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Posted: 2/5/2006 9:05:16 AM EDT
In the handgun forum we were talking about FMJ ball ammo vs. JHP's- I started doing research about terminal ballistics between FMJ and JHP rounds for handguns. This search got sidetracked when I started reading about terminal ballistics for 5.56/.223 rifles. It is really hard to figure out who is more right than another one side claims the 5.56 is inferior while another class seem to think it is the greatest round developed.

I can see and understand why 5.56 ammo (Q3131/M193/M855) might not perform as well as intended. I have seen reports of GI's in Vietnam who had to dump almost intire mags into NVA troops to stop them. Reports in Somalia, Iraq and Afgahnistan are similar. Some reports involved GI's having to use 1911's to end fights instead of M4's. Other reports say that M193 is devestating and is an excellent choice for self defense.

My conclusion is that nothing with the exception of a plasma rifle will stop an angry, motivated person 100% of the time. Battle field performance can be scewed and is impossible to analysze as it has many factors. If the .223/5.56 platform WASN'T as good you would see more and more army's ditch the small bore in favor of larger caliber rounds. With that being said the 5.56 in an 14.5 or 16" barrel greatly reduces the rounds effectiveness and is better suited for CQB when engagement takes place within 20 yards. Battlefield and SHTF scenerio's are better suited for 20" rifles to acheive maximum velocity to ensure yawing/fragmentation if FMJ ammo is used. All in all I think I will be stocking up on some of the newer ammo such as TAP and some of the ammo marketed for deer hunting such as Winchester Power points or Nosler partitions.

Thoughts?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:08:02 AM EDT
I really like the ar rifle, but if the shtf I'll go fal/308.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:17:52 AM EDT
Given the advancing level of technology, I suspect that the 77gr 5.56mm is the last stop for the AR. We are holding our own against the insurgents, but against a well-equipped foreign army, will good protection, we will certainly have to up-gun our forces.

I'd rather do it now, than be faced with high casualties and lost battles forcing our hand. The 6.8mm and 6.5 Grendel both looked promising for extending the life of the AR platform.

China's new 5.8mm may be worth taking a look at too. I don't know much about it.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:20:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:


I can see and understand why 5.56 ammo (Q3131/M193/M855) might not perform as well as intended. I have seen reports of GI's in Vietnam who had to dump almost intire mags into NVA troops to stop them. Reports in Somalia, Iraq and Afgahnistan are similar. Some reports involved GI's having to use 1911's to end fights instead of M4's. Other reports say that M193 is devestating and is an excellent choice for self defense.



Thoughts?





It boils down to hitting what you shoot at. As always, shot placement is everything.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:21:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:
I really like the ar rifle, but if the shtf I'll go fal/308.



Yup +1
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:24:28 AM EDT
how does the 77gr do against ballistic plates? perhaps this will be adopted as the main fighting round, but with a steel penetrator tip like M855 to go through armor?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:25:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By drjarhead:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:


I can see and understand why 5.56 ammo (Q3131/M193/M855) might not perform as well as intended. I have seen reports of GI's in Vietnam who had to dump almost intire mags into NVA troops to stop them. Reports in Somalia, Iraq and Afgahnistan are similar. Some reports involved GI's having to use 1911's to end fights instead of M4's. Other reports say that M193 is devestating and is an excellent choice for self defense.



Thoughts?





It boils down to hitting what you shoot at. As always, shot placement is everything.

That is what I am wondering. I question the accuracy of those reports at the same time I could see how the mil-spec rounds could fail once you get outside of 150m range........I guess you could say that I am hunting for truth and try to get past the prejudice on either side.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:26:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 9:27:59 AM EDT by Spade]
I wonder about this a lot.

Sometimes makes me want to get a G3 as my SHTF rifle. I should probably buy a G3 at some point anyway. Although my M4 and AR-180 are way lighter, and I can carry more ammo. Buddy of mine just suggested buying a lot of 77 grain.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:28:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fossil_fuel:
how does the 77gr do against ballistic plates? perhaps this will be adopted as the main fighting round, but with a steel penetrator tip like M855 to go through armor?

