.223/5.56 in combat


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sh3rm4nt4nk
March 6, 2009, 12:47 PM
This is a question for those who served or are serving in the millitary.
Thank You for protecting Freedom and Hope in the world!
I have no millitary experience. I have read claims that the .223/5.56 are not adeqate in some situations or environments. I found this article interesting.
http://www.chuckhawks.com/243_service_rifle.htm
I would like opinions from first hand observations. Please state when you served, when you served, the caliber you used and where.
Thank you for your time.

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Dan Crocker
March 6, 2009, 12:55 PM
In both Iraq and Afghanistan, I found the 5.56 to be an adequate stopper. True, the round doesn't yaw as much since the introduced the tungsten penetrator years ago, but it still gets the job done. Since the emphasis is on overwhelming suppressive fire while another element manuvers to get kills, the 5.56 makes sense since you can carry so damned much of it.

C-grunt
March 6, 2009, 01:37 PM
Never had a problem with its stopping power. I served in Iraq during the invasion and then again for 05. I also never really had a problem in the penetration department either. My SAW in 03 shot completely through pretty much any house or wall I shot at.

jackdanson
March 6, 2009, 01:51 PM
Since enemy soldiers are approximately the size of deer, not groundhogs, the .308 is the obvious choice between the two.

bleh, stopped reading right here.

This doesn't take 8 million other factors into account. Weight, training, cost, etc.

There are plenty of dead terrorsists who would contend that the .223 does just fine.

Thanks for the service and first hand info c-grunt and Dan C.

Coal Dragger
March 6, 2009, 03:03 PM
USMC 0351 (assault-man). Al Anbar province 2004. 20" bbl M16A4.

I found the 5.56mm round to be merely adequate at stopping people. Definitely not great, when you consider that in most cases a 7.62NATO smacks an Iraqi down much harder. Mud brick walls pose a problem if they are very thick for a 5.56mm, a 7.62 M240 makes short work of a mud brick wall. Performance on vehicles was worthless, a 5.56mm round doesn't hit hard enough to disable a vehicle in a timely manner, although 7.62X51 works fairly well.

We need something in between the 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO rounds that is still accurate and feeds reliably in belt fed weapons. A 90-100gr bullet with a high B.C./sectional density at around 2700-2800fps would be just about perfect.

husker
March 6, 2009, 03:18 PM
i was told that the 5.56 in theory was for wounding. 1 wounded man needs 2 or 3 men to get him off the battle field. where as a dead man needs nobody to take him anywhere. 2 wounded men= 6 -8 men taken out of the fight so on and so on+ the fact that 1 man can carry a lot more 5.56 ammo than 308 or 30-06. is this true or was it just a bunch of malarkey

Deer Hunter
March 6, 2009, 03:19 PM
Malarkey.

husker
March 6, 2009, 03:24 PM
iv shot yotys with FMJ and thought i missed. watched them run up to 50-60 yrds before they tumbled. little hole going in and little hole going out. i use soft point or hollow points now. the exit wounds are really bad some times

jbech123
March 6, 2009, 03:31 PM
+ the fact that 1 man can carry a lot more 5.56 ammo than 308 or 30-06
This part is not malarkey at all.

The "wounding" theory, I have heard that before, can't say if there is any truth to it though.

husker
March 6, 2009, 03:37 PM
it kinda makes cents the man who told me this was my father. 40 years as a GI he was. he was there in 1948-1988 so i no he saw the m14 though the m16 dont no if he ever was issued a garand. i no the garand was his favorite rifle on earth. PS dad=combat engineer fort riley kans.

chriso
March 6, 2009, 04:09 PM
US army 11b bahgdad 2006 .223 is what I would consider a unadequate stopping round no doubt its good on the squad automatic but I have seen guys get shot 2-3 times before they hit dirt. No doubt a 7.62 or a 6.8 spc even a 7.62x39 would be a better choice but its what you have to use regardless so you make it work...

kBob
March 6, 2009, 04:26 PM
For the 433rd time,

One of the requirements set down for the .22 Special which became the 5.56 M193 Ball was that it have equal or greater wounding power than the M80 7.62 NATO Ball to a range of 300 meters.

That meant it was to be able to produce a wound as well as the 7.62 NATO Ball. A wound is an injury, a displacement of flesh, a breaking of bones, ect.

It was to produce a wound, including lethal, as big as the 7.62 Ball from the M-14 or M-60 GPMG.

This has nothing to do with makeing wounded men that must be cared for but making the same damage as one another.

-Bob Hollingsworth

-v-
March 6, 2009, 04:52 PM
Other thing to consider is M855 is designed for penetration over wounding. I don't know what the supply situation is like, but if its M855 thats issued en-mass and M193 is one of those "got to know a guy" supply items, then it might not be too surprising that the wounding capabilities of an optimized penetration round can be found lacking.

JR47
March 6, 2009, 05:07 PM
One of the requirements set down for the .22 Special which became the 5.56 M193 Ball was that it have equal or greater wounding power than the M80 7.62 NATO Ball to a range of 300 meters.

Perhaps in it's original configuration, and barrel-twist. No longer.

