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After nearly 40 years Cooper finally lost me.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by thatguy, Oct 4, 2005.

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  1. thatguy

    thatguy Member

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    I have been reading Jeff Cooper's opinions since 1968 and I thought he was right much of the time. Even when I disagreed I still respected his accomplishments. But sometimes he says things that are pretty out there and he sometimes mistakes his opinions for cold hard facts.

    Well, in his current piece in Guns & Ammo he dismisses the 5.56 by sarcastically stating that 3 rounds to the upper chest seems to do the trick.

    Now, I know there's an on-going argument over the .30 caliber service rifle versus the .223 caliber and the defenders of the .30 caliber are quite strenuous in their opinions. But the 5.56 has done what the military wanted. They wanted a short-range (most engagements occur at 300 yards or less, usually much less) round that offered more rounds per the pound than the 7.62 so the troops could carry more ammo and had less recoil. This was needed due to the rise in numbers of women soldiers and male recruits who grew up in cities with no shooting experience and were cowed by full-power rifles.

    The statistics I have seen suggest that the 5.56 is something like 95-97% effective in stopping a target with one torso hit. I know for sure that I don't want to get hit by one. Note that the new military calibers developed around the world after the 5.56 have gone even smaller, not bigger. If there was wide spread failure with the 5.56 I think the military would be addressing the issue. For the most part the strategists seen satisfied with its performance even if some individuals are not.

    Perhaps these enemy soldiers Cooper speaks of were hit with bursts and that's why the U.S. soldiers report it took 3 hits. Maybe the effect would have been the same with a single hit in most cases but they were firing 3 round bursts and reported that's what it took to put them down. I dunno.

    No doubt the .30 caliber shoots farther, hits harder, and penetrates hard targets better. But I think it a mistake to dismiss the 5.56 for its intended purpose and Cooper finally irked me with his attitude.

    I guess I could get even by telling him that I routinely carry a DA 9MM and feel fine with an AR15 as a defensive rifle. That would really piss him off.
     
  2. 1911user

    1911user Member

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    He's old and opinionated and unlikely to change; agree or ignore at your pleasure. He certainly won't care what you think.
     
  3. Derby FALs

    Derby FALs Member In Memoriam

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    Not necessarily the poor sap that is stuck with it. :what:
     
  4. orangeninja

    orangeninja Member

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    Personally I am not a fan of the 5.56 caliber at all....I find it ironic that the big and slow 1911 guys also tend to be fast and small 5.56 guys...but let me just say I have never shot anyone with a 5.56 or ANYTHING for that matter so my opinion is nil....unless I have conducted research.


    HOWEVER....I work with a died in the wool Vietnam vet who was in the 1st Cav. right after the whole LZ Albany fiasco and his take on a 5.56 is much like Coopers. During his first firefight engagement, his rifle locked up tight and he spent the entire firefight un-jamming his weapon. Again he noticed time and time again when an enemy would be hit with a round, he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever...the round simply did not do what it was hyped up to do. The thinking behind the M16 as it was presented to him and his fellow troops was (more lead in the air + dense woodland or jungle = much higher body count). Stopping power had nothing to do with it.

    He has a very, very low opinion of the 5.56. He used to watch with envy when soldiers from SF would carry Grease Guns or M2 Carbines. His platoon leader blackmailed a Marine into giving him his M14 and the vet I am speaking of ditched the M16 in favor of a single shot grenade launcher and a .45.

    Another Nam vet I know was in the Marines with an M14 and aside from being heavy, never had a problem with it. And as he put it, he was living in mud for a year.

    Jeff Cooper may be just relating his experience.

    As for training women and city boys...I'm going to have to emphatically disagree with you there. During WW2 everyone got a 30.06, .45 Tommy gun or an M1 Carbine for the most part. The military trains soldiers irrespective of their individual backgrounds...to think that they would look for an "all accommodating" rifle is kind of silly.

    As for the effectiveness of the modern 5.56 I am quite sure it has improved a lot...however it seems to be trying to "fix" a problem that didn't exist prior to the 5.56 adoption, thus the frustration of many.

