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Posted: 9/29/2004 9:50:30 PM EST
Apologies if this has been posted before, but I spotted it floating around the web:

"Test Confirms Inferior Bullet

By Anthony F. Milavic

Recent U.S. Army laboratory tests have confirmed almost 40 years of demonstrated inferior lethality by the 5.56mm cartridge.

Since 1965, Americans have reported that enemy soldiers continued to fire their weapons after suffering multiple hits by 5.56mm bullets. Most recently, the Interim Report of these tests observes that “less than optimal” performance of the 62-grain 5.56mm M855 cartridge in Somalia and Afghanistan prompted many Special Operations Forces (SOF) units to switch to the heavier 77-grain 5.56mm MK262 ammunition.

Those events prompted the testing and comparison of the 5.56mm M855 against four other cartridges: 110-grain 6.8mm Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC), 149-grain NATO 7.62mm M80 ball cartridge, 77-grain 5.56mm MK262 MatchKing, and 5.56mm (unspecified projectile weight) Le Mas (AKA: RBCD).

U. S. Army ARDEC, AETC conducted ballistics gelatin tests of these cartridges and published the results in, “Interim Report, Engineering Study ES-1A-9001, Soft Target Terminal Ballistics Evaluation Of The M855 5.56mm Projectile,” dated Sept. 1, 2004. Summaries of some of the results and judgments contained in that Interim Report are presented below in their order of assessed relative performance:

Baseline: The 5.56mm M855 was the base cartridge against which the other four were compared and it was the best performer “when viewing steel plate penetration.” However, this bullet contains a steel penetrator and the others in this test do not.

* “The 6.8mm SPC is far and above, the best performing ammunition, in gelatin” in these tests. It was not tested for steel penetration.

* “The NATO 7.62mm M80 ball observed in this test had the highest impact energy of those tested. Additionally, the total quantity of damage done to the gelatin block was greater than any of the other systems in this test. However, the location of that damage was deeper than optimally desired …. The overall ranking of this system came in second only to the 6.8mm SPC system.” The report did not mention if this round was tested against steel plates.

* In general the 5,56mm MK262 “outperformed” the 5.56mm M855 in gelatin. Also, it performed “better than expected” in steel penetration tests but was “inferior” to the M855 in those same tests.

* The 5.56mm Le Mas (AKA: RBCD) ammunition “demonstrated inadequate penetration, small fracture diameter, and shorter fracture lengths at all tested ranges. It is noted, based upon their configuration, that these rounds would be very unlikely to pass the legal review necessary to allow usage by the U. S. Military.”

An Army Times article on Dec. 1, 2003 described the Le Mas by saying, “this 5.56mm round has all the stopping power you need.” That assertion was based, in great measure, on the report by a Mr. Ben Thomas who, while in Iraq, said he hit a man with one Le Mas bullet with explosive results: “It entered his butt and completely destroyed everything in the lower left section of his stomach ... everything was torn apart.” And, the “round appeared to kill the assailant instantly.” The above Interim Report reinforces the results of ballistics gelatin tests observed by Lt Cmdr. Gary Roberts USNR in March 2002 that performance claims by Le Mas, “were not shown to have merit.” Mr. Thomas’ reported explosive effects of the Le Mas bullet remain unconfirmed by laboratory tests.

All three 5.56mm bullets – 62-grain M855, 77-grain Mk262, and the Le Mas bullets – were inferior to the larger 110-grain 6.8mm and 149-grain 7.62mm bullets in gelatin performance tests. Although the 6.8mm round received the highest overall rating, it is the 7.62mm that “had the highest impact energy of those tested.”

This translates into, “knockdown power” and it is one-round knockdown power that is critical to the warrior’s survival. This is due to the fact that in combat, a warrior frequently gets only one shot; and in other situations, the time between the first and second shot is long enough for the enemy to kill him with one shot.

The demonstrated combat performance of even the largest 5.56mm bullet tested above is sorely inferior to this requirement; for example, on Sept. 12, 2003, after being hit by seven 77-grain 5.56mm bullets, an Iraqi insurgent killed both Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead and Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett with his 7.62mm Kalashnikov.

Then, Staff Sgt. Robert E Springer threw aside his 5.56mm M-4 carbine and knocked the insurgent down dead with one .45 cal. pistol bullet. If the 2004 Interim Report doesn’t prompt the replacement of the 5.56mm cartridge, it is time to ask the Department of Defense: How many tombstones will be added to those of Master Sgt. Morehead and Sgt. 1st Class Bennett before you provide our warriors with one-round knockdown power?

