So you love to shoot. I assume that’s why you’re here taking some time to read this. I am going to teach you a secret of guys who shoot a lot do… and what they do to keep shooting…a lot. So you might have guessed it, I’m going to talk a little bit about reloading. I know, I know. But there are two ways to shoot more, be rich, or learn to reload.
So, unlike some Fudd who is going to throw book after book of old load data, I’m going to boil down just my easy 5.56 / .223 recipe as cheap as I can make it. I figured this recipe out over 10 years ago and ran thousands through AR15’s with little to no hiccups.
**Disclaimer Time! Reloading is dangerous, you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your equipment. If you’re not 100 percent comfortable ask for help or do more research. Take your time attention to detail is critical in reloading. **
Ok so now how do we make this happen! Well the three most expensive parts of reloading are the powder, bullets and primers. Even as I write this primer and powder are more expensive than ever. So pay attention. Police your brass.. your 223/556 brass should be good for 10 reloads or more if you do your job right. Brass is the cheaper part of this equation.
Bullets. The little 55 grain projectiles for 223/556 are fairly cheap, you can source these for around 6.3 cents per bullet from what I saw online (Oct 2022). Those bullets were pulled, meaning they are bulk surplus that has been loaded at one point, but obviously not fired. This is a deal to get a huge savings for large volley practice fire. If it can hit steel plates who cares.
Next is the powder. This whole article started years ago because I found 8 pounds of WC-846 gun powder for like 40 bucks. WC-846 is just one variety of military surplus powder that is usually pulled from 50BMG or 308 NATO cases. The powder I found is still available in large quantities online today (Oct 2022). 16lbs appears to run a little over 200$ which in 2022 coming into 2023 world is a huge savings. In comparison I just bought 1 pound of Hodgdon powder from a Scheels for about 45 after tax. So, the same amount of powder from a name brand would run you almost 750$ in comparison.
WC-846 powder from a 50 BMG is a slow burning powder, meaning its meant for rifles and usually the bigger the better. I can write a book about how I use it in military surplus loads from 6.5 Carcano to 7.5 Swiss. It’s a good cheap powder. But at the small size of the spectrum 223/556 is as small as you want to go using this powder. I found it to be highly effective in 223/556.
Loading data for the WC-846 powder is similar to BL-C(2), which is a powder made by Hodgdon. BL-C(2) is a spherical powder that began as a military powder in the 7.62 NATO cartridge. For your specific loading purposes I need to have a caveat. This powder is surplus, you can’t trust it to be as consistent or reliable as Hodgdon or name brand powders. So for load data start low and work your way up. For my 8lb bottle of WC-846 I started with 19 grains of powder and finally worked up to 24.5 which gets me about 2850fps. Your results will vary!
So, there you have it. Save tons of cash and shoot more by utilizing WC-846 military surplus powder. Take your time and be safe. Have fun and keep shooting!