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Old March 13, 2010, 03:09 PM   #1
JohnH1963
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Will the military ever reconsider using hollowpoint or expanding bullets?

The Hague Convention specifically forbids expanding bullets. At the time, the British were making the .303 in the hollowpoint variety and these produced some devistating effects.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ex...llets_1870.gif

In the late 19th century, when a soldier was wounded then they would be taken out of the action and back to their home country. Generally speaking, they would not be placed back into the war. The full metal jacket type weapons had a greater chance of wounding the soldier and gave them a chance to have a second life back in their home country whereas the hollow-point had a greater chance of killing the individual and thus no second life...

Fast forward to modern times. When a soldier is shot, they are taken out of action until their wounds heal and then placed back into action. Modern medicine can sometimes put a soldier back into action after being shot within several weeks. A combatant on the field of battle generally goes back to fighting after their wounds are sufficiently healed.

The old argument is that using expanding bullets is "inhumane" as the soldier or combatant would have a less chance of living and therefore would not be able to go back to civilian life. However, in the modern age combatants and soldiers willl generally use any weapon at their disposal to stop individual persons to include:

- Anti-tank guided missiles
- Armor piercing bullets originally designed for anti-aircraft and anti-armor vehicle usage that exceed .50 caliber
- "mini-guns" that fire off rounds at speeds of over 3000 rounds per minute
- 155 mm Howitzer shells fired from aircraft
- Shoulder fired missiles originally designed to stop large tanks
- White phosphorous grenades
- Thermobaric weapons (fuel/air explosives)
- High explosive fragmenting grenades

The Taliban and Al-Queda have demonstrated on many occasions that they do not care about the "law of war" and will use anything at their disposal as weaponry.

Every law enforcement department, hunter and most ordinary citizens use hollowpoint bullets and do not seem to care about its so called inhumane effects.

So my question is do you think the use of full metal jacket ammunition by the military still makes sense? Will the military ever update its policy on the use of hollowpoint bullets?
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Old March 13, 2010, 03:28 PM   #2
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Regardless of the fact that we can now kill people in numerous and inventive ways, hollow-point bullets will still be a no-no as long as the Hague covention rules remain in effect, even if the enemy doesn't abide by them.

In fact, most of the hype about super expanding bullets is nonsense, put out by the bullet makers and promoted by the gunzines. A man hit in the torso by a full power rifle bullet is going to be dead or in a world of hurt whether the bullet is FMJ, hollow point, open point, lead point, or annointed with bat juice. Now the 5.56 may be marginal, but it will be marginal even with magic bullets.

An interesting point is that our government seems to want it both ways. We say we want to treat captives as prisoners of war and abide by the Geneva convention even though our enemies are not soldiers and are not in any recognized army. But then we say they should be treated as criminals and terrorists and tried in civilian courts. But if they are civilian criminals, none of those conventions apply, any more than they do to the police using hollow point bullets. But if the Hague convention applies, then captured enemy "fighters" are soldiers and can't be tried in criminal courts....

Oh, hell, my head aches.

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Old March 13, 2010, 06:05 PM   #3
JohnH1963
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I want to keep on topic with this thread so let me provide a few examples of what I am talking about...

I guess from a soldier's standpoint, they tend to fire at people who are hiding behind cover. For example...4 Taliban fighters run into a house seeking cover and then proceed to fire from covered positions within the house. Which ammo would you want during this occasion? Easy, FMJ.

Another example...A man runs into a house pursued by 3 officers in a densely populated urban neighborhood and then proceeds to fire at them from a covered position inside the house. In this situation, the officers are responsible for every bullet they fire so they would want hollowpoint bullets sacrificing the extra penetration...

I have not been to Afghanistan or Iraq so I am just sitting here guessing and imagining the different scenarios. I am wondering what the viewpoint of soldiers and officers might be.

A FMJ .45 round will penetrate about 27 inches of gelatin meaning it will go in one guy and out the other. I can see the case for using that round to fire upon persons behind cover and where you dont have as much liability involved...a hollowpoint only goes through 12-14 inches...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_ACP

That would be scary for me to use the FMJ .45 knowing that it would probably go right through someone.
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Old March 13, 2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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If nothing else, all other things being equal a gun (especially a dirty gun) is going to feed FMJ better than JHPs. Not the case with expanding FMJ but I don't see the military ever going to those.

With a sufficient caliber and no concern for my backdrop I'd take FMJ any day.
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Old March 13, 2010, 07:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Will the military ever update its policy on the use of hollowpoint bullets?
NO.

With bullets available that fragment, tumble, and create horrific wounds already--- while still complying with the Hague Accords-- what's the purpose of hollow point ammo that would further reduce the already inadequate penetration of the 5.56 NATO?

Anyone who thinks that ammo currently in use is "humane" hasn't seen a whole lot of combat. Jim Keenan's assessment of the lethality of fmj is correct.

Special ops missions that that may require different ammo for specific situations (hostage rescue?) would be the exception, but not for general military use.

