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Author Topic: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?  (Read 104134 times)

PvtPyle

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Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« on: October 16, 2008, 09:13:02 PM »
Well, in short yeah you can. Are there issues with it, well maybe so..... Will it blow your gun aparts and send pieces of the gun thru your brain housine group, probably not. But lets take a look at what the issues are for reals.

First of all there are three major types of AR chambers. The .223 SAMMI, the .223 Wylde and the 5.56 NATO. It's all so crazy and convolutted that we will skip right to the point of it all and look at it in laymans terms.

The real issues are the case neck, freebore length, throat angle and headspace. Now what do they each mean?

Case neck- Thats where the bullet sits in the case.

Freebore length- Thats the length between cases end and where the lands and groove start. This is where the bullet is actually free in the bore when it leaves the case. This affects the pressure of the round as the lands and grooves cause pressure to build behind the bullet.

Throat angle- This is the angle of slope where the freebore ends and transitions into the lands and grooves.

Headspace- This is the depth of the chamber

Now the headspace on all chambers is the same at 1.4636, so that is a non issue. The throat angle is significantly different though, 3 degrees for the SAMMI and 1.25 degrees for the other two. How does this affect you? It makes the pressure in the SAMMI start quicker as pressure is appled more abruptly.

Freebore length is a big issue in the three. The freebore for the SAMMI is a mear .025, the Wylde is .062 and the 5.56 NATO is .057. What does that mean? It means that the SAMMI builds pressure a lot faster than the Wylde or NATO chambers. Add this to the fact that NATO rounds are already a few hundred feet per second faster and as much as 5,000 PSI higher in oressure and you have an issue building rapidly. As is the pressure.

Does this mean that your gun is going to explode by using NATO ammo in your .223, probably not. They are massively over engineered and generally pretty safe for these kinds of things. They are designed to take pressure spikes, however I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. It simply is not safe. You WILL probably start to see primers popped out of the cases or swollen.

So what do we do about it all? Well, we try to order all of our AR's in the 5.56 chambers. That allows you to shoot whatever you want to in the gun. The next thing you can do is shoot .223 ammo in your guns. Milsurp is not as cheap as it used to be, so there is not much advantage to go that route anymore. But if you do find a deal having a 5.56 chamber is going to make life more comfortable for you. But if you dont have a 5.56 chamber, just dont shoot milsurp ammo.
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THE NORSEMAN

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 10:21:52 PM »
Here's a good schematic showing the difference:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 12:40:15 AM by THE NORSEMAN »
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Desertrat

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2008, 10:10:43 AM »
It's not exactly the highest-skilled job in the gunshop to ream a .223 chamber to 5.56.  Probably take all of five minutes, if you take time out to pop a top and light a cigarette.  Well, okay, maybe ten...

'Rat

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2008, 02:37:23 PM »
Like PvtPyle says, yeah you most likely can. 

Just watch it if you have a tight chamber or short throat.  Tried some 5.56 stuff in my 223 contender barrel. ONCE.  Not good.  Heavy recoil, and opening it up afterwards was a bit, um, stiff.
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DoctorRock

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2008, 08:21:35 PM »
My question is it safe to fire 5.56 through a Mini-14? I picked up a can of surplus 5.56, and from what I've read on firing 5.56 out of a Mini, it isn't an issue, but I'd like to get more opinions on this.

THE NORSEMAN

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2008, 09:33:58 PM »
I know several first hand that have and do digest it.  But if you are really wanting the answer, call ruger customer service, they'll be glad to help you.  Seriously.  I am a ruger nut myself and have had occasion to call them a time or two.
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Thumper_6119

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2008, 04:11:37 PM »
So, if an AR has .223/5.56 stamped on the side, is it good to go with either?


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THE NORSEMAN

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2008, 10:18:24 PM »
Thumper, exactly.  You're GTG.
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Thumper_6119

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2008, 08:53:21 AM »
Thumper, exactly.  You're GTG.
Cool!   Thanks, bro!

Oohrah

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 06:08:47 PM »
Mini 14? Yep good to go with either!   A tight chambered neck with thicker
military brass, or a short rifle lead, will raise pressures in any firearm.
Back when 25-06 was still a wildcat, I barreled a 1917 action with tight
chambered one.   Low end to moderate loads gave pressure signs and
indicators when using sized down military cases.   Necked down some
sized and trimed 270 commercial brass.  Walla, pressure went away, will
a normal bullet release!

ArfinGreebly

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2008, 01:23:04 AM »
Also the Kel-tec SU-16 series is (according to the nice tech dude I spoke to there) chambered 5.56 NATO, and is, therefore, good to go with .223 ammo.

Idaho

FireMoth

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2008, 10:07:54 PM »
It's not exactly the highest-skilled job in the gunshop to ream a .223 chamber to 5.56.  Probably take all of five minutes, if you take time out to pop a top and light a cigarette.  Well, okay, maybe ten...

