The 223


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dastardly-D
January 5, 2013, 02:46 PM
I'm reading a lot on the forum lately about guns and killing. I'm thinking when they first invented a gun it was to be used in either defense or offense.To make my point they were still using axe's,spears,bow and arrows,swords,all kinds of assorted weapons even after the gun first appeared ! Of course the first guns were very crude to what we have today,we have some really efficent firearms these days which takes me to a point. I really don't think the 25 auto and assorted small caliber,heck,even larger caliber handguns were an offense weapon,much more of a defensive weapon. Don't start jumping on me now,I know these handguns,like,knives,pitchforks,what have you,can be used offensively.Part of my point being that handguns are mostly a defensive weapon.Now here is my big question that may make or break my point. A 30 cal weapon generally has more killing power than a 223.Did the military invent the 223 for causing casualties,or outright killing. Is the M-16 family intended to be a super killing battlefield firearm or more of a casualty producer ? Thank you for any replies I may get !

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Trent
January 5, 2013, 03:05 PM
The 223 was a logistical consideration, first and foremost. Solders were, quite simply, shooting more ammo. 223 is lighter, cheaper to produce, etc. A soldier can carry a LOT more 223 than he can 308 or 30-06.

There's a lot of other benefits that made it a worthy choice; full auto fire is more controllable, etc.

I don't think casualty causing considerations weighed in much, considering getting hit with any projectile travelling that fast is gonna cause casualties. :)

BSA1
January 5, 2013, 03:25 PM
On the battlefield it is generally better to wound your enemy as it requires at least of couple of able bodied soldiers to take the unjured man back to a aid station.

Al Thompson
January 5, 2013, 03:49 PM
military invent the 223 for causing casualties,or outright killing

Neither, Trent got it right. Numerous studies indicated that most Infantry combat was under 300 yards and volume of fire was very important. Here's a good link:

http://thegunzone.com/556faq.html

Derek Zeanah
January 5, 2013, 03:58 PM
I want to say that old surplus ammo pouches would carry 2 M14 magazines (for 40 rounds) or 3 M16 magazines (for 90 rounds). So a soldier carrying a "standard load" of 2 magazine pouches plus one magazine in the weapon either had 100 rounds available, or 210 rounds available.

When you look at the military use of suppressive fire, and the desire to make shooting easy for folks who didn't grow up with firearms, then you can start to see some of the advantages.

sixgunner455
January 5, 2013, 04:02 PM
On the battlefield it is generally better to wound your enemy as it requires at least of couple of able bodied soldiers to take the unjured man back to a aid station.

Tired old saw that has absolutely no basis in fact. Firefights are about finishing (killing) the enemy, not giving him big owies.

OhioChief
January 5, 2013, 04:57 PM
I recall reading an article long ago, about the study of the Thompson sub-machine gun in WWII. It was very effective in close quarter combat. Ammo was cheap, light, could be fired at a high rate and still controlled, and deadly. part of that study was considered when looking at the .223 5.56 as the primary military round. It fell between the .30 cal and the .45 pistol round. Effective in urban / close quarter conditions, and yet accurate and deadly out to 300 yards with iron sights. The gun (to become the M16) would be lighter than the current military rifle, (and I think produced more cheaply). I'm sure there are a 1000 other reasons why it was chosen, but this was taken into consideration.

Cee Zee
January 5, 2013, 06:58 PM
The M16 really got going in the jungles of SE Asia. The enemy used the strategy of "grabbing the belt buckle" of the US soldier so we couldn't use our vastly superior artillery and air strike capability. And even though the enemy was close it was still hard to see them in the jungle. So the army started laying down suppressing fire where a whole lot of bullets were fired in a specific pattern instead of trying to aim at a specific target. Since a lot more ammo was needed for that style of fighting they used a lighter cartridge because soldiers could carry more of them. And that cartridge was the .223/5.56. Yes the army was already heading that direction because of the lessons learned fighting against the SKS in Korea especially. Smaller rounds were very effective in that war. So that was driving the move to smaller caliber rifles along with the success of certain smaller caliber rifles in WWII. But the success of the .223 round was apparent in Vietnam pretty quickly.

Now in more open terrain soldiers are using more of the larger caliber rifles they used in WWII and also the nearly identical sized .308 NATO round. BTW the .223 was also a NATO round and the US wanted to adopt it but I doubt they would have done so if it wasn't working well in Vietnam.

It was a jungle war which required more of a spray and pray type of warfare and the .223 round was perfect for that type of fighting. It was also accurate and powerful enough to work well at medium distances (like 500 yards) so it was a versatile round as far as jungle warfare went. The rest is history.

Personally I think the 7.62 x 39 round was more effective but it was harder to control and besides, that was what the bad guys used. It would have been like giving Mauser rifles to all our troops in WWI. Over time the .223 was made a lot more effective especially in it's accuracy at longer distances. It's possible to shoot them accurately to 1000 yards and more. Just don't expect the bullets to do a lot of damage at that kind of distance.

