Do We Want One-cartridge To Rule Them All?

Nathaniel Fitch blogs about the wisdom (or lack thereof) for having a single general purpose cartridge that can satisfy the needs of riflemen, machine gunners and sharpshooters to replace both the 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO …

The first group of cartridges all greatly resemble (though none improve upon) the .276 Pedersen. These include the7x46mm UIAC, the .270 Sidewinder, the .280 British, and others. The second-most mature group, many have examples have actually been loaded and fired, and the .280 British was even officially adopted, briefly. Because their performance has been verified, it cannot be said that these cartridges are unfeasible, but is it worth the cost and effort to field one, in light of the widespread adoption of 7.62mm weapons? In a word, no. Even the literature for 7x46mm UIAC shows it’s not greatly more efficient than 7.62 NATO, and it doesn’t provide any additional capability, so why would military procurement spend millions re-arming with entirely new weapons and ammunition when they have almost-as-good-and-already-in-the-inventory 7.62 NATO machine guns and rifles? Since these cartridges are also almost as heavy as 7.62, they offer little practical benefit and will be largely passed over.

Many thanks to Sven (Defence and Freedom) for emailing me the info.

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.


  • kyle

    Do we need one cartridge to rule them all. If it cost less than 22 lr or 7.62×39 I would be open to it.

    • hkryan

      .22 LR ain’t exactly cheap anymore!

      • Michael

        Still cheap, just unavailable.

  • Jay T

    I’ve never seen anything go well when trying to find something to be all things in all roles.

    • bbmg
      • Jay T

        Good expression. I was just thinking of the F-4 Phantom,…it was supposed to be everything; Fighter-bomber, Fighter, Close Air Support, Reconnaissance, It just kept getting bigger and heavier. A small MiG-17 gave it headaches with its agility. The M14 was supposed to be rifle AND light MG. Bad idea. The 7.62x51mm was uncontrollable on full auto from an M14 and the rifle was too long and powerful for close-in work. The 5.56mm was supposed to replace it,…it ends up being too light for anything over 400 yards. Conversely, the A-10 was purpose built and it excels at its job.

        • bbmg

          Good analogy, I do think a more happy medium can be achieved though.

          Look at tank guns, with the amount of time and effort dedicated to their ammunition development, they have a round for practically anything encountered on the battlefield, all fired through the same gun.

          • Giolli Joker

            Ok, let’s adapt tank gun ammo concept to… 12ga. 🙂

          • bbmg

            Still waiting for someone to make a proper APFSDS round for a 12 bore…

          • Giolli Joker

            Me too, but to make it really effective there should be the need to ramp up the working pressure of the shell…
            Nice “video”, BTW.

          • bbmg

            They tried it with the CAWS but that was dropped. Something to do with the thing being far to big for what were essentially close range engagements. Looking at the HK CAWS, it’s certainly a bulky piece of kit for something limited to 150 metre combat.

            I don’t know if a flechette round can be as accurate as a rifle, certainly when scaled down to 25mm caliber it exists and seems to function well:

            I can’t think of a reason why it should work in 25mm but not in 18.53mm, and a heavy dart has the potential to put even 7.62 AP level penetration to shame.

          • dp

            There is one problem with these extra large bores (even 12gs is already too much) and that is requested strength in chamber area and resultant weapon Weight – even if you work with 30ksi chamber pressure. I have done in past considerations on the subject and what helped me was looking back into pre-smokeless times. In conclusion, something between 10-12 mm seem to be most suitable. It just need some courage to look out of the box. But you must have hears that already……

          • bbmg

            ah, but courage is usually expensive…

          • 101nomad

            And usually in spite of being scared to death.

          • Jon

            There is an cheaper and easier weapon combo than that you are projecting, a 9×39 bullpup with underbarrell shotgung.

          • Plumbump

            I’ve found they work pretty well in 120mm cannons, although that was
            through a computer, laser barrel-drop sensor, and a sensor for the wind

          • jerseydave

            The 120mm is a smoothbore. Return of Canister and Grape Shot? (Got any old tow chains? 😉

          • dp

            That is good analogy and as always from you – good thinking! Now – what makes it possible? Bore size. If, analogically you have sufficiently sized bore (perhaps even smooth, just as the tank cannon) you can think of truly versatile cartridge, with identical casing. Oooh, it can be sabboted – bingo!

          • bbmg

            The problem with size is weight – one of the benefits of 5.56×45 over 7.62×51 and 5.7×28 over 5.56×45 is that for a given weight, you can carry significantly more cartridges of the smaller round.

            This means that in order to be an effective substitute for an assault rifle, a larger bore and therefore heavier cartridge must be able to fire multiple subprojectiles per shot with similar or better dispersion to a 3 or 5 round burst from an assault rifle, not an easy task.

            Buckshot simply will not do because a spherical projectile, no matter how dense (CAWS shells used tungsten shot) has a very poor ballistic coefficient and will lose velocity and therefore accurate effective range very quickly.

          • dp

            “…multiple subprojectiles per shot with similar or better dispersion to a 3 or 5 round burst …”
            Correct! And that has been my thinking. Actually I have gone thru process of thought whereby two and three became just two and straight casing became necked with reduced bore. Key to success is to shape subs in such a way that they disperse to predictable pattern immediately after departing from muzzle. Let’s put it this way – I have some inroads since aerodynamics were my past occupation. At this point, the rifle has become sort of ‘semi-shotgun’. In addition, there is mentioned sub-caliber hi-coefficient ogive-type shot. So, you have CQB shot and regular mid-range type. Looking for investor……. would you have recommendation?

          • Giolli Joker

            Kikstart it! (or whatever firearm friendly crowdsourching plaftorm you can find). 😀
            Regarding bore size and max pressure, CAWS was 12ga and going up to 25kpsi… the advantage of 12ga (maybe still rimmed but with a small belt) would be being able to use the variety of available standard loads (including FRAG12…).
            APFSDS in a “small firearm” was tried by Steyr but not developed further than prototype stage… rumors say that accuracy was poor, but I’ve seen no data about that… personally I simply believe that even big firearm manufacturers cannot spend a lot in R&D if there’s no real government to justify the expenses.
            Anyway its bore size was (in its latest form, 15,2mm) quite close to 20 gauge.
            (of course pressure, bulk and intended purpose were way different than what we are considering right now).
            Some more food for thoughts:

          • bbmg

            The AMR is certainly an interesting project, the penetration figures alone certainly makes one wonder why it didn’t see production.

            For some reason though, it seems no development of subcaliber dart below 25mm has ever seen service adoption. Even the subcaliber 20mm round for the 20mm cannon on the Phalanx uses an APDS round that is spin and not fin stabilized.

            Maybe that would be a “radical” solution, a new long range of bullet for the 7.62 x 39 / 300 Blackout platform in the vein of the CBJ 6.5 x 25mm.

            A very low drag bullet made of a dense metal, say 4.6mm diameter weighing around 60 grains in a synthetic sabot would leave the barrel at high velocity than the ball because of its lighter weight, and retain this velocity for longer due to its higher ballistic coefficient.

            I think the comparison between the 408 CheyTac and 50 BMG would apply between this bullet and 7.62 x 51mm.


            At the muzzle, the 408 has less than 70% of the muzzle energy of the 50. At 800 yards though, the muzzle energy is about equal, and out to 1000 yards the 408 is 12% more energetic. It is therefore conceivable that such a bullet fired from a 7.62 x 39mm cartridge would actually be more effective than a 7.62 x 51mm ball round at range.

            The issue of course would be cost. The cost of making a VLD bullet out of a dense metal would be significantly higher than making a jacketed lead bullet in the current market. Then again you would not have to issue these rounds to all troops either.

          • Giolli Joker


            “A very low drag bullet made of a dense metal, say 4.6mm diameter weighing around 60 grains in a synthetic sabot”
            60 grains for a .17 caliber VLD bullet in dense material is a quite low mass, I’d guess.
            I think one issue is stabilizing such a bullet with the standard rifling of the gun if, as per your example, you want to use it in a 7.62×39 rifle.
            And terminal ballistics as well wouldn’t probably be great.

          • dp

            Thank you Giolli Joker, much appreciated. I guess in this case the term “entrepreneurship” comes in place. This must be initiated by a company who has clout in ammo/arms industry and even those have to be very judgemental. Actually, it all depends on detail solutions and even small test run does not mean spending millions. I think I understand the scene, at least partly.
            As far as bore size vis-à-vis technical complexity and cost I’d say this: as I do have respect for hi-end items such as programmable 12ga explosive cartridge I believe in simplicity. I feel that ideal solution is somewhere in transition zone rifle-shotgun. I foresee the versatility of the round and that is clearly the denominator in my interest in this. If applied and proven worthy, it may indeed end up in new approach to progress.

          • bbmg

            I don’t think developing a whole new weapon system is the best solution. It has to be said that it seems to have worked to some extent with FN and their P90/Five-seveN as well as HK with their MP7, but I think something that will work in current weapon systems has a better chance of success.

            I also note that the problems claimed for 5.56 seems to be more based on impressions as opposed to facts. From Tony William’s article here:

            “The second problem with 5.56 ammunition is
            its lack of suppressive effect…
            Field testing has revealed that the suppressive effect of a small-arms bullet is
            directly proportional to the loudness of the sonic bang it generates, and in
            turn that is directly proportional to its size. 5.56 bullets have only half the
            suppressive radius of 7.62 fire, exacerbated by the fact that the little bullets
            are more affected by wind drift and therefore less likely to get close to the
            target at long range. This is supported by battlefield reports that the Taliban
            take little notice of 5.56 suppressive fire.”

            Basically they are saying “we want a bigger bang to scare the enemy”. Hmmm…

          • dp

            I am in line with you that the new ammo should not require new weapon, part of chambering and bolt head, of course. The envelope under consideration would fit inside if AR mag well. A, the front part is formed such that it assists during feeding.
            I used to read Tony’s page periodically as he posts updates. For most part he seem to be unbiased. At the same time it is almost impossible for an individual to take several stances at ones and for that reason a discourse is necessary.

          • dp

            One historical reference – and why this direction. This originated with realization that ‘case-less’ is doomed. I was looking for another way out and ahead. And yes, I was influenced by CAWS too.
            Regarding weight; the projectile needs to have what it takes to deliver energy. I do not believe to fancy path-ways and twists because it is proven it is not consistent. As for casing, it can be light alloy or polymer; I consider lot less than 50ksi as start requirement. To project it to real terms, if you have in your mag 30 singles or 20 doubles it should be in terms of carried load very similar.

        • ColaBox

          The M14 is the most ambiguous firearm iv ever seen. Its been called a battle rifle, sniper rifle, designated marksmen rifle, light machine gun, semi automatic rifle and an assault rifle. Im fairly sure if it was alive and could speak it would be having an identity crisis.

          • Jay T

            It’s too much gun for one job, and not enough for another. Definitely, an identity crisis. I’m still thinking a 6.8 or something close to it might be a better balance,…but nothing is going to be all things to all roles. The 5.56mm with a heavier bullet 62gr to 69gr is great, but only inside of 300-400 yards. Beyond that the 7.62x51mm had to be hauled out of mothball in the M14 to provide DM the reach and punch needed beyond 300 yards. It excels at that role. This is assuming we are talking about FMJ ammo. Start monkeying with ballistic tips and suddenly the little 55gr 5.56mm becomes much more effective,…and the .308 becomes devastating

          • Ala

            No cartridge can replace the basics of sight picture, trigger squeeze, and a full knowledge of the capability of the cartridge. Knowing the basics means you will know what you can do with the cartridge in your gun.

            It’s up to you, not the cartridge.

          • 101nomad

            We loved our M14s, semi auto only. Cussed them, but loved them. Spent better part of two years training in jungle warfare with the M14. It was what we had, then we were issued M16s, those early models were not exactly up to speed, but, they were what we had, when one quit, the magazines were passed around, and it’s operator became a spotter. Marines still carried M14s when we first arrived in country. No amount of bargaining would convince them to part with one. We did find a few orphan M14s we ‘adopted’, along with a few Thompsons and M1s someone carelessly dropped. (yes, we could get ammo as needed). As citizens we have choices, so far, and having choices is wonderful.

