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Thread: 5.56 / .223 brass difference?

  1. #1
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    5.56 / .223 brass difference?

    I have 1000 rounds of once fired Winchester 5.56 brass. I know the difference between 5.56 and .223 loaded ammo, but I'm unaware of any difference in the raw brass. I do know that military (LC) brass is thicker and can increase pressure, but I'm talking about Winchester brass.

    Is there any reason why I can't load the 5.56 brass to .223 specs and use it in my #10PH with it's .223 chamber??

    I plan on using SB (small base) die for the first loading, then fire form and neck size after that.

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    Only thing to really worry about is the crimp ring around the primer pocket. If the brass has that crimp you will have to cut it out.

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    Why small base die? That's only if you're shooting lever actions or some semi's. I've never had to use SB dies,even for AR's.I think it works the brass too much and shortens life.Just use regular FL sizer the first time and NS after that.
    "An armed society is a polite society"
    "...shall not be infringed" What's the confusion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Solo View Post
    I have 1000 rounds of once fired Winchester 5.56 brass. I know the difference between 5.56 and .223 loaded ammo, but I'm unaware of any difference in the raw brass. I do know that military (LC) brass is thicker and can increase pressure, but I'm talking about Winchester brass.

    Is there any reason why I can't load the 5.56 brass to .223 specs and use it in my #10PH with it's .223 chamber??

    I plan on using SB (small base) die for the first loading, then fire form and neck size after that.
    There is NO SPOON!!!
    1)There is no difference in brass
    2)I have the same book that says the brass is thicker, and pressures. Read #1
    3) Winchester sold their brass cartridge business in 2007. So do you mean Winchester brass, or brass with the Winchester name? Again read #1
    4) The specs are the same, Read #1
    5)Small base dies are for when brass has been run through very loose, or Scalloped chambers, such as on some HK, and FAL autos. IME RCBS dies are at the LARGE end of the spec, and have had an issue along the way. With my standard Lee F/L dies, there has never been a need for the SB dies.
    UNLESS you specifically buy special purpose brass, any difference is merely manufacturing tollerances.
    If I could get the upload to work, I'd post capacities...
    I'm a firm believer in the theory that if it bleeds, I can kill it.

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    I'm a firm believer in the theory that if it bleeds, I can kill it.

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    I have a lot of military 5.56 LC brass from the mid 70s and it has the same capacity as new commercial or military brass.

    Most of those references are geared towards 30-06 which often does have capacity differences between military and commercial.

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    No, not on purpose.
    The 30-06 Springfield has ONLY ever had one spec, same as the 7.62 Nato/308.
    The 223/5.56 has a LEADE and small pressure difference ONLY. But the brass spec is still the same.
    I'm a firm believer in the theory that if it bleeds, I can kill it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie View Post
    Only thing to really worry about is the crimp ring around the primer pocket. If the brass has that crimp you will have to cut it out.
    cut it out or swage it out, the only other real difference is the headstamp. L C, W C C, and such are military and the commercial is stamped 223Rem. The newer true nato approved ammo will have the nato stamp on it, a + inside a o. You should try to keep it in lots with the same headstamp as there are differences between between lots of both military and commercial brass.
    Last edited by earl39; 09-01-2012 at 01:31 PM.
    "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 (New King James Version)

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    I would LOVE to see any tangible evidence of that.
    The "jamming" issues were a combination of things.
    1) a "Least-costing" decision to change powder, AFTER the testing and contract was issued.
    2) No cleaning equipment issued
    3) addition of chrome lined chamber and bore.

    I question the timing of "Winchester losing the contract" for operation of the LC plant, but the military buys from several sources regardless of that. Winchester sold it's powder production facility around 2000. They sold their brass cartridge business about 2007.

    ATK has the contract to operate the Lake City Arsenal, and has been running the Radford Arsenal up until a recent JV with General Dynamics. It appears now at least, that the Lake City Arsenal is little more than an assembly plant; with components coming from various sources. As an example The gunpowder is coming from GD out of Florida.
    I'm a firm believer in the theory that if it bleeds, I can kill it.