BSA1
January 5, 2013, 07:47 PM
Tired old saw that has absolutely no basis in fact. Firefights are about finishing (killing) the enemy, not giving him big owies.
__________________

THAT'S what we did wrong in WW1 and WW2!!! We should have killed all of the enemy soldiers rather than accepting their surrender.

d2wing
January 5, 2013, 08:01 PM
As a combat vet, I can tell you that six gun is correct. The idea of wounding rather than killing your opponent is not U.S. military doctrine and a stupid idea at best. It has been reported that NVA had that doctrine. Maybe but I doubt it. Think about it. How are you going to shoot to wound at a guy shooting at you. Anybody that stupid probably did not live to tell about it. Believe what you want but in head to head battles the M-16 has proven overwhelming superior in body counts. As long as there are morons people will believe stuff like that. Not to be confused with the use of booby traps, mines and other tactics to injure, maim and also kill soldiers. That has a psychological component as well and one of the purposes was to tie up soldiers. That is separate and perhaps was that idea got civilians confused.

Derek Zeanah
January 5, 2013, 08:09 PM
That is separate and perhaps was that idea got civilians confused.Actually my dad was taught that in Officer Basic in 1969 or so. Lots of people have believed it for a while.

MudPuppy
January 5, 2013, 08:21 PM
More speculation than anything, but those big ole' 303s and 8mms are much more than is needed for a fragile human.

My "guess" is a lot of those were developed when the generals were "fighting the last war" of lined masses firing at each other. The extreme range would be of benefit. After WWII, as tactics evolved significantly, the usual combat range was identified to be around 300 yards/meters. A light, fast 556 is lethal to that (and a good bit more), as is a 7.62x39.

I think it was simply a natural evolution of efficiency.

but that's just my own ramblings and made up theories.

dastardly-D
January 5, 2013, 08:51 PM
Well D2wing.....As a combat vet myself and after reading your reply,you sure do talk like you know sooo much ! I never said the primary goal was to wound. How am I going to shoot to wound a guy that is shooting at me ? Wow but that took some deep thinking . ''In head to head battles the M-16 has proven overwhelming superior in body counts.'' Head to head was our superior marksmanship and fire supression. If you think the 223 is such a great round you haven't the expierience I had or our present military in the sandboxes ? The present troops talk about the opponents having to often take multiple hits to put them down. ''morons people will believe stuff like that.'' I'm trying to take you seriously but I'm having a tough time replying to you HighRoad ! I do remember,back in the day,being taught about the 223 taking enemy out of the fight by producing more casualties than outright kills.The 223 has it's advantages,but the 7.62 is a heavier hitter and penetrator.

mberoose
January 5, 2013, 08:58 PM
This thread is strange.

helotaxi
January 5, 2013, 09:36 PM
Now in more open terrain soldiers are using more of the larger caliber rifles they used in WWII and also the nearly identical sized .308 NATO round. BTW the .223 was also a NATO round and the US wanted to adopt it but I doubt they would have done so if it wasn't working well in Vietnam. The 5.56, not the .223, *is* a NATO round, but not by the choice of the rest of NATO. They'd just finished converting to the 7.62x51 that NATO had just adopted as its primary service rifle cartridge when we (the US) basically told them that we were going to adopt the 5.56 and they'd better go along with that as well. It was the choice that the US made and we crammed down NATO's throat.

d2wing
January 6, 2013, 12:36 AM
Dasterdly, my post is not about the 5.56 at all. It is the idea that we were supposed to shoot not to kill but wound. I would think you shot to kill not wound regardless of what you shot with. I am not aware of any intent to wound rather than kill. I don't dispute your opinion of rounds as my favorite was the M-60, I also shot the m-14. Some of my buddies hated the M-16. I never had a problem. But your point is well taken. I hope we are on the same side ok? I am saying I had no intention of shooting to wound. If you shot to wound rather than kill please explain.

razorback2003
January 6, 2013, 01:16 AM
Pick up an M 1 Garand and an AR 15. Which one would you want to carry all day?

jim243
January 6, 2013, 01:50 AM
Is the M-16 family intended to be a super killing battlefield firearm or more of a casualty producer ?

The AR series of rifles was designed to be fired on full auto to KILL the enemy not wound him. If however, 20 or 30 bullets did not do the job, there were other weapons available to a squad to use like the hand granade, granade launcher, laws rocket launcher, M-60 machinegun or napalm from air support.

The problem was not the rifle, but the ammo. FMJ tend to wound more than kill.

Does that answer your question?

Jim

BSA1
January 6, 2013, 11:35 AM
With 250,000 rounds for every insurgent killed in Iraq and Afghanistan I can see the case for having soldiers carry as much as ammo as possible.

And my goal when in any firefight is to cause my opponet to quit fighting, regardless if they are dead, wounded or demoralized. Tying up as much of your enemies resources is a sound tactic.

Sam1911
January 6, 2013, 11:46 AM
And my goal when in any firefight is to cause my opponet to quit fighting, regardless if they are dead, wounded or demoralized. Tying up as much of your enemies resources is a sound tactic.One thing to consider is that few of our enemies since WWII have had anything like the level of personnel and materiel investment in wound care and saving the lives of their wounded as we do. We have trauma centers in forward locations that can perform major surgeries of types that are unheard of in even the urban centers of some of our enemies' societies. We will have a seriously wounded soldier on an operating table in 15 minutes in many cases. The other guys? Not so much. Remember, living through this is not necessarily a primary desire for many of the current batch. So even if the "kill one, reduce the enemy by one, wound one and reduce the enemy by four" concept was doctrinal, it machs nicht on the battlefield we're on these days.

but those big ole' 303s and 8mms are much more than is needed for a fragile human.Not only is this very true, but if you look at the development of military small arms through the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, there were a FEW folks who "got it." 7mm Mauser, 6mm Lee-Navy, .280 Ross, the various 6.5mms, .276 Pedersen, .280 British, and probably others were fielded as more efficient alternatives to the heavies in current favor at the time. But militaries tend to be very conservative and the "bigger is better" concept reigned for many decades. It was almost amazing that anyone had the courage and drive to push the "tiny" 5.56mm into military standard use. And now we may claim they went a little too far with that, but it WAS and IS a better answer to the realities of war fighting as we do it now than the big 8mm, .30-'06, .303 Brit, and so forth.

