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Chinese 5.8x42mm: unique ballistics or a political decision?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ChronoCube, Jan 15, 2010.

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  1. ChronoCube

    ChronoCube Member

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    The Chinese 5.8x42mm round seems similar to the 5.56x45 and 5.45x39 ... so why did the Chinese make a new round instead of tweaking one of these existing rounds to suit their needs? Much like how the Swiss GP-90 is a customized 5.56 cartridge. Is there something about the 5.8x42 that cannot be achieved by modifying 5.56 or 5.45?

    Since the specs of the three calibers are fairly similar, my guess is no, and that it is a political decision -- to be independent of both NATO and Russia, much like how Yugoslavia used 7.92x57 instead of 7.62x54R or 7.62x51.
     
  2. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    They could have went the easy route and just made a 5.56x45mm rifle, but that would have been a political concession they were not willing to make. They wanted to be able to claim that their new rifle would be "superior" to ours, and so they needed to make their own, "superior" round to go with it.
     
  3. nathan

    nathan Member

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    One reason Chicoms went for the propriety 5.8 x 42 is to make sure the would -be invader wouldnt be able to use their ammo in case they fall into their hands. If enemy use up all their ammo supplies, they can t remedy it by using captured Chinese ammo cache. That was the Chicom logic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  4. ChronoCube

    ChronoCube Member

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    Funny you point that out, because IIRC the Finns chose 7.62x54R for the exact opposite reason.
     
  5. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    It is my understanding that the Chinese 5.8mm round is more like the 6mm SAW round we experimented with in this country a decade or two ago, or the 6mm PDW round that Knights Armament is producing right now, and that the Chinese developed the round specifically towards penetration of current body armor. The heavier 77 gr sniper/SAW load has a steel core penetrator towards this end. With the specs available on the internet, it looks like both the 64 gr and 77 gr 5.8 loads are achieving about 200 fps more than you could expect with the same weight projectile in the 5.56.
     
  6. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Member

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    Sure, but isn't that a two-way street? I guess it depends on how well you think that you will do. :) The best thing that they could do would be to make new cartridge that only they could fire, but have it close enough to some other caliber so that they could used captured ammo. Like let's say the army 1 is using .223 Remington, if I was army 2 I'd use 5.56x45 so that I could use my enemie's ammo, but he couldn't use mine. I think that the Russians actually did something like that with their mortars. IIRC NATO had their 81mm shells and the Russians had 82mm shells so that they could use NATO shells (with decreased accuracy), but NATO could not use Russian shells.
     
  7. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    The Chinese 5.8mm round has significantly better ballistics than military standard loadings of 5.56 or 5.45. It compares well to the 75/77gr OTM loadings in 5.56 (which are not likely to become standard military issue, partly for cost reasons) and in fact is nipping at the heels of 6.5 Grendel. Personally I think they have struck a better balance than the superpowers who developed small rounds before them.
     
  8. ChronoCube

    ChronoCube Member

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    Right but you are implying that it could have been achieved with a custom 5.56 loading rather than a new caliber altogether. Based on the previous responses, it sounds like the new caliber was adopted for political and strategic reasons.
     
  9. Jaws

    Jaws Member

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    I saw a documentary about it some time ago. The main reason for the switch was economic. The Chinese have a huge army. Aproximative 2.25 million men active army!
    That's a lot of penny saving.
     
  10. nathan

    nathan Member

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    IF Chicom forces land in CONUS and they run out of ammo, then they are sitting ducks while they await for ammo resupply. They cant use 5.56 and .223 in walmart ammo shelves. LOL
     
  11. ChronoCube

    ChronoCube Member

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    Maybe it means the PRC has no intention of getting itself into an overseas conflict.
     
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Shhhh.... It's really the .25 WSSM, rebadged.:D

    Winchester had to figure out what to do with all that brass.
     
  13. desidog

    desidog Member

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    If you run out of ammo; presumably there's a gun lying on the ground downrange...if not, you need to put your hands up or start running.

    The choice was one for solidarity; if they were thinking logically they would have saved the loot on R&D and chosen one of the hundred-odd options already out there.
     