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    Ed i am just wondering just where the 62,000 psi comes from. Milspec is for 55,000 with the m197 high pressure test loads running 70,000 psi. the m855 is the highest pressure of any 5.56x45 load other than the high pressure. Except the restricted range plastic bullet loads most of the rest of the milspec loads are around 52,000 psi. All this is as of 1994 mil-spec. Maybe they have upped the pressure since then but the m855 is speced to run 3025 fps 78 feet from the muzzle. You can find all this info at everyspec.com.
    "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 (New King James Version)

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    Here is the specs taken from mil-spec sheet TM 43-0001-27. As you can see it clearly shows no matter how they measured it the M197 is a proof load and you have your figures wrong. There is a lot of hoopla out there about the 223 vs 5.56 and if you look at your graph you will see that even your 62,000 psi load in an uneven test didn't break the 60,000 psi mark. Also if you look it up copper units of pressure are always listed as cup and pounds per square inch are listed as psi That is an industry and world wide standard. Yes there are a lot of things people don't know abut the black rifle but there is also a lot of myth out there about it also.
    Now we can let everryone make their own decission and get back to the matter of the brass being the same or different.


    CARTRIDGE, 5.56MM, HIGH PRESSURE TEST, M197
    Type Classification:
    STD - AMCTC 4484.
    Use:
    Rifles, 5.56mm, M16 and M16A1. The cartridge is
    used to proof test weapons during manufacture, test, or
    repair.
    Description:
    HIGH PRESSURE TEST Cartridge. The cartridge is
    identified by a stannic-stained (silvered) or nickel-plated
    cartridge case.
    Function:
    The cartridge is loaded with a special propellant to
    produce pressures substantially in excess of the service
    round.
    Tabulated Data:
    DODAC...............................1305-A070
    UNO serial number .............0012
    UNO proper shipping
    name ..................................Cartridges for
    weapons, inert projectile
    Weight ...............................174 gr
    Length................................. 2.26 in. (57.4 mm)
    Tracer .................................NA
    Primer.................................Percussion
    Fuze....................................NA
    Explosive:
    Type ................................NA
    Weight ............................NA
    Incendiary:
    Type ................................NA
    Weight .............................NA
    Propellant:
    Type ...............................SR 7641
    Weight-............................16.7 gr
    Projectile:
    Weight .............................56 gr
    Performance:
    Chamber pressure...............70,000 psi
    Velocity ..............................NA
    Shipping and Storage Data:
    Quantity-distance class/
    SCG ................................1.4S
    Storage code.......................Class V
    10-9

    TM 43-0001-27
    CARTRIDGE, 5.56MM, BALL, M855
    Type Classification:
    STD - MSR 05826003.
    Use:
    Machine Gun, 5.56mm, M249E1; and Rifle, 5.56mm,
    M16A2. The cartridge is intended for use against
    personnel and unarmored targets.
    Description:
    BALL Cartridge. The cartridge is identified by a green
    bullet tip.
    Tabulated Data:
    DODAC...............................1305-A059
    UNO serial number .............0012
    UNO proper shipping
    name...................................Cartridges for
    weapons, inert projectile
    Weight ................................190 gr
    Length.................................2.26 in. (57.4 mm)
    Tracer .................................NA
    Primer.................................Percussion
    Fuze ...................................NA
    Explosive:
    Type ................................NA
    Weight .............................NA
    Incendiary:
    Type ...............................NA
    Weight .............................NA
    Propellant:
    Type ...............................WC 844
    Weight ............................26.1 gr
    Projectile:
    Weight .............................62 gr
    Performance:
    Chamber pressure ..............55,000 psi
    Velocity ..............................3025 fps, 78 ft from
    muzzle
    Shipping and Storage Data:
    Quantity-distance class/
    SCG.................................1.4S
    Storage code ......................Class V
    DOT shipping class .............C
    DOT designation .................SMALL ARMS
    AMMUNITION
    Drawing number .................9342862
    References:
    DARCOM 700-3-2
    TM 9-1300-206
    TM 9-1305-201-20&P
    10-19
    "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 (New King James Version)

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    Since you guys are having this contest anyway, I thought I'd mention that:

    1) NATO EPVAT, though it uses the same max pressure number as CIP, measures pressure in a different place than CIP (case mouth for NATO vs. 25mm forward of the case head for CIP), which means that at any given nominal reported pressure, the NATO measurement location translates to slightly higher chamber pressure than CIP's method (or SAAMI's, which measures in essentially the same place as CIP).

