Spec Ops Doctor: Rather Shot With AK-47 over M16

ak_vs_10

Personally, I would rather be shot by neither, but a Special Operations doctor spent some time going into detail about why he would rather be shot by the 7.62x39mm round from the ubiquitous AK-47 over the smaller 5.56mm round fielded by many NATO forces.

“Admittedly, I’d rather not be shot with either, but if I had to choose, I’d take a round from the AK-47 over the M4 any day of the week. To add a caveat to that statement, I’m talking from relatively close range here — say up to 150 to 200 meters.”

Bold statement, but he backs it in an article on Business Insider with physics and his personal experience. Simply put, while the 7.62×39 is bigger, heavier, and slower, the zippy 5.56mm has a tendency to yaw significantly when impeded or given sufficient depth of soft tissue creating some nasty wounds (which the XSTAT would help with significantly).

The doctor also speaks to how the 5.56mm requires velocity to use its primary wounding mechanism. If the round is too slow (like at distances past 150 to 200 meters) or does not have sufficient tissue, the zippy rounds “zip” through a target, leaving only a small permanent cavity and bruising (a common complaint prior to the new M855A1 round, which has significantly different wounding patterns).

No word on a comparison to the “poison pill” AK-74’s 5.45 round (which is designed to yaw), but its fascinating reading. 

Title photo courtesy of MossbergOwners.com



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • DW

    5.45X39 is a thing yo

  • I don’t disagree with his conclusions. 7.62×39 M43 ball (AKA what 99% of the opposition using AKM’s/AK-47’s will be firing) is pretty well known for delivering fairly underwhelming terminal effects. It’s a 70+ year old bullet design made for an entirely different mentality than what we design ammunition for now, at least in part.

    M193 ammunition out of M16A1’s is of course known for doing some pretty disturbing things to people, and while M855 isn’t super impressive (especially out of 14.5 inch rifles), a lot of SF are supposedly using 77 grain ‘open tipped match’ ammunition which delivers respectable results.

    At the end of the day, the right bullet design + an unarmored target + substantial velocity can make for some particularly gnarly terminal effects. 5.56 has more capability to be used this way than 7.62×39 does.

    Disclaimer: I have a pile (literally!) of rifles that fire 7.62×39 . I am not calling it ineffective or bad at all, just participating in a theoretical discussion. I think a real interesting chat would be a comparison between 5.45 7N6 and 5.56 M193 ammunition.

    • Other John

      One thing I’ve always wondered is: Has any manufacturer tried to mimic the hollow nose tumbling inducing design of the 5.45 for the 5.56?

      • That’s a good question. If someone has, I’ve never heard of it. I don’t see there being a whole lot of demand for it — NATO seems uninterested in such a bullet design and on the civilian market, I think it’d have a hard time gaining any traction against some of the fantastic self-defence loads out there like Hornady TAP.

        Hollow-noise ammunition is particularly interesting to me, however. The first major country to do this in large numbers was Britain (way back before WW1) with their Mark VII .303 loading, which had an aluminium or plastic core inside the tip of a normal spitzer bullet (WW2 shortages later had them occasionally using soft wood) and it remained their standard .303 load until they retired the Lee Enfield in the 1950’s. So, while most of the cartridges used by the belligerents in WW1 and WW2 were big, full power affairs that you wouldn’t want to be on the other end of, you really wouldn’t want to be on the other end of a soldier from the Commonwealth!

        Interestingly, the Russians weren’t the first to copy this. The Italians did so for their 7.35x51mm Carcano in the late 1938’s, when the Lee Enfield was its contemporary. Unfortunately for Italy, WW2 sort of interrupted their plans and they went back to 6.5x52mm Carcano — I think they’d have been fine sticking with the 6mm cartridge if they had just developed a decent spitzer bullet for it rather than stubbornly sticking with round-nose projectiles, but that’s a different post.

        Hope at least someone finds my rambling informative!

        • Yimmy

          Wood was used, not plastic, but other wise right on point.

          • Thanks for the correction. I thought had read somewhere that Tenite was used but I don’t even remember where that was.

          • LazyReader

            Funny he mentions the 7.62×39, not the 5.45×39 which will seriously ruin your day.

          • Kivaari

            Probably because the fighters they were up against did not have 5.45 rifles. If they are shooting at you with 7.62 rifles and nothing more, then you go with what is there.

          • LouAnnWatson

            this was right at the end of the article
            No word on a comparison to the “poison pill” AK-74’s 5.45 round (which is designed to yaw), but its fascinating reading.

          • Kivaari

            Years ago we dissected several .303 rounds. I never found wood. I found a compressed fiber similar to the over the powder wad in ammo using cordite. A lot of people don’t understand why cordite with a wad over it accomplishes. Like medicines that come with a cotton wad over the pills, the .303 cordite and wad keep the powder from grinding itself into fine particles. Having ammo that had to ride around in vehicles, camel back or on horseback were subjected to a lot of vibration. That could turn loose powder (or medicine) into finer dust. In a rifle that can mean a huge increase in pressure. The .303 powder and wad was inserted before the case neck was formed. It was a great solution for a problem where ammo that was packed around stayed safe. That is why almost all foreign military surplus ammunition is suspect. If it was a change of calibers in use then they could have an excess of ammunition. Otherwise expect true surplus to be surveyed because it no longer meets standards. Surplus IMI 7.62 NATO ammo common a couple decades ago or the horrible Pakistani ammo resulted in ruined guns. Today we find surplus ammo that is diverted to commercial markets simply to generate American dollars. The best surplus ammo I ever fired that was consistent was Chinese steel core rounds. Superb performance over a chronograph.
            Penetration of 5.56 and PS rounds showed a certain value for higher velocity rounds. We could punch through steel plates with 5.56 whereas the PS (steel core) would pock the steel.

          • elf

            You were correct the 1st time
            “designers made the front third of the interior of the Mk 7 bullet out of aluminium (from Canada) or tenite (cellulosic plastic), wood pulp or compressed paper”

          • BattleshipGrey

            I’ve read that they also steamed it in an attempt to sterilize the wood, but I think it was more of a gesture than it was actually “sterilized”.

          • Kivaari

            Fiber and aluminum appeared in Brit ammo. Aluminum in the 7.35mm, from memory.

          • elf

            designers made the front third of the interior of the Mk 7 bullet out of aluminium (from Canada) or tenite (cellulosic plastic), wood pulp or compressed paper

          • Kivaari

            The Mk VII ammo I dissected years ago had a compressed fiber or the aluminum. The Italian had aluminum. I haven’t found any rounds with wood over the years. The MK7 fiber could easily have been the compressed paper.

          • elf

            Yimmy: Ya might want to look it up 1st
            “The Mk VII was different from earlier .303 bullet designs or spitzer projectiles in general. Although it appears to be a conventional spitzer-shape full metal jacket bullet, this appearance is deceptive: its designers made the front third of the interior of the Mk 7 bullet out of aluminium (from Canada) or tenite (cellulosic plastic), wood pulp or compressed paper, instead of lead and were autoclaved to prevent wound infection”

        • Kivaari

          The moving of the lead and steel core in the 5.45mm is not desirable. Russians would have improved the performance had they put a plug in the nose so the core wouldn’t move forward. If the Russians used a thin copper jacket instead of steel, the performance would be better. The strong jacket aids in penetration, but what is more important? Poking a hole or leaving a big permanent cavity? Well, the performance of the 5.56 is better than the 5.45. It just is.

          • LouAnnWatson

            all opinion, they both will kill the crap out of you

          • Kivaari

            So will a 4.5mm pellet rifle.

          • Kivaari

            Well it is not opinion. I highly recommend you read the history behind these rounds. History that discusses the whys and how they went the way they did.

        • Kivaari

          Other armies have done so for 110 years. It was the Soviets that tried what others had already done. What would make a difference is if the Soviet-Russian bullets used a fragile copper jacket. The poor performance from the 5.45 is directly a result of the tough steel jacket. It would seem the Russians wanted a less destructive bullet, and got what they wanted. The point of the 5.45 was to increase the ability to hit the target. Missing with an underperforming 7.62 is worse than hitting with an underpowered 5.45. Only hits count. The Russians got what they wanted.
          What I always find missing from this caliber discussion is no one seems to have asked the Russians what they wanted to achieve by making this change.

      • JSmath

        Not at all really.

        If anything, the Russian 5.45mm cavity nose design comes exclusively from Russia attempting to replicate the original performance of 5.56mm. Which was specifically originally designed with 55gr hollow points that would fragment violently into comparatively for-size/era massive wound channels. The yawing effect of the cavity nose design (556 boat tail tumbles – 5.45 yaws) is likely an unintended side effect during its first trials, and accepted as a suitable substitute ~ It’s just too obvious that if hollowpoints are internationally frowned upon, the easiest thing a nation could do is hide the hollowpoint under the bullet jacket and play the denial game regarding subsequent performance (77gr OTM).

        • iksnilol

          For the love of sweet Buttery Jesus, OTMs are not hollowpoints “disguised” as sometihng else to avoid the Hague convention.

          http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/04/23/why-otm-%E2%89%A0-jhp/

          • Kivaari

            Our Army lawyers studied it closely and determined the benefit of the OTM was not in violation of any treaty. Since real world shootings have shown the OTM do not perform like varmint bullets. 20 years ago the tests following nasty failures of the .308 168 gr. Sierra MatchKing, showed the bullet performed like ball ammo. That was an issue with civilian police. Accuracy is great, performance in tissue was not great. Ask Randy Weaver, he took a .308 OTM and only had a small hole. His wife took one after it hit intervening materials, so the bullet made a nasty wound. Alaska Troopers had some failures as well. It lead to tests drilling out the hole, just slightly larger and the bullet then performed like a JHP. The answer to this “problem” is actually quite simple. Stop using OTM bullets and use high grade hunting ammunition. In civilian police use, there is no reason not to use hunting ammunition. There are many good loads available that give tiny groups. In civilian settings the distances are typically well under 200 yards, and one study I read said the averages were close to 75 yards. A bullet shooting 0.25 inch groups offers nothing over one that gives 0.38 inch groups, but expands.

        • Kivaari

          The idea was to shift the center of gravity so it tumbled. The Mk VII was first used in the Vicker’s gun where long range was desired. In that era, the machineguns were used like artillery for indirect fire. They used to set them up, just like a 105mm cannon.

        • Kivaari

          5.45mm bullets tumble usually turning 520 degrees. One-and-one-half rotation, coming t rest butt forward, like most spritzer military rounds.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Remington’s UMC 62gr closed tip round has been around for quite awhile, it would probably emulate the 7N6 terminal tumble pretty closely.

        • Kivaari

          Except the 5.45 doesn’t perform as well as any of our 5.56 issued ammo. 5.45s have better penetration than the PS, but still do not break apart in tissue wounds.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The 62gr UMC has a bonded core, it doesn’t break up when it penetrates tissue either. They are very close in their terminal behavior.

