The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 23, 2012, 12:36 AM   #1
TennJed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2010
Posts: 1,512
reloading .223 vs 7.62x39

Currently I only reload for pistol calibers (on a Lee Classic Turret) Considering a AR15 or AK type rifle. Caliber wise does the .223 or 7.62x39 offer any advantages over each other? Things like price, avaliability of componets, brass life, ease of the reloading process.

Any input would be appriciated.
__________________
Find out just how tall I am
By jumping in the middle of a river
TennJed is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 12:43 AM   #2
DASHZNT
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 13, 2012
Posts: 179
I reload .223/5.56 NATO and love it! I woukd like to do my 7.62x39 but the brass is just too expensive. The price that it goes for, I can reload my .308 for less $$ than the brass costs, I dunno why but thats the case. I say reload the brass you shoot from that 7.62x39 and youll be better off. As far as .223 goes though, the brass is cheap and so is everything else. I reload the M855 62gr Steel Core which costs $500 retail for 1000 rounds and it only costs me $225 for 1000. Its totally worth it! Id say, collect good cheap brass and prep it up which takes a little time and when you have alot ready to reload, itll be just like doing handgun ammo and you can rip through a couple thousand rounds in a day... good luck!

DASHZNT
DASHZNT is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 12:46 AM   #3
DASHZNT
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 13, 2012
Posts: 179
Also... Get a reloading manual if you dont have one. Rifle reloading takes a bit more labor. There is some prep involved that is very important. Trimming, Deburring, Chamfering and Sawaging (For crimped primers, usually found in military surplus brass). Read up on this and make sure you have all the tools. Just likd the handgun ammo, once you get the hang of it, its a piece of cake.

DASHZNT
DASHZNT is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 01:13 AM   #4
45YearsShooting
Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 98
Reloading the .223 is much more mainstream. Thus, components will be easier to find, cheaper, and more choices. .223 brass can be had at scrap prices, or free.
45YearsShooting is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 01:44 AM   #5
beex215
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 10, 2010
Posts: 317
762 reloading is quite pricey even if you did save your own brass. 556 reloading is fair bit cheaper. both are comparing to factory.
__________________
my youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/beehasagun1?feature=mhee
beex215 is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 10:15 AM   #6
Rangefinder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2005
Posts: 2,016
Reloadable 7.62x39 brass is much more difficult to come by, and unless you're willing and experienced enough to venture off-book a bit, there is a lot less published versatility in the load/bullet data available. On the other hand, with a lot of careful working, there is a lot that can be done with it. Being a hand caster, I load all the way from 90gr pest-control pills all the way through 220gr., and a wide variety between. For the average loader, however, .223 is going to be a safe, fun cartridge with tons of available data and components.
__________________
"Why is is called Common Sense when it seems so few actually possess it?"

Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.
Rangefinder is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 12:01 PM   #7
res45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2007
Posts: 553
I would agree that if one was starting out .223 would be the way to go bulk brass,surplus or commercial powder and components are much cheaper.

That being side I've reloaded for the 7,62 x 39 for about 10 years now,brass is more expensive but readily available in multiple flavors and there are lots of good powder and bullets choices nowadays. I cast and load my own bullets for 90 to 160 grs. shoot surplus FMJ bullets I've pull myself for other calibers I Mexican Matched and loaded just about ever commercial J bullet for 123 to 150 gr. available.

