5.56mm Stopping power


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ModernTechnician
September 22, 2007, 11:25 PM
I'll get in trouble for this one, you can bet on that!

I just sent this as an e-mail to a Firearms Expert...

"I am responding to your article: More about 5.56mm Lethality.

I find it incredible that we are having the same argument we were engaged in during the Vietnam War.

The point was then and is now, that if the U.S. continues to mandate FMJ ammunition, the switch to the 5.56mm round is a dangerous concept (for our troops.) In terrain where dense foliage is encountered it borders on criminally insane.

I was a member of A USMC Reconnaissance Battalion and served three tours in Viet Nam. In that war Special Forces troops (specially those troops that shadowed that enemy in the field,) were permitted to carry pretty much what they wanted. The clear winners were 7.62mm AK(s), 7.62mm M60(s), 7.62mm MAG 58(s) even the 7,62mm M-14 and of course in close range, Shot Guns. Pistol cartridge weapons were early disappointments and despite the gun rags of the day extolling the virtues of the Swedish K(s) and Uzi(s), firing the full patch 9mm Parabellum were HUGE disappointments in the field! Hush Puppy and Welrod carrying designees shot for eye sockets.

7.62mm NATO rounds had the advantage of being more difficult to deflect, unlike the 5.56mm. Even the snubbed 7.62 X 39mm Soviet was observed to have better capability in theater although lacking some in long range abilities. The issue 5.56mm (.223) was woeful at best, the projectile had extremely poor penetrating capabilities often deflected by twigs and light foliage! In wet climates the water would often bead up in the barrel and if you didn’t elevate the muzzle and open the bolt to drain off the water, a round would burst the barrel rendering the weapon useless. A buttstroke or frag hit on the stock turned it into a paperweight, similarly the top of the forend.
(I remember the allies questioning a prisoner in the Parrot Beak incursion. When asked why his unit which had been in a good defensive position with a huge advantage in numbers had abandoned their posts and melted away so quickly? He responded that when it became obvious that the small Special Forces units (of Colonel Simmons) were armed with heavier weapons that could borough through the hasty cover intended to defeat the 5.56mm firing M-16(s), they fell back on their training which told them to disperse and create smaller units that would cover retreats to minor fall back positions (not giving away the major facilities they had,) even melding in with friendly noncombatants as they went. We were astonished!)

Special Forces units bonded together and made the recommendations (among others) that, heavier caliber longer ranged weapons were necessary. Their belief was that the next conflagration would be in the sand, not the jungle. FMJ ammunition should be done away with, as it minimized the damage to the enemy and maximized collateral damage to civilians and friendly forces. The reliance on fully automatic fire was tactically unsound and in fact dangerous. And finally that a weapon that had to be cleaned at every available opportunity to remain reliable, was not a system that we needed or wanted. Finally that weapon systems for the Infantry should be designed by Infantryman with combat experience, and mediocre systems meant to satisfy logisticians needed to be set aside as poor tactics, period.

Our belief was that caseless ammunition developments and sintered metal projectile technology would be utilized and answer our requests. But that was not and has not been the case! I guess that is what happens when a Country changes from a Nation of Hunters Plinkers and Gun Bearers to one that surrenders weaponry for greater public safety touted by a press that has long since surrendered all loyalty to anything but ratings and themselves.

We were assured that our concerns would be met. Largely that was a lie. Only Marine Commanders acted on our recommendation about Desert Warfare Training, with the exception of one deployment in Egypt.

Then President Carter signed our M1911 .45 automatics away and charged the Pentagon to also adopt a 9mm sub gun, something Infantry had resisted in the field for years! The .300 Magnum was made even more difficult to field as a Sniper Weapon. The Interim 5.56mm M-16 became the integrated weapon system despite some revolt and active discarding in tank and APC units.

The M-16 was improved by Marines who knew how to shoot, but it was a case of making due with what you were issued. Not answering the system’s inadequacies.

They slipped the .50 Cal. Rifles by, probably telling all the armchair warriors that it was for Munitions Disposal! (God Job guys!)

Despite this, Desert Shield/Swarm went well due to air power and few noted the plethora of shortened and improved M60(s) and Sniper rifles.

From Mogadishu to the current Afghanistan and Iraq deployments, combat is taking on a different flavor and the Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers and Explosives along with .30 caliber weapons all in abundance with our enemy are pointing out some glaring inadequacies that an absolutely fine group of young people have to deal with. The Nation should be appalled at the lack of common sense, ineptness and blatant disregard that went into its 5.56mm procurements! The common Infantry man does his best with what he is issued. In the public few cared and fewer still know the difference!

And that is why I wrote you this e-mail. The Firearms Community above all, should be unified and assist the advancement of adequate defensive and offensive weaponry! If I may borrow heavily on the similar Marine saying ‘Let no ghost ever come back and say ‘If only I had been better equipped!’

Your comment: ‘The assertion that a larger caliber would increase effectiveness so much that a smaller ammo load wouldn't matter is shaky at best.’ is one of appeasement. The technology is there to make a better round smaller AND lighter. The 6mm/223 experiments were exceptional; (A caseless 6.5mm boat tailed projectile with an exceptional ballistic co-efficient would be even better still.) A better platform would just be the greatest yet!!!

Not trying to hold where we’ve been and what we’ve done over anyone, if anyone wants to listen, great; if it is not that’s o.k. too, (it is what we are used to!) I’ll be gone soon, many of us old corps will. However if you want to earn the title firearm expert, earn it! Don’t stand in the way and hold your nose.

If Shooters Hunters and Hand-loaders don’t drive developments, you might find your Grandson or Granddaughter in the field with a 17 caliber plastic weapon and a tactical readjustment that allows higher losses among ground troops a more palatable ‘SOP’!

JSL

“I was at the range the other day and witnessed one of these ‘Cult of the AR’ gentlemen removing an aluminum rifle case from his new Cadillac, as his Son stood by waiting patiently. The gentleman put up a customized 5.56mm that had Picatinny rails sprouting from all directions and I’d hazard to guess there would be an appropriate spot on that rifle for just about anything an idle mind could dream up! My guess is that it must have set him back a few thousand dollars! His son when the area was clear removed a leather rifle case with three initials on it. He withdrew a laminated stocked M1 Garand that just took my breath away! When I got the opportunity I asked him why he was shooting the old ’06 dinosaur and he said, ‘It was my Grandfather’s rifle.’ and his rifle coach wanted him to practice with it because he could fire it at the 1,000 yard range back home and because it wasn’t bothered as much by shooting in the heavy wind at Black Canyon! As they were firing at the metallic silhouettes I pushed him a little and mentioned his father could carry much more ammo than he could in the field. After his father finished really struggling with the Rams, the boy walked up and downed 10 Rams for 10 shots with a sole clip reload. And after he cleared the weapon he smiled and said, ‘Yeah he needs to…’”

That you could carry 10 times more ammo if your personal defense weapon were a .22 short is not comfort enough to say that you are better armed tactically…
Specifically if that system jammed when you dropped in the yard."

Was curious how others here felt...

Thanks

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elmerfudd
September 23, 2007, 12:28 AM
I'm not going to speak for the military, but I think that for civilians 5.56 doesn't make as much sense as a larger caliber. The two main advantages of a small caliber are controllability and light weight, but for civilians these really aren't half as important as they would be for an infantryman. Very, very few of us have select fire weapons and most of us envision defending a static position, (usually our homes or businesses), in the event of civil unrest. If you're not moving around, then weight really isn't much of an issue. Personally I'd rather have the extra range, power and penetration of a .308 over a 5.56.

