Grunts and Co. Tackles M855A1 & Mk. 318 Myths

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A while back, I received an email asking for my input on the M855A1 issue. It was from Will, a reader of mine who was working on an article trying to cut through a lot of the myths (on both sides) about the round. I assisted him as best I could, and now the product of his hard work has finally been published at Grunts and Co. A sample is below, but I highly recommend the reader follow the link and read the whole thing:

There have been a multitude of articles written where hyperbole and quasi emotional arguments have replaced objective analysis.  That approach by respected publications like Stars and Stripes has had an exponential effect on the argument because they are often repeated in other media sources parroting a poorly written article instead of conducting independent reporting.  Heck, the Army and Marine Times used the same slanted story word for word.  The debate even becomes more slanted when the overwhelming majority of the media report only the counter M855A1 perspective and do not conduct the same level of analysis on Mk318.

Troops have criticized M855 because it “didn’t penetrate windshields predictably and did not consistently incapacitate the enemy”.  TRUE, but we aren’t comparing M855 to Mk318!  A common weakness of many of the afore mentioned articles is they spend more time discussing M855 than M855A1.  That makes no sense since we are comparing M855A1 which doesn’t have a problem penetrating windshields (and much more) and very predictably incapacitates the enemy.

“The Marines didn’t adopt M855A1 in ’09 because it had accuracy problems”.  True and the Marines made an arguably good decision to field Mk318 which was four times cheaper than Mk262 at a time when the Army had yet to provide a round after years of development.  The problem is in these articles is they almost all fail to mention the Army fixed the problem a few months later and has been issuing the M855A1 since.  Isn’t that relevant or is leaving an incorrect impression in the mind of the reader more sensational?

One of the silliest points I have seen mentioned for the Marines not wanting to switch to M855A1 is because some rifle ranges would have to be retrofitted  due to M855A1’s increased penetration and ricochet effects.  Said another way, we don’t want this new round because it’s more lethal!  When we develop a grenade more effective than the current 40mm or hand grenade will we not adopt it because training ranges aren’t built for it?

Major Will Rodriguez’s treatment of the two rounds’ history, the ongoing controversy in Congress surrounding them, and their respective treatments in the media is aimed at the introductory, not expert reader, but is nonetheless exceptionally well-researched and cited. When Maj. Rodriguez mentions an article, presentation, or other source, a link is helpfully provided to the reader so that they do not have to simply take his word for it.

I’ve written about M855A1 a couple of times previously, but for those who want to understand the reality of the controversy surrounding the “green ammo”, Maj. Rodriguez’s easily understood and well-stocked article is a great place to start.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Tyler McCommon

    The media: If we have nothing to report we shall make it up! All hail the ratings gods!

  • Toxie

    It’s really a m855a1 myth story, as it barely covers the mk318. Both have strengths and weaknesses, but one thing that makes me leery of the a1 (for military use) would be heat generated on full cyclic vs mk318. It’s not often that comes into play, but it HAS and should be addressed too.

    • Joshua

      M855A1 has had its chamber pressure paired down to M855 levels already.

      That and the new GI mag coming/ M3 Pmag fix all the issues anyone could scrounge up about the round.

      • CommonSense23

        Have you heard any first hand reports from about M855A1. What testing we did with the round, and the few accounts I have heard haven’t been that great.

        • Joshua

          Plenty of bad during the initial design before they chose to use a copper slug.

          Since then I haven’t heard any bad reports aside from feed ramp damage on the aluminum portion, which however is avoided when using Pmags as tested by the Army with the M3 mags as well as the new GI mags that will be coming out this year that have a similar feed angle to the M3 pmag.

          You can also wear a gouge into the chamber if you cycle around 50,000-70,000 rounds through the barrel, this should also be fixed by magazine choice.

          Performance wise I haven’t heard anything bad that wasn’t something posted by random people who heard it from someone else online.

          All recent gel tests have been exceptional as have my limited experiences with the bullet and those of my friends who are deployed using it.

          • CommonSense23

            I was specifically referring to terminal ballistics. We did some “testing” on our local dog population with them vs the Mk318 and weren’t impressed. And got to use the rounds at a pig lab, and the instructors who had used it before didn’t speak highly of it. The only guys I know who had used it were SF, and they said they didn’t notice anything great from it, didn’t speak bad about it either.

          • Zebra Dun

            Dogs as a rule do not shoot back.
            Their owners do though.