    Personally if given the choice between a 5.56 or a 12ga. when on duty, I'll take the 12ga.
     
  5. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    I even take pleasure in flat out disagreeing about 15% of the time. As he gets older it is getting to be more like 20%

    About the .30 cal thing I do tend to agree with "The Guru", however. While this is based on shooting animals other that human I do believe that the compairison is valid. The .223/5.56 is not even legal to hunt big game with in most states.
     
  6. 444

    444 Member

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    Cooper was in the military back when the .30 rifle was still being used. That is what his experience is with.
    When I was at my last Gunsite class, I asked him personally what he thought about the M16 and he gave me a few cute comments but finished by saying that dispite all that, it seems to be working; at least for the Marines. :rolleyes:

    On the other hand, a number of the Gunsite instructors have used the M16 in combat and/or as members of law enforcement. NONE of them have any problem with the M16/5.56 at all (that I talked to about it). They also have the advantage of having thousands of students come through their classes every year including many soldiers from elite military units. Thus they also get to hear plenty of first hand experiences in the course of their day.

    One problem with these stories you read on the internet: "I know some guy who used one that thought it was crap...........". We don't know the guy in the story. We don't know what kind of experiences he has had. We don't know what he is comparing anything to. On and on and on. The point I guess I am making is that every combat vet is not an expert in terminal ballistics. Everyone who ever survived a gun fight is not an expert in gun fighting. Every combat vet doesn't know everything there is to know about combat. This should be obvious if for no other reason than the fact that combat vets disagree on many subjects.
     
  7. Tom C.

    Tom C. Member

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    If the 5.56 is so hot, who all the interest in the 6.8mm? Why bring the M-14s back for designated marksmen? I understand we are sending some federal cops over to the war zones, and because the enemy isn't a uniformed soldier of a nation state, we can use expanding ammo. Saw a thing from a cop with an M-4 with JHP ammo that seemed to work fine, but he said the military using ball were having problems.
    5.56 is from the mentality of wounding a soldier, rather than putting him down. We can all have opinions, but the military is stuck with what it has: 5.56 and 9mm, both of which historically have been short of stopping power.
     
  8. pcf

    pcf Member

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    The other side of the story, Americans didn't just role over, and die or give-up when hit with 7.62 rounds. 5.56 rounds not getting the job must be sigh that the cartridge is weak, 7.62 rounds not getting it done, must be??????

    That's was nothing new to Vietnam. The importance of a fighting units ability to mass fires has been around since the British employed the longbow.
    Marine machine gunners on Iwo Jima
    IWOMachinegun.png
     
  9. 444

    444 Member

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    "Again he noticed time and time again when an enemy would be hit with a round, he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever...the round simply did not do what it was hyped up to do. "

    I had a very well known firearms instructor tell me a very similar story about him shooting a guy in Vietnam with an M14. In fact, what is really funny about hearing these stories is that one is exactly the opposite of the other. This guy (you would recognize the name) didn't like the 7.62 because it doesn't tumble, doesn't expand: just puts a hole though the target. He would prefer the 5.56 every time. And he has been in combat using both weapons and actually shot people with both weapons.

    Again, you can't base much on one story or rumor.

    "If the 5.56 is so hot, who all the interest in the 6.8mm? "
    Interest by whom ? The internet gun forum crowd ?
     
  10. raz-0

    raz-0 Member

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    Well, i can only tell you the source of my interest in 6.8mm. I purchased an ar-10 in 308. Later I purchased an ar-15 in 5.56. I liked the longer range accuracy and oomph of the ar-10 for some activities, but I LOVED the better balance, plethora of accessories, and shorter receiver of the ar-15.

    I've plunked down over $1200 on the ar-10, and it is still a work in progress, so the idea of an intermediate round that I could plop a different upper on my ar-15 lower and still enjoy the ranges I have access too like it was a .308 seemed like a very cool idea.
     
  11. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, just keep in mind that Cooper comes from a day when people usually got shot with 30-06 or 8mm Mauser.

    As much as I like the .223, I don't think I would argue that it is superior to a 30-06 in the "messing stuff up" category. :)
     
  12. thereisnospoon

    thereisnospoon Member

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    Col. Cooper

    WE love him...and sometimes we hate him, but mostly he's correct (right).

