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Cognitive Dissident
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hear so much garbage about the difference between 5.56 and .223 and how the 5.56 will blow up a rifle chambered for .223, but I have to regard it as so much ignorant chatter.

I've been shooting anything marked .223 or 5.56 in my Remington Model 7 and other bolt actions (even an old Remington 788) and never had a problem.

For that matter, I've shot 5.56 a few times in my Browning BLR without any extraction problems or any high pressure indications.

Does anybody have a reliable report of a bolt action .223 being blown up by a 5.56 round?
 

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I cherish my Savage .223 bolt gun enough to only shoot .223, even though I have 5.56 stored. A few shots with 5.56 might not hurt it, but it is sort of like putting 50# of air into a tire rated for 44#: It will usually work, but should not be a regular occurrence as the tires are not rated for it: the consequences of failure can be severe. Listen to the engineers! Having a catastrophic failure inches from your eye and face is not something I would care for., not to mention damage to your guns. Same reason I don't shoot CCI MiniMags through my Grandfather's 1912 Rem 12: it wasn't designed for those charges.

Up to you, but generally speaking, .223 is less expensive than 5.56: just keep a separate supply for it.
 

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Cognitive Dissident
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I cherish my Savage .223 bolt gun enough to only shoot .223, even though I have 5.56 stored. A few shots with 5.56 might not hurt it, but it is sort of like putting 50# of air into a tire rated for 44#: It will usually work, but should not be a regular occurrence as the tires are not rated for it: the consequences of failure can be severe. Listen to the engineers! Having a catastrophic failure inches from your eye and face is not something I would care for., not to mention damage to your guns. Same reason I don't shoot CCI MiniMags through my Grandfather's 1912 Rem 12: it wasn't designed for those charges.

Up to you, but generally speaking, .223 is less expensive than 5.56: just keep a separate supply for it.
Well, I would never tell anybody else to do it, but it's been ok for me.

The real reason I ask for the experience of others on it is that I've been looking for an actual documented report of a catastrophic failure in a bolt-action rifle and I can't find one.

I'm confident enough in the surplus strength of bolt action rifles that I believe the fuss over this is just overcautious CYA by the ammo companies because they never should have come out with two cartridges so similar and easily mixed together yet with a pressure disparity.

Anyhow, again, has anybody seen an actual documented report of a catastrophic failure in a bolt-action rifle due to shooting 5.56 in a .223 bolt action rifle?
 

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Could simply be the principle of "over-engineering" things that has allowed you to go without issue so far. On the other hand, the 223 naming on modern rifles could easily just be a marketing tactic for those not role playing or avoiding AR-15s.

Someone mentioned on another forum that a Ruger CS rep stated their old Mini stamped as 223 was actually chambered for 5.56 - smells like civilian marketing to me.

I passed up a Remmington 700 on sale for this reason. Easier to find M193 than it is 223 and I didn't feel like "risking it for the biscuit."

The world of cartridges in general is odd. The naming conventions, or the lack thereof, alone can be frustrating. For christ sake 5.56 is the land diameter in metric...vs. using SAE measurements for 223 on the diameter of the bullet. Of course we also have some rounding on many of these cartridges, some of which are more obnoxious. I believe 22 LR is 223, while 223 is actually 224.
 

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I have a Remington model 700 in .223 Rem, and one in .308 Win (so marked). They are 20" "police sniper" versions, with 1:9 and 1:12 twist heavy barrels. In my opinion they were made for available "military and police" ammo. As in, including NATO spec ammo.

.308 Win is more potent than 7.62 NATO; while 5.56 NATO is more potent than .223 Rem. If the throat in my model 700 was too short for 5.56, I can't tell by loading it. If the peak pressure is higher it is not evident by looking at fired cases, or bolt handle lift.

Even if shooting 5.56 produces higher than normal pressures (or higher than .223 - which we know it does), the chamber wall is thick enough to handle with this bull barrel, especially due to the smaller caliber chamber diameter (compared to .308).

Also, the .223 bolt is identical to the bolt in the .308, except for the bolt face. If a .308 Win bolt thrust resulting from 60 kPSI and .47" diameter can be carried safely, then the 5.56 bolt thrust from 60 + kPSI at .377" is not over stressing the gun - because it is much less than for the .308. Ditto, if the peak pressure is actually 70 kPSI when firing 5.56 ammo.