  • Esh325

    I wonder if NATO will standardize on the M885A1? It’s needed I think.

    • Seburo

      Not likely. Most European armed forces prefer to use the same bullet for their rifle and light machine guns. Which are optimized for the latter.

      • Esh325

        But the M885 is already used for machine guns and rifles

        • Seburo

          It’s also rather outdated and countries that can manufacture their own their own 5.56 have different requirements then we do.
          It’ll be pretty much a logistical nightmare as not all rifles and LMGs have the same barrel twist rate as the M4 that will work with M885A1.

    • Zebra Dun

      No, if it’s not a kinder gentler killing round they won’t take it.

  • BOb

    Why not just start using uppers with steel inserts for feed ramps and keep the higher pressure and increase velocity too? Little confused as id think if you want to pick a redesigned round to achieve better performance youd also tinker with the gun some more too. Especially since weve been tinkering since the platform existed.

    • There is a new magazine that will be or already is being fielded that fixes the issue by presenting the rounds at a better angle. Greatly improves reliability, too.

      • Joshua

        Or just use the Pmag. The M3 is the only Army tested magazine to have been tested that could remove all wear on the upper from M855A1.

        • n0truscotsman

          I didn’t know that! thats awesome actually. I ordered about 20 of the M3s and have nothing but good things to say about them.

  • Lance

    The media didn’t site that M-855A1 has over pressure issues with its hotter powder load. It also has a much dirtier powder than Mk-318. USMC made the better deal with its pick for its 5.56mm rounds.

    • Uniform223

      The “issue” about over pressure and hotter powder burn was mentioned in the article cited. Its been over 3 years since the EPR has been in use. There hasn’t been any incredible damning report about over pressure leading to any type of early catastrophic failures in current weapons.

      • Also, recently the pressure limit was reduced from 63K to 59K.

  • kzrkp

    pointless standardization irritates me. the army and marines have different rifle platforms and are capable of picking the best ammo for themselves. they never even draw ammo from the same pool do they?

    • Yes they do. Lake City Ammunition Plant.

    • majorrod

      Different rifle platforms would be relevant if the ammo was designed for them. Mk318 was primarily designed for M4A1’s and short barreled SCARs.

      Pointless standardization can be a waste but using the same round across branches simplifies logistics, minimizes cost and standardizes training. These are not pointless considerations.

  • gunsandrockets

    From reading some of the those sources the one thing that strikes me is how mindless dedication to standardization can hurt real world performance. Such as 7 inch twist barrels doubling group size with M855 and M855a1 ammunition.

    It makes as much sense to force the USMC to use the identical cartridge as the US Army, as it would to force the USMC to use the same rifle squad organization and small arms assignments as the US Army. The USMC has chosen a different path than the US Army, with M16 and M27 vs M4 and M249.

    If increased cost is really an issue favoring standardization of rifle ammunition, the USMC would be hurt more than the US Army by any increased costs and therefore already has more than enough incentive to standardize. But let the USMC decide whether any increased cost is worth it to them, since standardization might impose a tradeoff the USMC thinks is important.

    I find the cost argument the least convincing of all the arguments in favor of M855a1, since rifle ammunition has got to be one of the smallest costs the US Military pays in total spending, whether that is peacetime or war.

    Fiscal Year 2015: US Army total budget, 121 billion ; US Army total 5.56mm ammunition budget, 129 million.

    • majorrod

      “It makes as much sense to force the USMC to use the identical cartridge
      as the US Army, as it would to force the USMC to use the same rifle
      squad organization and small arms assignments as the US Army. The USMC
      has chosen a different path than the US Army, with M16 and M27 vs M4 and
      M249.”

      You are comparing very different things. Squad differences are based on the size of the parent service, cost, peacetime deployment, employment (e.g. mechanized/motorized vs. straight light infantry), duration in combat, replacement policy and more. It is of note that fire teams are identical in size. The M27 vs. M249 decision has yet to be tested in sustained combat. Previous history of the BAR, M14 and M16 do not bode well for arming the automatic rifleman with a magazine fed fixed barrel weapon. The Marines have not destroyed their old SAWs yet.

      Ammunition is much more straight forward especially when one is fighting the same enemy in the same geographic region.

