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View Full Version : Study on the 223 vs. can you shoot debate?


Glenn E. Meyer
June 22, 2006, 10:20 AM
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060615-111752-3841r_page2.htm
Army ammo
The Army recently concluded a $3 million, three-year study to find out what it was told by a group of specialists years ago: The killing power of the M-16/M-4 carbine is good for close combat.
The Army study started after some soldiers in Afghanistan claimed that the 62-grain, 5.56 mm round did not have enough stopping power to kill terrorists in close combat. The complaints appeared aimed at trying to get the Army to adopt bigger caliber guns and ammo, something the service opposes.
According to defense officials close to the study, a group of assembled specialists on the matter, including both ballistics specialists and medical doctors familiar with bullet wounds, told the Army before it started the study that the problem is not the size of the bullet but the person pulling the trigger.
The specialists concluded that disabling an enemy combatant with an M-16 is more dependent on where a shot is placed, the number of hits that are placed on target, and the level of marksmanship training of the solider. The size of the bullet and its design are less important and the standard M855 ammunition, known as "green tip" ammo is fine.
The Army study concluded almost the same thing but failed to identify one fault of its own soldiers: They need more training to be better shots.
The study proved that the complaints from some units in Afghanistan were unwarranted. "There are some special operations units that never complained because they could shoot," one official told us. For those lacking marksmanship training, "they could shoot at someone 10 times but only hit him once or twice."
"The Army is very willing to spend a lot of money on guns and ammunition, but very little on marksmanship training," the official said.

MK11
June 22, 2006, 10:25 AM
I'm a big fan of the M4 and 5.56 but the quote "They could shoot at them 10 times and only hit them once or twice" is perplexing. Isn't the point that they should only need to hit them once or twice?

pickpocket
June 22, 2006, 10:26 AM
Hmm - so is it fair to say, that for those of us that have been saying this for years that the market value of our real-world experience is worth about $3 million?

Maybe I should change careers :)

Isn't the point that they should only need to hit them once or twice?
This is the case for ANY small caliber weapon - and by small I mean smaller than .50 cal. There's enough research in terminal ballistics to make that statement a non-issue.

444
June 22, 2006, 09:25 PM
The point is that they will TELL you that they shot the guy 10 times before he went down. In reality they SHOT 10 times, but only actually HIT him once or twice and he went down.

DonR101395
June 22, 2006, 09:42 PM
The biggest problem with the M855 which has a steel core was that it was passing through with a small wound channel. JSOC units starting using Black Hills 77gr ammunition and results improved greatly. I think I'll take the word of some of the worlds best combat shooters over a "study" no matter how much it costs. It's been a few years, but in the mid 90's each JSOC DA unit's yearly training ammo allotment was more than the entire Marine Corps training allotment. I will agree that most of the rest of the military could use more training time.

threegun
June 23, 2006, 07:32 AM
I heard that the problem was the added weight of the new round combined with the shorter barrel of the M-4. They said the new round couldn't achieve enough velocity to achieve maximum effectiveness from the shorter barrel.

Denny Hansen
June 23, 2006, 10:51 AM
I heard that the problem was the added weight of the new round combined with the shorter barrel of the M-4.

Don't know where you heard that. Black Hills' MK262Mod1 is doing nothing short of a superb job in terms of accuracy. It has also proven to be more lethal.

M855, with its penetrator, was developed during the cold war when we anticipated shooting bad guys wearing armor and/or in lightly armored vehicles. Times change, and the M855 is not effective against the unarmored bad guys of today as it zips right through them.

The issue load for SOCOM, the 77-grain MK262Mod1 is now available for general issue to troops if a unit commander requests it--and many are doing just that. Black Hills was recently awarded a contract for an additional five years to produce the load.

Denny

Demon5Romeo
June 23, 2006, 11:09 AM
I am in the Army, Infantry, and on my second tour here in Iraq. I have used the M4 extensively on my first tour and use it from time to time on this one. (I am a designated marksman and my primary weapon is a M-14). I have not had any problems with the M4 in terms of "stopping power" or reliablity. We use M855 62 gr. ball and it does cause very nasty wounds out to 200-250 meters. No complants here.

Denny Hansen
June 23, 2006, 11:54 AM
Thank you for your service, Demon5, and thanks for the info.

