Mini 14 .223 Favorite Load - Shooting Sports Forum

Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 05-20-2020, 11:18   #1
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Mini 14 .223 Favorite Load

Ok guys, whats your favorite load for 55 grain bullet and your best results with what powder and how many grains work the best? My grandmother's third cousin's husband wants to know.
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Old 05-20-2020, 18:16   #2
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I have several but every gun is a bit different so you may want to factor in some load adjustments. I have found my skinny barrel Mini liked faster burning powders the best.
Some simple ones are:

23.2 of RL10 or AA2015. Both are real close to each other pressure wise. 23 grains is the suggested load for both of these powders. I have found that 23.4 is the absolute max load. Any load over this is really hard on the brass. Both of these are fast powders. In a Mini it throws the brass into the next county even with a reduced gas bushing. Try 23 grains first. If you don't like the accuracy try the 23.2. I tried the 23.4 but I did not get any accuracy improvement beyond that. I went back to the 23.2 grain load both for the RL10 and the AA2015 for my Mini. I also use both these powders and loads in my bolt action rifles.

24.8 of AA2230 I have loaded it as high as 25.4 but no additional accuracy was gained. I would suggest anything between 24.5 and 25 grains.

25.0 of AA2460, there is some room to go higher but that is a good starting point. I have found no gains in accuracy.

25.0 of Benchmark. The label says that 25.6 grains puts a 55 grain bullet right at 3260 FPS but I have found no accuracy gains passed 25.

One of my favorites is IMR 3031. The book load is 24.6 but I found no accuracy improvements over 24.4. 3031 is a stick powder and does not meter well. Very much like 4895. I have not found any real accuracy loads with either 4895 (Hogden or IMR)

24.5 to 25 grains of H335. I found no reason to go over 25. Play around with what your rifle likes between the 24.5 and 25 grains. If that doesn't work, like any other powder you can move up to the max but I'm not sure you are gaining much.

I have found flat based loads are the most accurate at less than 100 yards. I don't have a range over 100 yards so I tend to go with flat based bullets. However, the Hornaday's 55 grain soft point has just a hint of curve at the base and I have found them to be the most consistently accurate bullets. The next is the Nolser Varmageddons. Either the black tipped or the hollow points. Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) loads are the least accurate. If you are loading those good luck reaching your accuracy goals.

Like all loads, start at the bottom and work your way up until you find the accuracy your gun likes. I am currently pulling some loaded cases apart because I thought loading them hotter would get me more accuracy. I was wrong. Some loads with higher amounts of powder just aren't getting me the accuracy I want or the gun is capable of so why waste the powder ?

I test my loads in the Mini 14 first. It is my least accurate semi auto rifle and if I can find an accurate load for it, they are accurate in any other 1/9 twist barrel I own. There is no need to load a round hotter than at the point where it loses accuracy in my opinion. You are just wasting powder.

The only load I had to contact the manufacturer about is the RL10 load. They only list one load with that powder for 55 grain bullets and that is the 23 grain load. After several emails back and forth the contact person (about exceeding the 55,000 psi SAAMI specs) would only tell me the 23.2 grains in .223 with a 55 grain Hornaday soft point was "it's safe". Therefore, that is why I do not exceed the 23.2 grains of RL10 in the .223 for any loads that I shoot out of the Mini. It is however, one of my more accurate loads.

I have been experimenting with IMR 8208 and the loads are promising, especially with 60 and 62 grain bullets. I have not tried them with 55 grain bullets. Another one I'm playing with is AA2520. Here again, with heavier bullets. I have used both 4895 powders with 55 grain bullets and I never really found an accurate load that was consistent. I am also playing with the Sierra 63 grain SMP. It seems to be fairly accurate no matter what load I pair it with. Somewhere out there is the perfect load for a Mini. I'm still searching for it.

With the skinny barrel Mini's you will see two hugely different Points Of Impact (POI) between the fast and the slower powders. Sometimes as much as 6 inches at 50 yards. the fast powders had a POI that was much higher than the POI of the slower powders. I don't know what the science is behind that phenomenon.

After all of this the moral of the story is :

Find your powder and find your load and then stick with it. The more you switch between powders the more you are going to be chasing an accurate load. If you like shooting and playing with loads as a hobby, that is great. If you want something that is dependable and consistent, pick a powder and pick a load and stick with it. Accuracy first then speed.

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Old 05-20-2020, 21:03   #3
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My plinking load right now is:
55 FMJ cantalure (Hornady)
25.8 of TAC
OCL: 2.230

This is max load for .223
This shows no sign of over pressure in my rifles which have .223 Wylde and .556 chambers.

Close to MOA in my AR's and about 1" @ 50 with the Mini-14 pencil barrel,
except the first shot with the Mini which always hits 2.5" low.
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Old 05-20-2020, 22:37   #4
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Both loads shoot ~1.5MOA in 582 SS Ranch Rifle

53gr HP Sierra MatchKing under 26gr H335 and Fed 205 primer in LC or FC mil brass 2.22" OAL

55gr Nosler FBSP over 26.5gr W748 fed 205 primer in FC brass 2.255" OAL

My Mini-14 seems to show pressure at about 1 gr of powder above where an AR-15 shows increased pressure (mainly primer flattening and/or brass flow into the extractor groove).
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Old 05-22-2020, 13:19   #5
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25.0 gr of W748/BL-C2, 55 gr Hornady FMJBT


100 yards with Red Dot Sight <1" This was sighting in for a 200 yard Zero at 1" high at 100, aiming at the left point of the diamond. By indexing on a small point like this it is easier to deliver better groups with a Dot type sight.

We must remember that the dot in this case is 3" in dia. Thus if you are shooting at a Circle and you index the dot perfectly in the center the best you will do is 3". If you index the edge of the dot on the side point of the target you cut this in half and then add some divine guidance and you're golden.

To be exactly right that group needed to be about 1/2" to the left, but it's close enough for what I do with that gun.

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