There are an estimated 8 million AR-15s in circulation today, so much so that gun enthusiasts believe “AR” should stand for “America’s Rifle”… and maybe it does!
The best thing about the AR-15 is that it takes 556 ammo and 223 ammo.
But what’s the difference between 556 ammo vs 223, you ask?
Let’s find out!
Same Gun, Many Versions
While most people may think that “AR” stands for “Assault Rifle” or “Automatic Rifle,” it actually stands for ArmaLite, the name of the company that originally manufactured it.
They also invented the famed 223 ammo that the rifles fire.
It wasn’t as popular in the 50s as it is today, and so ArmaLite sold the design to Colt, who invented the M-16 for military use. It was adopted into the United States defense force, replacing its predecessor, the M-14.
What came with this new weapon was a new caliber, the 5.56X45 NATO.
When Colt’s patent for the AR-15 expired in the 70s, many other gun manufacturers began producing their own versions, and thus started the boom of the iconic AR-15 on civvie street.
556 Ammo vs 223
Let’s take a look at the main differences between 556 ammo and 223 ammo.
The 556 has a higher pressure, measured at 58,000 psi, compared to 233,55,000 psi.
Also, the 556 throat differs by 0.125 inches in length compared to the 223 Remington bullet.
The long throat increases the retention of 556 gunpowder and improves performance compared to 223 Remington.
The 223 bullet has a tighter seal around its payload than the 556 bullet.
The 223 cartridge uses a smaller powder capacity than the 556 cartridge, compensating for the pressure difference when both are fired from the same gun.
The 223 has less power than the 556, though.
The 223 cartridge is almost the same size as the 556 cartridge and shares many of the same features.
Both ammo types fit AR-15 specifications.
SAAMI specifications for each ammo size dictate which rifle barrels they should be fired from.
However, it must be noted that firing bullets from the barrels recommended by the SAAMI specification do not differ much in accuracy.
However, if fired from the same 556 barrel, the 223’s accuracy is slightly altered to make it less accurate.
Why Choose 556?
There are many 556 ammo benefits.
The 556 ammo cartridge is more effective than the 223 ammo.
After comparing the 223 vs. 556, we can say that the two cartridges are similar in most aspects. The 223 ammo offers outstanding accuracy and precision when hunting, while the 556 ammo is an excellent choice on the battlefield.
You, therefore, should choose the bullet that best suits your needs, depending on where you will be shooting.
Don’t Jump the Gun
When choosing your caliber, consider that 223 ammo will fit into a 556 chamber, but 556 ammo should never be fired from a 223 chamber. With this golden rule well-remembered, it’s your choice to decide the winner of the 556 ammo vs 223 debate.
Maybe all you need to know is whether you choose 223 or 556, you’re sure to have loads of fun.
Keep reading for more amazing facts, tips and tricks on guns and ammo.