Survival Debate: .308 Win vs. .223 Rem

Our “9mm vs. 45” Survival debate was a popular one, so we’re going to take it one step further and go to the ultimate U.S. Military Top Survival Blogassault rifle comparison: the great .223 Remington, (NATO designation 5.56x45mm) vs. the stalwart .308 Winchester (NATO designation 7.62x51mm).  They are both battle proven platforms that have been in service since the 1950’s and remain in service today with both the United States Military and our NATO allies.  They are also both one of the most common types of rifle rounds manufactured in the United States, which is why they are the preferred choice of survivalists.

Before we get started, if you want to design a BOB with the proper guns, and gear, check out this guide from our team member and former-CIA officer:

The .308 Winchester

The .308 Winchester was brought out as a sporting cartridge in 1952, and was made by Best Survival Rifle Roundshortening a .30-06 Springfield (7.62x63mm) case to fit a standard short-action rifle.  The .308 proved to be a very efficient caliber, motivating its projectiles to within 150 feet per second of its higher case capacity parent, with incredible inherent accuracy. It soon became the most popular short-action big game caliber in the world, a title it still holds. Bullet weights are occasionally encountered as light as 55 grains in Remington’s old “Accelerator” loadings, but are usually from 125 grains to 220 grains, with 150, 165/168, and 180 grain loadings the most commonly encountered commercial bullet weights.  The U.S. Military adopted the cartridge two years later for its M14 rifle, and it still soldiers on in light machine gun and intermediate-range sniper duty.  It was superseded in standard infantry rifle capacity in U.S. Military service by the .223/5.56-chambered M16 rifle.

.308 Pros:

1. Inherently a brilliantly accurate cartridge, even out to 1,000 yards
2. Very versatile, with a wide range of bullet weights an profiles to accomplish everything from varmint hunting to big game hunting to sniping.
3. Heavier bullets retain velocity and energy better at longer ranges, especially with modern VLD (Very Low Drag) projectiles. Reach out and touch someone with NO problems.
4. Larger diameter bullet (.308”) coupled with heavier weight means more surface area for knock-down power, and deeper penetration in targets.
5. Still a standard U.S. Military caliber, with ammunition relatively easy to come by in bulk.
6. The .308 is a reloader’s dream, being very accommodating of a wide range of projectiles and powders, with usually excellent accuracy.

.308 Cons:

1. .308-chambered rifles are larger and heavier than their equivalent .223 brethren.
2. Magazines for .308 battle rifles are generally harder to come by.
3. Magazines are generally only 20-round capacity at their largest, and even at 20 rounds, are much heavier loaded than even a loaded 30-round AR-15 magazine.
4. Personal magazine and round loadout generally is lower, due to added bulk and weight of .308 cartridge.
5. The larger bulk of the .308 cartridge means it is more expensive to buy and takes up more storage space on the ammo rack.
6. .308 sporting rifles are very easily obtained, but .308 battle rifles (M14/SOCOM, HK 91, FN FAL/CETME, etc.) are more difficult to find and expensive to buy than their .223 brethren.

The .223 Remington

The .223 was developed more or less concurrently with the M16 rifle in 1963, as an offshoot of the .222/.222 Remington Magnum line of best shtf rifle roundsmall-bore cartridges.

The U.S. military wanted a caliber that would have a higher round loadout and high lethality, with reduced recoil and higher rate of fire.  Analysts showed that the standard infantryman could carry roughly twice the amount of ammunition per man versus the 7.62×51/M14 package, and therefore would theoretically bring more firepower with a faster-handling rifle.

This was also thought to hold true when compared to the NVA’s AK-47/7.62x39mm combination. After some teething issues, the M16 and its new cartridge ended up proving to be a useful package, and it has proven itself well enough to still be the standard U.S. infantryman’s rifle to this day, 52 years later.

The caliber has become very popular in the civilian market, with varmint and small game hunters taking a liking to its low recoil and blast, flat trajectory and speedy lightweight bullet, and readily available surplus brass supply for reloading.  Preppers, survivalists, police forces, and the everyday gun enthusiast have flocked en masse to the AR-15, the civilian version of the military M16, for the same reasons the military adopted the caliber.

.223 Pros

1. Very good to excellent accuracy, as well as low recoil and low report.
2. Excellent performance on small game, varmints, and even animals up to the size of a deer with proper bullet selection and careful bullet placement.
3. Wide range of loadings available, from 36 grain varmint loads that fragment quickly in unwanted critters, to 90 grain VLD bullets that retain flat trajectories at intermediate (out to 500 yards or so) ranges.
4. Sheer popularity of the AR-15 platform means that ammunition, magazines, spare parts, and upgrades will be easily obtainable for the foreseeable future. Vast numbers improve odds of pick-up or salvage guns for parts or use.
5. Light weight and small size of .223 cartridge means that more rounds can be carried in a given area or on a person than the .308, which is much heavier.
6. .223 ammuntion is of small size and takes up less storage space in bulk
7. .223 is reasonably lethal to 300 yards or so for the average shooter.
8. Light weight of rifles and low recoil means less training time to master, andeasier use in field
9. Can be converted to .22 Long Rifle in a pinch for training or small-game hunting
10. Easy to reload with good to very good accuracy resulting.

.223 Cons

1. Relatively low bullet mass and diameter (.224”) means less frontal area for knockdown power and less penetration, especially on hardened targets
2. Bullets theoretically prone to “tumbling” (spinning end over end), which may be a good or bad thing depending on terminal ballistic viewpoint. “Tumbling” bullets theoretically do more terminal damage, but penetrate much less farther.
3. Lower energy and lower penetration of lighter bullets means that the cartridge is out of big-game hunting territory.
4. Even with heavier, longer bullets, the .223 loses its velocity much more quickly than the .308, limiting its practical effectiveness to 500 yards with 69+ grain bullets, and probably 300-400 yards with 69 grain and lower bullets.
5. The lightweight bullet of the .223 is very susceptible to wind drift, even at short distances.
6. The .223 seems to be more bullet weight and rifling-twist sensitive than the .308, with the same bullet and load accuracy varying greatly even between 1:7 and 1:9 twist rifles.

Apples to Apples

To compare size differences between .308 and .223 rifles, let’s compare one excellent company’s lineup of equivalent rifles, one in .308 Best Survival Rifle Roundand the other in .223. Windham Weaponry offers a “SRC” (Sight Ready Carbine) variant in both caliber lineups. The carbine in both instances offers a railed gas block and collapsible stock, with flat-top upper receivers. No optics or accessories are added.

Also Read: SOCOM 16 Battle Rifle Review

.308 Win. SRC: (link to full specs here)
Overall Length: 38” with stock extended, 34.1875” with stock collapsed
Weight: 7.55 lbs. with empty 20-round magazine
Barrel length: 16.5”
MSRP: $1,413.00

.223 SRC: (link to full specs here)
Overall Length: 36.125” with stock extended, 32.375” stock collapsed
Weight: 6.3 lbs with empty 30-round magazine
Barrel length: 16”
MSRP: $1,040.00

Keep in mind that M14 based platforms, HK91s, and FN-FAL based platforms are all substantially heavier than their AR10 counterparts.

