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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yep, gonna start making them both for ARs and Mini 14s rated for both. For bullets, I've decided on 2: the Hornady 55 gr. FMJ-BTwc and the 65 gr. SIERRA GameKing SPBT for game up to small deer. Might look at using the Hornady 70 gr. GMX for premium type loads.

Fortunately, Western/Ramshot provides 62,350 PSI 5.56mm data and I happen to have both X-Terminator and TAC with both being used and X-Terminator being the slightly faster burning of the 2. The differences between velocity vs pressure vs charge-weight are less than you might imagine unless you've already studied the data. For primers I'll probably follow Western's recommendation for the WSR.

Now for the last ingredient: cases. I know I'll be loading much more .223 than 5.56, so in the past few days of evaluating brass, I haven't found much in 5.56mm that comes highly recommended and I'm only considering new brass at this point. So, in evaluating the major brands that are available, I've about decided that for the little extra $ I'll buy Lapua cases. In reading the Midway product page it states that Lapua tests their .223 cases at 30% over-pressure. Since the .223 Rem's pressure rating is 55,000 PSI, that means Lapua is testing at 78,571 PSI. Most of the 5.56mm I'll make will probably be for my shooting partner and myself for the zombie apocalypse, maybe some hunting loads. Since the Lapua cases are constructed as .223 Rem, pressures for 5.56mm data given by Western should actually run slightly lower in .223 cases by virtue of the greater case capacity.

I'd feel more comfortable just from having the proper headstamp on the cases, but the Lapua .223 cases seem up to the task with an acceptable safety margin. So what are you guys doing? ;)
 

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Surprised you're finding 5.56 specific load data. Internl dimensions are same. when you run 5.56 brass throgh die, you have .223 brass.
 

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Lapua is so expensive. Lake city for 556 is my prefered and have produced very accurate and consistent ammo with them. I use hornady 2267s and 2266s 55 gr. they are very good quality for the price. I always buy by the 1000 minimum, saves you some change. Sub to moa with both bullets and both are fairly consistent base to ogive although ive foud the 2267s to be more consistent. I usually sort by length, then load them by the lot.
Hornady lapua and norma are probably all top shelf brass but you pay definetly. In 223 ive loaded many win NT cases an produce great results as well. Only one i would really steer away from are federal. Most of my federal are all below 1.75" spec.
 

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Surprised you're finding 5.56 specific load data. Internl dimensions are same. when you run 5.56 brass throgh die, you have .223 brass.
Ive never heard that??? Not saying its not true, just never heard that.

I thought the webs were a little thicker internally in 556 decreasing case capacity runnjng higher pressures. Correct me were im wrong.

Accurate gives 556 specific load data. Most are a grain or two or three higher than 223.

Using A2460 i would load 24 - 27g in 556
While max in 223 was around 24. No signs of pressure at 26 gr in 556 here. Id think if my 556 cases had been transformed to 223 i think pressure signs wouldve shown??? Velocities were where i expected them as well. By the way A2460 was a very nice match to SS109 penetrator 62 grainers as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ive never heard that??? Not saying its not true, just never heard that.

I thought the webs were a little thicker internally in 556 decreasing case capacity runnjng higher pressures. Correct me were im wrong.

MF, That makes 2 of us whether it's 5.56mm or 7.62 x 51mm. There's always been an advisory to reduce loads by 10% when using NATO cases. Lapua brass isn't much more than NOSLER & Hornady. I'll look again to make sure, but I believe the once fired stuff Midway sells is LC and the reviews were pretty mediocre. For a few pennies more and pressure testing 30% above SAAMI spec, well, think I'm pretty much sold.

BTW guys, I'll be going with REDDING Dies (naturally) and the Small-base full-length sizing die. Anyone else use it? I'll use the standard seating die as well as their Taper Crimp die for non-cannelured soft-points like the 65 gr. GameKing I mentioned. ;)
 

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MF, That makes 2 of us whether it's 5.56mm or 7.62 x 51mm. There's always been an advisory to reduce loads by 10% when using NATO cases. Lapua brass isn't much more than NOSLER & Hornady. I'll look again to make sure, but I believe the once fired stuff Midway sells is LC and the reviews were pretty mediocre. For a few pennies more and pressure testing 30% above SAAMI spec, well, think I'm pretty much sold.

