just curious,. how come the US military didn't use the .308 win?


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noob_shooter
April 4, 2010, 11:16 PM
This round totally defeats the .223/5.56, 6.8 spc and is still a short action type round. So why not?

Too heavy? costly?:confused::confused::confused:

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41magsnub
April 4, 2010, 11:19 PM
I'm sure you know this.. they did and still do as the slightly modified 7.62 NATO round in machine guns, designated marksman rifles, and sniper rifles. The M14 rifle is in that caliber for the relatively short time it was in general issue before the M16 took over.

The main reason it was replaced by the 5.56 as far as I know was weight and recoil. A soldier can carry a lot more 5.56 rounds in a a lighter rifle than in a 7.62 caliber M14. Also, an M14 is difficult to control on full auto where an M16 is much better in that regard.

The trade off was effective range and penetration.

WYcoyote
April 4, 2010, 11:19 PM
It does, M14.

Ridgerunner665
April 4, 2010, 11:19 PM
Both,,,too heavy and costly.

Too heavy for a man to carry much ammo and too costly (more powder, lead, copper, brass)

They do/did use the 7.62x51 NATO (308 Win.) alot, just not for long in an infantry carbine/rifle.

paintballdude902
April 4, 2010, 11:19 PM
they did and still do.

the M14 was the US Service rifle for a few years and is currently used as a sniper rifle , .308 is still used in machine guns, and the US bolt action sniper rifles are .308 i believe

SharpsDressedMan
April 4, 2010, 11:31 PM
They did, for a few years, in the 1960's. The M14 replaced the M1 rifle for general use, and was augmented by the same round in the M60 machine gun. This was done in conjunction with NATO countries, who also adopted the 7.62x51 (the military designation of the .308 variant). When Viet Nam escalated, the Army sought a lighter rifle that could be trained on more easily, and Armalite introduced the AR-15, which was already adopted in limited use by the Air Force. The army put it to tests, liked it, and adopted it to replace the M14 for regular issue to the troops. The M14 was still in use, but most were warehoused, some still in use by our NATO assigned troops, and some guns were given to other countries as "foreign aid". The rest is history. 40 some years of use of both the M16 and M14 has led the Army to continue to seek the perfect battle rifle. As you stated, it shoots further and harder. BUT, it is harder to train troops with, is heavier (as is the ammo), and is not as easy handling as the M16. The M14 is NOT an effective FULL AUTO machine, as it climbs too fast in recoil, and walks off the target too fast. The M16 is more controllable in full auto, and the soldier can carry lots more ammo for the 5.56. They each have their place, and maybe we need BOTH on the battlfield, much like the .30 Carbine and .30 M1 rifle were in WWII and Korea.

mljdeckard
April 4, 2010, 11:45 PM
Because there isn't a 7.62 rifle that my 110lb female soldiers can train to use quickly and effectively. 5.56 on target is better than 7.62 that misses.

And don't underestimate the effectiveness of the 5.56. I assure you, it does the job just fine. At ranges past a few hundred yards, it actually penetrates armor BETTER than 7.62.

-v-
April 4, 2010, 11:46 PM
.308 is basically too much cartridge for the battle-field realities.

Since WW1 (Yes, World War One) it was observed that nearly all battlefield engagements took place under 300 yards. It made little sense to have a cartridge that could kill a man at 1000 yards, when the farthest any infantry man would be shooting is 300 yards. (Snipers, machine gunners, and others who would be expected to engage at ranges farther than 300 yards are naturally exempt)

As others stated, it made sense to have a lighter and more controllable cartridge for the shorter range. It is cheaper to manufacture and your average infantry man can carry up to 3x as much .223 as he can .308. Lethality wise, the .223 is lethal enough, while the .308 does hold the edge in overall lethality.

nathan
April 4, 2010, 11:47 PM
Isnt it the US military sniper teams now use 300 Win Mag caliber? ( sorry for deviating from the OP)

Ridgerunner665
April 4, 2010, 11:53 PM
Some do...as well as the 338 Lapua.

But the "run of the mill" sniper weapon is still a 7.62x51mm.

leadcounsel
April 4, 2010, 11:56 PM
weight, cost, recoil, unnecessary overkill

1) weights twice as much which is a lot when you're transporting pallets and even when you're packing it in on foot

2) costs twice as much to produce, and much of that is in the wasted brass

3) recoil isn't compatible for today's military. unlike militaries of yesteryear, many of our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, etc. did not grow up tilling fields and instead work administrative jobs. makes more sense to have everyone using the same weapon system

4) the .308 is overkill for close combat, and we all know that shot placement is more important than caliber (provided both do the job). the 5.56 is just more efficient for so many reasons.

Having served for several years and deployed to Iraq twice, I can tell you the 5.56 and the AR15 are adequate to do the job. They best improvement would be to allow hollowpoints.

Tirod
April 5, 2010, 12:16 AM
Obviously the .308 does NOT totally defeat the 5.56 or 6.8 SPC. The Army obviously doesn't accept the same criteria, and chose to use something different - since 1968.

