SAS Looking At Switching from 5.56mm to 7.62mm

According to the Daily Mail the SAS are looking at switching from the 5.56x45mm NATO round to a 7.62mm round. They seem unimpressed that their US counterparts have access to 7.62mm FN SCAR-H rifles and they are stuck with the M4-like 5.56mm Colt Canada/Diemaco C8 Carbine. An “insider” said …

Last night, a regiment insider said: ‘The shoot-to-wound policy was based on the assumption that once he was wounded an enemy combatant would stop fighting, and so would his comrades to give him first aid.

‘But this backfired against the Taliban. The 5.56 mm rounds did not take a big enough chunk out of them, allowing fanatical insurgents to keep on fighting despite their wounds. As a result, more SAS soldiers were shot and badly wounded.

Regardless of the merits of the 7.62mm over the 5.56mm, and I do believe 7.62mm is superior, I wonder how much of this is classic fighting-the-last-war thinking. I wonder, would the Taliban have equipped themselves with cheap Chinese Level III body armor if the troops had gone in with 7.62mm NATO Ball ammunition?

Many thanks to Stephen for the tip.

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.


  • I think that’s a good move.

  • Esh325

    Could the reason why they their having trouble with the 5.56×45 be because they purporsely use a less lethal version than other countries because of their stricter interpretation of the law?

    “The UK Manual of the Law of Armed
    Conflict (Ministry of Defence, 2004) states in its chapter on weapons: It is
    prohibited to use in international armed conflicts “bullets which expand or
    flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which
    does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions. This prohibition
    is aimed at soft-nosed bullets that mushroom on impact or bullets whose casing
    is designed to fragment on impact causing, in either case, unnecessarily serious
    injuries”. The original British L2A1 5.56mm ball
    bullet did fragment in a similar way to the M855, but this was made less likely
    in the current L2A2 pattern by using a thicker jacket. As a result of all this,
    the US rounds are very unlikely to be approved as NATO standards, although they
    may of course be adopted by individual NATO nations depending on the particular
    interpretation of international law which they accept. It also seems unlikely
    that the British lead-free 5.56 round currently being developed by BAE, which
    has a steel core, will offer the effectiveness improvements claimed for the
    M855A1 (it is intended only to match the effectiveness of the SS109/M855). “

    • Ripley

      U.K. copy-pasted the Hague convention (III) of 1899, which they are bound by:
      “The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.”

      U.S. on the other hand doesn’t ratify the conventions like most/many other NATO countries do.
      “Small Arms Projectiles. Must not be exploding or expanding projectiles. The 1868 Declaration of St. Petersburg prohibits exploding rounds of less than 400 grams (14 ounces). The 1899 Hague Convention prohibits expanding rounds. Though not a party to either convention, U.S. practice accedes to these prohibitions as being customary international law. Current state practice is to use jacketed small arms ammunition, thereby reducing bullet expansion on impact.”
      -US LOAC (p.153)

      An example of how lawer-slippery the U.S. policy is (on M-16 rifle ammunition) “Legal review found they may cause suffering, but it is not deemed to be unnecessary.” (LOAC p.154)

  • Esh325

    As far as the Dailymail’s article, I think you can make any round look bad with anecdotal evidence. I can play that game too. “In India, during the Chitral7 campaign
    of 1895, the .303 Lee-Metford rifle was clearly shown to be less
    effective than the older .577 Snider and .577/450 Martini-Henry rifles.
    Reports of enemy combatants receiving multiple wounds from the .303 and
    remaining active were commonplace. There was even one report of an
    individual being struck six times, who then walked roughly 14 kilometers
    to a British aide station for treatment8. The Indian Army, which had a
    fairly large amount of independence from the British Imperial Army, set
    to work to improve the effectiveness of the .303 cartridge.”

    • bbmg

      Very well said. From the article you linked to:

      “For the British armies deployed in the colonies, this issue was
      particularly problematic as they often found themselves far outnumbered
      by “highly motivated” indigenous tribesmen. The latter were far less likely to give or take quarter than their “civilized” European counterparts.”

      The more things change…

  • Joseph

    The 7.62 nato has so many variants, too. If the situation changed as far as body armor on bad-guys goes, they could adapt with some rounds made to deal with it, no?

    I think that it’s surprising the SAS don’t already have a 7.62 platform as an option for a primary carbine or battle rifle.

  • Matt

    …and they will carry less ammunition due to the higher weight/volume…

    • Swede

      Less cartridges to carry, yes.
      But less lead to deliver down range.

      Interesting fact is that a 20rd 7,62 magazine holds 58% more bullets in terms of weight than a 30 rd 5,56 magazine.

      7,62×51 = 147 gr x 20 = 2940 gr
      5,56×45 = 62 gr x 30 = 1860 gr

      Just sayin…

      • Swede

        Edit – should say: *more* lead to deliver down range.

    • Swede

      Less cartridges to carry, yes.
      But more lead to deliver down range.

      Interesting fact is that a 20rd 7,62 magazine holds 58% more bullets in terms of weight than a 30 rd 5,56 magazine.

