Military Sniper Ammunition


September 1, 2003, 02:15 PM
From what I understand, the Geneva Convention doesn't allow for the use of hollow point ammunition in warfare. Since this is the case, do military scout/snipers use FMJ rather than BTHP and other HP variations?

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September 1, 2003, 02:19 PM
In time of war, yes.

In some covert, sneaky ????, I'm not sure. Me, I'd like to use probably a ballistic tip boattail. I'm sure FMJBT puts a hole in 'em just as good, tho.

September 1, 2003, 02:30 PM
Since OTM(Open Tip Match) ammunition terminally performs in the same manner as FMJBT ammo, it has been OK'd by the JAG for use by US troops. That performance being the bullet yaws and breaks up due to lateral forces exceeding the strength of the jacket vice true expansion. S/F...Ken M

September 1, 2003, 08:23 PM
I would like to take a sniper dog hunting and see how well they do..

September 1, 2003, 09:08 PM
???? I shoot P-dogs every year. I'm going again in September. What's your question? S/F...Ken M

Sir Galahad
September 1, 2003, 10:45 PM
Well, don't quote me, but I hear tell those prairie dogs are well-trained in counter-sniper tactics. One shot and next thing you know, you've got air support from gnats and mosquitos harrassing your rear.

4v50 Gary
September 1, 2003, 11:55 PM
The Fed. 168 gr HPBT is legal. The HP on it is not designed to inflict great injury and is just part of the mfg process. Read that in some military lawyer opinion.

September 2, 2003, 05:03 PM
BTW, it's not the "Geneva" Convention. It was one of the Hague Convention accords, and prohibited the use of any ammunition "designed" to cause excessive wounding, if that can ever be defined. Interpreted to prohibit not only expanding bullets, but also all-lead at high velocities for that day--like the 9mm Parabellum.

There is no nice way to shoot someone. They *will* get wounded. Fretting about bullet design is nonsense. You can get worse "enhanced" wounding from the bullet going through a Jeep's door or bouncing off a rock on the way to the target.:rolleyes:

Quintin Likely
September 2, 2003, 10:35 PM
The Hague Peace Conference of July 1899 forbid the use of "bullets that expand or flatten easily in the human body." The US never signed this thing though, so we could take expanding bullets into battle, although that meant that everyone else could use them on us too.

We did sign the Hague Convention of 1907, that says no "arms, projectiles, or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering."

'85 or so, JAG said expanding ammo was okay to use in operations not involving the armed forces of another state, like counter-terrorist operations.

In '90, JAG also said the Sierra Matchking hollowpoint was okay for use in combat, since the hollowpoint part was shown to aid in the accuracy of the bullet.

As it stands, there's two different loadings for military snipers shooting .308s, the M118 that shoots a 173 gr. FMJ-BT and the M118LR developed by the Corps that uses the 175 gr. Sierra MatchKing.

<Paraphrased from and>

September 2, 2003, 10:44 PM
The original Hague Accords were meant to address the use of "dum dum" bullets, which were RNL rifle ammo that Brittish soldiers cut a "x" into in order to make it open up.

This was meant to stop modification of issue ammunition by soldiers in the field.

I believe that this came into agreement only after Western nations started fighting each other (the Crimean, Franco-Prussian and Boer War), no one cared when used in colonial battles.

September 2, 2003, 11:01 PM
The "Dum-dum" bullets the British used in the Boer war that led to the banning of such bullets by the Hague convention were regular army supply, made at the British arsenal in Dum-dum, India. Boer war also had another notable first - the first use of "concentration camps" - in order to remove the source of supply for the Boer guerrilla's the British tried to round up the civilian non-combatants and place them in camps. Unfortunately there wasn't adequite housing, sanitation or food supplies for these camps as the British grossly underestimated the numbers of civilian farmers and the length of time the guerilla's could still hold out. These camps became a horror show that gave the concentration camp it's bad reputation. All of this from that flower of civilization - the British Empire.