Rung Sat Special Zone, RVN, 1966-69. Started, and ended, with the 7.62 caliber M14. The M16 of the era was an unreliable, easily broken, and pretty much useless rifle. The VC and NVA actually liked the fact that American soldiers had it, as opposed to the M14. They worked the fact that it wouldn't penetrate trees and logs very well, and tended to jam, to their advantage.

Purportedly, the rifle is somewhat more reliable today in combat. Face it, that was the last time that we fought an enemy that was willing to go toe-to-toe with us. Iraq I was a war of air-power and armor. Iraq II is a guerilla war.

Eventually, we are going to face an enemy that will contest our air-power long enough to require real infantry battles, and armor battles. In that instance we'll see how well the M16 fares. Overwhelming firepower is going to be returned, and fire and maneuver will be routinely subjected to enemy artillery, automatic weapons, and mortars.

The Soviets are reportedly unhappy with the 5.45x39 cartridge, and moving back to an improved 7.62x39. The Chinese are experimenting with the 5.8x42, with dedicated ammo for multiple purposes. As they routinely copy others thoughts, decades later, you have to wonder if that's what's happening here.

I was never impressed with the ability of the Vietnam-era 5.56 round to put an enemy down.

As for the wounding principal, it only works if your enemy cares about his troops, like us. There aren't many armies in the world that do that.

husker
March 6, 2009, 05:15 PM
pops hated it=m16 of the late 60s and carried a GI 45acp. now my friends that are still active swear by it and say its a bad rap thats been carried over from the Nam era. it just needs to be kept clean

mgregg85
March 6, 2009, 05:18 PM
This old debate again? Really?

Just for my curiousity, how many rounds does/did a front line soldier in Iraq/Afgahnistan carry? Were they all in magazines or were some loose or on stripper clips?

Acera
March 6, 2009, 05:42 PM
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr301/300Acera/popcorn.jpg?t=1236379323

W.E.G.
March 6, 2009, 06:03 PM
http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/humor/_ah_geez_not_this_again.jpg

Coal Dragger
March 6, 2009, 06:06 PM
mgregg85,

I routinely carried 10-13 fully loaded 30rd magazines full of 5.56mm ball while in Iraq.

6 in magazine pouches on my body armor, 1 in the magazine well, and 6 more in my camel back day pack.

chriso
March 6, 2009, 08:33 PM
depending on who you were and what you were doing usually determines or helps as well I was 11b/ranger I carried 12 fully loaded mags most the time and usually 5-6 pistol magazines... Versus lets say someone doing recon would carry less... We also got alot of good toys ;)...

RevolvingCylinder
March 7, 2009, 12:54 AM
All rounds are carried in magazines. 7 magazines is the minimum. Most opt to carry more(I sure did). The 5.56 will put a guy down but that's not to say that it's equal to the 7.62x51mm. Like with any round, you have to hit them where it counts and repeat as necessary.

Float Pilot
March 7, 2009, 02:27 AM
You will probably not see as many meaningful responses to this thread, compared to your other recent thread.
At least not many from your intended respondents. Although the wannabes will no doubt chime in.
It is one thing to discuss or debate mechanical reliability in filed conditions.
It is a much different thing to ask about weapon effectiveness from those who have used their weapons at close enough range to observe the effects.
As if they had other weapons handy to compare the results...
It borders on being bad form.

Coal Dragger
March 7, 2009, 02:32 AM
^ Pretty much accurate. It's not like I had anything other than 5.56mm at my immediate disposal on my person. I could observe the increased effectiveness of the M240 though, and it was a pretty noticeable difference.

As part of a weapons company we also had .50's and MK19's as well. Now those really really really work.

nwilliams
March 7, 2009, 02:43 AM
Ahhh the age old debate, this should be interesting....How many times has this question been asked I wonder.....

sh3rm4nt4nk
March 7, 2009, 03:28 AM
I guess if were in a fire fight I would be concentrating on the objective and not thinking "gosh I wish I had a .308". American forces aren't suffering defeats and bullet weight probably wouldn't change that if they were. There are some that may have seen both 7.62 and 5.56 in action and I would take their opinion seriously. It would be good to know soldiers are happy with 5.56 even if they have nothing to compare it to. I didn't indend to start a debate, I was hoping for first hand observations.

Again Thank You All for your service, and for your input.

sh3rm4nt4nk
March 7, 2009, 03:43 AM
A zombies gotta eat too you know....do I smell brains?!

Deadman
March 7, 2009, 07:02 AM
"The Soviets are reportedly unhappy with the 5.45x39 cartridge, and moving back to an improved 7.62x39."

Anyone care to elaborate on this improved 7.62x39?

T.R.
March 7, 2009, 10:21 AM
I've never shot at anyone although I served with USAF in a combat Civil Engineer outfit for many years. But I observed many fresh Iraqi corpses during the Gulf War. That little bullet makes a ghastly lethal wound.
TR

JR47
March 7, 2009, 04:17 PM
American forces aren't suffering defeats

Yeah, I think that was mentioned earlier. American soldiers aren't fighting a genuine First World power, either.

