Is 5.45X39 ammo the same as .223?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by jr@aysp, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. jr@aysp

    jr@aysp New Member

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    I have some 5.45X39 ammo and want to know if it is safe to shoot in my AR-15 and Mini-14.
  2. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    No, they are NOT the same. The 5.45x39 is a Russian attempt to make a similar round to the 5.56x45. It was designed for the AK-74, which was an updated version of the older AK-47/AKM rifle chamber for 7.62x39. 5.56/.223 and 5.45x39 are different rounds. I'm not even sure that a 5.45 would chamber in a .223/5.56 rifle as the case is shorter.

    As far as .223/5.56, 223 rem is the civilian version of the miltary's 5.56x45, aka 5.56 NATO. The miltary 5.56 round has slightly thicker brass and is rated to a higher chamber pressure. If your rifle is stamped for .223 do NOT use milspec 5.56 in it as a steady diet of 5.56 will ruin a .223 rifle. If your rifle is stamped 5.56, then you can use milspec 5.56 or civilian .223 with no problem.

    Some companies make ARs chambered for 5.45x39. I know for a fact that Smith and Wesson makes one. If you really want to shoot that 5.45, you'll have to either buy an AK-74-style rifle, or buy an AR-type chambered for 5.45.

    And welcome to the forum :)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  3. jr@aysp

    jr@aysp New Member

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    Thank you very much for your help. I have a Siaga AK but they wont work in that? I just came accross these shells and was wondering if I had anything to shoot them with so I figured I would ask the pro's. Thank you again. JR
  4. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    You're welcome :)

    If your Saiga is chambered for 7.62x39, then no, you can't use the 5.45 in it. If it's chambered for 5.45 then you're good to go. Look on the side of the receiver and there should be a caliber stamp on it.
  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    The 5.45 will get stuck half way in the chamber of a .223. I have had to pry about half a dozen of these from AR-15 rifles and carbines that people will 'mistakenly' load the magazine with the 5.45s instead of the 5.56s. Its funny to me how the story is always how "a buddy of mine got this cartridge stuck in my rifle..." On the other hand, the 5.56/.223 will not chamber in the 5.45X39. They are too long and will not let the bolt cam into the locking position. They wont get stuck but could be very dangerous if your rifle is capable of firing out of battery....
  6. jr@aysp

    jr@aysp New Member

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    Thank you both for the quick response. I am new to this site but have been looking for a good place to ask questions. Thank you again. JR
  7. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    5.45x39 is not the same as 223, 5.56x45 is the one that is often interchangable with 223, but it is a slightly differant round, and is normally not considered safe to shoot 556 in a gun that is only 223, but okay to shoot 223 in a 556.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    you are backwards john, The 5.56 chambered guns are only safe for 5.56 nato spec rounds. The .223 chambered guns are ok for both. .223 in a 5.56 will produce excessive pressures.
  9. fedupdon

    fedupdon New Member

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    ruger say no the even caution against useing 5.56 in a 223
  10. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i think your mistaken JLA. im sure of it that the 556 is a higher pressure round, and can safely shoot the 223, while the 223 cannot fire the 556 safely.
  11. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    .223 chambers are .223 only

    5.56 chambers are either

    I've had those kinds of days..... is it theirs or thiers.... gauge or guage or gage ??..... :)
  12. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    5.56 is loaded to higher chamber pressures than the .223 and the 5.56 also has thicker brass. A 5.56 chambered weapon can fire both, a .223 chambered weapons can only fire .223 (Well it CAN fire 5.56, but prolonged use will cause a failure in the weapon.)
  13. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    5.56mm NATO has dimensional specs that when put in a .223 causes too much pressure. It has nothing to do with the loading. It is the length.

    A .223 will fit in a 5.56mm chamber fine and fire fine, as its dimensions are well inside tolerances.



    Just FYI on the 5.45x39mm. It was not just an attempt to mimic the 5.56mm round. It fully phased out the 7.62x39mm/AK-47 in the Soviet Union in 1980, pushing the 7.62x39mm/AK-47 into a limited role near non-existence except to export to people too poor to buy M16's. It is a significant cartridge that is grossly unknown to most American shooters who still think for some reason the AK-47 is a current weapon system in modern nations, which it is not. The last holdout is China, who is pushing along hard to field their 5.8mm rifles.
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    You are correct, I double checked. Its just been one of those days.... Stayed up all night last night reloading ALL my .223 cartridges and got woke up early this morning to be called into work just for a fricken meeting:mad:. I will not be disappointed if I dont see another .223 round for the rest of the ......week. ;)...

