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View Full Version : Should i be shooting 5.56 instead of .223


Mendo223
11-26-2009, 11:41 PM
Sorry for the dumb question, im kinda confused about what to be shooting through my stag 2ht. its com spec but the barrel says 5.56 nato and so does the lower receiver.

I have only been shooting .223 and my accuracy is pretty good, but would shooting 5.56 change anything.

Also, what is the actual difference between .223 and 5.56, why cant you shoot 5.56 through a .223 only barrel? My ruger mini14 is .223 so i cant shoot 5.56? Whats the deal?

supratreo
11-26-2009, 11:51 PM
i believe a 5.56 is just a hair bigger and creates more pressure but i'll let one if the more knowledgeable people here confirm this. :)

Swatguy10_15
11-26-2009, 11:53 PM
Howdy Mendo,
So in a nutshell. 5.56 Ammunition is the military "version" of .223.
You can shoot .223 out of a 5.56 barrel but CANNOT shoot 5.56 out of a .223 barrel.. As far as your AR is concerned, whether youre shooting 5.56 or 223 really wont matter much for plinking paper.
Now for the technical mumbo jumbo..

The first difference is the higher pressure level of the 5.56 NATO cartridge which runs at approximately 58,000 psi. A 223 Remington is loaded to approximately
55,000 psi.

The second and most important difference between the two is the fact that a 5.56 NATO chamber has a .125” longer throat. This allows approximately one more grain of powder to be loaded into a 5.56 NATO cartridge; this is what gives it higher performance than its 223 Remington cousin.
The biggest problem with these differences is when firing a 5.56 NATO cartridge in a rifle chambered for 223 Rem. Due to the longer throat that the NATO chamber employs this combination will cause a 223 chambered weapon to run at approximately 65,000 psi or more. This is 10,000 psi higher than the 223’s normal functioning pressure of 55,000 psi. This is NOT safe and will cause primers to back out, or worse, cause harm to the operator, the rifle, or both.

The reverse of this is firing a 223 Rem cartridge in a 5.56 NATO chambered rifle. Due to the throat difference between the two chambers a 223 Rem cartridge may not work optimally in a 5.56 NATO chambered weapon. The cause of this is the lack of pressure built by a 223 Rem cartridge fired from a 5.56 NATO chamber. The 223’s 55,000 psi will not be attained and therefore velocity and performance are hurt. Problems start occurring when this combination is fired out of a 5.56 NATO chambered rifle with a 14.5” (or shorter) barrel. The lower powder charge of the 223 round coupled with the pressure drop that occurs when it is fired in a the 5.56 NATO chamber will cause the rifle to cycle improperly. NATO chambered rifles with barrels longer than 14.5” should function properly when firing 223 Rem ammunition.
So....If you can find 5.56 for a good price, then stick with it. If .223 is cheaper then voila..But like I said, if youre just punching paper..Whatevers cheap :)

jmf_tracy
11-26-2009, 11:53 PM
you should be shooting 5.56, i only shoot 5.56 in my m4gerys. you can shoot .223, but why would you want to? at 100 yards there probably won't be much difference in the accuracy although the POI will probably be different between the two. at longer distances the 5.56 will have a better trajectory due to more velocity.

Ruiner
11-26-2009, 11:57 PM
Paper doesnt care what you shoot it with :D Trajectory differences are insignificant at effective ranges and some of the most accurate ammo available out there is .223. Shoot whats available to you.

mif_slim
11-27-2009, 12:09 AM
first off, you can shoot a .223/5.56 in any good barrel marked .223 or 5.56 the only thing that matters is the chamber. a 5.56 and a .223 have the same bullet measuring at .224. A 5.56 doesnt have more powder, its walls are just much thicker causing more pressure build up. as a matter of fact, 5.56 brass holds less powder. A .223 cant shoot 5.56 becuz the chamber was not built to hold that much pressure. although it can it will eventually expand the chamber enuff to rapture it causing serious injury.

dieselpower
11-27-2009, 5:58 AM
first off, you can shoot a .223/5.56 in any good barrel marked .223 or 5.56 the only thing that matters is the chamber. a 5.56 and a .223 have the same bullet measuring at .224. A 5.56 doesnt have more powder, its walls are just much thicker causing more pressure build up. as a matter of fact, 5.56 brass holds less powder. A .223 cant shoot 5.56 becuz the chamber was not built to hold that much pressure. although it can it will eventually expand the chamber enuff to rapture it causing serious injury.


