Fort the past two months I have been having a blast doing some load development for several different rifles. its been amazing to me what some of these guns are capable of. just varying powder charges. The next gun i want to do is my Ar-15. This is the only caliber I have that I have never reloaded for. I have one set of redding competion dies for my 338 edge (should be picking up from shawn soon) that I havent used yet. the rest are mostly rcbs dies. since I will be starting from scratch:
which dies do you recomend? are carbide available, if so will it allow me to load progressivly? I am using a dillon 550.
for a 1-9 twist, which bullet should i start with. i want to try the smk's,but which would work better for this twist? 53 or 69 grains.
which powder should i start with. I am hoping Reloader 15 will work? locally, I can get the alliant powders, but everything else is impossible.
I have been searching for an hour or so, but could not find all the info i was looking for. thanks alot guys, you all have helped me out a ton already!
Some cautions here; reloading for a Service Rifle is a form of advanced handloading, and some specialized techniques apply. Don't trreat these guns as you would a bolt action, or you'll have some serious problems. There's some good info out there on this type of reloading, including the books by John Feamster, Glen Zediker, and Derrick Martin. Some of the Sierra manuals also had chapters specific to reloading for autos. Take the time to review these sources before diving in, and you'll do okay. Other thna that, great cartridge to reload for, and the guns themselves can be incredibly accurate.
Finally, Dillon does offer carbide dies for the 223, but they're not what you're looking for here. They are intended for commercial reloading, and the carbide is for longevity. They still have to be lubed, just like conventional steel dies. Not surprisingly, they were also well over $200 for the sizer, when last I looked.
I load for my Bushmaster AR-15 1 n 9 twist. I have found that the Sierra 69 gr MK with 25.3 grs Varget, CCI BR-4 primer, Winchester case, OAL 2.260 and I use a Lee Factory Crimp Die is a very accurate load.
I have also found that 26.2 grs Varget, Lake City Case, Wolf small Mag Primer, 52 gr. Sierra MK OAL 2.232 crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp Die is very accurate also.
I have also found that 26.0 grs Varget, LC case, Wolf Small Mag. Primer, 55 gr Sierra Blitz bullet OAL 2.225 crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp Die is very accurate.
Sierra an other manuals have special sections with load data just for the AR's. You don't want to load them as hot as for a bolt rifle.
Over the past 30+ years of loading I have used about every make die going and for my 223 Rem I use the Lee Die set. They are about as good as any and better than some. I have found that I get better accuracy with the AR and many of the Mil-surp calibers I shoot by using the Lee Factory Crimp Die. With the Lee die set for the 223 you get the Factory Crimp Die and the shell holder in the set.
One thing to watch when loading for your AR or any rifle that has a free floating firing pin like the AR's, M1 Garand, M1A1 Springfield etc. is primers. I would suggest that you do not use any Federal primers in these rifles. I speek from experience on this one. They are very sencitive and have softer cups and you will have slam fire problems, at least I have. WW, CCI, Wolf Mag, and Rem primers have all work great for me with no problems. I really like the Wolf primers.