    JLA
  15. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    I've heard that some Russian SpecOps units have gone back to the 7.62x39 with either the AK-47 or the AK-103. If that's completely true or not, I'm not entirely sure, but I have read that from a couple different sources.

    I know an Iraqi War vet who actually prefers the 5.45 to the 5.56 and I've heard that the 5.45 is a very nasty round with which to get hit. I'd love to get a rifle that shoots the 5.45 because it's still relatively cheap and plentiful around here. Which is amazing as no US ammo company I know of performs any domestic production of the round.

    It happens to us all :)
  16. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    The special purpose organizations over there never got entirely free of 7.62x39mm, they just chambered it in weapons better than the 47. Is this significant in favor of the 7.62x39mm? Not really. Why? It is 2009 and we still have a limited use of .30 Carbine. I don't know why. Some things will just not go away. People yell about our forces bringing back the M14, but it's always been in limited service under another name almost everywhere. They will always keep 7.62x39mm weapons for the same reason we keep our .30 cal weapon: somewhere they will be the right weapon. Taking any external observation notes from special operations is like learning about sex from watching porn; you will only see the stuff that generally will not apply anywhere else. The relevant things go fully unseen.

    I'm an Iraq war vet. I've advised on 3 continents in combat too. We are regular people. Some of us can't figure out how to use our own cell phone. Being a vet of anywhere does not qualify our opinion as meaning anything else but another opinion. When I was back the last time my Sergeant Major sent us to this tedious learning thing and our protest was, "Sergeant Major, we've been doing that in real-world application for years now. We are not going to learn anything new. Our time would be better used reinforcing this this and this." His reply was a simple, "Just because you've done it in combat does not mean you did it right." Damn that old man got us cold.

    5.45mm ball is a nasty round to get hit by...under 150m. So is 5.56mm ball...within 150m (200m from M16). They both quickly rupture apart and create multiple deep wounds, bust bladders and dislodge important things, and a big chunk of the core usually exists with plenty of force. Both do this because in soft tissue they turn sideways and the jacket fails. Both penetrate better beyond 200m. Both will remain intact on solid barriers enough to punch fairly deep, especially once they slow down some. Both pose drastic ricochet hazards...which can be good or bad. Both create more trauma than 7.62x39mm ball at close range. Both are above par penetrating soft body armor. Both increase the firepower of a unit by enabling more ammo and more accurate fire to be bared by the user. Both are highly misunderstood. The difference is only in how their projectiles are designed; different methods for the same results.

    I have to stand by 5.56mm as superior in quality. We just have higher standards. For civilian use, the .223 is better than both, based on everything available. It can do everything a 5.56mm can plus anything a reloader can dream up.

    A also have to say I don't think you can get Simunition ammo for 5.45mm, which is a disadvantage to the most important thing of all: training.

    In the end, I feel that arguing 5.45mm vs 5.56mm is as silly as arguing your boot tread vs my boot tread or Camel vs Marlboro. What they do is so similar as to be moot.



    Weapons, I will argue the M4 until you can outshoot me with on an SR-1 with whatever rod you got. Open invitation, bring your own ammo. No benchrest bullcrap either; 10 miles to the firing line in 1.5 hrs (9min x mile and minus 1 point every minute after 1.5 hrs you arrive) load and stress fire 200m SR-1 on the buzzer 40 x rounds in 2 minutes for a value of 400 points and loser picks up the brass. I'm good for a 350 usually. If you win I'll withdraw my praise of the M4; I leave my ego in the bedroom where it can only be hurt in private.:D

    I will never forgive the AK-74 for having AK-47 sights. Those crappy AK sights are a metal abortion and make baby Jesus cry. The M4 sights are awesome and perfect. I believe when I get to heaven the gate will be a huge gold M4 back-up sight aperture looking directly over brunettes swimming in a fountain of Jack Daniels shaded with giant sassafras. An AK or a blond just has no place there.;):):D
  17. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

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    The important safety diference between 5.56 and .223 is that 5.56 ammo has a longer length. The 5.56 ammo may hit the lands in a .223 creating a pressure problem. Not so the other way around. The non-safety difference is that 5.56 ammo often uses heavier bullets which need a faster twist (1:9 or 1:7 or something like that) to stabilize bullets upwards of 80 grains. A .223 rifle may only have 1:14 twist which will only stablize bullets less than 60 grains (55 and less is better). If you have a .223 rifle and want to shoot 5.56 ammo you need to measure the length of the ammo to make sure that it will not touch the rifling in your gun and make sure the ammo is using lighter bullets to get some sort of accuracy. If your gun says .223, you'll be better buying .223 ammo anyway, as it's typically better anyway. Better bullets for accuracy and hunting varmints. It's does tend to be more expensive however. If you look hard enough, you can find FMJ .223 ammo, which ballistically is absolutely identical to 5.56 ammo (provided you are comparing the same bullet weights from the same manufacturer).
    If your gun says .223, just shoot .223 branded ammo. If it says 5.56, pick your choice.

