223 Powder comments (compiled from various forums)
W-748 is a very good load for .223. The others I use and think highly of are Hodgodon H335, Accurate A2230, and Ramshot TAC.
All those powders are spherical shaped so meter very well in powder dispensers. I have all four, but centered on A2230 and TAC to buy in bulk mainly based on availability.
A2230 and W-748 have about the same burn rates so almost identical load characteristic and H335 and TAC have about the same burn rate and almost identical load characteristics. Because the A2230 and W-748 have a slightly faster burn rate, they work best on the lower weight bullets say 62 grain and less while H335 and TAC have a slower rate so work better on higher grain weights and even cross calibers to higher grain weight rifle calibers.
A slower powder (also use this one too for precision load outs) that is very popular not only on .223 but many calibers is Varget. Being slow, you get more muzzle velocity to pressure. Its a long rod shape so doesn't meter all that well and most often individually weighed for loads. Used in a meter/dispenser it can vary quite a bit but it helps if you tap it to help it center and it will snap crackle and pop as the dispenser will actually cut it. Another interesting thing is because its rods, it fills the case so there's no fear of double charging. Being a compression load, it makes a neat crunching sound when you seat the bullet. Still, despite its hassles, it does produce some of the most accurate rounds out there.
TomJefferson (admin ar15.com)
I really like Vitha N 133, Vitha N 140 and Vitha N 540. I also like Varget and Reloader 15. I use a lot of the Varget and Vitha N 140 for short range match shooting and Vitha N 540 for Long range 600 and 1000 yard shooting. I like IMR 4895 also for some loads. I have found that these powders burn fairly clean, have good velocity especially with heavy bullet loads. They aren't temperature sensitive ( that is real important because in match shooting I'm loading some hot loads ).
There are a lot of good powders out there and one of my buddy's is having very good luck with TAC in his short range loads. So get a couple of 1 pound cans of powder that fits the type of load, mess around and pick one that shoots well. Then if you want to experiment a little more get two more different powders and work up loads. Out of that I'm sure that you can find one that does well. Then buy 8 pounds of it.
(more coming soon!)