5.56 NATO vs .223 Remington


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Old 01-02-2010, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default 5.56 NATO vs .223 Remington

I just inherited my fathers guns and reloading equipment. I learned reloading some 30 years ago, but haven't done much of anything since. One of the rifles is a Rugger M77 is .223 Remington.

I have been talking to several friends who have told me that with a bolt action rifle you can't (or shouldn't) use 5.56 NATO rounds. My problem is I have been looking through the brass he had, and there are quite a few different brands. How do I tell which shells are .223, and which are 5.56? Any help would be very much appreciated, as my search on the web has been fruitless.



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Old 01-02-2010, 02:12 AM   #2
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When reloading, the difference is basically nil.

5.56 brass tends to be of a thicker case wall, therefore case capacity is less, and could lead to slightly higher pressures.

As long as you aren't loading to max, this is a non-issue.


The big deal is in factory loaded ammo, which runs at a higher pressure in 5.56, and can cause over-pressure and premature barrel erosion in a 223 gun.



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Old 01-02-2010, 02:44 AM   #3
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When reloading, ALWAYS ay close atention to the case length. 5.56 cases start off a bit long. If fired in a loose machine gun chamber, especially an M-249 they will stretch. If you do not trim them, you WILL have some problems.
Resize 5.56 brass in .223 dies and trim to .223 length and they will be fine. 5.56 brass may be thicker than .223 brass. Inner volume will be different when you change from .223 to 5.56 brass. It will likely be different when you change from one manufacturer to the next.

When reloading, ALWAYS work up a load using a given set of components. If you change ANY component, you should reduce the powder charge and work up a new load.

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Old 01-02-2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
When reloading, ALWAYS ay close atention to the case length. 5.56 cases start off a bit long. If fired in a loose machine gun chamber, especially an M-249 they will stretch. If you do not trim them, you WILL have some problems.
Resize 5.56 brass in .223 dies and trim to .223 length and they will be fine. 5.56 brass may be thicker than .223 brass. Inner volume will be different when you change from .223 to 5.56 brass. It will likely be different when you change from one manufacturer to the next.

When reloading, ALWAYS work up a load using a given set of components. If you change ANY component, you should reduce the powder charge and work up a new load.
Can't make it any simpler than that right there.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:34 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, that helps allot. I'll be sure to work my way up the loading scale.

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Old 01-04-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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I recommend picking up a copy of Hornady's Reloading Guide as it has a ton of useful information in it. It will also give you the load data that you need for .223 and 5.56mm NATO.

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:08 PM   #7
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Thanks, I got one last week. It's been allot of help.

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
5.56 brass tends to be of a thicker case wall, therefore case capacity is less, and could lead to slightly higher pressures.

This is a popular myth. For 40 years i have weighed the cases that I use for my accuracy loads. US military 5.56mm cases are no heavier than .223 commerical cases. The heaviest cases are commercial .223 American Eagle and .223 Federal Gold Metal. Brit military cases are heavier than US military cases. The heaviest of all cases are made by Lapua.

Got to "brass weights comparison" While you're there check the chamber dimensions.

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Old 01-06-2010, 03:49 PM   #9
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I think it is more accurate to say the 5.56 brass "may" be thicker than .223 commercial brass. Whe you really get down to it, Rem brass "may" be thicker than Federal brass which "may" be thicker than PPU brass etc.

ANY change in component mandates a new load work up. Whether that change be from one maker of .223 brass to another or from .223 to 5.56 brass jsut as changing primer manufacturers brings the same mandate.

I have weighed a number of cases and reached the same conclusion, 5.56 is not heavier than .223 across the board.

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Old 01-06-2010, 05:54 PM   #10
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Thanks. I appreciate your help. I've decided I need to separate my brass and concentrate on one brand for the time being.



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