      7,62×51 = 147 gr x 20 = 2940 gr
      5,56×45 = 62 gr x 30 = 1860 gr

      Just sayin…

      • Long

        So which of the two are more deadly: 10 lbs of feathers or 5 lbs of rocks?

        • Dale

          The crux of the argument revolves around “it depends”

      • bbmg

        More lead, but less bullets.

        20 rounds with 100% hit rate – 20 dead enemies

        30 rounds with 70% hit rate – 21 dead enemies

        How accurate are you soldiers under fire?

        • AnoSynum

          30 rounds with 70% hit rate with 30% kill chance – ~6 dead enemies

          20 rounds with 70% hit rate with 60% kill chance – ~8 dead enemies

          How often do you want your soldiers to have to hit the enemy before he stops?

          • bbmg

            Hits or misses are easy to evaluate, kill probability less so. Note that in my example, I gave the 7.62 greater hit probability when in fact the reverse is true. Not only are soliders more accurate with a 5.56 than a 7.62, but since they can carry more ammunition for a given weight, they are more likely to score a hit.

            Where are the academic studies (anecdotes don’t count) showing this dramatic leap in lethality between the two calibres?

            From an FBI report ( – very good read which addresses common misconceptions about wound ballistics )

            Physiologically, a determined adversary can be stopped reliably and immediately only by a shot that disrupts the brain or upper spinal cord. Failing a hit to the central nervous system, massive bleeding from holes in the heart or major blood vessels of the torso causing circulatory collapse is the only other way to force incapacitation upon an adversary, and this takes time. For example, there is sufficient oxygen within the brain to support full, voluntary action for 10-15 seconds after the heart has been destroyed.”

            A hit by both 5.56 and 7.62 to the central nervous system will have the same effect. I would like to see studies where a hit in the same place with a 7.62 is twice as a effective as a 5.56.

          • Swede

            ” Not only are soliders more accurate with a 5.56 than a 7.62, but since they can carry more ammunition for a given weight, they are more likely to score a hit.”

            As long as the enemy is not hiding behind cover or the firefight takes place in an obstructed (forest/urban) environment. In that case I’d trust more in heavy bullets with good penetration.

            But the whole topic is a pseudo issue since the service rifle’s main purpose is to provide cover under extraction. We all know arty, helo’s and APC’s are what matters.

            So give me a good radio and a light gun that makes a lot of noise and I’m good.

  • Weezy

    Why be stuck on the SCAR-H? Do they not have any FALs they can get out of storage and “modernize” (give DS Arms a call) like M-14s have been, or were they all destroyed or gotten rid of because of their dumbass politicians? The Brits already have a contract with LMT; what of chances of them getting AR-10 variants to save some money vs. the SCAR platform. My .02 anyways.

    • Esh325

      Why would they give some of their best soldiers 30-50 year old rifles? I think there are better rifles since the FAL came out.

      • Big Les

        There are also no FALs left in storage – partly why it was never considered as an interim DMR.

        • Sable

          I am deeply saddened by the fact they no longer have FALs in storage, I know they sure didn’t import them to the states for sale. It’s not like we cut up OUR old battle rifles when we switched to the 5.56…. oh, wait, my bad. **** Politicians…

    • Nmate

      Because the SCAR-H is an order of magnitude better than the FAL. The M14s were only brought out because the US needed a semi-auto 7.62 NATO system yesterday and the M110 and Mk. 17 rifles were still a ways off. The M14 was a stop-gap at best. The LMT is too damn heavy to be used as a carbine. It is a great DMR/SASS, not a battle rifle.

    • Madeleine Goddard

      The UK FN SLRs were almost all produced in 1957-60 and were really worn out by the late 1980s. leading to their disposal in the 1990s/2000s – though some went to clients like the Sierra Leone Army. Moreover, the SLR was never a particularly accurate weapon to begin with and despite the power of the cartridge was rarely accurate beyond 400m (500m with the SUIT optical sight). Anyone who has used an old .303 Lee Enfield knows how poor SLR accuracy was. So it is probably better that the UK can start afresh, rather than try to re-engineer an inadequate design.

      What the UK really wants is a new 6.5mm-7mm intermediate cartridge and assault rifle since they remain convinced that the old .280 cartridge concept represents the correct solution. In fact I understand that the .280/7mm round has recently been produced in small quantities for trials and thought has been given the replacing the SA-80 with a suitable weapon chambered for this round. However, the UK is also attracted by the US LSAT project and wishes to keep its options open while the US Army decides on its future direction. Any 7.62mm buy will probably be an interim solution pending a decision on the SA-80 successor in the 2020s.

      • Simon_the_Brit

        “Moreover, the SLR was never a particularly accurate weapon” Utter Tosh, I used the L1A1 from 1973 to 1989 and the accuracy was fine.