'Rat

The killer is that even if the shop has the pull through reamer to make it a nice easy head spacing, if its an AR, odds are the barrel is Chromed in chamber and bore. Run your finishing reamer into hard chrome, and ruin both reamer and barrel.

So, be cautious.

On the up side, not many guns are actually chambered for .223 rem anymore, because manufacturers don't want the liability. Look for .223 chambers on old ARs, or shady barrels that are better replaced than re-reamed, and Bolt guns.

If you do have a good gun, with a good barrel, but a .223 chamber, give the NATO cut a miss, and Ream it to Wylde dimensions, so you don't kill accuracy with .223


jr_tex

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2008, 02:01:25 PM »
To piggyback to this thread.  Anyone know if you can shoot a steady diet of 5.56x45mm in the new Ruger Mini 14s?  I wrote Ruger but have not heard back.  I aksed on on another thread and no one seemed to be able to answer with a definitive yes.

Thanks.

Eagle

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2008, 03:24:39 PM »
So my Rock River AR has a Wylde chamber... for general purpose use (plinking, the occasional High Power match, fending off the zombie hordes in the coming years) should I look into getting a 5.56 upper or having this one converted to 5.56?  I've shot plenty of Wolf though it and a bit of Black Hills blue box with no problems...

Pvt. Pyle, can you provide some more insight on the Wylde chambering?
Texas


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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2008, 04:58:30 PM »
To piggyback to this thread.  Anyone know if you can shoot a steady diet of 5.56x45mm in the new Ruger Mini 14s?  I wrote Ruger but have not heard back.  I aksed on on another thread and no one seemed to be able to answer with a definitive yes.

No, the Ruger Mini 14 was designed specifically to shoot .223.  While it might work, it was not intended to handle the pressures found in 5.56NATO rounds.
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jr_tex

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2008, 05:05:45 PM »
No, the Ruger Mini 14 was designed specifically to shoot .223.  While it might work, it was not intended to handle the pressures found in 5.56NATO rounds.

Thank you.

HArry Buttermint

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2008, 05:24:48 PM »
 0
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 05:20:27 PM by Harry Buttermint »

PvtPyle

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2008, 07:30:09 PM »
The Wylde is the best of each. You can shoot either in the Wylde. It is becoming more and more common.
You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again. -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. - Ayn Rand

"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." -Robert Heinlein.

One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws, but conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. –– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oohrah

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2008, 04:29:56 PM »
Harry is correct in many LEO and Dept. of Corrections that use the
Mini 14s, use the GI ammo >:D   My 181 series digests both without
a difference in function or accuracy.   Handloads have tweaked the
accuracy somewhat, but a target rifle, mine is not.   Yep, a keeper
for fail-safe and reasonable short range rifle  ;D   Maybe a bit over
priced, but what isn't?   Price of high cap mags is sinful :cuss   How-
ever mine even uses the the cheaper aftermarket without a hitch.
I do load a few rounds less than capacity.   If you wonder about the
223/Military, think about this.  Pushing a 311/312 bullet down a .308,
as in the Mini 30.  It's in the chamber and probably some freebore.
Don't own one of these, but I'm told these are not MOA either, but
still work great!
   Nope, don't think I will rechamber my chrome barreled Bushy, and
don't hesitate to use either.   Also handloads in the same pressure range
are not a concern of mine.   For the type chamber recommended that I
understand will improve accuracy for some, I would order an upper with
those specs.   The chrome moly would work for a rechamber, but make
sure you use a recommended  smith to do the work, or THE FACTORY!

mnw42

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2009, 03:08:24 PM »
It is important to distinguish the marks on the lower receiver of an AR and the ones on the barrel.  The marks on the barrel are the only ones that matter.
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45B@cav

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2009, 09:50:19 AM »
+ 1 on the barrel markings. There are lots of home built AR's out there.

Elza

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2009, 05:06:12 AM »
It is important to distinguish the marks on the lower receiver of an AR and the ones on the barrel.  The marks on the barrel are the only ones that matter.

Very true.  I have a Colt AR.  The lower is marked "Sporter  .223" yet the barrel is marked 5.56.  This is from Colt as I bought it NIB many years ago.
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45B@cav

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2009, 02:10:33 PM »
Always go by the barrel marking. .223 ok in 5.56 chamber 5.56 in a .223 chamber NOT OK! As far as Mini14 goes and this is from a Ruger rep I know, The new Mini's are ok for 5.56 the older ones are not. I don't have the date that this changed but at some point they either started using 5.56 chambers or strengthen .223 chambers. :bash

45B@cav

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Re: Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2009, 05:09:14 AM »
Please close this thread! Are we still entertaining this question people? This is why I rarely visit this forum.


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