One of the most confusing parts of gun ownership for new gun owners comes from understanding all the different calibers of ammunition, what type their guns can shoot, and which ones are best for them.
And a couple of calibers that cause a lot of this confusion are the .223 Remington and the 5.56mm NATO rounds because they’re so similar to each other.
Much of this confusion with these two calibers is a result of them being able to be used interchangeably. Think of the .223 Remington as the “civilian” version of the 5.56 NATO round.
The only problem that occurs is when a 5.56 NATO round is used in a barrel chambered for .223 Remington because the difference in pressure can be worn down faster. However, most shooters won’t even notice this and it’s not an urgent problem.
In broad terms, the 5.56 NATO simply has a different type of chamber profile than the .223 Remington. However, more than just the shape, the 5.56 NATO is also a higher pressure round and packs slightly more punch.
Both .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO are extremely popular calibers. You can find either of them across the US pretty much anywhere.
However, since the .223 Remington is the “civilian” version of the round, it’s more plentiful and more affordable than it’s big brother 5.56 NATO.
For those looking at getting an AR, the .223 Remington is a great choice because of availability and because ARs chambered for .223 Remington tend to be much cheaper, around $500 or so.
Another benefit of using .223 Remington is that it has less kick than the 5.56 NATO round. Less kick means more control for the shooter, even if the round itself isn’t quite as powerful.
Despite the media coverage surrounding the round and using words like “high power”, the .223 Remington is not a powerful round. In reality, the .223 Remington is a relatively small round and is considered by some people as being a “varmint cartridge” and won’t even use it for large game such as deer.
Another thing you should know about the .223 Remington is that it’s not a particularly good round. There are many other rounds out there that can outperform the .223 Remington, but it has remained popular because of availability and affordability for the average shooter.
While the 5.56 NATO is used by the military, the .223 Remington is not meant for war like the media would like you to believe.
Instead, the .223 Remington is best used for hunting and if necessary, for home defense situations.