Do any of you guys who reload for the AR know where to find load data for the 5.56NATO round? I have some surplus powder which I'm supposed to use H335 data to load with, I have a Speer and a Sierra load manual, I just picked up the Sierra tonight cuz my buddy told me it has a section in it for ARs, but that section is pretty disappointing, it seems to have loads that are reduced under the loads for the 223 Remington which are recommended for bolt actions in that manual. I see online Ramshot has their data and they have a section for NATO rated rifles, they can push a 62gr bullet just as fast as the max loads in my books with the 55gr. Is there such a big difference in the wall thickness of the Military brass that it decreases the internal capacity of the shell enough to create an extra 8000lbs of pressure with the same size load? I didn't think there was that much difference in the case capacity.
Last edited by blucoondawg; 04-05-2012 at 01:50 AM.
In my experimentation, there is little difference between 223 and 556 brass except maybe length. Use 223 data and work up as far as you want. To simply take a max load and go with it is a really bad idea and a recipe for disaster. ALL loads must be worked up.
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Ya I know but I was hoping to use 5.56 data rather than 223 and get a little more speed but Ramshot is the only one with that data published so far that I can see, but I don't have Ramshot powder so I guess I will have to use 223 data
I have found no issues when loading either .223 or 5.56 MM brass for my AR-15. So much so I no longer even bother to segregate the brass anymore. Unless of course you are trying for super accurate loads in a accurized rifle. The slight difference in case capacity isn't enough to worry about unless you are going to be running right at the redline.
What type of surplus powder are you going to be loading with? I generally load with H-335 and my load is 23.0 Grains with a 55 Grain FMJBT M-193 bullet. That's good for right around 3,100 FPS, give or take depending on barrel length. If the surplus powder you're using says to load it with H-335 data, I would start out a good 5% under that. Just load a few rounds, then check how well they run and cycle your action. If all seems well you can bump it up and go from there. It's a bit more of a PITA that way, but always better safe than sorry. Many of these surplus powders vary from lot to lot. If it is pulldown powder, it can vary even more.
WC844 is the powder I have, and 62 gr fmj green tips. I bought it from a guy at the gun show who has a shop in Eau Claire, WI, he builds ARs and says he uses these components in all his 5.56 and 308 shooting, he says it seems to be a very consistent powder. I don't know I haven't tried any yet but figured for the price I'd give it a shot. I didn't think the case capacity was enough to make much difference but I have a buddy who read some website stating the difference between 223 and 5.56 and he keeps preaching that it is the case capacity difference which causes the increase in pressure in the NATO round. I keep telling him he's full of it.
Last edited by blucoondawg; 04-05-2012 at 07:19 PM.
WC844 is the powder I have, and 62 gr fmj green tips. I bought it from a guy at the gun show who has a shop in Eau Claire, WI, he builds ARs and says he uses these components in all his 5.56 and 308 shooting, he says it seems to be a very consistent powder. I don't know I haven't tried any yet but figured for the price I'd give it a shot. I didn't think the case capacity was enough to make much difference but I have a buddy who has never reloaded anything but pistol ammo who read some website stating the difference between 223 and 5.56 and he keeps preaching that it is the case capacity difference which causes the increase in pressure in the NATO round. I keep telling him he's full of it.
While the 5.56 MM NATO ammo is a bit hotter, it's not because of the case capacity, but rather because it's simply loaded a little hotter, and the thicker NATO case offers a bit more strength in the base area.
WC-844 is good powder. I've used it and found it to be accurate and clean burning. Don't worry about the brass. Just pick a H-335 load that matches the velocity you want with the bullet you'll be using. If it's .223 data, so be it. As I mentioned start out with a load a full 5% under that. Load about 5 or 10 rounds for a starting base line, and go up from there. You should be fine, and be able to step up accordingly. You can even load 5 rounds starting 5%, then kick it up to 3%, if that runs well for you go to the load you want and load away.
Not to contradict but "technically" he is right. If you have two cases of exact same diameter and one is thicker than the other than there will be a capacity difference.(negligible) Honestly never heard it put that way before. As was stated above they are loaded a bit hotter and it is thicker brass.