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Powder suggestions for 53gr and 69 gr smk

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Allenblaster, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Allenblaster

    Allenblaster Member

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    So I acquired about 850 69 grain smk and 200 53 grain smk bullets from a friend. I've been researching for almost a week now and have been finding alot of mixed information about which types of powder are best for reloading.
    I have a lwrc, 16" barrel with a 1:7 twist. I'm not trying to get match grade performance, but I would like to have consistent accuracy as much as possible. I live in CA so the temperature can fluctuate quite a bit in the areas I shoot.
    I want to buy a powder that is versatile enough to where I could use cheaper 55 grain bullets in the future as well.
    I know that alot of the shooters here have a wealth of knowledge and would appreciate any input as to which powders would be recommended for all around use.
     
  2. Allenblaster

    Allenblaster Member

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    Forgot to mention that I have CCI #450 primers for the reloads. I know alot of people suggest starting with lower loads, but I wasn't sure exactly why.
     
  3. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Howdy, from Texas.

    Determining what works best in your rifle is a process. It's an often fun but sometimes frustrating experiment. Most reloaders use powders that are readily available to them, and go from there. My 223 bolt gun prefers H4895 and Varget. YMMV

    As for questions regarding starting with lower loads and using magnum primers for .223, it's good these questions are being asked, but I suggest that some more study is in order. There are some excellent reloading resources available from Lee, Hornady, Lyman, and etc. that provide insight into how to start reloading, and doing so safely. If one doesn't have good understanding of the answers to these questions above and the overall reloading process, one could damage their firearm or worse, get injured.
    Be smart, be safe.
     
  4. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    What's a lwrc? You may or may not get good results with your 53grn bullets in that fast of twist. My Colt H-Bar AR has a 1:7" twist and it pretty much hates anything 55grn... we are talking 4 MOA, things tighten up nicely once I go to 62 or 69grn bullets, however. Every rifle is different... you will have to see.

    As Sparky suggests, you will need to research load data to see what might work in your circumstance. My generic suggestion is H335, but it is a ball powder, so is not necessarily temperature stable. If temp stability is an issue, I would probably look at H4895 or Varget, or at the outside, Benchmark. The IMR's will work, too, but they are typically not as temp stable as the H's claim to be, that is IMR's 3031, 4895, 4064.

    The CCI #450 is a good primer, it is almost the equivalent to the CCI #41 arsenal primer, both of which are Magnum primers. As long as you are working your loads up with those primers, you will be OK. The key to primers on the 5.56mm, assuming they are being used in a semi-auto, is to make sure they are seated flush or, preferably, slightly below flush.
     
  5. bdb242

    bdb242 Member

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    I believe I would try CFE 223 as my first powder choice for both of these bullets. Starting loads for the 53 gr is listed as 27.0 and max is 28.5gr in the Hodgdon 2020 manual for Sierra HP and the 69 gr Sierra HPBT is listed as 23.5 starting load and the max load is 25.8 gr. COAL for the 53 gr round is 2.200" and the 69gr round is 2.235. Most of my rifles like the CFE 223 powder. I have not had an issue with a 1-7 twist and 53 gr. V-Max bullets, can't speak to the Sierra 53's.
    I would start at the beginning with the listed starting loads with the #450 primers and work from there. Good luck.
     
  6. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I shoot a lot of both 52gr and 69gr SMK. I prefer TAC for the 52 gr and Varget for the 69gr. I've used TAC for the 69gr and have had very good results. Note I live in E Texas and we get not and humid here. I very seldom shoot rifle when it's over 90F, at my age just cant take the heat anymore. I also use CFE-223 for my generic plinking 55gr loads with good results through my 1:9 twist rifle. Like Charlie 98, I could not get my 1:7.5 AR to shoot anything lighter than 60gr with any accuracy. So be warned. I tried 6+ combos, powder/bullets nothing worked. I eventually shot the barrel out trying to find something that worked. My most accurate AR has a 1:9 twist which loves the lighter pills.
     
