After nearly 40 years Cooper finally lost me.


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thatguy
October 4, 2005, 12:56 PM
I have been reading Jeff Cooper's opinions since 1968 and I thought he was right much of the time. Even when I disagreed I still respected his accomplishments. But sometimes he says things that are pretty out there and he sometimes mistakes his opinions for cold hard facts.

Well, in his current piece in Guns & Ammo he dismisses the 5.56 by sarcastically stating that 3 rounds to the upper chest seems to do the trick.

Now, I know there's an on-going argument over the .30 caliber service rifle versus the .223 caliber and the defenders of the .30 caliber are quite strenuous in their opinions. But the 5.56 has done what the military wanted. They wanted a short-range (most engagements occur at 300 yards or less, usually much less) round that offered more rounds per the pound than the 7.62 so the troops could carry more ammo and had less recoil. This was needed due to the rise in numbers of women soldiers and male recruits who grew up in cities with no shooting experience and were cowed by full-power rifles.

The statistics I have seen suggest that the 5.56 is something like 95-97% effective in stopping a target with one torso hit. I know for sure that I don't want to get hit by one. Note that the new military calibers developed around the world after the 5.56 have gone even smaller, not bigger. If there was wide spread failure with the 5.56 I think the military would be addressing the issue. For the most part the strategists seen satisfied with its performance even if some individuals are not.

Perhaps these enemy soldiers Cooper speaks of were hit with bursts and that's why the U.S. soldiers report it took 3 hits. Maybe the effect would have been the same with a single hit in most cases but they were firing 3 round bursts and reported that's what it took to put them down. I dunno.

No doubt the .30 caliber shoots farther, hits harder, and penetrates hard targets better. But I think it a mistake to dismiss the 5.56 for its intended purpose and Cooper finally irked me with his attitude.

I guess I could get even by telling him that I routinely carry a DA 9MM and feel fine with an AR15 as a defensive rifle. That would really piss him off.

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1911user
October 4, 2005, 12:59 PM
He's old and opinionated and unlikely to change; agree or ignore at your pleasure. He certainly won't care what you think.

Derby FALs
October 4, 2005, 01:11 PM
But the 5.56 has done what the military wanted.

Not necessarily the poor sap that is stuck with it. :what:

orangeninja
October 4, 2005, 01:13 PM
Personally I am not a fan of the 5.56 caliber at all....I find it ironic that the big and slow 1911 guys also tend to be fast and small 5.56 guys...but let me just say I have never shot anyone with a 5.56 or ANYTHING for that matter so my opinion is nil....unless I have conducted research.


HOWEVER....I work with a died in the wool Vietnam vet who was in the 1st Cav. right after the whole LZ Albany fiasco and his take on a 5.56 is much like Coopers. During his first firefight engagement, his rifle locked up tight and he spent the entire firefight un-jamming his weapon. Again he noticed time and time again when an enemy would be hit with a round, he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever...the round simply did not do what it was hyped up to do. The thinking behind the M16 as it was presented to him and his fellow troops was (more lead in the air + dense woodland or jungle = much higher body count). Stopping power had nothing to do with it.

He has a very, very low opinion of the 5.56. He used to watch with envy when soldiers from SF would carry Grease Guns or M2 Carbines. His platoon leader blackmailed a Marine into giving him his M14 and the vet I am speaking of ditched the M16 in favor of a single shot grenade launcher and a .45.

Another Nam vet I know was in the Marines with an M14 and aside from being heavy, never had a problem with it. And as he put it, he was living in mud for a year.

Jeff Cooper may be just relating his experience.

As for training women and city boys...I'm going to have to emphatically disagree with you there. During WW2 everyone got a 30.06, .45 Tommy gun or an M1 Carbine for the most part. The military trains soldiers irrespective of their individual backgrounds...to think that they would look for an "all accommodating" rifle is kind of silly.

As for the effectiveness of the modern 5.56 I am quite sure it has improved a lot...however it seems to be trying to "fix" a problem that didn't exist prior to the 5.56 adoption, thus the frustration of many.

Personally if given the choice between a 5.56 or a 12ga. when on duty, I'll take the 12ga.

Bwana John
October 4, 2005, 01:19 PM
He's old and opinionated and unlikely to change; agree or ignore at your pleasure.

I even take pleasure in flat out disagreeing about 15% of the time. As he gets older it is getting to be more like 20%

About the .30 cal thing I do tend to agree with "The Guru", however. While this is based on shooting animals other that human I do believe that the compairison is valid. The .223/5.56 is not even legal to hunt big game with in most states.

444
October 4, 2005, 01:53 PM
Cooper was in the military back when the .30 rifle was still being used. That is what his experience is with.
When I was at my last Gunsite class, I asked him personally what he thought about the M16 and he gave me a few cute comments but finished by saying that dispite all that, it seems to be working; at least for the Marines. :rolleyes:

On the other hand, a number of the Gunsite instructors have used the M16 in combat and/or as members of law enforcement. NONE of them have any problem with the M16/5.56 at all (that I talked to about it). They also have the advantage of having thousands of students come through their classes every year including many soldiers from elite military units. Thus they also get to hear plenty of first hand experiences in the course of their day.

One problem with these stories you read on the internet: "I know some guy who used one that thought it was crap...........". We don't know the guy in the story. We don't know what kind of experiences he has had. We don't know what he is comparing anything to. On and on and on. The point I guess I am making is that every combat vet is not an expert in terminal ballistics. Everyone who ever survived a gun fight is not an expert in gun fighting. Every combat vet doesn't know everything there is to know about combat. This should be obvious if for no other reason than the fact that combat vets disagree on many subjects.

Tom C.
October 4, 2005, 02:06 PM
If the 5.56 is so hot, who all the interest in the 6.8mm? Why bring the M-14s back for designated marksmen? I understand we are sending some federal cops over to the war zones, and because the enemy isn't a uniformed soldier of a nation state, we can use expanding ammo. Saw a thing from a cop with an M-4 with JHP ammo that seemed to work fine, but he said the military using ball were having problems.
5.56 is from the mentality of wounding a soldier, rather than putting him down. We can all have opinions, but the military is stuck with what it has: 5.56 and 9mm, both of which historically have been short of stopping power.

pcf
October 4, 2005, 02:25 PM
Again he noticed time and time again when an enemy would be hit with a round, he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever...the round simply did not do what it was hyped up to do.

The other side of the story, Americans didn't just role over, and die or give-up when hit with 7.62 rounds. 5.56 rounds not getting the job must be sigh that the cartridge is weak, 7.62 rounds not getting it done, must be??????

The thinking behind the M16 as it was presented to him and his fellow troops was (more lead in the air + dense woodland or jungle = much higher body count). Stopping power had nothing to do with it.

That's was nothing new to Vietnam. The importance of a fighting units ability to mass fires has been around since the British employed the longbow.
Marine machine gunners on Iwo Jima
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-1/574869/IWOMachinegun.jpg

444
October 4, 2005, 02:30 PM
"Again he noticed time and time again when an enemy would be hit with a round, he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever...the round simply did not do what it was hyped up to do. "

I had a very well known firearms instructor tell me a very similar story about him shooting a guy in Vietnam with an M14. In fact, what is really funny about hearing these stories is that one is exactly the opposite of the other. This guy (you would recognize the name) didn't like the 7.62 because it doesn't tumble, doesn't expand: just puts a hole though the target. He would prefer the 5.56 every time. And he has been in combat using both weapons and actually shot people with both weapons.

Again, you can't base much on one story or rumor.

"If the 5.56 is so hot, who all the interest in the 6.8mm? "
Interest by whom ? The internet gun forum crowd ?

raz-0
October 4, 2005, 02:42 PM
If the 5.56 is so hot, who all the interest in the 6.8mm?

