Question on 223 ammo

This is a discussion on Question on 223 ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I understand a 223 bullet is the same size as a 22 long rifle. So why are some of the most advanced rifles (AR 15 ...

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Thread: Question on 223 ammo

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    Member Array phoneguy's Avatar
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    Question on 223 ammo

    I understand a 223 bullet is the same size as a 22 long rifle. So why are some of the most advanced rifles (AR 15 - M 16) use that size bullet?
    Don't you use a 22 long riffle for hunting rabbits? So why they use that 223 for military use? (I have compared a 223 -556 NATO with a 22 long rifle and the main difference is the "brass" is 3 times larger.)
    To close for missiles, switching to guns.

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    Member Array jednp's Avatar
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    much higher velocity than a standard .22 bullet. Heavier bullet too. The speed of the bullet and how it tumbles when it enters an object allow it to be very deadly. The fact that .223 / 5.56 are lightweight, allows servicemembers to carry a lot of ammunition for their m16's. if you use them in burst or full auto, you can go through ammo in a hurry. being able to carry plenty of extra without being bogged down too much by weight, is a big benefit.

    I'm no ballistics expert, but I think a regular .22 bullet out of a rifle at max gets about 1200 fps velocity. .223 / 5.56 gets around 3000 fps, give or take a few hundred feet per second depending on which barrel you have, and what load you are firing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phoneguy View Post
    I understand a 223 bullet is the same size as a 22 long rifle. So why are some of the most advanced rifles (AR 15 - M 16) use that size bullet?
    Don't you use a 22 long riffle for hunting rabbits? So why they use that 223 for military use? (I have compared a 223 -556 NATO with a 22 long rifle and the main difference is the "brass" is 3 times larger.)
    A hot .22 LR load like CCI's Velociraptor pushes a 40 grain bullet out of the tube at ~ 1,400 feet per second, yielding a muzzle energy of around 180 foot-pounds.

    A .223 round like Hornady's TAP defensive load pushes a 60 grain bullet out of the tube at over 3,000 feet per second, yielding a muzzle energy of almost 1,300 foot pounds.

    The case capacity of the .223 is much, much larger than that of the .22. More powder = more power.

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    Smile

    Thanks a lot for the information, and the time to answer. I really learn a lot here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jednp View Post
    much higher velocity than a standard .22 bullet. Heavier bullet too. The speed of the bullet and how it tumbles when it enters an object allow it to be very deadly. The fact that .223 / 5.56 are lightweight, allows servicemembers to carry a lot of ammunition for their m16's. if you use them in burst or full auto, you can go through ammo in a hurry. being able to carry plenty of extra without being bogged down too much by weight, is a big benefit.

    I'm no ballistics expert, but I think a regular .22 bullet out of a rifle at max gets about 1200 fps velocity. .223 / 5.56 gets around 3000 fps, give or take a few hundred feet per second depending on which barrel you have, and what load you are firing.
    of each shell...but a .223 does not look like a .22LR...

    You would have to see each side by side to...'get the full picture'...

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    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    .22LR rounds