          • Jay T

            My favorite is still the M1 Garand,…I can shoot that all day. It’s heavy, but it’s really an incredible rifle. I love it. The M1A kicks like mule. The Thompson must have Been a kick to shoot, Thank you for your service Nomad. It’s guys like you who set the bar! The transition from M14 to M16 was nothing but bad. Took 20 years to get the M16 right. Brilliant design, but the procurement and meddling with Stoner’s design concept was a disaster.

        • 1911a145acp

          Well done sir!

        • Flight Er Doc

          The F4 Phantom WAS good at everything. The problems with Mig-17’s were caused by restrictive ROEs that required visual confirmation prior to attack: Why get close enough for a knife fight when you can use a range weapon (like the AIM-7) to blow it out of the sky?

          Full disclosure: I was a Phantom Phlyer.

          • Jay T

            You are right, my phasing was not the best. I am a huge fan of the Phantom II and there is a reason it’s still in service with some air forces around the world. I guess it would have been more accurate to say the way it was used. The F4 was designed to use missiles to knock down MiGs,…but the way they were used was driven by politics, not common sense. Getting into tight turns with -17s, and -19s, wasn’t what it was built for. It was the pilots who developed tactics that made up for it, but it had to be a lotta work,…and until the E model,…no built in M-61 20mm ‘Vulcan’ gun. At best a pod that took up a hard point.

          • idahoguy101

            Was that generation of AIM7 missile that good in Vietnam? What with the humidity and the background clutter in SW Asia.

          • Flight Er Doc

            Shoot two, 85% chance of a hit

          • 101nomad

            Thank you.

        • Adam

          Except that a 5.56mm is very effective over 400 yards….

          • Adam

            And an AR-10 doesn’t hit sub MOA like a 5.56 either.

    • neoconfection

      Take a look at anything the Canadian Forces were forced to buy in the 90s for a good example of this rule. Griffons? Yeah! Make everything a LAV! Who needs tanks anymore?

  • ThomasD

    Not just filling all roles, but doing it all well enough to warrant complete change over from existing 7.62 weapons.

    I suppose it is possible, something in 6.5 – 7.2 mm range, using a long for caliber projectile seated deep in a short but stout cartridge, no doubt needing an as yet to be developed wonder powder…

    • Nathaniel

      “Modern powders” has been used so often to justify the extravagant performance of a new cartridge by marketing types, that among my friends it has become a running joke.

  • Brandon Bowers

    30-06 …. works great on everything. 1 shot, 1 stop.

    • JT

      I like the logic, but I don’t think you can apply the same strategy to modern rifles. 30-06 came from bolt guns and was probably great that it had so many effective loadings…for that time. The Answer IMO is probably something that is closer ballistically to a .308 in it’s hottest loading and a .223 in it’s basic loading. Or do what the germans did and have a shortened version for assault rifles and a full version for marksmen

    • Nathaniel

      Besides large explosive shells, no caliber is a guaranteed stopper. If you look hard enough, you can find numerous examples of soldiers being hit with 7.62mm weapons and receiving fairly minor wounds. Here’s one such example:

      Consider in addition the logistical burden that .30-06 brings with it. It is very, very heavy (2.2 times as heavy as 5.56), and uses up a lot of raw materials (more than twice as much copper and lead as 5.56). Consider that most rounds are expended in suppression, and only a tiny fraction actually hit the enemy. In light of this, the cost of such a large caliber doesn’t really seem worth it, does it?

      .30-06 is a great cartridge, don’t get me wrong. It’s something of a milder magnum, capable of many things magnum cartridges are, but still shootable from a reasonable rifle (at least, as long as you have a good buttpad). Does that mean it makes a very good military cartridge? There are other things to consider to answer that question, chief among them, logistics.

      • Brandon Bowers

        No offense but have you actually compared kinetic energies from an AK-47 round [which you use to cite 7.62 wounds] versus a 30-06? (1600 ft-lbs vs 2900 ft lbs … huge difference)
        Also 1100 yard engagement range for every soldier makes for a larger increase in firepower at long ranges. I’ll trade ammo capacity for increased wounding / extended range envelope. Properly loaded 30-06 can remain supersonic out to 1400 yards.

        • Nathaniel

          With respect, the cartridge in cited in the article above was a 7.62x51mm cartridge, the close relative of .308 Winchester, and was fired from an M240 machine gun. It is very comparable in performance to M2 Ball .30-06.

          Could you provide a source that dismounted infantry with individual weapons are engaging targets at 1100 meters? Virtually no one I have spoken with has mentioned rifle engagements against point targets at anywhere near that range. Here’s a source from one very experienced veteran which asserts that 800m is well into crew-served weapons range: Crew-served weapons which are in a caliber ballistically almost identical to .30-06 M2 ball, I might add.

          • Brandon Bowers

            No sources on 1100 meters. That’s my own preference for a rifle’s performance range. [Why should crew served weapons have all the fun] And as for the shot through the bicep that is 1 in a 1000 in terms of how lightly he got off (basically it was a meat hit). Torso hits are what count. The 308 is another alternate caliber but a properly loaded 30-06 to modern pressures is superior to it. Also 30-06 allows for more versatile loads (110 grain – 230 grain) where the 308 cant load beyond 190 without a significant loss in case capacity / performance.

          • Nathaniel

            This sounds rather more like your own personal preference in hunting cartridges than an assessment of what the military needs.

          • Brandon Bowers

            More like my preferences based on my own military experience and an a personal analysis of what the military needs are likely to be. We are much more likely to be fighting on prairies, tundra and deserts than jungles and forests at this point. Range counts. Barrier penetration counts. Lethality counts. 5.56 just doesn’t cut it. 30-06 most certainly will.

          • Georgiaboy61

            You are allowing your biases to cloud your judgment. The 5.56mm/.223 Remington is a varmint round – effective at taking out small game – but proven ineffective as a man-stopper past a couple of hundred yards – and utterly ineffective at penetrating cover. The 30-06, in contrast – though heavy – is a proven man- and fight-stopper, lethal out past 1,000 yards.
            While it is true that most military engagements are fought within a few hundred meters, that is not the same as saying all are. Our experiences in the Middle East and Afghanistan showed yet again that the 5.56mmm AR platform is inadequately to engage targets beyond a few hundred meters. Taliban and other insurgent forces simply remain out of range while firing at our forces with full-sized battle rifles. In order to counter them, American/NATO forces needed to bring back weapons in .308 caliber or larger – i.e., .338 Lapua Mag, 300 Win-Mag, etc.
            Your assessment of full-sized battle rifles also ignores the fact that weapons like the M1903 Springfield, M1 Garand and BAR were used very effectively in urban combat and in close quarters – especially when augmented with SMGs like the Thompson and M3, chambered in .45 ACP.

          • Georgiaboy61

            30-06 – more than a hundred years of greatness and still going strong…

          • Brandon Bowers
      • Georgiaboy61

        True, full-sized cartridges developed for main battle rifles like M1 and M14 are heavy, but they are man stoppers and are also capable of inflicting significant damage when fired at distance and through cover.

        The rationale for moving to the 5.56mm NATO round was to increase the basic combat ammo load of the infantryman – but time and experience have since shown that the 5.56mm isn’t a reliable man-stopper and that as many as 4-5 shots/target were needed to neutralize a given target and take him out of the fight. This has been well-known since the Battle of Mogadishu – when U.S. Delta Force operators watched Somali militiamen absorb multiple hits from their M4s – and still remain in the fight.

        The original AR-15/M-16 designed by Gene Stoner back in the 1950s relied on a 55-grain FMJ bullet fired from a full-length rifle barrel of 20″ or more, at very high muzzle velocity – at/above 3,000 fps. The design of the bullet caused it to tumble and fragment upon hitting the target – producing a sizeable shock wave and a disproportionately large temporary wound channel.

        The lynchpin of the entire system is high muzzle velocity; once the 5.56mm round loses velocity, its effectiveness falls off rapidly since the round is so light. With a 20″ barrel, the 5.56mm is reliably lethal within an envelope of 200 meters or so. With a 16″ barrel, the envelope of lethality falls to 50 meters or less.

        The M4/M16 system is often classified as an assault rifle, but one can build a decent case that it should really be thought of as an updated version of the old M1 carbine – a light, easy-to-handle weapon suitable for close quarters work, but increasingly ineffective as ranges increase.

        The Soviets came closer to the true assault (or “storm”) rifle concept with the AK-47 and its intermediate-sized 7.62x39mm round. The late Colonel David Hackworth, one of America’s most-distinguished warriors and a seasoned counter-guerilla fighter in Vietnam, considered the AK-47 to be much-superior to the M-16. If it was good enough for ‘Hack….

        • Nathaniel

          I address the bulk of these arguments in this post on my blog:

          • Georgiaboy61

            No, you do not…

        • Nathaniel

          Are you meaning to imply that 5.56mm rifles are a feminist conspiracy?

          • Georgiaboy61

            I said nothing of the kind; I was merely making the point that what arms our troops bear isn’t based only on battlefield considerations, but on political ones as well.

  • bbmg

    “why would military procurement spend millions re-arming with entirely new weapons and ammunition when they have almost-as-good-and-already-in-the-inventory 7.62 NATO machine guns and rifles?”

    This is a stumbling block for ammunition development, one solution is to try and make a round which will fit existing weapons with little modification.

    The CBJ 6.5 x 25mm seems to be a step in the right direction:×25%20CBJ

    You could for example make a reduced load 7.62 round that fits into a NATO chamber but has 7.62 x 39mm level performance, recoil and weight for when long range engagements are not expected. The downside would be not making any saving in terms of bulk, and the possibility of the reduced load not cycling semi/full auto actions properly.

    • Nathaniel

      I remain skeptical that firing tungsten (a strategic resource; you need it to make tool bits) projectiles from a weapon expected to hit its target once every hundred-thousand shots is a good idea.

      • Eric S

        A while back some agency or another tested the idea of using tungsten slugs for military application. Problem is that tungsten tended to cause cancer. Not certain how it was more carcinogenic than lead or copper, or why anyone cared about the long term health of someone we have deemed to be an enemy of the state, but that was their reasoning behind not using it.

        I like your argument about tungsten being useful in other applications better.

        • Tinker

          The carcinogenic factors apply to all the factory-workers, ammo-handlers and logistics people forced to stack and restack the rounds on base.

  • 7.62×51, the one true caliber. We all know that the brass in 7.62×51 is forged in the heart of a dying star, quenched in a sacred blend of the tears of Baby Jesus, and the sweat of Chuck Norris’s nether-regions.

    The primers are made from the horns, hooves, bones, teeth and marrow of Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, the very goats that drew the almighty Thor’s chariot, when they were left behind at the peasant farmer’s house after slaughter for Thor and Loki’s meal. That peasant farmer and his village were the great ancestors of the cartridge’s designers.

    They are proofed in the space between dimensions, and annealed by the gravitational pulls of two planets colliding together, under supervision from Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan.

    It’s said that through the eons of the universe, it is destroyed and formed again and again by naive mortals who do not understand the power they hold in each round of 7.62×51.

    • Nathaniel

      …That was brilliant.

      • bbmg

        … aside from the suggestion that perspiration emanates from Chuck Norris’ loins, which would imply the scientifically impossible fact that they are overheating 0_o

        • Rob in Katy

          Or that Chuck Norris sweats…

          • Rusty Shovel

            He doesn’t sweat during battle, but when with the ladies, he *glistens*.

          • 101nomad

            Who is Chuck Norris?

          • 2hotel9

            The quiet, mild mannered alter ego of Master Chief. Feel better, now?

          • 101nomad

            Yes, thank you. I think. Who is Master Chief?

          • 2hotel9

            That is from a game all the cool kids play, called HALO. Be careful! Its insidious influence has been known to alter the time-space continuum. Basically by eating all their spare time.

          • Anonymous

            Where else would the water of the Fountain of Youth come from?