    2) The US Army used psi 'forever' in reporting pressure figures obtained using copper crusher equipment. In the late '60s when it was finally universally accepted that copper crushers don't measure pressures quite the same (nor as accurately) as piezo transducers, SAAMI instituted "C.U.P." as a unit of pressure measurement. The military changed over, too, but what they reported in 'psi' for most of the 20th Century was in fact CUP, and the two are not the same.

    3) That nifty pressure differential chart shows more rifle-to-rifle variation than it shows variation between the 2 types of ammunition.

    Okay, that's all I have. Carry on with your contest. :)

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    Ok Ed if SAMMI came out with the warning in 1979 why is M855 ammo even being compared since it was not brought into service until 1982 which acording to my little back woods math is a full 3 years after the warning and the specs i showed are according to the same math 15 years after the warning. Do you think there could be a chance that maybe knowing how both the gaverment and some establishments work that this could have been one of the things that have slipped thru the crack? Also all you are showing is that different barrels show different pressures. We as reloaders have known that for years. I learned that back in the 60's when my great-uncle was teaching me about reloading. Your graph shows a standard using a 55 grain load and compare it to a 62 grain load neither of which go past the 60,000 psi mark. All the graph proves is the barrels used with the chambers in each produce different pressure.
    As for CUP being the same as PSI. NOT A CHANCE.. There is no consistant conversion. This is taken from WIKI.
    Comparing units
    While CUP and LUP numbers were intended to be comparable to the crushing power of a given pressure in psi, the numbers are not equivalent. Since a longer duration, lower pressure pulse can crush the cylinder as much as a shorter duration, higher pressure pulse, CUP and LUP pressures frequently register lower than actual peak pressures (as measured by a transducer) by up to 20%. For example, the SAAMI maximum pressure for the 7.62 x 51 mm is given as 52000 psi (CUP), or 62000 psi (430 MPa); the .45-70, on the other extreme, is listed as 28000 in both CUP and psi (190 MPa). SAAMI standards for a given cartridge may be expressed in CUP units, LUP units, or in standard units of pressure (psi or MPa).

    Notice it states they are not the same..
    Now was there a pressure problem back in 1979? Maybe but we are not talking about 33 years ago. 33 years ago i was playing NAVY on an aircraft carrier in the Med. That boat has been taken out of service so like the ammo problem here if the chamber the round was designed is used nothing is over pressure. Given 2 different chambers with different lenght throats and angle of leade i can take ammo with standard SAMMI pressures and show they are unsafe with high pressure in one and safe in the other. The key is use what the design is for.
    Now is there a difference in the case capacity? Not really as it changes from lot to lot. Is there a difference in materials used to make military brass compared to commercial brass? I for one would not be a bit surprised. I do know that the DoD specs out almost everything and what they don't spec out is because they haven't figured out how to. So i have no reason to doubt the better brass statement and i have found that for my loading military brass in 223, 308 and 30-06 tend to last longer than most commercial brass.
    Last edited by earl39; 09-06-2012 at 05:52 PM.
    "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 (New King James Version)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigedp51 View Post

    1)
    traditionally military cartridge cases were made thicker and heavier to withstand larger diameter chambers and longer headspaced chambers than their civilian counterparts.

    2)
    During the testing phase of the M16 standard thickness commercial cartridge cases were used and problems arose with jamming and case head separations. Due to the small case capacity and Remington/DuPont inability to make IMR powder to military pressure and velocity standards a higher standard of brass was used and not diminish internal case capacity.

    3)
    And the ball powder used in the M16 that caused the jamming problem was the same exact powder used in the M14 rifle and it was used because of its loading density.