BSA1
January 6, 2013, 11:59 AM
It is true that strategy depends on the values of your opponents.

The wounding of our soldiers is certainly a effective strategy as it ties up resources to evacuate and treat the wounded. I would think it would be demoralizing to see your friends maimed for life by a enemy you can't see.

But my point remains the key to winning is causing the enemy losing their will to fight through a variety of tactics. It certainly is working well for our enemies.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2013, 12:00 PM
I don't whether folks just don't know about a doctrine for battle, or don't consider such a thing in these discussions.

Somewhen between Korea and Vietnam, the issue of number of rounds which could be carried by a grunt entered the picture of changes in tactical doctrine due to improvements in communications.

The tactical doctrine which came about was that the infantryman should be able to control his environment to some 200 meters while calling in his primary support weapons of artillery or airstrike. In essence, his radio became the actual primary weapon.

Having more ammo meant a longer period of time with which to maintain control of the combat environment while waiting for artillery or air strikes.

Trent
January 6, 2013, 12:12 PM
Well, look at it this way.

Open field warfare was practiced up until the turn of the last century. Then the advent of the machinegun changed that. This caused a "standoff distance" as masses of troops in the open would get slaughtered. Which led to trench warfare.

Flat shooting single shot rifles capable of penetrating as much mass as possible were still the norm at this point, even though there were machineguns in play. Why" Machineguns were defensive weapons at the time; very heavy, not portable, surely couldn't assault a position with them. So bolt action repeating arms were the predominant form of weaponry for offense, machineguns for defense. Artillery was for attrition and sometimes, point-blank defense.

Tanks changed that. Made the trenches obsolete. Now one side could run over the troops of the other side and get to those gun emplacements behind them. Now war became mobile.

So now we enter the WWII era of combined arms. Now the individual soldier has to coordinate his movements with artillery, armor, aircraft, and sometimes naval power to accomplish the same goals. War transitioned to a very orchestrated event, like a giant symphony of big guns and mobile pieces. The concept of a "big heavy gun" started changing - World War II had a WIDE variety of infantry weapons in use, from little 9mm submachineguns clear through to 12.7mm heavy machineguns on carriages pulled by mules or men. (Try collecting all of them, it's ... challenging.)

Still, by and large, the SCALE of the fighting in World War II was "throw masses of man and machine against the other guy." From the beaches of Tarawa to the shores of Normandy to the battle for Bastogne...

Mowing down masses of troops was still happening clear through Korea in the human wave attacks. 30-06 and 308 were still good cartridges to have when the ranges were long or you had 3 or 4 targets lined up.

Then we get to Vietnam. BOY did the face of war change there!

Now we have these little guys executing small ambushes in thick foliage, TONS of small unit maneuvers, close engagements, hot temperatures where loads cause troop fatigue (we learned a lot about hydration discipline there), PLUS a supply line that stretched 8,500 miles... and the all important advent of Airmobile warfare where troops get dropped off OUTSIDE of supply in hostile territory with instructions to find and kill the enemy.

With airmobile war, the advantages of having 2-3x the ammo loadout, with lighter, more compact rifles, with the same weight and fatigue levels on the troops were a necessity.

Fast forward today; we aren't fighting fixed battles. The day and age of the "orchestra" has changed with advents in surveillance technology and smart weapons. Our troops act more like human probes - small unit moves which recon until they find an enemy (primarily by drawing enemy fire). Then they either maneuver to pin the enemy or fight a defensive battle until the rain starts from the A10's or other airborne gun platforms.

Infantry needs now are essentially to maintain enough volume of fire to keep the enemy pinned in place until something bigger shows up to pound them in to the ground. So high volumes of fire are called for (with some designated marksman to pick off any serious threats), which means our troops still need to carry a lot of ammo. The lighter, the better. They need to deny the enemy MOVEMENT so they can be destroyed through other means.

How will war evolve from here? Small unit, high intensity ambushes seem to be the norm now, followed by rapid escape and evasion before the big guns can be brought in demolish the position. Hit & run.

223 fits in, still. High volume, light weight.

dastardly-D
January 6, 2013, 01:46 PM
Trent....I agree with your asessment of evolving warfare.Right on !
D2 wing....Maybe I took it wrong,but your remarks to me burned under my normaly thick skin. Right,we shot to kill,but a bullet like the 556/223 produced many more wounds than outright kills.I saw one POW camp near Da Nang that consisted of nothing but amputees. The 556 sure does something to bones,but mostly it was a wounder.Same as going on right now,it generally doesn't do as many one shot kills as the M1 ,M14 or M60 ! Which is mostly my point,that part of it's design was to be easier to make more casualties than outright kills.Also like a lot of the other guys said,lighter bullet,lighter firearm,carry many more bullets,more chance of a hit,and an advantage of surpressing fire.....but it wasn't invented to be an all out super killing machine.The super killing machines were arty and air power..

