.

    Anyhow, I've been loading 223 for a few years and that's not my question.

    I have a crap ton of varget and imr4064 that I've been loading for the mini but was wondering what powders you guys have had good results with specifically for the 16" barreled ar15.

    I have a pound of h335 that made my mini suck even worse than normal that I have made some test loads already but not shot yet.

    Hoping some of you guys can give me some hints. I love developing loads so I may try one more powder.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  2. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    Btw, it's a smith and Wesson m&p15 optics ready model with the chrome lined 1:9 twist, 16" barrel.

    I plan on mainly shooting the few thousand 55g FMJBT Hornady bullets I have stockpiled.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  3. sean eady

    sean eady Member

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    For general 100yd target shooting with a 55 grain spire point I like W748.
     
  4. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

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    The best powders in the longer barrel are also going to be the best in the shorter barrel.
     
  5. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    H335 worked so well with my 1:7 20" AR that I bought 8 pounds of the stuff and will probably go with it's military surplus equivalent WC844 if I ever find it cheap enough to make it worth my while.

    25.0g with a 55g fmjbt gets me an honest 1 MOA from a gun vice with a scope which is way better than I can shoot when it comes to "fun shooting" so that's my standard load.
    It's within 10% of max SAAMI pressure so you really need to start lower and work your way up to find your most accurate load because each rifle is different.

    I found Varget works well as does Reloader 7, RL10X and Ramshot TAC, but the H335 was the most economical so that's what I use.
     
  6. CMV

    CMV Member

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    I haven't tried any other powders yet, but H335 is working great for both my ARs. A 20" HBAR & a 16" M4 profile, both 1:9, both 5.56 chambers. I'm using the Hornady 55gr FMJBT bulk also.

    With 26.2-26.3 gr of H335, CCI #41, 1x LC brass trimmed to 1.751, & 2.220 OAL I have a good duplication of XM193. Same fps & very nearly the same POI on the target at 100 yds.

    For a general plinking load I'm using mixed HS brass but still mostly LC, 24.2 gr H335, CCI #450, and the trim to & OAL lengths are the same. I had to readjust zeroes on both rifles as there was a pretty significant change in POI (will still be on something like a B27 at 100 yds inside the 8 or 9 ring but off something like a Coke can). But both loads group out of both rifles at about ~1.75" which is pretty much what XM193 does for me. I was a little disappointed being new to reloading and expecting better results than factory loads. I didn't do worse, but didn't really do much better. Then people here told me not to expect too much out of FMJ with an open base from an AR as far as grouping goes.

    I always read people posting how their ARs are doing sub MOA on factory FMJ but I'm skeptical. I've just never seen an AR shoot regular old factory FMJ at 1" & better groups consistently. That might just be me & the people I've shot with - I'm sure there are some that can do it but for all the "I took my [insert stock commercial AR name here] out of the box and put [insert S&B, PPU, Am Eagle, UMC, WWB, Q3131, XM193, SA battlepack, Wolf, etc here] into 1" groups all day long" I think that they're exaggerating or else that 100 yds they thought they were at was really more like 50-75 yds.

    Anyway, back on your question, you'll make good plinking rounds with H335 & Hornady 55 gr FMJBT. You'll hit Coke cans at 100 yds all day long with it. You won't make dime or quarter sized groups. Out of a string of 10 I might be able to cover a lot of them with a quarter, but some will be out of the quarter - & out by a lot. I tried sorting HS & using all the same (as far as I could tell - like "LC08"), double checking trim measurements, weighing every charge twice, weighing every bullet, measuring every OAL, etc. Still >1.5" groups off a sandbag & not worth the effort.

    My first experiment with Hornady 55gr Vmax all I did was swap the projectile & took the OAL to 2.250. I didn't get the dime sized group I wanted, but was at about 1.1" That was a pretty significant improvement from just that one change. Now I have several charges worked up that I will try next time out to see how much I can improve. Problem is, I can't (or don't want to) afford Vmax for plinking ammo. Will try the Hornady 55gr SP next to see if that gives me a good balance of cost & accuracy.

