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Posted: 11/18/2003 6:11:36 PM EDT
Just because there hasn't been enough controversy, noise, and commotion about the topic of M-4 stopping power (or not) I thought I would forward the following e-mail from Dr. Martin Fackler to a friend of mine.

SD


> Peter,
>
> I delayed commenting on purported "Combat Failures of 5.56mm Ammunition"
> because I wanted to show it to John Hall (recently retired FBI lawyer and
> former head of the Firearms Training Unit at Quantico) with whom I was
> sharing the stage at a Deadly Force Training Seminar at MacDill AFB last
> week. I asked him to read the document and give me his evaluation as to
its
> value as evidence. His unhesitating answer agreed with mine: it is
> essentially useless. Huge uncertainty and propensity for error plagues all
> such reports by the persons involved. "Gunshot hits were THOUGHT to have
> been scored on the enemy" Some evidence! We know that more often than not
> what those involved in deadly force incidents "thought," was, in fact, in
> error.
>
> Unfortunately, "close inspection of the enemy's corpse" by those untrained
> in human anatomy and pathophysiology, is also problematic. A detailed
> autopsy by an MD well versed in wound ballistics is needed before any
> rational conclusions can be drawn. I had a case in LA recently in which a
> person was struck by eleven police HP 40 S&W bullets and wasn't even
slowed
> down -- until a half-hour later when he was struck, almost simultaneously,
> by one sniper's 5.56 SP in the head and one from another sniper in the
> heart.
>
> The complaint that soldiers are being furnished equipment that "is not the
> best equipment our country could give them with which which to defend
> themselves." is literally true. But, unfortunately, our government follows
> the rules set down in the Hague Convention of 1899 -- which prohibits
> expanding bullets. We were smart enough not to sign that ridiculous
> document -- but still abide by it (for political reasons I suppose).
>
> I also, am no fan of the 5.56: but must admit it has some advantages --
> soldiers can carry more ammo, and the light recoil makes it easier to
train
> soldiers to shoot it accurately.
>
> But we must not forget, the 5.56 is essentially a groundhog cartridge --
> never meant for shooting deer sized animals (e.g., homo sapiens). With the
> 5.56, there is no margin for error. With the the .308 you can knock off
800
> ft/sec and still have a man killer -- but with the 5.56, such a velocity
> loss will affect performance very adversely.
>
> Ordnance engineers missed a great chance to add some margin, and increase
> the wounding capacity of the 5.56, when the A2 was introduced. They should
> have changed the chamber to an .223 Ackley Improved. That would have: 1)
> increased the muzzle velocity, 2) allowed the A1 bullets to be fired in
the
> new chamber (fire-forming them into new Ackley Improved cases), but have
> prevented the larger A2 cartridge from entering the chamber of the old A1.
> Many police groups use surplus A1s, with a 1 in 12" twist. One of these
> days, the police are going to shoot somebody using an A2 or some other
> too-long-bullet in the 1 in 12" twist barrel. This is likely to cause a
very
> large stellate entrance wound when it hits going sideways: and I cringe to
> imagine what our firearm illiterate press will do with the "inhumane
bullet"
> accusations.
>
> Later, ordnance engineers chopped off 5 1/2 inches from the A2 barrel to
> make the M4. The degree of wound ballistics illiteracy demonstrated by
doing
> this astounds me. But, based on my contact with our highly-trained special
> military groups, I must opine that the blame is not entirely with the
> engineers. Understandably, we tend to modify equipment based on the
requests
> from members of these highly dedicated and well trained special forces.
> Also, understandably, they want the most compact rifle they can get. Our
> system gave them what they wanted. Unfortunately, no matter how strong,
> well-trained, brave, and "special" the members of these forces are -- they
> are essentially wound ballistics illiterates. Allowed to choose what they
> wanted, they chose barrels too short to provide the needed velocity --
and,
> at that time, there was no safeguard built into our system to prevent such
> idiocy. The wound ballistics lab at the Presidio closed in 1991 -- and has
> not been replaced.
>
> Fortunately, about 18 months ago, a Tri-Service Wound Ballistics Team was
> formed at Picatinny Arsenal. I am one of the core members, and was
involved
> with the formation of the team from the beginning. I was able to convince
> the engineers to assign two additional highly firearm literate, combat
> experienced MDs as core members (Dick Mason [Pathologist], and Paul
> Dougherty [Orthopedic Surgeon]).
>
> Currently, it appears that we are stuck with the 5.56. In that caliber,
> however, if we changed the chamber to an Ackley Improved, and put it in a
24
> inch barrel, we could get performance close to that of the 22-250. If such
a
> long barrel is too inconvenient in the M 16 configuration -- put it in a
> bullpup.
>
> Marty
Link Posted: 11/18/2003 8:15:33 PM EDT
Now that sounds like the voice of reason to me.
