A Ballistic Mystery: Small Calibers Wound Instead of Kill?

Some really quite small caliber rounds...

Some really quite small caliber rounds...

Today I want to address something that has come up in small arms ammunition development several times in the past 150 years: The small caliber bullet problem. For the sake of this article, I’ll characterize this problem as a perceived trend recognized on several occasions of small caliber (below 0.277″/7mm) cartridges producing wounds that are ineffective at stopping or killing the enemy.

This trend has been noticed several times by multiple nations, including Japan in the early 1900s, Italy during the same period, Russia in the 1980s, and the United States between 1990 and 2010. What causes this, though? Is it really as simple as small calibers being just too small to effectively kill or stop a man?

Basic wounding education tells us that this is probably too simplistic. Wounds from small caliber rounds may be difficult to differentiate, and FMJ rounds rarely make clean, caliber-sized holes in their targets. Even considering only “through and through” wounds that produce no major wounding effect, there’s very little reason to believe that the wounds produced by calibers between 0.22″ and 0.28″ would be substantially different from those produced by calibers between 0.28″ and 0.32″. From this basis, we instead need to create other theories to explain this phenomenon. Here are two:

1. The phenomenon is psychological; users perceive that smaller rounds produce inferior terminal effects through selection bias. Essentially, every time a small caliber round fails to produce good terminal effects this is counted against it, and every time one produces good terminal effects it is forgotten, due to a preconceived bias that the round is too small to be effective. The converse may also be true for larger calibers in use by the same units.

2. The phenomenon is the result of human physiology. For the sake of argument, human tissue may have a certain fixed amount of “springback” that helps close a wound. If, for example, human tissue springs back from a wound by 0.100″ all around, that would mean that an 0.28″ diameter wound would have sixteen times the wound area after springback of an 0.22″ diameter wound, perhaps producing a rate of blood loss sixteen times higher.

Both theories are plausible given the facts as we know them, but more importantly, both are testable. However, to my knowledge, neither has been tested. It wouldn’t be so difficult to do so:

For 1.), conduct a double blind experiment where participants are shown ammunition of two different types, and then are tasked with shooting with both types a number of target that fall randomly, regardless of hit or caliber. Then afterwards question the participants as to how they felt each caliber performed in the test.

For 2.), conduct experiments on mammalian (e.g., pig) tissue where the tissue is shot under high speed footage with multiple full metal jacket projectiles, and then use the footage to determine whether any significant springback of tissue occurred, and if so, how much.

Why haven’t these tests been conducted? I do not know. It may be because the answer to the question of small caliber lethality has already been determined by those with the resources to conduct this research, or because this area of research is not a very high priority. Regardless, we of the public still do not know the exact reason for this phenomenon!



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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  • anonmrjohn

    Speaking as a man married to a woman who was shot at the age of 12 with a small caliber round (22mag jhp) I can say that either she was lucky or perhaps there is something to this. She took the bullet at a distance of less than 6 feet, it entered her right temple and exited her left cheek. She still has many fragments of that round in her face, skull and sinuses. Her cheek scar is cute and looks like a random dimple. The most significant portion of the damage was bullet or skull fragments removed a significant portion of her right eye, necessitating a prosthesis. She also took another round in her thigh that passed from the outside exiting the inner thigh. During the same attack her brother was also shot and took 6 rounds to the torso. He lost a kidney. Both are fine now 30 years later other than their scars. Wife’s choice of CC, Ruger P345. She wants to make big holes if she ever has to use it.

    • yet tons of people die from 22.

      • Big Daddy

        Well one reason is that it’s probably the most used caliber and at very close range.

      • LG

        Lots of people die from slip and drowning in the bathtub. Percentages of fatality and incapacitation count.

    • LG

      “Big bullets make big holes that let the blood out and the air in,” Elmer Keith. Truer words were never spoken.

      • If we’re talking something like a .45 ACP expanding JHP vs. a .22 Long Rifle, then clearly. But things get stranger when we’re talking about rifle rounds that are much closer in size.

        • LG

          Precisely. That is why bullet destabilization is so important. What is the spin rate at impact? Is the spin rate just at stabilization or well within a stabilized range. the more the destabilization, for a given bullet type, the greater the possibility of buzz cut and fragmentation.

          • Spin rate is important, but primarily for how it influences angle of attack.

          • LG

            Also once flesh is entered the viscosity of the medium changes and the “degree” of stabilization plummets dramatically.

      • Ron

        The elasticity of flesh combined with bullets tending to tear/crush instead of cutting, there is not a linear relationship between projectile size and the size of the wound. Often two projectile of different sizes will often produce virtually identical wounds

        • LG

          I am referring to the same design and configuration of bullet. Just changing the nose shape of a solid mono-metal bullet has profound effects upon terminal effectiveness and the permanent cut and crush wound channel.

  • Joseph Goins

    This whole debate centers on a discussion of 1) what is effectiveness, 2) where is the shot placed, and 3) how many rounds are needed. The issue is further compounded when medical aid is give pretty quickly; however, tests generally look at the wounding in a laboratory setting.

    Ultimately, there are only few ways that people die: airway obstructions, breathing problems, circulatory disfunctions, neurological disabilities, and environmental factors (e.g. hypothermia). Any shot has to severely impact one of those processes due to its placement. I was an 11B for twelve years an I have been a volunteer FF/Medic for the last eight years. I have seen a kid get shot in stomach with a 22LR and die with immediate medical attention. I have also seen a Taliban fighter survive a 50BMG to the thigh who it took 30 minutes before we got to him to give him medical treatment.

  • Rousso

    Of course these tests have been conducted. Just like modern torture techniques, various mind control programs, like MKUltra, and hand-to-hand combat training for special agents by exploitation of so-called “dummies”, i.e. prisoners sentenced to death used as Guinea pigs.

    • Joseph Goins

      I think its time for everyone to get past programs from the 1970s.

      • Rousso

        The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program is a report compiled by the bipartisan United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s Detention and Interrogation Program and its use of various forms of torture.

        The 6,000-page report details actions by CIA officials and findings of the study of the Detention and Interrogation Program. On December 9, 2014—eight months after voting to release parts of the report—the SSCI released a 525-page portion that consisted of key findings and an executive summary of the full report. It took five years and $40 million to compile the report. The rest of it remains classified.

        The report details actions by CIA officials, including torturing prisoners, providing misleading or false information about classified CIA programs to the media, impeding government oversight and internal criticism, and mismanaging of the program. It also revealed the existence of previously unknown detainees, that more detainees were subjected to harsher treatment than was previously disclosed, and that more forms of torture were used than previously disclosed.

        • Joseph Goins

          I was referencing MKUltra which was in the 1960/70s.

          • Rousso

            “We took seven pigs and put them inside one of the trailers. I detonated the explosives. What happened after that comes back to me in nightmares. Even though we were far from the explosion, we could immediately hear horrific screams coming from inside the trailer. When we opened the door the pigs were lying there crying and screaming. The walls were all full of the blood, urine and excrement of the pigs. They looked at us in clear amazement.”

            What the Israeli Military Is Doing to Animals – Haaretz, Jun 19, 2016

          • Joseph Goins

            I didn’t deny that. I said it was time to leave programs from the 1970s behind and I specifically referred to MKUltra which you first mentioned.

          • Rousso

            These programs, or something similar, are still in progress.

          • Joseph Goins

            Again, I didn’t deny that.

  • Nicks87

    “Why haven’t these tests been conducted?” They have been and are currently being conducted all over the world. It’s called hunting.

    • Joseph Goins

      That isn’t a scientific study.

      • Nicks87

        Why? Hunters typically use rounds more effective at killing as opposed to wounding, right?

        • Are you asking why hunting is not scientific? I am confused.

          • Nicks87

            Oh god, here we go. Of course hunting is not scientific. I’m not trying to debate you. I’m just trying to understand the point of your article. Hunting and killing people in combat are pretty closely related to each other.

          • The point might be a bit esoteric. I’m talking about a phenomenon that has cropped up several times and has no definite and obvious explanation. That is, you issue soldiers rounds that are somewhat but not dramatically smaller than the previous, or what they’re used to, and sometimes (though not, apparently, always), they complain that they are ineffective. A thorough reading of the literature related to wounding does not really explain this phenomenon, it simply says that it exists.

          • LG

            No, it is not esoteric. It is a fact that can only be defined by a precise study and comparison.

          • That is virtually the definition of “esoteric”, mate.

          • Nicks87

            I don’t think science is going to prove anything when it comes to killing/wounding by small arms. Too many factors to consider and every combat situation/enemy combatant is going to be different. That’s why I used hunting as an example. You could shoot 1000 white tail deer with the same rifle and caliber and you might get 1000 different results depending on size of the animal, the animal’s diet (relating to muscle tissue, bone density, etc.) environment, was the animal in motion? Was it sick, etc. Same goes for combat situations involving people.

          • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-new-caliber-mafia.html

            “[Myth] III. Terminal ballistics is too complex for science
            Ex. You won’t get scientific proof, because there are too many variables, as we all know: most importantly, the exact path of and damage inflicted by the bullet, plus the physical and mental state of the target. Laboratory tests cannot replicate these factors.

            So help me god I’ve actually had to address this argument. Scientific inquiry is capable of producing far, far more complex deductions than those asked of a simple ballistics test. Laboratory experiments have been conducted that boggle the mind in their precision and control for numerous variables. To claim that a quantification of terminal effectiveness is “beyond science” is simply ludicrous. For posterity, I will re-post my suggestion for an experiment here:

            Shooting at live, restrained pigs connected to sphygmomanometers, heat rate monitors, ECG machines, and EEGs, counting only precise shots accurate to within a tolerance (determined by a medical professional) on a target area of the body (this could be the heart, brain, an artery, or lung, etc), a number of different rounds of ammunition, controlling for a variable (e.g., projectile weight or muzzle energy) are fired. The results from the devices are then measured and evaluated by medical professional of that specialty as well as veterinarians. Rinse and repeat for each variable you need to isolate.”

          • Nicks87

            Sounds like a good Idea and it would probably produce some interesting results. Until then I will stick with my hunting ammo and keep the FMJs for range use.

    • You hunt with military FMJs?

      • Nicks87

        I didn’t know this article was just about FMJ type bullets but you may have just answered your own question. The problem isn’t with caliber (size) its more about what type of bullet as well. A 75gr .223 Barnes TSX is way more effective at killing whereas a FMJ bullet is going to have a higher wound percentage.

        • I might not have been clear enough in the article text. I was talking about the fact that several times in military history small caliber effectiveness has come into widespread question.

          • LG

            The key is the permanent cut cavity of the wound. Even in the 19th century the British had lethality difficulty with the 303 until the bullet was modified into a “dum-dum” in India or the placement of aluminum behind the FMJ tip to help destabilization and fragmentation. Several reports are in the US military literature of Moro insurgents taking multiple hits from 30-40 and 30-06 in the chest. It is all shot placement and permanent cut wound channel.