Many of the reports and writing that I gone through seem to conclude that heavy 5.56 isn't a whole lot better but most of them are beaurocrat desk clerks or paid-off gun writers.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:32:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fossil_fuel:
how does the 77gr do against ballistic plates? perhaps this will be adopted as the main fighting round, but with a steel penetrator tip like M855 to go through armor?



None of these will penetrate plates. Level III will stop 55 and 77 gr rounds (most will stop M855) as well as .308. Level IV will stop 7.62 AP and 30-06 AP
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:38:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 9:39:08 AM EDT by LonePathfinder]
My thoughts.

Most GI's are not gun people.

"I emptied a mag into that VC"
translated
"I fired off a whole mag, but walked the rounds on target and hit him with the last few shots"

Like any caliber shot placement is 99% of the problem. In the heat of combat, your "sure I hit him" might mean you didn't. Plus in a warzone, even a chest rif og AK mags is decent enough body armor that might let the guy keep moving for a few seconds/minutes.

I think 5.56 are good enough. I think it has a good balance between weight (ammount of ammo you can hump) versus performance. In combat it has been shown the myth or ethos of the american "rifleman" concept doesn't really apply. Yes you aim, but it is not one shot one kill "you only need 1, 5, 6, 8, 20 rounds" we often hear.

Besides in major wars only like 1 to 5 percent of enemy casualties are due to small arms.

5.56mm is fine, it is a maure round. Now move away from the diret gas imingiment system and we are set.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:41:59 AM EDT
you said in your original post that .45 is more powerful than .223?

Bud, any handgun round is weak and underpowered and a very poor caliber out of any platform. And to say that is better than a rifle round?

Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:45:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By WaMag:

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:
I really like the ar rifle, but if the shtf I'll go fal/308.



Yup +1



I'll go with the M1 Carbine in .30cal, 110grn at 1900fps and does not rely on fragmentation to function properly, works even better with the softpoints (Remington R30CAR). Also somewhat of a sheepleflaged rifle .
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:46:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dajini:
you said in your original post that .45 is more powerful than .223?

Bud, any handgun round is weak and underpowered and a very poor caliber out of any platform. And to say that is better than a rifle round?


I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:47:11 AM EDT
shot placement trumps everything else.

of course it does.

However, what that bullet does once it IS placed (relatively) well in the torso DOES matter.

The problem with 5.56mm is that the best performing rounds require yaw-->fragmentation to achieve their best destructive properties. While the 75/77 grain rounds on average leave a pretty impressive wound track, they are very inconsistent in the big scope of things.

With barrel length, various distances to target, and intermediate barriers all factors, the certainty and predictability of the yaw-->fragmentation phenomena becomes nearly a crapshoot.

6.8 SPC got made for a reason...not only is it more destructive, it is more consistent and predictable.

Having said that, I don't feel undergunned with 5.56.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:47:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LonePathfinder:
My thoughts.

Most GI's are not gun people.

"I emptied a mag into that VC"
translated
"I fired off a whole mag, but walked the rounds on target and hit him with the last few shots"

Like any caliber shot placement is 99% of the problem. In the heat of combat, your "sure I hit him" might mean you didn't. Plus in a warzone, even a chest rif og AK mags is decent enough body armor that might let the guy keep moving for a few seconds/minutes.
I think 5.56 are good enough. I think it has a good balance between weight (ammount of ammo you can hump) versus performance. In combat it has been shown the myth or ethos of the american "rifleman" concept doesn't really apply. Yes you aim, but it is not one shot one kill "you only need 1, 5, 6, 8, 20 rounds" we often hear.

Besides in major wars only like 1 to 5 percent of enemy casualties are due to small arms.

5.56mm is fine, it is a maure round. Now move away from the diret gas imingiment system and we are set.



