5.56 NATO vs .223 Remington

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by rcted, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. rcted

    rcted New Member

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    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.
     
  2. willfully armed

    willfully armed New Member

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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.
     

  3. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    Can't make it any simpler than that right there.
     
  5. rcted

    rcted New Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks guys, that helps allot. I'll be sure to work my way up the loading scale.
     
  6. kusterleXD

    kusterleXD New Member

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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.
     
  7. rcted

    rcted New Member

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    Thanks, I got one last week. It's been allot of help.
     
  8. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.

    AR15BARRELS.COM - Technical Documents
     
  9. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  10. rcted

    rcted New Member

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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.
     
  11. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    That is the ideal way of dealing with the situation.
     
  12. rcted

    rcted New Member

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    Brass Differences

    I do have another question. Before beginning my first batch of .223 loads, how much difference does it really make when using different brands of cases? I went through the brass I got with my father's stuff and came up with about 5 different brands. I'm not looking for extreme accuracy, just enough for plinking and some sport hunting. Any help would again be appreciated.
     
  13. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not much difference unless you load a near max powder charge. Keep the charge weight in the low to mid range for the powder and bullet you are using and you will not have a problem. Couple times a year i load a big batch of rounds using mixed cases for use in my AR-15s.

    If you want accurate loads for hunting use just one brand of brass.

    For my accuracy bragging loads i weigh my cases and segregate them by weight. The cases are then prepped by trimming, uniforming the primer pockets, and de-burring the flash holes. These loads are gun specific. Sometimes i wonder if all this effort is worth a 1/8-1/4 inch tighter group.
     
  14. rcted

    rcted New Member

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    Thanks for the help. I have the cases separated. Will double check everything when I start.
     
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I cannot stress this enough. CHECK LENGTH AND TRIM!!! Over length cases WILL cause pressure spikes. You can easily blow you rifle up.

    IF you are going to load 1-1.5 grains under max for plinking ammo, brand does not really matter much. IF you want to approach max velocity, you must at least segregate by brand. Weight is also a consideration. I would recommend you weight after triming and other case prep.

    For plinking ammo (loaded down a bit) you can simply load 'em all up and then box them according to headstamp. Each batch should be consistant within it's self. Batch A (Rem) will shoot differently than batch B (Win).
     
  16. richardnorton

    richardnorton New Member

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    And another thing to look out for in military 5.56 brass for reloading, if it is once fired brass the primer may be crimped in, not too hard most of the time to deprime the brass but if you try seating another primer you will likely crush the new primer. Many ways to take the crimp out, I use the Dillion primer pocket reamer. works well with one stroke and it doesn't have to be mounted on your press. But then if you are using a Dillion 1050 press it has a built in primer pocket reamer. Both are more expensive than other methods, but I like and trust Dillon. Usually the way to tell if the case is once fired if the primer is the same brass color as the case it likely is crimped.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010