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Thread: 223 v 308 on steel

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    223 v 308 on steel

    I just bought some 1/2" AR500 targets to hang. I hear some where that a 223 will do more damage to a target than say a 308. Is there any truth to that?

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Velocity kills steel.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    If it is steel core, all bets are off. Lead/copper match 223 bullets do nothing to my 3/8's ar500.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    WHAT? Neither is gonna hurt your steel. I ding steel all the time with both, and the .308 definately gets a bigger reaction. It's all about the energy man.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I think I will have to agree with Ballistic on this one. Granted it is 1/2" AR500, so not alot will screw that shit up. But for lower grade or even thinner metals, the smaller higher velocity projectiles, would disrupt the base metal at a metallurgical level worse than the bigger lower velocity projos.

    This really depends on what projo you are shooting at your steel also. But apples to apples (223 fmj vs 308 fmj) the 223 would do more damage. If you plan on shooting 223 Vmax's at your steel, I doubt you would ever see a problem as these are highly frangible, especially at velocity. Likewise if you were shooting 175gr HPBT from your 308 you would see more damage on steel versus the 223 Vmax.

    But with 1/2" AR500, you could probably shoot that 375 Cheytac at it and not see a problem, immediately.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Hardly a scientific test and not ar500 but here's a piece of 1/4" mild steel I shot at 100 yards for shits and giggles. The 3 in the middle are federal m1a 7.62 (168gr otm bullet) out of my 700p and the 2 on the outside are xm193 (55gr fmj) out of a 16" AR. The 223 left a big nipple on the other side but didn't go through. 168gr at 2650 fps beat 55gr at a touch over 3000fps in this case. Neither is going to do much to ar500 though.




    And now for something completely different.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    At 500 yards the velocites are quite different than at muzzel. A 77gr FGMM 223 will be traveling ~1650fps, while a 168gr and a 175gr FGMM will be traveling ~1740 and 1790fps respectively.

    The energy levels are quite different too.
    500 yards 77gr = 465 ft lbs
    500 yards 168gr = 1130 ft lbs
    500 yards 175gr = 1245 ft lbs


    Compared to 100 yards:
    100 yards 77gr = 1070 ft lbs
    100 yards 168gr = 2170 ft lbs
    100 yards 175gr = 2285 ft lbs

    The 308 is 1.91X the frontal area of the 223. Even taking that into account:

    Energy per area
    100 yards 77gr = 1070 ft lbs
    100 yards 168gr = 1136 ft lbs equivelent area
    100 yards 175gr = 1196 ft lbs equivelent area

    500 yards 77gr = 465 ft lbs
    500 yards 168gr = 592 ft lbs equivelent area
    500 yards 175gr = 651 ft lbs equivelent area

    Because the bullets are pointed, the equivelent area comparision probably is a little biased to the 223 rounds, so in reality it will favor the 308 even more as DPRobert's pictures show.

    There' not much you can do to pretend that a 223 is better than a 308 in terms of power (The cartridge has it's place, I'm not arguing it doesn't, just in terms of power).

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    5.56 FMJ will crater my MGM AR500 target at 75 yards or less.

    .308 FMJ does not.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Are your .223 steel core? I'd take odds they are and the 308's aren't.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I have 3/8" AR500 that gets dimples out past 300 yards when using M855 steel penetrator 5.56mm, but shows no wear when shooting any lead only 5.56mm or 7.62mm even as close as 100 yards.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    At 100 yards .223 leaves Dimples in my AR 500 plates, .308 does Not. It's all about SPEED, not the Energy. .338 EDGE at 100 yards will bend the steel, but not make dimples..... it has Energy lol

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: ~Ace~
    At 100 yards .223 leaves Dimples in my AR 500 plates, .308 does Not. It's all about SPEED, not the Energy. .338 EDGE at 100 yards will bend the steel, but not make dimples..... it has Energy lol

    Are you shooting 55 grain or 77 grain? Cause the 77 Grains are the same speed as a 308. My guess though it you're shooting the 55 grain which is giving a higher strain rate.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I found out the hard way that a .204 with 3640 fps and a 40 grain v-max will take a pretty good little chunk out of a piece of AR 400 steel at 100 yds.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    WE shoot 3/8 RHA at 100 the shooters run 5.56, 7.62X39, 7.62X51 and occasionally 5.7 FN. After inspecting the the plates you can definitely see the .223 dimples, every once in a while a shooter slips in some steel core and they really put some dents but no sharp craters. The 7.62 leaves no marks

