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ssfeldjager
02-19-2010, 18:08
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/02/marine_SOST_ammo_021510w/

Corps to use more lethal ammo in Afghanistan

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 16, 2010 9:29:10 EST

The Marine Corps is dropping its conventional 5.56mm ammunition in Afghanistan in favor of new deadlier, more accurate rifle rounds, and could field them at any time.

The open-tipped rounds until now have been available only to Special Operations Command troops. The first 200,000 5.56mm Special Operations Science and Technology rounds are already downrange with Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command. Commonly known as “SOST” rounds, they were legally cleared for Marine use by the Pentagon in late January, according to Navy Department documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.

SOCom developed the new rounds for use with the Special Operations Force Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, which needed a more accurate bullet because its short barrel, at 13.8 inches, is less than an inch shorter than the M4 carbine’s. Using an open-tip match round design common with some sniper ammunition, SOST rounds are designed to be “barrier blind,” meaning they stay on target better than existing M855 rounds after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects.

Compared to the M855, SOST rounds also stay on target longer in open air and have increased stopping power through “consistent, rapid fragmentation which shortens the time required to cause incapacitation of enemy combatants,” according to Navy Department documents. At 62 grains, they weigh about the same as most NATO rounds, have a typical lead core with a solid copper shank and are considered a variation of Federal Cartridge Co.’s Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round, which was developed for big-game hunting and is touted in a company news release for its ability to crush bone.

The Corps purchased a “couple million” SOST rounds as part of a joint $6 million, 10.4-million-round buy in September — enough to last the service several months in Afghanistan, Brogan said. Navy Department documents say the Pentagon will launch a competition worth up to $400 million this spring for more SOST ammunition.

“This round was really intended to be used in a weapon with a shorter barrel, their SCAR carbines,” Brogan said. “But because of its blind-to-barrier performance, its accuracy improvements and its reduced muzzle flash, those are attractive things that make it also useful to general purpose forces like the Marine Corps and Army.”

M855 problems
The standard Marine round, the M855, was developed in the 1970s and approved as an official NATO round in 1980. In recent years, however, it has been the subject of widespread criticism from troops, who question whether it has enough punch to stop oncoming enemies.

In 2002, shortcomings in the M855’s performance were detailed in a report by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Ind., according to Navy Department documents. Additional testing in 2005 showed shortcomings. The Pentagon issued a request to industry for improved ammunition the following year. Federal Cartridge was the only company to respond.

Brogan said the Corps has no plans to remove the M855 from the service’s inventory at this time. However, the service has determined it “does not meet USMC performance requirements” in an operational environment in which insurgents often lack personal body armor, but engage troops through “intermediate barriers” such as windshields and car doors at security checkpoints, according to a Jan. 25 Navy Department document clearing Marines to use the SOST round.

The document, signed by J.R. Crisfield, director of the Navy Department International and Operational Law Division, is clear on the recommended course of action for the 5.56mm SOST round, formally known as MK318 MOD 0 enhanced 5.56mm ammunition.

“Based on the significantly improved performance of the MK318 MOD 0 over the M855 against virtually every anticipated target array in Afghanistan and similar combat environments where increased accuracy, better effects behind automobile glass and doors, consistent terminal performance and reduced muzzle flash are critical to mission accomplishment, USMC would treat the MK318 MOD 0 as its new 5.56mm standard issue cartridge,” Crisfield wrote.

The original plan called for the SOST round to be used specifically within the M4 carbine, which has a 14½-inch barrel and is used by tens of thousands of Marines in military occupational specialties such as motor vehicle operator where the M16A4’s longer barrel can be cumbersome. Given its benefits, however, Marine officials decided also to adopt SOST for the M16A4, which has a 20-inch barrel and is used by most of the infantry.

Incorporating SOST
In addition to operational benefits, SOST rounds have similar ballistics to the M855 round, meaning Marines will not have to adjust to using the new ammo, even though it is more accurate.

“It does not require us to change our training,” Brogan said. “We don’t have to change our aim points or modify our training curriculum. We can train just as we have always trained with the 855 round, so right now, there is no plan to completely remove the 855 from inventory.”

Marine officials in Afghanistan could not be reached for comment, but Brogan said commanders with MEB-A are authorized to issue SOST ammo to any subordinate command. Only one major Marine 5.56mm weapon system downrange will not use SOST: the M249 squad automatic weapon. Though the new rounds fit the SAW, they are not currently produced in the linked fashion commonly employed with the light machine gun, Brogan said.