    4)
    Thank you MZ5 for being a contestant.
    That nifty pressure differential you referred to was taken with a strain gauge glued to the barrel and used a commercial cartridge as a pressure reference calibration point.

    5)
    Also, I use a tire pressure gauge calibrated in psi, it doesn't give pressures in cup or some silly European metric equivalent.
    Have a nice day. :-)
    If you want honest chronological info about the cartridges history, AND the weapons it fires in; try this:
    http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html
    Here are some of the highlights from this source, in rebuttal to your claims.

    1 - Maybe, however the headspace is NOT longer; the leade is longer. The original chamber had the exact same throat, read about the meeting with Remington below. It also had a 14 twist, then 12 twist, and then.... you get the idea.
    In fact American Rifleman wrote an article on the AR15 in May 1962, proposing that they changed from the 14 TO the 12 twist. They had a brief over-winter test that showed poor bullet stability. During congressional hearing during that month, the USAF was asked to rebuke that magazine article. McNamera signed off on the change to a 12-twist in July '63.

    2 & 3 - The "testing phase" was was so long, which powder do you mean? April 63 they were using IMR-4475.
    Secretary Vance submitted a memo to McNamera, titled "Standardization and Procurement of the AR-15 Rifle" in which was specifically stated that ammo should be procured competitively from commercial sources.
    Sept. '63 - Cartridge, 5.56mm Ball, M193 was officially type-classified. It spec'd a Rem designed bullet @ 3250 fps with IMR-4475 to 52,000 psi. Ohlin complained about that powder and some case specs. Rem also about the case, and wanted to bump the pressure limit by 1K. Federal wanted an extra 1K psi above Rem.
    Dec. 63 The USAF gets lots of ammo with WC846, which is your claim. 846's usage had nothing to do with fill volume. It had to do with it being already available, and meeting the spec, period. Unfortunately in Frankford's 8th memo, the one outlining the "fouling issues" came from commercial lots of IMR-4475...OOppps. The primers ultimately came into question for containing Antimony Sulfide, and Calcium cillicide.
    Jan. '64 - the big 3(Ohlin, Rem, Federal) met with the army to talk powder and pressures. Rem claimed the army mis-read the original print, so the chamber was THEN changed. There is also a pressure waiver for M193 ammo. THAT is where the individual cartridge pressure of 60,000psi came from; NOT the average operating pressure. Under that waiver a million rounds were authorized. Testing was ALSO done with: CR-8136, HPC-10.
    April 64' Both CR-8136 & WC-846 are authorized for use. In 65 so was EX-8208-4, and later 8208M.
    Sept. 64 - Frankford did a study on the case specs. That was completed in October. No metalurgical controls or changes were deemed needed.

    4 - That nifty glued strain gauge is a very well established, and accurate system. If you read the article referenced, the author consulted ammo manufacturers about his method; and was told it was sound.

    5 - Probably so does your thermometer, neither of which is concerning the issue, nor helpful to it.

    I'm glad your book was entertaining to you, but it doesn't seem to be the complete history of the cartridge and weapon systems.
    Last edited by darkker; 09-06-2012 at 07:43 PM.
    I'm a firm believer in the theory that if it bleeds, I can kill it.

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    Ed you are good at picking and choosing to fit your point of view but why didn't you show this little graph from the article you referenced.



    if the image worked it shows a 5.56 chamber with higher pressure than the 223 chamber. Yes i have read the article before and just for good measure i read it again so maybe you should reread it.

    If you read it really close the arthor says that only under extream conditions of bare minimun chamber dimensions would a dangerous situation arise. He also states thta this condition can arise in both the 223 chamber and 5.56. As to your freebore comment you should look at the reamer prints also listed in your referenced article. One of the 5.56 reameres show a freebore of 0.025. As stated in your choice of material not all chambers are the same. And as for your tire gauge only showing psi i am glad you have one that old that the kids have not found a way to break or lose. Mine shows psi and kpa (i think it is kpa at least as i am not looking at it).
    "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 (New King James Version)

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