SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Ammunition    223 vs 308: Comparison of America’s Modern Military Cartridges

Moderators: LDD, parabellum
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
223 vs 308: Comparison of America’s Modern Military Cartridges Login/Join 
Member
posted
When it comes to debates at your local gun store, your grandfather’s porch, or around the fire at your deer camp, there is none more heated than 223 vs 308. The 223 Remington and the 308 Winchester are the two most popular centerfire rifle cartridges across North America, Europe, and the world.

Ever since the 223 Rem replaced the 308 Winchester as the U.S. Military standard issue cartridge in the 1960s, the debate has raged on hotter than a +P+ 44 Magnum round as to which of these two rifle cartridges is better.

Although I doubt we will solve the 308 vs 223 caliber crisis in this article, I am confident that you will learn which is the right NATO round for your needs.

Grab your favorite AR platform and let’s rack those charging handles on this 60+ year caliber debate. I hope your magazines are fully loaded because we’re jumping into 223 vs 308 right now!

A Quick Note on Nomenclature

In the context of this article, .308 Winchester (308 Win) and 7.62x51mm NATO (762 NATO) will be used interchangeably. The same can be said for .223 Remington (223 Rem) and 5.56x45mm NATO (556 NATO). However, please understand that rifles chambered in .308 Win and .223 Rem are different than those chambered in their NATO spec equivalents, 7.62 and 5.56, respectively.

You should experience zero issues shooting 5.56 NATO ammo in your .223 Rem rifle, but not vice versa. The same is true for 7.62 NATO in a .308 Win rifle.

This is due to chamber pressure differences between the .223 Rem vs 5.56 NATO and .308 Win vs 7.62 NATO rounds.

Bottom line: Know what round your rifle is chambered in (it’s typically engraved on the barrel or receiver of your rifle) and know what pressures your rifle can safely withstand.

.308 Winchester: Replacing the Legendary 30-06 Springfield

Following the end of the Korean War, the U.S. Military started developing a replacement for the storied M1 Garand. Although the M1 Garand had served the U.S. Armed Forces valiantly through World War II and Korea, the military wanted a more modern service rifle with select-fire capability and detachable magazines similar to the Stg-44 and AK-47.

The M1 Garand was chambered in the 30-06 Springfield cartridge, 7.62x63mm NATO designation, a round that has been credited with taking down every North American large game animal, including the great bears. Despite its combat effectiveness and lethality, the 30-06 had some downsides that the military was ready to fix.

Firstly, the 30-06 Springfield required a long action to accommodate the length of the cartridge. A long action is not ideal for fully automatic fire and the military wanted a short action cartridge for its new service rifle.

With advancements in rifle powder technologies and case designs in the 1950s, the new 7.62x51mm NATO rifle round was able to achieve nearly identical ballistic performance as the 30-06 Springfield with its shorter cartridge case length (51mm vs 63mm) and lesser overall weight.

The US Army officially adopted the 7.62x51mm NATO round in 1954 and the new M14 battle rifle in 1958. The M14 featured a 20-round detachable magazine and select fire capability (semi-auto and full auto).

The M14 saw its first action in the Vietnam War before being quickly replaced by the M16 in 1964, I’ll discuss why in the next section.

The 762 NATO round has also been utilized in multiple machine guns fielded by the U.S. Military, including “The Pig” M60, the M240B, and the GAU-17/A minigun. Furthermore, the 762 NATO has been the de facto sniper round for law enforcement, designated marksmen, and military snipers since its adoption.

Seeing the potential of the 762 NATO in the civilian market, Winchester was quick to adopt the new rifle round to its Model 70 bolt action rifle. The civilian version of the 7.62 NATO was named the .308 Winchester and was released to the general public in 1952, two full years before the U.S. Military formally adopted the cartridge.

The 308 Winchester was almost an immediate commercial success for its astounding accuracy, stopping power, and an effective range out to 1,000 yards (with appropriate loadings). Since the 1950s and even up to this day, the 308 Win has been a staple in deer hunting camps and in marksmanship competitions across the globe.