If either side in a war signed the Hague convention, then BOTH sides are bound to follow it's dictates - so sayeth the Hague convention. I did a google search on it a few months back, and actually found a copy of it on the internet. It isn't exactly interesting reading, but it did give some explaination of some of the weirder rules of warfare.

September 2, 2003, 11:13 PM
The interesting thing is when the 50BMG enters the scene for anti-personel use.

Officially or unoffcially it does see use against humans and that's dating back as far as Vietnam with Gunny Hathcock sitting up ontop of that hill to record his record shot and then there is recent times with Afganistan and Iraq where the 50s are seeing use for long range engagements.

Personally I don't really care, "dead is dead" and the 50 is likely to deal it more quickly with less suffering at it's effective range.

308Winchester and to a lesser extent 300WinMag seem pretty mild in comparison even if they are using Sierra MachKing HP bullets.

Can't help but wonder how many 50 RAUFOSS rounds have wound up being used in Afganistan for antipersonel use. Or maybe it was simply something closer to a match grade round...

September 2, 2003, 11:37 PM
I seem to recall that the Hague provisions only applied as long as they BOTH were Western nations. As soon as one side or the other brought in non-signators, all bets were off. Seemed like basic racism to me.

M118 Special Ball and Special Match are both still in the system but being phased out. M118LR will be the only sniper round for the vast majority of forces in a few years. SOCOM will continue to use their own things like A191 and others.

The 50 caliber rounds are all legal for use on people. Flamethrowers, cannons, bombs, artillery shells are ALL legal for use on people. Ripping a man in half with the dozer blade of a D9 and then burying him is legal. Running him down with an AMTRAC is legal.

THE NEXT GUY WHO TELLS THAT OLD LIE ABOUT THE .50 CALIBER AND USE ON TROOPS NEEDS TO BE FLOGGED!!! I correct this misconception about three times a week. I think I'm just going to have Marines who tell me this old lie, push down the world from now on until I stop hearing it. S/F...Ken M

September 2, 2003, 11:56 PM
the 168 gr HPBT match ammo that is used by the military is the M-852.

Andrew Wyatt
September 3, 2003, 12:08 AM
The original Hague Accords were meant to address the use of "dum dum" bullets, which were RNL rifle ammo that Brittish soldiers cut a "x" into in order to make it open up.

That's a popular myth, but it's false. the "Dum Dum" bullet was a hollowpoint 215 grain .303 loading developed at the Dum DUm arsenal in india to oversome the stopping power problems inherent in a fully jacketed 215 round nose projectile scooting along at 2000-2100 feet a second. (it only put .30 caliber holes through people in the entrance AND exit)

It was retired from service after it was found that the open based hollowpoint (it was constructed like a normal FMJ bullet, but with a hole drilled in the nose) would spit the core out the muzzle, leaving the jacket behind.

September 3, 2003, 01:39 AM
the 168 gr HPBT match ammo that is used by the military is the M-852

And it's also being phased out. It's no longer produced AFAIK, I certainly have not seen it issued in a while. It was a stopgap brought about by the inadequacy of later lots of M118SB, and the availability of M852 from the marksmanship program. The168SMK was the bullet that bought about the JAG ruling. S/F...Ken M

September 3, 2003, 03:10 AM
Wow. Thanks for the responses. Some really good information.

50 Shooter
September 3, 2003, 11:41 AM
The .50 ammo that the Canadians used in Afghanistan was made by AAA-Ammo out of NE. If I remember right, they used the 750gr Hornady AMAX as the projo.

September 3, 2003, 01:51 PM
EchoSixMike, you one of the Rosterfarians over on the Duty Roster? I know there are a couple Kens that hang out over there.

