Buddy says .223 is to wound, is he right?


October 30, 2003, 11:54 PM
My bud taylor, Boondock Saints on here, says the .223 is made only to wound. I always thought this was a myth, so please educate us.

He also states that it "bounces around inside the body" and that "a guy can get shot in the chest and it'll come out his leg"

Am I insane or is this just... well.. wrong?

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October 31, 2003, 12:01 AM

Funny, you hear the same thing on rare occassions about the 9mm typically from .45 shooters.

October 31, 2003, 12:23 AM
Well your buddy seems to contradict himself. Any bullet that "bounces" around in the chest and then exits via the leg will obviously cause multi organ damage, thus has a greater potential of a high mortality wound. In close range situations (ie less than 150 meters), I'd rather get shot with a .30cal fmj bullet than a 5.56mm fmj bullet. Most .30cal fmj's will zip right through you, leaving a clean entry and exit wound. Whereas the 5.56mm bullet will literally explode into hundreds of small fragments which shread internal organs.

The 5.56mm round only wounds when its velocity drops below about 2600fps, where it then turns into a .22 cal projectile. Trust me, this bullet is far from a wounder if it hits its target with a velocity greater than 2600fps.

October 31, 2003, 12:25 AM
Does the 30 caliber over 2700fps do the same thing as the 22 caliber?

Boondock Saint
October 31, 2003, 12:29 AM
my point was not that it didnt kill you, but that it didnt kill you ON THE SPOT, and i have serveral sources that state that it was designed to wound a soldier so another soldier would have to carry his buddy.

October 31, 2003, 12:39 AM
my point was not that it didnt kill you, but that it didnt kill you ON THE SPOT


Boondock Saint
October 31, 2003, 12:46 AM
the point i was making wasnt that it just wounded you and didnt kill you, but that it would make you innable to fight and it usally would kill you from shock but you could be saved.

October 31, 2003, 01:05 AM
:confused: :confused: :confused:
Im not sure who we're fighting here, but I'd venture to say 99% of soldiers who get shot period will stop fighting and seek medical attention.

Also, almost every bullet wound will kill you from shock (loose more than 1.5-2 liters of blood and your history). The amount of internal damage directly correlates with the speed of bloodloss. Any bullet tearing a major artery or vein will kill you in less than a minute or two. Direct hits to the central nervous system also are incapacitating. Bullet caliber only really becomes an issue if vital organs or blood vessels are not hit by initial impact (which is very rare given the abundance of sensitive areas when shooting center mass).

A .223 bullet will kill you in less than a minute, even if its only going say 1200fps, if it hits a major blood vessel.

October 31, 2003, 01:46 AM
Despite what is often seen in the movies very few shootings result in people simply dying on the spot. You can look at how the ratio of wounded/kia has changed with improvments in medicine and the rapidity with which care can be rendered to the troops. I really doubt that anyone on the receiving end of either a .223 or .308 will be able to tell the difference.

October 31, 2003, 02:02 AM
I understand what hes saying; though I wouldn't say that the 5.56 was made to "wound", because that delivers the connotation that it was not designed to "kill".

The 30.06 would create a sizable shockwave that would pulp organs and tissue, better chance of a "Dead-Right-There", if you can paste a property like that to something with an infinite ammount of variables.

The 5.56 would make you leave a huge blood trail for a minute or so (depending on what and where it hits), and you would be "Dead-Right-Over-There". Does that make any sense?

I know it said somewhere (maybe ammo-oracle) that after a firefight, a tango shot with large(r) bore rifles (M1's 30.06, M14's .308) would be laying right where he was hit, assuming a solid strike. When a hit was made on a tango with a 5.56, there would be a huge blood trail/swath for maybe 5-25 yards, and the dead tango.

If the end result is the same, whats another minute?

October 31, 2003, 03:45 AM
If you try to research the Pentagon-level reasoning behind most land-battlefield military weapons, in particular small arms and personal weapons, you'll find that they are intended not to create FATALITIES per se, but debilitating/incapacitating CASUALTIES(i.e. wounding rather than killing). There are a couple of reasons behind this.

