.223 Rem. vs. 5.56 NATO: A true head-scratcher


It was Thanksgiving 2013, and I was just out of grad school. The local gun store was advertising an AR-15 for its Black Friday Sale, and I wanted one. Just to make sure it was a good deal I got Dad to a look at the gun for me. He informed me that this AR-15 was a .223, and not a 5.56 that the military uses. I looked at him very puzzled and asked him to explain. He sighed, then launched into telling me about the complex topic of .223 Rem. vs. 5.56 NATO. At first, I was very irritated at Dad for bringing up such a complex subject when all I wanted to do was buy the AR-15 at that moment. However, I am glad he did tell me. He saved me from making the same mistake so many people have in the past by not knowing the difference between the .223 Rem and 5.56 NATO.

For the history buffs out there, check out this snipercountry.com article for a detailed history on this topic.

Section 1: 223 Rem. 5.56 NATO ammo Looks the Same

If you put both rounds beside each other, they will look identical because both have almost the same exterior dimensions. Take note that I said nearly the same, and look at the image below. Do you notice any difference?

Image Source GunDigest
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.223 79 grain DRT Elite Series – Unlike Any Other .223/5.56 round (Video)


Some ammo lines don’t perform as advertise by their manufactures. How does the DRT Elite Series in 223 perform? First, let’s examine the physical construction.

The round is barrier blind lead free and produces a lot of kinetic energy when shot. It is a 79 grain Flat Base Hollow Point bullet. The bullet is long with all that mass which, in turn, produces such mass amounts of energy.
Advertise muzzle velocity is 2600 FPS producing 1186 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
Thanks to YouTuber GY6vids for testing this round through various barriers.
He used two guns to in this test.
The first is a Remington bolt action 700 5R with a 20 inch barrel and 1/9 twist.
The 2nd rifle is an AR-15 with a 1/7 twist match grade barrel

As the video shows the round penetrates the gel, wood, shirt, meat and windshield with no problem, however, it was only able to penetrate one block of concrete instead of two which is just as impressive.
Continue reading “.223 79 grain DRT Elite Series – Unlike Any Other .223/5.56 round (Video)” »

More AR-15 Defensive Ammo Testing


Active Response Training put up some more test results from retired police chief Jeff Chudwin.
Includes a few more different kinds of 5.56/.223 ballistic test that was not reference in my previous AR-15 defensive ammo article.
The .223/5.56 that I prefer (all-around) are bonded soft point rounds. Such as the Federal 62 gr tactical (in this article), Federal Fusion (affordable, easier to find), Nosler Defense 64 gr bonded or the SSA 5.56 PPT 64 grain bonded. Hornady GMX did well through glass but made a small hole through tissue and over penetrate, not the best choice.
The all copper rounds perform great against barriers and retain all the weight but over penetrate due to little expansion.

.223 Federal Fusion Through Windshield

Choosing The Best Defensive Rifle Ammo .223/5.56


Last article I wrote about Choosing the Best Defensive Handgun Ammo. Now let’s take a look at finding the best self-defense ammo for your AR-15 platform rifle for those of you who consider using one as a defensive firearm. The approved list of 5.56/.223 by Dr. Gray Roberts who is the world’s leading authority on would ballistics, his information is credible. I recommend using barrier blind loads (in particular the Federal Fusion line due to the lower price, availability, and performance is inline with Gold Dot and other LEO bonded .223 rounds) over other types since you don’t know what type of physical environment you might be around when the unexpected happens.

Take a look of what kind of damage a .223 (contains graphic contents) round does to the body You won’t see this type of wounds with pistol.

The “Approved List” Of 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem Self-Defense/Duty Ammo