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Type Rifle
Place of origin Flag of Germany.png Germany
Production history
Manufacturer RWS
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
74 gr (5 g) cone-pointed 3,380 ft/s (1,030 m/s) 1,915 ft·lbf (2,596 J)
Test barrel length: 24 in

The 5.6x57mm cartridge was created by RWS in Germany for hunting small deer such as roe deer, and for chamois. The calibre has a significant following among European sportsmen, and most European mass production riflemakers chamber several models of rifle for this cartridge. During the 1970-1990 period this cartridge was widely and successfully used in the Republic of Ireland for deer shooting, since security considerations at a period of Provisional Irish Republican Army violence had led to a ban on the civilian ownership of calibres larger than .224in. Some British small deer specialist hunters use the 5.6x57mm with great success on roe, muntjac and Chinese water deer.

With a factory-load velocity of 3,500 ft/s (1,100 m/s) with a 74-grain, cone-pointed bullet, it is approximately 100 ft/s (30 m/s) faster than the .220 Swift cartridge firing a bullet of equivalent weight. The larger case capacity means that handloaders can produce 50-grain loads that, with velocities in excess of 4,100 ft/s (1,200 m/s), will outpace anything that can safely be achieved by the Swift. There are no dimensional or ballistic differences between the 5.6x57mm round and the 5.6x57mmR round, other than that the latter is rimmed.

The 5.6x57mm cartridge case has a distinctively thick case wall, and this causes significant problems when handloading, owing to the force that needs to be used through the press when re-sizing the case neck. It has been suggested that this unusual neck thickness is the result of the use of .22 rimfire chamber adapters in centrefire rifles chambered for this cartridge.


  • Bullet diameter: 5.56 mm (.224")
  • Loads:
    • 74 gr @ 1040 m/s (3380 ft/s)
    • 60 gr @ 3700 ft/s


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