AR15.Com Archives
 Need 5.56 NATO load specs
NestorPR  [Member]
5/5/2008 1:38:48 AM
I have some military 5.56 mm NATO cases I'd like to reload to military specs. Does anyone have any load info for this?
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ma96782  [Team Member]
5/5/2008 1:44:02 AM

Checkout the chart in one of the posts........

www.warrifles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51236

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And more military powder loads………

www.fortliberty.org/military-library/ballistics-chart.shtml

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Duplicate Military Loads w/ Commercial Powder

www.frfrogspad.com/miscellq.htm#duplicate

Aloha, Mark
AeroE  [Moderator]
5/5/2008 8:40:31 AM
You can find everything you need right here. Check the Resource links and the tacked thread at the top of the forum.

Why do you want to duplicate mil spec loads?
JET74  [Member]
5/5/2008 12:42:36 PM

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Why do you want to duplicate mil spec loads?


Yes why??
mr_wilson  [Team Member]
5/5/2008 12:59:56 PM
Civies have no access to miltary reloading components (powder/primers) - but as stated above you'll find a civi load approximating the standard M193 55grn round tacked above in the reloading database...

mike
spqrzilla  [Member]
5/5/2008 1:58:52 PM

Originally Posted By mr_wilson:
Civies have no access to miltary reloading components (powder/primers) - but as stated above you'll find a civi load approximating the standard M193 55grn round tacked above in the reloading database...

mike

We don't have access to the powders used in ammunition plants ... but that's a good thing not a bad thing. Ammunition plants use powders that are not as consistent as those sold to us in the reloading market. For cost reasons, ammunition plants don't use canister powders as we do, which are blended to have a consistent burn rate. They have to adjust their loading for each lot of powders.

We do have access to canister versions of the same powders in such powders as BLC(2) and H335.

We can also get a harder military style primer from CCI.
Molon  [Team Member]
5/5/2008 2:08:55 PM
Military primers.








Military powder.







Both items purchased by this "civi".
spqrzilla  [Member]
5/5/2008 2:47:17 PM
Good point, Molon, although I don't usually recommend using WC 846 to any but very experienced reloaders given lot to lot variations.
sailhertoo  [Team Member]
5/5/2008 7:39:08 PM

Originally Posted By Molon:
Military primers.


www.box.net/shared/static/8liu47rzfn.jpg





Military powder.


www.box.net/shared/static/pzsuho1og8.jpg






Both items purchased by this "civi".



Where do you get those primers at? (edit) Found them at Pat's Reloading!

I've been using WC844 powder, I thought it was the powder the military uses.
BattleRife  [Member]
5/5/2008 8:27:07 PM
If I remember the story correctly, WC844 was being made to two different internal standards. Intentionally fast lots were made for use in the 5.56, intentionally slow lots were for the 7.62mm (or, was it the other way around?)

Eventually, it was concluded that this was dumb, and the lots intended for use with 7.62 were renamed WC845, while the 5.56 lots are now called WC846.
Molon  [Team Member]
5/5/2008 9:05:20 PM

Originally Posted By BattleRife:
If I remember the story correctly, WC844 was being made to two different internal standards. Intentionally fast lots were made for use in the 5.56, intentionally slow lots were for the 7.62mm (or, was it the other way around?)

Eventually, it was concluded that this was dumb, and the lots intended for use with 7.62 were renamed WC845, while the 5.56 lots are now called WC846.


Close, but no cigar. The original ball powder used in M193 (after the extruded powder IMR4475) was WC846. WC846 had also been used for years in 7.62mm ammunition. Starting in 1970, the lots of WC846 that were tailored for the faster end of the burn rate spectrum became designated as WC844, while the lots that fell in the slower end of the spectrum retained the designation of WC846.
FishTheRockRiver  [Member]
5/5/2008 9:41:59 PM
Yep, you can get milspec primers and powders.


The next questions seem to be:

- At milspec loads, are crimped primers a benefit?

- Milspec loads use new brass. Is once-fired (so said the guy that sold it to me...) as safe for these hotter loads?

And the inevitable:

- Are Milspec loads as accurate for my rifle as other handloads?

- Is tactic-cool velocity better than accuracy?

- If I want to push this bullet fast, wouldn't a .22-250 or .220 Swift do it with real canister powders and less risk?

- Are Milspec projectiles considered accurate and consistent?

- Why not just buy M193 and M855 for my zombies? I might only need a few boxes, since I've only seen a few. Then again they coulda been Harry Krishnans or whatever.

- Is Milspec powder any good? Better than Varget, N135? N140? N540? Got any great data on MY JUG of milspec powder I received unsealed from that guy on the internet? Just how much do I value my life, limb, or eyesight?

- Why would I want milspec loads in the first place? Will I shoot more paper or is that Bin-Laden hiding in my back yard?

But hey, I'm full of...questions.
BadassWeakling  [Team Member]
5/5/2008 11:51:58 PM

Originally Posted By Molon:

Originally Posted By BattleRife:
If I remember the story correctly, WC844 was being made to two different internal standards. Intentionally fast lots were made for use in the 5.56, intentionally slow lots were for the 7.62mm (or, was it the other way around?)