So, if the primers and case head are not flattening out excessively; and the bolt lift feels the same as when shooting .233 in your rifle. I think you can keep doing it.

As the twist in my .223 bolt rifle is only 1:9, that alone suggests not shooting longer (or "fuller" ogive) bullets, that might be loaded such that the bullet contacts the lands (or is too close).

Comparing 55 grain FMJ Federal .223 and 5.56 rounds side by side, the 5.56 overall length is about .08" longer for the 5.56. If the chamber leade length of a given .223 was intended for 40 grain varmint rounds, then it may be short enough to cause trouble with 5.56 ammo. So, make an assessment or play it safe.

Keep your eyes open, and your nose clean.
 
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Cognitive Dissident
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a Remington model 700 in .223 Rem, and one in .308 Win (so marked). They are 20" "police sniper" versions, with 1:9 and 1:12 twist heavy barrels. In my opinion they were made for available "military and police" ammo. As in, including NATO spec ammo.

.308 Win is more potent than 7.62 NATO; while 5.56 NATO is more potent than .223 Rem. If the throat in my model 700 was too short for 5.56, I can't tell by loading it. If the peak pressure is higher it is not evident by looking at fired cases, or bolt handle lift.

Even if shooting 5.56 produces higher than normal pressures (or higher than .223 - which we know it does), the chamber wall is thick enough to handle with this bull barrel, especially due to the smaller caliber chamber diameter (compared to .308).

Also, the .223 bolt is identical to the bolt in the .308, except for the bolt face. If a .308 Win bolt thrust resulting from 60 kPSI and .47" diameter can be carried safely, then the 5.56 bolt thrust from 60 + kPSI at .377" is not over stressing the gun - because it is much less than for the .308. Ditto, if the peak pressure is actually 70 kPSI when firing 5.56 ammo.

So, if the primers and case head are not flattening out excessively; and the bolt lift feels the same as when shooting .233 in your rifle. I think you can keep doing it.

As the twist in my .223 bolt rifle is only 1:9, that alone suggests not shooting longer (or "fuller" ogive) bullets, that might be loaded such that the bullet contacts the lands (or is too close).

Comparing 55 grain FMJ Federal .223 and 5.56 rounds side by side, the 5.56 overall length is about .08" longer for the 5.56. If the chamber leade length of a given .223 was intended for 40 grain varmint rounds, then it may be short enough to cause trouble with 5.56 ammo. So, make an assessment or play it safe.

Keep your eyes open, and your nose clean.
l was hoping I'd get a logical and rational reply like that.

I'm still searching for a case of a blown up bolt action........or any action for that matter.

It seems they're rare as hen's teeth. None found so far.

Yes, when we shoot the 5.56 in a .223 with no signs of excess pressure.........why should we believe the horror stories?
 

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Logos, not a question of horror stories, but balancing the risk of failure with the consequences of failure. Having a failure 6" from my face isn't something I'd prefer to even think about. Both calibers are generally available, so I stick with .223 for my Savage. I have some, perhaps a LOT.

If the zombies are coming over the fenceline, I might change my mind: grab whatever (5.56 or .223) is available, but at that point, it'l be my Mini-14, which can safely shoot either without a hiccup - even if stamped otherwise (the manual for all except the Target model say NATO 5.56 is fine). I would just not make a habit of shooting 5.56 NATO in my Savage marked .223 when I have plenty of .223...
 

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Cognitive Dissident
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Logos, not a question of horror stories, but balancing the risk of failure with the consequences of failure. Having a failure 6" from my face isn't something I'd prefer to even think about. Both calibers are generally available, so I stick with .223 for my Savage. I have some, perhaps a LOT.

If the zombies are coming over the fenceline, I might change my mind: grab whatever (5.56 or .223) is available, but at that point, it'l be my Mini-14, which can safely shoot either without a hiccup - even if stamped otherwise (the manual for all except the Target model say NATO 5.56 is fine). I would just not make a habit of shooting 5.56 NATO in my Savage marked .223 when I have plenty of .223...
I agree. I'll not shoot it unless there's a good reason.

I'm not reckless, just skeptical of this this highly questionable legend.

I need to see some evidence rather than the CYA claims from the ammo makers.

Until I do I'm calling BS.
 
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