The public-relations rationale usually invokes the Geneva Convention/Hague Accords, which assert the basic premise that a uniformed enemy soldier is a basically honorable person who is serving his country just as you are serving yours, and the humane thing to do in combat is not necessarily to kill him outright with something like a dum-dum bullet or poison gas, but to incapacitate him with a wound that removes him from combat yet allows him to recover and return to civilian life after the end of the war. Yes, this does reflect the thinking of a bygone era, and is very difficult to rationalize in an age of racial/ethnic genocide, irrationally fanatical terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.

The other rationale comes from Von Clausewitz' writings and is more strategic in nature, in that an enemy soldier who is killed outright is less of a drain on his army's/country's resources than if he is merely wounded. As Boondock Saint noted, a wounded soldier also takes his buddy out of the fight, provided that his buddy is willing/able to drag him off the front line and patch him up(not something usually seen in Japanese banzai charges, Chinese "human-wave" attacks, or mujaheddin skirmishes). Theoretically, a wounded soldier also drains medical supplies, rations, money and other resources from the enemy nation until he either recovers and returns to duty, or dies. By contrast, if an enemy soldier simply dies outright, all that happens is that his buddies have to dig a grave for him, his CO has to write a letter to his mom afterwards, and the unit drives on and continues its mission. Again, this tends to be more applicable to "civilized warfare" as opposed to current conflicts involving enemies with less concern for their wounded personnel than we would consider normal.

As far as the weapons/cartridges of the past, they were still intended to accomplish the goal of creating casualties, not fatalities - at the turn of the century(.30-06), military thinking held that you had to be able to do this at ranges of 1000+yds(witness the Boer War), therefore your rifle and its ammo had to be sufficiently powerful for the task, and the greater lethality at close range was just a nice thing to have when the enemy got uncomfortably close. (BTW, during the Spanish-American War, the Filipino juramentados weren't particularly impressed with either our .30-40 Krag service rifles or our military ethics, and usually had to be killed outright at close range with shotguns or .45's - you'da thought we'da learnt better after that...)

During/after WWII, we still thought we needed a rifle and cartridge that was capable of accurately hitting and incapacitating an enemy soldier out to 600-800yds, hence the M14, the FAL, the G3 and the 7.62X51 cartridge. After studies that indicated that most infantrymen simply didn't bother to shoot at enemy soldiers farther than 300-400yds away, the Pentagon planners decided to sacrifice the long-range performance of the .30-06 for (marginal) savings in weight/material cost realized with the .308/7.62X51 cartridge - yet they just couldn't bear to completely give up the .30-06's effectiveness at medium ranges.

Given the short-range nature of jungle warfare in Vietnam, the Pentagon planners thought that the M16/5.56X45 would still incapacitate(if not kill) enemy soldiers within short ranges while affording the triple advantages of a lighter weapon, with less recoil, and lighter-weight ammo, which allowed the soldier to carry more ammo/gear, which would allow him to shoot more, or shoot full-auto more accurately, which required him to carry even more ammo...ahem. As originally developed, the rifle and its ammo actually performed pretty well, although later problems would arise with the ammo and with the rifle's maintenance(but that's a whole 'nother can of worms). Vietnam was where the first reports of explosive bullet fragmentation and ricocheting inside the body came about.

In the later years of the Cold War, the Pentagon planners decided that the 5.56 cartridge needed to penetrate light cover or Soviet helmets/body armor at longer ranges in order to successfully create enemy casualties, so they optimized the rifle and cartridge to fire the 62gr. steel-cored armor-piercing SS109 bullet. In doing so, they caused the rifle/cartridge to lose much of its effectiveness in return for the capability of causing at least a minor wound on an enemy soldier whose armor or equipment would have deflected the previous 55gr. M855 bullet. The M16A2 rifle with its SS109 ammo subsequently became infamous in the Somalia action(q.v. Blackhawk Down) for causing non-dynamic, non-explosive, ineffectual through-and-through wounds on un-armored(possibly drug-fortified) Somalis who would have to be shot 5-6 times before finally collapsing or being incapacitated.

So, basically, while the end result(enemy casualties) is the same in the Pentagon planners' Big Picture, the grunts with mud on their boots tend to STRONGLY prefer that those enemy soldiers who are shooting at them become Dead Right There, As Soon As Possible; while 30 seconds or 5 minutes may not change the overall result of a battle, it can and does make a difference to an individual infantryman if the guy he shot is still able to throw a grenade or empty his rifle on full-auto before succumbing to his wound...

