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Discussion Starter #1
I own a 1981 Colt AR-15 SP1 chambered in .223. I was under the belief that you cannot shoot 5.56 ammo in this weapon without risk of damage to the firearm or personal safety. Recently, I had heard, (on YouTube...and I am not convinced,) that Colt is saying that though the AR-15 SP1 from this era is marked as .223, this was because it was designed for the civilian market, but in fact can safely fire 5.56 with no issues.

I have not attempted this, nor will I, until I have found documented evidence stating that using 5.56 in this weapon is safe.

Does anyone have any input to this confusion, one way or the other?
 

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We covered this subject exhaustively in my Law Enforcement AR-15/ M-4 Armorers School since a lot of smaller departments are still carrying some of the older SP1's. Yes, it's safe to use ammunition marked 5.56 Nato in a Colt AR-15 SP1 marked .223. It only becomes somewhat questionable if it's a very early 60's production. Those should have the chambers measured before using the 5.56 round.
 

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Per Colt Instruction Manual dated 1979 "Use 223 Remington(REM) (5.56mm) caliber ammunition for both the AR-15 Sporter Rifle and AR-15 Sporter Carbine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all for the information.
 

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If you are concerned about this, have the chamber gauged. It may be possible that it is chambered for 5.56 but marked (and marketed) for .223. If it IS chambered in .223, a few twists with a 5.56 reamer will settle the problem.
 

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An original 1981 AR-15 SP1 was designed for 5.56 x 45mm M193 ball cartridges (as were were M16's up to the A2 timeframe.)
Will work with .223 also.

Now, if one had a bolt action rifle chambered in .223, likely only .223 appropriate....
 

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An original 1981 AR-15 SP1 was designed for 5.56 x 45mm M193 ball cartridges (as were were M16's up to the A2 timeframe.)
Will work with .223 also.

Now, if one had a bolt action rifle chambered in .223, likely only .223 appropriate....
this is very true do not use 5.56 in a 223 bolt gun
 
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