Link Posted: 11/18/2003 10:45:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 12:23:04 AM EDT
Now wait minute, I saw this a little while back and the first responce was something akin to "So Fackler doesn't like the .223, that'll make the .223 weenies cry, I guess fragmentation isn't everything." Since _DR's post isn't edited where else was this posted? I don't think either the calibre, barrel length, or bullet weight needs to be changed. The Army simply needs to develop reliably fragmenting ammunition in medium weight 5.56. They're almost there with the USGI loads, just need to mandate the bullet construction, jacket material and such. There was no way in hell Sam was adopting a .223 AI with all the 5.56 NATO in inventory certainly not while the Wall was still up. Everybody does remember why the Garand wound up as 30-06 right?
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 2:46:28 AM EDT
Why did the Garrand end up in 30-06 caliber? I love these history lessons from y'all. Shabo
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 4:27:27 AM EDT
The .gov was broke and there was plenty of 30-06 in inventory. [url]http://www.thegunzone.com/30cal.html[/url] [url]http://www.geocities.com/bigmike_75/aessays/a98.html[/url]
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 7:56:53 AM EDT
An infantry rifle with a barrel length of 24"? That is way too long for a standardized rifle. I agree with Troy that either they move up to 6.8x43mm or standardize Mk262 (or develope even better ones)
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 10:18:05 AM EDT
If its so ineffective how did the Beltway Sniper manage to kill so many people with a .223?????
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 10:30:55 AM EDT
Don't call him/them 'sniper'. Call them the beltway thugs or something similar. A sniper makes unreal long shots in bad environments while sometimes being shot at. Those dudes are just loosers. Sorry, had to say it. That name, given by the liberal media, has been pissing me off too long now.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 10:45:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 10:49:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/19/2003 11:02:29 AM EDT by blikbok]
Jm03: Let's not get into the thousand different definitions of "effective". :) The 5.56 is good enough most of the time, but not to the complete satisfaction of the end user. And I think in the future, we'll be complaining about our 40w Phased Plasma rifle. Maybe this is the Ghost of Intermediate ~7mm cartridges past, come back to give us a second chance? ;) With modern knowledge of terminal ballistics, we can get [i]almost[/i] a free upgrade on the 5.56 in a carbine package. I'm hoping the whole point of the evolution of US small arms is to reach a happy medium of getting a powerful enough round in a small enough package. The 7.62mm is enough cartridge, but too much rifle. The .30 Carbine, while handy, is too small as a cartridge. Now we like the size of the M4, can issue it to almost everyone, but want a little more punch.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 11:08:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/19/2003 11:22:38 AM EDT by Ridge]
While the idea of the a large caliber sounds good to me. To completely change a caliber in the military will cost a lot. In addition heavier bullets, more powder will drive up the cost per round, I would assume significantly. If the problem is with m855 ammo in shorter barrels, why not just redesign the ammo. Or will this be a [nono] because it would be specifically designing an inhumane bullet that will fragment or expand? Seems do me that using m193, 75-77gr OTM, while designing a better bullet would solve most of the problems with substantually less cost. I do like the idea of these,Ackley Improved cases, seems like a cheap simple improvement. What's the deal with those?
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 11:19:39 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Troy: It is, and it isn't. He's right about the current issued ammo and its performance, but proposing a 24" barreled AR is simply not being practical, especially when the military's biggest rifle buyer, the Army, is transitioning most soldiers over to a 14.5" barrel from a 20". There's simply no way they're going to go LONGER than a 20". Can you imagine trying to do CQB with a 24" barrel? And a bullpup isn't the answer either, for all the usual bullpup reasons. What IS the answer is addressing the ammo, either by changing the caliber (such as the 6.8mm round) or by adopting the heavy OTM loads such as the Mk262. -Troy
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[b] Mk262 [/b]
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 2:11:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By fastang50: Don't call him/them 'sniper'. Call them the beltway thugs or something similar. A sniper makes unreal long shots in bad environments while sometimes being shot at. Those dudes are just loosers. Sorry, had to say it. That name, given by the liberal media, has been pissing me off too long now.
