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The argument over lethality and wounding continues

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by mastiffhound, Mar 20, 2013.

?

What would you choose?

Poll closed Apr 19, 2013.
  1. 7.62 Nato and .45 ACP

    70 vote(s)
    35.7%
  2. .223/5.56 Nato and 9mm Para

    32 vote(s)
    16.3%
  3. Mixed, 7.62 Nato and 9mm or .223/5.56 Nato and .45 ACP

    71 vote(s)
    36.2%
  4. other(6.8 SPC and 40 S&W for example)

    23 vote(s)
    11.7%
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  1. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    It is here, and to great effect. Especially for children, recoil sensitive, and me!

    Nary a problem killing big deer with fast, little bullets inside 200 yards.
     
  2. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    I kinda see his point to a degree.

    If they're merely wounding, as opposed to killing or at least incapacitating, then enemy combatants can come back to fight another day.

    Well, that and the fact that the Gubment wants to rebuild and instill democracy in places that don't want it.
     
  3. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    And we all know how knowledgeable lawmakers are about firearms and ballistics when it comes to legislation, LOL! If the Virginia laws had taken into account warfare, I might see your point, but they don't.

    As noted, the replacement for the M855 ammo here in the US is doing some amazing stuff and the soldiers are very happy with it. The Brits would find it a lot easier to change over to a new bullet than to change over to both a new platform and new caliber.
     
  4. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    As a professional logistician, I recognize that wars are won and lost by having the right support structures in place at the right locations and at the right times. The way you win a war is by disrupting the other side's logistics (and by destroying his political support for continuing the fight, but that's another story).

    Killing an enemy soldier places minimal strain on the enemy's logistics processes. His body must be eventually recovered and transported, but that's not an immediate requirement. In the immediate sense, a dead soldier requires nothing but a replacement soldier. In the same sense, wounding an enemy soldier badly enough to take him out of action hands the enemy a raft of immediate logistical requirements. A wounded soldier immediately requires field triage, recovery from the battlefield, transportation, medical care, food, and a host of other things, plus the aforementioned replacement soldier.

    From my seat, it's better to wound.
     
  5. Frank44

    Frank44 Member

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    I voted for 7.62 NATO and 45 ACP. I don't believe we should have gone to the 9mm NATO. To me, suppressed fire means keeping the enemy beyond 600 yards where air support could actually do some good. Heck, I would have chosen the 30-06 for that very reason. I think we had it right back in WW-2.
     
  6. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

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    Going to have to semi-disagree with you. WWI and WWII were more or less total annihilation wars. Little regard was considered for civilian causalities from offshore Naval gunfire, bombings, artillery, and even the big bangs that ended WWII. With all the support soldiers had during WWI, WWII and to an extent Vietnam, there wasn't as big a need for the individual soldier to carry large amounts of ammunition. Read most accounts of front line troops in the World Wars. The most recent account I read was of Marine EB Sledge who was part of the Pacific campaign. He carried a Thompson sub machine gun and 1911. Between the two firearms he carried less than 100 rounds of .45ACP.

    Now take our modern wars. It takes almost an act of Congress to call in airstrikes, artillery, and other ordinance in theater. Because of what I believe was an overwhelming media involvement in Vietnam, soldiers have to carry more personal ammunition to get the job done because calling in higher assets takes such high approval and time. The standard combat load for most infantry units is 7 magazines at 30 rounds each equaling 210 rounds. 210 rounds of .45ACP would be much heavier (Using the WWII standard of EB Sledge) and not be nearly as effective out to 200 meters. In addition to a 13 pound helmet and 45-55 pound torso armor. That is why the ammo for the individual soldier must be light and effective at range. The whole point of the 5.56 was to an intermediate cartridge for <300 meter engagements because most engagements in WWI, WWII and Vietnam was inside that distance. There was not a need for firearms to reach farther because of artillery, air support etc. Afghans and some Iraqis knew how far our M4s can reach so they could sit just beyond it with PKMs. The vast majority of our engagements were done with crew served weapons with farther ranges and rarely with individual weapons.

    That has been the old wives tale surrounding the development of the 5.56mm, to wound rather than kill to take more enemies out of the fight to tend to wounded. I have never seen any "official" documentation in the military or otherwise to support it but it has always been around. Regardless I have seen enemies hit with M855 and plenty of reactions. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they get wounded and are so strung out on drugs/adrenaline that they keep fighting and need more rounds. Very rarely have I seen other enemy combatants stop fighting to tend to the wounded. When the enemy breaks contact is usually when they tend to wounded or drag off the deceased.
     
  7. kwguy

    kwguy Member

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    ^^^Ehtereon11B has hit the nail on the head, on every point.
     
  8. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    1. The British Ministry of Defence takes a different view of the laws of war than the U.S. Department of Defense. Part of that difference is they deliberately chose to use thicker jacketed SS109 ammunition to prevent fragmentation. If they feel that way about normal SS109 ammo, I can only imagine how they would react to M855A1 or Mk318 ammo. Naturally, thisblimits the effectiveness of their 5.56mm weapons.