        • Guest

          Sorry, you’re wrong. I have used SLR extensively and while it was a perfectly acceptable battle rifle out to 400m, the iron sights were inadequate

        • Scots Expatriate

          Sorry, you are wrong – you clearly have limited experience of comparable foreign rifles. The SLR was perfectly adequate as a battle rifle up to 400m, above that the accuracy fell off rapidly and it would have been totally unsuitable for accurate fire at 500m or more. I have hit targets at 1000m with an open sight Enfield – forget that with SLR, the sights were totally inadequate. The weapon was designed for short range rapid fire and was great at that, but it in the hands of most soldiers the results were erratic in terms of accuracy above 250-350m (though good enough to get on a man-sized target). The break action of the SLR made it impossible to achieve the sort of accuracy that could be achieved with a Bren on single shot. For accuracy you could give me an M-14 any time. Even the G3 was more accurate, though I disliked the recoil more than the SLR.

      • Regulus

        lol the 303 Enfield is actually really accurate.

  • El Duderino

    Meh. How ’bout .458 SOCOM out of a 40rnd drum mag? Suck on 300gr love Taliban!

    • big daddy

      As long as you can carry each guys ammo load that sounds great.

  • Alexander

    People are still perpetuating the shoot-to-wound myth? In the SAS even? I thought those guys were professionals. Disappointing.

    • Nmate

      Yeah, this myth just will not die. The 5.56 was designed to kill. To kill someone with a projectile, you first have to wound them. Wounding capability was widely discussed in professional circles and is probably where the myth came from.

    • Waffenbesitzer 2.0

      It’s not the SAS saying that. It’s an “insider”.

    • kalashnikev

      +1 Nobody serious would ever say that. It’s ridiculous, and it hurts the credibility of TFB to even repeat such nonsense.

      • No sir I don’t see how it can hurt our credibility when we report what was said in an article.After all we didn’t say it. We figure our readers are sharp enough to know better.

        • kalashnikev

          The Daily Mail is a rubbish tabloid. TFB is a great source of industry news and information. I wouldn’t expect TFB to pick up and run one of their stories anymore than I would expect CNN to do so. Daily Mail is for celebrity wardrobe malfunctions and stuff like that- not Firearms News. Just my opinion as a loyal reader…

  • mechamaster

    Why they don’t try to use 6,8x42mm SPC or 6,5mm Grendel cartridge ? Just convert some upper receiver of M4-like carbine and it’s done ? Or there are some other reason like political and bussiness issue, or technical issue regarding this new cartridge ?

    • big daddy

      They don’t work well enough in that platform for military use. Not reliable enough and cannot shoot full auto. The magazine is big the problem.

      • Do you have a source for the information that 6.5 Grendel has problems in full auto? Here are three links that state the contrary about the caliber, specifically that it was designed to maintain controllability & feed well in full auto:

        • Cody S

          As a friend once said, “When making a bold claim, or slander always follow this rule: Sources, Hard date, or GTFO” (I mean this politely, I am curious where you heard that, but I’m looking at you Big Daddy)

          Blake, I agree. or all intents and purposes 6.5 G far outperforms the 6.8 SPC when it comes to the military role. I guess if you are in your home county hunting some pig or a SWAT Operator you can get away with 6.8 SPC, but you will always be missing benefits that 6.5 G has.

          Big Daddy, you are correct in so far as how the two rounds came to life. 6.5 G had a parent cartridge that was a competition round, and 6.8 SPC a ‘military spec’ round. But that is not worth much once you look at both rounds in their current state. That is like saying the wimpy parents of a kid determine he can’t fight rather than looking at all the times that he beat up the other kid. (and 6.5 G’s parent cartridge ain’t no joke either.) The myth that 6.5 G is not a military cartridge is just that, thin air pushed by people that have already sunk too much money into an inferior cartridge. The same mentality that is keeping the US Gov’t on 5.56 Nato in the first place. This myth largely stems from the fact that AA had a copyright on 6.5G for the longest time and that kept EVERYONE away from it and severely hurt its potential adoption. But the copyright didn’t make it a worse round when it comes to use in a rifle, just a worse round to pay for at the time because of royalties.

          For all of you commenting that the .280 British is a great old round, it is/was. One thing to keep in mind though is that it was a significant departure in the mentality of the time (namely the 7.62 x 51 and the 7.62 x 39 debate) and was basically the grandfather to 6.5 G. the .280 British has basically nothing in common with the 6.8, and anyone’s vote for .280 British is a show of support for 6.5 G (for those that actually know about cartridges). The looooong bullet with the high Ballistic Coefficient and better finesse ratio are what the .280 British (aka 7×43 British) and the 6.5 G are all about. They carry the energy at range and they have a much longer projectile when it comes to tumbling wounding dynamic dropping energy and damaging much more effectively than 6.8 SPC. (

          Another reason to pick 6.5 G over 6.8 SPC is the fact that sometimes yo8u need to reach out past 300m. One of the most common reasons for advocating for the return to 7.62 Nato: (
          I’ve met and am good friends with a lot of 6.8 SPC fanatics, and none argue that it carries any weight (pun intended) past 300m. They all acknowledge that after 200 m that 6.5 G is hands down the better round (and that is from the 6.8 SPC fanatics, I wonder what impartial studies say…)