Love your sig line:cool:

Denny

OneInTheChamber
June 23, 2006, 12:05 PM
I have used the M4 extensively on my first tour and use it from time to time on this one. (I am a designated marksman and my primary weapon is a M-14). I have not had any problems with the M4 in terms of "stopping power" or reliablity. We use M855 62 gr. ball and it does cause very nasty wounds out to 200-250 meters. No complants here.
Today 08:51 AM


Beautiful. This is exactly what the Army needs to listen to. A designated marksman (someone who can actually shoot very well) has no complaints. Those who are complaining are also those with the least training and experience. Anyone else see the pattern here?

Thank you for your excellent service Demon5.

I also love that sig line; that's just priceless. Someone who actually can talk about the enemy as if he is, :eek: , an enemy. I hate it when we treat the enemy like he's just a misguided friend in need of counseling; in my opinionthe enemy is a blood thirsty foe in need of gunshot wounds.

Ares45
June 23, 2006, 04:39 PM
Ammo Oracle (http://www.ammo-oracle.com/body.htm)

Scan down and read about "Terminal Performance..."

ddelange
June 23, 2006, 06:37 PM
+1 to Ares45 for the reference to the Ammo Oracle site.

For FMJ bullet design, the M855 excels at its ability as a medium range bullet that will enter the enemy, fragment, and cause severe permanent wound cavities. It has slightly longer range accuracy than the original M193, which can cause even more severe wounds at close range, but lacks the extra range of the M855, and its ability to penetrate light armor. As long as the M855 stays above 2700fps when it enters an enemy COM, its wounding effects will be lethal.

pickpocket
June 27, 2006, 09:47 PM
True, some "give up" upon being hit anywhere but many do not.

I wish we could have imported those guys into my AO... :cool:

My experience has all been on the "not" side.

Eghad
June 27, 2006, 09:48 PM
I spent over 28 years in the Army Reserve. Some of those I spent as a marksmanship trainer for a MACOM. The emphasis on marksmanship was nil or very low. You had a few units that had good programs. The main problem was that most units spent one weekend before range fire on marksmanship,then one day to qualify. The basis for most commanders was quantity through the range not quality. When our unit was at the mobilization station out of 57 we had 1 qualify expert and that was me. My eyes were not the greatest in the world then, I was pretty shocked. I had a SSG from one of the active duty Cav units as my coach on the firing line. I guess it must be par for some Active Duty units because he was pretty amazed that an old fart like me could shoot that well or to see an old MSG Rolling around in the rain and mud with his troops on the firing line.

Some commanders just do not want to put the time into marksmanship training, kind of I am not infantry mentality. So why do we need to know how to shoot at an above minimum level. Those common tasks that every soldier should know are there for a reason. The 507th Maintenance Co. taught us that.

JohnKSa
June 27, 2006, 10:41 PM
The point is that they will TELL you that they shot the guy 10 times before he went down. In reality they SHOT 10 times, but only actually HIT him once or twice and he went down.I'm reminded of one of Capstick's anecdotes. He was guiding a hunter on a dangerous game hunt. When they finally got into shooting position, the hunter took aim, and then worked the action, took aim again and repeated the cycle until the gun was empty.

...leaving a pile of unfired cartridges on the ground next to his gun. Capstick said that even with the unfired cartridges as evidence, it was difficult to convince the hunter that he had worked the bolt properly but had forgotten to pull the trigger.

If a man can forget to pull the trigger in a stressfull situation, it's not at all hard to believe that someone could forget how many times they shot, be mistaken about how many times they hit, or be confused about where their shots were hitting.

guntotin_fool
June 28, 2006, 01:56 AM
My best friend is over in Iraq right now, MD from the navy attached to the marines. He has seen several bg's show up at the hospital with multiple wounds from 5.56 and seen them survive. Most recent was a BG who received nine hits. seven in the torso. The hit that stopped the bg was a 5.56 hit to the femur which shattered and the man fell. He had severe damage to the braxial area of the shoulder with a T&T wound there, both lungs had T&T wounds. He had further hits to his kidney, spleen and intestines. He further stated that he had only had to treat one guy who had been shot with 7.62 x 51. He figured the rest had expired before getting on his operating table. He stated that the marines who are shot with the 7.62X 39 rounds have far more tissue damage than the bg's who come in shot by 5.55x45's

The Doc's comments were that the wounds from the 5.56 looked just like industrial accidents where someone had gotten a drill press and made long relatively benign holes thru the individual. Just what you would expect to find in game animals where a long high SD fmj projectile was used. Doc's statement was that five of the seven wounds would have led to death without competent medical care, but it did not stop him from fighting.


