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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just recently I started loading ammo for the 5.7x28 FN. I've been reading for years how difficult and dangerous it is so I thought I'd share my impressions.

1. The round is definitely NOT for the novice or less experienced loader. It is also NOT for those who desire to churn out thousands of rounds on a progressive machine UNLESS they are willing to back down loads to account for machine inaccuracies.

2. The round should probably NOT be loaded on a progressive machine using volume powder dispensing.
REASON: Volumetric powder measures cannot consistently dispense charges to the 1/20th of a grain accuracy. For a cartridge where 1/10th of a grain is significant, this is mandatory. All beam scales made for cartridge reloading are accurate to within one-half of one-tenth of a grain, or 0.05 grains weight. Beam scales provide the user with visual feedback as the pointer moves toward center, or it it's a "hair over or under" center. Correctly set up, a beam scale has no internal circuitry to betray the overly trusting loader. Also, the beam scale results in lower extreme spreads because when charges are "centered" they are VERY accurate....within a margin of one-half of one-twentieth of a grain if one considers how EASY it is to see misalignment of the pointer to scale by even the slightest margin. Beam scales increase or decrease along a perfectly linear "slope" as opposed to e-scales stair-stepping in 1/10th grain intervals with a full 1/10th grain margin for error.

3. The round should probably NOT be loaded using any currently marketed electronic scale, which of course includes ALL the high-dollar dispensers that pour powder into a pan on a scale.
Reason: E-scales are simply not reliable enough for a cartridge that steps up by 10ths of a grain. Consider a few FACTS:
An electronic scale relies on a battery, or wall power source, and internal circuitry. Not only can it be off, it can "go off" in the middle of weighing charges. Also, a scale that boasts 1/10th of a grain accuracy means it can be off by a full 10th of a grain above or below the desired charge! That means a 6.8 grain charge can in fact be 6.7-6.9 grains and that's without considering all other variables! E-scales are also less sensitive than beam scales, and do not allow the user to SEE the scale approaching charge, or slightly over.
To give an example, let us say that for each 1/10th of a grain weight, we are actually dispensing 100 "kernels" of powder, just to keep the math simple. When we are looking at 6.8 grains on an e-scale this should mean 6,800 kernels of powder, but in reality, and within the "margin of error" we could be looking at 6,700 - 6,999 "kernels" of powder! You see, an electronic scale goes up in "stair-steps" and has rather limited sensitivity to small additions of powder. THIS is why users of e-scales are likely to see larger extreme spreads despite their best efforts...because the MACHINE is incapable of being more accurate! This also leads those inclined to run progressive machines to think their volumetric powder system is "good enough" and in most cases it is, though with ANY caliber a wise loader will back down charges enough to create a safe margin within the known and potential error rate of their measure.
Though my initial loading has been done on a electronic scale, I have actually decided to suspend loading until my "old tech" RCBS 505 scale arrives! From experience I know that it takes no more time to weigh charges on a beam scale using a powder trickler than on an "insensitive" e-scale that one must pause and wait on to see if it finally decides to bump up the full 10th grain ladder!

4. Bullets used should never exceed 40 grains weight, and I only allow that due to the sheer dearth of decent bullets for the .224" in lighter weights. By "decent" I mean proper shape and proportion. The ideal bullet for the 5.7x28 is the original, .820" long aluminum core 28 grain because it tumbles upon impact with tissue and need not expand. A potentially decent substitute is the Barnes 36 grain VG with the nose filled with epoxy to delay bullet disruption. The 36 gr. VG is a long bullet...similar to the FN factory 28 grain which means increased damage due to tumbling in tissue with the added benefit that with enough yaw force the bullet will still "explode" once several inches inside the target.

5. Bullets should ALWAYS be crimped using a collet style crimp die. U.S. military ammo is crimped in place, and so should be 5.7x28. This serves two functions: It prevents deep-seating during loading - not likely with properly pointed bullets, but still. It also increases muzzle velocity with lower powder charges due to the bullet remaining in place longer during the powder combustion cycle.

6. The IDEAL way to work up a custom load is to start with factory ammo, pull the bullets and work up one's own powder and charge with bullet! This is ESPECIALLY TRUE when dealing with the SS195LF and SS198LF. Those rounds come with primers heavily staked in place which means no danger of primers backing out with top loads. It's not for nothing that Elite Ammo manages to "reload" SS195LF into "S4M at an advertised 2,600 fps velocity by STARTING with factory new brass with staked in primers!

Even the less "performance" oriented ammo such as AE5728A is an EXCELLENT starting point for relatively inexpensive ammo that can be "re-packaged" into truly high-performance ammo! While a 40 grain lead core FMJ spire point may seem insignificant at 1,740 fps, it becomes a truly devastating choice when boosted to 2,050 fps! At $15/box of 50, buying AE5728A for "repackaging" is actually cheaper than buying once-fired brass and adding after market bullets!