Macgille
September 23, 2007, 12:38 AM
Modern Technician, AMEN brother. I was issued the M1 and later the M14. I felt fully convinced that anyone within 800 meters was mine.( I was younger and could still see then.):what:

When the Army went to the .22 popgun I was one of the testers in CDCEC(combat developements command experimentation center.) The reports on the AR15 was almost universally negative. I guess because we were riflemen in those days.:)

To arm an Infantry unit with a weapon that was fragile, temperamental, and underpowered was a criminal act. To continue with the same weapon is stupidity. Huge amounts of ammunition leads to huge amounts of misses. I have always though that in order to put the enemy down you have to put metal in him. I've never seen a soldier scared to death by rapid popping noises.:neener:

There are plenty of calibers that would be better than the .22 popgun. Almost anything bigger than 6.5 MM. What we should do is the same thing the Russians did. Arm all of the third world countries with the M16 while we go back to .30 cal. That would fix 'em.:D

JShirley
September 23, 2007, 01:17 AM
Well, M.T., I don't know you, but I have issues with some things you've said.

Who were you assigned to? I'm a little surprised that you claim to have been a Recon Marine, and then immediately speak about SF. So, were you a Recon Marine, or SF?

I've spoken with a gentleman who was a technician on some caseless cannon projects. There's a fairly common sense reason why caseless ammo hasn't really made it for hard use yet, but since it's common sense, I'll leave it at that.

I have served next to ODA as recently as this year. With the option to carry practically anything, they typically carried shorty M4s and didn't complain about it.

Regards,

John

JShirley
September 23, 2007, 01:18 AM
Huge amounts of ammunition leads to huge amounts of misses

That's an interesting comment, and similar statements were used to argue against the adoption of the M1 Garand...that some of you are now arguing for.

Jeff White
September 23, 2007, 02:54 AM
I was a member of A USMC Reconnaissance Battalion and served three tours in Viet Nam.

Which Battalion and what years?

The clear winners were 7.62mm AK(s), 7.62mm M60(s), 7.62mm MAG 58(s) even the 7,62mm M-14 and of course in close range, Shot Guns. Pistol cartridge weapons were early disappointments and despite the gun rags of the day extolling the virtues of the Swedish K(s) and Uzi(s), firing the full patch 9mm Parabellum were HUGE disappointments in the field! Hush Puppy and Welrod carrying designees shot for eye sockets.

I served in the Army with a former Navy Corpsman who was with Force Recon. He lives near me now. They didn't have much in the way of unconventional weapons. They started out with the .45 M3A1 Grease Gun then went to M14s and then some M16A1s.

In Oct of 1988 I was a student in the 47th Infantry Division Sniper School. One of the tactics and field craft instructors was a MAJ from the MN ARNG named John Plaster. MAJ Plaster was SSG Plaster in Vietnam and ran recon for MACV-SOG. It's funny, but his experiences didn't reflect what you posted either. In fact in his book, SOG A Photo History of the Secret Wars has a section in it, The CAR-15 VS. the AK from which I'll quote a passage:
From pp 141
In summary: the CAR-15 points more naturally and is faster to get off safety, easier to fire, faster to reload, essentially as reliable, and superior overall to the AK. For those whose lives depended on it, their almost universal choice of the CAR-15 over the AK tells it all.

I enlisted in the Army on 6 Dec 1974. I retired from active duty on 1 November 2003. I spent my entire career in Infantry and at the end Field Artillery units. I have used the M16 series in every climate from the arctic to the desert and my experiences don't reflect yours.

7.62mm NATO rounds had the advantage of being more difficult to deflect, unlike the 5.56mm. Even the snubbed 7.62 X 39mm Soviet was observed to have better capability in theater although lacking some in long range abilities. The issue 5.56mm (.223) was woeful at best, the projectile had extremely poor penetrating capabilities often deflected by twigs and light foliage!

Surely during your service you mus have observed some heavy caliber tracers being fired? Isn't it amazing how even .50 cal and 14.5mm bounces and deflects off tiny little branches? Weren't you just amazed how one could hit a little something and shoot almost straight up?

Everything deflects off little twigs and branches. It's the angle that it hits the obstruction, not so much the velocity or the mass.

In wet climates the water would often bead up in the barrel and if you didn’t elevate the muzzle and open the bolt to drain off the water, a round would burst the barrel rendering the weapon useless.

That is a danger with every .22 caliber weapon. Including the AK-74.

A buttstroke or frag hit on the stock turned it into a paperweight, similarly the top of the forend.

Butt strokes break wooded stocks all the time and hits by fragments break them too. And the M16 as fielded in Vietnam didn't have a top of the fore end. The hand guards are left and right. Only the XM177 series had tops on the fore ends.

(I remember the allies questioning a prisoner in the Parrot Beak incursion. When asked why his unit which had been in a good defensive position with a huge advantage in numbers had abandoned their posts and melted away so quickly? He responded that when it became obvious that the small Special Forces units (of Colonel Simmons) were armed with heavier weapons that could borough through the hasty cover intended to defeat the 5.56mm firing M-16(s), they fell back on their training which told them to disperse and create smaller units that would cover retreats to minor fall back positions (not giving away the major facilities they had,) even melding in with friendly noncombatants as they went. We were astonished!)

Really?? Which COL Simmons is this? Are you referring to Arthur D "Bull" Simmons of Son Tay Raid fame? What weapons were his men carrying? Have you got a reference for this story. It's almost one am where I'm at so I'll look it up tomorrow.

Special Forces units bonded together and made the recommendations (among others) that, heavier caliber longer ranged weapons were necessary. Their belief was that the next conflagration would be in the sand, not the jungle. FMJ ammunition should be done away with, as it minimized the damage to the enemy and maximized collateral damage to civilians and friendly forces.

Really? Do you have a reference or copy of this report. I still have AKO access I'd like to read it. Actually, I spent a long time studying all the professional literature on the subject. And outside of an article in Infantry Magazine by Stanley Crist advocating a new 6mm round for both rifles and machine guns, I didn't see anything advocating a bigger caliber until the 5th SF began circulating some papers on the 6.8 SPC. I'd be very interested in reading that report. What special forces units bonded together to make this report? There wasn't a joint command for SOF until the 1980s.

You are aware that we are required to use FMJ ammunition because we signed the Hague Convention? It's not a decision the military can make.

The reliance on fully automatic fire was tactically unsound and in fact dangerous.

Who relies on full auto fire? Full auto fire was only permitted in a couple special circumstances in every unit I was in. Another member here, was a Company Commander in Vietnam and he handed out Article 15s for the unauthorized use of full auto fire. So just what organization relies on it?

And finally that a weapon that had to be cleaned at every available opportunity to remain reliable, was not a system that we needed or wanted.

What weapon needs to be cleaned at every available opportunity? Not the M16 brother....

Finally that weapon systems for the Infantry should be designed by Infantryman with combat experience, and mediocre systems meant to satisfy logisticians needed to be set aside as poor tactics, period.

The M16 was fielded to Vietnam because the commanders in the field demanded it. The logistics people hated it, because there were production problems and they eventually fielded it without support equipment like cleaning kits. Not because it never needed cleaned but because they weren't in the system.

Our belief was that caseless ammunition developments and sintered metal projectile technology would be utilized and answer our requests.

The fact that case less ammunition isn't feasible for military use might have something to do with why it was never adopted......

We were assured that our concerns would be met. Largely that was a lie. Only Marine Commanders acted on our recommendation about Desert Warfare Training, with the exception of one deployment in Egypt.

pssst...ever hear anything about the National Training Center at Ft Irwin CA. It's in the high desert near Stockton. Every Brigade in the Army has been rotating through there for more then 20 years. I did a rotation there as part of the OPFOR....

Then President Carter signed our M1911 .45 automatics away and charged the Pentagon to also adopt a 9mm sub gun, something Infantry had resisted in the field for years!

The M9 wasn't adopted as our service pistol until 1985. Ronald Reagan was president then. What 9mm sub gun did we adopt? Some special units got MP5s, but they were never fielded in any quantity.

