Bullet choice for .223

Scratchthejeepguy

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I want to place an order (around 1-2k) for some bullets for my AR's and am wondering what weight to get. This is what I have:

16" 1/7 lightweight barrel, carbine, with Red dot, in 5.56 for general plinking/self defense/SHTF, 100 yards or less.
16" 1/8 H-barrel, mid length, with a 4X scope, in 5.56 for general plinking, 100 yards or less.
24" 1/9 bull barrel, rifle length, with a 4-16X scope, in .223 for target shooting 100-300 yards.
Planning on an SBR or pistol in the near future as a range toy/plinker.

I'd like to set up one load using Varget or RE15 and load up a bunch of them. But I want something that'll be fine an all my rifles. I want it to shoot 1MOA or less in my 24" rifle, but I want it to be good for self defense in case I ever need it with my other rifles. I guess I don't need it to be an excellent choice for self defense... But if I can find a middle road choice that's still pretty accurate with my long range AR, I'd like that better.

I was planning on just getting a bunch of 55g V-Max, but I hear they're more for varmints. I've been getting around 1MOA with my target rifle and these bullets, which is what I think I want for my longer range rifle, but maybe not so much for my other ones. If I can get 2 or even 3 MOA with my other rifles, I'm fine with that accuracy, but would like them to be a little better for self defense.

Any advice or input...?
 

Sig Marine

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While not a HARD FAST RULE, some guidelines to go by are:

If your barrel has a 1x12" twist - 55 grain ammo is best
If your barrel has a 1x9" twist - 55 grain or 62 grain (actually up to 69 grains reliably) work well
If your barrel has a 1x7" twist - 55 and 62 grain will work but 69, 75 and 77 grain (even all the way up to 80 grains reliably) work very well

Judging by your barrels and twists, I would say that 55 grains are doable but 69 grains would be my choice.

Semper Fi...Sig Marine
 

LowTwelve

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I've had great results from Hornady 75gr BTHP. They are usually easy to find and usually on the less expensive side for premium bullets. They are what Hornady uses in their TAP ammo. They have good terminal ballistics at 2100fps+. And I believe due to there bearing surface they stabalize well in a 1x9 twist also. However a more knowledgeable member may confirm or correct that. But that has been my experience.
 

briang7511

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i use 26gr of varget with a 52gr hpbt either horny or sierra. I have a 16in barrel with a 1 in 9 twist. accuracy is excellent 1 moa or less. My ar isn't really set up for shooting groups but this is the most accurate load ive been able to come up with. Im sure you will find that all 3 of your rifles will like 3 different bullets.
 

jonesturf

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I've shot quite a few different bullets and find the 52SMK and Hor 55SP to be easy and cheap to load and get good to great groups. The 52's used to give me 1/4-1/2 moa out of a 1/7 and a 1/8 which surprised the hell out of me. I shot the 55SP at 200 the yesterday with a mild load of Tac and they grouped 7 within an inch or so. That was just some random load I worked up for a 3 gun match a few years back. I originally bought them in bulk for 3 gun and positional practice but they really shoot well.

For defense purposes I would stick towards the 69-77 but the price goes up too. Hornady 75 Match are hard to beat for price and long range. Nos 77 are pretty good too and cheap. I have found the 69's to be a little easier to reload in some guns versus the 77's and they will be plenty efficient within 300 yards. For some reason sometimes I found it harder to get great groups at 100 with the 75/77's but they would easily be under 1 moa at 500. I guess maybe due to the bullet stabilizing. You should be fine with 69's in any of your guns and most likely the 75/77s too. Not normally recommended like Sig Marine said but I have heard plenty of good results off 77's out of 1/9. If you're buying that many though the 69s might be the safest bet.