Individual Loadout Comparison (data from 7.62x51mm NATO Wikipedia)

RIFLE     CALIBER       WT. OF LOADED MAG          22lb. AMMO LOAD
M14           .308 Win          1 lb 7 oz. / 20 rounds          14 mags – 280 rounds
M16           .223 Rem         0 lb 10.5 oz / 20 rounds      33 mags – 660 rounds

Ballistics (standard US military loadings)

.223/5.56x45mm M855 – 62 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), 20” barrel

  • 3,025 feet per second (FPS) velocity at the muzzle
  • 1,260 foot-pounds of energy (FPE) at the muzzle

.308/7.62x51mm M80 – 147 grain FMJ, 22” barrel

  • 2750 feet per second (FPS) velocity at the muzzle
  • 2462 foot-pounds of energy (FPE) at the muzzle

Cost Per Round as of 1/4/2015: (costs taken from Brownells.com)

  • M80 7.62×51:  500 rounds for $345.00, $0.69/round
  • M855 5.56×45: 600 rounds for $340.00, $0.57/round

Of course, prices vary based on quantity and manufacturer, these prices were taken as examples. You can check out the websites below for better pricing:

  • #1 Site with Best Deals
  • Large selection of ammo, firearms, etc.
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  • Located in Texas. Shipping anywhere in U.S.
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Pick Your Poison

The Balloon goes up, you have to bug out the door. You have a .223 battle rifle and a 7.62 battle rifle, each with a full standard 22 lb. loadout. What do you grab (only one, please!) and what is your reasoning? Sound off in the comments below!

Photos By:
Mr. Smashy
Survival Cache Team
Military Archives

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Drew P
Written by Drew P

Along with Joel, Drew is one of the co-founders of SurvivalCache. Drew has been immersed in the firearms and outdoors culture since birth. He now is a factory-certified armorer for several firearms manufacturers, as well as an experienced DuraCoat finisher. He currently works with a local firearms training facility as an on-call armorer and gunsmith. Read his full interview here. Read more of Drew's articles.

108 thoughts on “Survival Debate: .308 Win vs. .223 Rem”

  1. Comparing .223 vs .308 is kinda apples to orangutans. If I was bugging out on foot the .308 is almost out of feasibility for me. The ammo is so dang heavy that your not gonna be able to carry much of it. The .308 AR would be great for defending a bug out location, so having one stored away at your plan B would not be a bad idea.

    Both the .223 and .308 would make fine anti-personal sniping weapons out to 300 yards.

    Reply
    • Excellent comparison, apples to orangutans. I'm going to steal that. I completely agree with you as well. The .308 is an excellent defense weapon for a bug out location, but not too practical when on foot over long distances.

      Reply
    • Jhon I agree with you on taking the ar, butt if you're like me and you want to stick with a small caliber to carry more ammo I recommend using Hornady. 233 75gr TAP. IT'S Expensive as hell but buy it a little at a time and it will all add up. Same thing for my 9th I use Hornady 135 +p critical duty so I can carry a small round but deliver maximum power. Just a little food for thought.

      Reply
    • Really? Only 300 yards? That's true enough for the .223, but a 308 is just fine for sniping out to 500 yards with mil spec ammo and mil spec open sights. That's 200 yard difference, kinda like comparing apples to orangutans, lol. In the right hands a 308 can have just as much or more lethality out to 800 yards compared to the .223 max lethality at 300 yards.

      Reply
  2. I will argue .223 for the following reasons
    – If you are defending yourself the additional ammo/larger magazine capacity will help
    – Cost of ammo and the firearm are too high.
    – .223 ammo will be more valuable than gold, .308 too but more folks in need of .223 now and "then"
    – Buy a .308 hunting rifle and keep your AR platform "self defense". No point in making a gun "everything" when we all have more than one!
    – 308 would help with big game hunting but that will probably not be an option. Food spoilage, preperation, etc… will be really tough and small game more preferable.
    – 1,000 shot sounds cool but not realistic. Odds are a temp loss of law and order and you will be asked to defend your actions so shooting someone at that distance is tough to claim self defense.

    Reply
    • It seems most agree that weight is a big factor. So my choice if defending the home front, I'll take the 308, now if out on patrol or just traveling around the neighborhood I'll go with the 223, both are excellent rounds. If you get a chance just pick up a 500rd. case of 308 and then a case of 223, I have and it will make you think about which one you really want to deal with. I'm just glad I don't have to go with one, or the other. As they say, thats why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Trekker Out.

      Reply
  3. 308 as people will be hunting in packs so you don't want to be to close when you put them down giving you a better chance of evasion if they start to get the upper hand. Really all depends on locations and terrain.

    Reply
  4. If I had my druthers, I would have both a 30-06 and a .22 LR. But in reality I won't have both with me so the perfect compromise is the .223. Enough power, but small enough for utility work.

    Ballistics aside, there is enough death screaming down a 5.56mm barrel to take care of any reasonable threat or hunting need. Moving up to a 30 cal is just icing on the cake.

    However, if I did have to go .308, it would certainly be a bolt action to make the extra weigh-noise-expense-recoil-etc. all worthwhile.

    Reply
  5. 5.56
    Availability of part.
    Availability of ammo.
    I don't have any big game around me.
    Unlikely that I would ever attempt a 1000 yard shot. Not something I have trained to do.
    I have, however, put many 5.56 rounds down range.
    If we assume 22 pound weight limit, then I am carrying more ammo.
    Would more comfortable in family member being able to pickup 5.56 than handle .308.
    Less worry about what is behind my target.
    If I lived on a mountainside someplace, maybe I would think differently.

    Reply
    • agreed, and if you were in the most likely scenario of needing to defend yourself it would be a post natural disaster event like Katrina……and a 1,000 yard shot would later be classified as murder.

      Reply
  6. Being from south Georgia I would chose the .223 My reasons are as follows
    In my area , be it urban or woodlands a 500 yd shot is very unlikely .Most Hunting shots are under 100 yards
    The extra ammo your carrying could become very important when Wally World is not handy Also initial cost must be accounted for. A properly placed .223 will dispatch any target Im, likely to come up against . The weapons weight is to be considered as your long gun is not all you will be carrying Every pound adds up. I believe .223 will be easier to locate as so many folks use this round

    Reply
    • I must agree with you. I too am from (in) S. GA (Valdosta) and we rarely see long open field shots. The only issue I might have with the.223 is deflection from brush/foliage.

      Reply
  7. Lets skew the comparison a bit. What about the preference on a different platform? Mossberg MVP is a good solid scout rifle available in both .556/.223 as well as .308. This makes it much more Apples to Apples. They are essentially the same rifle, and both accept the most common magazine for that caliber. I would lean toward the .223/.556 because I can double up on magazines and ammo. Also, I lack the time, facilities and training to best utilize the full capabilities of the .308. Redundancy is king!

    Thoughts?

    Reply
    • that is a great looking rifle. i am almost in need of a rifle for my son and the scout rifle would be an ideal size and the .308 round is not too much kick – plus the weight of a bull barrel will reduce the recoil.

      Reply
    • I went with a Mossberg MVP Patrol in .223/5.56 and a AR with the same . If we did have to bug out I would let my wife take the bolt gun with a 20 round AR mag and I would handle the AR with the 30 round mags. Light weight low cost ammo that can handle most anything you might face.