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  7. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer Member

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    The OP could not have picked a worse time to inquire about "consistently accurate, temperature insensitive" powder for .223/5.56. The smart aleck answer is just look online and pick one of the out of stock, impossible to find powders, i.e., Varget, H-4895, Benchmark, IMR-8208XBR, H-322, heck, even H-335, BL-C2 (not known for temperature insensitivity) and H-4198 are out of stock most places. The best answer is get one that is close that you can actually find in stock. Hopefully, you can locate some Ramshot TAC (my personal favorite), Exterminator or Accurate 2230 (same powder), Accurate 2015 (similar to H-322, better for lighter bullets, or Accurate 2460. If you can find one of the impossible to locate powders (possible if price is no object), I would suggest IMR-8208XBR. It is versatile, meters decently and gives very good performance with mid to heavier bullets in .223. Lots of people will suggest Varget, but my personal experience doesn't place it in my top 5 powders for .223. Benchmark is another to consider.
    Bottom line is that each rifle is unique, and the fact that Ramshot TAC runs great in my 4 AR's and 2 bolt guns with bullets from 40 gr to 77 gr and twist rates from 1 in 12" to 1 in 7" doesn't necessarily mean it will run in yours. I wouldn't be afraid to gamble on a pound of TAC, having run through over 40 pounds of it over the past decade or so. Good luck finding your powder. I hope you have a good supply of small rifle primers, as those too are hard to come by these days.
     
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  8. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

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    For 69g SMK, I believe that the only answer is Varget. It's even what Sierra says is the most accurate powder for that projectile and I know that personally, I have superb results using those two together.

    For the 53g? That's a different story.

    I have a couple ARs, one is a purpose built bench AR with a match 1:8 twist 223 wylde barrel. It likes 69 and 77g SMK. Lighter projectiles like 55g and down it does not like one bit.

    I have another AR which is an off the shelf Rock River, 1:9 twist. I likes 55g and lower projectiles. I tried making "match" ammo for it from various projectiles but in the end, it just wasn't worth the effort as the RRA AR is not a consistent sub MOA rifle with any load.

    Either way, CFE223 seems great for solid pressure 55g rounds. H335 seems like a winner for 52/53g match projectiles. My personal problem is that my match AR doesn't like sub 60g projectiles and my "regular" AR isn't a match rifle.
     
  9. Allenblaster

    Allenblaster Member

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    Wow thank you all so much for the great answers. I was able to source 2lbs of H335 this morning and am going to try that in some of my loads. I was actually looking at the box of 69 grain SMK bullets I was given and realize that they are actually from 1997. I was a little shocked at how old they were, but upon inspection they were actually in pristine condition. So I'm assuming they'll be good to shoot.
    Charlie 98 to answer your question, an LWRC is a higher end ar-15 semi-automatic rifle (Direct Impingement) that I purchased a little while back. It's actually one of my favorite rifles and I believe it was a ar that was developed for the military.
    It has a really good looking spiral fluted barrel that I've come to really appreciate.
    I have been trying to find some Varget, but with these crazy times, it's been pretty difficult trying to find. I did find a source to buy a 8lb container of CFE223, but I just wasn't sure I wanted to invest in such a large amount of powder I wasn't experienced with. But after reading all the replies, it looks like I would be pretty safe with a good spectrum of weights with this powder so I may give it a shot. Pun intended.
    I do plan purchasing a large amount one weight for my rifle so I can just plink around at my local range, I just haven't figured out if that should be 55 grain or 62 grain for my 1:7 twist barrel.
    I have read alot about how the 1:7 twist does prefer the heavier weight bullets, but I haven't been able to confirm that with any concrete evidence.
     
  10. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    For me using light bullets in 223. I like benchmark and 8208xbr.
    I have tried a few others. But they aren't as easy to find a good load in my AR. Or they don't meter well.
     
  11. 3% outdoorsman

    3% outdoorsman Member

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    Any medium burn rate powder will work for both those two weight bullets.
    AA2015 has worked good for me with 53gr v-max and 69gr Sierra's.just hard to say each gun likes different bullets and powders but most work decent.just have to test to see.

    To many good powder options to list.just get your load manual out and see what might float your boat.yo me that's part of the fun, figuring out what to try next
     
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  12. Allenblaster

    Allenblaster Member

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    3% Outdoorsman I totally agree with you on that. Figuring out that next perfect load is alot of fun to me.
    I love having a bunch of different test loads to take to the range and writing it all down on a spreadsheet.
     
  13. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    For the 53 grain ...Reloder 10x ..... The 69 grain TAC or Reloder 15
     
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  14. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    With a 1:7 twist, you may have very bad accuracy problems with 53-55 grain bullets, even at 1000 yards. I know I did. The 69 grain SMK's and heavier up to 80 grain bullets shoot a LOT better with that twist.
     
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  15. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

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    Exactly. Honestly, I really do not like 1:7 twist on an AR. I feel that 1:7 is really too fast for most 55g ball we all shoot in bulk. Sure, it gets the job done, but there's better accuracy to be found with a slower twist. My 1:9 is very accurate with 55g ball. I mentioned that I have 1:8 match barrel and with it, 77g is about the largest I can go without having to hand feed each round due to their being too long for an AR mag.
     
  16. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    TAC may not be the best for either of the two bullets but a good choice for both.
    May not be as popular as some others so it might be easier to find.
    I think TAC is good stuff for .223/5.56
    Ramshot lists loads at 5.56 pressures for it.. (hotter than .223 data) if that matters to you.
     
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  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    H335 will be fine, it has been the favorite of high volume prairie dog shooters.
    Your twist will be fine.

    These days you have to work with what is available, not what is theoretical or Joe Shmuck's Pet Load.
     
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  18. call1911

    call1911 Member

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    Vihtavuori N130 for the 52gn bullets
    Gives 1/3 MOA at 100 meter out of my AR every day of the year.

    Vihtavuori N140 for the 69gn bullets
    Gives 1/2 MOA at up to 200 meter out of my AR every day of the year.
     
  19. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer Member

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    Hmmm, what AR? Which barrel? What twist rate? Which bullet? Primers? 3 shot groups? No offense, but that sounds just a little too good. Or do you mean it can shoot one tiny group every day of the year? (No matter how many you need to shoot to get one that small?). :cool:
     
  20. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

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    LOL...yeah, always think that myself. I cannot make a "sub MOA all-day" claim with my built bench AR. What I can claim is that I can reliably get 3-shot sub MOA groups from 100 yds. Even with that said, I'll shank one from time to time and get over a 1" group. My last session I got a 3-shot average of .717" with 69g SMK and .850" with 77g SMK across all of my groups.

    5-shot groups? I typically and can repeatedly shoot just over 1 moa groups with the occasional group in the .900"'ish range.

    Those are all with my reloads...

    With my franken-built AR with very middle of the road parts, I cannot complain.
     
  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Harry Pope charged extra for a 2.5" 200 yard target. But that was with ten cast bullets.
     
  22. 3% outdoorsman

    3% outdoorsman Member

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    Haha yeah same here bad thing I end up up not always shooting everything and have zip lock bags with 6 bullets in it 5yrs later.sometimes I'll just blast em up at range to get my brass back.lol
     
  23. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    i would look to BLC2 if buying new, though I would probably just try to use H335 if I could find a load. I did try 69SMK with Reloader 15, and remember it didn't work well, though all signs implied it would.
     
  24. call1911

    call1911 Member

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    Sierra Matchking both
    S&B Small rifle primers
    Oberland Arms OA15 M1 Match
    24" Lothar Walter Bull Barrel 1:8 Twist
    Geissele 2-stage trigger
    5 Shot groups
    Kahles K624 SKMR3
    No bipod, shot from sandbag

    But a Schmeisser Ultramatch can do the same.
     
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