5.56 Reloading: What Size Bullet For 5.56 Reloading?

The 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge is one of the most popular cartridges for reloading due to its versatility and availability of components. When reloading 5.56, the size of the bullet is an important factor to consider. Because different bullet sizes can affect the performance of the cartridge and the accuracy of the shot. Today, I will discuss the different bullet sizes available for 5.56 reloading and the factors to consider when selecting a bullet size.

5.56 Round Types, 556 Bullet Dimensions & Weight, and Gunpowder for Reloading 5.56

The 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge is a widely used intermediate rifle cartridge that was developed in the late 1950s. It has become the standard ammunition for many military and civilian rifles around the world. The cartridge is known for its relatively small size, high velocity, and low recoil, making it suitable for both assault rifles and light machine guns.

There are several types of 5.56 ammunition designed for various purposes. Here are five common types:

  1. Ball Ammo: This is the standard full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition used by militaries. It features a lead core encased in a copper or steel jacket, providing penetration and minimal expansion upon impact.
  2. Hollow Point (HP): Hollow point bullets are designed to expand upon impact, creating a larger wound channel and transferring more energy to the target. They are commonly used in law enforcement and self-defense situations.
  3. Armor-Piercing (AP): Armor-piercing rounds have a steel or tungsten core that enables them to penetrate body armor and other types of protective barriers. These rounds are typically restricted for military and law enforcement use.
  4. Tracer: Tracer rounds are used to visually track the trajectory of bullets. They contain a pyrotechnic compound in the base that produces a bright trail of light when fired. Tracers are often used for training, signaling, and marking targets.
  5. Match Ammo: Match ammunition is specially manufactured for precision shooting competitions and long-range accuracy. It features a boat-tail bullet design for better aerodynamics and consistency, with tighter quality control during production.

556 Bullet Dimensions & Weight

Now, let’s discuss the dimensions and weight of a typical 5.56 bullet. The 5.56 bullet has a diameter of 0.224 inches or 5.69mm. It usually has a boat-tail design, which means the base of the bullet is tapered to reduce drag and improve stability in flight. The overall length of a 5.56 bullet can vary depending on the specific design, but it is typically around 0.850 to 0.910 inches (21.6 to 23.1mm).

Regarding bullet weight, 5.56 ammunition commonly comes in a range of weights, with the most common being 55 grains (3.56 grams) and 62 grains (4.02 grams). However, there are also other bullet weights available, such as 45 grains (2.91 grams) and 77 grains (5 grams), among others. The choice of bullet weight depends on the desired performance, including factors like range, accuracy, and terminal ballistics.

Gunpowder for Reloading 5.56

When it comes to reloading 5.56 ammunition, gunpowder selection is critical for achieving desired velocities and pressures. The choice of gunpowder depends on factors such as bullet weight, desired velocity, barrel length, and individual preferences. Popular choices for reloading 5.56 include powders like Hodgdon H335, Accurate 2230, Winchester 748, and IMR 8208 XBR, among others.

  • Please Note:  The information provided here is based on general knowledge about the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge, bullet dimensions, weight, and reloading practices. Always refer to specific manufacturer data, and reloading manuals, and adhere to local laws and regulations when reloading ammunition.

What Caliber Is 5.56-mm?

5.56mm or .223 caliber is a small arms ammunition most commonly used in rifles and light machine guns. It is the standard rifle cartridge for NATO forces. And it is used by many militaries around the world. As it is a rimless, bottlenecked cartridge, capable of firing a variety of bullet weights and types.

Size Of The Bullet That I Need To Reload The 5.7 x 28

The 5.7x28mm cartridge uses the FN SS195LF or FN SS198LF 40-grain Hornady V-Max or 40-grain Hornady RN bullets, respectively.

  • These bullets typically have a small rifle primer and are reloaded with a Sierra 40-grain BlitzKing bullet, a Hornady 40-grain V-Max bullet, or a Hornady 40-grain RN bullet.
  • Depending on the type and style of the gun, other brands and weights of bullets may be used as well.