The latest generation of 7.62x39 is adopting the AK74 rounds air-gap tip, to improve wounding, but maintaining the overall effectiveness on building materials. Improved powders are also being experimented with, in an effort to allow for a slightly heavier bullet, but at the same velocities, and nearly ther same pressures.

mudriver
March 7, 2009, 05:46 PM
I used both 5.56 and 7.62 in first Gulf war and in other actions. The 5.56 will do its job, but appeared to be marginal and was real hard to get good effects past 250-300 yards. The 7.62 was much better and worked well out to 600+ yards.

What is important to know is that rifles represent a small amount of the firepower of the Army and Marines now. The vast majority of firepower is in armored vehicles, MG's, grenade launchers, etc. So if your rifle isn't doing the job, many other things will.

The other thing to note is that my experience and other posters here do not represent a statistical sample and so you must take our opinions with a grain of salt.

BTW - my experiences have made me a FAL/HK rifle kind of guy and I keep the AR in 5.56 for the kids to target shoot with : )

Javelin
March 7, 2009, 05:49 PM
The 5.56 shines when you get into the 75gr bullets.

:)

JWJacobVT
March 7, 2009, 09:02 PM
But Javelin the Average military does not have 75gr anything.

OK so I asked my coworker this question today (we had 10 hours together), he was in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne in 2001 and after 11 months was shipped home after an RPG struck near him. He was a squad leader and designated marksman(SDM). Yup he stated the M4 and 556 did the job, But the 50 cal was better. Yup the M9 9mm did the job, BUT.
So I asked him, you just got a recall notice to go back to the sandbox, you can take any long gun and handgun you wish. Answer, AR10 with scope and a Sig 226 or Glock 22 in 40. He knows the AR platform and is happy with it but the 556 just didnt do the job, same with the 9mm. To many times he had to fire more then several times to STOP the threat. He would rather have a 308and 40 or 45. He stated 40 over 45 as he would have a few more rounds in the mag. Now this is as designated marksman so I asked what about the other guys? His answer for MOUT operations like he was doing an AK47 or as min a HK MP5 in 45 or 40 (close in fighting). OK I said the AR 10 / 226 is not availible what is your next pick as SDM, answer M21 and a Sig 220. He currently carries a SIG 220 on duty. I then asked OK the AK 47 is not available next pick, answer HK G3.
Now I was there (Afghanistan) in 2003, I carried a M9 and for the first few months a AMD 65 (AK47), then they finally issed me a M4. My feelings are close to the same if I got recalled and could bring my own. Long gun M21 or HK G3 and handgun a S&W 1006 or 4506. Just our 2 cents from the sandbox. I will not go into our discussoin about body armor and etc.

Ignition Override
March 7, 2009, 09:11 PM
As for only wounding the enemy, JR 47 was one of the few to ever question why enemy soldiers would be really cared for.

I've read about the objective to only wound on at least several Internet discussions and always wondered why we assume that Third or even Second world countries value human life.
Life in so much of the world is not only cheap, but worthless, and it always surprised me that we assume that so many countries have our attitudes, or would want to develop them. A Russian pilot ejected from a Mig 15 or 17 during the K. War and as he was waiting in the Pacific to be rescued, either a N. Korean or Russian plane was ordered to strafe him, because the western media and politicians then would have been forced to admit that Russians were flying against our pilots in their F-86s, F-51s etc.

We flew some 'Rapid Deploy. Force' officers etc in '82 from Macdill AFB to Mogadishu.
Keep in mind, those were the good old days for Somalia.
As we drove to the airport one day, I noticed a woman lying in a downtown side street having moderate epileptic convulsions, as two adult men watched from about twenty feet and giggled between themselves.
Where did Americans ever get the idea that most of the world values human life?

As the superb late Italian author Giusseppi Barzini titled one of his books about western societies, he put it in a nutshell:
"Americans Are Alone In The World". The world is tribal, still nursing grievances-ethnic, religious, linguistic (check recent squabbles between Flemings, Walloons in Belgium, and these are very minor by comparison)-from the year 1455 AD or even 500 BC.
Most of us have no idea.

dscottw88
March 7, 2009, 09:20 PM
But Javelin the Average military does not have 75gr anything.

Maybe not a 75gr round, but the military does use the MK262; a 77gr OTM. 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.

husker
March 7, 2009, 09:26 PM
sad and scary at the same time.

GRIZ22
March 7, 2009, 10:36 PM
I've used the M16, AR, or M4 since 1968 (with a few years off in that period) in Vietnam and as a LEO. My experience has been that it works well for what it is used for. There are all the stories of "I had to shoot him 4-5 times to get him to drop". unless you exactly duplicate all the factors involved (which you can't) there is no reason to think a 6.8 or 7.62 NATO would have worked any different.

Is a 6.8 or 7.62 NATO a better long range cartridge? Sure they are but there is one important fact to remember. Most soldiers (Army) can't hit a man sized target past about 200 meters anyway. We're not talking Delta Force guys but your typical soldier be they infantrymen or mechanics. The 5.56 has about 800 ft/lbs of energy at 200 meters and still has sufficient velocity to fragment. Marines shoot better. I'm saying this with about 30 years of active duty, National Guard and Reserve time. The M16 meets the needs of most Marines too.

ps Since enemy soldiers are approximately the size of deer, not groundhogs, the .308 is the obvious choice between the two.