    • LCON

      you forgot the Kryptonite Jacketing

    • gunslinger

      thank you

    • ozzallos

      Wow… that sounds remarkably similar to the creation of the 45acp.
      Lesser calibers only kill the body. 45acp kills the [i]soul.[/i]

    • 1911a145acp

      Jeez… so what’s the SAAMI CUP spec on THAT 7.62x51mm!?

    • Lee

      Epic! Thats all I’m saying.

    • bfmusashi

      I will buy guns just to fire the bullets you have just sold me.

    • MOG

      OK, keep the .22.

    • whamprod

      OK…. I want to be your sock puppet.

    • Anonymoose

      54R is better, and .30-06 better still.

    • Topsy Krets

      I am blown away to say the least, by this eloquent and concise description of what ,to me, is also the most feared and favorited caliber ever created.
      You sir deserve kudos !!

  • noguncontrol

    if you are a cake eating civilian, then the answer is yes, we do need one cartridge to do everything, if its practical. civilians don’t have the re-arming millions of soldiers problem, just let the market forces work. a good example is the .300 blk and the 6.5 grendel. the problem with civilian cartridges is, the stupid gun laws and regulations, all new civilians cartridges since the 30s would have been optimized for 8-9 inch barrels ( like the .300 blk) if it weren’t for the stupid control laws. maybe someone should start making .308 win and .223 rem , and everything else in between , optimized for 7-8 inch barrels.

    • Eric S

      I find this curious. How do you optimize a full size necked cartridge for large pistol barrels? Wouldn’t you lose a lot of energy, velocity, and accuracy in such a short barrel?

      • noguncontrol

        they did it with the .300 blk. and even the 6.8 spc. the 556 was designed for 20 inch barrels,as was the 7.62×39. the 5.45×39.5 was designed for 16 inch barrels. the .300 blk was optimized for 8-9 inch barrels, and even the 6.8 spc was designed from the start to work well with SBR barrels instead of the more common 16 inchers. if it can be done with the 6.8 spc and .300 blk , it can be done with other calibers, and don’t forget the 6×35 KAC, that is another cartridge designed for shorter barrels.

    • Blackscorpy

      The problem with the new calibers is that they’re largely optimized for the AR platforms. Also, I don’t think the “new cartridges” thing is due to gun laws… more due to obsolete thinking by the military, plus the traditions. At least on this side of the pond, most of the calibers have either been military issue, or hunting calibers, usually for fairly large game. The .300 BLK is largely optimized for the barrel length due to suppressors, isn’t it?

      • McThag

        The new rounds are optimized for the AR because they’ll sell there. Completely new rounds for a completely new rifle are going to languish because they’re so much more expensive than that AR.

      • noguncontrol

        with the .300 blk, they optimized it by using pistol powders like h110, the same has been done with newer cartridges like 6×35 KAC.

  • Darryl

    I thought that was why the 6.8mm SPC was invented.

    • LCON

      6.8SPC as the name implies was intended for Special Purpose Cartridge roles, to optimize ballistics from shorter barrels at closer ranges. 6.8SPC evolved however to extend ranges yet still retain short barrels.

    • ColaBox

      Im fairly sure 6.8 got beat to death by .300BLK.

      • Cynicalforareason

        Eh? The .300BLK fulfils a very different role to that of the 6.8 SPC. Are you thinking of the 6.5 Grendel vs the 6.8 SPC?

        • ColaBox

          Well it was to my understanding, ad correct me if im wrong, that both cartridges were created to replace the 5.56 in SBR’s and carbines. While both were improvements over 5.56 in terms of “power”, and both being fairly equal in range and muzzle velocity, the .300BLK beat out 6.8 in the market mainly due to it using 5.56 brass. Same mags, same bolt, just a barrel swap. So it saves money, and the differences in ability between BLK and SPC were negligible enough to not justify the change in internals. Then their is the whole sub-sonic topic but that’s another story…

          • cynicalforareason

            Well, the .300BLK/.300 Whisper was designed for subsonic loadings with a suppressor that would be superior to pistol calibers. Then the user could switch up to supersonic rounds almost duplicating 7.62 x 39 for when full suppression wasn’t needed.

            The 6.8 SPC on the other hand was designed to improve on the long-range capabilities of the 5.56 with a bullet of greater mass, energy and with a superior ballistic coefficient.

            At least, that’s my understanding.

  • Nicholas Mew

    6.5mm Grendel

    • Guest

      Recoil is too heavy to be used as efficiently as 5.56 in CQB.

      • taylorcraftbc65

        I had no problem with it, and I would MUCH rather kill someone trying to do the same to me, with a REAL bullet, rather than a warmed over .22 magnum.

        • bbmg

          Is a man shot through the head with a 45 ACP somehow more dead than a man shot through the head with 22LR?

          • 101nomad

            If you hit the head, either will do, if the .22 or the .45 is fake, you are wasting your time.

          • blucorsair

            ..the adage that the army is proposing. “2 in the chest and 1 in the head” with the 5.56×45 is hardly a confidence builder. The .45ACP and any .30cal does this without question!

      • S.Evans

        HK51 works just fine as a CQB weapon.

        • James

          Ever actually fired one?

      • ClintTorres

        …but you can engage targets out to 600+yrds. I think what we’re learning is that no one cartridge is ideal in multiple roles.

    • Mark Hillard

      I built a 6.5 Grendel (AR-15) after I saw some youtube videos. One dropped a buffalo at 300 yrds. and some 1000 yrd target shooting. Works for me.

  • This is really a “Jack of all trades, master of none” argument… Different cartridges are used for different tasks… Personally I think having 5.56, 7.62,338LM and 50BMG works well. They all have a use, and trying to have one round that does it all is just going to be overkill for half the applications and crippled for the other half…

    • Schadavi

      I also think the current caliber choice is sufficient for all military applications.
      Rearming to another brass-and-bullet cartridge at this point would not be a wise move for any military, when with the speed of current developments, the “next big thing” could be caseless ammo, miniature grenades or magnetic accelerated projectiles, or something even more exotic. (M41 Pulse rifles, yeah!)
      When, like now, the current caliber selection is more than enough to put any bad guy down, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

    • gunslinger

      i think this really sums it up.

      i don’t see a bullet that has the same performace in the sub-300m range acting the same at the 800+m range. i can see maybe 3 out of those 4. a 556/762×39 combo, a 762×51/338LM combo then 50BMG. but really, beyond that i don’t see how they could be reduced down again.

      but hey, that’s just me.

      wait, what about pistols!!!??!?!!!????

      • Michael

        We need to include pistols in the caliber wars. Can a 5.7, or 4.6 replace pistol and carbine role?
        Medium round, 6.5 Grendel to replace 5.56 and 7.6.
        338 to replace 7.62 and .50 BMG rounds.
        Only replace worn out weapons. Instead of buying replacements then buy new caliber weapons and give them to “areas” of the Military and move their older guns to other units,
        Example, give all units in Korea new weapons and move their older ones stateside, do this gradually.

        • bbmg

          Pistols are last-resort weapons, wars are not won by pistols. Then again, wars aren’t won by rifles either, rather by airpower and artillery. Small arms haven’t been the major killer on any significant battlefield for more than a century.

          • AR-PRO

            With all due respect,I disagree- ask any Marine or soldier who fought at Fallujah or other crap hole in Afghanistan or Iraq. While I agree there is a lot of aircraft and arty used, the man on the ground ultimately clears the buildings,caves and rat holes…

          • Georgiaboy61

            Airpower, armor and artillery are important, even decisive, weapons on the modern battlefield – but in the end, you still need a grunt armed with a rifle to take and hold ground, and get that enemy soldier to put up his hands in surrender and then sign the peace treaty.

      • rimshoes

        The 7.62×51 is a parent to many others. What would life be with out the wild cats. My question is why is the 6.5 bullet not in there with the .243, the 7mm, the .308 ? Why is there a 25-06, but no .243-06? What lurks in the hearts of the wild catters and just who makes the decision to go commercial ?

  • Lance

    Not going to happen unless we all go back to a battle rife caliber you wont get the long distance or destructive power a assault rifle cartridge would have 6.5mm is a good caliber but it wont replace a true long range caliber for shooting or for anti vehicle missions like a 7.62×51 or 7.62x54mm would do. Russia thought about it but stayed with its hard hitting 5.45mm and 7.62x54mm rounds. Face it were in a era of specialty rounds for special squad members till we drop projectile weapons ill doubt we will return to a single caliber or weapon military.

    • Marc

      7.62×51 is hardly a long range caliber, nor anti-materiel worthy. It’s an ~800 m anti-personnel cartridge, whereas 5.56×45 is a ~600 m anti-personnel cartridge. That’s a huge overlap and it makes a lot of sense to replace both with a healthy, optimized medium. My choice would be a 6 mm with low drag bullets, like the 6 mm SAW. Combine that with a lightweight casing like thinwall stainless steel (NDIA Lightweight Small Caliber Ammunition) and it wouldn’t weigh much more than 5.56 while out-ranging 7.62. But the neophobia is strong.

      • Nathaniel

        I’m diagnosed neophobic. I can only own rifles in calibers that are over half a century old. That’s why I use a Swedish Mauser for home defense.

        It’s a crippling handicap, but I manage. 😉

  • Nathaniel

    I am very humbled to have a post about me on TFB, thank you. I would emphasize here that I am just a civilian shooter, not an expert, and that my blog contains only my opinions on various subjects. I try to do the best I can to make sure those opinions are the best, most informed ones they can be (and as a result of this, they do not always remain the same over time), but I do not have the resources I feel are necessary to answer the question with total finality.

    • Jay

      It makes no sense to change calibers for anything using standard brass cases.
      With new materials being developed constantly, now being in the middle of a new revolution when it comes to materials,what if some polymer/carbon/nanotubes, end up being feasible to replace the brass as cartridge case? If new materials, in the near future (10 years), give us the opportunity to shave a lot of weight off ammo, what then?
      Don’t you think, going forward with the same 5.56/7.62mm combo would be a huge wasted opportunity?
      You will have to change guns, mags, ammo, pouches, MGs belts and everything else. Why extend the life of the 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm mistakes for another 50 years?

      • S O

        We’ve been able to replace brass with lighter lacquered steel, aluminium or plastic cases for decades, even generations. Lighter lacquered steel cases were used back in WW2. Caseless rifle cartridges have been ready for production for 25 years.

        We’ve been in the middle of the revolution you’re writing about since about the birth of my father.

        It does not happen. Small customers keep demanding guns in established calibres and the big ones mess up just about every major rifle ammunition reform project.

      • Nathaniel

        I am curious, in light of the fact that 5.56 in particular has been adopted by several countries (France, Switzerland, Sweden) and cloned by two other major powers (Russia, China), none of which have any logistical reason to standardize on NATO equipment, why you think it is a “mistake”?

        There is perhaps more of a case for 7.62 being the wrong choice vs. the .280 British, or .30-06 vs. the earlier .276 Pedersen or something similar to 7mm Mauser, but it gets the job done just fine.

        When the technology changes enough that these paradigms are overwritten by something new, I’m certain their time will end and they will be replaced, eventually. But from a ballistic and logistical perspective, they’ve served together just fine for half a century, why would new case technology change that?

        • idahoguy101

          The US Army .30 (7.62x63mm) was a scale up from the 7×57 cartridge that the Spaniards used against us in Cuba. The idea around 1900 was that infantrymen could accurately shoot at a man at 1,000 yards.
          The 276 Pederson and the 280 British mimicked the ballistics that would easily have been met by adopted the 7×57 cartridge. A round that was first adopted by Spain in 1892!

    • phale

      On your DeviantArt page you posted a 6.5 Universal cartridge which you claimed to have a weight of 0.037lbs (~17g).

      What has changed since then that has made this unfeasible?

      • Nathaniel

        I am glad you brought this up. I am always learning new things, or at least I try to be. The result of this is that my understanding of what is or is not feasible, and what is or is not desirable changes with time.

