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Thread: Question about ar-15

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    Question about ar-15

    I have an older Colt Match H-Bar AR-15, it is chambered for the .223 and thats all i have ever used in it, i know there is a difference between the .223 chamber and the 5.56 chamber. what i want to know is it safe to fire 5.56 ammo in a .223 chamber ?

    JAY
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    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Officially speaking, no, it isn't safe.

    But, lots of folks do it, and I have never heard about an injury resulting from it. I don't do it, but if it was necessary for some reason...

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    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Good link, Big Chief. Long, but tells you all you need to know.
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    Senior Member Pegasus's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by jaywapti View Post
    I have an older Colt Match H-Bar AR-15, it is chambered for the .223 and thats all i have ever used in it, i know there is a difference between the .223 chamber and the 5.56 chamber. what i want to know is it safe to fire 5.56 ammo in a .223 chamber ?

    JAY
    What does it say on the barrel, if anything?

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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasus View Post
    What does it say on the barrel, if anything?
    Nothing on the barrel, just .223 on the lower receiver.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT

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    Senior Member Pegasus's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    The first thought that comes to mind is: "that's meaningless." But I have heard of these rifles that were indeed chambered for .223 as it's a better chamber for competition. The Wylde chamber came latter. The barrel and all the other parts are the same for either cartridge, the only meaningful difference being the leade in the barrel. Also, a NATO chamber will not be as tight as a .223 Remington but that's not the issue here. It's really about the bullet being to close to the lands with a .223 chamber. The M193 and especially the M855 have the bullet very close or even at the lands in a true .223 chamber.

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    Senior Member Jeff in TX's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    I've read a bunch of many articles and threads in the past that said this was a non-issue. I always looked at it like the .308 and 762 Nato round basically the same thing a non issue. I know some will argue but we've never seen an issue with it.

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    Senior Member Pegasus's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff in TX View Post
    I've read a bunch of many articles and threads in the past that said this was a non-issue. I always looked at it like the .308 and 762 Nato round basically the same thing a non issue. I know some will argue but we've never seen an issue with it.
    I disagree; while the 7.62 Vs .308 is really a non issue, there is definitely something to the .223 Vs 5.56 thing. The chambers in the latter ARE different and the 5.56 IS loaded hotter than SAAMI .223 Rem. Whether those two issues will cause a problem in a specific rifle, that's is debatable.

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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by jaywapti View Post
    Nothing on the barrel, just .223 on the lower receiver.

    JAY
    May have to remove the handguard but Colt barrels will be stamped for sure ...

    Now the following is just speculation and I still would not fire 5.56 unless it was a last resort unless you can verify for sure the barrel is stamped 5.56. Quite a few Colt receivers were stamped .223 for the commercial market but the barrels were still 5.56.
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    Senior Member Jeff in TX's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasus View Post
    I disagree; while the 7.62 Vs .308 is really a non issue, there is definitely something to the .223 Vs 5.56 thing. The chambers in the latter ARE different and the 5.56 IS loaded hotter than SAAMI .223 Rem. Whether those two issues will cause a problem in a specific rifle, that's is debatable.
    I'll agree after doing a bit of reading on the internet while stuck at the airport waiting on my flight!

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    Re: Question about ar-15

    The chambers of non-match ARs should present no problem, which is what you get from reading the article. Machining being what it is, even the best production guns have enough variation in them as to make a "true" chamber something of a myth. An AR chamber will usually be larger than a typical bolt gun, which will reduce pressure.

    I know of no instances of ARs being blown apart by using .223 instead of 5.56. Or the other way around, for that matter. I think it's a gun range myth.
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by NCFUBAR View Post
    May have to remove the handguard but Colt barrels will be stamped for sure ...
    Not under the handguard,but very lightly stamped between the front site and muzzle C MP 5.56 NATO 1/7 H-BAR

    So i assume its got a 5.56 chamber and safe to use either ammo.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT

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    Senior Member NCFUBAR's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by jaywapti View Post
    Not under the handguard,but very lightly stamped between the front site and muzzle C MP 5.56 NATO 1/7 H-BAR

    So i assume its got a 5.56 chamber and safe to use either ammo.

    JAY
    C - chrome lined ... MP - magnetic particle inspected ... 5.56 NATO - chambering ... you know the rest 1/7 - twist ... H-BAR. Colt just stamped the lower different from military contracts then but put the same barrels in both.
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    Senior Member knitepoet's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by jaywapti View Post

    So i assume its got a 5.56 chamber and safe to use either ammo.

    JAY
    And you would be correct. 5.56, NATO, 223 Rem, that barrel should handle it all with aplomb
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    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    I recall an outfit that sold a reamer with an fixed stop to lengthen the lead of civilian chambers to military specs. I dont remember who marketed it, but I got the impression the mod was for reliability on rifles intended for serious use, as 5.56 in a 223. could cause a stoppage. Maybe it was hype to sell a gadget, I don't know.
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Quote Originally Posted by early View Post
    I recall an outfit that sold a reamer with an fixed stop to lengthen the lead of civilian chambers to military specs. I dont remember who marketed it, but I got the impression the mod was for reliability on rifles intended for serious use, as 5.56 in a 223. could cause a stoppage. Maybe it was hype to sell a gadget, I don't know.
    Ned Christiansen of Michiguns, both the gauge to determine what you have, and the reamer to make it 5.56: http://www.m-guns.com/tools.php Used it a couple times to deal with primer-popping issues on non-Colt barrels, including one on an 11" full auto operating at darned high gas port pressures. Worked like a champ.

    You could write a fairly sizeable pamphlet titled "Colt Lower Receiver Markings Through the Ages" There's some bizzare stuff for those into such arcane lore, but suffice to say, it's all irrelevant to the barrel. Colt has probably made some barrels that are .223, not 5.56, but they'd be in the EXTREME minority, and they wouldn't be on anything that looked like a GI M16 with a phosphate finish and a tringular front sight.
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    Re: Question about ar-15

    Most ARs have a NATO chamber, or so I hear. They'll fire anything in the ballpark. If I was worried about it, I'd have spent a lot more money on specific ammo.

    Bolt guns? I don't know, but I wouldn't worry about that, either. Sometimes I think we buy trouble by overthinking things that would otherwise be simple.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member JasonMPD's Avatar
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    I've only ever owned one AR that I would not feed 5.56 NATO. It was a Rock River Arms varmint upper with a match 223 chambered barrel.

    Other than that no biggie. Ammo manufactures have even been known to mislabel ammo--especially in the 7.62/308 realm.


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