5.56 reload combo

lhedrick1

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What are the go to loads for 5.56 in a AR15? I've read Varget, H4895, Blc2 H335 are the go to powders. What about bullets? Really just punching paper and ringing steel.
 

Ol' Red

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I use CFE223 powder most of the time, and 55 grain FMJ if target shooting. Same powder and 45 to 55 grain bullets like Hornady v-max or similar when shooting prairie dogs.
 

entoptics

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If you're loading single stage and weighing charges, Varget cannot be beaten. It's magic dust for 308 and 556. Stable, high velocity, and excellent consistency. It doesn't flow well in powder throwers on progressive presses or bench droppers though.

For high volume progressive reloading, CFE is really hard to beat. It's cost effective, high velocity, and meters extremely consistently. Not very temp stable, and not as consistent as Varget, but as fast or faster velocities.

Both powders are great for 40-77 grain bullets. My favorite loads with either powder run 62 gr HPBT or FMJBT bullets, at about 2825 fps from a 16" barrel, quite happily. Either will run bit hotter, but I don't see the need.
 

xsn10s

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I used to run TAC alot for the majority of my 55gr varmint loads. This year I'm running Benchmark with a 53gr VMAX. It's okay and is my squirrel load.
 

xsn10s

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What are the go to loads for 5.56 in a AR15? I've read Varget, H4895, Blc2 H335 are the go to powders. What about bullets? Really just punching paper and ringing steel.
All the powders you list will work with the 5.56. I can attest to H4895 working with 55 gr and 77gr loads. My buddy makes his varmint loads with H335, excellent with a 50gr VMAX out of his Rem 700.
 

Steves1911

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Hedgesville, WV
I really like the 75gr bthp from Hornady...preferred powder is 24gr varget or reloader 15. 2nd favorite is 64gr gold dot and h335 can't recall exact charge weight off hand but it's somewhere around 25gr.
 

whatnext

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I don’t handload for my AR but Ramshot Tac behind a 53 gr V-Max works in my bolt gun.
 

jeb405

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Mar 2, 2014
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Winston Salem, NC
I think the above replies reflect the good news, especially in a powder shortage, lots of good choices. I keep my Varget for my 308. The point about how you dispense the powder is a good one. Ball powders like TAC dispense well from progressive type measures, Varget best to drop from a scale, short cut extruded powders somewhere in between. Depends a lot of accuracy expectations. When desperate for powder I picked up 8lbs of AA 2015, prior to that I've never used AA powders of any flavor. More data on 40-55 grain bullets than heavier but I have found good loads up to 75 Horn also mentioned above. Previously I used a lot of TAC for 5.56, but when it is hard to find I save it for my 204. I have reminders set on many websites for powder and scan other sites multiple times a day looking for what I need. For "bulk" reloading the 55 Hornady FMJ BT is hard to beat price wise. Depending on your volume of reloading sometimes better bullets are not really that much more. SMK 52 or 53 grain are crazy accurate to 300 yards and not a kings ransom more than FMJ and sometimes better availability. If you set reminders at places like Grafs the Horm 55's show up every now and then but you have to act fast. Says something about how much others like them too. Cannelure bullets rarely get you the accuracy of those without, depends on what you expect of them and of course what your gun and you are capable of. A number of years ago I stopped reloading for 5.56 altogether except for extreme accuracy loads. Pre-pandemic early 2020 I actually got 1k rounds of practice ball to my door for $160. As no telling when those times will return, loading for it again. Good news is I have been saving brass so the main challenge as for everyone else is primers. But overpaying for primers is still cheaper than buying factory ammo at current prices IMHO.

JB
 

Hoppsing55

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Jul 11, 2015
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I would not normally use this combination. But, due the shortage of reloading stuff. And what I have been able to purchase, combined with what I had,,,, the following has been a very suitable plinking round:

23 gr IMR3031 under 62gr Hornady BTHP = 2700fps, with 1+-" moa accuracy. Banging steel out to 500yds.
 

rdsii64

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Dec 11, 2008
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Jacksonville NC
My goto target bullets for my AR15's are the Hornady 62 grain BTHP and the 75 BTHP.
My goto hunting bullets for my AR15's are the Hornady 62 grain spire point (BTSP) and the 75 grain gold dot.
My goto powder for every rifle in my safe regardless of caliber is 8208XBR. Whether semi auto or bolt action, all my riffles are either 223 or 308. When I can't find my prefered powder, I have found that the following powders are suitable substitutes FOR MY RIFLES. If it means anything, all my semi auto's have 20 inch barrels. All my Bolt actions have 24 in barrels.
AA2520
TAC
WW748
AR-Comp
Vihtavuori N140
PowerPro Varmint
PowerPro 2000MR
Vihtavuori N133 (for 55's and lighter)
 
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