5.56 lessons...do they mean much to a civilian?


PDA






gspn
July 31, 2012, 08:39 PM
Our military has been using the 5.56 on bad guys for a long time now. There are many and varied reports about the inadequacy of the round for putting terrorists down for the count. This has apparently lead to the creation of at least one new caliber over the course of the last two wars...the 6.8mm SPC.

I'm currently buying some extra AR's and I got to wondering if it's appropriate for me to use the military's experience to steer my choice in caliber. The military is limited to using full metal jacket ammo...I am not. And if I'm not...then can I realistically extrapolate the lessons of FMJ to my use of hollow point or soft-point ammo? I do a lot of deer hunting and I've seen plenty of first hand evidence of terminal performance of expanding bullets. I'm not sure that the old argument that the 5.56 isn't an effective combat round really apply to the potential civilian use of the round as a home/self defense caliber.

This is just an initial thought and i wanted to get some feedback from others who may have a lot more experience with this than me.

If you enjoyed reading about "5.56 lessons...do they mean much to a civilian?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
MedWheeler
July 31, 2012, 08:46 PM
Given the available choices we civilians have (as you noted), I'd have very high confidence in the 5.56 round as a fight-stopper in a quality carbine or rifle. I see no reason to seek out another chambering.

X-Rap
July 31, 2012, 08:54 PM
55gr + in SP, HP, or Ballistic tip is far superior to what the military is allowed to use in a hunting or self defense role. The exception would probably be in the case of penetration which we civilians seldom want, especially in the home.

Onward Allusion
July 31, 2012, 08:59 PM
gspn
5.56 lessons...do they mean much to a civilian?
<SNIP>I'm currently buying some extra AR's and I got to wondering if it's appropriate for me to use the military's experience to steer my choice in caliber. The military is limited to using full metal jacket ammo...I am not. And if I'm not...then can I realistically extrapolate the lessons of FMJ to my use of hollow point or soft-point ammo? I do a lot of deer hunting and I've seen plenty of first hand evidence of terminal performance of expanding bullets. I'm not sure that the old argument that the 5.56 isn't an effective combat round really apply to the potential civilian use of the round as a home/self defense caliber.<SNIP>

I can't advise you of which AR to purchase, because all I have done is put a couple of plinkers together. However, you make a very good point regarding our military being limited to FMJ for the 5.56 and FMJ overall for most applications. Civilians have "better' ammo available. It is not valid comparison to use military -vs- civilian.

BTW, I don't subscribe to the idea that 5.56 is not an effective combat round - only that civilians have a wider range of ammunition for their applications thus extending the capabilities of a particular cartridge. For example, while 9mm NATO is standard for our military, I don't think many individuals would choose it for SD purposes when HST, Cor Bon, or Gold Dots are available.

C-grunt
July 31, 2012, 09:13 PM
The problem with the military round is the bullet, not the caliber. M855s effectiveness can vary rifle to rifle depending on how it flies out of the barrel. Out of some rifles it works very well but some rifles will cause it to pass through without upsetting much tissue. The majority of the time the M855 works very well.

This issues have not been noted by units using M855A1, Mk318 or M262.

armoredman
July 31, 2012, 09:20 PM
I use SP for defensive loads for rifles. Unlikely in the extreme I will ever need those, but I want something that is know for good performance on game - usually translates well to "stopping power" on felonious assaulter types, or so I've heard.

rcmodel
July 31, 2012, 09:22 PM
The problem with the military round IS the bullet.

Compounded by the too fast 1/7 rifling twist, and too short 14.4" M-4 carbines barrel.

If you wanted a recipe for a combination designed to reduce velocity, tumbling, fragmentation, and fight stopping damage from a .224" FMJ bullet?
The M4 is it!

The old 1/12 twist 20" rifle with 55 grain FMJ used in Viet Nam was highly respected as a fight stopper among the people I served with 40 years ago.

Using modern JHP and BT bullets in civilian life AR-15's sheds a whole new light on terminal damage to the target.

rc

Shawn Dodson
July 31, 2012, 09:30 PM
U.S. military 55gr FMJ M193 yaws and fragments, producing a wound similar to a hunting bullet but at a deeper depth of penetration.

M193 is a superior choice to 62gr M855 "green tip" because it is a simple lead core bullet with less lot-to-lot manufacturing variations that affect angle-of-impact (bullet yaw (wobble) in flight). As a result M193 provides more consistent terminal performance than M855, which has a small steel penetrator tip positioned in front of a lead core.

Angle-of-Attack is affected by bullet manufacturing variations and "fleet yaw", in which individual rifles stabilize the bullet better/worse than others. A bullet with less "wobble" will penetrate deeper before it yaws and fragments. Likewise a bullet with more wobble (about 2.5 degrees) will yaw and fragment at a shallower depth. Angle-of-Attackl variations explain why one soldier reports excellent performance while another soldier reports poor performance.

M193 also performs better against automotive windshield glass than M855.

Perhaps the best performing, and most affordable choice for 5.56 ammo is Mk318 Mod 0 (aka SOST - Special Operations Science and Technology), which is a 62gr lead core open tip match (OTM) bullet with a solid copper base. It is currently in use by USMC in Afghanistan. 500 rds costs about $400.00 It provides terminal performance superior and more consistent than M193 and M855. Upon impact the lead core fragments and the the solid copper base penetrates greater than 12-inches. It's also a "barrier blind" load, which means it can perforate light barrier materials (automotive sheetmetal, windshield glass, etc.) better than M193 and M855 and achieve adequate penetration afterwards.

If you reload then I suggest the Nosler 60gr Partition bullet. It, too, is a "barrier blind" bullet.

stubbicatt
July 31, 2012, 09:30 PM
I don't know guys. Speaking for myself only, I am not in a position to purchase an automatic M16 rifle, in which this small cartridge would shine in any home invasion self defense sort of situation. Given that I can own only a semi auto rifle, I opted to go with a 308 for those situations where a rifle would be appropriate, thinking as I did that one well placed round from a 308 would be more effective on human or cougar tissue than would one well placed round from a 223.