          Something I would advocate for no matter what round is chosen is incorporating the technological developments of the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (not green tip, much better than!). Some brilliant work has been done to make 5.56 Nato more effective DESPITE it’s inherent short comings. I can only imagine how much this would improve an already great and proven round like 6.5 G (info on M855A1: )

          A couple good reads on the subject (that are not forums):
          Anthony G. Williams (the guy who writes for Jane’s Fighting books, and Small Arms Review)

          And other good reads:

          Sorta related:

          • big daddy

            There is truth to much of what you say. BUT, the fact is the Grendel needs a longer barrel. That is something that you cannot deny. Based upon the fact that most people doing the shooting want shorter barrels everything that the Grendel does that makes it outshine the 6.8 melts away. That is mostly what I base my statements on. The 6.5 is a better designed round but just does not work as well with shorter barrels. The 6.8mm SPC does not need a longer barrel than 16″ to get the full effect of the cartridge. Those figures for the 6.5 I have seen in the past came from 24″ barrels which is not viable on ANY military rifle.

            If the weapon was a bullpup a 20 inch barrel would be no problem. But even the bullpup countries have their soldiers wanting shorter barrels, as per an article I just read about the Israelis. And anything written by the people who have an agenda I take with a grain of salt and that goes both ways.

            The fact is that people out there either love the 5.56mm or the .300 or the 6.5 or the 6.8 or the 7.62 either 39 or NATO. Each have their reasons, some are being paid or have investments to say so. I have experience in the military with the 5.56mm in the M16A1 and it sucked. A terrible round to go to war with. I would have much rather used the G3 the Germans had at the time that I trained with a bit and I did not really like that weapon, better than an M16 though.

            So whatever they go with, great. The 7.62mm NATO is too big and the 5.56mm NATO is too small of that I think we can agree. Find something that works and give an individual soldier a better chance at defending himself that’s all I am asking for. Better training and a better round through a better rifle. It’s out there, get it to the hands of the combat soldiers.

            Lucky I did not have to see combat but if I did the thought of having an M16A1 was not a good one. At that time I would have gladly carried the FAL or G3 instead with the extra weight, no big deal since I already carried the M203 and the M60 at times.

            I at one time or another have read just about every article on the internet over the last 10+ years concerning different rounds and weapons. Everybody can back up their words with their facts and all kinds of ballistics. What makes the 7.62×39 and the 6.8mm SPC is the ability to use short barrels which is a necessity for modern troops who travel in Vehicles and Helicopters now. I was a scout and the length of the M16 was a problem. As a driver I actually was issued a M3 grease gun for a reason.

          • Nmate

            The program that brought forth 6.8 SPC looked at a cartridge basically identical to the Grendel (6.5mm projectile, PPC-style case) and judged it inferior for military purposes. It had serious extraction issues, amongst other problems. They then started developing a cartridge based around the .30 Remington case and tested projectiles between 6 and 7mm.

      • michael

        reliability has never been the problem with the 6.8. The problem was everyone going to polymer and the not having the wall strength for the size of the bullet case loaded down. 6.8 mags made of metal don’t have feeding issues.

        As for not working well enough in the AR platform, where the hell are you getting that from?

  • UK Ray

    When I was in the army in 2001, there was no shortage of Sgts and above still bemoaning the loss of their L1A1s. I used to think they were full of shit but not as time goes on I feel kind of guilty for doubting their wisdom…

    • UK Ray

      Not should read now… wow I need coffee…

  • Vitor

    The 7.62 NATO is a powerful round but an old design has clear limitations, a shame that most european armies is too lazy and tight on budget to update. Just make a 168 grains with some nice penetrator and modern propelants that would easily beat the M80 in every aspect.

    The thing is that nowdays a much better ammo is possible with similar dimensions. The 6.5x47mm and the 6.5 Creedmoor are compatible with 7.62 bolts, has a little bit less recoil, more range and accuracy. A 140 grains 6.5 has nasty penetration and packs more energy at a 1000 meters than a 9mm that just got out of the barrell. If it’s a bit tricky to do a reliable 6.5 to replace the 5.56mm, the dimenions of the 7.62×51 offers plenty of room to make execeptional cartidges in 6.5 as the Lapua, Creedmoor and .260 Remington has showed.

  • big daddy

    Time to take a look at the SIX8 and the 6.8mm round. They are going around in circles again. From 7.62 NATO to 5.56mm NATO and back. This is ridiculous and wasteful. Just admit the 5.56mm is just not cutting it and that the 7.62 is great for machine guns.

    As they found out in WWII you need an immediate round. The 7.62mmx39mm was good and on the right track. They had some great rounds in the 1950s but the USA said no. DUH!!!!! The 6.8mm SPC is similar and has finally come into it’s own. It’s proven itself in the hunting world many times over as a great round, much better than the useless 5.56mm and enough to put down larger game.

