There are two types of AR-15 ammunition: the 5.56 NATO cartridge and secondly, the .223 Remington ammo. Choosing the right one solely depends on the type of chamber your rifle possesses. For instance, if they are designed to the chamber.223 Remington, you can only utilize the 223 ammo.
However, if it is chambered for the 5.56 NATO, you can utilize both types of ammunition. For this review, we will be discussing the top rated individual product of the .223 Remington ammo and not for the 5.56mm NATO.
The 223 ammunition is a rifle cartridge which was initially used with the Colt M16 rifle which was the standard rifle of the US army. In addition to that, it is commonly used in bolt action as well as semi-automatic rifles. These cartridges are available either in the standard 20 or 50 rounds per box or in bulks.
In terms of usage, they can be used for both varmint hunting and target shooting/range training purposes, according to your preference. The added advantage of having this round is that it is really accurate, especially if you’re shooting from longer ranges.
Top 8 Rated AR-15 Ammunition (223 Rem) Comparison Table
|Name of Product||Weight||Rounds||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||Muzzle Energy (ft lbs)||Price|
|Wolf WPA Polyperformance Ammunition||55 grain||500||3241||1283||$$$|
|Prvi Partizan 223 Remington Round||62 grain||1000||3042||1738||$$$|
|Tula FMJ Ammo||62 grain||1000||3025||1230||$$$|
|Winchester Ballistic Silvertip||55 grain||20||3240||1282||$$|
|Remington JHP Cartridge||45 grain||200||3550||1259||$$$|
|Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Ballistic Tip||55 grain||20||3240||1280||$$|
|Hornady Varmint Express Ammo||55 grain||20||3110||1282||$$|
|Federal Fusion Bonded BT||62 grain||20||3000||1239||$$|
Best Range Training Ammo :
The rugged and solid Wolf WPA Polyperformance ammunition is constructed in the heart of Russia. It comes with a total of 500 rounds altogether, deemed as bulk ammunition. These 500 rounds are divided into 20 rounds per box and 25 boxes per case for easy and convenient handling.
What is the added benefit of getting them in bulks, you may be wondering? Well, it is way cheaper in terms of price per round. In other words, you need to pay a huge lump sum at first, but I promise you that it will be very well worth your investment.
For range training, you might be using a large number of rounds for practice, hence why I believe that getting them in bulks are highly essential so you get to shoot hundreds of rounds continuously at the target. Weighing 55 grains, the bullet is designed according to the full metal jacket type.
The benefit of using this AR-15 bullet type is it contributes to smooth feeding hence, providing you with the best shooting performance, without the projectile getting jammed. In addition to that, the jacket, consisting of a shell of harder metal such as gilding metal and cupronickel covers the entire bullet which comes with a soft lead core.
Compared to the hollow point bullets, the FMJ ones has lesser expanding capacity upon entering the target. Take note that this product cannot accommodate the Smith &Wesson M&P 15 rifles. Also, this product exits the muzzle and flies at 3241 feet per second, together with muzzle energy measuring 1283 foot pounds.
The velocity is rather high therefore it is suitable to be used for long distance shooting and promising you an accurate shot. The higher velocity will also contribute to deeper penetration and more power when in contact with the target. The primer casing on the other hand is of the berdan primed steel.
The steel casing that is also polymer coated ensures that it is rust-resistant when in contact with rain or moisture. Meanwhile, the berdan-style primers are reusable but not using the simple and conventional method. In fact, you need to remove it using hydraulic pressure which pulls the primer from the bottom. The new primer is placed against the anvil followed by the adding of the powder and bullet before firing your shot.
Suitable for :
- Berdan-primed steel
- 55 grain full metal jacket bullet
- 500 rounds in total
- Non-corrosive and non-reloadable
- Polymer coated
2. Prvi Partizan 223 Remington Round
Newly designed and developed by the Prvi Partizan, this cartridge is excellent for target practice, self-defense and shooting exercises. And since it also come in bulks, you can totally brush up your shooting skills with plenty of ammo available. In other words, you need not feel any guilt if you use up a large number of ammunition for range shooting. Also, you can use them for group shooting, with your friends and family for instance.