For general purpose plinking and small game I shoot cast,I save my J bullet stockpile for larger game Deer/Hogs and keep a good stash of steel case ammo for a rainy day. I load for the X39 for accuracy purposes and to have the ability to provide my own ammo without having to depend on market forces or political winds. Shooting cast lead bullet,buying once fired brass or free range pickup and buying other components in bulk all same on the cost of reloading the X39 many of my various rds. actually cost less that steel case ammo but it takes a little work putting the loads together but I enjoy the process.
res45 is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 06:52 PM   #8
chris in va
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 12,492
I reload x39, but only for my bolt CZ. Got tired of chasing thrown brass out of my Saiga so I bought an AR in it's place.
chris in va is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 06:58 PM   #9
TennJed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2010
Posts: 1,512
Thanks guys
TennJed is offline  
Old November 23, 2012, 07:42 PM   #10
tank1949
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 109
Tenn,


You might carefully consider twist rate in AR platforms. Most new stuff will be 1x9 twist or quicker. Some older rifles may have slower twist rates that will stabilize the old 55 grain bullets but will not for the 62 grain SS109/M855s. So, if you buy used, please beware. Also, rifles designated to safely shoot 5.56 nato rounds will also safel accept commercial .223 rounds. The other way may not be true. Years ago, the military went to hotter rounds and as a result had to increase bullet lead (jump) or the round developed too much chamber pressure. The trade off was a bit lose in accuracy. RRA has a Wylde chamber that they consider a match grade and it will safely and accurately shoot both, commercial and military ammo. I have several models:A1, A2 and flattops. Most military brass is heavier than commercial. Although, PMC is about the same weight as LC. ARs are fun, cheap to shoot, and as others have stated, parts and accessories are easily available for now. Until the UN and Obama get their way. Buy now!!!!! A grand is cheap compare at not having one at all when the sh-- hits the fan, and it is coming. Also, SS109 penatrators will punch through most body armor. I don't think AK rounds will. I am not trying to sound morbid, but anyone can also buy body armor, until Obama tries to stop that too. You also need at least 10 30 rnd magizines with good followers. It is hell to run out of ammo. Good luck
tank1949 is offline  
Old November 24, 2012, 04:30 AM   #11
TennJed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2010
Posts: 1,512
Good info tank, thanks
TennJed is offline  
Old November 26, 2012, 10:34 AM   #12
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Also, there are probably more automation tools available for .223/5.56 NATO. I know, and already have, the RCBS Lube Die #1, which I found out about watching a video of the Hornady LNL Ammo Plant (any progressive with a case feeder probably could have been substituted, however if you want to search Youtube and watch it yourself...) reloading .223 with a Mr Bullet bullet feeder. The whole thing was automated, all the guy did after the setup was pull the handle over and over. It was a two stage process... first run through the machine, case feed to Lube Die #1, to resize. Then off to the tumbler to clean the lube off- Second Run, (probably) primer, Charge, bullet, (probably) Crimp.
JimDandy is online now  
Old November 26, 2012, 10:49 AM   #13
okiefarmer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 381
All the comments about the x39 brass are spot on. I picked up a bunch of nickel a pop large primer brass years ago, and had been sitting on it shooting up my steelcase. I now sit on my steelcase, for rainy days as mentioned above, and shoot cast in the brass cases for plinking. I was trying to find a load that would lay all the brass in one general area, like can be done with many auto guns. Not so with the AK platform. What I did find out is the AK will digest almost anything, not picky like some autos, but still throws it clear to Arkansas. Now when I shoot brass at a range or in the pasture, I remove the original bolt and replace it with a bolt from which I removed the piston. Now it's a bolt action, but I can play with the sighting in of certain projos, and not worry about watching the brass as soon as I pull the trigger.
okiefarmer is offline  
Old November 26, 2012, 11:16 AM   #14
tank1949
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 109
Another problem with handloads

I iosted this on another forum, but it holds true for 223 or any reloads. Just another process if you plan on reloading rifle brass.

I'd love to get 20 reloads out of 308 brass but after inspecting the inside of the cases with paper clips, looking for case seperation about 1/2" from base, I have come to realze that about 8-10 is all I can get, if that much. The 308 is "Hot" and the heat will cut a circle inside the brass over time. This will lead to case seperation and jams and perhaps death if you are trying to protect youself or family. Inspecting brass by running a paper clip that has a small 90 degree bend up and down the inside of each brass may save you life or at least a big buck. I do this for all rifle brass that I know has been reloaded more than once. If you feel any indent, a circle has started and discard brass. Just some advice...