Tactical battlefield use of weapons has shown since the 1930's that .30 caliber battle rifles with 800m range are not the best tool to use. Even with battle rifles, soldiers won't shoot at targets beyond 400m, require being shot at repeatedly by the opposing force to be hit, and are out of the fight when wounded as effectively as when dead. The general staffs of quite a few armies all chose a light weight intermediate caliber assault rifle pattern as more effective.

These reasons make the soldier more effective on the battlefield. It is not delivering massive amounts of deadly force, it's about incapacitating them and their command structure. It's why the Army has a wide variety of weapons that are much more versatile and larger than rifles, and ways to deliver them on something other than a pair of boots.

It's a very narrow view to focus on .30 caliber when professionals determined otherwise 60 years ago. The .308 doesn't totally defeat any other caliber, it's a complementary resource on the battlefield that provides greater depth.

By the way, only 5,000 M14's are on contract to supplement the Army in SW Asia, it's about 1 per squad. It's all they think they need.

minutemen1776
April 5, 2010, 11:06 AM
Even though this is bordering on being a topic that is beat to death, I must say there are some really good replies here. Tirod, yours especially hits the nail on the head. Especially this bit:

It's a very narrow view to focus on .30 caliber when professionals determined otherwise 60 years ago. The .308 doesn't totally defeat any other caliber, it's a complementary resource on the battlefield that provides greater depth.

I'll have to remember that line for whenever someone comes around bemoaning the use of 5.56 versus 7.62 in America's armed forces. (To be clear, the OP is not doing so here, but I'm sure it's coming sooner or later.)

Water-Man
April 5, 2010, 11:35 AM
Actually, they are begining to use it more in Afgan.

eye5600
April 5, 2010, 11:41 AM
Since WW1 (Yes, World War One) it was observed that nearly all battlefield engagements took place under 300 yards.

But perhaps not Afghanistan according to persistent rumors and at least one recent report.

A closer reading suggested it's more a problem of harassing or sniper fire than long range unit engagements. There are supposed to be a few guys in every company with longer range weapons, but realistically, every soldier who is being shot at would like to be equipped to fight back effectively.

Jaws
April 5, 2010, 12:01 PM
It's a very narrow view to focus on .30 caliber when professionals determined otherwise 60 years ago.

+1. But the problem is that none of those professionals found the 5.56 to be the answer. They all asked for a true intermediary round, 6.5-7mm, that can do both carabine and general purpouse machine gun job.

stubbicatt
April 5, 2010, 01:09 PM
They all asked for a true intermediary round, 6.5-7mm, that can do both carabine and general purpouse machine gun job. saith Jaws
Sorta like the 280 British which was propounded at the time the army mistook its decision to adopt the 7.62 NATO. :confused:

MatthewVanitas
April 5, 2010, 05:01 PM
Because there isn't a 7.62 rifle that my 110lb female soldiers can train to use quickly and effectively. 5.56 on target is better than 7.62 that misses.

Do you have any reputable source that says that female troops were part of the consideration?

The M16 was adopted in 1963, and I don't know that "women in combat" was an issue of much impact on weapons design. I'd be fine being proved wrong if any reputable historian has knowledge proving that's the case, but lacking that it sounds suspiciously like the usual "ha, them .223/9mm/etc. are for wusses and ladies 'cuz they can't handle a real man's gun." chest-beating.

SharpsDressedMan
April 5, 2010, 06:03 PM
Check out the weight of the M14, or FAL, then check out the weight of the M16A2. I think if a 110lb female SOLDIER can carry and shoot an M16A2, then 90% of them could handle an M14 or FAL equally well. The other 10% could be dismissed during basic training.

rcmodel
April 5, 2010, 06:11 PM
How many rounds of 7.62 NATO can a C5A Galaxy hual?

How many rounds of 5.56 NATO?

47 percent more is how many.

Ah ha!

rc

Zerodefect
April 5, 2010, 06:37 PM
Swinging around an AR15 as you move to flank your opponent 200yds away is alot easier with an AR15 than a AR10. The Ar10 and especially the M14 move alot slower than an Ar or SCAR in my hands.

And I'd rather have more ammo at such close range.

aka108
April 5, 2010, 06:52 PM
I have no idea what theofficial reason was. When I was in the military the M1 Garand and 30-06 was the baby. Good exercise carrying one of those things around.

jonnyc
April 5, 2010, 07:07 PM
The 7.62x51 was a military round first, and renamed .308 Winchester for the civilian market...same round. The military did keep it for some applications, as amply illustrated above.

X-Rap
April 5, 2010, 07:08 PM
A closer reading suggested it's more a problem of harassing or sniper fire than long range unit engagements. There are supposed to be a few guys in every company with longer range weapons, but realistically, every soldier who is being shot at would like to be equipped to fight back effectively.

I think serious marksmanship would go a long way in equipping those soldiers to fight back with any weapon. Things must change in training doctrine as well as caliber of weapon.

dagger dog
April 5, 2010, 07:14 PM
The .308 Winchester hit the market before the military adopted the 7.62X51, not by long but it was a civilian round before it went military.

