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.223 Remington/5.56 NATO Introduction

Discussion in '.223 Remington/5.56 NATO' started by Rossignol, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator Sponsor

    Messages:
    12,760
    You know we had to delve into this eventually! :D

    I know we could write a book, but we wont. I just wanna sort it all out in a user friendly way, make some sense of a handful of things...

    Some things I've wondered getting into my AR;
    What is cannelure and what the heck does it do?
    What gr. bullet should i use through my barrel?
    What gr./type of bullet should I use for ----- ?

    and some related questions, like;
    Is it safe to use steel case ammo over the aluminum feed ramps?

    My knowledge is extreemly limited... I've only fired Hornady TAP FPD .223 55 gr. ballistic tip nickel plated case, Federal (Lake City) XM193 5.56 55 gr. FMJ, and American Eagle Tactical (Black and White box) .223 55 gr. FMJ. All three of these loads are right around 3200 FPS. We've done well with all three thus far and once the rifle was sighted in really well, the AE .223 55 gr. FMJ was shooting POA/POI at 80 yards through my 1:9 twist barrel.

    Theres a lot of ammo out there to sort through. Theres a lot of philosophy and myth it seems to me. I wanna understand these little bullets better myself, So, Lets get it on!!! :D
  2. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 Guest

    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    Cannelure: a groove in a bullet which contains a lubricant, or into which the cartridge is crimped. Not all bullets have a cannelure...

    Your 1:9 twist barrel will stabilize bullet lengths equivalent to lead-core bullets of 40 to 73 grains in weight. The 55 and 62 grain bullet weights being typical for rounds found available in bulk.

    A barrel marked and chambered for 5.56 Nato will fire both the 5.56x45mm Nato cartridge as well as the .223 Remington cartridge...but a .223 Remington marked and chambered barrel SHOULD NOT be used with 5.56x45mm Nato rounds.

    Military M16s have slightly more headspace and have a longer throat area, compared to the SAAMI .223 chamber spec, which was originally designed for bolt-action rifles. Commercial SAAMI-specification .223 chambers have a much shorter throat or leade and less freebore than the military chamber. Shooting 5.56 Mil-Spec ammo in a SAAMI-specification chamber can increase pressure dramatically, up to an additional 15,000 psi or more.

    [​IMG]

    Fact: SAAMI specifically warns against the use of 5.56mm ammo in .223 chambers. The .223 SAAMI specification was originally made with bolt rifles in mind. Dimensionally, 5.56 and .223 ammo are identical, though military 5.56 ammo is typically loaded to higher pressures and velocities than commercial ammo and may, in guns with extremely tight "match" .223 chambers, be unsafe to fire.

    The steel cased ammo sold under the names Wolf, Tula, Golden / Silver / Brown Bear, Herters are now polymer coated and feed / shoot well out of any firearm they are chambered for...tho they may be dirty...ie, alot of unburnt powder is left behind and can foul the action.

    Hope this helps buddy...
    Shade likes this.
  3. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator Sponsor

    Messages:
    12,760
    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    It helps me out Shooter! ;)

    What I'm really wantin to do with this thread is compile a decent bit of data and info to help folks answer the most common questions associated with the round.

    I know some will use the round for hunting, others for target/compitition shooting.

    There are several types of bullet, just like any other.
    full metal jacket
    jacketed hollow point
    soft point
    ballistic tip
    steel core penetrator (5.56 M855 62 gr.)

    Then there are the cannelure, boat tail, and otherwise... (i dont even know the extent of the different designs)

    Among these, there are both the .223 and 5.56 and so many weights to sort through, but just as you mentioned 55 and 62 gr. being the most common, though many varmint loads are available as .223 45 gr.

    As for steel case ammo, my concern has always been how badly will it beat the feed ramps and extractors. I have a particular purchasing some of the steel ammo as its made in Russia... I know its darn near impossible to always buy American, but this is one case where I could do it. Hornady also make steel case ammo, both in practice/training loads and match ammo. I'd be happy to buy the Hornady Steeel Match or TAP if the debate were settled on the issue of whether it may or may not dammage my firearm!

    I think we here at MO are in a position to be very helpful to our little/growing community in our quest to be comprehensive! :D
  4. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 Guest

    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    Roger that...

    As you already know, I own the same AR as you, and have been shooting steel cased ammo out of her for close to 20 years with no ill effects to report. Feed ramp, extractor, barrel...zero problems !
  5. nitesite

    nitesite Sheepdog Moderator "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    5,660
    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    Cannelured lead core FMJ bullets that are properly constructed, as in true Mil-Spec as far as boat tail, jacket thickness, ogive, etc are what makes the 5.56mm cartiridge so devastating against human targets. When the mil-spec M193 bullet enters a liquid medium like human flesh, the nose slows and the heavier base tries to overtake it being that it is the heaviest portion of the bullet. Thus, the bullet rapidly is deflected to a point where it is sideways to the original path.

