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Old 10-07-2018, 08:34 PM
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Military Surplus 5.56 Safe For Use? Military Surplus 5.56 Safe For Use? Military Surplus 5.56 Safe For Use? Military Surplus 5.56 Safe For Use? Military Surplus 5.56 Safe For Use?  
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Default Military Surplus 5.56 Safe For Use?

Is military surplus ammo safe for use?
I been looking at some for sale on the internet. I was thinking about buying some for target practice with my rifle.
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Last edited by Ghost Magnum; 10-07-2018 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:46 PM
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There is military surplus, and there is military surplus...

Current or recent production from a US manufacturer (ofter advertised as a overrun supply) is perfectly safe. 7.62 X 54 with Imperial Russian headstamps should be bought at your own risk.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:18 PM
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If your rifle is an AR 15 and is marked 5.56 mm on the barrel you are
good to go. If it is marked .223 on the barrel and no 5.56 markings any
where you might want to stick to ammo headstamped .223. It depends
on the gun sometimes, my strong Ruger bolt action rifle says .223 on
the barrel but I shoot 5.56 ammo with no problems.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:37 AM
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Sorry, you mentioned 5.56 mm in the post title - I think most "military surplus" advertised should be fine. This seems to come from several countries outside the US (Israel, Serbia, etc.)
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:29 AM
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Yeah, my rifle is chambered for 5.56. I just wanted to know if anyone had any problems with military surplus ammo.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:48 AM
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I had several low end rifles back in early 70s that were marked
223. These were BAs and I shot 5.56 military all the time. At the
time 5.56 was 55g bullet. Then I got a #3 Ruger and shot 5.56
with no problems. I don't remember any controversy back then
between the two. The first 223 that I saw with barrel markings
warning not to use military was a H&R Handy gun. Now I've herd
all kind of long winded explanations on this that don't clear it up
for most shooters. Military went to heavier bullet, changed the
twist and chamber. This ammo fired in older 223 marked rifles
can create excessive chamber pressure. The military brass is of
thicker construction and the case volume is less than 223 brass.
Enough so that it is hard to get a mil dupe load of IMR powders
in the case without a compressed load. The 5.56 brass, once sized in 223 dies is OK to use in any 223. That's my own take on
the subject. Some 223s have generous chambers and won't show
signs of excessive pressure. I suspect this would show up more
in top shelf varmit & target guns with tight chambers. I am just
guessing on this because I have never owned that type of 223. I
saw no reason to give up 222s to go to 223.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:14 PM
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Factory 5.56 ammo is generally hotter than .223. If the rifle manufacturer designates 5.56 use in a .223 rifle, then it's fine. 5.56 ammo in a rifle not recommended for it will work, but you likely shorten the lifespan of at least the gun's locking system if used regularly.

It's similar to using +P ammo in a gun not designed for it. The gun may not blow up, but higher pressure will eventually take a toll.
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:11 PM
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If the gun is marked with 5.56 just about any military surplus ammo should shoot through it just fine.See if they have "non-corrosive" in the description, as some you find may have corrosive primers. If you reload or are looking into reloading see what type of cases they are using.Some of that stuff is steel cased.
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:46 PM
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If you buy military surplus ammunition manufactured by American or NATO country makers you will be fine. I won't get into the .223 versus 5.56 discussion, it is answered above. I have purchased thousands of rounds of military surplus 7.62 NATO (.308) ammunition but I only use it in mil-spec weapons, I do not use it in my .308 hunting rifle. All of it came from quality sources, which means no Eastern bloc .
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:53 PM
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There are many manufacturers that mark their chambers as being 5.56X45 when they are actually not, so don't merely rely on the markings. I am not familiar with bolt guns and their markings, so don't ask; I am referring to the AR platforms. I was at a Dean Caputo class a few years ago and he used a chamber reamer from Ned Christiansen that showed just how far off/dishonest most of the manufacturers were as he cleaned out the chambers. Kind of scary. Colt/Bravo/FN/Daniel Defense/Larue/LMT/Noveske should be good to go.

In addition, you need to watch the milsurp in question to make sure it was not rejected as over-pressure. My recollection on the proper markings for that rejection is poor, but I am sure it can be found. Mix a tight chamber and over-pressure ammo and you might have a rough time of it. One of the first signs is popped primers falling into the guts of the rifle - if you get that, you have a problem and should stop until you know what it is and correct.
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:11 PM
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Aside from safety factors, 5.56 "surplus" , "bulk" ammo or whatever you choose to call will generally not shoot very accurately. It will go bang and probably function perfectly, but that's about it. If second-rate accuracy is acceptable for a particular use, then there are probably lots of bargains right now.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:59 PM
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Thanks everyone. My tavor can handle 5.56. In fact, I asked if it can from the dealer before I bought it. I just wanted to know if anyone had any problems with them.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:45 PM
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Be sure you have info from the manufacturer (I don't have a Tavor, but recall it being 5.56, but get that in writing - manual, specs, etc). I've had a recent bad experience with bad data from a distributor passed down through the LGS on another rifle.

I would agree with the surplus comments above. But these days there are enough reputable US and SAAMI spec manufacturers at good prices that I would buy better than surplus.
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