    Wake up and either go with the 6.8mm SPC or something similar, please no one say Grendel it’s proven to not be a good military round, it’s not designed to be. The 6.8mm SPC started off life as a military design and is coming around with many small improvements and refinements.

    The West should dump the 5.56mm and look at the 6.8mm SPC or something similar. How much information do they need from enough professional soldiers without agendas?

    • Nmate

      7.62×35 would probably be a better choice than the 6.8. You don’t have a weakened bolt face and you use the same magazines. 6.8 SPC was a nice idea, unfortunately it just didn’t go anywhere outside of hog shooters. It just doesn’t have enough advantage over the supposedly “useless” 5.56 to justify itself. A cartridge like it may be a very good candidate in a new rifle, but it wouldn’t be my first choice in an AR-15/M16 platform rifle. The first choice, and really the only choice for most, is 5.56 along with .300BLK for very specific usage scenarios. I think you should actually read a bit more about terminal ballistics before you prognosticate what calibers the SAS should be adopting.

      At the end of the day, you really don’t need a new caliber to replace 5.56 for service rifles. You need better bullets for 5.56. You don’t see JSOC complaining about the lethality of 5.56, they have 70gr Barnes TSX and 77gr SMKs. I don’t think the Brits get much beyond the standard SS109 projectile. The SS109, as everyone knows, is an absolute dog.

      • michael

        there is no way 300 will be used when you can get cheap 7.62×39

        6.8 provides 40% more energy than the 5.56 so not sure where you are getting it doesn’t have enough advantage. Reports from test in the field called it a one shot one kill round. It’s proven to be a hard hitting 400 yard round and new bullets with better BC is stretching that to 600.

        remember, the 6.8 carries more energy at 200yds than the 5.56 has at muzzle

        • Nmate

          The problem with 7.62×39 is that it doesn’t work in ARs. Yes, I know plenty of people shoot their malfunction prone Rock River 7.62×39 ARs, but it really isn’t a good choice for the weapon. Not to mention you weaken the bolt face even more than you would with 6.8×43.

          Energy only means so much. I don’t believe that 6.8×43 has ever been used in actual combat. At least I’ve never seen any information that suggested it had. The fact that they (5th SFG/USSOCOM) developed it, tested it, and then didn’t deploy it during a time of huge military budgets speaks volumes. Instead they went with improved versions of the 5.56.

    • That’s not going to happen though. With the cuts we have now and all the 5.56 ammo we have on hand they’ll never switch calibers before getting an entirely new rifle. They’re playing with looking for a new rifle yet again

  • bbmg

    “Insurgents who would have been fatally
    wounded by a 7.62 mm have been able to continue fighting and endanger
    the lives of our soldiers.”

    I would be interested to see how such a statement can be backed up. The only reasonable analysis I can think of is to look at wounded enemy combatants and determine what sort of damage a 7.62 bullet would have done following the same track. Is a combatant shot in the head with 7.62 more dead than one shot with 5.56? Will a combatant shot in the arm with a 5.56 be more able to hold his rifle than one shot by a 7.62?

    The question would be, would the enemy have been hit at all if shot at by 7.62 (more recoil, less ammunition available for the same weight), and are there combatants at longer ranges not being shot at because of the shorter effective range of the 5.56.

    At 900 yards, a 5.56 bullet is carrying about double the energy a 22LR carries at the muzzle, and the latter hitting a vital area is certainly lethal.

    This article makes a lot of sense:

  • Tom RKBA

    Why not compromise with 300 Blackout? They would get a 125 grain bullet with just a change of their current upper. Mags are the same. It has short range capability when suppressed.

    • Frosty_The_White_Man

      Sadly the British compromise (280 Cal. EM2 rifle) was canned due to Murka’s demand for 7.62 NATO. The FAL and G3 were designed for similar intermediate cartridges. Now with 6.8mm and 300 AAC we’ve come full circle.

      • Vitor

        The British .280 was a bit more powerful and had better BC than both 6.8mm and .300

        • michael

          maybe with the earlier 6.8s but now that it has found it’s legs with newer bullets, the 6.8 is truly the best intermediate cartridge available

          • Vitor

            The .280 had a 140 grains bullet, the heaviest 6.8 are 115 grains, so the british cartridge easily wins when it comes to BC.

          • Cody S

            the .280 British was more like a 6.5 in almost all respects respects

          • Kpz1234

            Silver State Armory offers a 140gr. Berger VLD round in 6.8…

    • 7540

      Because it drops like a brick. I like the 300BO round for what it was intended – suppressed subsonic CQB and supersonic short to medium range work under 300m, but it’s a specialized round that would not be particularly useful in many engagements.

      • Nmate

        That is kind of funny because you can find video of a certain guy shooting it at 2.5 times that distance.

  • Clodboy

    Didn’t the SAS actually have their own custom G3 SBR variant, the FR Ordnance MC51, but quickly discard it because the 7.62 and ultrashort barrels didn’t go together?

    Recycling old FALs doesn’t seem like a particularly likely proposal to me – after such a long time, you’d probably have to replace so many of the parts that you might as well buy a new gun.

