Was at Gander Mountain the other day checkin out some knives... decided to go look at some guns they had out. Looked at a couple of AR models. Just saw one that was chambered for 5.56... I'm just wondering if one can even buy 5.56 anywhere? I was under the impression that it was pretty much the same thing as .223. What is the difference? And even there, wouldn't one be better off with .223 as it seems like it would be easier to find and buy? I guess just wondering what is so different about 5.56 from .223?
Well, this has been covered about a dozen times, but three or four more times won't kill us, right? :cool:
The 5.56mm cartridge is a NATO standard shell, and yes, it's available to the public.
The .223 is the civilian version of the same round, but at a lower pressure.
A 5.56mm chamber will accept a .223 round and it's regarded as "safe". The dimensions of the cartridge dictate that a 5.56mm chamber firing a .223 round won't be as accurate as a 5.56mm round out of a 5.56mm chamber.
It is generally regarded that if you put a 5.56mm round in a .223 cut chamber, you COULD, POSSIBLY, generate enough pressure to cause a KaBoom.
If you put a 5.56mm round in a .223 chamber, it won't be as accurate as a .223 Civilian round fired from a .223 chamber.
I have never, PERSONALLY, seen a problem caused by putting a 5.56mm round in a .223 chamber - but the Interwebz is FULL of stories of it.
For your own protection, if you EVER think you will get your hands on 5.56mm ammo - then get a 5.56mm chamber.
For the record, once the Space Zombies start wandering the Earth, you will find a TON more 5.56mm ammo in the after world, than you will .223
You can find 5.56 at gun shows usually in bulk. I don't see it in stores much. Also online it can be found.
Unless you know for sure that all you will ever be shooting is .223, then stick with a .223 chamber.
But, for more flexibility, look for a 5.56 NATO chamber, then you can safely shoot either 5.56 or .223, as the chamber is designed to withstand the higher pressures.
OR...look for one with a WYLDE chamber, again capable of handling either 5.56 or .223, and supposedly designed to be more accurate as well. Jury is still out on that last part, but it does act as a sales tool ;)
Around here (Oregon), more and more ammunition is slowly trickling back into the stores, including both 5.56 and .223. I can usually find Federal 5.56 XM193 for around $8/box, and about the same for American Eagle or Remington UMC in .223. From there prices go up for either caliber. Or if get lucky, try AMMOMAN or other ammunition sites for bulk purchase.
Get an AR in 5.56mm if you are going to get one. Like everyone else said, you can shoot either one that way. 5.56mm ammo is plentiful but it is getting pricey. Cheaper than dirt has plenty of 5.56mm. There is plenty of LC brass out there too if you reload but make sure you swedge out the primer pocket.
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