        One of the reasons I am so critical of the GPC concept is that I spent a lot of time (as an amateur living off ramen in college) trying to make them work. My methods for estimating cartridge performance got better over time, and many of my earlier concepts proved to be too optimistic when compared with more sophisticated estimates. My cartridge weight estimates, for example, are based on very accurate solid models of the cartridge cases and all their associated components, so I have a very, very good idea of what a cartridge weighs. However, that wasn’t always the case. Many of my weight figures from the period when that cartridge was conceived were more guesses than estimates, based on doing only a little basic math. My performance figures were the same way. I did the best I could, but until I really started working with the Powley computer (at first by hand using the formulas, and then using the much quicker but somewhat dirtier web calculator) there was always real potential for the estimates to be just a little too optimistic, because I wanted the cartridges to be everything I’d hoped. Even now, I have to check and double check my Powley figures against real values, to make sure the numbers I’m getting make some sort of sense, and even then I really recommend my velocity numbers be used for comparative purposes only, and not taken as absolute gospel.

        Sometimes I run into the limitations of the Powley computer, even. I was recently going to write a piece comparing the 6.5 Grendel to a few other cartridges, and as normal I intended to run some Powley numbers to get a nice, even baseline to work with. However, Powley and the short, fat 6.5 Grendel didn’t get along for some reason, and the numbers it produced were much inferior to those quoted by both Hodgdon and SAAMI, both of which I consider very trusted sources. As a result, the article was scrapped.

        • phale

          Do you have some contact information? I have had several ideas regarding infantry cartridges and firearms (mostly inspired by your work) and I’d like to discuss them with you.

          • Nathaniel

            Commenting on my blog seems best. You could also PM me through my old deviantART account, I still have access to it.

          • phale

            Check your dA, for some reason my comments won’t show up on your blog.

    • tincankilla

      this is a pretty academic question, but i’d like to separate the cartridge issue from the bullet issue. if you were to going to build a cartridge to rule them all (CQB to long range, multiple platforms, etc), what caliber would you start with?

      • Maave

        Long and slim. Close to 5.56. For long range the small diameter gives lower frontal area, so a better BC. For short range the long bullets will tumble better. Fragmentation is up to the bullet design. The length also gives you more room for heavier bullets if it’s desired.
        Get too small of caliber and the required pressure is higher, which will quickly eat away the barrel on LMGs.

  • Tyler

    Although NATO rules them all, there has been scepticism and debate within the last decade or so for these “super calibers” for use in our armed forces. Although ARDEC has approved a propietary intermediate cartidge for testing of new advanced weaponry, the Army hasnt made it easy on manufacturures to provide sufficient funding in the testing of these calibers in carbines and Light Machine Guns. Mechanical Engineering and politics aside, it would be feasible to incorporate the same cartidge within cafbines, LMG’s, and PDW’s..

    • Nathaniel

      Designing and implementing a cartridge that works well in everything from crew-served weapons, to personal defense weapons intended to replace handguns is an extremely high bar to clear, for pretty limited gain.

  • DD

    Totally agree.
    Since most conflicts today are either long range or close quarters you need to be able to deliver long range punch or to penetrate cover (and body armor).

    Also, it’s important to remember that a 20 round magazine of 7,62×51 contains more led than a 30 round mag of 5,56×45.

  • S O

    (1) Make the best of what you got.

    (2) Think about two intermediate cartridges for the future; one between 5.56 and 7.62 for dismounted use (in the famous 6.5-7 mm range) and one in between 7.62 and 12.7 for mounted use and sniping (.338 basically; strong enough to penetrate 7.62AP-resistant armour, small enough to allow for much more ammo than .50).

    (3) Don’t expect a 5.56 successor to happen unless it comes with a substantial technological advance.

    (4) Keep in mind said substantial technological advance was in the works since the 60’s and just keeps not happening (=no qty production); caseless, telescoped, plastic case…

    • Nathaniel

      It’s difficult for me to imagine that the successor to 5.56 will fire larger projectiles than .22 caliber, given what I know about terminal ballistics, squad firepower, and logistics.

      The trend for the past 500 years has been to go down in caliber, not up. I think there are very good reasons for this.

      • S O

        The reduction of calibre happened from the musket ball to Minié ball conversion during the 1840’s to the very first years of the 20th century when 6.5 mm cartridges were introduced. The last hundred years merely delivered 5.56/5.45/5.82 (basically one development in different blocs) and the handful of PDWs.
        That’s a far cry from a huge trend, especially as there were already experiments made with 5 mm calibre back in 1892 (at Spandau).

        • Nathaniel
          • S O

            Put those and others into a .table, run a statistics analysis program such as SPSS over it and see if it thinks there’s a trend.

            Basically no movement whatsoever for 200 years is not part of a trend. The drivers for smaller projectiles were the industrially manufactures pressed blackpowder granules of the 19th century which allowed for higher muzzle velocities and the ‘smokeless’ powders at the end of the 19th century, which allow for another MV jump.
            The full rnage of calibres in sue today was already experimented with in the first decade after ‘smokeless’ powders appeared, and 6.5 was a service rifle calibre shortly thereafter.
            There was but one jump afterwards, as all three blocs chose 5.45-5.82 in slow succession in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

            Two propellant innovations and one seemingly quite random jump later on, followed by two competing blocs. That’s no 500 years trend (and you contradict yourself, as you state on your blog “since 18th century”, which is much less than 500 years anyway.).

            Besides, smoothbore handguns/arquebus/muskets/fusils and rifles are very different items in regard to ammunition and should not be mixed in such a list.

          • Nathaniel

            Weaponsman already did that:

            Here’s the short version: Large caliber, relatively low velocity crew-served “hand guns” increase in popularity in the 14th century, resulting in improved infantry and cavalry armor to compensate. As a result, these hand gonnes increase in velocity and decrease in caliber, going from bores in the 1″ region to .65-.75″ in caliber and under 1,000 ft/s to over 1,400 ft/s muzzle velocity. Hard data for this era is scant, but by the 16th century, you have some very powerful guns indeed, like the sixteenth century arquebus mentioned in my blog post. These weapons are designed to defeat heavy plate armor that has been proofed against guns. Because of these weapons, plate armor falls out of favor, and as a consequence, their velocity falls, while their caliber remains the same. Infantry weapons get much lighter, and lower powered. This post-armor smoothbore era carries on for more than a hundred years, after which rifled muskets are introduced and the trend picks back up again, and you see rifles going from .577″ cal and 900 ft/s muzzle velocities to .224″ cal and 3,300 ft/s muzzle velocities in the 20th century, after which emphasis on long range machine gun performance and carbine length rifles slows the MV of 5.56 down again to about 2,900 ft/s.

            The trend of higher muzzle velocity and smaller caliber got interrupted by the considerations of battle in the 17th and 18th centuries, but it’s a very old trend indeed.

          • S O

            I see, you’re not going to get this any time soon. It’s not about a trend, it’s about steps done. Your belief in a trend only clouds your view for what really drives these changes. It’s a fairy tale instead of history.

            The good thing about this is that I’ve found a new topic for my blog.

  • Some Rabbit

    6mm Remington

    • pikemaster1

      You may have the one for anything from Black bear on down. It’s a great cal. for everything in that area. Going lager on game the old 30.06 is and will be hard to beat if at all? This is one of those question that could be argued with no end results. I say shoot with whatever works for you and you have the best ever ! God Bless.

  • iksnilol

    6.5 grendel or .260 remington is what I would use. Much farther range and less recoil than .308.

    A bullpup with a 20 inch barrel in .260 or 6.5mm would be a dream gun.

    • Nathaniel

      The 6.5 Grendel only gives you about 50m more combat zero range than 7.62×39. It has 60% more drop than 5.56mm at 500m. One of the reasons soldiers are able to make such long-distance hits with such regularity today vs. what was possible fifty years ago is the very flat trajectory of their weapons. The Grendel is a detriment to that. There are other concerns with the Grendel, as well, some of which are covered in my blog post.

      .260 Remington only has significant benefits in trajectory vs. 7.62×51 beyond the range at which riflemen are generally able to hit targets. Beyond a minor improvement in ammunition weight, it is almost identical to 7.62×51 from an operational standpoint.

      • Bob

        .243 then, loaded with 95 gr or 105 gr loads.

        • Nathaniel

          Your MG barrels wouldn’t last very long, and your infantry rifles would be just as large as 7.62mm ones.

      • n0truscotsman

        Exactly and you brought up a very compelling reason for NOT adopting it: lack of overall change/improvement in performance compared to the cost.

        That is also not considering the breakthroughs 5.56 has made over the past decade.

        Your article pretty much validated my feelings about intermediate cartridges (and I might be wrong someday, who knows) and I have always believed in the mantra of, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Unlike me, you went through the trouble to crunch the numbers and actually produce something sharable. Anyways, thanks 😀

  • MrHight89

    Make a 6.5 grendel or 6.8 spc in a accurized tavor and you got yourself a winner.

    Special load of 6.8 spc for 20-22 inch barrel carry more energy than a 7.62×51 behind 500 yard. And that for just a little bit more weight and space than the same amount of round in 5.56.

    • Nathaniel

      I think if you went down that road, you’d find it was much more difficult to create a load of 6.8 SPC that surpassed the retained energy of 7.62mm at ranges beyond 500m than the gunrags have led you to believe. My own best estimates of modified 6.8 SPC cartridges only have it exceeding the retained energy of 7.62mm at ranges over a kilometer, well beyond where that extra energy is useful for virtually anything. That was with OALs outside of what would fit in an AR-15 magwell, and extremely high form factor bullets well beyond the current standard. Keep in mind that one of the major reasons I’m critical of the GPC concept is that I’ve tried very hard to make the GPC concept work in the past, and found that it’s a much more difficult problem than some internet writers believe.

  • LCON

    Logistically The General Purpose Cartridge model makes sense, But in terms of performance it can leave a lot wanting. for a Marksman and machine gunner the rounds often come up lacking in reach, For light infantry the Machine guns often end up weighing more then they should. The Infantry works out okay but often end up lacking penetration in the lighter classes like pistols and SMG’s.

    The Specialized rounds offer better more specialized performance in their role but logistically that means having to procure and maintain stocks of rounds that only a single member of a Infantry squad can carry.

    Personally I side with specialized rounds for most roles. Leave the GPC to the bean counters.

    • Nathaniel

      The GPC concept has a couple of serious shortcomings from a logistical perspective, specifically the high cartridge weight (approaching that of 7.62mm, that means fewer rounds per pallet and more materials used per shot for ammunition that only hits a human target once every hundred thousand rounds) and the problem of changing over the only federal ammunition factory in the United States (Lake City) to it without disrupting the supply of ammunition to the troops.

      • LCON

        Good point the other side of that is to modify your term “GPC-Light” which lacks the range to reach out and engage targets past 400 meters. Case in point is the Chinese whose PLA issues to it’s front line units weapons based around the 5.8x42mm which is intended for use in Carbine’s (QBZ95 series/QBZ 03), IAR (QBB95), belt feed machine gun (QJY88), DMR (QBU88) and bolt action sniper rifle.
        They then went and necked it down into a pistol round for two sidearms and two SMG’.
        As I said however it don’t believe the concept of a GCP offers enough advantages to justify it. the trade offs of the Universal is performance.

        • Nathaniel

          5.8×42 is ballistically a very impressive cartridge, but fundamentally it’s very similar to 5.56mm, having a 4.6g bullet fired at about 920 m/s.

  • Nicholas Mew

    Operating systems do play a role though.

  • BryanS

    Nice thing about an all in one cartdrige is that it drives the price down. Look at 9mm, 22lr, and 5.56 (when nutbags arent buying it up for an Obamculapse and selling it at gun shows for 4x the price).

  • hairydogstail

    A 6.5 Grendel with an up dated receiver with a stronger bolt and P Mag is perfect for an AR plat form. Low recoil, long range capability and not a dramatically increase in weight is just what the Dr. orders.

    • Nathaniel

      The 6.5 Grendel only gives you about 50m more combat zero range than 7.62×39. It has 60% more drop than 5.56mm at 500m. One of the reasons soldiers are able to make long-distance hits with such regularity today vs. what was possible fifty years ago is the very flat trajectory of their weapons. The Grendel is a detriment to that. There are other concerns with the Grendel, as well, some of which are covered in my blog post.