Eventually, it was concluded that this was dumb, and the lots intended for use with 7.62 were renamed WC845, while the 5.56 lots are now called WC846.


Close, but no cigar. The original ball powder used in M193 (after the extruded powder IMR4475) was WC846. WC846 had also been used for years in 7.62mm ammunition. Starting in 1970, the lots of WC846 that were tailored for the faster end of the burn rate spectrum became designated as WC844, while the lots that fell in the slower end of the spectrum retained the designation of WC846.


Furthermore, ball powder used in M193 and M855 today is still the same evil powder that was switched without Stoner knowing, and caused all of the problems in Vietnam. The AR/M-16 was designed for cleaner burning, stick/cylindrical powder.

NestorPR  [Member]
5/6/2008 1:33:05 AM
Wow, excellent responses all! I was curious to see if it was possible and if it was worth it. I'm having a hard time finding military ammo where I live and the gun shows are few and far between. I assembled an A4 type AR-15 and was lucky to get a 5.56 NATO barreled upper so I want to test the differences between manufactured ammo, my own handloads and military ammo to see which one works best in my rifle. I recently purchased 2 boxes of Winchester 5.56 mm rounds, are these close to mil spec? I also wanted to know if I could duplicate the military load as a handload but I can see it's more compicated than I thought so I think I'll stick with the .223 type loads and try to find some good mil spec ammo in the internet. Any suggestions?
spqrzilla  [Member]
5/6/2008 1:48:18 AM
Its not that complicated to do, what is complicated is that you don't specify which military load you want to duplicate.

You have to specify exactly which Winchester load you picked up for us to tell you how close it is to mil spec.
colt100  [Member]
5/6/2008 11:51:41 AM
Any reason you just don't work up a load instead of reloading for velocity? The mil spec load is kinda like a +p load. No reason civi's need to get an extra few 100 FPS. The target won't know the difference and normally, I have found the best accuracy is normally in the middle of the load work up, not at the top.

Loading for military velocities

Pros:

can fire what the mil fires, except your using non-mil powder (or surplus/old powder) and once or more fired brass.

Cons:

Shortened brass life
fewer reloads per pound of powder
increased barrel wear
most likely, less accurate

This is just to name a few. Please tell me why you wish to get those few extra FPS. I have never understood this.
AeroE  [Moderator]
5/6/2008 2:32:10 PM

Originally Posted By colt100:
...
This is just to name a few. Please tell me why you wish to get those few extra FPS. I have never understood this.


I don't think NestorPR understands the details that discriminate the two cartridges or the possibilities offered by the .223 Rem cartridge.


NestorPR

This is the gist of the hints offered here - an accurate load is better than a fast load that misses the target, and the difference in the speeds of an accurate load and the mil spec load is inconsequential in the real world.

Don't chase after mil spec load only for the reason that they must be the best if that's what the government uses - that notion is flawed.

I recommend you look through the ammo oracle for better understanding of just what constitutes the difference between the 5.56X45 and the .223 Remington cartridges. The short version: the maximum operating pressure and the chamber dimensions.
Tromatic  [Team Member]
5/6/2008 7:44:17 PM

Originally Posted By AeroE:

Originally Posted By colt100:
...
This is just to name a few. Please tell me why you wish to get those few extra FPS. I have never understood this.


I don't think NestorPR understands the details that discriminate the two cartridges or the possibilities offered by the .223 Rem cartridge.


NestorPR

This is the gist of the hints offered here - an accurate load is better than a fast load that misses the target, and the difference in the speeds of an accurate load and the mil spec load is inconsequential in the real world.

Don't chase after mil spec load only for the reason that they must be the best if that's what the government uses - that notion is flawed.

I recommend you look through the ammo oracle for better understanding of just what constitutes the difference between the 5.56X45 and the .223 Remington cartridges. The short version: the maximum operating pressure and the chamber dimensions.


There must a be a reason people are always chasing after Milspec surplus. If you are reloading, why not go for hot and accurate? If you are aiming for milspec loads, you are off the SAAMI spec chart anyway.
CCW  [Team Member]
5/6/2008 8:44:31 PM

Originally Posted By NestorPR:
I have some military 5.56 mm NATO cases I'd like to reload to military specs. Does anyone have any load info for this?


I have learned. Just say you want to load "near" military spec.s Things go much easier and you can get components easier. My "nearly" M193 is working fine.
FriscoPete  [Member]
5/7/2008 12:52:55 AM

If you are aiming for milspec loads, you are off the SAAMI spec chart anyway

Actually I am somewhat confused by this since SAAMI-spec 55-gr .223 loads give virtually identical listed velocity to mil-spec M193 55-gr FMJ as shown below:

Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 3240
Winchester Super-X PSP 3240
Remington Premier AccuTip 3240
Remington Express 3240
Remington UMC 3240
Federal Premium Nosler Ballistic Tip 3240
Federal Powershok 3240
Federal FMJ-BT 3240
Black Hills SP 3200
Black Hills FMJ 3200

Winchester USA Q3131 3270 (mil-spec)
M193 Ball specification 3250 + or - 40 fps
The biggest gap here is 70 fps (Black Hills vs. Win Q3131) and most SAAMI .223 is 3240 while M193 spec is 3250, only 10 fps faster, or at most 30 fps more at 3270 (Q3131).
I do believe that Black Hills is more realistic in real-world velocity than the rest.