    As far as the 5.45 ammo goes, it is useless to you. That would be like trying to use 204 ruger ammo in my 22-250. Different ammo all together.
  18. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    The vet I was speaking likes the 5.45 better, you like the 5.56 better. I like the 8mm better than the .30-06 and I like the 9mm better than the .45. It's all personal preference. (Just like I prefer Mopars to Fords or Chevys:D) Both the 5.56 and 5.45 were designed as small, high speed rounds that tumble on impact. They both work. Some people prefer one over the other. You do make a good point about the lower standards used in manufacturing the 5.45. I noticed a lower standrad of fit and finish on my WASR, but it is a quality weapon in the one measure that truely counts...it fires every time I pull the trigger and eats any type of ammo I've fed it.

    As far as 7.62 chambered weapons, the AK-103 is nothing more than an AK-74 rechambered for 7.62x39. The Russians use it in some limited capacities. The Venezulan Army uses the 103 as their standard infantry rifle. .30 caliber in any way shape or form seesm to be the "obselescent" round that just won't die:D:D

    Now, I happen to like the sights on the AK. Granted, I do like apature sights a lot better, but I find the sights on my WASR easy to use. But not all leaf-type sigts are created equal. I just cannot use the leaf sights on a K98k, but the one on an AK work fine.
  19. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    True all that; you like what you like. If you're good, then I'm good.

    The Latin Russians buy what the real Ivans sell them. The caliber is probably a logistic decision. The US and most of the West wouldn't wipe their butt with a Venezuela arms request, let alone oblige it anymore. And the Russians probably can't meet the ammo demand for the Latin USSR to go 5.45mm. Just a hunch, the Venezuelans bought what they can feed.

    See there's no accounting for taste. If you like the AK sights, let me dissect further into ergonomics. Next time you fire your WASR, try to borrow an M4 (AR etc etc). Do a stress fire on a barrier, either an outside corner or better yet an L. Fire the WASR bracing with a C-clamp style, shoot-around-cover method, then do the same with an M4.

    If you are of the roll-out school, then this is moot, but if you brace on cover, it matters. Using a C-clamp hold on an AK is truly shoving a square into a round hole. :)

    I'm telling ya, there's no AK's in heaven. ;)
  20. bcj1755

    bcj1755 New Member

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    Hehehe...Latin Russians, I like that:D The Venezuelans are producing AK-103s under lisence, so I assume that they could have just as esily procurred the AK-74. Not that it really matter what Chavez the Commie does.

    As far as ergonomics, I didn't buy the WASR because I thought it was comfortable (although it's not really too bad in that respect, especially after I swapped some parts) or because it was pretty, I bought it because it will eat whatever kind of 7.62 I feed it, and will spit those bullets out of the barrel. Maybe not in the most accurate manner, but it's accurate enough to hit a target and it groups very well when I shoot it. An M-4-style stock is just not comfortable to me for some reason. I don't know why. But I do admit that the AR-type rifle is more ergonomic than the AKM-type (the safety switch on the AKM comes to mind). I also like show simple it is. The receiver is mostly empty space. I can figure out how to take the rifle apart just by looking at it (although the sheppard's crook is a HUGE PITA:mad::mad:). And like I said, I prefer an appiture sight, but the leaf sights on my WASR aren't too bad. Granted, I've been out of the USAF for about 12 years, but I know the AR is much more complicated in that regard. (I do still remember how to clear a jam with the M-16:rolleyes::p) The main reason I got the WASR, I couldn't afford an AR. Given the choice of a rifle chambered in 5.56, I'd take the G36. There's just something about German weapons.:D:p Like has been discussed many times, and will be discussed until the end of time, the AR and AK are just two different methods of accomplishing the same goal...sending bullets downrange. Just as the 5.56 and 5.45 are two different methods of accomplishing the same goal...stopping those who mean you harm.

    Wow, we've drifted this thread:eek::D:p:p
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
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