    You’d figure that as the country’s most prestigious regiment, they should have no problem convincing their superiors to shell out the cash for new battle rifles, like the SCAR-H or more probably the HK417. If they were happy with their L129s (LMT AR-10’s), a lighter, shorter-barreled version by the same manufacturer would also be a likely choice.

  • Daniel E. Watters

    For what it’s worth, Level III body armor specifications are based upon stopping 7.62mm M80 Ball.

  • From a sensible POV, this why my .223/5.56 for hunting is run on soft point expanding ammo, it’s a legal requirement.

    The only *legal* quarry here in the UK for .223/5.56mm is things like Fox and small muntjac or chinese water deer, all around the same size. Read – SMALL.
    Anything bigger needs at least a .240, normally a .243, but you are still talking about creatures much smaller than a human.
    Minimum legal calibre for things like Boar is .270, but personally, given the size of some piggies and large Red deer, I still feel under gunned with a 7.62/.308

    These are all potentially dangerous animals, highly motivated to survive.

    Step-up to bi-pedal animals with basic body armour and automatic weapons, and 5.56 just starts to look dumb.

    Whats needed is a big chunk of lead heading down range, think the .458’s and .450’s, maybe even something slightly smaller like the .358win with 225gr heads. It doesn’t need to be moving super fast, those big thumpers at slower speeds hit like a train and smash things out of the way. The insurgents maybe down and somewhat alive after being hit by a big bore, but it’s virtually impossible to continue fighting with hips and shoulders smashed into splinters.

    Hunting tales are abound of Whitetails or Roe getting a terminal hit with .308 that blows their heart and lungs out and they still run off 300m.
    You don’t get that you use .450/400.

    It’s the difference between trying to stop someone with a knitting needle or a club hammer, yes you might get shot placement (lucky) with a knitting needle, but a club hammer is going to smash it into the ground. I know what I would prefer to take my chances with.

    Just look at what calibres they recommend for Dangerous Game Hunting, 9.3mm is about the smallest you can get away thing and in my opinion, there isn’t much more dangerous than a fanatical human with an AK.

    So forget SCAR and FAL’s, and go with new uppers on existing platforms in a chambering from SOCOM, or Bushmaster.
    As for some of the negative comments:
    Ammo too heavy? Hit the gym.
    Need to make a longer shot? radio the sniper with the .50bmg on overwatch.

    • MrBoom

      You have the right idea, but you’re doing it wrong. Big bullets are nice, but big explosive bullets are better. 😛

    • bbmg

      Given the UK’s reputation as a nanny state, I don’t think British hunting requirements are the standard we should be looking at.

      “It doesn’t need to be moving super fast, those big thumpers at slower speeds hit like a train and smash things out of the way.”

      High velocity = flat trajectory + shorter flight time = high hit probability

      A freight train impact is useless if the target is off the rails. Shot placement is *the* most critical thing, if you can’t put the round on target then any other property of the bullet is completely irrelevant.

      “Ammo too heavy? Hit the gym.”

      Given the amount of other gear soldiers need to carry these days, I don’t think that’s a fair comment. A soldier that is exhausted from lugging heavier ammunition around is going to be even less likely to be able to shoot accurately.

  • Jared

    Maybe they are looking for another 7.62mm cartridge like the .300 blackout or something. Reduced ammunition loads for elite combatants who are expected to fight against greater numbers seems like a strange idea. Also 7.62x51mm would reduce full auto accuracy which again doesn’t seem sensible.

    • hikerguy

      .300 blackout just makes too much sense. that’s why they will probably never consider it.

      • Ian

        Yes a short range cartridge with crap ballistics is what you need for long distance mountain warfare.

        • Jared

          For long disatnce mountain warfare yo need a .338 lapua magnum.And lmgs battle rifles for fire support. For an all purpose standard issue service rifle you need something that hurts, is fairly accurate out to 300-500m but behaves well during rapid fire. Recoil and to some degree heat efficency are key. Battle rifles are good supplement but they are not all purpose weapons like ARs.

        • hikerguy

          I do agree with you on that point. Yes, no less than 7.62 x 51 is needed in open range warfare where long distance shooting is the norm. For typical battle ranges up to 300-350 yards whether urban, jungle, or forrest the .300 would be better suited than the 5.56 due to extra bullet weight and caliber. More kinetic energy.

    • Nmate

      Except you don’t run rifles and carbines on full auto.

  • Big Les

    This from the paper that illustrated a piece about the SBS with a screenshot of Soap McTavish from Call of Duty…

    The only thing you can take from this is that UKSF are trialling a replacement for the Diemaco, which will include 5.56 weapons as well. Everything else is fluff.

  • David

    The insider sounds rather ignorant, but I can see what they’re talking about even if how they said it isn’t very descriptive.