      Cost may not be the strongest argument but looking only at the Army numbers is misleading. The numbers don’t include war stocks nor the savings that can be realized by both branches by buying in larger quantities. Further, the Army is scraping everywhere it can. It’s cutting over 20% of the force which is many times what other branches are cutting.

      Then there are logistics issues (common predeployed ammo is a plus) as well as things as simple as not having to rezero a weapon.

      Finally, up until 2010 both branches were using the same ammo. It was M855 which the Marines still stock (and pay for) for its penetration capabilities which are clearly inferior to M855A1.

      I’m more than happy to wait for the testing to be completed but just as pointless standardization is silly so are branch specific solutions for the same problem just to be different. That kind of thinking is why we now have eight camouflage patterns instead of the common two or three we used to all share to fight the same enemy.

      • Phil Hsueh

        Hey, at least we’re not using completely different rifles. Sure, the Corps still favors the M16 over the M4 but at least they share a lot of commonality between them, it’s not like one’s fielding something completely different like a G36 or Tavor. Which is even more reason why the Corps should really look long and hard at fielding the M855A1 or at least the A1 instead of the M855 for situations where they want the extra penetration. Even if the primary round is different at least the secondary round will be the same as the Army which would help with logistics as well (potentially) reducing the cost of procuring the ammo due to savings resulting from greater quantities being produced.

      • gunsandrockets

        “The M27 vs. M249 decision has yet to be tested in sustained combat.”

        The M27 has been in combat service for four years by now. I just read an article from the Marine Corps Times dated July 19, 2011 describing combat experience with the M27 in Afghanistan. So far, so good.

        • majorrod

          You’re confusing time in service with sustained combat.

          Sustained Combat > Isolated firefights.

          The last sustained combat the Marines had was for about six days in Fallujah. There were no M27’s there. Look at Hue for another example of sustained combat.

          • gunsandrockets

            Golly, by your definition M855a1 is also unproven by “sustained combat”! How about that.

          • majorrod

            You must be new to guns to confuse a round with the machine that launches it.

            You consistently compare unlike things to come to make incorrect conclusions. It’s called an association fallacy.

            I guess the “no pistol allowed” sign outside toys-r-us poses the same risk as the one on a Marine recruiting station. “How about that.”

          • Zebra Dun

            Chevy vs Ford?

          • majorrod

            No, more like Chevy Corvette vs. Chevy F150. When you have to move a lot of stuff the truck is preferred.

            Look at the role (automatic rifle) the M27 is supposed to fill and compare it to the predecessor that did the job.

            Then look at why we replaced outstanding weapons like the BAR, M14 and M16 in the same job.

            Too many look at the shiny new M27 and try to reinvent the automatic rifleman into a designated marksman. Problem is combat historically hasn’t asked for three designated marksmen per squad. It’ has asked for one DM and an automatic rifleman for each maneuvering/supporting team.

          • Phil Hsueh

            FYI, Chevy doesn’t make the F-150, Ford does. So for you analogy to work properly you might want to say, Chevy Corvette vs. Chevy Silverado.

          • majorrod

            LOL!!!! Absolutely right! Thanks for the correction. Totally screwed that pooch with that incorrect comparison. OMG, It’s catchy!

          • Zebra Dun

            It’s OK, we knew what you meant LOL

          • Zebra Dun

            Good comparison! (with the edit of course)
            I believe the Marines are looking to replace all of their M-16 A 2,3,4 etc rifles with the M-27 as the issue rifle, sort of a back door rifle procurement tactic.
            Eventually every Line company Marine will carry the M-27.
            By then some new and improved SAW will come along or something other than the M-249 will appear, perhaps they will just use the M-240 as the squad SAW.
            Our M-14 rifle armed Squads back in the old days carried one M-60 2 man team from weapons, One thump gun, and used the selector switch M-14 as our AR men, everyone else had selector locked M-14 rifles and the Lt had a M1911A1 as did the MG crew.

            Now that was just for Tac Test field training for just our unit not active combat.

            Once in the M-16 it seemed every squad had two or more M-60 and everyman an M-16 the AR designation became one of just Identifying which member of the fire team you were and not a weapon or rate of fire specific rifle.At Most the AR man carried the clothes pin bi-pod with bag and extra mags.

            I say again, The M-27 is most likely going to be sneaked in as THE MARINE INFANTRY RIFLE in place of the various M-16 marks.