BTW guys, I'll be going with REDDING Dies (naturally) and the Small-base full-length sizing die. Anyone else use it? I'll use the standard seating die as well as their Taper Crimp die for non-cannelured soft-points like the 65 gr. GameKing I mentioned. ;)
I had gone by the 10% reduction for 556 as well until recently when i saw the western powder data. It seems their approach is the opposite. They go 10% above 223 data. It got me thinking ab reducing charges and had me asking more questions. I was sketchy at first about trying it. I called a hornady tech. They said use 223 data and work up. I started doing that and only exceeded 223 data in a 556 case where data is specified for 556 such as with western powders data. With powders that specify 223 and 556 data i have exceeded the 223 max by 2 grains still falling far from the 556 max and showed no pressure signs.

I will have to say accuracy was great at the reduced charges and brass will probably get a couple more reloads, but i found another sweet accuracy spot in the higher charges as well.

That 30% above spec is a selling point. New info to me. Maybe one day ill drop the hammer on some
 

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BTW guys, I'll be going with REDDING Dies (naturally) and the Small-base full-length sizing die. Anyone else use it? I'll use the standard seating die as well as their Taper Crimp die for non-cannelured soft-points like the 65 gr. GameKing I mentioned. ;)
I use Redding dies for my 223 loads and I really like them. I don't use small-base dies though, I find that a regular full length size runs fine for just my 1 gun. I'll be grabbing a good neck sizing die when I get this bolt gun in as well.

I don't crimp my rounds, I find with proper neck sizing with the Redding die, I've got enough neck tension that I don't find it necessary. I realize the applications are a little different (target / possible varmint AR if I ever get the time vs. a more intensively used AR), but I wonder if you can't skip the crimp die for now.
 

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I had gone by the 10% reduction for 556 as well until recently when i saw the western powder data. It seems their approach is the opposite. They go 10% above 223 data. It got me thinking ab reducing charges and had me asking more questions. I was sketchy at first about trying it. I called a hornady tech. They said use 223 data and work up. I started doing that and only exceeded 223 data in a 556 case where data is specified for 556 such as with western powders data. With powders that specify 223 and 556 data i have exceeded the 223 max by 2 grains still falling far from the 556 max and showed no pressure signs.
Do you mean .2gr or 2.0gr? 2.0gr over 223 max is a lot...
 

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Lapua, Norma, Hornady, Nosler all good brass but pricy. Think last time I looked Lapua was running 60 cents a piece. Ouch! If you shooting for absolute accuracy then go for it but for any of your "zombie apocalypse" shooting (as you stated) then Lake City brass is fine. I've bought plenty of LC once-fired brass and it has been great for what I've need it for and a lot cheaper than buying new brass.
 

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2.0 grains. I thought the same thing. WP load data specifies 223 max around 24 an 556 max for the same powder at 26.7. Thats what got me asking questions and loading to 556 pressures for some ammo
 

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I asked alot of folks, knowledgeable reps and such an even then i crept the charge up .2 at a time until i was where i wanted to be. I had always loaded 10% light in 556. Although, now with WP powders data they typically are 1-2 grains higher than 223. I wont try it with powders that dont supply the data. Thats not for me. It was hard enough to do it using published data. If you want the load data sheets they are available online as a pdf. Very extensive. Close to 100 pages or more
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
m_f, you probably noticed already that Western loaded pretty close to the .223s pressure Max of 55,000 PSI where they're 5.56mm NATO data goes close to its pressure Max of 62,350 PSI.

