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anybody load their own 5.56?

Discussion in 'Guns & Hunting' started by Detective_Dan, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Dec 5, 2013 at 12:14 PM
    #1
    Detective_Dan

    Detective_Dan [OP] Bam-Ba-Lam

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    5.56 is getting fairly scarce in my area and im tossing around the idea of loading my own 5.56 ammo. i know it can be time consuming with a single stage loader, but i have the time to do it. the only problem is ive never loaded before and im not really sure what im looking for as far as presses, dies, and other accessories go.

    if anyone on here loads their own 5.56 (im looking for mil-spec, m855/ss109 style loading) can give me any tips, or advice, and what reloading equipment you use, what brass, bullets, powder and primers you use, it would be very helpful.

    thanks





    also, just to clarify: I DO NOT want to reload .223 remington, i want to reload 5.56 NATO ONLY
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  2. Dec 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM
    #2
    nomad_archer

    nomad_archer Well-Known Member

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    A lot of what you are looking for is personal opinion. I load for 300 win mag, 30-06 and shortly 7mm-08.

    Personally havn't found a reason to spend the big big money one presses. Lots of people RCBS but I have made plenty accurate ammo for hunting and fun shooting. I have produced sub moa ammo at 200 yards since that is the farthest I can shoot.

    I started with a Lee Challenger press set which gets you a lot of what you alot of what you will need. I use Lee dies and trimming tools they work just fine for me. I use an RCBS Charge master combo it makes everything very easy when it comes to dispensing and weighing the charge.

    But before you really get into this read the book the ABC's of Reloading and get your self a Reloading manual. That will give you a place to start. The ABC's of reloading is really a good book about how to properly and safely reload. The reloading manual will have more information about safe reloading and also the reloading data.

    Read the books and decide if this is still something for you. Single stage presses are plenty fast enough for what you are doing.

    For 5.56 loads get the hornady manual since it has a specific section for reloading 5.56. Otherwise you can use load data for .223. The key is you cannot use 5.56 load data for the .223 or .223 headstamped brass!!!!!!!

    For 5.56 your best bet for brass is the stuff you have fired from your gun as long as it is brass and not steel.

    For primers use whatever is available Federal, CCI etc..

    For bullets you can choose any you want hornady has the best prices for a quality bullet at least that is what I have found. But it depends on what you are using the loads for.

    Good luck ask lots of questions .
     
  3. Dec 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM
    #3
    Detective_Dan

    Detective_Dan [OP] Bam-Ba-Lam

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    thanks for the reply Trevor. i believe my dad has the ABC's of reloading book so ill talk to him as well and see what his input is
     
  4. Dec 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM
    #4
    thinkingman

    thinkingman Well-Known Member

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    Foglights are for fog, not oncoming traffic!
    Read all you can.
    Then get someone experienced in reloading to come and supervise.
    In re presses, Lee Classic Turret kit is the best deal going.
    The turret allows you to set your dies and not have to remove/reinstall them.
    RCBS small base dies for .223/5.56 are recommended for AR loadings.
    If you're loading to replicate a milspec bulk ammo, buy the cheapest bullet and primer you can.
    Use a ball powder for more accurate metering.
    If you're loading for accuracy, I would look at replicating the mk262 load, but you will need a 1/8 barrel to shoot them.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM
    #5
    J.man

    J.man Member

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    Are you shooting for long range accuracy or for plinking? The reason i ask is because i load 308 with single stage press. Reloading with a single stage takes a long time. 20 rounds will take a good 4 hours of my time if done right between tumbling, depriming, resizing, weighing out each charge, pouring in powder, and finally loading bullets. The trade off is that i can make very accurate loads and it takes me an hour to fire 20 rounds of 308 from my bolt action.

    I did load 45acp at one point but quit that after 50 rounds. It took me hours and hours of time to load 100 rounds on my single stage and id go through them all in a half hour. The few dollars i saved was not worth my time at all. If i had a progressive press this would be a different story entirely.

    If you are going to blast 20 rounds of 5.56 out of your AR in 5 mins i would either start with a progressive press or just buy ammo online if you cant find it in your area. Unless your time is worth nothing or you really love to spend hours upon hours reloading a single stage is not worth it for high volume shooting.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM
    #6
    Polymerhead

    Polymerhead Well-Known Member

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    I can load 100 rounds of 223 or 45 in an hour, if you don't count the tumbling time. It's still not fast enough for me, so I'm picking up a Lock N Load progressive press soon.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2013 at 6:45 PM
    #7
    fjfar80

    fjfar80 Well-Known Member

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    I reload 5.56 as part of my business:

    www.farageprecision.com

    I'll give you some pointers:

    The best press for reloading 5.56 is the Dillon XL650 with their powered trimmer.