          • majorrod

            “I believe the Marines are looking to replace all of their M-16 A 2,3,4 etc rifles with the M-27 as the issue rifle, sort of a back door rifle procurement tactic”

            You took the words right out of my mouth.

            Had to do a bunch of research on the Infantry squad when I was serving in the Infantry School Battle Lab working on the Future Combat Systems program. There was a move by Ft. Know which was the lead proponent for FCS to shrink the Infantry squad to 7 or 5 men. (Vehicle requirements were driving the Infantry Squad size, the proverbial tail wagging the dog approach which some outside the Infantry community are trying to do again in the Bradley replacement program, I digress).

            I had to research the historical size, composition and doctrinal employment of the Infantry squad in the context of current doctrine and my experience at the platoon, company and battalion level as an Infantry (light and mechanized) officer.

            Long story short, nine is as small as you can get and still function after taking a casualty or two. Bigger is better (the Marines run 13 man squads but don’t have the scale of worldwide deployment presence of the Army and fight mech infantry differently). Fire and maneuver is fundamental to our squad employment. The fire team needs an automatic weapon. Medium machine guns like the M60 and M240 are too heavy for the small picture (sqd) offense. This is why medium machine guns are traditionally in a weapons squad at the platoon level broken up as needed (or not) to the Infantry sqds depending on the mission.

            On occasion we have doctrinally assigned (TOE) medium machine guns to the infantry squad for sustained suppressive firepower. Each time it was short lived because the medium machine gun is too heavy and you need a machine gun with each maneuvering element. (The medium machine gun should also have at least a two man crew to be employed properly.) The Army has relearned this lesson three times. The Marines are going to learn it again.

            FWIW, The only time I was able to find a successful doctrinal employment of medium machine guns to an Infantry squad was in the WWII German Army post 1942 where it was primarily fighting a defensive war.

          • Joshua

            They tried. They found the M27 cost far touch($2,600 per rifle vs $567 per rifle) and it would have taken HK 10-20 years to replace every M16 and M4 in use.

            They are now working on fleeting the M4A1 by piggy backing on the Army contract.

            Funny how it all turned out.

          • majorrod

            Fascinating. Can you document that? I’d love to write about it.

          • Zebra Dun

            The Marines do not want or need the M-4A1, the nephew who served never saw anyone in his line company with an M-4 of any type.
            They used M-16A2’s exclusively.
            The Marines have no use for a Carbine.
            The cost? What is the term “back door” that you do not understand?
            A little here and little there and soon every Snuffy has an M-27.

          • Joshua

            Doesn’t really matter what your nephew said. Marines have M4’s and are slowly replacing the M16A4 with the M4A1 by using the Armys contract.

            No ever “snuffy” will not have a M27. Like I said, they cost to much.

            Also the fact that you state “They used M-16A2’s exclusively” proves your information is false. The Marines have been using M16A4’s.

            Also just curious are you Lance? He is the only other person I have ever seen write it out M-16A4 and M-4A1. I have never seen anyone put the – between the M and the number. Even official documents do not list it as M-4A1 or M-4, it is M4 or M4A1.

          • Uniform223

            As I stated earlier my, before I was left my unit was transitioning from the M16A2 (affectionately known as the musket) to the M4. My unit was a reserve unit but we were a Civil Affairs AB BN… so we were “special”.
            Some of the Marine were a little jealous of our M4s. They like the way it handled (easier to point), the compactness, and the difference in weight. From your average marine or soldier the differences in accuracy or range between the two are almost negligible.

          • Uniform223

            In the words of one of the greatest American presidents ever…

            BULLY!!

          • Phil Hsueh

            I’ve heard the rumor of the M27 purchase a back doors means of getting a new rifle, but I haven’t heard anything more about it. It does seem to make sense since I can’t imagine the Corps wanting to go lighter in the firepower dept. since we’ve always been (at least since the ’90s when I was in) been heavier in firepower with our infantry squads. When I was in, TO&E for an infantry squad was, per 4 man fireteam, 1 SAW, 3 M16s with the Fireteam leader carrying an M203. With 3 fireteams per squad that made 3 SAWs & 3 203s, which added up to at least 9 SAWs & 9 203s for a regular line platoon, which, if needed, can be supplemented by assets from the company weapons platoon. By removing the SAWs and replacing them with M27s would greatly reduce the available, organic, firepower of a standard Marine infantry platoon; a 30 round mage doesn’t make for much continuous, suppressive fire.

