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Thread: 5.56 / .223 brass difference?

  1. #1
    Paid Member Texas Solo's Avatar
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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.

  2. #2
    Paid Member Jamie's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
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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.
    12 LRP 243 AI.,6x25 Millet long range.200 action,Shaw 308 HB,Vortex 6.5x20x44.116 action,Shaw 6mmAI ,8x32 Mueller.All with SAV-2's

  4. #4
    Paid Member darkker's Avatar
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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.

  5. #5
    Paid Member darkker's Avatar
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    I'm a firm believer in the theory that if it bleeds, I can kill it.

  6. #6
    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.

  7. #7
    Paid Member darkker's Avatar
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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.

  8. #8
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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)

  9. #9
    One of the changes made in 1967 to prevent jamming in the M16 rifle (case head separations) was to make mil-spec brass out of higher quality brass. This means you will not find a better or stronger .223 case for reloading than LC 5.56 brass.

    After Winchester lost the contract to produce military ammunition at Lake City, Winchester sold off its brass manufacturing capabilities and now buys brass from the cheapest vendor to produce its Winchester cases.

  10. #10
    Paid Member darkker's Avatar
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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.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by darkker View Post
    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.

    darkker
    You need to read more about the M16 rifle and the history of that time. The brass is a higher quality and it needs to withstand higher than normal .223 chamber pressures, 62,000 psi for the M855 round.

    Page 265

    The case hardness problem.




    M-16
    THE RIFLE AND THE MYTH

    http://www.bobcat.ws/rifle.htm

  12. #12
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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)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by earl39 View Post
    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.
    From TM 43-0001-27
    The M197 is loaded to 52,000 cup
    The M855 is loaded to 55,000 cup

    Pressure measuring methods and readings
    The following pressures are the same BUT are measured using three different methods.

    SAAMI .223 copper crusher 52,000 cup
    SAMMI .223 transducer piezo 55,000 psi
    European CIP transducer piezo 62,000 psi

    The M197 round is loaded to the same rated chamber pressure as the .223 Remington (52,000 cup)

    The M855 round is loaded 3,000 cup higher pressure than the M197 or 55,000 cup

    NOTE: All pressures including cup are still read as pounds per square inch and this is why the Army TM lists them as psi BUT the copper crusher method was used at the time these readings were taken.

    As you can see below the throat or freebore between the .223 and the 5.56 can cause a major pressure difference.



    5.56 vs .223 – What You Know May Be Wrong

    http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/5-56-vs-223/
    Last edited by bigedp51; 09-06-2012 at 12:51 AM.

  14. #14
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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)

  15. #15
    TM 43-0001-27
    CARTRIDGE, 5.56MM, BALL, M193
    Chamber pressure...............52,000 psi

    earl, if we use your guess work, what would the pressure reading be above if you converted 52,000 psi to cup. I'm wondering what you have to say because this pressure would be below the rated chamber pressure of the .223 and we wouldn't have the SAAMI interchangeability pressure warning for the .223 and 5.56x45 that came out in 1979. This warning came out because the Army gave waivers to munitions plants to exceed the standard pressure of 52,000 cup and allowed some ammunition to be loaded to 60,000 cup with some lots of powder.

    NATO EPVAT pressure testing standards
    5.56x45 mm
    Service Pressure Pmax 62,366 psi
    Proof Round Pressure Requirement 77,958 psi
    Pressure recorded in NATO design EPVAT Barrel with Kistler 6215 Transducer or by equipment to Commission Internationale Permanente pour l’épreuve des Armes á Feu Portatives (C.I.P.) requirements

    Copper units pressure is still pounds per square inch because psi is what we use in the U.S.
    When the transducer method came into use the pressure reading were labeled psi to differentiate between copper units pressure and the transducer method. BOTH readings are pounds per square inch but are measured differently just as the CIP pressure are when measured at the case mouth for military EPVAT testing.

    On top of this if you would buy the book below and read it you wouldn't be questioning what I have written here about pressures and the higher standards for the 5.56 brass cartridge cases.



    Below, my five gallon buckets of Lake City 5.56x45 cartridge cases made to higher standards than commercial cases, you can't see the third bucket of Remington .223 cartridge cases ready for reloading.

    Last edited by bigedp51; 09-06-2012 at 01:54 PM.

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