Reloading .223 for AR15

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I need some help on this. I’ve loaded pistols and shot shells....but never a single rifle cartridge.

I have a Lee turret press and quite a few accessories.

I’m looking to load some rounds just for shooting. I may play with accuracy later....but for now I am just wanting to learn and make some paper/steel punching rounds.

So I have some data and also plenty to be found on the powder websites. I usually go for alliant powder...but that doesn’t have to be true forever.

I need to buy a turret plate and a die set. I plan to use my turret press in a single stage fashion and just index by hand.

I need to get a powder thrower, case trimmer, and I believe I have most of the other stuff. Technically I could use my current autodisc for powder....but it has not been the most accurate for me.

I can get powder, bullets, dies, primers, etc.

My question is regarding the bullets. I see the cheap 55gr bullets but not much data that matches. Most of the data I find is for premium bullets. Are the bullets super sensitive. In pistols, I always looked at general shape and weight of the bullet. If weight was the same and shape looked the same, I would use them and swap back and forth depending on the supply. I was never shooting hot loads though. Usually a middle of the road load and only a couple tenths more than the minimum to function.

Can this be done with 55gr or 62gr bullets. Is there going to be much difference between an fmj, soft point, hollow point? I know pressures and stakes are higher therefore these questions.

Regarding equipment....I am open to suggestions. Probably going to get a Lee powder thrower and a 4 die set. Not sure yet on case trimming. I have multiple sets of measuring tools....but I probably need to get with someone regarding reaming and such. How much is needed and how much is too much?

Just looking for some replies from you guys that do it all the time. I’ve just never dabbled in rifle reloading.
 

bryguy

Old Mossy Horns
Honestly, as cheap as 5.56 is now, it isn’t worth reloading to me. It is a tedious process for not much gain. I have the stuff to reload for it, but I don’t mess with it because of the price of factory stuff....especially for punching paper and ringing steel.


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Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
Just save brass for when it gets hard to get.....
Stock what you can.

As for reloading.
Everyone should own and start with a Rockchucker kit to learn the ins and outs. You will always need a single stage and the tools in the kit down the road.
 

JLove1974

Twelve Pointer
.223 is easy to reload except seeing into the tiny hole in the case neck , so find a powder that fills the case well like H335 or TAC.

FMJ is FMJ....load to 2.250 OAL for easy loading into an AR mag.

Have fun with removing the crimp in military brass!
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
This is not necessarily about cost savings. Having the equipment and ability is more why I want to start.

12 gauge is definitely a losing proposition to reload. I have the equipment and ability now as well as some components.

Hasn’t been that long since the last ammo shortages. Just trying to stay ahead of that curve.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
Just save brass for when it gets hard to get.....
Stock what you can.

As for reloading.
Everyone should own and start with a Rockchucker kit to learn the ins and outs. You will always need a single stage and the tools in the kit down the road.
I looked at that kit. The problem is I have most of that stuff.

The only useful stuff I saw was the press, powder thrower, and reaming/debur stuff. I need to check my stuff. I think I may have reaming and debur stuff now. I don’t have a cutter for shortening cases.

I believe I have everything else. I know I have a balance beam scale and also a hornady digital.

I have the lee press. Just have to put it in manual mode.
 

JLove1974

Twelve Pointer
I looked at that kit. The problem is I have most of that stuff.

The only useful stuff I saw was the press, powder thrower, and reaming/debur stuff. I need to check my stuff. I think I may have reaming and debur stuff now. I don’t have a cutter for shortening cases.

I believe I have everything else. I know I have a balance beam scale and also a hornady digital.

I have the lee press. Just have to put it in manual mode.
You can use the lee turret press to index reload .223 for plinking ammo. Especially if you use the auto drum with the short powder die. I think the largest hole in the auto disk measure throws 24.8 gr of H335 so for plinking ammo that one works too
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
If you already have some of the items just pick up the extras.
I always like having another press to use or small functions like Primmer pockets or sizing military brass. Also is nice to not need to break down the other and use for singke stage.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I’m just going to have to build a reloading room. This will make press #5 and no I don’t have them mounted to swap on and off the bench. I wish I would have been smart like that.

Can anyone address the bullet/data issue? For the standard .223 55gr bullets. Just did not see data for a regular old fmj type bullet. Plenty for premium bullets.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
You can use the lee turret press to index reload .223 for plinking ammo. Especially if you use the auto drum with the short powder die. I think the largest hole in the auto disk measure throws 24.8 gr of H335 so for plinking ammo that one works too
If you have used the autodisc...is there a certain powder you like best with it? When loading pistol ammo....mine is constantly up or down a couple tenths. Good enough for pistol loads, especially when I’m not near max....but I imagine rifle loads can get a little finicky. I don’t know if that +/- a tenth becomes +/- a grain when I go to 20-25 grains instead of the usual 6 grains for pistols.
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
I’m just going to have to build a reloading room. This will make press #5 and no I don’t have them mounted to swap on and off the bench. I wish I would have been smart like that.

