.223 Wylde Barrels
What You Need To Know About .223 Wylde Barrel
Over the years there has been much discussion regarding the differences and compatibilities between the .223 Rem. and 5.56 NATO rounds. Some well-meaning, however misinformed individuals have made assertions that are simply not factual. While outwardly identical, the two cartridges are indeed different and should be treated as such. The goal of this article is to identify the parameters in which the two chamberings exist and the benefits of combining them.
5.56 NATO Versus The .223 Rem.
The first issue at hand is the erroneous statement that the .223 and 5.56 are different calibers, that simply is not the case. The numbers are just declarations in either metric or standard measurement referring to the same cartridge. The difference between the two rounds reside not in the size of the cartridge, but the chamber of the barrel in which it is to be fired and the chamber pressure developed when doing so.
The .223 Rem. and the 5.56 NATO are not universally interchangeable rounds. The 5.56 NATO is loaded to higher chamber pressures and is declared by SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, as an unsafe combination when fired in a weapon chambered for a .223 Rem. However, a .223 Rem. round can be safely fired in a weapon chambered for 5.56 NATO. Think of it kind of like firing a .38 Special round in a weapon chambered for .38+P, that would be fine, however, turn it around and you’re asking for problems.
Back in 1957, the 5.56 NATO was anointed as the round of choice for the ubiquitous M-16 still found in use by the military today. While the .223 Rem. remained the nomenclature for the AR-15 to be used in the civilian world. The weapons were both designed by Armalite, ergo the AR distinction was short for Armalite Rifle and never even slightly referred to “assault rifle”. Much like the two cartridges in question, the rifles are quite similar in appearance and function but different in nature.
Both cartridges have the same overall dimensions, and as before, the difference is found in the chamber bore of the barrel in question. The 5.56 NATO barrels chamber is bored to present a slightly shallower throat angle and larger freebore diameter. This chamber configuration must be present in order to safely handle the higher chamber pressures that the hotter round develops. The term freebore refers to a slightly larger area immediately in front of the bullet, thus allowing the round to get a running start before it encounters the rifling. The benefits of these features should be apparent when you consider the initial military application of the round. Longer, heavier bullets and fully automatic fire rates create a special environment for a barrel and the 5.56 NATO barrel accommodates this.
Shooting .223 In 5.56 Barrel. You Can, But Should You Do It?
While it is safe to fire a .223 Rem. round in a barrel chambered for 5.56 it is not necessarily a great idea. The chamber dimensions create an environment that does not take advantage of the full potential of the .223 Rem. and its renowned accuracy. Unless you just like to make expensive noise, the whole purpose of shooting at something is actually hitting it and doing so consistently. Cost per round is another factor to bring into consideration, especially if you don’t reload. On average .223 Rem. ammunition is relatively expensive when compared to the readily available 5.56 NATO. Therefore, feeding your weapon ammunition that isn’t a match for it is actually a waste of money. In referring to accuracy, to be specific, it is not to say that if you run .223 ammo through a 5.56 gun you will not be able to hit a sheet of plywood at 25 yards. However, as the range increases, so will the size of your groups. Each cartridge is inherently accurate when fired from a barrel intended for that particular round. That is unless something is done to bring the two chamberings together so that they each behave themselves. When you want to accomplish that you have to enter the world of the .223 Wylde, another wrinkle we will explore next.
What Is .223 Wylde
To squash another misunderstanding, the .223 Wylde is not a cartridge, it is simply referring to the bore dimensions of the chamber inside the barrel of a weapon. Bill Wylde recognized the disparities between the .223 and 5.56 chamberings and sought to address the issue. In an attempt to achieve the utmost accuracy, he contrived a chamber bore that would allow either round to be fired safely while retaining its performance. The .223 Wylde combines the throat angle used in the 5.56 NATO chamber with the freebore dimension found in the .223 Rem. Therefore, the inherent accuracy of the .223 Rem. cartridge is retained while still being able to digest the 5.56 as well. If you run into an AR-15 .223 Wylde barrel, you have found such a hybrid.
When comparing a barrel chambered in 223 Wylde vs 5.56 it’s kind of like comparing apples and well, better apples. Any weapon alive tends to favor one particular type or weight of ammunition over another. Conditions such as range, or your intended target dictate the type of charge and bullet weight. The .223 Wylde AR barrel allows a shooter the luxury of choice, choice of matching the ammunition to the circumstances under which the weapon is to be used.