Though you have to pay a huge lump sum at first, the price per round is way cheaper, if you do the math. This product includes 1000 rounds in total. These thousand rounds are divided into 5 sealed packs of 2000 rounds each, in which there are ten boxes of 20 rounds in the pack. Therefore, you get to bring individual sealed packs to the field conveniently.
In addition to that, the sealed packs are rather durable to protect the ammunition stored inside from corrosion and whatnot. Moving on to the primer casing, it is made from brass construction which further comes in handy to ensure that it is sturdy, tough and corrosion-free. The boxer primer style contributes to convenient reloading because the old primers that are used up can be punched out and replaced with the new ones.
Weighing 62 grains, this 223 Remington product (intended as AR-15 ammo) is equipped with muzzle velocity measuring 3042 feet per second (fps) and muzzle energy measuring 1738 foot pounds (ft lbs). If you’re wondering, the higher velocity will result in deeper penetration hence a more devastating result on your target. Apart from that, this established European cartridge is designed using the full metal jacket boat tail (FMJ-BT) style.
To give you a little insight, the FMJ-BT bullets are encased with an alloy jacket and resembles the shape of a boat, when viewed from the side. They are commonly used for competition and long-range shooting. Not only that, the increased ballistic coefficient provides a more stable flight with enhanced accuracy, hence promising you with the best shooting performance.
Suitable for :
- Full metal jacket boat tail design
- Brass cased and boxer-primed
- 5 sealed packs of 200 rounds each
- Stable flight and accurate shot
3. Tula FMJ Ammo
Tula rounds are manufactured by Tula Cartridge Works, located at the south of Moscow. Tula is famous for its high quality products and affordable pricing. This particular product is equipped with a total of 1000 rounds altogether. These thousand rounds are divided in 10 boxes per case, with a box containing 100 rounds.
So, you can separate them and bring along only a few boxes containing the 100 rounds if you plan to spend merely a short period of time for target training. I prefer bulk ammunition especially when I’m range shooting because I get to fire as many rounds as I like, which helps me to improve on my aiming and shooting skills. I mean with them being in bulk, at least one thing will be taken off my mind; the cartridges finishing. Also, their price per round is cheaper compared to buying the standard 20 or 50 rounds per box.
This ammo comes with a steel casing that contributes to its non-corrosive characteristics, thereby contributing to its durability in the long run. It is loaded using the berdan primer style. This product is non-reloadable, so if you’re not interested in reloading, it is really worth a try.
In addition to that, the Tula is mainly designed for range training, plinking and target shooting purposes. Why is that so? It is mainly because they are of the full metal jacket design which is suitable for training purposes instead of hunting due to the lack of expansion when in contact with soft tissue. After all, you’ll only be shooting at paper targets for range training.
Once leaving the muzzle, the projectile flies at the speed of 3025 fps, with the total rated energy of 1230 ft lbs. This high energy and velocity will result in a more devastating result since it has lots of knockdown power.
In other words, each round is loaded with a bi-metal jacketed cartridge which provides great consistency and accuracy. The full metal jacket ensures deep penetration due to its heavy jacket as well as provides a great feeding system to allow for a smooth firing/shooting session, without the ammo getting jammed.
Suitable for :
- Berdan primed and steel cased
- 1000 rounds in total
- 62 grains full metal jacket
- Lack of expansion in soft tissue (training)
- Great consistency
Best Varmint Hunting Ammo :
1. Winchester Ballistic Silvertip
Winchester’s ballistic silvertip cartridge comes with a polymer tipped projectile (prevents deformation in mag) which comes in handy to allow for quick expansion and fragmentation upon impact, therefore creating a large takedown power when in contact with varmint sized games. In other words, the rapid expansion contributes to deep yet controlled penetration which is good enough to reach the vital organs of the varmint for a devastating blow.
