I've been wanting to be able to shoot light bullets in an AR that were really just light plinker loads so I've gone to a Manual AR and use Unique powder -- Trailboss would be the other powder to use although I don't have any yet. Right now I'm running 6.0gr to 7.5gr of Unique under a Berger 30gr bullet, a Hornady 35gr NTX and 40gr V-max. For small game and short range plinking it really is nice with the accuracy being really good with all the loads. My barrel is an old Colt 1:7 twist that is chromed. The picture below is the first rifle I did with a 1:12 twist and was manually operated but I have since switch to full DI operation and switched the receiver over to the Colt barrel.
The targets below were all shot with the Colt barreled setup at 50 yards and are all 5 shot groups. I have some physical problems and I am limited in my walking so this works out perfect for me.
I also have a manually operated AR for the 5.7X28 and I use reduced loads of H110 and W296. I'll try light loads of Unique in the future. The picture below is the manual 5.7 AR -- I also have a DI operated 5.7 AR but I wanted to concentrate on the lighter powder charges since it also saves on my powder supply and is just as much fun to shoot.
These are the two cartridges I'm using -- they look like normal ammo but they have the reduced powder charges. Keep in mind the right type of powder must be used for this and care must be taken that the cases don't get a double charge.
This is the manual .223 rifle with a new free-float tube.
Last Edit: Apr 17, 2015 6:08:48 GMT -5 by 22boomer
That's one of the best parts! I can load down using Unique powder to below 22 magnum power or run it up some place to close to 22 Hornet power using the same powder. The reduced loads don't seem to change the cartridge case much so I think in the future I'll try just neck sizing.
The 5.7X28 is a different story. I use 6.3 to 6.5 grains of H110 and the same light bullets. If I tried the Unique it seems to puff the case out enough that I'm afraid I'll not be able to use them for many loads. I have tried 3.5 grains of Unique in the 5.7 cases and they shoot good but the velocity must be down around Stinger to low 22 magnum level. I have not run these through the chrony since I hate to have to haul all that shooting stuff plus the chrony and stand to the range.
I went to the range today to do some more testing. I needed to change the carbine butt stock for a solid rifle butt stock. This is the newer 5.7X28 manual AR pictured below.
I like shooting the small 5.7FN cartridge because it's pretty accurate in my little rifle -- the barrel has 1:14 twist so the bullets weights/lengths must be kept small. below is the targets with the varity of bullets and loads I used.
I don't think the info on each target is very visible so I'll add it below. Top left target = 6.0gr of W296 + 35gr NTX bullet Top center target = Again, 6.0gr W296 + 35GR NTX bullet. Top right target = 6.5gr w296 + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade. Middle left target = 6.0gr W296 + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade. Middle center target = 3.5gr of Unique + 35gr NTX. Middle right target = Another 6.0gr of w296 + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade. Bottom center target = 6.5 w296 + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade.
The rifle below is my .223 manual AR that I shoot reduced loads in.
Below is the targets I shot and I'll include the info that's shown on the targets because I know you can't read them.
Top left target = 7.5gr of Unique + 40gr V-max. Top center target = 8.0gr of Unique + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade. Top right target = 9.0gr of Unique + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade. Middle left target = 6.7gr of Unique + 40gr V-max. Middle center target = 6.0gr of Unique + 40gr V-max. Middle right target = 6.0gr Unique + 30gr Barnes Varmint Grenade. Bottom center target = 7.0gr of unique + 35gr Hornady NTX.
How about H110, 2400, or Lil, Gun? If we could squeeze 30 carbine brass down to 5.7 spec's it might solve the brass issue. An awful log to swage down tho.....