      • Kivaari

        There is no need to. Extensive testing and actual wound treatment shows the 5.45 is inferior to the 5.56. The 5.45 has a very strong jacket. Upon entering flesh and slowing down the core shifts forward a tiny amount. That shift is insignificant, and if anything is detrimental to wounding. What bullets are designed to do, in a modern military rifle, is to tumble. The 5.56 M193 under 200m, tumbles and breaks apart leaving a nasty wound. The new M855A1 certainly makers a mess. Just look at the videos on TFB. The 5.45 tumbles, usually doing a two-lobed tumble. tumbling one-and-one-half times, usually coming to rest base forward. Considering its lower velocity and its strong construction the wound is small. Read the doctors whole article and he explains that.
        This is a well known factor when comparing wounds from modern military rifles.
        It is why he discusses the temporary and permanent cavity. Temporary cavities can be large and cause the bruising he shows. But they are temporary and do not cause a permanent damage. If it was permanent, it would be damaged and then fixed. I contend he is wrong about a 7.62 bullet making a 7.62mm hole. Tissue stretch from a 9mm, .45 and 7.62mm leave “holes”. Holes that looking at are not distinguishable except at some entry and exit holes. But, guessing the caliber is a waste of time. As the doctor says, treat the wound, not the rifle that fired the bullet. Our Army as well as any army that has tested such things know the wound is a poor indicator of what was used to create it. Shoot living tissue and it responds differently than dead tissue. Ordnance gelatin properly calibrated gives a close approximation to living tissue. To be accurate it requires extensive controls s to formula and temperature. It is why you see the BB used to calibrate the material. It is mentioned in the article about the pistol ammo that accompanied this article.
        It has been done already, where the 9mm, .38 (9mm), .45 and 7.62mm M80 leave a hole just like the other calibers. Damage that causes blood loss or nerves cut causes people to die, live or go out slowly. Take a target ARROW and shoot a gel block. Nice hole. Use a broadhead and its nasty. Same with a .45 FMJ and 9 mm FMJ. Both have similar energy. The bigger slower bullet people think imparts “knock down power”. Yet we all should know by know that “knock down power” is a figment of our ancestors imagination. A .45 FMJ being slower is likely to shove blood vessels and nerves to the side without cutting them. A 9mm FMJ having similar FPE causes a little more temporary cavity and may stretch tissue enough to create a nerve or vessel to break, thus being permanent. BUT, that’s a BIG BUT, both calibers are poor killers if no critical organ is hit. Poke holes that cut nerves or blood sources and the person is mighty sick.
        Chances are either bullet not hitting critical spots will leave a person alive.
        What do we do to improve performance? Well, we use expanding bullets. Not for the energy dump, as we have learned that lesson is meaningless.
        Expanding bullets kill by cutting nerves or blood vessels with the sharper edges of the bullet. Instead of shoving those items to the side, which is “uncomfortable”, it cuts them. Now you have a permanent wound that needs urgent repair. Nerves, we can be out of luck. If the nerve controls heart beat or breathing your body will run out of O2. Loss of blood kills by denying the brain and organs O2. Cutting a nerve that controls breathing, it stops the flow of O2 to the needed functions. If the shot hits the spine, it is stopping those functions. You can get a paraplegic that may live. A higher hit disrupting heart and lung function, well, it’s a bad thing.
        Think about what kills people. CNS disruption and leaking out means your are going to die without quick intervention.
        The good doctor that wrote the original article used hands on experience to learn what we know from 2 centuries of serious wound management. Go back to the American Civil War, and the US Army medical people were absolutely great students of medical science. America is not alone in doing these studies. Like Fackler’s team learned is that 1900 Italian doctor knew what he was doing, and identified every thing we know today about why all those long FMJ Round Nosed military rounds were ineffective, even when they had the power (FPE) or the .30 US and .30-0 THREE. We learned the pointed flat base .30-06 loads and similar shapes killed better than early heavy loads. We also learned the heavier boat tail bullets though superior than flat base for range, did not kill like the flat based bullets that tumbled early after hitting a medium denser than air (tissue).
        We also learned that those heavy boat tailed bullets gave hundreds of extra meters of range, with hits and that hitting your enemy with anything is better than missing them with a “more effective bullet”. Like Finland discovered in the Winter War. Finns captured literally tons of Soviet 7.62mm long range machinegun ammo. To use it in the Finn rifles, they re-chambered them to accept those rounds. The Finn rifles were then stamped with a “D” for “long range”. Hits count. Misses don’t. It’s why the British adopted the Mk VII, having a long range profile, but a light weight plug in the nose of the bullet so the center or gravity was farther back causing the bullet to tumble. Italy did this in the 7.35 rifles (too late to matter) and could have done it in the 6.5mm round and simply re-calibrated the sights. Instead of wasting resources on a new caliber and guns. Don’t dismiss the work of those that learned this stuff over 100 years ago. Learn that BS about knock down power is just that, BS.

      • JoelM

        There are hollow nose bullets but none with a steel core in the base that I know of.

      • Kivaari

        The 5.45 crowd doesn’t need to show the 5.56 crowd how to tumble. Remember he 5.56 round came out in 1957, almost 20 years before the 5.45.
        People need to also look back at pre-WW2 Soviet rifle and cartridge testing. The Soviets had already been playing with small bore 5.5mm rifles.
        It’s like hearing my fellow soldiers and sailors saying the Russians made their rifles and machineguns in 7.62x54mmR so they could use our 7.62x51mm ammo in the Russian guns. How they get the idea an 1891 cartridge to conform to the 1950 era NATO round baffles me.
        As I have mentioned frequently the dumbest gun people are in the military.

      • jcitizen

        Some of the issue ammo is technically “hollow” nose because of the way the bullet jacket is drawn onto the core. The accuracy of some of those rounds is not disputed, that I know of, but I can’t remember tumble figures in comparison. There are other articles here on TFB that look into it with more detail.

    • n0truscotsman

      Thats what I got out of it as well.

      5.56 has the decisive edge in that there are substantially better cartridges than M193 and M855 specification widely available on the market. There are better cartridges than M855 that have been in military service for cripe’s sake, specifically, Mk318, Mk262 and the newest M855A1 which is I’ve heard is excellent from personal anecdotes of friends still on the active duty side.

      I would like to see modern defensive 7.62 soviet, like Hornady, compared to equivalent 5.56 and 5.45 just for curiosity’s sake.

    • Tritro29

      Frankly, if you think that getting hit with M67-1/2 Yugo or even M84 Yugo bullets is better than with 5.56 of any kind, you might find your self in a situation when you wouldn’t be able to actually testify of your choice.

      Oh and shot placement and target posture…Cuz I’ve seen Kosovars hit to the groin with DM 5.56 and survive and his UCK dude get an m67 roughly at the same spot and die, with the sameish medical support (KFOR German Sani). You’re rolling a dice at every such occurrences. Dudes survive 7.62NATO in the Stan. While they don’t 9mm from antiquated SMG’s in Iraq. Please every time I see these threads i’m thrown off by the sheer linearity and closed mindedness of the tests. Two tests are no tests. In an ideal world, I’d let another guy do these tests for me.

      • “Frankly, if you think that getting hit with M67-1/2 Yugo or even M84 Yugo bullets is better than with 5.56 of any kind, you might find your self in a situation when you wouldn’t be able to actually testify of your choice.”

        I never said that at all.

        • Tritro29

          My bad. Misunderstood you.

      • iksnilol

        OOoooh, a fellow Yugoslav…

        Wait a sec, what side were you on to see Kosovars hit?

        • Tritro29

          The Rodina side ;-), Kfor times.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, so you were Kosovo side. For a moment I was worried there 😛

          • jcitizen

            You might be able to talk shop with my cousin, as he was in Kosovo during part of the conflict there.

      • Kivaari

        This wasn’t a TEST. This was an article from a surgeon that treated many GSW victims and used two of the cases out of those as a point to show how stuff went in those two cases. Making this sound like a controlled test, or the doctor just grabbing two illustrative cases to define the issue, is not what this does, nor intended to in the first place. He did a good job doing what he intended to do. Others are making it into something it isn’t. It’s not a test.

    • MR AWESOME

      The “controversies” about 5.56 rounds are not bogus. They are largely a result of the over adoption of the M-4 carbine which has a shorter barrel, lower speed, and CAN have bullets which don’t have the energy to be almost certainly guaranteed to yaw and do their job.

      • That’s not really how the fleet yaw problem works. The M16 suffers from it, too.

        • MR AWESOME

          Of course M 16 rounds can suffer from that. They are Spitzer rounds. And what individual Spitzer rounds actually do from a terminal ballistic point of view always has been variable.

          The point though is that the higher energy and higher velocities of M 16 shots at similar ranges to M4 shots are far more likely to result in proper bullet yawing.

          • Do you have a source on that? The stuff I’ve seen from ARL explicitlt said they found no statistical difference in fleet yaw between the weapons tested, which IIRC included the M16.

          • Kivaari

            What about bullets like the .30 US, 7.9×57 M88 (.318) or 6.5x52mm 160 gr FMJRN? Those bullets, none of which are spritzers also yaw, especially after having contacted flesh.

      • I completely agree. M855 (which was designed to do nothing other than defeat body armor at something like 700 meters — a ridiculous application for 5.56) is a very poor performer and the fact that it’s being used in 14.5 inch barreled M4’s is exacerbating the problem. M16’s/C7’s have the problem too, but they can allow an M855 round to yaw out to slightly longer distances than M4’s can IIRC.

        • Kivaari

          Strictly from memory the desired effect was to penetrate an M1 helmet at 800 meters or the NATO test plate (giving a similar barrier).
          That is NOT meaning a soldier is expected to aim at and hit a helmet at 800m, just that the cartridge must perform at 800m. Many people confuse the nature of the test, and I’ve seen it on TFB frequently in the comments section.

      • Kivaari

        OR is it a result of actual field use that the M4 carbine fulfils the role of a weapons for most combatants? If field use proves the benefits of a lighter and more compact weapons is better, why issue everyone an M16A2/3? A small carbine that does most jobs well is a good reason. They still issue specialized weapons as DMRs and sniper rifles.

    • CZFan

      I have been saying the same thing for years, I would much rather take the bigger slower heavier less nasty round than a 5.56 at sufficient velocity any day, I mean like the guy said he does not want to get shot, and a 7.62×39 is probably worse for arm and leg shots but the 55gr 5.56 at 2700fps or the 62gr at 2500fps to the torso will leave you with wounds that only modern medicine and a skilled surgeon can fix, a hole with a little yaw while probably still fatal from secondary infection is alot more survivable.

      Ive never agreed with the “hitting power” of the AK’s round inertia is mass x velocity and they pretty much have the same energy and unless a round stops in a target “ft lbs of energy” is pretty meaningless as an indicator

      The whole myth of “bigger diameter = harder hitting” has been debunked countless times with civilian handgun studies and shot placement has always proven to be the most critical factor.

      If you could get rimfire up near the reliability of center fire the 32gr segmented hollow point in 22lr from CCI at 1600fps would wreck as a CQB round, who cares if one isnt super powerful, you can land 3 in a millisecond with almost no recoil.

      Although with some of the things you can do with practice and an AR are just as impressive. and alot more effective.

  • go4it

    Some ding-a-ling shoots you in the eye at 150m …. WITH A .22 LR!!! …. and you’re likely dead.

    Shot placement is everything.

    • Tritro29

      Arrrghhh Lawdy, finally.

  • iksnilol

    In spite of using 7.62×39 I agree with him. I mean, most people use what? M43 ball ammo. Basically .32 ACP that penetrates walls.

    Sure, if they’re using good bullets like soft points or M67 then you’re majorly screwed. But in comparison to good old fashioned M43, the 5.56 wins hands down.

    I’ve recently begun thinking of acquring a 5.56 rifle simply due to NATO compatibility and lighter ammo. Thinking something as light as realistically possibly without venturing into the realm of proprietary parts.

    • “M43 ball ammo. Basically .32 ACP that penetrates walls.”

      What a wonderful sentence to upset people who’ve invested their ego a little too deeply into AK pattern rifles. Not that, you know, I would do that… 🙂

      • iksnilol

        Don’t get me wrong. I love AKs and primarily use them. But we have to be realistic, M43 sucks.

        Why use it for anything serious what with all the M67 and derivatives floating around?

        • M67 is a very interesting cartridge and it being Yugoslavian in origin is probably at least partially why the Russians didn’t pay any attention to it. Sadly for uh, irregular forces, M67 production is probably a raindrop in the the pond compared the M43 production so getting your hands on it is likely not particularly easy if you’re in the Hundu Kush or the Sahara.

          Another interesting load is Chinese ‘M43’ as they replicated the Russian round, but used much milder steel in their projectiles (you can scratch it with a fingernail). I’ve fired boatloads of the stuff in my lifetime (cheap and plentiful by the 1440 round crate in Canada) but I am not equipped to do any armor-piercing or wound-pattern tests with it. I don’t think it’d be leaps and bounds ahead of M43, but perhaps there’s potential for it to be less stable inside tissue after hitting bone or something?

          Who knows.

          • iksnilol

            I don’t know. I am from ex-Yugoslavia so M67 is always common for me. It is still made today in Bosnia (with NATO certifications and all). It actually isn’t that far for me when I am on vacation. Igman d.d. They make basically all the ammo types NATO uses, + some other stuff (blanks for launching grenades, 30-06, 12.7×108, 8mm Mauser and 7.62x54mmR both in match and regular loads).

            I’d recommend them.

            Point is you have to use “modern” stuff. AKA not milsurp from the 60’s and 70’s.

          • I had no idea it was made today with NATO certs! Learn something new every day, especially on the comment section around here.

          • iksnilol

            Factory is at least NATO certified.

            I hope I don’t get blocked for posting a link.

            http://www.igman.co.ba/en/kategorija.php?id=1

          • Aurek Besh

            Thank you for linking the manufacturer! I’ve been looking for a source of rifle grenade blanks for my M59/66.

          • Tritro29

            M67 is roughly a quarter of bullets in hot zones. Especially in Syria. And the Russians, Romanians and many others HAVE taken on the design. There was a comparison with ROM 7.62 round of 85 compared to the Yugo M84 round they were basically the same.

  • Grump

    AFAIK, “M43” is not all created equally and the Soviet spec stuff may have been tweaked sometime during the Vietnam war era as to make it more likely to yaw early.

  • The_Champ

    Kind of a pointless article. Much credit to this guys experience, but by his own admission at the end of the article, the two case studies are completely different. One involves a bullet striking bone, one just soft tissue. Anyone with big game hunting experience can tell you how radically this can change what a bullet does. Also by his own admission he has seen horrific wounds by both calibers.

