View Full Version : .223 subsonic that cycles an AR-15...

October 27, 2008, 08:49 PM
I saw a video on youtube that showed .223 ammo that cycled an AR-15 and was used specifically for a suppressor but I can't seem to find the video or the manufacturer that made the ammunition. Anyone know who makes this ammo? It was real quiet using a silencer, you couldn't even tell it was a gun shooting (it sounded like a typewriter).

October 28, 2008, 12:24 AM
Can you post a link to the video? I have not heard of any subsonic 223 ammo that will cycle a standard ar-15. There are some uppers with the gas tube in the carbine or pistol position, in other words close to the chamber where the pressure is high enough to cycle the action using subsonic loads.

Camcorders do a poor job of showing how loud or quiet a silencer is.


October 28, 2008, 09:20 AM
Now that I think about it, I don't think the video was on Youtube. I think it was a manufacturers video for ammo specifically for silencers. I don't think it was a frangable but here's something similar. Looks like it will only cycle in a suppressed AR-15, maybe because of the increased backpressure of the silencer:


October 28, 2008, 09:50 AM
Extreme Shock Subsonic Covert-Ops Specialty Ammunition

Oh man, this stuff is so tactical!:rolleyes:

What is the point of shooting subsonic .223 ammo? It's going to pack no punch, perhaps for shooting tree rats?

October 28, 2008, 10:43 AM
I have to agree with above. You just have a pellet gun.

October 28, 2008, 03:01 PM

I can shoot all day with my AR-15 with no hearing protection (subsonic + silencer).

If I had subsonic reloading data I could reload my own and shoot real cheap.

At subsonic loads I could probably reload the brass a hundred times with minimal case wear.

Shooting the AR-15 with subsonic will familiarize new shooters and very young shooters to the AR-15 system.

Loading way down will allow me to get another 'feature' out of my AR-15. This would be the bb-gun feature (vs. changing the upper and getting the 50 BMG feature)


October 28, 2008, 03:10 PM

one could buy a .22 conversion kit, buy factory ammo, shoot all day for pennies, wear no hearing protection, and not have to worry about the chance of a squib because you forgot to load powder into the case.

Even quieter with a supressor.

Not sure how many companies will honor a warranty when they find out you were shooting reloads.

October 28, 2008, 05:23 PM
I was trying to develop a 223 subsonic load for my ar-15 using surplus WC820 (like H110) powder last year because they are much better powerwise than 22lr.

60 grain Aguilla SSS at 700 fps is 65 ft-lbs
40 grain std vel at 1050 fps is 98 ft-lbs.

55 grain 223rem at 1050 fps is 134 ft-lbs
69 grain 223rem at 1050 fps is 168 ft-lbs
80 grain 223rem at 1050 fps is 195 ft-lbs

The difference is clear. It is wimpy, but lets see a raise of hands for those willing to take one in the gut. :)

I'm not sure how well a 22 conversion kit shooting rimfire bullets in a centerfire barrel works, but I hear they do not do as well as a dedicated 22lr ar-15 upper. My limited load development gave me about 2 moa. I was able to stablize the speer 70 grain round nose and the 55 grain FMJ, but not the 69 grain and higher match grade bullets in my 1-9 twist ar-15 when shooting subsonic. None of them cycled the action enough to pick up the next round either.

I am thinking that if I were to get a ar-15 pistol, attach a stock and 16 1/4" barrel, remove any buffer weights and chop the spring, I may be able to make something that works semi-auto, but that is not in my budget now.

I could care less about warranties on my guns. The only ones that ever see factory ammo are the rimfire and 7.62x36 or 7.62x54R guns.


Edited to add; I do not have a warranty on my silencers as they are homemade on form 1's (< $50 + tax). :) If a load does not keyhole at 100 yards, then I consider it safe to use suppressed. I can fix small stuff, but if I really shred the internals, then I will just chop up the can and make another one on a new form 1.

October 28, 2008, 06:01 PM
I think he may have been talking about a warranty on the suppressor, a Class 3 weapon which is not only expensive but a pain in the but to purchase. (I still have months to wait before I get my first suppressor that I ordered a month ago).

October 28, 2008, 06:04 PM
I haven't found any that will cycle my AR-15, but BOY are Clays/55gr bullet loads quiet as hell with a silencer on there...

