Can .223 safely be fired from a 5.56 rifle?


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mopar92
July 8, 2011, 12:23 PM
A gunsmith at a local small town gun store told me the .223 is not good to fire in a 5.56 gun. I didn't argue with him, but somebody back me up here. I believe you shouldn't fire a 5.56 in a .223 gun, but .223 is ok in a 5.56. He went into case/head spacing on me... Rolling eyes right now.

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dovedescending
July 8, 2011, 12:26 PM
I can never remember which way that whole thing goes. But I'll bet a quick search on the forum might find some answers. This thread subject pops up like every week.

gotigers
July 8, 2011, 12:31 PM
.223 remington can be fired in a 5.56x45 chamber

www.thegunzone.com/556v223.html

M1key
July 8, 2011, 12:34 PM
yes...

M

InkEd
July 8, 2011, 01:22 PM
.223 Remington is safe in a 5.56 NATO rifle.

The reverse is not recommended because of SAAMI pressure.

1KPerDay
July 8, 2011, 01:29 PM
A gunsmith at a local small town gun store told me the .223 is not good to fire in a 5.56 gun.
Find a new gunsmith. :)

Nugilum
July 8, 2011, 01:31 PM
^No Doubt!

That is something gunsmiths should know, like .38 Special/.357 Magnum... :scrutiny:

ExAgoradzo
July 8, 2011, 01:37 PM
Ummm...I fired 5.56 from my Mini 14. I guess that was a bad thing??? It was just one box...nothing blew up.

mopar92
July 8, 2011, 02:50 PM
It was a local place as I was on the road... I'm sure he isn't really a " gunsmith" though a lot of guys are " gunsmiths"... Yes, the 5.56 is " more than the .223 pressure". I don't think I'd shoot it in my Mini 14

M1key
July 8, 2011, 03:59 PM
Mini-14s are okay to shoot 5.56 Nato. The Ruger manual says so...

Even though it says "cal. 223" on the receiver.

Bushmaster and some others used to mark their ARs "556" on the barrel and "cal 223" on the receiver. Now it's "cal. 223-556 Nato" marked on the receiver.

When in doubt about any rifle chambering, contact the manufacturer.

M

ExAgoradzo
July 8, 2011, 04:23 PM
Thanks for the info, and for the reminder to break out the manual...I guess there is a reason companies spend months of company time making those. My FiL told me it was ok, I guess I just took his word for it.

1KPerDay
July 8, 2011, 04:26 PM
Mini-14s are okay to shoot 5.56 Nato. The Ruger manual says so...

Even though it says "cal. 223" on the receiver.

Bushmaster and some others used to mark their ARs "556" on the barrel and "cal 223" on the receiver. Now it's "cal. 223-556 Nato" marked on the receiver.

When in doubt about any rifle chambering, contact the manufacturer.

M
From what I understand the Target ruger mini is the only one that you should only use true .223 in. Correct me if I'm wrong. All the others are fine with either 5.56 or .223, like 99% of ARs. Some custom/target ones with very close-tolerance chambers are .223 only but as noted, the mfg will be able to tell you for sure.

M1key
July 8, 2011, 05:45 PM
From what I understand the Target ruger mini is the only one that you should only use true .223 in. Correct me if I'm wrong. All the others are fine with either 5.56 or .223, like 99% of ARs. Some custom/target ones with very close-tolerance chambers are .223 only but as noted, the mfg will be able to tell you for sure.
I believe you are correct. At least that is what I hear from the Mini-Target owners. Again the owners manual should tell you what is safe to shoot.

M

Giterboosted
July 9, 2011, 02:07 AM
look at it this way, i always remember which way it goes by thinking in numbers, 556 is a bigger number than 223, so smaller fits bigger but bigger dont fit in smaller, hope thats a simple way to help you remember

Kurt S.
July 9, 2011, 02:43 AM
In my experience, it's kind of the other way around except safety doesn't have much to do with it. I have a Savage 24 .223 over 12 gauge. 5.56 rounds, even the 'good stuff' like Lake City don't extract, you need to poke them out, and are very inaccurate. .223 rounds are fine.

