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5.56 in a .223 bolt action?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by para-frame, Jul 18, 2007.

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  1. para-frame

    para-frame Member

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    I know that 5.56 has a higher PSI, but would it be OK/safe to shoot surplus 5.56 in a newer bolt action? (A stevens 200 short action in .223)
     
  2. cat_IT_guy

    cat_IT_guy Member

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    I know people that do it regularly, but I recall hearing that it is not recommended because of the higher pressures.
     
  3. TheLaxPlayer

    TheLaxPlayer Member

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    I don't know what the odds of it blowing up in your face are, but why risk it when you can get S&B .223 for about $7? (box of 20)
     
  4. para-frame

    para-frame Member

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    True, but i have 500 rounds of mil-spec 5.56 that my father gave me. oh well. I'll just build an AR-15 to shoot it in.(with a mag lock :mad: stupid CA.)
     
  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I guess my problem after some 35 years of shooting US GI ammo in various Minis and in bolt-actions is that I DON'T know that US GI is loaded to higher pressures.

    If the leade in your rifle is unusually short, With US GI you might have the bullet touching the lands, which can--but not necessarily--lead to higher chamber pressures. But you can check that out in your own rifle, yourself.

    As far as the higher pressure loading, consider this, after comparing the bolt of an AR 15 and the bolt of a bolt-action rifle: Which appears to be stronger, insofar as the cross-sectional area of steel to resist the thrust of the chamber pressure? My vote is on the bolt-action.

    Art
     
  6. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Most people ignore the issue, but SAAMI lists it as "unsafe"
    http://www.saami.org/Unsafe_Combinations.cfm


    see also
    http://www.ammo-oracle.com/body.htm

    "Q. What is the difference between 5.56×45mm and .223 Remington ammo?
    In the 1950's, the US military adopted the metric system of measurement and uses metric measurements to describe ammo. However, the US commercial ammo market typically used the English "caliber" measurements when describing ammo. "Caliber" is a shorthand way of saying "hundredths (or thousandths) of an inch." For example, a fifty caliber projectile is approximately fifty one-hundredths (.50) of an inch and a 357 caliber projectile is approximately three-hundred and fifty-seven thousandths (.357) of an inch. 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 chambers for .223 and 5.56 weapons are not the same either. Though the AR15 design provides an extremely strong action, high pressure signs on the brass and primers, extraction failures and cycling problems may be seen when firing hot 5.56 ammo in .223-chambered rifles. Military M16s and AR15s from Colt, Bushmaster, FN, DPMS, and some others, have the M16-spec chamber and should have no trouble firing hot 5.56 ammunition.

    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.

    The military chamber is often referred to as a "5.56 NATO" chamber, as that is what is usually stamped on military barrels. Some commercial AR manufacturers use the tighter ".223" (i.e., SAAMI-spec and often labeled ".223" or ".223 Remington") chamber, which provides for increased accuracy but, in self-loading rifles, less cycling reliability, especially with hot-loaded military ammo. A few AR manufacturers use an in-between chamber spec, such as the Wylde chamber. Many mis-mark their barrels too, which further complicates things. You can generally tell what sort of chamber you are dealing with by the markings, if any, on the barrel, but always check with the manufacturer to be sure."
     

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  7. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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  8. siglite

    siglite Member

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    I think it's less about bolt strength than chamber strength. How old is the Stevens? You might be able to contact Savage and ask them if the chamber's rated for 5.56 pressures.
     
  9. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    The rule is, no 5.56 in a .223.

    However, I think it is irrelevant these days. For example, the chamber on a Savage .223 is safer than a Kreiger barrel on an AR-15. People shoot all kinds of heavy bullet hot loads in those AR-15's. The leade in the Savage is longer. Yet, it is a .223 bolt action.

    Like it or not, manufacturers have completely removed the chance of blunder from the gun owning public by chambering in such a way that will safely fire ANY factory made ammunition (including NATO pressure) and safety chamber any bullet weight available for that cartridge. For example, a guy at the range I saw was safely loading and firing 90gr loads from his Savage .223 (with fast twist). They make sure that the chamber will fit and shoot the heaviest bullet, and the hottest loading you can buy (LE, milsurp or commercial) on a hot day. They don't want to get sued. What they say in their manuals is to cover their butts.

    We live in an era of awful junk triggers. I love it when someone comes to the range for the first time with their grandpa's gun made 60 years ago because the very first thing they say is "wow, smooth action" then the second thing they say is "wow, nice trigger" ....

    It is the lawyer proofing of firearms. No manufacturer is going to make a firearm that is going to blow up in your face if you put 5.56 in it or 9mm NATO. Triggers are terrible for the same reason. They are trying to save you from yourself, so that they can save themselves from the predatory anti-gun legal system.

    Older .223 rifles might be a different story. Especially one's made back when all that was available was light varmint bullets (55gr or less) and surplus 5.56 was not on the market. The idea is, it isn't a good idea to put a round of XM193 into a rifle so tight that the bullet bites into the rifling; therefore, has no "jump" to the lands. No jump means the pressure ramps up right away. Add a hot chamber from shooting all day, and make it a 95 degree day. Could be a problem......
     