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Thank you so much for the explanation. How about "The Beltway Dip sh*ts"? Troy- I definately think something should be done to better equip our troops as far as firepower. Its just that I keep reading how terrible the ammo and knockdown power is of the military round.But every story I have heard from local vets of shooting someone in combat they say they drop like wet noodles. The one thing you can bet on is that Uncle sam will probably screw it up again when they do make a change.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 5:31:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 5:54:56 PM EDT
Someone should see how much changing to Mk262 would increase loadout weight of M4, M16, and SAW. I would think at most, 2 pounds for M4, M16 guys. But then again, I doubt it is that much. 7 mags X 30 rounds = 210 rounds. 210 rounds X 77 grains= 16170 grains/7000 grains/lb =2.31lbs of bullets per loadout with Mk262. 210 rounds X 62 grain = 13020 grains/7000grains/lb = 1.86lbs of bullets per loadout with M855. The difference is .45lbs with quite a gain in frag range as well as better accuracy and better terminal effect at all ranges. It just makes sense in a practical sense, now someone send an accountant up against that to see what numbers matter to the Gov't.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 6:49:15 PM EDT
Maybe they should go back to M193 55 gr. matbe use a hollow point and learn how to shoot better.Whatever ammo is used shot placement is every thing.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 7:25:02 PM EDT
Interesting topic, this is precisely why I've shunned the 16" M4gerys that seem to be so exciting these days. I run a 20" A2 rifle and have no regrets on the extra 4" bbl. This is one time I truly belive the Jarheads are one up with the A2 rifles they run. The US military will probably never run with an OTM, it makes too much sense and of course the uneducated will think it violates the geneva convention.... or more properly the Hague accords if I remember correctly. Btw, I dont believe the US ever signed off on the non expanding bullets stuff anyhow.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 7:45:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Troy:
Originally Posted By Jm03: Its just that I keep reading how terrible the ammo and knockdown power is of the military round.But every story I have heard from local vets of shooting someone in combat they say they drop like wet noodles.
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Well, if you're talking to a Marine, they'll probably report that they had no problem, but then, they'll be carrying a 20"-barreled M16 or SAW. If you talk to many Army folks, who mostly carry M4s and 14.5"-barreled SAW Paras, you'll start hearing about the problems, especially during engagements over 40-50 yards. This is because that's the fragmentation range limit of M855 from a 14.5" barrel. We should NOT be fielding a gun/ammo combination that isn't effective (meaning: massive tissue damage of the type that a fragmenting bullet causes) out to at least 150 yards. Unfortunately, we are. -Troy
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Well there is an article that address that same topic on whether or not the 5.56 is an effective round by marines. http://www.assaultweb.net/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=16;t=003602
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 8:43:23 PM EDT
As the letter discusses, a part of the problem relates to differing mission objectives, but there are lots of other reasons for sticking with the .223. If we talk about the average army rifleman, a shot at 150 meters is about all that can be expected with iron sights and a 4x scope will do more to insure a first round hit at that distance than significantly increase the range at which the rifleman will be effective. I believe the army and marine corp have repeatedly analyzed the data and found that, like police engagements at 21', riflemen engage their targets at 150 meters, or so. At greater distances we typically have other weapons systems at our disposal such as artillary, shoulder fired rockets, tank rounds, mortars, helos, high performance aircraft, etc. The ballistics of the .223 round fired from a 20" barrel yield reliable fragmentation out to 150-200m where velocities are over 2600 fps. Special teams carry shorter barrels where mission requirements call for the delivery of effective fire usually under 150m. Someone mentioned shot placement and while center visible mass is still the most effective combat sight picture, how often do the troops get to zero their weapon? I would bet that today, as it has always been, that happens infrequently, at best. Not than I'm a great shot, I'm not, but its such and easy weapon to shoot and yet most troops don't shoot well and that's partly because they don't get much target practice 'in country'. The M16 with 16-20" barrel firing the .223 round is still a very effective combat weapon for the average rifleman. With a very good mix of portability, low recoil and ease of maintenance. Remember one other thing. I fired next to a guy shooting a 7mm on the range last week. It was tremendously loud, even thru my full hearing protectors. I fired thousand of rounds in the military without any hearing protection. Do I have some hearing loss? Huh, did you say something? My point being some of the newer, hotter cartriges really need greater hearing protection than the .223. That's a consideration that doesn't get mentioned in these discussions, at all. You couldn't afford to pay the disability claims for every grunt with a hearing loss from firing a 7mm all day.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 9:42:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Troy: Well, if you're talking to a Marine, they'll probably report that they had no problem, but then, they'll be carrying a 20"-barreled M16 or SAW. If you talk to many Army folks, who mostly carry M4s and 14.5"-barreled SAW Paras, you'll start hearing about the problems, especially during engagements over 40-50 yards. This is because that's the fragmentation range limit of M855 from a 14.5" barrel. -Troy
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So my super expensive 1/9 14.5" m4 look alike will only fragment at ranges of 50 yards or less with M193/M855? I always thought it was at least 100yrds or more. Thats awfully disapointing. I guess I need to buy some heavyier OTM rounds, and review the ammo oracle!