    The 5.56×45 actually has higher lethality than the 7.62×51 in certain circumstance. Specifically, the M193 55 grain is a considerably better bullet than the M855 62 grain for war. If velocity drops below 2600 ft/s then the 5.56 won’t reliably fragment in tissue and it’s lethality becomes very poor… about the same as a.22LR. The M855 62 grain is perfectly the wrong blend of weight, construction, and velocity to be lethal. The m855 reliably fragments at 50m or less out of an M4 style 14.5″ barrel. The M193 reliably fragments out to about 100m out of the same barrel. This can be pushed to 150m and 250m with a 20″ barrel for the M855 and M193 respectively. Basically within the reliable fragmenting range, the 5.56×45 actually causes more tissue damage, shock, and blood loss than the 7.62×51. Inside that same range, the 7.62×51 is almost as good, and outside of that range, the 7.62×51 is better. This is of course not taking cover, body armor, the thickness of the enemy (bullet may pass clean through before fragmentation occurs), and other variables.

    I think the real reason for the consideration of 7.62×51 being the standard round that the SAS carry, if true, is basically due to the environment of their major deployments. Afghanistan is desert and mountains. They are environments that require long range weapons. The 5.56 just isn’t that. Taking into account the known lethality ranges of the 5.56 and the ranges at which the SAS probably frequently engage targets, the 7.62×51 makes sense. Heck the resurgence of DMR type weapons in the various militaries stationed in A-stan is more than apparent. The US brought back the M14, the UK adopted the LMT L129A1, other countries are deploying the HK 416 in more or less numbers, and the Germans brought back their G3s now switching to G28 for that role. It makes sense.

    Current doctrine in many militaries, including the US, is to use small arms to restrict enemy movement and then have ordinance destroy the enemy. The 5.56 is great for this due to the amount of ammo each soldier can carry. Sometimes support may not be an option and you just need to win the gun fight decisively and early. I think in the right hands, the 7.62×51 could offer that capability.

    • David

      Replace HK 416 with HK 417

    • 9×25

      If the environment is major concideration and the potential lack of artillery during extended engagement — than why would they not think that — 6.5 Grendel is a better option ?

      • David

        6.5 Grendel is an amazing round. It’s like a downsized and slightly more efficient .280 British. Its main drawback is cartridge dimension and current magazine dimensions. Length-wise the Grendel fits fine in the STANAG magazine, but width-wize it is awkward and requires a special follower. The neck diameter vs shoulder angle vs cartridge overall length means it feeds extremely poorly in belt fed machine guns and is prone to jamming them. Soldiers worry about fighting, NCOs worry about their soldiers, Junior officers worry about tactics and strategy, Senior officers worry about their systems. From a brass point of view, the 6.5 Grendel isn’t a good system even though the cartridge itself is really exceptional.

  • Arrser

    It the Daily Mail people!! They’re a bunch of trolls – throw out 5.56vs7.62 and some urban myths get some web views. UKSF already fields 7.62mm rifles. No big deal. Move on.

  • dp

    Question of curiosity: did anyone consider this? A ‘simple’ modification to existing 5.56×45 round may produce sought after improvement without much cost.
    By reducing casing length by 2-3 mm while keping o/a length the bullet would become heavier and pick up BC not to mention section density. By altered ratio of bullet mass vs. propelant load the velocity would drop somehow; this would be outweighed by better energy retention and thus greated effectiveness at longer useable range.
    Alteration to existing fleet of weapons would consist of cutting back barrel end by same (2-3mm) amount, re-reaming by dedicated reamer and re-torquing barrel extention. Action components and magazines would remain the same. By default you would have more space between front of magazine and barrel rear end which is not necessarily a detriment. And yes, the gas tube length may need to be adjusted as well. Generally, not big deal for almost certain gain. In meantime, existing ammo stocks could be used for practice…… hahaha.

  • xx

    5.56 is the most dangerous os samall calibers.

  • xx

    The 5.56 is the most dangerous small caliber. The only reason somebody would prefer the 7.62 in afganistan is the distance,the large open range, but when you need to shoot large number of bullets in close range/medium range and in few seconds the 5.56 is the best.

  • xx

    “People are still perpetuating the shoot-to-wound myth” yea

  • The Forty ‘Twa

    Printed in the Daily Mail, total load of tosh as usual. “They” have all sorts of stuff that is 7.62 already.

  • LCON

    Perhaps the reasons are wrong. but the message is Right. I mean the effective range of the 762 nato round is larger perhaps the SAS guys are feeling the need for the longer range in open country at the individual level? then Some Jack*** jumpped in and added His two pence.

  • Lance

    Doubt they will for urban conflicts and for full auto fire 5.56mm is prefers over 7.62mm.

  • Mike Knox

    What’s all the fuss about? They already have H&K 417s..

  • I think it’s time for NATO just to move on to 6.5 grendel. It really does hit that sweet spot just right.

    • David

      I was thinking a similar thing. The 6.5 Grendel is a GREAT round. It’s only problem is case dimensions. Apparently it doesn’t work well in belt fed weapons at all, I always wondered why the 7mm08 has been ignored. It’s so similar to the .308 but so much better for a variety of reasons. It’s basically a .276 pederson (yeah from WWII testing). For any given bullet weight the 7mm08 out performs the .308 in terms of velocity, energy retention, and drop all the while generating roughly 20-25% less recoil. Stellar round that’s a touch different but loads better.