    I think we all crave hard fast rules about gunshot effects (and want to be able to say that so and so round is the best!) but those rules just don’t exist. Caliber and bullet type are important, obviously, but we should remember that every gun shot wound is unique.

    • Kivaari

      The entire issue was well covered in the 1980s.

    • Kivaari

      He showed two wounds to represent what he saw much of the time. He didn’t just pick these two as a way to explain all the wounds he has seen and treated. If he treated a few score or hundreds of GSW victims he has a damn good idea of what the wounds are like. He certainly did not say this is what always happens. He also said he’s seen men hit with rifles that lived, and a hit with a 9mm that killed. Shot placement matters. His combined experience and that of his fellow doctors is what is behind his article.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Maybe if you’re comparing ball ammunition. If the AK-47 is allowed to use high quality soft points or hollow points, then obviously it’s going to do way more damage than ANY 5.56×45 round, especially at close range.

    • CommonSense23

      Not necessarily.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Don’t be misled by the 7.62×39 soft point featured in that article. It didn’t even expand.

        • CommonSense23

          You ever wonder why the Russians changed their round for the 74?

          • A Fascist Corgi

            I always just assumed that they learned from the Vietnam War that small, high velocity bullets were superior overall due to a decrease in recoil and weight. However, my father who served in the Vietnam War told me that almost all of the guys that he talked to preferred the AK-47 over the M16.

            And if we’re going to make the argument that 5.56×45 military ball ammo is superior to 7.62×39 military ball ammo, then why not make the argument that 5.45×39 military ball ammo is superior to 5.56×45 military ball ammo? After all, everyone knows that the 5.45×39 round was designed to yaw like crazy in the human body. But nobody really seems interested in making that argument on this website because they’re too busy bolstering the reputation of the AR-15 and the 5.56×45 round…

          • Kivaari

            The 5.45mm is a poor performer in tissue.

          • Tritro29

            over 250 thousand afghans would like to have a word with you at the afterlife.

          • Kivaari

            Don’t take my word for it. I found the original US Army studies by following the foot notes in Ezell’s “The AK47 Story”. It led me to those Army studies. When comparing 5.56mm M193, 7.62x39mm PS and 5.54x39mm the 5.45 was the poorest performer in tissue or gelatin. As the bullet passed through tissues like lungs, empty bowels, empty stomachs, muscle the wounds were only the size of the bullet. If it was point-in it left a 5.45mm hole. If it was key-holing during the common 2-libed tumble, the hole matched the orientation of the slug. The early reports out of Afghanistan was how terrible the new round was. We owe a debt to Robert K. Brown of SOF magazine. He was able to bring two AK74s and cases of ammo back. He turned it over to customs for delivery to the US Army.
            Fackler’s lab at the Presidio did shooting into live hogs and ballistics gelatin. The 5.45mm is the poorest performing of those three rounds. Compared to the new M855A1 (that did not exist in 1989) it’s an also ran. We should be OK with the enemy using either of the Russian rounds. WE have a better chance of surviving a GSW.
            Now do you also get how the M80 7.62x51mm leaves a hole like bullets from a 9mm or .45 ACP? Well, unless you are using the FN made variants.

          • Tritro29

            250K Afghans are still waiting for à word with you, once you’re done living. Just saying, that poor performance in labs, doesn’t translate well to the real world. The same way, the Soviet glorified .22 isn’t exactly à terrible performer. Also, the reports ? Which reports? You know why the AKS-74 started having an N suffix? Because the round was good down range, and was good at handicaping. They called it the poison pill, because it was quite unpredictable.

          • Kivaari

            Most of the dead Afghans were not killed by small arms. Heavy weapons and air strikes killed most. The early war stories about the devastating AK74, turned out to be nonsense. In treating those GSWs in people are like GSWs in hogs. A great many of those wounds have been treated since 1979, when the Soviets invaded.
            What is known is the 5.45mm is not all that great and certainly are not worse than common rounds. I suggest you research yourself, and look at how the bullets leave holes in lung, muscle and intestines. I have. Those wounds usually leave a much smaller wound tract than M193 or M855. The new M855A1 will leave very nasty wounds compared to compared to all the intermediate rounds in common use today. The author of this article understands that. Too any people think bullet X is better than bullet Y, without actually knowing how they act. Since I retired, I have not kept all of my research material, but every thing I had up to 2002 is readily available in public sources.
            You ask about the reports. As I mentioned elsewhere, the reports are within the public domain. US Army Wound Ballistics Lab at the Presidio SF (Dr. Fackler’s group). Picattiny Arsenal (they were big on darts at the time), the “Wound Ballistic Review”, where popular press (gun magazines) were shown to be BS, the Swedish research (Acta Surgica) the Yugo and Chinese studies. Now much of that was provided me from the University of Washington through my local library. You can access your local library or go on-line. Everything I have learned about the subject came from serious sources. Thereis no room for the BS like the Ed Sanow- Evan Marshall “Strassburg Study”, when there is no Strassburg study, unless it was done on 2 goats at a neighbors farm.
            I highly recommend you look at the quarterly “Wound Ballistics Review”, that was debunking popular press reports, by real scientists. Sanow-Marshall was shown to be total hogwash with them manufacturing data. Using “that report” and the formula used shows a hand thrown baseball has better performance in tiissue than a .25 auto. Now would you rather get hit with a baseball or a .25 ACP? I know two guys shot with 25s that bounced off ribs and another case where 4 rounds bounced off a skulk and then 5 homicides in 2 years that were one shot ills.

          • Tritro29

            Most of the dead 1.4 million afghans weren’t killed by Small arms fire, they were mostly blasted away. Only there’s about 189 thousand afghan by the DRA with small arms and about 60 thousand recorded killed by the RKKA. that a bit more than 250K and a lot of them weren’t properly combattants, but the records (allegedly) stand. I would also offer you visual reference from Georgia, Chechnya etc, including iconic images of sliced pectoral muscle and cauliflowered abdominals from 7n10, but I’m not sure this page condones gory images. Once again, real life =/= tests.

          • Kivaari

            How many of those wounds were from 5.45? Hard to tell. A PS round or a 7.62x54r round will leave the same wounds. How many with bullet holes were hit with anything on the field of battle? I’m pretty sure individual dead Afghans did not get much of an autopsy attempting to identify what bullet made a wound. As in most combat, from the American experience, how much time was spent on finding out what weapon fired the bullet that split open a VCs head? Was it a M16, M14, M1 rifle or carbine, M60 or .50 that made the mess of the decedent. I’d be confident in thinking the Soviets couldn’t have cared less about the dead Afghani. Throw them in a hole or let the neighbors do it.

          • CommonSense23

            I always love the my dad told me about the war stories. How much actual real world experience do you have with the rounds.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Then you’ll love to hear that he also told me that most of the guys that he served with preferred the M14 over the M16.

            As to my experience with these rifles, I own an SGL21 and 31 and a Colt LE6920 and I’ve shot thousands of rounds through all of them. I also prefer the AK platform over the AR-15 platform, and the FN SCAR platform over everything.

          • Kivaari

            “but the extreme amount of tumbling” is not a fact. The usual tumbling pattern is one-and-one-half “tumble”. It hits, does a 360 then does a 180 coming to rest but forward. The M193, starts to tumble, than breaks apart at the cannelure creating a large permanent cavity.
            I don’t understand where the idea of extreme tumbling comes from. It certainly doesn’t come from battle field wounding n or scientific laboratory testing.

          • Kivaari

            Flatter trajectory and a better muzzle break allowed soldiers to hit at 2.5 times the range of the AKM. The M43 has a mortar-like trajectory. They just couldn’t hit the targets as well with the 7.62mm.

    • Obviously, how?

      • A Fascist Corgi

        The M855 5.56×45 round (the round compared in this article) only produces about 1,100 foot-pounds of energy out of a 14.5 inch barrel, right? In comparison, the 7.62×39 round fired out of a 16 inch barrel produces about 1,500 foot-pounds of energy. That’s a difference of about 400 foot-pounds of energy. That difference alone obviously makes the 7.62×39 round superior in terminal performance. All you have to do to solve the overpenetration problem of the 7.62×39 round is use a high quality soft point or hollow point bullet that dumps a lot more of its energy into the target.

        And if you’re going to make the argument that differences in foot-pounds of energy between the 2 rounds doesn’t really matter, what really matters is how effective the bullet is at tumbling and fragmenting within the human body… Ask yourself if you honestly believe that the 5.56×45 round has superior stopping power than the .308 or even the .50 BMG, simply because the 5.56×45 tends to yaw and fragment more in the human body than a .308 or .50BMG ball round.

        Don’t be ridiculous. Differences in foot-pounds of energy obviously matters.

        And since we’re comparing the M4 and the AK-47, it’s widely acknowledged that the M855 5.56×45 bullet needs to travel at over
        2,500 feet per second in order for the bullet to reliably yaw and
        fragment within the human body. Welp, that means that SBRs with barrels under 10 inches long and shooting at ranges over 150 yards with a 14.5 inch barrel is a serious problem for the M855 round. Not to mention that the AR-15s with short barrels have reliability and durability problems, unlike the AK-47 (and the FN SCAR, to touch on a previous debate that we had).

        • Kivaari

          Energy doesn’t mean much in bullet wounds. A tough bullet having lots of foot pounds of energy that pokes a hole is not better than a similar bullet that simply pokes a hole. The FPE, is more of a sales tool. If energy meant much than a 9mm FMJ having more FPE than some .45 FMJ would deliver bigger wounds. A 9x33mmR JHP will leave a significant wound, whereas the FMJ variant wont. Oh, that’s the .357 S&W Magnum.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Yeah, I just don’t agree. I simply don’t see someone surviving a shot to the chest from 10 feet away with a 7.62×51 FMJ. However, I’ve read about that happening numerous times with 5.56×45 FMJs.

            And .45 ACP ball rounds do produce bigger wounds than 9mm ball rounds, and more reliable man stoppers according to people that have had to use both rounds in combat. And this comparison doesn’t really hold up anyway since the difference in foot-pounds of energy between the 9mm and the .45 ACP is only about 100 foot-pounds of energy, whereas the difference between the 5.56×45 and the 7.62×51 is over 1,000 foot-pounds of energy.

          • Kivaari

            You need to look at real cases, documented cases and research by not just the US Army, but these of Sweden, Yugoslavia and China.
            Even Italian Army circa 1900, resurrected by the US Army and then compared to US Army studies in the Spanish American War and the Philippine Insurrection. A round of 9mm FMJ leaves a hole indistinguishable from .45 FMJ and 7.62mm (in NATO or Soviet PS form). The key is if a bullet does not hit bone during its passage, except ribs on the EXIT the holes are frequently survivable. Any bullet hitting bone creates wounds with much greater damage.
            During the 1890-1910 era military rifle and handgun ammunition and the associated wounds were studied inside and outside the labs. The .30-40 (.30 US and the .30-03) would leave wounds in lung and muscle tissue that were often insignificant, and a soldier could be back into service in as short as 2 weeks. The Italian Army investigated the 6.5mm Carcano round and found the same issues. Little clean wounds that were in such tissues healed well – in pre-antibiotic times). The US Army in the late ’80s tried to recreate the Italian study and found that the data was consistent with modern testing methods. Clean holes that heal well. Foot pounds of energy mean nothing unless they transfer that energy to the target. Take a 9mm or .45 that have nearly identical FPE figures fire them through live tissue (hogs, goats and dogs are commonly used). Also fire the tougher 7.62mm NATO and PS into the same media, and then ask your surgeon to tell what gun did what. They will come away saying we can not tell you what caliber created what wound. It is not obvious. If you don’t trust my repeating those studies you are free to access the data either on-line or your library.
            You focus on FPE, that doesn’t matter if a through and through GSW occurs. Hit bone, and you will see serious damage, that under many circumstances will b equally indistinct. Now go to commonly used calibers today. It is well documents by thousands of gun shot wounds since Vietnam to today, that 5.56mm M193, 7.62x51mm M80, 7.62mm PS and 5.45x45mm, have significantly different actions in tissue.
            Comparing those 4 loads, shows the 5.45mm is the least effective when it comes to non-bine involved GSWs. There is a difference between 7.62 NATO M80 and the FN produced round. Both are NATO compliant, but the FN load uses a thinner jacket material and is more likely to upset in tissue. Don’t trust me, refer to the USA and Yugoslav studies. What is funny about the Yugoslav material is they were showing how much more humane they were by using the 7.9x57mm, 7.62mm M67and PS compared to “our” ammo. The M67 is better than the PS.
            Go to the Swedish studies nd they are trying to show how inhumane the USA was for using M193. The Swedes supported the round that became the M855. Only to be shown the M855 is more destructive than the M193.
            Ask real surgeons if they can tell you the difference between GSWs created by various bullets. They can’t unless they recover bullets or fragments.
            How can FPE mean much when you compare the holes created by the 9mm in the form of X19, X29, X33, X21, X23 and .357 SIG compared to .40 or .45 FMJ when several of those rounds generate more FPE than with the .40 or .45?
            Many people simply think bigger matters. It doesn’t. Now add good expanding bullets to the mix and you will see differences in wounds compared to the same cartridge using FMJ bullets. But, you simply cannot know from wound examination, what created the wound. If a hole is in a rib, you will likely see a bigger hole or not. Bullet profile may leave a nice clean wadcutter look, or simply shatter a bone beyond recognition.
            Conventional gun magazine and hunting camp discussions can be fun, but almost no one involved know the real subject.
            Go on-line to see the wound profiles created by the US Army. Read the texts associated with them, and then you may have to throw out you old popular concepts. Much of the Army’s material was created in the 1970-1990 era. If you pay attention you will quickly learn that only good hits count, expanding or fragmenting bullets often work better than some others. Fire 1970 era 9mm JHP ammo with ammo made now, and you will find, the new stuff is significantly better. You will also find that handgun bullets are all pretty ineffective. 80% of those shot with a handgun survive.