SharpsDressedMan
April 5, 2010, 07:19 PM
The truth of the matter is, it's the shooter. In WWI, they used fewer rounds and got more kills; 1903 Springfield & 1917 Enfield. In WWII they averaged a few more round per enemy killed; enter the M1 Garand & M1 carbine. Skip Korea (same weapons, only some carbines on full auto). Vietnam. Many rounds per enemy killed: M16 (for the most part). It is all a matter of training, fire discipline, and marksmanship. As long as we don't select & train marksmen for combat, the weapon is not going to make a difference. You take a skilled shooter, train him in the proper tactics, and you get results. It is the very premise for the utilization of snipers. Missing fast with the 5.56 and carrying lots of ammo for it is not the answer. Taking a G.I. and telling him he is going to die if he misses the enemy when he shoots at them, and MUST hit them on the first shot, is motivational, and would get better results than having a vest full of 30 round mags. A soldier carries more rounds on patrol than the number of enemy they will kill in an entire tour, or war, for that matter. Where is the logic? If a soldier ever considered NOT getting resupplied he would sue guard and make good use of each shot. We spoil our kids, we spoil ourselves, and we spoil the training of our soldiers. We owe them the truth, to save themselves and their fellow soldiers. Make every round count.

X-Rap
April 5, 2010, 07:27 PM
Exactly, a man with a decent sight can make the M4 hit a 5 gal bucket at 1/4 mile with boring regularity. That is ample to make any enemy we have consider sticking their head up.

cleardiddion
April 5, 2010, 07:58 PM
I agree with a lot of the posts.
Another thing to remember:
.308/5.56, either is fine but you also have to recall that you have much more at play than just the rifle. Artillery, close air support, and armor just to name a few. Even the mighty .50 mews compared to a 500lb-er.

Zerodefect
April 5, 2010, 08:49 PM
Can't compare WWII tactics to todays. kill ratio per shot especially.

Today we can put a string of covering fire into a sweet spot to keep the enemy down, or catch a dummy that walks into it. Like a death funnel. The bullets don't actually allways need to hit anybody.

Sometimes you only need to fill the air with lead until your flanking groups are in position.

BBstacker
April 5, 2010, 08:53 PM
The bottom line is money. 1- The M14 is more expensive to produce. 2- you can carry more 5.56 than you can carry 7.62's. 3- the M14 is good out to about 800 yds. Most conflicts are under 300 yds. 4- The M4 is better for urban warfair than the M14. The M14 is still better for snipers. 5- The M16 & M4 have a big weight advanage over the M14.

SlamFire1
April 5, 2010, 09:35 PM
Because the Army resists change.

Having adopted the 30-06 in 1903, gone through WW1, and even though their own internal research and development proved the 30-06 had more power than needed, the Army discarded the 276 Pederson and retained the 30-06.

WWII showed that the 30-06 was too long and needed to be replaced, so the Army replaced the 30-06 with a 30-06 short. The 308. This was not the best decision, but that is what they wanted.

It took the Office of Secretary of Defense to force the Army to use the .223. It was not voluntary, it was difficult, and it was not a even a good decision. But the .223 became the Army round.

The Army got itself in this position by not adopting the best solution, the 276 Pederson when the time was correct to do so. Now it has possibly one of the worst answers with the .223. However, the Army is familiar with the .223, their leaders have never used anything else, and they won't change unless forced to by higher authority.

The Army likes what is has, wants something better but only a little different, and totally rejects Revolutionary change.

That is just the way they are.

Ala Dan
April 5, 2010, 09:43 PM
As other's have noted, this round was chamered in the awesome M-14,
by the U.S. government. It was also my issued duty weapon in the U.S.
Army, from 1965-1967; as I NEVER even touched the M-16~! :scrutiny: ;)

SharpsDressedMan
April 5, 2010, 09:51 PM
Can you imagine how effective our guys could be if they acted like they couldn't shoot, or were pinned down, instead of always laying a barrage of fire down? Maybe bait the enemy into ASSAULTING their position and then picking them off with single shots? It's been done so many times in different wars past, that just because we have the firepower, we use it. I'm not saying you never use suppressive fire, but you have to admit, we overdo it. I predict that the Middle East will beat the US by a war of economic attrition. It is probably costing us about $100,000 per enemy kill as it stands, and we really can't afford that. One shot, one kill is a philosophy that stands the test of economics. AND, it's not a bad battle plan, either.

noob_shooter
April 5, 2010, 10:50 PM
cool.. thanks for the info guys.. very helpful.

Casefull
April 6, 2010, 12:50 AM
My son shoots the 240 bravo in the infantry. It is FNs replacement for the m60.

Driftertank
April 6, 2010, 01:00 AM
^^^For those few who don't already know this, the M240B is chambered in the 7.62x51/.308. :D

Kwanger
April 6, 2010, 11:03 AM
The truth of the matter is, it's the shooter. In WWI, they used fewer rounds and got more kills; 1903 Springfield & 1917 Enfield. In WWII they averaged a few more round per enemy killed; enter the M1 Garand & M1 carbine. Skip Korea (same weapons, only some carbines on full auto). Vietnam. Many rounds per enemy killed: M16 (for the most part). It is all a matter of training, fire discipline, and marksmanship. As long as we don't select & train marksmen for combat, the weapon is not going to make a difference. You take a skilled shooter, train him in the proper tactics, and you get results. It is the very premise for the utilization of snipers. Missing fast with the 5.56 and carrying lots of ammo for it is not the answer. Taking a G.I. and telling him he is going to die if he misses the enemy when he shoots at them, and MUST hit them on the first shot, is motivational, and would get better results than having a vest full of 30 round mags. A soldier carries more rounds on patrol than the number of enemy they will kill in an entire tour, or war, for that matter. Where is the logic? If a soldier ever considered NOT getting resupplied he would sue guard and make good use of each shot. We spoil our kids, we spoil ourselves, and we spoil the training of our soldiers. We owe them the truth, to save themselves and their fellow soldiers. Make every round count.
While there is an element of truth to this, I don't think this "Our soldiers can't shoot for sh1t" idea is entirely accurate...a few of them might even take offense to that ;) While there will always be some that can't, the training is not *that* bad these days.