The inner dimensions of the chamber on a .223 Wylde AR barrel accepts the 5.56 NATO round and contains its higher chamber pressures safely. At the same time, you can feed it .223 Rem. and enjoy match grade accuracy. This truly gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to choice of ammo. With such an advantage with the Wylde over simply one or the other, one does have to wonder why the two haven’t permanently merged? Perhaps there will always be purists or those who are sadly misinformed that will keep the individual chamberings alive. However, the market availability of the .223 Wylde chambering is growing. The search for a .223 Wylde barrel for sale need go no further than right here at Wing Tactical.
What Is .223 Wylde In the World of Competitive Shooting?
Certainly, there are many elements that go into a truly accurate rifle. However, coming in just behind the person holding the weapon, the barrel makes the most difference in potential accuracy. When looking at the .223 Wylde vs 5.56, the advantages gained in the choice of the .223 Wylde cannot be ignored. When firing match-grade .223 ammo at longer ranges in either competition or hunting applications the AR-15 .223 Wylde barrel stands out with a clear advantage over the other chamberings.
When the .223 Wylde was introduced availability was an issue. It was difficult at best to find a gunsmith capable of modifying an existing .223 barrel, and even when you could, it usually meant a long wait for the mail to bring it back to you. Now you can simply jump onto Wing Tactical and search for .223 Wylde barrel for sale and in seconds find a number of options for the best .223 Wylde barrel you could ever want. If you have a match for this weekend you could feasibly order a .223 Wylde AR barrel from Wing Tactical, get it in, get it on, and be competing this weekend.
Now, will putting on the best .223 Wylde AR barrel you can buy automatically turn you into a world-class shooter? I really kind of doubt it. However, it will bring a match-grade barrel and choice of different types of ammo into your toolkit. Certainly, the more tools you have at your disposal, then the more creative you can be. Consider for a moment the possibility of stumbling upon that magical load combination that your weapon loves and seeing those shot groups shrink with the squeeze of the trigger. When you have the option of literally any .223 or 5.56 round at your beck and call finding that perfect combination could very well be a reality.
Wylde About the Choices
Decades ago competitive shooting meant long, heavy rifles lying on sandbags atop a shooting bench. Today, the world of competition has really changed. Especially the introduction of the three-gun competition has sped up the scene considerably. When you search the Wing Tactical website looking for a .223 Wylde barrel for sale there will undoubtedly be one there to fit your demands.
While there is not necessarily a best .223 Wylde barrel for everyone, there certainly is one that is best for you. If your shooting parameters mainly include long-range shots, then the choice of a heavy profile, fluted barrel would be on the menu. In fast-paced three-gun competition, a lighter pencil profile barrel may be in order. The length and profile preferred as to shooting style are to be determined by the ultimate use of the weapon. The material of choice in premium, match-grade barrels will be stainless steel, which can be had in a number of different finishes to suit one's individual taste.
The individual appearance of a particular barrel notwithstanding, it is what lies inside it that counts. What’s inside, in this case, is that crazy little .223 Wylde chamber, that’s the important thing to remember. When you outfit your weapon with an AR-15 .223 Wylde barrel you effectively get two guns for the price of one, an effective 5.56 NATO as well as a blistering .223. You are no longer limited as to which type of ammo that you can feed your AR-15. Somebody else can worry about the chamber pressure of a 5.56 NATO round because that .223 Wylde barrel will handle it nicely.
When the Extreme Becomes Par for The Course
Customizing the chamber of a rifle has been around for a long time and the term “wildcatting” carries with it an allure that is desirable by some and repulsive to others. However, the .223 Wylde can by no means be considered a wildcat. It is not a specialized cartridge, merely a chamber adaptation allowing diversity in cartridge choice.
Whether you are starting a brand new build, upgrading an existing AR-15, or simply buying an off the rack piece, going for the .223 Wylde is a viable option that bears consideration. If you’re like many shooters, having a special piece actually means something. Undoubtedly, the .223 Wylde will mean something in the world of options. The option of the .223 Wylde vs 5.56 opens up a whole different world of choices for the AR-15.
Once the .223 Wylde was considered to be on the fringe, however, in today’s world it is becoming more widely recognized as the norm. As the Wylde profile spreads throughout the shooting populace it is natural for supply to rise to meet the demand. Certainly, the demand is being met with the quality .223 Wylde barrels offered here at Wing Tactical.
Whenever you begin to search for a quality replacement component we strive for the search to begin and end here at Wing Tactical. We proudly provide one-stop access for all of your armament needs. Our customer service department works to ensure that you get exactly the right part the first time.
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