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Thread: reloading .223

  1. #1

    reloading .223

    I am new to reloading. I am looking for a 77 grain bullet to reload for my AR. I have found several .224 bullets that are 77 grain. They say the bullets are for AR-15 .223.

    Can a .224 work in a .224? What the difference in the .001?

    Can someone educate me a little, thanks.

  2. #2
    .224 is a correct size bullet for reloading .223/5.56

    77 grains is almost as heavy as it gets in .223; usually used for long distance competition shooting. Some of these bullets may not feed properly in standard AR mags, and some can only be used with specially throated match barrels. Is this the use you have in mind?

    Some times it can also be tricky figuring out how to seat these very long bullets, and may require making special measurements of your gun's freebore.

    Pardon me if I am butting my nose in unwarranted, but I was just wondering because this is an unusual choice for someone who is new to reloading.

  3. #3

    I just want to try it. I know a lot of Special Forces has started using a 77 grain bullet for better performance and knock down. Further, I wanted to see if it was more accurate. I have a 1-7 twist thought that was all I needed. However, I had not considered feeding problems with it.

  4. #4
    You'll not have feeding problems loading Sierra or Nosler 77's to slightly less than magazine length.

    I prefer the Noslers, when you can find them.

  5. #5
    It probably isn't more accurate at ranges under 500 yards. Most high power rifle competitors use a 1:7 or 1:8 twist barrel, and use 69 gr for 200 and 400 yards, and 75, 77, or 80 gr for 500 yards and up.

    Most of these very heavy bullets are match bullets and not optimized for self defense use. In any case I think you would have a hard time justifying "self defense" against someone 600 yards away

    I think there may be some varmint bullets in this range, too. Again, the purpose is accuracy at long distances.

    What fireball says is true - not all the very long/heavy bullets create feeding problems. It depends on the shape of the bullet.

    Personally, at anything under 500 yards I find the Sierra 69 grain match kings to be wonderfully accurate. When I used to shoot in high power matches, I used the Honady 75 gr match bullets for 500+.

  6. #6
    You know, I was just re-thinking my response to you.

    I should not be discouraging you from playing around with wierd bullets. Half the fun of reloading is making ammo that is behaves differently than what you're used to shooting.

    Go get you some 77 gr .224's, young man.

    Do take Fireball's advice about the ones that feed normally, though

  7. #7
    Grandmaster Disposable Heart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Greenfield, IN
    Antsi pretty much got it, the heavier weights are used by hi power shooter for long range to keep windage down. A 80gr match round, using a bobsled mag single fired is usually choice. I have Sierra loading data for that!

    The heavier weight stuff used by the SOF is the MK262. It is VERY difficult to replicate exact velocity (its pretty fast for a 77gr), but you can come close with TAC or similar. Feeding isnt an issue if the gun has no issues or if the bullet is seated to feed in the mag. My early excursions into heavy .223 ended up with rounds that would hang up in the mag. Not any more, however, be cautious of going too short. You can raise pressures on the double quick! :O

    As for good SD bullets, Nosler Match and Sierra Matchkings are superb in the 77gr weight. Sierra offers the same bullet used in MK262 that has a cannelure, preventing set back but also improving fragmentation due to weakened jacket. Hornady offers their 75 OTM, but they dont offer the cannelured (i.e. TAP bullet) bullet in that weight. You would have to potentially add a little OOMPH to get it to frag at the same distance as TAP. Also, be aware, Hornady also has an AMAX match bullet in that weight. From what I have dickered with and others online, you cannot safely (without modifying the powder charge) seat these to mag length in an autoloader. They are best saved for single feed in autoloaders or bolt actions.

    For practice, Graf and Sons offers Prvi's component 75gr OTM bullet. This is the same bullet in their "match" ammo and has accumulated a good record against hogs according to ARFCOM. Their fragmentation is a little disputed, however a heavy, long projectile tumbling like mad inside something should really do the spot. I use 23gr AA2230 and these for 2550 FPS out of a 16" SLR106. They are stupid accurate, same velo as the Prvi stuff and will fustigate what I need fustigated. It is replacing my M855 reloads as my go to strategic reserve loads.

    As for powder, AA2230 and Ramshot TAC are excellent for heavy bullets. Varget isnt bad but needs ALOT to get it rolling. H335 is popular for 55/62 grain stuff, but I have not been able to get any REAL velocity out of it with heavy bullets without getting pressure signs. I LOVE AA2230 but I am a nut!
    It's over for now... it seems... until yesterday begins again...tomorrow...

  8. #8
    Grandmaster BE Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    New Albany
    With your 1:7" barrel, the heavier 77 grain bullet should work fine. The highpower crowd favors Alliant Reloder 15 and Hodgdon Varget for this bullet. As has been stated, it should be seated so that it can feed through the magazine if loading for a semi-auto. I have been loading the Hornady 75 grain Boat Tail Hollow Point with Varget, but I am going to try the Nosler 77 gr. BTHP with Alliant RL-15. I have been trimming my brass to the minimum length after sizing. Make sure that you use a FULL LENGTH SIZING DIE if loading for a semi-auto. I have been using a primer pocket uniforming tool to ream out the primer pockets. You should get 4 or 5 loads from each piece of brass. Since I'm loading for an AR, I have been using a slight taper crimp as the final step in the loading process.
    Last edited by BE Mike; 01-26-2009 at 08:32.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Disposable Heart View Post
    Sierra offers the same bullet used in MK262 that has a cannelure, preventing set back but also improving fragmentation due to weakened jacket.

    As does Nosler, watch their 2nd's specials on the website.

    The last time they popped up there, I bought several thousand of the cannelured product.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Disposable Heart View Post
    They are stupid accurate, same velo as the Prvi stuff and will fustigate what I need fustigated. It is replacing my M855 reloads as my go to strategic reserve loads.
    I was also think for my strategic reserve's.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Basically, I want to stock pile and reload my own bullet that is great for SD and very versatile. The Sierra MatchKing 77 Grain HPBT seemed to fit the bill. Any other sugguestions would be appeciated.

    I am going to tinker around with this bullet and see if it is what I like.

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