Soft Shooting .223

SERE8541

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Hello Snipers, I would like to develop a softer shooting .223 round for an AR Pistol. I'm looking for something with less recoil and blast than traditional loads. I'll be shooting it out of a 9.5" barrel with a 1:8 twist. This is meant to be a self-defense load for 50 yards and in. I will likely use CFE 223 or IMR 4895 unless you have a better suggestion. My main question is should I go with a heavy bullet like 90 grains or something light such as 55 grains? I will probably try to push it in the 1500-2000 fps range. I am not trying to make it sub-sonic. Let me know your thoughts.
 

Fig

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Obviously a lighter bullet under less pressure...

Although, more mass and a brake will mitigate recoil. If you feel your .223 is recoiling too much add a weight kit to it and and a Little Bastard or other offensive loudener.
 

TonyTheTiger

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I once loaded 18-19gr of Accurate 2200 under a 55gr fmj. I think it was around 2300fps and cycled a 16" mlgs rifle with low mass reciprocating parts great. Not practical for anything I wanted to do but phenomenally low recoil.
 

Rerun7

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    5.56 is already low recoiling. You aren’t going to get the same ballistics by slowing down the bullet and it may not be as effective as you want.

    What problem are you trying to solve? There may be better ways to get there.
     
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    AMG04

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    Generally speaking, you will get less muzzle flash and concussion with faster powders (more powder is burned inside the barrel).

    Lighter bullets produce less recoil energy, and allow for faster burning powders before hitting pressure limits.

    Look at 50-55gr weights, over AA2200, H4198 through about H335 (at the slowest end).
     

    Butterburger

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    55 grain Barnes Vor-TX ammunition worked very well on the few deer my daughter shot with the .223. Broke the shoulders on all them and no tracking necessary and very little recoil.
     

    SERE8541

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    So that answers my question about bullet weight. I'll try the 55's. Great suggestion to look at more pistol-type powders as well. Regarding recoil, I'm trying to mitigate felt recoil, not muzzle rise. This gun does not have muzzle rise but being so lightweight you really feel each round. I need something softer for the wife and kids to shoot, 50 yards and in.

    I was concerned that 1:8 twist might be too fast for 55's.
     

    SERE8541

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    I have a conversion too. You are probably right about the velocity. I will have to see what the load data says. I was spit balling when I posted that. These are meant to be self-defense loads.
     

    Haney

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    You can use H4895 down to 60 percent of max load for any given bullet that calls for H4895 in published data . You could find the bullet you want to use at those velocities and use H4895 testing for function as you work up . You can load from 60 percent and work up safely in any increment you choose .

    One example, although this is from a 15" barrel . You can reduce that 27 grains down to 60 percent .

    1659710335349.png
     

    FuhQ

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    Hello Snipers, I would like to develop a softer shooting .223 round for an AR Pistol. I'm looking for something with less recoil and blast than traditional loads. I'll be shooting it out of a 9.5" barrel with a 1:8 twist. This is meant to be a self-defense load for 50 yards and in. I will likely use CFE 223 or IMR 4895 unless you have a better suggestion. My main question is should I go with a heavy bullet like 90 grains or something light such as 55 grains? I will probably try to push it in the 1500-2000 fps range. I am not trying to make it sub-sonic. Let me know your thoughts.
    I think you're WAY overthinking this... Shoot regular 55gr ammo, put a muzzle brake and a good suppressor on it, and swap-in an H3 buffer.

    Or, you could always just put an adjustable gas block on it, and tune it to your loads.
     

    SERE8541

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    I think you're WAY overthinking this... Shoot regular 55gr ammo, put a muzzle brake and a good suppressor on it, and swap-in an H3 buffer.

    Or, you could always just put an adjustable gas block on it, and tune it to your loads.
    A suppressor would be nice but I am in Kommiefornia. I have used regular 55 gr ammo, hence the post. It has a good brake now and a heavy buffer. I have not tried an adjustable gas block. Besides, who doesn't like working up new loads? Thanks for the suggestion.
     

