View Full Version : Bullet Choices - Load Development

12-06-2009, 06:48 PM
Is it more important to choose between bullet types or bullet brands when trying to find the right bullet that shoots well. I am shooting an AR15 with a 1:9" twist barrel for 223 Remington. I will test with bullets in the low 52 - 55 range and also 68 - 69 (not much in between). Do I need to also try various brand bullets in these ranges? Is a Berger 55 flat based going to be any different than a Sierra of the same?

Also, how many groups should one fire with any particular combo of powder/bullet/primer/seating depth, etc to determine that load does or does not work?

I want to buy the right bullets and powders in the right quantities to find the right load.


- Phil

12-06-2009, 08:19 PM
I think it's more important to decide what you're going to do with it first and choose the bullet weight/style that fits your use! If you're going to use the magazine, you are limited as to your OAL
If your barrel is a true 1-9 (some aren't)...Then the 69 SMK's should shoot just fine. Call Sierra and they will tell you that Varget is their accuracy load, ask them about Norma 201 with that bullet, you can infringe on 3000 fps with N201. Use a Mag primer (CCI or Wolf)
The 73 Bergers should shoot well too, maybe even the Hornady Match HPBT, it depends what you're gonna use it for.


12-06-2009, 09:52 PM
Rounds must be mag length only, shooting at paper targets, 100 - 300 yards, with 50 - 69 grain bullets. I am open to any bullet in this range that works with 1:9" twist that works well at the aforementioned distances.

- Phil

Larry Elliott
12-06-2009, 10:05 PM
In an AR, unless you're willing to tip up the powder cannister more than I am, you may not be able to get enough velocity with light bullets to make up for the improved ballistic coefficient of heavier bullets.

I've fired 60 gr Sierra hollow points in my AR with good accuracy at 100 yards, and would expect them to do well out to 300 yards. The 68 and 69 gr bullets will likely give better accuracy at 300 yards, but it's not really possible to say without shooting them.

Unless you have unlimited funds to spend on bullets it's probably better to start with factory bullets (Sierra, Hornady, Nosler) before going to the more expensive custom bullets. Shooting factory bolt action .223's I found that Sierra and Berger flatbase bullets shot similarly with the same powders and charges. The Berger's may have been slightly more accurate, but the rifle and shooter couldn't tell for sure.

Stephen Perry
12-07-2009, 12:34 AM
You might add Gentner 22 bullets to the Berger list of Customs. This time in 2001 I shot a low .18xx 200 agg at Phoenix using Gentner 22 bullets in a 22 PPC Rail. I also shot a low .18xx 200 agg at Visalia same year different 22 PPC Rail barrel with Berger 22 bullets.

Stephen Perry
Angeles BR

12-07-2009, 08:42 AM
I am not interested in "custom" bullets, unless there really is some advantage when used in an AR. ???

I will try a bullet in the 52 - 55 grain range, and also a 69 grain, but my question still remains...is there really any difference between bullet brands all else being equal (i.e., Sierra flat base 53 grain vs same thing from Berger)?

Is it also best to start with one bullet and try different powders to find the right powder, or, start with a known good powder and find a good shooting bullet? This followed up by experimenting with the other component (powder or bullet) to fine tune.

- Phil

12-07-2009, 08:58 AM
Just shoot a 52/53gr Sierra/Nosler/Hornady. Pick one. Then work up your load. 20 years ago the 52/53 Hornady didn't shoot like the Sierra, but I think nowadaze (I can use that in Scrabble, right?) they are pretty much the same.

The 69 Sierra and Nosler are likewise fine bullets. Pick one. You won't go wrong.

Seat any of these to 2.25" and back them up with Re15 or Varget and a good lot of primers. The primer lot is far more important than the brand.

I don't think an AR is going to show much difference between any of these bullets and custom bullets. Could be wrong, I don't know what kind of improvement you would consider "worth it". I sincerely doubt that you are going to shoot aggs in the .1s with any bullet out of an AR.

BTW, that 60 gr Sierra HP really shoots. Sometimes I think it is even better than the 52s.

At 300, go to the 69. The little bullets do get noticeably blown around.