          • That doesn’t answer the question of why several times the difference between two calibers that are very similar in size (e.g., only 0.044″ difference between 6.5mm and 7.62mm) has resulted in controversy.

            Again, if there’s something physiological here that’s giving the slightly larger rounds a huge advantage, it hasn’t, to my knowledge, been studied.

          • LG

            Look at spin stabilization. The same slug from the same caliber can have different degrees of stabilization from different barrel twist rates. The less stable, the more the buzz cut and fragmentation for a given velocity and bullet design.

          • That’s a misunderstanding. Here’s a discussion I wrote on the problem a while back:

            “XI. Twist rate has no effect on the terminal effectiveness of 5.56mm
            Ex. Fact: Flesh is as much as 1000 times denser than air and will cause a bullet to lose stability almost instantly. For M193 and M855 ammo, this typically occurs after 3-5 inches of flesh penetration, though this can vary. In order to spin the bullet fast enough to be stable in flesh, the barrel twist would have to be on the order of 1 twist every 0.012 inches, which would look like the barrel had been threaded instead of rifled.
            This unfortunately results from a misunderstanding of how a bullet travels in flight. It is true that a bullet spun by rifling cannot hope to remain stable for long in a mostly-water medium like tissue or ballistic gelatin. However, this is not the only factor in how and at what point in its travel the bullet will tumble.

            The twist rate of the barrel helps determines the stability of the projectile through media, in this case air. A tighter twist rate will better stabilize the projectile, reducing the precession of the bullet (the degree to which it deviates axially from the flight path). It is this reduced angular deviation that can cause through-and-through wounds, not the bullet being stable through flesh. In other words, a bullet stabilized by a 1-in-7 twist rate barrel may hit the target at a shallower angle and thus yaw later than one stabilized by a 1-in-9 twist rate barrel. I highly suspect this is why you will be hard pressed to find a gel test video online of M855 being fired from a 1-in-9 twist rate barrel and failing to upset within about the first 5″.

            Somewhat paradoxically, this tight twist rate should give M855 exceptionally consistent long-range terminal effectiveness. The same excellent stabilization that minimized precession also ties the bullet more closely to its original orientation through its flight. That means that at long range the bullet is flying through the air at an upward angle relative to the arc of its flight. If it hits a target at this angle, it should upset readily and tumble within the first few inches of tissue.

            EDIT (3/23/2014): It seems I may be wrong about this. A closer reading of Small Caliber Lethality shows that in testing longer projectiles which would have been less well stabilized than M855 from 1/7 twist barrels, they found virtually no difference in fleet yaw from M855 and any other caliber tested, including M80. The reason for this erratic performance is that within 50m the projectiles have not yet settled into stable precession caused by their rifling (something I am wholly unqualified to describe). More on this can be found here. While the AR-15.com explanation of twist rate’s effect on lethality is still incomplete, it seems my theory wasn’t quite on the mark, either. I am leaving the incorrect explanation up as a record of my mistake.”

            Relevant links:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession

            https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://wstiac.alionscience.com/pdf/WQV8N1_ART01.pdf

            http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a519801.pdf

            http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2005smallarms/tuesday/newill.pdf

          • LG

            No,you are just entering a very complex are with MANY variables. A rifle or pistol with it’s respective cartridge type becomes a complex weapon SYSTEM in itself. Changing one variable cascades to other features of the system. And with less than 90 degree impact then nose profile profoundly effects bullet interior ballistics and trajectory.

          • Nicks87

            Yeah, It’s complex as a MF’er, but you have it about right I think.

          • Big Daddy

            The best results can only be gotten by forensic analysis of dead combatants. That is why for my EDC ammo I use what the police use, they have that information. 9mm 124+P GD mostly and 147 HST or 124+P HST. As for 5.56/.223 I use a few different offerings, Mk262 and Hornady 75 TAP as well as .223 64 grain GDs. My HD AR pistol uses soft point .223 hog rounds. which should mushroom even at lower velocities from a short barrel. The soft point should mushroom at the distances for home defense being that the velocity is still high enough. At those shorter distance most rounds from a .223/5.56 would just zip through a person.

          • I don’t think I contradicted either of those statements.

      • Jon

        I know people who uses 30-06 FMJs for boar hunting. Some of them use 223 for target shooting but not for hunting.

  • LG

    It has been done. Review the “Pig Board” and the “Goat Board” tests of the 1920’s and 1930″s in which the 276 Pederson was pitted against the venerable 30-06 ( ALL HAIL THE ’06). One also needs to account for destabilization of the bullet in tissue. A longer slug such as in a smaller caliber cartridge is “destabilized” to a greater extent than a shorter one. Remember the Greenville formula factor for viscosity of the medium. Upon entering water viscosity media a bullet which was stabilized in air now possess at most 1/3rd of the spin rotational inertia for stabilization. Destabilization results in buzz cuts and premature bullet fragmentation.

    • The Pig and Goat Board tests didn’t really address the problem, although they did lay the groundwork for later mathematical theories on how projectiles tumble in tissue; you can read the seminal paper on that here.

      My question is different: Several times in history military forces have noted complaints from soldiers about small caliber ineffectiveness, but these complaints are inconsistent and strange in nature. Fleet yaw, which I discussed previously, is part of it, too, but that doesn’t seem to explain the instances where this has happened where fleet yaw shouldn’t have played a part, i.e. complaints about the 6.5 Arisaka’s terminal effectiveness with round nosed bullets, or complaints about the .38 Long Colt.

      • LG

        The essence is permanent cut wound cavity and shot placement. A well stabilized slug through a non-vital area can have no more wounding effect than an ice pick of identical diameter as the slug. But an icepick through the heart or brainstem can be elegantly effective. Crocodile Hunter was killed by a single sting ray barb through the chest, pericardium, and heart. Pericardial tamponade is a b—- when it happens to you! Also look at bulletnose design. A round nose bullet has a smaller leverage arm for deflection than a spire point one with a less than 90 degree impact. A spire point bullet is more likely to destabilize than the round or flat nose projectile.

  • Big Daddy

    Having been in the US Army and familiar with the 5.56 & 7.62 both have their good points and bad. We all know what they are it’s been talked about for years again and again, on and on. We all basically come to the same conclusion every Army has and that is 5.56mm is too small and 7.62mm is too big. We need an intermediate round, either the 6.5 or 6.8 or something that takes the best of both. Since the DOD feels that they are not really concerned with the infantry, have them just call in arty or air support no need to spend the money, of course one freakin’ F35 would cover the cost.

    It’s also bullet design, 5.56 is going to fail in future wars because the enemy will have body armor and better tactics. An intermediate round with this new M855/M80A1 type bullet will do the job nicely for the next 20 or so years. Those clowns in sandals will be better armed and trained in the future yet we are still equipping our troops with what they needed 10 years ago not 10 years from now. Instead of ramping up we are standing down. The World is at war to deny it is purely delusional. We must up the training and equipment of the most important person in the fight, the infantryman. The more effective he is the faster it’s over with the least amount of men lost and money spent. Send in the Marines, kill all the bad guys as quickly as possible and it’s over……for now. Give them the best and most deadly killing machines they can make, period. It’s not the 5.56mm round.

    • Which 5.56mm round? M855? I agree with you. M855A1? Well… Man, that round’s actually quite impressive.

      • Big Daddy

        The M855A1 looks good from what I have seen. But look at the difference between a M855A1 and the M80A1, wow…….what can a 6.8mm version do? Or a 6.5mm? I have not as of yet read any reports of it’s effectiveness in combat. So for me until I do it’s a question.

        We all know what the M855, M193, Mk262, Mk318 has done to some extent. I’m still trying to get info on the more modern rounds like the Mk262. From what I have experienced the Mk318 was not accurate in my guns, all mil-spec ARs with chrome lined 1/7 barrels, most CHF from FN or DD, Colt, BCM. I have read that the Hornady TAP 75 was better with SBRs at short range than the Mk262. I have both and they are very good rounds.

        If you have any info on the M855A1 in combat please, PLEASE let me know. It does look promising. The M80A1 looked devastating in gel. I’d like to see testing of the M855A1 on gel going through armor plates and not just straight on hits. I’d like to see more realistic combat shots taken on targets, as well as autopsies of combatants not just anecdotal stories of their effectiveness.

        I do believe no matter what science you can use unless you get the 5.56mm round back up to the 3000fps even with the heavier bullets you will not see what they can really do and reach their full potential. They need velocity that bigger heavier rounds don’t to be effective. The smaller diameter bullet has it’s advantages especially going through armor. I think limiting you caliber to .22 and the case size defeats any advantage to a lighter round.

        Keep the .22 bullet up the case size a bit and therefore velocity, or use a slightly bigger heavier bullet, but with the bigger case. Either way the effectiveness will increase. Using the bigger heavier bullet will also limit wear and tear on the rifle. The whole thing about the original M16 was that 20″ barrel allowing for the bullet to achieve maximum velocity with less chamber pressure. Those 4- 10″ off that barrel really hurt the performance of the round. Upping the chamber pressure hurts the gun itself. So again like I said it’s all a compromise.

        We all know barrel length only affects velocity not accuracy. I carried a M16A1, it was long and ungainly even though very light. As a Scout going in and out of M113s with it was a PIA, I much preferred my M3 Grease gun. Again a compromise between the length of the gun and combat effectiveness, use the SBR/carbine type rifle but match the round to it. I think that’s what’s trying to be done with both the M80A1 and the M855A1 rounds, allowing better performance from shorter barrels. Even if the round works I’d still want the Goldilocks intermediate cartridge as a personal rifle over both the 5.56 and 7.62.

        I have rifles in both rounds and I would prefer a 6.8mm but the cost of ammo and lack of available guns doesn’t allow it. The LWRC SIX8 looks good, I handled one but didn’t shoot it unfortunately. The price and proprietary parts turned me off to it. Maybe the 6.5 Grendel has more of a future as loads are developed. Both still need a slightly bigger gun than the AR15. Like what CMMG did with their Mutant using a little of both AR10 & AR15, If they make a 6.8 or 6.5 using that idea I will buy one, only if prices of ammo goes down. It looks like the 6.5 is winning now. The .300 Blackout has a lot of promise but the price of ammo holds me back from it. Unless you reload and use a can it’s an expensive gun that so many other cheaper ones can do just as well.

        And that’s what the Army is saying nothing is that much better than the M4 right now to spend the money to re-equip all the troops. I disagree those bean counter and Generals are not out there getting shot at. When I’m at the range so many people talk, I always say the same thing and I would say to those who pick the rifles for the soldiers and Marines. Go on the other side of that range and tell me what you would do and what you need. When those bullets are flying at you do you want a 5.56 or a .308? Or something kind of in-between? My answer is .308 or in-between. Look how long it took for the Army to realize it’s a good idea to have the Carl Gustav at the infantry platoon level…..just sayin’.