Jeff White
October 31, 2003, 03:49 AM
Some time ago, someone (we'll never know who) pontificated that it was more militarily expediant to wound the enemy instead of kill him. This is a military urban legend. Unless we fight another Western power, none of our enemies is inclined to put the effort into treating the wounded that would make this even a remote possibility. A gunfight is a gunfight, regardless if it's military or civilian. The idea is to STOP your opponent from doing what you don't want him to do.

The truth of the matter is that people are notoriously hard to stop. The history books are full of stories about men who took multiple hits from every weapon in every era and still managed to continue to function.

I'd like any of the so called {I]full size[/I] cartridge proponents here to answer one question.

Why is it that when an American soldier, airman or marine takes multiple hits from the best the enemy has to give, 7.92, 7.62x51, 7.62x39, grenade and shell fragments etc. it's time to award a MOH, but if an enemy soldier is to defiant to quietly lay down and die after one hit from any of our weapons, we need new small arms?


October 31, 2003, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by Boondock
i have serveral sources that state that it was designed to wound a soldier so another soldier would have to carry his buddy

The theory was that it would take two soldiers to cary an injured one, shoot one soldier and take three out of the fight. Funny thing is the 7.62x39 when compared to M193 does a much better job of this. Give this a read.


October 31, 2003, 05:33 AM
What it boils down to is not the size of the round, but the experience of the soldier behind it. The government has been downsizing the issue rounds to the soldiers since the civil war. Now, we have a 223 which is so stable that it can make shots at ranges not considered a few decades ago. Problem is the round is so stable that it drills straight through.

The old M198 could tumble if it hit somebody just right, but contrary to popular myth, they did not "explode". They might even come apart and fragment depending on what they hit, but nothing to count on.

One of my deer hunting buddies put 7 holes in one deer with one shot using a softpoint-we still tease him about his "kennedy" bullet, but nobody has answer as to why it entered the skull, turned 90 degrees, exited the back of the skull, entered the back-tearing up most of the backstrap :uhoh: traversing through the gutsack, exiting in front of the haunch, entering the haunch, traversing down the back leg, exiting at the knee, and entered the hoof and exited to God knows where. Certainly nothing to count on.

I for one would want a full sized cartridge of 30-06 or better for long distance, but if its close up and personal, I want something which is going to knock them flat right now. THAT is a tall order for anyone and I don't see anything on the horizon which will do it all.

Lastly, and I think more importantly, the Government will spend our hard earned tax dollars by the trainload for technology, but gives less than a pittance when it comes to supplying ammo and range time. If you don't have experience with your rifle, you're not as likely to hit what you are aiming at. Duh? IMO, the troops would be at the range twice a month, every month, with a generous supply of ammo and targets so they would know what the rifle is capable of as well as themselves.

October 31, 2003, 08:40 AM
If the end result is the same, whats another minute? Possibly 100 rounds or more from said tango.

Joe Demko
October 31, 2003, 09:22 AM
This urban legend just won't go away, will it? One of the things that keeps giving this one legs is that various ignoramuses in uniform spout it as fact.

October 31, 2003, 09:35 AM
It is conceivable that a soldier firing in the prone position could sustain a chest wound, have the bullet run down the body and exit via his leg. The bullet would essentially be traveling in a straight line. Hence some of the stories "you can shoot a guy in the chest and the .223 bullet will turn and exit his leg."

I would like to see some legitimate US government resources which specifically point out that the .223 round is designed to wound and incapacitate an enemy soldier, but not kill him.

October 31, 2003, 10:38 AM
The "urban legend" as you guys call it was told to me by one of my Drill Sergeants at FLW.
Yes, they did occasionally yank our chains, but this guy sincerely believed it when he told us that.
That means that someone believed it when they told him about it.
I think that it may have been a PR thing at one point in time that has now frimly taken hold.

October 31, 2003, 10:41 AM
Dead is dead.

October 31, 2003, 10:49 AM
This is a huge "urban myth."

There is absolutely no evidence that the services in general and the Army in particular even understood the wound mechanics of the M193 and later M855 projectiles when they were adopted. On the contrary, there is a lot of evidence that they did not understand how these bullets wound.

