What is .223 Wylde: Bridging the Gap Between .223 Remington and 5.56x45 NATO

What is .223 Wylde
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What is .223 Wylde: Bridging the Gap Between .223 Remington and 5.56x45 NATO

There seems to be a misconception that .223 Wylde is a cartridge, and this is understandable because of how it is written, like the name of most calibers of ammunition. But, in actuality, the .223 Wylde is a hybrid rifle chamber design that offers shooters a unique option in the realm of small-caliber, high-velocity rifle rounds.

Designed by Bill Wylde, this chamber design aims to combine the accuracy benefits of the .223 Remington with the ability to safely shoot the higher pressure 5.56x45mm NATO military rounds. Here's a deeper look at the history of the .223 Wylde, how it compares to its cousins, and the types of rifles that commonly use this versatile chambering.

History and Development

The .223 Wylde was developed by gunsmith Bill Wylde to address the compatibility issues between the .223 Remington and the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridges. While both cartridges are similar in size, the 5.56 NATO operates at a higher pressure than the .223 Remington. Firearms chambered for .223 Remington are not recommended to fire 5.56 NATO rounds as it may lead to increased wear and tear or even catastrophic failure. The .223 Wylde was engineered to safely handle both types of ammunition while maintaining the accuracy standards set by the .223 Remington.

Sadly discontinued, as of writing this article a few new examples of the Springfield Saint Edge chambered for .223 Wylde can still be found new, out on the market.

Comparison with .223 Remington and 5.56x45 NATO

The .223 Wylde chamber is cut to a specification that is a hybrid of the SAAMI-spec .223 Remington and the NATO-spec 5.56x45mm. The throat (leade) angle is designed differently than the standard .223 Remington chamber, which allows it to accommodate the slightly longer and hotter 5.56 NATO round without issues of pressure or jamming.

  • Pressure Tolerance: It can handle the higher pressures of the 5.56 NATO, making it more versatile.

  • Accuracy: The .223 Wylde maintains tighter tolerances in the chamber throat, which helps improve accuracy without compromising safety.

Popular Rifles Chambered in .223 Wylde

Rifles chambered in .223 Wylde have become popular among sports shooters and those who want a versatile, accurate rifle for both hunting and personal defense. Some popular rifle models include:

  • AR-15 Builds: Many custom AR-15s are now offered with .223 Wylde chambers as a standard option for those looking to use their rifle for both types of ammunition.

  • Precision Rifles: Several manufacturers produce bolt-action and semi-automatic precision rifles in .223 Wylde, targeting the growing market of tactical and competition shooters.

The Battle Arms Development "Authority" rifle chambered in .223 Wylde is an example of a high-quality, semi-custom rifle that takes advantage of the .233 Wylde chamber accuracy.

Additional Considerations

  • Barrel Choices: When choosing a .223 Wylde rifle, consider the barrel length and twist rate, which can affect the bullet's stability and overall accuracy. A common choice is a 1:8 twist rate, stabilizing a wide range of bullet weights.

  • Ammunition Selection: While .223 Wylde rifles can fire both .223 and 5.56 rounds, selecting high-quality ammunition that meets your shooting needs is still crucial for achieving the best performance.

  • .223 REM is Safe in 5.56 NATO Rifles: One major consideration is that, while it's not recommended to fire 5.56x45mm NATO in a firearm chambered for .223 Remington, it is perfectly acceptable to fire .223 REM out of firearms chambered for 5.56 NATO. The loss of accuracy from doing so is most likely negligible for most shooters' accuracy capabilities. While I'm pretty sure I'm a great shooter on a rifle, I'm also pretty sure that my level of capability is below any level. I'd see a degradation of accuracy firing .223 REM from a 5.56 NATO rifle.

Conclusion

The .223 Wylde is a testament to the innovation in firearm engineering, offering a practical solution for shooters who need the versatility of using both .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO ammunition without sacrificing accuracy or safety. Its acceptance among tactical shooters, hunters, and competition shooters underscores its effectiveness and reliability. Whether you are building a new AR-15 or upgrading an existing one, considering a .223 Wylde chambered rifle might give you the performance edge you are looking for.

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