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First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

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  • First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

    I reloaded my first 50 .223/5.56 yesterday, also my first bottleneck rifle rounds, and have a couple of questions for the experienced reloaders here.

    My recipe is as follows:

    Press - RCBS Rock Chucker

    Power Measure - RCBS Uniflow, with the charges checked on a Hornady electronic scale.

    Cases - Various once-fired (in my rifles) Federal and Remington cases, all "commercial", prepared using RCBS dies, primer pockets swaged as necessary on an RCBS swaging die.

    Primers - CCI 400 Small Rifle Primers seated with an RCBS hand priming tool.

    Powder - IMR4064, 25 grains

    Bullets - Privi 55 grain FMJBT, no cannelure

    Crimp - Lee Factory Crimp

    I set the RCBS bullet seating and crimp die to seat the bullet at a C.O.L. of 2.215", measured with a dial caliper, without applying a crimp, as I used the separate Lee Factory Crimp die as mentioned above.

    I picked the charge out of an older Speer manual that listed a suggested charge of 26.5 grains max. (They also had another load for IMR4064 listed at 24.5 grains, but I figured I would be OK starting 1/2 grain higher.) Note again that I threw a charge of 25 grains +/- about .1 grains, and periodically measured the accuracy of the charge by dropping the charge into a case, then dumping the powder onto the scale. I also occasionally dropped 10 loads into the little "bowl" that came with the scale (with its weight obviously tared out), and came up with an average charge weight that was pretty close to the expected 250 grains +/- a couple of decimals. Of course the Speer manual called for Speer bullets, but I went with what I could get.

    Here are my questions:

    1. The charge weight of 25 grains of this powder almost filled the cases! I did notice, however, that if I "settled" the powder by tapping the base of the case on my bench, it would settle down a little in the case. It looks to me, however, that seating this boattail bullet to the depth called for in my Speer manual would press the base of the bullet down onto the powder a little. My previous experience has been with handgun reloading (.9mm, .38 Special/.357 Magnum, .45 LC, and .45 ACP), and it always seemed like my loads never came close to filling the cases.

    Should I be concerned about this?

    2. The Uniflow powder measure kind of gave me fits. Sometimes it seemed to "hang up" partly through cycling the handle. Sometimes it seemed like it would drop only part of the charge, then drop about a charge-and-a-half on the next cycle. Obviously I dumped these back in the hopper, but the charge-and-a-half deal would drop a bunch of loose powder all over my bench.

    Why is this powder measure acting like this? Is it "chopping" the powder granules in half when it cycles or something?

    3. As I said, my Speer manual is about 15 years old. Should I be leery of building loads out of it? Does the "power" of a listed powder change over the years such that a load for a given powder from the old manual will be unsafe if loaded to that charge today?

    4. I matched the bullet that I had - weight and shape - to the equivalent in the Speer manual. Would there be enough difference from bullet manufacturer to manufacturer to make this load unsafe?

    I haven't shot any of these loads yet - I can always bang 'em through my bullet puller and start over if you guys think I screwed up. What do you think?
    Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

    When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

  • #2
    Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

    This really needs to be in the Basic forums for more thorough answers.
    Youth And Brawn Are No Match For Age And Treachery.
    I'm Old And May Not Fight. I'll Shoot Instead.

    USMC 1959/1963

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    • #3
      Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

      Sounds like to me you did it right. According to my Speer manual, you just split the diff. between the min. and max. loads. You should be good to go.
      As far as the powder measure handle hanging up, yes, it is hanging on the powder itself, mine does it also. I found a swift pull will produce the best results, but I always weigh each charge just to be sure. I like to take my time and find it really is relaxing. I check and sometimes recheck so I do not produce any mistakes.
      It sounds like you are using the same basic setup I use, except I don't have an electronic scale. I don't see anything wrong with what you are loading.
      My AR really likes the Hornaday 68 grain with Varget powder.
      Mike

      “We're all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth 'til death. We travel between the eternities.”