            My suspicion is that the SAW will be retained more often than not and the M27 won’t really be used that much. But I could be wrong, I haven’t read anything about how and much the Corps are using the M27 in the field and whether it’s truly replaced the SAW on a 1:1 basis or if it’s being used in limited numbers, possibly for units tasked primarily for door busting duties with the SAW being used more for check points and regular patrols. The again, the previous Commandant was a pilot and not a regular line officer so it’s possible that he honestly thought that the M27 would be a good replacement for the SAW because it was lighter, more maneuverable in close quarters, and makes the AR harder to ID from a distance and didn’t listen to the grunts.

          • majorrod

            I’d like to have it documented but what I’ve been told is that Marine Infantry BN’s are issuing M27’s to line squads but maintaining a few SAWs for other roles at the BN level (arming vehicles etc.). There are supposedly few SAWs in the average company arms room.

            The SAWs have not been destroyed though and are sitting in storage.

            I’d like confirmation of course.

            It’s possible. The last decade has had few occasions for sustained close combat like seen in previous conflicts that have driven the requirement for Infantry Teams/squads to have sustained automatic fire for defensive positions or to facilitate offensive maneuver against a determined enemy. We have had the luxury the last decade to back off and employ overwhelming CAS or artillery. It hasn’t always been that way nor will it always be that way.

          • Joshua

            Nope, costs to much and would take to long.

            They tried and found it unsustainable. Instead they are piggy backing the Army M4A1 contract.

          • Zebra Dun

            Twice? No they are not.
            The Marines use Rifles for Riflemen, not glorified Carbines made for second line troops, Commando and REMF’s.

          • Joshua

            That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. The M16 has around 150FPS more muzzle velocity, and barrel length has nothing to do with accuracy.

            You can be a rifleman with a carbine, it’s that simple. Even MARSOC doesn’t use the M16A4.

            Face it the Marines are holding out to old outdated doctrine regarding small arms.

        • Uniform223

          Before I got out I got to cross train with Marines in Camp Pendelton, even had a chance to fire their M27IAR. Having spoken with Marines I know personally they don’t see any big difference. They like it over the SAW for a few reasons. The control lay out is similar to an M16 so the muscle memory is there. Its lighter than an SAW and not as cumbersome. Its not a real game changer, they just employ it and treat it like another rifleman in the squad.

          • majorrod

            “they just employ it and treat it like another rifleman in the squad.”

            And there in lies the problem. The BAR, M14 and M16 equipped automatic rifleman experience taught us magazine fed/fixed barrel machineguns are inadequate. We learned repeatedly that against a determined enemy where sustained automatic fire was required from the squad that these magazine weapons didn’t provide the sustained fire. Fixed barrels, fail under sustained fire.

            We just set the conditions to learn the lesson a fourth time.

          • Uniform223

            Another thing I forgot to mention is that the M27IAR is more accurate than the SAW. Than again with a 30round magazine you wont see many or any Marine use it’s full auto setting. We were taught to do a 5-7 round burst with the SAW. If you were to do the same with the M27, you’re just wasting ammo. Even with a slower cyclic rate compared to the SAW with a 2-3 round burst you’re still going through ammo pretty quickly. Give that Marine an M16 with the same bipod and scope as the M27 and the end result is pretty much the same. Again from speaking with Marines that I know personally who has trained with and deployed with it, they appreciate some of qualities of the M27 over the SAW but they still don’t see the point behind it.

          • screwtape2713

            Sounds like majorrod and you are both really saying the same thing about the M27…

          • Core

            It seems as though you are being overly critical from a topside perspective. You just had a soldier explain feedback from the field. Field experience is far more valuable than a strategic report revised by the many interests in an organization. Be careful how you criticize others from the perspective of an armchair, we need to value those who apply the technology in the field. Also when we debate we don’t point out the fact that the other person is ignorant we try to explain the error to provide a solution. Unless we are just looking to start an egotistical passing contest?

          • majorrod

            Reread what I wrote and who I addressed it to. My interaction with uniform223 has been cordial and we even agree on issues. What makes you think someone else is a Marine or even more to the point, fired the M27? As for someone else’s ignorance, read the whole thread. See who introduced snark and tried to take the debate in a personal direction vs. debating the issues. You get what you give…

            I concur uninformed decisions from on high are not smart. What makes you think I’m uninformed (or inexperienced) when it comes to evaluating squad weapons? At what level do you think the Marines made the decision to replace the SAW with the M27? Are you familiar with the history and troop perspective of the BAR, M14 and M16? Are you familiar with its performance as the squad automatic weapon? At what level do you think the decision was made to temporarily issue M1919 .30 cal MG, M60’s and the SAW (respectively) to Infantry squads to address the shortcomings of each of those weapons in the automatic rifleman role?