      Reply
  8. A Ford Taurus is almost bullet proof to 5.56, the thin rounded and heat treated metal deflects the 5.56 where the 7.62 punch through. The military rifle in 5.56 is backed up by MK19 grenade launchers, 240b belt fed machine guns, and a hose of other equipment, in the city you want a round that will punch through car doors and cinder block walls, and in open country you want the range. I've shot many many coyotes with 5.56 and was never impressed by it, it's too small to hunt deer with here. Do you want a varmint round or a full hunting round? A 7.62 will kill a wild dog and a Dodge truck. I've shot dozens of deer and a few moose with 7.62/.308. I would never consider using a 5.56 on a deer.

    Reply
    • 5.56 FMJ will easily punch through 1/4" steel plate, I have personally shot engine blocks at 50 yds and penetrated the water jacket and deformed the cylinder wall. Do not be fooled into thinking that a car door is cover. Regardless of what you see on TV.

      Reply
      • Bullshot. When armoring up my truck, we tested rounds against heat treated rolled 3/16" plate steel and the 5.56 would not even dent the damn stuff. That crap isn't good enough to kill squirrels as far as I'm concerned. The only reason they are so popular is because you have so many damn weaklings in this country these days who can't lift a M1A/M14 like a proper human being, so they opt for the pellet gun of semi-autos instead. I don't care what my fellow military members use as dictated by the government, they have air power and squad automatic weapons to back them up with the M4 fails to shoot through light to moderate foliage. For self defense, there is no substitute. A paint ball does more damage than a pathetic 5.56. There's a reason it's not legal to use a .223 to hunt deer anywhere in the USA. It's not humane enough.

        Reply
    • I've hunted plenty of deer with a .223/5.56, so I'm not sure what you're talking about there. Also, the Ford Taurus you're talking about must have been up-armored, because a .223 will go straight through a car door, or window, or hood, or quarter panel, or truck lid, or pretty much any other part of the car.

      Reply
    • The 5.56 is a powerful round. The 62 gr version of 5.56 is called "green tip" and it will punch through 3/8" solid steel plate!! Believe me, it will have NO problem shooting through BOTH car doors.

      There is a video out there that shows 55 gr .223, 62 grain 5.56 green tip, .308 and AK-47 rounds being used on 1/4" and 3/8" steel plate. All three penetrate 1/4" steel plate. On 3.8" plate, the .223 and AK rounds fail to penetrate while the .308 and 5.56 green tip both penetrate.

      Reply
  9. Personally, I'm a .308 Win guy. I've hunted big game from Grizzly Bear to Moose in Alaska. With bear I used a .375 H&H, but with my moose, I took that thing down at 350 yards with a 7mm Dakota. .308 is only a little bit bigger which means, from personal experience, I can concur with what was said about the .308 being a utility round. In an SHTF scenario, if something can kill a 1,500 pound moose then it can certainly drop a 300 pound human.

    Reply
    • From an "old guy" – I totally agree. From my Vietnam days, I loved the impact of the M-14/308. The accuracy was great but even an off-center torso strike and as stated in your comments, it was a "stopper". Then carried the M-16. Loved the reduced weight and in close, it was easier to use and possibly more imposing. I would have to say for in close game, the 5.56, for medium to long range, such as a black bear running across a rice paddy or whatever else might present itself, the 7.62.

      Reply
    • I love my .308 It is more accurate long range. I love the AR-15 but I want a knock down punch that my .308 has. I'm a small framed woman & weigh 105 lbs. Sorry guys but the .308 is not heavy. lol

      Reply
  10. 5.56 and 7.62 both provide excellent ability to provide stops if you are using a properly configured weapon system. To me the impetuous to chose once caliber over the other is, like most gear choices, mission specific. The all around "SHTF Carbine" is always going to be the 5.56 16" carbine with a 4x ACOG or a Aimpoint PRO with irons, but 7.62 would be a viable option if you had an additional body to provide perimeter security and assist with spotting and carrying additional 7.62 ammo. Unless I was working in a very urban area, I'd chose a 7.62 rifle with a 20" barrel, 16" minimum and and either a 3-9x or 10x optic with a pair of offset irons or MRD for emergency CQB. With effective ranges pushing out past 500m, as long as you can move and communicate effectively without getting spotted, small groups of hostiles should be easy to engage as long as you have a gas 7.62, good dopes for your round, and good range to target. If other members of your party can keep you secure as long as you're on the glass, you can take full advantage of 7.62, and you should have time to pick up your brass.

    I would not run 7.62 as a CQB gun because of ammo weight and muzzle rise (especially pronounced on short barreled gas guns). I think 5.56 has proven to do great here and if you're not comfortable with 5.56 you can up gun to 6.8 SPC, but there are ammo availability issues with non NATO calibers.

    Reply
  11. I am very familiar with the 5.56 and have used it out to 800 meters with outstanding accuracy. However, I would still take a 7.62 in preference. Weight is a non-issue. If you are burning through several hundred rounds, in a SHTF situation, you are doing something wrong. With a heavier round, I won't need to make all those shots I would need with the lighter round. With the lighter round, crosswind IS a factor, I can personally attest to that. With the heavier round, 1 shot will get the job done even if shot placement is not ideal. With the 5.56, you cannot say that. And in the woods, while hunting, you run into brush and whatnot. Lighter rounds get knocked offline easier going through brush. Again, I will say weight is a non issue. If there are 10 targets, it will only take 10 rounds with the 7.62 every time. With the lighter round, that is not a guaranteed proposal.

    Reply
    • Agreed 100 percent. The 5.56 is excellent if we have a perfect zombie scenario or something, but in the situation that a tyrannical gov't attacks or a civil war were to break out again the .308 gives you abilities the 5.56 can not possibly offer.

      Reply
    • The chances of 10 hits 10 kills is very optimistic. The average person with much shooting experience will miss the target that is moving. You may need 2,3, 5 rounds to hit the target, not take it down, simply hit it. How about suppressive fire in SHTF? You may need to keep the bad guy(s) heads down. I also want a heavier round but .308 would be designated marksmen role. I will be buying 6.8 for increased lethality and overall better performance than either round in more situations.

      Reply
  12. both calibers kill human no questions asked…..butt for game thats a diff.ballgame .308 will drop a bunch more and bigger game , and less worry about shot placement , sometimes you just cant get an ideal shot ……wtshtf you need to eat right ? ….so .308 in my book

    Reply
  13. Great read, never bothered to work out the round count carry differences. As others have pointed out, it is mission specific more so. My personal favourite owned rifle is the .308 XCR-M. It is always my first choose when heading to the range and because of how effective I have become with it would probably be my pick. After all I may only be able to carry half as much ammo but it is a one shot rifle out to a far more effective range.

    Reply
  14. Good debate, I would pick the .308 mostly due to penetration/knockdown power. I would rather have 1 or 2 "good" shots than throw 20/30 shots downrange thus amount of ammo your carrying is pointless.

    Reply
  15. I know this isn't specifically the debate but I am surprised to hear no one mention 7.62×39. Heavier than the .223 but lighter than the .308 a grown man can carry nearly the same amount of rounds as .223. The stopping power is impressive as well. Easily capable of taking nearly any game in north america. Also ammunition magazines and spare parts for most 7.62×39 rifles are plentiful. The AK-47 stands alone when it comes to reliability, robustness, and simplicity of operation, and ease of maintenance. Since we are considering the possibility of a worst case scenario, you may not have regular or any access to cleaning supplies. How many rounds will it take before the bolt carrier in that gas impingement action AR starts to grind and jam? Modern Ak's are now made here in the united states and available for much less than an AR system. When it comes to accuracy the AK design is not as inaccurate at people generally believe easily capable of accurate work at 300 meters.