    2. The foundation of this story is the Daily Mail quoting anonymous sources. Not exactly a high-reliability source. Not only that but it quotes the stupid "wound not kill" story... For all we know the "SAS source" was the guy sitting next to the reporter in the pub where they were both drinking. Additionally, the article confuses 7.62x39 and 7.62x51 as being he same round with the same capabilities.
     
  9. jim243

    jim243 Member

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    I know I am going to get flack on this, but I do not understand why we have such a problem resolving combat conflicts now a days. Lack of leadership (MAYBE), lack of equipment (NO), lack of planning (NO), lack of resolve on the part of the troups (NO), lack of supplies (NO). With todays modern air support, tanks, ships, manufacturing capacity, supply chain and amount of money being spent there should NOT be any excuse for not getting the job done and over. Lack of will on the part of the top leadership to get it over and our troops back MAYBE. I am of the Gereal Sherman school of war, there is no limited war (only total war) the faster it is over the fewer people get killed. If this takes larger bullets and more of them than so be it. Why should the people we are trying to help have to suffer because we can not eradicate the problem. My take on wounding an enemy instead of killing them is it is just plain sillyness, stop the aggressor at all costs. If that means bombs, larger bullets, more troops, more air strikes, more artillary and more tanks than so be it. Don't tell me if I send you to take an objective that we need to dig in and resupply for a counter attack in a couple of hours unless they have a much larger army than we do (they don't). If you can't get the job done then I need a new and/or smarter General, Colonel, Major, Capt, LT. The only thing I can attribute it to is lack of will or leadership.

    Jim
     
  10. kwguy

    kwguy Member

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    Like someone mentioned earlier, the constraints under which the DoD must work are different that what a hunter would need. If one could use hunting type ammunition in the military, then the whole "lethality" issue would probably not even exist. That being said, to make the 5.56 round as lethal as possible, while still remaining within the confines of the 'agreements' (Hague, Geneva, whichever...), things like high velocities and fragmentation need to be used. This gives rise to required barrel lengths for certain 'fragmentation ranges', etc. The MK262 round fired within its fragmentation range is likely to be more 'destructive', or 'lethal', than a non-expanding, non-fragmenting round under the same conditions.

    Pistols are less effective stoppers than rifles, regardless of the whole .45 vs 9mm debate. With a pistol, shot placement is even more important. If limited to ball ammo in a pistol, the advantage of the higher firepower of the 9mm vs the higher energy of the .45 will have to be weighted against one another. More rounds, or bigger bullets? Both will penetrate, without expanding, since we are only using ball ammo. So, what's better? A greater number of .38 inch diameter (9mm) non-expanding bullets, or a lower number of .45 caliber non-expanding bullets? 'Tis the great question.

    Bullet expansion was used to great effect before the advent of smokeless powder, when the bullets were made of lead. They expanded quite effectively. Then, when higher velocities required copper jackets over the lead bullets, they had to be redesigned to expand. Right around this time was when the whole "Hague / Geneva" happened, and, here we are! Weeeee :)
     
  11. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    For a great piece of reporting on the development of the AR and 5.56/.223 round, check out CJ Chiver's book The Gun. The topic of the book is the development of the AK, but he spends a chapter or two on the AR and its development.

    Suffice it to say, the DoD had the expectation of spectacular wounding/lethality when it moved towards the 5.56 round, with claims of traumatic amputations, etc. They did NOT think it was a wound-not-kill round.
     
  12. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, if you do some reading, one big constant issue for US troops was running out of ammo. Second was that we have never had across the board excellent weapons, with a few exceptions. The M1 at the beginning of WWII, the Abrams tank and various aircraft.
     
  13. kwguy

    kwguy Member

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    As far as the 'resolution of combat conflicts' nowadays, nobody 'shoots to wound'. The constraints and restrictions under which the military operates falls to the leadership. Leadership starts at the top, and the overall mission and rules come from the top, not from that Captain or Lieutenant or Sergeant crouched down behind that wall trying to call in an airstrike. The small arms that they are using at that point is an extremely small part of that particular equation.

    But, to keep to the topic, if I could only have 1 rifle round, it would be 7.62 NATO. I would just wish it were lighter, and that I could carry more. If I could have just 1 pistol round, it would be .45 HP, and again, just wish it were lighter and that I could carry more. But I can definitely live with 5.56 and 9mm.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  14. gym

    gym member

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    I carry a 45 and a 9mm. They are my 2 primary choices for anything that requires a pistol. If I can't get it done with with either, you need a rifle or shotgun. For normal distances under 300 yards a 223/556 is fine, for 3-600 yards a 308 is best. If you are going out further "like a 1000 yards or more, then a 338 lapua. That should about cover it, the 9mm is easier to get 3 or 4 shots off faster than the 45, the 45 is a better stopper if you shoot well. It's you choice. My first shot with a pistol will determine if the recipient is able to shoot back, if so then I failed in stopping him from returning fire, and it's a shoot out.
     
  15. JohnBiltz

    JohnBiltz Member

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    Well I notice that the Soviets went into Afghanistan with 7.62 and got handed their lunch. So I would say there is more to war than caliber.

