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5.56 aint weak- .308 just isnt a-

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by KriegHund, Feb 4, 2006.

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  1. KriegHund

    KriegHund Member

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    One stop shot.

    I think people overestimate the power of the 7.62 calibres and this causes the weaker 5.56 calibres to look even more weak.
    Mostly supported by the fact that many who bash the 5.56 claim the 7.62 will "Put em down in one".

    Any comments on the validity (or lack thereof) of this statement?
     
  2. rockstar.esq

    rockstar.esq Member

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    Well here's my take on the matter.

    Physics has a lot to offer from the academic standpoint. It's been said that the .223 has more energy at 100yds than the .44 mag does at the muzzle. This is true. It's been said that a .22 hornet can be expected to kill a waterbuffalo in the hands of Steve Hornady. Now somewhere between the calculations and the expertise comes the average guy trying to apply a cartridge/rifle to a particular job.

    To my way of thinking, the .223 Remington and the 9mm Luger are the result of an optimization problem. What combination will net the highest kinetic energy with the smallest overall package? To that end they are both excellent examples. However in practice, both rounds have spotty history's when compared to the older school of thought which favored larger bores and heavier projectiles. If you're comparing the .308 Winchester to the .223 Remington you'll likely find that the same folks who love the .308 Winchester are the ones thinking of 1000yd capability. Whereas the .223 fans are likely to be the same folks who obsess over the relative flatness of trajectory out to 500yds.

    I sometimes wonder if anybody ever argued the virtues of the .30-06 vs the 45-70! I'm sure the 06 looked like a flyweight compared to the 45-70's average payload. But again it comes down to energy and what you want to do with it.
     
  3. esldude

    esldude Member

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    Depends on purposes. No doubt the 308 is more lethal. Is it more lethal than say two .223 rounds? Hard to say. For game you might not get two shots. For personal defense or close combat, you very well might be looking at being able to put two of the smaller rounds on target for each 308. Too many variables to issue blanket statements.

    Results of the DC snipers show the .223 to be very lethal. At least on unsuspecting people. How much difference if those people had been alerted to danger and adrenaline was already in their veins? Quite a bit I would think. I dare say maybe half would have lived. Though this is really only wild conjecture on my part. However, I don't have much doubt that equally well placed 308's would have done the job whether the people were full of adrenaline or not.

    Still all this is of course apples and oranges. The two rounds have seperate strengths that matter most in different conditions.
     
  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    WARNING! BEFORE reading farther, please read the disclaimer at the end of the post.
    You're being FAR too kind.

    There have been a lot of outright lies told on the subject by people who know better. Maybe they think that the end justifies the means and they can say anything they want as long as it leads to what they think is a better outcome.

    Here's an example from a book by a man who claims to have been a sniper in Vietnam. This is supposed to be a non-fictional eyewitness account by the author of action in Vietnam.

    "The heavy bullets from the M1-D and ... M-14 tore into the Viet Cong defender's trenchline, knocking one of the enemy riflemen into the air and flipping him onto his back..."

    Here are some other lies quoted from the book.

    "The .308 caliber bullets struck with such devastating force that the gunshot VC were out of commission even with slight wounds."

    "The Viet Cong gunner never saw what (.308 bullet) cut his slender body almost in two. He was tossed violently backward into the rice paddy..."

    So, soldiers go into battle with these kinds of images in their minds. Slight wounds putting combatants out of commission, a rifle round nearly cutting a person in two. It's no wonder that when they see the truth of what happens when a person is hit with small arms fire, they immediately conclude that their rifles must be ineffective--weak--useless.

    BTW, here's another stupid and blatantly untrue quote from the same book.

    "...their Mattel Toy M-16s, which at 450 meters were incapable of killing a ... dog, much less a man."

    Now, not only is the reader convinced a hit from a .308 can knock a person into the air, they're also sure that their issue weapon can't even kill small animals.

    It's no wonder that they come back with tales of ineffective weapons and ammunition. They've been lied to in the worst way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2006
  5. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    Wow John Woo directed Vietnam. Who knew?

    223 is an attempt to make a lethal close range weapon that can also reach to longer ranges. At the very worst, it will wound adversaries that are too far away to fire back effectively. It has the same weight as the 9mm cartridge and I beleive the same recoil numbers as well. I think it succeeds at this, at least in the lead-core 20" version. As the projectiles become progressively less frangible and the barrels progressively shorter, 223 diminishes in effectiveness dramatically.

    The 9mm itself is an unfortunate byproduct of NATO standardization. They had a decent SMG round in 9mm (ignoring the obvious candidate in 223), so they switched all the pistols to 9mm ball as well.
     
  6. Throttle_monkey1

    Throttle_monkey1 Member

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    I know that book, It's 13 cent killers. A load of ???? in my eyes (even as a canuck)

    "Death in the A Shau Valley" by Larry Chambers is a much better book in my opinion. Realistic examples of what happens to the enemy when hit by 5.56

    "I fired a shot from my CAR-15 into his back as he ran away. When I found his body, there was a giant hole in the front of his chest where his heart used to be"
     
  7. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    Sounds like they are all full of it. Even when 2.23 fragments it doesnt go off like a grenade.
     
