Clearing the Caliber Confusion: .223 Wylde vs. 5.56 NATO

Though they share identical case dimensions, the .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO are slightly different—and the .223 Wylde makes the most of both of these loads.

Brad Fitzpatrick

The 5.56×45 NATO broke cover in 1957 as a military cartridge, and since that time it has served in multiple campaigns and conflicts around the globe. The 5.56×45 offered a lot—it was a flat-shooting, fast cartridge with minimal recoil and minimal weight (read: you can carry a lot of them). So great was the 5.56 that it soon followed in civilian garb as the .223 Remington, a cartridge that has remained viable and popular since its release date.

There are some that will tell you that a .223 and a 5.56 are the same cartridge. Well, in terms of case dimension, that is true. So, how do they differ?


Technical Dimensions of the .223 Rem vs. the 5.56 NATO Cartridges

Technical Dimensions of the .223 Rem vs. the 5.56 NATO Cartridges. Image credit: here

The short answer is that they differ with regard to pressure and chamber dimensions. Pressures in the 5.56 cartridge are higher than the .223, and as a result the chamber of the 5.56 is different as well. There’s more throat length in a 5.56 barrel—about .077 inches—and the angle of the throat is different to accommodate increased pressures. It is, therefore, alright to fire a .223 cartridge in a 5.56 chamber, but going the other way can cause pressure problems. Simply put, the .223 doesn’t perform as well in 5.56 chambers as it could. If you have two cartridges that are so similar in external case dimensions why not have one chamber that makes the best of both loads?

Enter Bill Wylde. Bill had the idea to create a chamber that would serve the 5.56 and the .223 Remington equally well. The .223 Wylde has the same chamber angling as the standard 5.56 chamber, so there’s no problem with pressures, and it also has a .2240 freebore diameter. The result? You have a chamber that is sufficient to handle the hotter 5.56 load without concerns about pressure and you get the gilt-edge accuracy that’s common in many quality .223 rifles.

The .223 Wylde Chamber Dimensions

The .223 Wylde Chamber Dimensions

Is there a compelling reason to switch to a Wylde chamber? Well, the most obvious reason is that you can fire .223 ammo without giving up accuracy and 5.56 ammo without worrying about excess pressure. Sure, you can fire .223 ammo all day from a 5.56 without worrying about pressure problems thanks to generous chamber size, but if you really want to tighten those groups that .2240 freebore diameter helps. In fact, .223 Wylde chambers are known for extreme accuracy, which is better on the whole than what you can expect from a standard 5.56×45 chamber.

Better accuracy, more versatility with ammo—so what’s the downside? Well, right now that can be cost and availability. The gains that the .223 Wylde provides haven’t prompted a whole bunch of companies to swap to that chamber, but there are certainly .223 Wylde-chambered target rifles out there. Do you need a Wylde? No, but it will help your long game and will make your AR 15 rifle build even more versatile than it is now.

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Watch is on for U.S. Military Wearable Technologies


Photo: Apple Watch

Maybe the Pentagon was waiting to see how well the Apple Watch performed. To most everyone’s surprise, the product has enjoyed a better launch than even the iPhone and iPad. Today, the watch is on. The world is now waiting anxiously after the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) just listed Apple among its 162 partners in developing wearable technologies for the U.S. Military.

Boeing, Harvard University, and an assortment of other high tech companies, universities, and groups were announced as members of the new FlexTech Alliance. They will collaborate in support of the U.S. Department of Defense to develop “high-end printing technologies,” such as 3D printing. The FlexTech Alliance will operate within a $171 million budget for the research and development of U.S. Military wearable technologies.

An unnamed defense official told Reuters a primary objective is to “create stretchable electronics that could be embedded with sensors and worn by soldiers.” Reports say the Pentagon is very interested in the development of flexible sensing wearable technologies. These could be used for real-time monitoring of the status of soldiers in battle.

In addition to being worn by humans, these technologies could also be designed to wrap around military assets in battle acting like smart exercise kits. Ultimately, you can also think of these wearable technologies in ways where they could be used on U.S. Navy battleships, combat vehicles driven by the U.S. Army, or U.S. Air Force warplanes to deliver real-time monitoring of their structural integrity.