What this statement fails to recognize is that enemy soldiers have a lot more intelligence than deer. An enemy soldier who can take his pulse by watching an artery bleed out has a totally different prespective than a deer hit with the same wound.

sh3rm4nt4nk
March 8, 2009, 04:04 AM
Any thoughts on Chuck Hawks' .243 proposal?
http://www.chuckhawks.com/243_service_rifle.htm
Just curious.

JR47
March 8, 2009, 06:04 PM
I beg to differ on the "can't hit a man-sized target beyond 200 meters."

The current generation of soldiers are much improved over those of Vietnam, or even Grenada. They spend more time on marksmanship, and use optical sights whenever possible.

Perhaps you meant that most LEO types can't hit beyond 200 meters? Our soldiers are actually doing quite well whenever distances are opening up.

Javelin
March 8, 2009, 06:28 PM
I beg to differ on the "can't hit a man-sized target beyond 200 meters."


I agree. Our Soldiers get a lot of time on the range as there is money in the budget (or was) for training that folks in the past were not granted.

The main issue with the 5.56 in close combat is that it is a hot little round and when shots are taken inside 10 yards has a tendancy not to fragment but just pierce straight through flesh.

While this does make a large wound cavity that no amount of medical attention is going to keep you alive for long it does not always deliver the stopping power. This is why the heavier (more importantly slower) 75gr bullets are very important in CQB/Urban combat as they better allow the energy of the bullet to be absorbed ultimately fragment/yaw.

:)

Eustachius234
March 8, 2009, 08:19 PM
With all this talk of overpenetrarion etc. Are y'all saying that the old M193 55 grain was a better combat bullet because of it's frangibility?

Also does the 55 grain stabilize sufficiently in a 1/7 twist enough for distance & accuracy purposes?

Big Bill
March 8, 2009, 08:34 PM
We need something in between the 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO rounds that is still accurate and feeds reliably in belt fed weapons. A 90-100gr bullet with a high B.C./sectional density at around 2700-2800fps would be just about perfect.Sounds to me like you're describing a .25-06. I wonder why they haven't militarized .25-06? Couldn't they make an effective, lightweight, modern version of the M1 Garand in 25-06?

BTW, I didn't serve in combat but I did serve in the 116th Armored Cavalry (Idaho National Guard) for seven years. And, the M16s we trained on certainly put a lot of hurt on those big Idaho Jack Rabbits back then.

Coal Dragger
March 8, 2009, 09:13 PM
^ .25-06 runs quite a bit faster with 90-100gr bullets than 2800fps. A .25-06 will throw a 117gr at around 3200fps, so with a 90-100gr bullet I am guessing 3300-3400 is quite possible. While it would shoot nice and flat, and have good on target performance the weapon would be really large for a magazine fed rifle, and with a round that far overbore barrel life would be unacceptably short.

MTMilitiaman
March 8, 2009, 09:37 PM
This debate will go on for as long as the 5.56 remains in service. I think this is largely due to differences in expectations among users. Those of us who grew up hearing about the potency of the M1 Garand from our grandparents, and those of us who grew up shooting high-powered rifles and witnessing their effects on living targets, such as hunting, will probably tend to have higher expectations in terms of effectiveness. We tend to judge the 5.56 more harshly.

I would like to believe that the 5.56 must be at least marginally adequate or the powers-that-be would have gotten rid of it long ago. Whether or not this is true, I can't say. I only saw one large critter shot with a 5.56. It was a muley buck I shot from about 40 yards with a 55 gr JSP from a Mini-14 when I was 12. I wasn't impressed. Anything that requires me to go in harm's way will be addressed with a 7.62. Its advantages outweigh its disadvantages for my purposes. I wasn't given this choice when I was in the Marines, but I am more of a battle rifle guy. Make mine an M1A.

However, I believe the truth is probably, as with everything else, somewhere in the middle. The 5.56 gets the job done adequately within the intermediate ranges it was designed for, but while it is capable of being effective beyond a couple hundred yards, it isn't ideal and those situations requiring additional range or penetration are probably better served with a 7.62mm rifle. Those who suggest the effective range of any 5.56 to be 500 yards or beyond are probably delusional, and even within its effective range, to suggest the 5.56 is ever as effective as the 7.62 with similarly designed projectiles is ludicrous and out of touch with reality.

The main issue with the 5.56 in close combat is that it is a hot little round and when shots are taken inside 10 yards has a tendancy not to fragment but just pierce straight through flesh.

Given that this is completely contradictory to simple Newtonian physics, would you please explain how and in what world more velocity increases the tendency of a certain projectile not to fragment?

Because unless you are privy to information disproving physical law, on this planet, velocity always increases the tendency of a bullet to fragment. This is true regardless of bullet caliber or design. Take any bullet and the faster you drive it, the more likely it is to fragment.

Think equal and opposite.

And with this in mind, the 5.56 is actually more likely to fragment at 10 yards than 100...

HorseSoldier
March 8, 2009, 10:20 PM
It is a much different thing to ask about weapon effectiveness from those who have used their weapons at close enough range to observe the effects.
As if they had other weapons handy to compare the results...