The .300 Magnum was made even more difficult to field as a Sniper Weapon.

What .300 Magnum is that?

The Interim 5.56mm M-16 became the integrated weapon system despite some revolt and active discarding in tank and APC units.

Really? When did this happen? The actual history is that the M14 was dropped from production and it was decided to standardize on the M16 until another program the SPIW (Special Purpose Individual Weapon) which was never completed and could be called the father of the ill fated OICW.

In the Army tankers kept their M3A1 Grease guns until 1997 when the M4 was fielded in quantity. Mechanized units used the M16 from it's adoption till the present. No one rejected it.

The M-16 was improved by Marines who knew how to shoot, but it was a case of making due with what you were issued. Not answering the system’s inadequacies.

That's why there is a big debate going on between the gunfighters and the yellow glasses crowd over the the M16A2 being designed to shoot at Camp Perry and the adoption of the M4 which is designed to fight with....:uhoh:

From Mogadishu to the current Afghanistan and Iraq deployments, combat is taking on a different flavor and the Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers and Explosives along with .30 caliber weapons all in abundance with our enemy are pointing out some glaring inadequacies that an absolutely fine group of young people have to deal with.

Last I heard that fine group of young people are winning every firefight they get in. Despite the so called inadequate weapons. In January 2006 my son who at that time was an Infantry Sergeant in 4th ID engaged in his first firefight. 5.56x45 and the M16A4 served him well that day and through more then 200 combat patrols. Just the same as it served me and countless other Soldiers and Marines who've used it over the years.

Was curious how others here felt...

Well....I won't post exactly what I think, but I hope I've given you some tings to think about....

Jeff

rangerruck
September 23, 2007, 03:43 AM
a nice 6mm would do nicely. Heck there is allready a real nice cart out there for the offing, the old 5.7 x52 savage hipower. fires a 80 grain pill at 3400fps.
very schwing. i was in the Army as well, but I don't care to bring up my experiences then. suffice it to say, i loved it whenever i would get assigned to , or take charge of a 60 mg crew.

Rob96
September 23, 2007, 05:22 AM
I seem to recall in the Book of the AR-15 it is stated that Special Forces was impressed with what the 5.56 did to the enemy. I have spoken to members of SOCOM and they relate the same thing from theor experiences in the sand box. Hit haji right and he is out of the fight. In Mogadishu, part of the problem with the "skinnies" was that they were hopped up on Kat.

HorseSoldier
September 23, 2007, 09:03 AM
This old chestnut again? :rolleyes:

ArmedBear
September 23, 2007, 09:06 AM
Look, a few years ago, the US military conducted a study in order to determine that whether the 5.56 was as effective as the 7.62 NATO in battle.

After much posturing testing, they concluded that it was just as effective, especially when fighters used double-taps.:p

No shi'ite.

Of course, on the whole, it might be a lot better for a given soldier to carry a lot more 5.56 rounds and use them, than to have to conserve a much more limited amount of 7.62 because it's much bulkier and heavier in quantity. Firefights in Iraq are not deer hunting. Number of rounds per man matters.

The weapon system and weight really matter, too. The M4 is a helluva good urban fighting weapon that can serve as an infantry rifle when needed. The 5.56 works perfectly in it. I don't see a 7.62 version, and there won't be one. It's too heavy, there's too much recoil, and it's too big.

Just because a .450 Marlin might be more "effective" as a medium-range one-shot stopper than damn near anything else, that doesn't mean it would be a good choice for standard military issue. Ditto for any other round. There are many factors that interrelate, and the 5.56 works as part of the equation. Note that the Russkies adopted a similar, even smaller, round, as well. They did NOT stick with the 7.62x39.

rhubarb
September 23, 2007, 09:10 AM
Where do these kooks come from?

I know a guy who earned a Silver Star in Vietnam. I asked him once about the effectiveness of the 5.56 round. He said, "You shoot, he dies. Then you shoot another one. He dies too." He seemed puzzled by the question. Asked about reliability of the M16, he said that clean guns work.

As to alternative platforms, he said he loved the grease gun, the Tommy gun was too heavy to carry all day, and .45 ACP was the only pistol cartridge. He said he'd used a lot of different weapons and that his arm of choice was an M16.

Joe Demko
September 23, 2007, 10:42 AM
The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Once upon a time there were three billy goats, who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was "Gruff."

On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll , with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker.

So first of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

"Trip, trap, trip, trap! " went the bridge.

"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll .

"Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, with such a small voice.

"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.

"Oh, no! pray don't take me. I'm too little, that I am," said the billy goat. "Wait a bit till the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He's much bigger."

"Well, be off with you," said the troll.

A little while after came the second Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap, went the bridge.

"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll.

"Oh, it's the second Billy Goat Gruff , and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, who hadn't such a small voice.

"Now I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.

"Oh, no! Don't take me. Wait a little till the big Billy Goat Gruff comes. He's much bigger."

"Very well! Be off with you," said the troll.

But just then up came the big Billy Goat Gruff .

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap! went the bridge, for the billy goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

"Who's that tramping over my bridge?" roared the troll.

"It's I! The big Billy Goat Gruff ," said the billy goat, who had an ugly hoarse voice of his own.

"Now I 'm coming to gobble you up," roared the troll.

Well, come along! I've got two spears,
And I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
I've got besides two curling-stones,
And I'll crush you to bits, body and bones.


That was what the big billy goat said. And then he flew at the troll, and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade, and after that he went up to the hillside. There the billy goats got so fat they were scarcely able to walk home again. And if the fat hasn't fallen off them, why, they're still fat; and so,

Snip, snap, snout.
This tale's told out.

You'd think trolls would long since have learned their lesson.

cpttango30
September 23, 2007, 10:47 AM
It is rather simple. Your 10 man squad can put say 6000 rounds down range in 1 minute the bad guys can put that same ammount down range. But they can carry half what your guys carry? Who do you think is going to win the firefight? He who has the most ammo wins.

I spent 8 years in the army did 3 rotations to NTC with 1st Cav. I packed my m16 every time it spend 10 out of 14 days in the field on a dusty bulldozer adn never failed to fire when I needed it to.

I myself would rather carry 5000 rounds of 5.56 ammo vs carying only 2500 rounds of 7.62 ammo any day.

Now I had at one point or another had just about all the different weapon systems. I was a m-60 gunner for a while, then they replaced my pig with my piglet (M249) Then I got HOGZILLA (Mk19 mod4) I was happy with all of them. We never were issued the M-240b but I am sure I would have shot that and carried that too.

If you are going to go with the bigger is better then Why is the military issuing the Mk19 to everyone. I had a sling that way I could carry it off the shoulder. Then you can only carry 10 rounds but then again they are 40mm in diameter so they should be the best.

I really wish the arm chair commanders would stop beating this dead horse.

Lastly: The first reports on the car-15 were all negitive because the old guys did not think that a rifle with out a wood stock would be any good. They did not like the Futureistic (sp) look of the new rifle. Infact the first winter test in alaska were rigged and the CAR-15 were lubed with a lube that would get really gummy in the cold causing it to jam.

Some people need to watch the History channel some more (Tailes of the gun)

jerkface11
September 23, 2007, 10:54 AM
I've got a gunrag around here somewhere where they tested various cartridges against foliage to see what deflected the least. The only two that still hit the target after encountering branches and leaves were .22 hornet and 416 rigby. I doubt either of those would be a good military cartridge. Of course I still demand that the armed forces buy a new AR variant that will handle .250 savage.

GunTech
September 23, 2007, 11:15 AM
The after action report referenced above by ArmedBear noted that the complaints about the lack of effectiveness of the 5.56 came primarily from personnel who had never engaged in close combat.