Jenrick
January 6, 2013, 03:21 PM
Project SALVO was an Army study designed to create the next generation of shoulder arms with increased lethality compared to the weapons in service at the time (mid 1950's). NATO at the time was attempting to standardize on a new service rifle and round. The predominant choice was the .280 British IRC for the new service cartridge, but the US was adamant that we wouldn't use anything that didn't AT LEAST ballistically match the old .30-06. The US developed the T-65 cartridge (what we now know as 7.62 NATO) specifically to be a cartridge that dimensionally was smaller and lighter then the .30-06 but had the same ballistics. We ram rod'ed that down NATO's throats, an in exchange we would accept the FAL as the new standard NATO rifle, we'll we went to the M14, but at least had ammunition interchangeability.

Project SALVO's finding was that there was no correlation between lethality/combat effectiveness with round weight, velocity, etc. What actually mattered was the amount of projectiles in the air aimed at the target. Several suggestions arose from this including: rifles that fired multiple projectiles per shell, long range shotgun like weapons, and weapons that fired super fast bursts of projectiles with each pull of the trigger. The M14 was required to be fully automatic due to the findings of Project SALVO, even though it was considered by most to be completely useless in that roll.

The M16 stepped into a procurement gap that existed in the US Air Force. They were in need of a rifle to arm their flight line security forces as the M1 carbine was being phased out. Gen. LeMay viewed a demonstration of the M16 platform, and attempted to purchase them for the Air Force. The Army threw a fit of course and halted the purchase. Several samples were sent to Vietnam, followed soon by closes to a thousand rifles for testing. McNamara finally stopped the production of the M14, and elected to go with the M16 due to the fact it could function for all services.

So in short the M16 was selected due to political wrangling, just like the M14 was selected due to political wrangling. The M1 Garand was almost knocked out of the running due to politics, and so on back to the dawn of the US arms procurement industry.

The 5.56 cartridge was never designed to be a "casualty producing round" any more then it was designed to be a "killing round." It was chosen because it was light weight and put a lot of rounds into the air quickly. 7.62 NATO was selected because it was similar to .30-06. .30-06 was selected because we felt our machine guns were lacking in indirect fire range with the .30-03, etc. The lethality of a rifle cartridge has NEVER been the deciding factor in ammunition selection or weapon procurement.

Until the movement to the intermediate cartridges post WW2, there was no question that ANY rifle cartridge from ANY countries service rifle was more then enough round for the job. By the time the switch to intermediate cartridges began, the rifle was no longer the primary killing weapon of the US Army. CAS, artillery, etc was no used to destroy the enemy in concept.

-Jenrick

helotaxi
January 6, 2013, 03:36 PM
Incapacitation is the goal, be that dead or simply unable to continue the fight but still alive. Most any centerfire rifle round will accomplish this. Lighter ammo means more chances and better control means better odds.

A couple of problems that we're running into with the idea of find and fix using ground forces and then calling in air to target and engage involve ROEs and urban environments. Such environments are "non-permissive" with regard to bringing the "big boom". In the open countryside that works great and we've proven that you don't even need ground troops. Light helicopters work great for "trolling" with the intent of drawing fire and calling in the hate from above. However, once you get into areas where collateral damage is deemed unacceptable, aerial bombardment becomes too indiscriminate. It comes down to the poor guy on the ground to handle the F2T2EA from start to finish. The big change from SE Asia is that troops aren't generally outside of immediate resupply and in an urban environment they are typically mechanized allowing them to carry significantly more or significantly heavier ammo than they would if relying on the heel-toe express for transport. With that in mind, a slightly more robust round would probably be a welcome addition.

Kachok
January 6, 2013, 03:38 PM
Maybe they were feeding me a line but when I was in the Army I was told the same thing, the M16 was designed to badly wound the enemy thus taking three combatants out of action. If it was just a bad rumor it made it's way through my command. 1-7 FA Schwinfurt Germany.

helotaxi
January 6, 2013, 03:43 PM
Yep, it's one of those silly myths that refuses to die.

d2wing
January 6, 2013, 03:59 PM
All I know is the more I post, the less I know I know. But I can always learn. Thanks for your reply Dastardly . War is hell.

dastardly-D
January 7, 2013, 02:19 PM
I'm seeing a lot of good opinions here but also read that it was a the myth that the 556 was intended to wound.It wasn't a myth,I know damn well that was what we were taught ! Bullets aren't just balls of lead with a copper cover on them . The 556 has gone thru a couple of changes in it's life to give it more range,penetration and lethality,so has the 7.62 x 39. Still the AK round has more lethality in battle and then the Com Bloc is changing to a smaller,lighter round,545x39.....60 grain ? So what's up with that ? I believe it goes back to my original point that the smaller round,along with other factors,is more of a wounder(incapacitator).........:scrutiny::scrutiny:

sixgunner455
January 7, 2013, 02:43 PM
dastardly-D, I still say it's a myth from the design/intent perspective. That does not mean that the understanding of those doing the training was clear. I heard about it, too. I was also told that the bullets tumble in the air to increase their terminal effect.

Studying it out on my own, looking up the documents, and learning about ballistics and flight characteristics of bullets taught me a lot more about all of this than simply taking what 'they' said at face value.