As has been pointed out, its pretty much impossible to compare today's counter insurgency operations with WW1 static battle.

Before you completely condemn the use of suppressive fire (while waiting for an Apache to come in and finish the job, for instance), you have to have a look at the casualty rate of our own troops too - much lower than those earlier conflicts. The tactics in use today have a lot to do with minimizing our casualties - and I think that's a preferable scenario even if it comes at the cost of firing more rounds.

As stated, I do agree that individual marksmanship is very important - but there is a bigger picture at play here.

jonnyc
April 6, 2010, 01:37 PM
"The .308 Winchester hit the market before the military adopted the 7.62X51, not by long but it was a civilian round before it went military"

Dagger Dog, what you say is essentially correct, however, the 7.62x51 was the culmination of about 10 years of military experimentation. The .308 was introduced to the civilian market a year or two before the Nato adoption of the 7.62, but it was a child of the military process that created the 7.62 Nato. They are twins from the same MILITARY mother, but the .308 left the nest first. Therefore, as I said, a military round that went commercial.

Added: Winchester was granted permission by the Office of the Chief of Ordnance to standardize the 7.62/.308 cartridge for commercial use. Without this, the .308 WIN would not exist.

RP88
April 6, 2010, 01:51 PM
+1 on the 'soldiers can't shoot" thing being offensive and wrong. Keep in mind also that wasting 10 million rounds of rifle ammo is still cheaper than wasting 25 soldiers that are worth their weight in money, training, and equipment.

X-Rap
April 6, 2010, 02:06 PM
My comments on marksmanship were certainly not intended as an insult. My intent was to point out that line units that are expected to find the enemy and if ordered to engage them should have more enhanced training than those in the rear.
I would suggest that combat troops should get additional ammo and time on the live range shooting at 600 - distances so they can understand the potential of their weapon and learn the discipline of slow accurate fire as a supplement to suppressive fire or close quarters combat shooting.
The rest of the army can use simulators and pass the ammo on to those who can really benefit from it.

HexHead
April 6, 2010, 02:43 PM
We managed to beat the Japanese and German soldiers while carrying heavy rifles and 30 caliber ammo. We got our asses kicked and had to leave Vietnam in disgrace using 5.56. Is there a lesson here?

X-Rap
April 6, 2010, 04:17 PM
We managed to beat the Japanese and German soldiers while carrying heavy rifles and 30 caliber ammo. We got our asses kicked and had to leave Vietnam in disgrace using 5.56. Is there a lesson here?

Yes, we have a weak citizen and political stomach for finishing things that are distasteful and it has little to do with our soldiers and their equipment. You forgot Korea.
The wars ongoing may have the same outcome as we are taking our eyes off the ball.

THE DARK KNIGHT
April 6, 2010, 04:21 PM
How much ammo can a soldier / crate / truck / plane /helicopter carry of each ammo? The military would rather bring more rounds to the party.

rcmodel
April 6, 2010, 04:35 PM
We got our asses kicked and had to leave Vietnam in disgrace using 5.56. Is there a lesson here?Yes there is.
And it had nothing at all whatsoever to do with the caliber of the rifles we used.

WWII was run by Generals who knew how to win wars.
Vietnam was run by Politicians who had never served in the military for the most part.

Simple as that!

We are seeing the same thing going on right now today in the middle east.
You can't call a cease-fire every time the BG's with an RPG's run into a mosque to hide behind a bunch of clerics, women, and children.

WWII? We would have smoked them all.
Vietnam & today? We withdraw and fight them again another day.

IMO: If our politicians & generals don't have the stomach to Smoke them all when we take fire from them, we shouldn't be there in the first place.

rc

Water-Man
April 7, 2010, 12:20 PM
+1 rc

9x19sig
April 7, 2010, 12:54 PM
From all the information I have read this is how it appears.

1.) Most battlefield engagements happen at 300 yards and under.

2.) The most common rifle bullet the U.S. military uses right now is the 62 grain M885 FMJ in 5.56 caliber.

3.) There are complaints from afield where bullets are not performing as desired in some situations.

4.) Problem is compounded by so many M4's in circulation. Not to say the M16 doesn't have a problem also, but the range at which the ammo fails in the M16 is a greater range than that of the M4 .

This is of course a simplified version of the problem at hand. Now lets look at a possible solution that would not only cost far less than replacing existing rifles, it would also cost less than retrofitting different caliber barrels onto existing rifles.

Use better ammo, it's as simple as that. Now for some possible reasons why this hasn't happened yet.

