223 / 5.56 62gr reloads




(heavy on TAC / ss109 data)

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(copy of email from Ramshot re: upper limits of TAC loading – march 09)

I asked a similar question to them in march, and got this reply,

TAC can be used for all bullet weights in the .223Rem/5.56mmx45.
We have recently re-tested the TAC from 36 to 60gr.

It also depends on which pressure level you would like to adhere to.
The lower <55000SAAMI spec of the higher MIL/International spec of <62000psi

I am including the guidelines for the Higher <62000psi below.

Caliber: 5.56mmx45NATO. (.223 Remington)
Pressure spec: MIL <58700 Psi “Case mouth” = <62000 Psi chamber
Barrel length: 20” (For 16” barrel reduce velocities by 5 to 6% ca 150 Fps)
Powder: Ramshot – TAC.

Bullet weight: 55 grain FMJ (M-193).
Start load: 25.0 grains (2925 – 3025 Ft/p/sec)
Maximum load: 27.8 grains (3300 – 3400 Ft/p/sec). <62000 Psi

Bullet weight: 62 grain FMJ (M-855).
Start load: 24.0 grains (2850 – 2950 Ft/p/sec)
Maximum load: 26.7 grains (3100 – 3200 Ft/p/sec). <62000 Psi

Bullet weight: 68 grain HP.
Start load: 23.5 grains (2750 – 2850 Ft/p/sec)
Maximum load: 26.2 grains (3075 – 3175 Ft/p/sec). <62000 Psi

Bullet weight: 77 grain HP.
Start load: 22.1 grains (2525 – 2625 Ft/p/sec)
Maximum load: 24.5 grains (2750 – 2850 Ft/p/sec). <62000 Psi
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(from another post)

The 62 grain SS109 data for TAC was given to me when I called Ramshot and managed to get their lab.
They didn't give me velocities or anything like that, just min and max. The guy said they were still testing and of course to use standard reloading precautions. No test barrel data other than 1/7.

start 23.0
max 26.0

Primers are often ignored in load data you find on the net and load data should be viewed cautiously anyway. I'm shooting 2 1/7 barrels, one NATO chamber and one Wylde chamber.
Wolf sr magnum primers and Remington 7 1/2. I started at 23.0 and worked my way up with different lengths and crimps. I've used WinNT, LC, WCC brass all loaded the same, just different components.
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For SS109 - pulled bullets and again range pickup brass. I used loads from 24 to 26 in .5gr increments. This was done in Oct - temp was in the 60s nice day. Rifle was a 20" scoped Remington LTR, 1/9 twist. The two TAC loads that were most consistent:

25.0gr RS - Avg vel 2926
25.5gr RS - Avg vel 2992(most accurate at 100yds)

I also included some factory SS109 - S&B, Lake City and Royal Ordinance:
S&B - Avg vel 3036
LC - Avg vel 3055
RORD - Avg vel 3095(most accurate at 100yds)
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This is my load data for SS109 and TAC:

7/5/08 10:30 AM, Chabot Range, 75 deg F
Rifle: 16" AR-15 type, midlength gas
Bullet: 62gr SS109 bullets w/c from Wideners
Primer: CCI #41
Brass: mixed LC
2.250" COAL
Each load tested with a 20 round string

TAC 25.0 gr
mean = 2846
standard dev = 17.7
min = 2813
max = 2875

TAC 25.5 gr
mean = 2912
standard dev = 21.3
min = 2867
max = 2948

TAC 26.0 gr
mean = 2965
standard dev = 15.3
min = 2927
max = 2992

According to this link from ar15.com, M855 should clock in at 2974 fps from a 16" barrel, so I've been pretty happy with the results from the 26.0 gr load.
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For TAC I suggest 25 grains with a normal primer driving 62 grain bullets. That will more than approximate M855 and be easy on your gun. I load 2 different 62 grainer bullets, pull down M855 and Golden West 62 grain with cannelure.
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In my rifle 25.5grs is what I settled on after working up from 23.0 grs.

LC brass, pulled SS-109, 25.5 grs Tac, either Win SR or Wolf SRM.

Bullet seated to mid cannelure, light crimp.
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As a general rule, I prefer the bullet makers data manuals to the powder makers. Why? The powder maker has a vested interest in having you use their powder, regardless of how suitable it is for your application. I'm not saying they give bad, or dangerous, information just probably not the best info for your situation.