Sam1911
January 7, 2013, 03:46 PM
It wasn't a myth,I know damn well that was what we were taught !:) Just because you were taught something by someone -- even an Army or Marine instructor -- doesn't make it actually true.

WHY a thing was designed a certain way doesn't necessarily get incorporated into a training lecture, and doesn't necessarily NEED to be included. Similarly, many things said by instructors of all kinds tend to be "words of wisdom" they picked up someplace and/or heard from a friend who heard it from a friend, etc.

So long as those instructors taught you to shoot the rifle well, their pet theories about what the original designers of the round and/or of the rifle were thinking really don't add or detract from the goal of the instruction. The only "harm" done is to give you something to get sorted out on an internet forum decades later! :)

Don't worry though -- every single other thing your D.I. told you was absolutely TRUE!


;)

rcmodel
January 7, 2013, 03:54 PM
The 5.56 NATO cartridge was Designed to be able to shoot through one side of a standard military steel helmet at 600 meters.

That was the only original design "requirement" as far as killing or wounding in the original design specifications.

But it sounds to me like it was designed to kill, not wound.
Or head shots through steel helmets would not have been the performance goal it had to meet!

rc

Jenrick
January 7, 2013, 03:55 PM
Early 5.56 round did tumble in the air in cold weather, they were redesigned as they were extremely unaccurate when they did so. 5.56 rounds out of 20" barrels do fragment on entry however, usually explosively. The newer M855/SS109 "green tip" round needs more velocity to do so, and due to it's construction doesn't fragment quiet as massively.

You'll find much written about the 7.62x39 being a LESS lethal round then the 5.56 round, as only certain loading exhibit anything close to the permanent wound tracks a 5.56 round could. See http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19885 for a very good write up. 5.45 does a better job, however it still functions like a non-fragmenting 5.56 round. Much of the controversy since Somalia regarding the 5.56 was a result of the round not functioning in it's intended manner due to small build targets, short rifle barrels, and longer engagement ranges then expected.

-Jenrick

Akita1
January 7, 2013, 04:48 PM
Trent & Jenrick +1. Also note that the .223 tumbles when it hits something, which equates to the opposite of the long-range flat "shoot through" behavior characteristics described above when unobstructed.

On a personal note, I only use the .223 to plink and perhaps to shoot coyotes. I use 6.8mm for hogs and .270 for deer and home defense is all .45 (HK USC & Glock 30) as I can't sweep the hall with a scatter gun when there be babies about and that .223 will zip through drywall and upset the neighbors a bit (when it comes flying through their house at that velocity).

dastardly-D
January 7, 2013, 05:07 PM
Jenrick... I read the article you have posted and there is little there to cast any doubt on what I said.They shot various bullets of different construction,and the newer 53 grain 545 is quite like our 556. The Russian version of the 762 was not as much a meat grinder that the Yugo or commercial round is. And like some of you said,the DI's might have had their own pet assumptions on matters,but after reading up on the 556,it was more of a wounder overall than an outright killer.Once again,notice what the fighters are still saying in the sandboxes,it all too often takes muliple torso shots to stop a person. As far as one person said of the 556,it's only requirement was to shoot thru a helmet at 600 yards....just what guys were trained to shoot that far ? That sounds like a myth unless you know where I can verify that.....And I've heard guys say that it tumbled thru the air,whereas I heard it tumbles once it actually hits something. I know impact starts the tumble effect.....Once again,why did they come up with the new AK 545 round which acts so much like the 556 ?

Trent
January 7, 2013, 05:14 PM
The AK74 round (5.45x39) was also adopted for logistics reasons.

AK47 + 6 magazines @ 5,496 g (12.12 lb) for 180 rounds
AK74 + 10 magazines @ 5,510 g (12.1 lb) for 300 rounds

For the same loadout the troops can carry 40% more ammo.

(It also granted a x2 multiplier on effective range... for what it's worth).

C-grunt
January 7, 2013, 06:02 PM
I'm still looking for these "Warriors in the Sandbox" who have horrible times with the 5.56 so I can talk with them. I spent 2 years in Iraq as an infantryman. I did the initial invasion in 03 and spent a year along the Iranian border in 05. My brother in law was a Marine infantryman in Fallujah in 04. My unit did another tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan since I got out and I still keep in touch with old friends. Several of my buddies went to the Special Forces and spent several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So with all this time spent in combat I have NEVER heard a complaint on the lack of lethality of the 5.56 with a good hit. I've seen what M855 will do out of M4s, M16s and M249s from ranges of 0-500+ meters. I've seen what M262 will do at 405 meters from a M16A4 SDM-R. My SF buddy has a confirmed kill at 400 meters with his Mk18 (10.5 inch barrel) using M262.

The problem we are currently solving is that standard M855 is not consistent in its fragmentation when it hits a bad guy. Most of the time it works great but sometimes it won't yaw for 9 inches or so which severely reduces it effectiveness. But that has been solved with the USMC Mk318 and the Army M855A1 rounds.

