Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Loading .223, 5.56

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by IheartGUNS, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    260
    Getting ready to reload 223/556. Can I load the cases the same? Getting kinda confused between the two. For instance, I was going through the cases and something caught my eye. Its a 223 case with a crimped primer and has the nato stamp? How can I tell the difference between a 223 and a 556 case? Does it even matter? Sorry for the newb questions.

    THANKS
     
  2. Nutty4Guns

    Nutty4Guns Portland ADHD Superstar

    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    436
    If I'm not mistaken, the 5.56 should be a little longer in the neck.
     
  3. Crispy

    Crispy WA Member

    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    17
  4. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,089
    Likes Received:
    1,310
    The leade on a .223 can be longer, the case of a 5.56 is slightly thicker due top the higher pressures of that cartridge.
     
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    The 5.56 Nato cartridge needs a longer leade to keep pressures managable in the chamber. As for "civilian loading" just load as if it was a .223. The only real reason a barrel that is marked 5.56 is that it's safe to shoot surplus NATO ammo. Barrels marked .223 with NATO cartridges are considered by SAAMI to be an unsafe combination.

    As for the 5.56 case being "thicker", this is an urban legend that comes from the .308/7.62x51 NATO rounds where the case IS thicker. Not so in the 5.56 case. As with all cases, weights and capacities can vary but not like the difference between the .308 case and the 7.62 NATO case.
     
  6. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    260
    Thanks
     
  7. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    136
    you should be able to load them both the same, i have. if its not marked (223 rem) its most likely a 5.56 case. the only thing that differs when i reload the 2 is the need to remove the crimp in 5.56 cases.
     
  8. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    50
    Both cartridges can be loaded the same, have the same dimensions and are interchangeable. This is not true for factory ammo. The NATO 5.56 is rated for a higher pressure than .223 and therefore factory 5.56 ammo should not be fired in a .223 chamber. Conversely, .223 is fine to shoot in a 5.56 chamber. The only dimensional difference between the two concerns the chamber, not the cartridge. Most magazines will not allow you to utilize the longer leade of the 5.56 chamber anyway, so as far as the reloader is concerned, they are identical cartridges.

    It is also a false assumption that 5.56 has a thicker case...sometimes yes, but not always (Federal 5.56 is typically thinner than LC brass as an example) This assumption comes from the .308/7.62 X 51 case where it IS true than 7.62 brass is indeed thicker than .308 factory ammo.
     
    Varmit and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,801
    Likes Received:
    836
    Something I would recommend against (but this understandably comes from someone who may be overly concerned about consistency, resulting accuracy and absence of glitches in the reloading process) would be mixing the two types of brass in one loading session. Personally, I avoid even mixing brands of brass and number of times fired (even of the same marked caliber) in one batch. I believe I have varied from this self-discipline when loading .38special for practice ammo.

    "Stump Shooters", "Noise Makers", and "Volume Reloaders" (who consider production amounts and cost factors above all else) probably blissfully continue their pursuits with no such self-imposed requirements.
     
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Here's a chart showing the weight differences in some common .223/5.56 cases. If all the outside dimensions are the same (or real close) then these weight variances can translate into differences in capacity. Focus first on the average weight column to see how wide these variations can be from headstamp to headstamp. Then note the extreme spread/standard deviation numbers to see how wide the variation can be within the same headstamp.

    All the capacity differences will translate into accuracy issues and can "put a max load over the top" if one isn't careful. If it wasn't so darn time consuming, one should do this kind of analysis by comparing "dry weight" with "Wet", filled with water, so the actual capacity is known.



    Brass Manufacturer Aver. Wt.(Sample) Extreme Spread Standard Deviation
    Lapua (new lot) 93.35 (100) 1.2 gr 0.31 gr
    Hornady 93.88 (50) 1.7 gr 0.43 gr
    Federal 96.28 (50) 2.3gr 0.75 gr
    Lake City ’04 92.97 (50) 2.5 gr 0.61 gr
    WCC 99 95.5 (20) 2.9 gr 0.74 gr
    IMG (Guatemalan) 95.42 (25) 3.1 gr 0.88 gr
    PMP 104.4 (50) 3.9 gr 0.93 gr
    Radway 96.05 (50) 4.1 gr 0.89 gr
    PMC 93.48 (20) 4.6 gr 1.36 gr
    Remington 92.33 (50) 4.9 gr 0.85 gr
    Winchester 93.91 (44) 6.5 gr 0.96 gr

    There aren't a lot of surprises on this list with Lapua being the best for consistent weight and Winchester being the worst although lots of shooters toss out the foreign stuff thinking it's crap even though it's twice as good as the Winchester.

    A graphic example of what Spitpatch said, sort the cases and load by same name batch.

    The formated chart and further info is available on this site:

    http://www.accurateshooter.com/cartridge-guides/223rem/
     
  11. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    260
    Just to make things clear, I'm more of a plinker, not into accuracy, yet. I love to shoot with iron sights, its more fun to me. So i'm assuming what above said, is for accuracy? I watched some yt videos and read, the same about loading by same batch, but is that really necessary?
     
  12. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    50
    I love iron sights as well, especially when shooting military service rifles. Accuracy is of course an issue with any shooter, but it's up to the shooter to determine the degree of accuracy desired. For example, I'm completely happy with the accuracy of most MilSurp ammo out to about 100 yds with iron sights, past that point, reloading accuracy comes into play and good optics combine with good technique to get consistent accuracy.

    Personally, I've not reached the point where case weight is an issue for me, but consistent bullet weight is. I separate cases by headstamp and year of manufacture for Mil Surp brass, and do my best to accurately measure powder (I use a Lyman DPS dispenser), and seat bullets to create consistent loads, but the chronometer is my best gauge of consistency.

    If the bullet is consistent, and it's traveling at a consistent velocity...there's not much more I can do to improve accuracy.
     
  13. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Matching cases is essential for accuracy but don't forget, there are still some basic requirements for "Plinking Ammo". One can develop a load, using one case type, and push it to the limit. When that same load is used in another manufacturers case that is slightly smaller in capacity, you have just exceeded the safe limits for that cartridge. Extra caution should be used when working at the upper limits. Doesn't mean that one of those marginal loads will necessarily blow up a rifle, it just means that any safety margin was diminished. Do that enough times and unwanted surprises can occur.
    "
     
  14. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,801
    Likes Received:
    836
    Well, accuracy is not the only reason to maintain brass consistency in a loading session. Safety (as deadshot alludes to), and "glitches in the loading process" (as I alluded to) are other reasons. Function in the weapon is a third. Yes, you can mix brass and be safe, have no hangups in the reloading process, and full functionality in your gun. But if your brass is consistent, of the same brand and times fired, then you reduce the potential problems in each of these areas to almost nil.