Guest Contributor Anthony F. Milavic is a retired Marine Corps major who writes frequently on military firearms and ammunition issues. He can be reached at MAJUSMCRET@aol.com."

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website: www.quarry.nildram.co.uk
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 9:57:55 PM EST
Tony, have you ever been to Ammo-Oracle.com? its a great site for info on 5.56, and if it ever becomes available they will probably include 6.8mm. Thanks for the post, and no, its not a dupe.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 9:58:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2004 9:58:41 PM EST by Combat_Jack]
Double tap.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 3:09:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Tony, have you ever been to Ammo-Oracle.com? its a great site for info on 5.56, and if it ever becomes available they will probably include 6.8mm. Thanks for the post, and no, its not a dupe.



Yes, I know it well, and congratulations to those who compiled and maintain it - I have a link to it from my site.

Tony Williams
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 6:20:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By TonyWilliams:
Apologies if this has been posted before, but I spotted it floating around the web:



Yes it has been posted before (recently in GD) and it's full of BS.


* “The 6.8mm SPC is far and above, the best performing ammunition, in gelatin” in these tests. It was not tested for steel penetration.

That is a given (We know how good it is).



* “The NATO 7.62mm M80 ball observed in this test had the highest impact energy of those tested.


As if that means anything.


Additionally, the total quantity of damage done to the gelatin block was greater than any of the other systems in this test.

I will question this, as this testing M80 vs M193 & M855 has been going on for YEARs and the M80 always comes out on the short end.

1) How big were the blocks? (was the dammage taking place past the 18" mark?)

2) By 'Dammage' do they mean temporary or permanent cavity dammage? Temporary cavity dammage will be large with the 7.62 but it's pretty much meaningless - only permanent cavity dammage counts.


However, the location of that damage was deeper than optimally desired

Translation: "Damage seen would have been AFTER the round exited the body...". This is good to know if we have to fight 12' tall giants.


…. The overall ranking of this system came in second only to the 6.8mm SPC system.”

What was the basis for ranking? Notice it's not mentioned. Damage done outside the body counts more than dammage inside the body?


The report did not mention if this round was tested against steel plates.

Of course not - can't have the 5.56 kicking the 7.62's @ss in any test...


* The 5.56mm Le Mas (AKA: RBCD) ammunition “demonstrated inadequate penetration, small fracture diameter, and shorter fracture lengths at all tested ranges. It is noted, based upon their configuration, that these rounds would be very unlikely to pass the legal review necessary to allow usage by the U. S. Military.”

An Army Times article on Dec. 1, 2003 described the Le Mas by saying, “this 5.56mm round has all the stopping power you need.”


Oh Jeez - not the BMT B.S. again!



The above Interim Report reinforces the results of ballistics gelatin tests observed by Lt Cmdr. Gary Roberts USNR in March 2002 that performance claims by Le Mas, “were not shown to have merit.” Mr. Thomas’ reported explosive effects of the Le Mas bullet remain unconfirmed by laboratory tests.

Finally some truth!!!


All three 5.56mm bullets – 62-grain M855, 77-grain Mk262, and the Le Mas bullets – were inferior to the larger 110-grain 6.8mm and 149-grain 7.62mm bullets in gelatin performance tests.

Again what criteria where used.

I've seen those tests and know the 6.8 is the best of the bunch - but the Mk262 so far outshines the M80 on dammage INSIDE a human body that I get the feeling the lab guys didn't know the difference between permanent and temporary cavities.



Although the 6.8mm round received the highest overall rating, it is the 7.62mm that “had the highest impact energy of those tested.”


Again why the focus on 'energy' when they just proved energy doesn't matter.


This translates into, “knockdown power”

And the B.S. starts


and it is one-round knockdown power that is critical to the warrior’s survival.

And the B.S. gets deeper real quick..

Since all our warriors can't be equipped with 155mm howitzers nobody is getting 1 shot knockdown power.

When will the BS stop?
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 6:24:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2004 6:25:12 AM EST by Forest]

Originally Posted By TonyWilliams:
The demonstrated combat performance of even the largest 5.56mm bullet tested above is sorely inferior to this requirement; for example, on Sept. 12, 2003, after being hit by seven 77-grain 5.56mm bullets, an Iraqi insurgent killed both Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead and Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett with his 7.62mm Kalashnikov.


Ahh now it's 77gr (in the orginal telling it was M855). Doesn't matter how many bullets he hit them with - how many were in a vital spot?