    I'm not shooting in matches - just playing around to see what I can do. Just because it's a plinking round and good enough to hit a Coke can doesn't mean I shouldn't want it as accurate as possible right?

    Also, the 24.2gr load is down there. It averages 2985 fps at 10'-15' out of the 20" rifle. I don't have 16" chrony data for it but should be about 220 fps slower. So it's truly a plinking round and I wouldn't expect fragmentation or the ability to repel zombies with it. But saving a grain or 2 of powder does add up. It functions & cycles both rifles well, doesn't leave bad deflector dings in the brass (in one of them it doesn't even hit the deflector), and has a slightly milder recoil (compared to that typical shoulder-busting AR recoil :p). I didn't get great performance out of starting loads. They worked & cycled, but started getting better groups at 24.2. Anything above that, the POI changed and the brass landed in a different spot, but the groups didn't improve, a few opened up, but in general, anything above 24.2gr doesn't do anything for my plinking round so that's what I settled on.

    BTW, I haven't noticed any difference in clean/dirty with H335 if that matters to you. Doesn't seem any better or worse than any factory ammo. But I can't tell the difference like some people can. I noticed Wolf seemed like it left more residue the few times I used it, but it also cleaned easily. For anything else, it's kind of binary to me - clean or dirty. I can't really make the distinction between "dirty" or "dirtier".
     
  7. CMV

    CMV Member

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    rsrocket1 - you replied while I was typing mine so didn't see yours - don't want to look like I'm calling you out on the MOA thing. From a vice that makes sense - I'm talking about all the "range reports" you see on gun boards where people are just off a sandbag claiming 1" & better off FMJ.
     
  8. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    Good info so far. Thanks.

    I have shot it once to sight in my temporary el cheapo red dot. I had some mixed brass loaded up with IMR 4064(that I'm just trying to burn up) that I had made as a blasting loads for my mini.

    I was impressed!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  9. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    The 1st one is 100 yards for initial sight in. The 2nd is 50 yards.

    This is with a 3moa millet unmagnified red dot.

    My mini shoots 2.5" groups @ 50 yards at 9 power. 4-6" @ 100 yards @9 power.

    I know these are only 3 shot groups but I'll take 3 holes touching @50 yards any day!

    @100 yards I was having to use the thick lines to center the dot. I couldn't even see the 2" square bull.
     

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  10. Damon555

    Damon555 Member

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    Varget and H335 will work great for your intended purpose. Of course if you are anything like me you'll want to try anything that you can get your hands on.....Try a 60 grain Vmax behind some of that varget and I bet you'll be a very happy camper.

    Just re-read your second post. Varget will work great with the 55 grainers too. You might consider getting some 55 grain soft points after your stash of FMJ's are gone. They will really shine compared to the FMJ's and don't cost all that much more.
     
  11. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Same with me. I shoot a Rock River 16" with 1:9 twist. I have tried H-335, Varget, BL(C)2 and W748. My first choice is H-335. I have gone through five pounds of H-335 and ran out so I moved on to WC-844. It shot the same as H-335 with the same load data but only cost $85 for 8 pounds. It meters great and is very clean and accurate in my RRA.
     
  12. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    Thanks. This is exactly what I'm looking for. If the h335 loads I made up are good I'm going to buy a couple kegs of WC-844!
     
  13. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    So WC-844 is the exact same thing as H-335? Or it just meters the same?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  14. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    24.5gr of TAC behind the Hornady 55gr FMJ set to 2.250" OAL is one of the best general purpose loads I've found. 2675fps in a 16 inch barrel and 2845fps in a 20 inch barrel.
    25.5gr will give you 2790fps and 2940fps in a 16 and 20 inch barrel, respectively.
     
  15. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    It is supposed to be. They tell you to use H-335 load data. If I was loading near max I would drop the charge a little and work it back up to be safe. I am using a mid load and getting the same results.