    Pros
    Stopping Power
    Good Accuracy
    Plentiful ammo and parts
    Ability to Carry more rounds than .308
    Resilience and Reliability
    Customizable
    Manageable recoil
    Ease of Maintenance and Use
    PRICE

    Reply
    • I have yet to see an ak in my area that was as cheap as a very basic Ar. You can get an Ar for around 500 here. Ak's are around 700

      Reply
  16. I know this isn't specifically the debate but I am surprised to hear no one mention 7.62×39. Heavier than the .223 but lighter than the .308 a grown man can carry nearly the same amount of rounds as .223. The stopping power is impressive as well. Easily capable of taking nearly any game in north america. Also ammunition magazines and spare parts for most 7.62×39 rifles are plentiful. The AK-47 stands alone when it comes to reliability, robustness, and simplicity of operation, and ease of maintenance. Since we are considering the possibility of a worst case scenario, you may not have regular or any access to cleaning supplies. How many rounds will it take before the bolt carrier in that gas impingement action AR starts to grind and jam? Modern Ak's are now made here in the united states and available for much less than an AR system. When it comes to accuracy the AK design is not as inaccurate as people generally believe and easily capable of accurate work at 300 meters.

    Reply
    • The other player is 5.45×39. Only issue…and I think it's kind of mild…is the bullet drop of 7.62. AK any day overall if I can get reasonable accuracy. I have 5.45×39 (not 7.62 x39) and it has terrible accuracy. Annoying. But it shoots every time even though I haven't cleaned it 15 years. No….that's not why it's inaccurate lol. Was like it is even the day I bought it.

      Reply
      • Mild!!! The 5.45×39 is known to create horrific wounds, in Afghanistan they had major problems with wounds and they didn't know what was causing the wounds
        Eventually they found an AK74 with one magazine and determined that that firearm was causing the terrible wounds. The way the bullet is designed is with a hollow cavity behind the tip of the bullet to cause the round to tumble and expand and tear to mess up targets. range is short compared to .556×45 but more than 7.62×39
        The only way I would consider the 5.45×39 mild is if it was compared to .50BMG.
        The only real problem with 5.45×39 I could see is you will never find ammunition from other people so all you'll have is what you've stored.

        Reply
    • I have several small (& not so small…bolt 50BMG), 22,545,556,7.62×39,308. For foot mobile unknown travel distance 556 (with spare 22LR bolt, mag, box ammo). Foot mobile @ known distances from AO / transport 7.62×39 fills most realistic needs (to include decent penetration & engagement out to 300mtr). Thank you Tim for mentioning exactly what I was wondering….why know love for the &.7.62×39 from rest of posters?

      Reply
  17. Definately the .308, much better as a hunting round, the .223 was designed as a varmint cartridge. A .22LR pistol/rifle with subsonic ammo is a much better choice for small game hunting. When the military switched from M14 to M16, the amount of bullets fired per enemy kill increased a lot, probably because the M16 lent itself to spray-and-pray 'tactics' in full auto mode, thus wasting all that extra ammo they 'could' carry! How many rounds can you carry! Do you expect (or are you stupid enough) to engage 200+ enemy at once; better strategy: grab your BOB and RUN! The military thinking changed from 'killing the enemy' (at least officially) to wound the enemy so two of his buddies will have to carry him away from the field of battle, thus (in theory) removing three enemy soldiers from battle with one round! You're not going to carry two 'battle rifles' with you at all times, (unless you're name is Arnold, then a M60 is probably the weapon of choice) so carrying the most versatile one, the .308, is a no-brainer IMHO! Personally, if I can accurately engage an enemy at twice the distance he/they can engage me, that's a big plus! If you're worried about Johnny Law Dog (assuming rule of law still exists), then fire a warning shot at 1200 yards, then 1000 yards, then if he/they don't get the hint, engage (shoot to kill) at 800 yards; still well out of range of most, if not all .223/5.56 'battle rifles'. Armies have reserve troops, you probably don't so take a hint from Sun Tsu, the greatest victory is the one you don't have to fight at all! One final note, the .223 and the 5.56 are not the exact same round (whereas the .308 and 7.65X51 are), and some weapons are not suited to safely fire both, something to think about when you're salvaging for more ammo! Good Luck!

    Reply
    • My active military experience doesn't prove this out on many points. The reason the Round count went up, is the M-16 had a higher cyclic rate of fire, had 30 rd mags available compared to 20 rd m-14 mags, and since more ammo could be carried soldiers fired more as they weren't concerned with conserving as much. "Spray and pray " tactic was utilized before the M16 and is used today. The 5.56 round was not "designed to wound to put 3 soldiers out of action compared to one". Enemies are not engaged at" twice the distance" …every engagement I was involved in was at MOST 300yds. Stand off engagements to gain the range advantage of your weapon is rarely ever practical, as it would dictate the utilization ambush. Additionally, "warning shots" are something NEVER advised in ANY kind of engagement where your security is involved. If Im firing, Im firing to destroy a target. Finally, nearly all modern quality AR's are 5.56 cal. All you have to do is ensure the gun you buy is 5.56 capable and you can fire either the 5.56 and .223 round. The fact is there wont be nearly as many .223 laying around as 5.56-as this is the round used by military and police. We are talking bug out here-weight makes a difference, and the odds of actually being involved in firefight-if your doing everything right-is slim. A 5.56 will work fine. More rounds, lighter weapon, more readily available ammo.

      Reply
      • I often hear people saying the 223 Rem and 5.56 NATO are different cartridges but I have yet to hear anyone actually quantify the nature of those differences. So, in what way do the external dimensions of the .223 case and the 5.56 NATO case differ? As far as I'm aware they are exactly the same, give or take the usual variance from individual manufacturers. If the external case dimensions are the same – they are one in the same cartridge.

        Reply
        • The eternal dimensions are not different. The thickness of the casing walls are. The pressures they produce are different. That is why they tell you not to fire 5.56 in a 223 but you can fire a 223 in a 5.56 barrel. However, many barrels today are designed to fire both. The Wylde Chamber in a barrel is designed to handle both but recently we are seeing more and more manufacturers who are saying that the 5.56 can be fired in a 233 firearm as the difference in pressure is not excessive enough to create a dangerous situation.

          I will not tell you to do something unsafe, I am merely pointing out that there is a shift in philosophy regarding the differences in 5.56/.223. I would expect you to research the issue more and if you have a question call your rifle manufacturer. Research the difference between SAAMI vs Military measurements of rifle pressures

          Reply
    • "…(whereas the .308 and 7.65X51 are)"

      Sorry, this is incorrect. .308 is rated to slightly higher pressure than 7.62 NATO and have different case thicknesses and head spacing. The general rule is that you should not fire .308 rounds through a 7.62 rated firearm and you should not fire 5.56 NATO rounds through a .223 rated firearm. (Yeah, I know, how convenient that they are reversed relation for each comparison…) But, the reason in .308 v 7.62 NATO is not really one of pressure.

