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Posted: 9/5/2010 12:51:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 1:34:27 PM EDT by Rapidrob]
I conducted a penetration test today using the 5.45x39 new type Military surplus ball ammo vs the NATO M-855 5.56 ammo. The target was a one inch thick block of mild steel plate held face onto the trajectory of both bullets. The target was set to 100 yards. This was the closest range to use where both bullets were stabilized in flight.
There was a very slight range wind,so shots on the 5"x5" steel target were easy to make with open sights.
Both rifles bore had been fouled with several shots before hand. Both barrels are 16" standard military configuration AR15 type carbines.
The 5.45 surplus ammo was made in Russia in 1992. The M-855 Ball was made in 2002.
I was not expecting much from the 5.45x39 bullet as it was designed to tumble when it hit a human target. I could not have been more wrong.
The impact left a very deep .845" deep "Snow-Cone Cup" shaped crater. The support wired for the steel plate were twisted into a knot..
The M855 Ball round left a crater .800" deep with a distinct outline of the bullets penetrator trying to travel point on. The plate jumped a little harder when hit with this bullet.
The fact that both of these bullets were 1/4 inch from going through the one inch think block of steel is impressive. Every thing you read states how"powerful" the .5.56 Nato round is and that the Russian 5.45x39 round is a mere .222 Remington. The results on steel show otherwise.

top shot is the 5.45x39.





Link Posted: 9/5/2010 1:48:01 PM EDT
Thanks for posting the comparison.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 5:02:36 PM EDT
I would think that the m855 will do better out farther. Wasnt it designed to penetrate a Russian steel-pot helmet @ 200 yds?
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 5:08:18 PM EDT
You should repeat this test with the steel affixed so it cannot move.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 7:52:28 PM EDT
Repeat with M855 fired from a 20", 1 in 7" twist barrel. What does the added velocity do?
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 5:59:57 AM EDT
The test was to try to obtain velocities as close to one another as possible. I 1:7 rifle barrel would have been more appropriate for the M855 ball. I only have a 1:9 twist carbine for the 62 grain bullet.
At the same time I conducted the same test with the M196 55 grain bullet out of the 1:12 twist carbine barrel.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 8:06:24 AM EDT
IIRC, though lighter, the 5.45 has a higher sectional density [a longer bullet overall] and should have better penetration based on that.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 1:29:40 PM EDT

Once again, someones real life test, knocks the " convential wisdom" on it's ass.
Thanks for taking the time to test and show it.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 1:34:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 1:39:39 PM EDT by Rapidrob]
Yes that is true. One of the most nasty penetrating bullets out there are the original .30-40 Krag 220 grain Cupro-Metal round nose jacketed bullets. This bullet and the 180 grain 6.5 Dutch round nose bullet both tear holes through steel that would stop most bullets.

I did this test at 500 yards years ago when I first go into the Russian rifles. I thought the cores were lead and not mild steel as it really is. Note the damage done by the 6.5 Dutch round nose bullet.The jacket is fused to the steel of the crater.The plate is 7/16" thick. There was a pronounced dent on the back side of the plate from the Dutch round. The Russian round spalled the surface of the back side.
The long bullet retains its momentum much better than today's lighter,shorter bullets.
One of my old books on American rifles from the early 1900's states that the .30-40 Krag round was known to shooters as the "Rail Puncher". It has the ability to punch right through the side of a Rail-Road Rail.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 5:33:43 PM EDT
Cool test. But I think unless the steel is fixed, it can skew the results a bit.

I was not able to get through a 3/4" mild steel plate at 40 yds with 5.56. (16" 1-9 twist, barrel M4gery) Not Lake City, AE 64gr tracers... 55gr FMJ, 62gr HP... nothing.
Heck, not even a .308 or 54R round went through it. Where from your tests, you would have been through it no problem.

But it was suspended by chains and could swing upon impact. This is the wild card I think.

I'll bet money the 54R would have went through if it was bolted into place. It almost did even though it was hanging.

All rounds fired at the plate, (And there were a lot) deformed the back badly. But yet another one for the caliber crowd.
7.62x39mm did NOT do as much damage to the plate as 5.56 did.

It was definitely a wider crater. Just nowhere near as deep.
Out of all my unofficial "tests" with 5.56/.223. The American Eagle 64gr tracers went the deepest. The also lit it on fire!

I guess this goes to show that until you go out and ACTUALLY shoot some things. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 7:16:20 PM EDT
The steel is fixed in a solid mounting in the second photo. Figuring out the angle of impact at 500 yards took a little time to get right. Once that was done I was able to get the impact forces to transfer to the steel plates.
Some test done by labs are not real world. The target is going to "give" a little in the field of combat. My targets are not meant to be an Abrims Tank, but more along the line of a make-ship loop hole plate or a building barricade.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:10:00 AM EDT
Thanks for showing off your fun!

Guys, while the results may not be "scientific", the moral of the story here is that you never know until you shoot it! So go blow your own stuff up and post pics...
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 7:28:28 PM EDT
Good stuff man. I shot through some 1/2" wall tubing with M855 penetrator at 150 yards and lodged it a good 1/8" into another 1-1/4" plate.


The "setup" (with the 5.56 hole at about 2 o'clock).


Hole through first wall of tubing and the penetrator lodged in plate in the foreground (plate was removed from the tubing).

Both walls and the plate in the middle were not any match for the .50 BMG, though. But that's a whole 'nuther set of photos!

- Joe
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 12:43:14 PM EDT
Good job. What 99.5% of the shooters don't know is that a bullet will always penetrate more of the target material at 100-200 yards than it will at the muzzle.
Once I get the extraction problem fixed on the 5.45 AR I'll do a test of penetration at 600 yards between the two bullets.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 1:01:20 PM EDT
Now this is a fun thread. Interesting stuff gentlemen.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 2:13:55 PM EDT
Here's the results of a 500 yards test I did last winter. 3/4" face hardened steel plate placed on a solid mounting, 500 yards. And yes the M1 carbine had no trouble hitting it.I just held over a little. No scopes,all open sight shots.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 9:46:33 AM EDT
Has anyone tried the famous black tip AP 3006 or 308 ?????
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 12:27:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JohnInPA:
Has anyone tried the famous black tip AP 3006 or 308 ?????

It is a no no in 308. Stick to 30-06 ap
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 2:51:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vbfg135:

Originally Posted By JohnInPA:
Has anyone tried the famous black tip AP 3006 or 308 ?????

It is a no no in 308. Stick to 30-06 ap

Couldn't the projectiles be pulled and loaded to 308? I have pondered doing this once I get set up for reloading, possibly late fall.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 3:06:52 PM EDT
You would be manufacturing ARMOR PIERCING HANDGUN/PISTOL AMMO DO NOT DO IT. Some enterprising gun company made a 308 hand gun so it is now a nono.
Originally Posted By AR_DairyFarmer:

Originally Posted By vbfg135:

Originally Posted By JohnInPA:
Has anyone tried the famous black tip AP 3006 or 308 ?????

It is a no no in 308. Stick to 30-06 ap

Couldn't the projectiles be pulled and loaded to 308? I have pondered doing this once I get set up for reloading, possibly late fall.


Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:24:33 AM EDT
7.62x51MM Armor Piercing 7/16" plate,500 yards. Went clean through.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:42:00 AM EDT
This is really cool thank you for sharing these awesome tests! I am a huge fan of 5.45x39 so this is really cool to see.
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