It's a lot easier for a bullet manufacturer to determine the good powders than it is for the powder manufacturer to determine the good bullets. You'll see maybe 3 or four bullets shown for an application in a powder pamphlet, out of maybe hundreds available. The engineers working for the bullet makers can, and do, run burn tests on the powders available & can thin that herd to manageable proportions before they even start test shooting.
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(question to owner of ar15barrels.com re: Tac powder and nato pressure limits)

Is 62,000 psi the pressure limit for 5.56mm? I've heard 52k, 55k, and 60k before.

I have tried the 26.0 gr load and it comes within 1% of the velocities I get from Lake City M855. I wonder if it's worth it to keep going for that last 1%.

(and here is his answer)

The NATO limit is just over 62K so I use 62K.
The SAAMI limit is 55K.
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(from a fairly new member on calguns.net)

Here's the load data from my trials:

7/5/08 10:30 AM, Chabot Range, 75 deg F
Rifle: 16" AR-15 type, midlength gas
Bullet: 62gr SS109 bullets w/c from Wideners
Primer: CCI #41
Brass: mixed LC
2.250" COAL
Each load tested with a 20 round string

TAC 25.0 gr
mean = 2846
standard dev = 17.7
min = 2813
max = 2875

TAC 25.5 gr
mean = 2912
standard dev = 21.3
min = 2867
max = 2948

TAC 26.0 gr
mean = 2965
standard dev = 15.3
min = 2927
max = 2992

According to this link from ar15.com, M855 should clock in at 2974 fps from a 16" barrel. So I've been pretty happy with the results from the 26.0 gr load
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Everyone I know has been saying how great Ramshot's TAC powder has been performing for them.
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I load a lot of 62 grain with this, in fact it is what I use for my trigger time loads and my M855 clones. I use Golden West 62 grain fmj with cannelure and pull down M855 bullets.
Lake City brass 24 grains of TAC, OAL of 2.245
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I started out and decided that with 62 grain i didn't care about burning the range up and I keep the load about 50 fps under what I chronoed M855. That's still an effective bullet and if it comes time to shoot zombies it will still work. I'd actually like to do more with TAC but it won't always cycle my gas trap Arms Tech USR while N540 and Varget will. The TAC will always cycle DI AR's. (I have 7 or 8 of them)
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I am using Ramshot TAC powder and Remington 7 1/2 BR Small Rifle Magnum primers. With 26 grains of powder my load closely matches the M855 NATO spec load.
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I emailed powder valley and asked about shipping charges and a powder rec. and they told me to us TAC, like you use. I was surprised. I had never seen anybody using that. Most say to use H335 or BLC2?
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If you buy pulled SS109, they will show pull marks from the machines. Don’t worry about it unless the marks are really severe. When you shoot them the 53, 000 psi will swage them to the rifling and you wont notice much difference in accuracy from factory LC. I inspected the bullets I purchased as soon as I bought them and only had to throw away approximately 15 out of the 5,000
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M855 to be replaced in 2009

As reported by Army Times, current M855 is to be replaced by a new lead free load called M855 LFS. The new ATK/Lake City projectile uses a bismuth-tin core and as discussed on pages 5-6 of the new PEO ammo article the cartridge uses an improved propellant, has reduced flash, increased velocity, and better aerodynamics. The new M855 LFS projectile does not use conventional FMJ construction. Unlike current M855, the dark grey steel penetrator of the new M855 LFS extends THROUGH the jacket nose, reminiscent of the old Remington Bronze Point.

Unfortunately, according to LTC Christopher Day, the U.S. Army’s plant commander at Lake City:

Quote:

"The lead-free cartridges will display the same performance as cartridges with lead...""

(commentary from the same poster as above notice)

Given the substantial costs associated with the new lead free cartridge's development, as well as the increased cost per unit, it would be nice if M855 LFS offered substantially improved terminal performance over current M855...

Finally, while aerosolized lead from primers and exposed bullet bases is a significant cause of lead pollution on ranges, the elemental lead in projectile cores has NOT been proven to be a source of environmental lead contamination.
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I've seen drastic differences in QUALITY SS109. Some of the stuff that is out there is pretty weak and no where near as powerful as the USGI M855. I've seen Spanish SS109 crater steal plates while USGI punched through it.

Real good 62gr SCBT will cost you.

If you want SS109/M855 ammo cheap, well, start reloading it because you are going to save money and get the most out of the round. The 62gr ss109 is meant for punching through things and if it isn't USGI or IMI ammo you'd just as well use the 55gr stuff.