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 10:15:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/19/2003 10:15:28 PM EDT by Boom_Stick]
Everytime I see these threads I begin to question the 5.56 round, but then I remember I will most likely NOT be making more than a 400 meter shot. If I do, [i](and why I'd draw that kind of attention I dont know)[/i] my 16" and 20" barrels will do fine. If the enemy is even 200 meters out I'm gonna find away around cause I wont be opertaing at squad strength. The military has far better resources to complement the M16 rifle. When the SHTF we [i](typical ARFcom members)[/i] wont be operating like the military. The 5.56 round is perfect for us.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 10:57:02 PM EDT
For what its worth, P.O. Ackley once stated that the improved versions of the .222 Remington, the .222 Remington Magnum, and the .233 Remington did not offer a worthwhile improvement over the base cartridges. In his opinion, the cases were already close to an "improved" configuration straight from the box. Changing the shoulder angle and removing the remaining body taper simply didn't offer a useful increase in case capacity. Folks who make claims of major velocity gains with "improved" variants of most modern cartridges are often guilty of exceeding the original cartridge's SAAMI maximums for loaded over-all length and/or chamber pressure. You may get away with this in a single-shot or a bolt action, but you're likely to play havoc with a gas-operated autoloader.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 11:07:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 11:09:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/19/2003 11:20:14 PM EDT by Troy]
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 5:34:15 AM EDT
The 5.56 weapons are primarily intended to engage targets at no more than 300 meters and more often at 1/2 that distance. For those closer ranges the weapons work pretty well. The M4 family of weapons is capable of being an effective CQB weapon and still delivering decent firepower at longer ranges. Heavier bullets like the 75 grain bullets may ehance the weapon's performance. The reality of combat is that you usually don't see the enemy when he is 600 meters away. Even if you do, you usually don't engage until he is closer. Military studies found that troops rarely fired at more than 300 yards because soldiers naturally didn't want to expend precious ammunition on targets they didn't feel confident they could hit. In at least 80% of the places on earth the 5.56 is an adequate weapon. Only in places where there are long distance engagements possible (deserts, plains) and where you have the prevalence of body armor or heavy clothing AND long ranges (arctic climes) is there really a need for something more. I think the answer here is one or two 7.62 weapons in a squad to give some extended lethality, and even this measure is only needed by forward units charged with assault. Rear echelon troops are fine with a 5.56, as ambushes will be close, quick and nasty, exactly what the 5.56 was designed to do. (The only way to beat an ambush is to avoid it. The only way to survive one is to get out of it quick. The only hope if you are stuck in one charge into it and lay down an insane ammount of firepower) Right now our big danger over in the sandbox is from ambushes. The best thing we can do to beat those is to make sure we have lots of machine guns to go around (especially M2's and M60's) and lots of snipers. Snipers to pick off anyone with an RPG or to attempt to spot an ambush before it happens, and plenty of MG's to lay down enough fire to get out of an ambush.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 7:32:33 AM EDT
I think the answer here is one or two 7.62 weapons in a squad to give some extended lethality, and even this measure is only needed by forward units charged with assault.
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Isn't that the purpose of the M60? I've seen a squad of riflement fire over a 100 rds at a running man 150 yards away, and all miss. Then the 60 got working and it was over.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 7:51:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/20/2003 7:53:29 AM EDT by 5subslr5]
SailorDude, thanks MUCH for sharing !! [b]Even THE Man himself, Eugene Stoner, did NOT believe the 5.56 round was adequate for military use.[/b] And Stoner only designed two 5.56 rifles in his entire career - the FARC and the Stoner 86 LMG and neither was ever produced. As stated in another thread, there is no lubricant suitable for climates and terrains. Also, there is no 'caliber. suitable for all terrains. The Special Forces types are able to help themselves (within reason) and they've brought is some (old) M-14's, SR-25's and AR-10's. However, the average trooper is still handed an M-16. I do not believe the 6.8 project will ever fly on a large scale and I believe we already have a suitable caliber to augment the 5.56 - namely 7.62X51. Even my old dumb ass has been crying for years that SHORT barrels mean reduced velocity and reduced velocity means less knock-down power and less penetration. [b]Gentle people, the AR-15/M-16 is an SCHV weapon. Take the "V" (velocity) out of the equation and you just have a .22 .[/b] Unless truly used for Urban Warfare, 18" is about the optimum barrel length. 5sub
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 8:57:16 AM EDT
I can't find it on the internet, so this is based off my recollection, but I remember the Marines doing a study and concluding that they had few to no cases of infantry spotting other infantry at ranges beyond 300m in wartime. Also, I see the M4 as more of a PDW/M1 Carbine replacement-- it's more powerful and accurate than the 9mm handgun. But it is very wrong that it's being issued in combination with ammo that limits its fragmentation range to 50m. I know the SpecOps guys will get their Mk262 and 6.8x43, but is there *any* work on making the issue ball round more effective? Are any line units or soldiers "downgrading" to M193? Would 77gr FMJ be better than the M855?
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 9:37:02 AM EDT
Originally Posted By jimb100:
I think the answer here is one or two 7.62 weapons in a squad to give some extended lethality, and even this measure is only needed by forward units charged with assault.
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Isn't that the purpose of the M60? I've seen a squad of riflement fire over a 100 rds at a running man 150 yards away, and all miss. Then the 60 got working and it was over.