One appeal of the 308 Winchester for big game hunting is its range of bullet weights, typically ranging between 120 to 180 grains.

Although the 6.5 Creedmoor and the 300 Winchester Magnum are beginning to gain popularity in the hunting and precision shooting circles, there is no shortage of shooters who swear by and will never let go of their beloved 308 Winchester.

Continue reading 223 vs 308: Comparison of America’s Modern Military Cartridges at Ammo.com.


We believe arming our fellow Americans – both physically and philosophically – helps them fulfill our Founding Fathers' intent with the Second Amendment: To serve as a check on state power.
 
Posts: 214 | Registered: January 10, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
Picture of Flash-LB
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by ammodotcom:

You should experience zero issues shooting 5.56 NATO ammo in your .223 Rem rifle, but not vice versa. The same is true for 7.62 NATO in a .308 Win rifle.

This is due to chamber pressure differences between the .223 Rem vs 5.56 NATO and .308 Win vs 7.62 NATO rounds.



You've got the 5.56/.223 thing backwards. It's safe to shoot a .223 in a 5.56 but not the opposite.

Why? Pressure. The 5.56 is a higher pressure round.

https://www.hornadyle.com/reso...d-223-rem-ammunition

Differences between the two are small but can have a large impact on performance, safety and weapon function.

The first difference is the higher pressure level of the 5.56 NATO cartridge which runs at approximately 58,000 psi. A 223 Remington is loaded to approximately 55,000 psi.

The second and most important difference between the two is the fact that a 5.56 NATO chamber has a .125” longer throat. This allows approximately one more grain of powder to be loaded into a 5.56 NATO cartridge; this is what gives it higher performance than its 223 Remington cousin.

The biggest problem with these differences is when firing a 5.56 NATO cartridge in a rifle chambered for 223 Rem. Due to the longer throat that the NATO chamber employs this combination will cause a 223 chambered weapon to run at approximately 65,000 psi or more. This is 10,000 psi higher than the 223’s normal functioning pressure of 55,000 psi. This is NOT safe and will cause primers to back out, or worse, cause harm to the operator, the rifle, or both.
 
Posts: 7097 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by ammodotcom:
You should experience zero issues shooting 5.56 NATO ammo in your .223 Rem rifle, but not vice versa.

Do you actually have knowledgeable gun owners write your articles? Do you have knowledgeable gun owners review and edit your articles before posting them? Do you expect Sigforum people to be your source for eliminating errors?

Honestly, the number of things you attempt to pass as "facts" about cartridges is mind boggling.
 
Posts: 7025 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
Do you actually have knowledgeable gun owners write your articles? Do you have knowledgeable gun owners review and edit your articles before posting them? Do you expect Sigforum people to be your source for eliminating errors?

Honestly, the number of things you attempt to pass as "facts" about cartridges is mind boggling.


Same stuff, different day. They post an article. Folks here point out the errors within. Then they show up several days later to post another article in a new thread. Folks again point out the errors within. Rinse and repeat.

It's clear that Ammo.com is not interested in producing technically accurate, scholarly articles on firearms and ammunition. They're interested in churning out superficial articles made using information that has been jumbled together into something that merely sounds "good enough" to a lay person, in order to drive traffic to their site.
 
Posts: 27654 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
It's clear that Ammo.com is not interested in producing technically accurate, scholarly articles on firearms and ammunition. They're interested in churning out superficial articles made using information that has been jumbled together into something that merely sounds "good enough" to a lay person, in order to drive traffic to their site.

I pointed this out to Para some time ago. It was understanding that Para doesn't care much for essentially what are advertising links to another website.

I don't have issues with ammo.com itself. I have purchased ammo from them when the right product appeared for the right price.
 
Posts: 7025 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
Picture of Flash-LB
posted Hide Post
The problem with this error they made was that it could get some poor guy's gun blown up if they read and believed it.
 
Posts: 7097 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Ammunition    223 vs 308: Comparison of America’s Modern Military Cartridges

© SIGforum 2021