A former coworker who is now back from working over there as a construction specialist was working for a private firm. His personal weapon was a M4 that was loaded with commercial ammunition. He was only able to fire it really for familiarization and practice, but they used ammo loaded by one of the big three with Nosler 60gr. partitions. The people who were detailed to security for his group had several instances of being forced to use their weapons for defense and he never saw a BG take more than two hits before giving up the fight. He claims that on one guy who stepped out from behind a broken van to fire an RPG at them, that one shot from the lead SD person caused a traumatic amputation of the forearm. Bullets that expand do really well when fired at good velocity.

Archie
June 30, 2006, 11:38 PM
No small arm round is effective if the shots miss.

A good, solid hit with a bigger gun is superior to a good, solid hit with a smaller gun.

Shooters are made, not born.

If our armed forces don't teach our combatants to shoot, who do you figure will?

444
July 1, 2006, 12:27 AM
"If our armed forces don't teach our combatants to shoot, who do you figure will?"

They don't. So you have to look elsewhere. Luckily there are plenty of good instructors around.
I frequently train at Frontsight outside Las Vegas NV. There are a lot of active duty Marines training there also. Most of them have combat experience and have been to Iraq at least once. They obviously feel that Frontsight has something to teach them.

Double Naught Spy
July 1, 2006, 01:41 AM
No small arm round is effective if the shots miss.

Surely you don't mean to imply that a large round that misses will be effective? :eek:

JohnKSa
July 1, 2006, 08:52 PM
Surely you don't mean to imply that a large round that misses will be effective?Indeed, he does not.

The term "small arm" or "small arms" refers to a weapon easily carried and used by an individual. That would included rifles and pistols of any caliber as opposed to crew-served weapons, weapons mounted on machinery, towed guns, bombs, etc.

johnsonrlp
July 4, 2006, 01:27 AM
The Army doesn't send us to the range enough, period. After they got back the 507th was re-organized as E company 5/52 ADA. I happen to be in the same Battalion. Every six months (hopefully) we go to the range. Usually the battalion gets a week and we try to run everybody through. To quallify with the m16/m4 you have to hit 23 out of 40, twenty from foxhole (like we still fight out of trenches and foxholes), twenty from prone. From 50 to 300 meters. Usually by the end of the day the magazines magically have 30 each instead of 20. One time, the range commander actually told the ammo detail to give everyone sixty rounds to quallify. Two people still came back because they couldn't hit 23 out of sixty. A lot of times people will be quallified by the person in the next lane.
I doubt we'll be going to the range again soon though, they just froze all government credit cards and budgets in the brigade and took all the government vehicles. We're to broke to go to the range. Well, I go at least twice a month.

444
July 4, 2006, 09:36 AM
30 miles from water, two feet from hell.

garryc
July 4, 2006, 10:10 AM
My nephew came back from army basic about a yaer and a half ago. He asked me to coach him on his shooting. My intent was to drill him on sight picture, trigger control and positions. I took my 22 target rifle and a reciever sighted Mauser. He would not go because he said, "That's not the way we shoot!" It seems to me that the army spent very little time on the basics. The nation of riflemen is no more!!
I think it would be a good idea for all these gun clubs to run clinics teaching men about to enlist the fundimentals. And do it for free

5whiskey
July 4, 2006, 10:49 AM
The term "small arm" or "small arms" refers to a weapon easily carried and used by an individual. That would included rifles and pistols of any caliber as opposed to crew-served weapons, weapons mounted on machinery, towed guns, bombs, etc.


Actually, small arm today is considered .50 bmg and under. You are partly correct, because most will argue that a .50 sniper rifle (SASR) is man portable. You know what your talking about, but we don't want to confuse the ones that think a 240G mounted on a humvee is NOT small arms... IT IS.

Anyhoo... I've stayed away from this one because this is about the 7th "is 5.56 good enough for our military" thread. They're almost predictible, because everyone I see settles on shot placement. Then the shot placement post is touted a bit later on the accuracy of our troops and how little marksmanship training they get. And then that turns into people trying to solve everything that is wrong with the military...