As far as wasting ammo, one thing that everyone fails to take into account is that casualty rates dropped at the same time ammo expenditure rates climbed, due to the use of suppressive fire. I'll gladly trade ammo for US lives.

The whole marksmanship stuff is bull promulgated by people who shoot on target ranges, and not at people who are shooting back. So you can hit a target at the range at 800 yards. Try doing that from an awkward figting position, at at moving target in camouflage and using terrarin, all while being shot at. After running a couple of hundred yards with a full rucksack on.

kurtmax
September 23, 2007, 11:28 AM
I don't see what is wrong with the M-16 as a military weapon. It isn't terribly unreliable, and 5.56mm goes bang. Personally, I dislike the AR platform. I think it's ugly and the rifles don't feel right. AK style weapons are much better imo, but that's just personal preference.

I do agree that 5.56mm isn't the greatest civilian caliber. I'd much rather have 7.62x51NATO or 7.62x54... Mobility and volume isn't an issue for me.

LaEscopeta
September 23, 2007, 11:42 AM
As noted in posts #4 and #6 above, several “facts” listed in the original post can be verified as incorrect (year the M9 9mm pistol replaced the M1911 .45 caliber one, the president at the time, etc.)

Several other “facts” cannot be verified either as either true or false (“I remember the allies questioning a prisoner in the Parrot Beak incursion….”) Maybe this happened exactly as described above. Maybe it did not happen at all. We have no way of knowing so the intelligent person will not consider these un-verifiable facts when considering the effectiveness of the NATO 5.56 round or AR-15 type weapons.

It should be noted the SAS was the first to use the AR-15 in combat, in Borneo in 1963-1966, several years before the US Military adopted it in Vietnam. They chose this weapon over the standard issue 30-something caliber rifle of the British military at the time. Three other verifiable facts:

1. The SAS (along with other units from several countries) was supporting a local government against a communist insurgency based in save havens in an adjacent county, supported by the USSR and Communist China. Similar to the Vietnam war
2. They were fighting mostly in the jungle, like the Vietnam War.
3. They won.

http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/download/csipubs/historic/hist_c3_pt2.pdf

http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Borneo/borneo-weapons.html#ar15

http://mail.ntsoft.dk/~phe/new_page_4.htm

http://www.eliteukforces.info/special-air-service/history/

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PBZ/is_2_85/ai_n13787890

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesia-Malaysia_confrontation

Some people don’t like the 5.56mm round and they never will. It is a free country they can dislike what ever they please. And some of these people keep digging the same “facts” to support their dislike and “prove” the 5.56mm is inadequate. Again, they can do so if they like. But an objective review of the facts will lead to a different conclusion.

glockman19
September 23, 2007, 11:49 AM
I agree. Personally, I'd rather have the extra range, power and penetration of a .308 over a 5.56.
I have shot AR's and M1A/M-14's and given the choice I'd trade off less ammo for more power, penetration and extra range.

rero360
September 23, 2007, 12:06 PM
Me personally, I like my M4, I liked my M16 A2, M249, M240B, M2 and MK19. I like being able to carry 14+ mags with me and not be terribly burdened.

Can I engage an enemy out at 800 meters with my M4? highly unlikely due to skill and terrain, however I'm more concerned about the bad guy thats 100 meters away, him, if I can get a bead on him he is going down.

elmerfudd
September 23, 2007, 12:08 PM
I have shot AR's and M1A/M-14's and given the choice I'd trade off less ammo for more power, penetration and extra range.

And for civilians, I think it's mostly a false choice. I can stockpile the same amount of .308 as I can 5.56 and I'm not going on any road marches with a 100 lb. rucksack, so I'd prefer the more powerful cartridge. Soldiers are in an entirely different situation and I won't presume to speak for them.

GRIZ22
September 23, 2007, 12:18 PM
We can talk about "real calibers", 6.8s, 800 meter shots, and such all we want but the fcat remains most soldiers are not very skilled rifle shooters. The majority of soldiers are support personnel who can't hit a man sized target past 200 meters. The 5.56 M16 platform works for them and for combat troops.

If the military wanted to adopt another rifle they would have done so in the 1980s when they were getting plenty of money (which resulted in scaring the crap out of the Soviets resulting in their collapse). Many people overlook the logoistic, training, and financial factors in adopting a new weapon and/or caliber.

I was introduced to the M16 used in in Vietnam and for the next 40 years in the military and law enforcement. Nothing is the ideal platform or caliber but the M16, M4, AR 15 always worked for me for what it was intended.

ID_shooting
September 23, 2007, 12:22 PM
"In the Army tankers kept their M3A1 Grease guns until 1997 when the M4 was fielded in quantity. Mechanized units used the M16 from it's adoption till the present. No one rejected it."

Jeff, I agree with most everything in you post except this one. I was a 19K from around 91 to 93, served with 1/72 AR in 2ID Korea and in 1/4 CAV, 1ID Ft. Riley. We were issued M16A2s in both units. I hadn't seen a grease gun except in a couple of NG units in the late 80's. The only M4's I ever saw first hand were with the Air Force FAC guys assigned to us.

Admittedly, I left the Army in 96, but I have never shot a grease gun :( and have only shot civilian versions of the M4.

sacp81170a
September 23, 2007, 12:24 PM
The whole marksmanship stuff is bull promulgated by people who shoot on target ranges, and not at people who are shooting back. So you can hit a target at the range at 800 yards. Try doing that from an awkward figting position, at at moving target in camouflage and using terrarin, all while being shot at. After running a couple of hundred yards with a full rucksack on.

The one thing we always had trouble with was getting guys to shoot at something they couldn't see. The old rule #4, be sure of your target and what's behind it. Well, in a combat situation it's not that simple. If you know the general direction of the enemy, that you're not putting your own guys in jeopardy, and that he's shooting at you or your comrades, you should be putting rounds downrange! The whole concept of fire and maneuver is that the base of fire element keeps the opposing force pinned down and unable to return fire effectively while the maneuver element closes in. That's basic infantry tactics.

I myself would rather carry 5000 rounds of 5.56 ammo vs carying only 2500 rounds of 7.62 ammo any day.

Exactly, although 5000 rounds apiece might be a little more than I'd want to carry routinely. I'd be happy with say, 1200. :D

Joe Demko
September 23, 2007, 12:37 PM
2500 rounds of 7.62 NATO weighs 63.68 kg or 140.1 lbs.

5000 rounds of 5.56 NATO weighs 58.95 kg or 129.69 lbs.


Either way, that's a lot of weight to carry. If you actually have to carry a rifle, food, and other stuff as well, you might want to consider reducing the ammo load.

MachIVshooter
September 23, 2007, 12:38 PM
I have shot AR's and M1A/M-14's and given the choice I'd trade off less ammo for more power, penetration and extra range.

What good is the extra power and range when you're shooting at a target from <200 yards and the cover he is using will stop both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm? I'm not arguing against the 7.62mm; it is a great cartridge and would be my choice if defending a static position. But if I had to carry all the ammunition I would need, the 5.56mm is much more appealing.

I have several weapons in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm. Without exception, the 5.56mm weapons are lighter, more compact and far easier to control. With my AR-15 carbine, I can put twice as many rounds on target in a given time as I can with my AR-10 carbine. Full auto fire only widens this gap, as 7.62mm NATO has been proven time and again to be on the verge of uncontrollable during FA fire from a rifle.

If all that mattered in combat was penetration and range, there are better choices still than the 7.62mm. Many intelligent people in decision making positions have figured out that the dynamics of a firefight encompass much more than those two criteria.

GunTech
September 23, 2007, 12:47 PM
The problem is that most people don't realize that any military rifle is a compromise. The soldier wants a short, light rifle with a huge magazine, total reliability, perfect accturacy, 100% lethality and the ability to shoot as far as he can see.

A 308 weapon means more range and potentially more killiung power, at the cost of weight and controllability. A 5.56 sacrifices range for weight and controllability. Which one is right?