    .223 Dimensions

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    That's why an AR-15 is called the "Poodle Shooter"........bigger than a squirel, but not nearly so tough.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    The speed of the bullet and how it tumbles when it enters an object allow it to be very deadly.
    Without going too deeply into terminal ballistics this is false .
    What actually happens is that at ranges of about 300 yards or less out of a 20" , or half that out of a 14" barrel the round is traveling fast enough that the thin jacket causes it to fragment when it hits a body ( be it game or human ) . This is extremely lethal for a .22 cal projectile , but somewhat unreliable for stopping a dedicated opponent shot center of mass . Our troops commonly double or triple tap even during building clearing due to this . Once you get velocity below the " frangable threshold " tho the leathality of the round drops off fast . As a side note Modern warfare is so seldom beyond 300 yards for a rifleman that it is considered a moot point and not worth the extra weight and length of a full battle rifle , so sometimes you see a " designated marksman " carry a full battle rifle such as the m14 with a scope just to handle the rare but realistic chance of needing more range .
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    I have to agree with the poodle shooter when using ball ammo, however fortunatly law enforcement is not restricted to ball ammo. When we carried, we either had 55gr TAP ammo or 55gr HP ammo. Both were very effective in urban enviornments and did/do what their supposed to do. Don't get me wrong I love a 308 rifle and would gladly carry a M1A SOCOM but heck most leo's are lucky if their agency head allows them to carry a 223.
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    Once, someone asked my why there weren't .50cal (BMG) handguns, because they're only five one hundredths of an inch bigger than a .45, right? :)
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs View Post
    Without going too deeply into terminal ballistics this is false .
    What actually happens is that at ranges of about 300 yards or less out of a 20" , or half that out of a 14" barrel the round is traveling fast enough that the thin jacket causes it to fragment when it hits a body ( be it game or human ) . This is extremely lethal for a .22 cal projectile , but somewhat unreliable for stopping a dedicated opponent shot center of mass . Our troops commonly double or triple tap even during building clearing due to this . Once you get velocity below the " frangable threshold " tho the leathality of the round drops off fast .
    According to an article published in “Infantry” magazine SEP/OCT 06 “Small Caliber Leathality” this isn’t exactly true either; you’re both sort of right. The terminal effects are a combination of the bullet instability due to increased yaw upon impact with tissue, and IF impact velocity is high enough fragmentation.

    It really is a pretty interesting study done by a couple of MAJs in small arms development. The study and others were done due the reports of “through and through” shootings with the 5.56. The results basically were that no other currently available ammunition offered an improvement and due to the unpredictability of the yaw effect once the projectile hits tissue, the use of “controlled pairs” in CQB was advised. One surprising find was that the 7.62 M-80 Ball round fired from a M14 had no significant greater effect out to 50 meters.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    One surprising find was that the 7.62 M-80 Ball round fired from a M14 had no significant greater effect out to 50 meters.
    Even if they are speaking to one round lethality this finding alone calls the entire study into question imho . Once you factor barricades ect. into count that happens in urban conflict the 7.62 is by far superior if only round effectiveness is taken into account . I am not anti 5.56 and in fact like the round , but do not delude myself that it is in any way the equal of the rounds of old for pure one shot stops . If you have a 30 round mag well double and triple taps are easy and avalable . If you have an 8 round enblock clip carrying 06 or 7.62 you dont need them .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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    Senior Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    Keep in mind, the study deals with terminal ballistics, not what the round had to shoot through to get there. It made use of both ballistic material, and CQB reports in the findings.

    I think, and keep in mind this is me thinking, what is possibly negating the 7.62 rounds perceived superiority could very well be it’s stability when impacting tissue as compared to the 5.56mm. Also keep in mind the study was geared towards CQB of 50 meters or less, and at that distance the YAW probably was accompanied by fragmentation in most cases. So what could be happening is a 7.62 "through and through" compared with a 5.56mm YAW tumble/fragmentation.

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck R. View Post
    I think, and keep in mind this is me thinking, what is possibly negating the 7.62 rounds perceived superiority could very well be it’s stability when impacting tissue as compared to the 5.56mm. Also keep in mind the study was geared towards CQB of 50 meters or less, and at that distance the YAW probably was accompanied by fragmentation in most cases. So what could be happening is a 7.62 "through and through" compared with a 5.56mm YAW tumble/fragmentation.
    FMJ 7.62x39mm rounds yaw in flesh just like 5.56mm rounds do. Any spitzer bullet will do the same because their center of gravity is behind the center of pressure. This means "tail first" is the most stable configuration. In air, the bullet's spin is enough to keep it pointed nose first, but flesh is so much denser that there's no way to keep a bullet from tumbling 180 degrees and continuing backward until it comes to rest.

    The difference between the wounding mechanisms lies not in tumbling, but fragmentation. The 7.62mm round is heavy and strong enough that it can survive a 180 inside someone's body without disintegrating. The 5.56mm, on the other hand, will break up during the tumble, causing very nasty wounds, if the velocity is high enough (>2700fps). However, if the velocity isn't sufficient, the 5.56mm bullet just isn't heavy enough to cause very damaging wounds through tumbling alone. This makes barrel length critical (a 62gr M855 bullet fired from a 11.5 inch barrel will drop below 2700fps just 15 meters from the muzzle) and it means that the 5.56mm round is unlikely to do lethal damage after penetrating any sort of barrier.

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