I'm sure most of you know that we have 5.56 for a reason. It is an assault rifle cartridge. An assault rifle is designed to be a small and lightweight, man-operable, close to intermmidiate range rifle that allows reasonably controllable full-auto fire from ANY shooting position. 7.62 is an awesome round with excellent terminal ballistics. There are very few cases that someone takes a few 7.62 rounds and doesn't die shortly thereafter. BUT... let's look at what 95% of 7.62 rounds are fired out of. A belt-fed weapon. Most of the time where one 7.62 goes at least 5 more follow, even during a fast traverse or search fire.

I would like to see something better than 5.56, simply because I know we have the technology to make it happen. I think the 6.8 program WAS going in the right direction, but one of many reasons why that didn't take is because the Marine Corps purchased quite a few new M16A4s about 2 years ago that are all chambered for 5.56. It would be a waste to not get the service life out of those rifles (to the military).

You can have a lightweight 7.62 rifle. Look at the AR10. But you will not be able to control full-auto fire. Now I'm just waiting for the guy, who I know will respond, that's going to say that he can fire 7.62 (I'm talking 7.62 NATO, not 7.62x39) on full auto just fine and hold his burst in a 2 foot circle at 200 yds standing. Whatever man, show me. Even if there are a few out there that could do it, that would be a very small percentage. Many new recruits don't have experiance with firearms before joining the military. I did, and thought I could shoot well but I still had to "learn" how to shoot full auto. It's much easier to train people with no experiance with the no recoil M16 than to train with a harder biting AR10. Would alot be fine with it? Yes, but not all.

One more thing to think of, while on the topic. If we went 7.62 the weapon would likely weigh at least %50 more. if that's just 4 extra pounds it sounds like small potatos. 7.62 rounds weigh in right at 3x more than 5.56. So if your carrying 300 rounds of 5.56 that equates to about 8 pounds. If you're carrying 300 rounds of 7.62 that's 21 pounds. If you think it's not a big deal then you go on a 6 hour foot patrol carrying 2 gallons of water, a flak with SAPI plates, 4 or 5 grenades of all sorts, a radio, map, compass, all serialized gear, helmet, poleless litter, AT-4s, ect. ect. ect. when it's 120 degrees.

5.56 isn't the perfect round by no means, but we have it for a reason. It does well enough. And by the way, any Marine victor unit (infantry battalion) scheduled to deploy to Iraq gets more rounds to train with than they can effectively use at times. We get quite a bit of trigger time, and I think that we can shoot pretty darn good. Does everyone learn to be a sniper at basic training? Well, no, of course. Point being, you get trigger time based on your job and deployment schedule. Why would we focus on everyone when there's only about 35% that actually patrol the mean streets. I'm not saying totally neglect all others, the insurgents might try and attack the chow hall at camp fallujah or something. Everyone should know how to basically shoot, but precedence should be given to the ones who SEEK, CLOSE WITH, AND DESTROY THE ENEMY THROUGH FIRE AND MANUEVER. Basically what I'm saying is it's the units responsibility to develope it's own shooting program. Going to the rifle range every year in not enough for infantry, but it is if you work on harriers.

garryc
July 4, 2006, 11:37 AM
Point being, you get trigger time based on your job and deployment schedule.

I see your point, but my nephew is regular infantry. I still tell him, whenever he's in town, that he needs to learn to shoot one at a time and make them count.

SamD
July 4, 2006, 08:53 PM
The official definition of "small arms" has nothing to do with portability and it's anything under 20mm for army types.

Military marksmanship training is a joke and has been for quite a while.
They are dead set against good shooters, that takes time, money and range availability. It also means that soem will be better than others and that is not currently acceptable.

Sam

5whiskey
July 4, 2006, 09:13 PM
same principle... under 20mm or .50 bmg and under??? I can't think of anything in between at the moment.