          • ostiariusalpha

            WWII soldiers would complain that .30-06 M2 ball wasn’t powerful enough because they’d shoot a Nazi or Japanese soldier at close range and they would hardly notice they’d been shot. They were almost certainly clean through-and-through shots, but nobody knew about fleet yaw back then.

          • Kivaari

            Bullets were in service for 35-40 years that exploited a bullet tumbling. Look back at .303 Mk VII, most armies adopting a spritzer bullet, all because they knew they were better killers. Just look at the US Army going to spritzer bullets in 1906. The round nosed .30-03 used the same bullet as the .30 US. Those bullets were short range and poor killers. Our ancestors knew this stuff way back then. I find the discussion odd since this is truly old news. Just like the way the 5.45 was portrayed in the popular press, until the US Army was able to fire at living tissue and gelatin targets. However, the popular press never got over the hearsay “evidence”. Once we used the 5.45 it was shown NOT to be anything special. It was actually inferior to the M193. BUT, hearsay evidence continues to this day.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yep, M2 is a classic tumbling spitzer ball round. The G.I.s just couldn’t comprehend why it would fail them in close quarters, the pitfalls of fleet yaw wasn’t even a theoretical concept back then.

          • Kivaari

            All those foot pounds of energy meant nothing when the bullet passed through without destroying vital parts. Every serious combat soldier from any nation can attest to people being shot multiple times without stopping. It is just what happens sometimes.

          • Kivaari

            Even a .30 carbine will be effective if the bullet is placed in the correct spot. Col. John George in his excellent book, “Shots Fired in Anger”, gives people a great deal of information on rifle effectiveness. His brother reported that the col. had killed 35 Japanese soldiers using one shot placed as needed. The under-powered .30 carbine works only when solid hits are made.

        • Everything you just said I’ve refuted in my previous posts. I collected many of them here: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/01/01/spec-ops-doctor-rather-shot-with-ak-47-over-m16/#comment-2435261704

          • A Fascist Corgi

            I like how you’re basically calling me a “caliber cultist” when I’ve stated that I’m a fan of the 6.5 Grendel, the 7.62×39, the .308, and the 6.5 Creedmoor. But you’re definitely not being a caliber cultist when you act like the 5.56×45 round is the best round that’s ever been made… Projection much?

          • “I like how you’re basically calling me, and anybody else that criticizes the 5.56×45 round, a “caliber cultist” when I’ve stated that I’m a fan of the 5.45×39, the 6.5 Grendel, the 7.62×39, the .308, and the 6.5 Creedmoor. But you’re definitely not being a caliber cultist when you act like the 5.56×45 round is the best round that’s ever been made… Projection much?”

            In what way am I projecting? The post titled “The Cult of Caliber” is pointing out a specific error in logic in comparing the terminal effectiveness of larger and smaller caliber projectiles. So if you are making that specific error, then you could perhaps take offense at being called a “caliber cultist”, I suppose (though I’d respond that it’s just a title and you don’t need to get your knickers in a twist).

            I think if you’re taking offense at that title, then maybe you should step back and ask yourself whether it’s really warranted. Or, keep acting indignant about it, if that’s what you’d rather do, I guess.

            “The blog post that you linked also doesn’t prove your point that “riflemen are dead weight in long range engagements” at all. You’re using a blog post that’s talking about shooting at 1,000 yards to bolster your argument that combat engagements beyond 200 yards supposedly rarely ever happen, and that if they did happen, then it’s not something that anyone should be concerned with since our soldiers supposedly don’t have the skills that they need to hit anything at that range anyway – therefore anyone saying that the 5.56×45 round is lacking for military use is a clueless moron. What a ridiculous argument.”

            Is it such a ridiculous argument? Why don’t you tell Chris Hernandez that, and see what he says?

            “You also claimed that the M855 round is well-suited for targets up to 500 meters away, even though it’s widely known that the M855 doesn’t reliably yaw and fragment within the human body when it’s traveling at less than 2,500 feet per second – which the M855 slows down to at only 150 yards when it’s being shot out of a 14.5 inch M4 barrel.”

            Ah, you didn’t read “The New Caliber Mafia”:

            VII. 5.56 relies on fragmentation to incapacitate

            M855 and M193, like all military rifle projectiles, rely on energy deposition to incapacitate targets. This is why ballistic gelatin is such a good indicator of performance, especially if high speed video footage is taken of the shot. At high velocities, 5.56mm FMJs will fragment, which can cause very grievous wounds indeed, but even if they do not fragment they will still tumble and deposit energy. Further, the single biggest factor in incapacitation is shot placement. It is unlikely that any 5.56mm projectile will incapacitate the target with a shot to an extremity, but the same is also true of full-caliber 7.62mm projectiles, as well. As noted before, smaller-caliber projectiles will tumble earlier than larger ones, all things being equal, and thus will tend to deposit a greater percentage of their energy into the target.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            I wouldn’t be offended if you called me a caliber cultist. I’m just annoyed by your obvious obsession with defending the 5.56×45 round and the AR-15. This isn’t because I have some kind of personal grudge against you. I just want NATO troops to have better assault rifles. Not that that decision is up to you. I’m more arguing against the people in the U.S. government who do have the power to make that change but think like you do.

            In that blog post you’re defending your opinion that American soldiers shouldn’t be expected to engage targets at 500+ meters with their assault rifles, but about a week ago you were responding to my comments about the 6.5 Grendel round by saying that worrying about bullet performance beyond 200 yards was moronic since combat engagements supposedly rarely ever happen at those ranges, and even if they did occur, you argued that our solders are supposedly such terrible marksmen that they wouldn’t be able to hit anything anyway; therefore switching to the 6.5 Grendel round is idiotic and pointless (which I obviously still disagree with).

            And I did read your new caliber mafia blog post, I simply disagree with it. You made a dishonest argument that the M855 round tumbles and fragments at only 2,100 feet per second when fired out of a 14.5 inch M4 barrel, and you cited a pic of 5.56×45 rounds being shot at various velocities to prove your point. Technically that picture does prove that, but in reality there wasn’t significant fragmenting until the velocity reached 2,500 feet per second (like I originally argued).

            As to your later point that bullet fragmentation doesn’t really matter anyway, you act as if 7.62×39 rounds that reliably tumble haven’t been invented or something. The Yugoslavian M67 round reliably tumbles in the human body and was invented way back in the 1960s.

          • Kivaari

            Perhaps using factual data is bothersome to some people that rely on bar stool talk over reality.

  • John

    I expect that the new Russian and U.S. armor-piercing rounds being tested, will also be scaled up to 7.62 NATO and Russian.

    And then you’re going to see some serious effects.

  • mosinman

    is this the week for triggering AK fanboys?

  • Lance

    A 5.45mm round would equal or pass both, on tissue damage.

    As for 5.56mm 55gr M-193 ball also is better for damaging soft tissue over over penetrating 62gr M-855. Vietnam vets even claim the M-16s older 1 in 14 twist made even worse damage than the M-16A1s 1 in 12 twist. Overall its where you place your shots that count. Id rather be shot by none. LOL

    • Kivaari

      Not so. The 5.45mm has a very tough jacket that remains intact. It tumbles, but leave a wound channel that is identical to the shape of the bullet at the time it passes through the tissue. Clear intestines usually get a small hole, Each hole needs closing, but its pretty straight forward surgery. Hitting tissue like a liver, will cause issues, with just about any military rifle round.

    • Kivaari

      The slower rate of twist in the first AR15s would not stabilize bullets in sub-freezing temperatures. Artic tests showed a need to make it faster.

      • FWIW: Here are some of the reports in question. The first is the USAF test that kicked off the change in rifling twist, and the second is an Army re-evaluation spurred on by the Ichord Subcommittee Report.

        http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/296754.pdf

        http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/844934.pdf

        • Kivaari

          In Ezell’s book, “The Great Rifle Controversy”, he did a great job of explaining this. I loaned my copy to a fireman over 30 years ago and never got it back. Never trust firemen.

          • The mistake some casual observers make is that they latch on to the extremely low temperature of the Arctic testing. The assumption is made that this testing was merely underhanded nitpicking. All US military equipment was tested to that extreme temperature. The winter combat experiences of WW2 in Europe and the Aleutian Islands pointed out the need for such testing. This need was re-emphasized after the winter combat experiences in Korea. The USAF was selecting a universal issue rifle for its security forces, not just one for deployment in South Vietnam.

          • Kivaari

            As you well know it wasn’t just the cold temperatures but the air density and finding if propellants were suitable in all theaters. “Everyone” thinks the M1 rifle and therefore by extension the M14 was a tough as nails and can’t be stopped rifle. I am glad you mentioned the Korean War. The Army found quite a bit wrong with the M1 rifle in such sub-freezing environs. Having the right hand rails fracturing pointed out one of the major deficiencies in the M1. The list became quite large, even though many people continue to think the M1/M14 rifles were end all in infantry weapons.
            In the studies you recommend, we have to remember that during the AR15 artic tests the “armorers” totally disassembled the rifle, even removing the tapered pins holding the front sight tower to the barrel. Then replaced them with nails. We do have some real idiots in the military when it comes to guns. I knew many of them within my navy crew and army company.
            I sort of pity Nathaniel. He has great information with solid research backing up his comments, and people keep fighting what is truthful. Those same stubborn misinformed people repeating the same nonsense that I’ve heard all my life seems crazy. I would bet almost none of them have ever read a real study of how bullets perform in tissue, with or without bone involvement. Many readers totally missed what this Aussie doctor was showing in his article. Then they go off on a tangent discussing the 5.45mm when it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.
            I noticed your posts seem a bit more refined and well founded. That’s unusual in the general readership.

          • Please don’t confuse the US Army Arctic Board testing of 1958-59 with the USAF and Army Arctic Board testing of 1962-63. It was the 1958-59 tests where Stoner alleged that sabotage had taken place. Ironically, the AR-15 had performed better in those tests than it had in the Infantry Board’s tests just a few months earlier.

            As an aside, one of the 1958-59 Arctic Board testers, Kanemitsu (Koni) Ito, ultimately went to work for Colt, and was part of the factory support team sent to Vietnam in 1967. Another was Roy (Rocky) Chandler, who is better known today for Iron Brigade Armory.

        • Kivaari

          Ezell’s “The Great Rifle Controversy”.

  • adverse

    He dropped out of school to become a Dr., didn’t he?

  • I’ve written quite a bit on this and other closely related subjects:

    The Cult of Caliber

    The New Caliber Mafia

    Momentum Has Nothing To Do With Stopping Power

    Weekly DTIC: The Fleet Yaw Problem, and Improving Rifle Effectiveness

    Energy: Don’t Sweat It!

    Weekly DTIC: The Ultimate Caliber – Myth or Reality?

    Why “Open Tip Match” ≠ “Jacketed Hollow Point”

    Blackpowder Vs. Smokeless Powder Terminal Effectiveness

    Incredible High Speed Footage Of The Army’s New Round In Gel

    It’s an unfortunate fact that every military rifle round has a certain failure rate, from 9mm FMJ, to the latest 7.62mm M80A1 EPR. In many cases, people have used small caliber rounds and seen them fail, and assumed that it was the fault of having a bullet or cartridge that was too small to do the job, but if that was the case we would never see those smaller caliber rounds perform well, and yet they do. As the Doctor above says, in fact, a round like M855 generally speaking performs noticeably better at close ranges than a round like M43 – between something like M855A1 or Mk. 318 and M43, the difference would be even more dramatic.