If you look at actual combat analysis, particularly Hitchman's 'Operational requirements for an infantry hand weapon', based on the study of 2 million casualty reports, as well as extensive data from WWII and Korea, it turns out that virtually everything we think we know about infantry rifle combat is wrong.

90% of all infantry fire occurs at 300 yards or less, 70% at less than 100 yards. The effectiveness of infantry fire at 500 yards is virtually zero. This has nothing to do with the weapon or the shooting ability of the soldier. At these ranges the use of camouflage and intervening terrain make it extremely difficult for the soldier to see the enemy. a soldier can't shoot what he can't see.

Finally, analysis of enemy caualties in Vietnam showed that the 5.56x45mm was 11% more lethal than the 7.,62x51mm. This has everything to do with bullet construction and nothing to do with energy. Both the M80 ball round and even the M43 7.62x39 bullet tend to pass through the target doing less injury than the M193 5.56x45, which has a tebndency to fracture into submissiles and not exit.

Obviously, there have been changes in ammunition since then, and there have been justifiable criticisms of the M4 paired with the M855 round leading to reduced effective range due to the loss of velocity of the round. 5.56x45 needs about 2600 fps velocity to reliably fragment.

The spec for M855 is 3000 fps from a 20 inch bbl, which is more like 2770 for a 14.5 inch M4 barrel, which means that within 50 yards, the round is already under the magic 2600 fps. The M193 is still above fragmentation velocity from an M4 out at 150 yards. Fired from a 20 inch M16, the M193 will still be above fragmentation velocity out to over 225 yards.

If you consider that the average range for rifle combat is 75 yards, it all makes sense.

We could adopt an intermediate round, yet again trading something for something else. There's no guarantee that the ball ammunition used with 6.5 or 6.8 would be any more effective than the bullet currently in service.

Finally, in the grand sheme of things, infantry rifles have very little impact on the battle. They matter a lot to the infantryman, but rarely have any impact on the outcome of wars. All the serious killing is done by other weapons.

Nolo
September 23, 2007, 01:11 PM
I think we should get rid of the 5.56mm/M16 (at least in its current form).
Why?
Not deflecting issues.
Not power issues.
The 5.56x45mm as we see it today is a very narrow cartridge. It's not a good cartridge for DMR work, and it's not an ideal cartridge for SAWs, either.
I think we can keep a 5.56mm bore, but increase the weight of the projectile. A lot. I don't think we should use any less of a bullet than a 90-grainer for a main battle/assault rifle. I don't think that the cartridge should go any less than 2800 f/s, either. I also don't like FMJ ammunition, I think we should go to "frangible" ammo (to appease the Hague Convention). Do something like cut ridges or crosses in the tips of the bullet to promote fragmentation.
I'd really like to see a 6.5mm, 123-grain round at 2800 f/s (out of a 20-inch barrel), which is something the 6.5 Grendel really can't do. Don't get me wrong, I think the 6.5 Grendel is a swell round. A little ugly in my opinion (it's the sharp shoulder and lack of body taper, I think), but that's not pertinent.
I've said this before (just see my thread, The Ultimate Combat Round, lots of cool content from other people in there), but I think a weight-to-energy ratio is extremely important for a combat round. Having the most efficient round for the weight is a really good thing.
Oh, and for rounds under 1500 ft-lbs, I'd go with a two-round burst (almost) always.
-Nolo out (for now)
Oh, and +1 to GunTech, he's a friggin' genius. I've learned a lot from him.

MachIVshooter
September 23, 2007, 01:35 PM
I think we should get rid of the 5.56mm/M16 (at least in its current form).
Why?
Not deflecting issues.
Not power issues.
The 5.56x45mm as we see it today is a very narrow cartridge. It's not a good cartridge for DMR work, and it's not an ideal cartridge for SAWs, either.
I think we can keep a 5.56mm bore, but increase the weight of the projectile. A lot. I don't think we should use any less of a bullet than a 90-grainer for a main battle/assault rifle. I don't think that the cartridge should go any less than 2800 f/s, either. I also don't like FMJ ammunition, I think we should go to "frangible" ammo (to appease the Hague Convention). Do something like cut ridges or crosses in the tips of the bullet to promote fragmentation.
I'd really like to see a 6.5mm, 123-grain round at 2800 f/s (out of a 20-inch barrel), which is something the 6.5 Grendel really can't do. Don't get me wrong, I think the 6.5 Grendel is a swell round. A little ugly in my opinion (it's the sharp shoulder and lack of body taper, I think), but that's not pertinent.
I've said this before (just see my thread, The Ultimate Combat Round, lots of cool content from other people in there), but I think a weight-to-energy ratio is extremely important for a combat round. Having the most efficient round for the weight is a really good thing.
Oh, and for rounds under 1500 ft-lbs, I'd go with a two-round burst (almost) always.

Is there a point here? What does the width of the 5.56mm round have to do with it's effectiveness as a DMR or LMG round? Is the some indication that a 90 grain .224" fangible bullet would be more effective than a 62 grainer that yaws and fragments? What would be the supposed advantage of a 123 grain .264" slug at lower velocities than either the 62 gr. 5.56mm or 7.62mm 147 grainer? What is the problem with the straighter case walls and sharp shoulder of the 6.5 Grendal (a design which has proven most efficient). What exactly is the formula (or application) of weight to energy ratio? Why is 1,500 ft/lbs the magic number for burst fire? (understanding, of course, that terminal energy is only part of the equation and does not make a more effective round in and of itself).

I mean, coming from the point of view of a lifelong hunter who has experimented with cartridges and bullest of all types and velocities ranging from the .22 Hornet to the .50 BMG. I've watched bull elk go down from a 100 grain .243 slug, and I've watched them run away after being hammered by a 270 grain pill from a .375 H&H. There is no magic bullet or cartridge. shot placement is still critical, and more bullets on target means better odds of scoring a good hit. THis is where the current 5.56mm and M16/M4 platform excel.

I'm not trying to flame, just really curious the logic behind these suggestions.

HankB
September 23, 2007, 01:49 PM
It's my understanding that the effectiveness of the 5.56 in military situations depends, to a large degree, on the bullet's tumbling and fragmentation after impact. If it doesn't do this, the stopping power is compromised . . . and this may be the case with the 62 gr. round fired out of M4s.

My limited experience with the effectiveness of the 5.56 does not involve shooting bad guys, but varmints - things like woodchucks & such. For this, I found the FMJ ammo produced less than stellar results.

Switching to a softpoint made an immense difference.

For personal defense, I have no problem with using the 5.56 and appropriate softpoint ammo . . . or, if your situation demands, perhaps alternating softpoints and green tip penetrators. But I would not be happy having to rely exclusively on military issue FMJ rounds in the 5.56 if my life depended on it.

Jeff White
September 23, 2007, 01:57 PM
Nolo said;
I also don't like FMJ ammunition, I think we should go to "frangible" ammo (to appease the Hague Convention). Do something like cut ridges or crosses in the tips of the bullet to promote fragmentation.

The ammunition you just suggested would be banned under the Hague Conventions.

Jeff

Nolo
September 23, 2007, 02:27 PM
What does the width of the 5.56mm round have to do with it's effectiveness as a DMR or LMG round?
Ah, sorry, you misread that. I meant "narrow" as in "not capable of many things" or "specialized" not "lacking in width".
:D

Is the some indication that a 90 grain .224" fangible bullet would be more effective than a 62 grainer that yaws and fragments?
The 90 grainer would fragment, just like the 62-grainer. Except there'd be more mass there to disintegrate (producing more fragments). This does rely quite a bit on bullet design. Plus, your have a really great ballistic coefficient there, making your round a better long-range performer (great for DMRs and SAWs).

