Manufacturers who are gearing up for the US Army’s Interim Combat Service Rifle competition better know where to get their ammo for testing, and the Army is ready to help. The US Army is facilitating the procurement of 7.62mm M80A1 ammunition to competitors for testing purposes, according to a new amendment to the ICSR solicitation. The amendment states that contractors can procure ammunition from either Orbital ATK (who operates Lake City Army Ammunition Plant), or Olin-Winchester. The process is described in the handy dandy flowchart below:
The M80A1 is the 7.62mm version of the 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR). The central feature of EPR rounds is their highly effective three-part bullet, which has an armor-piercing penetrator, barrier-blind slug, and fragmenting jacket. It’s this same bullet, though, that three times caused controversy for the new rounds. The first was the use of the then-new ammunition for the Army’s Improved Carbine competition, a move which was seen as unfair by many of the competitors, who had not designed their weapons to fire it. The second was the hard, exposed penetrator’s tendency to damage rifle feedways over time, wearing out certain components prematurely. The and the third was when the US Army was sued by Liberty Ammunition for allegedly infringing on their patent (a claim which was eventually thrown out of court).