    For the Brits if your ammo is named ethical I'd say that it should have been named ineffective instead.

    Suppressive fire is used to beat down enemy fire by forcing them to keep there heads down and making their fires ineffective. Once fire superiority is gained and they are suppressed they can be maneuvered on and you can close with the enemy and destroy them. Suppressive fire requires a lot of ammo. 1,000 rounds of 5.56 weighs about 25 pounds depending, 1,000 rounds of NATO 7.62 weighs about 62 pounds. The average grunt is probably carrying over a hundred pounds of weapons and gear now. A load the Roman Legionnaires probably would have mutinied over.
     
  16. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Please note, I didn't comment on whether the 5.56 was designed to wound rather than kill for whatever reason, or whether a soldier should seek to wound his enemy counterpart rather than kill him. I only pointed out that the logistical challenge of dealing with the wounded is far greater than that of dealing with the dead, and that conducting successful logistics operations and disrupting those of the enemy wins wars.
     
  17. Ed N.

    Ed N. Member

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    A few years ago at work I was having a conversation with a reservist Army officer who had done a couple of tours in Iraq. While there, he worked with some combined forces. He told me that the Iraqi forces, shooting the 7.62, had a higher percentage of single shot kills. Our forces, using the 5.56, were shooting 3-round bursts to get approximately the same effectiveness that could be had with a single round of 7.62.

    Now this was close range fighting, FWIW. His guys were doing close combat, often inside buildings, trying to take out some high-value bad guys.

    Personally, though, I have no worries about the stopping power of my AR. I'm not as constrained in ammo choice as the military, and at any range I'm likely to need my rifle I believe a JHP round will be very effective.
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Without dragging this latest installment of the most tired argument in the history of gun boards off into the weeds even further...

    The reasons we are "not winning" wars these days has NOTHING WHAT SO EVER to do with what equipment our troops are carrying, nor with the quality of soldiers, officers, and general staff we put out in the field. Nothing at all. And focusing on any aspect of the nuts and bolts of how our military operates today as opposed to in other decades as some reason for why we don't achieve unconditional victory, as we became used to in the early 20th Century wars, indicates a quite limited understanding of history and world politics.

    We simply do not fight the same kinds of wars with the same kinds of objectives, against the same kinds of enemies, and with anything like a fraction of the investment of our society into the effort as were present during WWI and II. We engage in limited wars now to achieve non-concrete goals which cannot be measured by definitive metrics. We fight groups and movements and even ideas across multiple countries, and often quite selectively choose who we claim to be on our side and who is opposed sometimes regardless of their behavior.

    These are not things that extra 2.06 mm of bullet diameter would do a whole lot to negate. :scrutiny:

    (And if you feel we are "not winning" wars these days, I encourage you to make a much deeper study of the current and recent conflicts -- not just what the news tells you. As we redefine what and how war is fought, we redefine our objectives, and we must evaluate "winning" and "losing" from a pragmatic, rather than a nominal, view.)
     
  19. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    I picked Other, because I go with the predominant police calibers in my area; 5.56mm and .40 S&W, even though I am not police.
     
  20. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    The M16, according to the report that led to its adoption, had more lethality than the 7.62x51mm.

    Anyone who thinks we can perform a total war on an enemy we cannot identify, without fixed support structures, and without any locatable government, knows little about war, and even less about our current conflict.

    John
     
  21. mastiffhound

    mastiffhound Member

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    JohnBiltz said:


    I thought the Soviets were using 5.45x39? The poison dart/bullet as the Mujahideen called it, I thought they were the ones using 7.62x39? The Soviets did use 7.62x54 in their light machine guns and DMRs I think though. It's just what I can remember from the 80's, which is less and less each day.
     
  22. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    You live in one of only about 5 states where rifles are legal, and 223 is not. Even Wyoming, where deer are much larger has now allowed the 223. With bullets designed for deer it is a devastating round. The failures seen with 223 are when used with varmit bullets. Shoot deer with varmit bullets through a 300 mag and you will see failures.

    The current 5.56 and 9mm are the best choice for 95% of the situations our troops find themselves in. While a 7.62X51 round would be a better choice in very limited sitations it makes no sense to issue rifles that would be a disadvantage most of the time and be of some advantage in rare cases.

    In regards to 9mm vs 45. Despite all the chest pounding I have NEVER, NEVER, seen a single test, study, or research of any type that showed 45 to be more than marginally better, and when it comes to barrier penetration 9mm beats it easily with FMJ ammo. There is no debating that in equal size guns 9mm holds roughly 2X the ammo.
     
  23. r1derbike

    r1derbike Member

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    I carry a .45 and my long gun eats MK262 Mod1 5.56 for HD, XM193 for practice/plinking, Ranger Ts in the XD-S .45. Life is good.
     
  24. River Wraith

    River Wraith Member

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    I think magazine capacity is more important than caliber...just sayin.
     
  25. kwguy

    kwguy Member

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    Everyone knows that if you hit a guy in the pinky finger with a .45, he will go down instantly and the shock wave will make his head explode, but a center mass hit with a 9mm will just make you a little annoyed!:rolleyes:
     
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