5.56x45 Ammo For Sale
History of 5.56x45 Ammo
Perhaps one of the most iconic military cartridges, the 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition, commonly referred to as the 5.56 NATO, has been in active use in the United States Armed Forces since 1964.
5.56x45 NATO ammo features a rimless and tapered bottleneck case that measures 44.70mm (1.76 inches) in length and ranges from a 6.43mm diameter at its neck to a 9.58mm diameter at its base. This casing houses a boat-tailed bullet with a diameter of 5.70mm, or .224 inch. With both bullet and shell, the 5.56 cartridge reaches 57.40mm (2.26 inch) in length.
While the original 5.56x45mm bullet was 55 grain (gr) of lead, the standard bullet now weighs 62 gr and consists of a lead base topped with a steel penetrator. The added weight increases the ammunition’s penetration and velocity, improving its performance.
The ammunition uses a small rifle primer and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) sets the maximum pressure for the round between 55,000 and 58,000 pounds per square inch (psi), but variations are available with maximum pressures as high as 62,000 psi.
Although the round was originally designed as a military cartridge, the 5.56x45mm NATO has found a home among American civilian shooters. It’s especially popular in military-style semi-automatic carbines.
The Development of 5.56x45mm Ammunition
The 5.56x45 cartridge developed from a need for a faster firing automatic weapon and ammunition. After extensive research, the military determined it needed something that could fire small caliber, high velocity (SCHV) projectiles and do so quickly.
In 1957, the U.S. Continental Army Command (CONARC) requested Eugene Stoner, a lead engineer and designer at Armalite, for a scaled down version of his AR-10, where the “AR” stands for Armalite Rifle, not assault rifle. The AR-10, while effective, fired the first, and at the time only, NATO cartridge – the 7.62x51mm NATO, which is similar in size to the .308 Winchester.
With the request for the new firearm, CONARC also released a call for an ammunition that could go with it. The military knew what they wanted for the new ammunition, primarily a .22-caliber bullet with the following requirements:
- Maintained supersonic speeds, above 1,080 feet per second (fps) at 500 yards
- Penetrated an Army-issued steel helmet at 500 yards
- Penetrated a .135-inch steel plate at 500 yards
- Reached the ballistic performance and accuracy of M2 ball ammunition, the military version of the .30-06 Springfield
- Wounded as efficiently as the M1 Carbine, which fired .30 Carbine cartridges
The CONARC required the firearm have both automatic and semi-automatic firing and weight six pounds or less. The firearm needed a magazine that could hold at least 20 rounds.
The ammunition’s development began under Springfield Armory’s Earle Harvey. Starting with a .222 Remington, Harvey lengthened the case to allow for more powder and called it the .224 Springfield. Before he could continue his work on the new military round, Springfield Armory ordered he cease, as they were working on a new rifle chambered in 7.62mm and didn’t want to have a competing round.
Stoner then turned to Frank Snow of Sierra Bullet and Robert Hutton, who worked as the technical editor of Guns & Ammo magazine, and together they collaborated on a 55 gr bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3,300 fps, which could meet the demands of CONARC’s requirements.
By 1959, the AR-15 and the 5.56x45mm cartridge were ready for their first round of testing. By 1961, marksmanship testing had 45 percent of shooters reaching expert certification, while only 22 percent could reach the same level of certification with the M14, leading to the first major order – 80,000 AR-15 rifles for the Air Force.
In 1962, Remington submitted the ammunition’s specifications to SAAMI as the civilian version of the 5.56x45mm, the .223 Remington, which it accepted. By 1964, the U.S. Army officially adopted the 5.56mm Ball Cartridge, M193, or what is commonly referred to as the 5.56 NATO, to be used with its newest firearm, the M16 (or, in civilian terms, the AR-15).
After combat testing during the Vietnam War, the 5.56 NATO and the .223 soon became one of the most popular centerfire cartridges not only in America, but internationally.
Its popularity has been reinforced with the ammunition’s light weight, as well as the light weight of the firearms chambered for it. With the 5.56 NATO, significantly more rounds could be carried both in the weapon and on the person during combat, with no more additional weight.
