Remington is the only company offering .30 Remington AR ammunition. Until other ammunition manufacturers realize that the .30 Remington AR might be the most important AR-15 cartridge since the .223 Remington, we’ll have to handload to optimize performance. Luckily, there are plenty of components that will work with the .30 Remington AR.
Dies & Powders
Redding and RCBS both offer .30 Remington AR dies. In fact, I worked with Redding a bit to help them put their .30 Remington AR dies together. Early sets indicated the cartridge would use a No. 1 shell holder because initial reports were that it was based on the .284 Winchester case with a .473 rim diameter. That’s not correct; SAAMI specifications call for a rim diameter of .492, but most case rims will measure .486. The correct Redding shell holder is the No. 33. Another issue with early Redding dies was a short seater-plug, which proved too short to work with some bullets. Newer Redding dies should ship with a longer seater-plug.
RCBS offers a full-length die set and a small-base sizer die for the .30 Remington AR. After assembling many loads with the RCBS full-length sizer die, I haven’t seen a need for the small-base die yet. But, as with the Redding seater die, I also found the RCBS seater-plug too short for some bullets. The correct RCBS shell holder is the No. 30.
Unlike some cartridges that will work with a broad range of powders, the .30 Remington likes powders on the fast side. Hodgdon lists extensive load data information on their website for the .30 Remington AR. I’ve not tried all the powders they suggest, but I have found that Benchmark, H322 and H335 work very well. Another powder I have just started experimenting with, and the one that might be the best in the .30 Remington AR, is Accurate 2200.
Sweet Spot Science
Hodgdon used Remington 7.5 primers to work up their data and that is the primer I used for all loads listed. Cartridges were loaded to an overall length of 2.279 inches or less, and beyond bullet substitution, I didn’t get creative with the handloads or try to go where no man has gone before. However, the only Hodgdon data for 110-grain bullets was with H4198. I worked up to 40.2 grains of Benchmark and H322, and velocities were right at the 3,000 FPS (feet per second) maximum listed for H4198.
Hodgdon lists the 125 Nosler Ballistic Tip at 2,931 FPS over 40 grains of Benchmark. This load averaged 2,892 FPS out of my R-15, and cases showed no case-head wipe from the ejector. This is something that can occur when you get into an overpressure or an out-of-time situation with an AR. What happens: The gas begins to unlock the bolt before the expanded case is released from the chamber. As the bolt rotates and moves rearward, the plunger-style ejector protrudes and mars the case head.
Case-head swipe can be a sign of over-pressure but not always. Variations in bullet weight and powder burn rate can cause an AR to operate at a different speed. If the bolt is unlocking too soon, you can get case-head swipe. By itself, case-head swipe is just an indicator of overpressure, not verification.