      7.62 NATO is listed as having a max pressure rating of 50,000 PSI, but this is really a copper units of pressure rating, which is closer to 58,000 PSI. .308 is rated to 62,000 PSI in comparison. Not a huge difference. The larger problem ends up being a difference in head spacing on 7.62 v .308. The head space is longer in the 7.62 NATO chamber, which can cause the thinner brass of some .308 cartridges to split, when using higher pressure loads. How often this happens, I couldn't tell you – but it's best to avoid the issue and only use 7.62 NATO rounds in a 7.62 NATO chambered rifle. .308 chambers can handle both without issue.

      Reply
  18. Since I only have one AR, it will be the one I take with me, 300 Blk Out… 🙂 Boy I love that gun…The list of cons is probably long but I'm hard headed that way sometimes, I just have to be different. Take down power of .308 in a .223 cartridge and able to use standard 30 rd mags, same bolt etc….sounds good to me.

    Reply
    • Ammo availability is a major problem with 300acc if I were you I'd get a spare .556 barrel for if you ever run out of ammo. .556 is easier to find just for a backup.

      Reply
  19. why does it have to be either one or the other? the 5.56 can be wildcatted into a 308 or 338. to me this is a reloaders dream. the 308 puts it into the realm of the 30-30, and the 338 puts it into the realm of the 308, approximately. the ar format is a much more reliable system, than the m-14/21.

    Reply
    • The 5.56 has been wilcatted into the 308…its called an AR10. The .308 is far more powerful than the 30-30 and is the most inherently accurate cartridge ever. The 5.56 is the worst system ever devised…that's why the military is trying to rid itself of it. The M14 was well proven in Vietnam with few problems.

      Reply
      • But are we going to have 203s in shtf or ROL? lol, come on. If we are on foot weight matters. if you have more than one in your party then you need to do some logistical accounting. But m203s? nah man, would be fun though. Too much weight

        Reply
    • Actually, the .223 being a smaller and faster projectile has better barrier penetration than .308. If the .223 can't penetrate then neither should the .308.

      Reply
  20. haveing quilified rifle expert with both the m14 and m16 in the marines, i would go with the m1a or m14.as we all know that it is what you are used to. the men in ww2 carried m1 grands. so as far as weight goes it is all what you are trained to carry, you can't be a sissy. as far as the m14 goes, it is a battle tested rifle and round and will cover all areas of field combat and rural combat aswell as hunting. if the weight is such an issue, there are plenty of combat vest made for carring 308 rounds. tactics and gear have come a long way and now you can choose your posion.as a marine i fell in love with the m14 and have been re-united with it again in the form of an m1a. there are nations today who use the 308 round as their main battle round, so that should tell you something.

    Reply
  21. think both are excellent—you would be OK with your choice of weapon as long as you had one with plenty of ammo you are pretty much ok with either——–woe to the man with niether

    Reply
  22. I have to say in this debate an old adage comes to mind “firepower is not how many rounds one can put down range it is how many rounds one can be put on target.” With that said the caliber/ rifle combination would be a Ruger scout in 7.62 (.308). The reason for this choice is that while I cannot carry as much rounds in 7.62 as I can in 5.56 it takes less to knock a target (two or four legged) down at greater range. The reason for the bolt action is accuracy. Unless you spend a serious amount of time and cash there are very few semi autos that can match a bolt action.

    Reply
  23. Bolt action and AR ,5.56/223,12ga pump,9mm,and good air rifle.Ammo is easy to find.Area of the country I live in don't need any more power.Rifle ammo is lite and can carry more.I hunt hogs alot 223 at 100 yards drops 150 pound pig.Air rifle great for squriles,rabbits,the other three great for self defence and hunting.

    Reply
  24. .223 any day. More ammo beats out father reaching (between these two) any day. Biggest fear I'd guess of any prepper? Running out of ammo. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but with game shot out I don't think there are going to be very many 1,000 yard snipers around. When life gets uglier combat and feuds become closer and closer because all the "big stuff" will be gone. I'd rather have 10 shots at 50 yards with .223 than 5 with a .308.

    Reply
  25. OK… my personal choice would be a 5.56/.223 for a couple of reasons:
    1. With the current "black gun craze" there are TONS of them out and about on the market and thus if SHTF there are going to be spare magazines, parts and broken guns in abundance compared to the 7.62/.308's which tend to be more unique and specialized (Metric vs SAE with FN-FAL's for example).
    2. Military/Law Enforcement tend to use this caliber as well and for good reason… it does the job. It is a great, all around cartridge. It might not be ideal for ALL situations, but can handle just about any. As others have talked about penetration of the high velocity cartridge is decent.
    3. If you are forced to 'bug out' and have to carry your gear, you can either carry more ammo for the 5.56/.223 over the 7.62/.308. If you are limited to the same number of rounds, this will give you the opportunity to carry other goods or gear that you might otherwise have to leave behind.
    4. I already have a kit that I keep that allows me to swap out the bolt on my carbine to use .22 as well, which lets me take small game without using an overpowered round and wasting meat. I can harvest rabbits all day with a .22!
    5. If staying 'bunkered down' down for the long haul, I can also reload more with same volume of powders. One pound will yield more reloads of 5.56/.223 than 7.62/.308 and thus my overall costs are less to keep these preps around.

    Reply
  26. I’ll have to say that if I were to pick one rifle which I might need to rely upon from now till time immemorial it would not be in 5.56 caliber. If for no other reason that I am a hunter and will always be a hunter – as Sitting Bull once said “When the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom.” Since I don’t need a rifle for hunting mice, and where I live we do have to consider “lions and tyrants and bears” (oh my), I will want something with a but more authority than the 5.56. I used to shoot deer with a 22-250, but had some near losses in the brush and quit that years ago. And the 22-250 has quite a bit more authority than the .223 / 5.56 does with the same bullets.

    The AR-10 has a bit more weight than the AR-15 and is less handy to handle. But I might just grab a .308 in a light bolt action, which I have used many times for everything from varmints to moose. If in a SHTF situation, I think the AR-10 would be fine – what seems heavy now might seem reassuring then. If I were in other circumstances, say in a large urban center, I might forego the heavier rifle & caliber just because there would be less opportunity for big game, and more opportunity for two legged confrontations and more ammo needed to drive off / end threats (not always fatally). In areas of America less free than others you will notice M&P patrolling the citizens in transpiration hubs with AR-15s because they are easy to wear all day and carry extra amounts of ammo. A 5.56 will work well on roving dog packs and other such varmints. In a team it will work for two legged varmints or for one to use for immediate escape and evasion. I also carry the .22 LR conversion for messing around when I have a 5.56 with me. It makes things flexible and allows a lot more ammo to be carried for non-protective shooting (practice, varmints etc.). Those who lean towards the 7.62×39 have got a good idea, but I would seriously consider something besides the AK variant. To most Americans (non shooting public) the AK s subliminally transfer the image of a bad guy or terrorist. This is not so, we know, but if things go south and there are any number of untrained, unfamiliar armed citizens running around while stressed, I would not want any “trigger points” setting off someone’s subconscious “danger bells” unnecessarily. As side note, the SKS with fixed 10 round magazine does not seem to have this same effect on people’s minds and shoots the same ammunition as the AK, generally is more accurate, and cost less. The .300 Blackout / Whisper is really being promoted heavily by the arms manufacturers these days, and those who like it really like it. It is a bit less powerful than the 7.62×39 with the same bullets. It has the advantage of available heavy sub-sonic loads in case you use a suppressor. Reloading is also easy as you can use .225 brass and readily available .308 bullets. However, if you reload all kinds of worlds open up to you.