I have 4 rifles that have 1-9 twists and my #1 .223 plinking round is the 62gr SCBT from Israeli Military Industries. I use 26.1 grs of WCC 844 which is a USGI clone load.

Accuracy, range, penetration are all there.
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I used to use lots and lots of H335 but got tired of the flash from my carbine and the filth it left behind (like most Hogdon powders). The last 5,000 rounds I loaded and shot were loaded with Accurate AA2230. WAAAAY cleaner and less flash. As for accuracy, I can shoot 5 round groups leaving only three visible holes, maximum spread of .25 Inches. From my AR with a Dissipater barrel.
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I've been using 24.2gr. - 24.5gr. of WC846 powder with both my 62gr. and 55gr. bullets without any trouble in my AR15 chambered for 5.56x45 NATO.

For 62gr.-63gr. SS109 bullet, WC846 start = 24.0 gr. and max = 26.0 gr., WC844 start = 24.0 gr. and max = 25.5 gr.
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I like to use 62 gr. SS109 bullets, RORG 92 brass, CCI 400 or CCI 41 primers, and 24.5 gr. of WC846 powder. This load works very nicely in my 20" barreled AR15
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I used the start loads for the Speer 62 gr FMJBT (lead core), and worked up.

In my rifle these loads are safe, and are 1/2 gr below the first signs of pressure.

All these loads use LC brass trimmed to 1.750, neck deburred inside and out.

Primer pocket swaged, Win SR, pulled SS-109 62 gr FMJBT seated to mid cannelure.

Crimped with a Lee FCD (factory crimp die).

My rifle has a 1 in 9 twist, 16 ", 5.56 chamber.

AA-2230, 24.5 grs. Shoots great.

H-335, 25.0 grs. OK load, just that other powders are more accurate. (In my rifle)

BLC2, 26.0 grs. My favorite SS-109 load.

Varget, 26.5 grs. Most accurate SS-109 load in my rifle. Just a hassle to load.

Tac, 26.0 grs. Another good load.

W-748 25.5 grs. Not accurate in my rifle, your rifle might like.

Remember to work your loads up, Your rifle may be different from mine.
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I tested the M855 62fmj with H335 powder in my Colt 20" 1/7 twist using RP and WCC cases. RP 7 1/2 primers were used.

24 grains of H335 RP case---2949 fps
WCC------2890

24.6 grains of H335 RP case-----3040fps
WCC--------3033

I'd consider the 24.6 grain charge as maximum in my rifle with my components as it shows it nearly matches the military spec for the M855 62gr green tip fmj which is 3025fps 78 feet from the muzzle. Don't start at 24.6 as it could be too much for your rifle and components. This is from only one test but the temperature was 90 degrees in July and the chrono was at 6 ft. from the muzzle. No accuracy report. COL as tested was 2.255-2.260".
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I just pulled a '04 Lake City and the powder measured 26.9gr and looks just like BLC-2
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“BLC2 and WC 846 are very close to the same”

Not necessarily. The burn rate of WC846 can vary quite a bit from lot to lot.
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I don't try to load to M855 specs, I load for the best accuracy in my rifle.

SS-109s are a 2 to 2 1/2" group bullet. 10 shot groups, at 100 yds.

Match bullets go into less than an inch, 10 shot groups, 100 yds in my rifle.
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Grade 1 pulled m855's
25.3gr Ramshot TAC
CCI small rifle primers(400)
FC and LC cases.

Typically 1.5moa at 100yds.

Good all around load I've been using for 4000+ rounds. I've even been able to get them to group out at 600yards on occasion.
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I loaded up some SS109 test ammo. The projos are 62gr FMJSCBT rounds I got from Wideners years ago. Brass was twice-fired USGI originally prepped by RVOW. Primers were CCI 400 (I know, I was young and stupid and didn't realize that the 450's were any different). Powder is WC-846.

Results out of a 16" Colt 1/9 HBAR, screens approx 6' from muzzle. I only shot for velocity, not accuracy (didn't even glance at the target when I was done).

23.0gr, average velocity 2517
24.2gr, average velocity 2665
25.0gr, average velocity 2759
26.0gr, average velocity 2895

The 26.0gr load showed flattened primers across the board (too hot, unless those CCI 400's are too soft). The 25.0gr load showed some flattening. The 24.2gr and 23.0gr loads showed totally normal primers.
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I've been loading this round for 20 years and I've used all of the listed powders.
I've gone to TAC for general reloading of 62 grain pull downs and RE15 and Varget for 77 grain match loads.
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mikr: With 7 grains weight difference? I think the steel penetrator is also a factor for M855.