    ITs the velocity

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: M25BeastShooter
    WE shoot 3/8 RHA at 100 the shooters run 5.56, 7.62X39, 7.62X51 and occasionally 5.7 FN. After inspecting the the plates you can definitely see the .223 dimples, every once in a while a shooter slips in some steel core and they really put some dents but no sharp craters. The 7.62 leaves no marks

    ITs the velocity


    The more I think about it, the more this makes sense in terms of strain rate.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    A .223 is a BIG no no out here at the NRA big bore silhouette range. I was shooting my 30-06, and the range worker came over to chat and so I asked him about the restriction on .223, he flat out told me that they will put holes in the sihlouette targets.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    PMC 223 put nice big dimples in my AR400 plate at 100yd. Haven't tested it at 300yd. But at 300yd my 308 shooting 175gr SMKs will put just a slight burr on the plate. Haven't shot it any closer with the 308.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I'd have to agree with velocity. Shooting 1/2" steel at 100 yards with a .416 Rigby definitely leaves marks, but not even close to the penetration of a 22-250. Likewise with the 9.3x62.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    My .308 does doesn't even make a ding at 100y on my ar500 steel. I stay away from using the steel core bullets, it kills the steel.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Ever wonder why they have speed limits at some of the matches?

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I shoot 223 62 FMJ at AR500 at 25 yards and don't get a mark.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    In short... yes, a 223 shooting 55gr FMJ at 3200-3400FPS will do more to AR500 than a 308 FMJ @ distances closer than 100 yards. Alot of it has to do with bullet construction and velocity more so than energy. I've pondered this for a while and not been able to come up with a good reason why. Some 223 55gr FMJ's won't touch it, while others might leave a a dimple, like the dimple on a golf ball. It also depends on the angle of the target...alot of factors come into play.

    My hypothesis is that because the bullet is light and fast, it doesn't have enough energy to really move the plate and let the plates motion absorb part of the energy. It dumps its energy quickly and in a small frontal area. The other reason I think has to do with the bullet construction. Typically the cheap-o 55gr FMJ rounds have thick heavy copper jacket. In comparision to the 308 there is a lot more jacket vs. lead in the 223, in essence making it a harder projectile. This is just my theory.

    The heavy match 223 rounds, 68+gr, amax's and v-max's won't hardly do more than take off the paint.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: osuarchitect
    In short... yes, a 223 shooting 55gr FMJ at 3200-3400FPS will do more to AR500 than a 308 FMJ @ distances closer than 100 yards. Alot of it has to do with bullet construction and velocity more so than energy. I've pondered this for a while and not been able to come up with a good reason why. Some 223 55gr FMJ's won't touch it, while others might leave a a dimple, like the dimple on a golf ball. It also depends on the angle of the target...alot of factors come into play.

    My hypothesis is that because the bullet is light and fast, it doesn't have enough energy to really move the plate and let the plates motion absorb part of the energy. It dumps its energy quickly and in a small frontal area. The other reason I think has to do with the bullet construction. Typically the cheap-o 55gr FMJ rounds have thick heavy copper jacket. In comparision to the 308 there is a lot more jacket vs. lead in the 223, in essence making it a harder projectile. This is just my theory.

    The heavy match 223 rounds, 68+gr, amax's and v-max's won't hardly do more than take off the paint.


    This thread has gotten me thinking about this subject a good bit. It has convinced me that it's much more about strain rate than it is energy. 55gr to 77gr 223s will have the same energy (1). What's different is the strain rate. Take silly putty for example. If you take it in two hands and pull it slowly apart, you can stretch it almost to infinity and a very very very tiny hair like string. However if you pull very quickly, it'll "snap" with a clean break. You're not applying more force in one case than the other, you're not giving it a chance to "flow". Same thing with these steel targets. If your displacing the steel so quickly it doesn't have a chance to bend and relieve the stress, only to break. These rounds happen to be on the border line of that velocity.





