The Wound Channel Tests 7.62/.308 M80A1 EPR and It Is GLORIOUS

That is what happens when a wound channel collapses on itself so quickly that it sets the air on fire.

That is what happens when a wound channel collapses on itself so quickly that it sets the air on fire.

Previously, we looked at the incredible damage and penetration caused by the US Army’s new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR), thanks to a video published by William of the Wound Channel. What happens, though, when that kind of performance is scaled up to .30 cal size and fired from a .308 Winchester? William has us covered there, too:

In the video, you can see the excellent design of the EPR-type projectile at work: Immediate and reliable disruption coupled with large fragments that give good penetration together create as ideal a wound channel for general purpose military use as is possible with current technology. A great deal of work went into creating the best possible projectile design; you can read more about the history of that effort at these two links.

M80A1 uses a lighter 130gr projectile than its nought mark 147gr predecessor, M80. The construction of the new projectile is the same as the 5.56mm M855A1, with a copper “slug”, hardened steel penetrator, and both wrapped in a gilding metal jacket.

During filming of this video, William was just working up loads to figure out which would best replicate the Army’s M80A1, which he believed to produce 2,950 ft/s muzzle velocity. In fact, according to PEO Soldier’s 2013 Ammunition Portfolio, M80A1 produces 3,050 ft/s at 78 ft from a 24.8″ M240 barrel, which would mean roughly 3,050-3,060 ft/s at the muzzle from a 22″ barreled weapon, such as an M14. William told TFB that high speed footage of M80A1 in partnership with Aimed Research is in the works, so stay tuned!



Nathaniel F

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


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  • Major Tom

    So now we have .308 that meets 1000 meters per second? And is not a Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP)?

    Oh dear I think we made some magic happen.

    • 1,000 meters per second equals 3,281 feet per second, a good 230 ft/s faster than M80A1.

      • So perhaps 1,000 yards a second would be more apt.

  • J.T.

    Dang, that’s a nasty looking wound channel. I would like to see if a hit would produce that much damage at 600 meters.

    • The Wound Channel

      I will either down load these or fire them from a 300BLK to get velocities that simulate long range from .308

      • Stan Darsh

        Have you considered getting a hold of an intact junkyard windshield for barrier deflection/barrier blind testing?

        • The Wound Channel

          I have done a bunch of windshield test videos, the issue is finding a spot to shoot that doesn’t mind me blowing glass bits all over.

  • Anonymoose

    If it can get that 3000fps from a standard/long-barreled weapon, how would it perform out of a 12-13″ barrel? The Mk319 also has a 130gr bullet, but it’s probably not the same design and might have a different powder charge.

  • Another great test by TWC. Curious how this compares to .30-06 M2 in terms of penetration.

    • The Wound Channel

      I don’t have anything definitive yet since the same thing that stops M2AP stopped this

      • Anon

        I wonder how this round would do out of a .300 Win Mag, could it defeat a level IV plate?
        I wonder…

        • The Wound Channel

          I don’t think it’s heavy enough to get through a Level IV plate but I intend to find out.

          • Anon

            Cool, thanks, but one more thing: Has anyone tried to penetrate level IV armor with M2 AP out of a .300 Win Mag? If someone did, and it failed to penetrate, there’s probably no point in testing this round against it.

          • toms

            These enhanced projectiles don’t really offer much more AP effect on hard targets, they do enhance the range of penetration slightly. They most definitely do not perform like m993 or m995 against ceramics, composites, or steel plate. One of my big criticisms of these is that while they do better on soft targets and maybe some barriers than older stuff, they fall short on AP effect which is a big problem in a real war. I hope they could quickly substitute tungsten or boron ceramide cores in the event of war (also original designs used these but were scrapped for environmental reasons).

      • Thanks for getting back to me, and more importantly, thanks for all of your great testing. TWC, Buffman, and The Chopping Block are my go-to videos for exotic ballistics testing.

  • iksnilol

    What about 18″ barrels?

    • Anonymoose

      Probably not more than 50fps less.

  • Vitor Roma

    Wouldn’t such light bullet for the caliber have a somewhat poor BC?

    • My understanding is it’s about the same as M80 because the form factor is better.

  • Giolli Joker

    “That is what happens when a wound channel collapses on itself so quickly that it sets the air on fire.”