SOCom first fielded the SOST round in April, said Air Force Maj. Wesley Ticer, a spokesman for the command. It also fielded a cousin — MK319 MOD 0 enhanced 7.62mm SOST ammo — designed for use with the SCAR-Heavy, a powerful 7.62mm battle rifle. SOCom uses both kinds of ammunition in all of its geographic combatant commands, Ticer said.

The Corps has no plans to buy 7.62mm SOST ammunition, but that could change if operational commanders or infantry requirements officers call for it in the future, Brogan said.

It is uncertain how long the Corps will field the SOST round. Marine officials said last summer that they took interest in it after the M855A1 lead-free slug in development by the Army experienced problems during testing, but Brogan said the service is still interested in the environmentally friendly round if it is effective. Marine officials also want to see if the price of the SOST round drops once in mass production. The price of an individual round was not available, but Brogan said SOST ammo is more expensive than current M855 rounds.

“We have to wait and see what happens with the Army’s 855LFS round,” he said. “We also have to get very good cost estimates of where these [SOST] rounds end up in full-rate, or serial production. Because if it truly is going to remain more expensive, then we would not want to buy that round for all of our training applications.”

Legal concerns
Before the SOST round could be fielded by the Corps, it had to clear a legal hurdle: approval that it met international law of war standards.

The process is standard for new weapons and weapons systems, but it took on added significance because of the bullet’s design. Open-tip bullets have been approved for use by U.S. forces for decades, but are sometimes confused with hollow-point rounds, which expand in human tissue after impact, causing unnecessary suffering, according to widely accepted international treaties signed following the Hague peace conventions held in the Netherlands in 1899 and 1907.

“We need to be very clear in drawing this distinction: This is not a hollow-point round, which is not permitted,” Brogan said. “It has been through law of land warfare review and has passed that review so that it meets the criteria of not causing unnecessary pain and suffering.”

The open-tip/hollow-point dilemma has been addressed several times by the military, including in 1990, when the chief of the Judge Advocate General International Law Branch, now-retired Marine Col. W. Hays Parks, advised that the open-tip M852 Sierra MatchKing round preferred by snipers met international law requirements. The round was kept in the field.

In a 3,000-word memorandum to Army Special Operations Command, Parks said “unnecessary suffering” and “superfluous injury” have not been formally defined, leaving the U.S. with a “balancing test” it must conduct to assess whether the usage of each kind of rifle round is justified.

“The test is not easily applied,” Parks said. “For this reason, the degree of ‘superfluous injury’ must … outweigh substantially the military necessity for the weapon system or projectile.”

John Cerone, an expert in the law of armed conflict and professor at the New England School of Law, said the military’s interpretation of international law is widely accepted. It is understood that weapons cause pain in war, and as long as there is a strategic military reason for their employment, they typically meet international guidelines, he said.

“In order to fall within the prohibition, a weapon has to be designed to cause unnecessary suffering,” he said.

Sixteen years after Parks issued his memo, an Army unit in Iraq temporarily banned the open-tip M118 long-range used by snipers after a JAG officer mistook it for hollow-tip ammunition, according to a 2006 Washington Times report. The decision was overturned when other Army officials were alerted.

javelinadave
02-19-2010, 18:17
In a 3,000-word memorandum to Army Special Operations Command, Parks said “unnecessary suffering” and “superfluous injury” have not been formally defined, leaving the U.S. with a “balancing test” it must conduct to assess whether the usage of each kind of rifle round is justified.

Are the roadside bombs that these clowns use against us and their own tested as to not cause "unnecessary suffering” and “superfluous injury"? Black Jack Pershing had it right as to how to deal with this.

RedHaze
02-19-2010, 18:19
We'll test it on pigs, just like we test everything else...

Reb 56
02-19-2010, 20:56
I don't think we signed the Hague Convention treaty, and war has changed since then. If the Police can use JHP against their own citizens then it seems foolish to use less effective FMJ against terrorists.

WarMachine
02-19-2010, 22:43
Getting shot by any rifle round is going to be an awful experience. I don't understand why there's regulation attempting to control what that level of "awfulness" is.

How will a hollowpoint round cause more suffering than FMJ? I'd be interested in any links explaining the rationale behind this idea.

RMTactical
02-20-2010, 15:13
Sounds interesting. I am eager to hear how this works out for them. Hopefully it goes well.

lawman800
02-20-2010, 15:21
Getting shot by any rifle round is going to be an awful experience. I don't understand why there's regulation attempting to control what that level of "awfulness" is.

How will a hollowpoint round cause more suffering than FMJ? I'd be interested in any links explaining the rationale behind this idea.

Just use a 10mm, instant disintegration of all living things within a 5 mile radius and fallout guaranteed to kill those within 20 miles of the wind pattern.