What’s more, the ease of use, including low bolt thrust and almost non-existent perceived recoil, made the firearm easy to shoot and more shooters were able to become proficient with the firearm and excel with it.
As time progressed, law enforcement agencies and militaries throughout the world, including many non-NATO countries, have opted for the cartridge and it’s become a favorite to an increasing number of U.S. civilians.
The Types of 5.56 NATO Ammo
The original 5.56 NATO was first loaded with a full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet weighing 55 gr that exited the barrel of the new AR-15 rifle at more than 3,200 fps. In 1984, ammunition was adopted by the nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, which is an intergovernmental military alliance between countries in North America and Europe.
With this NATO adoption came a few changes, most notably the addition of a steel penetrator tip in the bullet. Now called the M855, this bullet weighed a slightly heavier 62 gr and had a slightly lower velocity of around 3,100 fps. Although it doesn’t leave the muzzle as fast as the original 55 gr bullet, this heavier projectile has a stronger sustained velocity.
Because of these changes to the ammunition, the firearms needed slight alteration as well. With a heavier bullet (an increase of seven gr from the M193 to the M855), the firearm barrel needed a tighter rifling twist, at a ratio of 1:7, to help stabilize the bullet’s weight gain. This change in rifling led to improved penetration and greater accuracy than the original round.
Beyond the M855, other military variations arose, including the Mk318, a 62 gr barrier-blind round, and for precision marksmanship, the Mk262 Open Tip Match bullet.
For civilian shooters, 5.56 NATO cartridges can be found in a variety of configurations, including:
- Full metal jacket (FMJ): FMJ rounds feature lead bullets encased, or jacketed, in copper or another hard metal; this metal jacket allows the projectile to keep its shape until impact and leads to greater penetration
- Full metal jacket-boat tail (FMJ-BT): With FMJ-BT ammo, shooters get a bullet that’s both jacketed and tapered at the rear, resembling the shape of a boat; this shape allows for better accuracy and a more stable flight than other ammunitions
- Hollow point boat tailed (HPBT): HPBT rounds feature a projectile that has a hollow point into the center of the bullet, as well as a boat-like shape to the back of the bullet; these cartridges are often seen in long-range hunting for big game animals and are known for their rapid expansion
- Frangible: Frangible bullets don’t expand like traditional FMJ or jacketed hollow point bullets, but instead fragment into many smaller pieces; this fragmentation eliminates the risk of over penetration and can increase the size and internal damage of a wound
- Open tip match (OTM): Perhaps one of the most controversial types of ammo, OTM rounds feature a jacketed lead bullet; like a hollow point, the projectile has an open tip, but unlike hollow points, it’s not designed to expand; instead the bullet has a poured core, which makes it extremely accurate and a favorite amongst competition target shooters
There are also speciality 5.56 NATO variations, including rounds like GMX by Hornady, which features a monolithic construction that’s tougher than cooper, and the Triple Shock X (TSX) by Barnes Bullets. TSX bullets are solid copper and designed for hunting, with their consistent and uniform expansion.
The 5.56 NATO Performance
When it comes to performance, the standard 5.56 NATO proves its worth. The cartridge penetrates to a depth of 38-51 cm (15 to 20 inches) in soft tissue and, when the impact occurs at a velocity higher than 2,500 fps, the projectile is likely to fragment into multiple pieces, causing significant wound damage.
Some believe the 5.56 NATO is even strong enough to cause hydrostatic shock damage, where the soundwaves from the projectiles’ impact create tissue damage.
Even without hydrostatic shock, which is a theory and not accepted among all gun and ammunition experts, the 5.56 NATO projectile is designed to yaw after impact. When a bullet “yaws,” it moves side to side, creating a bigger wound cavity and more extensive damage than a bullet that travels a straight path.
Yet when this round is shot out of a short-barrelled carbine, it can sometimes fail to yaw and result in over-penetration and limited expansion.
Popular worldwide, many firearm manufacturers have produced weapons chambered for the 5.56x45 cartridge – including Armalite, Bushmaster, and Colt, among others. But the most popular, by far, is Armalite’s AR-15 and the plethora of firearms that have been built in the semi-automatic AR-15 style.
