What style of bullet to snipers use?


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TargetTerror
October 21, 2008, 06:26 PM
Title pretty much says it all. I'm curious about LEO and military snipers. My curiosity is that the most accurate bullets, like the Sierra HPBT, are typically poor choices for hunting as they are not designed to expand like a hunting round. And hunting rounds are generally not considered as accurate, even if terminal ballistics are better.

Also, would a HPBT bullet be considered a hollowpoint under the Geneva Convention, and thus would the military be barred (at least under Int'l Law) from using any/most of the target bullets out there?

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Mossberg88
October 21, 2008, 06:28 PM
I know the police department by me's special response team/unit uses a bolt action .308

RockyMtnTactical
October 21, 2008, 06:33 PM
The military is forbidden "to employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering."

Contrary to popular belief, this is according to the Hague Convention, not the Geneva Convention. We were not a party to either of these, but we tend to abide by the rulings on our own accord anyways.

The US can and does (not in general though) use JHP's. About 20 years ago, a US judge decided that it was perfectly legal to carry JHP's for special purposes.

"...expanding point ammunition is legally permissible in counter terrorist operations not involving the engagement of the armed forces of another state."

Many snipers and DM are using MK262 OTM's in 5.56.

Luckily, the US military’s ammo selections have allowed them to cheat a little bit without really breaking the rules. For instance, the emphasis on the Mk262 77gr OTM was accuracy, not on bullet performance. The OTM (Open Tip Match) is not meant to increase bodily damage but increase in-flight stability and ballistic coefficient/speed. The excellent terminal performance is a bonus of the design though.

redneckrepairs
October 21, 2008, 06:36 PM
For the .308 most " snipers " or as i perfer marksmen use a 168 gr boat tail hp. This is not about the possible damage a hp may do it is about how a round behaves in what is called termanal ballistics . Terminal can roughly be defined as when it leaves the barrel , not when it enters a target . the 168 grain is famous because if you load it butt heavy ( such as a hp or a tactical point nowadays ) in a boat tail it tends to stay the course , even better than heavy loads . I dont reload for my self , however i shoot a .308 and a 30-06 both take the same bullets , IMHO both come alive when you pass the 150 grn level .

rcmodel
October 21, 2008, 06:37 PM
Police & civilian government agencies:

http://le.atk.com/general/federalproducts/rifle/tacticalliteotm.aspx

http://le.atk.com/general/federalproducts/rifle/tacticalbonded.aspx

http://le.atk.com/general/federalproducts/rifle/tacticaltru.aspx

http://le.atk.com/general/federalproducts/rifle/goldmedal.aspx

http://www.hornady.com/story.php?s=149

http://www.black-hills.com/rfactorynew.htm



The military M21 Sniper rifle uses the 7.62mm NATO M118 173 grain FMJ-BT Match ammunition

rcmodel

redneckrepairs
October 21, 2008, 06:39 PM
The US can and does (not in general though) use JHP's. About 20 years ago, a US judge decided that it was perfectly legal to carry JHP's for special purposes.

good point , and i wont expound more

doc2rn
October 21, 2008, 07:34 PM
^Yup it was covered.

longdayjake
October 21, 2008, 07:52 PM
look up m118 and m852.

Vern Humphrey
October 21, 2008, 07:58 PM
This is not about the possible damage a hp may do it is about how a round behaves in what is called termanal ballistics . Terminal can roughly be defined as when it leaves the barrel , not when it enters a target

Terminal ballistics is what happens when the bullet hits the target. The science of ballistics is divided into three general fields: interior ballistics describes what happens inside the gun barrel. Exterior ballistics describes what happens to the bullet "in flight." And terminal ballistics describes what happens when the bullet impacts the target.

USSR
October 21, 2008, 08:02 PM
...would a HPBT bullet be considered a hollowpoint under the Geneva Convention, and thus would the military be barred (at least under Int'l Law) from using any/most of the target bullets out there?

As previously mentioned, the Hague Convention covers this, and although we did not sign this document, we have agreed to abide by it. The reason that the Sierra MatchKing hollowpoint bullets are allowed to be used in U.S. sniper ammo is due to the wording of that part of the Hague Convention, which basically states that bullets "designed" to expand upon impact are banned. In the case of the Sierra MatchKing bullets, they are not designed to expand (typically they don't), and the hollowpoint is merely a result of the manufacturing method (the lead core is inserted from the front).

The military M21 Sniper rifle uses the 7.62mm NATO M118 173 grain FMJ-BT Match ammunition

The Army's M21 sniper rifles were replaced in 1988 by the M24 Remington-built bolt action sniper rifle. M118 Match ammo using the 173gr FMJBT bullet was replaced in 1998 by M118LR Match ammo using the 175gr Sierra MatchKing bullet.

