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Old 03-25-2017, 08:28 AM
swons73 swons73 is offline
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Question 5.56 NATO or .223?

Just curious...do you have a preference between 5.56 NATO rounds vs. .223 Remington rounds in your AR-15? Since I bought my M&P15T, I've only used 5.56 NATO rounds. I don't really have a good reason as to why. Are there any noticeable difference in performance between the 5.56 and .223? Will the .223 allow the rifle to have a longer life since it fires with less pressure?
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:40 AM
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Default 5.56 NATO or .223?

I've noticed having to rezero optics, slightly, between the two. The real reason to use .223 over 5.56 is cost and types of loadings. 223 has many different bullet types for hunting and precision. 5.56 not so much. Shooting one over the other probably won't wear out the gun in any noticeable way. I've never seen any proof that would indicate otherwise. Accuracy is negligible when using standard brass cased ammo.

Last edited by jagular; 03-25-2017 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:27 AM
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I like the 5.56 round better but shoot mostly .223 for cost savings.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:02 AM
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+1 for cost. I shoot whatever is on sale.

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Old 03-25-2017, 10:21 AM
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This is a "half gut" / "half objective" opinion - but I'd say it will make no practical difference in the long run, relative to the life or performance of your gun, whether you shoot .223 or 5.56.

On average muzzle velocities out of a 5.56 seem to be 200-400 fps faster. The gun is obviously designed to take max pressure, but available ammo won't be loaded that hot.

If that added velocity suits your application better that might be a reason to lean toward 5.56. Other than that - I'd say use the one that meets your cost and other objectives (bullet type, etc.)

I'm assuming, of course, we're not talking use in extreme conditions - such as high amounts of dirt, extreme high volume of rounds, etc.

OR
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:42 AM
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Other than the normal differences you might encounter between any two different loadings of the same cartridge neither you nor your rifle will notice anything.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:52 AM
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I like and have both. My newest rifle will take either.
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Old 03-25-2017, 11:51 PM
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I too shoot whatever is the least expensive. Most of the time it's the .223 that's cheaper.

I have had really good results from Wolf Gold in .223Rem. Right now it's $279 for 1,000 rounds from SGAmmo.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:43 AM
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I do my best to determine what a rifle likes best and try to stock up on that but price obviously comes into the equation.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
swons73 wrote:
...do you have a preference between 5.56 NATO rounds vs. .223 Remington rounds in your AR-15?
The first time I shoot a new gun, I use factory ammunition. That way if there is a problem with the gun, the manufacturer (or if it's a really bad problem, the manufacturer's attorney) can't blame it on my reloads.

After that, every round I shoot is one I have loaded myself.

Although I have had to use various powders over the years based on availability, my predominate load is 20.3 grains of IMR-4198 under a Hoernday 60 grain soft point or hollow point bullet producing a velocity out of 16 inch barrel of around 2800 fps. Based on Hornady Manual #4 and Hodgdon Manual #25, this should produce a chamber pressure below the 52,000 psi SAAMI max. for .223 Remington.

So, I guess my answer would be that I use .223 Remington in my AR.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE the manuals I rely upon for the load specified above were printed in the 1980's and later editions have LOWER maximum loads. Always load using data from current published reloading manuals.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:29 PM
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It just seems wrong to switch between 5.56 and .223...maybe it's blind ignorance, but I can't get myself to switch back and forth. I've been putting 62 grain 5.56 rounds through my M&P15T on the range. After I dropped in the Geissele trigger, even with the cheap ammo I get a decent grouping. I just ordered some 75 grain Hornady Match rounds to see if I can tighten the grouping even more. But for run-of-the-mill plinking, I think I'll stick with the 62 grain M855s from Lake City or IMI...fairly inexpensive...not $279 for 1000 rounds inexpensive, but enough to fit in my budget.
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swons73 View Post
62 grain M855s from Lake City .

thats what the first 150 rounds I shot out of my AR was..
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:46 AM
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I like whatever is the cheapest. If it's Tulammo, my favorite is Tulammo, if it's M855, it's M855. I'm not doing any crazy accuracy stuff with my rifle, so honestly, I could care less about the bullet effecting the zero because I know my rifles capabilities out do mine and I shoot the AR within my comfort range with it. If I want to reach out and touch something, I'm pulling out my 700.
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Old 03-27-2017, 06:52 AM
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I like to run a couple of boxes of factory loads through a new gun to check function and accuracy. After that it's usually my own handloads. I do keep a couple of cases of Lake City XM193 on hand for teaching and bringing newbies into the AR fold.
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Old 03-27-2017, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otisrush View Post

On average muzzle velocities out of a 5.56 seem to be 200-400 fps faster. The gun is obviously designed to take max pressure, but available ammo won't be loaded that hot.
I'm not real sure where you get that velocity range. The max average pressure of 5.56 x 45mm is slightly higher than for .223 Remington. That doesn't translate into much more than a 100-150 f/s difference in most cases, assuming equal barrel lengths. Maybe 200 f/s for some strange loads.