1.) It is seen as cost prohibitive vs. possible benefit.

2.) They (DoD) already have a plan in the works for a different rifle with a higher caliber. (Not likely)

3.) They (DoD) already have a plan in the works for a barrel retrofit onto existing rifles to achieve a higher caliber. (Not likely)

At the rate we are going with more possible conflicts in the near future, there is a serious problem with discounting this as a non issue or not seeing the benefit vs possible costs involved.

X-Rap
April 7, 2010, 01:24 PM
No 556 should fail under 300yds and failure needs to be better defined. I still say that a properly sighted/scoped M4 will be very effective past 500 if the shooter is trained and allowed range time to learn and gain confidence in his and the guns ability.

Is a better weapon/caliber needed? Certainly
Will what ever they choose please everybody? No

The enemy our soldiers face today don't typically wear armor but in the future they very well might. What ever comes next needs to be a huge step greater than what we now have to be effective far into the future and the baby steps using the existing platform will make little long term difference. The cost changing barrels and associated equipment would be better spent on honest R&D to get a much better weapon than what is now available.

Water-Man
April 7, 2010, 02:43 PM
X-Rap...An M4 very effective past 500 yds?:rolleyes:

X-Rap
April 7, 2010, 02:56 PM
Water Man, I've never shot a man at 500yds but I know I can hit a target that size.
One that has no armor will be out of the fight in most cases. What are you saying the bullets bounce off or the weapon is incapable of hitting the mark??
The rest of that quote has some conditions for your cherry picked one to be true.

Cosmoline
April 7, 2010, 03:05 PM
Just out of curiosity, how much energy does a round from an M4 actually have at 500 yards? I've seen data for long barrel varmint rifles in .223 that show a few hundred ft. lbs. remaining, but not for the carbine.

The military as a whole seems determined to keep preparing for the war it wishes it could fight. Some kind of high-tech, heavily armored WWIII with stealth fighters and rules of warfare. It's resistant to preparing for the wars it's actually fighting. So it clings to AP rounds, Hague restrictions and reliance on airstrikes rather than shifting to softpoint rounds in a more powerful chambering. The doctrine should focus on killing people, to put it bluntly. Not taking objectives, destroying strong points or neutralizing armor.

Water-Man
April 7, 2010, 03:09 PM
X-Rap...Your comment is typical of someone who never took a shot at a man past 500 yds. with an M4 and who just shoots at paper targets.

X-Rap
April 7, 2010, 04:09 PM
Nice cheap shot, you could have just answered the question. Do the bullets bounce off or is the rifle not capable of hitting the target?

winchester '97
April 7, 2010, 07:24 PM
They went away from .308 because .223 looked great on paper, and it was just about perfect for Vietnam. And it made alot of sense for a large scale war, basically world war 3 or mechanised warfare in Europe with the soviets. The other reasons were of course the ability to carry twice as much ammo, and the capability of controllable automatic fire. It is actually a fine round if you use it like it as intended, but in Afghanistan we are running into a big problem, it was never intended to be effective on anything bigger than a groundhog or coyote past 300 yards or so. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that they care more about what the weapon can do than its weight, The m14 rifles going back into service are very popular and many troops have been seen carrying captured G3 rifles on patrol. I could see the military moving to a round like the 6.8mm or something similar in the future, provided the right defense industry bigwigs are the ones profiting from it. My real question is this: why didnt we just do like the Germans did and make a shortened version of the 30-06 to chamber an assault rifle in? Did that just make too much sense or what? Hell, we could even had just shortened the .308 when we decided to drop the m14!

C-grunt
April 7, 2010, 07:26 PM
My comments on marksmanship were certainly not intended as an insult. My intent was to point out that line units that are expected to find the enemy and if ordered to engage them should have more enhanced training than those in the rear.
I would suggest that combat troops should get additional ammo and time on the live range shooting at 600 - distances so they can understand the potential of their weapon and learn the discipline of slow accurate fire as a supplement to suppressive fire or close quarters combat shooting.
The rest of the army can use simulators and pass the ammo on to those who can really benefit from it.


When I was in, 02-06, this was indeed how it was done at Fort Benning. In Basic, we infantry guys shot a lot more than the non infantry guys. My company would shoot at 500 meters at least once a year. More would have been better but most of our budget went into the Bradleys.

I would say half of my platoon could peg you at 500 yards without much trouble if you were standing there. 3/4 could do it at 300. Thats not to say that the others wont hit you, but it might take them a few more shots.

Now if the enemy knows you are shooting at them and trying to avoid it. Anything past about 100 yards starts to get pretty tough no matter how good of a shot you are. People dont stay exposed for long and many times all you see is parts of them exposed.

Trying to hit a bad guy at 150 yards who exposes himself for a few seconds and your target is just a head, one shoulder and an AK47 is plain hard to do.

As far as to the lethality of the 5,56 at distance..... I garauntee you that if you took a M855 out of an M4 through the chest at 500 yards, you will die without immediate medical attention.

Ive seen several insurgents and Iraqi military (2003 invasion) personel that have been shot with the 5.56 at long range. Many of them didnt drop dead right where they stood, but they didnt just shrug it off. Many would fall over, then crawl to cover where they were found dead or then treated by our medics.