Apart from that, each projectile is equipped with a patented Lubalox (black oxide) coating which plays an important role to reduce the wind drift (hence faster velocity) as well as deliver an excellent performance on the target. Also, the black oxide coating reduces fouling (longer barrel life) and friction between the bore and bullet.
The Ballistic Silvertip projectiles weigh 55 grain altogether and includes a fully tapered jacket paired together with a special lead-alloy core. These solid combination eliminates the separation of core and jacket upon impact as well as contributes to great yet controlled expansion and optimum weight retention at all velocity ranges.
Meanwhile, the heavy jacketed base ensures the bullet doesn’t deform when fired. The rated muzzle energy measures 1282 ft lbs meanwhile the muzzle velocity measures 3240 fps. The theory is rather straightforward where the higher the velocity and energy, the deeper the penetration and overall power for an accurate shot and quick kill.
This product includes 20 rounds per box. They are arranged and packed in an orderly manner to allow for simple and convenient handling in the midst of hunting. For easier access though, you can get yourself a reload pouch or strip to store your ammo in securely. The casing on the other hand is nickel-plated with brass construction which vastly improves the corrosion resistance, compared to that with the standard brass construction.
In terms of casing, it is of the boxer-style primers. With this primer style, you get to reload your ammo in which you can remove and replace the primer that is used up with a new one, with just a simple pin punch. This type of primer style is rather popular, in fact mainly used in the United States.
Suitable for :
- 20 rounds per box
- Polymer tipped
- Brass with nickel-plated casing
- Reloadable (boxer-primed)
- Patented Lubalox coating
- Controlled expansion
2. Remington JHP Cartridge
This Remington product is an American made brass cased ammunition. Its brass casing further contributes to its durability since it strengthens its non-corrosive characteristic, especially when in contact with the rain and moisture in the wilderness. That being said, this 223 load is rather versatile as it can be utilized for both target practice as well as varmint hunting, according to your preference.
Therefore, it is widely popular as a staple range and varmint hunting ammo, utilized by avid shooters and hunters, as well as law enforcement agencies. In addition to that, it is brass cased (as mentioned above) and boxer-primed. Primers function to ignite your powder charge right before your shot is fired.
And the boxer-primed style is one of the most common priming style in the United States. My favorite part about this style is that it is reloadable. Once the old primers are battered and used up, you get to replace them by punching them out and voila, a new primer is reloaded. This is why it is deemed as non-corrosive and reloadable.
200 rounds are included in each box, in which they are divided and arranged into 20 rounds per box and 10 boxes per case. As mentioned above, you should totally go for this product especially if you’re a frequent and avid hunter/shooter because in the long run, the bulk ammunition will be totally worth your investment.
The projectile exits the muzzle and flies at 3550 fps, with a total energy of 1259 ft lbs. Since you’ll be utilizing these ammo for varmint hunting, high velocity is important for deeper penetration. And by deeper penetration, I mean that it gets to penetrate through the skin to reach the vital organs of the varmint for a quick and humane kill.
Weighing 45 grain, it is of the jacketed hollow point bullet design. It basically comes with a hollowed out shape that is jacketed by harder metal coating in order to improve the bullet strength as well as prevent barrel fouling (no lead stripping). The hollow point bullet expands and opens up upon entering the target to provide controlled penetration. Also, its flat trajectory delivers great accuracy.
Suitable for :
- Jacketed hollow point (45 grains)
- Brass cased and boxer primed
- 200 rounds in total
- Used for hunting and target practice
- Flat trajectory
- Controlled penetration
3. Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Ballistic Tip
Cannot stand varmints that are destroying your crops? Then the Federal Vital-Shok ammunition will save the day. It is mainly utilized for game and varmint hunting. There are 20 cartridges per box altogether, in which they are arranged in an organized manner for easy handling and removal. If you’re an avid/frequent hunter, I suggest that you get them in bulks because you will be able to use them for a longer time and it is a lot cheaper per round.
The Federal V-Shok comes with the popular and reliable Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets. They basically include polycarbonate color-coded tip as well as a deep hollow cavity bullet. These combination will allow more range and flatter trajectory hence you can attempt long distance shots, with a great chance of landing an accurate shot.