        • ostiariusalpha

          The M80A1 is overwhelmingly devastating; it is also exponentially heavier than M855A1. The M855A1 gets the job done at the range that the average soldier can be expected to make hits reliably. When the Army starts handing out precision rifles with computer enhanced fire control as standard issue against the cyborg and alien menaces, then it might make more sense to go with a +6mm caliber.

          • Big Daddy

            I do not have or have seen any reports on those new rounds in combat. So I do not know.

        • Word on the vine is that M855A1 is doing very well. I can’t get more specific than that, sorry.

          Certainly the testing that’s publicly available looks very impressive indeed:

    • Nicks87

      To me, an intermediate round seems like a compromise rather than a solution. Different rounds for different uses works just fine as long as we don’t get carried away and have our military fielding ten different cartridges just because a few tests said one might be slightly more effective than the other.

      • Big Daddy

        Exactly every basic infantry weapon is a compromise between effectiveness, weight, coist and so on. Get the best compromise, the 5.56mmis not it.

        • Kivaari

          The 5.56mm outperforms the 7.62x39mm. FACT. The 5.45mm outperforms the 7.62x39mm. A Russian soldier saw his hit probability improved by two-and-one-half-times using the 5.45mm over the PS.

          • Rousso

            True, but that’s not the round’s performance. That is a soldier’s performance. Range estimation error is the reason for that. The 5.45 round shoots flatter, so it’s more forgiving. The 7.62 requires correct sight setting and skills that most Russian soldiers don’t have

          • Kivaari

            The true point blank range ability of the 5.45 is superior to the 7.62. Therefore, hitting a target is better than not hitting the target.

          • Rousso

            True, but there is a nuance.
            The point-blank range is 300m for 5.45 and 200m for 7.62, and most firefights happen in 200m range.
            Besides, there is a better choice of ammo for 7.62 caliber, including subsonic, incendiaries and armor-piercing rounds.

          • Kivaari

            The 7.62×39 AP is seriously challenged. That is why a 5.56mm will punch through steel PLATE better than 7.62x39mm. If you want performance of AP, API, than go to a 7.62 NATO. Subsonic is a specialty weapon. WE rarely need it.

          • Rousso

            Source, please

          • Kivaari

            Source? I did this myself. For recreation we used railroad tie plates as targets. You can do it as well. We simply took surplus tie plates, suspended them at 100 yards and shot them. Small caliber high velocity rounds poked holes.
            This is a well known phenomenon. The 7.62×39 is slow. If you want better performance go bigger AND FASTER. A 7mm RM will cut through the plate at much greater range than the .22 caliber rifles. It starts out faster and retains that energy longer. It is the same concept as the 120mm APFSDS rounds fired from the M1A1 tank gun. Speed kills.

          • Rousso

            AK47 Vs. AR15 – CAR DOOR PENETRATION

            www_youtube_com/watch?v=10hrP6MQ1MY

            Please, replace underscores with dots and watch the clip.
            5.56 fragments, 7.62 goes through

          • Kivaari

            You need not convince me the AK goes through car doors. The right load in the AR will do so as well. There is much more to car punching that makes a rifle-cartridge combination better than another combination. I like AKs, having own around 25 variants. They are not as good for me as an AR. It’s more than ballistics, since i had Finn and Israeli 5.56mm rifles. It comes to how the rifle is packaged, with ARs having better sights, staocks, optics mounts, flash hiders, accuracy, easy of care (cost of spares), weight and just overall appeal. In fact I’ve had more AK rifles than any other configuration. I’ll stick to the AR rifles.

          • Rousso

            There is one Russian, one Chinese and 3 Bulgarian flash hiders for AK. Surefire makes flash hiders for AK threads. Sights and stocks is a personal question and so is the appeal. Optics mounts need to be and are being replaced, but the siderail is not bad, too.

            Ease of care is the point. I agree

          • Kivaari

            When I collected AKs and SKSs, the scopes for AKs were junk. No good mounts came out until long after I disposed of my last AK. Today there is a great deal more and better optics gear for AKs.
            The basic rifles, the AK compared to the AR, shows the short comings of the AK. I needed explain those as all the users know what the differences are.

          • Kivaari

            Woah! It allows the average Russian soldier a higher hit probability by a factor of 2.5 to 1. It is the combination of the new rifle (40 years old AK74) using an effective muzzle brake and flat trajectory to make it so.

          • Rousso

            Speaking of “2.5 to 1” statement I checked the ballistic tables for AK74 and AKM and it appears to be correct, although a little exagerrated. Muzzle break helps of course, but AK103 has a similar brake, and AKM has a compensator, too.

          • Kivaari

            This was as reported by the Soviets themselves. It compared the contemporary issue AKM to the AK74. Add a similar muzzle brake to an AKM and you get a little improvement. The 74 brake is effective.
            The ability to hit with the smaller bore rifle is a big improvement. Get rid of range estimation and sight adjusting and get to hitting more – faster.

          • iksnilol

            But y’all forget that the AK-74 has other improvements over the AKM (like the biga$$ muzzle brake).

          • Kivaari

            Well, know I didn’t. It seems that some people need the entire course on who, what, when, where, why and how everything happens. Then I get accused of being a know-it-all and loving to see myself in print. One thing I am not is concise, since so many people lack the back ground to get the simplified version. When I go for concise, I get reminded the AK74 has an effective muzzle brake.

          • iksnilol

            To be fair though, the slant brake is pretty decent as well.

          • Kivaari

            It works. When fired you can see two plumes of flame. One “conventional” and one matching the directed flow of the slant brake.

          • iksnilol

            Yup.

            Also, please note I might not be sober now so I might be just babbling/posting random stuff.

        • Uniform223

          In terms of accuracy, range, weight, and recoil its pretty hard to beat the modern 5.56x45mm

      • Kivaari

        At one point the new .30 US was a small bore. Intermediate were the European 6.5mm rifles. Now small bore is .22 caliber but it out performs those old 6.5s. Smaller is more.

      • n0truscotsman

        You’re ultimately just shifting advantages/disadvantages around with no real gain in overall capability. having a 6.5/6.8ish cartridge doesn’t refute the fact that infantry can generally only consistently hit targets within the “closer than 300m” bracket.

        Beyond that is where crew-served MGs, Grenade Launchers, and Mortars shine. Or sniper rifles (bolt action, or, semi-automatic) chambered in 7.62NATO, 300 win mag, or whatever.

    • Malthrak

      The big thing is that, in conventional conflicts, small arms are probably the least important weapons. Crew served weapons and vehicle delivered munitions generate the lion’s share of casualties (by far), and even in unconventional conflicts based primarily around small arms, the difference in effectiveness based on simple caliber is of tertiary or quaternary importance in the effectiveness of small arms anyway, *far* behind factors like volume of fire or shot placement.

      • Big Daddy

        Tell that to a Marine or 11B. You can sit back and look at what the Generals say and the defense experts but you win nothing if your “Boots on the ground” don’t do anything. The start of an army is to give their infantry a good rifle. It’s always been a problem with the bean counters and Generals who like their toys but ask the soldier and they will say please give me a good rifle. Like the M1 Garand of WWII, Patton like them.

        • LG

          A well balanced system is what is important. A wall of lead is needed to keep heads down and limit enemy mobility while shot placement is need to keep them down permanently. Still belt fed and/or crew served reaches out and defeats the enemy outside of his effective range. It takes them all. It is not for a fair fight, it is to eliminate the enemy with the fewest friendly casualties possible.

          • Rousso

            Big Dad knows what he’s talking about. He remembers Vietnam

          • LG

            I do not disagree with Big Daddy. I just state that EVERYBODY and EVERY CREW needs the best and most effective weapon system that works in concert with all the remaining friendly men at arms.

          • Rousso

            That’s AK47 talk!

            Armor-piercing incendiary rounds

          • LG

            No. I said it takes a well balanced force. If all one had was M16s, M4s, and saws, then a balanced force of AK47s, RPKs, and RPGs and Dragonovs may win. It is important to not give the enemy fair fight. Beat him at every point as far as possible.

          • Rousso

            That’s a strangest understanding of “balance” I’ve ever met.
            Is that a part of the US strategic doctrine? Might explain a lot

          • LG

            No. I was using an example to the absurd. Any good army needs a good balance of arms. The better the balance for ALL aspects of the encounter, the better the chances for a successful conclusion. The key is attaining the proper balance by choice of weapon systems.

          • Kivaari

            Even Putin acknowledges that Russia is no longer a world power.

          • Rousso

            Russia is a corrupted state and it’s future is vague. But after all that has been done to the Russians I am amazed that Russia still exists on the map.

          • Big Daddy

            Overlapping weapons systems. The Army had to relearn that lesson again and again. Now the Air Force will relearn it with the F-35.

          • Big Daddy

            I remember it well, seeing all the events unfold in my living room on TV. I tried to join but I was a bit too young. Also watching all the broken soldiers returning home, so many turned into junkies. The ones I met while serving after the war, so many had a screw loose. Yup I remember it well.

          • Kivaari

            MOST Vietnam vets were better centered than the average population. On average the Vietnam vet is better educated and more wealthy than the non-vet. The movie image is wrong.

          • Big Daddy

            True but you tend to remembers the ones that didn’t make it out OK. I see it here with all the Iraq & Afgan vets, I live near Ft. Hood in central Texas. I saw it when I was a kid with WWII & Korean war vets, as a kid I did not know how to recognize it, I do now. Some people can hide it better than others. Some people overcome it, same as childhood abuse survivors, same as any traumatized person suffering from PTSD. I read how Audie Murphy used to sit in a dark room by himself for hours.

        • Malthrak

          The “boots on the ground” have been killing people with 5.56 and similar calibers like 5.45 for decades just fine. The M16 and AK74 in those calibers *are* good rifles. Nobody is complaining about 5.45’s ability to put people in the ground.

          Again, the overwhelmingly vast majority of casualties are inflicted by crew served weaponry. Again, caliber in infantry weapons takes a distant third or fourth place to things like volume of fire and shot placement. Every major study of small arms, by multiple nations, confirms this.

          Quibbling over a 6.8 intermediate vs a 5.56 or 5.45 intermediate caliber rifle is getting into minutae that just isnt going to change the outcome of battles or wars. The US military isnt going to lose a firefight, much less a war, because it was using 5.56 while an opponent was using 6.8. You’re talking stuff that’s only really going to make a difference at the extreme margins of variance, far behind much more important factors that can make a much larger differencr and be enhanced with a far smaller investment in resources. It’s not going to be the major shift that .308 to .223 was.

          • Big Daddy

            OK how many fire fights did you participate in? How much time on the trigger do you have and did you even serve in the armed forces? Did you ever talk at depth with a combat veteran? I served but did not see combat, living near Ft. Hood I have had many discussions with veterans who had so many firefights they lost count, in both place, Afgan and Iraq. Like I always say at the range, go on the other side of it and tell me what you need and what you would do? As the bullets zing over your head do you want a 5.56 or a .30cal? Are you going to jump up aim and shoot or are you going to dig a deeper hole to crawl into and start praying. Honestly I’d shoot back from the deeper hole and I’d want a 30 cal rifle.

