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Reloading ar pistol sd

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Bought my first ar pistol. Am curious what y’all are using for sd loads. It has a 1/7” 11.5” barrel. Do you look more for accuracy, velocity and what gr typically? Any info is appreciated.

 

 

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I personally like the bonded soft point loads in my 11.5 BCM.  One of the big benefits of those loads is less dependent on velocity to perform as intended.  The barnes bullets are another good option, they have several options, but the 50 and 70 grain options are highly recommended.  I personally use the Federal Fusion (62 or 64 grain, I can't remember off the top of my head), as well as the speer gold dot.  They are available in a 55, 64, and 75 grain load.  One nice thing about speer is they offer the bullets to reloaders.  I have several hundred of the 75 grain bullets I will be loading in the near future.  

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The 11.5" barrel is a great length for close quarters and offers plenty of velocity if you get the right ammo.

 

Standard M193 55gr ball usually has enough velocity to still fragment well if it's within 25-50 yds or so.  This is with full spec 5.56 loads like the American Eagle M193 Lake City.  The 62gr M855 rounds don't fragment as well and since they are slower velocity I doubt they would fragment but just barely out of the 11.5". 

 

Fragmentation works great, it's very effective and probably more-so then a expanding bullet in my opinion but the problem with it is the rounds don't fragment 100% of the time. Most of the time the rounds should fragment as expected but some bullets won't depending on how they enter the body among other factors. 

 

So the best choice for shorter barrels is something that will expand reliably at lower velocity or something with a thinner jacket that will fragment easier then the M193 ball round.  You'd have to do a bit more research on the heavier OTM rounds but I expect the 68-69 gr Hornady/Sierra would do quite well and there are many factory options available.  The 75-77gr will probably fragment as well up close but I'm not positive on that and the 68-69 would give you more range due to the higher velocity.

 

But back to the best choice, it is without much doubt the bonded SP as mentioned above.  Velocity is still a factor so even though the 75gr Bonded SP from Speer/Federal will expand out of the 11.5" the 62gr counterpart will expand at further distances, and the 55gr even further.  The Federal Fusion and the Speer Gold Dot are in fact the exact same bullets.  The Speer switched from the 64gr bullet to the 62 gr a few years back that is identical to the Fusions.  There are other bonded SP out there but these are the best.  Many people also like the Federal TBBC (trophy bonded bear claw) rounds and they also are great but not as common and require a little more velocity then the Fusions to expand. 


Now the downside of these bonded SP rounds?  Nobody I know of offers a 5.56 version which is a shame.  They will still all expand out of the 11.5" barrel but you give up a lot of range from the slower velocity they load them at.  If I remember right it's cut back quite a bit and even slower then some other 223 rounds on the market.  I haven't kept up with this as much as others so it's possible someone offers these bonded SP rounds in 5.56 loads now. 

 

But if you are a reloader then you can make your own fairly reasonable.  Speer offers the bullets new for around $20 per 100 and a couple places offer the pulled bullets from time to time so I've picked up  many for $70-100 per 1k.  Pair that with some CCI41 primers or Rem 7 1/2s at about $30-40 per 1k, Lake City once fired brass at about $50-60 per 1k, and 4 pounds of PP 2000MR or AR Comp or countless others for about $80 and you have a total price of around $250-300 per 1k loaded up.  I have a little less in mine from waiting on sales and the right deals to pop up.  If using new bullets instead of the pulls it'd be about $350-375 per 1k which is still a good price for full power 5.56 bonded SP rounds that are as good as it gets. 

 

If you don't reload and can't find any 5.56 bonded SP rounds then my advise is to either accept the slower velocity and pick up some 55-62 223 ones or pick up some 5.56 68-69gr OTM rounds loaded hot, or standard 55-62gr soft points also do very well.  Some companies like Hornady offers 5.56 loads in their standard 55 and 62sp and from the testing I remember they both expanded amazingly in short barrels but the 55 came up a little short in the recommended 12" penetration but believe the 62 done quite well and would be a great choice in my opinion. 

 

The bonded SP rounds do better then standard SP rounds because they are barrier blind and don't fragment much if any when they hit something meaning they penetrate deep.  So they can go through a windshield or walls etc and hold up and still expand upon entry.  But if you do not plan to shoot through barriers like car doors/windshields/thicker walls etc. then the standard 62 and possibly 55SP along with the heavier 68-77gr OTM will work just as well if not a tiny bit better for wound cavitation.  And even the standard M193 does very well as mentioned above just not 100% of the time and not with much distance out of the 11.5".     - Sorry for the long reply.

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16" barrel AR's I use Barnes 70gr TSX.  It's an all copper bullet  that fragments extremely well.

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