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223 remington Chronograph Test - Hodgdon H335 & H322

223 Remington Chronograph Test
Hodgdon H322 on Left, Hodgdon H335 on Right

The .223 Remington Cartridge is one, if not the most popular caliber of all time.  It is the civilian version of the 5.56 NATO cartridge chambered in AR15 and other popular rifles. There are some differences in the calibers but you can safely fire the .223 Remington in rifles chambered for the 5.56 NATO. 5.56 ammo pressures may sometimes be too high to safely fire in civilian .223 caliber rifles.  For a good explanation of the differences of the two cartridges, you might want to check out GUN DIGEST BOOK OF THE AR-15, VOLUME 4 by Patrick Sweeney. He goes into detail about the differences.

For my simple test, I wanted to compare Hodgdon H332 power and Hodgdon H335 powder to see which one gave me the best results in accuracy and velocity from my 16" AR 15 rifle. H322 is a short cut extruded powder and H335 is a ball powder, so many people think that H335 meters more accurately.  For my test, I dropped loads from my powder measure and both powders metered very well dropping loads that were within 1/10 grain of powder.

I loaded 55 grain Winchester soft point bullets, used standard CCI small rifle primers and Winchester cases for the test.  I worked up loads to what I thought were max for my rifle which was 25 grains of H322 and 26 grains of H335. These loads are pretty warm but not as high as some of my reloading manuals list.

What I found is that while H335 may be one of the most used powders for the .223 Remington, H322 actually gave me more velocity in my short 16" barrel. H335 averaged 3000 FPS while H322 averaged 3100 FPS. Accuracy was about the same and point of impact on target was the same at 100 yards.  Of course, that may differ in other rifles.   According to Hodgdon's burning rate tables, H322 is a little faster burning than H335, so it appears to burn more powder and produce more velocity in my 16" barrel.

Conclusion is that in my rifle I can get a little more velocity with a little bit less power using H322. That extra 100 FPS makes little difference in trajectory, but gives me 50-90 ft lbs more energy for most hunting situations.  Thanks to Hornady for their online ballistic calculator.  Good hunting, everyone.


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