M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round Accuracy

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As older green tipped 5.56mm supplies are dwindling, the Army has begun to use the new brown-tipped M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round for training as well as combat operations where it has been in use for a while. The round was used in the recent Camp Perry competition without any performance problems.

Army.mil reports

Harbison was happy with the performance of the EPR, with his scores showing that the Army’s newest general purpose round is accurate enough to go toe-to-toe in this competition with the best ammo that can be bought or hand-loaded.

“Using the Army’s newest general purpose ammo was not a hindrance in this competition,” Harbison said. “When I did my part, the M855A1 was right on target all week.”

“I don’t think I could have scored any higher if I was using match grade competition ammunition,” Harbison added.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • noob

    will this round ever be civilian legal? or is the double stacked cone tip considered AP?

    • zack991

      The only reason it would ever hit the market is because the military got tired of replace so many parts and weapons from being damaged. That and they couldnt give it way and only a fool would run that crappy round.

    • W

      i dont know why you would want it. there are plenty of superior civilian rounds available. look into black hills.

  • EpicSalutations
    • noob

      Colt must love it

  • fred
  • fred
    • W

      that was actually a decent link.

      There is another link within that one that provides a analysis of cost differences between the different 5.56 rounds. According to documentation, the M855A1 is cheaper than the Mk 262 and Mk318, which may be correct with the current DOD acquisition costs, though if those two rounds were mass produced like the M855, then I seriously doubt it.

      Thanks for posting that!

  • Big Daddy

    I read a lot about how much money has been spent trying to fix the M4, find a replacement, fix the ammo. Fix this, fix that, improve this, get rid of the M249 and replace it with the M27 in the Marines and the MK48 for the Army.

    I’ll take a step back here and look at the situation. I’m thinking about all the complaints about the 5.56mm round and all the M16/M4 issues. I will say I used the M16A1 in the US Army and it was a horrible weapon.

    So just sitting back and relaxing thinking one thing. If the Army had decided to switch to the 6.8mm SPC and just modified the M249s they already had and made new piston uppers for the M4/M16 lowers what would that have done?

    How much money would it have cost? Would it have eliminated some of the need for some re-introduced 7.62mm weapons? How much money would that have saved the Army?

    Now I am just asking a question.

    I would also wonder how the troops would respond to rifle squads made up of 6.8mm weapons. We all know it outperforms the 5.56mm in every way, that is undeniable.

    But how would that change the tactics of the light infantry. The fact that you only need a 16″ barrel to get MAX performance. So that would mean the SAW would be lighter. The M4 size 14.5″ barrel would work fine or even shorter without so much loss of velocity which is essential to the way the 5.56mm round performs.

    So I just wonder if the whole US Army said. We are switching to 6.8mm and are just simply putting piston uppers on all our AR type weapons. All new magazines will be made and issued. Front-line troops will get replacements first as they are made and/or rebuilt.

    Or lets say they decided to stay with the DI system. Just re-barrel, new bolt and new mags, maybe a new buffer and/or spring.

    I’m just saying how much money would that cost as opposed to all the money spent over the last 10 years trying to make this round and weapon work. They are pushing beyond the limits of what this system can accomplish in combat.

    I am just asking what would the 6.8mm do under the same circumstances and how would those combat troops respond to a weapon with a superior performing round in it.

    Do we (The USA) really care what NATO thinks, should we?

    • Zincorium

      I think the current rationale is based on two main ideas- first, that the infantry’s combat rifle just has to be ‘good enough’. No one is actually out-gunning us on an individual soldier level, and infantry superiority is a tiny part of any conflict we can foreseeably fight.

      Second, is that nothing clearly, unequivocally better has come along. The 6.8 ISN’T perfect, it’s heavier, has fewer rounds to a magazine, and has more recoil. If those weren’t important considerations, we’d be using 7.62 for all troops. The only question is how much of a tradeoff between extremes is justified considering the mission and how much we’ve invested in the caliber and platform already.