Using properly WEIGHED powder charges combined with collet crimps, the 5.7x28 takes on a completely different character from the somewhat mediocre factory loads. Starting with FACTORY NEW AE5728A primed brass with the original 40 gr. FMJ bullet pulled, I loaded the following that all worked perfectly with zero pressure signs.

For example: Barnes 36 grain with 6.8 gr. AA-7 and solid collet crimp = 2,196 fps / 385 fpe! This from a FiveseveN handgun.

Or: American Eagle 40 grain FMJ with 6.2 gr Blue Dot = 1,953 fps / 339 fpe also from a FiveseveN handgun.

These loads are a significant increase in performance over factory ammo, and easily achievable using proper hand-loading techniques, while keeping in mind that in the 5.7x28 10ths of a grain matter, and electronic scales are simply not accurate, nor sensitive enough for use in metering powder charges for it.

I recently clocked factory American Eagle 40 grain at 1,753 fps / 273 fpe
and SS197LF at1,842 fps / 302 fpe

which is QUITE adequate for those not interested in rolling their own, however using good judgement and a thorough understanding of loading cartridges, one can easily bump those numbers higher.
 

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The only thing I can think to say is that the 5.7x28 FN must be one heck of a satisfying weapon/ammo combination to warrant all this detail.
 

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Thank you for the post! I've read the similar posts that talk of dangers, and it has pushed me to stick with factory. Your post has reaffirmed that for me. I'm not a high volume shooter, so as long as I can snag $15-17 boxes of 50 from PSA I'm happy.

And indeed, most configurations of the 57 are that satisfying to make people consider it. I run a 6" AR57 SBR suppressed and it is a lot of fun. Equally fun is a similarly equipped PS90. No recoil, and works like a charm on coyote with 40 gr factory vmax bullets.
 

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I reload my own.

As noted above it is not an "easy" caliber to reload.

However I reload on a Dillon 550 and I use 55gn bullets for shooting through my short barreled PS-90 and a SF can.

After the second reload, the brass goes in the trash.
 

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Thanks Kilibreaux, I read the whole thing. I've not reloaded for the 5.7X28 but thought it was an interesting cartridge. Wondered initially if reloading for it would even be a viable proposition. I had the use of a new 5.7 pistol for a few months, along with a good supply of the FN SS-192 ammo. The 2025 fps average of that ~28 grain ammo from a pistol barrel was impressive, but you've gone beyond that with your reloading efforts. I could have bought that still-like-new FN pistol, along with a good supply of the SS-192 ammo, for $750.00. But at the time I thought, what would I do with the thing:scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just finished loading up some AE 40 gr. FMJ and FNH SS198LF 28 gr. using AA-7 powder and custom charges...stay tuned to see what kind of numbers these round produce!
 

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I wouldn't reload this cartridge out of respect for the 13 killed by that terrorist Nidal Hasan at Ft. Hood. That is the caliber he used in that Islamic Terrorists attack on our soldiers and civilians. Wounded about 30 more.
Matter of fact if I had a weapon that shot that caliber, I would sell it out of spite, I don't care how good a cartridge it is. Just my opinion.
 

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I wouldn't reload this cartridge out of respect for the 13 killed by that terrorist Nidal Hasan at Ft. Hood. That is the caliber he used in that Islamic Terrorists attack on our soldiers and civilians. Wounded about 30 more.
Matter of fact if I had a weapon that shot that caliber, I would sell it out of spite, I don't care how good a cartridge it is. Just my opinion.
If you sold all your weapons due to nefarious use of their respective calibers you may end up with an empty safe. It's the shooter, not the gun.
Nidal should be hanged, if he were, I'd have a new respect for military justice - not the rope.
 
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Good point July, but like I said it was my own feelings. That incident and Obama just pissed me off when it happened. Those soldiers were going to him for psychological help from a doctor and he betrayed them, killing them.

Sorry about my rant. I guess I shouldn't have posted my feeling on a gun forum, but being a vet myself I just couldn't help myself....End of rant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"Reloading" the 5.7x28FN

So I got into the FiveseveN and thus the 5.8x28FN cartridge! Going in I knew I'd be loading my own since factory ammo is pretty watered down, yet unlike most other cartridges, the tiny 5.7x28 requires charge adjustments in the 1/10th grain range, and care must be taken when working up loads.

Since I'm not loading this round as a "Hobby" per se, but more as a means to having ammo of appropriate velocity, my approach is a bit less conventional. Having read all about the trials and tribulations of others "reloading" once-fired brass, I realized the "first best" approach is to load NEW brass! Unfortunately, FN controls the world's supply of new brass and the only way to acquire new cases is to buy new ammo and "salvage" the cases...

But, from a hand loader standpoint, those new cases come with new primers already seated and likely either staked, or slightly crimped in place...a good thing considering this is a high pressure round known for popping primers.

