AR-15 Varmint Loads

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Russ Vernon, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Russ Vernon

    Russ Vernon Member

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    Hi guys

    I got back from a Wyoming praire dog shoot a couple of weeks ago. Man, what a hoot! After 30 years of wanting to go, I finally got a chance. Boys, if you ever want to have a LOT of fun, all I can say is, DO IT!

    Now then, after shooting one of the other guys, I am going to build me a AR-15 heavy barrel varmint gun. Going to use the 1-14" twist and use 40-50 grain handloaded bullets. Do any of you have such a rig (or close to it) and have a favorite load? I got a few months to work up a load for it, but if any of you fellahs can give me a head start, it be much appreciated.
     
  2. Russ Vernon

    Russ Vernon Member

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    Ah, heh heh, let me clarify something. I did NOT shoot one of the guys, I shot one of the other guy's AR-15 rifles. No two legged varmints were injured or killed at all matter of fact. Thought I might better clear that up. Heh heh.

    Russ
     

  3. waylon

    waylon Well-Known Member

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    I have a double star ar15 with a 24'' bull barrel its 1-10 twist and loves the 50gr vmax bullets 26grs of benchmark.
     
  4. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    I can't offer to much on the way of reloading info but if your gonna build a designated varmint gun on the AR platform why not chamber it for somthing differant like the 204 or 17Rem. if your dead set on the 223 as your round then I would recomend against the 1-14 twist just incase one day you see that the dogs at 500yds are laughing at you you can laugh back with a 69gr SMK !!
    My AR is setup to shoot two legged varmints , I shoot the 55gr Hornady TAP ammo , the accuracy is awsome and it will reach out their a pretty good way , considering that the chances of me shooting at a hostile target past 100 feet let alone 100yds is slim to none
     
  5. IChaseCoues

    IChaseCoues Well-Known Member

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    I have an ASA ar-15 with a 24" Lothar Bull bbl.
    It has a 1:9 twist that I am told will stabilize the 75 gr match bullets. I know it will the 69 SMK's. It will also stabilize 40 gr v-max's and haven't had one come apart yet. I would go for a 1:9 or so because they are fun to use for practice at longer ranges. Mine also shoots the 55 gr v-max better than the 69 SMK, But then I am still looking for the right load combo for the 69.
     
  6. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    Rusty, I shoot the cheapest 55gr soft points I can buy usually Winchester or Hornady bullets. I use Win 748 powder, and buy once fired mixed brass that has been deprimed and cleaned. 1000 brass about 35 bucks, 1000 bullets about 44 bucks when on sale. I have a 1-9 twist and these components produce MOA accuracy. The glory of it is one load for everything, and the 55gr sp is very pelt friendly.
     
  7. Russ Vernon

    Russ Vernon Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. I already have a 17 Rem, a 204 Ruger, a 223 Rem bolt gun, a 220 Swift, a 243 Win, and if I really want to reach out there, a 264 Win mag. So you see, this is just for something different. If the dogs are out past 400 yards, I grab my Swift usually. At long range, it seems to be the one. That or the 243. Anyway, I want to use this on our local ground squirrels too where my shots will never be farther than 300 yards. I have shot them with the heavier bullets and the rodents will make it to their holes sometimes after being hit. This is not the case with a 40 grain HP or Vmax hit. They are exploded. So all hence the 40 and 50 grain bullets. Plus I am back on the target quicker with the lighter slugs as well. I do like to see the impacts.

    Keep it coming! I appreciate all your inputs.

    Russ
     
  8. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner Well-Known Member

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    I too would not reccomend the 14 twist, in the AR platform, thats what I know most about, overstabilization doesn't seem to hurt accuracy, my 1/8 24" shoots 50's, 55's, and the 69's equally well. if I do my part it will shoot some of the cheap reman 55 gr ammo in the .2's. the 55's really work well to just past 400 yds ( have got 2 at 550)
    JS
     
  9. Russ Vernon

    Russ Vernon Member

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    Thanks, but as I stated earler, this will be mostly for shorter range shooting. The 40 grain bullets will be almost all that I use. I have no need for a fast twist barrel.
    By the way, I have shot prairie dogs at almost 500 yards with my 220 Swift with the 40 gain Vmax, and it really opened them up. I am thinking of taking no heavier load than the 40 grain next year for dog shooting. It really seems to do the job the way that I want it to. Hard to ask for more.
     
  10. re5513

    re5513 Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Now then, after shooting one of the other guys, I am going to build me a AR-15 heavy barrel varmint gun. Going to use the 1-14" twist and use 40-50 grain handloaded bullets. Do any of you have such a rig (or close to it) and have a favorite load? I got a few months to work up a load for it, but if any of you fellahs can give me a head start, it be much appreciated.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Welcome to Wyoming, 'tis fun but don't tell anybody.

    Anyway, I shoot a custom AR chambered in .223 with a 26" cut-rifled barrel (fluted) with a 1:14 twist. Modifications include trigger job, custom floating steel handguard, custom gas port and rear stock. For a varmint rifle, you don't need a faster twist if you intend to shoot 55gr. bullets are lighter. LRT bullets work well in ARs with a fast twist but then, why punch holes when you can command hydrostatic detonation?

    Anyway, I shoot 28.0gr. BLC2, remington match primers, LC brass, and Sierra 52gr. BTHP matchkings. Longest kill so far was at about 425 yards. This thing is a meat grinder though between 200 and 300 yards. It's almost unfair.

    re5513
     
  11. cjk

    cjk Member

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    RRA Varmint with 24" 1/8 twist
    50gr Sierra blitzking
    27.5gr ramshot tac
    cci small rifle primer
    3315fps

    Very explosive and accurate. Dumped a prairie poodle at 728yds this year. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  12. coyotekiller

    coyotekiller Well-Known Member

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    I dont load for my AR's anymore for varmints. I shoot the Black Hills blue box 50gr vmax and it shoots awesome. I just cant justify the time and cost to reload for them when you can buy 50rds of this load for just under $20. In quantity it is a little cheaper.
     
  13. carverelli

    carverelli Active Member

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    Sep 17, 2005
    I for one know what you're talking about. I built a dog slayer just about likr your talking about. ok..the specs.
    24" Kreiger stainless heavy barrel 1-13 twist
    Dpms aluminum lower(they make a stainless lower if you want it heavier)
    Dpms high rise upper(w/extension for putting the scope forward for long eyerelief)
    Royal Arms pistol grip w/ a beg palm swell
    Jard single stage trigger @2lbs.( go w/ 2.5 or 3# spring as I get double taps now and then.
    Talk to Frank white at Compass LLake engineering. He specializes in Service rifles (mostly 1-7 to 1-8 twists for 600 yard accuracy. He will sell you the barrel, free floet tube and a bolt headspaced to the min spec(tight chamber).
    my favorite load is 40 gr ballistic tips over 28 gr h-335 in LC brass. Velocity averages 3700-3750 and accuracy under 1/2 @100 yards. The first time I found this load my barrel had about 500 rounds and I put 10 shots or so you could cover w/ a dime. The firepower is unbelievable w/ the 30 round mags. Out to 250 yards and little wind I've went 60 rounds w/o a miss. When the winds come up it gets intersting w/. the little 40 grainers, but even at 16 power scope I can see my hits through the scope. I have a lead wedge to stick in the stock bringing the rifle weight to around 13 lbs.
    I love my AR. One day I'd like to biuld another upper assembly for a coyote walker/stalker. A 1-9 twist 20" barrel for the 55 and 60 grainers under a 3-9 scope. Shooting a running yote is a blast, but if the scope is too powerful its easy to lose sight after they take off.