Looks like someone needs to go read the box o truth: Magazines vs. Rifle rounds www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot9.htm
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:48:02 AM EDT
I think that the use of optics to achieve faster, better placement of shots is the best decision that the military has made, and should have done it a long time ago. I was in the Army and may re-enlist again. When it comes to hitting paper, I'm pretty good with the sights, but I have to take my time to make a well placed shot, even at 50-100 yards. I haven't trained with optics, but everyone I see that uses them is capable of shooting much faster, with a reasonable improvement in accuracy as well.

It's more than caliber that makes a certain rifle and shooter successful.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:51:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By leakycow:
.

6.8 SPC got made for a reason...not only is it more destructive, it is more consistent and predictable.


With all of the new rounds developed over the past decade, the 6.8 by far has been one of the most under utilized. I wish the ammo was more abundant. If it was I would certainly have at least a 6.8 upper.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:56:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
]I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.




Wasn't the guy who said that in the book carrying a 10 inch rifle, though?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:57:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brian_in_Pullman:
Looks like someone needs to go read the box o truth: Magazines vs. Rifle rounds www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot9.htm



Not denying that its not a lethal hit, just that when you hit someone it may appear that they are just taking cover ie hitting the dirt after a few strides, rather than blowing him ten feet in the air like the Governator can do. I think with gear on, that sharp pain might not register with the brain as being shot quite as well as if you had nothing on (blood seen right away) etc....
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:57:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
]I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.




Wasn't the guy who said that in the book carrying a 10 inch rifle, though?

Didn't say only that it was an "M4"
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:59:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LonePathfinder:

Originally Posted By Brian_in_Pullman:
Looks like someone needs to go read the box o truth: Magazines vs. Rifle rounds www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot9.htm



Not denying that its not a lethal hit, just that when you hit someone it may appear that they are just taking cover ie hitting the dirt after a few strides, rather than blowing him ten feet in the air like the Governator can do. I think with gear on, that sharp pain might not register with the brain as being shot quite as well as if you had nothing on (blood seen right away) etc....

I would think that being hit with all of that gear on would intensify the effects. The round would have almost most likely tumbled or fragmented caused a keyhole wound.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:01:24 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:02:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Britush .Mil uses 5.56 ball in Iraq, no compaints about it's killing power from our side.

ANdy



Yeah, but have you guys shot anyone yet?







Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:02:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:
I really like the ar rifle, but if the shtf I'll go fal/308.



+1

Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:04:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:

Originally Posted By Spade:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
]I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.




Wasn't the guy who said that in the book carrying a 10 inch rifle, though?

Didn't say only that it was an "M4"



it is possible that the m855 shots were poorly placed from a distance and the .45 shots were made much closer to the enemy(and therefore more accurately), thus shot placement was the factor, not caliber.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:05:44 AM EDT
I have never been in combat, but I have friends who have served and seen combat in Iraq, and had instructors who served and saw combat in Vietnam. I have also hunted with 5.56mm and seen what it can do to whitetail deer. I have no doubts as to its lethality. I do think that if range is a concern, you should go with 308, but range is not a concern for me. I live in central Florida. If you have a shot over 200 meters anywhere within 300 miles of here, you're either on a freeway overpass or at the beach.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:06:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sigarkar:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:

Originally Posted By Spade:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
]I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.




Wasn't the guy who said that in the book carrying a 10 inch rifle, though?

Didn't say only that it was an "M4"



it is possible that the m855 shots were poorly placed from a distance and the .45 shots were made much closer to the enemy(and therefore more accurately), thus shot placement was the factor, not caliber.

Report claims that the recovered body had 7 holes in the "torso" area didn't see where the .45 slug hit.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:06:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:08:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RikWriter:
I have never been in combat, but I have friends who have served and seen combat in Iraq, and had instructors who served and saw combat in Vietnam. I have also hunted with 5.56mm and seen what it can do to whitetail deer. I have no doubts as to its lethality. I do think that if range is a concern, you should go with 308, but range is not a concern for me. I live in central Florida. If you have a shot over 200 meters anywhere within 300 miles of here, you're either on a freeway overpass or at the beach.

