After dinner last night I finished reloading 30 rounds. .223 Remington, Barnes TSX .224″ 62 grain, CCI #41 primer, used Remington brass trimmed to 1.750″, COAL of 2.250″, all with Varget powder. Started at 25.1 grain and loaded 5 rounds each at 0.1 grain increments (5 @ 25.1, 5 @ 25.2, etc.). Goal is to take the AR to the local indoor range, shoot at 100 yards for the tightest groups I can. See which shoots the most accurate and smallest group, and that will be what I settle on for my AR hunting load. To me, that will be “good enough” for taking down a Texas deer or a hog. Load up at least 50 of that one. Take it to the rifle club, put it on the chrono, and get the scope zeroed. Rifle club has 200 yard range and I should try it at 200 yards as well as that’s the maximum range at which I think this load would be OK at in terms of hunting and terminal ballistics (yeah on paper can go more, but 200 yards is the most I’d feel OK with, at least at this point).
BTW, I called Barnes a couple weeks ago to ask if they had 5.56x45mm NATO reload data. Guy on the phone said no not yet, but apparently that data is coming. Barnes website says they’re working on data manual #5 so maybe it’ll be in there. That’d be cool. Mostly it provides some known recipes, especially for flirting with safe pressures.
I bought some used .38 Special brass off a guy. Should arrive sometime this week. When I get it I’ll probably load another couple hundred rounds of my .38 Special recipe. I think the Lock-n-Load press was dropping 3.7 grains of Titegroup instead of 3.5, which likely explains why when I tried the loads they had a little more snap to them. Before I load these up I’m going to double-check all the press settings and go from there. I figure as long as the LnL is set for .38 I might as well get a few hundred more cranked out before I switch.
Because yes, I need to switch to work up a 9mm load. You see, Tom Givens of Rangemaster is returning to KR Training as a guest instructor teaching his Combative Pistol 2 course. If that course requires 1500 rounds, I need to get a load worked up and probably aim to load 2000 rounds. I need to get crankin’ on that; even with the progressive press it’s still going to take a while to crank out that many. I should have enough primers, powder, and cases, but I need more bullets. For cases, I’m going to use all the harvested range brass I have; it’s unlikely I’ll recover any brass from this class so I might as well use “throw-away” brass and reloads in the class. Keep all my new factory ammo and then “once-fired brass” for myself and use that at practice sessions between now and then. I tried Titegroup once, and that recipe was really weak, but should provide a good starting point. Titegroup jug says 4.8 grains with a 115 gr GDHP and COL of 1.125″ is a max load, so the load I had was below the 10% less starting point. If say I use my previous recipe with 4.4 grains, the gun cycles, things come out OK, I’ll probably just skip too much experimenting and go with that. I don’t need to spend forever on this one…. just need a load that runs and isn’t too ugly.
If all goes well, I can get all this done in the next week or two. The .223 loads are ready to go. .38 brass arrive this week and I can get a couple hundred rounds going fairly easily. Then do some preliminary 9mm setup and experiments. Once I have a fair lot of each load, off to the range to try them all out and see how things shake. Fun fun fun!