Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

Now For Some .233

Written By: richardwcraver - Nov• 17•17

Overall I’ve been happy with my adventure into reloading 9mm pistol rounds. So now it’s time to get the .223″ rifle loads going.

I’ve waited until I felt like I had a good, safe loading routine in place loading the comparatively low pressure rounds before moving forward.

I say ‘comparatively’ low pressure as 9mm loads of jacketed ammo run in the 25,000 to 34,000 psi range; bottle neck rifle ammo runs in excess of 40,000 psi, with some loads running up into the 50,000 psi range. At these pressures case length, cartridge overall length and precise powder charge weights are critical.

If a bullet is seated too deeply into the case, the initial pressure will be too high, pierced primers, split cases and worse can occur. If the cartridge is not trimmed to proper length the case neck can protrude into the throat of the barrel, causing the bullet to be pinched in the case neck and cause an explosion when fired. Overcharging, even if it doesn’t cause immediate damage, shortens the useful life of the brass cases and firearms.

The rule is to load no higher than necessary for accurate shooting. Most people get into reloading to save money, be able to shoot more for the same amount of money or to be able to shoot firearms for which ammunition is not readily available. Logically, if you are always shooting hot loads, you are wearing out you cases prematurely and abusing your firearms; you’re definitely not saving money that way. That said, faster loads often are more accurate as they spin faster in flight and are more stable. The trick is to find the best accuracy load for your firearm and shooting.

Once again I made some loads within the ranges for .223 Remington as set by reputable reloading manual publishers. The cartridges on the left were loaded at 23.0 grains of ARComp powder, a load in the lower 1/3 of the recommended range. The cartridges on the right at 24.0 grains, the upper 2/3 of the recommended range for .223″ Remington. .223″ Remington is the same case size as 5.56mm NATO, but 5.56mm NATO is loaded to higher pressures. My rifle is chambered in .223 Wylde which will happily digest .223″ Remington or 5.56mm NATO ammo, so either of these load recipes is well within safe limits. If the 23.0 grain loads group as accurately as the 24.0 gain loads, my future loads will be 23.0 grains. A precision shooter would develop a number of loads with gradual increases in charge and evaluate the results ad nauseum, I’m just ringing steel targets at this point.

The light green on the case heads is nail polish put on to indicate how many times a piece of brass has been reloaded. In the top picture you can see my line of nail polish bottles. Light Green-1, Dark Green-2, Blue-3, Yellow-4, Orange-5, Red-6 and Black-7. If the brass makes it through to Black without becoming unserviceable I intend to discard the batch after the Black firing.

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