62% of my battalion qualified expert (and no, that's not doctored and we don't do hook-ups) at the rifle range last time we went. I personally think we're rolling pretty deep. Now does the National Gaurd get enough? I'm sure they probably don't. I'm sure I'm going to touched with something like "well anything under 100% is unacceptable". We could completely disregard all theory of tactics, fire and manuever, radio call procedures, how to load a defense and do a fire plan sketch, geometry of fire concerns, how to clear rooms, how to clear buildings, how to call for fire, marking SOPs, patrolling, mounted patrolling, IA drills, first aid, combined arms, and all of the hundred other things we MUST know. We could skip all of this and focus on nothing but pulling the trigger for 6 months and we still wouldn't get 100% expert. Yes we incorporate the basics of marksmanship in all of this, but we can't get rifle range quality feedback while doing so.

Anyhoo, back to the point of the thread. Yes, .223 is effective for what it was designed for. Again I would like to see something better, but I know it's not happening tomorrow.

U.S.SFC_RET
July 4, 2006, 09:18 PM
The challenge that the Army faces is to take the Generation X generation and make fighting, shooting soldiers out of them. Take a kid from an urban environment who's never handled a weapon and it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to unlearn and teach this kid not only how to shoot right but to get his mind right in the process. Sometimes it can take years. Sometimes never. he might be able to "qualify" but you have to qualify his mind as well. He has to get comfortable and confident with that weapon in times of stress and duress. It is hard to teach that at a range. That takes experience. WWI and WWII soldiers were known to come into the service from all over the map in this country and Marksmanship was highly valued back then. It isn't nearly so now. You still have servicemen coming in who value Marksmanship but not to the extent on the percentage scale.

5whiskey
July 4, 2006, 09:31 PM
Take a kid from an urban environment who's never handled a weapon and it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to unlearn and teach this kid not only how to shoot right but to get his mind right in the process. Sometimes it can take years. Sometimes never. he might be able to "qualify" but you have to qualify his mind as well. He has to get comfortable and confident with that weapon in times of stress and duress.

An excellent point.

It is hard to teach that at a range. That takes experience

It's not hard to teach the above values you mentioned at a range, it's IMPOSSIBLE. As you have said only experiance will do it.

An excellent point all the way around. In the glory days of WWII there was a far greater percentage of people raised with what I guess you would call "blue collar values". Like how to fish, how to start a fire, how to shoot, how to tend a garden (or a farm), how to swing a hammer, ect. Mainly because people of the time weren't afforded the creature comforts of today, and they certainly didn't call a repairman to mend the fence for them (just an example) because they couldn't afford it. They had to do it themselves. We've lost alot of this as a nation since then.

pickpocket
July 5, 2006, 12:43 AM
The challenge that the Army faces is to take the Generation X generation and make fighting, shooting soldiers out of them.
Splash, over -

Sorry, brother - but I gotta chime in on this one. You make some excellent points, but you're dead wrong on this one.
The challenge that the Army faces has nothing to do with Gen X. I'm a Gen X-er and the kids I went to war with were just as hard as the guys from each and every war we've fought as a country.
The Army's "challenge" (hell, Marine Corps and Navy too...we just don't talk about the Air Force here) is to give the finger to Mothers Against America and to quit trying to be the "Newer, Kinder, Gentler Army".
The "challenge" is to take these kids and make them soldiers and Marines all with one hand tied behind your back and your feet tied together.
I saw it in the Marine Corps too - although not to the same extent. They're getting soft, my man...it's more about careers and political correctness than it is about winning wars.

Ok - sorry...

Rounds complete, over.

Demon5Romeo
July 5, 2006, 01:59 AM
Originally Posted by pickpocket
They're getting soft, my man...it's more about careers and political correctness than it is about winning wars.

You hit the nail on the head with this one.

5whiskey
July 5, 2006, 06:45 AM
The Army's "challenge" (hell, Marine Corps and Navy too...we just don't talk about the Air Force here) is to give the finger to Mothers Against America and to quit trying to be the "Newer, Kinder, Gentler Army".
The "challenge" is to take these kids and make them soldiers and Marines all with one hand tied behind your back and your feet tied together

yup.

MK11
July 5, 2006, 02:00 PM
Every single 20th century war (even the Civil War) has seen fewer and fewer people familiar with shooting enter military service. This idea that WWII was fought by a bunch of flinty-eyed squirrel hunters is ridiculous. It's an old, OLD problem, and it won't be getting any better.

johnsonrlp
July 5, 2006, 02:10 PM
BTW this problem of unfamiliarity with weapons would not be solved by handing out large caliber rifles. It's hard enough for some people to learn with the M16.