I realize my reasoning is subject to criticism. But after many years of pondering this decision I take comfort in it.

YMMV

Maverick223
July 31, 2012, 09:36 PM
I don't know one way or another about the twist rate (a slower twist will slightly increase velocity, so it makes some sense), but rcmodel is spot on about the longer bbl. A 20in.+ barrel makes for a much more effective platform IMO. WRT the bullet weight, there are probably better choices than 55gr., but a good ballistic tip, like the V-Max will be more than adequate to get the job done at any reasonable distance (FWIW it's my chosen load).

The M-855, OTOH, is a poor choice IMO. M193 isn't outstanding either, but affords much more consistent performance.

:)

proven
July 31, 2012, 09:45 PM
velocity increase due to twist rate is negligable. with the bullet types available to civilians, the only limiting factor is cost. there are plenty of capable 5.56 rounds no matter the platform used, but they are typically much more expensive than mil-surp. IMHO, it would be wise to stock m193 in quantity and keep a smaller amount of more capable ammo on hand and ready for HD.

Fremmer
July 31, 2012, 09:48 PM
That's a 4" difference in velocity. On a target 100 yards or less away, won't the bullet fully penetrate either way? And is there a significant difference in ft pounds of energy? The brass must not think there's much of a difference. :confused:

jmr40
July 31, 2012, 09:57 PM
The longer barrel will improve performance at longer ranges where the gun is rarely used. The Vietnamse soldiers were wearing jungle clothing that did not require any special needs for barrier penetraton.

We are not fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. Most of the fighing in Iraq was close combat inside homes where the short barrels were a huge help. A longer 20" barrel would be in the way.

In Afghanastan ranges are typically longer, and heavier winter clothing needs to be defeated. The longer barrels and heavier bullets are an advantage here.

There is no perfect rifle and ammo that will perform equally well in all situations. The M-4 has its negatives, but is the right rifle, with the right ammo for most of the situations our soldiers are finding themselves in. A longer barrel, or larger round such as the 308 would be an advantage in many situations. It would also be a huge disadvantage in many situations. Despite internet gossip the guys I've spoken to who have BTDT, some multiple tours, are very pleased with both the rifle and round.

For all the negatives I firmly believe we would have brought many more boys home in body bags over the last 40+ years if we had been using anything else.

Maverick223
July 31, 2012, 10:03 PM
IMHO, it would be wise to stock m193 in quantity and keep a smaller amount of more capable ammo on hand and ready for HD.That...unless you handload, which significantly lowers the expense of using BT/HP projectiles.

That's a 4" difference in velocity. On a target 100 yards or less away, won't the bullet fully penetrate either way? And is there a significant difference in ft pounds of energy? The brass must not think there's much of a difference.4in. in a .223Rem./5.56NATO affords a significant advantage with respect to terminal ballistics. The brass has to balance a great number of factors, the ability to use the rifle in tight confines being one of them. Everything is a balance, they decided the lesser length was worth the detrimental impact on performance.

:)

rcmodel
July 31, 2012, 10:06 PM
I'll take an understabized bullet from a slower twist every time for close range combat with maximum destruction of the target with FMJ military bullets.

Regardless of the difference in velocity at close or long range,
A slower under-stabilized bullet at close range is going to tumble and tear a big hole.

A slower over-stabilized bullet is going on through and leave a small hole behind.
The 1/7 M4 is over-stabilized regardless of how you load it with FMJ bullets.

rc

Shawn Dodson
July 31, 2012, 10:06 PM
Most of the fighing in Iraq was close combat inside homes where the short barrels were a huge help. A longer 20" barrel would be in the way. USMC uses 20" bbls (M16A2, M16A4), USA uses 14.5" bbls (M4).

Shawn Dodson
July 31, 2012, 10:12 PM
A slower over-stabilized bullet is going on through and leave a small hole behind.
The 1/7 M4 is over-stabilized regardless of how you load it with FMJ bullets.

Soft tissues are, in general, 400 times more dense than air. The bullet is stabilized to penetrate air. 1:7 twist has absolutely no practical difference in bullet stability or instability in soft tissues.

1:12, 1:9, 1:7 stabilization doesn't matter when a bullet meets flesh. The myth of 1:7 "overstabilizing bullets" is exactly that - a myth.

browningguy
July 31, 2012, 10:24 PM
The .223 with expanding bullets should work just fine. I've used Black Hills 55 and 60 gr. SP loads on deer culling trips and it works really well.

C-grunt
July 31, 2012, 10:26 PM
USMC uses 20" bbls (M16A2, M16A4), USA uses 14.5" bbls (M4).
That's not absolutes. My unit in the Army for my 03 and 05 tour used mostly M16A4s and my brother in law who was USMC in Fallujah in 04 used a M4.

rcmodel
July 31, 2012, 10:28 PM
1:7 twist has absolutely no practical difference in bullet stability or instability in soft tissues..Tell that to the coyotes I have shot with both of them.

There is a noticable differance in terminal effect between the two.

rc

Shawn Dodson
July 31, 2012, 10:41 PM
There is a noticable differance in terminal effect between the two. The difference you're observing is indicative of Angle-of-Attack variations. See page 8 of this presentation: http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf

Rifling twist rate has no effect on terminal performance.

One_Jackal
August 1, 2012, 01:28 AM
The 5.56 is a souped up 22wmr. Should you have a larger caliber for self defense? I doubt any 5.56 bullet other than a FMJ will penetrate 16" inches of ballistic gelatin. You make your own decision. How much is your life worth?

snake284
August 1, 2012, 01:53 AM
Our military has been using the 5.56 on bad guys for a long time now. There are many and varied reports about the inadequacy of the round for putting terrorists down for the count. This has apparently lead to the creation of at least one new caliber over the course of the last two wars...the 6.8mm SPC.

