View Full Version : Bullet set depth for .223 REM on 55g and 64g bullets

December 11, 2010, 05:30 PM
so im new to reloading and have yet another question. i started my reloading venture with varget powder and 64 grain winchester power point bullets. turns out, that not LEE recommended mix.
So, i went and got some hornady 55 grain SP bullets. the LEE wach-a-mole chart that came with my kit says to use one level scoop of varget powder for a 55 grain jacketed bullet.
my question is this....what is the depth to safely set the 55 grain bullets compared to the 64 grain bullets??

the reason i ask this is because is i set the bullet depth the same for both the 55 grain and the 64 grain bullets, the 64 grain bullets set further into the case by almost double the length of the 55 grain SP.

will this cause a pressure problem by taking up space when i get ready to use the 64 grain bullets with the proper recommended powder???

i already understand the OAL....im useing these rounds for 16" ar-15 1.9 twist. i understand about the length fitting into the magazine. i just want to know if the diffrent bullet set depth's will cause safety issues?

or...by the chart recommending a diffrent powder for 64 grain (longer bullet), will this automatically fix the pressure problems for the diffrent bullets and powders on the lee load chart??

it says to use the yellow lee dipper for each powder. im assuming the dipper cup will gauge the amount of powder for any type of powder used automaticly??

for example, useing the 1.6 dipper cup provided in my kit:
55 grain jacketed bullet useing varget powder is 21.9 - 27.5
64 grain jacketed bullet useing accurate 2520 is 23.4 - 26.0

from what ive seen so far with this kit, the supplied dipper measures on the low end of amount of powder (i assume for safety reasons).

any ideas or comments for the bullet set depth on the 55 and 64 grain bullet or does the diffrence in set depth really rely on the powder used?? basicly meaning.....the bullet set depth can be the same for each bullet type used because the proper powder will compensate for the diffrence in depth??

December 11, 2010, 06:30 PM
First, a point of terminology: I believe you are referring to cartridge overall length, not seating depth. Seating depth is how far the bullet goes into the case.


Seating depth = case length + bullet length - COL

The Lee manual is actually choosing the powder to fit the scoop and the bullet both. They won't recommend a combination that is wrong, for obvious reasons. If you use the same load of Varget with the longer, heavier bullet, pressure will be higher partly because the bullet seats deeper and partly because it is heavier, so it offers more reaction force to being accelerated.

That 55 grain Hornady, by the way, is designed to be seated to 2.200" COL in a case that's been resized and trimmed to 1.750" long. This is from Hornady's manual. Their load range for the 55 grain bullet using Varget is 22.8 grains to 26.4 grains in a Winchester case using a Winchester SR primer.

December 11, 2010, 06:43 PM
OK--By using just the dipper and no scale your chances of two loads being the same are slim and none and slim left town. That is a very bad way to measure because it all depends on how well the powder settels in each scoop you take.One scoop full of say RL-15 could be any where from 18 gn to 22 gns depending on setteling. You need to get a scale for starters. Seating depth will vary with bullet wt very much.Heavier bullets being longer and a different ojive will need different seating depths.. A 55 gn has a good depth (COL) of anywhere from say 2.20 to 2.26 or so. heavier bullets 68 up would require a longer COL. You can sink them down to a point,but you need to watch not to go to far to where the ojive is on the down side too. As you stated yourself watch for mag lenght. I shoot bolt so i load one at a time so COl is not as important to me. First off if you want any kind of accuracy and consistancy from shot to shot you do need to get a scale.

December 11, 2010, 06:50 PM

wow....nice picture explanation. i can assure you that my terminology for reloading is not accurate. haha. i think you may have nailed exactly what i was asking. and i think by looking at that picture you attached, may give me the answer also.

i just wanted to ask if seating the bullet to the SAME depth which creates the SAME overall length (COL) for both the 64 grain with accurate 2520, and the 55 grain with varget is a safe thing to do.

i would assume accurate 2520 and varget, being diffrent powders, would compensate for the diffrent amount of bullet length inside each catridge. my lee classic loader chart has the 55 grain listed for varget as a acceptable powder. it has the 64 grain listed as accurate 2520 ONLY. the amount of powder for each of those bullets type with the powder listed is diffrent for each.

the 64 grain winchester power point doesnt have much of a shoulder on it. its more tappered all the way down the bullet.
the 55 grain hornady SP has a very defined shoulder but when i set the hornady in the case at a COL of 56.48mm average, the shoulder is about a 0.25" outside of the case neck. is this acceptable?? it still seems to be "set" inside the case neck firmly and securly. i dont crimp any of these bullets because neither one of them have crimp grooves.