    Oryx

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    If this is a self defense gun, I wouldn't be looking for soft ... I'd be looking for hard hitting hammers to stop a threat.
    I removed my 223 barrel and went 300BLK with heavies.

    Is it really the recoil of a 223 that is bothering you or the muzzle blast? Even standard 223 rounds don't really have much recoil.
     

    aviumvenator

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    I have a 10” barrel and shot it with a brake outside. The concussion is no joke. Shooting it inside with no hearing protection would probably make my ears bleed. Try a blast diverter or get a longer barrel.
     

    TurboTrout

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    223 is pretty soft, especially with a SCS

    If you want power but a pellet gun feel, why not 5.7?
     

    TurboTrout

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    Again, not trying to rebuild the gun. I can shoot factory ammo out of it. I was just thinking that maybe I could improve on that and make something custom. I think I have my answer. Thanks.

    I’d just be concerned with the decrease of lethality, presuming this isn’t just for facing cub with shooting paper/steel
     

    Yondering

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    223 is pretty soft, especially with a SCS

    If you want power but a pellet gun feel, why not 5.7?

    His description of what he wants is pretty much 5.7 ballistics. If he can get there with a 223, what's the point of more expensive 5.7? And why do you think the same bullets and power out of a 223 case is "decreased lethality" compared to a 5.7x28? That cartridge isn't magic, and a 40gr @ 2,000 fps from a 5.7 does the same thing as the same 40gr @ 2,000 fps from a 223.

    OP, what you want is easily achieved from the 223 round, especially with Blue Dot which is great for reduced 223 loads. However, making the rifle cycle is a different story. You keep mentioning that you don't want to rebuild the gun, but you may have failed to consider the basic physics of the operating system - a rifle that runs normal power 223 correctly is unlikely to run severely underpowered loads reliably, if at all, without tuning/modifying some things. And conversely, a rifle set up to run those light loads will probably be unreliable with full power loads, and possibly even unsafe.

    Besides, even young kids can shoot a 223 well; it doesn't recoil that much. My own kids can attest to that. I'm guessing you're maybe pretty new to this, and mainly are reacting to the muzzle blast. A suppressor is the obvious answer, but even simpler is simply doubling up with ear plugs and ear muffs; that may sound too simple but try it and you'll likely find that 223 is very manageable even for smaller people. Also maybe a blast diverter would help you. I really dislike those, but in your case it may help.
     

    Haney

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    OP, what you want is easily achieved from the 223 round, especially with Blue Dot which is great for reduced 223
    Can you point me to a source for Blue Dot loads or maybe post some of yours ? I have a bunch of it and would like to give it a try with blue dot . I shoot .223 in bolt guns so cycling won't be a concern . Thanks
     

    acudaowner

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    you could add a shoulder pad or a shoulder pillow then all 223 you shoot would be soft shooting and you would not have to give up any of the performance of a standard load . When pop got his shoulder operated on to keep shooting he used a towel and was able to keep shooting till his shoulder felt better .
     

    Douglas-001

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    A 90 grain bullet loaded to mag length? Am I missing something here...? I met a fellow at Camp Perry many years ago who was running 80 grn. sierras at 300. Modified the mag. and said they were still sitting deep in the case. Don't recall how he made out score wise, but sounded like reinventing the wheel....just wondering....deep thoughts from a shallow mind...:unsure:
     

    DLS

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    Alliant 1200 powder is my go to for these type loads. I load the old 50gr Hornady Zombie bullets with about 21.0 gr of R1200 and it makes a great 3 gun blaster load.
     
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    TurboTrout

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    His description of what he wants is pretty much 5.7 ballistics. If he can get there with a 223, what's the point of more expensive 5.7? And why do you think the same bullets and power out of a 223 case is "decreased lethality" compared to a 5.7x28? That cartridge isn't magic, and a 40gr @ 2,000 fps from a 5.7 does the same thing as the same 40gr @ 2,000 fps from a 223.