Don

Jeremy2171
October 21, 2008, 08:23 PM
In the past 25 years 7.62mm Match has progressed from:

M118 MATCH to...
M118 Special Ball to..
M852 Match to..
M118 LR (current issue though still plenty of M852 around)

Rifleman 173
October 22, 2008, 12:15 AM
Nothing like good, old ball ammo for accuracy in your shots. Match grade ball ammo that is... You can keep the hollow points.

BornAgainBullseye
October 22, 2008, 12:27 AM
The military is forbidden "to employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering." So why use FMJ?? It would take u longer to bleed out with a .22 caliber hole than a .22 entry hole and a baseball size exit. I say since we did not sign the treaty... re issue troops with Nosler Ballistic Tips and call it a "Economic Stimulis Package" for kicking Nosler into high gear for the contract.

benzy2
October 22, 2008, 12:39 AM
Nothing like good, old ball ammo for accuracy in your shots. Match grade ball ammo that is... You can keep the hollow points.

I have always heard that a bullet with tighter tolerances round to round at the base was more accurate than one with the tighter tolerances at the nose. This is why I thought most of the match ammo was enclosed base with an open tip. If the case is formed from the base towards the tip like open tip bullets are you have tight tolerances at the base and they end up with any inconsistencies at the tip. The opposite happens to a FMJ which is why I thought they weren't as accurate in general.

USSR
October 22, 2008, 08:42 AM
I have always heard that a bullet with tighter tolerances round to round at the base was more accurate than one with the tighter tolerances at the nose. This is why I thought most of the match ammo was enclosed base with an open tip. If the case is formed from the base towards the tip like open tip bullets are you have tight tolerances at the base and they end up with any inconsistencies at the tip. The opposite happens to a FMJ which is why I thought they weren't as accurate in general.

That, in a nutshell, is the reason for the U.S. gov't's switch from the 173gr FMJBT bullet to the 175gr HPBT bullet in sniper ammo. Match grade ball ammo is pretty much an oxymoron.

Don

Matt-J2
October 22, 2008, 08:56 AM
So why use FMJ?? It would take u longer to bleed out with a .22 caliber hole than a .22 entry hole and a baseball size exit. I say since we did not sign the treaty... re issue troops with Nosler Ballistic Tips and call it a "Economic Stimulis Package" for kicking Nosler into high gear for the contract.

See, that works for hunting. Humane killing of an animal and all. However with us human beings, the little hole does less damage, so if it's not a vital organ, it's usually not too bad. The key difference, though, is that we have medical personnel. So when you have people running to your aid to stop the bleeding, then to stitch up your wounds and give you some happy pills...well, there would seem to be a lot less suffering going on.


That's the theory behind it as I recall, at any rate. Also, as I recall, it never actually works out that way, and bullets tend to be the nicest killing gadgets on the battlefield, after all the cluster bombs, grenades, artillery shells, anti-personnel mines, NBC weapons, etc.

woodybrighton
October 22, 2008, 10:20 AM
with a hit from a 7.62 or worse a .338 to the head the difference between a hollow point and a fmj is academic really :evil:
main point military don't bother with fancy bullets for mass use it most of them are not going to hit anyone anyway.

SSN Vet
October 22, 2008, 11:40 AM
just one little anecdote...

My BIL is a State Trooper and back when he pounded pavement, his sargent was also the leader of the "Tac Team". They drive blue pick-ups with locked hard shell tonneau to secure there "hardware".

This particular guy had multiple rifles in his truck and each was loaded with a different round for a different specific purposes.

Met the guy at (where else) Dunkin' Donuts, while riding shotgun with BIL (about the most exciting thing to do in his boony land neck of the woods), he had an "extreme self control" presence about him (exactly the same demeanor as the XO of Seal Team 2, who's guys rode our boat for covert insertion training back in '90).

Just a couple weeks after meeting him, there was a big manhunt for some nut cake who was running around with his "girlfriend" and her two kids robbing stores and then escaping to the back woods in a jeep. Holding up in hunting camps, etc.. When they finally caught up with "Bonnie and Clyde and family" the BG takes a couple shots at the troopers and then turns on the GF and holds her daughter hostage with a pistol up to her head.

When Tac Team sarge arrives on the seen, he pulls up short of the commotion, pops his tonneau cover and selects his "no twitch" load/rifle, takes a rest on his trucks open door frame and puts a bullet through BG's head from ear to ear.

No twitch....dead before he hit the ground, girl runs to mama...

I saw the guy again a couple months later, and he talked about his boat he was building for retirement. I didn't think it would be polite to ask prying questions, but noted again his "cool as a cucumber" demeanor.

