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M856 tracer reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Littlewolf, Jun 22, 2013.

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  1. Littlewolf

    Littlewolf Member

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    I have noticed that Grafs and others are selling military surplus tracers for 223. These bullets are quite long due to the tracing component chamber in the base. They are supposedly designed to mimic the flight characteristics of M855 ammo although I am wondering how close they really are. The military uses a hot burning powder WC844T to light these. For plinking, it may be better on your barrel if these don't light but if one wanted to see them light up, what civilian powder would be adequate to make these light and still have good velocity?

    Little wolf
     
  2. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    I have no experience with them but I think I would use a starting load for whatever powder I normally use for 60-62gr bullets....if I wanted them to light up, and work up to a safe and accurate load.
     
  3. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    They are very long and take up a lot of case volume. Military data using the same type powder uses about 1.4 grains less powder with the M856 tracer versus the M855 62 FMJ bullets. I've had no issues getting them to light with Hodgdon H335 powder. I load them with 23-23.5 grains of H335, RP 7 1/2 primers, in RP, LC, or WCC cases. Military data says they get 2870 fps at 78 feet from the muzzle. They are a dim trace and not bright in sunlight, don't usually light up until about 75 yards or more, and stay lit a long time out to 800 yards or more. Firestarters in leaves, dry grass for sure. I've also loaded them with surplus standard WC 844 powder and they light up. Depends on the condition of the tracing compound and starter compound whether they will light up.
     
  4. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    I have had good luck getting them to light with H335 also. Not 100% of them light, which I would expect from a pulled bullet that is no telling how old.

    My load used pretty much matches rg1s but with win primers. And I always shoot them either in the rain or right after. They WILL start a fire in dry conditions.
     
  5. Littlewolf

    Littlewolf Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Didn't think a full powder charge was possible for them due to the length.
     
  6. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I have some WC844T propellant and even with that they all do not light. Use a lighter charge for them as stated. Most do light but 15% or so will not on average. Do be mindful about possibly starting fires with those tracers though.:scrutiny:
     
  7. TenDriver

    TenDriver Member

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    Is there a way to inert the tracer compound? I had a chance to buy some .308 tracers cheap and passed due to the fire hazard (prohibited at my local range too).
     
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