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Yup. Being able to throw lead at 650-800 rounds a minute certainly helps hit those pesky moving targets. Throw a big enough wall of lead and you are sure to hit darn near anything.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 9:44:39 AM EDT
I frankly don't understand why M855 was ever developed at all. Who really needs to punch through BOTH sides of a helmet at 600 yards? Punching through one side and that fragile head inside ought to be enough. As if typical troops can hit anything at 600 yards, except as a fluke. 600 yards is for sniper work. It seems to me that issuing M4s and M855 was a recipe for disaster, with the effective fragmentation range being so short. M193 would have been a better bet, bring frag range to 90-100m. Not ideal, but better than what they've got. I still don't understand WHY 14.5" was chosen as the barrel length for the M4, and not 16". Just that extra 1.5" of barrel would make such a difference - an extra 40-50 yards in frag range increase. I find it strange that the military can't be afford to give the troops the best we can make, not the best our beancounters will allow. I can't believe that to a govt that runs 500 billion a year deficits, and buys $200 million aircrft (F-22), that they can't afford enough ammo for the troops to practice regularly. Nor enough money for them to issue improved ammo types when they become available. I have a hunch that even when the new 6.8mm round becomes available, and proves to be a much better manstopper, the military won't be able to field very many because they don't have the money. More likely, i's because the money has been misallocated and spent on more glamorous toys. While the cost of replacing, effectively an upper for each rifle - maybe $400 x how many rifles? 100,000 to start - a measly $40 million. A case of ammo per new upper? Maybe $300 tops. Total cost $70 million - chump change to the Congress Critters. Major difference to the grunts who have to fight and die.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 10:17:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By blikbok: I know the SpecOps guys will get their Mk262 and 6.8x43, but is there *any* work on making the issue ball round more effective? Are any line units or soldiers "downgrading" to M193? Would 77gr FMJ be better than the M855?
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This is exactly my train of thought. The High speed stuff is going to be great, but expensive. How hard would it be to design a 68-77gr fmj bullet that had a thin jacket and cannelure. I'm sure it would prove to fragment very nicely and at a much lower cost, and probably penetrate very well also. Is this like getting a flat tire and buying a whole new car? Or is there really major problems with the weapon and caliber itself?
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 10:56:20 AM EDT
Here are some of the reasons from the switch from the larger caliber to the 5.56mm. 1. An Army study found that even though battle rifles had lethal power out to 1000 meters, soldiers almost never fired at more than 300 meters because they were not confident in their ability to hit anything beyond that distance. Since they carried small ammounts of ammo they were not about to waste it on something they couldn't hit. (more on this later) In many engagements you also do not even know the enemy is there until he is less than 300 meters away, so the 700 meter advantage of your Garand disappears. 2. Human wave attacks in the Korean war showed that the average soldier needed more firepower to keep his position from being over-run. An 8 round en-bloc clip is ok for target shooting and for long range sniping, but when a re-enforced company is charging up a hill held by a squad, you need more firepower to keep em away. 3. The move from static style trench warfare to warfare predicated upon rapid movement and urban fighting made the needs in weaponry change. No longer will 2 sides sit 600 meters apart and snipe each other to death. You will be moving in fields and in cities attempting to out-maneuver the enemy. Ever tried CQB with a Garand? It aint easy. A soldier needs a weapon that allows more firepower and has it available more rapidly than the old MBR's can provide. 4. Anyone who has been in an actual war will tell you that half the time you barely even see the enemy you are shooting at, if at all because the enemy tends to hide to keep from getting shot. You attempt to mass a volume of fire in the enemy's direction to kill him, or at least to make him duck so you can get away or re-position yourself against him. While they are generally good marksmen, the modern S.E.A.L teams use a break contact drill that basically requires each man to spray his weapon in the enemy's direction while the rest of the team moves. When he is out of ammo, another team member repeats his actions while he moves and reloads. This continues until they are in a better position or until they have broken contact with the enemy. (Not many enemies will persue something that aggressive...) This would be impossible to achieve with a Garand. 5. A soldier packing an M1 can only carry a very limited ammount of ammo. At most 3 bandoliers worth of ammo. The M-14 improved by letting the soldier carry more ammo. The M-16 battle load allows TWICE the ammount of ammo to be carried. As Somalia demonstrates, more ammo is a good thing. 6. The modern combat soldier carries more and more crud all the time. A lot of this crud helps to keep him/her alive in the field, so they need to keep carrying it. A weapon and ammunition that saves weight is a good thing for the infantryman to have.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 11:45:42 AM EDT
