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Mike Uher

Reloading ?????

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Where can i get 5.56 dies, and, failing that, how can I reload to 5.56 specifications? i know 5.56 cant go out a .223 (why I got a 5.56 barrel) so i am ok for the pressures. Just want to know for when I start. thanks.

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From everything i have read, putting 5.56 through a .223 will cause you massive trouble on the steep end, and just bad stuff on the small end. 5.56 has a much higher chamber pressure than a .223, and if I am not mistaken, the cartridge size is a little different. I am not 100% sure, but it is a real concern. If your barrel is 5.56, you can run .223, but I have heard that you are more likely to have short strokes (bolt doesn't go all the way to the rear) when doing that. i figure if I can run 5.56, why not run it SHTF.

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Internal dimensions on a 5.56 are a little tighter due to thicker walls and webbing causing a higher pressure with equal powder. A lot of what you can shoot out of which gun is going to be a gun by gun basis, varmit guns tend to get tore up bad by 5.56 ime. Not an AR guy myself, but a buddy of mine had a couple, one he could fire .223 out of all day with no problems, the other would rarely short stroke.

 

This is what I know in the broad strokes, hopefully someone with more knowledge will come along and correct where necessary.

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You can in fact run 5.56 out of .223, the gun won't blow up on the first round. HOWEVER, continued use of the higher pressured 5.56 round will cause eventual damage, so its just safer to not do it. I know people that fire 5.56 out of Mini14's, which are .223. Reloading anything, check out Midwayusa.com, they're pretty much the be all end all of reloading stuff on the internet. Good prices, good sales, variety, etc. Everything I need, I pickup from there unless I can find it cheaper locally. Haven't started reloading yet, don't have a space to ATM, but I've got close to 5,000 pieces of 9mm brass just waiting for it.

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Oh, I forget to mention that to the best of my knowledge the only external dimensional difference between 5.56 ans .223 is OAL. I do not reload it, and never have, I do however know a lot of guys that do, and being in the military have known of more that a few guys "finding" 5.56 laying around and shooting it through their varmint guns. Or guys that know how to load 5.56 brass for .223 pressures.

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I'm not a 5.56 fan, so again I'm only reporting what I've heard. The problem is that the 5.56 round is long enough so that the round engages the lands before the round is fired. This amounts to a restriction in the barrel and the initial chamber pressure shoots through the roof at firing. You probably (emphasize PROBABLY) are not going to break anything the first, maybe even the third time you fire this BUT you are exceeding the design limit of the chamber and NOTHING good comes from that.

The .223 as a "weaker sister" (before anyone gets ticked off - while I am not a fan I don't want to get shot with either, OK?) can be fired in the 5.56. Can't speak to accuracy or cycling but it will not damage the rifle. That is why I suggest that the prepper go with 5.56 if he chooses the AR pattern rifle. I can not tell the difference just by looking. Maybe you heavy 5.56 shooters can but I can not. Since I don't want to be checking head stamps on every round I want to shoot, I'd get the 5.56 and if you pick up some .223 by accident, no mechanical harm is done to the rifle. The other way around, who knows? There are some rifles advertised as 5.56/.223 and imply they can shoot both. That could be done but I would be very sure, before putting down hard earned money on one, of exactly what I was buying.

 

Just the not so humble opinion of a big bore bigot.

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About the only difference between the 5.56 and the .223 is that the 5.56 ammo usually has a crimped primer pocket to hold the primer in. Depriming them can be a pain in the butt but I've done it thousands of times. After that you have to run a swedge into the primer pocket to remove the crimp and round the edges out. After that I loaded them just as I did my commercial .223 brass. My Mini 14 never showed any preference even though I usually didn't mix the brass. I got 5000 once fired military brass from Midway I think and usually loaded it about 5 times before ditching it. I've seen a case separation where the neck and shoulders separate on military brass that was loaded too many times and did NOT want to have to do that extraction. It leave the end of the case in the chamber and then CRAMS another round in on top of it. In a fire fight that would be AWFUL cause the gun is useless and the fix isn't something that you can do in the field. Since my ammo was intended for survival use I didn't take any chances.

 

Now all that said, in my experience the Mini 14 is not at all picky or fragile. I have seen a few AR-15s that seemed a little picky about ammo pressures and OAL. That is one reason why I preferred the Mini. While there is some small differances between a 7.62 nato and a win .308 there isn't any between the 5.56 and the .223. To the best of my knowledge there are only .223 sizing dies out there. Never seen one that was olny and specifically 5.56. Hell I even have a Pocket lee laoder for my .223/5.56. I shot that Mini through 10s of thousands of rounds with exactly 2 jams and one freak stovepipe. Then I sold it to a cop with a couple thousand rounds on stripper clips with a spoon, 8 30rnd clips and pouches. Janet Reno was killing gun dealers all over hell and there was paper on that gun. I got rid of all my papered guns and let them have my FFL and gunsmithing permits.

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Danm,

Ruger says theirs will shoot both. You could load a 5.56 to .223 pressures but I still don't know the effect in an AR platform. Be sure you're happy with the safety of what you're doing. Your life literally depends on you being right.

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