Jenrick
January 7, 2013, 06:55 PM
5.56 exhibiting ideal behavior doesn't tumble on contact. That would create at most a permanent wound cavity at most .223" wide, and about 1" long as the bullet moved through. A 5.56 round exhibiting ideal behavior will strike the target, attempt to flip so the base is leading, and the bullet structurally fails. The bullet then breaks up into a ton of small pieces of lead and brass and shotguns out from the location of failure, ripping and rending flesh as the fragments go. Sort of like shooting a piece of drywall from close range with a load of birdshot vs a slug. The slug takes a clean circle out, where the birdshot blows a chunk out of the drywall.

All the research that I've located, shows that there ARE issues with M855 out of short barreled rifles, at distance, in small body'd individuals. However we're talking <14.5 barrels (usually 10.5) and over 100m shoots on malnourished folks shot the short way through. Additionally the Army found that M855 was performing very differently based on even a few degrees differences in initial angle of incidence with the target. One round would explosively fragment just like it was supposed to, while another a few tenths of a degree off would pass straight through. M855A1, Mk318, and the Mk262 were all created to help circumvent this problem. I've got a copy of the article regarding the angle of incidence, I'm not having any luck finding it posted on line right now.

However out of all the research and reading I've done, the only person that I'm willing to say definitely made good hits and didn't get good results is Paul Howe. He's not a fan of M855 due to his experience with it in Somalia. Kyle Lamb sums it up for the rest of us who aren't former Delta shooters, (paraphrasing) "When ever I hear about 5.56 lack of effectiveness my first thought is the shooter didn't hit the target."

-Jenrick

C-grunt
January 7, 2013, 08:31 PM
5.56 exhibiting ideal behavior doesn't tumble on contact. That would create at most a permanent wound cavity at most .223" wide, and about 1" long as the bullet moved through. A 5.56 round exhibiting ideal behavior will strike the target, attempt to flip so the base is leading, and the bullet structurally fails. The bullet then breaks up into a ton of small pieces of lead and brass and shotguns out from the location of failure, ripping and rending flesh as the fragments go. Sort of like shooting a piece of drywall from close range with a load of birdshot vs a slug. The slug takes a clean circle out, where the birdshot blows a chunk out of the drywall.

All the research that I've located, shows that there ARE issues with M855 out of short barreled rifles, at distance, in small body'd individuals. However we're talking <14.5 barrels (usually 10.5) and over 100m shoots on malnourished folks shot the short way through. Additionally the Army found that M855 was performing very differently based on even a few degrees differences in initial angle of incidence with the target. One round would explosively fragment just like it was supposed to, while another a few tenths of a degree off would pass straight through. M855A1, Mk318, and the Mk262 were all created to help circumvent this problem. I've got a copy of the article regarding the angle of incidence, I'm not having any luck finding it posted on line right now.

However out of all the research and reading I've done, the only person that I'm willing to say definitely made good hits and didn't get good results is Paul Howe. He's not a fan of M855 due to his experience with it in Somalia. Kyle Lamb sums it up for the rest of us who aren't former Delta shooters, (paraphrasing) "When ever I hear about 5.56 lack of effectiveness my first thought is the shooter didn't hit the target."

-Jenrick
This is a good post. Another thing people tend to forget is that some people are just really hard to kill. One night our patrol got ambushed by a joint attack that started with a VBIED and a RPG. When the carbomb failed to destroy the lead Abrams and the RPG missed the attack fell apart.

After the shooting stopped we found the RPG gunner a couple hundred yards from the tank. He had taken a 7.62 NATO round through the upper back. The round entered just below his right shoulder blade and exited right at his left nipple. That shot should have killed him rather quickly. However we found him alive approximately 30 minutes after he was shot and he was evac'd.

Trent
January 7, 2013, 09:04 PM
After the shooting stopped we found the RPG gunner a couple hundred yards from the tank. He had taken a 7.62 NATO round through the upper back. The round entered just below his right shoulder blade and exited right at his left nipple. That shot should have killed him rather quickly. However we found him alive approximately 30 minutes after he was shot and he was evac'd.

If it missed the major arteries, he would have had a double lung puncture and not much internal bleeding. That's a pretty survivable hit unless the chest cavity fills up with air. And that can be managed in the field with the appropriate dressing.

(Every hunter should learn how to apply a bandage to treat this wound; tape a sheet of plastic over the wound on three sides, leave one side of the bandage as a "flap" so air can get out, but not back in).

Fragmentation would have helped "find" an artery, perhaps. :)

Sounds like a heck of a time that day. Thanks for serving, and fighting for us.

rcmodel
January 7, 2013, 09:16 PM
Early 5.56 round did tumble in the air in cold weather, they were redesigned as they were extremely unaccurate when they did so.Ahh? The bullet wasn't redesigned.
The rifle was redesigned.

The AR-15 started life in Vietnam with a 1/14 barrel twist.
The first M-16 was changed to 1/12 twist.
The M16A2 was changed to 1/7 twist and the M193 55 grain bullet was replaced with the M855 62 grain bullet.

And thats when the problem with lack of stopping power all started.

The bullet is TOO stable in a 1/7 twist now and sometimes shoots a .22 hole through people at long range, instead of tumbling and fragmenting and tearing them a new one.

The new M855A1 EPR round may address some of that, as they are supposed to break & tumble better then the old M855 bullet. Time will tell.
http://www.pica.army.mil/picatinnypublic/news/images/highlights/2011/M855A1/32_The_Evolution_of_the_M855A1_5.56mm_Enhanced_Performance_Round,%201960-2010.pdf

My son is at work right now making the steel penetrator tips for them 24/7 as we speak.
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/100_4912.jpg


rc

Jenrick
January 7, 2013, 09:29 PM
rcmodel: You are correct actually in that they changed the barrel twist rather then doing anything to the round initially. The way I wrote that didn't come out right at all.