    I’ve often heard a rebuttal to this to the effect that well, yes, but the larger calibers fail in a more forgiving way, that tends to affect the target more. This isn’t really true; the caliber range for standard military small arms is between .22″ and .30″, or 5.56mm and 7.62mm. Let’s take a section from my article “The Cult of Caliber”:

    “My other objection is that there’s nothing special about a caliber. It’s just a measurement, either the diameter from one land to another, the diameter of the grooves, the diameter of the projectile itself, or even just some arbitrary number that’s kinda close to one of those measurements. There aren’t any caliber-specific performance nodes where one caliber has something special going for it over another.* The statement above frames the situation as if 5.56 has some special quality, that other calibers don’t have, which is detrimental to its terminal effectiveness. Even assuming the statement “if a 5.56 round hits a target and performs exactly like a .22 LR, then it won’t be any more effective than a .22 LR” were true, why would 5.56 be special? Shouldn’t the below statement be just as true?

    “If a 7.62 round fails to tumble, fragment, or expand, then what you really have is just a glorified .32 ACP.”
    .32 ACP from a handgun produces about as much energy as .22 LR from a rifle. It’s almost certainly not any more effective. How then, even if the oft-heard statement about 5.56 were true, would it inform us about any deficiency in the cartridge? And if it’s not true, why take it seriously?”

    • Fegelein

      You’re plugging yourself so much your nostrils share a half dozen objects.

      • I don’t see what’s wrong with directing readers to writing I’ve done previously on the subject, if it’s relevant.

        And why would I bother writing any of that stuff if I couldn’t link it to other people, anyway?

        • Fegelein

          I’m commented, because you just posted all that out of the blue as if to say, “I write about caliber stuff, too — check it out, plz” . It frankly looked like a blatant bid for hits. You could have just as easily mentioned your blog and what you’ve written about, and then just dropped a link to the tag or the homepage. Posts like “New Caliber Mafia”, “The Ultimate Caliber – Myth or Reality” “Powder Terminal Effectiveness” “Hi-Speed Footage”, have little to do with a discussion about wounding effects. There’s no need for you to drag in your grudge against the general purpose / 6mm rifle cartridge and all who think it’s a good idea.

          On another note, I did a bit of calculation for how much surface area non-fragmenting, non yawing 7.62×39 and 5.56×45 tears through. Because the M43 has a bullet diameter of .311 and M885 has a bullet diameter of .223, and circle area = 3.14(r^2), the 5.56 has an area of .15in^2. 7.62? About double that — .30in^2, and over a theoretical 12″ penetration path, 7.62 is going to displace at least 3.65in^3 of tissue in a worst case scenario, but 5.56 will only displace 1.89in^3. That’s twice as much tissue damage, assuming no yaw, tumbling, or fragmentation.

          • In every single one of those posts, I speak about terminal effectiveness, and in fact the relative terminal effectiveness of larger and slower and smaller and faster calibers. Did you bother to read them?

            I don’t have a grudge against the GPC, I’ve been toying around with the concept for the better part of a decade now. I am critical of it, because it has some very real limitations – and its proponents some very acute blind spots.

            Those type of surface area calculations have virtually no value in a discussion of terminal effectiveness, so far as I can tell. I suspect they were popularized by Dr. Gary Roberts, who should stick to dentistry, I reckon. The fact is that these calibers do not generally speaking carve neat holes. Take a simple piece of evidence of this the “wound” created in a piece of paper by FMJRN .38″ caliber pistol rounds, versus those of WC .38″ caliber pistol rounds. Despite having the exact same frontal area, the displacement of paper is very different. If you do not know what I am talking about, there is a photo below illustrating it:

            http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/images/exclusive/0903bullet2.jpg

            It’s obvious that paper is not human tissue, of course, but the point is made. Bullets – wadcutters aside – don’t cut neat chunks of flesh out of a target. They stretch and bend the tissue around them, including paper, which is fairly brittle in comparison to human fat, muscle, and other tissues. If this stretching is occurring, we would not expect to see very much difference at all between a .30″ caliber “through and through” FMJ wound and a .22″ caliber one, and indeed, we don’t. In fact, doctors have a difficult time telling them apart, until the bullet is extracted. Indeed, look at the target again. The .38 and .45 wadcutter holes are easily differentiated, but the .38 and .45 FMJ holes much less so.

            One should consider carefully the example above: The wadcutters carve the paper like a hole punch, while the FMJs stretch and bend the paper, making a much smaller, ragged hole. Given this, is it any wonder that the .38 Special semi-wadcutter bullet has a better reputation for terminal effect than other, comparable projectiles?

          • Fegelein

            About the GPC, I recall looking at your blog a couple weeks ago and seeing you completely not get the core of an intermediate anything: compromise. ‘it has to be as light and gentle as 5.56, but fly as fast and hard as 308, and because it doesn’t do these two polar jobs at once it’s totally bogus and there’s no merit in it at all’ is what i got out of it, I also recall seeing you once saying to someone on this site or your blog that you’d found studies claiming that, contrary to what he said about an ideal infantry round being in the 6mm range, that it was more like a 5.56 round, or at least a 5mm. I’ve done some searching, but found nothing for that argument, but found lots of stuff advocating 6mm. I’ve also seen you do things like conveniently misrepresent the 6.8mm as a long range round when it’s meant for short range and used for such, where it shines. You’ll take any victory for a NATO round, especially 5.56 and say that from that one small win, it’s superior, but you won’t take a round being generally superior as being good enough; it always has to lose out somehow. The GPC argument does make sense if you’re willing to accept the fact that a universal anything does not have all the niche perks of specialized designs.

          • “About the GPC, I recall looking at your blog a couple weeks ago and seeing you completely not get the core of an intermediate anything: compromise.”

            Ever heard of a bad compromise?

            “‘it has to be as light and gentle as 5.56, but fly as fast and hard as 308, and because it doesn’t do these two polar jobs at once it’s totally bogus and there’s no merit in it at all’ is what i got out of it,”

            Fine, I guess, but that’s not what I said.

            “I also recall seeing you once saying to someone on this site or your blog that you’d found studies claiming that, contrary to what he said about an ideal infantry round being in the 6mm range, that it was more like a 5.56 round, or at least a 5mm. I’ve done some searching, but found nothing for that argument, but found lots of stuff advocating 6mm.”

            I’m guessing you’re referring to the argument that comes up a lot that every study ever indicates that the ideal infantry caliber is 6-7mm, something that’s often been repeated by Tony Williams. The thing is, you can find a study to support darn near any caliber as “the best infantry caliber”. Perhaps you believe, as Tony does, that 5.56mm was adopted “by accident”. This is not at all true! In fact, 5.56mm was the result of a fairly extensive caliber configuration study, but one that gets ignored by the Caliber Mafia because it doesn’t fit their military reformer narrative.

            “I’ve also seen you do things like conveniently misrepresent the 6.8mm as a long range round when it’s meant for short range and used for such, where it shines.”

            It was designed for combat out to 450m. Over that range, it becomes inferior to later Mk. 262, which it was explicitly designed to replace. Ever wonder why it’s the “6.8 SPC”? Because it’s the Special Purpose Cartridge, designed for the Mk. 12 Special Purpose Rifle/Receiver.

            “You’ll take any victory for a NATO round, especially 5.56 and say that from that one small win, it’s superior, but you won’t take a round being generally superior as being good enough; it always has to lose out somehow. The GPC argument does make sense if you’re willing to accept the fact that a universal anything does not have all the niche perks of specialized designs.”

            Sounds to me like your perspective doesn’t leave much room for critical analysis.

          • Kivaari

            TFB article on the 6.8 SPC was great. It diverted me to do my long range shooting with heavy 5.56mm. The case for the 6.8 turned out to be a better case for heavy 5.56 bullets. I remain amused at the people that think those tiny increases in bullet diameter makes some kind of super round. People completely miss why the military uses Sierra MatchKing bullets in both diameters. It certainly isn’t the hollow point increasing the expansion of the bullet.

          • Kivaari

            The tissue stretch s why GSWs fr9mm, .40 and .45 leave wounds that are so similar that recovering the actual bullet is the best way for knowing what hit. Or having witnesses and empty cartridge cases to book into evidence. Many people think a GSW from FMJ bullets are the same size as the bullet. What I have seen is the hole usually closes up behind the bullet – instantly. It is why doctors normally don’t know, nor care what the weapon used was. It is not important, when a perforating wound is a closed tube, that the victim will learn to hate as the doctor runs swabs through it every day until it fills in.

      • Kevin Harron

        Having addressed arguments before and not wanting to retype them ad nauseum is plugging yourself? I’d say he’s addressing the points mentioned.

  • Oldtrader3

    Most of the OP I agree with. As far as caliber size and effectiveness goes, try using either one of these calibers on a moose or grizzly bear? Bigger is better, all other things being equal?

    • I would not try to use M43 on bear or moose…

      • iksnilol

        M67 and full auto, sure, I know an individual who did that.

        M43 and semi auto? Yeah, there’s less painfull ways to kill yourself.

      • Kivaari

        Quite a few hunters trying to duplicate Bell’s African kills with 6.5mm rifles, they find out it is much harder to kill big animals with the FNJ 6.5 M-S.

  • Ouch, ouch, ouch. Seriously, you’re not going to be able to tell what you got shot with whether a .22 caliber or a .30 caliber round. The mechanism of wounding in “military” cartridges is tissue damage, causing hemorrhaging, and thus taking the wounded soldier out of the fight or outright killing them. A .30 “M43″ (it’s not the same as it was back in the 40’s and has been improved over the decades) does that like the 5.56 does. It just so happens that under some circumstances the 5.56 does it better because of the better-designed projectile and higher velocity (around 2300 fps vs 2900 out of 16” barrels). Whereas a M43 will pass through you (and the wall or soldier behind you) and expend some energy in soft tissue, the 5.56 will (in it’s original design M193) will expand violently and fragment, dumping all it’s energy into the target in short order. Fragments cause more damage, more bleeding.

    The Soviets designed the 7N6 to address the problems with the M43: controllability in full auto, accuracy, and wounding effectiveness. I think they got it right with the 5.45×39. The effective range out of the AK didn’t change, but the terminal effectiveness did. I think we got it right with the M193 and the new 855A1 EPR. It’s a product of trial and error and evaluation and retrying. It’s taken over 40 years and 3 major conflicts (and tons of money) to get to the EPR. Russia kept the M43 design through WWII and Vietnam and Korea, and switched during their next major conflict in Afghanistan 40 years later. Whether the Russians will make one better? Who knows. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

    • Kivaari

      The TWO mechanisms of death are CNS disruption and bleeding. CNS interruption interferes with the heart and breathing that oxygenate the system. Cut the nerves running those systems, and the person dies. Leaking them out does the same.

  • Kivaari

    It’s old news. Read the articles written by the real doctors that did the studies. Fackler’s Wound Ballistics Review is a great source. In Ezell’s “The AK47 Story”, there are footnotes that will lead you to reports from around the world. The Soviet PS FMJBT load punches nice straight holes, as long as no bone is hit. The 5.45mm performs poorly, because the slug is so strong, it doesn’t fracture like the 5.56mm.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Tim of MAC found the 7N6 gets surprisingly effective penetration, even over 7.62×51. Still, frozen tree trunks aren’t people and, as you point out, that penetration is more of a liability when trying to get good terminal performance.

      • Not anymore with the M855A1

      • Kivaari

        Why anyone would use frozen wood as a test medium baffles me.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Watch the video and all will become clear. The point was basically about penetration of trunks used as cover.

          • Kivaari

            Penetration through barricades does allow wounding of people. That 5.45 bullet s tough, and will penetrate hard barricades better than the 5.56. That’s OK. You need to wound the other guy. When that deep penetrating bullet goes through tree trunks, it shows why it is a poor on people. A 5.56 not going through a tree trunk shows why it is more destructive in tissue. It comes down to do you want to shoot through barricades or do you want to kill an enemy?

  • De Facto

    I’m less than impressed by an article that puts two wounds up for comparison and then fleetingly acknowledges that the wounds are not comparable.

    The AK and 7.62×39 has been effectively used to send many a soldier to his grave. Pick a round you can afford to practice with, become proficient, and have plenty on hand and you are better off than 90% of the population.

  • LazyReader

    Funny he mentions the 7.62×39, not the 5.45 which will seriously ruin your day.

  • “The 77gr OTMs were deliberately designed to fragment at lower velocities and induce low-depth energy dumps by presenting flatter passing surfaces – that’s the general purpose of hollowpoint designs, from a ballistics science standpoint.”

    Every single factual statement in this is wrong.

    • JSmath

      “Major efforts to improve the consistency of terminal effect of OTMs have been undertaken, resulting in part in the Mk. 318 round, which is largely supplanting the Mk. 262 in service. This round combines the fragmentation capability of the thin-jacketed OTMs with additional penetration from a solid rear half, while incorporating the yaw independent characteristics refined through the M855A1 program.”

      Please elaborate, Nathaniel.

      • Which bit?

        • MR AWESOME

          Nope. Just stop feeding the morons.

      • Kivaari

        One of the biggest reasons for the M855A1 was to make the bullets “green” whereas the lead in earlier bullets were “not green”. In doing so, the M855A1 performs well in tissue.