December 11, 2010, 06:57 PM

i do have a scale. i have the lee safety scale (which to me is a complete pile of crap). i used it to measure the accuracy of the lee dipper of a few diffrent "styles" of dips to be sure i wasnt going anywhere near the max load. even when the dipper is completly full and overflowing, it didnt seem to be reaching the max load. if anything, it was on the very low side. but like i said....i hate the lee safety scale. i cant be sure its 100% accurate for even the 5-10 test i did. the lee dipper should be designed to be safe with any dip style or amount it could hold. they wouldnt want a law suit. the instructions say to scoop, level the scoop, and pour it up. i dont agree with that method fully but that is what the instructions say. im sure they keapt it safe however.

that being said.....im not looking for absolute varmint style accuracy. my rifle is a home defense/plinking rifle. as long as i can hit a 10" target at 100 yards, im satisfied.

i just want to make sure that the deapth that bullet is going into the cases im loading are not going so far as to cause a pressure hazard.

how can i be sure how much of the bullet should be sticking out of the case neck after i set it to remain a safe catridge??

December 11, 2010, 07:09 PM
Certain bullet wts(heavier) Most of the time you will not be able to seat them deep enough to mag load. You said you have a one in nine twist. This is good up to around a 68 gn bullet,but COL will not load in a mag.You can seat it deep enough to fit,but i would never do that myself. If that is what you are after for accuracy then your method will probrbly work just fine for you too. To answer your question on seating depth though, The answer is yes if you use same amount powder and sink a 68 gn to the depth you were sinking a 55,yes your pressure is going to be much higher.As stated in previous post you are pushing more resistance down barrel and pressure will build. If you are loading way below max you could possable get away with it. Still just another thing i would never do myself. Loading is a very serious thing to mess around with.Consult as many sources as possable, on line,books,and in here is a great place,lots of top notch people in here.As unclenick is one of them too. Just be safe and play it safe when it comes to reloading,we need all the friends we can get in here,so stick around with us:)

December 11, 2010, 07:24 PM
i appreciate it alot. im pretty new to TFL forums but so far im very pleased. lots of help and people who are willing to chime in.

i do want to safe...hencet he reason im asking you guys. ive been reading alot and doing research but it seems hard to find the accurate information for exactly what im looking for, question-wise.

i normally shoot 62 grain federal tactical tru SP factory loads with super great success. i achieve .5" groups or better at 100 yards with 3x magnification. just trying to find a more affordable way to shoot high volume (hence again, reloading). but at the same time...it seems there are lots of ways one could possibly shoot their own face off or blow up a reciever in this "hobby" known as reloading.

experience is the best knowledge....i just dont have that yet. so i hope to not agrivate any of you guys while i pick at your educated brains.

let me ask you this...on this certain load i have right here. i havnt shot any rounds i have loaded myself yet but i plan for these to be my first. this is what i have so far. can you tell me if im on the right track?

factory new winchester .223 brass. cci #400 small rifle primers set flush to the case. hornady 55 grain SP #2265 bullets. varget powder useing lee's method of leveling the lee dipper. once charge and the bullet is in the case, the total length after the bullet has been set is 56.39 mm.the case alone is 44.57 mm. the bullet alone is 18.01 mm . is there a chart or something to tell me that i am at the proper depth for the bullet??

im pretty confident on the amount of powder being used. just want to make sure the bullet isnt too far into the case to create a pressure issue. the federal tactical factory rounds i shoot with great success are overal length of 55.77 mm. then again....those federal tactical rounds are 62 grains. ideas??