This is an excellent point.

I will say that when I was a support soldier in an SF unit, none of the team guys on ODAs I ever worked with had any enthusiasm for the AKs the indigenous types carried. None bothered scaring up M14s from anywhere, either. For a fighting rifle, they were all very happy with the M4, and even some of the guys who got hands on HK416s thought it was no real improvement over the M4 (and lots were skeptical about the SCAR, also, though we didn't have any by the time I ETS'ed).

Almost all were also more than happy with 5.56mm, also. I can think of one CW2 or 3 and a couple other guys who were really interested in 6.8SPC when it first started getting air time, but that's about the only arguments for changing stuff I can recall hearing.

I think in all cases the ability to tailor the M4 to user or mission requirements/preferences made it superior to the other weapons floating around in theater, and adequate training to actually make hits with the weapon made 5.56mm acceptable. A whole lot of the "not enough stopping power" complaints come from people who lack the skill to actually hit the bad guy, and who confuse "I shot at him X number of times" with "I hit him X number of times."

Any thoughts on Chuck Hawks' .243 proposal?
http://www.chuckhawks.com/243_service_rifle.htm
Just curious.

Silly and unworkable.

Ammo eats up the same cubic volume as 7.62x51, so even if the ammo is slightly lighter you can't carry much of a basic load.

Plus, it's badly overbore for a military service rifle that's going to put a lot of weapons downrange fast in training or actual combat. This means short lifespan for barrels, higher maintenance costs for an inventory, etc.

There are lots of better solutions out there for what a service rifle cartridge needs to do.

Javelin
March 8, 2009, 10:40 PM
Given that this is completely contradictory to simple Newtonian physics, would you please explain how and in what world more velocity increases the tendency of a certain projectile not to fragment?


Sure. It is all first hand so completely up for analysis and I don't care one way or the other about the 5.56 whether it is the end all be all or not so my feelings don't get hurt I assure you.

When we were raiding homes (Samarra, Iraq 2003 to be exact) and shots were taken within 10-15 feet (typical distance during nightly raids) the bullet would just pass straight through the targeted individual. The US Army understands this urban warfare concept completely which is why the we train using controlled pairs during CQB techniques. If you don't remember this is the circle, triangle, square approach to urban combat.

But on the contrary, at a distance out past the immediate muzzle it seemed not to have this effect and the bullet would tumble and yaw as it was designed. Unsure why and I am no physicist, or write gun rags, I was just a rifle platoon leader during an interesting time.

My personal feelings are that a heavier bullet will slow it down and assist in CQB scenarios where you need that blunt force trauma and the bullet to fragment/yaw more quickly. Not to mention the benefits (or curse) to material penetration such as auto glass.

;)

Evil Monkey
March 8, 2009, 11:06 PM
The Soviets are reportedly unhappy with the 5.45x39 cartridge, and moving back to an improved 7.62x39.

First, i would LOVE to have further information of this "improved" 7.62 that you speak of.

Second, it has been discussed before. Russian SF's and paramilitaries went back to 7.62x39mm because of ricochet issues with the 5.45mm in CQB. Later on, 9x39mm compact assault rifles started to be marketed for their "low ricochet" characteristics, after being initially for close range suppressed sniping/marksman duty.

MTMilitiaman
March 8, 2009, 11:19 PM
And how did you know the bullets were not yawing at 10 yards? It is not uncommon for some to look at entrance and exit wounds and assume that if both are near caliber sized, that nothing went on in between. It is an easy mistake to make. But having shot and seen-shot enough game animals, and performed the necessary autopsy report upon field dressing, I know it not to be true. It is fairly common for bullets to tumble and stabilize base first. When this occurs, the exit wound is undramatic, and not a good indicator of terminal performance.

More importantly, the fact that I would like to convey is that the rounds may or may not have tumbled at 10 yards or at longer ranges. Indeed, the ice-pick effect of the 5.56 has been well documented. "Blackhawk Down" is a among the more popular examples of this. But this inconsistency is probably due more to minute differences among lots in the design and construction of a relatively complicated bullet being produced in massive numbers.

Any failure of the M855 round to yaw or fragment at close range is most certainly not due to excessive velocity. In fact, the M855 round, as with its predecessor, and all other rounds depend on velocity for their effect. It has been demonstrated that the M855 round fragments reliably above about 2700 fps, sometimes down to 2500 fps, but almost never below. Obviously, at 10 yards, the velocity should have been adequate velocity for fragmentation. If they didn't fragment, it wasn't because they had too much velocity, but because they had too little.

Varmint hunters are well aware that it is possible to load some of the more fragnible projectiles fast enough that they disintegrate as soon as they leave the muzzle. The military conducted tests in the 60s, IIRC, in which they necked the massive .378 Weatherby case down to diameters as low as .22 caliber in order to study the effects of hyper-velocity projectiles traveling up to 5000 fps.