Because these firearms are so prevalent, it’s become easy to find cheap 5.56 NATO ammo. Surplus 5.56 ammo can be found both in brick and mortar gun stores from coast to coast, and most major online ammunition stores. However, if you want 5.56 rounds that are a bit higher quality, we recommend you invest in some Hornady 5.56 ammo for more consistent results.
Although most 5.56 NATO chambered firearms are semi-automatic, shooters can find pump-action rifles in the military round.
The 5.56x45 vs .223 Remington
Externally, there are no differences between the 5.56x45mm NATO and the .223 Remington. They have the same casing. Their projectiles are the same diameter. Side-by-side, there are no visible differences between the two, other than the headstamp. But inside, there are major differences, ones that can become extremely dangerous if ignored.
When discussing these two cartridges, it’s important to remember that the 5.56 NATO was designed as a military cartridge, while the .223 Remington has been designated for civilians since its onset. One was made for war, one to shoot varmint in the backyard.
It makes sense, then, that the 5.56 NATO has a different powder load, leading to a higher pressure. The military round averages a maximum pressure about 5,000 psi higher than the .223 Remington.
This pressure difference isn’t just because of powder difference (although that’s part of it), it also has to do with the difference in chamber leade. Chamber leade refers to the space between where a bullet sits at rest to where it engages in the rifling twist. The shorter the leade, the quicker the bullet engages, and the more pressure that’s created in the barrel.
Firearms chambered for the .223 have a shorter leade than those manufactured for the 5.56 NATO. Firearms manufactured for the military round have a chamber that’s actually slightly larger than those chambered for the .223 to reduce malfunctions and misfires from dirty guns, like those often seen in battlegrounds. These larger chambers have a longer leade and the 5.56 NATO is made accordingly.
So when a shooter takes the 5.56 NATO, which was designed to be fired from a rifle with a long leade, and puts it in a firearm chambered for the .223 Remington, it engages in the rifling quicker than it should and can drastically increase the pressure in the barrel, endangering not only the firearm, but the shooter as well.
Because .223 ammo is under a lower pressure than 5.56x45mm rounds, and has a shorter leade, the civilian ammunition can be fired without issue from the 5.56 NATO weapons.
To recap, it is NOT safe to fire 5.56 NATO ammunition from a firearm chambered to .223 Remington. But it IS safe to fire .223 Remington ammo from firearms chambered to the 5.56 NATO.
In many modern military-style firearms, the barrel is labeled with both chamberings, such as 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem.
An easy way to think about it is this: Consider the 5.56 NATO as a .223 +P. And like other +P ammunitions, a shooter shoulder never shoot the higher pressure ammo out of a barrel that’s not indicated for its pressure.
What is 5.56x45 ammo?
Considered one of the most iconic military cartridges, the 5.56x45mm NATO has been used by the U.S. Armed Forces since 1964. It features a rimless, tapered bottleneck case topped with a boat-tailed bullet that has a diameter of .224 inch. The standard projectile weighs 62 grain (gr) and contains a steel penetrator. The round was born of the .223 Remington and although the rounds look extremely similar, the NATO is more powerful and many like to think of it as a .223 +P.
How much does 5.56 ammo cost?
When it comes to the price of 5.56 ammo, it depends on the type, brand, and quantity of ammo purchased. Standard 5.56 NATO cartridges start at about $0.37 a round and continue upward to more than $1.00. American Eagle 5.56 lets you shoot the high-pressure ammo that your AR-15 craves while giving you the performance you expect from Federal 5.56 at an overall lower price point. Full metal jacket ammo tends to be cheaper than specialty rounds and hollow points.
Speaking of price make sure to check out our stock of Hornady 5.56 ammo for more options.
What is 5.56 green tip ammo?
Sometimes 5.56x45mm rounds have a painted green tip. This signifies the cartridge as military surplus ammo that is redistributed and sold in the commercial market. The green tip means there is a steel bar inside the bullet, increasing its penetration and power. Unlike standard FMJ rounds, ammo with a green tip can pierce some armoured tanks. If the green tip is plastic, not painted onto the metal, then the round may be a polymer-tipped .223 Hornady FTX.