Can anyone address the bullet/data issue? For the standard .223 55gr bullets. Just did not see data for a regular old fmj type bullet. Plenty for premium bullets.
Look for data from the bullet manf. That or powder.
I can check my books. That us why I have several different ones. Some cover their brand others cover a combination of the ones out there.
You have a crono?
If not it is hard. Have had good luck using the same load data on other bullets with same design or BC.
AA 2230 ro 2460 if I recall were the go to for me. It meters good.
 

JLove1974

Twelve Pointer
If you have used the autodisc...is there a certain powder you like best with it? When loading pistol ammo....mine is constantly up or down a couple tenths. Good enough for pistol loads, especially when I’m not near max....but I imagine rifle loads can get a little finicky. I don’t know if that +/- a tenth becomes +/- a grain when I go to 20-25 grains instead of the usual 6 grains for pistols.
A tenth or two of 25 grains of powder is less than 1 percent variance. You’re not making ammo for Benchrest shooting so I wouldn’t worry about it. I use H335 and H4895 powder exclusively for 223 but I’m looking for some WC844 pull down powder to do bulk
 

kilerhamilton

Twelve Pointer
All I can suggest is that different cases have different volume amounts. A safe charge in one casing could be a hot charge in another.
Either run a safe load amount or match all your brass and work loads up to max.
This is mainly in 5.56 casing vs .223 casing.
Cheers


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pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
Look for data from the bullet manf. That or powder.
I can check my books. That us why I have several different ones. Some cover their brand others cover a combination of the ones out there.
You have a crono?
If not it is hard. Have had good luck using the same load data on other bullets with same design or BC.
AA 2230 ro 2460 if I recall were the go to for me. It meters good.
I do have a chrono but I may need to test it out. It’s an older pro chrono. Great for bows....don’t know how it is with the rifle.

I’ve been looking at the “bobs bullets”. They seem to get pretty good reviews and results based on what I have seen. Pretty cheap projectiles.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
All I can suggest is that different cases have different volume amounts. A safe charge in one casing could be a hot charge in another.
Either run a safe load amount or match all your brass and work loads up to max.
This is mainly in 5.56 casing vs .223 casing.
Cheers


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I was afraid this would be an issue. Not much of a worry on the pistol loads.
 

bigten

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
223/5.56 is not expensive to buy or reload. I'll just add a couple of pointers.
Match bullet weight to barrel twist.
Use either a short cut or ball powder, as the neck is small and it's time consuming to get a charge of stick powder to feed.
As mentioned, get used to taking care of primer pockets that have crimped primers. You can use a pocket reamer or a swage tool.
Many casings fired from semiautomatic actions require, at minimum, full length resizing, with some requiring small base dies to get better sizing for proper feed.
Lee zip trim set up is an inexpensive direction to look for trimming.
After trimming, a quick clean up with a de-burring tool is needed. Not much, just enough to remove the sharp edges.
 

JLove1974

Twelve Pointer
All I can suggest is that different cases have different volume amounts. A safe charge in one casing could be a hot charge in another.
Either run a safe load amount or match all your brass and work loads up to max.
This is mainly in 5.56 casing vs .223 casing.
Cheers


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
The difference between .223 and 5.56 is 99% in the chamber spec. Most brass case volume is around 62-64cc. I use them interchangeably in a 5.56 AR.
 

JLove1974

Twelve Pointer
I do have a chrono but I may need to test it out. It’s an older pro chrono. Great for bows....don’t know how it is with the rifle.

I’ve been looking at the “bobs bullets”. They seem to get pretty good reviews and results based on what I have seen. Pretty cheap projectiles.
I use Xtreme FMJ and Hornady 55gr when I get them for 7 cents a piece. I can load plinker 55gr for under 12 cents a round if i get a deal on primers
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I use Xtreme FMJ and Hornady 55gr when I get them for 7 cents a piece. I can load plinker 55gr for under 12 cents a round if i get a deal on primers
That’s about $5 a box less than buying them.

I buy on sale when I see them....but I’m not one to buy thousands at a time. 10 boxes is about all I ever buy....I just don’t shoot that much.

It would take a few years to be worth it....but having components and the ability to load them is worth it to me.

Is there a certain brass that you use?
 

JLove1974

Twelve Pointer
That’s about $5 a box less than buying them.

I buy on sale when I see them....but I’m not one to buy thousands at a time. 10 boxes is about all I ever buy....I just don’t shoot that much.

It would take a few years to be worth it....but having components and the ability to load them is worth it to me.

Is there a certain brass that you use?
I use whatever brass is clean and prepped at the time. Sure makes it easy to prep military brass well in advance so I have about 10K cases laid up, most of it LC headstamps
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
If you are just looking plinker and cheap use cast bullets.
Cant remember the powder but I cast lead GC or standard.
Other than time I got the lead for free so it is cheap as it gets.
 

C52

Eight Pointer
I load 55grain Hornady fmj bt with a mid charge of aa 2520 in Remington 223 cases with federal primers. I get better groups than the store boughts and it runs perfectly in my ar. You said you’ve not loaded rifle. Make sure you lube the case first and know that stick powder doesn’t meter worth a damn. It hangs up in my measurer so when I load with stick I weigh every one
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I think all I really need is a die set and a tool for case cutting. Probably would get a powder thrower as well
 

bigten

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
^ get a trickier also. Set your powder throw a bit light and trickle up to desired weight.
 
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