When a bullet strikes its target, the target hits the bullet as hard as the bullet hits the target. Because of this, increasing velocity will always increase the expansion exhibited by a projectile, or at least its likelihood to expand or fragment. As a game hunter, I know that going to a heavier-slower projectile has many advantages, but expansion is not one of them. The only time a heavier starting at a slower velocity would expand more than a lighter bullet of similar construction with a higher initial velocity would be downrange at the point where the heavier bullet's higher BC allows it to retain more velocity than the lighter projectile. In fact, I typically use heavier bullets in my 7mm specifically because they don't expand as much. They expand adequately to do their job, but not so much that it damages a lot of meat.

d2wing
March 8, 2009, 11:36 PM
Nam '69. I was surprised at the effectiveness and accuracy of the M16. I had an m14 first and loved that too. My favorite was an M60 mounted on a vehicle. They use 7.62 NATO. I think full auto is neccesary in a modern combat weapon. I understand the current issue have the loud switch removed, Bad idea. I give a slight edge to the M16 as a carry weapn. I had no problems in Nam with any weapons. I understand some GI's trouble with their M16s be in our units I did not know of any.

Dan Crocker
March 8, 2009, 11:45 PM
Coal Dragger, don't you know the only way to 'disable a vehicle' is to KILL THE DRIVER! ;-) I'm guessing you do, because that's what the Marines are good at!
It always made me laugh how the ROE was 'Now first shoot the radiator...' as if a car doesn't take 5 minutes to overheat with a busted radiator and it can't coast if the engine was disabled...such a joke.

Coal Dragger
March 9, 2009, 12:49 AM
^ Yep, ask me how I know.

sh3rm4nt4nk
March 9, 2009, 01:41 AM
".25-06 runs quite a bit faster with 90-100gr bullets than 2800fps. A .25-06 will throw a 117gr at around 3200fps, so with a 90-100gr bullet I am guessing 3300-3400 is quite possible. While it would shoot nice and flat, and have good on target performance the weapon would be really large for a magazine fed rifle, and with a round that far overbore barrel life would be unacceptably short."

What is the expected life of a M16 barrel?
Looking up overbore I found definitions like "the case capacity in grains of water divided by the area (in square inches) of the bore cross-section".
I think friction and heat have the greatest effect on barrel life. Increasing the velocity and surface area of the bullet in contact with the barrel will increase heat/friction. This will be mutiplied by the length or the bullet as the longer any section of barrel is in contact with the bullet the hotter it will get. So any increase in bullet weight needs a porportional increase in bullet diameter to maintain the same heat and barrel wear at a given velocity.
I think if I were looking for something between .223 and .308 that's not very overbore .260 remington or something like it would work.
http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/ballistics/comparative_ballistics_results.aspx?data=R260R1*R223R1*R308W2

R.W.Dale
March 9, 2009, 01:55 AM
bleh, stopped reading right here.

This doesn't take 8 million other factors into account. Weight, training, cost, etc.

There are plenty of dead terrorsists who would contend that the .223 does just fine.

Thanks for the service and first hand info c-grunt and Dan C.


I'm tellin ya. Why anyone even bothers reading anything written by Mr Hawks is beyond me. Line after line of useless incorrect pontification given as though it were all facts.

Chuck Hawks should be working somewhere behind a counter or steering wheel and nowhere near a keyboard

mtlucas0311
March 9, 2009, 01:56 AM
Coal Dragger, your a 51' for god sake! what are you screwin' around with a 16 for, did your A gunner forget how to load a tube or something? I know you had plenty of rockets, what's the deal?::D

I have to admit I never got wind of the "shoot the radiator first" rule?
For us it was: if they don't stop by here, the 240's take over. The few times it happened the car usually swerved or drifted off the road quite quickly.

Coal Dragger
March 9, 2009, 02:23 AM
I was a 51 in a weapons company. So no rockets for us, we had Javelins. Seeing as how there was no armor to shoot up in 2004 they used us just like an 0311. So even though we had AT4's we didn't use them too much. We didn't have any SMAW's either (shame).

Last vehicle I had to shoot up was approaching the flank of my platoon which was already actively engaged at the time. My back blast area was far from being clear, so no AT4. Aside from that we tried the shots to the radiator as a warning at about 250-300M, then once he got within about 200M-150M I sort of popped the guy in the face. I tried for the front seat passenger too, but sadly he ducked. I am still surprised I made that shot, but then again I had been doing a lot of competitive shooting on my own and for Missouri State University prior to the deployment. Still I was damn lucky to calculate the correct lead and pull it off, especially with a trigger heavy enough to support the weight of the rifle.

C-grunt
March 9, 2009, 06:05 AM
While I never had a problem with the 855 round, I think going to a heavier round would be better.