You are correct that most ammo isn't loaded to maximum pressure. Most ammo producers load to a velocity standard, not to a maximum pressure. The lower pressures noted in more recent load data is due to the increased sensitivity of the piezo-electric pressure measurement system over the old copper crusher system. Some of the old data produced pressure spikes over the established limits that weren't seen using the old sysem.
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Old 03-27-2017, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WR Moore View Post
I'm not real sure where you get that velocity range. The max average pressure of 5.56 x 45mm is slightly higher than for .223 Remington. That doesn't translate into much more than a 100-150 f/s difference in most cases, assuming equal barrel lengths. Maybe 200 f/s for some strange loads.
I was looking at this data - which can be found here:
223 Remington/5.56 NATO, velocity versus barrel length: A man, his chop box and his friend’s rifle – rifleshooter.com

I know we can get into various barrel lengths and bullet weights. But the bottom line point I was trying to make: In general it appears one gets slightly better velocities out of the 5.56.


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Old 04-18-2017, 03:22 AM
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Now that I've started my foray into re-loading, I definitely prefer commercial 223 rounds over military 5.56 rounds. One less step to prepare the brass in the commercial 223 rounds since I don't have to worry about the crimp.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swons73 View Post
Now that I've started my foray into re-loading, I definitely prefer commercial 223 rounds over military 5.56 rounds. One less step to prepare the brass in the commercial 223 rounds since I don't have to worry about the crimp.
Good point, I don't reload but thats a very good point if you do.

Has anyone seen the excellent pricing recently on the 5.56 M193? Prices are now below Wolf Gold prices. Does anyone think prices will fall even further? I think they might.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kadonny View Post
Good point, I don't reload but thats a very good point if you do.



Has anyone seen the excellent pricing recently on the 5.56 M193? Prices are now below Wolf Gold prices. Does anyone think prices will fall even further? I think they might.


I have not seen that, who has it at that price?
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by 85V65Sabre View Post
I have not seen that, who has it at that price?
SG Ammo has/had 1000 rounds with an ammo can for $279 plus $18 shipping. That's the first time I've seen it below $300/1000. I picked on up yesterday.
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swons73 View Post
Now that I've started my foray into re-loading, I definitely prefer commercial 223 rounds over military 5.56 rounds. One less step to prepare the brass in the commercial 223 rounds since I don't have to worry about the crimp.
True. And although that phase of reloading (final case inspection, checking length, trimming when required, crimp removal, etc.) is what I like the least, I've been able to acquire a couple thousand .223/5.56 cases free via scrounging. Using the Lyman case prep multi-tool removing the primer crimp is not a big deal IMHO and a price I'm more than willing to pay given expanded scrounging opportunities.
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Old 04-18-2017, 12:07 PM
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Here are some factory 5.56 and .223 loads that I chronographed using an Oehler 35P; Colt, 16" barrel, ambient temperature, low-to-mid 80s:

American Eagle .223 55 FMJ - 2886
American Eagle .223 62 FMJ- 2809
Win. 5.56 55 FMJ - 3058
Wolf Gold .223 55 FMJ - 3000
PMC .223 55 FMJ - 2790
ZQl 5.56 62 FMJ - 2959
Aguila 5.56 62 FMJ - 2923
PMC X-TAC 5.56 55 FMJ - 2921

Same loads chronographed in a Colt A4 with 20" barrel. Muzzle velocities averaged about 90 - 140 fps greater than above figures, depending on load.

Last edited by rockquarry; 04-18-2017 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 04-18-2017, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
swons73 wrote:
Now that I've started my foray into re-loading, I definitely prefer commercial 223 rounds over military 5.56 rounds. One less step to prepare the brass in the commercial 223 rounds since I don't have to worry about the crimp.
It's all in your outlook!

Reloading is one of my few opportunities to relax. I savor every minute I am at the bench. Removing the crimp on military primers is just more time I'm with my components.

Over the years I've done everything from using an L.E. Wilson champfer tool to manually ream out the crimp to using a swaging die to using a Hornady primer pocket reamer before settling on using a 90 degree TiN countersink chucked into a drill press. I just hold the crimped case between my thumb and index finger, raise it gently to the spinning countersink, rotate it about a quarter turn and it's done.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:31 AM
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I've never attempted the drill press procedure. Is it possible to do that consistently without enlarging the primer pocket?
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kadonny View Post
SG Ammo has/had 1000 rounds with an ammo can for $279 plus $18 shipping. That's the first time I've seen it below $300/1000. I picked on up yesterday.

