Don't let your shooting buddies tell you different...the .223 Rem is NOT the same as 5.56 NATO...
This is from Winchesters Web site...
.223 Rem VS 5.56mm
There are a lot of questions about these two cartridges. Many people think they are identical - merely different designations for commercial and military. The truth is that, although somewhat similar, they are not the same and you should know the differences before buying either cartridge.
The cartridge casings for both calibers have basically the same length and exterior dimensions.
The 5.56 round, loaded to Military Specification, typically has higher velocity and chamber pressure than the .223 Rem.
The 5.56 cartridge case may have thicker walls, and a thicker head, for extra strength. This better contains the higher chamber pressure. However, a thicker case reduces powder capacity, which is of concern to the reloader.
The 5.56mm and .223 Rem chambers are nearly identical. The difference is in the "Leade". Leade is defined as the portion of the barrel directly in front of the chamber where the rifling has been conically removed to allow room for the seated bullet. It is also more commonly known as the throat. Leade in a .223 Rem chamber is usually .085". In a 5.56mm chamber the leade is typically .162", or almost twice as much as in the 223 Rem chamber.
You can fire .223 Rem cartridges in 5.56mm chambers with this longer leade, but you will generally have a slight loss in accuracy and velocity over firing the .223 round in the chamber with the shorter leade it was designed for.
Problems may occur when firing the higher-pressure 5.56mm cartridge in a .223 chamber with its much shorter leade. It is generally known that shortening the leade can dramatically increase chamber pressure. In some cases, this higher pressure could result in primer pocket gas leaks, blown cartridge case heads and gun functioning issues.
The 5.56mm military cartridge fired in a .223 Rem chamber is considered by SAAMI (Small Arm and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute) to be an unsafe ammunition combination.
Before buying either of these two types of ammunition, always check your gun to find what caliber it is chambered for, then buy the appropriate ammunition. Most 5.56mm rounds made have full metal jacket bullets. Performance bullets - soft points, hollow points, Ballistic Silvertips, etc. - are loaded in .223 Rem cartridges. Firing a .223 Rem cartridge in a 5.56mm-chambered gun is safe and merely gives you slightly reduced velocity and accuracy. However we do not recommend, nor does SAAMI recommend, firing a 5.56mm cartridge in a gun chambered for the .223 Rem as the shorter leade can cause pressure-related problems.
Good info, John....there are hundreds or thousands of guys out there shooting military in their civilian rifles...but I haven't heard of someone having troubles...and this is only the second time I've heard the difference explained...why don't all the manufacturerers and ammo sales companies stress it...seems like it'd cause more problems to me....not worth taking a chance on......
Yep, bottom line is it is OK to shoot .223 in a 5.56 marked rifle, but not the other way around. Going back to the original question, I have never had a DPMS rifle, but I have always heard good things about them. I do have a DPMS heavy barrel installed on one of my ARs, and it is top notch.
First you have got to reconcile the Cost of .223's
I would not buy a Panther unless it was Chambered in 5.45x39...!!!
Compare below: 5.45x39 $125.00 (1 Tin = 1080 rds)..... .223 50 cents per shot...<:-(( I could have Cheap Fun at the Range with a AK74... And you would be Crying at the Range after shooting only 100 rounds...<:-(( You can get a good AK74 for 1/3 the cost of that Panther...
5.45x39... It's Ballistic's are better than a .223... Remember, its the AMMO that cost more than the GUN over time... Do a Caliber cost analysis before your final decision, especially on a Gun you want to have some FUN with at the Range......<) For Hunting, cost per Cartrage is not an issue...!!! "One Shot One Kill"...
$125.00(1 Tin = 1080 rds.) or $210.00 (2 Tins = 2160 rds.) http://rguns.net/008_3.html
S&W M&P AR-15 15R Talo Limited 5.45x39
NEW direct from Smith and Wesson and Talo special edition, M&P Military and Police AR-15 semi auto rifle with all LE Law Enforcement features, NOT marked LE, Legal to own by any FREE American, CHECK LOCAL LAWS BEFORE BIDDING, 5.45x39 caliber (similar to our 223 caliber, Cheap ammo), Flat top A3 receiver, A2 front sight, 16" M4 barrel with flash hider and Bayo lug, 6 position tele stock, Front, rear sling loops, One 30rd magazine, You will not be disappointed,,, http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/prod ... /411535552
I have two DPMS AR's one's a heavy 20" and a 16" M4 style. Both are high quality and very accurate. I have no complaints and no one I know who has one compains either. I have no use for the Russian or Chinese junk, having been on the recieving end of them, once or twice.
Thank you, sir...for being there for us all...a lot of folks who buy the pot metal imports do it because the home made ones are priced like they were the last icecream bar in the world...I'm more likely to end up buying a levergun...lottadollas for the black guns....
The only potential downfall is the A1 upper. You may regret not getting the A3 style removable handle down the road. An A1/2 upper is for somebody who is certain they will not be putting optics on the rifle at some point. DPMS makes quality product. The great thing about the major manufacturers is the customization the platform can provide. Outside of your upper and lower, every single part has a tactical or high performance counterpart. I recommend a tactical latch on the charging handle. If you will be using it wearing gloves, install the trigger guard so that the hinged part is at the front, not the rear. From the factory it detaches in a way I would call 'backward.'
As far as surplus ammo goes, it's almost all I put through my primary black rifle. True, in time the coating may screw up my extractor, but after thousands of rounds at Wolf prices, I have paid for the extractor hundreds of times over, and changing it out takes me about five minutes when I am half-drunk.
Mine can take 5.56 rounds, because I put the correct barrel on it. So far I have not put any through it. Mostly because I have found that bullet weight has a far greater effect on knockdowns than muzzle velocity. That has only been researched on elk and deer, but I think it would translate to people as well. I wanted to be certain that if I were in a Mad Max situation I had the option. If you get one set up for 5.56, there could be a VERY slight loss in accuracy using .223, but nothing to concern yourself with. This is due to the extra space when the round chambers.
.308 vs. 7.62
To my knowledge, there is an issue of headspacing differences. And (check with a gunsmith before hand) I believe it is the opposite of 5.56. That is, you can fire 7.62 in a .308, but not fire civilian .308 in a 7.62.