Byron
March 9, 2009, 08:57 AM
Army and Marines are both accurate riflemen.The M193 worked well for me in 68-69 as a grunt in Nam.No repeated hits needed.Our CO kept us from using full automatic to which I agree.We operated in the Central Highlands in free fire. Rumour that one wounded takes three out.It is a fable that someone dreamed up. I spoke to a SF troop and they are using the M193. There are no magic bullets,including the 45 ACP.Every situation is different.
Support our troops.Don't ask them war stories.Thank Them,just Thank Them. It was not that way when many of us came home from Nam.
Byron D Co., 3/8th Inf, 4th Inf Div 68-69

SHvar
March 9, 2009, 12:13 PM
The 5.56 works far better than many will give it credit for, and most who say it doesnt cut through cars, trees, and didnt work in Vietnam werent there, or didnt fight with it.
Truthfully every vietnam vet I have known who was infantry, special forces, engineer, etc (combat arms in the Army or Marines), liked them, and had no problems with the M-16 or the 5.56x45 and its stopping power.
As for myself in Iraq, the round worked just fine, it will cut through a car and keep going, and it has no problem stopping enemies.
It wont have the take down power of the 7.62x51, of course, but it works more than good against any human or large animal.
Ask an inuit hunter what they use in Alaska or northern Canada hunting polar bear, seal, walrus, etc, many use the .223.
The 7.62X39 has a bit more impact at 100 yards or less, but just like the 5.45x39, its made to use in distances under 250 meters, after 200 meters the 5.56 works better than both.
I watched a good sized deer get knocked down with one shot (.223) at almost 400 meters, it never made one step alive, just jumped straight up then fell dead.

mtlucas0311
March 9, 2009, 01:47 PM
.223 for polar bear? you go first, I'll be in the hummer with coal dragger! We'll make sure we've got rounds for his SMAW this time.
A car isn't that tough a medium for any rifle cartridge to pass through, there isn't nearly as much to them as you may think. Unless it hits the powertrain or unibody (pillars) there isn't much to stop it.

d2wing
March 9, 2009, 02:36 PM
I agree with Shvar and the other vets that actually used the weapons in combat. The 5.56 does what it is designed for. I loved the M14 but if I had to hump it with ammo and pack and shoot in a hurry, not so much. Unless the army issued very fast gun bearers, I'd take an M16. If they did issue gun bearers, I'd use an M60. Yes the 7.62 is more effective. Especially in a fixed position. I rode in convoys on gun trucks sometimes and was a gunner on jeeps a couple times. The m60 and I were good friends.
Same with the M16 and .50 cal in other situations.
Those of you suggesting other rounds don't seem to realize that the 25-06 and .243 are simply less effective 30-06 and .308 rounds. There isn't anything in between that has proven an advantage over the .308 or .223 as an infantry weapon. The wound rather than kill is a doctrine of our enemies, not ours. Nobody in combat thinks, gee, I'd rather wound that guy than kill him. War is an excuse for unrestrained evil and violence, and those who (us) try to stop it with less evil and violence intent. I dunno I better take my meds now. Oh and armchair generals, never been in combat, have a cup of shut up. (words deleted here)

Jaws
March 9, 2009, 02:36 PM
I think the answer for what is enough and what isn't, is directly related to the time since the last time serious killing had to be done.
Is over 50 years since our troops faced a really big army throwing millions of soldiers at our lines. That's why we forget.
If you ask a self defense instructor what caliber firearm to get to protect your life with, he'll tell you to use the heavier caliber you can carry and shoot acurate.
What do we give to our soldiers? the smaller caliber that we can get away with. The further you get from the wars where we faced capable enemy, the heavier word bean counters have on what our troops should use.

GRIZ22
March 9, 2009, 03:18 PM
I beg to differ on the "can't hit a man-sized target beyond 200 meters."

The current generation of soldiers are much improved over those of Vietnam, or even Grenada. They spend more time on marksmanship, and use optical sights whenever possible.

Perhaps you meant that most LEO types can't hit beyond 200 meters? Our soldiers are actually doing quite well whenever distances are opening up.

The Army has spent more time teaching marksmanship in the past few years but I still stand by my statement regarding the marksmanship of most soldiers. I've witnessed this on qualification courses.

I didn't say anything about LEOs but being that you brought it up I agree most LEOs can't hit anthing past 200 meters or even closer. Why? Unless they have military or civilian shooting experience is most LEOs never get any rifle training.

There is no doubt that today's soldier in well trained and much better so than 10 years ago. They do well shooting at longer ranges but there are always the 2 or 3 in a squad that do better.

d2wing
March 9, 2009, 03:36 PM
As I recall everyone in the army or any service had to qualify in basic training. In those days I also think more guys had prior experience with firearms as well. The way weapons were used in training may have changed.
Also in actual combat most guys don't have time to carefully aim, especially
if you can't see the bastards, which is often the case. Training and equipment usually reflects the last war we fought. At least at the start.

mtlucas0311
March 9, 2009, 04:46 PM
I agree with you that most LEO's can't shoot worth a hill of beans, going to a PPC match where the host city or township has all of its officers qual for the year is pretty good evidence when you look at the scores, and thats 50 feet! All due respect to the population of LEO's that do take marksmanship seriously and are absolutly fine shots.

The respect given to marksmanship in the military is coming back (at least in the Marines). In 03' the word on the street was that they were pulling all the old 7.62 match rifles out of the armories, outfitting them with optics and testing designated marksman role in some units. there was a growing need for precise fire at distance (especially in the cities) but not enogh snipers to go around. They wanted the ability with the rifle, but didn't so much need the stealth or recon role of a school trained sniper. I believe they were going for 1 DM per squad.