Max1775
02-20-2010, 15:29
Just use a 10mm, instant disintegration of all living things within a 5 mile radius and fallout guaranteed to kill those within 20 miles of the wind pattern.


:rofl:

In all seriousness though, the military is in desperate need of a more lethal round. I hope this is it. I still am a huge fan of the 7.62. Extra weight is worth it in my opinion.

Reb 56
02-20-2010, 20:24
5.56 is not a very good man stopper out of the short barreled M4. 5.56 main strong point was velocity in a 20" 1/12 twist.
I think 7.62 would be more effective at longer range and through barriers. I know the common wisdom is being able to hump more ammo and with the M4 or M16 and you need it.
The M14 was a great weapon in semi-auto in my opinion was phased out of service too soon.

lawman800
02-20-2010, 20:38
Here's a thought... why settle for the 5.56x45mm or go with the too big and heavy 7.62x51mm? The perfect compromise round has been in use for a long time... ready?

7.62x39mm

Been in use for over 70 years, everyone can carry copious amounts of it, even little VC fighters wearing tire carcass sandals in the jungle, not that accurate, but neither are most soldiers, not much recoil, very lethal compared to a 5.56 and easier to shoot than the 7.62Nato.

Just get over the fact that it's invented by a commie and that every bad nation is using it and we'll be just fine. Also, imagine how much easier it is for our soldiers to scavenge supplies abroad now that we can take them off the foreign fighters anytime we kill one.

GIockGuy24
02-20-2010, 20:43
That's only in Afghanistan, not overall.

NEOH212
02-20-2010, 20:58
If they stayed with the 7.62X51 cartridge, we wouldn't be discussing ammunition effectiveness. The military needs to go back to it.

lawman800
02-20-2010, 21:46
That's only in Afghanistan, not overall.

Pretty much every bad nation uses the 7.62x39 cartridge, we can keep our 50BMG and 7.62NATO for our LMG and sniper applications but go to the proven killer for infantry.

Scott_F
02-20-2010, 21:57
I'm glad they're giving our guys any advantage we can find.

RM
02-21-2010, 05:43
If they stayed with the 7.62X51 cartridge, we wouldn't be discussing ammunition effectiveness. The military needs to go back to it.

I have actually seen more guys shot with 7.62x51, since 240s are one of the primary killing tools out there, and it doesn't really do much more than a 5.56 hit.

Max1775
02-21-2010, 10:20
I have actually seen more guys shot with 7.62x51, since 240s are one of the primary killing tools out there, and it doesn't really do much more than a 5.56 hit.


I know you have been in the middle of it and glad you're still in one piece, but I have to disagree. Having the unfortunate circumstance of having used both, I would take the 7.62 over the 5.56 any day. FMJ rounds act similarly when hitting flesh, but it is the weight and ability to penetrate that makes the 7.62 a superior round in my opinion.

lawman800
02-21-2010, 10:52
Like I say... 10mm FTW!!!11!1!!111!!! ZOMG!!!!1111!1

KalashniKEV
02-21-2010, 13:15
not that accurate, but neither are most soldiers, not much recoil, very lethal compared to a 5.56 and easier to shoot than the 7.62Nato.

It's not that "the round isn't that accurate" in it's dimensions, it's that the factories that make it don't have tight QC. If we made 7.62x39mm ammunition to the same standard we make 5.56, it would be very accurate. Just look at the Lapua stuff (or not, b/c there isn't any around). The stuff we do make in 7.62x39mm for the commercial market usually has a .308 bullet as well rather than the correct .311.


Just get over the fact that it's invented by a commie and that every bad nation is using it and we'll be just fine.

All nations coming out of WWII knew that a .30 intermediate cartridge was "the answer."

We prefer to remake it a bit in the form of 6.8x43mm, but this is still closer to optimal.


Also, imagine how much easier it is for our soldiers to scavenge supplies abroad now that we can take them off the foreign fighters anytime we kill one.

Are we talking about the GWOT or Mad Max here? :rofl:

lawman800
02-21-2010, 14:04
Are we talking about the GWOT or Mad Max here? :rofl:

Does it matter at that point?:whistling:

RM
02-21-2010, 15:12
I know you have been in the middle of it and glad you're still in one piece, but I have to disagree. Having the unfortunate circumstance of having used both, I would take the 7.62 over the 5.56 any day. FMJ rounds act similarly when hitting flesh, but it is the weight and ability to penetrate that makes the 7.62 a superior round in my opinion.