    While not on our list of options, I often carry a 6.8 Rem SPC AR-15 and shoot it well up close and out past 500 yards. I have won matches with it and shot deer cleanly with it. While not really appropriate for larger than deer, I would rather have this in my hand for an elk (or vehicle, or two legged varmint) than a .556. It will do anything the 5.56 / 7.62×39 / .300 blackout will do, but will shoot flatter and hit harder (if you lean towards the Grendel, more power to you, but then you really get into a tight spot for cost, available ammo and bullets for reloading). I shoot 6.8 loads from 85 grains at over 3000 fps to 150 grains loads at subsonic velocities. It is true that you need different brass and magazine followers for this caliber, but it is light enough to carry almost as much ammo as for the 5.56 and more than the .300 BLK with the advantage of this caliber / energy / trajectory. Comparing it to the rounds /vs weight in this article, the .308 was 14 mags – 280 rounds and the .223 was 33 mags – 660 rounds for 22 lbs each. I weighed my 6.8 ammo and came up with just over 29 mags or a bit over 580 rounds of hard hitting ammo. So if I could not have my .308 / 7.62 NATO, I would choose the 6.8 Rem SPC before the .223. In the long term I could switch guns or uppers with any Ar-15 if necessary if things are prolonged more than a year or so and wanted a .223. After that many months a lot of this will be conjecture (like what you gun may look like to someone).

    Reply
  27. 7.62 x 51/.308 my choice. Have 5 ammo caches within a 25 mile radius in several directions. Can make first 2 on foot if need be and others in vehicle. Caches contain resupply of ammo and other "stuff" as may be needed in places I scouted out years ago and keep check on from time to time. Have an AR10 as MBR. Wife has AR15 and both have adequate sidearms as well as replacement parts cached for all.

    Reply
  28. as long as I have ammo for it I will cary it if not new trot line anchor firearms are not exactly rare stealth and concealment will get you anything that is out there I have no love for any of this worldly junk point A to point B
    that is all I care about..

    any person that can shoot and do it well it makes no difference the caliber only the distance talking about military
    arms they gave out all kinds of crap the 22 / 410 a 22 hornet bolt action with a greasegun wire stock and the 30 carbine what a piece of crap. I would take a 22 semi over a full auto carbine any day.

    weight well with no jolly green coming to the rescue or resupply no airsupport no mail from home
    no food no medic and NO EVAC no trusted friends I figure I am one of the fukawi indians as in where the fukarewe a compass and a map does not mean you KNOW where you are it is a point on a piece of paper
    declination zones in the U.S. are numerous and if your in a area of iron pyrite or iron it changes you could miss a town by 10 miles in 100.

    either is a good round if it is all you have, if you have something else who cares if your trying to figure out what to buy and your a noobie stick with NATO and 22 LR if you can find any so this leaves you with 5.56 it will shoot 223
    7.82X51 or 308 9MM and 12 GA.
    everything else could be like chickens teeth to find.
    if your humping to much load your not going to be fully attentive to your surroundings foot and ankle injuries will be increased making distance will be reduced it is simple math let everyone else hump your load if your buggin out
    then things have gone bad you won't have far to find a rifle problem is ammo that would prbably be scrounged

    you can find anything on a battlefield watches money uniforms with holes but servicable, helmets gloves
    waepons vehicles food If anyone thinks 300 million will go dig a fox hole and play wack a mole with each other
    I really doubt that.

    like every other country there will be warlords and they do not need you they want unarmed slaves and prostitutes
    groveling begging pleading slobs they can abuse for fun. I want light small and I want away from people.
    I do not know where most of you have been living Chicago is a war zone now just no one has the [email protected] to say so.

    I think here we have 400 or so murders a year many thousands of attacks and thefts and this is with nothing wrong or at least people by the polls say it is not.
    Imagine a 10 X increase or 100 times in a week or a day everything is dependant on circumstances once bodies
    lay around diseases will infiltrate the water system.
    and you want to hump a 100 pound pack go for it.
    I choose a small single shot 223 make sure it will handle 5.56 and rechamber it have some conversion shells to 22LR and a semi auto 22LR pistol.

    We won't have an army and even if you do by what means will you feed them clothe them and keep them in line
    the military has all that and medical dental glasses and the UCMJ and you got ?

    Pack lite 40 to 60 pounds your not going to make it as far as you think clothes rot in a month boots in a few months if your really moving. if there is no power there will be no trees go to Haiti if you live in the north it has been very cold come spring you can find all the equipment you want IF you survive and where there is smoke there's people or a person so try to hide out next to a fire that no one can see or smell that will be a real trick.

    A W rifle from rossi single shot has many barrels for them i would have a 12 ga 308 and a 223 solves all your problems and weight about as much as a heavy rifle put the galss on the 308 use iron for 223 and 12 ga.
    if you need lead fog have a high capacity side arm and a lot of magazines 5 to 10.

    We used to process our own meat, hogs beef goats never seen one yet I could not drop with a 22 pistol one shot in the brain bucket and it is the big Adios muchacho. my old man used a ball pien hammer sometimes or a hammer. apple jelly or peanut butter on a tree you can have deer eating out of your hand tap them right in the noggin' from your tree stand. I hate walking and looking for a wouded anything it sucks hell shoot them from your truck with a flashlight it is the end of the world who's going to care.

    A 308 is a shortened 30-06 it has just under 100 to 200 foot per second difference in speed bullet weight is
    within 30 grains of WWII stuff our president Rosevelt shot and killed every Afican animal with it.
    people who say it wont take big game never used FMJ's and head shots.

    Reply
  29. In a WROL, 7.62×51 because going through a car door, small tree, brick wall, or even body armour may be important. In CQB, even more important as most cover is only concealment at best. In addition, I can take out the guys with 5.56 before I am in their effective range.

    Reply
  30. Where I would bug out there are bears. Lots of them. Easy to lure in but a 5.56 has very little possibility of one shot kills on them. So I vote 308. I wanna eat them not hide from them. People barely rank my (colt brand) 45 cal 1911. Light ammo load and sure quick kills out to a hundred yards. I don’t anticipate deploying as a soldier so it comes down to a hunting gun and a defensive gun.

    Reply
  31. Personally I would take my ar. I would load all of my magazines with Hornady .223 75gr TAP ammo. I would rather pay for quality ammo that dose high damage instead of bulk ammo. But it is still a small round witch I can carry about 600 rounds between my pack and vest. The .308 is something I would rather keep back at base.

    Reply
  32. I think 5.56 is a good suburban round.

    But I like them all I cannot see any good or bad as far as caliber unless your hunting antelope they can see a fart at 500 yards and run like the wind.
    I can see some problems with certain firearm choices some are bad design some are not durable or have to many parts or complicated.

    I got a friend that has a couple oddballs but he has lots of ammo, the rifle is a decent one so in his case has some stashed so they are prepared maybe more so than those with common calibers.

    The only calibers I look crossway's at are those that in a reloading sense use too much powder and deliver marginal
    increase over other calibers in other words waste not want not.
    a good reloading manual showed me that as far as efficiency both the 5.56 and the 7.62X51 are quite good
    where 7.62X51 like the 30-06 use more powder and give a bit more performance.
    If you have a Mosin and a lot of ammo no worries it is having a stock before your forced to reload that makes a real difference.