Further, no one who has ever intentionally gone in harm's way, or sent others there, would ever deploy riflemen with a weapon that was designed to wound the enemy. Notwithstanding the apparent logic, it is just no way to win a war. Patton said it best when he said that no one ever won a war by dying for his country; wars are won by making the other guy die for his country. A wounded enemy can still kill you, and the results usually work out in a manner opposite what's being suggested.

Finally, take just a moment's look at how our services deal with WIAs. We have by far the most elaborate and expensive systems in place to save lives. There is no country in the world that comes even close -- and very few that even try. So, the logic is upside down. This "wounding" thing works far better on us than on any enemy we have ever faced.

October 31, 2003, 10:52 AM
Kor explained it well from both levels of reasoning. The Pentagon brass hats - they don't breathe the same air as you or I - think strategically and the guys in the foxhole think tactically. Two different worlds.

October 31, 2003, 10:56 AM
Note: The gun or cartridge itself is not designed to wound - that's where the disconnect is in this conversation.

What is meant is the shiny seat weenies - the Pentagon planners - prefer a large amount of casualties rather than straight dead enemy bodies. At least it was that way in the 20th century. Who knows, we may be becoming a Mongol horde here in the 21st century.

October 31, 2003, 11:08 AM
He's daft and has been reading too many old magazines. Ask all those people killed by the DC murderers how effective the .223 is. This is the same foolishness the US defence industry came out with when the .223/5.56 was foisted upon the US military.

October 31, 2003, 11:25 AM
i don't think the VC had Forrest Gump assisted
Heliocopter evac to waiting MASH trauma hospitals

where are the 2 doods going to cart the wounded comrade off to?

why risk the exposure if he is going to expire anyway?

October 31, 2003, 11:27 AM
The wounded mess up the enemy's logistics and provide a moral effect on the civilian population who have to treat the wounded and see them on the street minus a limb or two. :uhoh:

You can check with General Sherman about whether messing up enemy logistics is an effective strategy. :D

Joe Demko
October 31, 2003, 11:39 AM
Just because a guy in a uniform with more stripes on it than yours said it doesn't make it a fact. I was told, when I was in boot camp, by a tanker (a corporal I think) that tankers were issued Uzis with 4 inch barrels that fired 3,000 rounds per minute. FTR, this pre-dated Uzi pistols, MIni-Uzis and Micro-Uzis by a good many years. I also heard any number of personnel quoting that old chestnut about the .45 "picking a man up and spinning him around" with a shoulder hit. The military has its own urban legends and folklore just like any other society.

Al Thompson
October 31, 2003, 02:43 PM
If you actually read BHD, most of the remarks about the 5.56 were positive. On another thread here, Blackhawk6 (IIRC) said that his guys in Afganistan had zero problems with the M4 5.56 combo.

In Ezell's book "Black Rifle" or whatever his epic story of the M16 was titled, the "wound, not kill" theory was never mentioned.

Show us your sources or quit repeating rumours and myths! :)

Daniel T
October 31, 2003, 02:48 PM
I just wanted to say that that was an extremely good post, Kor. Thank you.

October 31, 2003, 03:19 PM
You know, I think that we should switch away from ammo/gun combinations that tend to wound than kill.

My rationale is this... we Americans have too much of a penchant for helping others, even if they just shot at us not too long ago. Better to kill this prior enemy than using valuable plasma/bandages/medical supplies to patch the downed enemy and using our medical supplies for OUR troops instead.

What do we get when we patch them up? They go back to their tribal villages and become old timers who tell stories to the young ones that he survived an attack from the American infidels and that you young ones should go and strap bomb-vests to strike terror at the heart of the infidels.

October 31, 2003, 05:57 PM
to think that any high powered rifle bullet is designed to wound is crap. I know my 9mm's are designed to kill and they ain't no 5.56.

The reason the world powers went to smaller cartridges is that a soldier can carry and shoot more ammo that recoils less.

I'll give it to you this way... Which is more dangerous?

A well trained rifleman with 200 rounds of 30.06 or the same rifleman with 450 rounds of 5.56.

I say it is the later, by a long shot. Pun intended!


Jim K
October 31, 2003, 07:29 PM
That nonsense about rifles designed to only wound so two men would be needed to carry off one wounded man has been around since at least WWI.

It based on the false idea that soldiers in combat, seeing a comrade wounded, will immediately stop what they are doing and go to his rescue. Maybe in the movies, all the while discussing the ethics of warfare, and spouting the latest left coast anti-war prattle.

In combat, soldiers leave the wounded for the medics and carry on with the mission. And the best enemy soldier is a dead enemy soldier.

As to the 5.56 being adopted for this or that reason, most of that is also baloney. The 5.56 was adopted for one reason - it and the M16 rifle gave a combination that was controllable in full auto fire, something the M14 was not. The light weight of the ammo, the ability of the troops to carry more, and the surprising accuracy of the rifle ammo combination were bonuses. The military evaluated the 5.56 for lethality in conjunction with its expected deployment and changing tactical ideas. Unless my dictionary is wrong, "lethality" does not mean the ability to wound.


October 31, 2003, 08:35 PM
I'd have to agree with BevrFevr, if I were ever in battle or a shtf situation, I'd take an AR/M16 w/450rds IN A HEARTBEAT, over the M1/M14 or similiar weapon with 200rds. A well placed shot, regardless if its .30cal or .223cal WILL DO WHAT IT'S DESIGNED TO DO....and thats KILL.

October 31, 2003, 08:44 PM
The "urban legend" as you guys call it was told to me by one of my Drill Sergeants at FLW.

I had a firearms instructor at the police academy tell our class that the M16 round (.223) tumbled in flight. That was why it caused such devastating wounds.

I asked him if the bullet was intended to tumble, why was the M16's rifle barrel rifled. He thought about it for a while and realized what a silly thing he was saying.


October 31, 2003, 09:01 PM
...umm maybe the M16 barrel is rifled so the bullet doesn't tumble inside the barrel...umm yeah, thats it...

Just like your instructor, the media has turned people into tape recorders...repeating and believing everything they hear without first thinking if what their hearing is total bull????. :barf:

All things bad in our time stem from media pollution. Chew on that one for awhile :cuss:

Double Naught Spy
October 31, 2003, 09:55 PM
and the military classified certain nukes as "tactical" with almost surgically controlled destruction as well.

The .223 is just to wound just like all the other ammo is designed just to wound. That is just what it does if you hit and fail to kill the target.

I don't know that the myth has been around since WWI and Jim Keenen noted, but what he said was solid. Americans and at least some of the western European militaries seem fixated on aiding the wounded and it isn't a bad thing, but not when the cost is greater in saving the wounded than just letting them die. Any idea about which enemies this myth has proven successful for? It did prove accurate with the Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, or Iraqis who seem to value the objective over the lives of the individual soldiers, something Americans find apalling and who keep enforcing with such myth.

Probably the most stupid aspect of the myth is that unless the wounded is incapacitated, the wound does not result in 3 people being taken out of battle any more than it represents taking the wounded person out of battle. The wounded often can and do fight and in cases where they are mobility impaired, they fight even harder as they can't retreat or seek other cover.

October 31, 2003, 10:22 PM
It really comes to the lowest common denominator.

Light ammo, able to spray n pray, light recoil, likely improved hit ratio for the untrained recruits. A 40 yr old policy.

Think about this. I bet most of you hunt. Would you hunt a 200 lbs buck with a .223? Unlikely. The old motto is "use enough gun."

Well, some Pentagon genius decided that, during the Vietnam "jungle" scenario, the 5.56 round was superior. Maybe so. Maybe not. Now, with the SS109, it is a straight-thru shooter. No expansion.

The argument that a 5.56 wound channel is equivalent to a 7.62 wound channel is bogus on its face. You can not wish away physics (62 gr .223 rd @3300 fps versus 150 gr .308 rd @2,600 fps). File this under wishful thinking.

Where are we fighting now? IN THE DESERT. Longer distances. IIRC the M16A3 is moving away from full auto to semi/3 rd burst. We are moving away from full auto spray n pray.

It may be time for the Pentagon to re-visit this issue.

October 31, 2003, 10:39 PM
Demise, thank you for the kind words.