True that 7.62 has better penetration on cars. But barrier material you see in AFG and IZ, generally is too thick to make much of a difference. In AFG the houses and compound walls are often 4 or more feet thick and they can shrug off SMAW rounds.

There were numerous cases in IZ, of 25mm bushmasters not giving adequate penetration.

lawman800
02-21-2010, 15:39
True that 7.62 has better penetration on cars. But barrier material you see in AFG and IZ, generally is too thick to make much of a difference. In AFG the houses and compound walls are often 4 or more feet thick and they can shrug off SMAW rounds.

There were numerous cases in IZ, of 25mm bushmasters not giving adequate penetration.

Isn't that what mortars, arty, and air strikes are for?:whistling:

There is no such thing as overkill, just kill or be killed.

Max1775
02-21-2010, 15:58
True that 7.62 has better penetration on cars. But barrier material you see in AFG and IZ, generally is too thick to make much of a difference. In AFG the houses and compound walls are often 4 or more feet thick and they can shrug off SMAW rounds.

There were numerous cases in IZ, of 25mm bushmasters not giving adequate penetration.


I understand your point now on barrier material. Unfortunately I don't think there is an easy solution to that with a shoulder-fired weapon that can be used for CQC. We need a damn Star-Wars weapon for that.

CW Mock
02-21-2010, 16:09
The answer lies in 10mm explosive tipped caseless.

M41A and M56A2 platforms should do. If that can't cut it, nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

AK_Stick
02-21-2010, 18:47
Pretty much every bad nation uses the 7.62x39 cartridge, we can keep our 50BMG and 7.62NATO for our LMG and sniper applications but go to the proven killer for infantry.


I've seen WAY more wounded and live with 7.62x39mm than I have with 5.56.

7.62x39 tends to just make little holes and not much else. 5.56 will reliably tumble, unless you're shooting WAY out there.

7.62x39 also tends to have the trajectory of a rainbow, and a accuracy from it is all but unheard of. Pretty much every person I've seen hit COM with 5.56 balled up and died within a few feet of getting hit.

lawman800
02-22-2010, 04:12
Rainbows are cool. So are unicorns.

Bren
02-22-2010, 07:49
Here's a thought... why settle for the 5.56x45mm or go with the too big and heavy 7.62x51mm? The perfect compromise round has been in use for a long time... ready?

7.62x39mm


I agree. I think the 7.62x39 is just about a perfect assault rifle round. It's major drawback, IMO, has always been the crappy weapons designed for it. I'd love to have a 7.62x39 M4/AR or any other design that isn't SKS/AK.

KalashniKEV
02-22-2010, 07:58
I agree. I think the 7.62x39 is just about a perfect assault rifle round. It's major drawback, IMO, has always been the crappy weapons designed for it. I'd love to have a 7.62x39 M4/AR or any other design that isn't SKS/AK.

A 7.62x39 M4 would be problematic b/c of the combination of the dirtiest production ammo on earth with... I'll just say the world's most hard to clean gas system/ chamber area. This could perhaps be a fatal combination.

You would probably also need a tougher hammer spring, as w/ the 5.45 ARs.

I think it's easier to overcome the AKs shortcomings (short sight radius, not so great mounting options for optics, bad ammo, too much F/A fire w/o a barrel change, usually operated by a jackass) than it is to adapt the M4 to fire 7.62x39. The magwell is another issue.

With the flatter shooting 5.45 guns and a good setup as far as optic/mount, most people can't believe the accuracy potential.

It's not like Eugene Stoner sprinkles magical fairy dust on every AR to make it so great, it's:

1) Sights
2) Ammo

lawman800
02-22-2010, 21:13
A 7.62x39 M4 would be problematic b/c of the combination of the dirtiest production ammo on earth with... I'll just say the world's most hard to clean gas system/ chamber area. This could perhaps be a fatal combination.

You would probably also need a tougher hammer spring, as w/ the 5.45 ARs.

I think it's easier to overcome the AKs shortcomings (short sight radius, not so great mounting options for optics, bad ammo, too much F/A fire w/o a barrel change, usually operated by a jackass) than it is to adapt the M4 to fire 7.62x39. The magwell is another issue.

With the flatter shooting 5.45 guns and a good setup as far as optic/mount, most people can't believe the accuracy potential.

It's not like Eugene Stoner sprinkles magical fairy dust on every AR to make it so great, it's:

1) Sights
2) Ammo

I am sure someone like HK, Sig or FN can come up with a piston type modular weapon (SCAR, HK416, Sig 556) that shoots the 7.62Russian just fine. Like a previous poster said, if we made the ammo to our specs, it would be fine. It's the commie QC that made the surplus ammo so crappy.