    IIRC, there was another cartridge between the .30cal and the 5.56 during the time when the War Dept or whomever was debating change...the British actually had a rather impressive rifle/carteidge combo in .280 (IIRC, someone throw me a bone).

    While I agree my 20 rd. M1A mags a re "heavy" when they are full, I'd rather carry the extra than trust inferior ballistics.

    Again, that my opinion as I have never shot anyone or humped across the jungle on a patrol (and don't intend to...)

    Edit: Found it http://world.guns.ru/assault/as59-e.html
     
  13. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...doesn't expand..." Neither does a 5.56 FMJ ball round.
    Cooper is nuts, but at least he's entertaining.
     
  14. 444

    444 Member

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    "Well, just keep in mind that Cooper comes from a day when people usually got shot with 30-06 or 8mm Mauser."

    And many of them lived to tell about it. Andy many of them didn't go down, kept getting up etc. Sounds kind of familiar doesn't it ?

    One of my parent's neighbor's got hosed down with an MG42. Last I heard, he was still alive.

    I wonder......no, it couldn't be, but I still have to wonder if maybe the internet cammandos are wrong. I know this is crazy, but sometimes I can't help but think that maybe there is no magic sword. Maybe people get shot and live, get shot and don't cease hostilities immediately, get shot and shoot back.................no matter what small arm they get shot with.
    Naw, that's crazy. The internet commandos said so.
    Before I realized they had all the answers, I didn't realize that the grass was always greener on the other side of the fence, and the definition of an expert was anybody that lived over 50 miles away. Afterall, whatever cartridge/weapon we used to use is better than the one we use now. Any cartridge/weapon that we might use in the future is better than the one we use now. Any cartridge/weapon used by another country/was used by another country/will be used by another country is better than the one we have.
    But, then I drank the koolaide and realized they were right.
     
  15. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    .45 ACP and .30 carbine are even worse than 5.56.

    Cooper has his biases, as we all do. Personally, I use a 5.56 AR as a house gun, but I certainly don't plan on making any shots greater than 200 yards with it - it's a carbine round, after all.
     
  16. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    My wife's Grandfather is one. In fact, the Italian doctor that tried to patch him up did more damage than the bullet.

    Chris
     
  17. Warner

    Warner Member

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    I'll side with Mr. Cooper on this one, and most others. I've seen his advice and opinions substantiated far longer and more often than anyone else I can think of.

    I dismiss the 5.56 round mostly due to it's "maybe will .... maybe won't" work nature. I just don't like those odds and I'm content to understand that better options exist.

    The 5.56 is quite far from a good, general-use pick for a long arm intended for serious circumstances, but so many still choose it to fill that category.

    :confused:

    Maybe even more Cooper is needed?


    W
     
  18. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    Mabye we have stumbled on a good use for the Guantanamo Bay detainees......testing. :evil:
     
  19. RomanKnight

    RomanKnight Member

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    "he would fall down, jump back up and start running, fighting, or whatever" -as opposed to falling down and laying there, not moving, not fighting back. There's a difference there: yeah, people hit with 30 cal bullets survived, when having proper medical care, but how many continued to fight, run, or whatever? While many hit with 5.56mm continued to fight back, run, whatever -the Errornet is full of such stories. There's the difference: stopping (or not) the bad guys from doing the bad things they were doing in the first place, that made us shoot them in the first place. Which one is better?
     
  20. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    444, are you calling me an internet commando?

    Ouch.

    All I was trying to say is that 30-06 and 8mm Mauser do more damage than a .223. Yes, people have lived through all of them, and .50, and 20mm, and having their legs blown off by a 155. When they do it on our side we give them medals. :)
     
  21. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Member

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    I like my .30calibers too. But I also like my .223/5.56 (Mini-14) for what it does for me. I've never killed a man and hope I never have to. However, I am a deer hunter. I've seen the results of .243Win. and .30caliber (.30-30 and .30-06) on deer. In Georgia .223Rem. is legal for deer, but I wouldn't use it because hunting ammo for this caliber is geared towards varmints, not heavier animals.
     