As far as the whole "wound, not kill" rationale, I believe I first heard it from my Professor of Miltary Science during an Army ROTC class, lo these many years ago; and, since I started out enlisted, I remember thinking at the time that draining the enemy's resources was all well and good, but if I were in a firefight, I'd MUCH rather have the enemy soldier become DRT-ASAP.

I mention this not to argue, flame or put on airs, but to let you guys know where and how I obtained the background that informed my previous post.

Jeff White
October 31, 2003, 10:51 PM
7.62FullMetalJacket said:
Well, some Pentagon genius decided that, during the Vietnam "jungle" scenario, the 5.56 round was superior. Maybe so. Maybe not. Now, with the SS109, it is a straight-thru shooter. No expansion.

Well, the fact of the matter is that M193 doesn't expand either. SS109 is NOT a round issued by the U.S. military. We use a loading identical to it known as M855. Tests done by Dr. Fackler in the late 1980s revealed that M855 exhibited the nearly the same terminal effects as M855 and both round exhibit superior terminal effects to M80. that is scientically proven fact. Not speculation.

The argument that a 5.56 wound channel is equivalent to a 7.62 wound channel is bogus on its face. You can not wish away physics (62 gr .223 rd @3300 fps versus 150 gr .308 rd @2,600 fps). File this under wishful thinking.

Actually the opposite is true. M80 does not fragment and creates a 7.62mm permanent cavity except for a small area where the round yaws and ends up boatail end first. This is physics. All spitzer type bullets will yaw in flesh and end up heavy end first. M193 and M855 break at the cannelure and fragment creating a much larger permanent wound cavity then M80.

Where are we fighting now? IN THE DESERT. Longer distances. IIRC the M16A3 is moving away from full auto to semi/3 rd burst. We are moving away from full auto spray n pray.

We are fighting on the streets of Baghdad and Tirkrit. Engagement distances are arms length to 100 meters. Even when we were out in the desert we had no problems with the enemy out ranging our small arms. Special Operations Snipers have made many kills at ranges exceeding 600 meters with their Crane built SPRs and MK262 Mod I ammunition. The M16A3 is full auto. Current M16 series weapons are M16A1 = safe-semi-auto
M16A2 = safe-semi-burst, M16A3 = safe-semi-auto, M16A4 = safe-semi-burst, M4 = safe-semi-burst, M4A1 = safe-semi-auto.


October 31, 2003, 10:56 PM
Not trying to be a know it all jerk, but I am sure that no one that has ACTUALLY seen someone that has been shot by a .223 rifle would buy into the idea that it was designed to only wound. The wound produced is horrible. The wound produced makes a handgun wound look like a pinprick by comparison.

How does the bullet accomplish this ? "I am supposed to penetrate the body, and some organs but not the vital ones because I am only supposed to wound".
Then we get into this idea that a bullet has enough energy to "bounce around" inside the body, yet it doesn't have enough energy to exit the body. :confused:

I have seen people that have been hit with the .223 cartridge from a rifle. I saw their wounds right in front of me and I touched them.
I have actually seen a person shot with an M16 by a SWAT officer, right before my eyes.
* I have never seen anyone that was shot with GI ball ammo. Only civilian ammo.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that this stuff is myth, legend, something to occupy internet bandwitdth, possibly the by-product of video games....................................... The one thing that it isn't; it isn't the truth.

November 1, 2003, 12:54 AM
I shoot a .223, and this guy at work tells me that I need to shoot a .308, because the .223 is such a wimpy round. I asked this guy if he would volunteer to get shot with a .223, and he wouldn't :).

I asked my Dad (Vietnam Veteran) if the .223 was a killing round, and he said, "If it wasn't, I wouldn't be here, and neither would you". That is good enough for me :).

Just my .02,

November 1, 2003, 03:22 AM
Ask the victims of the DC snipers if the .223 only wounds---Oh wait!!!---you can't---cause they're freakin dead. DUH

Enough with stupid posts please............

November 1, 2003, 10:33 AM
Do a search in the Hunting section for the varmit hunting videos. Those exploding varmits were severly "wounded". It would have taken a dozen of their buddies to carry the pieces...I mean "the wounded" ones out. Same localized effects on the human body.

November 1, 2003, 01:48 PM
Varmint rounds are designed to violently fragment. Military rounds are not. Let's not confuse the issue with even more urban legends, eh?

