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5.56 vs .223?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Decidion, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    I am trying to decide which cal would be better for me, both for survival/hunting and in a SHTF situation (I can only afford one or the other).

    My understanding is that a 5.56 rifle can fit a (very slightly) smaller .223 shell, but a 5.56 shell may be tight in a .223 rifle, not to mention the possibility of problems dealing with the higher pressure 5.56 round in general.

    So it would seem a 5.56 would be the better choice from a flexibility standpoint.

    But here is where it gets a little blurry.... I see *tons* of .223 ammo for sale, but very little 5.56. So if .223 is more readily available (and cheaper?), why not just get a .223 anyway?

    I can also get a S&W M&P 15 or a Mini 14 for hundreds less than a quality AR 15.

    So it would seem a .223 would be the better choice from a cost standpoint.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. t.huynh

    t.huynh vancouver, wa Active Member

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    Buy a rifle in 5.56 so you can shoot both calibers.
     
  3. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    Just playing the Devil's advocate here, but for a given price, say $1000, I can either buy a quality AR or a quality 223 *and* around 1000 rounds of ammo.

    So I can either get just the rifle (5.56) or the rifle and 1000 rounds (.223).

    If 5.56 is much less available, why not just stick with the .223 in the first place?
     
  4. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't think of a reason not to buy the 5.56. That way you can use either round, especially if you are concerned about SHTF.
     
  5. littlecars

    littlecars tacoma wa Member

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    Save your money and go with a 223. If shtf your ammo on hand is prabably the last ammo you will ever see in your life. I personaly would never consider anything that doesnt shoot 22lr for a shtf gun, so maybe I should not be giving my opinian.
     
  6. xjjeeper223

    xjjeeper223 Medford Active Member

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    You can get a quality ar for less than a mini-14... Do more research.
     
  7. Brodyboy

    Brodyboy NE PDX Member

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    I'm for the Mini-14 :thumbup:, you can shoot both .223 and 5.56. I have a new one and in the owners manual it states that you can use .223 and 5.56 with out any problems. Enjoy whatever you decide to go with. :thumbup:
     
  8. Mac_Fan

    Mac_Fan Beaverton Active Member

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    "I can also get a S&W M&P 15 or a Mini 14 for hundreds less than a quality AR 15."

    This sentence doesn't make any sense. You're worried about a possible SHTF/survival situation and looking for the cheapest weapon option? You can buy Colt 6920's all day long for $1,200.00. Just save your money until can afford a "quality" AR. You'll be happier in the long run. Also, yes, stick to the 5.56 chamber. You don't have to buy 5.56 ammo but it's nice to have the option.
     
  9. wsu 5.9er

    wsu 5.9er Spanaway WA Member

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    Get an AR chambered in 5.56. Shouldn't really be any more expensive than a .223 AR. 5.56 and .223 look identical but if you put 5.56 in something chambered for .223, you run the risk of damaging the rifle or yourself.

    Bravo Company has their complete uppers for $385 and they are chambered in 5.56. Add $150 for their BCG and charging handle, get a complete lower for under $200, add a rear sight for under $100 and you're good-to-go for a great AR15 chambered in 5.56. :thumbup:
     
  10. Camtender

    Camtender SE Portland Member

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    But Keith at Keith's Sporting Goods says there is no difference between .223 and 5.56, and will start arguing with you and yelling at you in his store because "I should know, I own the store"

    It all started one day when I went in and asked for 5.56 and he handed me 223...........................

    There is a difference, just stagger .223 & 5.56 in your magazine and you will hear a louder report and kick with the 5.56
     
  11. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    Isn't a S&W M&P 15 a quality AR-15 chambered in 5.56?

    Mine seems to be...
     
  12. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    Where did I say I was looking for the cheapest weapon option? I just commented that there is an option for quality .223 rifles that are less than a typical quality 5.56 rifle. If you are trying to evaluate all factors in a gun purchase, shouldn't price be one of them? It doesn't mean you (or I) automatically want to go with the cheapest.

    Yeah I've since found this out. I was thrown off a bit (not knowing much about M&P 15s) by this ad from CDNN where they call it a .223....

    Special.jpg
     
  13. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    That is a smoking deal. I'd jump on that in a heartbeat if I were in the market.


    FWIW, I've noticed that midway usa doesn't always distinguish between .223 and 5.56. The ammo is dimensionally the exact same (externally), but the military brass is a little thicker so it handles/produces higher pressure. The chambers are ever so slightly different, the leade on the NATO chamber being slightly longer.
     
  14. bcp

    bcp SW WA Member

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    Chambers:

    Lots of different 5.56 and 223 chambers, mainly in front of the case. A fast-twist 223 would be intended for heavy bullets, so may work fine with 5.56. I would expect more potential problems using an old 223 chamber from the days when 223 and 5.56 used the same weight light weight bullets. The only sure way to tell would by with a chamber cast or pressure testing.
    -----------------
    Cases:

    Some military is lighter than some commercial. Don't automatically assume military is heavier. Weigh your cases. See attachment or read the whole article at: http://www.6mmbr.com/223Rem.html
    -----------------
    Pressure:

    Looks like they have the same average pressure:

    Lowest pressure for combat-type 5.56 is 50,250 PSI. Highest is 55,000 PSI.

    Download the ARMY AMMUNITION DATA SHEETS
    SMALL CALIBER AMMUNITION TM 43-0001-27 at:

    http://www.ammoinfo.com/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=getit&lid=10
    ------------------
    SAAMI pressure for 223 is also 55,000 PSI.

    SAAMI pressure specs
    -------------------

    And it looks like they have the same maximum:

    "According to the official NATO proofing guidelines the 5.56x45mm NATO case can handle up to 430 MPa (62,367 psi) piezo service pressure. ...This is equal to the C.I.P. maximum pressure guideline for the .223 Remington ..."

    5.56x45mm NATO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Bruce
     
  15. phidelt1736

    phidelt1736 Washougal, Wa New Member

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    I would go with a 5.56 to have the ability to shoot both rounds. Also if you get into reloading, military brass (5.56) is readily available and it's nice to have the ability to create a hotter load. I know when the zombies come I'd like to pack the most punch as well as have a larger pool to pull from.
     
  16. absoluterik07

    absoluterik07 Salem, OR Member

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    Buy that M&P 15! That's an amazing deal those retail for $900 plus in most stores and I paid just a little under at the gun show in February and love it! Throw on a quad rail and some irons and you're good to go! Also I have found that 5.56 ammo is usually cheaper in bulk than .223
     
  17. Point356

    Point356 Southern Oregon New Member

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    Buy a gun with a wylde chamber in .223 it will shoot both .223, 5.56 accurately and safely!!
     
  18. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I emailed Kel-Tec about my SU-16C, they said it would shoot either. So I will!

    Deen
    NRA Benefactor/Recruiter
    WAC Member
    SWWC Member
     
  19. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    Or just order the whole rifle, already assembled, from Spike's Tactical. You can get their SP-15 Mid-Length M4, including shipping and a Samson rear BUIS for less than $800. PM me if you want a 5% discount code...I've done some research :)

    ST-15 Mid-Length LE Carbine [STR5LE2] - $809.95 : Spikes Tactical
     
  20. wsu 5.9er

    wsu 5.9er Spanaway WA Member

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    I would take a Bravo Company upper on a quality lower over the Spike's Tactical complete rifle. They make nice stuff but Bravo Company is second to none IMO. :thumbup: