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THE COMPETITIVE AR15

Ammunition

Gear

Rifle

Shooting

Contributors

Extras

Reloading

Sample pages

Order


The RIFLEMAN'S GUIDE TO RIMFIRE AMMUNITION


HANDLOADING FOR COMPETITION


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RELOADING

Here's where I thought there would be a bunch of stuff going bonkers a year or so later, but, guess what: it's really not.

One of the big "omissions" in the book was the Sierra® 77gr MatchKing™ bullet. It wasn't out when the book went to print. Here's the scoop: it has a claimed BC of .380, which makes it about the same, in that regard, as other bullets in its class. Its class, by the way, is magazine fed operation (2.260 oal) for 200/300 yard lines. It works great: shoots easy. Get them and go on.

Lots of rumblings about Redding bullet seaters stuffing down overstuffed amounts of slower burning powders. Right, it doesn't work too well when the bullet has to crush gunpowder. Neither will a Jones, Wilson, Bonanza, or most any other bullet seater. Something will give when there's a long way to go and no room to get there.

Suggestions include having the rifle throated long so there will be more room behind the base of the bullet. Talk to your gunsmith but, chances are that he won't be able to do a thing until you get a new barrel. Other ways of getting more powder in the case include really long drop tubes for powder meters. Call Sinclair® about that set up. It really makes a difference, but it may still not be enough.

The Sierra® 80gr MatchKing™ is the primary culprit here since it will, relatively speaking, protrude further into the case than will, say, a Berger® vld bullet. Change bullets for one "solution," but, jeez, that's harsh reasoning...

Another suggestion is going to a faster burning powder! Obviously, if we can't get enough powder in the case to get the needed speed, then the case is too small for that powder. Live with it. Right, also, that slower burning powders can sometimes (usually) work really well with heavy bullets, but some difference somewhere needs to be split, and the powder burning rate is about the only variable. Try H4895. It works, most always, and I don't think you can get enough in a .223 case to hamper bullet seating.

Lots of "short stroke" complaints through e-mail. Most are solved by gas port work. Some on Armalite® rifles can be helped by shortening the recoil spring about an inch (it's pretty stout) but I'd be looking for gas port problems first. For example, make sure the front sight base is okay and not obscuring or misaligning the gas tube opening.

I had a few comments from AMU on my reference to "...lathe turned bullets that AMU experimented with..." which they denied ever having heard about. Well, here's the hearing: several years ago a more than reliable source there (which is what I have to say since I don't want name dragging and pissing contests to commence) said he had solicited for some contractor (meaning, here, anyone outside internal government channels) supplied milled bronze bullets. I believe that the hands that be changed before much, if anything, may have been done, but that's the facts. No, the AMU doesn't shoot lathe turned bullets. I don't care even if I have to say what "experimented with" may mean because the point is not not really an issue, but I felt pretty well defenseless due, again, to "protecting" my confidence in folks who like to help me. The fellow who told me the story came and went well before anyone who responded to my comments came to their current posts of responsibility. I have the tapes....

One other note on bullets. There is no question in my mind that the JLK bullets are the best .224s we have. No question. More and more shooting with them has convinced me of it. The best magazine bullet is the JLK 77; the best 80 is the JLK; the best 70 and 75 are the JLK. Why do I say they're the best: because they shoot better. They fly better too. Jimmy Knox does a few things differently, and those things evidently work. I've also NEVER had a speed induced failure with a JLK. Others may have, but I haven't (did have some Bergers come apart and Hornady A-Max too). The JLK 75 vld is a really good bullet to try if you want something better than an 80 Sierra that shoots dang near as "easy" -- it doesn't take much fiddling to get the JLK 75 shooting well. It has a 12 ogive, which is not quite as radical as a JLK 80 or the Bergers, which all have a 15. Seat the bullet between touching the lands and jumping 0.005 and stick around 23 grains of H4895 behind it (WW case and primer). Just try it.

New cartridge: (well, not really new, but we got's a name for it) 6mmX. It's a .243 short chambered or "held back" 0.130. Take a .22-250 case, expand the neck to 6mm, fire form, and now you have a 6X. Works really, really well: less capacity than .243 so it doesn't scorch barrels as bad but still plenty of speed to make those nice JLK 105s work. (Matter of fact, that's more or less the idea: tune bullet speed through case capacity.) .565 bc and an easy 2850 feet per second, and you can shoot the best bullets in the world (for bitty groups) at short line: flat base 6s. I'm trying some Berger 88s but know beyond doubt that Walt's 68s perforate as near together as other bullet on the planet at 200 yards. This cartridge works in AR10s and, of course, bolt guns. The 6mm vld from JLK is the slickest of the slick but Berger has something like 17 .243s to try.

Mostly, though, folks are shooting their AR15s pretty much like what went on in the book and are all doing really, really well with them. It's a beautiful rifle like that.



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