July 3rd, 2008

5.56 XM193 for $7.85/box at Midsouth

Here’s a hot deal that will probably sell out quickly. Midsouth Shooters Supply is selling Federal 5.56×45 M193 ball ammo with Lake City headstamp for just $7.85 per 20-rd box. That’s $39.25 per hundred rounds — just about the best deal you can find right now for quality, reloadable domestic 5.56×45 ammo with brass casings.

According to U.S. military specs, M193 Ball ammo delivers a 55gr FMJ boat-tail bullet at 3,250 fps from a 20″ test barrel measured 15 feet from the muzzle. This mil-spec ammo should work well in ARs and most .223 Remington bolt guns. However, you should read our .223 Rem Cartridge Guide to understand the distinctions between .223 Rem SAAMI specs and 5.56×45 Military specs:

.223 Remington vs. 5.56×45
There ARE differences between the .223 Remington as shot in civilian rifles and the 5.56×45 in military use. While the external cartridge dimensions are essentially the same, the .223 Remington is built to SAAMI specs, rated to 50,000 CUP max pressure, and normally has a shorter throat. The 5.56×45 is built to NATO specs, rated to 60,000 CUP max pressure, and has a longer throat, optimized to shoot long bullets. Should you be worried about shooting 5.56×45 milspec ammo in a .223 Remington? The answer really depends on your chamber. 5.56×45 ammo is intended for chambers with longer throats. If you shoot hot 5.56×45 ammo in short-throated SAAMI-spec chambers you can encounter pressure issues. The new long-throated ‘Wylde’ chamber allows safe use of military ammo.

Is It Time to Purchase Large Quantities of Ammo?
Many shooters are stocking up on loaded ammo out of concern with the anticipated results of the next Presidential election. Are they being smart, or paranoid? Given the threat of restrictive new legislation, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to lay in a supply of 5.56×45 before prices go up again. On the other hand, this XM193 is 1.25 MOA ammo at best — so it won’t be useful for match purposes and it’s not particularly well-suited for varminting. We question the logic of stashing away thousands of rounds of ammo that’s not going to be used anytime soon. Still, ammo has proven to be a better investment in recent years than the stock market. As noted above, Midsouth’s price (a July Special) is about as good as it gets, and we expect this Federal XM193 to sell out quickly.