      As long as the dominant paradigm remains conventional cased ammunition in a piston or direct impingement box magazine fed infantry rifle, all you can do is chase after those last few tiny percentage points of efficiency and reliability while avoiding wastage of the huge amounts of money you’ve spent on training, parts, and ammunition.

      Any tradeoff we make would be like if the US Army had elected to replace their Springfield 1903s with Mauser 98s. There is an argument to be made regarding effectiveness, but at the heart of it they’re approximately the same. What they needed was a switch to the Garand- not a different caliber, not particularly different looking, but a DRASTIC change in what the average infantryman was able to do. We need a new paradigm.

    • Big Daddy

      Good point made.

      That’s why I put it as more of a question.

      I can see your thinking and it makes sense.

      But since the whole system seems to be clearly reaching the end of any growth potential a sideways move might be in order.

      The fact that the round (6.8mm) was designed to be used with a short barrel is the bigger selling point.

      My friend would not take an M4 when he went out. He was an NCO and had his choice, he always took the M16. He did not like the M4. He did mention that 3 SAW gunner saved their butts one day and accounted for 60 enemy kills. I said sure it was like a cluster bomb going off. 3x 750 RPM covering a short area. He said they burnt through hundreds and hundreds of rounds but stopped the Taliban from over running their position.

      I never carried the M4 we only had M16s and M60s those days. The idea of using that anemic round and weapon in war was scary to me. I liked the M60.

      I also fired the G3 and it was a lot better. I remember the weapon’s sound like a blam, blam. That was weird but I liked the 7.62 much better. The pistol grip was funny, maybe it was that one, it pinched my hand.

      Although I didn’t fire it I liked the feel of an AK47, it fit my hands and felt comfortable. The M16 was a PITA, the sight was too high and I would have to readjust my helmet so it was like sitting on top of my head. I have a short neck.

      I just think that from my limited experience and so many things I read and was told the AR and 5.56mm round just doesn’t cut it. It comes up just short, the 7.62 NATO is overkill for the average troop to carry, it’s something in-between that is perfect. That was proven in the 1950s NATO trials.

      • Esh325

        It is true that the M885 and M193 loadings did experience lethality problems. There are plenty of laboratory reports and anecdotal accounts to confirm this. However, I think the 5.56×45 round could be fixed.

        Going to a heavier bullet like 75 grs and using new powders to increase velocity would help solve the range and accuracy issue. If they could change the Haugue’s convention to allow the use of expanding bullets.

    • Madeleine Goddard

      ‘Do we really care what NATO thinks?’

      Well, perhaps not, but from a European perspective could I just point out that both the 7.62 mm NATO and 5.56 mm calibres are actually American designs imposed upon NATO, so it is quite wrong to imply that somehow those sneaky Europeans have forced their ammunition upon the USA. Many European countries (certainly the UK) would welcome a change in ammunition to give something with more range and punch than 5.56 mm, but we are are all waiting for the US to make up its mind. No European country is going to go off and introduce a new rifle calibre by itself. So please don’t blame us.

      • Nadnerbus

        Yeah, we brow beat you guys into accepting the 7.62X51 over some objections, then turned around and switched to the 5.56 soon thereafter, I believe sans conferring with our NATO allies. It was kinda douchey or us, I must say.

      • Chase

        @Nadnerbus, yes, it was not a very nice move on our part, especially after Britain came up with that cool .280 British cartridge.

      • W

        “especially after Britain came up with that cool .280 British cartridge”

        that was 50 years ahead of its time. I think its interesting that everybody is foaming at the mouth (rightfully so) over 270-sized-ish bullets when numerous attempts were made to adopt them, but ultimately, to no avail in the 1940s. There was the 276 pedersen too from the 30s.

        I think it is too late to adopt a cartridge like that now. the technology exists to make the 5.56 accurate and effective up to 800 meters.

      • Skiide

        I have to disagree, and the other posters here showing the Brits were pressuring down to the .20′s size range is a matter of history.