  8. 355sigfan

    355sigfan member

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    The 223 does fine to about 300 to 500 yards depending on the ammo your using. Barrel length matters but not near as much as some believe.
    Pat
     
  9. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Member

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    I think the .223/.308 debate is only trumped by the 9mm/.45 acp debate. In my opinion they are essentially the same. Do you want smaller, lighter, and faster, or do you want bigger, heavier, and slower? In both cases the smaller rounds give you the ability to pack more ammo into a smaller space with less weight.

    But, and this is a really important BUT, people make these arguments without pointing out they are discussing military issue rounds, i.e. FMJ. At least in the case of the rifle rounds anyway. And I think that's important. Getting hit with a fmj round from a .223 is bad but getting hit with a soft point hunting round from a .223 could be much worse depending on range and fragmentation effect. And a soft point hunting round from a 308 would have even more effect.

    I don't think anyone would argue that a 308 creates more wounding than a 223. Heck, some states won't even let you hunt with 223. The question is do you NEED that extra wounding? And how much ammo and weight are you willing to give up to get that extra wounding?
     
  10. Throttle_monkey1

    Throttle_monkey1 Member

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    I know it doesn't go off like a grenade my friend, but I do know that fragmenting rounds can leave a horrible exit wound. That's what the quote meant. It didn't mean "A 5.56 is like a mini grenade, It F@#Ks people up"
     
  11. mrmeval

    mrmeval Member

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    http://www.olyarms.com/?page=223articles


     
  12. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    People keep forgetting the reason for the 5.56 round (also applies to the 7.62x39 and 7.92x33). Analysis of the WW 1&2 battlefields showed that 99% of rifle fire occurred in 300 yards and perhaps 90% in 100 yards. You just don't need the power of the classic rifle rounds like the 7.62x51, 30/06 and 7.92x57. All this analysis led to the "assault" rifle. Now for long range sniping the old rounds are fine.
     
  13. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    Yeah I just got done watching a show about that. Almost everyone they shot died instantly or within a couple of minutes.
     
  14. jeremywills

    jeremywills Member

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    +1

    Thats exactly the whole point there sir, most of the combat these days is more urban, no use for employing weapons capable of 300 yards when most of the combat is being taken place from anywhere from face to face out to about a 100 yards at best, especially when your indoors a Garand as effective as it is just too much. IMHO YMMV, thus the need for intermediate cartridges like the 5.56 and 7.62x39 etc... shorter more portable weapons for inside and very close range outdoor encounters, In WW1 it was mostly trench warfare or out on open fields, in WW2 and on into today the combat was alot more in the city centers etc...

    Also when you think of combat, just dont think militarily, the police and swat teams and DEA/FBI etc.... type of organizations do have some dedicated snipers with high powered long range sharpshooting equipment and personel trained to utilize it, the need does come up, but most of these guys are employing assualt rifles, m4 and mp5 type equipment etc.... most of todays encounters do unfortunately happen within populated areas and indoors, they must consider things like collateral damage etc... thus all the new modern day less lethal and speciality rounds available to these folks, why the need for everyone to carry a 300 plus yard capable rifle to go in and serve a high risk search warrant and arrest? As modern day times changed, so did the need for weaponry

    It was mentioned earlier that Militaries almost always use FMJ Ball for everything. Other organizations have to be more careful. This whole this is better than that argument no matter what the 2 things being discussed about get annoying. You have to know each others capabilites and utilize the correct tools to get the job done. Look at the US Military, they use FMJ Ball so thus why alot of those guys are whining about thier pistols being effective or not. :) Im not going to mention the calibers and what not involved, thats for another post somewhere that can be searched for on these boards :D but Im sure most folks know what I reference. If they had the right JHPs they might think otherwise. For Military purposes, its just too much hassle, they need to utilize solidly feeding ammo, thus the importance of FMJ
     
  15. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Member

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    I read somewhere (don't remember where, probably on this board) that the longest shot taken by a police "sniper" in the USA has been ~75 yards :rolleyes:
     
  16. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

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    Exactly!! Too bad the internet didn't exist when the switch from 45-70 to .30-06 was made. We could then go through the THR archives!! :) :) I would be willing to bet that when the .308 came out the guys who fought in WWII with the .30-06 probably thought it was a bad idea as well. I don't have anything to base it off of other than the fact that gun people really don't like things to change. The only anecdotal evidence that I have wrt to the .223 is that both of my nephews and my future son-in-law who are back from Iraq have bought AR's. (all 3 are infantry) If the crap you read on the internet is true I doubt if they would have done that. (just my .02)

    Have a good one,
    Dave
     
  17. jungle

    jungle Member

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    In all major battles since WWI, belt fed machine guns, mortars, artillery and air have done about 85% of the job. Rifles have done most of the rest and 90% of that at under 300 yards.
    The 5.56 is effective, otherwise it would not be the free world standard. Are there more effective rounds? Of course, but we tend to think only in terms of ballistics.
    The military is concerned with weight, cost, effective range, weapons platforms, logistics and quite a few other factors.
    The fact is, all countries use or are moving to a 5.56 or similar round like 5.45 for the same reasons. It meets the need in the lightest package available.