    • n0truscotsman

      IF we adopted a kalashnikov-type action rifle (long stroke piston), the grendel cartridge would be extremely effective and reliable.

      Thats never going to happen. One can only dream

  • big daddy

    The original M16, devastating wound ballistics and major blood loss and tissue damage. A great killer of men, even the Viet Cong liked it. The problem, terrible accuracy and even a blade of grass would deflect the lightweight bullet, not so good in jungles. Fix the accuracy issue and now the round does not have the terminal ballistics. Fix that and some other thing pops up. That means that basically a .22 is what it is and you can go just so far with it. The 7.62 NATO is a full sized cartridge that is better for support weapons like GPMGs and Marksmen or snipers. Again like the trails of the 1950s an intermediate round is needed with a modern rifle to match it. There is enough information and modern materials to produce a great gun and a great round. Just do it, cut one large ship and it’s support group and you have funded the whole thing.

    • David

      Yeah. I agree. Current military cartridge replacement proposals are limited by magazine dimension… which means they have to fit in either a STANAG 5.56×45 magazine or a 7.62×51 mag. It seems like the happy medium is somewhere in between the two. Something like 6.5×47 lapua size or a touch smaller.

  • notpeter

    Why not something new like the 6.8 or 6.5? i heard the spec ops guys really like the 6.8 and it was adopted by the dea

  • Nathaniel

    Cue article on how woefully misreported this is.

    Don’t get your gun news from the Daily Mail, kids.

  • Chris

    It’s worth noting that the daily mail is a complete lie rag and very little that’s printed in it has any truth to it.

  • .30 dude

    the Russians had it right the first time 7.62×39 is perfect.

  • The SAS have a fairly unrestricted budget, if they wanted 7.62 rifles they’d have them.

  • seal76

    The SAS and all Spec Ops units shoot to kill. This is bullshit. I am a former USN SEAL as is my son and we shot to kill.

  • Regulus

    The British need to quit screwing around with 5.56 and 7.62 and go back to using the most superior of rounds ever made, 303 British! My favorite cartridge ever.

  • BOCAT 9

    This argument again? BLUF: 7.62×51 and 5.56×45 are BOTH adequate and each carry their own advantages and disadvantages (which I should not have to explain here as they have already been stated ad-nauseum). Neither is a “death-ray” (no standard military cartridge is). As someone stated earlier, shutting down the central nervous system of an enemy is the only guarantee of an immediate stop (although skeletal destruction or massive and rapid blood loss is often effective in incapacitation). This is a fact. Shot placement is key and unfortunately extremely difficult in combat. Plenty of people have assumed room temperature from 5.56 wounds and plenty are still among the living after having been shot by a 7.62. The key to selection of a weapon system is what is the right tool for the job for the mission at hand? Each of these cartridges have their place on the team (squad, section, etc…) and should be used in concert, complimenting each other. I challenge those here with combat time to to look at their experiences objectively and tell me I’m wrong.

  • n0truscotsman

    here’s a idea: stop fielding FMJ and transition to open tip match that is over 70 grains in size. lethality and range problems solved.

    of you want a battle rifle, then get a SCAR H.

    once again, with a 270 sized cartridge, you still have tradeoffs of heavier recoil, heavier ammunition, and more barrel wear.

  • Mazryonh

    At least the British have tacitly admitted what has been known for a long time now; the 5.56mm NATO cartridge is clearly inadequate for today’s “low-intensity conflicts” and invites outranging from those using older and longer cartridges. These and other shortcomings are been made abundantly clear in the following webpage:

    To me this looks like a golden opportunity for the British to give their original General Purpose Cartridge, the .280 British (7x43mm in metric), another try. Or they could go a little further and try the 7mm Murray (7x46mm) for that extra edge in longer-range performance.

  • I honest to God have been saying the .223/5.56 is a tactical mistake for decades. Glad the SAS is doing the right thing – accuracy and placement negates the need for “SPRAY AND PRAY”. Build marksmen not hosers. Been shooting a LONG time, own many a firearm over the years myself. including the SVD, the SKS, HK91, AK47 [Semi-only], .303 Enfield, 98 Mauser, Mosin-Nagant, M-4 [x 3], 5.7×28/M-4 hybrid [I REALLY really like this one a lot by the way], as well as a BA-50. So I have a bit of offering here – not just a rookie.

  • Alf

    lol we’re talking about a force, that to this very day, still trains for CQB most of the time with MP5’s. Why don’t we hear complaints about 9mm subguns being used? Until I see some proof I’m going to dismiss this as Daily Mail poop.

  • motoguzzi

    So can we look forward to an improved version of the 7.62 round?

  • Simon_the_Brit

    I’d bet a large amount of beer that an SAS Blade would never have said that there was a “shoot to wound” policy.

  • jmark80

    Well of course 5.56 is a lesser round…when you have to use ball/fmj. Let them use soft points and see how it goes.