    (1) Powder burns and releases pressure that's dumped into the bullet. Energy = Work = Force * Distance. The Force is pressure* crossectional area of the bullet. If the work is constant then the energy is constant between rounds. You'll note time in barrel isn't a factor and neither is the bullet weight. Muzzel Velocity can be figured by (energy/mass of bullet)^0.5 * units constant. This does assume you choose the correct powder burn rate to keep your pressure the same between bullet weights, but that's the manufactor's job. [img]<>/wink.gif[/img]

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: Outlaw45
    I just bought some 1/2" AR500 targets to hang. I hear some where that a 223 will do more damage to a target than say a 308. Is there any truth to that?

    I was shooting 3/8 steel I-beams right next to a guy that was shooting the same steel with 223 (at 100 yds). My .308 went through like butter and his .223 just cratered it. You likely heard wrong dude.

    I have some 1/2 AR500 and the only thing that makes a mark on it is my Barrett .338 Lapua which will make small dimples on it. You can tell by the sound a .308 makes on steel verses .223 that it carries wayyyy more energy. If I shoot a 6 inch plate a .308 will often spin it around the bar. A .223 won't do that.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    This is a great post.
    I try to encourage customers not to shoot the steel targets with .223's closer than 100 yards. Not all .223 ammo causes cratering at the closer distances. If someone wants to shoot them closer than 100 yards I somtimes suggest they try a shoot on the back of the target with the ammo they plan on using.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Did I open a can of worms or what? This thread got a lot more involved than I was planning on. Very good info though.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    It's absolutely amazing, the amount of BS blanket statements some people come up with on a black & white argument, its like reading some of the penetration threads, or the best battle rifle caliber threads.

    I'm not even going to bother typing up a mechanical engineers perspective...
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Found out the hard way that 110grn sierra varmint hp's out of a 308 will crater 1/2 ar500 at 100yds. The 140 sierra hp's for the 260 will put a little dent. The 308 is running close to 3400fps and the 260 is about 2600. Th amax bullets out of the 223, 260 and 308 don't do anything to it at 100yds. Are the hp's harder on the steel for some reason?
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Come on KSwift, cough it up.

    I do have a bit of an ego involvement here, since my personal observations and informal critical thinking led me years ago to conclude these:

    1. Velocity kills steel above some threshold (appears to be 2800 fps or maybe more) through a combination of impact and melt damage; and

    2. Hardness of the target steel makes a HUGE difference.

    3. The effect of target hardness might be at least partially a result of more plastic deformation on impact in the victim material. A bullet splashing into oblivion might result in a deeper crater on softer steel in part because the steel is getting deformed and getting heat internally, so to speak, leaving that portion of the material more susceptible to bullet force blowing it off of the surface, and of course getting formed into the impact crater shape.

    So, am I barking up the right tree, or is the forest over that-a-way?
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    2mv squred guys

    That being said m855 leaves no dent dimple or other wise on my ar500 at 25 yards ...

    Nither does any of the 308 I have tossed at it
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel



    This thread is worthless without pictures!!

    Above is a picture of a plate that I built last night just for this thread. I set this up at 100 yards today and shot 3 different loads at. In my next post I will explain everything (because I can't see the picture to make sure I explain it correctly).
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Okay, the very top group is 5 shots from my 260, 140gr AMAX 2825fps, as you can see not a lot of damage.

    The group below and left is 5 shots from my 223, 50 grain VMAX 3450fps.

    The other indentions around the plate were various 223 fmj in 55gr pills, from my brother and his new rifle.

    Like stated in my above post, this is 1/2" AR500 shot at 100 yards. This should be all the proof that is required to support everyones theory about "speed kills armour plate, not horsepower."

    Feel free comment or ask questions
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I've shot 55gr soft point ammo at MV 3000 fps (16" AR15) at 100-yard AR500 steel. It left some craters.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    How does T1 steel rank against AR500? I have two plates of T1 steel and have shot it with 308 and 223 and all I've ever seen is small dimples. Smaller than anything in the above picture. It's a hanging target if that matters. I even shot it with 223 at 25 yards. Still nothing noticable.