Well, i can only tell you the source of my interest in 6.8mm. I purchased an ar-10 in 308. Later I purchased an ar-15 in 5.56. I liked the longer range accuracy and oomph of the ar-10 for some activities, but I LOVED the better balance, plethora of accessories, and shorter receiver of the ar-15.

I've plunked down over $1200 on the ar-10, and it is still a work in progress, so the idea of an intermediate round that I could plop a different upper on my ar-15 lower and still enjoy the ranges I have access too like it was a .308 seemed like a very cool idea.

Correia
October 4, 2005, 02:51 PM
Well, just keep in mind that Cooper comes from a day when people usually got shot with 30-06 or 8mm Mauser.

As much as I like the .223, I don't think I would argue that it is superior to a 30-06 in the "messing stuff up" category. :)

thereisnospoon
October 4, 2005, 03:22 PM
WE love him...and sometimes we hate him, but mostly he's correct (right).

IIRC, there was another cartridge between the .30cal and the 5.56 during the time when the War Dept or whomever was debating change...the British actually had a rather impressive rifle/carteidge combo in .280 (IIRC, someone throw me a bone).

While I agree my 20 rd. M1A mags a re "heavy" when they are full, I'd rather carry the extra than trust inferior ballistics.

Again, that my opinion as I have never shot anyone or humped across the jungle on a patrol (and don't intend to...)

Edit: Found it http://world.guns.ru/assault/as59-e.html

Sunray
October 4, 2005, 03:30 PM
"...doesn't expand..." Neither does a 5.56 FMJ ball round.
Cooper is nuts, but at least he's entertaining.

444
October 4, 2005, 03:32 PM
"Well, just keep in mind that Cooper comes from a day when people usually got shot with 30-06 or 8mm Mauser."

And many of them lived to tell about it. Andy many of them didn't go down, kept getting up etc. Sounds kind of familiar doesn't it ?

One of my parent's neighbor's got hosed down with an MG42. Last I heard, he was still alive.

I wonder......no, it couldn't be, but I still have to wonder if maybe the internet cammandos are wrong. I know this is crazy, but sometimes I can't help but think that maybe there is no magic sword. Maybe people get shot and live, get shot and don't cease hostilities immediately, get shot and shoot back.................no matter what small arm they get shot with.
Naw, that's crazy. The internet commandos said so.
Before I realized they had all the answers, I didn't realize that the grass was always greener on the other side of the fence, and the definition of an expert was anybody that lived over 50 miles away. Afterall, whatever cartridge/weapon we used to use is better than the one we use now. Any cartridge/weapon that we might use in the future is better than the one we use now. Any cartridge/weapon used by another country/was used by another country/will be used by another country is better than the one we have.
But, then I drank the koolaide and realized they were right.

Mulliga
October 4, 2005, 03:44 PM
He used to watch with envy when soldiers from SF would carry Grease Guns or M2 Carbines.

.45 ACP and .30 carbine are even worse than 5.56.

Cooper has his biases, as we all do. Personally, I use a 5.56 AR as a house gun, but I certainly don't plan on making any shots greater than 200 yards with it - it's a carbine round, after all.

mtnbkr
October 4, 2005, 03:53 PM
And many of them lived to tell about it.
My wife's Grandfather is one. In fact, the Italian doctor that tried to patch him up did more damage than the bullet.

Chris

Warner
October 4, 2005, 03:53 PM
I'll side with Mr. Cooper on this one, and most others. I've seen his advice and opinions substantiated far longer and more often than anyone else I can think of.

I dismiss the 5.56 round mostly due to it's "maybe will .... maybe won't" work nature. I just don't like those odds and I'm content to understand that better options exist.

The 5.56 is quite far from a good, general-use pick for a long arm intended for serious circumstances, but so many still choose it to fill that category.

:confused:

Maybe even more Cooper is needed?


W

MechAg94
October 4, 2005, 03:54 PM
Mabye we have stumbled on a good use for the Guantanamo Bay detainees......testing. :evil:

RomanKnight
October 4, 2005, 04:26 PM
"he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever" -as opposed to falling down and laying there, not moving, not fighting back. There's a difference there: yeah, people hit with 30 cal bullets survived, when having proper medical care, but how many continued to fight, run, or whatever? While many hit with 5.56mm continued to fight back, run, whatever -the Errornet is full of such stories. There's the difference: stopping (or not) the bad guys from doing the bad things they were doing in the first place, that made us shoot them in the first place. Which one is better?

Correia
October 4, 2005, 04:49 PM
444, are you calling me an internet commando?

Ouch.

All I was trying to say is that 30-06 and 8mm Mauser do more damage than a .223. Yes, people have lived through all of them, and .50, and 20mm, and having their legs blown off by a 155. When they do it on our side we give them medals. :)

mustanger98
October 4, 2005, 05:04 PM
About the .30 cal thing I do tend to agree with "The Guru", however. While this is based on shooting animals other that human I do believe that the compairison is valid. The .223/5.56 is not even legal to hunt big game with in most states.

I like my .30calibers too. But I also like my .223/5.56 (Mini-14) for what it does for me. I've never killed a man and hope I never have to. However, I am a deer hunter. I've seen the results of .243Win. and .30caliber (.30-30 and .30-06) on deer. In Georgia .223Rem. is legal for deer, but I wouldn't use it because hunting ammo for this caliber is geared towards varmints, not heavier animals.

roo_ster
October 4, 2005, 05:09 PM
5.56mm may be adequate for its current roles (rifle/carbine & SAW), but I don't think it can be argued that 7.62NATO (or .30-06 or 8x57 or .303Brit) are not more powerful rounds, however you might define "more powerful." While 5.56mm is legal here in Texas for big game, in most states it is not. Sure, it can get a kill, but the margin for error is miniscule, relative to the .308Win & similar rounds.

If you think the 5.56mm is good-to-go, how do you explain the adoption of the M240 GPM when we already had the M249 SAW in the inventory? Replace all the old M60 MGs with SAWs and call it a day. Could it be that the 7.62NATO round has a more effective range and greater wounding poential? Why has the M14 made a comeback in certain roles? Could it be that the 5.56mm is not adequate for a rifleman, especially one who can shoot well? (I will grant that a poor marksman is adequately armed with any weapon down to a board with a nail in it.)

Too Many Choices!?
October 4, 2005, 05:14 PM
I got bored one day and had these citronella candles lying around(the ones in a little tin buckets). I shot one with my AR-15 pistol at about 30yds, using American Eagle 55gr sp .223 round and the 2" hole all the way through would lead me to think that outta any barrel longer than 10" you are in trouble out to 150 yds or more(depending on barrel length) :scrutiny:. If I am forced to use FMJ then bigger is better, but since I am not forced to use FMJ then JHP, SP,frangible, and even Ballistic tips offer so much more over FMJ rounds it ain't even a fair comparison except for 55gr m193 out of an M-16 length barrel :evil: :D ...

Hawkmoon
October 4, 2005, 05:25 PM
As for the effectiveness of the modern 5.56 I am quite sure it has improved a lot...
Actually, it has gotten worse.

According to the Ammo Oracle at ar15.com, any effectiveness the 5.56 round has (in military ball ammo form) comes from the fact that the bullet tumbles when it strikes the target, and the tumbling causes the jacket to fragment. But it requires a minimum velocity of about 2700 fps for this to occur.

To improve range and penetration, the 55-gr round that I used in Vietnam has been replaced by a heavier 62-gr round. It carries a bit farther, but the muzzle velocity is less than that of the 55-gr round. Fragmentation is still possible out to maybe 200 meters with a regular M16 that has a 20" barrel, but when the heavier round is combined with the 14.5" M4 barrels, the velocity to make the round effective isn't there much beyond 75 meters.