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      • #4
        Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

        Careful there and always verify loading data from at least 2 sources.
        Also you need a newer manual, powder changes over time.
        25.7 is listed as the top load here so you should be ok but your pushing it for a starter load.
        http://www.imrpowder.com/data/rifle/...-2005mar28.php
        VERITAS VINCIT
        A CRUCE SALUS

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        • #5
          Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

          4064 is always so-so out of a measure.
          Smart move checking it.
          Some of the newer powders designed for varmint cartridge and or target reloading are better suited to them.
          VERITAS VINCIT
          A CRUCE SALUS

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

            Originally posted by strmrdr View Post
            Careful there and always verify loading data from at least 2 sources.
            Also you need a newer manual, powder changes over time.
            25.7 is listed as the top load here so you should be ok but your pushing it for a starter load.
            http://www.imrpowder.com/data/rifle/...-2005mar28.php
            Hmmm.....thanks for the link. It shows a 25 grain load as "compressed"! Maybe I'll pull these bullets and re-load the cases at, say, 24 grains.
            Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

            When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

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            • #7
              Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

              Since you are .7 grains under max on the one load table and 1.5 grains unde max on yours, I would shoot one round. (What kind of rifle are you shooting these in?) Look for sign of excessive pressure.
              If you do not see any excessive pressure signs shoot one more etc up to 5 rounds. If everything looks ok
              you should be ok to shoot the rest. If you see any signs of excessive pressure I would pull the bullets
              and back off to 23.5 or 24 grains. Just my .02. If you are shooting these in a semi auto I would buy a wilson case length guage to make sure your sizing die is resizing the cases properly. If you are setting the shoulders back 2-3 thousandths and you have 2-3 thousands headspace already and 25 grains is
              approaching max load that may cause problems.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

                Originally posted by Walter Mitty View Post
                Since you are .7 grains under max on the one load table and 1.5 grains unde max on yours, I would shoot one round. (What kind of rifle are you shooting these in?) Look for sign of excessive pressure.
                If you do not see any excessive pressure signs shoot one more etc up to 5 rounds. If everything looks ok
                you should be ok to shoot the rest. If you see any signs of excessive pressure I would pull the bullets
                and back off to 23.5 or 24 grains. Just my .02. If you are shooting these in a semi auto I would buy a wilson case length guage to make sure your sizing die is resizing the cases properly. If you are setting the shoulders back 2-3 thousandths and you have 2-3 thousands headspace already and 25 grains is
                approaching max load that may cause problems.
                I'm will be shooting them in a Del-Ton A2 on a Doublestar receiver. I have a Dillon case length gage, and randomly checked my cases after re-sizing - didn't find any that had to be trimmed.

                This weekend I was passing by a Gander Mountain store, and stopped in and bought a can of Hodgdon H322 (I was looking for H355, but they didn't have any.). This was the only powder that they had that listed .223 Rem as a load. IIRC, they state a 23 grain load as a minimum.

                You're probably right about just going ahead and shooting 'em (my original loads). I kind of like how Hodgdon lists their load data on the net, as well as right on their cans! I'll probably stick with Hodgdon powder for a while just for that reason.
                Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

                When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

                  If you are going to use both Federal and Remington cases, and if you care about best accuracy, then you will have to work up separate loads for the different cases. Sometimes the same powder charge will work in different cases, but a lot of the time each brand will require a different charge of powder for best accuracy.

                  Also, the point of impact will probably be different for the Federal and Remington cases.

                  In my good accurate bull barrel AR, Federal cases will be high and to the left of Remington cases for point of impact.
                  The Washington Government can take their “Global Empire” and shove it up their “Pelosi”!

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                  • #10
                    Re: First Time Reloading .223/5.56 - Have Questions

                    I've always started at the low end and worked my way up to a point which ensures reliable cycling of the action. This may involve working my way up near the max ends. I had to do this for some AA2200 powder I had, I could never get it to cycle reliable unless it was near the max.

                    Always start in very small batches, and slowly work your way up. Also, start fresh when something changes, bullet weight in particular. You never can be too sure. Don't want to load hundreds of rounds and find out something is wrong. That's how I got into pulling bullets.
                    “I have a Right to my Life; I have a Right to the Fruits of my Labor. If you concede the principle of the Income Tax, you concede the principle that the government owns ALL your income and permits you to keep a certain percentage of it.”
                    ─Ron Paul, interview by Time on Sep 17, 2009.

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