    OP, what you want is easily achieved from the 223 round, especially with Blue Dot which is great for reduced 223 loads. However, making the rifle cycle is a different story. You keep mentioning that you don't want to rebuild the gun, but you may have failed to consider the basic physics of the operating system - a rifle that runs normal power 223 correctly is unlikely to run severely underpowered loads reliably, if at all, without tuning/modifying some things. And conversely, a rifle set up to run those light loads will probably be unreliable with full power loads, and possibly even unsafe.

    Besides, even young kids can shoot a 223 well; it doesn't recoil that much. My own kids can attest to that. I'm guessing you're maybe pretty new to this, and mainly are reacting to the muzzle blast. A suppressor is the obvious answer, but even simpler is simply doubling up with ear plugs and ear muffs; that may sound too simple but try it and you'll likely find that 223 is very manageable even for smaller people. Also maybe a blast diverter would help you. I really dislike those, but in your case it may help.

    My thought was if you are de loading a 223 to reach the recoil of a 5.7, you would have to weaken the 223 to match the normal loaded 5.7 no?
     

    Yondering

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    My thought was if you are de loading a 223 to reach the recoil of a 5.7, you would have to weaken the 223 to match the normal loaded 5.7 no?

    Um, yes? Then they’re the same power. Why does that mean the 223 is weaker than the 5.7 in your mind?

    Headstamps don’t affect “lethality” or terminal ballistics, just the bullet and how fast it exits the muzzle.
     

    TurboTrout

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    Um, yes? Then they’re the same power. Why does that mean the 223 is weaker than the 5.7 in your mind?

    Headstamps don’t affect “lethality” or terminal ballistics, just the bullet and how fast it exits the muzzle.

    Isn’t the 223 being loaded slower than it’s design, vs the 5.7 is it’s normal power.

    Like racing a V6 Camaro against a V8 that’s not firing on 2 cylinders 🤷‍♂️
     

    Yondering

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    Isn’t the 223 being loaded slower than it’s design, vs the 5.7 is it’s normal power.

    Like racing a V6 Camaro against a V8 that’s not firing on 2 cylinders 🤷‍♂️
    I don’t get what you’re confused about here.

    If both of them are shooting the same bullet (call it a 40gr, or whatever) at the same speed, what makes you think one is more lethal than the other? Headstamps don’t matter. Neither does pressure in the case.

    Where’s the confusion?
     

    Clayman

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    And why do you think the same bullets and power out of a 223 case is "decreased lethality" compared to a 5.7x28? That cartridge isn't magic, and a 40gr @ 2,000 fps from a 5.7 does the same thing as the same 40gr @ 2,000 fps from a 223.


    Edit I was incorrect and mistaken.
     
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    Yondering

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    No.

    Different fragmentation/expansion thresholds and different bullet designs to start. You have certain rounds 35-40gr rounds .223 that will essentially completely fragment going through a grape. Will that reach vitals if he really is concerned about self defense out to 50 yards.
    Now if you could have impact speeds above 2000 at 50 yards something like the 77 tmk would be devastating still. Varmint rounds ehh I'd rather have the 5.7.

    FN57_40gr_9963.jpg


    223-40-Gr.-V-Max-6-Apr-11-20in.jpg

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    Good job completely missing the question.

    There is no difference in lethality between a 223 and 5.7 shooting the same bullet at the same speed. And yeah, obviously the 223 is capable of using the heavier bullets as well.

    Interesting how some of you think the 5.7 headstamp makes it magical.
     

    TurboTrout

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    Good job completely missing the question.

    There is no difference in lethality between a 223 and 5.7 shooting the same bullet at the same speed. And yeah, obviously the 223 is capable of using the heavier bullets as well.

    Interesting how some of you think the 5.7 headstamp makes it magical.

    The 5.7 is loaded with the same bullet as the 223/5.56?
     

    Clayman

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    Good job completely missing the question.

    There is no difference in lethality between a 223 and 5.7 shooting the same bullet at the same speed. And yeah, obviously the 223 is capable of using the heavier bullets as well.

    Interesting how some of you think the 5.7 headstamp makes it magical.