It is the military that is pushing for a 6.8mm round. Some of the special operation groups in Iraq and Afghanistan have given up on the 62-grain round and are now using bullets up around 77-gr to deliver more energy on target. The proposed 6.8mm round provides a bit more punch than the 5.56 can deliver while maintaining other advantages of the 5.56mm platform.

Cooper is right. He is speaking from a military perspective, which means ball ammo only ... no varmint rounds or hunting rounds allowed. From that perspective, the 5.56mm is inadequate. Better than nothing, to be sure, and I confess that I would prefer not to be shot with one. But there are better alternatives.

thatguy
October 4, 2005, 05:26 PM
I repeat, the .30 is better at long range, hits harder at any range, and has greater penetration. Nobody is disputing the sueriority of the larger caliber.

But what the military wanted was a lighter round so the troops could carry a greater number of them (important when every trooper or grunt has a full-auto weapon) that recoiled less. One reply dismissed this last but it has been noted many times that in recent years fewer and fewer recruits show up with any shooting experience. These people tend to be recoil sensitive and do better with smaller caliber rifles.

I would also add that the 5.56 does what it was meant to do. It was meant to be a short range anti-personnel round. Stories of enemy soldiers continuing to fight after being hit don't surprise me. I've heard similar stories by WW II vets about Japanese soldiers taking hits from the .30-06 Garand and continuing to fight. I heard a story about a cop who took six .357s in the chest and took the gun away from his attacker and nearly beat him to death with it. A buddy who was in the 82nd in Vietnam tells the story of a guy who was nearly cut in half by a 23MM round. He continued shooting his rifle one-handed as he held his intestines in with the other until dragged away by other members of his unit and carried off to find medical aid. Nothing is sure-fire.

I would feel fine with a 5.56 rifle.

Too Many Choices!?
October 4, 2005, 05:37 PM
and back it up with the S.A.W. gunner/s firing the linked 62 gr penetrator ammo, best of both worlds :). Coop is still getting old :uhoh: ...

444
October 4, 2005, 05:43 PM
:neener:
:D

atblis
October 4, 2005, 05:52 PM
I think the preference noted above for the grease gun and m1 carbine had more to do with the fact that they actually worked (not the cartridge they fired).

The military is constantly looking for new stuff (things to spend money on), and trying to hang on tooth and nail to their old stuff. It's conflicted, and sometimes the man in the field gets screwed. This happens when you have business interests running things, and consumer free will does not exist.

The training thing I think has more to do with accountants (not the people doing the training). 5.56 is cheaper to make, easier to train with (in theory less time and ammo required = less $$$).

We've more or less covered both extremes, and now we are headed back towards the middle (where the truth most likely lies). I am all for the 6.5 or 6.8. Though I must admit, extremes can be very fun. :evil:

Correia
October 4, 2005, 06:14 PM
444, man, that is cold...

:p

Dienekes
October 4, 2005, 06:23 PM
I started reading Jeff Cooper over 45 years ago because he wrote well and made a lot of sense most of the time. I don't always have the same interests and don't always agree with him--but if you're going to contest the ground you had better have your homework done.

I first got acquainted with the M-16 courtesy of Uncle when it was a brand new notion. Compared to the M2 carbine I had up till then it was a real improvement, but I always felt that it was not quite up to the job. My last real dealing with it was a CAR-15 which had its niche as an evil-looking raid gun but had distinct limitations as a rifle.

I have humped the FAL, M1 Garand, M14 and M1A and always felt that the .30 cal was going to take better care of me whatever the circumstances.

Fell into a few bucks recently and was mildly tempted to replace the CAR in a fit of nostalgia--but in truth the SKS behind the seat of the pickup is probably just about as good for a 200 yard carbine--and a lot cheaper to own and operate.

Just sprung for a Smith Enterprises setup for the M1A so that probably qualifies as a vote of confidence.

Thank God we get to discuss, choose, and use our weapons of choice. There are lots of places where this exchange would not even occur.

Rob1035
October 4, 2005, 08:04 PM
Thank God we get to discuss, choose, and use our weapons of choice. There are lots of places where this exchange would not even occur.

That is one of the better quotes I've seen in awhile, on any board. Bravo :cool:

Sam
October 4, 2005, 10:15 PM
Speaking of weapons that work well, anyone notice all the empties behind that Browning in pcf's post on page1? Not just brass but cans too.
You ain't gonna do that with no stinking M60 :D

Sam

No_Brakes23
October 4, 2005, 11:00 PM
it seems to be working; at least for the Marines. Damn right! :D

mustanger98
October 5, 2005, 12:33 AM
Hmm, WONDER why 223 AR's win all the matches,

(including those held at 600 yds) if the 308 is so 'superior"? In fact, the 223 does aok at 1000 yds these days.

Okay, this part sounds like Sybil. That you Sybil? Where'd you park your assault wheelbarrow?

Risasi
October 5, 2005, 08:56 AM
You know I used to wade into these arguments. But over time I realized some things;

A. We can all choose our caliber, (unless we're armed forces). So none of this should be taken too seriously.

B. There is always at least one advantage or disadvantage to whatever caliber is in question. And sometimes a certain characteristic to a bullet is both. (i.e. poor penetration and fragmentation of the 5.56 is very handy in urban areas)

C. Most all arguments about the weakness of certain rounds evaporate if you hit what you're aiming. Aim small, miss small. Practice, practice, practice.

D. Grow to have confidence in your weapon of choice, and a man has to know his limitations.

Personally I own multiple calibers, on multiple weapons platforms. And I have familiarized myself with as many guns as I can. AR vs. AK? 5.56 vs. 7.62? Me I don't care any more. I just geeked out on as much data as I could and I don't sweat the small stuff.

El Rojo
October 5, 2005, 09:42 AM
Add one more case of hearing a reliable Vietnam combat vet shooting a "enemy soldier" (not really the term he said) with his M60 several times, hearing the rounds slap into him, and the "enemy soldier" kept on running. I don't think it matters what you use, sometimes living creatures just want to keep living. Heck I shot a deer two weeks ago with my .30-06 right in the vitals. He ran down the hill, across the road, and back up the other hill about 20 yards. I didn't figure the .30-06 was ineffective. I actually figured it was more effective because that put the deer closer to the road than where I originally shot him!!! :evil:

The point is, sometimes life wants to continue. Now eventually biology catches up and when your heart and lungs are mush and the adrenaline wears off, life loses the battle. It might not happen right away, but it happens. Carry a 16 inch gun or a tactical nuke if you want one stop shots all the time. Good luck.

Byron
October 5, 2005, 09:43 AM
I was infantry In Nam (4th Inf Div) 68-69.The 16's we had worked well as changes had been made to the powder etc. One hit to an NVA was devistating and usually lethal. I never had an NVA get back up. The round we carried was the M193.The rifle and cartridge served me well. Byron

justashooter
October 5, 2005, 06:05 PM
read Blackhawk Down again. participants in this conflict indicated a lot of "skinnys" took multiples from M4. the M4 does not acheive velocity high enough to overstabilize and cause yaw in soft tissue less than 14".

twist is also a factor, as well as the specific cartridge designation/bullet design. a lot of the surp 556 you see available was rotated out in favour of a bullet design that gave faster yaw.

Luchtaine
October 5, 2005, 06:16 PM
There was a vietnam vet at the range the other day he qualified on the M14 and said he loved the rifle he didn't much care for M16. I let him have a go with my M1a especially since he helped me figure out how I was grouping.

Anyways he was out there with a .50 cal I think he is a member of the bigger is better crowd maybe :D

natedog
October 5, 2005, 06:48 PM
If the 5.56 is so hot, who all the interest in the 6.8mm? Why bring the M-14s back for designated marksmen? I understand we are sending some federal cops over to the war zones, and because the enemy isn't a uniformed soldier of a nation state, we can use expanding ammo. Saw a thing from a cop with an M-4 with JHP ammo that seemed to work fine, but he said the military using ball were having problems.