  14. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Not sure if you were replying to my post or not, but anyway... I don't think you can achieve the high BC in economical, FMJ closed-nose .224 bullet designs. I say this largely because I have not seen or heard of such a thing with any .224 bullet, and in any bullet caliber I look at, the highest BC designs are OTM designs, which cost more to make and don't penetrate solid materials as well as FMJ. In other words, I think the performance delivered by their 5.8 design is not achievable at the same cost in a 5.56 design. It might be achievable at greater cost, but why would you spend more?

    And if you're equipping an army of millions for primarily domestic operations, why on earth would you care what's used 6000 miles away in either direction?
     
  15. deadduck357

    deadduck357 Member

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    The 5.8x42 was a well design cartridge, maybe not at first with the initial bullets they were loaded with, but with the current loadings. We dont have alot of data on them but I do believe it is a superior round compared to our 5.56 .

    This is the sole reason why I designed the 6.2mm OCC. To be superior to the 5.56 and be comparable to the 5.8x42

    here is the thread with pdf to the 6.2mm OCC

    http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=498256
     
  16. THE DARK KNIGHT

    THE DARK KNIGHT Member

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    Not really, they'd probably just ship some 5.8x42 crates to a bunch of their Wal-Mart locations. Wal-Mart is basically the People's Liberation Army occupation bases anyway :D
     
  17. harblTheCat

    harblTheCat Member

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    Howdy THR'ers and sincerest New Years greetings from Western Canada!

    My sincere apologies for a necro-post for my first here but I stumbled across this thread doing a Google search on 5.8x42mm and thought I'd long last join THR.

    If anyone here is on CGN, yes, I am the same Harbl_The_Cat, and yes, I am perma banned from there (with no intentions of coming back).

    On topic though, to those 3-4 years ago who made the argument that the PLA would have problems invading the CONUS, an interesting development is that the Chinese have a 5.56/.223 version of their standard issue QBZ95 rifle, so your worst fears of Chinese hegemony have come true - if the PLA stage a conventional invasion of a NATO country - odds are they'd ship out with their crates of their standard issue QBZ and QBB 95 rifles/LMG's in 5.8x42mm but ALSO with 97 series chambered in 5.56 (I'm being a bit flippant in saying that - I honestly don't think China would ever stage a foreign military invasion, given they can just overtake nations economically - which is a much more profitable and effective venture).

    Seriously though, with the limited information available, does anyone have any thoughts on how the Chinese might zero their QBZ/QBB rifles with the standard issue 5.8x42 loadout and how might that compare to shooting 5.56 with the same sights?

    I have a few Norinco T97 rifles (the civilian, export version of the QBZ 95, chambered in 5.56) which I believe use the same iron sights as the QBZ/QBB, and I'm trying to figure out the best zero for it.

    The sights are a rotating style with 4 settings, 3 peep sights for 100, 300, and 500 yards and a post for CQB style shooting. Going off memory, the 500 yard shoots about 12 MOA higher than the 100 yard setting shooting M193 spec .223 ammo (factory) - so to that, using 5.56, anyone have any guesses for a good zero for the T97 - especially at 25 or 50 yards?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  18. strambo

    strambo Member

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    I'd zero at 100yds on that peep. Then if you ever get to a longer range, document the differences from the 300yd peep to actual POI.

    5.56 zero'd at 100 will get you COM hits to 200. Flip to the 300yd peep for 250-350, or just hold high chest for 250, neck for 300, head for 350 (from 100yd zero).
     
  19. harblTheCat

    harblTheCat Member

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    Another interesting part of the T97 is the sight height. Barrel to tip of the front sight, the height is about 3.25". It's pretty tall.
     
  20. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    A clever idea might have been just to adopt a 5.56x45 with a longer COL. It would free up case capacity for a little more performance and make it so they could use our ammo in a pinch but we could not use theirs assuming it was made too long to function in an AR15.

    I guess you could also do the same thing by just including an extra long case neck.
     
  21. itsa pain

    itsa pain member

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    Yes a 100 yd zero is the best for that round marginal as it is and it sounds like you have proved it in the field. I know it works on paper
     
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