Anyhow, anyone see Gunny Ermery on Mail Call the other night down on the sniper range at Camp Pendelton? Had him shooting the M40A3 and hittin out to 600+ yards. In the background you could also make out some Knights SR25 MkII Mod O rifles, thought maybe they were AMU AR10s at first but closer look in another scene definitely ID'd them as Knights rifles.

All related, I finally got my 300WinMag PSS on paper the other day, or I should say got to shoot for groups at ranges beyond 100 yards. Put an 8x11 piece of paper at an unknown range with a small 1 1/2 inch aiming dot dead center, I used my mildot reticle and MilDot master to range the target at 450-500 yards. I landed 4 of the 5 shots about 2 inches left of the target dot on the paper with a group size of about 5 inches, 5th shot was a total miss though it looks like. I'm amazed at how easy the Mildot reticle is to use along with the Mildot Master if a person is good at guestimating the target size.

Another group shot at a distance of about 350 yards yielded a smaller group with one of the 5 shots nailing the 1 1/2 inch dot on the target.

September 3, 2003, 02:49 PM
EchoSixMike, you one of the Rosterfarians over on the Duty Roster? I know there are a couple Kens that hang out over there.

Yep, there's me and then there's Ken Hunter, one of the folks that owns the site.

Not bad shooting. S/F...Ken M

September 3, 2003, 04:04 PM
I used to post a lot there back around 99-00 when Bravo was literally making like 5 posts every 1/4 hour.... I'm still there from time to time but generally don't have much to contribute so I lurk. When I do post I posted as B. Douglas but now there's a few others by similar name, "cowpie" is about fitting now if the email doesn't give it away.

It's funny, I'm actually trying to burn this barrel out so I can justify having it shipped out to be built into a custom rig. Been playing around with a lot of 163grn AP boolits trying to get the desire to experiment out of my blood before getting a high priced barrel only to run shoddy bullets through it. Fun stuff doing 3200fps with bullets that may have only done 2800 out of a 30-06 :)

Anyhow, getting used to the 300WinMag is an experience for sure. Past 3-4 years my primary accurized rifle with any sort of decent long range potential has been a 15 pound AR15 squirrel rifle from hell. It's certainly going from one extreme to the other.... Hard to get used to having to sit there and take it like a dog when firing the 300WinMag from the prone not to mention missing out on the bullet impacting through the scope like I can do with the varmint AR.

My first handloads have a lot of room for improvement, rifle has only been on 3 outtings to test for accuracy with handloads. That said most all handloads are beating out Federal Gold Medal 190s as I'm taking into account the long throat of my PSS. Very first load I put on paper at 100 yards is right at 1 inch for 5 shots and that came after a lengthy 40 rounds from the prone, probably was a little less than stable during those 5 shots. The loads I tested at 350 were 190grn Sierra Match Kings on RE22 and the ones I tested at 450-500 were 178grn Amaxes over RE22. Wasn't really testing the accuracy of the loads rather I was testing my ability to use the Mildot reticle and get first round hits.

Loads of fun. Just can't tell which rifle project I want to complete more, I've got an AR10 A4 that I'm thinking of having a 260 Rem upper built for or whether I'd prefer to send off the 300WinMag to have rebuilt into something along the lines of an F class gun in a sort of M40A3 pattern. There's a 1k yard range about an hours drive west of Bakersfield with a small group/club of people who maintain it, I'm looking to get in with them and do some shoots once I get up to speed.

As it stands now, it's gonna be a good 6 months before I get close to burning out the barrel on the 300WinMag, time well spent learning the trajectory of the round and learning to shoot the rifle. Not about to waste 1500 rounds burning out a good barrel while learning to shoot the gun and not realising it's accuracy potential fully. Wisdom of the Roster was not wasted on me. Just hope I can develop enough skill to realise a fair amount of the rifle's potential after having it built up. Fortunately the accurized AR15 in of it's soft recoiling sissy glory helped to establish decent fundamentals, trying to maintain them while blasting away with the 300 though is quite a challenge.

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