If you think about it, the only people burdened with dealing with the wounded are the victors of a battle. So, to suggest that the .223 is designed to wound and create a burden is to suggest that military planners also intend to lose battles so that won't have to deal with the wounded they create...
Does that make sense? I didn't think so...

The .223 is supposed to kill, it just doesn't do as good a job of it as heavier rounds.


November 1, 2003, 10:38 PM
Who designs a gun or cartridge to wound? :rolleyes:

That being said, I think the "wound, not kill" myth regarding the .223 was spawned from the differences in the military 5.56 versions used. The 55gr version has far less overpenetration issues and is more likely to inflict greater tissue damage due to its increased likelihood to fragment (origin of the "tumbling" hypothesis?). Multiple projectiles = multiple wounds and wound paths.

The 62gr for the military was created for armor penetration, hence does not fragment, and thus is far less likely to create massive tissue damage in the body. The military currently uses the 62gr version and also did so during Somalia. It was my recollection that the Delta guys on the BHD mission were quite disappointed with the round precisely because of its inability to inflict massive tissue damage.

It's not the cartridge size itself, but the difference ballistics of the different versions.

So, no, the 5.56 (or non-military .223) was not created to wound. It's just that the cleaner wounds from the 62gr version probably left the enemy alive longer than the 55gr versions did. But like was said before, a well placed shot is most important. A clean hole throught the heart is just as deadly as a jagged one.

November 1, 2003, 10:44 PM
The .223 is supposed to kill, it just doesn't do as good a job of it as heavier rounds.

Dead is dead. It's like pregnancy, one either is or isn't. There aren't any degrees of deadness.

This statement is really about the time it takes someone to die from his wounds. I can shoot the enemy in the gut with a .223, and assuming he gets no aid, he's gonna die. I can shoot the enemy in the gut with a .308, and again, assuming no aid, he's gonna die. The only difference is that he might die faster with a .308 hole in him than a .223 hole in him. Bigger hole = faster blood loss = quicker death.

The only thing a larger caliber really gives you is physical knockdown power. And even that's not guaranteed.

November 1, 2003, 10:59 PM
According to at least one person I have talked to that truely knows told me that the 5.56 causes much more tissue damage than the 7.62 round in military configuration. The reason is that the 5.56 tumbles and fragments where the 7.62 just punches a .308" hole through the target. This person has actually shot humans with both rounds in combat which led him to this conclusion.
Obviously I assume this refers to shots at reasonable ranges.

November 2, 2003, 03:37 PM
Keith: I realize there is a difference in bullet construction, however, a .223 delivered at the proper velocity, and on target, will devistate the target. Per the photo's shown in the DC sniper case last week, the female FBI victim was missing half of her face. That is urban fact.

November 2, 2003, 03:57 PM
The only thing a larger caliber really gives you is physical knockdown power. And even that's not guaranteed.

I realize there is a difference in bullet construction, however, a .223 delivered at the proper velocity, and on target, will devistate the target.

Well, I've seen large animals shot with both .308 and .223 - .308 is better. Both rounds will kill, you just get a lot more window with the bigger round.

I realize that a deer is not a man, etc, but all things being equal, big holes and deeper penetration kill faster and more certainly than smaller holes.

But, MORE IMPORTANTLY, heavier rounds are better at breaking through cement, vehicles, heavy auto glass, dirt - all the things that men hide behind when the bullets are flying. And this theme comes up again and again from Somalia to Baghdad. The .223 doesn't do a good job of killing the guy shooting from the window of the cinder block building. A 60 grain round simply doesn't have the kinetic energy that a 150 grain does and won't break through light cover.

And in a REAL war, the enemy is not standing out in the open, he's hunkered down behind something - and so are you. It can be uncomfortable if his 125 grain 762x39 bullets bust through the wall you're hiding behind, while your 60 grain bullets can't reach him.


November 2, 2003, 06:12 PM
I don't disagree.....and own one MBR..a FAL. I just think the idea of a weapon "designed to wound" is ludicrous. People have gone over Niagara Falls and survived - doesn't mean the falls were designed for safe passage.

November 2, 2003, 11:56 PM
5.56mm Ball creates 6" diameter wounds in center of mass shots; 7.62mm NATO and .30-06 create .3" wounds. :rolleyes: Right.