Standard Grain For 556

The standard grain size for 5.56 NATO ammunition is 55 grain. It is the most common grain size for 5.56 NATO rounds and is used in the M193 and M855 cartridges.

  • The 55-grain bullet is a full metal jacket (FMJ) round, meaning it is composed of a lead core enclosed in a copper jacket.
  • This type of round is known for its excellent accuracy and reliable performance.
  • Additionally, the 55-grain bullet is the lightest available for 5.56 NATO rounds, which gives it a higher muzzle velocity than heavier bullets.

What Size Bullets Best for 5.56 Reloading?

The best bullets for 5.56 reloading depend on your intended use.

  • For target shooting, a lighter, faster bullet, such as a 55-grain FMJ, is generally best.
  • For hunting, a heavier, slower bullet, such as a 62-grain FMJ, is a better choice.

Match-grade bullets are also popular for those looking to achieve greater accuracy. Some of the more popular brands of bullets for 5.56 reloading are Hornady, Sierra, and Nosler.

  • Hornady’s 55-grain FMJ is a great choice for target shooting. It has a good balance of speed and accuracy, and it is affordable.
  • Sierra’s 62-grain FMJ is a great choice for hunting. It has a slightly heavier weight and is designed for deeper penetration.
  • Nosler’s match-grade bullets are designed for maximum accuracy. These bullets are designed to perform at the highest levels and are a great choice for those looking for the most accurate rounds possible.

Whichever bullet you choose, be sure to use quality components and follow the manufacturer’s loading instructions to ensure optimal performance and safety.

7 Simple Steps: How to Reload 5.56 Ammo?

Reloading your own 5.56 ammo can be a rewarding and cost-effective hobby for firearms enthusiasts. You can tailor the performance to your specific needs and preferences by carefully crafting your own rounds. Just remember to follow safety guidelines, use reliable load data, and comply with all local laws and regulations. Let’s dive into the process.

  1. Gather your equipment: To get started, you’ll need a few essential tools and components. These include a reloading press, dies specific to 5.56, shell holder, powder measure, scale, calipers, priming tool, case trimmer, and case lube. Additionally, you’ll need brass casings, bullets, primers, and the appropriate gunpowder.
  2. Inspect and clean your brass: Before reloading, inspect each brass casing for any signs of damage or defects. Remove any dirt, debris, or residue using a brass brush or a tumbler. Ensure that the casings are properly resized and de-primed before moving forward.
  3. Prime the casings: Using a priming tool, carefully seat a primer into the primer pocket of each casing. Double-check that the primers are flush and seated securely, but avoid excessive force that could damage the primer or casing.
  4. Charge with powder: Consult reliable load data for the specific bullet weight and powder you’re using. Set up your powder measure according to the recommended charge weight and carefully dispense the powder into each casing. It’s crucial to double-check the weight with a scale to ensure consistency and avoid dangerous overcharges or undercharges.
  5. Seat the bullet: Place a bullet on top of each casing and adjust your seating die to the desired overall length (OAL). Carefully run the casing with the bullet into the die until the bullet is seated firmly but not excessively deep. Consistency in bullet seating depth is essential for accuracy and reliable chambering.
  6. Crimp (optional): If you prefer a crimped bullet, adjust your crimping die accordingly. A proper crimp ensures that the bullet remains securely in place during feeding and recoil. However, not all bullet profiles require crimping, so refer to load data and your specific firearm’s requirements.
  7. Inspect and test: Once you’ve completed the reloading process, inspect each round for proper assembly, including primer seating, powder charge, bullet seating, and crimp (if applied). Use calipers to check the overall length and ensure it falls within the recommended range. It’s good practice to randomly test a few rounds for weight consistency.

After the testing or end of a game, you should store your reloaded ammunition in a cool, dry place, away from children and unauthorized individuals.

Remember: Reloading ammunition requires careful attention to detail, adherence to load data, and strict adherence to safety practices. If you’re new to reloading, consider seeking guidance from experienced reloaders or attending reloading classes to ensure you understand the process thoroughly.

