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223 Armor Piercing Ammo

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by sign216, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. sign216

    sign216 Member

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    Is .223 AP (armor piercing) ammo useful? It's not .308 or .50, so what's it really going to pierce?

    I'm not hi-power rifle guy, but I've got my obligatory .223 rifle (Ruger Mini-14) in case the world turns to crap.

    I see I need more ammo, and thought about getting adding some AP to the mix. Would that have any real purpose?

    Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2020
  2. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    Are you talking about the green tips? If so they can penetrate hard targets better then fmj but want zip through threat level III body armor. Or so I have read. To poor to test it.
     
  3. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    M995 "black tip" is armor piercing. M855 "green tip" is a "penetrator", not armor piercing.
     
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  4. sign216

    sign216 Member

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    "Penetrating" vs "armor piercing" for 223 is there a meaningful difference?
    That's why I started this thread at all.
    Maybe 223 FMJ is just as good, for less $$$.

    I mean if it's not 308 or 50, is there meaningful armor piercing at all?
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep
    Yes, it's a soft steel insert in the .223 penetrator round.

    True armor piercing (.30-06/.50 Cal) has some sort of extremely tough metal core. I have some from .06 in the legs of an old front rest, replacing the soft steel ones. After a gazillion times taking it on and off concrete benches there is no wear. Still sharp as ever.
     
  6. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    It kinda depends on what you want. If you’re looking at the prevalence of rifle rated armor and thinking you might want to be able to punch through, yeah it might be worth getting some.

    Well there’s a legal difference. Given the number of AR pistols out there, the ATF has decided that .223 is a “pistol cartridge” which is subject to the legal prohibition related to bullet construction for armor piercing pistol ammo. The M855 green tip penetrator was granted an exemption.

    So, back to the question. 5.56 is in a bit of a weird space for armor penetration. The current armor testing standard from the NIJ 0101.06 doesn’t require a test against 5.56 so there’s the potential that some armor that meets the NIJ level III certification might be penetrated by 5.56 in some situations. Note that the new standard (0101.07) will include testing against various 5.56 rounds, but I don’t believe the standard has been officially adopted yet.

    From the side of someone buying armor, you need to look for the unofficial Level III + or “special threat” rating to ensure that you’re getting protection against specific types of 5.56.

    Several years ago there was a lot going around about AR500 steel plates being penetrated by M193 out of 20” barrels (trying on speed instead of bullet construction for penetration). M855 is of course moving a bit slower but has a penetrator that might come into play. Then there are poly plates that are reportedly unlikely to stop a M855 penetrator (unless specifically rated for it). Both M193 and M855 were designed to penetrate steel helmets at several hundred yards. M855 will also do better against intermediate barriers like laminated glass (windshields), cars, building materials, and other things.

    Long story short, with 5.56 there is a window where at a certain range, with a certain projectile, at a certain velocity, and against a certain armor, penetration is theoretically possible. While it’s not guaranteed to always penetrate, if you’re ok giving up the terminal ballistics advantage of expanding bullets I think there’s enough of a chance of armor penetration to make it worthwhile to stock M193 or M855 as opposed to regular FMJ.
     
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  7. sign216

    sign216 Member

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    Walkalong, thanks for explaining the difference.

    Telekinesis, so...it seems that the penetrator rounds against genuine, certified body armor plates are "iffy." Interesting info.

    As a patrolman, most of the plates I was issued were reportedly good against 30 carbine or shotgun slugs. Never thought to be proof against .223, unless they were fragine small game rounds. Telekinesis, you must be talking about the superior, recent plates SWAT team use. I knew they have some expensive plates that weigh a ton.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  8. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Then why post the question? M995 is hard to find outside of military use. cdvs.us has the bullet only listed at $43 each, but not surprisingly, are out of stock.

    A thread on even 7.62 AP is silly, since only three exist, two of them not commonly found.
    .30-06 and .50 BMG would be better cartridges for a discussion on AP rounds, as there exist more choices.
     
  9. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    The only time I saw AP 5.56 was linked in SAW belts overseas. We never asked for it by name, but sometimes we got it anyway when we requested 5.56 link. Never really worried about AP rounds or not having them since anything we had would go through corolas and hilux pickups just fine.
     
  10. sign216

    sign216 Member

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    It's up for sale. On a gun auction site I see four or five listings for the "penetrator" rounds. Of course you're paying a premium. They are between .25 and $1.00/round. No listings for the M955 armor piercing rounds.

    Body armor aside, does the board think 223 penetrator rounds would be significantly better on vehicles? I don't want to throw money for little gain.
     
  11. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    I know rifle cartridge speeds get hydrostatic shock bonus, but I generally hunt my vehicles with a large bore pistol, sorry I can’t help.

    But, as always, shot placement counts. Don’t aim for the cylinder head, go for the ECM, the brain...;)
     
  12. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I had to look up M995 ammo. Looks like it is something fairly new that you young's got to use. I got out in 1996. The only time I had any armor piercing ammo issued to me was linked ammo for the M60 and M2.

    And from what I remember the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier would be hard pressed to stop a 308 AP round without the kevlar panels inside.
     
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  13. sign216

    sign216 Member

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    12Bravo20,
    I got out in '96 too. For the M113 Carrier, I recall that only the sides were vulnerable to .308 AP rounds. I thought the thicker front was okay against all 308 (not that I'd want to be sitting in it at the time).
     
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  14. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    The armor thickness on a M113 is the same on all sides. And you had to keep the Kevlar panels in place on the inside for decent protection. Working in 3rd shop or depot level maintenance, I had to repair plenty of 113 hulls.
     
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  15. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    The two ranges I go to prohibit the use of the green tip bullets because of the steel core. I bought a large quantity of American Eagle 62 grain green tip that to my surprise I couldn't use. The range officer was berating me because the steel core would damage their range, start fires, etc.
     
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  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    It can happen, and even lead core .223 is hard on steel up close because of the velocity.
     
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  17. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Armor?
     
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  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Armor piercing rounds were designed to be effective against vehicles and maybe barricades, not people. No one running around with body armor back then.
     
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  19. hq

    hq Member

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    As a sidenote, tungsten fishing lure weights are perfect for DIY AP ammo. Very sharp, very hard, very dense, .1-.15" in diameter and slightly shorter than a 60gr .223 bullet. Drill a snug-fitting hole in the rear of the bullet, insert the weight and heat it up just enough to seal it in the lead core. Weigh the result (usually around 70gr) and load hot and fast.

    You can't spot the difference by looking at a finished round and it'll penetrate pretty much anything and everything if need be, including thick plates of hardened steel.
     
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  20. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    M193 55gr FMJ penetrates automotive laminated windshield glass slightly better than M855 green tip. The reason is because the M855 has a "compound" core consisting of a 5 grain steel penetrator tip on top of a lead base core. When M855 hits a windshield at an angle the tip bends and the bullet yaws causing the bullet to snap in two at the cannelure as it passes through. Whereas M193 has an all lead "simple" core that doesn't bend like M855. M193 also is propelled at slightly higher velocity, which increases it's ability to penetrate windshield glass.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
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