Max1775
02-22-2010, 21:46
Hell give me a Springfield Socom-16 for just about anything, I'll keep my 7.62x51...

Mike5560
02-23-2010, 09:18
I'm ok with the 5.56, and it's not at all correllated to my username.

77 grain is much improved over M193 and M855...unfortunately it's not available to enough units yet.

Most people I know who say they want a 7.62 weapon and end up carrying it eventually want to go back. From a soldier standpoint, every ounce you carry in front of you while wearing body armor adds up. I think it's worth it to suck it up and carry it if it's an overwatch mission, however.

7.62x39 would be ok if we could carry hollowpoints, other than that its not worth reinventing a new gun for, only to have a not so flat trajectory.

6.5 or 6.8 would be my wish.....:yawn:

thunderinms
02-23-2010, 13:59
Maybe M855 will get cheaper???

marvin
02-23-2010, 17:39
we never signed the Hauge treaty. I think it's time we treat the terrorist's like the crimnals and thugs they are. try something like the barnes 70 grain triple shock, great expansion with good penetration. put them down fast and for good.

lawman800
02-23-2010, 20:25
we never signed the Hauge treaty. I think it's time we treat the terrorist's like the crimnals and thugs they are. try something like the barnes 70 grain triple shock, great expansion with good penetration. put them down fast and for good.

Forget regular hunting or match ammo. I say we use the incendiary or exploding tip rounds. Heck, just give us some airburst or daisy bombs and wipe them all out once and for all. Shock and awe, overwhelming force, complete annihilation, total war, burn everything down to the ground, kill everything within 10 square miles, every insect, bird, roach, plant, bacteria, virus, everything.

For something like that, I recommend one 10mm strike. No more worries.

MakeMineA10mm
03-13-2010, 11:59
We did not sign the Hague Convention, but over the years we've abdicated a lot of our autonomy and thanks to the radical liberalization of the world press, we have to worry about "public opinion" that is generally formed by (or at least attempted to be) by that left-wing press. Therefore, heaven-forbid we use more effective ammo and be subject to scorn and ridicule on the world stage by a bunch of pink-panties-wearing reporters and George Soros elitists...

Now that I got my rant out of the way... :supergrin:

The one cogent argument I've heard for following the Hague Convention was that we should abide by it, lest our boys would suffer wounds from our enemies who would begin to ignore it, as soon as we did... Well, that decision was made for us in the 1960s. (And, the Soviets did follow suit - the 5.45 Soviet's bullet is designed with a hollow cavity inside the FMJ jacket, so that the bullet will tumble immediately upon hitting something soft - like a body...)

The original M193 5.56 round would tumble and come apart at the cannelure creating quite a messy wound tract(s). And, if that didn't do it, how about a full-auto burst at close range from a Colt Commando? (Shorter barrel prevented some/most of the tumbling and fragmenting, but how pleasant were the 3-10 separate wound tracts??)

Even the M855 - sold as being mainly a penetrator - is likewise a round that tends to break in two and cause dual, tumbling wound tracts. (Rather than breaking at the cannelure, it tends to break in two where the two different core materials meet.)

We also went to an "Open Tip" bullet for the military in the 70s/80s in 9mm. - How many have forgotten that 147gr JHPs were invented for the military? SOCOM - before it was SOCOM - wanted a round that would be "full-power" but subsonic to fire through their MP5SDs when they were doing hostage recovery on things like airplanes. (Remember the hijackings in the 70s??? They had a huge impact on ballistics, didn't they? Kind of odd/funny when you think about it...) When 147gr FMJs seemed to have no stopping power, they asked and got approval for the JHP version of the bullet, but it was limited to anti-terrorist (non-war) operations, because it would violate the Hague Convention... (Remember who was in office in the late 70s?)

Anywho - call it a "match" "Open-Tip Match" "Special Barrier Penetrator" or whatever, but as long as it's an expanding and fragmenting bullet, it'll bring the 5.56mm up to a high level of lethality than it really should get credit for.

Again, we're trying to solve performance issues, successfully - but only within a relatively narrow range of performance. Look at the history/time-line:

1. M193 can't penetrate armor (helmets and flak jackets), so develop the M855.

2. M855 loses it's lethality when fired from short-barrelled M-4s, so develop the 77gr rounds that rely on bullet weight instead of velocity for their killing mechanism.

3. M855 / 77gr don't do well on non-armored, tactical barriers (car doors, window glass, etc.), so now we've got the Mk318 SOST.

The problem here is that we're saddled with the 5.56 round, because we've crammed it down NATO's throat, and no one has the money to convert their entire inventory over to a new round, and the non-US parts of NATO would have conniptions if we told them to change rounds again... So, we're left to tweaking the 5.56.

