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.223 and 5.56 differentiation?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Skillet, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. Skillet

    Skillet Well-Known Member

    So I am thinking about getting a first AR-15, and i need to know something. what is the difference between a .223 and a 5.56?

    3 questions-

    can a 5.56 calibered AR-15 shoot a .223?

    can a .223 calibered AR-15 shoot a 5.56?

    What is a good AR-15 to start out with that is $1100 and below?

    thank you!
  2. Erik M

    Erik M Well-Known Member

  3. Bass Ackwardz

    Bass Ackwardz Well-Known Member

    Well I wont get into the whole "which AR-15 is better" argument, but I will tell you a 5.56 barreled AR will shoot both 5.56 and .223. A .223 barreled AR will also shoot both, but the pressures created by 5.56 rounds are greatly above what the .223 produces. Shoot 5.56 at your own risk out of a .223 barreled AR.

  4. gunnerjones

    gunnerjones Well-Known Member

    Ok, no madder what anyone tells you I swear as a happy AR-15 collecter, the DPMS AR-14 M4 is one of the best of the best, they will feed and feed and feed and never jam and they hit the target dead on with a nice punch but almost no recoil.
  5. Airman193SOS

    Airman193SOS Well-Known Member

    From Wikipedia:

  6. Zach S

    Zach S Well-Known Member

    1) Yes.

    2) Not recommended. For this reason I only consider 5.56 guns for SHTF/plinker/truck guns. I'd only use a .223 chamber if building a match rifle, because a .223 chamber will be more accurate. The average shooter wont be able to tell a difference though.

    3) Several sources. As far as off the rack rifles, I think Stag is the best bang for the buck ($900 OTD), with S&W just behind them (same gun from what I see for few more dollars). Also check CMMG's bargain bin. Colt LE6920s are around $1100 I think, maybe a little more.
  7. stickhauler

    stickhauler Well-Known Member

    I'll echo Zach's choice, I love my Stag L-1! Damned fine rifle!
  8. navajo

    navajo Well-Known Member


    Picked up a Stag lower and upper a few months apart.
    Put them together and Voila! Its so accurate its boring.
    Little over $800.00 but I got the upper for cost.
    I have owned Colt, BM and currently have the Stag and a RRA heavy. Just not that much difference between any of them.
  9. kwelz

    kwelz Well-Known Member

    Under 1100 your best bet is BCM. Frankly they are quickly becoming the standard. You get colt quality for the cost of a much lesser gun.
  10. bhk

    bhk Well-Known Member

    Don't take my word for it, but I will bet almost all mass-marketed .223 marked ARs have hybrid chambers for liability reasons, making shooting both 5.56 and .223 ammo completely safe. I know my Bushmaster made Remingtion R-15 is marked .223, but Bushmaster indicates it really has a hybird chamber (when contacted, Remington evidentally won't admit that). I assume Remington wanted it marked .223 because it is marketed as a 'hunting' rifle. Best idea is to check with the manufacter.

    I would also assume that some specialty ARs built from the ground up for target work and marked .223 really are .223 chambered for accuracy reasons.
  11. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Well-Known Member

    NO!!! One would, or even should, think that, but infortunately it is NOT that way.
    The chamber designation will be marked on the sibe of the barrel.
    ie... .223, 5.56 Nato, .223 Wyld.

    Do not assume that all AR's are of the modified 223 type(experimental, DoD, but some was said to have been in public circulation) or the 'Wyld' type chamber, they are not!
  12. X-Rap

    X-Rap Well-Known Member

    So a semi auto marked .556 will take more pressure than a Mod 70 or 700 bolt marked .223
    your joking right?
    That is the common sense in me.
    The reality is that they are in fact marked differently and there is a claim to unsafe pressures so shoot at your own risk. As for myself I have never worried and had no problems. I also load mixed brass and can't see a difference despite the brass thickness difference.
    Some weaker actions like the Savage may not take the pressue as well but I have shoot many rounds of both in mine.
  13. Zach S

    Zach S Well-Known Member

    Good point.

    Go by the markings on the bbl, not the lower. I know colt used to be real bad about marking a lower .223 with the bbl being marked 5.56.
  14. OhioChief

    OhioChief Well-Known Member

    It's a little frustrating. My Colt M4 is stamped .223 on the lower, and the barrel is 5.56
    Then when I started to get into reloading, (knowing nothing when I started), I couldn't find the bullets.....because they are .224. ha. I felt stupid, but it was funny and makes sense after I thought about it.

    I paid 1,200 for my colt. I also have a RRA. I have no idea what AR is best, just know I love both of mine, and I thought 1,200 for Colt quality was good enough for me. Best of luck.
  15. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Well-Known Member

    Let's keep it to the same critter.
    We are talking about AR barrels, NOT bolt action rifle barrels.

    Weaker????? Is the Savage actions, weaker??? Weaker than what?

    ALWAYS go by the designation marked on the 'outside of the barrel', the manufacturer marks the barrel as to the chamber cut in THAT barrel.
    You can put any barrel, marked any way, in the upper, so always go by the markings on the barrels.
  16. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

  17. wishin

    wishin Well-Known Member

    I have the DPMS and recommend it.
  18. X-Rap

    X-Rap Well-Known Member

    I am talking about chamber presure and the continued lament that 5.56 should not be used in .223 chambers. Since there are few commercial bolts chambered in 5.56 my question is valid since they do both have chambers and I contend that there is no danger in shooting 5.56 in bolt rifles because their chambers are inherently stronger than that of autos or pumps.

    As to the Savage action, it is plenty strong but a Rem bolt will protect the shooter much better than a Savage. A high presure load can blow a case and pop the extractor as well as gas and brass. I found this while testing some 7-08 loads in a 788 and then switching to a Savage. I still have Savage rifles but have an understanding of their limitations.
    That said I have had no problems shooting 5.56 in a Savage or Winchester bolt.
  19. AR-15 Rep

    AR-15 Rep Well-Known Member

    from my understanding... you can shoot .223 in a 5.56mm chambered rifle but not shoot 5.56mm in a .223 chambered rifle. There was something said about the pressures were different and the .223 may or may not be able to withstand the pressures. Most manufacturers make the barrels to 5.56mm NATO spec so they are safe to shoot with either round.
  20. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    The difference might require a bizarre setup of circumstances for it to actually make a difference, but yes, they are different.

    I am not aware of any ARs manufactured right now in .223, they are all 5.56 or Wylde hybrid chambers that can shoot both.

    There is no reason to ever load any gun with a round different than what is stamped on the barrel.

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