As far as the LC 5.56mm brass, it got good reviews for new cases (out of stock - no backorder), not so good for once fired. Midway has once-fired stuff on sale but it's mixed with .223 and NATO spec cases with crimped primer pockets. Hornady .223 is on sale and I need to shoot Hornady an email and ask them what their pressure rating is. I also need to email Ramshot because in the 5.56mm data they only list case as WIN. ;)
 

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I've shot plenty of once-fired LC 5.56 brass and it has been fine. If you're looking at Midway's site I think the reason for the bad reviews is not that the LC once-fired is so bad but want you get from them is not always the best condition brass. I bought a couple bags of their LC once-fired brass a couple years ago and was really happy with it. Then I placed another order and the brass was absolutely filthy (which I could deal with), and there were a lot of damaged cases (which I wasn't too happy with) and one bag wasn't even LC brass but WCC. Turned out not to be too bad of brass, but it wasn't what I ordered. I did give them another shot (as I really like Midway in general) a little while back and bought a box of their as they describe, "mostly LC 5.56 once-fired brass" and it was probably >95% LC brass, not too dirty, and very few damaged cases. So basically in my opinion, LC once-fired brass is great brass, but if you get it from Midway it can be hit and miss in what you get.
 

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m_f, you probably noticed already that Western loaded pretty close to the .223s pressure Max of 55,000 PSI where they're 5.56mm NATO data goes close to its pressure Max of 62,350 PSI.

As far as the LC 5.56mm brass, it got good reviews for new cases (out of stock - no backorder), not so good for once fired. Midway has once-fired stuff on sale but it's mixed with .223 and NATO spec cases with crimped primer pockets. Hornady .223 is on sale and I need to shoot Hornady an email and ask them what their pressure rating is. I also need to email Ramshot because in the 5.56mm data they only list case as WIN. ;)
You could always pick some up on ARFCOM equipment exchange, they have a specific reloading section and 75% of it is brass from dealers. some decent prices if you search a little.
 

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From actually measuring the weight of cases, there is not usually the significant difference in 223 cases there is in 308 cases. Win cases were actually heavier than the military brass weighed. The 5.56 rounds are intended for longer throated chambers, not differing cases.


With loads intended for floating firing pins, prefer primers with harder cups. Not familiar with Win primers, have heard their newer ones may have softer cups. Prefer Rem 7 1/2 primers, (hot, hard, accurate), and have worked up loads with them. But may depend on what you can get.


Not sure if I'd spend the money for the Lapua cases for Ar/Ruger loads, but depends on what you can get. Using new cases from same lot can have real advantages.


Using a small base die may depend on your desired compatibility between rifles, and how there chambers are cut. Have picked up a lot of 223 range brass, and use sb die to insure compatibility. Learned this the hard way, resizing several thousand cases. If buying once fired bulk, would have a sb die on hand.


Sometimes seating a 55 grain fmj out beyond the cannelure can significantly improve accuracy, depending on bullet and chamber throat/leade.


Like the redding comp seater die a lot, and consider it money well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
From actually measuring the weight of cases, there is not usually the significant difference in 223 cases there is in 308 cases. Win cases were actually heavier than the military brass weighed. The 5.56 rounds are intended for longer throated chambers, not differing cases.


With loads intended for floating firing pins, prefer primers with harder cups. Not familiar with Win primers, have heard their newer ones may have softer cups. Prefer Rem 7 1/2 primers, (hot, hard, accurate), and have worked up loads with them. But may depend on what you can get.


Not sure if I'd spend the money for the Lapua cases for Ar/Ruger loads, but depends on what you can get. Using new cases from same lot can have real advantages.


Using a small base die may depend on your desired compatibility between rifles, and how there chambers are cut. Have picked up a lot of 223 range brass, and use sb die to insure compatibility. Learned this the hard way, resizing several thousand cases. If buying once fired bulk, would have a sb die on hand.


Sometimes seating a 55 grain fmj out beyond the cannelure can significantly improve accuracy, depending on bullet and chamber throat/leade.


Like the redding comp seater die a lot, and consider it money well spent.

Good stuff, cecil! Totally agree about the chamber length/throat issue

Think I've changed my mind and will just go with REDDING's 2 die set and add the Taper Crimp die. There are a good number of reviewers at Midway weighing in on the pros and cons of the small-base full-length resizer. The Colt's XCR-16 spec says nothing about minimum dimension chambers, and if need be, I can always add the small-base die if it's necessary.

Taylor, thanks for your comments on the subject as well because after reading I went to the REDDING site as well as Midway again. A few too many occurrences of stuck cases in the small-base sizer, and it's probably an insufficient lubing situation. Midway's product page is actually more specific than REDDING's.

