Can I shoot 5.56 in my Saiga 223?

Discussion in 'General Rifle' started by bsshog40, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. bsshog40

    bsshog40 G&G Evangelist

    I'm finding a lot of conflicting information on this subject. I have a Saiga .223 and I was wondering if it was also chambered for 5.56. Does anyone here know for sure? Thanks!

  2. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter G&G Evangelist

    I have one .223 AR that I have shot 5.56 out of but the barrel of it was already shot out & it wouldn't hurt it any, planing to replace the barrel anyway.
    I'm not sure about the Russian guns & how strong they are built.
  3. graybeard

    graybeard G&G Enthusiast

    I don't shoot 5.56 in my .223. Like you have stated, there is a lot of confusing info on the net. IT may be ok, or it could harm your rifle. I don't know all of the exact chamber pressures of my ammo, and if my rifle will be able to shoot it safely. My 2 cents.
    bsshog40 and jwrauch like this.
    I don't shoot 5.56 in my .223 unless I handloaded it (Case Prep)...but that is another issue...there are others that know more aspects of this...especially our friend from Idaho...I have a .223Wylde chambered upper I use on my AR...
  5. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter G&G Evangelist

    The .223Wylde will shoot .223 or 5.56 without any problem.
    cooker300, Dutch, jerry and 1 other person like this.

    SUBMOA G&G Evangelist

    If it is not stamped on the barrel .223/5.56 , consult the owners manual or the manufacturer.
  7. redcaddy51

    redcaddy51 G&G Evangelist

    AFAIK, the difference is in OAL and chamber pressure, the 5.56 is slightly longer and higher, respectively. I shoot them interchangeably, as well as my hand loads, in ALL my .223 and 5.56 chambered long guns and bolt pistols. In my world, there are no dangerous factory rounds in this caliber, in any modern gun. YMMV.

    I have listened to all the "experts" and arm chair Generals debate this topic ad nausiem. AFAICT, There is no cause for alarm. Even a short chamber/long neck, high pressure round combination is not likely to raise chamber pressures to a dangerous level.

    Accuracy of the wilde chamber, (really just a long throated .223), has been subject to much testing and hand wringing, that jury is still out. Until I get one that will not stay under 1/2 MOA, I don't care that much
    Over ambitious hand loads are a different matter entirely. (If I didn't reload it, I don't shoot it)

    Just another old man's opinion.

    EtherialOne likes this.
  8. bsshog40

    bsshog40 G&G Evangelist

    Yea I've searched all over and can't find a manual for it. I did find a link for a saiga manual but it had every caliber and ga. except the .223.
    ChaZam likes this.
  9. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Same here. I haven't stumbled onto anything definitive either. All the threads I find where people are discussing it there isn't any consensus opinion either.
  10. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    the difference is in the throat.
    you can shoot all the 223 you want in your 5.56 chamber and all you have done is increase the distance the bullet has to jump to get to the rifling.

    it doesn't work the other way around [usually] the 56 ammo is touted as touching the other end of the 223's throat.

    your then jamming the bullet into the rifling which in turn raises pressures on a round that is already loaded to a higher pressure to make up for the bigger throat losing pressure.

    hope that was clear enough.

    so the real world answer is maybe, the lawyer answer is no.
    the only way to know is to do a pound slug of your rifle and measure your throats shape and compare it to your bullets shape.
    the 56's bullet will be some different out near the ogive length, and that's the area your concerned about.

    of course you could pull the ammo down, remove some powder [5-6%] and re-seat to a slightly shorter oal too, and not have to worry about things.
    PaleHawkDown and Palladin8 like this.
  11. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Come on peeps, what the OP is wanting to know is whether his Saiga 223 actually has a 223 Remington chamber or whether Saiga chambers them in 5.56x45 NATO . . .
    Dutch and rando like this.
  12. chesterwin

    chesterwin G&G Evangelist

    Is there a caliber stamped on the barrel?
    rando likes this.
  13. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist


    unless someone has miraculously done a pound slug on one and see's this thread [shrug] he is gonna have to measure for his self,,,, or go by what it says on the barrel.
    I can assure you my 223 22-250 and 220 swift do not have 5.56 throats.
    I can also assure you that the three rifles I have that say 5.56 on them do have 5.56 throats [or something real close in the case of one of them]

    I know that because I made a pound slug and put my measuring tools to them when I drew up 2 different 22 cal bullet designs one for a cast bullet mold maker, and one for a jacketed bullet swage die maker to copy.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 11:34 PM
  14. bsshog40

    bsshog40 G&G Evangelist

    Nothing on the barrel. All the markings are on the sides. It just shows .223REM. I think I'll just stick to my .223's for it. I was mostly just curious.
    shop tom likes this.
  15. BigEd63

    BigEd63 G&G Evangelist

    Unless this is a match chambered .223 target rifle you ought to be okay.

    I mean it's an AK for Pete's sake!

    If they are still in business might want to call The Firing Line in Wyandotte Oklahoma. They do enough AK work they ought to know.
  16. chesterwin

    chesterwin G&G Evangelist

  17. BigEd63

    BigEd63 G&G Evangelist

    AK Hunter likes this.
  18. chesterwin

    chesterwin G&G Evangelist

    Just an example of what can happen with too much chamber pressure in any firearm.
    runfiverun likes this.
  19. rando

    rando G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Yes he was simply asking will his Saiga shoot the military 5.56 nato round in 223 chambered. He was not asking the difference in the two. That discussion has been on this site enough before.
    Dutch and ChaZam like this.