I might also add that the rifle barrel on the Savage has like a 1:14 or somethinng like that twist. It does not handle rounds over 55 grains well at all; you get a perfecct bullet outline keyhole with 64 grain .223's. But at least they extract :D

1KPerDay
July 9, 2011, 01:33 PM
In my experience, it's kind of the other way around except safety doesn't have much to do with it. I have a Savage 24 .223 over 12 gauge. 5.56 rounds, even the 'good stuff' like Lake City don't extract, you need to poke them out, and are very inaccurate. .223 rounds are fine.
That's what Giterboosted just said. 5.56 ("bigger") don't fit "smaller" (.223 barrels). You likely have a true .223 chamber IMO.

OhioChief
July 9, 2011, 03:48 PM
my colt is chambered in .223, barrel in 5.56. and I shoot it all through that thing and it couldn't care less.

awgrizzly
July 9, 2011, 05:30 PM
It's my understanding that the 5.56 chamber is basically the same as the .223 except the beginning of the rifling is further forward so it can accept longer bullets without getting wedged into the rifling when chambered. I don't know How this would be a problem since mil spec ammo is 55 grain thus making it unlikely that the bullet would extend into the .223 rifling. Seems it would be a problem reloading heavy bullets (ie: 90 grain) for a .223 chamber. The larger issue here is probably that the 5.56 with greater space to the rifling (leade) may be less accurate than the .223 spec chamber.

The 5.56 cases are said to be thicker than the .223 resulting in a smaller case volume and greater pressures when reloaded to .223 specs. This would only be an issue for reloading 5.56 and one could just avoid loading to max specs. I've read that the thicker brass causing greater pressures is just a theory and in practice the difference is insignificant.

The 5.56 cartridge is said to have a thicker base which could cause some head space issues and higher pressures. I've never read that this has been an issue in practice.

The 5.56 spec is said to have loads to a higher pressure than the .223 specs. Here one would need to check with the gun specs to see what the max safe load is and check with the manufacturer to determine whether 5.56 military loads would be safe. I believe most .223 cal rifles are made to safely shoot the 5.56 and even be chambered to 5.56 specs (even if it's not indicated on the gun). It's always a good idea to know your gun, so do a little research.

mopar92
July 9, 2011, 05:47 PM
It's for my Colt 6920

M1key
July 9, 2011, 10:34 PM
Mopar, load that thang with either 223 or 556 and shoot heck out of it.


BTW, Saigas are .223 Rem on the receivers and mags, but have 5.56 chambers (it's an import thing, I guess).




M

sixgunner455
July 9, 2011, 10:52 PM
grizzly - That depends on which military ammunition you are talking about. M193 ball is 55gr (and used 1-14 and then 1-12 rifling in the M16 and M16A1), but SS109/M855 ball is 63gr, and uses 1-7 in the M16A2, A4, all M4 variants, and the M249SAW. This change made the standard ball ammo's impact area match the tracer ammo's impact better than M193 ball does. IOW, they did it mostly to accomodate the SAW.

In DM/SPR rifles, there is also the 75gr OTM bullet, still using the 1-7 rifling, and, so I hear, a different-cut chamber to allow the extra long bullet. So, there you have another military bullet that isn't 55gr.

OP - .223 is perfectly safe in a 5.56x45mm chamber, and should be completely functional. The opposite may not be true. 5.56 SHOULD NOT be fired in .223 Match chambers. Your Colt should have a standard 5.56 chamber.

Mr. T
July 10, 2011, 04:20 AM
.223 can be fired safely from a 5.56 NATO chambered rifle. There is some debate on whether it is safe to fire 5.56 NATO from a .223 chambered rifle. But specifically yes a
.223 can be safely fired from your 5.56 NATO chambered rifle.

MistWolf
July 10, 2011, 05:22 AM
Some of you folks need to do some real research at the primary source on this subject

sixgunner455
July 10, 2011, 03:52 PM
What exactly do you mean by that, MW?