Disclaimer... most of these observations were made using M16s and SAWs. My unit didnt have a whole lot of M4s. But I never saw anyone survive a shot with an M4 that the M16 would have killed them. If the M4 shot a good COM shot, it worked.

C-grunt
April 7, 2010, 07:34 PM
To the OP. The .308/7.62 is still widely used in the military as a sniper and machinegun round. Bradleys and Abrams have M240C coaz machineguns, Blackhawk and Chinook door gunners use a M240 of some sort. Hell I saw some M60s in the reserve/guard chooper units.

My favorite gun for gunner duties on the humvee was the M240B. very accurate and is just a bullet hose. The M2 is awesome but jumps around to much for accurate long range sustained fire.

All of our FOB guard towers had M240Bs in them.

Pic of my platoon during the invasion of Iraq. im on the right with my MRE and SAW. You can see a M240 to the left of me.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm229/killerchase2000/03.jpg

joed
April 7, 2010, 07:37 PM
Having had the displeasure of serving in the military during the Viet Nam conflict I can attest to why the 5.56 replaced the 7.62. The M16 was a dream to carry around compared to the M14, especially when you added the weight of the ammo.

The M16 was always with me and went everywhere I did while I had one assigned to me.

The only problem that I do see is the 5.56 is not great at long ranges like the 7.62.

Evil Monkey
April 7, 2010, 08:24 PM
Wow, another 223 vs 308 thread. I'm pretty sure there have been at least 2-4 of these threads per month for as long as I've been here.

X-Rap
April 7, 2010, 08:42 PM
C-grunt my oldest son shoots a 240B and he does indeed like it. He would love to carry a M14 on dismount and was brought up to be able maximize its effectiveness. He also knows that the M4 will do as you say and fits into trucks and tight quarters better than a full sized battle rifle.
What ever replaces the M16/M4 will need to be hard hitting at extended range, compact for CQB, and light enough for the overloaded soldier to carry it and plenty of ammo. In the mean time while not perfect I suspect the M16/M4 will continue to serve well.
C, I appreciate you giving your hands on experience with the 5.56 and I'm glad you felt effectively armed with the M16.
Thank you for your service.

Brother in Arms
April 7, 2010, 08:50 PM
Not wanting to repeat anything previously mentioned I will just mention that the the last few years 2007-2009 US Army has adopted the M11O SASS (Semi Automatic Sniper System) Which is essentialy a Modern Version of the old AR-10 chambered in 7.62x51mm and is set to replace the M24 and presumably the M21 sniper rifles.

So 7.62x51mm still a favored for GPMG (general purpose machine gun) DMR (Designated Markman Rifle) and Sniping. Any were long range and or penetration is required.

Brother in Arms

stuckinsocal
April 9, 2010, 03:49 PM
So, I'm going to add my 2 cents...for what it's worth...

I'm going to say that the reason the military is using the 5.56 is mainly politics. The military simply doesn't want to change. The 5.56 has worked adequately, especially with powder/bullet devlopments, but so would a .22 mag.
There are plenty of ways to reduce the felt recoil of a .308 gun now...M1A SOCOM style rifles, Ar10, etc.
I've noticed that a lot of shooters are becoming spoiled and wimpy with the Ar15 and the 5.56 round. Granted, I've never had to haul a rifle and full load of ammo in a war, but it seems that any rifle that weighs more than about 6 lbs or carrying any of the larger rounds (7.62x39, .308, etc.) is too much of a lot of people.

SharpsDressedMan
April 9, 2010, 03:55 PM
It seems we can agree that the 5.56 makes our troops more effective at closer quarters, and the 7.62 makes our troops more effective at longer ranges than the 5.56. Personally, I like keeping my enemies further away from me, and the 7.62 will do that better. Had I been given the choice while in the Army, I would have preferred the M14.

41magsnub
April 9, 2010, 04:00 PM
Personally, I like keeping my enemies further away from me, and the 7.62 will do that better

If only that was a choice you could make!

I'm not as sure about the recoil of a 5.56 vs 7.62 and troops not being able to handle it being a huge deal. In basic training we had a number of folks get recycled due to an inability to qualify with an M16, I assume this happens in every basic training class. In each case they just could not stop flinching. With folks like that I don't think it would have mattered what they were shooting.

TexasPatriot.308
April 9, 2010, 09:23 PM
I served in the early 70s, I would rather go into battle with a M14 (.308) than a puny M16.

Zerodefect
April 9, 2010, 09:34 PM
I want a CQB rifle on me. Its the " surprize CF!" guys that pop out of nowhere close up that I'm worried about. The far away guys we can plink at.

Hammerhead6814
April 9, 2010, 09:47 PM
Coming in 2014. The US Army adopts the Kel-Tec RFB. It's lightweight, small, kills everything.

Zerodefect
April 9, 2010, 09:52 PM
"Yah, that'll work." Do they still machine Keltecs with dull files with loose wooden handles?

Nugilum
April 9, 2010, 10:05 PM
OK, why couldn't we have AR-10's instead of AR-15's in 1963?