You make some excellent points. I would add just a couple. The major switch in thinking from large caliber to small reflects a change in mission for the rifleman. The days of seeking out the enemy and, through fire and menouver, destroying him are about over, at least for our troops. More often the infantryman has taken on new roles. Most often we see infantry as a platform for a shoulder fired rocket or as a defensive screen for tanks. Don't want those pesky $50 RPGs disabling expensive tanks. There is one other role where we mostly see our infantry, even in Iraq. Beginning in Viet Nam a fundamental changes in philosophy began taking place both for us and our adversaries. We are able to bring so much firepower to bear, so quickly, our enemies know they must hide and develop good guerilla techniques. The primary mission of the infantry is to flush out the enemy. When infantry finds the enemy and engages, you have two choices, you can reinforce with additional infantry to achieve firepower superiority (if you are engaged, you can't bring your indirect fire weapons into play and a fluid battlefield makes the use of attack helo risky for friendly fire casualties. Or, you can pull back or even extract and let the artillary and helos go to work. As a former infantryman, I would always vote to disengage and extract and I believe anyone who has regard for their own life and limb would agree. There's not much scarier than going into a hot LZ risking the helo taking an RPG or Stinger. Its when helos are most vulnerable. Also, being inserted into a battle is very unwieldy. If you are inserted far enough away to organize, you get to the battle to late. If you come in on top of the action, you are very disorganized and not much help. In the armor support role, the tanks accurate and long range fire power is the weapon. The infantry's rifle pretty much becomes a defensive weapon, almost like a bigger, more easily shot accurately, handgun, also useful in urban assaults where a heavy volume of fire can be concentrated at sniper positions and used to clear buildings that you don't want the tank to knock down. In most of the current roles the infantry supports, a larger caliber weapon only weighs down the trooper.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 1:26:04 PM EDT
armax: The panic dump/peel-off break contact drill isn't limited to full-auto weapons. It's still a sound tactic with any weapon where emptying the mag is almost as quick as changing it. But I understand your point-- a lightweight, high-capacity weapon is better at it. The whole history of small arms in the US has been an ongoing optimization. With smokeless powder and the .30 caliber bullet, we extended the striking distance of the rifleman out to the terminal limit of his bullet. With the Garand, we increased personal firepower. The SMG was too heavy and to short-ranged to be general-purpose. The Carbine also was too light for general issue, but handy as a PDW. The M14 couldn't replace the Garand, SMG, and Carbine. The 5.56 meets 90% of the soldier's ranged needs. The M4 is Carbine sized, but we found we've traded off terminal effect for handiness. With the 6.8, we are working back up, homing in on the optimum. Thank goodness we didn't go for the 4.5mm, nor are we clearing Iraqi cities with the Garand, Thompson, and Carbine. But maybe the ghosts of the .276 Pedersen and 7mm EM2 are haunting us? ;)
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 2:37:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By dbshabo: Why did the Garrand end up in 30-06 caliber? I love these history lessons from y'all. Shabo
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Gen. Douglas MacAuthor was Army Chief of Staff and he made the "from .276 to 30/06" call because he saw war with Japan & Germany on the horizen.
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 3:14:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By coldblue:
Originally Posted By dbshabo: Why did the Garrand end up in 30-06 caliber? I love these history lessons from y'all. Shabo
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Gen. Douglas MacAuthor was Army Chief of Staff and he made the "from .276 to 30/06" call because he saw war with Japan & Germany on the horizen.
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Coldblue, do you see the 6.8 going anywhere past a few special forces types ?? (Or can anyone tell at this point?) 5sub
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 5:40:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 5:41:26 AM EDT by coldblue]
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Coldblue, do you see the 6.8 going anywhere past a few special forces types ?? (Or can anyone tell at this point?) 5sub
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Very hard call to make, given user attention being shared/split between seemingly competing programs: XM-8, SCAR's L & H, SOPMOD-II Kit components, major $$$expenditures programed for more 5.56mm suppressors, etc., and daily efforts to support & sustain current combat & combat service support operations on multible fronts. I also think the success of the 77 gr. Black Hills somewhat mitigates any "immediate" need to leap into a new caliber decision that I don't think was the product of an objective process. That process would start with clear & quantified terminal ballistic goals at expected ranges. Then bullet improvements in 5.56 like the 77 gr. BH, changes in twist, etc. could be initiated to see if you can do the work required at those ranges without a major caliber change and its $$$ consequences. Also, the way I see it, some "new" programs are exacerbating the issue of less than optimum 5.56 lethality "reports". For eaxample, XM-8's short barrel solution to a smaller gun need. Also, the new 10.5" CQB uppers being fielded. I mean they are in 1:7. Da.... Why didn't "they" slow down the twist in these short barrels designed specifically to shoot people a nearly point blank ranges? I mean there is a slim change they would need those CQB bullets to be stable in frigid arctic air...correct? So why the quick twist needed for longer tracer bullets in extremely cold air? I have experimented with 69 gr. match ammo from 11.5" long 1:12 twist barrels at 100 yards and they will easily hold on a man-size target at that range. I can only assume, however, that they are marginally stable at this slower twist rate and then therefore "in theory" upset quicker in the body and be "more lethal", but that's where once again, "one test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 8:24:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 8:25:15 AM EDT by _DR]
Originally Posted By jimb100: Isn't that the purpose of the M60? I've seen a squad of riflement fire over a 100 rds at a running man 150 yards away, and all miss. Then the 60 got working and it was over.