      • hairydogstail

        Excuse me but that is what scope come ups and ballistic drop reticules are for. The Grendel will stay super sonic farther than the 308, 5.56 and the pathetic 7.62X39.. Please do some research if you obviously know nothing about long range shooting. I own all the above firearms and have turned to my Grendel for long range shooting because it can shoot at much farther range in a smaller, less recoil package. The ballistic coefficient of the 6.5 Grendel is far superior to the 5.56 or the 7.62X39 .A 5,56 round at 500 yards is not the hammer of Thor but more like a 22lr in power. The Grendel is far superior. The combination of recoil, ballistics, and light weight rifle platforms the Grendel wins hands down.

        • Nathaniel

          I am glad you feel good about your rifle.

          Keep in mind, though, that ballistic coefficient is not the only factor in rifle cartridge performance, and also that virtually zero riflemen can consistently make hits in combat on point targets, at ranges of over 500 meters. The Grendel may have good long range performance for a cartridge of its size, but it’s performance the grunt can’t really use.

          Further, the Grendel’s short case loses a lot of case capacity when shooting heavy lead-free or tracer projectiles, meaning you have to choose between its long range performance or suitability for military applications.

          Much of this is mentioned in the articles on my blog.

          • hairydogstail

            Which bullet are you calculating for the 5.56? The new M855A1 BC is only .190. This is gives a flatter trajectory to the Grendel at 500 yards vs the 5.56. If you choose the 77 gr the 5.56 round has a flatter trajectory but less energy and barrier penetration compared to the Grendel. There is no perfect round and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.I never got into the wind factor. I do know the 6.5 Grendel is superior at longer ranges and is a more lethal round. I do know what your point is about the 5.56 round and it does have merit.

          • Nathaniel

            I typically use .151 G7 for M855 and .158 G7 for SS109.

      • hairydogstail
  • guest

    No no no no no… not another “do it all” cartridge that fails to do it all and most importantly never actually becomes popular. There is already a gazillion of both military intermediate cartridges and civilian wildcats, as well as some that to some extent became intermediate but never became popular anyway.

  • Ghost930

    6.5 Creedmoor, 130 grains, .585 BC, capable of aimed fire to 1500 yards, but has plenty of ft lbs close up for CQB, very low felt recoil. Perfect. If not, then 6.8 SPC, and it’s already in the supply system.

  • Mazryonh

    You should have linked to Anthony G. Williams’ website first. And he brings up something that I didn’t see Nathaniel Fitch addressing–that bigger GPCs can suppress at longer distances than the 5.56mm NATO can. And besides, all the increased “combat load” of ammo isn’t going to do much if it can’t kill or suppress the enemy enough. Larger bullets would also not need to rely on sometimes-unreliable fragmentation (like the 5.56mm NATO does, otherwise you only get a .22 caliber hole through someone), which would also be more in line with the Hague Convention (for those that value such a thing).

    Here is the link to Williams’ relevant article on the topic:

    I definitely think that .280 British and 7x46mm UIAC deserve a real fair shake, anyway. No one complained about having to carry larger caliber rounds by the dozens (like .30-06 and 8mm Mauser) in the “bad old days” anyway; you adapted and made every shot count.

    • Nathaniel

      I address almost all these arguments in this article on my blog:

      The only one I neglect is the claim that larger calibers can suppress at longer ranges than 5.56mm. What Tony cites to support this is a fundamental principle of supersonic shockwaves, that the loudness of the noise generated is proportional to the cross-sectional area of the projectile, all things being equal. Thus, he argues, a 6.5mm projectile will suppress better than a 5.56mm one. The problem with this is that all things aren’t equal between the two projectiles, and the cross-sectional area increase is small (less than 40%). I haven’t addressed this particular concern because I am not an aerospace engineer. I simply don’t have the background to say which projectile, if either, would be create a meaningfully louder noise than the other.

      However, I can note that neither is Anthony Williams an aerospace engineer, and so I wouldn’t just take his word for it.

      • Mazryonh

        We need some decibel meters and the like to record sounds and the like to determine the differences in sound between 5.56mm NATO and the proposed GPCs when they come close to the microphones to see just how “suppressive” each is.

        As for “caliber mafia” (technically there are proponents of everything in military technology, from ending the use of drones to reinstating battleships, if being a proponent of something and having your opinion shared by others is all that is required to be part of a “mafia”) have you read the writings by Dr. Gary K. Roberts, a terminal ballistics expert who is in favour of a larger-caliber GPC? I’d like to know if you have addressed his views–I’ll refer to two of his relevant writings below.

        As for “current-issue” M855 ammunition, do you mean the M855A1? A friend of Dr. Roberts had the following to say about it:

        And this was his commentary on the article:

        You can read his arguments for a GPC here:

  • 1911a145acp

    Possibilities already exist.- .260 Remington as a replacement/ evolution/upgrade for 7.62x51mm NATO and 300 BLK 7.62x35mm as a replacement/ evolution/upgrade for 5.56mmx45 NATO. Of the two, 300 BLK makes most sense to change first for easy logistics with only upper/barrel changes. 300 BLK would obsolesce all SMGs and SMG pistol rounds, give good upgrade to all individual rifle/carbine types with supersonic loads compared to all 5.56mm rounds. If 300 BLK were loaded w/ AP sabot type projectiles, and 110- 125 grn projectiles w/ a deforming type nose- a light ARES type platform could replace most, if not all squad automatic rifle requirements,perform some LMG jobs and it could also replace SOME GPMGs platforms. It would be far easier to upgrade 7.62mm with a loading like the blended powder Hornady SuperFormance ammo than to replace all 7.62mm systems in place. Polymer receiver weapons along with caseless and or plastic case telescoping ammo seems the next logical technology leap. It will likely take another broad conflict to trigger that change.

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    Shorter actions mean lighter weapons and better operating life. 6.8mm offers a good opportunity to dump .30 once and for all, despite the lamentations of the fetishists.

    • Georgiaboy61

      Re: “Shorter actions mean lighter weapons and better operating life.”
      Not necessarily. My M1903A3 Springfield is nearly seventy-five years old, but functions as reliably as ever. Why? Because it was over-engineered and build using the finest materials and workmanship then available. My hunch is that it will still be working long after my ARs are worn out and consigned to the junk yard.
      If you use junk built by the lowest bidder to arm your military, then your point is valid – but if the best materials, design and workmanship are employed, a rifle should last decades – if not longer.

      • MichaelZWilliamson

        Is this the same Springfield that had heat treat problems leading to fractured receivers early in its production?

        I guarantee you won’t get 25K rounds out of a Springfield. Those materials were the best at the time, but not comparable to modern ones.

        All weapons are built by the lowest bidder, and you clearly have no idea of the materials used in the M16 family.

        And a shorter action means a shorter receiver, and thus a lighter weapon than the longer action using the same materials.

        • Georgiaboy61

          You are entitled to your opinion, however misinformed it may be. Good day to you.

  • Jack

    Ditching the 7.62 would be a huge mistake. By all means, replace the 5.56 with a more effective cartridge, but keep the 7.62x51mm.

  • Chris Hale

    I think a multi-caliber modular platform makes a lot more sense than trying to pick one caliber for all roles.

  • Tracy Thorleifson

    Perhaps a truly modular rifle platform (capable of digesting multiple cartridges to suit varying tactical situations) is more important than a universal cartridge. New rifles like Sig-Sauer’s SIG556xi and IWI’s X95 come to mind.

  • john Brown

    If a cartridge similar to the 7mmUIAC, 6.8×45 or 6.5×45 using green bullets were used they would save apx 1lb/100 rounds compared to the 7.62×51. That is 1lb off every man in the squad carrying MG ammo. The MK48s(SAW or Minimi) being converted to 7.62×51 would last longer due to a slightly less powerful cartridge. The higher BC green bullets at 2800fps could beat the 7.62×51 exterior ballistics. In places like Afghanistan the extra range is needed, the 5.56 isn’t effective at those ranges. They need something that can compete with the 7.62×54.
    The cartridges listed above will work in a SCAR 17, that is an 8lb combat rifle. There are other rifle designs between 7 and 8lbs that will fire those rounds. Murray has designed a lighter MG specifically for the 7mmUIAC, the other 2 cartridges would work in that as well.
    More power than the 5.56, lighter weight than the 7.62×51…why not?

    • Nathaniel

      Riflemen armed with 5.56mm rifles enjoy a qualitative advantage in fire superiority over those armed with full caliber weapons. This is difficult to ignore, even beyond the logistical considerations which heavily favor 5.56 for general issue.

      • john Brown


  • Ghost930

    6.5 Creedmoor, 130 Grain bullet, .585 BC, capable of effective 1500 yard aimed fire, enough ft lbs of energy for CQB, recoil similar to 5.56. What’s not to like? At a minimum 6.8 SPC, a little more recoil, but less than 7.62. Sorry fellas, but if your honest with yourself, and the facts (ballistics) the 7.62 ain’t all that by todays technology. Compared to the ballistics of many of the new effective rounds (like the above named) the 7.62X51 looks like indirect fire at ranges beyond 500-600 yards, and at the terminal end it’s lacking. And yes, I have used it on the modern battlefield in both Iraq and Afghanistan (M24 and SR-25). The reasons the military has stuck with it for this long are frankly logistical, and monetary in nature, and have nothing to do with “what’s best”. Time to be looking for “best” results, and pay the money to enter the 21st century before it’s half over. Same with .50 BMG for long range engagement. Modern rounds like the Lapua Mag, 408 Cheytac, and 375 Cheytac exceed .50BMG at extreme ranges, and offer lighter and softer shooting platforms with improved terminal performance. Sorry to hurt any traditional feelings, but the facts are the facts. Leave the sentimentality at home, and bring the best that you got to the battlefield. That’s how you win fights.

  • tim.m

    ive lost faith in this forum. all this talk of the one true caliber and no one mentioned the .35 whelen. please, take you .308 to Africa or Alaska and let me know how it works on lions and brown bears………………….. on you might want a .22 too for small game but if not just shove some lead shot in a piece of cloth on the case and you have a .410

  • Opus

    A few countries are considering 6.8 for just this role. I havent heard of any 6.8 machineguns but like anything else if there is demand I’m sure someone would step up.

  • petru sova

    Lets face facts. In todays world with more and more civilian restrictions on guns the average young recruit knows or has experienced little in the way of firearms ownership or training. The military has not the time or money to train real riflemen anymore either. The 5.56mm’s propensity to be less lethal at over 400 yards is irrelevant in the real world as the skill of the average soldier is no where near sufficient enough to even warrant a more powerful long range caliber, that is best left to specialized weapons and calibers and much higher trained snipers.
    A small diameter light recoiling caliber is what is best for todays poorly trained military rifleman.
    Although the 5.56mm was supposed to be more accurate in full auto fire because of its light recoil it was found that even it could not be held on target for more than 3 rounds hence the newer 3 round burst limitation installed on some military weapons.
    The other myth has always been that a bigger caliber is more lethal. That too was proven false as early a 1900 when professional big game hunters and wardens found that calibers as small as the 6.5 mm killed elephants every bit as quickly and as dead as the 600 nitro express and that many times bigger calibers that in reality actually penetrated less got hunters killed more often. It was found that shot placement and penetration is what made a caliber deadly and with a long heavy bullet in relation to its diameter is what really enabled a caliber to do the job.
    In the early 1900’s the .22 Savage High Power with a long heavy 70 grain bullet was used to kill the biggest of Alaska’s bears, Grizzly’s and Kodiaks. The bears never read gun magazines so they did not know they were not supposed to drop over dead when hit with this small caliber round.
    Again in the 1900’s during the American war of imperialistic conquest of the Philippian Islands it was found that when shooting civilians (250,000 of them) that there was no difference in killing power between its .38 caliber and .45 caliber revolvers or its much later used .45acp used in the last year of the war. So much for the drug crazed invincible Moro Warrior Myth as they were skilled warriors who did not use suicide charges. The gun writer invented story made good press for selling Colt automatics but had nothing to do with the reality of real war.
    The military is just as guilty as civilians for searching for the magic all round caliber. None exists and none probably ever will. What we already are using today is probably as good as its going to get for a long time in the future until we switch over to the Star Wars Phaser or Buck Rogers death ray of the 1950’s TV shows (if anyone today even remembers it).

