Handloads: The Versatile .223 Remington

by
posted on September 14, 2021
.223 Remington
Illustrations by David Labrozzi

.223 Remington specsThese days, you’re lucky to find 5.56 NATO and its commercial counterpart, .223 Rem., at all—let alone a load built for a specific purpose. I developed this one for my 20"-barreled Rock River Arms NM A2 rifle and found it to work well in faster-twist barrels. On bad days, it groups just outside one minute of angle, and on good days—out of my Anderson Mfg. 24" Sniper upper—it produces ragged holes at 100 yards. Using a Hornady 75-grain BTHP bullet, it is affordable enough for plinking, accurate enough for competition and deadly on coyotes. Of course, primers and firearms will affect performance, so always start at the published minimum and work your way up.

My recipe starts with carefully weighed and processed Lake City brass. After a full match prep, I separate out the cases that weigh between 92 and 93 grains and prime them with CCI BR-4s. An even 23.0 grains of Hodgdon Varget just about fills the case body without needing a drop tube. When seating bullets, I found this cartridge to not be overly finicky with seating depth, but I do find my best accuracy when I seat as long as possible, up to 2.265" for good metal magazines. Lake City brass has excellent neck tension, so skip the crimp unless you find that the bullet won’t stay put during feeding or recoil.

This load leaves a 20" barrel at 2,511 f.p.s. (1,050 ft.-lbs. of energy) with an extreme spread of 43 f.p.s. and a standard deviation of just 16. Best of all, it falls into the range of both 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem., as per the 10th edition of Hornady’s reloading manual, making it safe for both chambers as well as the .223 Wylde.

—Frank Melloni

Latest

Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F
Revisiting 9Mm Super Cooper F

Blast From The Past: Revisiting The 9 mm Magnum 'Super Cooper'

Follow Brad Miller as he takes a closer look at the 9 mm "Super Cooper" magnum handgun cartridge, which can have cases made for it from cut down .223 Rem. casings.

Smith & Wesson Model 10: A Legendary K-Frame Available Today

Today’s Model 10 chambers .38 Spl. and can handle +P loads. Cylinder capacity is six cartridges in the single/double action. Its frame, cylinder and barrel are carbon steel, blued in classic fashion and the grips are wood. It’s a timeless look.

Tips & Techniques: A Penny For Your Dry-Fire Thoughts

When performing dry-fire practice with an AR-15, there are a lot of reasons you might not want the bolt to lock to the rear. You can use dummy rounds, snap caps or other safety aids, but there’s another trick used in training circles requiring far less investment.

NRA Foundation Grants $252,000 For Ammo To USA Shooting

The NRA Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a $252,000 grant for USA Shooting to purchase the specific shotshells used by the National Team, National Development Team and National Junior Team.

This Old Gun: Winchester Model 1892 'Trapper'

The Winchester 1873 may have been “The Gun That Won The West,” but it was the Winchester Model 1892, with its smoother, stronger action, that soon began outselling the earlier toggle-link lever-action and eventually caused the ‘73’s demise in 1921.

Preview: Wilson Combat WCP365 Grip Module

Wilson Combat is offering aftermarket grip modules compatible with SIG Sauer’s P365/P365 XL micro-compact semi-automatic pistols that significantly improve the host handguns’ ergonomics while adding a touch of custom flair.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.