          • Malthrak

            So…unorganized anecdotal 2nd hand evidence is pretty much what you’re basing your entire argument on?

            I wouldnt at all feel undergunned with a 5.56 or 5.45 rifle vs a 7.62×39, nor would I feel I had any particular advantage with a 7.62×39 or 300blk vs a 5.56 armed opponent.

            There’s a reason no first rate major military power uses .30 cal rifles for their primary front line service weapon anymore. Not the US, not Russia, not China, not the UK, not Germany, not India, not France, not Canada, not Australia, etc. The one’s using .30 cal rifles are second line forces using surplus gear and armies using hand-me-down equipment.

          • Rousso

            That reason is the amount of ammo a soldier can have on him.

            But 7.62×39 shoots through cars, 5.56 doesn’t. In urban environment that might be important. In the forest, too

          • Malthrak

            Sure, but then soldiers have other tools to defeat barriers however. A 5.56 or 5.45 will defeat a car door or windshield, it may not go through an engine block, but thats also why they have grenades to lob over obstacles and specialists with full power 7.61×51 or 7.62x54R weapons and the like.

          • Kivaari

            Almost no rifle will poke through an engine block. Most 50 BMG rounds will not do it unless you miss all the internal parts. Two layers of cast iron or aluminum are easy. Add in all the other car parts before it gets to the engine and you have no hope of stopping an engine unless you cut the power or fuel supply.

          • Rousso

            From numerous reports that I have read and heard, from the people that fought in Caucasus and other hot spots, it seems that such a situation is not a norm but rather a desirable paradigm. More often, there is just a bunch of people and a bunch of standard rifles. And the sniper is not going to protect each soldier.

          • 7.62×51 shoots through cars pretty well, too, which is why there’s usually a SAW or pintle/coaxial nearby.

          • Kivaari

            SAW is 5.56mm. M240 is 7.62x51mm.

          • Derp. I caught that and fixed it in an earlier edit, but I guess I forgot to re-fix it when I undid the edited sentence structure. -_-;

            My point still stands even if I’m clumsy about it, though: most squad level rifle-humpers still have immediate access to heavier weaponry nearby if a vehicle needs disabling.

          • Rousso

            That is, if there is a squad. But sometimes, there isn’t.

          • Sure, and sometimes you get jumped when you’re not carrying concealed; that doesn’t mean it’s sensible to shop for groceries with a full auto MG34 in each hand.

            The vast majority of the time, engagements aren’t going to be such that every soldier or marine needs to carry their own heavy caliber weapon everywhere they go, and the comparitively rare times when that might be the case don’t really justify the added weight of kit and combat load for the individual warfighter, or taxpayer expense of replacing hundreds of thousands of fielded rifles and hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition to feed them. Switching from .30 to 7.62×51 to 5.56 was a hugely expensive and difficult undertaking that wasn’t fully completed for decades; doing so again– even for a conversion that could be accomplished mostly with barrel swaps– is kind of a big deal, and shouldn’t be done lightly.

          • Rousso

            But if you had a choice, would you choose a 7.62 or 5.56 rifle?

          • Depends on what I’m expected to do with it. If the answer is “carry it around all day in a combat zone as part of a unit that includes a machinegunner and maybe a mounted belt-fed on a nearby vehicle”, I’ll take the lighter rifle with lighter– and more numerous– ammunition. A 7.62 makes sense for a squad machinegunner or turret gunner or sniper or designated marksman, but for Pvt. Average, the DoD made the 5.56 choice a long time ago for more or less solid reasons, and seems to have worked out most of the kinks by now.

            …Personally, I usually hunt deer/hogs with a 5.56 now, and used a 20ga pump at close range and .308 lever action for medium/long ranges before that.

          • Georgiaboy61

            Re:”Switching from .30 to 7.62×51 to 5.56 was a hugely expensive and difficult undertaking that wasn’t fully completed for decades; doing so again– even for a conversion that could be accomplished mostly with barrel swaps– is kind of a big deal, and shouldn’t be done lightly.”
            Yes and no. During the Second World War, the U.S. managed to rearm not only the American military itself, but much of the rest of the world besides – and that was in an era without CAD, lasers, CNC-machining, and all of the high-tech wonders of today. Every Garand that came off an assembly line was machined, gauged and fitted by hand – yet we managed to make millions of them. To your basic point, it was neither expensive nor easy – but it could be done and was done.
            The fact that the switch from 7.62×51 to 5.56×45 took decades is less a reflection of the difficulty and expense than a sign of how sclerotic and attenuated our manufacturing base and military procurement systems have become. Simple inertia plays a role, too.
            Personally, I have always been fascinated that the Pentagon/DOD establishment can move mountains when it comes to funding another pricey carrier or nuclear submarine, but suddenly develops the vapors and comes over all faint when it comes to a small arms program. There’s just not enough swag and appropriations money in helping the grunts, is there?

          • If PFC McRiflehumper wants in on that sweet, sweet, bottomless defense spending, he can do it the old fashioned way and get himself a team of lobbyists like LockMartNorGrum did.

            It’s not really fair to compare US industrial capacity during WWII to the withered husk that passes for our heavy industry these days; even if we still had the ability to manufacture materiel on that scale without shipping it back to ourselves from China and India, you can’t just order General Motors to stop putting headlamps on their gas-guzzling behemoths and make machine gun barrels instead unless there’s a World War on.

          • Kivaari

            Even a .30 carbine will poke holes in car doors. A 5.56mm will do so as well. BUT, everything can get interrupted on its way.
            A 9mm is better against car doors than .45 ACP. Higher velocity and a small diameter give it an edge.

          • Rousso

            AK47 Vs. AR15 – CAR DOOR PENETRATION

            www_youtube_com/watch?v=10hrP6MQ1MY

          • Kivaari

            A 5.56mm will punch through PLATE STEEL at greater range than 7.62x39mm. Set up railroad tie-plates. Use 7.62x39mm PS (steel core) v. M193 and start shooting the plates. The 7.62mm barely dimples the plates at 100 yards. get to about 75 (from memory) the 5.56mm is perforating the plate and the 7.62 is just starting to give a deeper dimple. You have to get to under 50 yards to get the 7.62 to crater the plate, whereas the 5.56mm is still perforating the plate. Get danger close and you can punch a hole with PS, but the metals are spraying everywhere. 5.56mm will poke holes in plate steel better than 7.62x39mm all day long.

          • Rousso

            “The 57-N-231 conventional steel-core bullet is designed to engage personnel and weapon systems… The tip has no distinguishing colour. It can penetrate a 6 mm (0.2 in) thick St3 steel plate at 300 m (328 yd) and 6Zh85T body armour at 30 m (33 yd).”

            There is also a test on Youtube, similar to what you suggested, but it’s about 5.45 vs 5.56 and of course 5.45 has a better penetration. It must be that commercial ammo isn’t as good.

          • Kivaari

            Try American railroad tie plates. Start at 100 yards. We can’t get the PS loads anymore, but it was inferior to M193. Now use M855 v. PS, and M855 will still poke holes at longer range than PS. We don’t have access to AP commercially.

          • Rousso

            I don’t know what PS means, and I’m not talking about what people in the US can get.

          • Kivaari

            PS is the Soviet designation for the M43 7.62x39mm steel core. The load that was considered the primary round for AK47-type rifles. That ammo is no longer imported to the US. The Chinese variant was the most consistent military ammo I had ever tested.
            Even having a “mild steel” core it will not penetrate PLATE steel like a high velocity bullet.

          • Rousso

            This steel-core bullet was given the acronym 7.62 PS, and the 7.62×39 cartridge equipped with the PS bullet was given the index 57-N-231

            “The 57-N-231 conventional steel-core bullet is designed to engage personnel and weapon systems. It can penetrate a 6 mm (0.2 in) thick St3 steel plate at 300 m”

            “After 1989, the regular (PS) Russian bullets started to be manufactured with a steel core with a higher carbon concentration and subjected to heat treatment. This change improved their penetration by 1.5–2 times. It is not possible to externally distinguish these bullets from the earlier, softer PS ones except by year of fabrication. At about the same time, tool steel was adopted for a normal velocity 7.62×39 bullet. Called BP, this bullet was developed in the 1980s and 1990s. It was officially adopted for Russian service in 2002 under the service name “7.62 BP”, and with the GRAU designation 7N23. The BP bullet is claimed to achieve over three times the penetration of the PS bullet; it can defeat the Russian bullet-proof vest with designation 6B5 at distances below 250 meters”

          • Kivaari

            FYI we call 6mm, 0.24 inch. Tie plates are heavier.

          • Kivaari

            6mm translates to .236. We use .243 dia. bullets in 6mm rifles.

          • iksnilol

            But houses aren’t made of steel, rather out of concrete and wood.

          • Big Daddy

            It’s not the size at this point it’s the effectiveness of the bullet design now. FMJ has proven to be not effective unless big enough or fast enough, new designs like the OTM/SMK, hollow tip 5.45 and now the M855A1 are superior to the FMJ. The old arguments don’t hold up with modern bullet design we are entering new territory.

          • Malthrak

            In that sense, sure, I would agree in some respects, but as militaries largely still abide by the Hague conventions, FMJ still largely rules in the world of military small arms in most respects, and these other ammo types often have issues of their own, such as 5.45 hollow points often having feed issues in AK platforms, and many cost more than JHP to procure, which is always a concern when buying such items in gargantuan quantities. The difference in actual terminal effectiveness of these rounds also is highly disputed and can be highly variable, with things like M855A1 touting its increased armor penetration a lot more than any meaningful differences in flesh destroying capacity.

            I think that, barring some revolution in directed energy weapons or something, for the time being we really have hit the plateau of functional firearms development (everyone is using weapons with 50-70 year old designs at this point, most have been on the 5.Xmm train for decades now too), with the big things these days being stuff like optics and accessories.

          • Kivaari

            What hollow tip ammo is being used in 5.45 in combat? Our OTM ammo doesn’t expand like a JHP. It pokes holes like ball ammo.

          • Big Daddy

            The OTM is supposed to come apart, at least that’s what i saw in gel testing.

            The original 5.45×39…
            Cartridge 7N6 was equipped with 3.4g 25.55mm long boat-tail bullet. The bullet consisted of a lead under-lined bimetal jacket with a flat-nosed steel core. The type of steel used for the core was Soviet Type 10 steel (US equivalent: 1010, 1012, 1110 – top end of low carbon/mild steel variety). The flat-nosed core did not extend all the way into the tip of the bullet thus creating a hollow cavity in the front portion of it. The bullet muzzle velocity was between 870 – 890 m/s (2850-2920 fps).