December 11, 2010, 08:13 PM
Your COL is right in the normal range for a 223. I beleive that comes to in inches 2.22 for a COL. Any where in the range of 2.20 to 2.26 area with a 55 gn is good. One small suggestion,,I think cost wise they are the same,try the V-Max in a 55.Very ,Very accurate. You did not mention what powder you are using. Someof the top ones for 223's are H-335,Varget,RL-17,RL-15, . BLC-2. I bench shoot so for me i found just one bullet wt that i wanted to use
(75 A-Max) and that is the only bullet i load now. Have you ever heard of the step ladder method of finding the load for your gun?.You can google it. It is a very good and to me the best method out there. I shoot one hole at 100 yards and 3/4 inch groups at 300 yards. I also only use magnum or bench rest primers in my loads.There is a lot of contreversy over that choice with alot of people here,so to each his own. My pet load in my other 223 was
55 V-max
25.5 gn Varget
rem 7 1/2 primer
COL -2.25
You will have to play with the loads some what as each gun will shoot different than any one elses.

Play safe and shoot straight

December 11, 2010, 08:24 PM
sounds like im on the right path then. im useing varget powder for these 55 grain hornady SP. ive always liked soft points for self defense...just my opinion of course. ill have to look up the step ladder thing you mentioned. i have no idea what it is but ill check it out.

i do plan to experiment with a few certain loads to find the best one for my appliction (within 100 yards at a 10" target). i just have to make sure i find the proper powder and in the right quantity.

have you ever used the lee classic loader (whack-a-mole)?? its the one you have to use a hammer and do one bullet at a time, etc?? thats the one i have. just want to know if it makes sence that it says to use the same 1.6cc dipper for each of the loads even though the loads are diffrent for min-max on diffrent bullet types/weights. that being says...it also says that certain bullet types/weights are for certain powders only.

within the SAME lee dipper, is is possible to have diffrent load weights from diffrent powders with the same volume in the dipper?? example....a full dipper full of varget -VS- a full dipper of accurate 2520 ?? could this be due to the size and shape of each grain of powder creates a diffrent weight but same volume and appearance??

December 11, 2010, 08:34 PM
Info from Siera for Bolt Action load for 63 Grain bullet.
COL of 2.250 inches for the loaded round.
Start load with Vargent is 22.8 Grains estimated Velocity of around 2600 FPS
Max Load is listed as 26.3 Grains with an estimated Velocity of around 3100 FPS. (Word of Caution Start at the starting load and work up at no more than .2 grains at a time watching for pressure sighns. Reduce charge weights at the first sighns of pressure.)

December 11, 2010, 08:48 PM
Dipper differences will happen shape will do it yes. Like i said it is an ok method for ball parking,but you will never get a consistant load that way. If you are doing that right now and pulling groups like you say,i wonder how much better you would do by weighing each charge?? Could very much impress yourself. My press is a RCBS single stage with all Lee Dies. I see the post before this one is also a very good post too. You will get lots of them as there are some very smart people in this place. I have learned all i know from them as well, I just started reloading 2 years ago and this is where i came also for advice. Wealth of info in here

December 11, 2010, 09:09 PM
the dipper diffrence thing, to me, could only mean diffrence in the shape and size of various powder grains. the lee chart that i have here list many many diffrent bullets sizes and various types of powders (about 6 or 7 or so) but for each one it says the use the same dipper in the same manner (strike level and pour). this could only mean that even though the amount of powder appears to be the same (level amount in the dipper) the volume of powder that is actual in the dipper is diffrent for each powder...thus giving a diffrent powder amount for the recommended bullet and powder being used.

holy crap i confuse myself. haha.

can anyone recommend a GOOD affordable scale....preferably digital but beam is fine as well. i have the lee safety scale. i think they should call it the lee very unsafe scale. if it isnt perfectly level and setting perfectly "centered" in the fulcrum groove, it not accurate at all. the dampening magnets cause too much friction if it isnt perfectly centered. its very hard to use imo. recommendations??

