Reloading for .223 bolt action

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by roadie, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. roadie

    roadie G&G Newbie

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    So I tried this a month or so ago and had no luck, so I'll try again. I am wanting to get a .223 bolt action rifle, and will also want to reload the ammo for it. I also already load for my AR15 .223/5.56, I know what the differences are between the two, and I know that I should not use my AR loads in a .223 bolt action. I have plenty of .223 marked brass, I just need to know what do I do that is different when loading the rounds for the bolt rifle? Do I use less powder, different primer...some advise please.
  2. wunhunglo

    wunhunglo G&G Newbie

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    Well, I do sort of both. I reload for a bolt action AR15. We're not alllowed semi-autos so use straight-pull versions.

    Why should you not use the same load for both rifles??? Cartridge manufacturers don't normally differentiate! (only issue I know about is some autos having pressure problems when using ammo with which it was not designed to operate) Ie garand and use of 5.56 in the .223.
    I used to reload for semi-auto's and bolt actions and used the same load for both (original AR10 & No.4 7.62 target rifles)

    If you are going to reload for a new bolt rifle, follow the instructions and start off low and watch for overpressure signs as you bring the velocity up.

    The main criteria is pressure. Stay within the normal pressure ranges and there should be no problems.
  3. jimkim

    jimkim G&G Newbie

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  4. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

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    The two differences are a suitable powder to work the action on the semi,and barrel length.Faster burning powders like 4198 or 2015 may work better in shorter barrel semi,s and slower burning powders like blc(2) or 4895 might work better in longer barreled locked actions.Sierra gives separate loads for AR,s and bolts.Check the barrel length used for the load you are going to use and you should be fine. sam.
  5. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

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    If you are going to load .223 for a bolt action I would consider getting a neck only resizing die for the best accuracy.
  6. Blackrock

    Blackrock G&G Enthusiast

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    I'm with gandog on the neck sizing die, I like the RCBS over Lee collets for this operation. I do like IMR4198 for this round.
  7. deadman03

    deadman03 G&G Regular

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    that would be the only differance is if you were to neck size for the bolt, in that case you would want to keep the neck sized rounds in your bolt only. also if you were to use bullets that wouldnt fit in an AR mag they would probably still fit in your bolt action.

    i would go with something like a 22-250 just to keep semi and bolt seperate. thats my plan right now. thats also why i dont want a ar-10 in .308, maybe a ar-15 in something else like .243 wssm.
  8. Kompressor

    Kompressor G&G Newbie

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    I find .223 ammo pretty cheap (compared to other calibers), so I presume it's not for the dough you want to reload. I have pretty much all my reloading experience from handgun ammo, mostly .45. I did some 9 mm for a while, but pretty much laid off because I could get cheap (as in free) mil. ammo from my unit. -And that tiny 9 mm brass was more difficult to work with thanmy 45's! Would it be the same with those tiny .223 bullets? You figure it out and let us know! Just a thought I had.
  9. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

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    That's why I like the Lee Deluxe rifle die set. It has both a full sizer and a neck only sizer. I can reload for either semi or bolt action.
  10. Fishhead

    Fishhead G&G Regular

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    roadie,

    Check out the latest Sierra manual (Version V, 3rd Printing). It has separate sections for loading bolt action and semi-auto .223s. The semi-auto section has only those powder and load combinations that result in both port pressure and maximum pressure within acceptable limits. You probably know this, but port pressure determines how violently the rifle's action works. Too much port pressure and things wear out or break.

    Without the concern for port pressure, the bolt action section in the Sierra manual has more potent loads. I also found this manual to be very well written and useful. Whoever wrote this manual "sounds" like a reloader.

    Also, you should not have any problems using your AR loads in a bolt action rifle. The problem would be the other way around (no bolt action loads in the AR).
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  11. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

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    Funny, I always heard the 5.56 was higher pressure.

  12. Fishhead

    Fishhead G&G Regular

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    Gandog,

    I've heard the same thing about military 5.56 loads being hotter than civilian .223. I've never had any desire to shoot military surpluss rounds through my Mini-14 for just this reason.

    However, since Roadie will (probably) be starting with new or once fired brass, I don't see how this applies. By following the manual he will be loading to accepted pressure for either a bolt action .223 or a civilian AR.
  13. Blackrock

    Blackrock G&G Enthusiast

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    The Hornady book covers the .223 and what they call the .223 Service Rife in two different sections. The service rifle data only covers 68 and 75 grain bullets. The .223 section covers 40g up to only 60g bullets.

    MUST BE A REASON FOR THIS!!
  14. Fishhead

    Fishhead G&G Regular

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    Blackrock,
    Your Hornady book (and mine) are differentiating between bolt action and gas operated "service" rifles. In the first section (223 REM) they used a Remington 700 rifle, while the service rifle section is based on data from a Colt AR-15. For the reasions I went into above. My Hornady book also has separate sections for 30-06 (bolt actions) and M1 Garand. Sierra lists four powders from their standard 30-06 recipies that worked well in M1s.

    I'll put in another plug for the Sierra manual. They have a little over 17 pages of information on reloading for gas operated service rifles. In this section they cover powder, bullet, primer, and case care specifically for folks reloading for AR-15 type weapons. Seventeen plus pages sounds like a lot, but I guess if you are going to do something, might as well do it right.
  15. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

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    Because I hear tales that the military rounds are a little bit thicker and have less case capacity, which would cause a steep pressure increase if you used a .223 recipe.

    I don't know if it's true, but I've heard that.
  16. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

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    its because the 5.56 chamber has a longer throat. loads that are perfectly fine in my 5.56 chambered AR, flattens primers (very flat) in my .223 chambered rem 700. the secret to making this work is to use powders suitable for the AR, but work up the loads in the bolt gun. or else you can have seperate loads for each gun and keep the ammo segregated, but i personally find this a pain in the butt.
  17. frank m

    frank m G&G Newbie

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    Hay ROADIE LOOK AT WHAT jimkim info is to me GO read the thread jimkim sent to me. I have tryed alot of loads. I can tell you one thing Ball POWDERS DO NOT BURN AS CLEAN AS STICK POWDER DOSE.
    TRY SOME 4198 ,322 ,3031 ,:burnout:BE SAFE HAVE FUN AND SHOOT MORE:AR15firing::)
  18. Poset

    Poset G&G Newbie

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    - Military brass: Not recommended
    - Full length resize any brass (new or used) before loading
    - Check case lengths - trim if/as necessary
    - Probably gonna use different powder (Varger, Benchmark, BLC-2, for example).
    - You may or may not use different primers; depends on the recipe you follow, and how closely you follow it.
    - Sierra loading manuals are excellent; they provide an "accuracy load" and a "hunting load", either of which are usually very close to an excellent load for my rifles- keeping in mind variations among rifles (e.g., barrel lenth and impact on velocity) and the need to start low and work up charge weights gradually, pressure considerations, etc.
    - There are literally hundreds of 223 loads in manuals and forums. Its a pretty easy caliber to find a good load.
  19. frank m

    frank m G&G Newbie

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    Walk soft And pack a BIG GUN !!!!!!
    ONE SMALL Thing talked to the savage arms rep its like a bolt action rifle has a tite chamber
    the AR 15 /M-16 and all the autos have a some what bigger chamber and thay have alot higher prusher. I have had four gun makers tell me dont use mill spec ammo in a bolt action you may get hurt and or dew damage to the rifle. nato ammo 5.56X45 is loaded alot hotter like around 10.000 cup
    than 223rem is. so this is from the books have fun with the loading. get a lee neck collet die you will like it I have 3 die sets Lee the best. best bullet run out less than .002
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
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