I'm not going to say that M855 is too stable, it does exactly what it's supposed to do. Reach out and touch someone from the M249. However I will agree that it appears to display less reliable terminal fragmentation then the previous M193 round.

-Jenrick

dastardly-D
January 7, 2013, 09:55 PM
CGrunt......My experience is in Nam,not the Sandboxes,though some of our experiences are no doubt similar....ambushes and booby traps. I spend way too much time on this computer reading all kinds of stuff,for years.I've read a lot of complaints from guys not liking their M4's and complaints of the 556 round not being capable as it could be.You don't want to believe it,then don't.But don't nobody tell me the only advantage of the new AK round is that it's lighter and they can carry more. A grunt carries a lot more than a T.O. load,so that argument is off the table. We were issued 5-20 round mags,everybody carried at least twice that plus extra belts for the M60,a few LAWS here and there,grenades and whatever else. There has to be a real reason for that smaller caliber,especially for Russia and others to go for a modified AK with a smaller caliber..:banghead:

Jenrick
January 7, 2013, 11:48 PM
rcmodel: Interesting, thanks for the link.

dastardly-D: Well for one, a smaller caliber is cheaper. I'm sure if the Russians could have figure out how to use concrete they would have. The reason they used a steel cased round with a lacquer coating, and steel cored round with "gilding" wash on it? Price.

It's arguable that the 5.45 was an attempt to duplicate the success seen with the earlier M193 rounds, however the did not achieve it. 5.45 does NOT reliably fragment regardless of velocity. It does upset, and do some odd things in the body/ballistic gel, but fragmentation is not one of them. The Chinese have gone to a 5.8x42 cartridge running around 52-77gr. No word on if it fragments reliably or not.

Ironically just like here in the US with the complaint of the 5.56 being "not as good as the old 7.62", this is mirrored in the USSR. Spetsnaz teams would deploy to in Afghanistan with a mix of calibers, as some members felt that the 7.62x39 had something the 5.45 didn't.

dastardly-D
January 8, 2013, 01:32 PM
Well guys you put out a lot of opinion and information here,and I do appreciate a good discussion ! Being a bullhead I then decided to Google some more info. I punched in ''Are there any military bullets designed to fragment'' ? Oh but you should see all the answers ! Some of this came from articles,some from other ''writers''. From what I gather,most military bullets are designed to yaw,a byproduct of which is fragmentation,of which the military looks at being a good thing. It is amazing though that so many studies that are published as a fact seem to be differant than other studies. It would seem though,that some bullets were constructed to fragment easier than others,while some were made for a little more penetration before upsetting......Anything else ? :)

Skribs
January 8, 2013, 03:28 PM
Considering hit rate, I thought the 5.56 was designed to give more covering fire.

d2wing
January 8, 2013, 11:36 PM
As I recall, part of the study is it takes 100's of round per kill. In my experience
There were darn few occasions to aim. More hits are random wounding shots than aimed kill zone shots it seems. It is not like you get to put a guy in your crosshairs. Your experience may vary or be imaginary.

Sam1911
January 9, 2013, 12:59 AM
Actually, the ratio of rounds fired to kills was supposedly calculated to be something like 60,000:1 in Vietnam (and other conflicts would be similar) mostly due to the use of suppressive fire from all the various machine guns in use. 'Course that counts everything from the ARVN trooper with an M1 carbine up to the miniguns in the AC-130s.

dastardly-D
January 9, 2013, 03:35 PM
D2wing.......You are showing everybody your backside with this quote ''Your experience may vary or be imaginary.'' I guess you never had an opportunity to take a well aimed shot ? If everybody acted like you and never took a well aimed shot we'd still be there. That over 1million dead Vietnamese must have all been shot by dumb luck,huh ? No,I don't agree with you at all,and it's my experiance not imagination..........Even the Luxumberg National Guard has more guts than that !

JrRanger
January 9, 2013, 03:39 PM
I go back in this week. Here's to your son and all the proud LC folks. Yes. They frag! Tested on live targets in Iraq and Afghanistan by Special forces. M80A1 is very close to the field if not there already.

Skribs
January 9, 2013, 04:32 PM
That was kinda my point, Sam. If the majority of the use is covering fire, then it's not about whether it is a better killer or only designed to wound. It's the fact that you can fire 210 rounds of "make charlie duck" instead of 100 rounds. Actual effectiveness in living tissue is unimportant for that role.

Was sort of tongue-in-cheek.

d2wing
January 9, 2013, 07:23 PM
If you got a clear aimed shot each time you were in a different part of Vietnam than I was. I did not say they did not happen. They were exceptional in my experience. Most of the time I did not see who I was shooting or only got a glimpse. Most of my shooting was from trucks or jeeps. If you had a different mos you experience may differ. The imaginary remark was not intended for you but for guys who have never been in combat that think they get to aim each shot.
One of my best friends was a sniper. He got to aim each shot as a rule.

