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While in an emergency you probably can use it, you really should stick to .223.It may not feed as well in your rifle too. The chambers are slightly different and the 5.56 is loaded to a much higher pressure. That is why you can shot .223 in a 5.56 but should not do it the other way around. There is NO real benefit in using 5.56 unless you have a hoard of cheap surplus ammo. Just one mans opinion.
 

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Yes, a standard and Ranch mini 14 can easily handle either cartridge. The factory chamber shape is close to a Wilde chamber, so no problem. The only mini not recommended to shoot 5.56 ammo is the target model ( Has the big weight on the barrel near the muzzle), it is .223 only.
 

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5.56 NATO
Slope Rectangle Font Parallel Pattern



.223 Rem

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Pattern


Both diagrams above created by Francis Flinch. You can see above, the only difference is the radiused shoulder-to-neck transition for the 223 Remington cartridge (sharp for 5.56 NATO). This difference does not affect function in any of the common 223-variant chamberings including 5.56 NATO. The case capacity is also slightly different:


Mag

EDIT .............................................................................................

" A gun guy on the radio said the COAL of the 5.56 is longer than that of the .223. The case dimensions of both are the same but the bullet is seated farther out with the 5.56 and therefore requires a longer free bore ahead of the rifling than is needed for the .223. So chambering a 5.56 in a .223 only chamber could force the bullet of the 5.56 cartridge into the rifling of the .223 chamber and cause excessive pressure upon firing.
Says a guy on the radio.
He also said people fire 5.56 in .223 only chambers all the time and it seems to work so.... "

Mag

EDIT: So much for what "a guy on the radio said". ☝ . Lol
 

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5.56 NATO
View attachment 13487


.223 Rem

View attachment 13488

Both diagrams above created by Francis Flinch. You can see above, the only difference is the radiused shoulder-to-neck transition for the 223 Remington cartridge (sharp for 5.56 NATO). This difference does not affect function in any of the common 223-variant chamberings including 5.56 NATO. The case capacity is also slightly different:


Mag

EDIT .............................................................................................

" A gun guy on the radio said the COAL of the 5.56 is longer than that of the .223. The case dimensions of both are the same but the bullet is seated farther out with the 5.56 and therefore requires a longer free bore ahead of the rifling than is needed for the .223. So chambering a 5.56 in a .223 only chamber could force the bullet of the 5.56 cartridge into the rifling of the .223 chamber and cause excessive pressure upon firing.
Says a guy on the radio.
He also said people fire 5.56 in .223 only chambers all the time and it seems to work so.... "

Mag

EDIT: So much for what "a guy on the radio said". ☝ . Lol
They are not the same cartridge. Period. The 5.56 has slightly different dimensions for chamber length /leade and uses heavier brass and is loaded to a higher pressure. It amazes me how the arm chair ballistics experts know more than the Engineers, Ballisticians, and Scientist that developed these rounds! The .223 can be fired safely in a 5.56 but the 5.56 is NOT designed to be fired in a .223. It is what it is. IMHO
 

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Whether .223 and 5.56 are the same "Cartridge" is irrelevant to the Mini-14. From Page 11 of the Mini-14 Owner's Manual linked above:

"The RUGER® MINI-14® RIFLES are chambered for the .223 Remington (5.56mm) cartridge. The Mini-14 Rifle is designed to use either standardized U.S. military, or factory loaded sporting .223 (5.56mm) cartridges manufactured in accordance with U.S. industry practice. See “Ammunition Notice” & “Ammunition Warning”, below."

AFAIK, the exceptions to the above are the Mini-14 Target model, which specifies .223 ammo, and those rare Mini-14s chambered in .222 caliber. AFAIK, those Minis have their correct ammo imprinted on them, so a mistake is on the user.
 

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Whether .223 and 5.56 are the same "Cartridge" is irrelevant to the Mini-14. From Page 11 of the Mini-14 Owner's Manual linked above:

"The RUGER® MINI-14® RIFLES are chambered for the .223 Remington (5.56mm) cartridge. The Mini-14 Rifle is designed to use either standardized U.S. military, or factory loaded sporting .223 (5.56mm) cartridges manufactured in accordance with U.S. industry practice. See “Ammunition Notice” & “Ammunition Warning”, below."

AFAIK, the exceptions to the above are the Mini-14 Target model, which specifies .223 ammo, and those rare Mini-14s chambered in .222 caliber. AFAIK, those Minis have their correct ammo imprinted on them, so a mistake is on the user.
If the chamber is such, that it is designed for both, then it is fine. Usually the chamber is a bit ovesized in order to allow the 5.56 round to be fired. In a std .223 chamber, especially anything made for target shooting, the chambers are "tight" and it is not acceptable. I have a CZ 527 Carbine in .223, and the Chamber is done based on European CIP stds which allows both 5.56 & .223. to be fired through it.
 

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The 5.56 has slightly different dimensions for chamber length /leade
A quick search resulted in the cartridge case dimensions I posted. It was the first source I found and I stopped searching there. I included the link where the diagram and story can be found.
Here it is again:
The author states the only difference is the radiused shoulder-to-neck transition for the 223 Remington cartridge (sharp for 5.56 NATO).
Is that incorrect?
I suppose my old reloading manuals would also give cartridge case dimensions but they are in storage as I no longer need, or buy them because reloading data is now on-line.
If the chamber lengths are different wouldn't the case dimensions need to be different too?
If the leade (new word for me, I always called it free bore) is different wouldn't that require a different COAL to accommodate that difference?