HorseSoldier
April 9, 2010, 10:08 PM
+1 on the whole "wow, another 7.62 vs 5.56 thread" with all the usual misinformation in it (though I don't think I noticed anyone dragging out the "5.56 is to wound, not kill" argument . . . yet).

The reality is that infantry small arms have been increasingly adapted to how 20th and 21st century battlefields work since World War One when the machine gun and indirect fire officially ended the Napoleonic-derived stupidity armies were still subscribing to in 1914.

Saying that guys on WW1 and WW2 battlefields were more accurate with their weapons is just false. These are the guys who could rarely acquire, much less effective engage, a target at 300 meters unless it was walking slowly towards them and skylined on the horizon. These are the same guys who gave rise to the truism that crew served weapons and artillery do the killing, not the individual guy with a rifle.

I have infinite respect for the guys who served in those days, with less than ideal weapons and shoddy training, but you can respect them without mythologizing them and acting like they were ten feet tall.

The problem -- ever since big armies learned they had to fight irregulars and guerillas, scurrying to and from cover and all that -- has been identifying and hitting the bad guy. Having 2-3 times the ammunition load on you with an assault rifle than you had with a battle rifle is a dramatic improvement, even if it makes caliber fetishists uncomfortable.

Tirod
April 9, 2010, 10:55 PM
Clinging to the Hague Convention doesn't include the hollow point issue any more. It's been approved by JAG, developed, fielded, and in use in Afghanistan since last summer. Not all units get it, but it's there. The latest ( overly long ) testing of solid copper bullets with hollow points shows the Army is definitely moving in that direction. Improvements are on the way.

The difficulty of discussing the 5.56 and 7.62 is putting it in terms of VS., when in reality, as most soldiers, know, especially those who command the assets, it's a matter of BOTH being used on the battlefield. One never completely superceded the other, BOTH are used, and often, and are just a part of the total number of weapons available.

Armchair commandos with no experience or knowledge of the actual firepower of an infantry platoon, or even more heavily equipped MP platoon, are the ones ignorantly continuing the debate.

In my MP squad, it wasn't a problem of choosing 5.56 OR 7.62, it was a simple decision of choosing which platform of 9mm, 5.56, 7.62, or 40mm matched the range to the target. You don't choose OR, you choose WHICH.

Being a student of history, delving into the why and wherefore of combat, plus actually training as a combat soldier and working as one, one gets the impact of the reasoning behind the move to a smaller caliber. Wear full battle gear and a basic ammo load for weeks at a time. Qualify on the range, train in MOUT and field ops, train in combined arms operations, learn to train others, work in logistics supporting them, and get a bigger picture.

There is a reason for the decisions experienced warfighters from the German General Staff of the '30's to today continue to use small calibers at the soldier level. The problem isn't the caiber, it's not understanding the big picture.

mudriver
April 9, 2010, 11:03 PM
It is true that artillery and machine guns have been the primary killers on the battlefield for at least 100 years or so. The basic infantry weapon is often used in the combined arms fight to support the larger weapon systems and not the primary killers (RPG's, machine guns, arty, etc.). It is difficult to understand how these weapon systems work together unless you've worked with a combined arms team - but the AR system works well in its niche.

burk
April 9, 2010, 11:16 PM
I've read a lot of reports that the effectiveness of the 5.56 has improved a lot since we started issuing combat optics. The soldiers can acquire their targets quicker and are scoring a lot more hits on center mass.

X-Rap
April 9, 2010, 11:19 PM
I think its simple and fair to say that if one knows the threat he will if given the chance pick the weapon that best fits the job. It is also fair to say that the option is not open for every soldier if for no other reason than lack of a particular weapon at the time. The needs of the unit also must be taken into account.
It all gets back to what I said early on, teach these men to shoot whatever thay have better than anybody else and no matter the caliber they will do well out past 500 yds.
I believe what Horse Soldier says about the soldiers of WWI & II and would add that they would likely be impressed with the equipment and capabilities of the weapons carried by todays soldiers.

As a side note, I think that the 5.56 with 60 gr bullet carries about the same energy at 4 or 5 hundred yds as a 32 or 380 does at the muzzle. I might be wrong and am sure I will be checked but if its true that is not something I want COM.

guntech59
April 9, 2010, 11:40 PM
When I was in, 02-06, this was indeed how it was done at Fort Benning. In Basic, we infantry guys shot a lot more than the non infantry guys. My company would shoot at 500 meters at least once a year. More would have been better but most of our budget went into the Bradleys.

I would say half of my platoon could peg you at 500 yards without much trouble if you were standing there. 3/4 could do it at 300. Thats not to say that the others wont hit you, but it might take them a few more shots.

Now if the enemy knows you are shooting at them and trying to avoid it. Anything past about 100 yards starts to get pretty tough no matter how good of a shot you are. People dont stay exposed for long and many times all you see is parts of them exposed.

Trying to hit a bad guy at 150 yards who exposes himself for a few seconds and your target is just a head, one shoulder and an AK47 is plain hard to do.

As far as to the lethality of the 5,56 at distance..... I garauntee you that if you took a M855 out of an M4 through the chest at 500 yards, you will die without immediate medical attention.