    These were shot with H-335 and Hornady 55 grain FMJBT bullets. Targets were at 120 yards. The dots are 1".

    ry%3D400.jpg

    ry%3D400.jpg

    These were shot with the same charge of WC-844 and the same bullets. It was a different day and the targets were set at 100 yards.

    ry%3D400.jpg

    ry%3D400.jpg

    This is a 20 shot group.

    ry%3D400.jpg
     
  16. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    No offense taken. 1" groups is about all I can get with a "canned" setup. That is at my range which has concrete tables, using a clamped down rifle vice and a 9x scope. This is totally unrealistic to true shooting, but it takes 90% of the shooter's skill out of the test, which is what I was trying to do when testing accuracy of the gun/load.

    From a sandbag rest, I am happy to get 1.5-2" groups and off hand with open sights I am happy to get all my shots on an 8-1/2" x 11" piece of paper, that's minute of man :)

    With a scope, minute of squirrel at 50 yards or minute of bunny at 100 is fine by me.

    Surprisingly, I was trying to duplicate (cheap) PMC Bronze and Federal Value Pack .223 ammo which is very consistenly 1" @ 100 yards, but not really any better than that. I chrono'ed them at 3000 fps and tried to duplicate the velocities, that's how I initially came to the 25.0g H335 load.
     
  17. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Same as H335 no but probably close enough. Each lot should be worked up. Pulldown powder is about all I use. I buy large amounts & come up with my own data. It is the next level of reloading.
     
  18. DBR

    DBR Member

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    Has anyone used H322, CCI41 and Hornady FMJBT W/C?
     
  19. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    I've used H332 for some time. I don't think you can get to the highest level of ft-lbs, but for my plinking, it has worked well. I've used several primers and mostly bullets in the 52-68 range.
     
  20. Cherokee

    Cherokee Member

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    H335 has been my choice since the 70's. Tried others, which were good, but keep coming back to H335.
     
  21. DBR

    DBR Member

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    I hear you re H335 I use and like 25gr H335 and CCI41 with 55gr. However, H335 is temp sensitive. I have been using H332 recently with CCI41 and getting good results, also it has less tendency to bounce out of the case on my progressive press than H335.

    I was just curious if others have had experience with H322.
     
  22. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    I tested my loads yesterday and so far the h335 was marginally better than varget.

    I'm not sure how great my tests are since I tested them at 50 yards due to only having a cheap unmagnified red dot.

    How temp sensitive is h335?? My best load was 25.3 grains(max charge on hodgon website. You guys think I have anything to worry about? I shot when it was 50 degrees but most of the year where I live it's way hotter. It would not be uncommon to shoot in 100 degree weather.
     
  23. edfardos

    edfardos Member

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    h335 here as well. I use 23.5 grains behind hornady 55gr spire points. Accuracy is good enough for iron sights. 2750 fps at 70F thru a 16" ar15. Less 100fps at 40F. Fwiw this is *over* the max load according to the hornady manual, but a low power load according to all other load data. Tried cci400 and cci450 primers with no noticeable difference.

    edfardos
     
  24. CMV

    CMV Member

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    23.5 gr of H335 isn't much beyond starting load for most references. Hornady book is way low on .223 compared to others. Lee 2nd ed has 25.3 max, Lyman #49 has 27.0 max, & Hodgdon site has 25.3 max. Don't know why Hornady tops out at 23.2 gr.

    Is your rifle a .223, 5.56mm, or Wylde chamber? If you've ever shot Federal XM193 or many other military surplus type 5.56mm rounds you've gone hotter already.
     
  25. mmay1

    mmay1 Member

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    I have used IMR 4064, H335 and H322 for 223 loads and have gotten comparable accuracy from all three powders. H322 meters better for me than the other two, so it's what I use for 223 Rem. I still rely on 4064 for 308 Win., 30-30, 6.5 Swede and 6.8 Rem. SPC.
     
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