I'm concerned mainly with long range accuracy so I stick with the 75's for that and the 55's for practice due to cost savings and the performance is there for me. If you're not worried about anything past 300 then the Nosler 68/77 are to beat as far as price goes per 1k and they've always shot almost as good if not as good as the better and more expensive 68/69/75/77's. Plus no one seems to like them because they are always in stock. Hornady 68/75's are a great deal too and I tend to stick with the 75's for long range.

For powder unless you have a bunch already try 8208 XBR. I've been getting similar velocities and accuracy in mine since I switched plus its a lot more consistent to drop from the measure. I never vary more than .05 gr out of an old RCBS. I used to load Re-15 or Varget but I don't think I will go back. TAC is real easy out of the measure since its a ball powder and has shown great accuracy but I'm unsure how temperature insensitive it is yet. Gotten great results with it as well. The difference between those and chasing the extra little accuracy in re15/varget is minimal and the time saved from not worrying about charge weights is huge. Plenty of other good powders too.
 

forrestgump01

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    Stick with the 55 grn v max . Thats what I run in my ar's. After seeing what they will do to a beaver I have no doubt they would be very effective for self defense.
     

    nickw

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    Have had very good luck w/ Nosler Ballistic Tip, 55gr. Can be had in 1000rd boxes. Very accurate in every rifle I've tried them in (1:9, 1:8 and 1.7 twist). Shot them in 3gun (JP rifle) out to 415 yards. I run 26gr of H335. Many others have used this load w/ great success. Federal now uses this bullet in one of their law enforcement load offerings.


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    nuclear_shooter

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    I would buy a few boxes of several different bullets and see what shoots good. Be a shame to have 1k rounds that don't shoot.

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    roachm

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    +1 for the 55gr hornady sp. Cheap, available in bulk. Plenty accurate for what you described. I shot some really good groups with thus bullet and varget in a 16" hbar
     

    samnev

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    Quote from jonesturf "I've shot quite a few different bullets and find the 52SMK and Hor 55SP to be easy and cheap to load and get good to great groups. The 52's used to give me 1/4-1/2 moa out of a 1/7 and a 1/8 which surprised the hell out of me."
    I had the same experience with 52 gran HPBT SMK's, also surprised me, in all my 1:7, 1:8 and 1:9 twist AR's. I know only use them for shooting out to 200 yards.
     

    Scratchthejeepguy

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    So it looks like pretty much anything will work I all but my long range rifle, which is 1/9 twist. So let's just forget about those. I'd like to use something heavier than a 55 gr, like a 69 gr. for hunting or self defense, but no heavier, and would like ballistic tip like the V-Max or A-Max, but they don't come in that weight.

    I guess I'm not set on a ballistic tip though so keep the suggestions coming. I can get the 55gr. V-Max, but was hoping to go a little heavier.
     

    triceratops3

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    for general plinking I would go for bulk 55gr fmj since it is the cheapest route to go. But if you want a heavier bullet then try some 69gr smks or similar.
     

    nickw

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    So it looks like pretty much anything will work I all but my long range rifle, which is 1/9 twist. So let's just forget about those. I'd like to use something heavier than a 55 gr, like a 69 gr. for hunting or self defense, but no heavier, and would like ballistic tip like the V-Max or A-Max, but they don't come in that weight.

    I guess I'm not set on a ballistic tip though so keep the suggestions coming. I can get the 55gr. V-Max, but was hoping to go a little heavier.

    I had to put down a small bear around 90lbs that had been hit by a car. Shot him from 40 yards w/ dept Colt patrol rifle loaded w/ Federal 55gr NBT load. His insides were jelly and exit wound was size of a fist. I was surprised the NBT penetrated and produced an exit would. We have 1:9 twist barrels and 75gr Hornady TAP would not stabilize. All bullets are a give and take. Heavy or bonded bullets penetrate better but may be a problem if you miss inside a residence (think penetrate lots of drywall). Lighter bullets don't penetrate as well, but break up better if there is a miss inside a residence. The NBTs are very accurate in our Colts w/ chrome lined barrels.