    Frank mentioned paying for quality that is good advice I test fire with at least 5 different brands and in a range of bullet weights here is where a reloading manual and research will help decide where to start on bullet weight
    find the best weight brand and accuracy and buy a case or more {same case lot} and your going to know if your optics have moved or some aberration as it won't be an ammo problem if it is quality.

    FMJ's are capable of taking all game with well placed shots more than one might be required but at least your
    not going to go hungry.

    In my trials a 147 grain @ 200 yards and a 165 have a 2 inch difference in trajectory but bullet weight and nose type
    can give more power for medium game but it penetrates less if a soft point this is a defense technicality
    deer are not vehicles nor is a Grizzly a pet use the right bullet for the right application.

    I know a large bear is dangerous a 308 will take them but care and placement are all important if push come to shove
    a 5.56 can take them but in both cases with a FMJ and precision head shots.
    NO I am not out there Fred Bear took all game with a bow numerous well known hunters firearm manufacturers and
    gun & cartridge designers have gone to Africa and arctic regions to test their weapons and ammo in severe weather and against very large and dangerous game in up close and personal encounters, of course they had backup
    in any situation that is just good sense.

    in the late 1800's many Ivory Horn and skin hunters used military jacketed ammo to take All African game
    the most popular were the 6,5X55 7mm and 8mm Mauser and as the great 30-06 became available it was also
    used and liked you will find other large bore calibers but there was a window of time where military calibers
    were king and men used them to do what people today think not possible.

    It is too bad that today too many calibers are loosing popularity but the most efficient cartridge is the 7MM Mauser
    for what it is the 308 Winchester / 7.62X51 is very high on the list of efficient as well as the 223 / 5.56
    and with better powders and bullet weight and configuration it is only getting better.

    There is nothing wrong with any caliber it is just availability of ammo cases and components of course what your
    intent to hunt defend or long distance accuracy.

    the 270 Winchester is one of the best calibers but I like short actions and common bore size of Nato calibers
    my thought is 308 being a military caliber I will not have a problem finding it.
    I choose it over .223 as I can cast lead bullets the smaller calibers do not lend themselves to cast bullets
    versatility I found personally cast 30 cal is easy as pie I like easy in hard times it is better than complicated IMO.
    The Lee loader and a bullet mold and a few hand tools and boy what fun.

    I need to remind folks that a Lee loader is neck sizing only so it will load for a single rifle or you have to keep the brass separate chambers are that different.
    neck size loading a case fired from a specific rifle makes it perfectly formed for that rifles chamber it makes the brass last a long time especially if you do not load it max pressure over time you need a Lee case length gauge to keep it trimmed to length.

    Reply
  33. For hunting in this situation would be rather stupid. Why not set traps? They're easy to make and will save on your ammo count. Just to add to the debate, having shot both, I'd prefer the .308 every time, but that's quite personal, mostly because of the way you handle firefights. I'd rather make the shots count, than heaving a whole lot of lead the other way. Also the penetration of cover is a big pro for me!

    Reply
  34. In survival situations I would pick the 308. Pureknock down and stopping power will be needed. The .223 allows for much more ammo, but this is survival, not a scenario of wave after wave of hostiles assaulting one's position. Given that if society goes down the drain for an extended period, I have stocked with various common calibres in case it becomes an issue where acquiring more. I am in Canada so here is what I have. The 30.06, .308, .303 British, 30-30, .223 and of course .22 or. As well 12 and 20 gauge shotguns. Just my two cents… 🙂

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  35. Put me down in favor of the .308/7.62x51mm NATO. The .223 might be ok for use against humans at relatively short ranges, but in a survival situation you may be facing other threats that are harder to put down. Given that where I live and where I would be bugging out to that grizzly bears are a potential consideration, then the .223 loses a lot of its appeal for me.

    Also note that when one is considering the .223 as used by the military, that the soldiers in a given unit will have more resources available to them than just their ARs. They will have access to grenades, they will also have SAWs and possibly medium machine guns and or heavy machine guns. They will have the advantage of being able to pick up a radio and call in air support, heavy artillery, medevac and ammunition resupply.

    The only safe bet is that none of those fun extras will be available to the average guy trying to deal with a SHTF situation. If he can't get it done with his rifle, it's not going to get done. And that could be terminally disappointing. So I favor the .308 because it can handle a wider variety of situations. In addition to being able to take out people it will give you a reasonable chance against large and or dangerous game. It would also fare better at trying to put vehicles and other pieces of equipment out of commission. Granted that one can't carry as much .308 ammo with them as they could .223 ammo, but then the .308 is more likely to be able to deal with problems with a single good hit than the .223 could. The greater potential range of the .308 is also a consideration. If the terrain and tactical situation permit, why get into a CQB firefight if you can pin your opponents down at 500+ yards?

    Reply
  36. This is one of the better articles comparing .223 and .308. As with the classic “9mm vs. .45 ACP” debate, the “.223 vs. .308” debate tends to be littered with myths, urban legends, and anecdotal nonsense. Refreshingly, this article provides some objective numbers, and some very well-reasoned “pros” and “cons” of both calibers. Well done.

    Reply
  37. Here's my 2 cents worth. Helicopter pilot in Nam in 68-69. Issued an M16. Piece of junk. Jammed no matter how "clean" it was. Tried another, same thing. Then went to a M-14 carried 15 mags in a ammo bag. More dependable and yes ammo heavier. At a young age could carry more ammo then and when needed. Then switched a M1 Carbine from WWII. Shorter in length. Easier to get an out of cockpit with. Carried 25 mags. All were used in "short" distances — 50 yards or so. Very dependable. So I now have a .223. Lighter, ammo easy to purchase and not heavy. Just use it for target practice and some hunting.

    Reply
  38. well ammo and parts are not a factor for the savvy take the 308 and if you find that you would rather have a 223 then find someone with a 223 and if they over 500 yrds well that's ok, you have a 308 you can get that 223 and stach the 308… when you run low on 223 ammo and need parts …go get that 308 and out range another 223 lover they are just your parts/ammo mules anyway but stay out of wide open areas….somebody else may be mule hunting with a 308

    Reply
    • ^This is my thinking. 22" 308 with suppressor and 3-15 scope. I just need to find the resupply points that move around all the time. Not bad when they don't even try to hide.

      Reply
  39. Both rifles are accurate as viable as SHTF weapons. In preparing for a SHTF situation there are really 3 things to remember about the 5,56 vs 308
    1) The reduced weight and additional ammo you can carry COULD become important so I would lean toward 5.56,
    2) Well placed shots from a 5.56 or .308 are both lethal but the emphasis is on well placed shots. Most shots will be under 300 yards with most less than 200. Being able to reach out to 1000 yards is great but if I have to pack around my tools, I am going to carry the tools I need vs a tool just in case. Example: Dont carry a chainsaw when a hatchet will do. Carry something that can be used inside 300 yards
    3) 5.56 availability now and in a SHTF situation allows you stock up and resupply when you need. Also if I really want a 308, I will get one off the individual i have to shoot. my 5.56 with my well placed shot

    Reply
  40. Smoke and mirrors. Ammo is not carried in magazines. It is carried in stripper clips in a bandolier. There would be only six loaded magazines. The standard in Vietnam was 2 twenty-round mags and a box of 400 rounds on stripper clips. Same for the M14. You forgot to talk about cleaning and function. You spend all your free time cleaning the 5.56 out of fear of FTF. The 308 allows you to shoot through trees and the 5.56 won't penetrate a cement block. Sure the FN is heavy but not the standard M14. The M14 has never had the chance to morp like the 5.56. Change out the wooden stock for poly, add a pistol grip. There is no comparison.

