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.223 / 5.56 question.

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Setterman, Oct 24, 2008.

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  1. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    I recently bought some Federal FXM193 ammo from Wideners. It was advertized as .223, but when it arrived, it was marked 5.56. There has been some discussion on AR websites that 5.56 ammo may not be "safe" for commercial .223 guns, or may cause some barrel or internal damage. I called Wideners and they say it's safe, mil spec. overrun ammo. Any of you AR-15 gurus know for sure?
     
  2. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    The M193 will be okay for commercial 223 rifles. The M855 will generate excessive pressures when fired in a commercial 223 Remington chamber. Some of the other heavy bullet specialty ammo will do the same thing.
     
  3. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Coach!
     
  4. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Wideners said the FXM's were mil spec overruns. GunZones article says they may or maynot be Mil spec. I guess you have to ask before you buy?
     
  5. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    The definitive way to determine that ammo is Military or Military overrun is to look for the NATO stamp.

    "Mil-Spec" may or may not be kosher. Whose military specs the product meets is up for grabs.

    Amping the pic up to 200% will show the 30/06 round on the left, which was never a NATO round. The 5.56 and 7.62 rounds ARE military, as evidenced by the NATO cross.

    All three rounds are Lake City brass. The older 30/06 was made when Remington had the contract (1941-1985). The 5.56 and 7.62 were made under Winchester's contract (1985-2007). In April, 2007, Alliant won the contract.

    Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the largest small-arms ammunition plant (5.56-20mm) in the world.

    For plinking or defense, the newer polymer coated Wolf ammo will work, as long as the chamber of an autoloading firearm is kept reasonably clean.

    During a five day Patrol Rifle Instructor class earlier this year, some LEO folks were shooting the Wolf for the class. After five days of deliberately sparse maintenance, they had no issues. In the fourth day of what turned out to be a grueling and outstanding class, I had a Remington (commercial) hull separate in my Colt's, prompting me to use my handy-dandy Broken Shell Extractor tool.

    It took about two minutes to get the gun back in the fight. In a real world situation, I would not be writing this! By the time I performed three Tap-Rack-Ready drills, then transitioned to my sidearm, I likely would have been a bullet magnet.

    In many ways, Military ammo is superior to commercial ammo for reliability. ALL US Military ammo is chamber gauged.

    I now only use US Military ammo or brass in my Colt's AR-15 Sporter, whether for training or practice.
     
  6. maclellan1911

    maclellan1911 TS Member

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    OK so what is the difference between M193 and M855. Also How do you tell What/when/where military ammo is produced. How do you find US mil spec ammo? Also is there a difference between mil ammo 5.56 between ar15 use and say a SAW type of machine gun in 5.56? I will most likely be picking up a AR15, decided on a STAG unless there is something on the shelf wourth grabing. I will most likely grab a case of military surplus ammo.
     
  7. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

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    Brian,

    See the link above for ATK's (apparent) response regarding the XM designation. You may want to contact ATK directly.


    mac,

    You might want to go to AR15.com and browse the ammunition forum. I think all the information you want is there.
     
  8. noknock1

    noknock1 Active Member

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    This may make the water clear as mud. . .
     
  9. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    Specialty ammunition, such as the M855, will have paint on the tip of the bullet. The M855 is green. Some tracer is painted orange or red. There is also a true AP load for the 5.56. It has black paint on the tip of the bullet. You should not see this on the commercial market. Green tip M855 is commonly available.

    For most uses, the 55 gr load will do what you want. A good rule of thumb for military ammo is, if there is no paint on the bullet, it is okay for commercial rifles.

    Specialty ammo, such as commercial Match with bullets over 60 grains are typically designed for the 5.56 chamber. The Wylde chamber has a slightly longer throat than the commercial 223 Remington.

    Firing Remington 69 gr Match ammo in a commercial 223 will generate pressures in the EIGHTY THOUSAND PSI BRACKET. Enough said!

    My Browning A-Bolt II is marked 223/5.56mm. It also has a faster than normal twist. It does well (sub .3 MOA) with the Hornady 60 gr V-Max.

    You will get monumentally better accuracy from your 223 if you reload precision ammo. This is best done by folks with obsessive/compulsive disorder. LOL

    What type of rifle do you have? If it has the customary 1-14" twist, it is made for the 55 gr bullet. It will shoot 35-55 gr pills well. Lighter and flat based bullets are out of gas at 300 yards. The boat tail bullet will have 1/3 more energy at 300 yards than a flat based bullet.
     
  10. maclellan1911

    maclellan1911 TS Member

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    I missed the ammo part at ar15
     
  11. Sky Buster

    Sky Buster Sky Buster TS Supporters

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    STAG uses a mil-spec chamber. It will shoot 5.56 or .223
     
  12. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    jwells

    Look at the barrel in front of the sight post of your Colt's. It should say 5.56 and twist, which will be 1-7" for earlier models, and 1-9" for later models.

    This stamping may not be the esiest to read.
     
  13. ljunatic

    ljunatic Member

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    jwells, The only marking that counts is the one on the barrel. If it is marked 5.56 then you have the right chamber dimensions for full power mil spec ammo. Firing higher pressure 5.56 ammo in a true .223 chamber may cause blown out primers, failed extraction and high pressure signs on the brass. Some rifles may handle it fine, depending on the exact chamber dimensions. The Wlyde chamber design is a very good compromise between the two, and IMHO the best choice.
     
  14. ljunatic

    ljunatic Member

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    as to your second question about ammo to avoid....the 1/9 twist MIGHT limit you to bullet weights under 75 grains, as the longer bullets are better stabilized by a 1/7 or 1/8 twist. But this is really just an issue with accuracy over a long distance, not one of function, nor one that will cause damage to your rifle
     
  15. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    Dear jwells

    As was said by another poster, you will get good results from bullet weights under 75 gr.

    This is the best twist for the AR types for all around use. There is no commercial or military ammo that would be unsafe in your firearm.
     
  16. hoggy

    hoggy TS Member

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    Sheesh! Now I have to check mine.....but glad this thread was started. Good info to know should the worst happen.
     
  17. hoggy

    hoggy TS Member

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    I didn't check the barrel but did see on the Box my Colt AR-15 Sporter came in is says both .223 and (5.56) for cal. I would think it would not state both if it wasn't ok to shoot either.
     
  18. claybrdr

    claybrdr Well-Known Member

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    My Bushmaster XM15 says both .223 and .556 on the lower so I guess its fine as well. Can't see the twist anywhere on the barrel. Its not my long range gun since it sports a C-More so I guess it really doesn't matter.
     
  19. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Alls good. The Rock River model I have has a Wylde chamber, which will shoot both.
     
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