Erik M
July 22, 2011, 01:24 AM
I had Jeff Quinn from Gunblast and a service rep from Savage tell me that the .223 Edge/Axis has a Wylde chamber. When I get the chance to get out in the field with a camera I'm going to shoot a whole mess of 'wrong dimension' tracers and steel core out of it just to make all of the 'barrel erosion' and 'grain vs barrel length' haters mad. yeah they gonna be mad.

Lakedaemonian
July 22, 2011, 02:00 AM
Yes, but not vise versa

303tom
July 22, 2011, 09:24 AM
It is a MYTH , same with the 7.62NATO/.308 & their is no comparing .38 SP. & .357 Mag. , The .357 mag. will not fit in a .38 cyl.

madcratebuilder
July 22, 2011, 09:51 AM
It's my understanding that the 5.56 chamber is basically the same as the .223 except the beginning of the rifling is further forward so it can accept longer bullets without getting wedged into the rifling when chambered. I don't know How this would be a problem since mil spec ammo is 55 grain thus making it unlikely that the bullet would extend into the .223 rifling. Seems it would be a problem reloading heavy bullets (ie: 90 grain) for a .223 chamber. The larger issue here is probably that the 5.56 with greater space to the rifling (leade) may be less accurate than the .223 spec chamber.

The 5.56 cases are said to be thicker than the .223 resulting in a smaller case volume and greater pressures when reloaded to .223 specs. This would only be an issue for reloading 5.56 and one could just avoid loading to max specs. I've read that the thicker brass causing greater pressures is just a theory and in practice the difference is insignificant.

The 5.56 cartridge is said to have a thicker base which could cause some head space issues and higher pressures. I've never read that this has been an issue in practice.

The 5.56 spec is said to have loads to a higher pressure than the .223 specs. Here one would need to check with the gun specs to see what the max safe load is and check with the manufacturer to determine whether 5.56 military loads would be safe. I believe most .223 cal rifles are made to safely shoot the 5.56 and even be chambered to 5.56 specs (even if it's not indicated on the gun). It's always a good idea to know your gun, so do a little research.
+1

Lot of shooters have used 5.56 in a .223 chamber with no problems, I know I have used XM193 5.56mm 55 grain FMJ with no problems. There is a potential problem with heavier (longer) 5.56 bullets like the 77grain contacting the leade in .223 chambers. If the bullet is jammed into the leade when chambered, it may cause an overpressure when fired.

The .223 vs 5.56 is about the amount of leade.
The .308 vs 7.62 is about headspace.

303tom
July 22, 2011, 10:31 AM
I have shot both in everything I have with no problems , that`s AR`s to single shots , but if you want the skinny go here !

http://www.razoreye.net/mirror/ammo-oracle/AR15_com_Ammo_Oracle_Mirror.htm

rori
July 22, 2011, 01:24 PM
Rugers marked 5.56 will shoot 223 with no problem.Rugers marked 223 are designed for that round only and can be dangerous with 5.56. The difference is the pressure they both operate at. The 5.56 being significantly higher. The chamber is the same size for both, reloading dies are the same, the barrels are 223 on both. Pressure is the difference that can cause problems. If I had a gun marked 223 that is the only thing I would shoot out of it. Frank

bigedp51
July 22, 2011, 01:47 PM
The only difference between the .223 and the newer 5.56 NATO cartridges is how the rifles are throated for longer and heavier bullets. When the M16 first came out the throats for both the .223 and 5.56 NATO were the same, BUT the throating on the M16 were later changed to handle the longer and heavier bullets.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o254/bigedp51/556natochamberversus223remingtonchamber02.jpg

My new Stevens 200 .223 has a 1 in 9 twist and is longer throated for using heavier bullets. Older commercial .223 rifles with the shorter throats for lighter bullets could have pressure spikes if the longer and heavier military bullet loadings are fired.