I'm currently buying some extra AR's and I got to wondering if it's appropriate for me to use the military's experience to steer my choice in caliber. The military is limited to using full metal jacket ammo...I am not. And if I'm not...then can I realistically extrapolate the lessons of FMJ to my use of hollow point or soft-point ammo? I do a lot of deer hunting and I've seen plenty of first hand evidence of terminal performance of expanding bullets. I'm not sure that the old argument that the 5.56 isn't an effective combat round really apply to the potential civilian use of the round as a home/self defense caliber.

This is just an initial thought and i wanted to get some feedback from others who may have a lot more experience with this than me.

I think this is mainly media hype. Why did the Russians follow suit and go from the 30 cal. to a .224 (.223 Remington, that is)? Because it kills fine. The 6.8 is also a fine cartridge for an AR, and if you have multiple ARs then why not have one as a 6.8? Hell, if I ever get the collection of bolt guns I want, and I'm not far from that, I'll probably start a collection of ARs to include .223, 6.5, 6.8, and an AR 10 in 7.62x51 (.308 Win.).

68wj
August 1, 2012, 07:49 AM
The difference you're observing is indicative of Angle-of-Attack variations. See page 8 of this presentation: http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf

Rifling twist rate has no effect on terminal performance.
Good read.

I think the 5.56 is stronger than some give credit, but when you are tied to the bureaucracy of the .mil, use "friendly" bullets, and continue to shorten barrels, the 5.56 starts to hit more with the foible.

Like the 9mm, civilians can use better bullets and increase the effectiveness, but still benefit from the economics of a surplus round. I am keeping my 5.56, but prefer my 6.8 SPC for non-paper targets.

kcshooter
August 1, 2012, 08:50 AM
There's a lot of folks that will tell you that the 5.56 is more than sufficient.

Well, they would tell you, if they weren't dead....

RatDrall
August 1, 2012, 10:52 AM
Most of the fighing in Iraq was close combat inside homes where the short barrels were a huge help. A longer 20" barrel would be in the way.


Walk through your home with your hand stretched out making a fist. Then do the same, with a ruler sticking 5.5" out farther than your fist. This is the same difference in length between an M16 and an M4. It isn't that noticable.

I would argue that the difference between a fixed and collaspable stock would be more noticable clearing a building than a few velocity adding inches of barrel that could mean life or death for both the soldier and the badguy.

Maverick223
August 1, 2012, 11:10 AM
The 5.56 is a souped up 22wmr. Should you have a larger caliber for self defense? I doubt any 5.56 bullet other than a FMJ will penetrate 16" inches of ballistic gelatin. You make your own decision. How much is your life worth?By that same logic a .300WM is a souped up .30Carbine. There is a great deal of difference between the 5.56/.223Rem. and .22WMR. Velocity has a significant impact on performance, as does bullet weight and projectile design...all of which are markedly in favor of the 5.56NATO. ...and Yes, there are rounds that will penetrate far more than 16in. in calibrated ballistics gelatin (or a warm body for that matter).

:)

X-Rap
August 1, 2012, 11:12 AM
It isn't just about clearing houses and close quarters battle. It is about cramped vehicles as well.
Try your same test sitting in your car or truck and getting out with the rifle ready or making a shot out the window or door while staying seated or shooting along the post.

Roadking Rider
August 1, 2012, 11:21 AM
I have no problem with the 556/223 for civilian use. The Mini 14 I shoot them out of with it's light recoil allows me to put more than one down range very quickly with real world accuracy.

SwissArmyDad
August 1, 2012, 11:34 AM
On defensive caliber choices, I have a few thoughts.

I'm confident with my 9mm. I shoot it far better than .45acp and .40s&w.

Though the internet would have me believe that I'm undergunned, it's absolutely the best choice for me because it's the largest/most effective round I'm able to control and shoot consistantly with. Also, it shouldn't be overlooked that I'm able to afford practicing on a regular basis, which is important,IMO.

The same choice led me to the AR platform and the 5.56/.223 round for defensive purposes.

I think those are reasons that should inform your decision, to a greater degree than what the military thinks about the 5.56 round/ AR platform, if you don't mind me saying. :)

Texan Scott
August 1, 2012, 12:22 PM
Thoughts:

1) Nothing you can buy at your LGS is an 'absolute manstopper'. All branches of US service issue 5.56x45 weapons, but the preferred weapon is not an M-something, it's a GBU-something. We make do with what we have.

2) The M855 is a very small, lightweight, EXTREMELY high velocity round... it dumps an AMAZING amount of energy in the target over a relatively short distance (this is what some people call 'inadequate penetration') and for a 'glorified .22', it is enormously lethal due to the massive cavitation trauma it causes in soft tissue. You have the option of INCREASING the amount of energy dumped (or dumping it in a shorter length of travel) by using softpoints et al for even more catastrophic effect.

3) Why are we debating the relative effectiveness of single rounds? Keep firing! .223, .308, 12ga... nobody stands up to 6 or 8 of any of them.

4) Prepare, practice, spare no expense, waste no opportunity, and pray like hockeysticks that you make it to the end of your days and never need any of it.

JustinJ
August 1, 2012, 08:55 PM
I'm currently buying some extra AR's and I got to wondering if it's appropriate for me to use the military's experience to steer my choice in caliber. The military is limited to using full metal jacket ammo...I am not. And if I'm not...then can I realistically extrapolate the lessons of FMJ to my use of hollow point or soft-point ammo?

No. Rather you do or don't believe the 5.56 is adequate the military experiences have no bearing on the round in HP or SP form.