Technically, guys, this is a Colt's Competition rifle made about 100 miles N. of me in a town called Breckenridge. It has a MOA guarantee, so I do want to use quality components. Hornady's cases are on sale at Midway and I have an email in to them about pressure spec. I know Lapua quality is outstanding, but more important to me is the 30% over-pressure rating where I just wouldn't have any qualms about using 5.56mm NATO data. Just got a yahoo notification that Ramshot has responded to my email where I asked them why they only specified cases in the 5.56mm NATO data as simply WIN. I might be wrong, but I always thought Winchester was one of the contractors supplying 5.56mm NATO ammo to our military. I'll report back after I've read Western/Ramshot's response. ;)
 

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Good stuff, cecil! Totally agree about the chamber length issue

Think I've changed my mind and will just go with REDDING's 2 die set and add the Taper Crimp die. There are a good number of reviewers at Midway weighing in on the pros and cons of the small-base full-length resizer. The Colt's XCR-16 spec says nothing about minimum dimension chambers, and if need be, I can always add the small-base die if it's necessary.

Taylor, thanks for your comments on the subject as well because after reading I went to the REDDING site as well as Midway again. A few too many occurrences of stuck cases in the small-base sizer, and it's probably an insufficient lubing situation. Midway's product page is actually more specific than REDDING's.

Technically, guys, this is a Colt's Competition rifle made about 100 miles N. of me in a town called Breckenridge. It has a MOA guarantee, so I do want to use quality components. Hornady's cases are on sale at Midway and I have an email in to them about pressure spec. I know Lapua quality is outstanding, but more important to me is the 30% over-pressure rating where I just wouldn't have any qualms about using 5.56mm NATO data. Just got a yahoo notification that Ramshot has responded to my email where I asked them why they only specified cases in the 5.56mm NATO data as simply WIN. I might be wrong, but I always thought Winchester was one of the contractors supplying 5.56mm NATO ammo to our military. I'll report back after I've read Western/Ramshot's response. ;)
I don't think you'll have any problems with REDDING's 2 die set. I have had zero issues so far. I'm using Imperial's Case Sizing Wax - I've heard really good things about Hornady's One Shot lube, but I am sold on this sizing wax. This one tin should last me a few thousand rounds, and I have yet to have any dents in the casing from the wax/die interaction. I also think you'll find that having regular FL dies, your investment in good brass should last you longer.

I'm not sure if you know this, but REDDING's seating die can be set up to crimp after seating... I know we're talking $20-$30 for the TC die, but I can check the instructions when I get home tonight and let you know how the crimp is actually set up inside the die.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't think you'll have any problems with REDDING's 2 die set. I have had zero issues so far. I'm using Imperial's Case Sizing Wax - I've heard really good things about Hornady's One Shot lube, but I am sold on this sizing wax. This one tin should last me a few thousand rounds, and I have yet to have any dents in the casing from the wax/die interaction. I also think you'll find that having regular FL dies, your investment in good brass should last you longer.

I'm not sure if you know this, but REDDING's seating die can be set up to crimp after seating... I know we're talking $20-$30 for the TC die, but I can check the instructions when I get home tonight and let you know how the crimp is actually set up inside the die.

Thanks, Buddy, your comments factored into my decision. I'll probably use One-Shot. All of my rifle dies are REDDING, so yea, I know the seating die will roll crimp. I did run into a rather novel idea, IMO, and I was planning on getting the Taper Crimp die anyway for non-cannelured bullets. But one seemingly knowledgable guy that gave a review is using REDDING's Taper Crimp die to taper crimp into the cannelures of his bullets that have them. He claims longer life as far as avoiding case-mouth splits.


Okay, here's the response I got from Rob Behr whom is Western's ballistician. He's actually responded 2 more times since my last post. Gonna paste the total response because Rob and some of the other folks at Western know I'm as big of a Ramshot fanboy as some you think I am, LOL!

Hi, Kevin, how is the writing trade?

There is no difference between 5.56 Nato and .223 Remington in terms of case confirmation. In our case, the difference is just higher pressure.

Take care,
Rob
;)
 
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