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By the way the M60 family of MGs is almost completely replaced by the 240G now, and will soon be phased out. Word from Afghanistan and Iraq is that the 240 Golf is far superior to the M60 in reliability and durability. Remembering back to my days of carrying and firing the "Pig", I recall a lot of failures, mostly with the sear breaking and having to break the ammo belt to stop the runaway firing. One thing about Afghanistan and Iraq, whatever anyone's views on those conflicts, they have provided an excellent testbed for our new weapons in a harsh operating environment, real world.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 8:33:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By _DR:
Originally Posted By jimb100: Isn't that the purpose of the M60? I've seen a squad of riflement fire over a 100 rds at a running man 150 yards away, and all miss. Then the 60 got working and it was over.
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By the way the M60 family of MGs is almost completely replaced by the 240G now, and will soon be phased out. Word from Afghanistan and Iraq is that the 240 Golf is far superior to the M60 in reliability and durability. Remembering back to my days of carrying and firing the "Pig", I recall a lot of failures, mostly with the sear breaking and having to break the ammo belt to stop the runaway firing. One thing about Afghanistan and Iraq, whatever anyone's views on those conflicts, they have provided an excellent testbed for our new weapons in a harsh operating environment, real world.
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How is the barrel life on the 240g? Are the ammo carriers carrying extra barrels?
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 8:45:16 AM EDT
I am afraid I don't know about the barrel life, but it can be quickly changed in the field, yes I believe extra barrels are carried as TO&E by gunner teams. Here is the fact file on the 240G from the USMC website: *********************************** M240G Medium Machine Gun Manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale Manufacturing, Inc. Length: 47.5 inches (120.65 centimeters) Weight: 24.2 pounds (10.99 kilograms) Bore diameter: 7.62mm (.308 inches) Maximum effective range: 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers) on tripod mount Maximum range: 2.31 miles (3.725 kilometers) Rates of fire: Cyclic: 650-950 rounds per minute Rapid: 200 rounds per minute Sustained: 100 rounds per minute Unit Replacement Cost: $6,600 Features: The M240G Machine Gun is the ground version of the original M240/M240E1, 7.62mm medium class weapon designed as a coaxial/pintle mounted machine gun for tanks and light armored vehicles. The rate of fire may be controlled by three different regulator settings. The M240G is modified for ground use by the installation of an "infantry modification kit," comprised of a flash suppressor, front sight, carrying handle for the barrel, a buttstock, infantry length pistol grip, bipod, and rear sight assembly. While possessing many of the same basic characteristics as the M60 series medium class machine guns, the durability of the M240 system results in superior reliability and maintainability when compared to the M60. Background: The Marine Corps is replacing the M60E3 with the M240G. The ground version of the M240 allows for a common medium machine gun throughout the Marine Corps. ************************************** link: [url]http://www.hqmc.usmc.mil/factfile.nsf/7e931335d515626a8525628100676e0c/681bfe800dc442378525627b006b71c7?OpenDocument­[/url]
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 8:58:56 AM EDT
Originally Posted By coldblue:
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Coldblue, do you see the 6.8 going anywhere past a few special forces types ?? (Or can anyone tell at this point?) 5sub
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Very hard call to make, given user attention being shared/split between seemingly competing programs: XM-8, SCAR's L & H, SOPMOD-II Kit components, major $$$expenditures programed for more 5.56mm suppressors, etc., and daily efforts to support & sustain current combat & combat service support operations on multible fronts. I also think the success of the 77 gr. Black Hills somewhat mitigates any "immediate" need to leap into a new caliber decision that I don't think was the product of an objective process. That process would start with clear & quantified terminal ballistic goals at expected ranges. Then bullet improvements in 5.56 like the 77 gr. BH, changes in twist, etc. could be initiated to see if you can do the work required at those ranges without a major caliber change and its $$$ consequences. Also, the way I see it, some "new" programs are exacerbating the issue of less than optimum 5.56 lethality "reports". For eaxample, XM-8's short barrel solution to a smaller gun need. Also, the new 10.5" CQB uppers being fielded. I mean they are in 1:7. Da.... Why didn't "they" slow down the twist in these short barrels designed specifically to shoot people a nearly point blank ranges? I mean there is a slim change they would need those CQB bullets to be stable in frigid arctic air...correct? So why the quick twist needed for longer tracer bullets in extremely cold air? I have experimented with 69 gr. match ammo from 11.5" long 1:12 twist barrels at 100 yards and they will easily hold on a man-size target at that range. I can only assume, however, that they are marginally stable at this slower twist rate and then therefore "in theory" upset quicker in the body and be "more lethal", but that's where once again, "one test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
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coldblue, your post agrees with the information I've heard from others. "Arctic air" does strange things...............ArmaLite/Stoner had their own problems with the very early AR-15/M-16 under arctic conditions. [b]"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."[/b] That's for damn sure !! I just don't believe any one caliber fits all situations. Further, I believe we already have the larger caliber weapon sometime needed - namely the 7.62X51 - and see little place for the 6.8. Now that likely means the military will order 2 million 6.8's tomorrow !! I understand the need for SBR's in urban warfare. However, I always remember the AR-15/M-16 was developed as an SCHV weapon. Take the "HV" out of the equation and you're left with just a .22. Too many short barreled weapons have found their way onto the battlefield. (IMHO) 5sub
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 9:38:49 PM EDT
Sometimes I used to think the only purpose for riflemen in an infantry platoon was to carry ammo for the mg. But then you need an RTO and a grenade launcher come in handy at times. Oh yeah, you need riflemen to help out with guard duty at night. Just kidding, crunchies are the backbone of the infantry and we all know the infantry is the Queen of Battle!