Art Eatman
August 1, 2012, 09:26 PM
You autopsy a center hit on a coyote and you'll find a handful of mush. Same thing happens in defensive use with a hunting bullet. I really don't worry a lot about most any centerfire rifle's effectiveness.

The_Armed_Therapist
August 1, 2012, 09:56 PM
It's really quite simple. The caliber used in a fight against other people has almost no relevance. When people debate (and I LOVE debating calibers) the effectiveness of this round vs. that round, it's all purely theoretical. .22LRs kill people all the time. .380s kill people all the time. .25acp, .32acp, 9x18, and .38 special all kill people all the time. Surely these don't guarantee death, but consider the fact that even the weakest of serious rifle rounds quadruples these in effectiveness. I don't care if it's a .223, a 7.62x39, a .30-30, a .270, or a .338 Lapua. They WILL stop a human being. Even if not hit in the vitals, they're all 95%+ likely to stop a human being. The differences are theoretical. Yes, the differences are probably important enough to merit appropriate discussion and debate; but that doesn't change the fact that they will all work. Training, shot placement, and the good ole' will and determination to win are far greater factors, rendering caliber practically irrelevant.

proven
August 1, 2012, 11:31 PM
The 5.56 is a souped up 22wmr.

one of the morerididculous statements i've read on this forum. :rolleyes:

mastiffhound
August 2, 2012, 12:52 AM
I would say we are better off than the boys in the sandbox. They get one kind of cartridge(excluding special units) and get to hope it puts down their foes. As civilians we have any grain we want to buy from 45 to 90 maybe higher, I can't remember! We have open tip match, polymer tips, hollow points, soft points, sledge hammers, varmaggedons, and any other wild or weird name ammo manufacturers can come up with. Most of what you have available to you is better than anything available from our armed forces. We can get bullets that are specifically designed to kill four legged and two legged animals alike. I feel perfectly happy with the .223 cartridge and follow up shots are a breeze too. Here is a video on the 55 grain xm193 fmj.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZPGSiDs5_k&list=FLB5_qLsJrU_zOWdTR3ch8IQ&index=28&feature=plpp_video

Definately not something I want to get shot with.

gspn
August 2, 2012, 01:12 AM
Let me update this conversation with some of the comments I've heard regarding the 5.56...I'm not talking about things I've heard on the internet. I'm talking about first hand accounts from well known military veterans...for example...Chris Kyle...former Navy SEAL sniper with more than 150 confirmed kills on his record.

Kyle apparently has a good deal more than 150...but those are the "confirmed" kills. He has killed people for a living with many types of weapons.

On the 5.56

He mentions in his book "American Sniper" that "the 5.56 is not the preferred bullet to shoot someone with. It can take a few shots to put someone down, especially the drugged up crazies we were dealing with in Iraq, unless you hit them in the head."

On the 7.62

"Those had more stopping power than the 5.56 NATO rounds. I could shoot a guy once and put him down."

On the .300 Win Mag

"It's in another class entirely." and "performance allows for superb accuracy as well as stopping power."

He states that most of his sniper shots are taken center mass. These are his real world results from shooting terrorists, center-mass, with those calibers.
Here is a guy who is a trained sniper...and a damned good one...and he is plainly stating that shot placement is not all that counts...caliber does too.

This is just one of many accounts I've read that got me to thinking about this as I pondered whether I'd buy 5.56 or .308 in my next AR. Ultimately I'll just buy some of each...but I wanted to get everyones thoughts on the FMJ vs hollow point issue.

**update - some good points were made below so i thought I'd clarify a point...his experience with those rounds ranged from house-to-house and room clearing, to patrolling and ambushes, to sniping...he did a lot of stuff.

The_Armed_Therapist
August 2, 2012, 08:55 AM
Here is a guy who is a trained sniper...and a damned good one...and he is plainly stating that shot placement is not all that counts...caliber does too.

Well, my first rebuttal has to do with the "drugged up Iraqis." I'm not sure what this means since I've never been there. What were they on, and why were they on it?

Secondly, the .223 clearly loses energy faster than the .308, and LOOOOONG before the .300 Mag. Assuming that the "sniper" label infers 300+ yard shots, then this is where the caliber will obviously make a difference. As far as the battlefield and home defense are concerned, caliber is far less an issue.

The .308 carries as much energy around 400yards as the .223 does at the muzzle. At 400 yards, the .223 has energy comparable to the .38 special revolver cartridge. Obviously, for a sniper, caliber does matter.

X-Rap
August 2, 2012, 09:46 AM
Well put, what works best for the sniper might not be best for the grunt. I can't say conclusively but feel comfortable in saying that our men don't loose many fights because they are under armed or equipped. The IED has been the most devastating weapon used against us and no gun holds up against those.
Having heard a few first hand accounts, the 5.56 holds up pretty well at 400 and under and shines in its compact form (the M4) in close quarters and deploying from vehicles.
In a perfect world they would have MP5's for clearing houses and some type of 7.62 for open field battle but that still leaves a lot of holes to fill that the 5.56/M4 seems to do well.
As for my own non combat use, I will say that I have AR's in multiple configurations from 14.5" to 20" and a couple 308 semi autos G3 and M1A1 SS and neither of the 308's are near as "usable" in tight quarters or when I want quick target acquisition nor are they near as comfortable to carry for any amount of time, if I were to pick a 308 to compare to the usability of the M4orgery it would be a 760 rem carbine but then you take away much in capacity and cycle time.
To me personally even the 1.5" length of the 14.5-16 is noticeable, especially in a vehichle so I really wouldn't want to be saddled with a longer barrel unless I was in a more static position like that of a typical sniper.
I'm sure that there are intermediate cartridges available but in todays world when we are soon facing huge defense cuts and have a 3 in 4 combat disability rate I don't think it would be prudent to throw out a couple million barrels and 10 times that many magazines for a few more ft. lbs. of energy.
For my use 55gr sp makes up most of my loads with some hp & bal. tips for special occasions any 3 of those has performed very well.