    I was under the impression the 5.7 rounds are designed for it's velocities. Are they not? I though the blue tip was different construction from red tip. I wasn't aware the blue tips were available as a component either. Maybe I have bad info, if so apologies.

    hornpic22241-3.jpg


    Like a .30 110 tac tx isn't the same as the ttsx or tsx. Much lower expansion threshold. I thought it was a similar thing with the blue vs red tip.
     

    roostercogburn98

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    I was under the impression the 5.7 rounds are designed for it's velocities. Are they not? I though the blue tip was different construction from red tip. I wasn't aware the blue tips were available as a
    You can find the blue tip as pulls. There used to be a company that reloaded 5.7, and started with factory 40g blue tips. I bought a few thousand some years ago. For what it’s worth, I haven’t notice any performance difference in the red, blue, or green tipped 40 grainers. I believe they are all just an A Max bullet.

    The 5.7 had its shine with the AP(SS190)rounds that are now illegal to bring into the US.
     

    Yondering

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    The 5.7 is loaded with the same bullet as the 223/5.56?
    You know they both use .224" bullets, right?

    Anything that can be loaded in the 5.7 can be loaded in the 223. Beyond that, anything that can be done with the 5.7 can be done easily with reduced 223 loads.

    Suggesting the OP switch to the 5.7 is telling him to buy a much more expensive rifle or AR upper (if you can find one), to use much more expensive ammo, to accomplish exactly the same thing he could do by downloading 5.56. At least as far as "lethality" goes.

    None of the above are as good as simply using normal 223/5.56 and realizing that it doesn't kick too much.
     

    Yondering

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    I was under the impression the 5.7 rounds are designed for it's velocities. Are they not? I though the blue tip was different construction from red tip. I wasn't aware the blue tips were available as a component either. Maybe I have bad info, if so apologies.

    hornpic22241-3.jpg


    Like a .30 110 tac tx isn't the same as the ttsx or tsx. Much lower expansion threshold. I thought it was a similar thing with the blue vs red tip.

    Nope, same bullet. Tip colors are often changed to suit a particular manufacturer's preferences; it's just injection molded plastic and can be obtained in any color they desire.

    Your comparison pictures above seem to indicate you don't know or didn't consider that differences in velocity can account for all of the differences your pictures show. Lower impact velocity generally means more penetration, with expanding or fragmenting bullets.

    And all of this is disregarding the fact that you can still choose different bullets for whatever performance need you want. Pick a monolithic Barnes or whatever for that reduced 223 load if you want more penetration, or an FMJ, or lots of other options...

    The point to all this is the 5.7 does NOT possess some special "lethality" properties that can't be achieved by the 223/5.56. That would be like claiming that a reduced 357 Magnum load is less lethal than a 38 Special.
     

    TurboTrout

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    Nope, same bullet. Tip colors are often changed to suit a particular manufacturer's preferences; it's just injection molded plastic and can be obtained in any color they desire.

    Your comparison pictures above seem to indicate you don't know or didn't consider that differences in velocity can account for all of the differences your pictures show. Lower impact velocity generally means more penetration, with expanding or fragmenting bullets.

    And all of this is disregarding the fact that you can still choose different bullets for whatever performance need you want. Pick a monolithic Barnes or whatever for that reduced 223 load if you want more penetration, or an FMJ, or lots of other options...

    The point to all this is the 5.7 does NOT possess some special "lethality" properties that can't be achieved by the 223/5.56. That would be like claiming that a reduced 357 Magnum load is less lethal than a 38 Special.

    So the only drawback is he is special honebrew rounds only and couldn’t store buy rounds, and his 223/556 rifle is a low power round only rifle if semi?
     

    Clayman

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    Nope, same bullet. Tip colors are often changed to suit a particular manufacturer's preferences; it's just injection molded plastic and can be obtained in any color they desire.

    Your comparison pictures above seem to indicate you don't know or didn't consider that differences in velocity can account for all of the differences your pictures show. Lower impact velocity generally means more penetration, with expanding or fragmenting bullets.

