5.56 vs 223: Difference and Comparison

The 5.56 or 5.56x45mm ammunition, as it is most commonly called, is a heavily loaded round with high pressure. The pressure exerted by the 5.56 cartridge or ammunition is roughly 58,000 psi.

The Remington.223 or.233 ammo is specially engineered to tolerate less pressure than 5.56. The pressure exerted by .233 ammunition is estimated to be around 55,000 psi.

Key Takeaways

  1. The 5.56 NATO cartridge is a military round with higher pressure and velocity than the .223 Remington, a civilian round.
  2. Although the dimensions of the cartridges are similar, using a 5.56 NATO round in a firearm chambered for a .223 Remington can be dangerous.
  3. The 5.56 NATO round offers better penetration and performance at longer distances than the .223 Remington.

5.56 vs 223

The difference between 5.56 and .223 ammo is that the 5.56 or 5.56x45mm ammunition, as it is commonly known, is a heavily loaded round that produces a lot of pressure. Furthermore, the chambers of this ammunition have been specifically built to resist and retain tremendous pressure. The Remington.223 or.233 ammo is designed to tolerate less stress than 5.56 ammo. The.233 chambers aren’t built to withstand much pressure, either.

5.56 vs 223

The distance between the location where the bullet engages the weapon and the mouth of the cartridge is greater, with 5.56mm ammo.

Aside from that, it’s noted to have a larger lead with a less steep slope than—233 ammunition Chambers.

Because 5.56 ammunition has a longer lead, it aids in achieving reduced accuracy with increased velocity while decreasing the pressure applied.

Because it has a more extended throat than its counterpart,.233 ammo, the 5.56 ammo is believed to perform better.

The distance between the area where the bullet is engaged in the rifle and the mouth of the cartridge is shorter when using .233 ammunition.

It has a steeper slant and a shorter leade than 5.56 ammo Chambers.

Because .233 ammunition has a shorter leade, it aids in greater accuracy while maintaining a lower velocity but higher pressure.

Because it has a shorter throat than 5.56 ammunition, the .233 ammo is known to have lower performance.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison5.56223
PerformanceBetterComparatively less
Pressure exerted58,000 psi55,000 psi
Leade length, AngleLeade length, AngleLonger, less steep Angle
AccuracyLowHigh
VelocityHighLow

What is 5.56?

The pressure exerted by 5.56 ammo or ammunition is roughly 58,000 psi. Because it has a more extended throat than its counterpart,.233 ammo, 5.56 ammo is believed to perform better.

The 5.56 or 5.56x45mm ammunition, as it is commonly known, is a heavily loaded round with high pressure.

Furthermore, the chambers of this cartridge have been carefully built to withstand and hold tremendous pressure.

The distance between the location where the bullet is engaged in the rifle and the mouth of the cartridge is greater, with 5.56mm ammo.

Otherwise, it is known to have a larger lead with a less steep slope—233 ammunition Chambers.

Because 5.56 ammunition has a longer lead, it aids in achieving lower accuracy while increasing velocity and the pressure exerted is modest.

5 56

What is 223?

The pressure exerted by.233 ammunition or ammo is estimated to be around 55,000 psi. Because the.233 ammo has a shorter throat than the 5.56 ammo, it delivers less performance.

The Remington.223 or.233 ammunition is intended to tolerate less pressure than 5.56 ammo. The.233 chambers are also not built to withstand high pressure.

Because.233 ammunition has a shorter leade; it aids in obtaining improved accuracy while maintaining a lower velocity but higher pressure.

The distance between the place where the bullet is engaged in the rifle and the mouth of the cartridge is shorter with.233 ammunition. It has a shorter leade and a steeper angle than the 5.56 ammo Chambers.

223 scaled

Main Differences Between 5.56 and 223

  1. The popularly known 5.56 or the 5.56x45mm ammunition is highly loaded and exerts extremely high pressure. Moreover, this ammo’s chambers are specially designed to withstand and hold onto high pressure. On the other hand, the 223 or .233 Remington ammunition is specially designed to withstand comparatively less pressure than 5.56 ammo. The chambers of .233 are also not designed to bear heavy pressure.
  2. In the case of 5.56mm ammo, the distance between the area where the bullet is engaged in the rifle and the cartridge’s mouth is greater. Otherwise, it has a larger lead with a less steep angle than the Chambers of .233 ammo. On the other hand, in the case of .233 ammo, the distance between the area the bullet is engaged in the rifle and the cartridge’s mouth is less. It possesses a shorter leade with a steeper angle than the Chambers of 5.56 ammo.
  3. Due to the reason that 5.56 ammo possesses longer lead, it helps in acquiring reduced accuracy with increased velocity, and the pressure exerted is also low. On the other hand, because .233 ammo possesses a shorter leade, it helps in acquiring increased accuracy with a decreased velocity but with increased pressure.
  4. The 5.56 ammo or ammunition exerts a high pressure of approximately 58,000 psi. On the other hand, The .233 ammunition or ammo is known to exert a pressure of approximately 55,000 psi.
  5. The 5.56 ammo is known to perform better as it has a longer throat than its counterpart, the .233 ammo. On the other hand, the .233 ammo is known to provide comparatively lesser performance as it possesses a shorter throat than the 5.56 ammo.
Difference Between 5.56 and 223
References
  1. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA530895
  2. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA317929
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Last Updated : 01 July, 2023

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12 thoughts on “5.56 vs 223: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The author failed to consider the environmental impact of such high-pressured ammunition. I wonder how this can affect the environment in the long term.

    Reply
  2. This text contains a lot of scientific details about the characteristics of different ammunition. While captivating, it might be overly complex for the average reader.

    Reply
  3. Is this article sponsored by ammunition manufacturers? The technical details provided are so specific that it almost seems like an advertisement.

    Reply
    • It’s possible that the author’s goal was to offer a comprehensive technical explanation. However, I also see your point as the details are quite granular.

      Reply
    • I understand what you mean, but I think the depth of information in this article is beneficial in understanding the topic thoroughly.

      Reply
  4. The table provided in the article is very helpful. It’s a great way to visualize the differences between the two types of ammunition.

    Reply
  5. This comparison article is very extensive and thorough, which is commendable for such a technical topic. However, I believe the author should have mentioned the pros and cons of each type of ammunition.

    Reply
    • I actually appreciate the technical depth of the article. The absence of pros and cons provides a sense of neutrality in the comparison.

      Reply
  6. Although I do not own firearms, I have always been interested in their mechanics. This article provides a very detailed comparison between the 5.56 and .233 ammunition, allowing readers to comprehend the differences between them.

    Reply
    • I’m glad that you found the article helpful. However, I believe the author should have included a section about the cost of ammunition. I noticed this while doing further research.

      Reply

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