Best Powder for Reloading .223

  • Written By Eric Crouch on February 14, 2020
    Last Updated: February 1, 2021

Reloading is a serious but fun art. It can feel great putting all the various elements together, including brass casings, dies, and reloading benches. Most importantly, you can’t forget your reloading powder. There are lots of powders to choose from, but only some will really maximize the performance of your .223 Remington.

Let’s go over the best reloading powders for .223 Remington builds so you can produce some excellent ammo.

The Best Reloading Powders for .223 Remington

IMR 4198 Powder

This is one of the smoothest flowing powders on the market. Some gun powders are particularly explosive and are great for imbuing your .223 Remington with a lot of kick and stopping power. This powder is better if you’d like to reliably hit your targets at a distance thanks to its lack of excessive recoil and variable burn time.

It’s actually one of the most versatile reloading powders you can find. Not only does it work with .223 Remington, but it also works with classic favorites like .450 Marlin or .221 Fireball builds. As a result, this is an excellent powder to pick up if you have a few have rifle builds you’d like to experiment with at the same time.

To make things even better, the powder isn’t affected by temperature extremes, which means that its performance should be incredibly consistent. You should definitely store it in a cool, dry place, but this will change the powder’s performance over the long-term.

  • Works for a variety of guns/cartridges
  • Isn’t affected by temperature variance
  • 1 or 8 lb choices
  • Not the best for max velocity

Bottom Line

This smooth powder is reliable, consistent, and can be used for more builds than just the .223 Remington, so it’s good value for money.

Hodgdon Powder H335

This is another versatile powder that can be used for long-range and high power builds, or for shorter range varmint hunting depending on your needs and preferences. It all depends on how much powder you scoop into the cartridge of your next shots. This versatility is excellent in terms of value for money.

It’s a great choice for .223 Remington specifically, although this powder also works for .222 Remington and similar builds. It originated as a military powder for 5.56 NATO rounds, so you can see where it got its explosive quality and stopping power.

It’s an all-around excellent propellant that provides high performance and consistent charge weight so long as you measure the powder properly. We recommend it specifically for longer-range hunting over varmint hunting only because it does a great job of maintaining velocity and force across great distances.

  • High performance and consistent
  • Good with high power/long-range guns
  • Can still work for small cartridges
  • Ideal for varmint hunting
  • Powder must be measured carefully

Bottom Line

This slower burning powder is a great choice if you have a larger .223 Remington build and want something that can predictably and consistently drive your shot to success.

IMR 4895 Powder

This reloading gunpowder is another great choice if you have a variable .223 Remington build and need accuracy and performance above all other aspects. It’s not the most explosive are powerful powder on our list, but it does do a great job of ensuring that your shots will hit their mark at longer distances.

That’s because of its burn time and its excellent chemical makeup. Those who prefer their .223 Remington experience to be smooth and enjoyable without a ton of excessive recoil will probably find this powder to be a great fit.

However, it does have a notable downside in that it is only purchasable in 1 pound increments. This means that you can only pick up the powder in small amounts and only sparingly, as the manufacturer runs out of this powder fairly frequently. It might be a good idea to stock up on as much of the powder as you can or look for something more consistent and reliable for your long-term reloading powder.

  • Very versatile
  • Provides excellent accuracy and performance
  • Only available in 1 pound amounts

Bottom Line

This is an excellent powder through and through, and it’s only held back from being the best overall because you can only purchase it in smaller amounts.

Hodgdon Powder Benchmark

This reloading powder is an excellent choice if you want a long-term powder supply for regular varmint hunting and target shooting. The powder is ideally sized and designed for lighter bullets and smaller rifle builds, particularly those with shorter barrels that will be used for hitting smaller animals or targets on a range.

The resulting powder is smooth and easy to measure, and it provides consistent performance even in extreme hot or cold conditions. This means you’ll be able to take your .223 Remington out into inclement weather or in very hot or cold environments and still hunt pests or varmints that are pervading your property.

You can even purchase a larger amount of this powder if you want to buy it in bulk while it is still available. However, do note that this powder occasionally runs dry from the manufacturer, which is likely because it’s incredibly popular all around, and not just for .223 Remington builds.

  • Works even in extreme heat or cold
  • Ideal for varmint hunting or smaller builds and lighter bullets
  • Can be purchased in bulkier amounts
  • Not the best for heavier bullets

Bottom Line

It’s an excellent reloading powder for varmint hunting or for lighter bullets, and it can normally be purchased in bulkier amounts to allow for stockpiling.

Varget Smokeless Gun Powder

This reloading powder is arguably the best of the best for .223 Remington builds, along with several other rifle and cartridge types. The secret lies in the powder’s composition, which features small extruded grains that increase metering uniformity and provide the powder with any sensitivity to hot or cold conditions. As a result, you’ll be able to use this powder consistently in just about any scenario.