    • Georgiaboy61

      Re: “A small diameter light recoiling caliber is what is best for todays poorly trained military rifleman.”
      Your point is a good one; using a full-sized (i.e., .30-caliber) battle rifle to its full capabilities takes training – and today’s militaries are mostly disinclined to provide anything but the most basic marksmanship instruction and training to average recruits.

  • madmann135

    This is long opened bag of worms.
    The hard part is finding ammunition that has the strengths of the 5.56×45 while overcoming its weaknesses. For instance.
    Strengths: Ammunition carried per pound, accuracy, recoil control under full auto, low time to target.
    Weaknesses: Bad VS cover, Originally intended to injure, it is a light ammunition but could be lighter.
    Finding something to replace the 5.56×45 will be, at best, tricky. There are many contenders but the most important factor will be weight, under combat situations the more ammunition you have the longer you can hold out before resupply.
    I am thinking a caseless round would be a good assault rifle round for the weight savings and a heavier round for dealing with target cover.

    The 7.62×51 is a good round for what it does.

  • idahoguy101

    Military logistics dictate what we use. The 7.62 NATO and the 5.56 NATO are here to stay. You can certainly make a case the the 7×57, the 276 Pederson, the 280 British, et al….would all have been better than what we have now. But that will never change the present military logistic reality

  • DitchTheDictator

    How about going to 6.8 for everything… snipers can use whatever is best… ??

  • Raymond Johnson

    If anyone believes that “One size fits all” then they are as deluded as those proponents of Common Core education and The Affordable Care Act. and, just who are we to entrust with this endeavor? The United Nations? Give me a break!

  • taylorcraftbc65

    I carried both the M-14, and it’s variant, the M-21, and am FIRMLY convinced, that the M-14, and it’s variant’s are the FINEST Main Battle rifles EVER produced. The M-16, is the biggest piece of TRASH that was ever forced on the American soldier.

  • Dave Jacobs

    Ever since my time working with Maj. Geo. Nonte testing and eval firearms firm and authors of many books, I have heard almost everyone have their own idea of what is the best all-around type of round to have for all firearms. It seems to me that no one ever really thinks of why this is not good thinking.

    Over the many years of firearms the plague in emergencies has always been no available ammo for the weapon carried. Even today with many of the people, and governments using the 5.56/ .223 ammo, some places just do not have it available. I concede that many, and possibly, most places here in the U. S. does have that ammo available. However, instead of thinking of what type of ammo should rule over all others, there is a much better idea for each individual.

    Play with any ammo that you wish to play with, but select
    only one for any emergency. When might we most likely need such a defensive firearm? That is an easy question.
    Only in some catastrophic situation! Many today call this
    a SHTF condition. Well, whichever you wish to call it, we
    don’t need any special, or particular caliber to merely
    play with in our minds, or with a weapon. What is needed,
    WHEN it is actually needed is a round that is commonly
    available to us where ever we may go. Now, that is a hard
    one. What ammo would that be?

    With each new idea comes new manufactured rounds.
    The only people that benefit from that are the manufacturers of the weapon, and the ammo. None of us
    common folk ever stand to benefit. When a new weapon and round first comes on the market, it is for a trial run of
    feeling out how well it will sell. The manufacturers stand to
    either gain big, or lose big.

    G. C. Nonte and Associates was, at first, a testing and
    evaluations company to test new weapon designs. From
    our testing we wrote up our findings to provide the company that had produced and sent us their product.
    We always gave an independent and honest evaluation
    of what we were sent. From our evals, the company either
    ‘canned’ the idea, or went into a full production. Where
    many companies today do much of their own testing, and
    a lot of advertising and demonstrations, they are still aimed
    at making money with new ideas in the hope that people
    will ‘jump on the bandwagon’ to buy their new idea. So,
    where does that leave us folks?

    Any new product such as a firearm and the appropriate
    ammo can take as long as ten years before it ‘might’ get
    to a common enough design to be readily available to us
    common folks, where ever we may be at the time of real
    need. Since no one can accurately predict our future, we
    sure as heck cannot predict how long it will be before we
    need such a product AND where we will most likely always
    be able to find what we need in the way of ammo and parts. (Firearms do break down just as does anything else.) So,
    how prepared are you with your thinking? Do you have
    some special new idea for such a time? Have you done
    the traveling necessary to know that every little town
    or suburb store has your special ammo? Do you even
    know for a fact where you might end up, and that all the
    stores will have what you need?

    In your thinking you must consider these things, and
    look to the most common everywhere, and not in your
    ‘minds eye’ of what would be best to have and use.

    There are many good rounds out there, but not all
    places carry all of them. Stop thinking in terms of what
    might be the best round, and start thinking of what is
    the most common everywhere. There are very few that
    really fit this. Select your weapon with this in mind and
    stay in practice with that one. Build up whatever stock
    of ammo and parts you can for that weapon, but always
    remember that what you carry must be used sparingly
    as the weight even of a .22 LR can add up with the
    more you carry. Also, consider just what you will need
    your weapon for the most. Never think of a combat
    situation as your whole goal is survival, not combat.
    You must try to avoid the dangers of combat, and look
    more toward what you can do to survive without combat.

    Do not shun the .22 Survival rifle and a good .22 pistol
    for your use. You can kill game, and even people when
    you can’t evade the bad situations, and the choice of
    a pistol and rifle that use the same caliber is great. Plus,
    with a .22 you can carry a whole lot more ammo, and
    that round is common in every place in the world.

    In a real situation you should always be able to find,
    or get a heavier caliber for the very few occasions
    where you might need it, and then toss it to reduce
    your load again. So, in the end you plans now should
    be toward the most common ammo availability for you,
    and never the new ideas of a best overall round.

  • Dave Jacobs

    Alex C. That was a well written piece. Where it may leave
    some scratching their head, it really does define a fine round.
    A bit lighter than the old 30-06, but just as good for the most
    part. It does seem that some responding in here are a bit
    squeamish at firing a real round. Good work!

  • MOG

    If you can not shoot the one you love, shoot the one you got. (No, I am not talking about shooting your wife/gf/husband/bf). That would be wrong.

  • maodeedee

    One cartridge CAN rule them all of you’re a reloader. Start with something big like a 45-70 or a 375 H&H and load it down for whatever purpose you need it for.
    Everyone these days is crazy about long range and no one htinks of the 45-70 as a long range cartridge but BP silhouette shooters know differently.

    And some think a 375 H&H would be “too much” for deer hunting because it would kill the poor deer too dead. But the 38-55 Winchester is a GREAT deer cartridge and a reloader can duplicate 38-55 ballistics in the 375 H&H. And with full loads and heavy bullets, the 375 H&H is no slouch at long range either.

    It used to be that hunters prided themselves on how close they could get to a game animal to make the shot but these days it seems like if a hunter sees a deer or an elk at 100 yards, that they probably ever so slowly and carefully stalk backwards so that they can brag about how long the shot was.

  • rootman

    mm you forgot the 6.5s grendel will pretty much do it all (that 5.56 and 7.62 can).

  • Tinker

    6.5mm GRENDEL all the way: outperforms both the 7.62 and the 6.8 Remington at long range.

  • 2hotel9

    We already have “one to rule them all”, its call .30. Get over your .22 obsession and man up, kiddies.

  • 101nomad

    If only they could bottle my charm and make it lethal.

  • blucorsair

    While I understand the problems with the 5.56x45mm and the 7.62x51mm, it would cost millions to re arm with new calibers and tooling for new calibers! The 5.56x45mm is relatively inaffective, both in stopping power and long range. The 7.62x51mm has plenty of power for military purposes, but lacks a little performance on the long range end of things and is difficult to control as an asault rifle cartridge. Also, the 7.62×51 is dimensionally different from its .308 winchester counter civilian part along with chambering differences which can cause reloading problems for avid shooters see; (Wiki .308 winchester and wiki 7.62×51 Nato). I think that the only advantage of a single cartridge is purely for logistical reasons, but historically this concept has never really proven itself. If we were talking hunting and long range, then the .30-06 would be better, but for military purposes the 7.62 is good enough! I say keep the 7.62×51 and replace the 5.56x45mm, which is justified. …there’s no such thing as a military cartridge that’ll really do it all!!

    • Dave Jacobs

      @blucorsair:disqus Armalite had an excellent AR-16 that was designed for the 7.62/ .308 ammo. It had been tested and did quite well. Before it went into manufacture for the military the upper crust of the military, and the civilian politicians decided on a smaller round; the 5.56 Nato. Armalite
      then redesigned the AR-16 into the AR-18 to use the 5.56/ .223 ammo.

      That wasn’t the only stupid thing that was done. The so-called, Wiz Kids
      of the administration also decided that since the rifle was to be a self-cleaning rifle they didn’t need to go the expense of cleaning kits for
      the rifles. The next stupid thing was that the special gunpowder used for
      this new rifle was more expensive than the traditional ball powder used, so they would just continue to use the ball powder. Finally, the next stupid move was in deciding that the expense of chrome lined barrels
      and chambers was just too much cost, and wasn’t needed.

      The three of four of these stupid mistakes has, in the end, cost much more money to correct as best as possible, plus it is a factor in the
      claims of numbers of men being killed due to faulty firing rifles.

      It seems to me that we people allow politics to choose the firearms
      and weapons we use based upon cost rather than a proper study
      method to choose the best. Maybe this position can be changed by
      removing the power of Congress to decide this, and to put it into
      the hands of a special committee of non-dealers, manufacturers,
      military administration, and polititions, but with specialized knowledge
      and some publishing experience people doing the choosing of any
      new designs of military weapons.

      • blucorsair

        Actually, an air force general by the name of Curtiss Lemay decided on the 5.56×45 caliber for the M-16 during the early part of Vietnam breaking away from Stoners originally intended 6mm designs for these types of weapons. As for the 7.62×51 version of the M-16 the U.S. in reality stoled the Spanish AR-10 design for our M-16 which was already in the 7.62 NATO caliber originally! There was a very good article printed by the Wall Street Journal on an open test day with the assumption of replacing the M-16 newer more dependable rifle in various calibers (6.5mpc, 6.8spc and 6.5 Grendel etc.). For those of you that are interested see:(…/SB1000142405274870412450…)

        • Dave Jacobs

          Yes, Blucorsair, it was Gen. LeMay that had made the choice for the 5.56. However, his choice while at a party he held at his home while actually shooting the Armalite AR-18 was for that round IN THE AR-18. He did not like, nor had the AR-15 passed the testings done with the 15.

          As for your mention of the “Spanish AR-10 design”, the AR-10 had been designed in the mid-1950’s by Armalite, and that was chosen by the Spanish to use in the Sudan. Armalite contracted with a Dutch firm to produce it for use, but it was an Armalite rifle designed, and owned by Armalite.

          It was only after that where Stoner had seen the one made by the Dutch firm that he redesigned the AR-15, and made it to fit the newly decided 5.56 caliber. Also, during the time of the failed tests for the AR-15, when Stoner left Armalite, the AR-16 military rifle had been designed, which did use the 7.62 ammo. Before any production could be done, the military changed (LeMay) to the 5.56, so
          Armalite came out with the AR-18.
          It was exactly the same as the AR-16, but used the new 5.56.

          I won’t get into the big flub of the U. S. through it’s politics that caused the purchase of the Colt design when Gen. LeMay had already ordered 50,000 AR-18’s when they had passed the field tests done by the Navy Seals. The order made by LeMay was then given over to Colt.

          The original AR-18, and the later
          design of the original AR-180 for
          civilian use are very fine rifles. They were actually a much better
          rifle than the Colt rifle, and still are
          in use as very dependable rifles.
          I got one back when I was working with George, and still have it. I love it. Parts are hard to find today, but it is still much more of a dependable rifle than the AR-15. Accuracy is also excellent.