What would be the supposed advantage of a 123 grain .264" slug at lower velocities than either the 62 gr. 5.56mm or 7.62mm 147 grainer?
It's not at lower velocities than the 7.62x51mm. It's at the same velocity (2800 f/s). The advantage is long range performance and a less "flimsy" bullet. But I'm not sure that "flimsiness" is a true problem.

What is the problem with the straighter case walls and sharp shoulder of the 6.5 Grendal (a design which has proven most efficient).
Nothing. It's an aesthetic thing that has no pertinence to this discussion at all. The only thing it might have anything to do with is extraction. I like well tapered cases.

What exactly is the formula (or application) of weight to energy ratio?
This is something that (as far as I know) I came up with. There are two separate equations:
To find the Total Magazine Energy (how much muzzle energy is in a given weapon's magazine):
Muzzle Energy x Magazine Size = Total Magazine Energy
This helps explain why the M14 is often liked over the M16. The M14 has more energy contained in each of it's magazines (50000 ft-lbs compared to 39000 lbs).
Then you have the Energy Per Pound (EPP or E/P):
Total Magazine Energy / (Magazine Size x weight of a single cartridge) = Energy Per Pound
Interestingly, the M16 has a higher EPP rating than the M14 (52000 ft-lbs/lb versus 50000 ft-lb/lb).
Or, if you just want Energy Per Pound, you do this:
Muzzle Energy / weight of a single cartridge = EPP
Here's the comparisons between some common cartridges:

.30-06
-Muzzle Velocity: 2800 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 165 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 2800 ft-lbs
-EPP: 47000 ft-lbs/lb

7.62x51 NATO
-Muzzle Velocity: 2800 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 147 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 2500 ft-lbs
-EPP: 50000 ft-lbs/lb

7.62x39
-Muzzle Velocity: 2300 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 123 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 1500 ft-lbs
-EPP: 45000 ft-lbs/lb

5.56x45 NATO
-Muzzle Velocity: 3100 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 62 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 1300 ft-lbs
-EPP: 52000 ft-lbs/lb

5.45x39
-Muzzle Velocity: 2950 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 50 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 1000 ft-lbs
-EPP: 40000 ft-lbs/lb

5.7x28 FN
-Muzzle Velocity: 2350 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 32 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 390 ft-lbs
-EPP: 22000

6.5 Grendel
-Muzzle Velocity: 2600 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 123 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 1900 ft-lbs
-EPP: 59000 ft-lbs/lb

6.8 Remington SPC
-Muzzle Velocity: 2625 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 115 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 1800 ft-lbs
-EPP: 55000 ft-lbs/lb

These are some of mine, see the Ultimate Combat Round thread (note that these all use an advanced powder from Knox engineering company that greatly reduces their weight. Several THRers have expressed doubt over the powder, so don't freak out over these. Also, expect a lower EPP, just to be safe. I would encourage you, however to consider that powder advances are seen periodically, so I don't think these are out of the question):

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa149/Nolo_photo/5.56mmFirebrandDelta.jpg
5.56mm Firebrand Delta
-Muzzle Velocity: 3000 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 90 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 1800 ft-lbs
-EPP: 72000 ft-lbs/lb

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa149/Nolo_photo/5.56mmFirebrandEpsilon.jpg
5.56mm Firebrand Epsilon
-Muzzle Velocity: 3550 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 90 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 2500 ft-lbs
-EPP: 92000 ft-lbs/lb

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa149/Nolo_photo/6mmFirebrandGamma.jpg
6mm Firebrand Gamma
-Muzzle Velocity: 2900 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 110 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 2050 ft-lbs
-EPP: 80000

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa149/Nolo_photo/6.5x47FirebrandshadedSmall.jpg
6.5mm Firebrand Delta
-Muzzle Velocity: 2800 ft/s
-Bullet Weight: 123 gr.
-Muzzle Energy: 2100 ft-lbs
-EPP: 63000 ft-lbs/lb

Why is 1,500 ft/lbs the magic number for burst fire? (understanding, of course, that terminal energy is only part of the equation and does not make a more effective round in and of itself).
It's not. I looked at all the calibers out there for assault rifles, and it seems to me that (2-round) burst fire is best used in weapons that generate 1500 ft-lbs energy or less. This is both for recoil and stopping power reasons. Are there exceptions to this? Absolutely. For what I'm doing, however, it is quite relevant. The "ceiling" could also be 1800 ft-lbs just as easily. I realize that muzzle energy is only part of the equation. There are lots of other important areas of consideration. Why do I use muzzle energy? Because I've already settled on a bullet design, and I'm going for high-velocity fragmentation anyway (as it greatly improves EPPs and long-distance shooting). So it matters more to me than normal.

I mean, coming from the point of view of a lifelong hunter who has experimented with cartridges and bullest of all types and velocities ranging from the .22 Hornet to the .50 BMG. I've watched bull elk go down from a 100 grain .243 slug, and I've watched them run away after being hammered by a 270 grain pill from a .375 H&H. There is no magic bullet or cartridge. shot placement is still critical, and more bullets on target means better odds of scoring a good hit. THis is where the current 5.56mm and M16/M4 platform excel.
You are right. Of all the rounds (save the Grendel and SPC) that I've measured, the 5.56 had the highest EPP. Shot placement is very difficult in battle. So being able to carry more ammo for less weight is critical. Performance is as well, but I want to start with a cartridge with a high EPP, then make it's ballistic performance better. This has worked out better than I'd hoped, because high-velocity rounds (which, as far as I've seen, have the best terminal effects when frangible) have really high EPPs.

Nolo
September 23, 2007, 02:28 PM
The ammunition you just suggested would be banned under the Hague Conventions.
Then we'll label it differently. :evil:
Fight bureaucracy with bureaucracy.

Lone_Gunman
September 23, 2007, 02:45 PM
Hey what happened to the guy who started this thread??? Where'd he go?

broadsideofabarn
September 23, 2007, 03:04 PM
While I'll debate all day about the M-16 if really prodded, I don't have a major problem with the firearm within its limitations.

What I find absolutely FUBAR is that in this day and age, we still issue a soldier A weapon. Singular. In ANY combat environment, that's the main tool he has to do his job with.

As much as we spend on the military and still fail to get our soldiers the very best body armor available (or sometimes any), I suppose it shouldn't be surprising. But, truly... Why would you send soldiers into an environment with a weapon unsuited to it? A high-velocity .22 firing in three-round bursts is a less than perfect weapon in an urban environment. Yet I've heard no real suggestion from any corners of tailoring a weapon specifically for the environment in which we now do most of our fighting.

It can't be for a lack of resources. We're a wealthy nation with a huge military budget.

I can't imagine it's for the sake of a corrupt contract system. Diversifying our small arms would mean MORE contracts given out.

And it can't be for lack of imagination. At least our troops are smart enough to pick up and evaluate other (mostly Soviet-designed) arms for jobs where the AR doesn't measure up. It's certainly underestimating them to think they can't learn to fire and maintain more than one weapon system.

I don't understand how the idea of a few SMGs among the riflemen became such an obscene suggestion within the Pentagon.

Nolo
September 23, 2007, 03:15 PM
Actually, I really agree with broadsideofabarn. But I think I know the reason. Exactly the situation he's talking about played itself out in WWII. It was a logistical nightmare. We were stretched to the limits. I don't think we want to go back to that, and I can't blame us.

GunTech
September 23, 2007, 05:05 PM
There's nothing an SMG can do that an assault rifle can't do better, other than be small.

Is the M16 a compromise rifle? Certainly, just like ever other military weapon. Could we build something better? Certainly. But the M16 is 'good enough'. As the Russians say 'perfect is the enemy of good enough'.
The fact of the matter is that small arms have a negligable impact on war. Specifically, infantry rifles account for less than 1% of all enemy casualties (this is typically higher in MOUT operations and counter insurgency). Machineguns, artillery and airpower are orders of magnitude above the rifle in terms of killing numbers. Also, no career is made managing a small arms program. The only people who really care about the rifle are pro-gun kooks and infantrymen, and i include myself in both categories.