I use H110 and Lil' gun in the rounds for the DI operated 5.7X28 AR and I've shot the same hot loads in the manual rifle with no problem. There just seems to be a point with the small FN brass that, when it's reached, the primer pocket gets enlarged and the primers fit really loose or won't stay in so those cases get trashed. What I was really trying to do with the reduced loads was save on powder and generate rounds that were between 22 magnum and 22 hornet in power. I think it's easy with the .223 brass but I think I need to go to Blue Dot for the 5.7X28 instead of the Unique powder. A lot of people seem to like Blue Dot for reduced loads in a lot of different cartridge cases.
One strange thing I found using range brass was that once fired Privi Partisan Brass was a real problem to full length size right from the getgo. I don't know if the rifle they were fired in had an odd chamber or not but when I reloaded them with the Unique powder the same thing happened where the base or web on the brass got really puffed out and almost wouldn't resize. By puffed out I mean they enlarged to the full size of the chamber and didn't retract slightly like normal brass. All my other range brass was fine and it covered Remington, Winchester and Lake City -- mostly Lake City. I've always had good luck with 7.62X25 Sellier&Bellott commercial ammo and I've been told it was Privi brass. I got rid of the used Privi .223 brass -- maybe the original rifle had a bad chamber and the case web was actually starting to fail.
I forgot to say, I haven't fired the M1 Carbine in a long time so I don't have any carbine brass to try.
Last Edit: Apr 22, 2015 9:06:41 GMT -5 by 22boomer
I decided to drop the reduced loads in the 5.7X28 since I've had a problem using anything more that 3.5 grains in the 5.7 case. I wanted to try Blue dot since it's a bit slower but there is none available in this area although there is a gun show coming up and I try there. I did get to the range with my chrony and got some velocities for the reduced loads I did.
Reduced loads using .223 brass and Unique powder Barrel length length = 20" and twist rate = 1:7
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 6.0gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2236 fps
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 6.5gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2341 fps
35gr Hornady NTX plus 6.5gr of Unique powder average velocity = 2244 fps
35gr Hornady NTX plus 7.0gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2309 fps
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 8.0gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2712 fps.
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 9.0gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2872 fps
40gr V-max plus 6.7gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2249 fps
40gr V-max plus 7.5gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2363 fps
50gr Hornady varmint SP plus 8.0gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 2186 fps
55gr Hornady vamint SP plus 7.5gr Unique powder Average velocity = 2069 fps
I'm going to try working more with the 50gr Hornady SP bullets and get the velocity up some and try some accuracy tests with it.
This is a small list of the 5.7X28 stuff I shot at the range.
Reduced loads using 5.7X28 FN brass and various powders. Barrel length = 18" and twist rate = 1:14
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 3.5gr of Unique powder Average velocity = 1953 fps
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 6.5gr of H110 powder Average velocity = 1942 fps
30gr Barnes varmint grenade plus 6.5gr of W296 powder Average velocity = 1825 fps
The first one with the 3.5gr of Unique really surprised me and I would like to look into that more but I feel I need to try Blue Dot because I've had so much trouble with the 5.7X28 brass when using Unique powder -- I think the powder is too fast and the 5.7X28 brass is kind of known to not be the strongest. I bought some American Eagle 5.7X28 ammo for my DI setup thinking maybe somebody else made the brass but it looks like its just re-packaged FN stuff. I hope if I find some Blue Dot it will allow me to use more powder without messing up the 5.7 brass.
I stopped doing reduced loads for the 5.7X28 because I could do whatever I wanted to do with the .223 brass and reduced loads. I did decide to move to the good old 7.62X25 Tok round with a manual upper so I can shoot reduced loads, medium loads and hot loads since there's no gas system. the picture below is the 7.62X25 setup with the barrel you did for me Tim and it all works like a champ.
I get to go to the range next weekend if the weather is good and sight in the scope and try my luck on some targets. The magazine I use for the shorter rounds is an M1 Carbine magazine and for some reason it didn't show up in the picture. The magazine has it's own magwell adapter so when I take it out I can use a Magpul magazine for the long rounds.
Last Edit: May 30, 2015 19:03:06 GMT -5 by 22boomer