What's more powerful 5.56 or .223?
- Russ in NOVALv 76 months agoFavorite Answer
A cartridge designated as 5.56 NATO is a tad more energetic than a cartridge with SAAMI designation .223 Remington. Note that dimensionally these cartridges are identical, with the 5.56 having more powder charge than .223. The primary dimensional difference is in the rifle's camber (not the cartridge), with the 5.56 having a longer throat and leade to deal with the higher additional pressure. Consequently the 5.56 NATO chamber can safely shoot both 5.56 and .223, whereas a .223 Remington chamber can shoot only .223.
- Mark JackLv 76 months ago
556 is higher pressure but other factors go into how powerful an individual load is compared to another.
- RobinLv 76 months ago
I shoot 5.56 NATO 62gn in my Ruger 77VT .223 and have no problems, no throat erosion, no excessive pressure. 6" to 10" groups at 1000 yards from Harris bipod and Swarovski scope
- USAFisnumber1Lv 76 months ago
The 5.56 NATO is a more powerful round than the .223 Remington. Even though they are the same size and each will fit into a gun designed for the other, the NATO round is loaded to a higher chamber pressure than the .223. If you have an older gun from the 60s that says .223 Remington for the ammo, it might not be able to handle the NATO round. But both are still derived from a varmit round and compared to what other military rounds out there, it is lame.
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- Steel RainLv 76 months ago
The difference is insignificant.
- GlacierwolfLv 76 months ago
In ballistics power is speed times bullet weight. Here a light weight 40gr hollow point bullet moving very fast can have the same statistical power as a 80gr soft nose bullet moving much slower (we'll say 1/2 speed to keep the math easy on the brain matter)
Send that fast 40gr into a deer - the hollow cavity instantly fills up with hair + hide, the bullet instantly expands and falls apart with practically all bullet pieces bsorbed in the fat layers and almost no large pieces passing through the fat and into the muscle. You get a heck of wound on the outside of the animal but very little that hit bone or vital organs - it would limp away and die.
Send that 80gr moving half speed into a deer - it will drill though the hair, hide, fat, begin to open in the muscle tissue and continue to break bones and damage vital organs. With decent placement its a one shot clean kill.
Upside to the 40gr HP - one shot clean kill on varmints like fox to wolf. The high speed makes it fly flat and very little drop due to gravity. In a light breeze the wind has little time to push it around but a stiff wind will shove it way, way off course.
Upside to the 80gr soft nose - better choice for deer. The extra weight usually helps buck cross winds which makes it a better choice for target shooting.
You can argue 5.56mm vs 223 all day - the difference is not worth discussing unless you are a hard core NRA highpower rifle competition shooter..... and even then it might not mean much depending on what ammo you are issued.
A smart bunny would worry about proper bullet choice than anything else - all things being equal.
Fact is if I brought 20 to 30 match shooters to the range, and had AR's and Mini-14's chambered and stamped with both chamber styles - might as well toss in a few Wyldes - and I handed them loaded mags of ammo only I knew what it was...…. maybe only one or two experienced shooters would tell the difference. (And I would not be one of them)
Go find something better to worry about. LOL.
- daniel gLv 76 months ago
Both are much the same. The NATO load in 5.56 just has a tad higher chamber pressure, the bullet trajectory is near identical.
Presuming the same weight of bullet. NATO is often heavier for more energy. Ergo, 5.56 NÀTO has a slight edge over .223.
A lot of BS here about comparability,,a gun chambered for 5.56 NATO can also shoot Remington .223,, but NOT the other way around.
- Anonymous6 months ago
Do you mean the .223 Remington and the 5.56 x 45mm NATO or bore diameter?
- 6 months ago
if the bullets are the same weight than the 5.56 wins. It was designed to use a .223 but at higher pressures.
.223 can be shot in a 5.56 but never a 5.56 in a .223!
- KidddasLv 76 months ago
if ur talking about volts or amps 5.56 is more powerful than .233