Further, any sunstantive change in small arms systems at this point is unlikely to have any measurable impact on combat operations. That was clearly show by the ACR trial in the 1980s, where no weapon tested showed any significant improvement over the current rifle.

karnaaj
September 23, 2007, 05:41 PM
Well, I guess I'll step in and go against the grain by saying that I was not at all impressed with the M16 while I was in the Army and it has nothing to do with the 5.56 vs 7.62 debate. I just felt that it was not a reliable weapon. In the fall of 76' I was at Ft. Dix NJ. for basic training. On the day that we qualified the weather was very nice. Very few of the soldiers qualifying had any problems with their weapons. Later during night qualifying all hell broke loose. It started raining during supper and continued to rain thru the night. My conservative guess is that 40% of us (including me) had problems severe enough to require the need of an armorer. I got exactly three shots off before my rifle was unusable. It got to the point where the drill sargeants were telling those of us with malfuntioning rifles to trade with those whose rifles were working just so we could get the hell out of there. That was pretty much my experience thru my entire three years I served. Weather fine? Weapons worked. Weather crappy? Forget about it.

RockyMtnTactical
September 23, 2007, 06:22 PM
The 5.56 is a fine compromise. I prefer it to all other calibers in a battle carbine.

Shot placement rules.

W.E.G.
September 23, 2007, 06:30 PM
I don't think the .223 is a very good sniper round.

But, if I got shot in the head with one, I might change my mind.

HorseSoldier
September 23, 2007, 06:40 PM
+1 what RockyMtnTactical and GunTech have said.

5.56mm gets the job done, and while people can argue that it should do this better or do less of that or whatever, the basic reality is that while we're shooting brass cased ammunition, there really is not a "better" just a different shuffling of pluses and minuses.

Since 5.56mm works, the cost of shuffling those pluses and minuses is a pretty hard sell. And it should be. I know we have a tendency to think the government just throws money at problems without any consideration to actual cost, but the reality does not match that mythology, at least not down at the user level. If we were to switch to some other caliber that provided a different set of strengths and weaknesses, that would mean that less money got spent on training, or other equipment for the troops, etc.

Byron
September 23, 2007, 06:57 PM
I was a 20 year old infantryman in Nam 68-69. My 16 worked quite well and am writing this because of its effectiveness.I cleaned my 16 as anyone in combat should. Many belittle it based on inaccuate hearsay or some like aruments to get people upset.
Byron D Co,3/8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division

mljdeckard
September 23, 2007, 07:19 PM
ID Shooting, I was a tanker in the same timeframe, in Germany, where I was asst armorer. We had M-3s in the MTOE and in the arms room, listed to be issued to crewmen of the recovery vehicle. They never touched them, but with the last of the .45 ammo we got before we switched out our 1911s to M-9s, I sure did. :) My training and experience never saw tankers using anything but standard rifles and sidearms.

When I was a kid, I had this perception that everything the military uses is the best anyone can ever use for any OTHER application, and that if it hasn't been U.S. issue at one time or another, it is flawed. This was before I came to understand that every piece of equipment the military uses is made by the cheapest bidder.

I still carry and use the M-16/M-4 as a duty weapon. I feel fine with it in a military application, BECAUSE when I qualify I shoot semi-auto, but if I ever use it to defend my life, I will be hitting that target with as many rounds as possible. I tell my soldiers, get used to the idea that if it's ever for real, flip that switch right past semi. (It's WAR, and overwhelming force is appropriate, where concerns of overpenetration and escalation of force are at best secondary concerns.)

For my own HD weapon, I use an M-1 carbine and a Remington 870. I know many people are using ARs for HD these days, and when some of them ask me what I think, I tell them, "use what you have got, but get some Hornady TAP ammo." I know, I know, gel tests, stats, theories, blah blah blah, but I have enough personal experience with the round to know that If I am about to hose a bad guy late at night, and I have a less than ideal backstop, I don't want to be hoping that this round which I KNOW is good at penetrating armor won't shred what is behind it. We have done this one to death, whether or not 5.56 is appropriate for HD, I still haven't heard any good reason it's better than my .30 carbine.

ModernTechnician
September 23, 2007, 07:35 PM
To: JShirley

“Well, M.T., I don't know you, but I have issues with some things you've said.

Who were you assigned to? I'm a little surprised that you claim to have been a Recon Marine, and then immediately speak about SF. So, were you a Recon Marine, or SF?”

So just WHO told you that Recon Marines were not Special Forces?!? Just a short note Navy Seals, Air Force Commandos Pathfinders and Para Rescue, and Coast Guard Beach Jumpers are also considered Special Forces.

I didn’t claim to be a Recon Marine - I was a Recon Marine. R.I.P. schooled in Da Nang and Quang Tri, SCUBA schooled also at Da Nang and later Pearl Harbor, Jump schooled in Soc Trang and Later Ft. Benning, Insurgency/Counter Insurgency training in Lang Vei and later Panama City.

My guess is that if you followed that, you’d realize there aren’t enough resources in the U.S. Armed Forces to dedicate all facets of Special Forces training unique to each service. Marines are especially thin budgeted and we even had to pay our living expenses out of pocket to attend many schools that squeeked us in, often using basket leave to attend.

Similarly we networked with each other and when Colonel Simmons needed more warriors than the U.S. Army would give him calls went out to SEALS and Recon Marines and we answered! (Officers had no clue how to use Recon Marines (or sometimes even Special Forces for that matter,) they simply used them as point infantry. So within our own ranks we took care of each other.

I served with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Company A in both Quang Tri (1 Corps) and then as training NCO in Kaneohe Bay Hawaii and finally MCRD San Diego with a final grade at date of separation of E-7 Gunnery Sergeant (meritorious from Drill Instructor School.)

Being as civil as I can here, but don’t question my service again…

Funny when you chop down the AR-15 you don’t even have the minimum velocity delivery that most consider a touting point of the cartridge in the first place! When they tried to issue us XM177A1E2(s) we generally laughed at them and told them where to go. However the younger folk carried them as a form of elite badge. That elite troops now carry M4(s) I can only add the comment they have a similar agenda, or are carrying it in preference to a 9mm MP5 or are duty bound not to spit on the issue authorities spit shines!

I said Infantry will use what they are issued. The last Combat Marines I talked to said given a choice they’d choose the M240b (MAG58) or M60E4-M43 Mod-O and when stuck with an M-16A1 without the 3 shot burst device they shut their mouths did good work. (If you issue Fine Infantry a Ford Edsel and command them to the front, have no doubt they’d figure a way to deploy it, that is not the issue though is it!)

JSL

HorseSoldier
September 23, 2007, 07:53 PM
Funny when you chop down the AR-15 you don’t even have the minimum velocity delivery that most consider a touting point of the cartridge in the first place! When they tried to issue us XM177A1E2(s) we generally laughed at them and told them where to go. However the younger folk carried them as a form of elite badge. That elite troops now carry M4(s) I can only add the comment they have a similar agenda, or are carrying it in preference to a 9mm MP5 or are duty bound not to spit on the issue authorities spit shines!

May be a generational thing if you've been there and done that back in the Vietnam era, but these days the M4 is the weapon of choice, preferably with a barrel in the 10-12" range. They don't carry it because it's cool, and they don't carry it because the powers that be tell them to -- they carry it because it works and its numerous strengths more than adequately compensate for any shortcomings it has. Especially in the hands of a skilled shooter trained in combat marksmanship and CQC techniques.

Jeff White
September 23, 2007, 07:55 PM
ModernTechnician,
I'm not JShirley, but what you have posted doesn't jive up with my personal experience nor the experience of other veterans on the board. I have direct knowledge of when and where JShirley served.