            The very specific issue I’m addressing is the M27’s application as a light machine gun in the rifle squad. The weapon itself is excellent. It should be. It’s a version of the HK416. But just like the absolute best made hammer is not up to the task of a sledge. The M27 hasn’t had to take on any boulders yet. We will likely see the same shortcomings in the M27 as we have with the
            three previous magazine fed fixed barrel machine guns we’ve used.

            Applying past experiences to future decisions is a skill I was taught long ago by soldiers & NCO’s in the field whom I was serving with. Listening to troops and remembering history are habits that have served me well. So is not listening to those that don’t question decisions because of an over abundant amount of confidence or hubris in those making the decisions.

          • Core

            Yes. Yes. Yes. You come across as very arrogant, compelled to have the high ground. Don’t take this as disrespect, I have had to put up with some of the other belligerent people here and you Sir are a gentleman and a scholar. Just saying, lend advice but don’t criticize, condemn, and complain. If you offer valued knowledge it speaks for itself.

          • majorrod

            Thanks, I’ll keep your advice in my back pocket.

            I hope you offer it to all parties involved and not just those responding to belligerence. That would smack of a double standard. It’s sad the nation tends to characterize defending oneself as being the aggressor.

            I hope we can get back to discussing ammunition and weapon specifics.

          • noob

            Unless M27 is a SAW in name only. It might be a sneaky way to get a piston driven rifle into the fireteam while retaining the M249 gunner (which is what I read happened). Potentially, you could quietly replace all the M16A4s with M27s and keep the M249 and voila! piston driven fire team, without the paperwork of “adopting a new rifle”.

          • Zebra Dun

            The Marines do the same with their Assaultmen.
            Employ them and treat them just like Riflemen.
            It’s the Marine way!

  • gunsandrockets

    The other thing that strikes me about this debate is the desire to squeeze more and more performance from the 5.56mm cartridge from ever shorter barrels. Finally leading us to use an overly hot AP round which is advertised as ball ammo.

    • iksnilol

      Also the move towards heavier and heavier bullets while still being restricted by the AR magwell which was made for 55 grain bullets can’t be good.

      • gunsandrockets

        Such as the compressed loading of the M855a1

    • If it were an AP round, it would look like 7N22 or DBP-10. M855A1 was designed as a “universal” ball round capable of engaging a wider variety of targets than M855.

      • gunsandrockets

        A bullet with a hardened steel core penetrator is ball? Calling that a ball round is a misleading exercise in semantics.

        • majorrod

          That’s the logic the administration tried to use to categorize M855 as AP. Didn’t work for them either.

          Federal Government defines AP ammunition in 18 USC sec. 921(a)(17).

          (17)(A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.

          (B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means-

          (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a
          handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or

          (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and
          intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

          (C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.

          • gunsandrockets

            I’m fully aware of the political games played with gun control laws, and in particular so-called “cop killer bullets”. Do you really want to drag politics into this discussion?

          • Uniform223

            that person was just being very in depth 🙂

          • majorrod

            Much of the argument against M855A1 IS politics. Most of the argument against M855A1 doesn’t talk facts (e.g. it’s AP), they talk emotion (“green round”, yuk!), old data or ridiculous positions like it’s too lethal and will cost us new ranges.

            Your M855 argument is EXACTLY what the ATF argued because of its very anti-gun attitude under this administration. Your motivation to create a case against M855A1 may be different but you’re using the same tactics. Don’t object to me being accurate.

          • gunsandrockets

            Who said I was against M855a1? That’s your assumption. You seem to have bizarrely invested a great deal of ego in this debate, and can’t stand to see any negative statement about your obsession.

            From my readings it’s pretty clear that there has been plenty of hype and misleading information put out to promote the M855a1, and don’t you pretend there hasn’t been. I despise B.S., which is the reason for my original post. Not to argue against M855a1. But to fight B.S.