Paul7
January 9, 2013, 07:58 PM
Pick up an M 1 Garand and an AR 15. Which one would you want to carry all day?
The strange thing is, the A2 weighed about what the Garand did.

breakingcontact
January 9, 2013, 11:56 PM
The gun grabbers are talking like the 223/556 is magic.

d2wing
January 10, 2013, 12:31 AM
Paul7 that is wrong, ever pick either one up. The Garand weighs about 10 lbs empty, the M16 varies by configuration 6.5 to about 8 lbs. plus the Garand has more forward weight. The Garand, and M-14 are great rifles with accuracy and power with far greater range than the M-16. They all are great weapons. I was never told anything about shooting to wound. I recall a trainer telling us in AIT that the shock from a M-16 would kill a VC if you hit him in the arm. So I guess there was all kinds of BS flying around. I dunno, the OP said the rifle only wounds then turns around and says it killed a 1,000,000 enemy. Then claims it's my fault I didn't kill everyone I shot at. Too much dumb, too much BS. Bye.

Kurt_D
January 10, 2013, 01:35 AM
Quote:
Early 5.56 round did tumble in the air in cold weather, they were redesigned as they were extremely unaccurate when they did so.

Ahh? The bullet wasn't redesigned.
The rifle was redesigned.

The AR-15 started life in Vietnam with a 1/14 barrel twist.
The first M-16 was changed to 1/12 twist.
The M16A2 was changed to 1/7 twist and the M193 55 grain bullet was replaced with the M855 62 grain bullet.

And thats when the problem with lack of stopping power all started.

The bullet is TOO stable in a 1/7 twist now and sometimes shoots a .22 hole through people at long range, instead of tumbling and fragmenting and tearing them a new one.

The new M855A1 EPR round may address some of that, as they are supposed to break & tumble better then the old M855 bullet. Time will tell.
http://www.pica.army.mil/picatinnypu...01960-2010.pdf

My son is at work right now making the steel penetrator tips for them 24/7 as we speak.



rc
__________________

You almost had it until you got to 1/7 twist making the bullet too stable... That is IMPOSSIBLE, the number of rpm to stabilize a bullet in fluid (flesh) is too high. Testing in ballistic gel using different twist rates confirms it.

The velocity to induce fragmentation remains about 2700 fps between M193 and M855. M855 does give up around 100 fps to M193 in a 20" barrel (~3300 vs ~3200 fps) but fragmentation range due to velocity isn't really reduced much. What started hurting M855's fragmentation is the bullet's construction. Simply it was inconsistent compared to M193 which had it sometimes yawing late (if at all) and breaking up late (if at all) compare to a previous or later lot. Even so the M16A2 with M855 didn't have a bad rep.

The shift to the M4 is what gave current 5.56 a more earned, not imagined but slightly exaggerated, bad rap. The velocity of the M855 round is greatly reduced compared to the M16A2 and A4 due to the 14.5" barrel, sometimes as much as 300 fps (~2900 fps). That doesn't sound like much but consider the threshold velocity for fragmentation is ~2700 fps and you see you don't have much range. Add that to the inconsistent construction of ss109 bullets plus longer engagement ranges and you get problems. Now you have M855A1 attempting to solve that problem by building a bullet that will consistently frag at lower velocities, like Mk262, but maintain penetration.

Lastly there are a few reasons for the switch to .223/5.56 and the M16. The M14 was a beast to build and a beast to handle full auto. The AR10 set out to solve these issues using modern materials like forged aluminum and plastics and modern design. It was too new, too late and the Springfield won. Later, the M14 couldn't be made fast enough, the engagements changed and it was still a beast to handle in full auto. Enter the AR15: smaller, lighter, modern rifle firing a smaller, lighter, faster round; which means you can carry more "stuff" like ammo and armor. The AR15/M16 just fit the bill for what we needed vs. the AK.

Also as it stood 5.56 M193 was actually better than 7.62 M80 because of its ability (added bonus, it was never design to) to frag. 7.62 made the nice "clean" holes where as 5.56 broke apart and made a real mess of things. Of course, 7.62 was able to punch through stuff better but that's not what we needed back then. Today we've figured out there's no one "do-all" round so 7.62 Nato has come back some, 77gr 5.56 Mk262 was made and now M855 is being upgraded to A1.

dastardly-D
January 10, 2013, 12:37 PM
D2wing....It is turning into a pissing contest between us. I never said the 556 was only ment to wound and not kill,that is just you turning things out of context.I never said all shots were well aimed shots,I said there were opportunities for a well aimed shot. I never said you had to kill everyone you shot at,but there you go,making stuff up. All I ever wanted was some opinions about the round being designed to be more of a wounder than a killer.After all,if your enemy is incapacitated,he's out the fight just like a dead man,then you have to use resources to care for your man.
M16-A1.....7.06 loaded
M16-A2.....8.79 loaded
M16-A4.....10.09 loaded
M16-M4......7.5 loaded
M-1........11.25 loaded
M14.........11.00 loaded but could vary by density of wood or fiberglass
The weight of the m16-A4 surprised me ?
I enjoyed the discussion and information.....;)

d2wing
January 10, 2013, 01:52 PM
How about blaming me for losing the war? I doubt anyone that served with me would agree with that as my actions lead a convoy out of an ambush once, and turned back an attack another time. You inferred that I am a coward, my men would disagree and that doesn't set well with me. I am going to forget about it and ignore you. I hold no grudges.

Sam1911
January 10, 2013, 01:55 PM
Oh just STOP. :rolleyes:

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