I think Jim is on the money. The thinking went like this:
Engagements are typically at fairly short range, so we do not need 800 meter effective ranges
Smaller rounds weigh less and take up less space
Smaller rounds are more controllable on auto

Jeff, I'm pretty sure you've got the M4 nomenclature backward. We had M4's in
my battalion. We briefly had ONE M4 with Safe/Semi/Auto capability.

FWIW, the most outlandish "information" about firearms I have encountered in my thirty-something years has been from drill sergeants.

"You can shoot 7-6-2 [NATO] in an AK. I've done it." Sure. While you're at it, let's discuss the insidious Germans/Japanese/VC/Commies who had rifles that could fire our ammo, but whose ammo would not fit our rifles. I am aware of *1* weapons system with this capability, and that is the ComBlock 82mm mortar.

Steve Smith
November 3, 2003, 10:12 AM
But there aren't any rules about that I reckon. There are rules about keeping it civil, so ya'll keep that in mind.

Double Naught Spy
November 3, 2003, 10:24 AM
The only thing a larger caliber really gives you is physical knockdown power. And even that's not guaranteed.

That is funny. There is no knock-down power per se. If the shooter isn't being knocked down by the round, then the victim isn't going to be knocked down. They may fall down or have some other response that puts them on the ground, but it isn't because they were 'knocked' down by a .223 or .308. Chevys have knock down power as do cannon. The cool thing of the Chevy is the knock down and run over power.

Why people fall when shot is interesting. You may get hydrostatic shock and actually shut down the CNS for a person of time, but that is a collapse of the body and not a knock down. Some people fall down when shot because they are sort of programmed to do that. It is what they think should happen. People shot in the arm or hand with a handgun have been known to go down, but they weren't knocked down.

November 3, 2003, 06:03 PM
Yeah, knockdown power is basically only psychological. To apply it to FOF games: I've been shot a couple of times with a paintball and "gone down", and a paintball has no chance of knocking somebody off of their feet. Its more like a "OUCH!! HIT THE DECK!" reflex than anything else. Pain might do it too; I got shot in the ear at nearly point blank range with an airsoft gun at a ( cant find the little degree sign, so) pi/2 angle. Leme tell you, I dropped like a sack of potatoes, probably one of the more painfull experiences ive endured :eek:

From a physics standpoint, unless you hit the CNS or cause a huge muscle spasm, the gun in question would have to have pretty much knocked the shooter off of his feet to knock the target off of his; and thats assuming that the bullet didnt just zip right through and go on its merry way, in which case you might only feel a sting!

November 3, 2003, 07:58 PM
Geez, you guys take the "knock-down" comment *** seriously. Would you prefer a "put down" term instead.

Whatever the reason, pyschological or physiological, the larger the caliber, the more likely a guy is to end up not standing on his feet, all else being equal.

But, like I said, and which was conveniently glossed over, that effect is far from guaranteed since it's hardly ever a case of all else being equal.

kentucky bucky
November 3, 2003, 10:03 PM
I think that the .223 was developed to be the smallest viable caliber that was light enough to enable the soldier to carry alot of ammo and still be able to walk. I've also heard that some US special forces were putting slow twist barrels on their carbines and using the heavier bullets, because they WANTED the bullets to hit the "target" tumbling. ;-) The ranges in most cases were short anyway.

November 4, 2003, 09:11 PM
When you point a gun at someone... and you pull the trigger, your goal was to kill it right?? (Someone remind themself of the 4 rules)

If that applies to handguns, that's GOTTA apply to rifles, and more so in combat..

I'm for the 308, because I think it serves multiple purposes (like hunting)..

But I'm not at all underarmed if I've got an AR on me..

I have problems with a .223 shooting a whitetail at 100 yards, but no problems shooting Bagdad Bob at 100 yards..

You want to "shoot to wound"? Then bring a .22LR!!! A brick of it weighs about the same as 40 rounds of .223... And you get 500 rounds! They will die from a .22LR, but it will take a while..

November 5, 2003, 04:46 PM
Wound them bad enough and they will die;)

The really cool thing about the Chevy is you also have back over again power!

All while listening to the stereo.

Short of the .50 BMG knock down power is kind of a myth

And the big .50 actually kind of vaporizes people.

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