So I found a source of ammo...American Eagle AE5728A 40 grain for $15/box of 50 rounds. Initially I was intent upon finding the ideal aftermarket bullet, but I have rather quickly realized that when loaded to proper parameters, the factory 40 grain FMJ is actually a very good choice! So to cut to the chase, we're talking about pulling the bullets from factory new ammo, dumping the powder (avg of 4.2 grains unknown type), and replacing it with a known powder, while working up a "performance" load, then stuffing the slug back down on it.

Since factory American Eagle has an OAL of 1.580" the ultra-short-shank bullets at barely 1/2" long, are just BARELY seated into the case neck, and require an adhesive to stay in place. No wonder I've read internet posts about inconsistent velocities and bullets being deep-seated during chambering! So I decided to work my loads up with seating depth at 1.55" which puts significant bullet shank inside the case, plus apply a stout collet crimp via the use of a Lee collet crimp die.

Speaking of seating depth, there are at least two, possibly three different "point type" 40 grain FMJ bullets to be found in Federal AE ammo. Why? Most likely to further reduce the round's ability to penetrate. They started with a rather "pointy" nose and then moved to a more "rounded" pointy nose. This means seating to a given OAL is difficult considering one can find BOTH or all three bullet nose profiles in a single box of ammo. So my seating depth is based on the most pointed of the bullet profiles...accepting that the rounded nose profile will measure out around 1.45" but the base seating depth is the same since the seating die ignores the tip and applies pressure to the nose ogive.

Already one can see that loading the 5.7x28 is NOT "your father's .22 centerfire!"

So I figure, if 100 once-fired brass cases are going to cost me $10 minimum, plus a 100 suitable aftermarket bullets will come in at around $20, I'm looking at $12-$15 per "box" plus another $2 or so for primers and say $1 for powder. So I'm starting out looking at $16-$18 per box of 50 to reload from once-fired. Well, as long as I can source Federal's ammo at $15/box, the "right answer" is to buy it and pull the bullets, then use the virgin brass cases for working up potent loads. The end result is that I am loading high performance 5.7x28 ammo for around $16 a box of 50 rounds and it's not even hard considering how lame is factory ammo! Actually, even if one had to pay $30 for a box of 50 rounds, pulling and reloading only adds about $1 to the cost of high performance ammo, and this is still and always "better" than working with once-fired brass. Once-fired brass, IMO should be relegated to low-power loads, while "liberating" the new brass for performance. Why "waist" a virgin brass case on a 1,630 fps load when the case is better suited to the 2,074 fps load?

Thanks to the short shank 40 grain Federal bullet, I've worked up a safe load that streaks out the barrel at 2,074 fps for 382 fpe. This is approximately 400 fps faster than factory, and will punch through 3/16"-1/4" mild steel, as well as TL-3A body armor, and very possibly a Kevlar helmet, PLUS a foot of "gel" behind. The stubby 40 grain slug tumbles in gelatin (flesh), and will deform as well. So, it turns out, that when pushed to the right speed, the factory supplied 40 grain slug is just fine for the 5.7x28 job!

Elite Ammo charges nearly $50 for 25 rounds loaded with the Federal 40 grain slug to just 1,900 fps advertised velocity. I'm loading my own 2,074 fps for $16 a box of 50. Here I should point out that my powder and charge weight is published and well UNDER the maximum per Accurate Arms data. I point this out for all the arm-chair experts who will pontificate that a properly powerful load in the 5.7x28 is somehow excessive. Personally, I have begun to believe the rumor that the BATF and FNH have "salted" the internet with shills who quickly decry and dismiss any semblance of a performance load in the 5.7x28 as excessive in order to keep the round under loaded. Why would they care? Perhaps because in proper loadings the 5.7x28 is INDEED a potent human stopper...IDK.

To be fair, I suspect the reason factory ammo is loaded mild has more to do with machine variance than any overriding conspiracy to keep performance ammo off the market. Think about it: The 5.7x28 works at very small powder charges. Factory charges - even if they are weighed while being dumped, can be off by a MINIMUM of 1/10th of a grain. Then there is the internal variance that afflicts all E-scale systems. So to be safe, if one is intent upon mass production of ammo, the wise approach to the 5.7x28 is to back down at least 2/10's of a grain with another tenth for safety margin. This would be my advice to the loader who feels he/she must just a volume powder dispensing system for the 5.7x28.

Though I've been using an E-scale for many years, loading the 5.7x28 forced me to step back to the more "linear" function of a balance-beam scale! The beam scale is superior to modern E-scales in several ways and is the ONLY way one should approach working up loads for the 5.7x28.

As it happens, I also happened to "repackage" SS198LF "green tip" ammo using AA-7 powder. I was able to obtain a useful 200 fps increase which is significant for this light-weight bullet. Despite having a lower BC, the Federal 40 gr. slug actually posts better down range energy than the 28 gr. aluminum core when both are loaded to their safely useful potential.

A point of note is that during my load development using new brass with factory seated primers I've had ZERO popped primers or primer leakage. Brand new virgin brass is highly malleable and of course case performance has been superb.
 

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I'm not into reloading but this is very interesting. Looking forward to more comments. Indeed, the FiveSeven is a potential cartridge.
 
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