October 28, 2008, 08:18 PM
FOUND IT! Here's the website that has subsonic that will cycle in a full auto rifle:


5.56mm NATO/.223 Subsonic

EBR's 5.56 Subsonic cycling ammunition has been designed to be used in situations where firepower is more of a consideration than complete stealth. It reliably functions in M4 weapons and burns exceptionally clean. The receiver shown in the video had just had 60 rounds of EBR 5.56 Subsonic put through it in a very short time. Restricted, please call.

October 28, 2008, 09:05 PM
It was actually an article from Advanced Armament Corporation that pointed me in the right direction. I've ordered an AAC M4-2000 silencer and this is what they say:

Using EBR subsonic ammunition the M4s sound signature with AAC's M4-2000 is within 6 db of the click made by pulling the trigger of a Ruger 10/22 on an empty chamber!

October 28, 2008, 09:18 PM
Notice the first round pop?

October 28, 2008, 09:23 PM
Anybody who thinks that subsonic .223 is similar to a pellet gun or .22 LR needs to put some thought into this before they post on the internet.

However, I am willing to change my mind. So those of you comparing subsonic .223 to a pellet rifle or a .22 LR please give us your direct first hand experience that you are basing this on.

This stuff gets discussed almost every day on some internet gun forum or another. Here is the last thread on the subject I participated in. Note that one or two people really had any actual experience and the rest are just tourists dealing in speculation. http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=6&f=20&t=255870

October 28, 2008, 09:44 PM
I am not one of those that will claim that any subsonic centerfire will beat the 22lr in noise when suppressed. I was just saying that the 22lr is limited and there is room for the 223 remington.


October 28, 2008, 10:33 PM

I have direct experience with subsonic 36gr and 40gr 22lr, and direct experience with subsonic 45, 50, and 55gr .223.

BY FAR, the best of the lot is the 55gr .223 going ~975FPS, in terms of downrange impact on cute little squirrels. :D

My favorite load is 3.1gr of Clays with a 55gr Combined Technology ballistic tip "varmint bullet" going about 975FPS... may or may not be safe in your guns, not my problem if it isn't. ;)

BUT, yes, it's slightly louder through my AR-15 and PLR-16 with an M4-1000 ('08 manufacture) than .22lr through a 10/22 with a TAC-63 (with -65 baffles).

October 29, 2008, 12:07 AM
I am not trying to put anyone on the spot here so let me just say this:

1) A 77 grain jacketed bullet (or even a 55 grain jacketed bullet) driven to somewhere around 1100 fps gives you significantly more performance downrange than any .22LR or pellet rifle ever dreamed of.

2) Using a different upper to convert an AR15 to .22LR or using a .22LR conversion kit has nothing to do with subsonic .223. One isn't a subsitute for the other. They are solutions to two entirely different problems. I have never understood why they are even mentioned in the same thread.

Not that it matters but just for the sake of discussion, does anyone have any data on the energy of an air rifle pellet at 1100 fps ?
I shoot a lot of pellets. I just went in and grabbed a tin of .177 caliber RWS Supermag pellets. The weight of the pellet is 9.3 grains. The rifle I shoot them out of is not capable of 1100 fps but there are air rifles that advertise velocities in that neighborhood. They are considered among the most powerful pellet rifles ever made so I think we would be safe in using them as a reference. Let's use 9.3 grains at 1100 fps. What kind of energy does that give you and how does that compare to a 77 grain Sierra Match King open tipped, boat tailed bullet at 1100 fps. ?

October 29, 2008, 02:06 AM
See, I thought you were arguing that the subsonic .223 was less useful than a .22lr! My mistake, friend. :o

100% agreed that subsonic .223 is FAR harder hitting (especially with the bullet selection!) than .22lr. FAR harder hitting.


Restricted, please call.


Yes, us little citizens aren't worthy.

October 29, 2008, 09:39 AM
I was under the impression that a .223 had to reach a certain velocity in order preform.

What's the point of shooting a round at a reduced velocity knowing that isn't going to preform like it should?

October 29, 2008, 09:56 AM
1) A 77 grain jacketed bullet (or even a 55 grain jacketed bullet) driven to somewhere around 1100 fps gives you significantly more performance downrange than any .22LR or pellet rifle ever dreamed of.