          • Kivaari

            The OTM do NOT perform like JHP bullets. That is a complaint that meets international standards. The bullets were chosen for the long range performance, hitting the target. At close the 5.56mm bullets break apart as they tumble. The M855A1 may expand faster, but the idea of the OTMs even in 7.62x51mm was to stretch the ability to hit at long range. Even up close the OTM SMK .308 168 gr. doesn’t expand. They perform like ball ammunition with enhanced aerodynamics. Up close the M193 FMJ breaks apart. So do the heavies. The 7.62×39 and 5.45 are built with heavy steel jackets and simply tumble or poke holes without breaking apart. They don’t get going fast enough to fracture the jackets. In the 5.45 the air pocket encouraged the bullet to tumble upon impact. Yet, the wounds were unremarkable being only the size of the bullet as it was oriented as it passed through the tissue. An intestinal wound would be a hole to a full “keyhole”. With 5.56mm the bullet breaking apart leaves a nasty wound.

          • Georgiaboy61

            My understanding is that OTM ammunition is designed in such a way that the copper jacket is drawn up around the lead core in petals, such that they meet at the tip/metplat. Boat-tailed hollow-point projectiles (BTHP) – like that used for military issue match grade/precision ammunition – may, under some conditions, expand in a manner similar to true HP ammunition, but since the effect is a by-product of the manufacture process, and not inherent to the design – the legal eagles signed off on it as being permissible for use by U.S. forces. Their view is that the design does not violate either the Hague or Geneva Conventions. If the reports I have seen are correct, the spec ops people like the terminal performance of these loads because they expand reliably at a wide range of muzzle velocities.

          • India’s actually on track to go back to 7.62 soon, after efforts to update/upgrade their garbage service rifle failed; there was a post about it on TFB last week.

            I’m still confused as to why they don’t just manufacture their own homegrown AR or AK clone like so many other countries have, but ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

          • n0truscotsman

            knowing them, they would cost three times what a romanian AK does, while having a proportional amount of loss in longevity and reliability.

          • Oh, so you are familiar with the Excalibur/INSAS rifle they’re replacing!

          • Kivaari

            There are experts on revolutionary war weapons that never shot a red coat or blue jacket.

          • Big Daddy

            Those are critics. You cannot be an expert on anything unless you did it yourself or something similar. An expert on war that never was in the service or fought one is not and cannot be an expert. He has no first hand knowledge of the subject. Even scientists go into the field, maybe except for theoretical physicists. You must do it, experience it and live it to know it. That is the foundation of knowledge.

          • Kivaari

            Fighting in a war certainly doesn’t instill expert status on anyone. Your average grunt knew some of what was happening around him and is far from the expert. I am a Vietnam Vet, and I sure as hell am no expert on war, especially the Vietnam War. I disagree. Too many go afield and remain clueless. Ask a typical grunt about combat arms and you will be buried in BS.

          • Big Daddy

            You miss my point, I did not say doing it makes you an expert. I said you must have done it or something similar to become an expert. I have expertise in a few things and I will say I could never have reached that level sitting behind a book, I did it. I had to do it, I was compelled to do it to get the experiences I needed. Some of the things took courage but I was compelled to do it to reach a higher level of expertise.

          • CommonSense23

            Most veterans don’t have a clue what they are talking about. They will complain about 5.56 cause all they are ever issued is M855. They complain about the AR cause they don’t have a clue to maintain it. And the vast majority can’t shoot to the effective range of a 7.62Nato in combat without a 10power optic.

          • Big Daddy

            True but so many combat veterans only knew how to survive getting shot at and people trying to kill them. I tend to listen to them without correcting their ignorance. I do agree the lack of training by the US Army is deplorable, I was so disappointed when all I did instead of training for my MOS was clean stuff all the time so everything looked good for the inspections.

          • CommonSense23

            So you want a drastic reduction in rounds, without a significant increase in lethality.

          • Georgiaboy61

            What happens when your crew-served weapons run dry and are out of ammo? What happens when your air cover is off flying some place else, or can’t get to your AO quickly-enough to bail out you out? Or when your comms go out and you can’t call for an air strike or fire mission? How about when the enemy has capable ground-to-air defenses and your CAS can’t get to you? And so on…
            The U.S. has had the luxury of waging recent wars while being able to count on air supremacy and fire superiority in heavy weapons – including armor and arty – as our enemies have often been insurgents and terrorists who often do not possess these capabilities to a significant degree. That may not always be the case, though.
            When ground units are cut off from reinforcements and/or support, and are forced to rely more-heavily on their individual and squad/platoon-level weapons, what those weapons are and what they fire – matters a great deal in determining who wins and who loses and who lives and who dies.
            Battle carbines have their place – make no mistake – but they aren’t always the answer. In the end, firearms are tools – and no one tool can do every job. A case in point is our guys in the sandbox asking for the old M14s to be taken out of mothballs and sent to them – as their 5.56×45 carbines and rifles possessed insufficient range and stopping power at common engagement ranges encountered in the Afghan mountains.

          • Kivaari

            That’s why soldiers carry rifles, grenades, and even pistols. You try not to have all those assets go dry.

          • Georgiaboy61

            That’s right – but it still sometimes happens. No plan survives contact with reality – or the enemy. As boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”….

          • Uniform223

            “When ground units are cut off from reinforcements and/or support, and are forced to rely more-heavily on their individual and squad/platoon-level weapons, what those weapons are and what they fire – matters a great deal in determining who wins and who loses and who lives and who dies.”

            > Will having a larger, smaller, or “in-between” caliber really make the difference at that point? I was always taught/trained that the individual makes the difference…

            ” A case in point is our guys in the sandbox asking for the old M14s to be taken out of mothballs and sent to them – as their 5.56×45 carbines and rifles possessed insufficient range and stopping power at common engagement ranges encountered in the Afghan mountains.”

            > Just because the M14 was brought into limited service as a DMR doesn’t mean that it is a superior weapon. The situation in Trashganistan is a “special” one. When the enemy has a superior elevated position and is using plunging fire with RPGs, PKMs, and DShKs having a longer range weapon that can definitely be useful. Despite this however most engagements in Afghanistan still occurs within acceptable ranges for the M16/M4 and M249.

          • Georgiaboy61

            Re: “Will having a larger, smaller, or “in-between” caliber really make the difference at that point? I was always taught/trained that the individual makes the difference…”

            It is a time-tested axiom of success in war that you give your men the best tools available for doing the job. You never know when that little extra capability might make the difference between winning and losing. You want to stack the deck in your favor as much as possible, right?

            Re: ” Just because the M14 was brought into limited service as a DMR doesn’t mean that it is a superior weapon.”
            Please don’t resort to a straw-man fallacy; I did not make that statement. I merely noted the factual, historical record that our troops in A-stan requested such weapons – in all likelihood because they were needed. Was the M14 the “best” weapon for the job? Maybe not, but it was good-enough to get the job done – and that’s enough.
            Re: “The situation in Trashganistan is a “special” one. When the enemy has a superior elevated position and is using plunging fire with RPGs, PKMs, and DShKs having a longer range weapon that can definitely be useful. Despite this however most engagements in Afghanistan still occurs within acceptable ranges for the M16/M4 and M249.”
            You’ve proven my point for me. To reiterate, you don’t always get to choose the time/place of battle. At the very least, the squared-away CO ought to plan for as many contingencies as possible, based on the likely engagement conditions, terrain, climate, enemy forces being encountered, and other factors. I don’t see any inherent disadvantage in having the capability of reaching out further and hitting harder, even if it is not always called upon. Better to have excess capability and not need it, than to need a level of capability and performance, but not be able to attain it.

          • Kivaari

            How do 7.62x54mm MGs and 12.7 Russian MGs out do our M240 and M2 HB? What is so superior to Afghan arms than ours? How much arty is Jihadi John using?

          • Georgiaboy61

            Your reply is a non-sequitur…. not to mention a straw-man fallacy. Nowhere in my post did I suggest – let alone write – that Soviet 7.62×54 and 12.7 mm MGs are superior to ours. I didn’t even mention them. Try dealing with the substance of what I wrote instead of trying to change the subject, or attribute words to me that I did not state. You might also wish to note that those who resort to argumentative fallacies usually do so because their basic arguments are weak and/or flawed.

            I’m more than happy to debate you on any topic you wish, but only if you act in an above board manner.

          • Kivaari

            Except I was referring to Uniform.

          • Uniform223

            I never stated that PKMs or DShKs are superior to our 240 or M2s. I was merely stating in certain situations where having a longer range weapon can be more useful. Firing from an elevated position is by default always better. I also never said anything about the enemies using artillery though if you consider mortars a form of artillery than yes… they have been known to use it.

          • Uniform223

            “It is a time-tested axiom of success in war that you give your men the best tools available for doing the job. You never know when that little extra capability might make the difference between winning and losing. You want to stack the deck in your favor as much as possible, right?”

            > Extra capability is good but people are often mistaking the tree for the forest. Example…
            M14 used as a DMR and the M110 SASS
            Both are semi auto and both are rated to have engagement ranges out to 800m. Does that mean that everyone on in the platoon should have them? Look at the US Army’s newest toy, the XM25. Its offering the capability to for accurate “indirect fire”. Should this weapon be issued out to every solder/marine in the platoon? There is a reason why there are certain individuals are issued certain weapons. Not everyone will have the 240 or 249. Not everyone will have the M14 or M110. Not everyone will have the XM25, M203, M320, M72, M136, or M3.

            “Please don’t resort to a straw-man fallacy; I did not make that statement. I merely noted the factual, historical record that our troops in A-stan requested such weapons – in all likelihood because they were needed. Was the M14 the “best” weapon for the job? Maybe not, but it was good-enough to get the job done – and that’s enough.”

            > Was it really a strong man argument? When they started to bring the M14 back into service in Afghanistan and Iraq this lead many people to believe that the M4/M16 was incapable of offering the capabilities needed. Many people were saying (and are still saying) that the current standard issue carbine (M4) and rifle (M16) doesn’t have the range or effect at longer distances. The FACT was that the M14 was issued for use in a niche role.

            “You’ve proven my point for me. To reiterate, you don’t always get to choose the time/place of battle. At the very least, the squared-away CO ought to plan for as many contingencies as possible, based on the likely engagement conditions, terrain, climate, enemy forces being encountered, and other factors. I don’t see any inherent disadvantage in having the capability of reaching out further and hitting harder, even if it is not always called upon. Better to have excess capability and not need it, than to need a level of capability and performance, but not be able to attain it.”

            > To a degree I was a agreeing. I was simply stating the situations and engagements that call for having a longer range weapon. Though of course as you stated, “you don’t always get to choose the time/place of battle”, that is very true but also you must also know that you wont always have the “tools” needed for it and need to make do with what you have. If I loaded out my kit for EVERY POSSIBLE situation with every tool needed for such situations, life would suck more than it would have to. Tools are good but its better to have the training, knowledge, and will adapt and overcome. Before I left my last XO was former Special Forces. He was a strong believer in the individual and the group rather than the tools (he always referred to them as toys). Please don’t mistake what I am saying. I am NOT saying that our military should not by properly equipped, I am saying however that need to put more of a premium before we give them the tools.