    It is at this moment, before the heavy base comes around to the front, that the bullet completely breaks apart into dozens of pieces. And the juncture along the bullets jacket surface that is weakest, and therefore the place where the bullets violently shatters, is at the cannelure. Usually there is a tiny nose cone tip, and a squared off base left as the two largest fragments.

    The cartridge originally made famous during the VietNam war started a myth that the rifle fired a bullet that tumbled in flight and that this buzzsaaw is what made the wounding effect so devastating. And it was totally and wholly untrue. The bullet doesn't tumble in flight. It really dosn't tumble "over and over" in flesh. It yaws 90-degrees and shatters when it has a good cannelure, because the cannelure is like a pre-scored cut made to establish the break line.

    There are FMJ .224" bullets without any cannelure, and after entering flesh they turn sideways and squirt some lead out the base (providing they have an exposed lead base at the boattail) and then the flattened bullet, being comma-shaped, goes yawing of in some uncontrolled direction.

    Boring, really, but wanted to help dispel the "tumbling bullet" myth.

    SOME cannelures, on pistol ammo, are not in the bullet at all. They are in the case wall to help prevent a bullet from being seated or pushed below the case cannelure (too deeply).

    And other handgun bullet cannelures are in the jacketed cover of a lead core revolver bullet as a convenient place into which to roll-crimp the case mouth without cutting thru the jacket. You very, very rarely see cannelures on semi-auto bullets as these cartridges call for a taper crimp on the bullet and not a roll crimp at the mouth.
    Shade likes this.
  6. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator Sponsor

    Messages:
    12,760
    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    Shooter, excellent to know! That really helps my decsion making process as I look at ammo!

    NiteSite, thank you for the info on cannelured bullets! While I personally understood what it was, I wasnt sure of the exact purpose when I searched for it other than how it relates to loading the bullet and the crimp you mentioned.

    You gave the example of the XM193 and mil-spec bullets. That was a piece of the puzzle I couldnt find in my searches. I wanted to know what loads were cannelured, as you remember we discussed it when I was lookin for a suitable round for coyote. One of the loads I have readily available to me even via my LGS is the Lake City XM193 mil-spec 5.56 NATO. Its not the least expensive load, but neither is it the most expensive. Its half the price of the Hornady ballistic tip ammo making it a good choice I think for both practice and hunting the predator song dog.

    My preference is to find a load that meets my needs and to practice with the same load. I know less expensive ammo can be found but to me I would draw a comparison to my shotgun ammo. I go through ALOT of shotgun ammo! But to me it would be like practicing with Winchester Super X 00 buck, when I'm gonna keep Hornady Critical Defense loaded next to the bed. Ammo isnt created equal across the board, and among the commonalities from rifle to handgun to shotgun is the difference in porformance from one load to the next or a guns preference for one over the other even though they (the loads) may be ballistically identical.

    Lots of info goin fellas! Thanks for the contributions and lets keep up the excellent work! ;)
  7. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator Sponsor

    Messages:
    12,760
    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    Somethin else I wanna do with this thread is sort through the bull and hype. What stuff is a marketing campaign and what actually works beyond nuance and a fancy box.

    Hornady (which I like alot) has a lot of duplicate loads. Some of it is packed in plain jane boxes for LE/duty use. Then there are loads like VMax, and TAP FPD (Tactical Application Police For Personal Defense) and Critical Defense. With some, you can find the same ballistics from one to the next in a given round. Some of these are dressed up versions of LE ammo for civilian consumption while the LE/duty load isnt recommended for sale outside of agencies. Same goes for Federal Tactical/ATK and Winchester Ranger. It isnt a rule as much as a preference among manufacturers.

    If you do a little research, you can cross reference manufactures catalogues to find like loads. From there you can find the comparable LE/duty loads, and generally pay less from online distributors who have no such qualms selling to civies at discounted prices and without payin for that dressed up box and the marketing that goes with it.

    One load I wanna do some lookin into is the newish Federal Tactical/ATK TRU (Tactical Rifle Urban). Is it just another load that that has been repackaged and remarketed or is it altogether new?

    Theyre offered in;
    Sierra BTHP (Boat Tail Hollow Point)
    Sierra MatchKing BTHP
    Nosler Ballistic Tip
    LOTM (Lite Open Tip Match)
    and
    HiShok SP (Soft Point)

    Is it Hype? I dunno, I'm yet cross referencing Federal Premiums site to see if they match up with anything else.
  8. rjpoog1989

    rjpoog1989 20g

    Messages:
    824
    Re: .223 Remington/5.56 NATO

    I watched this the other day and found it informative.
    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG5jAJx7mr4[/youtube]
  9. Water Monkey

    Water Monkey The man, the myth, the monkey Moderator Supporter

    Messages:
    3,831
    I recently picked up the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport and got it down the range last weekend. This thread helped me a lot on learning about the ammo and the .223 and 5.56 rounds. Been shooting the PMC XTac M193 5.56 Nato and the PMC .223 Rem both 55gr in my 5.56 rated barrel with 1/8 twist rate.