I have both, a 77grain @ 1050 = 188 ft/lb and a 40grain @ 1050 = 98 ft lb (not sure if squirrels know the difference), but I did notice bullets designed to expand at 3000+ fps do not do so at 1000fps.

I quit messing with subsonic 223 when I built my suppressed 9mm upper. A 147grain at 1050 (360 ft/lb) is significantly more energy than a SS .223 or 22lr. The bullets are also running much closer to the speed they were designed for.

FWIW a standard 22 magnum 40 grain @ 1875 fps has 312ft/lb so none of the above are what I would call “powerful”. My next project (when the paper work gets here) will be a suppressed 45/70 pushing a 500grain at 1050 (1224 ft/lb).

October 29, 2008, 11:55 AM
My next project (when the paper work gets here) will be a suppressed 45/70 pushing a 500grain at 1050 (1224 ft/lb).

Holy crapper...I gotta see a build thread!:D

October 29, 2008, 09:15 PM
"What's the point of shooting a round at a reduced velocity knowing that isn't going to preform like it should? "

I don't think it is any revelation that a jacketed bullet at 1100 fps isn't going to perform like it would at 3000 fps. That should be obvious. But appearently what isn't obvious is that the bullet still puts a hole in the target. :)

Let's say you are walking around with your AR15/M16 rifle loaded with your favorite varmint load. Your primary goal is to call coyotes but at some point you see a few squirrels and decide you want to bag them for dinner. You don't happen to be carrying around a couple spare .22LR or 9mm uppers so instead you reach in your pocket, pull out a magazine of subsonic .223 ammo, do a mag change and you are good to go.
Let's say you are on a tactical team getting ready to do a raid on a house. You notice that the occupants have a dog outside that you know is going to give away your presence to the people inside and ruin the element of surprise. You look around for your 9mm upper or your .22LR upper but realize these things only exist on internet gun forums. So, you do a quick mag swap replacing your regular duty ammo with subsonic .223. You knock off the dog and no one in the house is any the wiser. You do another quick mag swap and you are ready to kick in the door.
Let's say you are a bad **** operator. :rolleyes: You are doing some dirty deeds in enemy territory. You lay up during the day and work at night. Everything you need to live and survive is contained in your rucksack on your back. You meant to bring two or three other uppers with you like you read about on the internet but as an experienced soldier you realize that carrying 700 pounds of gear is only for the guys on-line. As you attempt to remain undetected, someone comes along and you realize they are going to eventually see you and give away your position. Again with the mag. change.
Let's say you are a mild mannered US civilian that owns and AR15 and a suppressor. You live outside of town but you have neighbors 50 yards or so away. You have some raccoons that raid your garbage cans every time you set them out for the garbage truck. You would like to be able to choose from a dozen or so different weapons but the only one you have that is suppressed is that AR15. You consider spending $700 or so for a different upper but decide instead to simply handload a few subsonic .223 rounds.
Let's say that you are a typical gun enthusiast that enjoys guns, shooting, and handloading. You own an AR15 and buy a suppressor for it. Because you enjoy handloading you think it would be fun to work up a good subsonic load for your AR.
Let's say you are a guy that owns 9 different suppressors. You have four different .22 suppressors as well as a dozen different guns threaded to accept those .22 suppressors including .22LR conversions for your Glock 17, your Glock 26, your 1911, your Browning Hi-Power, your Colt Officer's Model, and your AR15. So if you want to shoot a suppressed .22, you got that covered. You also have an LRM M169 suppressed 9mm upper, so if you wanted to shoot suppressed 9mm from your AR15s you got that covered also. But you don't want to do that. You want to shoot supressed .223 with subsonic ammo.
So you do.

That isn't so hard to understand is it ? :D
Some people just want to shoot subsonic .223.

October 29, 2008, 09:45 PM
"My next project (when the paper work gets here) will be a suppressed 45/70 pushing a 500grain at 1050 (1224 ft/lb). "

Keep in mind that the 500 grain bullet wasn't designed to perform at 1050 fps.
"What's the point of shooting a round at a reduced velocity knowing that isn't going to preform like it should?"

Because it still will be effective. It will hit like a sledgehammer.