          • blucorsair

            Agreed, but the 7.62x51mm Nato round also failed in these tests as well. …it was less controllabe than the M-14 was in full auto!

          • Dave Jacobs

            Off topic here, but were you a pilot of the Corsair? My uncle was an instructor pilot in the Navy back in WW II. He was recalled after the war just to fly a PBY to land in the river here when the Navy gave it to the Sea Scouts here. He said he had only flown those just for training. I just grew up in the Army camps in those days.

          • blucorsair

            An uncle of mine flew one in the big war!

          • Dave Jacobs

            We then, as now, made some great airplanes. Corsair made some beatiful examples.

          • Dave Jacobs

            Yes, the M-14 was a great rifle. I have always preferred the M-1, or the M-14 for the abilities they have. The Germans started the idea of the Blitz in the use of tanks to lead and move fast. Their next idea was to spray as much ammo as possible with the infantry as a method to scare, and route any opposing force. The method does work, but then logistics calls for a much smaller, and lighter round to have enough to support this method.

            To me, one kill every one hundred rounds is not good thinking. Training to make better shooters is a better idea. I fired pro many years ago. I always see, and remember that many of the scores on the ranges today are much worse than they were back when the thinking was that you only had limited ammo. Many today would die if they had only limited ammo as they just aren’t as good as they should be in their marksmanship.

            As much as I do love my Armalite, I would prefer that I had my old M-1 again. When I was commissioned in 61, I could have bought mine for only $100. I didn’t have that much, so instead I bought a Carbine. It came with a bayonet, three 15 round mags, two 30 round mags, the stock carrier for two spare 15 round mags, the cleaning kit, all of the armory spec papers for it and the M-2, M-3 rifles, and an 800 round can of ammo. All of this was only $65 I was also given the selector kit as mine was actually the M-2 model, but I had to install it myself.

            I could have bought as many Springfield O3’s as I wanted.
            We had crates of them, brand new, still in oil wrap paper and packed with cosmoline. $60 per crate of twelve, or $5 each. Of course, back then most of us thought, “Why would
            I want one of these old rifles.” Boy! If I only knew then what I know now.

            Back then the army handled the DCM program.
            (Director of Civilian Marksmanship). It later went to a private company to disburse government weapons. Right off the bat the CMP program tripled the cost to buy anything. Now it is even higher, but they do some restoration, and rebuilding of some of them. Unfortunately, most people who are enthusiasts today have caused the prices of actual value to go to stupid levels. Much is a total lack of any real knowledge of true value, and the rest is just greed.

            Antiques are a different matter, but a firearm doesn’t get to that level until it was made over fifty years ago, and even then it depends upon the number manufactured. Any made in a quantity of over one million is still not a high value item if they are still around is such a quantity. With less than five thousand the prices do get high.

            A fully rebuilt to new condition M-1 should run $1,000. An older and issued one should never be higher than $100 to $250, depending upon overall condition.

            I am sickened seeing how stupid most are today, and most are so gullible as to believe this inflated idea. That is why I finally got out of the firearms and writing business after George died. Instead, I now write, lecture and teach survival for the average person. (I have recently started again some firearms repair. The extra money helps in retirement.)

          • blucorsair


          • Dave Jacobs

            When that round was developed, most don’t know that it was with the 55 gr bullet. That bullet had much more tissue damage at short range than the 62 gr that was later adopted. The 55 gr bullet, even today, will ricochet off a blade of grass at 100 yards. The bullet is overstabilized by the amount of powder behind it. It boattails in travel. This causes it to keyhole the target, which causes tremendous damage. Since thee was so much jabber about it being almost inhumane the government went to the 62 gr. The 62 gr bullet is more accurate at longer ranges, but, most times, merely pokes small holes in the target. Even at close range that is all you get on a target, which for combat rounds is not such a great idea. More humane? Yes. But the effectiveness of putting the target down for the count is much, much less. Also, the powder used was the military ball powder, and not the stick powder intended for that rifle, and ammo.

            The whole reason behind the smaller, light weight weaponl came from many, many mommies who felt sorry for their little Johnny who had to carry a big, heavy gun. The Army considered this as well as the overall ability of the average marksmanship of their men, plus the added, and increasingly forrested, close range combat contacts, and finally the idea of being able to carry more ammo for each man at the same weight as with the 30-06 ammo. (Yes, this thinking went all the way back to the day of the M-1 rifle, and M-1 Carbine.) It was the small size and weight of the Carbine, and its ammo that looked good. The only problem with the Carbine was the less than adequate impact upon targets. It had a high degree of penetrating qualities, with little to no knock-down. Hmmm! Isn’t that where we are today with the 62 gr bullet for close combat? The only difference is that the Carbine used a .30 caliber bullet while the new rifles are not much more than .22 caliber. At close range
            the .30 bullet causes more damage than any .22, even the Spire point of the 5.56 ammo.

            There are many misconceptions connected with the design, manufacture, testing, reasons, and adoption of our modern military rifles. Most today were
            not involved in any way with these rifles,
            their design, the thinking, or many were not even around at the time. If they were it was when they were so young that they had no idea of what was going on from minute to minute, let alone the actual thinking of those in the field working with the different designs.

            Personally, I grew up in the Army camps back in WW II. When I was old enough to realize what medal my dad had with the M-1 Carbine he was issued, I wanted to be that good too. It was only Sharpshooter, but to me, I thought it was as good as a person could be as a rifleman. That is when I started shooting. I was age seven.
            By age nine I was into learning how to repair, and redesign weapons. By the time
            I went to a BSA camp I had gotten really good at shooting, and spent all my time at camp on the first three years at the range.
            It was in those years, by age 14, I had earned the NRA, Jr Division, Expert award.
            Pro-Marksman, Marksman, Sharpshooter, the nine bars under Sharpshooter, and finally Expert were all awarded me. (That was even back in the day that no matter how well you fired, you had to achieve each rank, and get your NRA award before you could be awarded the next. I hated that waiting! It changed a few years later.)

            By the time I was shooting on a military team I had become a pretty fair gunsmith. This gave me excellent access to working on our military weapons. Later, on a PD I
            became the ordinance officer, and got to do a lot of experimenting with different weapons and ammunition. When I met
            George I was on the PD and used him in a case where he provided expert testimony for an officer in a shooting. George was a retired Army Ordinance Officer, and ran his business of G. C. Nonte, and Associates.
            Starting with him is when I met his Editorial Research Assistant. (She later became my wife. Great for me as today as I can do whatever I want with whatever firearm I want. I still have one picture of her firing a Thompson and showing five cases in the air in the shot. Not bad for a single shot with a 35 mm Canon. lol)

            Dang! Us old time writers can sure get carried away when writing anything. We tend to write rather lengthy missives. Enough for now, but I could go on for hours based upon what I know and have learned long before most today.

          • blucorsair

            Actually, the army went to the 62 gr. bullet in 5.56mmx45, because tests reported that an ordinary M-65 field jacket with liner would stop the 55 gr. round from penetration in cold weather in places like Korea! As some people know, cold weather affects faster burning powders (less velocity) severely as the army reported with the 7.62x51mm Nato cartridge starting at about 39’F degrees and down, which inspired powder companies like Vihta Vouri to embark on its tri-based powder revolution back in the 1980’s. Unfortunately, I don’t have the data as published for the 5.56×45. Since then, Hodgdon has produced these superior tri-based powders in all different burning configurations like Varget, H4350, H4831, H4831sc and Superformance! These powders not only burn consistently in hot and cold environments, but eliminate something known as standard deviation, which has eliminated any advantages that short action cartridges may or may not have had in warmer weather over larger case capacity cartridges. This is why the .300win mag was chosen as a long range sniper cartridge for the U.S. army over the 7.62x51mm respectively back in the 1990″s and is considered more accurate, because of flatter trajectory! There are currently many records being broken with older cartridges such as the 30-06 by guys like German Salazar at the range today with these tri-based powders! I like the 7.62x51mm as a military round, because of shorter recievers and barrels, but am not opposed to rplacing the 5.56×45 with more affective fire power!

          • blucorsair

            …and now for the rest of the story! The Geneva convention reported that by not utilizing an agressive crimp put in the (5.56X45, ss109) 55gr. bullet would suffice in alliviating the fragmentation of the bullet for humane reasons and had very little to do do with going to 62 gr. bullets. Like I said earlier, cold weather is a major factor for velocity drops for faster burning powders when considering a cartridges ability to penetrate! Our Canadian buddies to the north have like wise reported similar incidents!

          • Dave Jacobs

            Yes, I agree with what you say here, but you forgot one major issue. In a previous post of mine I had also mentioned, “Also, the powder used was the military ball powder, and not the stick powder intended for that rifle, and ammo.” McNamara was Secy of Defense during the time of the adoption of our new rifle. He was the one that decided that since the Army had always used ball powder in the ammunition we were not going to change, and that the new ammo was going to have to also use the same.
            When all the testing was done it was done using ball powder, and not the powder that the rifle called for in the design.

            Now, all ammo suffers from some detriment in very cold climates, but not always as bad as what it will show in testing when used with the wrong gun powder. Ball powder is not a fast burning powder in order to develop the pressures needed for the O3 and M1 rifles. That powder is not good enough, and does not develop the pressures properly with the 5.56, or even the .223. Tests were flawed due to the wrong powder being used.

            Testing done by Geneva always has had an issue with anything that might be seen as inhumane. That was a very big factor to their thinking, and did affect their thought on the 62 gr bullet as it was more ‘humane’.

            My own personal thought is that I have never liked the small .22 type ammo in our rifles. We would have been better off to stick to what we had before in either the .308, or the 30-06. We would not have had the same problems we fact today.

            The elimination of all the problems is with the ammo, itself. Where it may cost less to produce than other heavier ammo, and where it also is much less weight and bulk, those reasons are not so great as to allow the many other issues with the ammo for military use. Also, since the U. S. is always viewd to be the primary leader in the world with our decisions on any military arms, and when other countries cannot buy it from us they try to duplicate it as close as they can while still maintaining a look of total independent thinking in their products, we should never just try to accomadate calibers of other countries. Our unit of measure is inches, not millimeters. The actual use precision of the metric system is not any more accurate than our system. Let the other countries use metrics to accomodate our measurement system in calibers such as 3 tenths of an inch. (ie: .308, 30-06, .30 Carbine, etc.) We do not need to accomodate their system just to pacify. We can still call our systems in our measurements without problems. There is no difference between the .223 and 5.56 calibers, even though is there a slight difference in the case shoulder between the two. Just make one, or the other, and stop all the costly ‘adjustments’ such as the shoulder difference.

            It is very unfortunate that we chose such a small and light type of caliber round for our rifle. Now it is going to cost us even more to replace it. The same goes for the change to the 9 mm pistol. Now it is being considered to go back to the .45 again. Sooner or later some manufacturer is going to convince some stupid politician that has a charma to influence enough otther stupid politicians to chagne to something even more stupid than the small and light type of rounds, and with an entirely new rifle. A much less expensive method for now would be to make new barrels and some slight changes in the actions of our present rifles to work with a more standard, but heavier ammo. That could carry us for another twenty years or so without so much expense as new everything. Then make us other stupid people just pay the price for the more expensive obsolete ammo for our
            current rifles, or buy parts to change it to the new.

            ( I still want an M-1, or some other 30-06 or .308 rifle. I just don’t expect I will ever again be able to afford the stupid prices of today.)

            Note: How well I remember it; “And, now you know the rest of the story.” Paul Harvey, 1946 as a tagline to his program on WENR. His stories were all designed as in-depth and factual reports. His
            broadcasts were written and given by him until 2008 when he contracted pneumonia. He never
            fully returned to broadcasting, and died in 2009. Rebroadcasts of his own had several other persons
            as hosts, but none lasted long, or did as well. His son, (Jr) drafted and handled all the broadcasts,
            and rebroadcasts. I always listened to and enjoyed his programs, six days a week.