Why Is 556 Ammo So Small?

556 ammo is small because it is designed to be lightweight. It has less recoil than other calibers while still providing sufficient accuracy and power. And this makes it an ideal choice for a variety of firearms, including rifles and handguns.

Are 224 Bullets The Same As 223?

No, 224 bullets are not the same as 223 bullets. The two cartridges are similar in size and shape, but they are not interchangeable.

  • The 224 bullet is a larger diameter bullet with a longer case length than the 223 cartridges.
  • The 224 bullets are primarily used in the .224 Valkyrie, which is a longer-range rifle cartridge designed for hunting and target shooting. On the other hand, the 223 cartridges are primarily used in AR-15-style rifles and are a shorter-range round.

Are .223 And 5.56 Projectiles The Same?

No, .223 and 5.56 projectiles are not the same. While the .223 and 5.56 are similar in design, the 5.56 has a slightly longer case and slightly different powder load, which results in a slightly higher velocity.

Can An AR-15 Shoot 223 And 556 Ammo?

Yes, an AR-15 can shoot both .223 Remington and 5.56 x 45mm NATO ammunition. The AR-15 is designed to shoot these two types of cartridges interchangeably, but there are a few important differences between the two that shooters should be aware of.


The .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO cartridges are similar in many respects.

  • Both cartridges use the same diameter bullet (5.56mm or .223 inch) and have similar case dimensions.
  • The two cartridges also have similar internal ballistic performance, meaning that they have similar muzzle velocities and bullet trajectories.


There are some important differences between the two cartridges that shooters should be aware of.

  • The 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge produces higher chamber pressures than the .223 Remington, and as such, it is not recommended for use in AR-15s with .223 Remington-spec chambers.
  • Also, the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge is typically loaded with heavier bullets, and as such, it may not perform as accurately in an AR-15 with a 1:9 twist barrel as it would with a 1:7 twist barrel.

Is It Worth Reloading 5.56 Or 223?

Whether or not it is worth reloading 5.56 or .223 depends on a variety of factors.

  • If you are a casual shooter, the cost savings in reloading may not be worth the time and effort.
  • And if you shoot a lot, reloading can save you money in the long run.

Moreover, reloading gives you more control over the quality and accuracy of your ammunition. It also allows you to customize your rounds to suit your needs. So yes, if you are serious about shooting, reloading is definitely worth the effort.

Reload 5.56×45 Using .223 Remington Dies

No, you cannot reload 5.56×45 using .223 Remington dies. The two cartridges have different dimensions, so the dies are also different.

Is there An Actual 5.56 Die?

Yes, there is a 5.56 die available. It is used to resize and shape the rounds of brass that are used to make the 5.56 round. This die is most commonly used in the reloading process. And it is available at most gun stores and reloading suppliers.


22 / .224 Same Bullet As A .223 For Reload?

Yes, you can use the same bullet for reloading a .223 and a .22/ .224. But you should always verify that the bullet you are using is appropriate for the type of firearm you are using.

Can A .223 Barrel Fire A .224 Bullet?

No, a .223 barrel cannot fire a .224 bullet as the bullet diameter is larger than the bore size.

How Much Does It Cost To Reload 1,000 Rounds Of 223?

The cost of reloading 1,000 rounds of 223 can vary greatly depending on the type of components used and the cost of those components. Generally speaking, reloading 1,000 rounds of 223 can cost anywhere from $150 to $300.

What Is The Suggested Powder For A 5.56×45?

The suggested powder for a 5.56×45 is a fast-burning powder such as IMR 8208 XBR, Hodgdon H335, or Alliant Reloder 7.

Final Verdict

The size of the bullet you would need for 5.56 reloading depends on what type of ammunition you are reloading. Typically, a .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO caliber bullet should be used for most 5.56 reloading projects. The type of bullet you choose should also depend on the specific application you are reloading for, such as hunting, target shooting, or self-defense.

In the end, the size of the bullet you choose for your 5.56 reloading project should be determined by your particular needs and preferences.