        From the Brown Bess to the 5.45 light cartridge, the Brits have been wasting their soldiers to pathetic offerings.

        How long did it take for them to get the SA production going?

        The T45 was the US attempt to compromise with the Royal Ordinance doctrine pressing for more rounds and careless accuracy.

        7.62N Beat out 7.62ComBlock in range and effectiveness, that the HKG3K forced the Iran/Iraq War into a Trench Stand off where Iranians pounded Iraqi Helmets from 500-800M all day long, and the Iraqis could not reach them.

        But maybe I have just been reading the wrong material.

        Then again in 2004 having my Chuck Taylor 308 Galil worked on by a US Armorer (USN Lt. Comm. Ret.) for 3 Swat Teams in my State at that time, and his comments about not owning a 223 or AR despite him selling and servicing them as well as his comment that my Rifle was the most perfect thing he has ever seen in his life…

        I then commented that US Swat should be dumping ARs for 45 sub guns with integrated rails for Lights and lasers(hip shots), modern recoil reduction systems, suppressors on regular hardball, and feed with Glock 45 Mags (interchange with their side arm a Glock in 45ACP) and the Military should be using a 16″ suppressed, folding stocked, Optic’d, 308′s with Rails…

        perhaps I know something of what I speak because by 2007 Kriss was developing the SuperV to use Glock 45 Mags, and the DOD was recalling every M1A1 and M-14 that they could scrounge to get the Garand Action into the Field in Afghanistan in the EBR configuration similar to my Galil.

        The whole 223 thing is an exercise in futility. “There will be plenty of them laying on the ground.” – Command Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley (a demi-god of war, GOS rest his soul)

    • Kevin Berger

      FWIW, you maybe should check Tony Williams’ website, as well as its adjunct forum… quite a bit of material and back and forth discussions about the merit of an alternate “intermediate” caliber.
      It’s (sadly) not much more than an intellectual exercise, overall, but you’ll certainly find some raw meat for your mind, still.

      Recommanded, very interesting for the layperson, in any case, and something of a departure from the current “US gun market”-centric consensus, with a general dislike of the 5.56 and the search for a better “assault” rifle cartridge that could also support in a machinegun use, no fetichization of the Ar15 platform, and a reasoned bias toward bullpups for mechanized forces general issue rifles.

      http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/
      http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/

  • Jay.Mac

    “The EPR has a 5.5 MOA accuracy standard.”

    Read more: http://www.gunsandammo.com/2012/03/07/m855a1-should-it-be-the-new-round-for-soldiers-and-marines/#ixzz25aTpe7HC

    The USMC were already fielding a round (Mk 318 SOST) that is more accurate, cheaper (half the price) and possesses better terminal ballistics.

    They sure do have an interesting definition of ‘enhanced performance’.

    Good job DoD.

    • Tinkerer

      Well, the swiss “5.6mm Gw Pat 90″ -their local version of the 5.56×45- is subjected to a 0.72 MOA accuracy standard. Just saying.

      • W

        the SIG is a beast of a entirely different roar. it feels different than the M4 and other 5.56 weapons, with its unique weight, recoil, trigger pull, and ergonomics. A truly outstanding weapon system.

        I havent seen dedicated accuracy testing, though I have heard they are astonishingly accurate for a assault rifle.

  • Brad

    Typical. Propaganda released via soldiers by the government to help justify the production and costs of a new round that only makes politicians feel better. Its incredible the length people will go to so they can make a political statement.

    • W

      i would like to know the cost of the M855A1 per round. I would bet a large sum of money it is more expensive than 77gr black hills OTM (which is a roughly 90 cents a round commercial).

      congratulations uncle sam, you have once again spent millions re-inventing the wheel to make it more expensive and inferior performing than existing private industry products. Oh, the Mk262 that i mentioned above? been in use since Desert Storm. Ooops.

      It never ceases to amaze me.