          • blucorsair

            Yes, I was a Paul Harvey fan as well and you picked up on that! There were problems with the 5.56×45 powders as documented in Vietnam with cleaning of the M-16 and its reliabilty due to different manufacturers and there is a difference between Remingtons .223 caliber in comparison to the 5.56×45. Most notably Remington will tell you that the military version is higher pressure and should not be cycled through their .223 rifles for this reason and in general I concurr with basically what you’re saying! Many powders, imparticular BL-C and IMR’s faster buring powders for the 7.62×51 have demonstrated velocity drops in colder weather! We now have better tech. such as Varget for the 7.62×51 which is also different than the .308 winchester (higher pressure) and we should utilize it. Again I concurr!

          • David Marriott

            Yes you are correct blucorsair! The other reason that the military as you have pointed out in your link, is the fact that the 62gr. bullet proved much more stable in flight than the 55gr. along with the cantalure crimp that caused framentation! …great info here!

          • Dave Jacobs

            The only difference between the .223, and the 5.56 is the length of the shoulder. That is why a 5.56 rifle can fire the .223, but not a rifle made for .223 to fire the 5.56. The shoulder length of the 5.56 is just a bit longer, and as such the chamber is made to fit that round. That is why the .223 will fit in a 5.56 rifle. To put a 5.56 round in a .223 chamber can tear off part of the brass as the shoulder length causes the end of the case to actually protrude into the bore. That can
            cause damage to the bore.

            With a .223 round in a 5.56 rifle, the whole round is just a bit shorter so that it will work, You would notice after firing that the case was reformed to fit the chamber, and would be slightly different than it was originally. Notably
            would be that the case was ‘stretched’ so as to have been ‘overworked’. Reloading this case would cause early case failure. They just will not last long when firing in a 5.56 rifle. One would have to do much annealing, resizing and reforming the case. Even then it would still have a shorter life cycle.

            The primary reason for the increased pressure of the 5.56 didn’t really have much to do with anything other than the 62 gr needed more powder of the time to increase that pressure. That is why the .223 case was designed with a longer shoulder. I had to accomodate the increased amount of powder.
            The whole change to the 62 gr bullet was at the insistance of Geneva, and not merely because of the bullet being more stable at longer ranges, and with a flatter trajectory. They knew that the 55 gr bullet would actually cause more tissue damage, and they also knew that the average range in combat was usually between 100 and 200 yards at most.

            Remember my mention that Geneva was always more attuned to being more ‘humane’
            with any arms? The 55 gr caused more tissue damage to the target than the 62 gr. However, the added weight of that bullet required a change in the case desing to accomodate the additional powder of the time to fire it at the increased pressure needed. The original design prototypes were of the .223 caliber until Geneva stuck it’s nose into the mix.

            Geneva started making such ‘standard’ rules back in 1899. One rule they demanded was to outlaw Napalm. They did! However, the U. S.
            did not sign that agreement. That is why we
            are the only military that still uses Napalm today. We do not have to follow Geneva rules anymore than does our combat opponents. The best thing Geneva can do is to brainwash all they can into believing what they say. They had done just that with the .223 round.

            You are correct in your mention of our technology of today being much improved over the days of the 1950’s and since. That is why we should not ‘see’ that the 5.56 is not really all it should be as a military combat round. That would mean to make a change, and forget about all the garbage about any rounds labeled as in mm instead of inches.
            Get our ammo firmly back into our standard, and lead all other countries to follow us or lose out in major military funds from sales to us. The problem? Lobbying that favors big
            business. Pressure that way is what has caused us to lose so much in our own society. Jobs have gone out of the country, along with money. Now we are feeling the effects, and the only way to stop it now is from some action to force it all back by taking control of our Congress. Take away the power of Congress to set their own salaries and benefits, and have that in the control of a special, non-political committee of people from the very low mid-level incomes, or lower. And then prevent those people from ever having more than what is given as a whole to the rest of society.

            (After being out of school for 20 years I went back to study politics just to find out why and how of things. I found out. The only way we can turn things around with anything in this country is to get our Congess by the short hairs: ie; their pocketbook.)

            What is heard today is “What is good for business is good for the country.” This was

            originally said by Lincoln, but changed from his words of; “What is good for the people is good for the country.” When everything we do is designed to benefit business, nothing filters down to the people. If people reap all the benefits, the very nature of society is that people will then give to business. That is the way it is supposed to work! We have let our

            Congress become a haven of greed for those with the most. That is why the whole wealth of our country is under the absolute control of only 8% of the population. What goes to Congress and to major corporations never gets to the people. Why else would, or should,

            any corporate exec basically do very little in his work, but receive money as high as 5,000% higher than even the highest paid labor worker in that company? What he gets from the people should never be more than 100% higher than the highest paid labor worker. Just look at some companies where the highest paid labor is $30 per hour, but the execs receive $1mil or more per year. Even other benefits to each are far apart.

            Now, with all the extra of my ‘Useless Tidbits,

            & Wisdom’, you should see why we are being brainwashed to think in terms of any metric labeled ammo. Our own manufacturers can have outside countries making ammo for major contracts to our government. No U. S. worker gains from this. Only other countries gain, and the corporate execs of our own U. S. companies. No other country is able to produce our unit of measurement as accurately as we do.

            Now, after my years of study on this to give you just a sampling of what I have found, you should be able to get a glimmer of the idea of the real problem. It even took me twelve years to formulate the way to make changes. I came up with a perfect plan that once going could make the difference without being stopped. The whole problem with the plan is with us, the people. Most today are just not willing to do anything to make the needed change. I will probably go to my grave with never having seen anyone do anything to turn it all around to where things should be going. All those left will then have to suffer what is going to happen. It is all being ‘written’ now that we can see in our society. That is especially true with firearms.

            “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”
            -Adolph Hitler, 1935, on The Weapons Act of Nazi Germany

          • blucorsair

            Like you said, in most cases cartridges that move up in bullet weight experience higher pressue curves and larger case capacity brass will typically be less vulnerable to these spikes ( eg. the 30-06 @ 50,000 cup. can handle significantly heavier loads at much faster velocities than the .308 win. @ 50,000 cup.).
            As for congress, they’ve always done whats best for their constituients in their districts to keep them in office. That’s why we’re buying tanks that we don’t need and expanding social programs that will surely finish our already bankrupt country off! As you probably know, Obama is the most expensive leader in world history and has added $7 trillion to our national debt in 5 years with 3 years left to go. FDR/Truman are in second place, but nobody holds WWII against them and G.W. Bush being a distant 3rd. with 8 years in office. See; ( I agree with your statements and the only thing I can tell you is be prepared for the worse! The recent FEMA warnings about being prepared is a sure sign that things aren’t as they appear to be and the russian/chinese may very well dislodge the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency possibly as soon as this April, which would be cataclysmic! Just remember, that we don’t need them and the fact that they need us! …again be prepared, my friend!

          • Dave Jacobs

            Instead of the testing and evaluation of firearms, and the writing books on that subject I now do my writing, lecuturing, and teaching in survival for the average person in soclety today. As such, I am very well informed of all the possibilities, and am also prepared for as much as is possible for me.

            Unfortunately, most people are not. Especially those persons who think they know all they need to know because they are outdoor sportsmen, and have stockpiled many of the things they believe will be required. They are prepared to ‘bug out’, and may even have some wilderness place they have selected to go to when it becomes a SHTF


            However, after my many years of study of such acts by people such as described, I have found that they are the most likely to die in a survival situation. This continues to prove itself out every year by people of this type who have gone out on some common outing for them, and die even though they had everything they needed to have survived. All because of the thinking of a little experience, and a stock of

            suggested supplies whiie not having two of the most important things needed for any such situation.

            One thing of mine I still use after I developed it in a book some years ago, and still use it on the survival kits I build for some. “Knowledge, training and experience is what will cause your survival. The material things you might have can just make it a slight bit easier. ” ©1969

            I had a close friend back in the 70’s that died from his lack of the proper things. I thought he was one of the most able types to survive any situation. Unfortunately, not only did he die, but his brother and nephew also died due to that lack of proper knowledge, training and experience. A simple, weekend fishing trip in a state park and with everything that was needed for their survival except the proper K, T, and E of the equation. THAT is what most never learn.

            The amount of deaths each year that should not have happened are directly due to this, and over 97% of such deaths are by those that are viewed as most likely to have the preparedness for survival. In actual cases, the ones that are the least likely to survive have always seemed to have the ability to survive.

            Stitistics are showing that 82 our of every 100 people in a SHTF survival situation will die. Those are not very good indications for anything but the reduction of the surface population again to a lot of wide open spaces.

          • blucorsair


          • Dave Jacobs

            “…again be prepared, my friend!”

            I have been in Scouting ever since I was old enough to join. The BSA Motto is “Be Prepared”.

            According to them this means prepared for anything at any time with the knowledge, training, and experience needed to cope with anything. The only bad thing for me these days is that my age and physical health is fast getting me to a condition to where I may not live long enough to see any such problem, or should I do so may not be able to cope with it in the manner in which I have learned and trained all these years. What good will this training be for me, or for others that might be looking toward me for help, and any supplies I may have? Personally, I believe that it would be worse for me to be in such a situation, and not be able to use this knowledge, training, and experience.
            “Expect the best! Prepare for the worst! Then, take what comes!

  • verbracity


  • verbracity


    545×39 vs 5.56 vs 300 blackout vs 762×39

    PART 2 (very important – level playing field this time)

    Performance PDF:

    Best video of 300 AAC BLACKOUT? … gKjbySsAik

  • Dave Jacobs

    @ Jay T
    Gene Stoner designed the action on the AR-15. He was only one of three who designed that rifle. When he left Armalite (you know – the company from which the term of AR came from) he acquired the rights to the AR-15 as it could not pass the military testing. He went to Colt then to redesign the rifle. The AR-18 was actually the one that had passed all the tests, and was field tested by the Navy Seals, who would not give them up when a political blunder caused the Colt M-16 to be adopted.

  • Ghost930

    Go look at the specs and performance of the 6.5 creedmoor. Far superior to both 7.62 and 5.56, and able to bridge the gap between the two at a savings in overall production cost, with very little hardware modification.

    • 2hotel9

      6.5, in various iterations, has been put forward a few times in the past. Not sure why it has been passed over, other than some jacka$$ in DoD doesn’t like it.

      • Ghost930

        Same reason why we got the M60 GP Machinegun over the MAG 58 back in the sixties……Politics and money in someone’s pocket. And here we are almost 40 years later, and guess what our newest GPM is….Yep, the MAG 58 (M240) because it is a better GPM although it basically hasn’t changed since 1958. It’s not what’s best for the troops, it’s what is best for Washington politics and money.

        • 2hotel9

          Yea, the Pig was always a temperamental b*tch. Our military history is replete with examples of exactly this sort of stupidity. That said, I am a .30 man, myself. Like the reach and knock down power, and it is quite easy to find. I don’t see USG making that major a change in the near future, regardless of how beneficial it would be to our combat effectiveness it could be.

          • Ghost930

            Check out the 6.5 Creedmoor some more. True 1300-1400 yard accuracy, and more foot pounds of energy at the terminal end of that range then the 7.62, and barely more recoil than a 5.56. All of the good, and none of the bad. I have been shooting the 7.62 for over 25 years as a military sniper, police and contractor designated marksman. I have shot it in combat out to 1000+ yards. While we all shot it and loved it for years, technology has surpassed it’s performance for many a year. I think we (military, police, etc.) keep using it out of familiarity and availability, not what is technically best. Time to come into the 21st century, even if it’s draggin’ and screaming.

          • 2hotel9

            Sorry. Until it is adopted, enmass, by the military’s of the world it is just a novelty round. Much as .30 was for a 50-70 year period. I think I see a pattern here.

          • Ghost930

            It is being evaluated at Bragg and in the field as we write for SMU use. All the reports are good both at home and down range in all platforms being tested. Reports are saying excellant terminal ballistics at ranges over 1K.

          • 2hotel9

            DoD has done this dance before with other caliber changes/weapons systems and dumped out after spending piles of money.

            As you may have guessed I have little confidence that DoD/USG will do anything right. I have watched this kabuki dance too many times to get excited. I remember the 30 years of heming and hawing just to change pistol caliber.