In the .223 a 77 grain bullet wasn't designed to perform at 1050 fps either.
Will it still be effective FOR CERTAIN APPLICATIONS ? Again, absolutely.
Will it be the absolute do all, end all, ultimate, greatest possible thing in the world ?
Does this mean it isn't worthwhile ?
It is another tool in the toolbox. It gives you some options. It is fun to play with. It has definite practical applications. It is certainly worthwhile.
AND, a 9mm upper or a .22LR is no substitute for it.

"FWIW a standard 22 magnum 40 grain @ 1875 fps has 312ft/lb so none of the above are what I would call “powerful”.

See again, we are forgetting that with my subsonic .223 load the bullet is TWICE AS HEAVY as the .22 Mag bullet. It will have significantly more penetration.

Keep in mind that since WWII or possibly slightly before that time, one of the standard firearms for special ops people has been the High Standard semi-auto .22 pistol. We have all read numerous times about it's use by the OSS, CIA, and special ops people in Vietnam. We have all seen the pictures of one of those suppressed High Standard pistols hanging in Red Square after Francis Gary Power's U2 spy plane was shot down and he was captured carrying one.
We have to assume that if those guys carried them for so many years that they were at least moderately effective for what they did with them.
So now we take a rifle firing a bullet that is twice as heavy with possibly even a little more velocity (a little more). We have to assume it would be at least as effective. And, as an added bonus we don't need to carry a seperate gun. We simply use a different ammo in the rifle we are already carrying. (NOTE: I am not implying that a suppressed .223 rifle is a substitute for the suppressed .22pistol in all applications. This is just a comparison of the possible effectiveness of the bullet.)
In all the discussions I have had on this subject I must admit I never had anyone that thought that subsonic .223 was supposed to be "powerful" or that subsonic .223 was supposed to perform like full powered .223 ammo. It is painfully obvious that this isn't going to be the case. It is a reduced load. A significantly reduced load. However it is a load that is still more than enough for small game. It is also more than enough for careful precision shots at much larger targets under the right circumstances. If you have the element of surprise, and are capable of placing the shot exactly where it needs to go (such as the back of the head for instance) it is easily capable of downing much larger targets. Now if we were in that situation and we could have a much larger and more powerful weapon that we didn't have to worry about noise with; would we want it ? Of course. But the vast majority of the time we don't have the luxury of selecting weapons for each shot like we can with a set of golf clubs. We have one weapon and we need to make it as versitile as possible. We need to adapt. And this is where the subsonic .223 comes into play.

If you were looking for an inexpensive way to practice with your carbine you don't handload subsonic ammo. You buy a .22 LR upper.
Why ?
Because these two applications have absolutely nothing in common with each other and you use the right tool for the job.

If you are buying a weapon for a specific application like giving you the most power possible while still being relatively quiet then you go with something other than a .223.

But if the .223 is what you have. Or the .223 is a good choice for the majority of what you are going to need the rifle for BUT you might have a need, under certain circumstances for a very quiet shot out of that weapon. Then you tailor the ammo to that need rather than tailoring the weapon itself to that need.

October 29, 2008, 09:58 PM
Nice post 444.

If one expects any bullet other than a hollow point with a big mouth or a soft point to expand at low velocities, then they may be disappointed. While a 223 rem may never beat the 22lr in the quiet department, it will always win out in power and maybe even accuracy. Correct me if I am wrong, but a 223 bullet poking a hole in any small game moving +900 fps is going to make it fall.

If a person needs lots of power, then the 510 whisper using 30 grains of H110 to push a 950 grain cast bullet 1050 fps (2335 ft-lbs) through a large can sounding like a car door slamming is something to think about. I have one chambered on a TC Encore, the shoulder pad is not optional if shooting more than three rounds as the carbine is only 7.5 pounds without the can. :)

If you want less noise, then the Quakenbush air rifle with a 182 grain ball at 845 fps (295 ft-lbs) is about the best you can do.


October 30, 2008, 05:57 AM
Let's use 9.3 grains at 1100 fps. What kind of energy does that give you

@ .177 diameter you would get 25 foot/lbs energy - 34 Joules

What kind of energy does that give you and how does that compare to a 77 grain Sierra Match King open tipped, boat tailed bullet at 1100 fps. ?

@ .223 diameter you would get 207 foot/lbs energy - 281 Joules

RAnb, you learn something new everyday, and you taught me something today (about the air rifle). Thank you.

March 13, 2009, 10:11 AM
Hodgdon lists load data for .223 using their Clays Powder.