A press release distributed today by the U.S. Department of Defense explained in more detail. “Flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing describes the innovative production of electronics and sensors packaging through new techniques in electronic device handling and high precision printing on flexible, stretchable substrates. The potential array of products range from wearable devices to improved medical health monitoring technologies, and will certainly increase the variety and capability of sensors that already interconnect the world. The technologies promise dual use applications in both the consumer economy and the development of military solutions for the warfighter.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced the FlexTech Alliance today in a speech at the NASA operated Moffett Federal Airfield near Google Headquarters in the heart of the Silicon Valley. He is taking the tactic of making allies with industry experts rather than putting all of the innovative pressure internally on the U.S. Military.

Carter said, “I’ve been pushing the Pentagon  to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country.”

Joint Light Tactical Vehicles Coming Soon


Pull over HMMWVs. The JLTV is about to be rolling into battle.

U.S. Military leaders have been looking at this changing of the guard for their combat vehicles for quite some time. Now the Department of Defense (DOD) has just pulled the trigger on announcing the big decision which paves the way for the better protecting and performing Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

A $6.7 billion contract was just awarded to replace the Humvee troop carriers being retired. It went to the Wisconsin-based truckmaker, Oshkosh Defense. The company beat out the likes of competitors, Lockheed-Martin and AM General.

The President of Oshkosh Defense, John Urias is a retired Army major general. In a statement said, “Our JLTV has been extensively tested and is proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class vehicle, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer.”

The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps are expected to purchase as many as 55,000 JLTV in the next 25 years. Roughly 90% of those would be going to Army troops. The Marines will be getting all of their JLTVs upfront. The Army is set to get 17,000 to start, and by 2018 decide whether it still wants the rest.

The new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will be made into versions with two-seats and four-seats. Oshkosh claims these vehicles are more superior, faster, more capable in off-road conditions, and better armored against roadside bombs and mines than Humvees or other tactical wheeled vehicles currently on the market.

U.S. Military officials obviously agree.

The JLTV includes an asset which is called the “Core 1080 Crew Protection System.” This provides a number of important defensive features such as IED detection, mine resistance, and bolt-on armor. There are also more offensive features such as missile launch units.

Whatever you want to use Joint Light Tactical Vehicles for, the wherever aspect will be less of a problem. A JLTV comes with an enhanced suspension which can be lowered or raised electronically. Thus, these high-performing, high-speed combat vehicles can be transported to where they need to be.





F-35A Firing Gun at Full Capacity


Photo: U.S. Air Force

Some videos are just too cool. They are must see and must share. For instance, take a look at the video below. It was just released by Lockheed-Martin on its YouTube Channel. It shows you an F-35A firing off 181 rounds from a four-barrel, 25 mm Gatling gun.

The F-35 is a fifth generation fighter replacement built for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S Marine Corps. It is designed with the ability to defeat the most advanced threat systems currently in the air and on the ground, as well as those expected in the coming years.

The footage which surely gets the blood pumping was recorded one week ago during ground testing at the wide open spaces of Edwards Air Force Base in California. Plans are for airborne gun testing to be conducted in the fall. In 2017, when the program’s system development and demonstration process is completed, this gun will be operational on the F-35.

The GAU-22 gun is meant to provide the pilots of the low-flying aircraft the enhanced ability to rapidly and repeatedly engage air to ground targets as well as air to air targets. Here is a look at how the weapon is being integrated into the stealthy F-35 aircraft.

As you can see in the video, the Gatling gun is embedded in the left wing. It is designed to remain hidden behind the closed doors. This is important for minimizing the radar cross section until the trigger is engaged.

This testing is to certify the gun’s ability to properly spin up and down. Additional tests will be done next year with a line production F-35A jet to integrate with the full mission systems and avionics capabilities. Test pilots will have the opportunity to then observe flying qualities in confirming the aircraft can withstand the loads of firing the gun, and look at other factors such as muzzle flash.

The first phase of the F-35A gun testing began at the gun harmonizing range on Edwards Air Force Base back on June 9. Over the next few months, the amount of munitions fired gradually increased until the 181 rounds were fired last week.

U.S. Navy Admiral Sees Women SEALs



There is strong female momentum in the U.S. Military. Just one day after news spread of two females about to graduate from Army Ranger School, comes word the U.S. Navy is open to women SEALs.