Steel cases rubbing inside a steel rifle chamber will eventually wear out the chamber.
tank1949 is offline  
Old November 26, 2012, 11:18 AM   #15
JimDandy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2012
Posts: 2,346
Get the Brass Catcher from CTK Precision. Or make your own with a fishing net. I got one for my AR, and I love it.
JimDandy is online now  
Old November 26, 2012, 12:16 PM   #16
okiefarmer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 381
Quote from above---

"Steel cases rubbing inside a steel rifle chamber will eventually wear out the chamber. "



BS

Innerweb rumor that just won't stop. Sometime in your spare time go check out the lacquer on one of the steel cases just ejected from your favorite toy. What does the lacquer look like? Is it all stripped off and the case look beat up. Well, ok, it will be dented if fired in an AK toy, but that is the dent from hitting the receiver cover, and they have little fixes for that. But, there is nary a scratch on the case from ejection, thus if the lacquer is not scratched, I don't know what in the sam hill could be causing all the chamber damage to which you refer. I can see no damage in my chambers after 10s of thousands of rounds through them all.
okiefarmer is offline  
Old November 26, 2012, 01:01 PM   #17
Rimfire5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 459
From a practical perspective, reloading 7.62x39 for an AK is almost a wasted effort.
First, I haven't been able to see any difference in accuracy between the cheap factory ammo and hand loads. That is the only rifle that I haven't been able to improve upon.
Second, it costs as much to reload ammo as it costs to buy the cheap factory ammo so there isn't any savings to cover your effort and no improvement in accuracy to make it worth it.

The first condition might be different if I had a CZ 527carbine and it improved accuracy with hand loads, but with my spray and pray AK, it just isn't worth it.

On the otherhand, my .223 CZ 527 shows marked improvement from hand loads and it costs about 50 cents less a round to load match grade ammo (high grade bullets, match primers, and Lapua brass) over what it costs to buy good factory match ammo. And to make it even better, the hand loads that are matched to the barrel harmonics out shoot the best factory ammo by a large margin.

I would vote yes on reloading .223 and no on reloading 7.62x39.
Rimfire5 is offline  
Old November 27, 2012, 11:31 AM   #18
Marco Califo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: LA
Posts: 757
223 is much more versatile

223 is much more versatile.
You can hunt deer down to rodents with it.
It is easy to load, brass is cheap and plentiful, bullets and powder are mainstream.
223 rifles can be an excellent target gun, long rang rifle, or a cheap blaster. With M855/SS109, you can even drill through concrete walls, including rebar. I know, I have done it!
7.62x39 is the Russian equivalent of 30 Cal carbine, brass is expensive, bullets are a non-standard diameter, it is not noted for accuracy, long-range, or versatility.
All of the above are reasons I own one bolt action and one semi auto 223, and pass on 7.62x39 every time they are on sale. I would, and will, purchase another 223.
But if you want an odd-ball gun for novelty or your local cold war re-enactments, get an SKS or AK.
__________________
........................................................
Marco Califo is offline  
Old November 27, 2012, 02:35 PM   #19
okiefarmer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 381
"Second, it costs as much to reload ammo as it costs to buy the cheap factory ammo so there isn't any savings to cover your effort and no improvement in accuracy to make it worth it."

I would argue with that. I am poking my X39 full with a 130 grain projo, identical to the milsurp in shape, for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 pennies, depending on how far I can amortize the 7 cent case cost. Still using up a batch of AA 2200 I bought years ago for $50/8# promo.

If ya don't count my time, and no one does when doing something they enjoy, that's a pretty good savings over bought ammo. Same with 5.56.