What is the difference between the .223 and 5.56 ammo?
When comparing .223 and 5.56 ammo, they look almost identical in size and shape, but on the inside of the casing, they’re different. With different bullet weights, powder loads, and chamber pressure, the 5.56 NATO is a more powerful force and is often considered a .223 +P. In addition to these configuration differences, .223 rounds have a shorter leade (the space between where the cartridge sits and the rifling begins). In most cases, it is safe to shoot .223 ammo from a rifle chambered for 5.56 NATO, but not vice versa.
What guns shoot 5.56x45 ammo?
The most popular gun chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO is, by far, the iconic Armalite-15, commonly referred to as the AR-15. The U.S. military version was known as the M16 rifle. This firearm has inspired many of the civilian semi-automatic 5.56 chambered guns, which are collectively referred to as being “AR-15 style.” In addition, other firearm manufacturers have 5.56 chambered guns including Colt and Bushmaster. Although semi-automatic is the most common configuration, pump action rifles are also available.
What does 5.56 ball ammo mean?
In military ammo terms, the word balls refers to the standard issue round that doesn’t include any special function. This term arises from before commercial ammo was manufactured and people just used powder and a ball-shaped projectile. Currently, the U.S. Armed Forces uses either FMJ or TMJ rounds for its standard issue 5.56 NATO rounds.
Does the military use 5.56 ammo?
Yes, the U.S. military uses the 5.56x45mm round. It’s also used by the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, among other countries.
Is there a difference between 5.56 ammo and 5.56 NATO ammo?
The 5.56x45mm and the 5.56 NATO are the same size cartridge and refer to the same round. The civilian version of the 5.56 is the .223 Remington. Although the cartridges look the same, the NATO version has more force and power.
Can you hunt deer with 5.56x45 ammo?
It depends. In many areas, the 5.56x45mm, or more likely the civilian version .223 Remington, is perfectly effective for deer hunting. This is especially true East of the Mississippi where forests are dense and shots are under 100 yards. In the West, the .223 and the 5.56 lack the velocity and power for the necessary long-distance shots required. Check with local regulations as well, as some areas have a minimum caliber that is larger than the .223 to ensure humane harvests. Also check laws regarding the type of firearms allowed, as some areas outlaw the use of semi-automatics rifles for deer hunting.
5.56x45mm Ballistics: Chart of Average 5.56x45mm Ballistics
Note: This information comes from the manufacturer and is for informational purposes only. The actual ballistics obtained with your firearm can vary considerably from the advertised ballistics. Also, ballistics can vary from lot to lot with the same brand and type load.
|5.56x45mm Bullet WEIGHT||Muzzle VELOCITY (fps)||Muzzle ENERGY (ft. lbs.)||TRAJECTORY (in.)|
|Muzzle||100 yds.||200 yds.||300 yds.||400 yds.||Muzzle||100 yds.||200 yds.||300 yds.||400 yds.||100 yds.||200 yds.||300 yds.||400 yds.|
|55 Grain NATO||3130||2740||2382||2051||1750||1196||917||693||514||372||1.1||0||-7.3||-23|
|75 Grain NATO||2910||2676||2543||2242||2041||1410||1192||1002||837||693||1.2||0||-7||-21|
I am very pleased with their service, quick delivery and product. I have not experienced any issue with their product at the range. I highly recommend this website for all the above mentioned reasons.
I was glad to find that Ammo.com had plenty of stock of this ammo. I searched the net of a lot of places, their prices are very competitive.
I have not shot any of this batch or the batch prior, I haven’t even opened the boxes. I’m in high hopes I never have to open these boxes. I’ve used Federal 5.56 before and it is good stuff. Price is stiff, not as stiff as some I’ve seen. But then everything gun related is more expensive, isn’t it. Get it while the getting is good.
I guess a shortage in the ammo supply has driven the price up, as I found your ammo to be a bit more expensive than I had anticipated.. Regardless, the delivery time was exceptional & the ammo itself came in good condition and preformed well.