JustinJ
August 2, 2012, 09:59 AM
I can't say conclusively but feel comfortable in saying that our men don't loose many fights because they are under armed or equipped. The IED has been the most devastating weapon used against us and no gun holds up against those.

I'm no expert but from what i've read and heard our artillery and air power are usually much more important to winning fights than the 5.56. No guns hold up to those either.

X-Rap
August 2, 2012, 10:20 AM
I'm no expert but from what i've read and heard our artillery and air power are usually much more important to winning fights than the 5.56. No guns hold up to those either.

Yes you are correct but history tells us that there has to be boots on the ground and they need to have effective weapons. I'm sure that those who tried to stand their ground against our men would agree that we have fairly effective personal weapons in addition to our awesome air and artillery power.

gspn
August 2, 2012, 11:36 AM
Well, my first rebuttal has to do with the "drugged up Iraqis." I'm not sure what this means since I've never been there. What were they on, and why were they on it?

Secondly, the .223 clearly loses energy faster than the .308, and LOOOOONG before the .300 Mag. Assuming that the "sniper" label infers 300+ yard shots, then this is where the caliber will obviously make a difference. As far as the battlefield and home defense are concerned, caliber is far less an issue.

The .308 carries as much energy around 400yards as the .223 does at the muzzle. At 400 yards, the .223 has energy comparable to the .38 special revolver cartridge. Obviously, for a sniper, caliber does matter.
One of the interesting things about his experience is that it ranged from long range sniper work down to house-to-house street fighting and room clearing. His experience spans the entire gammut. That's why I found his thoughts to be so interesting...and he's just one example...you can find others with similar experience.

X-Rap
August 2, 2012, 12:08 PM
It's been a while since I read the book but if i recall he spent a lot of time attached to various Marine and Army units who in many cases did the actual entry and clearing operations. I think he no doubt played a role but he wasn't the first man in. I think his job was over watch of these operations then move into position and the Army/Marines would set up perimeter for him to work. Point is he didn't do much clearing with his scoped bolt guns and if you asked him what his choice would be in that application it might be a 5.56.

68wj
August 2, 2012, 01:45 PM
... and if you asked him what his choice would be in that application it might be a 5.56.And might not. After speaking with someone who was in the Mogadishu op that became Blackhawk Down, his choice was most certainly not 5.56.

MK11
August 2, 2012, 02:27 PM
"Point is he didn't do much clearing with his scoped bolt guns and if you asked him what his choice would be in that application it might be a 5.56."

There is actually a passage in the book where he does an entry and confronts a room full of Caucasian jihadists wearing old U.S. military uniforms. After a moment's hesitation to register what he's seeing, the 5.56 seemed to work pretty well for him.

X-Rap
August 2, 2012, 02:29 PM
Well thankfully we do have a choice and in my favorite configuration and load I don't feel compromised. The military has a whole different batch of fish to fry and finding the perfect combination of weapon, load, sight obviously gets more difficult the more you ask it to do.
Even in your situation the man didn't care for the round, I wonder what he thought of the delivery system although it has changed quite a bit even from that time.
I guess I contend that getting our 7.62 Nato into a package that is as light and ergonomic as the present M4 and issuing to everyone would costing several times what any perceived benefit might be even if there were such a replacement available. Then take into account what will probably be a 10 rd reduction in capacity plus 80-100 in what is carried and diminished ballistics in a shorter barrel I just don't see that they would do any better.

Infidel4life11
August 2, 2012, 06:14 PM
shot placement is everything. Also match grade ammo does wonders. To be perfectly honest with you the M855 and M193 have never let me down.

justice06rr
August 2, 2012, 08:48 PM
Back to the OP's question, IMHO the 5.56/.223 should be more than sufficient for HD and small-game/varmint hunting. I assume you are not fighting an army or hunting a bear...

The beauty of the AR is that you have plenty of choices in caliber and configuration depending on your application. 5.56 should surely suffice for HD, but they do have other calibers like 7.62x39, 300Blackout, 6.5G, 6.8SPC, etc.

gspn
August 2, 2012, 09:10 PM
Back to the OP's question, IMHO the 5.56/.223 should be more than sufficient for HD and small-game/varmint hunting. I assume you are not fighting an army or hunting a bear...

The beauty of the AR is that you have plenty of choices in caliber and configuration depending on your application. 5.56 should surely suffice for HD, but they do have other calibers like 7.62x39, 300Blackout, 6.5G, 6.8SPC, etc.
Thanks. Thats kind of what I was thinking...just wanted to bounce the idea off some people.

G.barnes
August 3, 2012, 08:09 AM
one of the big things to consider as a civilian and not military are the different liabilties we have. when they're clearing houses in iraq they don't really worry if their bullets might go through a wall and hit their kids on the other side or a neighbor next door. if a bullet over penetrates for them it's more of an oops were so sorry here it's a prison sentence. if your worried about close stopping power look at a .300 blk. it's a short range heavy knockdown round.

68wj
August 3, 2012, 08:14 AM
It still comes back to bullet selection. The 300 BO will equal or exceed 5.56 barrier penetration depending on bullet construction. A 5.56 with VMax or similar bullets will fragment in wall board, and a 220gr subsonic will likely keep going similar to a pistol round.

BoilerUP
August 3, 2012, 08:42 AM
There's a reason Mk 262 ammunition was developed...

rocsteady
August 3, 2012, 09:13 AM
OP, when I have questions like this I simply look to the end-users that post here and other places to see what they have found with actual experience.

Guys that shoot people in the face for a living and have their lives depending on the effectiveness of their weapons/ammo have opinions that are more informed and carry a lot more weight than the endless opinions of people who work a desk job. I have been fortunate to work and train with many of these guys and they will not steer anyone wrong when it comes to what works and what doesn't. They sure aren't shy about telling it exactly like it is.