          • Big Daddy

            People that do not know will not understand. That’s just the way it is, they are fanboys and cherry pick what they like without any personal experience.

          • Georgiaboy61

            I call it the “Call of Duty” effect…. there’s a lot of armchair warriors around….

          • Big Daddy

            I’m one to a certain extent but I did serve in the CAV and do own and have shot a lot of firearms. I study and learn and talk with people with much more expertise than myself. I pick their brain and they trust me enough to give me that information.

          • Georgiaboy61

            That’s the way to do it, all right. Never get too old to learn something new – that’s my view.

          • Kivaari

            RE: the 6.8 SPC Nathans article on it is an eye opener. A 5.56mm “heavy” outperforms it.

          • Said article: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/04/04/not-so-special-a-critical-view-of-the-6-8mm-spc/

            Keep in mind, it is only a model of the external ballistic performance, but it doesn’t exactly flatter the 6.8, no.

          • Kivaari

            It makes great sense. I like the idea, but it really isn’t worth the expense when a case of good heavy weight 5.56mm just needs a sight change.

        • The Garand quite possibly was the greatest battle implement ever devised as of 1945, but we’ve done a fair bit of devising in the interim; YMMV, but at typical engagement distances of less than 300 yards, if I get first pick between Then and Now, I’ll take the M4 and let the Other Guy have the M1. Nobody doubts the superior terminal effectiveness of .30/7.62 over .223/5.56, but there’s a lot more to the effectiveness of a rifle than just caliber.

        • n0truscotsman

          My opinion is if you are concerned about ‘body armor and better tactics’, when a true intermediate caliber between the ‘too small’ 5.56 and ‘too large’ 7.62 is going to absolutely mean nothing. any armor that is going to stop 5.56 is going to generally stop an intermediate cartridge.

          Newer generations of Russian armor are designed to stop 7.62 anyways.

          • Big Daddy

            New bullet designs are part of the equation as are recoil mitigation systems, aiming systems and overlapping weapon systems. The Army finally figured out an infantry platoon needs it’s own support and are giving them Carl Gustav RRs. Infantry needs on the platoon level marksmen, GPMGs and hard hitting weapons like the M32 40mm the Marines use, the M3 Carl Gustav and a light weight 60mm mortar, it’s a huge force multiplier. Those knee mortars the Japanese forces used in WWII were effective. With modern ammunition a 60mm mortar, just one in the platoon would make a huge difference and have more range and force than the 40mm GL.

          • n0truscotsman

            That validates my point even more. With those systems available, changing over to something bigger than 5.56 but smaller than 7.62 will make even less of a difference.

            IMO, the time for adopting such a cartridge should have been after WW2, but now that time is over, the future of mass adoption is even more nebulous.

          • Big Daddy

            But the fact is the Army does not use most of the hardware available to them, the Marines do a better job. The SAW concept is flawed and many armies are switching to a light weight GPMG in 7.62, the Marines have a choice of the M249 and now the M27. The Israelis for instance the Negev in 7.62 and that gun offers a closed bolt in semi for safer CQB operations. You need a mix even on the Squad level IMO of 5.56 and 7.62.

          • n0truscotsman

            That is indeed true by the Army, but things will have to change as the fulda gap, static line WW2-style battle mentalities disappear. With the advent of new technology, previously ‘scary new sci-fi’ concepts like airburst grenade launchers, minaturized/infantry-portable missiles and UAVs, designated marksman rifles, and lightened 7.62 MGs will become more commonplace out of necessity.

            What big army wants to do is irrelevant. Its what they will be *forced* to do.

          • Big Daddy

            I was stationed at the Fulda gap and no the Army is the same since the Civil War.

            No the army does what the politicians tell them to do. They like their toys and ignore the basic infantry, cav and armor needs, they ALWAYS did.

          • Georgiaboy61

            Re: “Considering 5.56 has the advantage in low ammunition weight for the quantity of rounds a average soldier can carry, this, combined with fast followup shots and low recoil, are absolutely essential for the types of battles the military will be fighting in the future: MOUT. Nevermind Afghanistan, which is an exception to the rule.”

            There is much truth in what you state, but it is an equally-valid truism of military history and wars in general that you don’t always (or even often) get to choose the time/place of the fight.

            The smart enemy is going to probe you for weaknesses, and once those have been uncovered, he will exploit them. Doctrinally, the U.S. military is famous for gearing up to fight the last war. If you study our history, we have been caught off-guard many times as a result.

            It is wise not to be too wedded to a specific way of doing things – because the smart enemy is not going to do what you expect him to do. In my mind, that equates to keeping your options open and maintaining as much flexibility as possible.

          • I agree, but how should we be enabling that flexibility? Does it make sense to do this with the carbine caliber? I think there’s a low probability of that.

          • Georgiaboy61

            I’m an advocate of splitting a squad’s firepower between weapons chambered in 5.56×45 NATO and 7.62×51 NATO – since the logistics and supply people are already set up to handle those calibers. Specialized calibers/chamberings for specialized missions and units, on an as-needed basis – which is pretty much what JSOC already does, if my understanding is correct. They get a lot of latitude to arm themselves as they see fit, according to mission parameters, etc.

          • That is one idea – the Kiwis are doing it, for example – but it does have a problem, especially if we’re talking replacing the SAWs with 7.62mm weapons. Check out these two articles I wrote:

            http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/05/14/analysis-soldiers-load-6-5mm-cased-telescoped-ammunition-part-1/

            http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/05/15/analysis-soldiers-load-6-5mm-cased-telescoped-ammunition-part-2/

            Note how much of the ammunition carried by the infantry squad is linked 5.56mm for the SAW. 77% of it (2,800 rounds out of 3,640) is linked 5.56mm.

            Replace that ammunition with 7.62mm, and you have either a HUGE increase in weight, or a HUGE decrease in the amount of rounds carried. That’s a big deal.

            But again, the Kiwis seem to think that tradeoff works for them, so it’s not off the table.

          • n0truscotsman

            All truths.

            I couldn’t agree more and i’ve discussed these potential weaknesses ad nauseum elsewhere and while I was still active duty.

            The scope of such subjects exceeds this article as well.

            My original point is that adopting another cartridge bigger than 5.56 and smaller than 7.62 will not address any apparent weaknesses in US Army capability.

            That goes without saying that the army *could*, im just arguing that they shouldnt.

    • adverse4

      You the only one that has ever been in the Army? Get a hobby.

  • Ron

    The most important thing for small arms effectiveness is where is someone is hit, followed by who is hit and distant third is what they are hit by.
    Most men when shot give the fight, some men continue to fight. When it happens on our side that some one continues to fight after being shot we give them medals and call them heroes. When it happens on the enemy side we say it is proof our small arms are not effective

    • Big Daddy

      Both are true. Many people getting hit with 7.62×39 had minor damage, not so with those early M16s, The hits were devastating. But they had other issues, such as accuracy and the round easily be deflected by vegetation. They fixed those and lost the devastating effect of the round.

      • William Brocius

        BS! In 1968 put 15 rounds of 5.56mm in a charging individual and he ran twenty yards past me! The rounds were center mass area! This occurred just south of the DMZ in Viet Nam! While the 5.56mm is better today I prefer 6.8 or 7.62! Note many people die from 22LR and it is better than rocks!

        • Rousso

          Some serious dope he must have been on

        • Ron

          And in 2008, a solider in Kandahar got hit in the chest with a RPG that did not function. He continued to shoot his M240 until he bleed to death. If a 80+mm warhead sitting in your torso cannot instantly some you are not going to produce anything hand held without explosive effect that will.

        • Jwedel1231

          So, how many doped up combatants have you shot with a .308 that were charging you? Have you done this more than once, or is this purely a one time occurrence? Would the same problem happen if you were using a .22-250? What about a .300BLK?

          • buzzman1

            Read some history. Specifically the insurgency in the Philippines. .38s and .41s the army used had little effect on the doped up morrow’s they fought but the .45 Long Colts and .45 ACPs did a very good job of stopping them.
            BTW one of my ROTC instructors had the same experience in Vietnam.

          • CommonSense23

            So the 45ACP was used in the Philippines?

          • Kivaari

            Late in the Issurection era. Not during the Spanish American War period, as it was over when the US forces entered Manila. The M1873, the Colt’s DA and M1909 were in .45 Colt. Between 1900 and WW2 the .45 ACP saw service. We supported the local forces, our colonial troops and police.

          • Johnny Lee Lewis

            The real savior weapon was the winchester M1897 and 00 buckshot… It DID work on the doped up moro Berzerkers

          • buzzman1

            the new handgun was named the Model of 1911 and adopted (1911) by the U.S. Army. Caliber was .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP), using a 230 grain RN/FMJ bullet at a MV between 825-855 fps.
            The war lasted until 1913 so some of the pistols were undoubtable used there.

          • Andy Marcell

            Yes in the last phase of suppression of the Moro insurrection. So was the 1903 Springfield rifle. I believe the last battles were in late 1912.

          • Johnny Lee Lewis

            No, it wasnt.

          • Jwedel1231

            If .45ACP is enough to reliably stop doped-up natives charging at you, then wouldn’t 5.56 out of a rifle be more than adequate? Would that mean that Ron’s point above would be false and invalidated?

          • buzzman1

            Depends on the 5.56 round fired from the rifle. The M855 would be useless unless you get lucky with a head shot. Its a flying ice pick. It might be adequate with the M855A1 the cause of the yowling effect. But in this story we are talking about a pistol round, Th .38s and 9 mm over penetrate and tend not to dump their energy into the body. Several hits on a person who has not been smoking opium/pcp/bath salts would be dead but someone who has it would not effect them. The large slower moving ,45 tends to dump its energy into the person doing large amounts of tissue damage.
            If your talking about Rons point of the RPG stuck in the guys chest and the guy lived for awhile and keep fighting well strange things like that do happen but rarely. Hate that crap people say about someone dying a soldiers death (or any variation). No one wants to die but I do hope that if I was ever in the same position as that soldier, I hope that I could die as well as he did. He never gave up protecting his people and tried to take as many of the b@stards with him as he could.

          • Johnny Lee Lewis

            You did’nt get the whole story.
            The .30-40 rifles, and the hurriedly reissued.45 colt didnt work any better on doped up moro tribesmen.
            What did work was the winchester M1897 shotgun with 00 buck, and the Army sent every one of them they could procure even from local hardware stores. The .45acp wasnt used in that conflict, but came later

          • David169

            Years ago about 1960 I was in a store that sold all types of surplus ammunition. They had a case of 45 Colt, black powder full metal jacketed cartridges. They were packed 18 to a small sardine can (3X6). Being a kid with a 45 SSA my friends and I shot them all up. I later learned they were made for the Philippine Insurrection and would be a prized collectors item.