The (extremely limited) military interest in 6.8mm stems from a request from one or two special forces type units who wanted greater range out of their issue rifles, because they often operate without the luxury of air support/artillery/etc.

Burt Blade
October 5, 2005, 09:57 PM
This whole tiny bullet craze is silly. Everyone knows that if you want to put a foe down, you use a _real_ rifle, the .45-70. Those .30-06 kiddy rifles are a passing fad. So is that "smokeless" stuff. :D

mustanger98
October 5, 2005, 10:00 PM
This whole tiny bullet craze is silly. Everyone knows that if you want to put a foe down, you use a _real_ rifle, the .45-70. Those .30-06 kiddy rifles are a passing fad. So is that "smokeless" stuff.

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Kurt
October 5, 2005, 11:54 PM
Cooper was seldom a fan of the small stuff, even with the shooting games.

In the current direction of this thread, I see a whole bunch of folk with other ideas.

Alternately, I get two general thrusts from them; either they are trying way too hard to legitimize their choice with all manner of "feel good" verse and/or just sorta whistling past the graveyard while they seem to know (deep down) that there are better choices available.

No drama, but one day any of our chosen caliber/platform choices could be put into a competitive life and death challenge, and I hope we all would do well. But the BG's (inclusive) usually lack proper dedication in these areas, so they gravitate towards the smaller pistol and rifle calibers because those are the ones that are more pleasing to their senses and commensurate to their abilities.

Common sense and a bit of ballistic smarts will go a long, long way for the more serious among us to be where we should.


:)

mcmjr
October 6, 2005, 12:12 AM
We should give all our troops steyr scouts.

CaesarI
October 6, 2005, 12:18 AM
Cooper's been complaining about the 5.56 for quite some time now. Why quit on'em now?

As for the 5.56... bullet design is just more important than muzzle energy and caliber. The US Military versions of the 5.56 all fragment and actually do more damage to a human target (within their fragmentation range) than the old 7.62mm ball. In this sense, Cooper is very mistaken in supporting the 7.62. On the other hand, Cooper also has experience hunting, and in this field, where expanding rounds are the norm, the 7.62 is without a doubt superior to the 5.56.

Given equal bullet design, the 7.62 is a superior cartridge in terms of making a hostile human target stop immediately.

Despite all this, placement is more important. Cooper (from what I've gathered in his writings) would likely favor marksmen with 5.56's than poorly trained shooters with 7.62's. If you interpret differently, feel free to share.

The better compromise, in terms of rounds carried, and power appears to the the 6.8 SPC, but who knows if it will ever be adopted.

-Morgan

Hawkmoon
October 6, 2005, 12:37 AM
As for the 5.56... bullet design is just more important than muzzle energy and caliber. The US Military versions of the 5.56 all fragment and actually do more damage to a human target (within their fragmentation range) than the old 7.62mm ball. In this sense, Cooper is very mistaken in supporting the 7.62.
You are correct to a point -- the military rounds (M193 and M855) fragment if they have sufficient velocity to tumble on impact. The Ammo Oracle pegs the magic number as 2700 fps for this to occur, and with a standard 20" barrel even the M855 can generate that velocity out to a couple or thre hundred meters.

However, put the same ammo in an M4 with only a 14-1/2" barrel and the maximum range that will carry that velocuty drops to less than 100 meters -- more like 75 to 90 meters IIRC.

Mulliga
October 6, 2005, 12:42 AM
Common sense and a bit of ballistic smarts will go a long, long way for the more serious among us to be where we should.

:rolleyes:

444
October 6, 2005, 01:13 AM
Since you are giving them out, give one to me.
I would love to have one.

The Tourist
October 6, 2005, 02:27 AM
Perhaps it's not the topic, but the man.

I'm 55, and I'm coming to terms with the fact that while I'm healthy (I go to the gym everyday) and still enjoy riding my Harley, to most of the world I'm an older gentleman. And I've always seen odd stuff done in life by guys I refer to as "brain donors."

But I've also grown impatient with mistakes and foolishness that I've seen done over and over again by different segments of society, each thinking they are breaking new ground. I mean, sheez Louise, whether you call it hard rock, metal, gangsta rap, or grunge it's still some guy screaming angst into a microphone despite that his only plight has been living with his parents. Man, I could run my home for a year on all the power his amphifiers waste.

But unlike the common citizen, the older guy is just sick of keeping quiet. He's endured threats, broken bones, disease, failed relationships, financial woes and piss-poor customer service. You cannot scare him, but then, you cannot fool him, either.

I've handloaded the .223 for some 30 years. I've used FMJ, Nosler Ballistic tips, commercial loads and every type of gunpowder you can shake, meter, drop or rub into your belly button. And sometimes with a custom crafted flat-top Colt AR-15, I am drop-dead astounded by its accuracy.

But let's cut the crap about "wounds to the thorax." If you are hit with a .22LR or a 25 ACP you feel pain, you bleed and you'll probably need life saving surgery before you recover--after weeks of discomfort and therapy--if you survive.

You're driving hot cupro-nickel wrapped lead into another human being. What the hell did you think was going to happen?

Cosmoline
October 6, 2005, 02:35 AM
Cooper is right. With FMJ ammunition from carbines in particular the vaunted explosive impact of the 5.56 is hit or miss--mostly miss. Relying on complete bullet failure is a shameful excuse for a proper full power rifle round with proper bullets. And it costs lives and puts many others at risk.

"Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak - after Prosser landed three nearly point blank shots in the man's abdomen, splattering a testicle with a fourth, the man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser."

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17063176-43e6075b-76337

The US Military versions of the 5.56 all fragment and actually do more damage to a human target

WRONG. NONE of the military's 5.56 are frag rounds. That is, none of them are designed to self-destruct on impact. Out of a full size rifle the bullets on some of the ball rounds will tend to fail at close range, but that's not the same as a true fragmenting or expanding round. Not by a longshot.

More important than any particular cartridge, we should once and for all declare that we no longer adhere to the absolutely absurd, outmoded and dangerous restrictions of the Hague Convention on essentially any kind of bullet designed after 1900. There's a century of bullet advances we DENY to our guys on the front line out of some truly bizarre allegiance to a bunch of Eurocrat nutjobs who thought dum dum bullets unsportsmanlike but had no problem with howitzers the size of a house, poison gas or mass charges into Maxims. :fire: :mad:

MK11
October 6, 2005, 10:08 AM
Re-read Blackhawk Down, particularly the part where one of the participants fires multiple .30 caliber bursts into a skinny old man before he goes down. Will post specific page number later.

Mulliga
October 6, 2005, 10:14 AM
We've commented on that Michael Yon blog post before, IIRC. Bad form to shoot a guy in the stomach and testicles and expect him to go down, with any caliber.

The Freeholder
October 6, 2005, 10:23 AM
I have a marked personal preference for older (and larger) calibers. My prefered are .45 and 30-06, but I' learning to like 7.62x51 and to tolerate certain 9 mm loadings.

That said, here's my take. Any gun you can handle and have confidence in is better than no gun at all. Caliber is important, but not overriding. Shot placement is the single most important factor in stopping someone/thing.

That's why I practice marksmanship, and I'm teaching my kids the same way.

AirForceShooter
October 6, 2005, 01:00 PM
444:
if you talk to a "Combat Vet" and he tells you he's never had a problem with a 16 he's never been in combat.
30 years of on and off combat taught me get an M-14 or and AK, FAST.
The .223 sucks as a killer.
Yeah i'm an old guy. I learned what works by screwing up.