I have already recommended it, that being said, it is a bit pricey. But considering that there is such a shortage, I was happy to have it. I get a small disability check once a month, so, I'll have to save more money.
The order was handled quickly and efficiently. I would recommend Ammo.com to anyone who has stood in line trying to find ammo.
Good, Clean, ammo....pricey but what can ya do....fast delivery too I cant even find a die set to reload let alone the bullets or primers so this ammo will do untill times are better....if ever
Nice to know where to locate ammo after this BS of low production and high demand.
Ammo was well packed, but the tins came in a bit banged up. Ammo was clean in good shape but stripper clips showed moisture damage with minor rust making it hard to load with the speed loader. The cost was deffently high and go figure right after I ordered I found 1000rnds of loose pack 62gr lake city for the same price as one tin of 420rnds, but finding 556 ammo these days is deffently a gamble of finding it and its price! Hopefully all this Bull will be over soon!
Good and clean, but a little pricey.
good clean ammo and a great overall value
This ammo package is over twice as expensive as it should be. If you don't reload your own .223 just go with Wolf...
a good qalityt shell cida
good clean ammo sum what pricey but good over all
Finally got to shoot some of this the other day. Worked well and shot consistant/accurate. No feeding or fire failures out of about 100 rounds in my BCM AR-15. I feel the price is a bit too high at this time.
These were the first rounds shot through my ar. I have no complaints, it cycles fine even through rapid firing. I would definitely buy these again.
Works great, cycles fine, glad I found your sight.
This is excellent ammo. Velocity is up there, at least in my 20" barrel DTI ar 15. Kinda lucky to buy this cheap ammo and get it to shoot the way this stuff did. I love being able to buy metal cases as well as brass cases. The metal are non-reloadable and it's nice to just shoot these and not worry about looking after shooting. I worry about the future of buying ammo over the 'net in the future. Here in Illinois our great governor Quinn moves on every front to close the avenues to get ammo. Good Shooting to All
I have tried several more expensive brands of 5.56 and .223, but none of them can match the performance per dollar of PRVI. This is now the only ammo I use in my AR. As for Lewmed's review above, my 16" AR with my not-so-steady trigger finger are able to make 2MOA groups at 100 yards. 4 to 5 inches?!?! Not in my rifle.
This is nice clean ammo that shoots and works in all 3 of my AR'S but it is not as accurate as mil. spec. ammo like lake city M193 My normal 21/2" 100 yard groups open up to 4 to 5" I'll use it for 50 yard range ammo.
Thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot. I was right.
62 grain shoots just fine. no jams. but that old vietnam ak will fire, even when dropped in mud, and water. thanks Im just glad you had the ammo, and the price was right.
Mikey A said:
As usual very prompt customer service and worry free shipping, love these guys & gals @ ammo.com. Well I am no expert about ammo, but I will say that this ammo was performing better than some more expensive products. fresh and snappy, good penetration and groupings 2"-3" @ 200-300 yds, mini-14 1-9 twist , similar to SS109 m855 but heavier Gr.
Will buy again.
These rounds worked just fine.
Russell B said:
I ordered 2000 rounds and two ammo boxes the 50 caliber larger ones. The ammo boxes were brand new as promised and no signs of rust, sand etc. simply new. The 1000 rounds of 556 filled it almost to the rim. We pleased and will be back.
Shooter McGee said:
I searched many places for this product. You had the best price around, and the product arrived on schedule. Thanks for your great product and service.
Not only is the price fantastic, but my shipment arrived in pristine condition. I was a new customer, and didn't know what to expect. I had a very bad experience buying ammunition on line from another place that claims to be 'cheaper than...ahem.. anything'. My experience with Ammo.com could not have been better. The trusted brand and quality of my order goes without saying. But the handling, packaging, and service from the people at Ammo.com was phenomenal, even surprising given the world we live in where poor service is pretty much expected. I will not shop anywhere else. Ammo.com is my go to supplier.
