.223 / 5.56 NATO Ammo

.223 / 5.56 NATO Ammo

.223 Remington is quickly becoming one of the most-used rifle calibers in the world. Naturally Cheaper Than Dirt! has a full line of .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO in stock and ready to ship..223 / 5.56 NATO Ammo. We are sure to have the perfect ammunition for your every application. Have a favorite brand? We carry it.  Whether you’re looking for hollow point loads for self-defense, FMJ loads for plinking or target loads for long-range shooting, we’ve got you covered with the best ammunition on the market. Take a look at our selection of .223 Rem and 5.56 NATO ammo today and stock up for your next trip to the range.

Differences between the two are small but can have a large impact on performance, safety and weapon function.

The first difference is the higher pressure level of the 5.56 NATO cartridge which runs at approximately 58,000 psi. A 223 Remington is loaded to approximately 55,000 psi.

The second and most important difference between the two is the fact that a 5.56 NATO chamber has a .125” longer throat. This allows approximately one more grain of powder to be loaded into a 5.56 NATO cartridge; this is what gives it higher performance than its 223 Remington cousin.

The biggest problem with these differences is when firing a 5.56 NATO cartridge in a rifle chambered for 223 Rem. Due to the longer throat that the NATO chamber employs this combination will cause a 223 chambered weapon to run at approximately 65,000 psi or more. This is 10,000 psi higher than the 223’s normal functioning pressure of 55,000 psi. This is NOT safe and will cause primers to back out, or worse, cause harm to the operator, the rifle, or both.

The reverse of this is firing a 223 Rem cartridge in a 5.56 NATO chambered rifle. Due to the throat difference between the two chambers a 223 Rem cartridge may not work optimally in a 5.56 NATO chambered weapon. The cause of this is the lack of pressure built by a 223 Rem cartridge fired from a 5.56 NATO chamber. The 223’s 55,000 psi will not be attained and therefore velocity and performance are hurt. Problems start occurring when this combination is fired out of a 5.56 NATO chambered rifle with a 14.5” (or shorter) barrel. The lower powder charge of the 223 round coupled with the pressure drop that occurs when it is fired in a the 5.56 NATO chamber will cause the rifle to cycle improperly. NATO chambered rifles with barrels longer than 14.5” should function properly when firing 223 Rem ammunition.

What is a NATO Round?

When you go to buy ammo, you will probably come into some that are labeled NATO rounds while other ammo is just regular ammo. The NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization that is a group of countries that have an agreement to standardize their ammo. NATO grade bullets are military grade and not meant for recreational use such a hunting game or shooting sports. Their standards are for military combat situations. The standardization helps troops in the field to share ammo with allies that use the same standardized ammo.

Brief Histories of the 223 and 5.56 Calibers

The 5.56 bullet round was first developed in the 1950s as an experimental cartridge for the then popular M-16 assault rifle. This new round became widely known due to its effectiveness and ease of use. The 5.56 solved the issues of heavy weight and eased control that were common with the 7.62 by 51 mm rounds that were being used at the time on the lower grade M-14 rifle.

After the 5.56 was officially taken into the military, the Remington company developed a civilian version of the 5.56 round. This is how the 223 came into being. As such, the 223 is a civilian version of the military grade 5.56 round.

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