AFS

Byron
October 6, 2005, 01:28 PM
AirForceShooter. My prior post indicated I had no problems with my 16 and you say I was never on combat. MOS 11B,D Co,3/8th INF,4th Inf Div 68-69.
I am a completley disabled vet due to combat in Nam and resent your lousy attitude. Do Google search on 947. I do not know what you did in the AF and appreciate what your duty was but I do know what my duty was. We cleaned our 16's. Any infantryman in any war would do so with his rifle.
Byron Adams

Jeff White
October 6, 2005, 02:16 PM
AirForceShooter,
Were you a PJ, Combat Controller or Security Forces? Those are the only three career fields in the Air Force where people have a chance of seeing ground combat. The number of Airmen in those fields who have actually been in a firefight has to be pretty small.

Where would someone in the Air Force even get an M14? IIRC the Air Force never adopted it, going straight from the M2 Carbine to the M16.

I think that if you were to poll the hundreds of thousands of Army and Marine combat vets who've used the M16 series, you'd find it's not exactly unloved.

Jeff
US Army 06 Dec 74 - 31 Oct 03 11B4HQ8 - 13B50

Moonclip
October 6, 2005, 05:45 PM
Right, my dad saw combat in the Army in Vietnam and he said his M16 never gave him any problems if kept clean. This was in 1971 though and he must have had one of the "improved" guns with the correct ammo.

My great uncle in mid 1960's in VN and Korea DMZ though preferred the M14, not so much for reliabilty, but for the higher caliber.

Cosmoline
October 6, 2005, 06:54 PM
Bad form to shoot a guy in the stomach and testicles and expect him to go down, with any caliber.

You think he would have had that much fight in him after three rounds at point blank from a Garand or M-14? I don't. Even with crappy FMJ bullets.

pcf
October 6, 2005, 08:17 PM
One of the worst things you can do in combat is to assume away enemy capability. The only safe assumption to make when expecting one rifle will kill the enemy better than another, is that your ass is going to end up in a sling.

During the Civil War tactics had not evolved to the level of weapons. Close range combat with long range weapons. They were using .58 caliber muskets, firing soft lead minie balls. Still the majority of the dead/disabled came from disease and infection. And many men on both sides continued the fight after being injured in battle.

The Civil War, Philippinnes, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam all tell a similar story about small arms in combat, they SUCK at killing.
Guns don't kill people, HE and WP kill people.

AirForceShooter
October 6, 2005, 08:17 PM
for your info Combat Controller (First Air Commando Group) assigned to the First Aussie Task Force. in Xuan Loc. 1967-68
I saw way too many men over their 16's
Mine was a piece of crap. it didn't even have the forward bolt assist let alone a cleaning kit. Kills me that Curtis LeMay was responsible for it's acquisition.
If you read what I wrote it was the the .223 sucks as a man killer. I hate the 16 but it's round is what gets people killed. and we had full auto's if you remember.
As for picking up an M-14, that was the easy part. It always has been.
The Aussies had FAL's and would kill for a M-14.
Since then I simply don't trust the 16 and never will.

You don't like that I don't agree with you that's ok but don't tell me I'm full of it.

Have a nice day

AFS

VG
October 6, 2005, 09:57 PM
I have been reading Jeff Cooper's opinions since 1968 and I thought he was right much of the time. Even when I disagreed I still respected his accomplishments. But sometimes he says things that are pretty out there and he sometimes mistakes his opinions for cold hard facts.
Maybe the tinfoil in his helmet was too tight that day?

Sam
October 6, 2005, 10:41 PM
Jeff,
Not going to start an interservice urinating contest, but I am going to disagree with you mightily on what AFSC's in the AF "might have a chance of seeing ground combat". That spread is pretty wide. I attended one shootem'up where there were 40 some AF troops in more than 20 AFSCs assigned to the site. No PJ's, no Combat Controllers, 2 Security Forces troops who were off site at the time and were attached to train locals. As I remember the only person who managed to score was an AGE mechanic assigned to service generators and air conditioning units.
There were members of that unit drawing special pay under DoD 1340.9 for 6 of the 7 years I was assigned. Not 1 day of that was in the Middle East. That unit had no M-14ís but did have 225 M16's, 34 M-9's, 8 M60's, 8 M79's, 1 Mk19 and 1 M40 along with a full complement of Claymores, M26's and auths for a bundle of M72's that we never funded.

When my arms room was inventoried before retirement last Nov, the unit had 2 M21's and 2 Barrets besides the usual complement of 16's, M4's, M9's, 203's, M60's and a couple of shotguns. There were two unfilled auths for M14's and 2 McMillan 50ís on order as of 1 Nov 2004. Canít say about now. That was a Wing/Base level Civil Engineering unit. It had personnel in the gulf assigned to infantry organizations from 2002 to at least last week.


There is a lot of difference between what is listed in the book as assigned duties and what your duties are.

Sam

mustanger98
October 6, 2005, 10:42 PM
them:
Feed a good AR good softpoints, and it will be at least a good a manstopper as any 308 using ball ammo, and you can do more by being 15 lbs lighter, or having 15 lbs more of useful gear, instead of pointless guns-ammo wt.

Are you taking into account the lugged bolt face and chamber mouth? A former Marine (served during the '80's) advised me not to be shooting SP's in a AR15 because they're liable to hang up there.

FWIW, I can run SP's in my M1 Garand- I've done it- and be that much more effective over the mousegun. :cool: And I chose a heavier rifle for a reason- recoil reduction (partly in the gas system) with the advantages of the full power cartridge. I don't consider that pointless.

Too Many Choices!?
October 7, 2005, 11:37 PM
You expect people to not use sp ammo in an AR-15, simply because a former marine friend of yours oesn't think it works reliably? Sounds logical to me :scrutiny:... Have you personally ever shot an AR-15 with soft point ammo? I have, and it worked just fine. Side note: Our SWAT officers around here use American Eagle Soft Points, exclusively in their AR-15 :). Second, I take issue with your adding in the fact that this is second hand info, but since it is from,"Former Marine", it is to carry more weight with it :scrutiny: . I don't know if this guy could tell a charging handle from an ejection port, as many people have no clue what they are talking about. No disrespect intended, just my opinion having used SP in my Bushmaster M4 and MP15-ARpistol :evil:. YMMV

PS-Soft point means-soft. The soft lead(or whatever metal) will usually deform a little rather than,"hang up", or atleast this is my experience with the American Eagle SP after having chambered, and then ejecting an unfired round. I did have some hunting .223 rounds hang up to the point that the bullet re-seated itself half way into the case :eek: ...The few left were loaded manually as I can't stand wasting ammo, lol.

mustanger98
October 8, 2005, 01:46 AM
You expect people to not use sp ammo in an AR-15, simply because a former marine friend of yours oesn't think it works reliably?... ...Second, I take issue with your adding in the fact that this is second hand info, but since it is from,"Former Marine", it is to carry more weight with it

I personally don't expect anybody to do one way or the other. That's not what my post was about. I said that was the advise I was given. Take it for what it's worth. I don't know whether the guy would be counted among my friends or not had we had a longer association either. You did say "YMMV".

AirForceShooter
October 8, 2005, 05:45 PM
Thanks Sam.
and remember we never discuss those "other detachments" do we.

AFS

Byron
October 8, 2005, 07:28 PM
Sam and Shooter, Know I take nothing away from your service.I had a friend that was an AP in Nam and did things outside his MOS. I was infantry as previouly indicated.We were in Cambodia in 68-69 and fought Chinese Nung.
I saw a lot of combat w/my 16 and my opinions have been expressed already so do not judge me based upon an assumption you have. I am attaching a web site that was made by our Recon Sgt.It shows day to day life of a line infantry company and some more recent pictures. Byron

http://members2.clubphoto.com/richard214473/guest-1.phtml

bobhaverford
October 8, 2005, 07:43 PM
Byron,

Thanks for the pics. I enjoyed them. Your pictures make the entire experience almost look enjoyable - assuming you survived. I dodged the bullet with a high draft number.