For SHTF purposes there wouldn't be any good reason to engage targets over 200 meters anyway.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:09:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.



What report was that? Not the book BlackHawk Down, that's for sure. That was never mentioned in the book. And the book does not mention the name "M4" anywhere. It does mention that the operators used CAR-15s. If the report was something else I would like to know which one it was.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:10:34 AM EDT
Tag

I've done a lot of similar research, VT, and there are no definite answers I've found.

I see people doggedly defending the 5.56mm due to its tendency to fragment under the right conditions and I see people casting aspersions on it, going with the 7.62mm. Of course the answer is "get both"

It is tough to get a definitive answer on some things though.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:11:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:12:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 1911ar-15:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
I didn't say that, it was a quote from a soldier who was in Somalia during the BlackHawk down incident. The author of that report claims that the large 230gr FMJ ball from a .45 was better suited than M855.



What report was that? Not the book BlackHawk Down, that's for sure. That was never mentioned in the book. And the book does not mention the name "M4" anywhere. It does mention that the operators used CAR-15s. If the report was something else I would like to know which one it was.

This was a report written and analyzed by an independent gun writer......
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:12:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
Report claims that the recovered body had 7 holes in the "torso" area didn't see where the .45 slug hit.



Oh, I see now. That report came from Afganisthan, not the Somalia incident. And that happened with 77gr OTM, not M855.

Extreme cases happen just about anywhere. In BlackHawk down they mention the woman who kept on moving even after being just a gajillion times, including an M60 (7.62x51) and having her leg blown off by an M203 round.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:12:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wave:
I was listening to the G Gordon Liddy show on SIRIUS radio on the way to work the other day and he was discussing this very topic.

Basically - The "G" Man is a big proponent of the .308 and 45acp and feels the M14 and 1911's is the way to go. I kind of agree.

The discussion also went on to state that the .223 was designed so that women could handle the recoil of the weapons.

Not my opinion, just relaying what I heard.



I heard that too, he wants the garand brought back.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:13:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Britush .Mil uses 5.56 ball in Iraq, no compaints about it's killing power from our side.

ANdy



Yeah, but have you guys shot anyone yet?











How do you think our guys captured Basra and the rest of the region in OIF?

Stern looks and harsh words?

ANdy

Obviously, they farted in the Iraqi's general direction.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:13:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Britush .Mil uses 5.56 ball in Iraq, no compaints about it's killing power from our side.

ANdy



But you're shooting them out of 20"+ barrels, unlike the M-4 users.

NTM
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:14:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wave:
The discussion also went on to state that the .223 was designed so that women could handle the recoil of the weapons.



That would be a canard. If anything, it was designed so that SE Asians could handle it.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:15:53 AM EDT
As mentioned, shot placement and bullet configuration are vital. The 855 is steel core and designed to penetrate objects, tends to overpenetrate in human size and texture targets as in Somalia. The 193 has some advantages vs the 855 wrt not overpenetrating. The newer, often heavier, bullets offer some benefit but there is a limit to the weight/length that a 5.56 can accomodate. The newer expanding bullets look interesting but I've never fired them. We're not following the Geneva convention in the middle east anyway so no problem.

Ammo oracle has some guidance here.

Rick
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:16:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 10:18:46 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:22:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Britush .Mil uses 5.56 ball in Iraq, no compaints about it's killing power from our side.

ANdy



But you're shooting them out of 20"+ barrels, unlike the M-4 users.

NTM


And 50fps of velocity is the "difference"?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:23:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Da_Bunny:
Given the advancing level of technology, I suspect that the 77gr 5.56mm is the last stop for the AR. We are holding our own against the insurgents, but against a well-equipped foreign army, will good protection, we will certainly have to up-gun our forces.