  10. para-frame

    para-frame Member

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    the savage/stevens is brand new. Just have to try it out and check for the signs of excesive PSI.
     
  11. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    :what: DON'T DO IT!!! It is listed as unsafe and therefore will only be a matter of time before something fails. It's also a great way to wear out your gun faster. If you're that conerned about saving money, start reloading for the.223. If it exceeds SAAMI specs, it is guaranteed to be unsafe. Why take the risk? Remember, it's not how "new" the gun is, it's the quality of steel they use to make it. The 5.56 rifles have been built to withstand higher pressures and can therefore shoot either.
     
  12. siglite

    siglite Member

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    I have to admit I'm a little surprised to see folks advocating exceeding recommended chamber pressures.
     
  13. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    I sincerely doubt, that Savage/stevens , remington, or especially cz, don't know that peeps arent going to shoot 556, through their 223 bolt guns. I am also thinking that they proly make their receivers/actions strong enough to take in this diff.
     
  14. mmike87

    mmike87 Member

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    I shot a few rounds of 5.56 milsurp through my Remington 700 PSS before I knew any better.

    Needless to say, I am still here and all is well. That does not mean however that it's a good idea or that I will do it again.
     
  15. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    Stevens/Savage .223 barrels were measured by 5 different people over at Savageshooter's forum before their server crash using the Stoney gauge. Throat/leade was way larger than what Krieger puts out. It was just a tiny bit smaller than a mil-spec NATO chamber.


    Like I said, manufacturers know that most shooters are clueless and will feed anything that chambers into their rifle. Most haven't got a clue that Federal XM193 is NATO while American Eagle is not. They are both sold in gunstores in 20rd boxes, and it is easy to just buy one and use it without much thought. If you were a manufacturer, would you feel comfortable putting out a firearm that if fed a commonly available commercially sold ammunition in the same exact cartridge (except at a higher pressure) - could blow up? And provide the end user with only a warning? I doubt it. Which is why they ream the leade so long so that the bullet can jump a while before it bites into the rifling which alleviates pressure.


    Hey, follow the rules and common sense. DON'T DO IT.


    BTW, no one is advocating for the guy to do it, we're just talking about how it is probably moot to begin with. Regardless, follow the safety rules.


    There are plenty of quality and cheap .223 loads out there. Get those and be done with it.
     
  16. para-frame

    para-frame Member

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    OK, only .223 in my savage. Just going to trade the 5.56 at the next gun show.
     
  17. quatin

    quatin Member

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    You realize shooting mil-surp ammo in your rifle will void the warranty.
     
  18. okiebuckout

    okiebuckout Member

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    :rolleyes:

    If this was there intentions don't you think they would just build one chambered and labeled 5.56??? I mean that way folks know for sure they can fire either round.....Come on, get serious.
     
  19. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    No, because they don't want to be accused of chambering in a "military" caliber.


    Saiga's are 5.56, but come in as .223 Rem. Dozens of AR brands are labeled .223 Rem for the very same reason, but not one of them as a .223 Rem chamber that will blow up when you use 5.56. They are all reamed with a NATO chamber.


    Maybe we have forgotten the AWB days when labelling made a difference. It is still in effect for imports. If labeled 5.56, import is instantly rejected since it is "non-sporting" ...


    Dick's Sporting Goods won't even stock .308 rifles because .308 is a military cartridge. Hysteria? Yes. But look at the morons we have to share America with.
     
  20. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Member

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    I've used military ammo in my Sakos for years without ever seeing any signs of high pressure.
    I also shot 5,56 in my Mini 14 back when I had one.
    I personally wouldn't woirry about shooting it in a bolt action rifle.
     
  21. para-frame

    para-frame Member

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    already voided the warranty after I installed a match trigger.
     
  22. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    You could probably just sell the 5.56 and get some .223 with the proceeds.
     
  23. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    Hmm. I have never really run that much mil-surp ammo through my .223's, but I guess that I tend to agree with DTOM when he says that the point is essentially moot. It makes sense to me that rifle manufacturers wouldn't make a .223 rifle that couldn't handle mil-surp 5.56 simply because very few people even realize there is a difference. Much like people automatically know that 7.62 = .308, I think most people assume that 5.56 = .223. To be honest, I don't even really know what the difference is myself! That said, I also agree that there really isn't a great reason to shoot milsurp when there is plenty of cheap .223 available.

    Out of curiousity, what is the difference in pressure? Kind of a dumb question, but I am not even sure where to look to find the answer...
     
  24. CommanderPoopyduX

    CommanderPoopyduX Member

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    Not to bring this dead horse back to get beat some more BUT.....

    I have a box of American Eagle .223 (CLEARLY marked .223) and the case heads have the NATO stamp and read LC 05

    sounds like 556 in a 223 box to me......so, if that blows up my gun, whose fault?
     
  25. The-Fly

    The-Fly Member

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    Would be AE's fault if it kaboomed. Chances are they are just using 5.56 brass, and loading it to 223 pressure, which should be perfectly safe.
     
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