Water-Man
July 22, 2011, 01:53 PM
sixgunner455...You probably made a typing error, but SS109/M855 is 62gr..

paperpuncher49
July 22, 2011, 02:25 PM
Quote: .223 Remington is safe in a 5.56 NATO rifle.

The reverse is not recommended because of SAAMI pressure.

First, Ink Ed, I am in no way taking exception with your statement. I chose it to quote because it is representative of a lot of statements made about the interchangeability of 5.56 and .223.

First, the .223 is the "civilian" version of the 5.56 NATO cartridge. There are minor, I repeat, minor dimensional differences between them.

Second, the 5.56 is the chambering of the M16/AR15.

Third, Semi-auto and automatic military rifles have, by their nature, have sloppy chambers. A close tolerance chamber in a military rifle would be more subject to misfeeding/jamming problems and could get soldiers killed.

Fourth, and very important, we don't hear about a lot of kabooms happening in our military. For that matter, I have never heard of an M16 coming apart because of excessive pressure, though it may have happened on rare occassions. That means that the pressures to which 5.56 ammo is loaded, though at the upper limit, is safe, even though SAAMI may recommend lower pressures.

Fifth, and also very important, the overwhelming majority of non-AR .223 rifles being purchased in the civilain market are bolt action rifles, which I would suggest are every bit as strong as the actions in an AR, if not stronger. Can we really believe that ammo consistently used in ARs is not safe in a bolt action. Highly doubtful.

Lastly, if you open the action of a .223 and drop in a 5.56 round, if it freely chambers, I would contend that it is safe to shoot 99 and 44/100% of the time. If it is a replica Hi Wall or Lo Wall single shot rifle, maybe not. These are weak actions.

All that being said, if the headstamp says .223 or 5.56, I use it in either my AR or my Browning A-Bolt. Both have had at least 5,000 rounds through them with no problems.

jmr40
July 22, 2011, 02:54 PM
Just because 5.56 CAN be loaded to higher pressures, does not mean it ever is. Most all comercially loaded ammo is well below max pressure and I find it highly doubtful you would ever get any 5.56 that was actually loaded above what is considered max for the 223. The max pressures are actually pretty close between the 2.

Even if you did, I seriously doubt you will ever have any real problems. Anyone got any proof of any damage at all to a rifle or shooter firing 5.56 in a 223. At worst I see it as similar to +P ammo. +P is loaded at or slightly above what is considered max pressure and is used all the time in handgun ammo with no danger. It MAY cause the gun to wear out slightly sooner, maybe not. It may not function well in some semi's. If not then don't use it.

I've seen this debated quite a bit and have not seen anything that has convinced me that they are not interchangeable.

chrome_austex
July 22, 2011, 03:31 PM
Without knowing the details of the specific firearm (including it's age, etc), its BAD ADVICE to tell someone it's 'ok' to shoot 5.56 in a 223. Please don't gamble with someone else's life.

Some 223 chambered firearms may shoot 5.56 just fine, but others may not.

I HAVE seen NATO rounds loaded to higher pressures than your typical commercial factory rounds. I've seen the primers and measured velocities.

I believe that most large scale firearms manufacturers selling their wares in the likes of Academy, Cabelas, and Walmart will try to make their 223 guns safe for 5.56 just to avoid lawsuits, but this isn't something I would rely on without getting something in writing from the manufacturer.

I certainly would not advise others to 'test their luck' just because I have not personally seen a 5.56 round kaboom a 223 gun.

husker
July 22, 2011, 04:18 PM
I know this much.
My Mo-Hawk 600 was bought as a 222, & changed to a 223 by my father. It has had 3 full ammo cans of 5.56 55 grain ball fired threw it with no problems at all. Those military cans were used up, by me as a kid years ago. Early 80s.
its still my #1 coyote rifle & I shoot nothing but Footchi 45 grain V-max now. Still one of my most accurate rifles

firemanstrickland
July 22, 2011, 05:13 PM
with all due respect you need a new gunsmith. .223 can be fired in a 5.56 firearm no problem, the reverse is a bad idea

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