  • charles222

    You can buy regular ol M855, which is more than capable of piercing armor. Don’t see why this won’t eventually show up on the market.

    http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=FAXM855F3

  • jon spencer

    As for the cost of a full switch from the 5.56 to any other round, a quick pencil figuring runs above 20 billion dollars.

    • Esh325

      The military spends billions on Jets every year. I think small arms just don’t get the attention in the military procurement budget.

  • Zach

    All I keep reading in forums populated by current military and armorers is that M855A1 is breaking guns, and the accuracy sucks. It looks like just another typical big-Army debacle that provided a promotion and cushy retirement job for some general who cares mostly about himself. If they wanted something more effective, Mk318 has it in spades – but OH NOES the Marines were already using that, and just like the ACUPAT camo disaster, Army will shoot itself in the foot just to have something that is Army from start to finish.

    • Esh325

      I wouldn’t take it with a grain of salt that what you read on forums. You know how easy it is to fake that you’re in the military over the Internet?

      • zack991

        Guns and ammo wrote a real good piece on it and it does not give the ammo a good rating at all. I have personally carried it in Afghanistan with mix results at best, if I had the choice I will stick with green tip M855. It has been quote on here a few times. For they money they spend developing the “new round” we can have a 10X better round taken from the civilian market.

        “The M855A1 EPR is poorly conceived and poorly executed and represents, at best, only an incremental improvement at an exponential cost. Our warriors and our taxpayers deserve better.”

        “EPR has a 5.5 MOA accuracy standard. 5.5 MOA? Seriously? The Mk 318 SOST round that the USMC has fielded in Afghanistan is held to a 2 MOA standard, but the latest and greatest round that it’s being replaced by is held to a 5.5 MOA standard? Additionally, the Mk 318 has better terminal ballistics against soft targets, holds together better through intermediate barriers and costs half what the M855A1 costs. In this era of dramatic cost-cutting, it is absolutely mind-boggling as to why they are insisting on fielding a round so inferior in just about every aspect to one that’s already in theater — and pay twice as much for it!”

        “M855A1 on service weapons, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the new round cuts barrel life by almost 50 percent (information sourced by Individual Carbine contenders recently supplied 10,080 rounds of the M855A1 EPR so that they could tune their submission for this new load).”

        “The M855A1 EPR project has had serious issues since its inception. The problems include a lawsuit from the original designer of this round and the attendant multi-million dollar payout. In addition, there was an embarrassing revelation in 2009 that the initial bismuth alloy projectile would destabilize in higher ambient temperatures, causing it to miss the proverbial side of the barn. Great job, guys. Design a round that doesn’t work in the heat while we’re engaged against enemies operating in hot environments! Too determined to be deterred, they went back to work and “fixed” the round, leading us to where we are now.”

        “It shoots flatter. Of course, the reason it shoots flatter is because they’ve juiced the round up so that it will fly at 3,100 fps. This would be a great achievement except for the fact that they did it by increasing the chamber pressure from 55,000 psi to 63,000 psi. That’s a number closely approaching proof-load pressures. So are new M4s being constructed using stronger materials to handle this hot round? No, of course not. The M4 is being manufactured to the same Technical Data Package (TDP) that they have always been. This means that not only are parts going to wear out at a much higher rate (which is already is an issue with the M4), but if, God forbid, there is any bullet set-back, the number of M4s reportedly going “high order” (i.e., blowing up) should increase exponentially.”

        If you not read the article I highly commodore it.

        • sliide

          SO! it is a sweetheart contract then.

      • Zach

        Most of the comments I’m reading are at m4c.net which is heavily populated with real, serious active military people, and goes medieval and then some on anyone who makes any false claims regarding their military service.

        Doesn’t really matter, enough real world reports will filter out soon that it will be obvious whether this is a success or failure.

    • Esh325

      That certainly does put things into perspective. It was an informative article.

    • W

      what i can tell you is that the M855A1 has higher chamber pressures, so it is safe to assume this is a problem because you know damned well that colt didn’t upgrade its chambers to accomodate the round.

      what is interesting about the Mk318 is that it is optimized for carbine length gas systems. it is a awesome round.