    Very accurate. Didnt have the tools to sight in the front post last weekend but I will and I'm sure with the iron sights I'll be putting in some tight groups in the 50 and 100 yard range this weekend.

    Anyway this forum rocks.
  10. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator Sponsor

    Messages:
    12,760
    Good deal man, cant wait to hear more! This forum does rock!!! :D

    WaterMonkey, if you dont mind buyin online, check in with Palmetto State from time to time. Theyve been runnin lots of sales and with free shipping through the summer! I found some of the Federal Lake City on sale for less than the PMC at one time recently! Also worth checkin out are the DH milspec USGI aluminum magazines stamed with the CAGE code. They are teflon coated and include the better of the Magpul antitilt followers which I believe is the grey one. Dude, theyre like $10 and had a ten pack on sale recently for $90! Next to the PMags, these are my favorite magazines I've used thus far! I havent seen another USGI magazine come close! I've seen used USGI magazines at flea markets for the same price, and sometimes more, with the older Magpul followers and they just arent as good...

    Ryan, good find man!
  11. oli700

    oli700 12g Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    9,269
    My FIL has a Sport and it shoots damn good.
  12. Water Monkey

    Water Monkey The man, the myth, the monkey Moderator Supporter

    Messages:
    3,831

    Yea I usually buy my ammo online in bulk as it saves me a ton of money from buying locally. My Local Gun Stores arent the best with ammo prices and selection isnt very great either.

    I checked out PSA a few times but there seems to be a run on .223 and 5.56 ammo and the bulk purchases at Palmetto seem to be out of stock.

    Ammoman seems to be consistently stocked in .223 and has some small runs of 5.56. Lately the Lakecity most people have been stocking is the tracers and I have no desire to shoot tracers. I've seen a few board set fire and the range officer flip when people brought in tracers.

    I've also run across Freedom Munitions. Seems to be selling reloaded ammo at a decent price. Plus they have a brass buy back program where they will credit you $2.50 per pound of brass you send to them (minimum 10 lbs). I may purchase a small batch to test it out. I'm hearing really good things from buyers on the ammo.

    As far as the mags are they "pre-ban"? I live in a god awful AWB State and I'm limited to a 10 round capacity on my mags made after 1994. I'm like Kalifornia without the bullet button. sadness.
  13. Rossignol

    Rossignol The Original Sheriff Staff Member Global Moderator Moderator Sponsor

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    12,760
    Darnit man, I totally forgot about your state of residence. No, they are not preban. They are 30 round magazines...

    Sorry dude.
  14. Ghmann

    Ghmann .270 WIN

    Messages:
    402
    Target Sports USA usually has free shipping on bulk ammo. SGammo is reasonable for bulk ammo, around $14 to $16 per case. In the end, it always works out to about the same price. Free shipping means higher cost per round. Lower cost per round means more for shipping.

    Some online stores will have a sale, but increase the shipping to cover the difference.
  15. Shade

    Shade .22LR

    Messages:
    29
    As I am new here, I am still exploring a lot of the older threads. I always cringle when people start talking about .223 Remington versus Mil-spec 5.56mm NATO.
    There is a lot of good information above. One thing I will add that even though a Mil-spec chamber is slightly larger than the civilian .223 chamber, it is not any
    less accurate; this is a common assumption that is made and is not true.
    Rossignol and LAZY EYED SNIPER like this.
  16. Ghmann

    Ghmann .270 WIN

    Messages:
    402
    While some brands of ammo may be more accurate than others, I haven't been able to verify any difference in accuracy between .223 and Mil Spec. Another thing I've always heard is that Mil Spec is hotter than .223. But yet the muzzle velocity is the same for both. I don't get it.
  17. Shade

    Shade .22LR

    Messages:
    29
    I do not know about muzzle velocity for commercial .223 v. 5.56. But my loads
    for .223 v. 5.56 typically show a 200-400 fps difference when fired from the same
    rifle (AR-15), when everything is kept the same. I have one bolt action Remington
    Model 7 rifle I load .223 Remington for.
  18. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ 12g Supporter

    Messages:
    7,674
    I thought the 5.56 rounds check the gas better, building more pressure in the barrel?

    BTW, I was a victim of the .223 "tumbling" myth. I'm sure I heard this back in 1968 or earlier.
    That's one reason I was never interested in a .223 gun.
  19. Ghmann

    Ghmann .270 WIN

    Messages:
    402
    I had always heard that the 5.56 rounds tumbled after hitting their target. From my military experience, I knew they didn't tumble in flight because of the nice, neat, little holes they put in the 25 meter targets at the zero range. What I didn't know until recently, was that there is a slight difference in the .223 and 5.56mm ammunition and they are not 100% interchangeable in all rifles. If your firearm is chambered for 5.56mm you can use either round. But, if it is chambered for .223, it is recommended not to shoot 5.56mm in it.
    John A. and Rossignol like this.
  20. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ 12g Supporter

    Messages:
    7,674
    I'm gonna get to test this. I just bought both .223 and 5.56 rounds for my new AR. It's supposed to shoot eirher.

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