Vern Humphrey
October 22, 2008, 11:57 AM
I saw the guy again a couple months later, and he talked about his boat he was building for retirement. I didn't think it would be polite to ask prying questions, but noted again his "cool as a cucumber" demeanor.

That's a common reaction. People sometimes ask, "What does it feel like to kill a man?" but I have no answer to that.

Read the works of Caesar, Thucidides, Xenophon, MacArthur, MacBride, and so on -- men who saw the elephant -- and while they will talk tactics, weaponry, and so on, they never try to answer that deeply introspective question, "What does it feel like to kill a man?"

That's why few combat veterans talk about killing.

hotlead
October 22, 2008, 01:04 PM
Good story ssn vet.

Never killed a man myself. damn near did in the gulf. glad I didnt.
It was a good day for him to be an idiot.......

ants
October 22, 2008, 10:29 PM
These posts got me curious so I looked up the Hague documents mentioned above. Here is what I found.

There were two Hague conventions, one in 1899 and another in 1907. The United States actually signed the first one, but didn’t ratify the second one.

Declaration III of the 1899 Hague document specifically mentioned certain bullets:
The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.
The present Declaration is only binding for the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them.
It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power.
When the 1907 document was drawn, it stated that the new document shall replace the earlier document, except that countries who signed the 1899 accord but NOT the 1907 accord would still be held to the provisions of the earlier document they signed:

The present Convention, duly ratified, shall as between the Contracting Powers, be substituted for the Convention of 29 July 1899, respecting the laws and customs of war on land.
The Convention of 1899 remains in force as between the Powers which signed it, and which do not also ratify the present Convention.
The new document of 1907 failed to be as specific as the 1899 document regarding bullets. It simply says:
To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;

I found this under "Laws of War" assembled by the Avalon Project at the Yale School of Law http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/lawwar.asp

Erik
October 23, 2008, 12:06 AM
"What style of bullet to snipers use?"

I'm surprised no one has hit on it yet: accurate ones, duh. :neener:

cliffy
October 23, 2008, 12:18 AM
Need I proceed? I didn't think so! cliffy

Tarvis
October 23, 2008, 03:25 PM
I'm surprised no one has hit on it yet: accurate ones, duh.
I think consistent would be a better word :neener:.

The point of using FMJ ammo is that it is more humane in the sense that it doesn't fill your guts full of lead and chunks of copper jacket, causing you to suffer for 2 months while the metal slowly churns your insides to toxic goo. A wounded man on the field is a wounded man on the field; you don't need to cause suffering because there is no need unless you have an appetite for evil. If we were serious about massive devastating small arms destruction, the military, or at least special forces, would be shooting something similar to the barnes varmint grenades.

It is funny, however, that the "rules" state that a bullet can not be designed to cause massive damage, but if it does and was not necessarily intended to do so, it's ok; "We made this bullet that will turn your body completely inside out and cause you to run around in severe pain for 2 minutes before you die. It wasn't intentional, it just happens to be more accurate this way."

SSN Vet
October 23, 2008, 09:54 PM
few combat veterans talk about killing.

Our boat was down in Roosevelt Rhodes, P.R. for most of the spring of 1990. Torpedo range shots, sound cuts, ORSE work up, and ... covert insertion training, which basically consist of putting commandos ashore with no one knowing your there. We made four seperate runs, one with a USA special forces unit, one with a USMC Recon unit, and two groups from Seal Team II.

The XO of Seal Team II rode both sessions with his guys. He was a LCDR who had been an enlisted Seal in Nam. He had SIX (6!) silver stars from his Nam days.

That guy gave me the heebee jeebees. His arms and his neck where massive. He was nice enough, but very serious about the training. We tried to coax some "see stories" out of the guy after meals in the wardroom, but he wasn't much of a talker. We did get one anecdote from him that his unit had gone into North Viet Nam and "kidnapped" a NVA general. And I have to tell you that I would not have wanted to be that general.

Overall the Seals were more serious about the training, as this was their bread and butter and the kind of mission that they could very likely do for real.

The Army and USMC guys were impressive as well, but didn't seem to be as prepared and didn't run as many scenarios. The Seals were really gung ho and wanted to get through as many different excercises as they could.

I'll never forget wondering how the heck they intended to rig their zodiacs big ass Mercury out board motor up into the submarines sail (conning tower) for one of the broached (partially submerged) launches. We thought we were going to help buy rigging up a block and tackle for them (hey, we were sailors after all), when one of Seals huffed the motor up on his shoulder and went right on up the ladder like it was nothing.

I never felt more like a pencil neck geek in my entire life.

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