      • http://suburbansdomain.blogspot.com Suburban

        They INCREASED the pressure? Brass from military ammo shows signs of excessive pressure already, even when fired from 5.56mm chambers. Are we going to be hearing about shaved brass from caseheads jamming the ejector plunger?

        • sliide

          Probably, because even when you go to the stroke system of the 416′s, and also beefed up barrels and uppers thereof, it is the next weakest link that comes into play.

      • W

        they did because I believe they took a shortcut. They just juiced the round up to increase the muzzle velocity out of the M4.

        The sensible thing to do would have been to design the bullet and load around the M4 platform, like the designers of the Mk318 did, instead of just making it “hotter”.

        baffling.

  • Lance

    Not surpisedsurplus and mil ammo always had good accuracy. Hope they sell some to the public soon.

  • Tinkerer

    So, let me get this straight:

    Gene Stoner designs his rifle with a 20″ barrel, for optimum ballistic performance of the 5.56.45 round.

    Later, the M855 round is designed around that 20″ barrel length. for optimum performance.

    Then, they push the M4 Carbine -which was initially a special operations weapon for very specific scenarios- with it’s 14.5″ barrel length which was NOT optimized for the M855 round -resulting in lower muzzle and terminal velocities, cutting down on the effective range. Never mind that the original rifle length DI gas system was designed to bleed gas from a longer barrel, from a point where propellant gases are cooler and with lower pressure and where most of the propellant is already burnt, while in the carbine length DI system the gases are bled from a point where the gases are hotter, higher pressure, and still have some unburnt propellant -dumping all of that inside a bolt carrier that wasn’t designed to withstand that temperature and pressure.

    So, in order to keep using the M4 Carbines, they push this round, loaded to a much higher pressure, thus dumping into the DI system a load of even hotter, higher-pressure gases, while still using a bolt carrier designed for the cooler gases from a rifle length gas system, and pushing the bullet at muzzle velocities that erode the barrel?

    • W

      “So, in order to keep using the M4 Carbines, they push this round, loaded to a much higher pressure, thus dumping into the DI system a load of even hotter, higher-pressure gases, while still using a bolt carrier designed for the cooler gases from a rifle length gas system, and pushing the bullet at muzzle velocities that erode the barrel?”

      In a word yes. anybody that doesnt see anything wrong with this is being shortsighted.

    • http://bandoleeredbookworm.blogspot.com CRCobb

      I’ve read that ARs with longer gas systems worked better than M4 styles, but this is the first I read about the effect of hotter gases and unburnt propellant. Makes sense; good to know.

      Like you wrote, the original 5.56×45 cartridge was optimized for a 20″ barrel. In other comments, some are writing that 5.56 is less stable from a 14.5″ barrel and therefore yaws and wounds more. But from what I’ve read about the original M193 55gr cartridge, it was so light and going so fast that it disintegrated more than yawed, and that is what caused to major wounds. It makes sense, since a high-velocity round will disintegrate and dump all of its energy in a few foot of water.

      The Picatinney Public Affairs Office claimed 6/23/10 on Army.mil that the round was optimized for the M4. Since the new round is frangible, it might produce some of the same wounding effects of the original M193 – if it’s going fast enough. But is that possible out of the shorter barrel? Does anyone know the velocities for 14.5″ and 20″ barrels for the M855A1 EPR?

      • http://bandoleeredbookworm.blogspot.com CRCobb

        From Zack991 below:

        “It shoots flatter. Of course, the reason it shoots flatter is because they’ve juiced the round up so that it will fly at 3,100 fps. This would be a great achievement except for the fact that they did it by increasing the chamber pressure from 55,000 psi to 63,000 psi. That’s a number closely approaching proof-load pressures. So are new M4s being constructed using stronger materials to handle this hot round? No, of course not. The M4 is being manufactured to the same Technical Data Package (TDP) that they have always been. This means that not only are parts going to wear out at a much higher rate (which is already is an issue with the M4), but if, God forbid, there is any bullet set-back, the number of M4s reportedly going “high order” (i.e., blowing up) should increase exponentially.”