    Outside of that I would recommend the Redding Big Boss as it's a great press for a really decent price.

    The Redding Competition series dies are great and I use them for all of my reloading needs. You'll need a crimp die as well.

    The best hand load for the 5.56 cartridge is the MK262 Mod 1. This is what I recreate when I reload 5.56. The key is to use the Sierra 77 grain bullet with cannelure. You can use numerous powders that respond well in the 5.56 cartridge (AR Comp, etc.) but, the MK262 Mod 1 has muzzle velocities ranging form 2,700 and 2,750 fps.

    At that velocity you need to make sure your cartridges are in great shape and that they are necked to the same dimension every time. In addition, you need to use a high quality primer; I use the military CCI #41 primers.

    You have to remember that the 5.56 cartridge is a high pressure cartridge, so don't use it in a .223 chambered rifle and don't load a 5.56 load in .223 brass just to be safe.

    Work your loads up using a chronograph (I recommend the Magnetospeed V2) until you hit your target velocity...while checking your cartridges and primers for deformation.

    Most once-shot military brass (you can determine if it is once-shot if the primer pocket is still crimped) will work well...that's what I use and sell. Lake City and Federal are my personal favorites.

    The MK262 Mod 1 is a great cartridge out to 700 meters and through a 1/7 or 1/8 twist barrel on a MK12 SPR it is flat out deadly with an experienced trigger puller.

    As far as prepping your cartridges, follow these steps: (1) de-prime, (2) clean with stainless steel media in a wet tumbler, (3) dry and de-crimp, (4) full length body size, (5) neck size, (6) measure, (7) trim cartridge length to 1.750, (8) de-burr case neck, (9) prime, (10) load powder, (11) load bullet to cannelure line, (12) crimp, (13) cartridge gauge check / chamber check, (14) magazine check, (15) fire and chrono.

    Let me stress again, reloading is inherently dangerous...load slowly and work your way to your target velocity and also check group size. You may find a good load for you rifle that is below your initial target velocity.

    Hope that helps.

    - Mark
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  8. Dec 6, 2013 at 6:48 AM
    #8
    Detective_Dan

    Detective_Dan [OP] Bam-Ba-Lam

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    thanks for the reply mark.

    my target velocity is right around 3025-3100fps. im trying to copy the lake city ss109 62gr fmj as much as possible, as thats what my rifle was sighted in with and it is amazingly accurate on my setup.

    my barrel is a 1/9 twist. standard DPMS rifle stamped on the frame only with 5.56, not .223...thats why im wanting to load primarily 5.56.

    ive had feed and fire issues with .223 previously and try to steer clear of it now

    chip mccormick matchgrade trigger makes for a nice easy pull to really keep those shots on point. my rifle has a nice 1/2" grouping at 100yds with ss109 and thats why i want to "copy" their round.



    im still not positive that reloading is the way to go for me as it is time consuming, and expensive at up front costs, but pays for itself in the long run. just an idea im throwing around for if any major shortages start coming through, ill already have brass saved up and can start loading



    thanks again for the replies everyone, lots of helpful info for a newbie
     
  9. Dec 8, 2013 at 7:03 PM
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    nomad_archer

    nomad_archer Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget there are a lot of steps but they all do not have to be done at the same time. I like to deprime and clean the primer pockets then tumble. In one step. Tumbling takes 1-2 hours. Then I will put the brass in a lab led plastic bag until I get to the next step.

    I then at another time resize, trim and then tumble again using corn cob media.

    finally I reprime , powder the brass and seat the bullets. So it can be done as you have time
     
  10. Dec 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM
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    Hooks7

    Hooks7 New Member

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    When it comes to shooting, reloading will be the best investment you can make.

    I'd strongly recommend finding someone who has done it for a while, get with them a few times to see what's really going on. You can learn a lot from manuals, but hands on would be ideal.

    As far as 5.56 loading, I've always used H335 with all bullets from 55 to 77 grains, and a CCI 400. Lake City brass.

    That being said...
    ^^^if you're shooting half inch groups at 100 with the bulk, I'd just stock up, it's available(mostly limited on quantity)

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/78...clips-in-ammunition-can-of-420-14-boxes-of-30

    http://www.natchezss.com/product.cf...D5F346-73D4-599E-9A8F-3C15947A78E3&src=mbProd
     
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