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:20:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2003 12:45:02 PM EDT by blikbok]
I'm hoping the SCAR project might result in a hybrid AR-15/AR-10 style reciever, and allow the near-immediate choice between 5.56, 6.8, 7.62x39 and 7.62x51, according to mission need. That said, [url]http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html[/url] talks about one of the original 5.56 bullets being a 68 gr design which was a scaled-down 7.62 M2 ball projectile.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:39:24 PM EDT
back to the beltway as***les for a sec, didn't that bastard take headshots anyway? (please correct me if I'm wrong) Effectiveness of the caliber used should be a big factor the shots are placed to the head. I think penetration and fragmentation usually matters when one is aiming at the torso. Btw, the bastard got the death penalty! [beer]
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 1:02:07 PM EDT
I thought the "groundhog cartridge" comment to be interesting. It brings up the observation that a standing man's body, front to back, isn't all that deep a target. It may be that the .223 IS in fact a very well suited round for humans...IF the velocity is kept high enough to maintain ballistic efficiency. Clearly, the no. 1 issue is velocity. As long at the muzzle velocity stays high, the .223 does its job pretty well. The question is, can something be done to crank up the MV out of shorter barrels without changing the cartridge? If any of you want to become RICH, formulate a safe handload that gives 3200 FPS out of a 14.5 inch barrel. It'd have to be a relatively fast powder with a positive pressure curve, and MIGHT be in the realm of duplex loadings. But if you can formulate it, you will be very, very rich before long. CJ
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 1:25:05 PM EDT
How does the Designated Marksman work into this equation? This is a change in doctrine, similar to the Russian doctrine of a "sniper" that travels with the squad, right? They carry a SVD or PSL as part of the squad for long distance targets, riflemen for 0-200/300m with an RPK or RPD for supporting fire - have we moved to this form of unit now?
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 3:04:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Jm03:
Originally Posted By fastang50: Don't call him/them 'sniper'. Call them the beltway thugs or something similar. A sniper makes unreal long shots in bad environments while sometimes being shot at. Those dudes are just loosers. Sorry, had to say it. That name, given by the liberal media, has been pissing me off too long now.
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Thank you so much for the explanation. How about "The Beltway Dip sh*ts"?
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No, that would cause confusion. People would think you meant Congress.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 3:28:48 PM EDT
I think the Russians could teach us "a few things" in this area. The 5.45mm cartridge has proven to be very effective (16 inch barrel too). We need to design a long bullit with a hollow internal cavity and a steel core. I'm not sure how unstable it would be out of a 1/7 barrel, but I think it warrants testing. I don't think "unstable" violates the Geneva Convention(?).
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 7:16:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2003 7:26:51 PM EDT by JustL00king]
A bullpup has always been a better design because the action is at the back of the stock and you can have a much longer barrel for the same over all length, I would love to see our military switch to a bullpup like the brits. This is what the new OICW now the XM18 (or whatever the hell they are calling it this week) will give us. Changing the caliber wont do anything without a longer barrel, SO if they want to stick with the 14.5in M4 barrel..... make the barrels thicker and use faster burning power for a higher muzzle velocity.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 9:28:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By blikbok: That said, [url]http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html[/url] talks about one of the original 5.56 bullets being a 68 gr design which was a scaled-down 7.62 M2 ball projectile.
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FWIW: The author clearly writes that the 68gr .224" projectile was based upon the ".30 M1 Ball"...as in .30'06. (The .30 M2 Ball homologue was a 60gr .224" projectile.) The early military experiments with the 68gr projectile were conducted with a variety of cartridge cases, ranging from a 7.62x51mm-based wildcat to the .224 Springfield (the forefather to the commercial .222 Remington Magnum). Unfortunately, experiments with this projectile and the .223 Remington/5.56x45mm were not conducted until the mid-'60s.
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