        I guess this answers my question, at least for 14.5″ barrel, if the above velocity is for the M4.

        • sliide

          So they are set to wear out the Civilian AR’s.

          Glad I am a 308 AK beleiver

  • thedude

    We love the EPR. I’ve shot nice 1 in groups at 100m with M4/ACOG. Its terminal performance is a helluva lot better than green tip. It does nasty things when it hits somebody. We had one guy that had been shot with 8+ rounds of green tip and was still running. EPR hits are a one and done type deal.

  • Vitor

    As many have said, the A1 would be nice if it weren’t for the EPR. It doesn’t make any sense really, but since when bureaucrats made sense? They feel weird by thinking to logically, without some doublethink they feel dumb.

  • Jeff

    Surely the only opinion that matters is that of the guy whose life depends on the ammo he has. Who cares what some guy shooting at Camp Perry thinks? His target was not shooting BACK at him.

  • Jacob

    I read that guns and ammo article someone linked in. Its an opinion based article not fact based. There are only three facts listed, pressure, velocity and the MOA manufactured spec. If you look at the charts attached they basically contradict the article that the rounds are the same. He raises a number of areas that COULD be of concern but does not back up any of these areas. Not a single one of them.

    I’m not saying concerns couldn’t be true but in that article any support data is notably absent.

  • Esh325

    What I find interesting about all is that European allies have rarely ever been vocal about voicing inadequacies about the 5.56×45/M885.

    Britain for example has had significant combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they’ve never voiced a lack of performance attributing to the 5.56×45 or M885 or saw the need to change them.

    • Tom – UK

      And the UK has never fielded a firearm in 5.56 with anything less than a 20 inch barrel which is what the calibre was designed for. Neither has any other European nation asides from Italy.

    • W

      “What I find interesting about all is that European allies have rarely ever been vocal about voicing inadequacies about the 5.56×45/M885.”

      the same thing goes for the israelis.

      I recall a article posted from the Telegraph on here that mentioned the complaints of the 5.56 by british soldiers, though, while in theatre, i havent heard complaints from British or other NATO soldiers about the round’s effectiveness. I believe 5.56 ammunition has evolved considerably throughout the last decade, making it effectively accurate at ranges extending beyond the 3-400 meter bracket and nearly doubling them.

      The complaints i think are mostly highlighted by US troops. The M855 shouldn’t smear all 5.56 ammunition types as poor man-killers, though it often does. Supposedly complaints existed during the Vietnam war about the M193, though documented fact indicates that these rounds behaved erratically once they entered human tissue, leading to horrendous wound channels.

      • Lance

        Your right W

        In most cases in Iraq and some in Afghanistan M-193 would have worked very well in CQB situations due to its tumbling. M-855 was made in mind of fighting Soviet or now Chinese infantry that has body armor in mind.

        Overall I prefer 55gr HP ammo Police use since it make alot of bodily damage to a opponent.

    • Monty

      This is not correct. The UK has encountered significant problems with 5.56 mm – it is just that they haven’t been publicised. The UK MoD is much more effective at gagging soldiers than the US. If you speak to the Press, you get booted out and lose half of your pension. Period.

      Michael Yon, a US journalist embedded with UK forces in 2009, was kicked out because he published photos of Taliban soldiers with ‘through-and-through’ wounds. UK 5.56 mm had gone straight through them without causing significant injury. It doesn’t yaw, because our 20″ barrels over-stablise the projectile. Yon pointed out that it wasn’t good for morale for medical staff patch up injured insurgents and then release them back into the wild fit and able to shoot at our guys again. I tend to agree.

      The UK is presently developing an improved lead-free 5.56 mm round that yaws more reliably. It will be issued in 2013.