December 11, 2010, 09:13 PM
also...this may have been answered already but i perhaps missed it.....as far as how deep to set the bullet, is there a good chart or manual that would tell me how far into the case each bullet grain type should be set for each type of powders??

and also...is there a diffrence in bullet types of the same weight?? for instance....something like a 62 grain sierra hollow point verses a 62 grain sp or fmj ?? my load data chart list everything as "jacketed bullet". does jacketed bullet cover all manufactureres and include hp, sp, ballistic tip, fmj, etc??

December 11, 2010, 09:46 PM
The dipper thing you ned to get rid of.2 identical scoops of same powder i garentee you will have 2 different weights. It all depends on how it settles in scoop. A good beam scale or a good digital scale is a must. Your powder weight is probebly the most important part of reloading.Very much so in pistols. Rifles have a little bit more lee-way,but in pistols the end results could be very,very bad and deadly in some cases. A good caliper is another for sure tool you need. As for bullet seating depths(COL). Yes bullet by bullet will differ. Loading is not rocket science,BUT there are some rules that need to be followed very much. The COL of your bullet will be determined by many things such as weight and what your rifle likes. Some like it.002 off lands some more,and then some like it right on the lands. This is where the playing with a load comes in. FYI--While playing with the load drop 10% on charge and as always watch for pressure signs on brass.

December 11, 2010, 11:17 PM
i agree that the loads will differ slightly with the dipper. ive experimented a little with it. i do get dips with it that vary 1-3 grains here and there. im measureing on the low end of things so the extra powder here and there isnt too much of a big deal considering it is still a ways away from max load. i do plan to get a better scale. the one i have sucks. it does the job but it takes forever to zero and then another long time to settle for each time i use it. a waist of money. walmart has some digital food scales....might try one of those and test its accuracy.

as far as bullets setting near the lands, etc.....the way i see it....as long as i get the total length of the ammo to match the length of the federal tactical tru rounds that i shoot alot, i should be okay there. although....the federal rounds are a totally diffrent bullet weight.

can you tell me what are some of the basic and most visual signs of pressure increase to look for?? ejector marks on brass, etc?? i do have a weapon that is rated for 5.56 so i can take a little more pressure than a standard .223. still dont wanna push it too far though.

December 12, 2010, 12:22 AM
A few sighns of high pressure:
Pierced Primers, bulged primers, flattend out primers. primers that are backed out of the pocket. Loosened primer pockets.
Head seperation.(A shiny ring all the way around the brass.) You can also find this with a paper clip that is straighted out and bent into an L shape. insert through the case mouth and run along the side of the brass. You will feel it grab into the ring if there is one.
Those are only a few.
I have a few recomendations for things to get.
#1 A good manual. IE Lyman, Nostler, Modern Reloading by Richard Lee, Barnes, Speer, Siera, ect. Most are under $30 if you shop around. The first part has good info for beging reloaders, and pictures of things like pressure sighns, and explanation of some of the terms for reloading. Buy at least one. If you are loading for one caliber only buy one, and then one of the One Book/ One caliber books which has the load info from most of the major manufacturers.
#2 A reliable scale that weighs in Grains. (Avoid the food scales, They are not acurate enough.) A digital Smart Reloader or some type like it can be had for under $50 or so. It is worth not damaging yourself, and/or your firearm.
#3 A powder measure ( AKA powder thrower) I have the Lee Perfect Powder Measure that came with the kit for my reloading set up. It works just fine for the powders I use. Cost is $20 or less. While not a necessity it is very helpful, and a real time saver. If you can get it to throw charges of the powder you are using with consistant results just weigh ever tenth charge to assure it is still dropping the same.

December 12, 2010, 12:43 AM
i think ill take your advice (and the advice of everyone else). the load data manuals seem to be very important. i was at cabelas the other day and i briefly looked at one made by sierra. it was in a 3 ring type binder book. im guessing thats what i should have bought. the other ones....lyman, hornady or whatever and whoever makes the other ones were all wrapped in plastic and i couldnt look in them to see if thats what i needed.

the scale i have now isnt very good. i guess you get what you pay for. its not very accurate (even with the exact same charge). ill most likely go digital for a more user friendly display window.

so your saying i should get something like the lee perfect powder measure?? so the theory for that would be: use the lee perfect powder measure and then weigh the first charge and every 10 charges after that to achieve the correct powder amount?? sounds like a good plan to me.
i thought i was going to be able to get into reloading rather cheap. haha.....im into it so far right at $300 and dont even have everything i need. haha.

