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Old 04-19-2012, 03:30 PM   #1
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Default WC-844 & .223 / 5.56 MM Loads

I had a really good day at the range Tuesday afternoon. A couple weeks ago I ordered 3, 8 pound jugs of WC-844 Ball Powder to work up some .223 / 5.56 MM loads with. Along with it I bought another 2,500 cases from Brassman Brass out of Las Vegas. WC-844 is one of the last really good buys in reloading. It’s not always available because it is generally obtained as a demilled, pull down, military Ball Powder. This stuff goes for around $85.00 for an 8 pound jug, which is really reasonable when compared to the $140.00+ they are getting these days for H-355 which it is very similar to. In fact you can cross reference loading data directly from H-355.

The thing about military Ball Powder is that it varies from lot to lot, so it’s always best to start out low and work up. I got up early Tuesday morning and I loaded up 20 rounds starting at 23.5 grains, then 20 more at 24.5 grains, and finally 20 more at 25.3 grains, which I hoped would be my final load I would settle on if everything went good. All loads were with Lake City 55 Grain FMJBT bullets seated to 2.200 O.A.L. and given a good, solid crimp with my Lee Factory Crimp Die.

I went to my club range and took along my Bushmaster A-1, M-4, and my Colt 6940 to run my first experimental loads through. All cycled well except for the 23.5 grain starting loads which would not cycle the Colt 6940 reliably. They ran well in the Bushy, kicking the brass out into a nice uniform pile about 6 feet away. This didn’t surprise me with the Colt because I knew from the get go this would probably be too soft of a load. Still, I wanted to play it safe. The 24.5 grain load ran well in both guns, but was still a bit on the soft side. The final 20 rounds that I loaded to 25.3 grains were the best. Zero signs of any over pressure were noted, and the accuracy was very good with all rounds grouping solidly with both weapons, with the Bushy grouping just slightly better. Both weapons were shot with factory irons at 100 yards. The Vltor E-Mod Stocks I had installed a few weeks ago on these guns worked out really well. They are a marked improvement over the factory stocks they supply with these guns.

After I got home and cleaned both weapons, I decided on a final “production” load of 25.5 grains kicking it up just a bit. The only disappointment in the whole day was after bringing, and setting up my chronograph, I discovered the 9 volt battery was dead. My fault. I should have checked it before I left. I didn’t. According to the H-335 data, I’m running right around 3,150 FPS give or take. So yesterday I hit the press and cranked out an even 800 rounds on the Dillon.

I’m going to order another 16 pounds of this powder as long as it’s available. It’s availability has been spotty in the past. It seems either no one has it, or else everyone does. At present Wideners and Pat’s Reloading has the best price I could find at $85.00 for 8 pounds. If you buy 6, 8 pound jugs they’ll pay the Haz-Mat fee, which makes it an even sweeter deal. I might just do that. Between my wife and I we go through a lot of .223, so the stuff will get shot up in fairly short order. Wideners also has Hornady 55 Grain FMJBT bullets available for $474.00 in a 6,000 bullet case lot with free shipping. That comes to only $7.90 a hundred. I’ve shot Hornady FMJ .22’s before, and they’re good, consistent, accurate bullets. I think it’s wise to stock up on this stuff if yet another buying frenzy starts, which appears to be the case. Even though the majority of the ninjas don't reload, this stuff will sell fast. If you’re looking for good quality components in bulk to load .223 / 5.56 MM check out WC-844. This stuff is very good powder, and you’ll never beat the price the way powder is going up these days.

http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=6672&dir=278|283|999

http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8444&dir=278|281|1081|1141

http://store.brassmanbrass.com/servlet/-strse-246/%2810p%29-223-Remington--dsh-/Detail

http://www.patsreloading.com/patsrel/ItemDetails.aspx?Category=Powder&SubCategory=Rifle _Powder&Name=WC844_Surplus

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Old 04-19-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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I've been using 25.5 grains of H335 / WC844 for my 55gr reloads in .223/5.56 for a long time and it's the one that is the most accurate for me with my guns.

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Old 04-19-2012, 04:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Snakedriver View Post
I've been using 25.5 grains of H335 / WC844 for my 55gr reloads in .223/5.56 for a long time and it's the one that is the most accurate for me with my guns.
I knew I would end up somewhere around that load because that is what most of my H-335 loads are. I just wanted to start low, and be safe. Cannister grade military surplus powders are not produced with the overall consistency commercial powders are from lot to lot. And if you are cross referencing loading data, it really pays to be extra careful.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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I knew I would end up somewhere around that load because that is what most of my H-335 loads are. I just wanted to start low, and be safe. Cannister grade military surplus powders are not produced with the overall consistency commercial powders are from lot to lot. And if you are cross referencing loading data, it really pays to be extra careful.
Very true.

The 25.5 gr. load I've been using has the same POI as M193 factory stuff and feels the same when I shoot the two together, so I'm pretty confident that I'm fairly close to replicating the .mil load.

I like W748 powder too when reloading .223/5.56 rounds, but have been very happy with the consistency I get with the H335.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:27 PM   #5
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Very true.

The 25.5 gr. load I've been using has the same POI as M193 factory stuff and feels the same when I shoot the two together, so I'm pretty confident that I'm fairly close to replicating the .mil load.

I like W748 powder too when reloading .223/5.56 rounds, but have been very happy with the consistency I get with the H335.
With the price of commercial H-335 and many other powders, these military powders represent one of the last really good deals in reloading left out there. That's why I think I'm going to bite the bullet and purchase even more while it's still avaliable.
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