          • majorrod

            “Who said I was against M855a1?” You did. (your words)

            “It makes as much sense to force the USMC to use the identical cartridge as the US Army, as it would to force the USMC to use the same rifle squad organization and small arms assignments as the US Army.”

            “I despise B.S” Really? But you said…

            “Finally leading us to use an overly hot AP round which is advertised as ball ammo.”

            My ego isn’t at stake here. Do you consider being contested with facts in response to your opinion ego? It’s not. Seems like you’re projecting and trying to make this personal.

          • gunsandrockets

            Dude you need to chill. You are striking out at shadows and phantoms created by your own problems.

          • majorrod

            Problems? I’m not the one that thinks M855A1 is an AP round or can’t remember what I said in a short thread.

            You overestimate my concern for what you say, dude. I’m not trying to change your mind. I’m concerned someone might think you know what you are talking about. This is why I keep helping you.

            Keep saying whatever comes to mind without checking it. Seems you think it’s working for you. Let’s try and stay on topic though or at least discuss issues huh?

          • Zebra Dun

            That wasn’t politics that was a show of regulations.
            To impart knowledge of just what is, and is not armor piercing according to the laws.
            The layman considers every bullet armor piercing, the knowledgeable thinks SABOT, Tank round.
            Someone has to set a scale to show reality.
            That falls to the government.

          • gunsandrockets

            Perhaps you are not aware that TFB is supposed to be about guns, not politics. There is more than enough places on the net to get into the weeds of gun-control politics, places where I actively participate. I first created the gunsandrockets avatar on disqus to debate gun-control at volokhdotcom in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown massacre. I like to think that I advocated forcefully and effectively.

            All that majortool did was drag the issue of gun-control into the discussion in an attempt to smear me by association with the gun-control movement.

          • Zebra Dun

            I am aware and have made the same mistakes and you most likely have too.

            Yet, this was just the way the description of the round is made by the government that issues them.

            ie: “Federal Government defines AP ammunition in 18 USC sec. 921(a)(17).”

            Don’t scream politics every time you are disagreed with as many do about Gender, religion and race just to change the subject and shut someone up.

          • gunsandrockets

            “That’s the logic the administration tried to use to categorize M855 as AP. Didn’t work for them either.”

            So you just slid right over that part, did you? I didn’t.

            All that majortool did was drag the issue of gun-control into the discussion in an attempt to smear me by association with the gun-control movement.

        • Err, OK. Here’s what a dedicated armor penetrator looks like:

          http://cdn2.armslist.com/sites/armslist/uploads/posts/2014/02/15/2696955_03_armor_piercing_30_06_ap_m2_100_640.jpg

          Here’s what M855A1’s penetrator tip looks like:

          http://images.homedefensegun.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_9592.jpg

          M855A1 is called “EPR” by the US Army, and you can call it whatever you like, but don’t equivocate it with real AP. They are two different things.

          • gunsandrockets

            You aren’t convincing me, and the images didn’t show me anything I didn’t already know.

            This thread reminds me of the time I commented that 5.56mm M193 ball was lethal than 7.62mm M80 ball at a range of 500 yards, and you disputed that.

  • noob

    Is there any information on the 7.62mm variant of the liberty T3 or m855a1 steel tip green bullet technology? How much better than M80 7.62×51 nato is it?

    And could you load the t3 technology projectile into .300 blk cases and get interesting results from a .300blk sbr?

    • gunsandrockets

      Don’t know about performance. But I did find that FY 2015 includes significant purchase of cartridge which is called 7.62mm M80a1 ball.

      • noob

        thanks! that looks like our guy. I wonder what the civilian name for the projectile is for our reloaders out there. Hot supersonic .300 blk loads with this projectile should theoretically be possible. From a 10″ bbl it might make an interesting close asset protection weapon for bodyguards who are facing armed kidnappers in body armor.

        • gunsandrockets

          You’re welcome. But I doubt American reloaders will ever see this bullet in commerce available for reloading.

  • Bal256

    I have heard that m855a1 has improved barrier penetration, but not that they had more impact on soft targets.

    • The effectiveness against soft targets is supposed to be more consistent.

    • Uniform223

      I would speculate because of the M855A1s two-part design, its effect against soft targets would be devastating. I would speculate that the steel tip would travel in a straight trajectory while the copper base breaks off and tumbles slightly in another direction. Against soft targets behind things like body armor? I would guess that it wouldn’t be as lethal but that steel tip penetrator would still give someone a bad day.