December 12, 2010, 01:04 AM
For the powder measure you adjust it to throw by volume. It meters ball powders very consitanly. Pour powder into the hopper then throw 10 or so charges. Pour them back into the hopper. Weigh one charge if it is correct then throw 9 more charges with the first one, and weigh. Devide the weight by 10. If it is to less than one tenth of a grain from the charge you desire than it should be close enough. (Note if you are using a maximum or near maximum charge weigh each charge).
The Lee scale is very acurate if it is on a flat level surface, and used properly. It is very acurate. At the cost of not easy to read, and the slide can be tricky to get to exacly where you want it. I used a tooth pic to gently move it. It was time consuming, and not easy for me to see. I purchased a Smart Reloader From the Cabella's Bargain Cave for under $25 or so. Full price was less than $45. It works just fine as long as the batteries are fresh. I keep a brick of AAA batteries handy. The not so fresh ones get put into the box for spare remote control batteries.
I recomend the Lyman 49th for its good explanations, and tons of loads with differant bulllet weights. Also the one for all calber books cost well under $8 I bought one at Cabella's last night for .223 Rem.
Price for the stuff to complete your beginer's set up is $100 give or take a few dollars. If you shop around online you may be able to cut that even more.

December 12, 2010, 02:09 AM
cool. i appreciate your advice. ill definantly be getting that stuff.
i justed noticed....your in texas. where at in texas are you located?? im in ft.worth (DFW area).

December 12, 2010, 12:44 PM
I am the Ft. Hood area. I go to the Cabella's in Autin as it is less driving than going to FT worth. I grew up in Joshua so I am familiar with Ft Worth area.

December 12, 2010, 01:01 PM
I didn't get the super great accuracy in my reloaded .223 Rem rounds until I started weighing each powder charge. I use a dipper to scoop powder into my scale pan that gets me close and then I use a trickler to bring the charge the rest of the way up to the desired weight on the scale. Time consuming, but very accurate. My RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure does a pretty consistent job of throwing ball powder charges for most instances, but sometimes I take the time weigh each one.

I only load 55 grain bullets in .223 Rem. and usually only Hornady brand, but for bullet depth on .223 Rem. I trim to 1.75" as prescribed and seat my bullets to mid-cannelure. The COAL varies a little from one manufacturer to another and even within different lots of the same manufacturer, but that usually gets you around 2.20 to 2.22 depending on whether you are going with FMJ's or SP's. I always put a caliper on them to check the depth when I'm setting up.

I load 223's to around 3,000 fps and that seems to give me good accuracy in my rifle. :cool:

December 12, 2010, 01:27 PM
Snakedriver I have only been loading .223 for the past 3 days. Now I have been reloading for about a year. Also I have been reloading for .221 Rem Fireball for a few months. (.221 Fireball is basicly a slightly shorter .223 Rem. I cut and reform .223 cases for .221)
I used Nostlers guide and quickly found an awsome load for 55 grain bullets using H-335. Using Lee Deluxe Die set I have already found a sub half MOA load. (Some one that is a better shot than me could probably one hole them with my Savage LRV bolt action) Then again testing the rifle to fireform some brass with cheap PMC Bronze the rifle was shooting half MOA out of the box.:eek:

December 12, 2010, 01:48 PM
Savages are good rifle! I'd say if you're getting sub-MOA with your reloads and your rifles, you're doing something right. It's a labor of love that keeps people reloading in pursuit of the perfect load and combination of ingredients for each firearm they have. Keep it up and you'll have many tears of enjoyment. :cool:

December 12, 2010, 06:25 PM
"i just wanted to ask if seating the bullet to the SAME depth which creates the SAME overall length (COL) for both the 64 grain with accurate 2520, and the 55 grain with varget is a safe thing to do."

Yes, it is. OAL has more to do with feeding/chambering than safety/pressure.

Lee's compact "Loader" kit is a very safe and useful package. Don't sweat the 'accuracy' of the dippers, they are fine and you won't get in trouble using any of Lee's suggested loads.