    The real effectiveness of our weapons has been increased greatly by the use of dot, optic, IR lasers and night/thermal sights. The troops can now engage targets they couldn't even see just a generation ago.
     
  18. jeremywills

    jeremywills Member

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    there ya go, he makes good points

    they all kill my friends, maybe not as effectively for the almighty one shot kill but they do, I wish more people would practice thier skills and be proficient at putting the shots they fire dead on instead of hoping for a hit but military encounters dont have that luxury, sometimes covering fire and the like are nessescary etc.... you have to throw a lot of lead around and maybe hope a few go down with it, expending ammo like that costs and thus alot of his reasoning above makes total sense
     
  19. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus Member

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    Need to due a bit of study on hydrostatic shock.

    At short ranges of under 200M I've personally seen huge gaping exit wounds from both calibers on dead VC.

    There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it though. I've stood over several guys shot at the same distance with the same weapon with hits within a inch or two of each other... one would have a exit wound you could nearly put your hand in and the other looked like the guy'd been stabbed with a pencil.


    Both guys dead within a foot or two of each other and both shot within maybe half a second of the other.
     
  20. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    Sorry if this jacks the thread. But you guys keep refering to a switch from .45-70 to .30-06. That didn't happen. .30-03 was before .30-06 and .30-40 krag was before that.
     
  21. Roudy

    Roudy Member

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    Interesting thread! I like the thought about arguments concerning the 30-06 and 45-70, bet our great grand fathers really pooh-poohed the 30-06.

    There is one thing that retail business has in common with the .223 and the .308.........."location, location, location"! It makes a whole lot of difference where the bullet hits.

    Personally I prefer the .308 but if rapidly firing several .223's increases the likelyhood of hitting a vital area of an opponent and saving my life, then I'd use the .223.

    When in a combat situation you are scared as he**, anyone who says differently is lying or has never been in that situation. Personally I'd rather be fishing than in combat.

    Roudy
    7th Marines
    Da Nang, Vietnam
    1968
     
  22. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    /*Is it (7.62) more lethal than say two .223 rounds? Hard to say. */

    /*rapidly firing several .223's increases the likelyhood of hitting a vital area */

    If it takes two or more 5.56 mm rounds to replace a single 7.62 mm round, then we can throw the "I can carry twice as much 5.56 ammo" argument right out the door.

    If a 5.56mm was effective for 150+ pound living things, I imagine have replaced the .30-06, .270, and .30-30 in the deer woods decades ago. Millions of deer hunters shooting tens of millions deer would have made the switch if they thought the .223 Remington was the equal of a .308 Winchester.

    No hunter wants to carry a heavier than necessary rifle when dragging that deer out of the woods a quarter mile. Heck, I would take a Ruger Bearcat if I thought a .22 Magnum would get me my deer in a reliable fashion.

    However, for those of you who are satisfied with the 5.56mm for combat purposes, I would NEVER suggest you trade your rifles in for something bigger. If you have confidence in it, then that is the one you should have. I have seen people take and try to take deer with .22 centerfires, I was not impressed with the results, so I would take a cartridge I was confident in using.
     
  23. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Member

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    No experience shooting men...

    Lucky for me, I have never had to shoot a man with either cailber. Deer on the other hand have not been so lucky:D

    I have witnessed nephews pop deer in the heart/lung with .223. The 4 deer all ran off and piled up within 50 to 100 yards.

    I have shot lots of deer in the heart/lung with .308. Not one of them ever made more than a few steps. They died right there.

    In the end all the deer ended up in the freezer.

    I think that in our society of non-shooters, the military has better luck training new troops to shoot the low recoil .223 accurately. Lots of people flinch with the .308. That alone would be reason enough to use a light yet mostly effective round like the .223.
     
  24. jungle

    jungle Member

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    The deer hunter argument.
    Anyone who has spent time hunting will have witnessed Bambi and kin walk and run away after hits from everything from .22s to .300 magnums to Slugs.
    The only reliable one shot stop is always to the CNS, regardless of caliber. Some cartridges make this a little easier, but marksmanship will drop more game than a few extra foot lbs every time.
     
  25. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    /*The 5.56 is effective, otherwise it would not be the free world standard.*/

    Then using that logic then:

    ...the Chauchat machine gun was a world beater, otherwise the French and Americans wouldn't have used it during WWI when the BAR was on the sidelines.

    ...The Mark VI torpedo detonator we used in WWII was flawless (despite a better than 50% failure rate), else we wouldn't have used it.

    ...the Brewster Buffalo was equal to the Japanese Zero and Me-109, else four different countries wouldn't have bought it to fight them.

    ...Ham and Lima Bean C rations were a national favorite, else we wouldn't have made millions of cans of them.
     
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