But it also has an excellent burn time and easy ignition. These aspects provide it with higher energy for improved velocities and greater accuracy at a distance. What’s more is the clean-burning nature of the powder. This makes it easier to maintain your .223 Remington build over time and helps with overall accuracy and rifle performance over the long-term.

Although you can purchase huge amounts of this powder at once, it’s quite pricey compared to other reloading powders, likely because of its quality and versatility.

  • Comes in a big container
  • Works in extreme hot and cold temperatures
  • Improves velocities over other powders
  • Very clean burning
  • Ideal for competitive shooting and accuracy
  • Quite expensive compared to others

Bottom Line

Even with the high asking price, we would still recommend this for most .223 Remington users if you aren’t sure about a more specialized powder type.

Can You Use Any Powder for the .223 Remington?

No, definitely not. While the .223 Remington is an extremely versatile and multi-use cartridge, you’re still limited in terms of the powder you can combine with these casings. This is just physics.

The .223 Remington is the most widely used centerfire rifle cartridge in the Western world and beyond. It’s incredibly popular both as military issue ammunition and as a sporting cartridge, and it’s also enjoyed by many as a “varmint” hunting cartridge (i.e. cartridges use to hunt small pests).

As a result, it’s no surprise that .223 Remington cartridges come in a variety of weights or grains. There are Remington cartridges that are 40 grains and others that are over 90 grains, both of which can be accurate up to 1000 yards. This means you have lots of powders to choose from.

Nevertheless, powder burn rate and weight both matter a great deal. You see, cases or cartridges that weigh less usually require powders that burn faster than their counterparts. This is because such rifles usually have shorter barrels, so the bullet powder needs to have expended or stopped burning by the time the bullet emerges from that barrel. Faster burning powder is, therefore, your best bet.

On the flip side, slower burning powder is better for heavier cartridges that lean toward the 90-grain mark. These powders burn longer, so they match well with longer barrels. These types of powder will also be better used for hitting more distant targets and for hunting larger game.

In a nutshell, you’ll want to consider what you use your .223 Remington build for before finalizing a powder purchase. The right powder for you depends on the kind of cartridges you utilize for your build and what you are trying to hunt or hit.

What Makes the Remington Good for Reloading?

The Remington is such a versatile cartridge that it’s practically a reloader’s dream. It shoots well with a multitude of powders, both stick (extruded) or ball (granular). As a few examples, cases around 55 grains to 60 grains work excellently with Benchmark, TAC, H4895, and AA2015 powders. Heavier bullets for the Remington around the 80 to 90-grain range work perfectly well with Reloader 15, VV N140, and Varget – a classic powder used in many hunting builds.

Overall, the biggest benefit of reloading a .223 Remington is that you can use powders and cartridges to have the rifle perform virtually any task. Target shooting, hunting, and even urban combat are all accomplishable with this cartridge, so long as it’s reloaded properly.

What to Look for in a .223 Reloading Powder

In a sense, what you should look for in a .223 reloading powder is exactly what you should look for in any other reloading powder. The same factors of concern are present here as they are elsewhere.

Burn Rate

Naturally, the burn rate of a given .223 reloading powder matters a great deal. As we mentioned above, powders that burn faster are excellent for lighter cartridges or for rifle builds that have shorter barrels. Go with slower burning powders if you use a heavier Remington build with a longer barrel and heavier cases.


You’ll also want to consider the grain weight of each particular powder you look at. That’s because you have to consider the overall weight of your .223 case or cartridge. If you accidentally load your case to the brim with powder and increase the weight too much, there’s a chance you won’t be able to benefit from its full velocity potential and killing power.

Focus on the weight of your cartridges and figure out the ideal weight to maximize velocity and accuracy. Then try to find a powder that works well within that weight range without going over the top.

Pricing and Availability

Finally, you’ll want to consider whether you’ll be able to reliably and consistently acquire a powder after your first purchase. Some reloading powders are particularly rare, even in this era of digital marketplaces. That means that getting used to such a powder can be a big roadblock in your future reloading sessions.

Nothing stinks more than getting used to an excellent powder that really brings out the best of your reloaded cartridges, only for you to be unable to acquire another case of it again. That means you’ll need to purchase a different powder and experiment a couple of times with the right load and weight.

You’ll also want a reloading powder that isn’t too expensive, again because you need to purchase it multiple times. This is obviously of greater concern to some than others, but try to work within your budget so you always have the ability to purchase new powder if you run out.


In the end, the best powder for reloading a .223 Remington will depend on what you need from the stuff. Do you require something fast-burning for a lighter bullet? Or do you need something that burns slower for a heavier build and more stopping power? Just remember to consider all these elements carefully and you’ll have great success with your reloading.

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