The real solution was available back in the 50s. The 280 British EM-2. And, yes, now that we're 50 years down-range from that development, we've re-invented it, in a way that it will fit in our current weapons, so economically, it's just a retro-fit, rather than whole conversion to all-new weapons. Unfortunately, it looks like the military-industrial complex have killed it, because it was invented by the end-user, and so lucrative profits from expensive "development and testing" work were not there... Too bad. The 6.8 really had potential as a military round. Good trajectory, low recoil, good terminal ballistics, and easy conversion of weapons and web gear.

Kentak
03-13-2010, 12:47
Heck, I'm still using M193 style 55 gr ammo.

Is 855 considered more lethal than 193? I know the 855 has the steel insert, but how do they stack up against soft targets?

Never mind. MakeMine did a good job of summarizing. Thanks.

crazymoose
03-13-2010, 13:42
The real question is why there's so much resistance to the 6.8mm. Not a whole lot more recoil than the 5.56mm, vastly superior barrier penetration, and it has superior terminal ballistics over even the 7.62x51 within common engagement ranges.

MakeMineA10mm
03-13-2010, 15:06
The Americans, British, and Soviets spent a LOT of time, effort, and money studying the fluid nature of battle during WWII and the efficacy of the wide variety of weapons systems fielded by the belligerents.

The Soviets quickly developed the 7.62x39 M43 while the war was still on...

The Brits came up with the 280 for their EM-2 Bullpup. (A "systems" approach which looked at the rifle as well as the cartridge. Pretty advanced for the early 50's!)

Even the US considered intermediate cartridges and there was a study published that the vast majority of infantry combat was at 300 yards or less. BUT, the old-guard, long-range rifleman won out and instead of giving us an assault rifle with a low-recoil-impulse cartridge, we got the 7.62x51 and the M-14. As opposed to the bottom-up review and systems approach the Brits took, we stodgily accepted some mechanical (gas system) and firepower (detachable, high-capacity box magazine) evolutionary improvements to the M-1 Garand and shoved at least the cartridge, if not the rifle, down the throats of our "allies."

(Don't get me wrong, I love M-1 Garands and M-14s, but the M14 and the 7.62 NATO cartridge was not the smartest play we could have made at that time, and we're still dealing with the time-line of effects of that decision today.)

As opposed to a full-caliber (.300"+) Intermediate Cartridge, which I feel will always have EITHER too much recoil or too low velocity to be ideal for an assault rifle cartridge, the 6.8 SPC has enough velocity and bullet weight and caliber without being too much of a good thing to become uncontrollable in burst or full-auto fire. AND, it's mass and diameter mean it has qualitative terminal ballistics superior to the 5.56 BECAUSE it is not as dependent on either velocity (which puts restrictions on workable barrel lengths) or bullet construction (which, as I've discussed above, leaves us perpetually looking for a new bullet to solve the previous problem we had with the mini-caliber's terminal effects). Yes, the 6.8 IS heavier than the 5.56, but it's a helluva lot lighter than a 7.62 NATO or even a 7.62x39 (though that's marginally so).

My personal MBR set-up is a 6.8SPC AR, but I'm thinking hard about finding someone to convert my Sig556 to 6.8. Then, I'd have a Swiss over-built Kalishnikov which should be dang reliable, in my preferred caliber. Come on LOTTO!!! :supergrin:

vettely
03-13-2010, 22:52
I've seen WAY more wounded and live with 7.62x39mm than I have with 5.56.

7.62x39 tends to just make little holes and not much else. 5.56 will reliably tumble, unless you're shooting WAY out there.

7.62x39 also tends to have the trajectory of a rainbow, and a accuracy from it is all but unheard of. Pretty much every person I've seen hit COM with 5.56 balled up and died within a few feet of getting hit.
Good observation. The 5.56 doing what it was designed to do, tumble through meat.
Personally I like the fact you can carry alot more 5.56 than 7.62.

Reb 56
03-13-2010, 23:33
We did not sign the Hague Convention, but over the years we've abdicated a lot of our autonomy and thanks to the radical liberalization of the world press, we have to worry about "public opinion" that is generally formed by (or at least attempted to be) by that left-wing press. Therefore, heaven-forbid we use more effective ammo and be subject to scorn and ridicule on the world stage by a bunch of pink-panties-wearing reporters and George Soros elitists...