    Air by itself, I doubt it.
    Flammable gas released by the gel upon impact, mixed with the air (O2) introduced by the bullet and compressed generating a Diesel effect, from what I understand.

    Anyway, it always looks pretty cool.

    • The Wound Channel

      This is the same effect as a fire piston I believe

      • Giolli Joker

        Yes indeed, the fire piston overheats air by compressing it and this allows the ignition of the fuel.
        No fuel, no fire.
        It’s the Diesel effect as it happens in Diesel engines or in overly lubricated air guns.
        I was just being pedantic on the “setting the air on fire” definition adopted by Nathaniel, for the sake of brevity, I suppose.

        • the actual gel is what is combustible.

          • The Wound Channel

            Yes it is

    • CommonSense23

      Its probably Sonoluminescence.

      • R H

        It’s not. That was a theory that was pushed for a while. It’s still fairly common for people to bring it up, but there was a nice super slow motion vid a while back that actually shows the the ignition and puff of smoke exiting the bullet entrance hole. I’ll try to find the vid. It’s pretty cool to see.

  • The Wound Channel

    Excellent article, thanks Nathaniel!!

    • R H

      Any chance you could test MK 319 Mod 0?

  • Kyle

    Now make it for a .50 for science!

    • ebby123

      You would kill the universe…

  • tts

    Looks like sellers are pricing 50x M80A1 bullets (just the bullet, not a full cartridge) for $47 (cosmetically blemished) to $90 (perfect condition).

    For comparison “regular” 7.26 bullets seem to go for about $20 for a pack of 50. At least as near as I can tell based on a quick n’ dirty google.

    So this seems kind’ve expensive but horribly so to shoot if you reload.

    • The Wound Channel

      That’s also the only place in the world selling them right now. I hope more and more of both calibers become available. Or Liberty to start selling their National Defense version to civilians

      • For the record, Liberty’s design is not the same.

        • The Wound Channel

          What’s different ? I figured with Liberty owning the patent on the technology and it being another 62 grain 3 piece bullet with a steel tip copper slug and copper jacket sold to LEO/Gov only it would be the same thing.

          • Liberty owns a patent which they used to successfully sue the US government. Beyond that, the two designs are unrelated.

            Most critically, the Liberty rounds incorporate none of the research conducted by the ARL from 2006-2010. How they actually perform is anyone’s guess.

  • Beasting84

    At Bradley gunnery we shot maybe 2000 of these per vehicle. Seem to work just fine and look cool on thermal to boot.

  • gunsandrockets

    Interesting test.

  • Big Daddy

    I wonder how this works on a live subject compared to say an OTM or on someone wearing body armor. I like the scientific data gotten by gel testing but it has to be backed up with wound studies. For instance I know my 9mm Gold Dots and HST rounds work great in gel testing and have proved themselves in police shootings, that’s why I carry them in my EDC handguns. I know the 75 TAP and 77 OTM work in my ARs. As well as some of the .223 meant for hunting against animals, they are not barrier blind though like the TAP and OTM. Are there any reports of this round being used in combat?

  • Anon

    Damn that’s some impressive stuff, and I keep hearing people say that small arms and ammo development have plateaued. That’s clearly incorrect cause the army has apparently found a way to transmute flesh into explosions.

  • gregoryknowles

    Any word on what % gel is used in this test?

    • It’s ClearBallistics gel.

    • The Wound Channel

      Clearballistics gel is calibrated to 10%

      • gregoryknowles

        Interesting. Would like to see the M80A1 in the same % as used by the DoD. (not 10%, BTW).

  • That’s a helluva long article for just a guesstimate.

    To get a .200 G7 BC with a 130gr .308 bullet, you need a 0.98 i7 FF, which is well within the realm of possibility for that caliber. M80A1 has a number of aerodynamic improvements over M80 as well, suggesting a lower form factor.

  • JoshZ

    The MK318 was a better round.

  • Gregory

    Shhhhhhh, be quiet about the bullets or some jackass politician will want to ban them.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    So is this being fielded?

    • milesfortis

      Yes.. It was ready to come online just before I retired two+ years ago.

      • TheSmellofNapalm

        I’d love to see a report from a user

        • milesfortis

          So would I. M855A1 impressed the hell out of me and this stuff? wooo.

  • Ben Loong

    Man, can you imagine these shot out of a GPMG?

  • Leveller

    In other words, “Not coming to a store near me anytime soon”.