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The M855 and what it really does

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by horatius, Mar 17, 2006.

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  1. horatius

    horatius Member

    Mar 13, 2006
    Gentleman, I've come across several threads and there seemed to be some misconceptions about terminal ballistics and wounding effects. First, Dr. Martin Fackler’s research at the international wound ballistics assn. shows that the terminal effects of an M193 and a M855 round are exactly the same. Second, the wounding mechanism of lightweight, high velocity rounds such as the SS109 / M855 is from fragmenting, not tumbling. Any bullet with a pointed nose will tumble when it changes medium because its center of gravity is to the rear. A 7.62mm bullet, regardless of its case length, creates a greater permanent wound cavity than its diameter through tumbling, not fragmenting. Fragmentation occurs when a bullet is going very fast, changes medium and explodes. This is what happens to a 5.56mm round when it is going faster than 2700 fps. For a 20” barrel, this is inside 100m. Between 100m and 200m or 2700 – 2500 fps, the bullet splits in half - slightly less fragmentation. The notion that, “the bullet is going so fast that it punches right through,” is completely wrong. Bullets penetrate well when they are going slow enough to maintain their shape. That is why maximum penetration for an M855 round is at 200m. This is where the bullet no longer breaks up. Look up the penetration tables in the M16A2 FMFM and you will see.
    The next misconception is that 5.56mm is ineffective. According to Fackler, the 5.56mm bullet does considerably more damage than a 7.62mm bullet within its design envelope. People rant about 7.62 being so effective but the only people who shoot it are snipers and machine gunners. The later employ multiple hits while the former have excellent shot placement. The soviets switched from the 7.62 x 39mm round to the 5.45mm round 30 YEARS AGO. What else needs to be said about the effectiveness of fragmenting bullets at short-range? Also, one can carry twice as much ammo.
    The last bit is what happens to someone when he is shot. To kill someone means to destroy his central nervous system. Period. It is only when this happens that someone is physiologically incapacitated, i.e. it is not possible for him to do anything. The two ways to accomplish this are by destroying the CNS with bullets or through blood loss. When we shoot someone anywhere but through the brain stem and or cerebellum, we are just causing his body to lose enough blood so that his brain will die. According to Dr. Ken Neward, if you shoot someone through the aorta, the fastest he will bleed to death is 4.5 seconds. This does not take into account that when one is full of adrenaline, the body is doing everything it can to prevent death through blood loss. Thus, when people get shot, they don’t always fall down. In fact, one can run pretty far in 4.5 seconds. Why do some people fall down after they are shot anothers keep going? The targets mental state is the single most important factor. Dr. Newgard wrote that for small arms, it is impossible to create a one shot stopper.
    Another issue is how many times the subject was actually shot. We’ve all heard people say, “I shot that guy 5 times and he didn’t drop.” Well, did you count the bullet holes? No. Then you didn’t hit him 5 times. Maybe 3 times. And as we see from Newgard’s work – if he ran a bit and then fell, that makes sense. Point is that he eventually died.
    The 5.56mm is great, shot placement is everything and against dedicated opponents, they don’t drop after one shot. If the enemy is close enough that you need him to die inside 4.5 seconds, shoot him in the head.
  2. Creeping Incrementalism

    Creeping Incrementalism Member

    Sep 1, 2005
    S.F. Bay Area
    A few refinements

    You only get fragmentation from tumbling.

    The teminal effects of M193 and M855 aren't the same, though similar. I think some AR15.com people said M855 isn't consistent with fragmentation, and also, as it's heavier, it loses its ability to fragment at shorter distances than M193..

    The Russians switched to 5.45 mostly because the Americans were doing it. And they made a bullet that tumbles, but Russian bullets always seem to have thicker jackets than others, so they don't fragment. The Afghanis called it the poison bullet because it took days to kill them, not seconds.
  3. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

    Mar 12, 2003
    western Washington
    since you're adamant enough to post this in several forums, i gotta ask, who are you arguing with? unless you're in the military and actually shooting people with these rounds why does it matter so much? you and i will most likely never shoot anyone with M855 or M193. and even if we were in the military, we wouldn't get a choice in the matter anyway. since we're not limited to military rounds, i'm much rather use a 64 grain soft point for defense. but since i'm a cheapskate, i buy surplus ADCOM M855 because i don't care about its terminal ballistics on humans because i only shoot paper and clay pigeons and the like. it kill pigeons just fine. its a fun academic debate, but in reality, for us civvies, it just don't matter. shoot what makes you happy and let others shoot what makes them happy.

  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Centennial, CO
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