No one who has challenged anything you said is posting under a screen name. I suggest that you email or PM me your credentials so that your claims can be verified. Do this before you post here again.

Anyone can make up a screen name and claim any kind of expert knowledge they want. That is the nature of the internet. THR is one of those places where one doesn't claim experience they don't have.

Jeff

Pigspitter
September 23, 2007, 08:00 PM
The .300 Magnum was made even more difficult to field as a Sniper Weapon
Now I"m just a teenager, but I would expect a Marine to know that (correct me if I'm wrong) the only military sniper rifle in .300Win was the Walther WA200 and that gun was never fielded by any military force and less than 1000 were made.

HorseSoldier
September 23, 2007, 08:05 PM
Now I"m just a teenager, but I would expect a Marine to know that (correct me if I'm wrong) the only military sniper rifle in .300Win was the Walther WA200 and that gun was never fielded by any military force and less than 1000 were made.

Not true. There are 300 Win Mag bolt guns out there currently in service with a number of units. 7.62x51 remains the workhorse round, however.

Nolo
September 23, 2007, 08:23 PM
I agree that a rifle has a minimal impact on operations, barring use of something like a bolt-action or a Chauchat. :D
I would like to say, however, that I think it is worth the effort to reduce the weight of our ammunition, which is what my EPP rating is all about. Get the weight down, maintain the capability, and maybe even make some improvements along the way.

hqmhqm
September 23, 2007, 08:42 PM
I see some people asking for heavier bullets with more energy and mass (e.g., the .308 ), to allow longer range shooting. Is there a reason why you couldn't make a 5.56 cartridge with a metal that is denser than lead, like say tungsten or depleted uranium (or platinum :) ). You could turn a 75 gr 5.56 lead bullet into a 130 gr bullet if you used tungsten instead. (given that tungsten is about 1.7 times denser than lead)

Is the limitation on the amount of powder that fits into the 5.56 case? Or the strength of the receiver on the 5.56 rifle?

ModernTechnician
September 23, 2007, 08:45 PM
To: Jeff White

Yes, I knew John Plaster and spent as much time as I could when out of the field (which wasn’t much) at the Rifle Range that Carlos Hathcock and Gunny English put together in Da Nang, his old haunt. (Major McMillan used to let us skip lunch and instead issue us as much .45 hard ball as we could shoot!)

I am surprised to hear that he endorses the CAR-15 especially since we never saw one, must mean the XM177A1E2. That he would endorse it over the AK? We are talking about some one I don’t know at all! (In fact aside from the nasty habit of drawing friendly fire 1st Force Recon and 3rd Recon had such a preference for the systems that many considered it an almost unofficial issue (of AK(s) and RPK(s).) XM177A1E2(s) were not common in our inventories (we were Riflemen.)

Really? In almost 30 years of service with the 16 you didn’t have to clean it insistently to ward off stoppages? Hmmm. (Thank you for your service by the way!!!)

I would argue with you heavily about .30 and .50 cal deflections however. Yes spitzer shaped hi velocity rounds do occasionally get thrown off when they encounter resistance, but surely you have seen the vast majority of rounds from such weapons system dig through that and hit home! Do you really suggest that .30 or .50 caliber can’t hit a jungled or forested enemy?! That is absolutely counter to my experience! And sadly makes you sound untruthful. (Are you willing to say anything to discredit me and promote the pea shooter?)

I have seen M-16(s) break the tops of the handguards and pinch off the gas tube in both war and piece. Yes I know they changed the forend design, too bad they didn’t replace the tube itself with a robust steel one!

Colonel Simmons was also known a Bull, he was as fine an officer as ever existed God Rest His Soul! Yes, his units were charged with the Son Tay mission and training there in, I have no clue where to find documentation on the Parrot Beak missions now days, but if you could find them, you’ll find him and us all. We were told the assaults prevented a repeat (better yet say again,) TET 1968 incursion.

I was an 0311/0331/0351 but cross trained as a 2531, my designated weaponry was an M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol. But I carried an M60 during that time span as they already had Radiomen. The Army saw fit to issue most M16(s) but if you knew Colonel Simmons, you knew his men acquired a rather healthy amount of 12 bore pumps and AK(s) & RPK(s) that the enemy so kindly provided us with!

Really, you maintain a clearance and access even though retired? How did you work that out? Marines have an NCO commission Special Forces have Evals when training is complete. Training NCO’s publish these to D.O.D. (Did you really expect me to keep T #’s?) T.O.E.’s have Evals in both war and peace and MANY were submitted with negatives by myself and others (personal experiences.) We utilized every method we could to a Pentagon that did not care to listen, Formal and Informal. (Special Forces did and do bond tougether and come up with recommendations, we train each other and are faithful to each other!)

I find it incredible that you insist there was no Infantry opposition to the M-16 and 5.56mm at all. In fact I think you are lying here!

Yes, I am aware that we are signatories to the outdated WW1 treaties. That a Modern military would be so foolish to follow and not separate themselves from such a doctrine is both foolish and ludicrous! You apparently never ran into Bee-hive ammunition…

Marines designated one in 4 M-16(s) per fire team were authorized to have full auto capability. During the war most everyone that wanted full auto had it as did most Special Purpose units and I believe all units now days, with the 3 shot burst device that the Marines were allowed to dispose of. You obviously never saw an M-16 firefight Vietnam era, but yes, those that had experience used fire discipline and semi-auto fire.

First, I am not your Brother, now to say that the M-16 didn’t need cleaning makes me sure of it. You are a liar! My men broke down an cleaned the weapon even when it had not been fired AT EVERY OPERTUNITY! Because they knew men that had DIED because their weapon had a stoppage! As a training NCO I was once ordered not to clean the weapon that I was qualifying with by an officer and my rifle score went from 248 to 190 with stoppages beginning on the second day of shooting.

The Naval Weapons Testing and Ordinance Disposal Center did tests and the mean failure rates were so high on the weapon that testing of fouled weapons was discontinued!

IF you are telling me that they now have gone away from ball powders and that systems are better (read newer now) I am please, but never will be convinced! The Marines that came home from Desert Shield/Storm said that they had to make Styrofoam inserts to keep sand out of empty mag’ wells because the slightest amount of it would stop the weapon!

A good friend of mine had an AR-15 and he allowed the carbon to build up until the weapon failed more often than it fired! I told him of our experiences during the war, he cleaned the rifle to the point that he decided it was not the weapon for him. That is civilian experience and it bore out my own.

We are at the point that we can no longer converse, and I will not answer any more of your points, as truth is not something you concern yourself with!

Deer Hunter
September 23, 2007, 08:53 PM
If the 5.56mm didn't work well in its intended purpose, it would have been scrapped long ago. Speaking strictly from a logistical standpoint, the 5.56mm is a better choice than the 7.62x51. For modern warfare ranges (read "short range"), it performs as intended. I do not see the US army changing over to anything else anytime soon. The 7.62x51 could be improved greatly (110 TAP comes to mind) and would make it much better than current production mil-spec stuff, but it would take more than that to put it back into active duty. For any kind of longer-range shooting, the .308 is the better choice. For short-range fighting, the 5.56 has it beat. That's about what it all boils down to.

I am a .308 man until the end, and my first rifle was an STG58 FAL. My 5.56 is a Saiga.

dmftoy1
September 23, 2007, 08:56 PM
Smells like a troll to me . . .

Joe Demko
September 23, 2007, 08:56 PM
We are at the point that we can no longer converse, and I will not answer any more of your points as truth is not something you concern yourself with! roared the troll.

Snip, snap, snout.
This tale's told out,
I'd say.

Jeff White
September 23, 2007, 08:58 PM
I'm closing this one. No sense arguing...

Jeff

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