          • buzzman1

            In 87 I got to fire up a few cans of .50 ammo that was loaded up in 1939. The fired flawlessly but damned if those things weren’t smokier than a muzzle loader.

        • Tom

          I remember a story from the Falklands conflict where in an Argentine soldier shot a Royal Marine with his FAL the round was a through and through doing no real damage the Marine returned fire with a burst from his M16 the Argentine soldier died.

          Personal I think we can do better than 5.56mm but much like the AR15 platform it works well enough that from an economic perspective until we start adopting new platforms (like telescoped ammo or plasma rifles in the 40 watt range) its simple not worth the change over from what is a generally very effective system. As the old saying goes you run with what you have not what you want.

          Not trying to invalidate your experience but there will always be freak occurrences on the battlefield and we cannot base our weapon choices on them (otherwise we would still be rocking .45 calibre rifles – the only true man stoppers). Of course that that is generally true is not universally true and ergo cannot be applied universally but in general the 5.56mm gets the gob done.

          • hkguns

            Pretty sure the Brits were sportin’ FAL’s as well during that conflict. Highly doubtful the Brits were carrying M16’s, so taht little story, while nice, is pretty much made up.

            This one didn’t take much fact checking to debunk.

          • john

            The SAS used M16A1s in the falklands m8.

          • Kivaari

            The SAS preferred the M16A1. The first teams in, weeks in advance of the main force carried the M16. Lots more ammo in a much smaller and lighter package.

          • n0truscotsman

            The M16 use thing has a history dating *back* to Borneo IIRC.

          • Tom

            Whilst the L1A1 SLR (AKA the inch pattern FN FAL) was the standard rifle of British forces at the time the M16 was in limited service normally with troops in Norway or Belize. Its not difficult to think that some made their way to the Falklands as both the Royal Marines and Para’s were using them on regular basis in addition to the SBS and SAS. So its highly probable that there were M16s in the Falklands with the British Military in addition to their SLRs.

          • Kivaari

            Check out Max Hastings’ book on the war.

        • Ben Pottinger

          I’m not sure if you did this on purpose but you do realize that your story neatly falls right into option #1 from the article above right?

          The other thing not really covered by the article is the difference between handgun and rifle wounding mechanisms. Someone below mentioned .38s not doing the job but .41 and .45LC did. He misses a couple very important bits of information when using that as an example. 1# rifles and handguns are not the same. A big part of rifle wounding potential comes from the length of the bullet (because it tumbles) and velocity (which the handgun doesn’t have). And #2 those .38s and .42/.45s were very weak black powder loads, not really comparable to a modern 9mm and especially a modern 5.56.

  • marine6680

    Wasn’t m193 out of the 1-12 early m16s considered very effective? Maybe even surprisingly so due to its perceived small caliber weakness…

    I think it really boils down to all the factors combined… and small calibers do better if they destabilize in the target. (talking bullets suitable for state military use and not hunting, as the military has restrictions on its ammo choices) New designs in 5.56 has increased its effectiveness for our military. (I think the mobe to m855 in the 80s was a step back for our military)

    Now a larger caliber may be better at stopping a threat quickly, but at the added cost of weight and recoil.

    And many studies have shown that more lead downrange is better than less, even if you are using smaller vs larger calibers.

    • Big Daddy

      Yes at over 3000 fps, start dropping below that and it becomes so much less effective.

      • marine6680

        I thought it was around 2600 or 2800 round about… Need to look again to be sure.

  • adverse4

    A shot to the head will pretty much ruin your weekend, no matter the caliber.

    • Big Daddy

      Not so with a soldier wearing these newer ballistic helmets. Many guys survive on the battlefield now. The battlefield is completely different than a civilian situation. Yes without armor a failure drill works but once you’re up against an armed and armored adversary things change.

      • Rousso

        That’s why they are investing in these Active Denial Systems now. That’s the future. Portable thermal radiation devices! Better than flamethrowers.

        • Big Daddy

          And when they stop working because of parts or maintenance or power supplies you need your rifle.

          • Rousso

            No, because the opposing side is not going to have the same problem at the same time.

            Better run and fast

          • Big Daddy

            Like I say to people at the range, go on the other side and tell me what you would really do. When bullets are zinging by your head nobody knows until it happens, you just hope your training takes over and you survive. When your gadget breaks you turn into a rifleman.

          • Rousso

            Right, but riflemen can’t survive a fight against microwave ovens, can they?

          • Kivaari

            That’s where other weapons come into play. Radio wave killing machines have been tested and don’t work in a serious manner. Discomfort can be real, but so is cover.

          • Rousso

            That’s because a non-lethat variant has been presented to the public. The beam is of 95 GHz.
            But for combat use there is a secret, 2.45 GHz variant. Turns a man into a kebab in a matter of seconds.
            Cool, right?

      • adverse4

        Been there done that. I am always thinking from a civilian view point these days. Lot of controversy over the “best” round in this environment too. If I ever run up against an armed and armored adversary now, I’ll know I took the wrong turn a few miles back.

      • iksnilol

        Well, getting a concussion would ruin my weekend.

      • n0truscotsman

        A SWAT responder to the Orlando shooting had his dome saved by his ACH design. Modern helmets are awesome that way.

  • 40mmCattleDog

    The M16A1 was referred to as the meataxe when it was introduced because of the massive wounds the m193 would produce out of a 1 in 14 20″ barrel. I dont know where this whole “the 5.56 was designed to wound” future weapons crap came about and and why it gets peddled by every “gun expert.”

    • Big Daddy

      Yup total BS. It’s like they came up with that BS after they decided on the gun. Tactics to fit the failed rifle choice. The anti-personnel mine uses that tactic, that’s what it was designed for. For me a rifle is one shot with a good chance of taking the guy out of the fight quickly and better quickly dead.

      In reality the wounds from that gun were devastating. Once you chopped off the barrel it became a pee shooter and now they are trying to use science to fix it. If the M855A1 works great, that’s the fix. Good enuff for the infantry.

      • Jwedel1231

        I think you nailed it. with 20″ barrels and 55gr projectiles at blistering speeds, 5.56 stacks bodies all day long. With 14.5″ barrels with 62gr projectiles, it puts tiny holes in bad guys. People had a great weapon, chopped it in half, fed it bad ammo, and call the entire thing a failure.

      • Kivaari

        The .224 caliber rifles existed long before the AR15 showed up. SA and Winchester were making what look like Mini-14s before Fairchild came up with the AR15. Cartridge developement was well advanced before the AR15 came about. The AR10 was out there. The Army wanted a .22 and ArmaLite shrank the AR10 to fit the new ammunition. The USA and Soviet designers had looked at .22 caliber weapons long before the AR was dreamed up. The Russians had worked on them prior to WW2.

        • Tom

          The AR15 was available (and in limited military service) before the Army wanted a .22. It was first used by the Airforce to replace the aging and increasingly inadequate M1/M2 carbines for guard duty. The Army (or rather McNamara) recognised the utility of a light weight easily controllable weapon and the rest as they say is history.

          • Kivaari

            Look up the Winchester light rifle and the Springfield Armory (real one) contender.

          • Tom

            I am not disputing that other .22 calibre weapons existed or that the military had not expressed interest in them before merely that the AR15 was not made due to a direct request from the US Army.

    • Bal256

      I think every hobby has those BS “little known facts” that self-proclaimed “experts” like to repeat to show that they know more than the average guy. For example its often pretty egregious in people who claim to be “history buffs”.

    • Kivaari

      AR15. M16-early. M16A1 went to 1:12.

      • Other than a handful of SEALs and the US advisors to the Project Agile field trials in 1962, very few people would have ever seen the 1:14″ twist barrels used in action. All of the 603 and 604 that Colt produced left the factory with 1:12″ twist barrels. The USAF’s original batches of 601 and 602 would have been rebarreled starting sometime in 1963 or 1964.

        • Kivaari

          Yep. After the Arctic trials where the 1:14 was unstable in sub- freezing air, they made the change to 1:12. That was before it was adopted.

          • RickH

            It’s really interesting reading about the Arctic trials. It seems the testers were trying really hard to mess up the test rifles. Also that whole scenario of the round being horribly unstable in sub-zero weather turned out to be pretty lame.

          • Kivaari

            When the armorer took off the sight tower, wrong, and used carpentry nails to re-assemble the rifle, I wonder why it had issues.

          • It was the USAF’s cold weather testing in 1962 that finally got the rifling twist changed. And it was entirely reasonable, as the USAF intended to field the rifle on a worldwide basis. After all, some of the USAF’s bases get darned cold in winter. The worst case would be Thule AB.

  • Cal S.

    You know, I’m pretty sure it’s all psychological for the same reason that firing squads leave 1/3 of the guns unloaded. If you think you’re just going to wound the guy, it’s easier to shoot? Perhaps?

  • Cmex

    Y’know, I never thought about the “springback” factor, but I think that may be the missing x factor in bullet lethality. It would explain why it seems like 300J is about the point at which rounds dramatically reduce their number of failures to stop, why SCHV works better than big and slow, and so on.

    • Please only consider “springback” as a hypothetical explanation. There are many more possible explanations than the two I gave in this post.

      • cwolf

        When you debride gunshot wounds, you have to cut out the dead tissue around the wound channel (knife, enzymes, or maggots). If you watch the surgery, this can be a stunning amount of tissue.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I have a hard time believing that hunters and armies have just been practicing groupthink for over 100 years. The bigger the animal, the bigger the bullet. And when military units complain about stopping power, they almost always immediately start fielding larger bullets. And even though the U.S. military decided to stick with the 5.56x45mm NATO round after soldiers were complaining about terminal performance, they selected a larger and heavier version of the 5.56x45mm NATO bullet. It seems like the only reason armies around the world swapped to high-velocity, low-weight rounds was to save weight; not to increase terminal performance.

    • Big Daddy

      I think because the 5.56mm round is made by so many countries now it’s is cost effective. 5.56 is easy to get, like the AK47 they are easy to get not necessarily the best rifle. I don’t think a lot of armies really care about the weight of the stuff their soldier have to carry. Either your supply line supports combloc or NATO. A place like India for instance can get both and use both.

    • ostiariusalpha

      M855 and M855A1 are both 62 gr.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Which are both heavier than M193.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Which wasn’t switched to M855 because of any complaints about stopping power.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            One of the ways that the U.S. military solved the problem of the M855 round having unreliable terminal performance was to swap to the Mk 262 round. If I had to select a round from the U.S. military for home defense, it would be that one over both the M193 and the M855A1.