This product delivers great mushrooming upon impact and retains weight very well (2/3 of original weight) for deep penetration. All in all, it is suitable for long range shots involving varmints or medium sized games.
In addition, their tapered jacket design provides controlled expansion which further contributes to the ideal balance between penetration and energy transfer. Controlled expansion is important when dealing with game because it needs to penetrate deep into the varmint to reach its essential organs for an effective blow. Over-penetration is rather dangerous as it may lead to collateral damage.
Weighing 55 grains altogether, this 223 Remington cartridge travels at a muzzle velocity of 3240 fps, with acquired muzzle energy measuring 1280 ft lbs. Imagine the projectile flying at a very fast speed towards the target. It is very logical that it will ram into the target with great force, right? This is why the 223 ammo comes with high energy and velocity, mainly to increase its knockdown power and penetration.
The casing is a solid brass construction, ensuring that it is rust-resistant at all times. The boxer-style primers on the other hand are reloadable in which you are able to remove and replace the old primer with the new one with just a simple pin punch, for your added convenience. All in all, Federal has proven its reputation by producing this high consistency and deadly load.
Suitable for :
- Suitable for long range shots
- Great mushrooming
- Deep penetration
- Nosler Ballistic Tip projectile
- Boxer-primed brass
- 20 rounds per box
4. Hornady Varmint Express Ammo
I guarantee you that the Hornady Varmint Express is one of the best varmint hunting ammo in the market! It is designed using V-Max bullets which comes in handy to provide deadly accurate shot for all sorts of varmint hunting, whether at short or long ranges. So, what is a V-Max bullet?
They are from the Hornady line, designed for varmint control. The cartridge is equipped with a thin jacket and will fragment upon impact, even at super low velocities. It comes with a solid polymer tip which increases the ballistic coefficient (0.255), therefore promising rapid expansion upon impact.
Apart from that, it comes with a swaged lead core for consistent performance in the field. In other words, it is designed so that the lead core fragments and expands when in contact with the target, thereby leading to devastating results, especially on soft targets.
There are 20 rounds altogether in the box. They are arranged in an orderly manner to allow for easy handling and removal. However, if you prefer easier access, then you should consider getting a reload pouch or strip which you can attach to the sides of your AR-15 rifle for your added convenience.
Moreover, this 223 Remington projectile leaves the muzzle and flies at 3110 fps and muzzle energy measuring 1282 ft lbs. Due to the increased ballistic coefficiet, it can travel in the air at full speed, with very less air drag. The high velocity on the other hand will contribute to deeper penetration which is essential when targeting larger games since you need to deliver a quick yet strong blow to its vital organs, for a humane kill.
Moving on to the casing, it is of the boxer-primer style which allows the old primers to be punched out and replaced with the new ones, to ignite the powder charge before the gun and bullet are fired. Hence, it is deemed reloadable; one of my favorite attributes of this primer style.
Suitable for :
- V-Max projectiles
- 20 cartridges per box
- Rapid expansion
- Solid polymer tip
- Swaged lead core
5. Federal Fusion Bonded BT
Federal Fusion rounds are one of the most popular and top rated varmint/game hunting ammunition. They are electrochemically joined with pure copper to an extreme pressure formed core, hence allowing for an excellent performance down range. As a result of this, it produces high terminal energy paired with radiated shock when in contact with the target.
There are 20 .223 Remington cartridges in the box, in which they are arranged neatly, for your added convenience in the midst of hunting. However, I suggest that you upgrade it to bulk ammunition especially if you’re an avid and frequent hunter because though you need to pay a lump sum at first, it will be very worth your investment in the long run.
Moreover, it is equipped with Fusion bonded bullets. These bullets have skived tips to provide long range expansion together with short range toughness. The solid core and jacket achieves the ideal combination of penetration and expansion which is important to ensure the best shooting performance. Also, it eliminates the jacket and core separation upon impact.