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    jonesturf

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    Fmjbt's are cheap but I could never get them to group close to moa. That's from winchester, Hornady and armscor although the Hornady fmjs were the best I think maybe around 1.5moa and the armscor were like 2.5+ moa. Like I said the soft point flat base always worked better and aren't that much more. Or any flat base for that matter within 200-300 yards from a good manaufacturer should give good accuracy. YMMV

    VMAX and Nosler BT bullets always performed well for me too. I know they are available higher than 55gr. And the last guy made a good point about overpenetration with the heavies. Something to consider depending on your surroundings.

    Stay away from the AMAX. Their long bearing surfaces generally don't do well in ARs. Work great in bolt guns though of course every gun is different.

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    Scratchthejeepguy

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    Maybe I'm going at this the wrong way...
    What I really want is a 69 grain V-Max, which they don't make. I want it to be fairly accurate in my target rifle, but have good expansion for hunting, self defense etc... In my other rifles. I know, I'll bet everybody wants the perfect bullet...

    Since they don't make a 69g V-Max, I have a choice of a lighter V-Max, or a BTHP. (I don't really like SP's in semi's)
    If I go with a BTHP, I think I'll get good accuracy, but maybe not the best expansion for hunting anything much bigger than varmints.
    If I go with a lighter V-Max, I'll get the same thing won't I, decent accuracy, but expansion enough for varmints only, not much bigger.

    Does this sound right...?

    Maybe I should just go with a 55g V-Max then... They're cheaper and in stock. I guess a 60g would be a little better but they're not in stock yet.
     

    BoilerUP

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    For general plinking, I'm buying 55gr FMJ loaded ammo because it isn't worth my time to load plinking ammo.

    For those range of rifles, I would personally plan on running a standard 75gr Hornady HPBT load of 24.0-24.5gr Varget (or 23.2-23.8gr 8208XBR). Substitute a 69gr Nosler CC and up to one additional grain of powder if the "risk" of a 75/77 concerns you in the 1:9 barrel.

    (I have never had any issues with 75/77 @ 2500fps in a 1:9 AR)

    As for the effectiveness of a 'heavier' HPBT for hunting...while they wouldn't be my first choice for popping prairie dogs, you might be impressed if you do some digging around and see how 68-77gr bullets perform on whitetail. Short story: they ain't a TSX but they penetrate, tumble and fragment quite effectively.
     
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    delixe

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    The Hornady Match 75 shoots well out of 1:7-1:8 barrels I've tried it in thus far, as does the 77 SMK.
    2 years ago I tried the 77 SMK in a 1:9 16" barreled AR and after 3 shots I gave up... I was never able to find the POI, even on the target backer.
    That particular 1:9 barrel would not stabilize the 77s.
    With the 75 Hornadys I shot the groups below at 100 yards with a 24" Kreiger 1:7.7 barrel in an AR, so gas guns are not inherently inaccurate as some would have you believe.
    The group in the upper left was when I was dialing the scope in.
    Ignore the .308 holes in the center of the target, and you'll see 4 five shot groups measuring .34, .33, and .28 MOA and the upper left .62 MOA

    I've read that the 68-69 gr bullets (SMK and Hornady Match) will stabilize in a 1:9 barrel but I've never tried it.

    I shoot the Match and SMKs in rifles with 1:8 or faster, and stick with the 55 and 62s in the 1:9 (only have 1 barrel that's that slow anyway).
    The 55s and 62s also shoot fine out of the faster twists, nothing spectacular in terms of accuracy but it's all plinking ammo anyway.

    I once bought a box of AMAXs and figured out pretty quickly that I'd never be able to load to mag length for my ARs with them so I gave them away.
    I have no idea how they'd stabilize but I see no reason why they wouldn't... there's no such thing as over-stabilization from too fast a twist. You can spin a particular bullet so fast that it starts to come apart, though, which of course throws accuracy to $hit.

    View attachment 10-14-13_75HHPBT_23.2I4895.jpg