Please don't tell me that the good Major is saying the 7.62x39 is somehow more 'deadlier' than the 5.56 - if he is he need to go talk with his corpsmen and the Navy surgeons a bit more.



Then, Staff Sgt. Robert E Springer threw aside his 5.56mm M-4 carbine and knocked the insurgent down dead with one .45 cal. pistol bullet.


Shot placement - shot placement - shot placment

Story about a .45 and M16 also

Link Posted: 9/30/2004 6:47:42 AM EST
To be fair, the article here is nothing more than an executive summary... the questions Forest raises would only be answered in the "full" detailed report. While I find all of this perfectly believable, I too would like to see the full report.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 6:52:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By StealthyBlagga:
To be fair, the article here is nothing more than an executive summary..


That is true - but 'Executive summaries' written by a person who doesn't seem to have a clue on terminal ballistics ("Stopping Power" & "One Shot Stops") and probabaly has a bias toward the 7.62 (keeps harping on 'energy' even though that is meaningless to terminal ballistics).

I'd be more interested in reading what Dr. Roberts would have to say about the 'report'.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 9:51:58 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2004 9:54:29 AM EST by imposter]
In my experience, about half of the time the initial shot does not instantly kill a deer with a 30-06 or 300 Winchester Magnum. Please advise, do these cartridges have insufficient knockdown power? Maybe I should start hunting with 45 ACP.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 2:23:43 PM EST
I was going to say the same thing as imposter! And this whole notion of saying that the military is killing are guys by giving them 5.56 is such crap. What did it say? "How many more caskets need to be filled before the realize their blunder" what horse shit. The enemy is what kills. This bullet controversy crap starts to get old. I shot a deer once right throught the heart with a .30-06 and it still ran 30 yards. Adrenaline baby. When I gutted it, the heart wasn't even discernable. You couldn't have asked for a better shot. But it still responded. I don't care if people say deer aren't the same as humans. They die the same way. CNS disruption or loss of blood. Take your pick. But if you shoot somebody with a 7.62 x 51 through his lovehandle you get neither. And your probably better off with the more fragmenting bullet. Figure it out. Just like he said shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. Oh yeah and by the way, you don't have to bleed to death with a gaping exit hole, think "internal bleeding"! Praise the 77 grainers!!! Hell, praise the m855!!
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 10:25:04 PM EST
Knockdown power is BS... 120 lb. deer don't launch backwards 5 feet when hit with a .30/06 softpoint that delivers most of its energy on target...

Now stopping power is a better word to use.

Why we keep using FMJ ammo on these subhuman bastards is beyond me. Geneva convention doesn't apply. Pour on the good stuff.

Too bad they didn't test XM193, it would have been interesting.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 3:34:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By Quake_Guy:

Too bad they didn't test XM193, it would have been interesting.



It wouldn't have made a difference with regards to their "conclusions". They tested the 77gr OTM loading, which beats the pants off M193 (shorter neck, way bigger perm. cavity, more reliable fragmentation).

Too bad that quite a few people will read that (the whole article) and take it as gospel.
Link Posted: 10/2/2004 5:46:39 AM EST
Well, to get the whole truth we'll have to wait until the report is made public, although I gather the summary of the results which commenced this thread is not inaccurate (leaving aside the writer's personal gloss on it).

In the meantime, anyone with an interest in this subject is advised to read the following official report on 'Soft Target Terminal Ballistic Testing Standardization for the U.S. Military' before posting further opinions on the subject here. Be warned, it is a HUGE pdf file (around 68 MB): www.dtic.mil/ndia/2004arms/session9/minisi.ppt

Tony Williams
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 7:15:14 AM EST
I recently receieved some interesting information from one of the major contributers to this field.

It turns out the ammo used in the sandbox by our enemies is Lead core 7.62x39 (Yugo M67 and similar) - creates a more impressive wound than steel cored M43 as it yaws early. The wound is larger than M855 when it doesn't fragment. So the Major is probably basing his remarks on this kind of comparison.

Link Posted: 10/12/2004 7:36:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2004 7:37:27 AM EST by Zak-Smith]
In the NDIA slide-set (the 68MB one), the military has standardized to a single method of measuring terminal ballistics, defined what an ideal wound profile looks like (the KPP on slide 11), done the testing, and guess what? 6.8SPC meets those better than 77gr Mk262 or 175gr OTM (see slide 16). In fact, the "ideal" wound profile on slide 12 is the 6.8 you see on page 16!

-z
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