This product is also equipped with a boat tail design that successfully boosts the aerodynamic efficiency of the projectile to enhance the accuracy of the shot. All in all, it is said to provide reliable terminal performance and promises a great shooting experience. It weighs 62 grains altogether.
The casing is a solid brass construction which ensures its rust-resistant characteristics, in the long run. The boxer-style primers on the other hand allows the old primer to be punched out and reloaded with the brand new ones, which plays an important role in igniting the powder charge.
Apart from that, the rated muzzle energy measures 1239 foot pounds meanwhile the muzzle velocity is measured as 3000 fps. Higher velocity and energy will result in deeper penetration and more devastating results, which comes in handy especially if you’re targeting varmints or medium sized games.
Suitable for :
- 20 rounds in total
- Fusion bonded bullets
- High terminal energy
- Eliminates jacket and core separation
- Boat tail design (aerodynamic)
What to Look for in a .223 Round
Bullet Weight & Type
The bullet weight is measured in unit grain. If you have noticed, the weight for the .223 Remington ammo is rather low, ranging from 45 to 65 grains. Moving on to the type, there are many bullet types and designs in the market in which it solely depends on your personal preference. For example, the jacketed hollow point rounds are mainly used for game hunting because it provides rapid expansion upon entering the target.
The full metal jacket design on the other hand contributes to smoother feeding and a much lower deposition of metal because of the tougher alloy jacket over the bullet itself. They also lead to deeper penetration due to the heavy jacket it possesses. The Fusion and Nosler Ballistic Tip design also is rather famous and well-sought out by hunters or shooter.
To give you a little insight, the Fusion products are equipped with skived tips for long range expansion. They provide a perfect balance between expansion and penetration, and is specially designed for varmint hunting. In addition to that, its solid core and jacket are held together with excellent weight retention, therefore eliminating any chances of separation during impact.
Moving on to the Nosler ballistic tip design, these AR-15 ammo are suitable for long range hunting with excellent accuracy and flatter trajectory, to ensure the best shooting performance. Their tapered jacket on the other hand comes with controlled expansion hence ensuring sufficient, yet excellent penetration and energy transfer, which comes in handy especially when you’re dealing with larger games.
The most common primer style is the boxer-style primers. For your information, they are widely used in the United States. The best thing about this style is that it is reloadable; the primers are reloadable. In other words, the old and used up primer (they function to ignite the powder charge, if you’re wondering) can be removed and punched out with the new ones, in no time.
In addition to that, there are the berdan-style primers (popular outside US) as well. Unfortunately, they are non-reloadable. I mean, berdan cases are reusable however, the method is not as simple and convenient as the boxer-primed ones. In fact, the old primer have to be removed by hydraulic pressure or a lever that functions to remove the primer from the bottom. The new ones then can be placed against the anvil.
Apart from that, the casings are usually made from brass construction, hence contributing to its non-corrosive characteristics, in the long run. However, the higher end ammo, with slightly higher price is brass constructed as well as nickel plated to further increase the corrosion resistance.
Number of Rounds & Packaging
First things first, the number or rounds mainly depend on the purpose of using them for and how frequent you go hunting or shooting. In my case, I mainly purchase ammunition in bulk when I’m utilizing it for target training or range shooting as practice, because then I can fire multiple rounds at once, without depleting it completely.
If you’re an avid hunter or frequent shooter, you should go for the rounds sold in bulk because they can last you a long time not forgetting that, it is well-worth your investment. That being said, you just have to spend a lump sum of money at first, but I assure you that you will save cost in the end, since the price per round is way cheaper.
Moving on to the packaging, they are packed in an orderly manner, for easy and convenient handling. The ones in bulk instead, are divided into boxes and cases so you get to carry individual boxes separately, without the need of using them all. For easier access, you can purchase reload strips or pouches to store your AR-15 ammo in safely and securely.
The .223 Remington ammunition is a great cartridge to feed into your AR-15 rifle. Regarding pricing, it solely depends whether you want to get it in the standard 50 per box or in bulk. Whether or not you wish to pay a lrage amount up front will depend on your personal preference and shooting frequency.