    I'm sure the answer is a combination of many factors, bullet type, speed, rigid target or hanging.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Outlaw,
    To answer your question, T1 is not quite as hard as AR500. I believe it is more of a wear resistant than an impact resistant like the AR500 plate. I shoot at T1 quite a bit, but it does deform alot sooner than the AR500 plate.

    You are correct in the way the plate is mounted will have a direct effect on how much energy is transferred directly into the plate. I had my test plate leaning against my target pit, there was zero movement at impact. I did this because I wanted everything to be the same for both cartridges. If you were to hang something, it would move, allowing some of the kinetic energy to be transferred to making the plate move. The law of motion; when you make something move, you are directly transferring energies into different properties. Also this would cause the bullet to be redirected to a certain extent, there for also minimizing transferred energies.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I would be surprised if there was any difference between hanging and static mounted. Were talking something moving 3000fps, the steel doesn't have a chance to move before the impact is over, similar to how the bullet is already out the end of a semi before the slide can move backwards. @ 3000fps with a bullet roughly 1/2" long the impact will be less than .000056 seconds long.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    In case we don't have enough to sort through already, a key consideration is range. Velocity may be the key, but muzzle velocity isn't. At around 350 yards, 308 168-gr SMKs will go through my milder steel plate but 223 62-grn FMJs don't even dimple it. As you reduce range the 223 damage increases until you get penetration.

    At around 400 yards, 30-06 150 grainers, 270 110-grainers (MF of 3,400 fps), and the 308's are leaving craters, and once you get out to around 500 yards there is little deformation.
    When there's lead in the air, there's hope.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I think this thread has gone wayyyy far from the OP's original intent...will .223 damage AR500 or any plates more than .308. Sorry but the answer is no as a general rule.

    Can you make a homebrewed or AP round that deviates from that general rule? Sure you can just as sure as you could build a 600 horsepower Prius... but that won't make the Prius a performance car.
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I just shot this today. A T1 steel target hanging, 223 ultramax 55gr FMJ at 3000 fps. Out of a 20" AR.

    3 shots, 100 yards, small dimples.


    3 shots, 50 yards, I consider this to be a crater. The marks on the left side and the three rust colored impacts are with the same ammo at 400 yards, can't even feel it.


    This is T1 steel, not AR500. I image AR500 would do better. Anything 200 yards and out I don't think will leave a mark.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: Outlaw45
    How does T1 steel rank against AR500?


    Originally Posted By: mm509
    Outlaw,
    To answer your question, T1 is not quite as hard as AR500. I believe it is more of a wear resistant than an impact resistant like the AR500 plate. I shoot at T1 quite a bit, but it does deform alot sooner than the AR500 plate.


    I realize this is a bit of an old thread, but I have seen some links to it recently and the above question wasn't fully answered...

    The common ground to compare the different types of steel is going to be your hardness ratings, Brinell is typically the scale used on the steels being discussed.

    T1 is actually a trade name. The steel itself is A514. It is a high strength alloy that is noticeably harder than mild steel, but still far from your AR400 or AR500 varieties. AR235/400/500 are all abrasion resistant steels, thus the AR in the name.

    Nominal brinell hardness ratings for your typical targets steels are as follows:
    Mild Steel (A36) - 135
    T1/A514 - 235
    AR400 - 400
    AR500 - 500

    To answer the OP's question, yes....223 will do more damage than .308. Speed dimples/craters/pierces steel while energy bends/bulges/folds steel.

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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    I was looking at getting an AR500 target or two for plinking with my .223 at 100-500 yards.. maybe ill hold off, dont really want to destroy a $100+ target at 100 yards

  42. #42
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: the noobie
    I was looking at getting an AR500 target or two for plinking with my .223 at 100-500 yards.. maybe ill hold off, dont really want to destroy a $100+ target at 100 yards


    You will not destroy it with .223 it will barely leave a mark.

  43. #43
    Gunny Sergeant
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    Re: 223 v 308 on steel

    Originally Posted By: the noobie
    I was looking at getting an AR500 target or two for plinking with my .223 at 100-500 yards.. maybe ill hold off, dont really want to destroy a $100+ target at 100 yards


    Noobie-
    Be very careful shooting steel at 100 yds, as you are very close to the danger area. To be overly safe, we don't shoot steel inside of 200 yds and most tactical matches I go to have similar range min on steel.