5.56, even with basic M855, is deadly in the right person's hands although shot placement and range become much more of a factor with non-expanding rounds.

For an example, look at how some of the end-users describe the 70 grain Barnes TSX rounds and how its man-stopping power is "legendary". Check some of the hunting forums to see guys repeatedly showing pics of very large animals taken with these rounds and will often even show the recovered rounds for visual confirmation. We are talking wild hogs that weigh over 400 lbs. If a round can do damage to an animal with skin, bone, muscle and fat much, much tougher than any of us, how do you think that round will perform on a two-legged target?

I have personal experience with the 5.56 70 and 50 grain Barnes TSX rounds and have found that they are both devestating rounds. The 70 grain is better for longer range shooting, carries more energy and will expand down to 1800 fps whereas the 50 grain is better for shorter range, is more barrier blind but at the expense of only expanding down to roughly 2300 fps, which is what limits its range.

Both rounds dump a tremendous amount of energy into their targets and because of this they, like other expanding 5.56 rounds, have very little risk of "over penetration"...assuming of course that you do hit your intended target.

Just my $.02

Shawn Dodson
August 3, 2012, 10:55 AM
Check some of the hunting forums to see guys repeatedly showing pics of very large animals taken with these rounds and will often even show the recovered rounds for visual confirmation. We are talking wild hogs that weigh over 400 lbs. If a round can do damage to an animal with skin, bone, muscle and fat much, much tougher than any of us, how do you think that round will perform on a two-legged target?

None of these animals have an arm that can block the path of the bullet. When a bullet hits an arm, it expands or upsets in the arm. The temporary cavity is produced in the arm, not the body. "Energy transfer" occurs in the arm, not the body. The majority of tissue damage happens in the arm, not the body.

Why is this important? Consider Edmundo Mireles, the FBI agent who finally shot and stopped Michael Platt and William Matix during the 1986 Miami shootout. Mireles was shot in the forearm early in the gunfight by a 5.56 bullet fired by Platt. The bullet severely damaged his arm, disabling it, but it didn't take him out of the fight. His arm prevented the bullet from hitting his body.

Consider agent Gordon McNeill. He was shot in the neck by a 5.56 bullet fired by Platt. The bullet struck a vertebra in his neck, stunning his spinal cord and producing instant flaccid paralysis. The bullet deflected downward into his body. McNeill was taken out of the fight but it wasn't because of any massive damage caused by the bullet. He was taken out of the fight because of what the bullet hit.

Finally there's agent John Hanlon who was shot in the groin by Platt. Hanlon survived although he described the 5.56 wound as being very painful.

As for body shots, in a different incident, Jamie Martin Wise was shot squarely in the upper torso with a .223 bullet fired by an Alexandria police marksman during a hostage standoff. Wise staggered slightly, enabling the hostage he was holding by the neck (while pointing a sawed off shotgun against the hostage's head) to break free and flee. Wise then pointed the shotgun at Corporal Charles Hill and fired, killing him. Wise then pumped the shotgun and fired at Officer Andrew Chelchowski, severely wounding him. Wise was finally stopped by a hail of bullets.

5.56/.223 is a marginal cartridge. It produces a maximium temporary cavity diameter of about 6" regardless of what load is used. Its a varmint cartridge that may or may not quickly stop a determined human aggressor.

mljdeckard
August 3, 2012, 11:11 AM
I would certainly agree with the OP.

Civilians have different options than soldiers. Soldiers have automatic rifles, very few civilians do. Civilians can use whatever bullets they want, soldiers can't. They reason this round has lingered so long, is because the army FINALLY realized that a few hits from medium-effective bullets is still better than few hits if any from more effective bullets. It doesn't matter that a 300 mag is more effective if most soldiers can't effectively deliver, and most of them wouldn't be effective in the role to deliver one. A civilian can use defensive 5.56 loads that are DEVASTATING in close quarters.

Most of the comparisons that get made with other hunting rounds simply aren't applicable. When you are hunting, you may just get one shot, and you don't want to hit twice if you don't have to. When you are fighting for your life, you want to get as many hits as you can, and you don't care if you are destroying the pot roast.

joed
August 3, 2012, 12:49 PM
Nothing wrong with the 5.56 as long as you understand its limitations. When I was in the service we were taught that this cartridge could incapacitate a man at 300 yards. In those days we only had the 55 gr bullet. Granted the heavy stuff will extend that range but it really depends on your use.

There is a reason these rifles did well in Vietnam, there were no long shots in that terrain. The desert is a different story where you can have very long shots.

For what I bought the AR for it serves my purpose and that is a defensive weapon to be used at no more then 300 yards. To go beyond that I have rifles and cartridges that will blow the 5.56 away.

rocsteady
August 3, 2012, 01:33 PM
5.56 rounds in that shootout were nothing like barrier blind loads used today. Not to discredit you but you are using data from 1986?

That incident prompted the FBI to change their way of thinking and rounds must now pass their testing to be considered ready for duty. Current FBI, and many other, 5.56 rounds are capable of going through a number of mediums before contacting the target and must (MUST) be able to accomplish this to pass the testing.

These newer rounds are capable of creating the desired wounding effects after passing through mediums such as glass, plywood, metal and then through clothing placed over the ballistic gel used to test terminal effectiveness.

Your opinion of the 5.56 as a varmint cartridge "that may or may not quickly stop a determined human aggressor" is an opinion, but it's an incorrect one. There are officers, soldiers and operators around the globe that will attest to its abilities in the hands of someone with proper training and shot placement. A human arm is not enough to keep a modern hollow point/self-defense/LE round from performing as advertised.