Byron
October 8, 2005, 10:24 PM
Bob, what the pictures do not show is that we stayed out up to 8 weeks at a time without changing fatiques or taking a bath. March 5th, 69, we went from 140+ men to 34 the next day. The day before A Co was hit harder than us. In a prior post, I referred to 947, the hill it came down on.Do a google search on that. Glad you missed it. Byron

The Real Hawkeye
October 8, 2005, 11:16 PM
While this is based on shooting animals other that human I do believe that the compairison is valid. The .223/5.56 is not even legal to hunt big game with in most states.But those who use it on deer say that it is very effective.

Sam
October 9, 2005, 12:15 AM
What other detachments?

Sam

Cosmoline
October 9, 2005, 02:43 AM
The Civil War, Philippinnes, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam all tell a similar story about small arms in combat, they SUCK at killing.
Guns don't kill people, HE and WP kill people.

All of those wars involved the use of FMJ bullets, which I agree SUCK at killing. I guarantee if we armed our boys with @120 grain Barnes X or high quality SP's in a sweet 6.5mm cartridge at about 2,500 fps... boy howdy. One shot to the gut of a terrorist would paint the wall red and turn his innards into outards. Very nasty, extremely unpleasant to see and nothing an MD let alone a medic could ever fix. Bits of gut, spine, liver and lord knows what all blown out a fist-size exit wound at supersonic speed, not to mention the internal devestation. The Europeans would decry it as "inhumane," but they think we're all war criminals now anyway so who cares? I've seen what proper bullets do to 1,500 lb. bull moose, and it doesn't take much imagination to picture a man's much smaller and more fragile body hit with such an awesome projectile.

We've been killing really, really big animals with PROPER bullets SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO KILL for 100 years. During that same period the military brass has decided to keep using primitive and highly inefficient FMJ rounds because they and the politicos who guide them are hidebound idiots. They either don't want to kill the enemy or they just don't care and would rather not rock the 100+ year old canoe called the Hague Convention

Small arms do not suck at killing. FMJ spitzer bullets suck at killing. It's illegal to use them to kill anything bigger than a biscuit.

bobhaverford
October 9, 2005, 09:01 AM
Bob, what the pictures do not show is that we stayed out up to 8 weeks at a time without changing fatiques or taking a bath. March 5th, 69, we went from 140+ men to 34 the next day. The day before A Co was hit harder than us. In a prior post, I referred to 947, the hill it came down on.Do a google search on that. Glad you missed it. Byron

Did the search. Called my wife into my office and we read about the battle for hill 947 together. March of 69 I was a senior in HS without any awareness whatsoever of what was going on over there. My hat is off to you. You guys know the meaning of Esto Vir.

wahsben
October 9, 2005, 07:36 PM
It has been said many times before but I'll say it again. Bullet placement rather than caliber is the determining factor in stopping someone. A 5.56 through the heart is more effective than a 50 to the arm.

thatguy
October 9, 2005, 07:54 PM
Cosmoline and AirForceShooter- You speak of the 5.56 not being a good "man killer" but bear in mind the 5.56 was never meant to kill. Part of the philosophy the military was serving in adopting the smaller caliber was that it was better to wound an enemy than to kill him. I know the individual soldier disagrees and wants any enemy he shoots to be dead, but modern military strategy is that wounding an enemy takes him out of the fight while causing a drain on the enemy resources (the wounded man still needs food and water plus medical care and 1-2 men to carry him). When I have pointed out this wounding strategy in the past some people get very agitated at me for some reason that I never understood. Military planners deal in numbers. They figure a wounded enemy is a bigger drain on the enemy force than is a dead one.

I'm sure that many men gut-shot with a 5.56 don't immediately die, but I doubt that they continue fighting effectively for long.

I repeat my initial point which is that the 5.56 has done what the military (if not all of the individual soldiers) wanted.

PS: It's well known that the early M16s suffered problems, mostly due to the usage of ammo loaded with ball powder. But the M16 and it's variants have served for nearly 40 years. It must be doing SOMETHING right.

bogie
October 9, 2005, 08:07 PM
All I know is that, in the event of society going entirely to crap-city, and me having to use the things, if I hit someone with one of my Nosler or Speer handloads, it's gonna be ugly. From either a .30 caliber or a .22 caliber...

Let's see... I've got 8mm, .300 winmag, .30-06, .308, 7.62x39, a whole buncha 6mm single shot ultraaccurate stuff, various .22 wildcats, a .22-250, and a few .223s... And I load anywhere from 40 grain varmint rounds through 62 grain solids up to a topper of whatever I stuff in the 8mms, which I don't shoot a lot of, so I dismember, so I don't really care. Hmpff.

If you wanna shoot for money, I'll bring one of those wimpy little .243-caliber rifles, pushing 68 grains at about 3400fps...

mustanger98
October 9, 2005, 08:26 PM
All of those wars involved the use of FMJ bullets

They didn't have FMJ's during the un-Civil War. They had cast lead with hollow bases and pointy noses. Minie ball was the hollow base bullet created to grab the rifling in a Yankee rifled musket.

if we armed our boys with @120 grain Barnes X or high quality SP's in a sweet 6.5mm cartridge at about 2,500 fps... ...We've been killing really, really big animals with PROPER bullets SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO KILL for 100 years.

Right. You hit the enemy with a 6-7.62mm bullet running about 2500fps and it's gonna do a number on 'em. A .30-30, being that it's a .308" FN SP bullet in factory loadings, is only running about 22-2300fps and it's been quite deadly on deer. Crank that same bullet up to 2800fps in the .30-06 and I've seen what it'll do to- turns a deer's vitals to mush. In the context of this thread, "bye-bye terrorist."

Regarding thatguy's post on wounding vs. killing, the problem with this line of thinking is that none of our enemies value human life and train for unit cohesion like we do. Think back to the Chinese, North Koreans, and North Vietnamese doing wave attacks. Think back to Dien Bien Phu (sp?) and how the NVese overran the French minefields, using the pointguys to trip the mines, and left their dead and wounded laying there saying "they've lived out their purpose". The only way to deal with that, assuming all you have is smallarms, IMO, is if you have plenty of machineguns. But that wouldn't have helped the French at Dien Bien Phu.

It's well known that the early M16s suffered problems, mostly due to the usage of ammo loaded with ball powder. But the M16 and it's variants have served for nearly 40 years. It must be doing SOMETHING right.

That may not be entirely true if at all. I know some vets who served with both the M14 and M16 and say to the effect that "the only reason the military won't dump the M16 is because they have too much money invested to admit they were wrong."

thatguy
October 10, 2005, 11:14 AM
"That may not be entirely true if at all. I know some vets who served with both the M14 and M16 and say to the effect that 'the only reason the military won't dump the M16 is because they have too much money invested to admit they were wrong.'"

This is contrary to what I have heard. The vets who used the M16 I heard from sometimes didn't like the 5.56 round but I don't recall any really unhappy with the rifle itself. Most written histories of the M16 state that once the ammo was changed from ball powder the jamming problems virtually disappeared.

rbernie
October 10, 2005, 11:30 AM
Mustanger98 - do you truly believe that the bureaucratic intransigence needed to support the "it sucks but nobody wants to fix it" theories could be so pervasive as to span multiple disconnected generations (forty plus years)of political administrations and service command structures? That's a hellova indictment of our political and military structure...

mustanger98
October 11, 2005, 12:25 AM
thatguy:
This is contrary to what I have heard. The vets who used the M16 I heard from sometimes didn't like the 5.56 round but I don't recall any really unhappy with the rifle itself. Most written histories of the M16 state that once the ammo was changed from ball powder the jamming problems virtually disappeared.