Coal Dragger
March 9, 2009, 07:42 PM
^ Yep, by 2004 they were pulling the best two or three rifle qual scores from each squad and sending them to a quick down and dirty DM class for the ACOG at Camp Margarita or Edson Range prior to deployment.

I think now just about any 03xx Marine is issued an ACOG for the M16A4 and are being trained in its use. I know that friends of mine that are still in have mentioned changes to the rifle qualification too. There is still a KD course like we remember with the 200, 300, and 500 yd/M qualification, but there is a second day devoted to field firing at close range, at pop ups, at movers etc. You have to pass both, although the rating is based on your KD course score.

punkndisorderly
March 9, 2009, 08:25 PM
I never had to use my rifle in combat while in the Army. I was in in the mid-90's and we were barely trained on our M-16's. Granted, I was on self propelled howitzers (and not an infantryman. My buddy was infantry and was very well trained. We were lucky to shoot them twice a year. Between ancient and badly abused magazines which were pooled rather than issued to individual soldiers, beat to hell rattletrap rifles, and unskilled unit armorers we would have been in real trouble had we had to act as infantry.

I shoot about as many rounds in two months out of my AR-15 currently than I did in my entire 4 years not counting Basic Rifle Marksmanship in Basic Training. I actually intentionally flubbed the qualifications a couple of times just so I could run through it again.

mtlucas0311
March 9, 2009, 09:15 PM
Were the Marines that were getting pulled for the DM classes training on A4's with ACOG's or M14/M1A's with 10 powers? We were given a rather strong impression that they were dusting off the old rifle team service rifles in 7.62.

Coal Dragger, it's kind of funny that you guys had Javelins but no SMAW rounds; we had SMAWs and AT4's coming out of hind ends. The mound of sachel charges we had piled up was beyond belief for a fragmented rifle company (no engineers mind you) we even had a couple cratering charges. We didn't have the Javelins, but we had the CLU's. Go figure.

Coal Dragger
March 9, 2009, 09:18 PM
^ M16A4's with ACOG at that point. The M14's were still in really short supply, although there were some out there.

sh3rm4nt4nk
March 10, 2009, 12:31 AM
"I agree with Shvar and the other vets that actually used the weapons in combat. The 5.56 does what it is designed for. I loved the M14 but if I had to hump it with ammo and pack and shoot in a hurry, not so much. Unless the army issued very fast gun bearers, I'd take an M16. If they did issue gun bearers, I'd use an M60. Yes the 7.62 is more effective. Especially in a fixed position. I rode in convoys on gun trucks sometimes and was a gunner on jeeps a couple times. The m60 and I were good friends.
Same with the M16 and .50 cal in other situations.
Those of you suggesting other rounds don't seem to realize that the 25-06 and .243 are simply less effective 30-06 and .308 rounds. There isn't anything in between that has proven an advantage over the .308 or .223 as an infantry weapon."

I think d2wing has summarized the answers I'm hearing to my question. I have no military experience but a great interest in American military history and a great respect our military. Thank you for your responses.
None of us who enjoy freedom can thank you enough for your service.
Thank You

SHvar
March 10, 2009, 01:00 AM
The subject of the old M-14s being brought out.
There were a few M-14s precision hand assembled from what was left of the old rifles (a few were made, not many) to allow the snipers semiauto fire, after all snipers lugging 13+ lbs of bolt action rifle and loads of equipment were way to vulnerable and needed other soldiers (marines) to protect them. This was done before the new sniper rifle was sent to the field, the SASS from Knights armament.
The designated marksmen position was from adding the ACOG to the M-16A4, this allowed the Marines to be placed under investigation after a few battles, there were so many head shots that criminal investigations occurred to find out whether they were executing the enemy at point blank range or not, in reality these shots were made from 300-600 meters away.
Years ago (the first gulf war) our special forces were buying cheap 4X scopes adding Bsquare mounts to their M-16s and were making head shots at 650 meters. Its amazing how much the public doesnt know about what happened in the first gulf war, all because CNN didnt show it all. There were ground operations, and conflicts that occured long before the "ground war" started, in fact in and before the "air war" started.

ACBMWM3
March 10, 2009, 02:49 AM
I never had a problem with it.
In the sandbox I also had a 249 and it would chew threw whatever you wanted to, especially with M855.
its my caliber of choice even now after ive been out for a few years.
And i still love SS109/M855

Coal Dragger
March 10, 2009, 03:25 AM
mtlucas0311,

Yeah we had the CLU's as well, and plenty of demo on hand. The CLU's make a great night observation tool at least.

Rifle companies will have SMAW's as the 51's T&E table calls for them, but the weapons company usually won't have them and we didn't. About the only major weapons our weapons company really used on a regular basis were our M240's, M2's, and MK19's. Our 81's and Javelins were pooled together and split into two equal sized rifle platoons. The mortars, and any Javelin missiles we might have had never left their crates.

The heavy guns platoon, and the 52's paired up to form CATT teams and ended up doing a lot of convoy escort duty, while we got stuck with the foot patrol duty all around TQ and outlying areas/villages. We didn't need our 81's because honestly we had some motivated Army cannon cockers with self propelled 155's on call all the time and Cobra gunships aplenty.

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