Two of my local stores have been carry a good supply of the Tul .223 for $5.49/20rd box. That works out to $0.30/rd after our 9.75% tax here in TN. The Wolf ammo 1000rd for 279+18shipping comes out to $0.297/rd before tax. I've been shooting the Tulammo with no problems. My rifles are sighted in using 62g green tips .556 and my grouping at 100 and 200yds with the Tul is notably worse by a couple inches, but it's still not enough to keep me from dropping a coyote with the Tulammo if I needed to. http://smith-wessonforum.com/images/icons/icon7.gif

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Old 04-21-2017, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
rockquarry wrote:
Is it possible to do that consistently without enlarging the primer pocket?
Yes.

But it will take a bit of practice to get the "touch" right. And you will mess a few up at first. But, it's .223 brass so a few cases going to the scrap bucket isn't a problem.

A drill bit is designed to advance into the material and so will "grab" the case if you were to try to do it that way. But, a countersink isn't designed to grab and so will only remove material as long as you're pressing it into the material (or pressing the material on to it).

I did once try swaging the crimp but it was tedious on a single-stage press so I tried every variation of reaming I could find. The countersink has been the best combination of speed and effectiveness for me. I use a light touch and so occasionally don't get one reamed enough and the primer hangs up. I just knock the mangled primer out (it won't ignite the primer if you go slowly and smoothly - it takes a sharp strike on the anvil to ignite the primer), throw it away and then use a hand reamer to finish the job.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdwhit View Post
Although I have had to use various powders over the years based on availability, my predominate load is 20.3 grains of IMR-4198 under a Hoernday 60 grain soft point or hollow point bullet producing a velocity out of 16 inch barrel of around 2800 fps. Based on Hornady Manual #4 and Hodgdon Manual #25, this should produce a chamber pressure below the 52,000 psi SAAMI max. for .223 Remington.

So, I guess my answer would be that I use .223 Remington in my AR.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE the manuals I rely upon for the load specified above were printed in the 1980's and later editions have LOWER maximum loads. Always load using data from current published reloading manuals.
If you get a chance, you might want to run that load over a chronograph. Based on my experience with that powder, I would be surprised if it is much over 2600 fps out of a 16" barrel. Hornady 8th edition shows 19.1 gr as max, for 2900 fps, but that is out of a 26" barrel. I never had much luck with 4198 in the .223 for accuracy or velocity. YMMV.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:51 PM
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The RCBS press-mounted primer pocket swager works very well and there are no ruined cases to deal with in the learning stage. Speed of operation looks to be about the same as the drill press method, but results are uniform with the RCBS unit.

I've read criticisms of the RCBS product on this forum and others. After reading a few of these, it becomes quite obvious that most complaints stem from improper tool adjustment. A little under and the crimp won't be entirely removed, a little over and the guide rod may bend.

Perfect adjustment takes some patience and trial and error, but once properly set, it needn't be adjusted again. Mine is probably a '60s unit that I bought used, years ago. One of the two rods that came with it was bent; RCBS replaced it. Works fine and isn't nearly as slow as some claim.
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:09 AM
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I could spend the next hundred years shooting nothing but .223. But you can use 5.56 in a .223 gun but not vice versa.
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
I could spend the next hundred years shooting nothing but .223. But you can use 5.56 in a .223 gun but not vice versa.
you got that backwards. .223 in a 5.56 is fine, not the other way around.

Not that things will go horribly wrong, but someday, maybe, it might once.

Last edited by Racer X; 04-27-2017 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:00 PM
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I shoot the cheapest priced ammo there is at that moment when I need ammo. Usually it's WOLF WPA .223 55 gr. from SGAmmo.com
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Old 04-29-2017, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
2nd timer wrote:
If you get a chance, you might want to run that load over a chronograph.
I have. 87 of those rounds have gone over a chronograph in the 37 years since I first loaded them. That's where my quoted velocity figure comes from.

Quote:
Hornady 8th edition shows 19.1 gr as max, for 2900 fps
Yes, and more powder would not be expected to LOWER velocity. But note that Hornady 4th edition shows 20.8 gr as max, for 3000 fps (out of a shorter barrel than was used in the 8th edition)

The load was developed when Hornady 4th edition was the then-latest manual. This was all disclosed in the note at the bottom of the post.

Quote:
I never had much luck with 4198 in the .223 for accuracy or velocity
Well, I can't speak to your experience.

For my purposes, my accuracy/precision standard is whether, shooting offhand from a sitting or kneeling position, I can get 9 out of 10 shots in the 70mm divot in the side of a plastic milk jug at 100 yards and IMR-4198 (as well as IMR-3031 and WW-748) has been able to deliver that.
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