  22. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    5.56 vs the World

    5.56mm may be adequate for its current roles (rifle/carbine & SAW), but I don't think it can be argued that 7.62NATO (or .30-06 or 8x57 or .303Brit) are not more powerful rounds, however you might define "more powerful." While 5.56mm is legal here in Texas for big game, in most states it is not. Sure, it can get a kill, but the margin for error is miniscule, relative to the .308Win & similar rounds.

    If you think the 5.56mm is good-to-go, how do you explain the adoption of the M240 GPM when we already had the M249 SAW in the inventory? Replace all the old M60 MGs with SAWs and call it a day. Could it be that the 7.62NATO round has a more effective range and greater wounding poential? Why has the M14 made a comeback in certain roles? Could it be that the 5.56mm is not adequate for a rifleman, especially one who can shoot well? (I will grant that a poor marksman is adequately armed with any weapon down to a board with a nail in it.)
     
  23. Too Many Choices!?

    Too Many Choices!? Member

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    Coops gettin' old

    I got bored one day and had these citronella candles lying around(the ones in a little tin buckets). I shot one with my AR-15 pistol at about 30yds, using American Eagle 55gr sp .223 round and the 2" hole all the way through would lead me to think that outta any barrel longer than 10" you are in trouble out to 150 yds or more(depending on barrel length) :scrutiny:. If I am forced to use FMJ then bigger is better, but since I am not forced to use FMJ then JHP, SP,frangible, and even Ballistic tips offer so much more over FMJ rounds it ain't even a fair comparison except for 55gr m193 out of an M-16 length barrel :evil: :D ...
     
  24. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Actually, it has gotten worse.

    According to the Ammo Oracle at ar15.com, any effectiveness the 5.56 round has (in military ball ammo form) comes from the fact that the bullet tumbles when it strikes the target, and the tumbling causes the jacket to fragment. But it requires a minimum velocity of about 2700 fps for this to occur.

    To improve range and penetration, the 55-gr round that I used in Vietnam has been replaced by a heavier 62-gr round. It carries a bit farther, but the muzzle velocity is less than that of the 55-gr round. Fragmentation is still possible out to maybe 200 meters with a regular M16 that has a 20" barrel, but when the heavier round is combined with the 14.5" M4 barrels, the velocity to make the round effective isn't there much beyond 75 meters.

    It is the military that is pushing for a 6.8mm round. Some of the special operation groups in Iraq and Afghanistan have given up on the 62-grain round and are now using bullets up around 77-gr to deliver more energy on target. The proposed 6.8mm round provides a bit more punch than the 5.56 can deliver while maintaining other advantages of the 5.56mm platform.

    Cooper is right. He is speaking from a military perspective, which means ball ammo only ... no varmint rounds or hunting rounds allowed. From that perspective, the 5.56mm is inadequate. Better than nothing, to be sure, and I confess that I would prefer not to be shot with one. But there are better alternatives.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  25. thatguy

    thatguy Member

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    I repeat, the .30 is better at long range, hits harder at any range, and has greater penetration. Nobody is disputing the sueriority of the larger caliber.

    But what the military wanted was a lighter round so the troops could carry a greater number of them (important when every trooper or grunt has a full-auto weapon) that recoiled less. One reply dismissed this last but it has been noted many times that in recent years fewer and fewer recruits show up with any shooting experience. These people tend to be recoil sensitive and do better with smaller caliber rifles.

    I would also add that the 5.56 does what it was meant to do. It was meant to be a short range anti-personnel round. Stories of enemy soldiers continuing to fight after being hit don't surprise me. I've heard similar stories by WW II vets about Japanese soldiers taking hits from the .30-06 Garand and continuing to fight. I heard a story about a cop who took six .357s in the chest and took the gun away from his attacker and nearly beat him to death with it. A buddy who was in the 82nd in Vietnam tells the story of a guy who was nearly cut in half by a 23MM round. He continued shooting his rifle one-handed as he held his intestines in with the other until dragged away by other members of his unit and carried off to find medical aid. Nothing is sure-fire.

    I would feel fine with a 5.56 rifle.
     
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