That's a bit of a stretch, yes there will be problems, but it would take a hell-of lot of shooting to finally weaken a chamber enough for it to explode.


im kinda confused about what to be shooting through my stag 2ht. its com spec but the barrel says 5.56 nato and so does the lower receiver.


Yes, you are confused, Stag is Mil-spec. There maybe slight differences between Colts TDP (how they make an AR15) and Stag, there maybe minor parts such as springs and pins made from a different material. That is the only reason a Stag firearm is not mil-spec...its like saying my German Shepard isn't a true German Shepard since his great grand mother was a mix. Its snob BS.

Stag's have chambers built to take NATO 5.56 ammo, Stags have Mil-spec forged Extension tubes, with Mil-spec buffer springs. All other parts of a Stag are built to meet or exceed Mil-spec.

Commercial AR15s have Rem .223 chambers, Commercial sized extruded Extension tubes, (extruded thin aluminum with plastic coating for A2 stocks), the buffer springs are not Mil-spec, The buffers are filled with BBs (sound like a maraca when shook), the CH is cast, the hand-guards are thin plastic without proper heat shields if any..... But still there is nothing wrong with owning and shooting a Commercial grade AR15.

Sunwolf
11-27-2009, 6:05 AM
Geez,I have shot 5.56 since buying my 181 mini-14 since it was brand new and no problems(about 40,000 rds now).What does that make it,27 years?I think the 5.56vs .223 think is way overblown.

97F1504RAD
11-27-2009, 6:48 AM
Geez,I have shot 5.56 since buying my 181 mini-14 since it was brand new and no problems(about 40,000 rds now).What does that make it,27 years?I think the 5.56vs .223 think is way overblown.

Most Mini 14's can in fact shoot 5.56 and it should say so in the manual

pontiacpratt
11-27-2009, 7:25 AM
Most Mini 14's can in fact shoot 5.56 and it should say so in the manual

+1 Buddie of mine called Ruger and was told go for it. They chamber it for 5.56

Mendo223
11-27-2009, 2:59 PM
hey thanks for all the responses it helped me figure out.


what is weird is that they told me my stag was Mil Spec but i bought a milspec CTR stock and it didnt fit and i had to go back and get a com spec one!

i guess i will start to strictly look for 5.56 then.

why couldnt they just make things simpler and make .223 and 5.56 the exact same!

tacticalcity
11-27-2009, 3:08 PM
I don't see why it matters. Your rifle can handle both safely. You bought wisely. Finding true 5.56 is not always easy. Most ranges and stores will only have 223 on the shelf. So you should just shoot that. Plus, if you find a brand/cartridge you like and have your optics zeroed for it, then you'll want to stick with that brand/cartridge, as changing ammo could force you to rezero all the time. I shoot Seller & Bellet (forget the grain) 223 because my supplier carries it and keeps it on hand all the time, and it is reasonably priced, and my AR is zeroed for it. So it is the most practical for me. Why shoot something I won't be able to find next time I need ammo? That just means I'll constantly be fighting it to keep it zeroed. It's too much work. That is not to say no adjustment is ever needed. But so far this ammo has been very consistent, and its been a couple of years.

xxINKxx
11-27-2009, 3:13 PM
Ive shot roughly 2k + rounds of .223 through my Stag 2HT upper. 5.56 isnt as common as standard .223. I honestly dont even remember last time ive seen shops, or even gun shows stock 5.56.

My stag has always been accurate, never any issues with standard federal .223. Ive even shot a decent amount .223 wolf through it and it still runs flawless.

Just buy .223 and save the hassle.

popeye4
11-27-2009, 3:17 PM
Here ya go: http://www.zediker.com/articles/AR_chambers.pdf

That should explain it to the point of confusion.....

jmf_tracy
11-27-2009, 4:48 PM
i can't beleive all you guys who say 5.56 is not availible. maybe you are looking for it at walmart? M193 & M855 are certainly availible all the time somewhere on the internet. i always buy ammo by the case over the internet and can find it somewhere, there are so many good places to buy ammo. shoot .223 if you want, but for the same price or maybe a little bit more you can buy the correct and superior ammo. of course if all you are ever gonna do is shoot at 100 yards then it does not matter.

Mendo223
11-30-2009, 4:34 PM
so if i switch to 5.56 i will need to re-zero?

is 5.56 really superior to .223?

blackrifle242
11-30-2009, 6:52 PM
If you can't find 5.56 than you can buy it from me.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=243976