Hard Data on 5.56 vs .223 Chamber Pressures

When I started this blog, it was to put out good information, reliable information that every shooter could use. I didn’t want to dumb down what I put out so that the bottom 10% could understand it, and I didn’t want to make it so technical and hard to read that only the top 10% could understand it or cared enough to try to understand it.

I understood from the outset that people might take my opinions and advice into consideration when making purchases, so I’ve focused on being right above all else. I’ve tried to be concise, because your time is valuable, but some things just require additional explanation. I try to attack problems from a number of sides – the technical, as I am reasonably intelligent and have an eye for detail, but also the practical, for I have been deployed and understand what’s really important about gear or firearms that might see hard use.

The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’ve reaped amazing and wholly unexpected benefits from my efforts. One thing I didn’t expect was getting a job with a big internet retailer of ammo – LuckyGunner. Among other things, I have recently become the most visible part of the team for their new blogging effort. The new LuckyGunner Labs is a project that will, among interesting stuff put out by some of my coworkers, allow me to create and research and test things that I basically didn’t have the resources to do on my own.

I say “me” and “I” – but it’s not just me. Having people with an eye for perfection (and the power to withhold a paycheck!) look over my work with a critical eye has improved the quality of what I put out by leaps and bounds. And the other people I work with are very skilled – working with Chris, who makes great videos, has definitely forced me to step up my game on that front.

The first big project (and it has been a BIG project) is an in-depth look at what the real differences between 5.56 and .223 are. It’s a topic that I have been considering and experimenting with for years, but without hard data, my lone voice would have been lost in a sea of opinions on the internet. Thanks to LG – and Paul and Brian and Maciej, who I have been working closely with for months – not only has the technical aspect of the content been thoroughly researched, but it’s packaged in such a way that it should appeal to a broad audience, and manageable enough for the vast majority of shooters to understand, should they take the time to do so.

I would not be a good person if I didn’t mention the assistance of other folks, outside of LG, who helped make this report what it is. Firearms historian Daniel E. Watters of TheGunZone provided a lot of historical and technical information, as well as insight into the project. Cagen and Thad of Barnes Bullets were invaluable in their assistance in verifying the pressure data and went several extra miles in conducting additional pressure testing with their equipment. I can’t remember the name of the ballistician at H.P. White, my apologies – but he was extremely helpful and insightful, too. My friends Zach, Nick, Caleb, and Aaron proof-read early drafts of the article or offered technical assistance, and Mike the rocket scientist very rightly tore apart the way I had written it the first time around.

I certainly hope that this will continue for the time being – I don’t see myself as a gun blogger or gun journalist for life, but I’m not done yet.

16 thoughts on “Hard Data on 5.56 vs .223 Chamber Pressures”

  1. you’re welcome, enjoyed the read (the .223/5.56 article). I’m always happy to help, beats the mundane stuff I’m used to. :)

  2. Excellent article Andrew, it’s great to see research like this being done. You’re a credit to gun bloggers everywhere.

    1. Thanks…unfortunately, a lot of gun bloggers are a discredit to themselves and others…Not sure if I make up for that, but I’m trying.

  3. I hope you continue being a gun writer for the forseeable future. Your material kicks the ass of alot of the stuff out there. Keep on keeping on.

      1. Glad to hear this! I just found this blog, I’d hate to thing I was just getting in on the tail end of it!
        Keep up the great work!

  4. Outstanding article. It was linked from m4c and I expected it to be a tired rehash, but it is quite the opposite.

    I’m looking forward to an article on the second pressure spikes with the Russian ammo.

    1. I’ve been trying to work with Tula since SHOT on improving their ammo.

      It’s not really gone as I had expected or hoped.

      1. Not sure how much you care to share, but is the double pressure spike a result of the bimetal-jacketed bullet getting a harder “stick” in the throat than a copper / gilding metal jacketed bullet? Or an intentional mixed-rate powder (some grains purposely faster than others) like Hornady is apparently using with their Superformance ammo?

  5. Another great article Andy. I like the methods that you used as it shined the light on this topic very well. I like the fact that you tackle a number of topics not found on other blogs. Like the article about the Casio camera, which I promptly bought. I find the high speed capability very useful in diagnosing problems with AR feed and function. Keep up the good work

  6. I liked your format for the lucky gunner piece. The video made a good intro, and the text that followed did the explaining, while presenting the graphs in a readable format.
    The bold summary complemented rather than substituted for the rest of the article, by reinforcing your points and emphasizing the most relevant facts.
    Is your presentation style at all influenced by your military experience? Learning to brief intelligent, professional, but stressed, distracted and sleep-deprived people seems like it would be more useful than any “operator training”.

    1. My educational experiences have been varied – I started college young and tutored learning disabled students who were 3-6 years older than I. I was made “educational petty officer” in basic and had to teach the other recruits Naval history and firefighting and so on and so forth. I also taught a number of hip-pocket courses to Marines and fellow Corpsmen, and I have often thought about including TLO/ELO descriptions to some of the videos I put out. Later I was working on my masters degree in secondary education, but quit one class short of graduation – I did teach high school social studies for two semesters.

  7. Thanks for the technical details. I really like that you didn’t take the theory and run with it, but delved into the real-world application of it.

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