As to M855 62-gr (the NATO load) there are very few SAAMI makers of similar weight loads, but those that do, like Black Hills, list their load at 3100 fps which is virtually identical to the NATO pressure velocity of 3125 for M855.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, there is no major gap between SAAMI and mil-spec velocity as far as listed velocities go.
Keith_J  [Team Member]
5/7/2008 1:02:59 AM

Originally Posted By FriscoPete:

If you are aiming for milspec loads, you are off the SAAMI spec chart anyway

Actually I am somewhat confused by this since SAAMI-spec 55-gr .223 loads give virtually identical listed velocity to mil-spec M193 55-gr FMJ as shown below:

Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 3240
Winchester Super-X PSP 3240
Remington Premier AccuTip 3240
Remington Express 3240
Remington UMC 3240
Federal Premium Nosler Ballistic Tip 3240
Federal Powershok 3240
Federal FMJ-BT 3240
Black Hills SP 3200
Black Hills FMJ 3200

Winchester USA Q3131 3270 (mil-spec)
M193 Ball specification 3250 + or - 40 fps
The biggest gap here is 70 fps (Black Hills vs. Win Q3131) and most SAAMI .223 is 3240 while M193 spec is 3250, only 10 fps faster, or at most 30 fps more at 3270 (Q3131).
I do believe that Black Hills is more realistic in real-world velocity than the rest.


Barrel length is usually 24" for SAAMI and Military measures velocity at 78 feet out of a 20" barrel.
Molon  [Team Member]
5/7/2008 1:34:55 PM

Originally Posted By Keith_J:


Barrel length is usually 24" for SAAMI and Military measures velocity at 78 feet out of a 20" barrel.


Exactly. Added to that is the difference in velocities due to the different chambers used in the barrels. It is not uncommon for ammunition manufacturers to use "test barrels" that have a minimum spec SAAMI chamber. You won't find too many AR-15s with a minimum spec SAAMI chamber. Also, the test barrels are usually bolt-action affairs, whereas the gas operated system of the AR-15 contributes to a small loss in velocity.

As an example, Hornady lists the muzzle velocity of their 55 grain TAP load as 3240 fps. That load chronographed from my 24" stainless steel Krieger barreled AR-15 with a 5.56mm match chamber had a muzzle velocity of 3147 fps. The same load fired from a 20" Colt barrel with a NATO chamber had a muzzle velocity of 3045 fps.
colt100  [Member]
5/7/2008 5:13:11 PM

Originally Posted By Tromatic:

There must a be a reason people are always chasing after Milspec surplus. If you are reloading, why not go for hot and accurate? If you are aiming for milspec loads, you are off the SAAMI spec chart anyway.


Again:

Shortened brass life
fewer reloads per pound of powder
increased barrel wear
most likely, less accurate

billyhill  [Member]
5/7/2008 11:58:12 PM
And one might go off in your face...In at least some of my guns, I can get to 193 spec without any sign of trouble. In others, I cannot get to it no matter what I try, so I stop trying and find something that is safe and effective in all my guns. I've settled on heavy OTMs at reasonably attainable velocities (75gr/2750fps in 20" barrel).
NestorPR  [Member]
5/8/2008 1:22:57 AM
Thanks for the responses. My handloads now are from the Lyman handloading manual so for a 55 gr bullet I'm using 25.7 grains of Varget powder (I think, don't have the manual with me right now) and I'm getting pretty good accuracy at 50 yards from my 5.56 16" 1:9 twist barrel. This weekend I'll test it at a 100 yards to see how it holds up. If the small groups hold I'll stick to this load for a while.
boltcatch  [Member]
5/10/2008 1:02:53 AM
I wanted to hit M193 specs before I started loading too, but don't worry as much about it anymore, especially if my 100fps slower rounds are noticably more accurate. In any case, I now save the 55gr for plinking and practice, since I've found the 75gr OTM's.
GHPorter  [Team Member]
5/10/2008 10:14:07 AM
The only reason I can see for "matching" M193 or M885 performance is so you can use military bullet drop compensators...which are tweaked for military barrel lengths. I am not going to be in the market for a 14.5" barrel for some time, and right now my only 5.56mm AR has a 16" barrel, so I'm kinda screwed in that respect. Better to have consistent, "powerful enough" loads that you can make up repeatably any time you want.

I do want to have a load that's close to those loads because of the ballistics involved (it helps with sight adjustment), but considering how variable different batches of military ammo can be (on the order of ~150fps between years, and more between manufacturers, especially different countries), having something that doesn't quite "match" "actual military standards" ain't so bad.
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