Ive seen several insurgents and Iraqi military (2003 invasion) personel that have been shot with the 5.56 at long range. Many of them didnt drop dead right where they stood, but they didnt just shrug it off. Many would fall over, then crawl to cover where they were found dead or then treated by our medics.

Disclaimer... most of these observations were made using M16s and SAWs. My unit didnt have a whole lot of M4s. But I never saw anyone survive a shot with an M4 that the M16 would have killed them. If the M4 shot a good COM shot, it worked.
Cgrunt,

Your post is absolutely the most common sense statement that I have ever heard on the 5.56 vs 7.62 debate.

If you don't hit anything, it doesn't matter WHAT round you are shooting. I know you have BTDT recently so, your opinion carries alot of weight.

Also, thank you for your service.

Art Eatman
April 9, 2010, 11:53 PM
Going back to the Vietnam era and the introduction of the .223: Think tactical doctrine. The deal was to control one's area to 200 meters or so while using the primary weapon: The radio, to call in air or artillery.

The .223 is plenty good for that.

SFAIK, clearing houses in city areas was much less of a concern at that time. Troops were expected to be in some sort of boonies, whether in Europe or in SE Asia. So, no real need for the .308. Re-supply was somewhat a lesser problem with the larger loadout available with the lighter ammo.

-v-
April 10, 2010, 12:02 AM
I would be curious to see what percent of enemy casualties in 'Stan are caused by personal weapons versus fixing the enemy with suppressive fire, and employing MGs, Mortars, Artillery, or Air-strike to neutralize the threat.

As a civilian, a lot of the reports that I've seen of actions in the 'Stan seem to revolve around fixing the enemy with personal weapons, and then mopping up with crew served weapons or air-support. Although the 20+ minute wait time that most air-assets seem to take to get on scene seem to limit their involvement.

Hunt3r
April 10, 2010, 02:17 AM
Same reason why they have an M240 coax on the tank, instead of a M2 coax.

It would make sense to have a single person in a squad carrying a 7.62 NATO light rifle, ala AR-10, 18 inch light barrel, with an ACOG.

georgeky
April 10, 2010, 02:43 AM
I have carried both the M16 and M14 in combat. The M14 is by far the best combat rifle the US has ever had. Many have been reissued to our troops in the middle east as they needed a rifle with more firepower than the M16 will ever be capable of.

The M16 and .223/5.56 was crammed down the Armys throught by Bob Macnamara and the whizkids. Many a GI lost his life in The Peoples Republic of Vietnam due to faulty M16 rifles. Like one poster mentioned. We haven't really won a war since giving up on the 30 cals. Don't look like much has changed as of yet either. 223/5.56 is a groundhog round.

George S Patton said the M1 Garand was the greatest battle implement ever designed. We won that one.

Onmilo
April 10, 2010, 03:13 AM
"we haven't really won a ground war since giving up on the .30 calibers,,,"

I don't think that had anything to do with it :D

The 7.62X51 is far away from going away anytime soon.
It is still a major machinegun caliber used on all sorts of heavy and light support vehicles, still in everyday use as an interdiction and sniper weapon in the hands of individual combat soldiers and still carried in vast quantities in storage facilities.

When you look at the military interest in weapon systems such as the FN SCAR that can be fielded in near identical packages for both 5.56 and 7.62 you will realize the military isn't ready to give the caliber up anytime soon either.

Tirod
April 10, 2010, 09:18 AM
The weapon and caliber used in Vietnam was effective. The political leadership bending over backwards to spoiled Baby Boomer brats who were being manipulated by opposing interests had a lot to do with the lack of leadership and willingness to win.

In WWII, if it took carpet bombing inner city areas with napalm and wreaking massive destruction on the German people, it was done. Hanoi? Ohh, noo, we can't do that.

Was it a war or not?

Blaming the resulting loss on one weapon used in the field is myopic and ignores the other 90% of the battle that went on. Our troops did fine with the M16, our government, not so well with gaining important concessions or even approaching the situation with a informed view - as they have admitted.

And as said, the 7.62 wasn't removed from the battlefield, it was still being humped over the paddies and trails as an MG team with gunner and assistant gunner, set up in perimeter bunkers, and hung from pintle mounts on APC's, tanks, and helicopters. It was still there where it counted, given that it delivers when you can see past 500 meters and have an enemy exposed.

It does no better in thick bush that stops any bullet in a few hundred yards, and no one can see past 50. In abusive heat and humidity, carrying a 12 pound rifle and half the ammo isn't a major advantage - a light weight rifle and twice the ammo does exactly as the German General Staff predicted. It puts more rounds in the air, and gets more hits.

Those of us who have carried both over the years can understand, those who repeat an old familiar complaint with no knowledge seem rather uninformed about it all, but that's what the internet is about.

noob_shooter
April 13, 2010, 10:20 PM
and now.. hmmm.. well, how come the 7.62x39 was never used too? I'm sure it's not as costly and heavy as the x51 cartridge.

APIT50
April 13, 2010, 11:58 PM
US SOCOM has already adopted the FN SCAR-H in 7.62

Ignition Override
April 14, 2010, 01:04 AM
It seems ironic that our DOD forced our NATO and other allies to adopt the 7.62x51 cartridge, but years later we then switched to the 5.56, thereby more or less 'forcing' them to change again, did we not?

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