      • W

        “It doesn’t yaw, because our 20″ barrels over-stablise the projectile. Yon pointed out that it wasn’t good for morale for medical staff patch up injured insurgents and then release them back into the wild fit and able to shoot at our guys again. I tend to agree.”

        No. Simply incorrect.

        20″ barrels allow the M855 and other equivalent 5.56 rounds (like the british 5.56 SS109 standard) to obtain the optimal velocity they were designed to operate under. That is why the M855 green tip is failing: it was designed to travel 3-3100 fps through a M16A2 barrel with a 1/7 twist, not a 14.5″ barrel of a M4 carbine.

        The SS109 wasn’t even designed for taliban-like enemy troops nor was it even designed to expand or yaw: it was intended for Soviet motor rifle troops wearing kevlar body armor and steel helmets. The limitation is on the SS109 cartridge, not the 5.56 cartridge itself.

        As far as “gagging” goes, Ive engaged in personal interactions with NATO troops and they all seemed reasonably pleased with their small arms. There were some criticisms but nothing ground breaking. I think most complaints are blown out of proportion, with the US derived ones being no exception.

        yeah, im sure the MOD will pursue the “lead-free” wet dream the US went after. I could give a sheeps fucking ear less about “lead free” as long as it doesnt affect capability. It does. Undoubtedly, the MOD will probably adopt the M855A1 :D and experience a myriad of new problems.

      • Esh325

        I just heard of the guy now and I already don’t like him one bit. I couldn’t find that story, but Yon is critical of the 5.56×45.

  • Monty

    The problem with ongoing 5.56 mm development is the so far unmet need for a longer bullet to achieve increased mass, increased range and better terminal effectiveness. However, projectile length reduces case capacity and you will need more powder to propel a heavier bullet. A 5.56 mm round with a longer COAL would undoubtedly deliver performance improvements across the entire spectrum of desired characteristics, but that would require new weapons, so isn’t going to happen.

    While M855A1 has a faster time of flight and flatter trajectory, the bullet still weighs only 4 grams and is therefore is still highly susceptible to wind drift – which partly explains why it is a 4-5 MOA round. I tend to think that both the Mk 318 SOST and the Mk 262 OTM are better rounds.

    I am fortunate enough to have seen some of the work that US ARDEC is doing to improve the performance of 5.56 mm ammunition. In particular, their work on bullet design is impressive and takes copper jacketed, steel cored bullets to another level. Whatever advantages M855A1 EPR provides, it does not yet represent the ideal round in this calibre.

    If it were possible, I’d like to see ARDECs advanced projectile designs incorporated in a cartridge optmized for 14.5″ barrels. (Actually, I’d like to see the US Army switch to 16.5″ barrels.)

    The consensus view of M855A1 seems to be that it delivers a much improved terminal effectiveness, but it still remains most effective to 300 metres. Yes, the bullet will easily travel to 800 metres (just as a 7.62 mm round will also fly beyond 2,500 metres), but you cannot ensure accuracy beyond 300 metres unless there is zero wind.

    The problem for me is that our soldiers frequently need to shoot to 600 metres. This explains the wide re-adoption of 7.62 mm.

  • إبليس

    It’s a shame our Army never adopted a modernized AK (like the Valmet) once the Cold War ended. Would’ve been a great reconciliation gesture and a boom for future wars in the desert.

    Of course, I’m an AK fanboy and make no attempt to hide this bias :)

    • Esh325

      They never would adopt a former enemies weapon. And I don’t think the M4 and M16 is so flawed that they can’t be fixed.

    • Sam Suggs

      yeah still too heavy they need an orginal new design to make them happy not what they percive as the bad guy gun of course they wont go for even the best of todays offerings because their looking for a super gun that can hit a target from the hip at 2000 yards wen their stuck with a gun that has an effective range of about 400 yards max under any battle stress while virtually all our enemys possses the pkm a weapon with an effective ange of between 800 and 1000 yards under stress

    • roei

      they should’nt replace the M16/M4 beacuse it’s the best assault rifles in these days

    • MrPissonyourgrave .

      You disgust me.