Not trying to be rude but agencies such as the FBI would not issue the M4 to their agents, SWAT or HRT operators with a 5.56 round if they felt it was just a varmint round incapable of incapacitating human threats. Nor would these same agents, SWAT or HRT operators put themselves into harm's way if they had to question if they had the ability to protect themselves.

Many of our higher speed Bureau employees are former military and quite a few are former special forces with combat experience. These are not people who go to the fight unprepared.

dom1104
August 3, 2012, 01:49 PM
Everything I have ever shot with a .223 has died.

No Fancy-Dan "Barrier Blind" super copper bonded tritium rounds either.

Good enough for me.

RP88
August 3, 2012, 01:58 PM
The caliber works fine, as people have said.

And with the Mk262 picking up, we won't have to worry about the logistics of switching to a new caliber, since it's obvious we can improve the current one and make it work better than its former variant.

rocsteady
August 3, 2012, 02:34 PM
"No Fancy-Dan "Barrier Blind" super copper bonded tritium rounds either."

Is that something like "unobtanium" enriched?

HoosierQ
August 3, 2012, 02:55 PM
I purposely sought out a 20" A2 style for my AR-15. Probably the only one I'll ever buy. When I get a carbine, I expect I'll be getting a surplus .30. I wanted a rifle.

Infidel4life11
August 3, 2012, 06:55 PM
OP, when I have questions like this I simply look to the end-users that post here and other places to see what they have found with actual experience.

Guys that shoot people in the face for a living and have their lives depending on the effectiveness of their weapons/ammo have opinions that are more informed and carry a lot more weight than the endless opinions of people who work a desk job. I have been fortunate to work and train with many of these guys and they will not steer anyone wrong when it comes to what works and what doesn't. They sure aren't shy about telling it exactly like it is.

5.56, even with basic M855, is deadly in the right person's hands although shot placement and range become much more of a factor with non-expanding rounds.

For an example, look at how some of the end-users describe the 70 grain Barnes TSX rounds and how its man-stopping power is "legendary". Check some of the hunting forums to see guys repeatedly showing pics of very large animals taken with these rounds and will often even show the recovered rounds for visual confirmation. We are talking wild hogs that weigh over 400 lbs. If a round can do damage to an animal with skin, bone, muscle and fat much, much tougher than any of us, how do you think that round will perform on a two-legged target?

I have personal experience with the 5.56 70 and 50 grain Barnes TSX rounds and have found that they are both devestating rounds. The 70 grain is better for longer range shooting, carries more energy and will expand down to 1800 fps whereas the 50 grain is better for shorter range, is more barrier blind but at the expense of only expanding down to roughly 2300 fps, which is what limits its range.

Both rounds dump a tremendous amount of energy into their targets and because of this they, like other expanding 5.56 rounds, have very little risk of "over penetration"...assuming of course that you do hit your intended target.

Just my $.02
This is a good post. Y'all we can sit here all day long and bench shoot about wound tracks, bullet test in ballistic gelatin and all that real nice stuff. Has anyone ever seen a human heart after a bullet has passed through it or a human brain after impact? It resembles an explosion from the inside out. A hole in your internal organs is going to take you out of the fight or atleast make you seriously rethink *** you are doing.

Shawn Dodson
August 3, 2012, 08:17 PM
Your opinion of the 5.56 as a varmint cartridge "that may or may not quickly stop a determined human aggressor" is an opinion, but it's an incorrect one. There are officers, soldiers and operators around the globe that will attest to its abilities in the hands of someone with proper training and shot placement. A human arm is not enough to keep a modern hollow point/self-defense/LE round from performing as advertised.

The location of maximum wound trauma, where fragments and temporary cavity work in synergy, is located in the arm, not the torso. When the bullet exits the arm and penetrates the torso the wound trauma produced in the torso is mild because the bullet is merely crushing tissue it comes into direct contact with, like a handgun bullet does. I refer you to the 5.56mm wound profiles on slide 16 of this presentation (slide with the 77gr MK262 OTM wound profile on top) - http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf . The wound produced in the torso, after passing though an arm, will be similar to .22 LR, as depicted by the last few inches of the wound track after the bullet expands.

"Proper" shot placement isn't always possible because situations are dynamic and adversaries are moving - unless they stand still and are squared-up like a paper target.

The bullet that struck Jamie Martin Wise, unobstructed, in the mid-back, from about 15 yards, nicked his spine, cut his aorta and damaged his liver. Despite the massive trauma (and energy transfer) there was no physiological reason for him to instantly collapse and he was able to act with volition and shoot two police officers, one fatally, after being hit.

In regard to unobstructed torso hits, note that the diameter of the temporary cavity produced by 5.56 bullets in slide 16 is about 4" (about the same diameter as a slow pitch softball). (I incorrectly stated 6” in my last post.) This is insufficient to reliably produce concussion of the spinal cord, caused when soft tissues are propelled radially outward from the wound track. Larger bullets, with greater mass and momentum, create a larger temporary cavity (6-8+”). The sudden displacement of this large mass of soft tissue can cause spinal bones to forcefully slam into the spinal cord, disrupting and stunning nerves and produce instant flaccid paralysis. The small temporary cavity produced by 5.56 bullets is the reason why it’s a varmint cartridge. Yes, it can produce gory looking wounds and kill, but it’s a marginal cartridge cannot be reliably counted on to drop a determined human adversary like a sack of potatoes in the same manner that a larger bullet does. Like a handgun bullet it must disrupt the nervous system to have instant effect. If it doesn’t then an adversary can continue to perform willful activity until blood loss disrupts brain function. There is no “magic” in the bullet’s velocity, energy transfer, fragmentation, etc.