Like any other subject, what you hear depends on the experiences of those you're listening to. I know some guys who like .223/5.56mm for varmints and plinking but hate it as a combat round. I also know some guys who either love or hate the M16 series with a passion. Those who hate it say they were on the recieving end of McNamara's folly and know young soldiers and Marines who are now on the same end of McNamara's folly. Ball powder or no ball powder, due to tight tolerances and direct gas impingement, the M16 is a match rifle, and not the combat rifle it's been purported to be. I also suggest you check out Maj. Dick Culver's articles titled "The Saga of the M16 in Vietnam". It still had problems after so much "improvement" and, from 1975 on, hasn't been any lighter than an M14.

rbernie:
do you truly believe that the bureaucratic intransigence needed to support the "it sucks but nobody wants to fix it" theories could be so pervasive as to span multiple disconnected generations (forty plus years)of political administrations and service command structures?

What I see is so many people of those "miltiple disconnected generations" who don't know any better beleiving M16's are the best thing since sliced bread because that's what they issue and it looks mean. Also, I see a little too much of how they play the political games (how the M16 got adopted in the first place) not to beleive "the bureaucratic intransigence needed to support... theories could be so pervasive".

That's a hellova indictment of our political and military structure...

Yup... sure is. Take into account the political finagling with Robert McNamara and them. Then take into account a Commandant of the USMC who said "any officer who badmouths this rifle while I'm in command will never be promoted". There's more and, to my understanding, Culver told a good bit more of it in his articles.

thatguy
October 11, 2005, 12:39 PM
The M16 isn't lighter than an M14???????????

mustanger98
October 11, 2005, 03:25 PM
thatguy:
The M16 isn't lighter than an M14???????????

Nope. Culver covered that in his articles. Used to be the M-16 was about 7-8lbs, which was lighter than an M14. IIRC, about 1975, they started using a heavier barrel and a couple of other modifications that added the weight back on. Plus all that walnut on a Garand or M14 will fool you about the weight differences between them and the M16.

Now I guess we get back around to the ammo weight arguement- whether it's more practical to carry twice as much of a less effective round. Before anybody jumps on how they'd rather spray&pray and wound the enemy to tie up the enemy's resources, consider that the .30-06 and 7.62mm ball ammo will punch through 3' of oak at 500yds and people do hide behind whatever's available. According to Culver, the tests were rigged in favor of the .223/5.56mm- they wouldn't show what a .223 could penetrate at any distance. Culver said he asked them to and they said "that wouldn't make the .223 look good" or something to that effect. What they effectively did was impress the top brass with volume of fire rather than how the round would perform in combat. One of my second cousins is a former Marine and Vietnam vet- he told me the .223 round is not a jungle fighting round and .308 will do the job. His brother was over there a year or two later and told me the M16, while accurate if the shooter is, is not his first choice for a combat weapon.

Cosmoline
October 11, 2005, 03:58 PM
They didn't have FMJ's during the un-Civil War. They had cast lead with hollow bases and pointy noses. Minie ball was the hollow base bullet created to grab the rifling in a Yankee rifled musket.

Those were still non-expanding rounds. The only expanding rounds used in the war were the so-called "exploding" bullets that saw some use. These featured a very small charge of powder in the nose that forced expansion, hopefully prior to impact. The charge itself was too small to do much damage. IIRC Grant commented on the horrifying damage Confederate explosive rounds inflicted on his men at Vicksburg.

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 04:50 PM
From this thread:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=18397&page=5&pp=25&highlight=Culver
Here are my comments on Mr. Culver's articles. They are a mix of fact and legend for instance:

Quote:
The second problem was that ordnance had only enough magazines to issue three (3) per rifle, and they were "twenty rounders". The thirty rounders in those days were only being used by the Special Forces. ď Robert "Strange" McNamara, (The Secretary of Defense), had decreed that the 20 round magazines were more cost effective than the 30 round magazines (this from the guy who was responsible for marketing the Edsel!)


This was in August of 1967 according to the article. The only problem with the statement was that it was 1969 before any 30 round magazines were available for issue. This is according to Ezell and has been verified for me by several vets of that era. Even then, they weren't widely issued. According to Benjamin F. Schemmer's The Raid which is a good history of the Son Tay raid, that even a unit with the priorities that the Task Force selected to take down the Son Tay prison had, had problems aquiring enough 30 round magazines and then, they had no webbing to carry them with. So this part of his story is just barracks talk. The rest of it is a rehash of facts and rumor, nothing is substantiated, footnoted or backed up with any reference.

The section on the effectivness of the 5.56mm round is totally wrong. twist rate and bullet stability..come on Fackler's research was published backin the 80s.

Quote:
The "Meat Ax" Effect:
Yes you say, but what about that fantastic "meat ax" effect that the 5.56mm round has on flesh? Won't the 5.56 mm tear a man's arm or head off if it hits him? In a word, no! This is a myth that has been perpetuated since the AR-15/M16's earliest days, and here is as good a place as any to lay this claim to rest! The original 223/5.56mm was derived from the little .222 Remington or at best the .223 Remington Magnum Cartridges. Now the .222 Remington and .222 Remington Magnum originally used a 40 or 45 grain bullet and a 1-14 barrel twist. Ballistic engineers found that 55 grain bullet pushed the stability of the 1-14 twist to the absolute limit in terms of stability. The initial rounds loaded for the 5.56mm were marginally ballistically stable, and tended to tumble if anything got in its way.


It's been proven that the wounding capability associated with the 5.56mm round is due to the bullet breaking up and fragmenting. And for an Ordnance officer to state that the twist rate had anything to do with the bullet yawing (tumbling is the word he uses) shows a misunderstanding of basic physics. Any sptizer bullet will tumble when it strikes something.

Quote:
This was apparently especially true of flesh. A 55 grain bullet striking flesh when only stabilized with a 1-14 twist, tumbled with
devastating results, but it had a problem ď it was only marginally accurate. Now it's possible to have a bullet that is known to tumble, but if it won't reliably hit the target at the maximum effective range you are in big trouble.


This marginally accurate rifle shot an average of 1.1 inch groups with a telescopic sight from a benchrest. This was an average of four 10 shot groups fired with two different lots of ammunition. (Aberdeen Proving Ground Test No. DPS 96, November 1960)

Quote:
After the initial test results (including some in Southeast Asia) were in, it was apparent that this WAS an effective round (assuming that a tumbling bullet was employed)!


Once again..tumbling bullets...NOT the wounding mechanism of the bullet.

Quote:
However, it also became obvious that this rifle wasn't exactly a "tack driver" in terms of accuracy. Air Force cold weather tests in January 1963 showed definite "bullet wobble" around the projectile's rotational axis causing unacceptable accuracy. As any good ordnance folks would do, they tightened the twist to 1-12 and the accuracy improved. The order to change the barrel twist was signed by Robert S. McNamara on the 26th of July 1963. The accuracy immediately improved, but the "magic bullet" quit tumbling! All of a sudden, we had a reasonably accurate round with a bullet that was essentially ineffective in terms of cleaving flesh with the much vaunted "meat ax effect". The round was now reasonably accurate, but much underpowered for its designed maximum effective range of 500 yds.


Once again..see Fackler...It was never tumbling that created the devastating wounds. I have a 1970 training tape for medical personnel on missile wounds. The poor soldiers who had devastating wounds from M193 fired through 1/12 inch barrels should be comforted by the fact that their wound was just an anomoly and not the general thing that happened when hit by M193 out of a 1/12 inch barrel.

Quote:
Unfortunately, a sizeable portion of the American Public still believes in the "meat ax" effect of the M16. As a quick anecdotal
story, while I was in the early throes of learning to live with the little black rifle, I went to our Battalion surgeons, and hospital corpsmen with a question.