Now that I got my rant out of the way... :supergrin:

The one cogent argument I've heard for following the Hague Convention was that we should abide by it, lest our boys would suffer wounds from our enemies who would begin to ignore it, as soon as we did... Well, that decision was made for us in the 1960s. (And, the Soviets did follow suit - the 5.45 Soviet's bullet is designed with a hollow cavity inside the FMJ jacket, so that the bullet will tumble immediately upon hitting something soft - like a body...)
The original M193 5.56 round would tumble and come apart at the cannelure creating quite a messy wound tract(s). And, if that didn't do it, how about a full-auto burst at close range from a Colt Commando? (Shorter barrel prevented some/most of the tumbling and fragmenting, but how pleasant were the 3-10 separate wound tracts??)

Even the M855 - sold as being mainly a penetrator - is likewise a round that tends to break in two and cause dual, tumbling wound tracts. (Rather than breaking at the cannelure, it tends to break in two where the two different core materials meet.)

We also went to an "Open Tip" bullet for the military in the 70s/80s in 9mm. - How many have forgotten that 147gr JHPs were invented for the military? SOCOM - before it was SOCOM - wanted a round that would be "full-power" but subsonic to fire through their MP5SDs when they were doing hostage recovery on things like airplanes. (Remember the hijackings in the 70s??? They had a huge impact on ballistics, didn't they? Kind of odd/funny when you think about it...) When 147gr FMJs seemed to have no stopping power, they asked and got approval for the JHP version of the bullet, but it was limited to anti-terrorist (non-war) operations, because it would violate the Hague Convention... (Remember who was in office in the late 70s?)

Anywho - call it a "match" "Open-Tip Match" "Special Barrier Penetrator" or whatever, but as long as it's an expanding and fragmenting bullet, it'll bring the 5.56mm up to a high level of lethality than it really should get credit for.

Again, we're trying to solve performance issues, successfully - but only within a relatively narrow range of performance. Look at the history/time-line:

1. M193 can't penetrate armor (helmets and flak jackets), so develop the M855.

2. M855 loses it's lethality when fired from short-barrelled M-4s, so develop the 77gr rounds that rely on bullet weight instead of velocity for their killing mechanism.

3. M855 / 77gr don't do well on non-armored, tactical barriers (car doors, window glass, etc.), so now we've got the Mk318 SOST.

The problem here is that we're saddled with the 5.56 round, because we've crammed it down NATO's throat, and no one has the money to convert their entire inventory over to a new round, and the non-US parts of NATO would have conniptions if we told them to change rounds again... So, we're left to tweaking the 5.56.

The real solution was available back in the 50s. The 280 British EM-2. And, yes, now that we're 50 years down-range from that development, we've re-invented it, in a way that it will fit in our current weapons, so economically, it's just a retro-fit, rather than whole conversion to all-new weapons. Unfortunately, it looks like the military-industrial complex have killed it, because it was invented by the end-user, and so lucrative profits from expensive "development and testing" work were not there... Too bad. The 6.8 really had potential as a military round. Good trajectory, low recoil, good terminal ballistics, and easy conversion of weapons and web gear.


There it is 6.8 would be a improvement, but I think politics killed it for the Military.

trlcavscout
03-14-2010, 19:02
I dont have a problem with the 5.56, but like the article on military.com shows its more of a problem with the M4 in afghanistan. The shorter carbine is ok in Iraq, a good middle ground for CQ and mid range but falls short in the hills of Afghanistan. My M4 style AR even falls short coyote hunting compared to a 20" barrel. But in all reality the 5.56/223 has stacked up ALOT of victims.

Reb 56
03-14-2010, 23:02
The Military has been tweaking the M16 since Nam first different powders,then chrome lined chambers & barrels. Made a lot of improvements and the current M4's and M16's are better, more reliable and with the optics more accurate.
Still in my opinion it is time for a whole new weapon system, probably a piston Rifle with a bigger cartridge than the 5.56 I think we have taken the AR's about as far as we can.

MakeMineA10mm
03-14-2010, 23:21
Yes, and that's the essential point of my long-winded post above - the 5.56mm is marginal to good at killing and penetrating, as long as you use proper bullets (M855 or the Mk318) and shoot them at high velocity through a long-barreled rifle (20" minimum).

Even then, it lacks tactical penetration that would be present in a bigger caliber, but that's only a partial problem (because most other low-recoil, assault-rifle cartridges will have marginal tactical penetration compared to 30-06 M-2 AP).

The bigger problem is the need/insistence on choosing a short-barreled version of the rifle (regardless of it it's M-4 Carbine or XM177 Commando versions), which is aggravated by the the Stoner design (no folding-stock or no-stock version possible).