7 grains is 13% difference in mass - a whole lot!

M193: Defined by: Mil-C-9963F 55 grain bullet at a velocity of 3,165 from a 20" barrel @ 78 feet from the muzzle.
Its ballistic coefficient is typically .243

M855: Defined in MIL-C-63989 a 61.7 grain at a velocity of 3,000 fps from a 20" barrel @ 78 feet from the muzzle.
Its ballistic coefficient is typically .304.

Kinetic Energy of a bullet is M * V * V which is mass multiplied by square of velocity.

At 78 feet from 20" barrel:

M193: (55 * 3,165 * 3,165) / 1,000,000 = 550.95 units
M855: (62 * 3,000 * 3,000) / 1,000,000 = 558.00 units

M855 has 1.3% higher energy because square of velocities differ by 'only' 11% which is less than 13% difference in mass.

So, despite being slower, M855 has slightly (1.3%) higher energy because 11% deficit in (square of) velocity is compensated by 13% extra mass. More of 855's energy is due to mass rather than velocity compared to faster m193.

On top of that M855 retains energy better due to:

1. Better ballistic coefficient (being longer)
2. Slower speed - since air resistance is roughly proportional to the square of the velocity - the faster it goes, the faster it loses energy over the same distance!

After a certain distance (4-500 yards?) M855 will not only have way more energy but even more velocity than m193!

Why would anyone shoot lighter ammo then? Because recoil is proportional to M * V, not V square and trajectory of faster bullet flatter - less bullet drop.

If you expect to shoot at closer range (0-200 yards), having a more controllable weapon and less sensitivity to aiming errors as well as lighter burden (or more ammo you can carry) is more important than extra energy.

Supposedly heavier steel-tipped M855 is better against flack-jacketed troops at longer distances than M193.
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I like Reloader 15...it isn't temp sensitive, it fills the case nicely, burns clean, and most importantly...its most accurate in my gun.

26 grains will drive a 62 Barnes Triple Shock at 2,900 fps (16 inch chrome lined barrel), and groups 10 rounds in just under an inch...but that load is BARELY mag length...it can be shortened, but its more accurate at mag length. This is a hunting load BTW.

Here is some load data from today...in case anybody is interested...very clean burning powder

Winchester brass
Federal 205M match primers
M855 62 grain FMJBT (AP) bullet
26 grains of Reloader 15 (over the published max for a 223 chamber, but worked great in my 5.56 chamber)
2.300 OAL (this is a little over the listed max OAL of 2.26, but worked fine in my gun....long bullets)
2780 fps
5 shot 100 yard group measured 1 1/16"

All rounds were fired from a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 (16 inch, chrome lined, 1 in 9" twist)
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Load that I have tried out of my 20" inch barrel AR.

WC-846

62 FMJBT 25.0 wc846 win brass. win srp. ave vel 2742 fps
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My practice load
Lake City brass
26 grains of TAC
Golden West 62 grain w/cannelure
WSR primer
Use Lee Crimp
OA: 2.245
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I use 26 grains of Reloder15 with SS109 and Barnes TSX bullets...both 62 grains.
OAL 2.26
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I use 24 gr W748 behind a 62 gr fmj pulled bullet. These bullets have the pull marks on them and to the best of my knowledge their not resized. Works great out of my Stag Model 3 for blasting ammo.
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I am using 25.0 gr of win 748 and cci small rifle mag primers with the same marked pulled bullets. (caution, I worked up to this load in my ar) this gives me 2,930 fps from a 20 " barrel. I get 2-2&1/2 moa with this load. the ar is very accrate and shoots a lot of loads under 1 moa. I bought 5,000 of the pulled marked (scarred) 62 gr bullets several year ago for 2 cents ea. blast away.
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For SS109 - pulled bullets and again range pickup brass. I used loads from 24 to 26 in .5gr increments. This was done in Oct - temp was in the 60s nice day. Rifle was a 20" scoped Remington LTR (bolt gun), 1/9 twist. The two TAC loads that were most consistent:

25.0gr RS - Avg vel 2926
25.5gr RS - Avg vel 2992(most accurate at 100yds)

I also included some factory SS109 - S&B, Lake City and Royal Ordinance:
S&B - Avg vel 3036
LC - Avg vel 3055
RORD - Avg vel 3095(most accurate at 100yds)
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