What is the big difference between .223 and the 5.56mm NATO?

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Video .556 nato vs .556

.223 and 5.56mm NATO are quite similar in many aspects but make no mistake, they are indeed different. The subtle differences are particularly important.

Similar in Size

223 rounds are practically equal in size to 5.56mm rounds. This indicates that tin most cases, . 223 ammunition will chamber and fire in a 5.56mm chamber and vice versa. However, the biggest difference between the two is that 5.56x45mm ammunition is loaded to a significantly higher pressure than.

What is the difference between .223 and 5.56 ammo?

5.56x45mm ammunition is loaded to a significantly higher pressure

The biggest difference between the two types of ammunition is that 5.56x45mm ammunition is loaded to a significantly higher pressure than .223 ammunition. Generally, .223 Remington chambers are not designed and constructed to withstand the heightened amount of pressure that 5.56x45mm chambers are built to.

.223 Remington chambers acquire a shorter leade

.223 Remington chambers possess a shorter lead with a steeper angle than 5.56.

What is leade?

Leade is defined as the gap between the mouth of the cartridge and the spot where the rifling engages the bullet.

Commonly, a shorter leade results in enhanced accuracy at the expense of increased pressure joined by decreased velocity. A shorter leade results in more pressure. On the contrary, a longer leade creates increased velocity with lower pressures at the expense of decreased accuracy.

What does the 5.56mm NATO poses longer leade?

The 5.56mm NATO was originally created as a military cartridge, with a demand for increased velocity. The 5.56mm NATO was intended to be used with a longer leade including a shallow angle. Improved reliability was discovered as an additional advantage by allowing more buildup of carbon and other materials without negatively altering the rifle’s function.

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Can .223 and 5.56 be treated as interchangeable rounds?

Even though many people treat the .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm cartridges as interchangeable rounds, this practice can be very dangerous in certain situations and under the wrong circumstances.

Yes, it is true that not all chambers are the same. The same statement goes for ammunition. This is why it is definitely possible to fire 5.56mm NATO ammunition out of .223 Remington chambers with no problems or complications.

However, in the wrong circumstances, problems may occur. Combine ammunition that is toward the top end of satisfactory safety limits with hot summer temperatures and slightly too much fouling in the chamber, you may find yourself running into serious trouble. The rifle is not likely to blow up, though it is possible. It is more likely that you will experience the primer blowing out of the primer pocket on the case. This can result in the primer finding its way into the internal parts of your rifle. This mishap could possibly prevent your rifle from shooting or create a far more dangerous situation.

To avoid this, be sure that you only fire the appropriate ammunition in your rifle. If you are unsure, this information can commonly be found on most rifles on the receiver or the side of the barrel near the chamber, usually engraved.

If it says “.223 Remington,” then you can be rather certain that is what you have.

However, if it says “5.56mm,” that does not surely mean that it is safe to fire all variants of 5.56mm NATO. Unfortunately, not all 5.56mm rifles are created equally. The only way to be 100% sure of what your rifle is would be to either measure the size yourself or get a trustworthy gunsmith to do it for you. Until you are certain, it is best to only fire .223 ammunition in that rifle.

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To Conclude

.223 Remington ammunition may be shot safely in either a .223 Remington or a 5.56mm chamber. Nevertheless, you should only shoot 5.56mm ammunition in a rifle with a 5.56mm chamber or you are risking a possibly catastrophic, critical incident that can easily be avoided.

Still have questions? To gain more knowledge or get answers to your questions, contact the ammo experts at Virtus Ammo today!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>