5.56 brass

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by pills, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. pills

    pills Well-Known Member

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    I am just starting to reload for an AR. I just finished a build on a 5.56 upper and am starting a 6x45 build now. Up to this point I have only reloaded for bolt guns. 1st question, can I use 5.56 brass with the same results for long-range accuracy as .223 brass? I have a few hundred Win. Cases already. Not much .223 brass.
     
  2. backwoods83

    backwoods83 Well-Known Member

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    5.56 brass like lake city is good brass and is cheap, it just doesn't have as much capacity as 223 brass, it should be full length sized with a small base circle die and trimmed every reload, and don't use any dirty ball powders, use AR-comp, H4895, Varget, etc...
     

  3. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    the 5.56 verses .223 controversey has been going on for eons. There's not that much difference between the two rounds contrary to what everybody's gonna tell you. Blackhills loads 5.56 match for the military, and they load to a little over 58K psi (per the president of the company). The real difference between the two rounds is the throat. One is much different than the other. Case wise they are identical, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Now military brass is another storey in itself. The capacity in grains of water is slightly less than the commercial stuff (.223). I can't say anything about commercial 5.56, and I've never checked it out (I have a bunch of blackhills 5.56 brass).

    Now you will also hear stories about a gun blowing up shooting 5.56 stuff in a .223 chamber. But when you dig in you will also find that it was a friend of a friend that knew somebody in Utah that had a neighbor. I've probably put hundreds of mil spec 5.56 thru several rifles chambered in .223. I'd be more worried about the AR having a catastropic failure than a bolt gun, and I doubt that it would anyway. You really ought to get your hands on a small base die set (RCBS sells them along with others). But if your using military brass you need to reduce your loads alittle bit as they just don't hold as much powder. Also with a 5.56 chamber and the throat being different; you need to approach that with some caution.
    gary
     
  4. Loner

    Loner Well-Known Member

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    Back in the 80's we had what we called "the broken bolt club". The ar's with 223 chambers were the most common to fail. What was finally determined is the higher
    pressure 5.56 rounds would stretch the neck into the shorter tighter throat of the 223
    chamber and pinch the bullet, upping the pressures. Winchester used to have a good
    article on it years ago. The Wylde chamber is the best of both worlds imho. New and
    trimmed cases are probably never going to cause a problem, but that's a guess.
     
  5. pills

    pills Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm not worried about blowing anything up, and I will work up with caution. I have 5.56 chambered ARs and wylde chambers. I am just wondering if I can expect the same accuracy results out of thicker 5.56 brass as I could get with .223 brass or if it won't matter at all?
     
  6. backwoods83

    backwoods83 Well-Known Member

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    I will be starting some close range (600yrd). High power matches in the spring with lake city once fired millitary in my 308, also have been necking down the same brass to 243 and neck turning to form my 243ai cases to try at some 1k IBS matches, I just sort them to +- .2 grains and not many are off, I have faith in them they are strong. I flatten the primers on most of my 308 loads and it takes a while to distort the primer pockets, and accuracy is the same as sorted fed, win, norma, or lapua cases.
     
  7. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    hunt up the back issue from Rifle magazine on the difference between the two. They even went so far as to publish the correct chamber drawings. There is no difference other than chamber pressure & throat, and if the gun wont stand 60K PSI and it's a bolt gun; you shouldn't be shooting anything over 45K psi anyway. The AR's with .223 chambers were probably being loaded with military brass (which is junk), and then using published .223 loads right out of the book. A .223 SAAMI spec is 55K PSI, and like I said blackhills loads their 5.56 match to 58K PSI. Your not talking 65K PSI here, and either rifle should hold up well. All the AR's I've owned were chambered in 5.56, but can see the problem with the different throat length and angle. Think there maybe be more than one 5.56 chamber as well. The orginal one was short for the 53 grain bullets it was designed for. The later ones have got to be longer to handle the longer and heavier bullets; I'd like to think.

    As for bolt guns and 5.56, I've shot a lot of it thru the years without a hitch. Recoil is ever so slightly stronger (not very much), and none of it ever shot all that well anyway. I just wanted the cases.
    gary
     
  8. Loner

    Loner Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it will be anything to write home about. The problem is that the brass is junk, and you really need to start out with good cases. But on the otherhand I shot the girl friends AR a couple months ago with a 5.56 chamber in it. The rounds I used were .223 loaded for my 700VS. The rifle shot in the mid sixes with 55 grain Vmax's at 3200fps. The twist rate was 1:10 with a cut rifled heavy barrel. With some trigger work and loads tailored to match the rifle, I think it's a solid half inch rifle.
    gary
     
  10. Loner

    Loner Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    There is a sampling I took some years ago. Thicker? not by much. The federal match and
    federal are the thickest (also softest) and the Lake City military the thinnest. Rumors
    abound in this hobby I think.
     
  11. backwoods83

    backwoods83 Well-Known Member

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    Yes some military brass is crap, if you buy surplus 5.56 brass get Lake City match or IVI, stay away from WCC, R&P, Wolf, etc... occasionally you can get your hands on a good run of PMC cases, sometimes they are #1 in quality but sometimes they are junk as well.