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Santa Cruz Armory
10-29-2006, 4:43 PM
Ok, I'm in the process of reloading my first .223 rounds, I'm using 55 grain Midway FMJ bullets, IMR 4895 powder, 30 + year old RCBS gear (in good condition) with Lee dies, but I still have a few questions...

1. How close do I have to be on the powder weight? I have a RCBS powder measure but it doesn't throw EXACTLY the same charge every time. It's a line or two off from zero either way on the scale @ 25.5 grains.

2. How close do I have to be on the case length? (The minimum length is 1.76 and some of mine are 1.65-9) can the case be a litttle shorter and just don't seat the bullet as far?

3. I'm using IMR 4895 is this a good powder?

4. My reloading manual (Speer #8 published in 1970) mentions magnum primers, do I need these? I was going to use CCI 400 or 450s.

5. Any other suggestions?

ocabj
10-29-2006, 5:02 PM
1. Scales are only accurate to +/- .1gr (or even .2gr) of accuracy. While your scale may read 25.5gr, it's possible that it's 25.4gr or 25.6gr. While you are taught that you must be exact, .1gr should not make a huge difference. Ideally, any load that you come up with should be good enough where .1gr of inaccuracy will not affect the point of impact. With respects to pressures, .1gr *shouldn't* hurt. In .223, case capacity is limited, so .1gr will make a difference in pressure and velocity, but I don't see any serious issues.

2. For this particular bullet, if there is a cannelure, you will typically seat so the neck is at the middle of the cannelure. If it does not, you should check your manual for similar bullet weights and designs and seat to the recommended cartridge overall length listed. As far as your measurements, measuring from base to tip is always going to vary. Not all bullets are exactly the same length, no matter how high quality the bullet. The manufacturing process will result in varying tips on the bullets. The most important measurement is the base to ogive length. Your die should be able to seat bullets such that every cartridge has the same base to ogive length.

3. IMR 4895 is a fine powder. It has good application for many cartridges, including .223.

4. This depends on the powder type and platform. You should get a chronograph when testing your loads to see if you are getting consistent burn. Anyway, I was able to come up with a good Mk262 mod 1 load duplicate using Winchester standard small rifle primers. The standard deviation and extreme spread was very respectable using Hodgdon Varget. But when I tried to use military surplus WC844 (virgin; same powder used in M193 and M855) with Winchester standard small rifle primers, I could not get a good consistent load. Accuracy was horrible (2-3" groups at 100 yards through a scope). Velocities were all over the place. I never got around to testing it with magnum primers since I sold the 18" SPR upper I developed the load for. But I anticipate with 844, a magnum rifle primer would have helped get better ignition an a complete burn of that charge. You should note that military M193 and M855 uses the harder primer cup, which is rated as a magnum primer.

5. Get a chronograph. I don't understand how anyone can reload without one to verify loads. Trust me. It's worth the small investment.

ivanimal
10-30-2006, 7:14 PM
I use a powder dipper when I reload for 223 it gives a volume consistency rather than weight. There are arguments on both sides as to its affect on accuracy. It is easier for me to see that a case is infact filled with powder. I usually cut a case with a pipe cutter and wrap wire at the base to make a custom scoop.

Case length will affect pressure if too long DO NOT exceed maximums better to throw brass in the recycle bin if you do not trim. I make all cases uniform length due to crimping of military semi auto ammo.

4895 is fine for 223 I have settled on Hogdon extreme powders myself, they are unaffected by temperature.

I never use magnum primers in 223, take the advice and buy a chrony.

Keep the area clean and make sure you have enough time to complete what you are trying to accomplish without distractions.

tankerman
10-31-2006, 6:03 AM
One concern that pops up in reloading manuals is double charging, while most of the time a case is to full and would make this very noticeable. In some larger cases with reduced loads or with some fast burning powder,that may not be the so easy to see. I prep all my cases, drop a charge, then seat the bullet right after dropping the charge to avoid this risk. I Skip the loading block all together.

ivanimal
11-01-2006, 8:34 AM
One concern that pops up in reloading manuals is double charging, while most of the time a case is to full and would make this very noticeable. In some larger cases with reduced loads or with some fast burning powder,that may not be the so easy to see. I prep all my cases, drop a charge, then seat the bullet right after dropping the charge to avoid this risk. I Skip the loading block all together.

That is the reason I went to pwder dipper and loading block so I could see for myself that every case was in fact filled and at the same level as the next one. I like your idea as long as you are not low on powder.

Santa Cruz Armory
11-10-2006, 5:57 PM
Well, here's the targets from the range trip after my first reloads. Not all that great out at 100 yds. but, I'm still learning the ropes. I bought some Winchester 748 powder, so I hope that tightens up the groups a little.

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e346/BLFD1/Picture007-1.jpg
http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e346/BLFD1/Picture008-1.jpg
http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e346/BLFD1/Picture010-1.jpg
http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e346/BLFD1/Picture009-1.jpg

Bryan Whited
11-11-2006, 7:56 AM
Try various loads and see what your barrel likes.