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  41. Why is a "survival" debate focused on killing people, versus killing animals for food? Successful tactical-gear marketing? Zombie-madness? In a survival scenario, killing another human being is a bad day. Killing supper is a victory.

    Along those lines, I echo many of the other folks who highlight the versatility and lower-weight of the 5.56 round.

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  42. There is no situation where I wouldn't grab the 5.56 with 660 rounds if I only had one choice. Putting a bullet in anything, regardless of size of the projectile is a very effective statement.

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  43. man this is a toughie, I have and love my ar15 .223 but the power of the 308 going off is a bit orgasmic. if I lived out in the boonies and did a lot of long range shooting the 308 would be for me. I might just buy one to see if I like it more than my ar. ps f-obama

    Reply
  44. 223/5.56 is my pick..and as always.Travel light..shoot fast…shoot often.Carry more rounds in 223/5.56 than 308.
    Id rather have 600 223/5.56 than 280 in 308.
    If you can shoot.Then a head shot on anything or anyone will kill..So say the Jury..So Says The JUDGE!!!!!

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  45. I've been reading everything everybody said, im no gun expert, was thinking ar 15 for tactical, & distance im thinking M1 garand 30.06, what do you folks think?

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  46. To me it really depends on location. In densely populated areas with ample cover the .223 is king, but as you get further from cities and into open areas or places with large game the .308 begins to make more sense. Here in Dixieland I'm taking the .223 every time.

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  47. I'm sorry, I didn't read this article. When someone refers to an AR style rifle as an "assault rifle" all credibility is gone.

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  48. Personally, I have to go with the .308. Stopping power and distance are the only reason. In the hands of a great marksman, you don't need 660 rounds to protect yourself. I feel that 280 rounds of .308 equals 280 dead bodies. I now that someone will say the same about the 5.56, 600 rounds equals 660 dead bodies, but that may not be the case with the low stopping power offered by the .223. In short, I am most concerned about stopping power and distance. But, more importantly, what balloon has actually gone up? I am willing to assume that maybe we also have to use our rifle for hunting depending on what balloon actually went up. If food is scarce, being able to take down big game with the .308 is important and can be the difference between eating for weeks or eating one day at a time. More importantly, I like the stand off distance that the .308 provides. I prefer being up in the hills somewhere with he ability to shoot from a distance and move as needed. I am completely comfortable taking the role of the sniper.

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  49. 223 STARTS with 600 more fps, so it can afford to lose a lot of velocity. the 223 is now doing pretty well in 1000 yd matches. The 223 can still be effective with a 10" barrel, the 308 loses almost all of its advantages in such a short barrel and only the HK offers the option of such a barrel. 22lr conversion units are feasible for the 223, not for the 308. A silenced 223 can be handy size and weight, not true of 308. 223 can be concealable in a pack, when taken down. Not true of a 308.

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  50. If alone, AR15 .223 10.5in barrel (for defense/small game) and 420 rds with a 6.8 Special upper, bolt and a couple mags and 100 rds for large game. . Both good to 300yds. MOST people shouldn't attempt to hunt past that, and in a "survival" situation, if you can see that buck at 500yds, someone can see you further out.

    I will have my family with me IF I bug out off my 40 acres. Wife and daughter have AR15's in .223 (light/low recoil) sons (10 and 7 yrs old) have a marlin 39D and 39T (22lr).
    What I carry will be a tough choice between my 444P or 307win. Probably the 307win just because I can carry more ammo.

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  51. With out a doubt for me the 308 hands down….If the weight is going to make that much of a difference then get back into shape….LOL…Semper Fi…..

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  52. Used both in Vietnam! Loved the reliability of the M-14, but the weight and number of magazines was a drag! Got the M-16 in 67. Marines were slow to get them. Liked the weight, and in close quarters, the rifle was okay! Weight if rifle was okay, number of magazines was better, but since we fought both in long and short (forest areas) the 16 wasn't a great rifle! Not only problems with the rifle, but we ate up many more rounds to do the same with a 14.
    I will always favor the .308 over the .223! No matter the distance, the 14 could handle it, but the 16 had to be close up, and. Hairline was using 7.62X39 which was a better round the the pee shooters .223
    Must say I loved my M-60! Heavy load of ammo, but great stopping power, great distance and laid down one hell of a lot of lead!

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  53. This is all nonsense. What about the atlatl? used for thousands of years and to bring down mammoths. the indians used arrows to kill bison! and your all squabling over the size of a fucking bullet. use what you have available and be good with it. ive seen six shooters take 4oo yrd shots that would take your head off before you had a chance to make a shot with either 556 or 308. of course not common but go figure. use what u got and be damn good at it.

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  54. I'm with the 7.62×39 guy, .30 cal is robust, and still lighter than .308, plus 30 round mags, also consider what will be littering our streets if it ever happened….yep AK mags, and ammo, from our enemies, plus no CLP on the shelves, my AKs will run much longer full of mud, water, and rust than most Ar platforms. I go 7.62×39

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  55. .308 I want a one shot one kill weapon.. .223 is more of a toy. My unit would shoot insurgents only to watch them get back up and run away.. .308 that doesn't happen. Yes heavier and not as quick.. A U.S. Army study found that the 5.56 mm bullets fired from M-4s don’t retain enough velocity at distances greater than 1,000 feet (300 meters) to kill an adversary. In hilly regions of Afghanistan, NATO and insurgent forces are often 2,000 to 2,500 feet (600-800 meters) apart. If you want to make a lot of noise then great! Go with the .223 If you want to have something that shoots all the time and works no matter what.. Go russian..

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  56. .308 hands down.. I don't see a lot of people here with real world experience commenting..More just those who justify having a .223. Now .223 is great for plinking and varmits but not a man stopper that you can count on and not big game dependable.

    Too many cases of shooting hitting someone and then they get up with .223 and either run away or keep firing at you. My unit saw a lot of this during Panama, Iraq etc. Yes you get "1/3" more rounds per weight but .308 is twice the killer with almost three times the bullet weight and twice the fpe.

    Even the military studies state that .223 lacks fpe to stop a man past 300 yards and they are considering going to the .308 again up to and until they can get the Creedmore in line for sufficient production.

    IF I want to plink, shoot varmits, or show my wife how to shoot then .223 is a great round and I would use that. If my life is on the line then the extra 4lbs is well worth it for .308

    PS if you can't tell I hated the M16 and thought it one of the most undependable rounds and platforms I have ever used.

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  57. This caliber are recommended by the “German-Survial-Group”

    1 .22lfb (short and long gun – pistol / revolver; Survival = Gun Caliber)
    2. 12/76 (12/70) shotgun
    3. 223 Rem / 5.56 x 45 NATO
    4. 308 Win / 7 , 62 x 51 NATO
    5. 9 mm for pistol (NATO)

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