Good price for ammo, not shinny but who cares its ment to shoot not to look at
I have tried different ammo with Sig 556. Its eats everything but I find Lake City 5.56 62gr --- No failures, Accurate @ 100 to 300 yards ( my club limits ) I have the feeling of complete depenability.
This is great ammo for the hybrid AR's.The brass is good for reloading and the 62 grain bullets stabilize well. Russ
Love the stripper clips. I think it took just 2 days to arrive. The price was excellent.
Private citizen said:
This is a great self defense ammo at a great price.
Shot 100 rounds through my new AR-15 and everything was flawless. Very happy with the service, delivery time and quality of the Ammo.
First time I used you guys and I'm impressed. Great prices,fast service. Keep up the good work.
Bear Patrol said:
Ammo comes in 5 plastic mini ammo boxes that look really neat! I wish the carry handles were real but they’re still worth holding onto for future use. So far I’ve put about 360 of these through my Windham HBC with no issues. As for accuracy I’ve only fired at targets from 100 yards or less from a standing position, so I’m not sure how they do at longer ranges but they always hit where I aim at those distances. The only downside for me so far is that I have to use paper targets or improvised targets (milk jugs, cans, etc.) Because these were leaving some SERIOUS dents in my 1/2 inch thick ar500 steel target. Overall I’d definitely recommend these to someone looking for decent 5.56 ammo at a good price.
The ammo itself LOOKS beautiful compared to Lake City penetrators but I have not shot it yet so I can't comment on that. I paid more per round, but that is just the market, not Ammo.com.
Great ammunition for the price. I used to buy the federal loose bulk ammo in 500 and 1000 but there were always at least 10-20 that were either faulty loads or misfired. This ammo is hands down the best for the price that I have purchased and shot. Highly recommend!!
Man this ammo can in, in a matter of days nice quality
Great ammo, Accurate, shot 11/2” Group at 300yrds
Goes bang, burns clean, shoots straight no ftf’s or any other issues. I’d trust my life to it. Gonna get more.
Took it out in my tavor, with a 14x primary arms scope, shoots about 2 MOA off of a bench in quick fire. Not too shabby for a HD OTM round rather than the match BTHP rounds
For the price and quality, never thought I'd be using green tips as target rounds. My AR hasn't jammed up yet after 100 rounds or so, which is impressive. My AR is very picky on ammo, usually can't get 30 rounds out without a couple jams. But this stuff runs like butter through my AR, with some impressive penetration to boot.
All ammo went down range with consistent velocity and tight groupings. Previously purchased ammo from another party had poorly seated primers, this jamming my fire arm.
same as title
good product / good price
Great ammo! Shoots and cycles perfect. Will defiantly buy more.
Great company to work with. Fast shipping great price
This 5.56 ammo was just what my AR needed.
I like PMC Ammo the 5.56X45mmNato is what I shoot. Great for range, self protection, The reason I purchased this ammo is because of who makes this.
couldnt find ammo locally so i checked the net fully expecting 2-3 wks for delivery. ordered early on a saturday morning. was on my door step monday. impressive
PMC is a very reliable ammunition , I would not hesitate to use if for self defense. It shot well and now that I have shot it and used it all, I`ll need to order more. BTW , I use PMC in my handgun for home protection and it is as good as it gets and the 5.56x45 is as great .
I shot about 200 rounds through my brand new SIG716. The very first 3-4 rounds wouldn't feed perfectly, but I attribute this to the brand spanking new equipment. After that, rifle and ammo performed flawlessly. Not a single issue with feeding, cycling, firing, etc. At 150 yards, I had all shots within about 2-3 inches using a cheap scope and no rest. Great product and especially GREAT SERVICE! Thank you guys!!!
Great customer service, placed the order last friday fully expecting not to get the order with all that is going on, you won't find a better company to deal with, as for the Ammo, top notch perfect for my use.
I got this for taking to the range, went through about 100 rounds and zero duds. works perfectly in 2 AR's. We were using Red-Dot scopes, and hit what we were aiming at about 100 yrds away. I would highly recommend this ammo.
I have a Ruger AR556 in which Ive shot 200 rounds of Winchester 193 556 with no problems accurate at 50, 100 and 200 yards