223 AR reloading

  • Hi all.

    First proper post here. Thanks in advance.

    As I mentioned in my intro I entered a team “sniper” competition. The gist is that they beat the hell out of us the first day with a 25 mile “infil” and confidence course then stalk through rough terrain with the guns and gear. Then we do two days of shooting.

    The rules state that each team have a 223/556 carbine and a bolt gun.
    The carbine will be used at close and medium ranges and will step up if the primary gun goes down. Barrel will be 14.5 or 16 inches only.

    They also state to bring lots of ammo. At least 260 rounds 223 assuming we don’t miss. Also don’t expect to recover brass, because it’s a lot of running and gunning.

    Questions are this:

    I’m going to reload all the ammo. I’m leaning towards either the 69 or 77 grain tmk to maximize performance down range should there be a longer target. What’s everybody’s opinion on these projectiles? Does anyone have a different recommendation? What about pet loads for an AR and heavies? Longest AR shot is listed at 500 yards in the rules but it might go longer.

    Next, and this is what im really concerned with, what type of brass would you recommend for an accuracy load in 223? I don’t want to buy Lapua for this, and lose half of them. I’m hoping someone can recommend a good brand of brass that I can buy loaded, practice with and then reload with my accuracy load. I already have a bit of Norma-tac and enough federal xm193 to go that direction if I need to. And a couple buckets of of once fired range pickups if say, LC or wcc is better.

    Any recommendations would be awesome. Thanks again.

  • LC city is usually good stuff if all you have is mixed range brass then I’d sort by head stamp. What barrel are you running on the AR? WOA barrels usually do good with the 77 smk’s but don’t usually like the 69’s or 73 eld’s. Rainer barrels do pretty good with most all the heavies but usually do really good with the 73 gr eld’s. IMR 8208 XBR is a great powder for heavies and is very temp stable. My go to load for my precision AR is 23.9 grains of 8208 and the 73 gr eld’s.

  • @bull81
    Hi there, thanks for the reply.

    My barrel options are either a Daniels chrome lined one, or a 16 inch ranier one from a Shilen blank.

    I should have clarified in my Op that all the brass is fired by me and will sorted by year. Also it will have no detail spared in its preparation.

    I’ll give the 8208 in LC brass a try, I have a pound somewhere and a couple pounds of badger and CFE.

    Aside from removing the crimp, annealing, full length sizing and a trim, does anyone have any tips for what I should do to the brass?

    Thanks again

  • I have no experience with the barrel from Daniel Defense, but have had several of the Rainer barrels that were shilen blanks. I heard the aren’t using shilen any longer but do not know that to be a fact. The rock creek barrels from Rainer preform well too. I recommend a 1 in 8 twist for an AR it will stabilize any thing that can be loaded to mag lenght. As for brass prep i treat it as it was for a bolt action only difference is I bump the shoulder back a little further for the AR stuff.

  • @bull81

    The Daniels is more of a cqm barrel. Minute of man kinda thing.

    The ranier barrel is a couple years old at this point. It’s a 1-8 twist. I’ll pick up some Hornady and try them out in addition to these sierras


  • @tackyp
    If it’s a couple years old then it’s going to be a Shilen blank. It will preform well with all the heavies you mentioned

  • The most consistent "cheap" 223 brass I have found is LC. FC (mil), wcc, and most commercial headstamps would be next, but they are light years behind the LC. When processing LC, I can run the press significantly faster because everything is consistent. I can tell if another brand of brass slips in with the LC usually because they just feel different. Properly processed LC brass is where I would start.

    I don't have a clue as far as pills go though.

  • @dddoo7

    Thanks for the reply. I’ll take the time to sort out some brass in the next few days.

    I should be able to find few hundred of one of those brands