    • JSmath

      I should clarify that my suffixed statement was only intended to apply to the second part of the first sentence. The fragmenting behavior was simply a similarity with some hollowpoints like those in early 223 Remington/5.56 NATO trials.

      • The 77gr Sierra and Nosler OTMs were not designed to fragment, they are simply adapted match bullets. The fragmentation, as with early high velocity FMJs before them, is accidental. It has since the very early 20th Century become an accepted terminal effect.

        As for your statement that these OTMs are “basically hollowpoints” because “the general purpose of hollowpoint designs… [is to] induce low-depth energy dumps by presenting flatter passing surfaces” (please correct me if I don’t have this statement the right way ’round), that’s true of everything from FMJs to JHPs to OTMs. There are few bullets that is not true of, in fact. Further, at no point has this been a defining feature of any of these bullet types.

        • JSmath

          It’s easy to make an argument against your misinterpretation of someone’s words.

          You should be old enough to know not to quote someone on something they didn’t actually say, or to poorly rephrase what they did say into something convenient to argue against.

          • Kivaari

            I recommend you read “Wound Ballistics review” 1995 V2N2 in the articles “Federal Premium .308 WIN, 168 gr. JHP-BT A SWAT/HRT Round with some idiosyncrasies” (Haag, LC). And “Matching Bullet – Past, Present, and Future” (Fackler, ML). This 20 year old set of articles discusses the failure of the .308 Sierra bullet from performing well in tissue. It discusses the Randy Weaver shot that hit him in the shoulder area above the collar bone, with almost no effect. It briefly mentions a case out of Alaska where a trooper shot am suspect in the head, and the very tough bullet passed between the two lobes of the brain with little tissue disruption. Now we all know that the :hollow point Sierra MatchKing .308 Win 168 gr. bullet is very accurate. It did not then and doesn’t now mushroom like a conventional hollow point nor soft point. Any claim to the contrary is not correct. Why do you suspect Federal brought out the TAP ammo? Well, they needed an accurate bullet that performed better than any of the OTM bullets. AAND the TA:P does.

  • Jeffrey

    I shoot Tulammo 154 grain SP in my 7.62×39 AR. I have never seen any ballistic test on that round.

    • Kivaari

      From all I’ve read, it suffers from a slower initial velocity and like much Russian ammo has a thick jacket that inhibits expansion.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    “Sounds like you’re making the assumption that a bigger rifle cartridge is better.”

    Only to a certain degree. If I was sent to a war zone to fight, I’d personally prefer the 7.62×51 over the 5.56×45 due to the superior stopping power of the 7.62×51 round. However, I’d still prefer something more along the lines of the 6.5 Grendel (or a modified version of it that was slightly bigger and more powerful, as I already stated several days ago). If that meant that I had to carry less rounds and more weight, then so be it. I simply don’t have confidence in the stopping power and the long range performance of the 5.56×45 round based on my own experience with shooting it, looking at ballistic gel tests, watching tons of “war porn” videos, reading news reports about home invaders being shot with AR-15s, and anecdotal evidence that I read from a highly experienced war reporter and a U.S. Army general.

    Two examples of the M4 failing miserably immediately come to my mind. The first was from a “60 Minutes” documentary that I watched about U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan. One of the SF soldiers shot a little Afghan kid in the middle of his sternum (the SF unit was raiding a compound when a truck came down the road that this little kid was riding in. An SF soldier that was tasked with watching the road thought that the truck was full of Taliban jihadists and engaged them from less than 100 yards away with his suppressed M4). You think the kid would be done for, right? Nope. He just had a little trickle of blood dripping down his chest. An SF medic basically patched him up with a band-aid and he was completely fine… I seriously doubt that that child would have survived if he was shot with a 7.62×39 round, a 6.5 Grendel round, or a 7.62×51 round. Now, you might respond by saying, “So what? The M855 round was designed to tumble in the human body, and this little kid was too small for that to happen. So it’s no big deal!” but the second example of the M4 utterly failing refutes that argument. General Petraeus (a grown man) was accidentally shot in the chest by a U.S. soldier from very close range. The result? Just like the little Afghan kid, he was quickly patched up and was as good as new the next day. He didn’t even take a day off to recover! Now, I know that you can respond by saying, “Hey, sometimes bullets just do weird things. The same thing could have happened with 7.62×51 or even the .50 BMG! And besides, the new M855A1 solves this problem.” but I simply don’t agree…

    • “Only to a certain degree. If I was sent to a war zone to fight, I’d personally prefer the 7.62×51 over the 5.56×45 due to the superior stopping power of the 7.62×51 round. However, I’d still prefer something more along the lines of the 6.5 Grendel (or a modified version of it that was slightly bigger and more powerful, as I already stated several days ago). If that meant that I had to carry less rounds and more weight, then so be it. I simply don’t have confidence in the stopping power and the long range performance of the 5.56×45 round based on my own experience with shooting it, looking at ballistic gel tests, watching tons of “war porn” videos, reading news reports about home invaders being shot with AR-15s, and anecdotal evidence that I read from a highly experienced war reporter and a U.S. Army general.”

      This is fine on a personal level, but I would ask “why do you think the 6.5 Grendel would be better?” Again, the assumption seems to be that “bigger is better” with regards to terminal effect here. Take as an example, that the 6.5 Grendel is ballistically similar at close range to the 7.62×39 M43, but due to the latter round’s bullet construction and low velocity, it has generally poorer terminal effect than most 5.56mm rounds, especially the latest offerings. This isn’t to say the 6.5 Grendel offers no improvement in terminal effect over 5.56mm (I’d reckon it does quite a bit better generally-speaking out at the end of medium and longer ranges), but that simply saying “well, it’s got more energy, so it must be better” is a gross oversimplification.

      Further, I’d caution against acting or urging action based on assumptions without data to support them. Do we have data on how the 6.5 Grendel performs in the field? Not very much. We have some limited ballistic tests, but nothing anywhere near as comprehensive as what’s been applied to 5.56mm and other calibers. Do we know the 6.5 Grendel would be an improvement in terminal effect? If that is proven, do we know that making that tradeoff improves the net effectiveness of the infantry squad? These are questions the 6.5 Grendel crowd, and the bigger caliber mafia in general, don’t really have answers to. Neither do I, though my research weakly indicates the opposite.

      “Two examples of the M4/M855 failing miserably immediately come to my mind. The first was from a “60 Minutes” documentary that I watched about U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan. One of the SF soldiers shot a little Afghan kid in the middle of his chest (the SF unit was raiding a compound when a truck came down the road that this little kid was riding in. An SF soldier that was tasked with watching the road thought that the truck was full of Taliban jihadists and engaged them from less than 100 yards away with his suppressed M4). You think the kid would be done for, right? Nope. He just had a little trickle of blood dripping down his chest. An SF medic basically patched him up with a band-aid and he was completely fine… I seriously doubt that that child would have survived if he was shot with a 7.62×39 round, a 6.5 Grendel round, or a 7.62×51 round.”

      Except that’s not a good assumption to make. All three of the rounds you cite also suffer from the fleet yaw problem, which is almost certainly the reason M855 failed in that example. So, equally, any of those three could have made a very similar through-and-through round. See how you’re assuming a polarity that may not exist, there? “5.56/M855 is bad, ergo these larger rounds must be good”. In reality, all of those rounds are susceptible to the same failure mode, which is the whole reason why the yaw-independent rounds in both calibers (5.56 and 7.62 NATO) were developed.

      “”So what? The M855 round was designed to tumble in the human body, and this little kid was too small for that to happen. So it’s no big deal!””

      Except that’s not what I would say. You are neglecting the issue of fleet yaw. In some cases, M855 would have tumbled and fragmented with a very short neck, and in some cases it wouldn’t. That’s the whole reason M855A1 and Mk. 318 were developed, to solve that inconsistency issue… And the fly in your point’s ointment is the existence of the M80A1 and Mk. 319, both yaw independent rounds in 7.62×51 NATO caliber. If that caliber is such a sure stopper, why did they bother developing those rounds? The answer is that it’s not, at all.

      “but the second example of the M4/M855 utterly failing refutes that argument. General Petraeus (a grown man) was accidentally shot in the chest by a U.S. soldier from very close range. The result? Just like the little Afghan kid, he was quickly patched up and was as good as new the next day. He didn’t even take a day off to recover! Now, I know that you can respond by saying, “Hey, sometimes bullets just do weird things. The same thing could have happened with 7.62×51 or even the .50 BMG! And besides, the new M855A1 solves this problem.” but I simply don’t agree…”

      So you simply don’t accept the idea of the fleet yaw problem? Take it up with the ARL, I guess.

      “And rather than me guessing what you think is a reasonable combat shooting distance for the average U.S. soldier, why don’t you clearly state your opinion. Because the comments you’re making and the blog posts that you’re citing still give me the impression that you think that anything beyond 200 yards is unreasonable.”

      I’ve written a lot about my opinion, so what exactly is bugging you?

      “As to the blog post from that Hernandez guy that you linked, no offense to him, but he doesn’t exactly sound like a heavily experienced combat veteran. So, citing his blog post as proof that U.S. soldiers shouldn’t be expected to effectively shoot at their enemies at 200 yards and beyond seems a bit… odd.”

      So because he disagrees with you, he’s not experienced?

      “I don’t care what Fackler said (that seems to be the source of the claim that 7.62×39 FMJ bullets only start to tumble after 10 inches of penetration). Go look at gel tests of 7.62×39 FMJs. They seem to tumble at around 3 inches or so. These bullets aren’t M43, but they’re still FMJs that would be perfectly legal to use in combat.”

      Again, you’re ignoring my actual point, which is explicitly about M43 as an example of a larger-caliber bullet that has worse terminal effect generally speaking than 5.56mm. You also are ignoring the fleet yaw problem, and the mathematical proofs of A Theory of The Motion of A Bullet About Its Center of Gravity, which says that – all things being equal – a smaller caliber bullet will yaw sooner than a larger caliber one in proportion to the change in caliber. This doesn’t mean that every small caliber bullet yaws sooner than every other large caliber one, but it does mean that if you want a short yaw cycle, smaller calibers are generally speaking better.

      “So, you’re saying that there’s no truth at all to the common belief that 5.56×45 FMJ bullets need to be traveling at at least 2,500 feet per second in order to have reliable terminal performance? If that’s the case, then what, in your opinion, is the minimal velocity needed for reliable terminal performance with 5.56×45 FMJ bullets.”

      You’re making a few mistakes here. First of all, you’ve generalized all 5.56mm FMJs, regardless of bullet construction or velocity as having the same characteristics. That’s not true. M193 and M855 have the same jacket thickness, and generally speaking their jackets rupture at the same velocities. Second, yawing and fragmentation are not the same thing. Yawing may happen without fragmentation occurring, and it does induce energy deposition to a greater degree than a non-yawing bullet would. Fragmentation can also happen without yaw, as evidenced by the numerous varmint and frangible 5.56mm rounds available which fragment almost immediately.

      Now, the problem, as I explained in The New Caliber Mafia is that the 2,500 ft/s “limit” for fragmentation of 5.56mm is quite misleading:

      “While the fragmentation of small arms projectiles does change with the velocity at which they impact, use of the term “fragmentation threshold” can be misleading. If a projectile is fired at just below the fragmentation threshold, it performs much the same as if it is fired just above. The fragmentation threshold thus does not denote a drastic transition in performance of conventional jacketed small arms projectiles at a certain impact velocity. It is useful only in eyeballing how the projectile performs at different speeds, as at speeds below the threshold, no fragmentation occurs, while at speeds above it, fragmentation occurs in progressively more severe fashions. Only at very high velocities (typically over 2,900 ft/s, depending on jacket construction) does the familiar “confetti” fragmentation pattern occur. The reader should also keep in mind that fragmentation depends on many factors, the most important of which, besides impact velocity, is the construction of the bullet. Some materials fragment at very low velocities, while others may fragment only at velocities above that which is practical for nitrocellulose propellants. The figures used here are a “rule of thumb” for jacketed, lead-cored bullets, but even within that scope they can differ significantly from reality.”

      So what we really have here is a question of the fragmentation characteristics of different rounds. M855 has erratic fragmentation characteristics that wane as range increases. M855A1 has consistent fragmentation characteristics that wane much less quickly as range increases. It’s a major improvement. We don’t have data on the 6.5 Grendel or anything else, so what are we to make of those? Is the improvement given by M855A1 enough (given the marksmanship capabilities of infantry today, I’d say it is, yes), or is yet more needed? If more is needed, can that be provided by a different 5.56mm round, or is a larger round needed? What are the tradeoffs if a larger, heavier round is adopted? How do those tradeoffs affect the effectiveness of the rifle squad? These are all important questions that deserve thoroughly researched answers.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        “This is fine on a personal level, but I would ask “why do you think the 6.5 Grendel would be better?” Again, the assumption seems to be that “bigger is better” with regards to terminal effect here. Take as an example, that the 6.5 Grendel is ballistically similar at close range to the 7.62×39 M43, but due to the latter round’s bullet construction and low velocity, it has generally poorer terminal effect than most 5.56mm rounds, especially the latest offerings. This isn’t to say the 6.5 Grendel offers no improvement in terminal effect over 5.56mm (I’d reckon it does quite a bit better generally-speaking out at the end of medium and longer ranges), but that simply saying “well, it’s got more energy, so it must be better” is a gross oversimplification.”