"Had they seen anything during their treatment of wounds that would indicate that the 5.56mm hit harder than any other round?"

I received a negative answer, but they promised to start investigating more closely. A daily check during periods of intense combat always turned up the same answer. None of the devastating effects described by the M16's most ardent proponents, were being encountered by our medical folks.

It was enough of an issue as late as 1970 that it was pointed out in a training tape for medical personnel. I will be more then happy to make a copy of the tape for Mr. Culver.

Quote:
And Now, Slam Fires Too!

In the middle of all our malfunctions, we had another dangerous problem that reared its ugly head. In the middle of a pitched battle in June of 1967, my company had two M16s literally blow up during firing! I was already pulling my hair out, but this seemed to be the final straw. These two stalwart lads had been firing some of the few rifles that were at least marginally functional. In the middle of a string and within a couple of minutes of each other these two rifles literally exploded in the riflemen's hands. Apparently, when the bolt closed, the rifle fired as in a "slam fire" scenario, and the rifles fired out of battery. This explosion blew off the carrying handle and most of the upper receiver. The remaining force blew down through the magazine
well ( bulging the well on both sides), leaving the magazine tube in the well, but blowing all the rounds and the floor plate out the bottom of the rifle. The operators received scratches on the inside of their forearms from the rapidly exiting floorplates, but mercifully sustained no other visible injuries. In one of the two rifles, the bolt (sans carrier) was still dangling from the locking lugs with a blown case in the chamber. The second rifle was missing the case, the bolt and the bolt carrier. Both rifles were still rather comically held together by the hinge pin. If I had disliked the M16 prior to this, my dislike was rapidly ripening into an overt case of hate.

Well..it's physically impossible for an M16 to fire out of battery. The firing pin will NOT reach the primer unless the bolt is all the way into the carrier. The only way the bolt will go all the way into the carrier is if it locks into the lugs in the chamber. The Slam Fire problem was fixed in December of 1963 with the adoption of the firing pin that is currently in use. It also never resulted in a weapon blowing up. It was weapons inadvertantly firing when a cartridge was single loaded into the chamber and the bolt catch released.

My take on the whole story is that it is a hodge podge of war stories, barracks rumors about the procurement system and that it's designed to present the viewpoint that the M16 was only made into a marginally satisfactory service rifle after the Marines redesigned it into the M16A2 but it will never be an M14. Obviously Mr. Culver never liked the M16 or the fact that it replaced the rifle he describes thus;

Quote:
I personally feel that the M14 was the finest battle rifle ever adopted by the United States.

He would have done a better job of making his point if he'd have done his research. The facts were available when he wrote this. Perhaps the facts didn't exactly make all the points he wanted to, or perhaps he thought he knew the story...

Ezell's work is footnoted. Anyone can read his sources and draw their own conclusions. Culver doesn't give us the places to go to check his stories out. He makes a lot of good points about the lack of cleaning kits and training. All things that everyone can agree were problems.

Was the fielding of the M16 a confused mess? Yes. Were mistakes made that cost soldiers and Marines their lives? Yes. Did the system eventually work and make the M16 a reliable effective weapon? Yes. Will the facts change anyone who believes that we wopuld be better armed with M14s, AKs, Brown Bess muskets or Hi Pointe Carbines? Probably not....

Now to debunk some more myths. Mustanger 98 said:

Nope. Culver covered that in his articles. Used to be the M-16 was about 7-8lbs, which was lighter than an M14. IIRC, about 1975, they started using a heavier barrel and a couple of other modifications that added the weight back on. Plus all that walnut on a Garand or M14 will fool you about the weight differences between them and the M16.

According to TM 9-1005-249-10 Operator's Manual for Rifle 5.56 mm M16 (1005-00-856-6865) and Rifle 5.56mm M16A1 (1005-00-073-9421) the M16 weighs 6.35 pounds without magazine and sling. The M16A1 weighs 6.55 pounds without magazine and sling.

According to TM 9-1005-223-20 Organizational Maintenance Mannual Including Repair Parts and Special Tools Lists for Rifle 7.62mm M14 W/E (1005-589-1271) and Rifle 7.62mm M14A1 W/E (1005-072-5011) and Bipod Rifle M2 (1005-711-6202) the M14 weighs 10.1 pounds without loaded magazine and the M14A1 weighs 13.12 pounds without loaded magazine. By my math, the M14 is heavier then the M16 as used in 1975.

The M16A2 wasn't adopted by the USMC until 1982 and by the Army until 1985. Even with the addition of the heavier barrel according to TM 9-1005-319-10 it weighs in at 8.79 pounds with a loaded 30 round magazine. That is a full 1.31 pounds less then an unloaded M14.

Perhaps McNamara ordered the wieghts in the manuals changed? :rolleyes:

Jeff

Cosmoline
October 11, 2005, 06:14 PM
It was enough of an issue as late as 1970 that it was pointed out in a training tape for medical personnel. I will be more then happy to make a copy of the tape for Mr. Culver.


What is that supposed to prove, though? Are you claiming that the 5.56 round ALWAYS fails on impact regardless of range, barrel length and bullet design? And you should remember this is BULLET FAILURE we're talking about--the collapse of a bullet's jacket and core on impact. Relying on bullet failure is a poor substitute for proper expanding rounds.

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 06:57 PM
Cosmoline,
Until the US renounces the Hague Conventions there will be no properly expanding rounds in military operations conducted by the US armed forces. The wounding potential of the 5.56x45 round has been well documented. I concede that the good wounding potential of M193 and to a lesser extent M855 is a happy circumstance of fate. But that doesn't make it less true.

The fact is, that M193 exhibits better wounding potential then M80. The only Hague Convention legal 7.62x51 round that exhibits a better wounding potential is an old West German round. BTW it had to fail too.

No one is saying that there aren't better expanding bullets out there in all calibers. They aren't relevant to this discussion though. Expanding bullets are prohibited to our troops except in certain anti-terrorist operations.

Jeff

Mulliga
October 11, 2005, 08:11 PM
You think he would have had that much fight in him after three rounds at point blank from a Garand or M-14? I don't. Even with crappy FMJ bullets.

Unless .30 caliber bullets managed to penetrate the spinal column by sheer luck, the results would have been exactly the same. And it's easier to hit someone with a FA burst of 5.56 than a FA burst of 7.62, methinks (only experience with FA I've ever had was an MP5, so take that with a grain of salt).

Cosmoline
October 11, 2005, 08:28 PM
First of all, the Senate NEVER RATIFIED the Hague Convention. Secondly, Hague flat-out does not apply to the current kind of small arms combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, which generally involves our guys going into towns and shooting IN SELF DEFENSE as they are attacked. In SELF DEFENSE, even the JAG folks agree that soldiers can use ANY type of ammunition. The FMJ restriction was only supposed to apply to formal warfare between signatory nations. Not defensive shootouts between soldiers from a non-signatory nation and terrorists.

In the mean time, debates about which FMJ is the least bad is a waste of time. We should agree to disagree about the age-old debate of 5.56 vs. 7.62 and push to address the fundamental problem--which isn't caliber but bullet construction.

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 08:47 PM
Cosmoline,
I'd appreciate a copy of the JAG finding that the our soldiers and Marines may use hollowpoint or softpoint ammunition in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The only such finding that I am aware exists is the one that allows M118 OTM to be used in the M24 and M40 sniper rifles.

It doesn't matter one bit that the Senate never ratified the Hague Convention. What matters is that our leaders choose to abide by it. The man on the line with the rifle in his hand doesn't get to make those decisions.

Jeff

Blackhawk 6
October 11, 2005, 09:42 PM
I'd like a copy as well.

Jeff, 5.56mm OTM is good to go as well.

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