          • ostiariusalpha

            No, the Sierra Matchking with a cannelure, a.k.a. Mk 262, is no more reliable at fragmenting than M193, it’s heavier because it is a designated marksman round; if you want something that creates nasty wounds then you’d look at Mk 255 (which is also 62 gr). M855A1 has better penetration of light barriers than either of them.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            I never said that Mk 262 fragments more reliably than M193. The reason why I think that it’s better is because it’s throwing more metal around, and because the hollow point design results in reliable tumbling and fragmentation. I also think that it’s pretty obvious that the U.S. military was just using the long range performance excuse in order to justify using a bullet that violated the Hague Convention. And I’d be pretty surprised if this round wasn’t being used as a close range man stopper within SOCOM.

          • ostiariusalpha

            SOCOM uses M855A1 and Mk 255 for CQB, not M262.

          • n0truscotsman

            The reason why they didn’t was because of cost. Mk 262 is considerably more expensive than M855 and M855A1. There was a rebuttal posted here at TFB a couple years ago, though I’ve been looking for it for quite a while to no avail.

          • cwolf

            Mk262 is a Navy developed round. It is not in the Army inventory.

    • Jwedel1231

      You better believe that hunters and soldiers have been practicing groupthink for over 100 years. How many of them are trained scientists? How many of them are not as skilled marksmen as they like to portray and cover their lack of skill as being under-equipped?

      Just remember that people were saying the same thing when the military switched from .30-06 to .308.

    • “LOL well documented psychological phenomena don’t apply to soldiers!”

      Gimme a break, it’s a distinct possibility here.

    • If you compiled an ordered list of groupthink practitioners, hunters and armies would probably rank higher than politicians and school board members.

  • Emfourty Gasmask

    2nd from the left, what caliber / cartridge is that? O.o

    • 5.2x68mm Mondragon.

    • Gary Kirk

      Forget who originally posted it, but think it went something like 22 earsplittingloudenboomer.. Made me laugh my ass off

      • .22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer is a different cartridge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.22_Eargesplitten_Loudenboomer

        • Gary Kirk

          I think they may have been using a play on that name, cause that ain’t a .378 case in the pic. Which I do believe is Photoshop, was just re-posting for humor.. Did not know the cartridge you told me about even existed.. Thanks for the info though, will look it up in more detail now

          • The cartridge you posted is a necked down .50 BMG to .22 cal, not a .22 ESLB.

          • Gary Kirk

            Good to know, and again, thanks for the info.. I did indeed see the same pic when I looked up the cartridge.. Now I’m just wondering what the barrel must look like on something chambered in that.. And what the cost is to replace said barrel every time you pull the trigger???

          • My understanding is that most of those rounds are reloader’s pranks. In other words, they aren’t actually loaded with powder, and there are no rifles chambered for them. 🙂

          • Gary Kirk

            Pretty much what I was figuring, and why I had posted the pic in the first place.. Amusement only type deal.. But then you brought up something I had no idea existed, and am for no reason at all interested in now.. Again, thanks for the info

          • iksnilol

            IIRC it was about 3-5 rounds. I think I read an article about it a while ago.

        • Gary Kirk

          Wow, Google that cartridge.. Some crazy stuff comes up..

  • R H

    The biggest problem with shooting pig flesh in a scientific environment is that live tissue doesn’t act the same as dead tissue. From what I understand, live tissue is much more flexible and “springy”. That’s why you see youtube “scientists” showing such relatively impressive permanent cavities in hams and roasts. What we need is someone tasked with eliminating some of the wild hog population and willing to document their results.

    • Or the Army Goat Labs.

      • Kivaari

        China and the former Yugoslavia used dogs.

          • Tom

            I believe its still done in Denmark with pigs which would be ideal for live fire tests due to the similarities between human and pig skin.

          • Rousso

            O, pigs. Pigs are perfect for such tests. And that is fun, too!

            “We took seven pigs and put them inside one of the trailers. I detonated the explosives. What happened after that comes back to me in nightmares.
            Even though we were far from the explosion, we could immediately hear horrific screams coming from inside the trailer… When we opened the door the pigs were lying there crying and screaming. The walls were all full of the blood, urine and excrement of the pigs. They looked at us in clear amazement.”

            What the Israeli Military Is Doing to Animals – Haaretz, Jun 19, 2016

    • EXCUSE ME SIR I NEED TO GO SUBMIT A CONTRACT PROPOSAL TO D.O.D. REAL QUICK

    • Kivaari

      It’s pretty much been done in Sweden and reported in ACTA Surgica. Circa 1970.
      Hunting pigs just is not repeatable. In the Swedish tests they controlled the shot placement, intentionally going for wounding and not death. That way a field medic could treat the wound. Then the hog was loaded onto a truck or helicopter and moved to a MASH. There the surgical team treated the wounds showing that the patient survives. It is too easy to kill test animals, so it takes effort to just wound them. Done that way, any researcher anywhere could replicate the tests.
      The Swedish test was done with a secondary mission. That mission was to show the world how evil the US military was for using such a powerful weapon. The tests lead to the adoption of the SS109 (AKA: M855), that was intended to not wound as well. The increased RPM over the M193 negated the lesser wounding effect.
      If you want to kill a living thing, shoot them where it counts. Shoot them where it doesn’t count and caliber doesn’t matter.

    • Hams, roasts, turkeys, beef sides, pork sides, etc. all have one thing in common, they are missing blood. imho, You can not make an accurate reading of a permanent cavity in something not filled with blood.

      Try shooting .177 BB through a thick dried sponge at 21 feet and 450 fps then soak it in water and give it another try.

      • Kivaari

        WE and other armies use living tissue. Dogs, pigs and goats are the most common. The USA uses(d) mostly goats. Hogs seem to be better since the anatomy is so similar to people.

        • I agree, close enough to use heart valves and make insulin too.

    • CommonSense23

      The US military definitely does live tissue training with pigs.

  • oldman

    Look up the findings of the British ordnance board after WW2 in regards to the optimum rifle caliber.

    • marathag

      Or the ‘Pig Board’ from the ’20s.

      25 caliber was better than .276 or .30

      • oldman

        The recommendation of the British Board was 7mm/.284 caliber as the optimum between all the competing factors. So of corse that is not what they got.

  • Jon

    If small calibers were as good or better doing their work we would see much more hunters using them to hunt boars or deers. That is not the case at least were I live.

    • Uh… are .243 and .270 really not common in your neck of the woods?

      • Jon

        The most common calibers for boar and deer hunting are the 30-06 and the 300 Win Mag, you see some 308 Win and 9.3x62mm. Other calibers are uncommon, rare or very rare. I would catalog the .270 among the rare, I have never even listened anybody using the .243 in our area for these tasks.

    • Nicks87

      .223 is as popular as 30-30 and 30-06 in my area.

  • Dean Carpenter

    I think spring back relates to daylight savings time or is it spring forward? We will never resolve the issue of small vs large caliber. We have moved on to simpler problems like who should use the men’s restroom and should use the women’s.

  • Gary Kirk

    Did we forget these little guys.. (I know they’re sp, so don’t really apply to the article, just for all the 06 fanboys.. )

    • Those things are mildly terrifying; every gel test I’ve ever seen of them, the temporary wound cavity was literally wider than the block itself and caused rather enthusiastic complete disassembly of same. I’m half certain that if you fired one straight up you might accidentally knock down a satellite or something.

      • Gary Kirk

        Hahaha.. Sorry, not criticizing your comment.. But literally laughing, they do make some crazy groundhog rounds though.. Through the scope you see a little pink puff, walk down.. And all you find, a couple little feet

      • iksnilol

        Well, they do go like 1240 meters per second at the muzzle.

        EDIT: I wonder what would happen if you loaded it with one of those M855A1 projectiles?

  • Badwolf

    What, no one has mentioned the shot-in-the-face thing yet? Okay fine I’ll do it.

    You think small calibers are ineffective? Let’s try shooting you in the face!

  • Kivaari

    You should flesh out that article.

    • Yes, I agree. I was trying to reach a word limit with it, and I should have just kicked it up to the next bracket.

      Oh well.

  • Kivaari

    Don’t knock history buffs as they tend to be better read, and better researchers than the non-history buffs. WE don’t have many living Civil War participants to give first, hand eye witness accounts.

  • buzzman1

    No real tests have been performed because we are locked into that silly notion that wounding is better than killing because it takes 3 people out of the fight. No one wants to admit that the purpose of a war is to kill enemy soldiers.

  • Tom

    Absolutely the point being that one event cannot be used to justify that this round is rubbish or that another is great. Decisions have to be based on general performance as there will always be one or two outlier in any situation. In general 5.56mm get the job done and easier to train recruits with and allows the soldier to carry more ammo all very good things.

  • Vitor Roma

    The funny coincidence is that a week ago, Alex posted a video about the P90 saying that he believed the 5.7 would have a high risk of wounding instead of killing a coyote.

  • Cottersay

    OH, common now!! Is it only me who is wondering, “what in the HELL is this round???”

  • Thanks be example of selection bias is shown by the old (false) meme that 5.56mm repeatedly failed in Mogadishu.

    Actually, it was the 7.62x51mm M80 hits where failure to stop was noted, not 5.56mm hits. But no one likes to admit that 7.62x51mm might ever fail to stop, even though wound track analysis in ballistics gel shows exactly *why* – they yaw in tissue later, increasing the odds of a neat through and through wound that is actually *smaller* in volume than the typical result of the smaller caliber.

    Which was noted by the US Army Ordnance Corps bubba’s, back in the 1950s. And they managed to figure out it was a matter of physics – all other things being equal (bullet shape, sectional density, ratio of CG to length, etc.), larger caliber bullets will *always* yaw slower than smaller caliber bullets, and it’s not until you drop below about .20 caliber that diminishing returns from the smaller bullet mean the total wound volume at the depths that accurately reflect typical human bodies drops below what the larger bullet does just drilling through. (Plus, there are other factors that set a practical floor on caliber for military purposes. A 1mm bullet, even with the profile, SD, and aerodynamic characteristics of the 5.45mm 7n6 is frankly going to run out of energy *fast*.)

  • majorrod

    Great insight. Thanks for bringing up the subject and challenging “common knowledge” which isn’t really knowledge.

  • David169

    I think the “Pig Board” researched this to a degree of absurdity but got the answers that were necessary. About 1905 or 1906 group of career military men went to the Chicago slaughterhouses and made a deal to buy all the pork they ruined by shooting pigs that were about the weight of a man. They used all calibers from 22 to 50. They shot the pigs every where they could be shot and recorded the distance they were able to move, the time they could stand and the general reaction to the bullet impact. What they found was to get knockdown with a pistol 400 ft.lbs of energy was needed. Slower heavier bullets knocked pigs down better than fast light ones. Large diameter bullets knocked pigs down better than small diameter bullets of the same weight. The “Board” recommended the 45 caliber as the best considering the knock down and the size of the pistol. Once that was done they worked on the loads and the best all around was the 230 grain bullet at 825 fps.
    Browning wanted a 200 grain at 1,000 fps but it did not perform as well. The military had limitations which were a FMJ bullet that would feed in the new 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
    The 40 calibers started out with a truncated cone bullet to enhance knock down power and bring it as close as possible to the 45ACP.