Look for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to transition to .300 Blackout in the future, like they did from 9mm MP5s to 5.56 AR platforms. Larger, heavier bullets have more mass to fragment, more momentum to transfer, produce greater wounding effects and more rapid incapacitation.

rocsteady
August 3, 2012, 09:30 PM
SD,

I think you may be right on the 300 black transition. Hard to argue with the terminal results of that round in an LE confrontation. Seems to be easier to mainstraim than some of the "boutique" rounds like the 6.8 (another round that shows tremedous terminal ballistics).

If you told me I was to walk around corner and be in a one shot engagement with a "bad guy", it would be hard to argue with that round.

Good point. If a 70 grain TSX from a 5.56 is good, a larger, heavier round from a 300 black should be notably more impressive

Coop45
August 3, 2012, 09:30 PM
The really nice thing about military ammo is that it's free and you can have all you can carry. I believe sniper teams aren't just a shooter and a spotter now. I've heard they have some guys with a load of 5.56mm protecting them from the bad guys. Gunny Hathcock did it the hard way.

C-grunt
August 3, 2012, 10:24 PM
The really nice thing about military ammo is that it's free and you can have all you can carry. I believe sniper teams aren't just a shooter and a spotter now. I've heard they have some guys with a load of 5.56mm protecting them from the bad guys. Gunny Hathcock did it the hard way.
What a text book sniper team is and what actually goes out of the wire can be two distinct different things.

leadcounsel
August 4, 2012, 01:59 AM
Take a well-publicized performance of the AR15 - the DC sniper. Doubt he gave much thought to the type of bullet used, and he was using a stolen AR15 Bushmaster. Shots from 50-100 yards with random .223 rounds. Most victims were hit once and died, or had massive wounds. Granted they aren't the same cross section of population that a hard criminal is, but presumably you'd also be able to pull the trigger multiple times and get multiple hits...

The .223/5.56 is a devestating round responsible for a lot of dead people in the world...

Warp
August 4, 2012, 02:44 AM
Take a well-publicized performance of the AR15 - the DC sniper. Doubt he gave much thought to the type of bullet used, and he was using a stolen AR15 Bushmaster. Shots from 50-100 yards with random .223 rounds. Most victims were hit once and died, or had massive wounds. Granted they aren't the same cross section of population that a hard criminal is, but presumably you'd also be able to pull the trigger multiple times and get multiple hits...

The .223/5.56 is a devestating round responsible for a lot of dead people in the world...

Do you have a source, citation, or reference showing this?

justice06rr
August 4, 2012, 05:14 AM
Look for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to transition to .300 Blackout in the future, like they did from 9mm MP5s to 5.56 AR platforms. Larger, heavier bullets have more mass to fragment, more momentum to transfer, produce greater wounding effects and more rapid incapacitation.


it would be great if they make that switch to 300BLK so that ammo for that round will become more available locally. Plus 300BLK offers a wide variety of ammo type from subsonic(suppressed) to supersonic and can still be effective out to 200+yards, and is also optimal for use in SBR's.

leadcounsel
August 5, 2012, 02:18 AM
Do you have a source, citation, or reference showing this?


As I said, I doubt he gave much thought to the bullets used. He was homeless, broke, and was trying to ransom/extort money for his murders using a STOLEN rifle. Odds are he didn't hem and haw over the various bullets he used 10 years ago, when less were on the market. Educated guess they were either stolen with the rifle, shoplifted from a store, stolen from somewhere else, or he bought whatever was cheapest at the gunshop.

coalman
August 5, 2012, 02:29 AM
I'm no expert but from what i've read and heard our artillery and air power are usually much more important to winning fights than the 5.56. No guns hold up to those either.

Stop being so sensible in caliber debates please. To add, we generally have superior firepower at all levels be it size or volume. Regardless, lots of friends with lots of those small 5.56 bullets applied tactically is very effective. Here, I vote 5.56. Just me, I want more gun.

alsaqr
August 5, 2012, 03:06 PM
U.S. military 55gr FMJ M193 yaws and fragments, producing a wound similar to a hunting bullet but at a deeper depth of penetration.

This.
i've killed a couple hundred wild hogs using M193 5.56mm ammo. At ranges to about 150 yards the bullet penetrates about 5-6" yaws 90 degrees and fragments. Once in a great while the bullet will punch a small clean hole; its happened to me once.

Col. Fackler on wound ballistics:

http://bajaarizona.org/fklr/fklr.html

meanmrmustard
August 5, 2012, 03:44 PM
As I said, I doubt he gave much thought to the bullets used. He was homeless, broke, and was trying to ransom/extort money for his murders using a STOLEN rifle. Odds are he didn't hem and haw over the various bullets he used 10 years ago, when less were on the market. Educated guess they were either stolen with the rifle, shoplifted from a store, stolen from somewhere else, or he bought whatever was cheapest at the gunshop.
On top of that, it was a Bushmaster!:what:

Warp
August 5, 2012, 07:17 PM
As I said, I doubt he gave much thought to the bullets used. He was homeless, broke, and was trying to ransom/extort money for his murders using a STOLEN rifle. Odds are he didn't hem and haw over the various bullets he used 10 years ago, when less were on the market. Educated guess they were either stolen with the rifle, shoplifted from a store, stolen from somewhere else, or he bought whatever was cheapest at the gunshop.

See, this is a problem. You made a matter of fact statement regarding his ammunition choice when you are clearly just making it up as you go along based on what you *think* *may* have been the case.

This is not the way we should be representing anything.

OhioChief
August 5, 2012, 07:27 PM
I like the 5.56 accuracy, and frankly that's as important to me as the caliber. It seems to work pretty good. But I think you need to consider the availability of ammo, and at least for me, the cost. You can stock up on ammo for a good price. You can practice and not spend a ton. You have good option in bullets. You have good options in tracers. All around, good gun to have on hand. Also, parts are easy to get. Very important in my book. my 2 cents. and if you reload, even better.

If you enjoyed reading about "5.56 lessons...do they mean much to a civilian?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!