        Where’s your proof that that the M43 round has inferior close range terminal performance than, say, the M855 round? You’re also trying to limit the 7.63×39 round to the ancient M43. As I already stated, better 7.62×39 FMJs already exist, or could be invented (if we were to task the same DOD team that came up with the M855A1 round to work on a new 7.62×39 round, then I’m sure they’d create a great performing 7.62×39 round).

        And let’s not stray away from my original comment, because you’ve yet to make a convincing argument against it. I wrote that high quality 7.62×39 hollow points and soft points have superior stopping power than any 5.56×45 round, which you took issue with. I still stand behind that statement due to the simple fact that the 7.62×39 round has a 400~ foot-pounds of energy advantage over the 5.56×45 round. I also don’t think that the larger size of the 7.62×39 round should be dismissed as being completely insignificant. The reason why that Afghan kid and General Petraeus survived being shot in the chest with the M855 round was probably because the bullets just missed hitting bone. If that is indeed the case, then a couple tenths of an inch in diameter makes a huge difference in terminal performance.

        I also still think that the 6.5 Grendel will have superior stopping power than the 5.56×45 round at any range due to it having a significant advantage in foot-pounds of energy, bullet diameter, weight, and ballistic coefficient. You’re saying it’s overly simplistic to argue that having more foot-pounds of energy results in superior stopping power, but you haven’t really made a convincing case for why that is. So far your argument seems to limited to saying that the M855A1 round supposedly reliably tumbles in the human body, and it therefore has superior terminal performance than the 7.62×39, the 6.5 Grendel, the 7.62×51, and even the .50 BMG. But that’s a stupid argument since you’re comparing the latest and greatest 5.56×45 round from the DOD with run-of-the mill FMJs from other calibers. All things being equal in bullet design, the 6.5 Grendel will obviously have an advantage over the 5.56×45 due to the simple fact that the 6.5 Grendel has a significant advantage in foot-pounds of energy.

        • “Where’s your proof that that the M43 round has inferior close range terminal performance than, say, the M855 round? You’re also trying to limit the 7.63×39 round to the ancient M43. As I already stated, better 7.62×39 FMJs already exist, or could be invented (if we were to task the same DOD team that came up with the M855A1 round to work on a new 7.62×39 round, then I’m sure that they’d create a great performing 7.62×39 round).”

          You’re missing the point I’m trying to make, which is that a holistic approach to not just the effectiveness of an individual round, but of the system of an infantry squad as a whole, is necessary. M43 is a great example of this because its terminal ballistics are lackluster. It shows us that an increase in caliber and energy are not necessarily indicative of an increase in effectiveness. We need more to go on than just those things, and we don’t have that for the 6.5 Grendel.

          “And let’s not stray away from my original comment, because you’ve yet to make a convincing argument against it. I wrote that high quality 7.62×39 hollow points and soft points have superior stopping power than any 5.56×45 round, which you took issue with.”

          Stopping power is a lot like reliability, there’s no clear definition for it. A high quality 7.62×39 hollowpoint may be a good stopper… But will it be a better stopper than a high quality 5.56mm hollowpoint? For a human hit dead on, and assuming both perform to their highest potential (not a certainty, BTW, as fleet yaw effects hollowpoints as well as FMJs), you probably cannot discern a difference, were you to actually test it. For a bovine, hit at an unfavorable angle… Maybe you could discern a difference. Stopping power is not a singular quantity.

          ” I still stand behind that statement due to the simple fact that the 7.62×39 round has a 400~ foot-pounds of energy advantage over the 5.56×45 round.”

          It’s more like 280 ft-lbs (7.62×39 from a 16″ barrel gives about 2,050 J, while 5.56 from the same gives about 1,670 J… Multiply by 0.738 for ft-lbs). If you want an M4 Carbine instead, the advantage is still only about 340 ft-lbs.

          And what’s that energy mean, anyway? If Round A has 1500 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, and Round B has 1100 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, but Round B dumps all 1100 ft-lbs into the target while Round A dumps scarcely 100 ft-lbs into the target, which has a better effect? This is only the start, as well, as energy deposition is only a part of the question. Saying one round has more muzzle energy than another is just not enough to conclude that it’s got better terminal effect.

          “I also don’t think that the larger size of the 7.62×39 round should be dismissed as being completely insignificant.”

          When did I ever do that?

          “The reason why that Afghan kid and General Petraeus survived being shot in the chest with the M855 round was probably because the bullets just missed hitting bone. If that is indeed the case, then a couple tenths of an inch in diameter can make a huge difference in terminal performance.”

          No, most likely it was a product of the fleet yaw effect, as remote wounding, including shattering of bone, is extremely well documented with 5.56mm.

          “I also still think that the 6.5 Grendel will have superior stopping power than the 5.56×45 round at any range due to it having a significant advantage in foot-pounds of energy, bullet diameter, weight, and ballistic coefficient.”

          But no experimental results? This is a perennial problem for 6.5 Grendel fans…

          “You’re saying it’s overly simplistic to argue that having more foot-pounds of energy results in superior stopping power, but you haven’t really made a convincing case for why that is.”

          Well, not convincing to you, the person who’s never met a criticism of the 6.5 Grendel that he liked.

          “So far your argument seems to be limited to saying that the M855A1 round supposedly reliably tumbles in the human body, and it therefore has superior terminal performance than the 7.62×39, the 6.5 Grendel, the 7.62×51, and even the .50 BMG. But that’s a stupid argument since you’re comparing the latest and greatest 5.56×45 round from the DOD with run-of-the mill FMJs from other calibers.”

          Which proves that bullet construction trumps caliber, doesn’t it?

          “All things being equal in bullet design, the 6.5 Grendel (and the 7.62×39) will obviously have an advantage over the 5.56×45 due to the simple fact that the 6.5 Grendel has a significant advantage in foot-pounds of energy.”

          Obviously, except that M193 enjoys and advantage against .30-06 M2 Ball, despite the two sharing the same basic bullet construction. Terminal ballistics is considerably more complex than you make it out to be. In fact, the design of M80A1 differs substantially from that of M855A1 according to my sources, just because of the caliber change. It seems that rather than equivocating as you do, the proof is in the pudding, that is, the empirical testing and research. What such work exists regarding the 6.5 Grendel?

          “As to your argument that we don’t have enough field experience with the 6.5 Grendel round to justify making the switch, I never made the argument that it should just be dumped on NATO without prior testing. Obviously we’d have to equip some unit with some FN SCARs chambered in 6.5 Grendel (or, more ideally, a larger version of it that was even more powerful) and see how it goes.”

          This is the most sensible thing you’ve suggested, though I think it should be sent to Army research units before it is combat-trialed. Yes, I encourage the Army to test and trial every round concept that meets their door. It should be cheap, by government standards to do so, and there’s always something worth learning.

          “If you’ll remember the history of the M16, a lot of soldiers hated them when they first got issued (including my father). It wasn’t until we worked the kinks out of the platform that it started to get really high likability ratings from the troops. And it wasn’t until these last couple of years that we finally started to give them a bullet that performs well (although I haven’t seen a lot of proof of that, either. Just a couple of civilian gel tests).”

          Unless you’re suggesting to me that the ARL are a lying, then I will take their, and Col. Glenn Dean’s word for it. Dean is in fact more in your camp than he is in mine, and he’d stand here and tell you about the great degree to which M855A1 improves on M855. And, honestly, if you step back for a bit, it’s not so far-fetched. Mk. 262 seems to offer an improvement in terminal effect over M855, and it was far from designed to do that. Wouldn’t a purpose-designed round with a well-characterized research and development program to the tune of $32 million perform better? I’d hope so…

          “I’ve NEVER come across an example of someone taking a 7.62×51 round to the chest at close range and not immediately requiring emergency surgery in order to have a (probably very low) chance of survival.”

          News flash, if you get hit by a bullet, you will need surgery. If that kid didn’t get it, well, sucks to be that kid.

          “This kid was saved by a tactical band-aid! Trying to make the argument that ANY round would have the same weak performance if it failed to yaw strikes me as being delusional. To repeat my earlier point, the size of the bullet matters since a couple tenths of an inch in diameter can make the difference between the bullet hitting a bone or not, which would send deadly bone splinters throughout the chest like shrapnel.”

          I’ve heard this argument a lot, but never a shred of statistical evidence supporting it.

          “Just because the DOD developed a better 7.62×51 round doesn’t necessarily mean that the 7.62×51 was having terminal performance problems at close range. I own an FN SCAR 17S which I use for home defense. Did I load it up with FMJs? No. I loaded it up with hollow points. Is that because I’m worried about the stopping power of .308 FMJs? Heck no. I just felt like making my home defense ammo even more deadlier than it already is.”

          No one cares what your home defense load is.

          “For me to believe that the U.S. military is having terminal performance problems with the 7.62×51 round at close range, you’re going to have to show me more proof than simply pointing out the fact that they upgraded the design of their bullets. You’re going to have to show me at least one good anecdotal example of some U.S. soldier complaining about the stopping power of the 7.62×51 round, because I find that extremely hard to believe.”

          Just for the record, you want an example of a soldier complaining about a round that’s only issued to the designated marksmen and machine gunners in an infantry platoon, and not the vast majority of soldiers. Therefore, the round is fired by only those with additional training as marksmen or machine gunners.

          But OK, off the top of my head, here you go!

          By the way, here’s an enlightening little quote from a relevant DTIC document:

          “A two-hundred-pound football player, falling three feet-upon a tough opponent and hitting him with 600 foot-pounds of, kinetic energy, frequently causes no injury or incapacitation at all. On the other hand a mere woman, pushing a dagger with a force of approximately twelve pounds for a distance of about six inches into a man’s chest, can kill him by an expenditure of only about six foot-pounds of energy.”

          “That you still refuse to give me a clear answer to my question”

          Alright, humor a young man, already old. Which question was that, exactly?

          “the 6.5 Grendel has superior terminal performance than the 5.56×45 at medium to long range. Using a 14.5 inch barrel, the 6.5 Grendel has the same stopping power at 300 to 400 yards as the 5.56×45 has at the MUZZLE… And some 6.5 Grendel loads have literally DOUBLE the foot-pounds of energy at 300 yards when compared to the BEST 5.56×45 bullets…”

          You have no proof of this.

          “He freely admitted in his own bio that he barely saw any combat. And the National Guard isn’t exactly the same as SOCOM, last time I checked…’

          I encourage those reading this to actually read Chris Hernandez’s bio, and his posts, in lieu of taking this yahoo’s word for it.

          “You haven’t proved that larger bullets have inferior terminal performance than smaller bullets.”

          I never set out to claim that. I said that they don’t necessarily have better performance. Can you not tell the difference?

          “And you haven’t proved that the M43 has inferior terminal performance than any run-of-the-mill 5.56×45 FMJ. And you’re ignoring my point that 7.62×39 FMJs reliably yaw in the gel tests that I’ve looked at.”

          I haven’t seen the gel tests you’ve looked at, and the reading you need to do isn’t far from a Google search to see how M43 performs in most tests.

          “So what if smaller caliber bullets supposedly yaw more reliably if we can make larger, more powerful bullets that also reliably yaw.”

          Well, they weigh less, for one thing.

          “Do you honestly think that the 5.7×28 has superior terminal performance than the M855A1 and the M43 simply because the 5.7×28 bullet is smaller and is therefore more likely to yaw?’

          Methinks you didn’t read A Theory of The Motion of A Bullet About Its Center of Gravity.

          “Don’t be ridiculous. Heck, even most special operations units aren’t using the FN Five-seveN as their sidearm even though they could afford to do so. Neither are most civilians. Most people still prefer to go with the good ol’ 9mm even though it’s a slower and heavier (and therefore a much more stable) bullet. So, if yawing is supposedly the key to achieving good terminal performance, then why aren’t you writing blog posts saying that NATO should adopt the FN Five-Seven as their new standard-issue sidearm?’

          Maybe because sidearms don’t matter much?

          “And you didn’t really answer my question as to why it’s widely believed that 5.56×45 bullets need to be traveling at 2,500+ feet per second in order for the 5.56×45 round to have reliable terminal performance.”

          I did, but you didn’t listen.

          “Yes, I know that different 5.56×45 FMJ rounds have different characteristics.”

          So where’s your proof that we need a bigger, much heavier round?