Firing the 5.56mm (in any guise - regardless of bullet) through a short barrel, and velocity begins to drop off rapidly. (Naturally, the shorter the barrel, the greater the velocity loss for any particular load.) With this reduced velocity, we get MUCH poorer terminal ballistics AND horrible tactical penetration. (Let's not even speak of barrier penetration...)

There's no way around this, other than going up in caliber; however, the ogre of required lower recoil for effective control in full-auto fire is a limiting factor. I believe penetration and terminal performance can be improved over the 5.56, and be created in a round that is flexible enough to work in short-barrels as well as be effective out to 300-600 yards.

I really like your point about the differences between Iraq and Afghanistan, but the differences are so great that they almost demand two different weapon systems. (Hence the SCAR-L & SCAR-H being developed - SOCOM has recognized the drastic differences possible in different battlefields.)


-


Reb - I agree whole-heartedly. IMO, a more-precision-made Kalashnikov, made lighter-weight, and changing the stock/overall layout so that the design has a more in-line quality (so as to reduce recoil). Careful balance is a must, because the AK has to be loose for it's legendary reliability, but tighter than typical so that it's accurate at ~500 yards. (I've found my Sig556 to be slightly finicky in the reliability category, but it hasn't been broken in yet. - I heard that Valmet had it figured out with an accurate but still reliable AK design, but I've not tested one.) Caliber, I would naturally pick the 6.8. Another nice benefit of the AK design - folding stock is no problem, so you can have a compact rifle with a longer barrel.

ducati
03-15-2010, 10:42
God Bless General Brogan, my old plt commander.

Jdog
03-15-2010, 11:13
5.56 is not a very good man stopper out of the short barreled M4.


yeah i mean they won't even let us use 5.56 to hunt deer cause it's a varmint round.
6.8 would be a good compromise.

Jdog
03-15-2010, 11:18
I dont have a problem with the 5.56, but like the article on military.com shows its more of a problem with the M4 in afghanistan. The shorter carbine is ok in Iraq, a good middle ground for CQ and mid range but falls short in the hills of Afghanistan. My M4 style AR even falls short coyote hunting compared to a 20" barrel. But in all reality the 5.56/223 has stacked up ALOT of victims.

yep might be a good fit to break out some of the old M1A surplus... retrofit them w/some good scopes and they wouldn't have to spend that much money looking at a whole new platform. Just throw them back in surplus after the Taliban thing ends

vettely
03-15-2010, 15:56
yep might be a good fit to break out some of the old M1A surplus... retrofit them w/some good scopes and they wouldn't have to spend that much money looking at a whole new platform. Just throw them back in surplus after the Taliban thing ends
Damn good idea, but it is much too logical and cost efficient to be implemented.

frank4570
03-16-2010, 10:41
I have thought for a quite a while that a pretty fast 6.5 or 6.8 would be the perfect round for the intended purpose. I base that on killing deer. Deer are not the same as humans, but they are a similar size. And can have similar attitudes, many do not die easily.

mpow66m
03-16-2010, 11:59
how about a ACR in 6.8 or 7.62x39?

Blitzer
03-16-2010, 12:47
Just use a 10mm, instant disintegration of all living things within a 5 mile radius and fallout guaranteed to kill those within 20 miles of the wind pattern.


Birdman .50 BMG nuke (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8927728783445897510#) :rofl:

jobob
03-18-2010, 01:47
The 5.56 is an excellent deer round, with the right bullet. It is also an effective man-stopper, with the right bullet. There is no urgent need to field an entirely new weapon system if this new loading works as intended. The 5.56 in a short barrel with the M855 round is marginal at best, but the ammo can be taylored to the gun.

The 7.62X39 would be the totally wrong way to go. The Soviets, after all, dropped it when they saw the effectiveness of our M193 in Vietnam. Both the 5.56 and 5.45 are much better CQB rounds than any 7.62. And, they are much better for long range accuracy, which is a major consideration in Afghanistan. This new round may just make the 5.56 M4 carbine the perfect all-round battle rifle for both CQB and long range engagements. If that's the case, why re-invent the wheel?

IIABDFI!

KalashniKEV
03-18-2010, 08:56
yep might be a good fit to break out some of the old M1A surplus... retrofit them w/some good scopes and they wouldn't have to spend that much money looking at a whole new platform. Just throw them back in surplus after the Taliban thing ends

My head aspode....

:wow:

We DID this way, way back in the beginning of the GWOT.

1) There are no M1As in surplus. Only M14s. The M1A is a commercial product made by Springfield Armory. An AAND refurb M14... is basically on par with a rack grade FAL.

2) They have been replaced by M110s. (Vastly superior)