I'd rather do it now, than be faced with high casualties and lost battles forcing our hand. The 6.8mm and 6.5 Grendel both looked promising for extending the life of the AR platform.

China's new 5.8mm may be worth taking a look at too. I don't know much about it.



No. They are all just as bad or worse.

Not one of them will penetrate our EXISTING SAPI plates.

Something along the lines of a straight case 10mm cartridge firing a very long saboted projectile of between 6 and 7mm would be whats needed.

Oddly the 6.8mm could be a starting point- its parent cartridge the .30 Remington would, if blown out almost streight with no bottleneck would produce just such a .40 cal cartridge and be short enough to fit in a assault rifle.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:23:35 AM EDT
*sigh*

It's topics like this that are really pushing me to trade in my M4 for a .308 (G3 or AR-10). And I haven't owned the thing long. You people are killing me.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:28:07 AM EDT
I have worried about this also. For SHTF I would think that 55 grain Soft Points would be better on soft target than FMJ. Any thoughts??
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:30:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:
*sigh*

It's topics like this that are really pushing me to trade in my M4 for a .308 (G3 or AR-10). And I haven't owned the thing long. You people are killing me.



In the US Civil War about 175,000 people died. You should really trade it in for a musket.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:31:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HarryStone:

Originally Posted By Spade:
*sigh*

It's topics like this that are really pushing me to trade in my M4 for a .308 (G3 or AR-10). And I haven't owned the thing long. You people are killing me.



In the US Civil War about 175,000 people died. You should really trade it in for a musket.



I thought it was more like 600k?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:32:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:33:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lon_Moer:

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

Originally Posted By vito113:
The Britush .Mil uses 5.56 ball in Iraq, no compaints about it's killing power from our side.

ANdy



But you're shooting them out of 20"+ barrels, unlike the M-4 users.

NTM


And 50fps of velocity is the "difference"?



Its not 50fps. The M855 (and M193) out of a 14.5" M4 fragments out to around 65yards. Out of a 20" barrel (which most bullpups have, and in a rifle shorter than an M4) it fragments to around 150 yards. The newer, heavier rounds fragment at greater distances for all barrel lengths
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:34:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 11:10:24 AM EDT by 2IDdoc]

Originally Posted By Rick_Lind:
As mentioned, shot placement and bullet configuration are vital. The 855 is steel core and designed to penetrate objects, tends to overpenetrate in human size and texture targets as in Somalia. The 193 has some advantages vs the 855 wrt not overpenetrating. The newer, often heavier, bullets offer some benefit but there is a limit to the weight/length that a 5.56 can accomodate. The newer expanding bullets look interesting but I've never fired them. We're not following the Geneva convention in the middle east anyway so no problem.

Ammo oracle has some guidance here.

Rick



Not trying to pick on you Rick, but the ammo used in Somalia was not M855 if I remember correctly. Unless, the new secret ammo that they talked about using in the book was M855. They said it was specially designed to penetrate armor and had a titanium tungsten core. It doesn't sound like it was fragmenting at all. M855 fragments pretty well, just not quite out to the same distance as M193. I haven't seen any studies that indicate M855 overpenetrates in human targets. I have seen several to the contrary. Even the ammo Oracle that you mentioned in your post has pictures of ballistic gelatin showing the effects of M855. It's really not that much different than M193 from looking at it.

M855 came out in the 70's guys. It's not the same secret squirrel ammo the guys in BHD were using.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:39:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HeavyMetal:

Originally Posted By HarryStone:

Originally Posted By Spade:
*sigh*

It's topics like this that are really pushing me to trade in my M4 for a .308 (G3 or AR-10). And I haven't owned the thing long. You people are killing me.



In the US Civil War about 175,000 people died. You should really trade it in for a musket.



Over half died of disease. Trade it in for a petri dish.



I would, but I'd probably end up in Gitmo for developing WMDs.
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