In an interview scheduled to air this Sunday on “Defense News with Vago Muradian,” the Navy’s top officer, Admiral Jonathan W. “Jon” Greenert, shared how he and Rear Admiral Brian Losey, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, are in agreement. If women can pass the grueling six-month Basic Underwater Demotion/SEAL (BUD/S) training regimen, they should be entitled to serve on elite Navy SEAL teams.

Adm. Losey has already recommended female candidates be allowed under the same exacting standards required of males. “Why shouldn’t anybody who can meet these [standards] be accepted? And the answer is, there is no reason,” said Admiral Greenert during his exclusive sit-down interview with Navy Times, and Defense News, its publication partner.

Since 2011, Greenert has served as the 30th Chief of Naval Operations. He says now they are planning to open the portal to see women SEALs. “So we’re on a track to say, ‘Hey look, anybody who can meet the gender non-specific standards, then you can become a SEAL.'” The SEALs would be the last of the traditionally male-only branches to open to women.

The Navy has previously announced it is on track to open all ratings to women by 2016. However, the Admiral’s latest comments are the first public knowledge of the SEALs openness to accepting female candidates. He didn’t mention any timeline for enabling women SEALs candidates into BUD/S training.

At this time it is not believed there will be many attempts at women SEALs when the opportunity to join becomes available to them. The percentage of women is quite low for the expeditionary specialties such as Seabees and Navy divers. For example, the service reports there are only 10 women sailors in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community, and only 7 female Navy divers. Though they have been open for decades, less than 3 percent of billets at EOD and fleet diver commands are currently held by women.



First 2 Female Soldiers to Graduate U.S. Army Ranger School


Photo: U.S. Army


You’re not the only one who is already looking forward to Friday. 96 students will be graduating that day from the rough and rigorous U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Every graduating class from this intensive training program is special. Friday’s group is special and unique. It includes the first two female Soldiers to earn the right to wear the respected and coveted Army Ranger tab.

The Pentagon released a statement to the media. “Congratulations to all of our new Rangers,” said Secretary of the Army, John M. McHugh. “Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level. This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential. We owe Soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best Soldiers to meet our Nation’s needs.”

The two women whose names were not released by the Pentagon are among the first females admitted into the Army Ranger School program since it was opened more than six decades ago. Back in April of this year, the gender addition experiment was instituted on a trial basis.

Friday’s graduating class of 94 men and 2 women represent those who met all of the requirements of the challenging 62-day (and night) course. The current Army Ranger School class started out with a total of 381 men and 19 women. As you can see by the numbers, less than 1 in 4 male Soldiers in the class will graduate. Less than 1 in 9 female Soldiers successfully completed the grueling mission.

The Army Ranger School training program is a test of one’s physical and mental skills and strength. Pentagon officials call it “The U.S. Army’s premier combat leadership course.” They describe the curriculum as “teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead Soldiers during small unit combat operations.”

Minimal amounts of food and sleep were provided to students over the nearly nine-week period as they were forced to learn how to operate in mountain terrain, heavily wooded areas, and the Swamp Course at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

In addition, the Army Ranger candidates were required to complete the following activities which helped to keep their minds off being hungry and tired:

  • 27 days of mock combat patrols
  • 4 days of military mountaineering
  • 4 air assaults on helicopters
  • 3 parachute jumps
  • A 12-mile foot march in three hours
  • Multiple obstacle courses
  • A swim test
  • A land navigation test
  • Physical fitness testing which included 59 sit-ups, 49 push-ups, six chin-ups, and a 5-mile run in 40 minutes

Approximately one in three Army Ranger School students are forced to “recycle” through at least one phase of the course. The two women graduates recycled through two phases of the course.

While the 2 female Army Ranger School graduates will make history this Friday, their futures come Saturday remain unclear. What is known is that unlike their 94 fellow male graduates, they are not yet eligible to apply for positions in the elite special operations force, the 75th Ranger Regiment, or other ground-combat jobs such as the infantry.

The Pentagon has ordered that all military occupations be opened to women. However, finalized decisions about what specific combat roles female Soldiers will be allowed to fulfill are not expected until later in the year.

AWC Inc. salutes the 2 female Soldiers and 94 male Soldiers for their extraordinary efforts and accomplishment in earning the Army Ranger tab.