It amazes me how the arm chair ballistics experts know more than the Engineers, Ballisticians, and Scientist.
I view of your amazement, do you have knowledge that the story I quoted is incorrect and that the author is nothing more than an arm chair ballistics expert ?
It could and he could be because as I said, It was the first source I found and I stopped searching there...

Mag
 

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No difference in "allowable" ctgs, although some other features may differ between the two. Both can accept 5.56 and/or .223, except the "Target" model which is stamped ".223 ONLY". If the receiver is stamped with some other ctg, then use that specific ctg, of course.
 

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What is the difference between my Mini that is stamped 5.56 and others that are stamped 223?
The chamber dimensions will be different. Do not listen to people tht tell you the 5.56 and .223 are the same round. They are not the same. They re 99.8% the same dimensionally but the 5.56 is loaded to much higher pressure, uses thicker brass and has a chamber dimension that is different than a .223, typically a bit larger. While you can shoot a ,223 in a 5.56 you should not continually shoot a 5.56 in a .223. If they were the same, they would be marked for either round. They are not the same.
 

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The chamber dimensions will be different. Do not listen to people tht tell you the 5.56 and .223 are the same round. They are not the same. They re 99.8% the same dimensionally but the 5.56 is loaded to much higher pressure, uses thicker brass and has a chamber dimension that is different than a .223, typically a bit larger. While you can shoot a ,223 in a 5.56 you should not continually shoot a 5.56 in a .223. If they were the same, they would be marked for either round. They are not the same.
I did not say that 5.56 and .223 are the "same round". As far as the Mini-14 goes (which was OP's question) the differences between the two ctgs is academic. Ruger Owner's manual specifically states that both ctgs can be used in the Mini-14, unless the Mini is the "Target" model, which is marked ".223 ONLY", or unless the Mini-14 is chambered for another ctg altogether, such as .222--in which case, the rifle is clearly marked for that caliber.

As far as 5.56 having thicker brass than civvy 2.23 ctgs goes, I have seen a number of posts from users who have used decent scales and weighed same-length cases, both Mil 5.56 and Civvy .223. The difference in weight was almost non-existent, and with some .223 Civvy cases being heavier than Mil counterparts. Before seeing the case-weighing results from a few posters, I, too, believed that Mil 5.56 cases were "thicker" than civvy .223 cases. I was wrong.

I believe that some .30-'06 cases and perhaps some .308/7.62 cases may have varied in case wall thickness between Civ/Mil cases, but the weight of .223 and 5.56 ctg cases is so close that case wall thickness seems to be the same.
 

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I did not say that 5.56 and .223 are the "same round". As far as the Mini-14 goes (which was OP's question) the differences between the two ctgs is academic. Ruger Owner's manual specifically states that both ctgs can be used in the Mini-14, unless the Mini is the "Target" model, which is marked ".223 ONLY", or unless the Mini-14 is chambered for another ctg altogether, such as .222--in which case, the rifle is clearly marked for that caliber.

As far as 5.56 having thicker brass than civvy 2.23 ctgs goes, I have seen a number of posts from users who have used decent scales and weighed same-length cases, both Mil 5.56 and Civvy .223. The difference in weight was almost non-existent, and with some .223 Civvy cases being heavier than Mil counterparts. Before seeing the case-weighing results from a few posters, I, too, believed that Mil 5.56 cases were "thicker" than civvy .223 cases. I was wrong.

I believe that some .30-'06 cases and perhaps some .308/7.62 cases may have varied in case wall thickness between Civ/Mil cases, but the weight of .223 and 5.56 ctg cases is so close that case wall thickness seems to be the same.
Most good Reloading manuals from Speer, Sierra etc will go into detail on the differences in the two rounds, including brass etc. The 5.56 is heavier, especially in the base/rim are because it is designed to be fired in full auto weapons. The manuals will also show the difference in pressure between the two. Ruger probably uses a modified chamber so both rounds can be used. I have a CZ 527 that will fire both rounds as the chamber is based on European CIP stds, Not SAAMI, which allows both rounds t be safely used.
 

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I have read various claims about how Ruger reams the Mini's chamber, the most frequent of which is that Ruger uses a "Wylde" type of chamber. I don't know for sure as internet claims can be "untrustworthy", and Ruger isn't saying, AFAIK. Without taking a casting of the Mini's chamber and meticulously comparing the casting to a Wylde reamer, I don't think anyone can say for sure.

Regardless, and as far as the Mini-14 goes 5.56 (Mil) ammo and .223 (Civvy) factory-made ammo is perfectly acceptable as per explicit statements in Mini Owner's manual. concerning Minis marked for .223 caliber.

Whether or not other rifles can safely fire both .223 and 5.56 is an entirely different subject not related to OP's question. I agree that some other rifles cannot safely (or at least properly) use both ctgs, the "Target" Mii-14 being but one example.
 

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I have read various claims about how Ruger reams the Mini's chamber, the most frequent of which is that Ruger uses a "Wylde" type of chamber. I don't know for sure as internet claims can be "untrustworthy", and Ruger isn't saying, AFAIK. Without taking a casting of the Mini's chamber and meticulously comparing the casting to a Wylde reamer, I don't think anyone can say for sure.

Regardless, and as far as the Mini-14 goes 5.56 (Mil) ammo and .223 (Civvy) factory-made ammo is perfectly acceptable as per explicit statements in Mini Owner's manual. concerning Minis marked for .223 caliber.

Whether or not other rifles can safely fire both .223 and 5.56 is an entirely different subject not related to OP's question. I agree that some other rifles cannot safely (or at least properly) use both ctgs, the "Target" Mii-14 being but one example.
The Wylde chamber is a legitimate way to allow both rounds to be used in the firearm.
 
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