      • gunsandrockets

        I agree that the two part core probably breaks in two in soft tissue. But the penetrator traveling straight on? Bullet fragmentation is usually a function of yawing after penetration, so I would assume all the core fragments to proceed in a random cone shaped pattern after the core breaks.

        • Uniform223

          I don’t know the trajectory of the steel tip but I would guess that the steel tip would travel more in a straight line like it has demonstrated against barriers. If that is the case, I don’t think soft tissue or muscle would do anything to dramatically change the steel tips path. Again this is all speculation on my part.

  • Zebra Dun

    I recall in days gone by during World War two when the troops favored Armor Piercing 30.06 over lead ball.
    Now we are here with the M855 and M855A1.

    • gunsandrockets

      And consider that cartridge designation for a moment, “M855a1 ball”. Not only does the US Army call it ball, but even more tellingly they designate it M855a1, as if it is only some incredibly minor variant of M855! More evidence of the marketing that is taking place regarding the new cartridge.

      The army is doing the same kind of marketing with the 7.62mm variant of the new EPR ammunition, designating it “M80a1 ball” is if it is a tiny variation of the M80 ball.

  • Alan

    More Penetration does not mean more lethal you doofuses. An ice pick is pretty penetrative but does very little damage.

  • Core

    Take it, Make it, or Fake it. The survival code of the moderately to extensively educated. The problem is when you fake it, you are supposed to know enough about the subject to be grounded in measurable truths. Most journalists are not true academics, and they don’t have the time and energy to debunk propaganda. But this is a fascinating phenomenon that identifies the way Humans spread and even hyperinflate myth. Big media is often behind such phenomenon and I have to mention the high level of appreciation I have for folks on TFB who truly work hard to research valuable and truthful information. E.B. White said in “One Man’s Meat:” something to the effect that… “The greatest danger we face in the modern Era is the moderately educated man…” And he elaborated on his perspective in further detail, it’s a read all journalists should drink up.

  • RPK

    United States Marines are Uncle Sam’s killing machine! You could give a Marine a toothpick, a dog terd and a disposable lighter, and he would come out the victor in a conflict. That is just the way God put the plan in motion. EVERY Marine is a rifleman first. Semper Fidelis!

    • Phil Hsueh

      In theory, but in reality every Marine is a janitor and messman first, then a rifleman, at least at the lower ranks, it’s not until you make at least Sgt. that you’re no longer a janitor and/or messman first.

      • Seburo

        In the next five years it’ll janitor, then an air mechanic whose is occasionally a rifleman. Due to the gutting of the armed forces for the sake of the flying Wunderwaffe.

        • Phil Hsueh

          The reality is that way already, while all Marines are trained as riflemen it’s really only the grunts who are truly riflemen first. Your average non-03 only goes to the range once a year and that’s only for your annual rifle qual. Most non-line units probably don’t even go to the field that often, much less practice at playing grunt. My unit was an exception, especially for a Wing unit, but was due more the nature of our job than anything else since our job required us to be in the field and not at an airbase or airfield. Even then we didn’t practice at being grunts all that much outside of the occasional hump and practicing defense once in the 7 years I was in. That one time playing defense was great though since our OIC took the thing very seriously and was pissed when a bunch of our Os weren’t and thought they could sleep while the enlisted were on the perimeter with every other man up on watch. IIRC he was part of the OPFOR and when he found out his fellow officers were asleep he threw a smoke grenade into their hooch(es) to wake them up. Good times.

      • Zebra Dun

        Never been a US Marine?
        Janitor comes after RELACDU as the only job we can find in a world of REMF’s and Civilian trash.

  • Zebra Dun

    I asked the nephew of Iraq and Afghanistan deployment fame which rounds he saw and used, He stated, ” We liked the ones that were all shiny and brass and pointed on the end.”
    He then said, “We used them a lot and they went bang.” I would imagine the average Grunt doesn’t care or even know about which rounds are which and only notices when someone he shoots runs off instead of fall down dead.
    I also expect when asked about their weapons performance most would say they want more, better and more lethal killing bullets and rifles.
    But, that’s to be expected from Marine Grunts.

  • Zebra Dun

    No it’s gonna be a boil the frog event, slowly the Marines will add more and more M-27’s to the TOE.
    Watch and see.
    Now your spot on about the SAW! give me belt fed for a Squad Assault Weapon.