I haven't seen 5.56 or X39 milsurp/reman anywhere lately for less than 30 cents a pop. Until my input costs go up exorbitantly, I think I'll keep on keepin' on.
okiefarmer is offline  
Old November 27, 2012, 02:42 PM   #20
DASHZNT
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 13, 2012
Posts: 179
Whoever says its the same price is outa their mind!!!

I reload .223 M855 62gr Green Tip Steel Core Penetrator Rounds and they cost a whopping $0.16 per round. Thats $160 for 1000 which when you compare with $550 for 1000 of the same in commercial ammo its one big DUUUHHH!!!! And the best part is I worked up a load that is very accurate with my rifle. Thats the best part of reloading, you can make something that is accurate and hott that your gun likes and thats something you just cannot get with store bought ammo. Not to mention, less $$ per roundz means more trigger time which ultimatly results in mord proficiency with your rifle.

DASHZNT
DASHZNT is offline  
Old November 27, 2012, 10:22 PM   #21
tank1949
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 109
Dash,


What is the best accuracy that you can get out of your penetrators? Military studies shows that the bullet is only reasonably accurate compared to non pens. Too much YAW. The 55 grain fmj are much more accurate and the 62 FMJ are better too. I suspect the steel core is causing the YAW. The best consistancy that I can get is about 4" group at 200 yds. My ARs shoot very accurate with other bullets, but the mil-spec 62 sc stuff I can not get to be super accurate. And I have tried a bunch of different powders too.
tank1949 is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 02:59 AM   #22
Rangefinder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2005
Posts: 2,016
accuracy is a product of consistency. Mil-surp bullets are cranked out high-volume. They have much looser standards on weight deviation. Don't expect match quality from a run that can vary upward of 3+ grains as an acceptable standard. Steel-cores "can" potentially be extremely accurate--IF the core is perfectly centered and has even distribution of lead and jacket around it. Longer bullet of lighter weight and higher velocity makes for fantastic BC--when everything comes together right. This in not typically the case, however, which is why match-grade bullets cost more.... CONSISTENCY.
__________________
"Why is is called Common Sense when it seems so few actually possess it?"

Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.
Rangefinder is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 04:12 AM   #23
Marco Califo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: LA
Posts: 757
Let's do the Twist!

Quote:
Too much YAW. The 55 grain fmj are much more accurate and the 62 FMJ are better too. I suspect the steel core is causing the YAW. The best consistancy that I can get is about 4" group at 200 yds. My ARs shoot very accurate with other bullets, but the mil-spec 62 sc stuff I can not get to be super accurate.
It is critical to specify what barrel twist your statement refers to. I am convinced that most discussions about accuracy in 223/5.56 are (or should be) about barrel twist rate and what bullet weight the shooter expects to shoot well (either correctly or incorrectly).

For example, your gun could have a 1:12 twist and shoot that way. But a different gun, with a 1:9" twist, may shoot both those bullets very well. While another gun, with a 1:7" twist may spin lighter bullets at so fast an RPM that they lose structural integrity, while shooting 80-90 gr bullets extremely well.
__________________
........................................................
Marco Califo is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 11:44 AM   #24
spacecoast
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Location: Sunshine and Keystone States
Posts: 4,049
Quote:
223 is much more versatile.
Maybe, but can you blast through a foot of phonebooks with it?


Quote:
But if you want an odd-ball gun for novelty or your local cold war re-enactments, get an SKS or AK.
Considering that at least 2x-10x as many AKs have been manufactured as any other rifle, that is a pretty funny comment.
spacecoast is offline  
Old November 28, 2012, 07:01 PM   #25
tank1949
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 109
Marco,

My slowest complete gun is 1x9. My wilde chambers are all 1x8. But, you are 100% right about the twist need for the 62 grain. I have an older 1x12 or 14 (cant remember which ) upper and it will drive 55 fmjs mil specs all MOAs. Put anything greater, including match 69 smk and it goes all over paper.
tank1949 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13002 seconds with 9 queries