          ” And yes, I know that yawing and fragmentation aren’t the same thing. And yes, I know that bullets can fragment without yawing, and vice versa. I read all the time that the 5.56×45 round is very dependent on achieving high velocities in order to have reliable terminal performance. Most people recommend 2,500+ feet per second (especially for FMJs). Are you saying that that’s a complete myth?”

          Most people don’t know what they’re talking about. Choose a bullet you’re confident will work across the velocity ranges you need it to work in. For home defense, go nuts, since you won’t be shooting anyone beyond 50 meters.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            “You’re missing the point I’m trying to make, which is that a holistic
            approach to not just the effectiveness of an individual round, but of
            the system of an infantry squad as a whole, is necessary. M43 is a great
            example of this because its terminal ballistics are lackluster.
            It shows us that an increase in caliber and energy are not necessarily
            indicative of an increase in effectiveness. We need more to go on than
            just those things, and we don’t have that for the 6.5 Grendel.”

            How am I missing the point? The point of this blog post was a special operations medic claiming that the AK-47 supposedly has inferior terminal performance than the M4. That implies that 7.62×39 military ball ammo (I have no idea what ammo the Taliban is using) is supposedly inferior to M855. And my original comment argued that high quality 7.62×39 hollow points and soft points have superior terminal performance than any 5.56×45 round. That’s what I’m interested in debating. If you want to argue that the 5.56×45 round is superior to the 7.62×39 round as a standard-issue round for assault rifles, then whatever. But that’s a separate debate to the primary subject at hand. And you still haven’t proven that the M43 round has crappy terminal performance. Contrary to what this SF medic argued, I’d personally rather get shot with M855 than the M43.

        • Kivaari

          Did you ever study the effects of the .30 US 220 gr. FMJ bullet on enemy combatants or friendlies that took a chest wound and were able to go back into service within 2 weeks in the pre-antibiotic era?
          I have. A large very heavy 220 grain .30 caliber bullet or a 175 grain 7mm bullet hitting lung or thigh magically left the GSW victim pissed off, but back at the job in 2 weeks. Those wounds happened. They were studied in great detail by the US Army at the turn of the last century (1900). It is why we adopted a lighter pointed bullet in 1906.
          Men get hit with all kinds of bullets and live to tell about it.
          You should get back on subject. You are arguing issues that do not come within the scope of the doctors article. You and others are reading into this report things that are not in the article. It is sounding like a “How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?”, even though the article is about 5.56 v. 7.62 GSWs that this surgeon treated. The photographs are not intended to represent the end all of scientific testing. The two photos ARE SHOWING how the tissues appear most of the time even though the 5.56 wound involves bone strikes. Ignore that. Look at the tissue disruption and bruising. It gives the reader and idea of what buttock tissue looks when hit by those bullets, even when no bone is involved. Don’t try to make the doctors words and images into something he clearly expresses as showing the effects as reported in the attached article. He is showing a couple of examples of how the tissues appear. Those images do so in an effective manner, except to those people that want to dispute his primary point. That is TYPICALLY a 7.62x39mm bullet as used in the combat theater he was in compared to 5.56x45mm GSWs in the same theater of operations. He is not claiming anything beyond showing people what is commonly seen.
          Good grief, I don’t know how Nathaniel can keep up with this off track route people are taking. Slow down, read the original article, absorb what the doc is saying and demonstrating and get back on the tracks. It is quite straight forward. Essentially every thing the doc states is well known. Now off the track. Look at how the two 6.5mm M-C bullets performed as they hit JFK, where one bullet perforated him and the governor while the second bullet exploded upon hitting the skull of JFK. Two bullets from the same rifle gave completely different, but expected results. The average person would saying it can’t be so, but it was. That said, this article is what it is, and it’s good as far as it went. It was written for non-scientists in an article intended for people having little knowledge of GSWs. poor Nathaniel, he knows his stuff far better than almost anyone I’ve read outside of military tests.

  • Kivaari

    Yes, they worry about a rifle or handgun bullet, while those getting a base plate from a 122mm rocket warhead through their guts is OK. Wars are harsh things.

  • cwolf

    The Navy Mk 262 BTHP was designed to be accurate and to not ‘ice pick.’

    Army ammo from the same timeframe has no accuracy standard and varies 3-5 mil from lot to lot.

    Army ammo managers won’t handle Mk 262 because its not in their system.

    SF are more creative.

  • doug

    That’s a very stupid statement, I challenge him to stand at 100 yds, while I fire one of each at him, when a 7.62 rd pierces his heart or when a 5,56 “yaws” through his heart, he’s dead, DEAD IS DEAD, this moron should turn in his medical degree for being stupid !!!

    • Kivaari

      The 5.56 bullet would likely fragment blowing the heart into a gooie mess.

  • Richard

    Ok I am lead to believe the M855A1 was developed because the penetrator point of the 62 grain M855 did not allow the bullet to have the same yaw effect the 55 grain M193 does. That said the newer AK-74 shoots the 5.45X39 with the hollow tip (not hollow point) 52 grain bullet is suppose to have the same yaw effect the 5.56X45 our military uses. The 5.45 is alleged to have had some nasty effects in Afganstian.

    • M855A1 was developed to solve what’s called “the fleet yaw problem”, which is where turbulence from the gunshot causes erratic flight patterns so that a bullet may impact a target at an angle of attack unfavorable to early yaw in tissue. M855, M193, M80, 5.45×39 7N6, Mk. 262, 6.8mm, and many commercial bullets were all tested and found to exhibit the same problem.

      Therefore, M855A1 was developed to be yaw independent, needing a much more generous set of striking angles to yaw and fragment early in the target. It also improves upon M855’s and even M80’s penetration characteristics.

  • Jamie Clemons

    Hit a bone with that larger slower moving bullet and see what happens.

  • bobk90

    The only thing about the 5.56 is that if it hits anything in it’s path to the intended target, say bye bye, as the round will be deflected for 2 reasons: one being a lighter bullet and two because it is moving so fast. Doc here hasn’t seen the devastation of a 7.62×39 HP round ripping into a body! I think both are Great Rounds for their Intended uses! However, it’s like comparing the 17HMR to say the .243 where both will take a Deer down, I think it boils down to Shot Placement myself.

    • Kivaari

      The article is about what he saw and treated in the theater of combat. It has nothing to do with finding a new whizbang bullet.

  • TRUBOOST

    This is about as relevant as the age old 9mm vs. 45acp debate. some prefer light and fast others believe bigger is better. 7.62 x 39 is an old cartridge and for good reason. it works. always has always will. ammo is far cheaper too. if u want something designed for shooting into flesh u can fire silver bear lead soft point rounds. those bad boys act just like a hollow point pistol round. huge expansion and horrible wound cavity. AK hunters use them to drop big deer all the time. to be clear im not a total AK fan boy. i do own one, but i also own an AR that i built from complete scratch. every last little roll pin. the AR in my opinion is better for sporting and competition. as far as battle goes, if i had to grab 1 rifle and get the hell out of my house….AK ALL THE WAY

    • Kivaari

      Except this article is not about doing any of those things. It is talking about what he saw on the bodies of those he was performing surgery.

  • JoelM

    There’s extreme performance variations in different 7.62×39 loadings. The flat base bullets yaw in target where the boat tail bullets generally don’t. Steel core bullets yaw even quicker than the lead core flat base. Then there’s soft point and other expanding rounds… So while I certainly respect his opinion you also have to consider that we have no idea what sort of ammunition his experience reflects.

    • Kivaari

      Well, yes we do. He is comparing the 7.62x39mm and the 5.56x45mm as used in the combat zones where he was operating on GSW victims.

  • Doug_723

    I’ve always preferred the AK round (7.62 = .30 caliber), versus either a 5.56 or .223. Seems to me a .30 caliber hits harder and would do more damage than either of what are basically .22 rounds.

    • Kivaari

      Except the rounds used here do not do that.

    • Kivaari

      Read the article and you will understand why that isn’t always the case. Shoot a deer with a .30 caliber 220 gr. FMJRN bullet through the lungs and watch it run off. Shoot it with a .220 Swift 50 gr. bullet and watch it do a back flip becoming DRT. The back flip is not a function of energy, but nerves. Like “Thorburn’s position” in JFK as the first bullet hit him from behind. The first shot was deflected by a tree.

      • Doug_723

        Except if you use a hollow point round in the AK, shoot through the lungs with a 123 grain hollow point AK round, Bambi goes DOWN!!!

        • Kivaari

          I have no interest in hunting ammunition. I am interested in military and civilian law enforcement uses of ammunition. I do get a kick out of seeing how people say a .30-30 is not enough gun, but would use a 7.62x39mm SP thinking it has to be so much better because your cousins neighbor heard some guy that had served in some military branch says it is so.

          • Doug_723

            Yet, in your previous reply, you talk about “shoot a deer with a .30 caliber 220 gr. FMJRN bullet through the lungs and watch it run off”. If you’re not interested in hunting ammo, why do you post about shooting a deer? For that matter, how do you know about a deer’s reaction to being shot through the lungs?

          • Kivaari

            I don’t hunt. I did. I also owned a gun store that had mostly hunters and LEOs. I also like using that .30 US load as it is well researched by the US Army circa 1900. Where US forces found it lacking. The Spanish-American War and the following Philippine Insurrection involved bullets that meet the big-heavy-bullet-crowd and showed them, it isn’t all that simple. A 150 pound deer or a 150 pound man can survive a hit from a .30 US after being hit in the lung or muscle tissue, with the man having a greater chance than a deer. Even 115 year old record shows the premise of big and heavy doesn’t mean much when the bullet does little damage while in the victim.

  • Kivaari

    Does anyone else find the comments to not relate to what this doctor is writing about.
    This is NOT a controlled test. It was his observations from a surgeon that treated many GSWs with the combatants using 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm ammunition.
    He used two cases to illustrate his overall message. That is he sees the 5.56mm doing more tissue damage than the 7.62x39mm.
    He did not say those two cases represent all the factors. They photos do show examples of his bottom line. A 5.56mm bullets makes a bigger mess than the 7.62mm round in MOST cases.
    The adoption of the 5.45mm because it “tumbles” is a “So, what’s new about that?” comment. The old faithful 7.62x39mm also tumbles more times than not. Many bullets that hit tissue tumble. MOST military FMJ bullets make a two-lobed tumble, coming to rest with the base of the bullet point forward. The bullets make one-and-one-half “tumble”. It can be a 6.5 Italian (the deepest penetrating military bullet ever tested by the US Army circa 1989) or a 5.45mm Soviet. Those bullets still kill.
    What seems to be getting lost is that in his experience (and that of thousands of others) the 5.56mm bullets at ranges out to 150-200 meters, the 5.56mm bullets tend to tumble and fracture, causing much greater tissue disruption than the 7.62 M43.
    Then people wanted to reach conclusions about the 5.45mm, even though that is not the subject at hand.
    What people miss all the time, is the 5.45mm was adopted so the Soviet soldiers could make more hits than they did with the 7.62mm. To chive that goal the Soviets did a couple things. They dropped the caliber, lengthen the bullet profile and put a very effective muzzle BRAKE, not flash hider, on the rifle.
    Did the Soviets reach their goal by doing so? Why, yes they did. Were the wounds significantly larger than those made by the 7.62x39mm? No. Why? Tough bullet jackets.
    Could Soviet soldiers make more hits with the 5.45mm? Yes, they found a TWO-and-ONE-HALF-TIME improved hit ratio compared to the 7.62mm.
    Now, does shooting someone with a 7.62 or 5.45 bullet suffer GSWs if they are hit? Are the chances of the enemy combatant being hit more likely with the 5.45 over the 7.62 improved? Yes.
    Wound damage be damned. If the goal was to make more enemy fighters getting hit with any bullet was the goal, they reached that goal.
    That goal had to meet certain standards. The rifle had to weigh less than the AKM. The AK74 is lighter. The goal was to improve hitting, and it does.
    Any bullet wound inflicted upon the enemy is better than misses.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    It has been my experience, one does not want to be shot by anything. Depending on where you live, most of your important shooting will happen within 200 yards. Our biggest limitations are related to cost.
    One cannot beat the cost of 1000 rounds of TulAmmo 7.62 x 39. Nor beat the accuracy of an AR10 on a budget. If I could put a magazine and semi auto on my Remington 7mm mag I would be happy for a short while. But feeding it would get expensive real fast.
    So do what you can, buy enough ammo and have a back up if one fails. Have enough gunsmith knowledge to keep them maintained and repaired and then pray for the best.

    If you do not mind sporting bruises and carrying heavy but accurate weapon, a slightly modified Mosin can be fed cheaply. The 7.62 x 54R is an adequate long range round but rapid fire is not a factor with that under $200 weapon.

    For the life of me I cannot imagine tiny Chinese soldiers carrying that thing all day long.

  • Kivaari

    Soviets would care about their own wounded and dead. The reputation of the 5.45 was created in the popular press in