    And all of this is disregarding the fact that you can still choose different bullets for whatever performance need you want. Pick a monolithic Barnes or whatever for that reduced 223 load if you want more penetration, or an FMJ, or lots of other options...

    The point to all this is the 5.7 does NOT possess some special "lethality" properties that can't be achieved by the 223/5.56. That would be like claiming that a reduced 357 Magnum load is less lethal than a 38 Special.

    I was aware velocity has a huge impact on fragmentation/expansion and penetration (reason for mentioning tmk at 2000 fps still being good). I just thought construction and threshold was different with that bullet and also exclusive. But I guess that also means I didn't consider that's what a standard 40gr v max does at 2000ish fps. But yeah 5.7 vs .223 at the same velocity same bullet is the same. I just figured it was in a sense like 300 blk, having .30 cal bullets developed for lower velocities. Providing you can get components it would also be the same thing as a reduced 308.
     

    Yondering

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    So the only drawback is he is special honebrew rounds only and couldn’t store buy rounds, and his 223/556 rifle is a low power round only rifle if semi?
    Pretty much. That and significantly reduced effectiveness compared to even a standard 223.

    But all that is a moot point since the OP has said he doesn’t want to change anything on his rifle. I’m guessing he’s someone very new to shooting and reloading and likely doesn’t know how to set up a rifle for loads like that anyway. I have done it but it did require an oversized gas port along with a low mass BCG, lightweight buffer, and reduced power spring. Even then I wouldn’t consider it as reliable as a standard power AR.

    A much better answer for the OP is to just double up on plugs and muffs and realize it doesn’t kick too much.
     

    TurboTrout

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    Pretty much. That and significantly reduced effectiveness compared to even a standard 223.

    But all that is a moot point since the OP has said he doesn’t want to change anything on his rifle. I’m guessing he’s someone very new to shooting and reloading and likely doesn’t know how to set up a rifle for loads like that anyway. I have done it but it did require an oversized gas port along with a low mass BCG, lightweight buffer, and reduced power spring. Even then I wouldn’t consider it as reliable as a standard power AR.

    A much better answer for the OP is to just double up on plugs and muffs and realize it doesn’t kick too much.

    Just seems like reloading 223 for this reason is kinda silly.

    17HMR, 22WMR, or just 5.7, or a big bore air rifle, or a PCC

    Custom loading a 223 to lower the recoil I don’t get 🤷‍♂️

    My 223 wylde JPs with the blended JP brake, I’ve had pre teens shoot them without issue, just good ear protection.

    Shit maybe just go for a heavy barrel and brake



    But whatever peels ones banana

    Yeah, re reading OP just needs a PCC
     

    Haney

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    Holy hell people, why not read what the OP has to say ? Your opinions don't mean crap if you have no clue what he is even asking .

    1659835807382.png
     

    Yondering

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    Holy hell people, why not read what the OP has to say ? Your opinions don't mean crap if you have no clue what he is even asking .

    View attachment 7928085
    🙄

    What makes you think we didn’t read that? Maybe you should do more reading yourself; I already said my own kids used my 5.56 ARs.

    Mine first started learning to use ARs when they were 6. If a 6 year old can handle it, then maybe the issue isn’t really recoil, but a new shooter reacting to muzzle blast as already mentioned earlier in the thread.
     

    TurboTrout

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    🙄

    What makes you think we didn’t read that? Maybe you should do more reading yourself; I already said my own kids used my 5.56 ARs.

    Mine first started learning to use ARs when they were 6. If a 6 year old can handle it, then maybe the issue isn’t really recoil, but a new shooter reacting to muzzle blast as already mentioned earlier in the thread.

    Shy of a JP brake they don’t even blast that much
     

    Haney

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    🙄

    What makes you think we didn’t read that? Maybe you should do more reading yourself; I already said my own kids used my 5.56 ARs.

    Mine first started learning to use ARs when they were 6. If a 6 year old can handle it, then maybe the issue isn’t really recoil, but a new shooter reacting to muzzle blast as already mentioned earlier in the thread.
    I don't give a crap about you or your kid . Why not help the OP with the load is looking for ?