The myth still persists that nations went to fmj because a wounded soldier placed a heavier burden on the enemy than a dead one.

Pure BUNK. The intent of the bullet ban for military nations was done for perceived humanitarian reasons.

It's also true that complying with the Convention achieved, to a somewhat better extent, the creation of more wounded soldiers which placed heavier burdens on the enemy. And it also would seem logical that any "wounded enemy" benetfit would get cancelled out when the enemy used the same ammo against you.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Last edited by Nnobby45; March 13, 2010 at 08:16 PM.
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Old March 13, 2010, 07:55 PM   #6
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This is an interesting question. I think that for the regular Army guys, the FMJ round will always be the most practical. FMJ is a good all-around choice for firing in all manner of different situations (urban, rural, through glass, close range, long range, etc). Since it is difficult to determine in advance the manner in which you'll be attacked, having a solid performer in all areas makes more sense that carrying a round intended for specific types of targets.

The 9mm and 5.56 FMJ rounds are good performers in the right hands.

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Old March 13, 2010, 07:57 PM   #7
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I am sure the price difference and ease of production come into play quite a bit.
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Old March 13, 2010, 08:57 PM   #8
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The answer is yes.

http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com...ost-5-56-ammo/
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Old March 13, 2010, 09:16 PM   #9
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A man hit in the torso by a full power rifle bullet is going to be dead or in a world of hurt whether the bullet is FMJ, hollow point, open point, lead point, or annointed with bat juice.
Several points.
1. The 5.56 is not a full power rifle round. It is an intermediate cartridge.
2. Plenty of people not only survive chest wounds from FMJ, they continue to fight. Quite a few people from WWII received survived and even continued to fight with such wounds.
3. FMJ is illegal for hunting for a good reason, FMJ has horrible terminal ballistics vs expanding rounds.

Quote:
I guess from a soldier's standpoint, they tend to fire at people who are hiding behind cover. For example...4 Taliban fighters run into a house seeking cover and then proceed to fire from covered positions within the house. Which ammo would you want during this occasion? Easy, FMJ.
5.56 FMJ won't penetrate the brick buildings over there anyway and proper HP penetrates car bodies and windshield glass just fine.

My take is that the FMJ rule will go in the bin when one side starts using it. One side, likely the underdog, will look for cheap ways to increase their effectiveness. Optics and expanding ammo are the two easiest way to increase the effectiveness of ones small arms.
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Old March 13, 2010, 10:02 PM   #10
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Already use them for limited purposes

Oh, about 2002-2003, they began issuing a magazine of ball and another of HP for USAF aircrew M9s. In the armory, before heading to the jet, we'd load the HP. The thought process was for anti-hijacking, the HP would be more frangible and prevent excessive collateral damage.

The funny part was some of the young pilots actually engaged in discussions about if they were on the ground, in the combat zone, getting attacked at an enroute location, they would have to swap ammo.
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Old March 13, 2010, 10:28 PM   #11
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governments have never been interested in the welfare of the soldier since standing armies first appeared. In fact, most wars in europe have been used to get rid of excess population.
in ww1, the british government was happy to sacrifice 80,000 dead merely to gain posession of 100 yards of land at ypres or verdunn.
in ww2 the british government was happy to send several regiments to get slaughtered a few miles from their d-day beachheads until american servicemen swept up from the south to take the germans out.


the history of expanding bullets in military use starts with the .577 snyder. this bullet was a hollow point with a small piece of lead in the tip of the cavity to aid in expansion. The problem was that it was to effective. Doctors were somewhat scare that a small pistol caliber bullet was able to create exit holes better then the brown bess could.
and the internal damage was normally beyond what most doctors could treat.
military medicine hadnt changed much from the napoleonic wars.

then the webley company developed the "manstopper" hollowpoint for their pistols for service in africa. After extremely good reports of massive expansion and penetration (think xtp from a casull), european governments got scared. and then in the 1890s the hollowpint round for 303 was developed.
as a result, the european governments decided blowing huge holes in each other was "impolite behavior for gentlemen", they banned expanding bullets.

however during ww1 they were forced to require the use of lead sleeves around armor peircing bullets for machineguns. it was "impolite' for someone to take 3 ap rounds from a machinegun through the head and survive, even with minimal mental and physical limitations. thus they decided a lead sleeve to expand past the bullet diameter to damage internal organs.


the main reason they wont be taken up for standard military practice is that the fmj profile has feeding reliability that most military weapons are designed around.
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Old March 13, 2010, 10:45 PM   #12
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I have to agree with JohnH1963, except it was the 2nd Hague Convention & the US is not a treaty signer. A wounded combatant usually takes 1 - 2 other potential combatants out of the fight to care for him.
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Old March 13, 2010, 11:28 PM   #13
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A wounded combatant usually takes 1 - 2 other potential combatants out of the fight to care for him.
Once again, this is a total myth. The enemies we face don't care about their wounded until after the battle. As for us, we have medics to take care of that sort of thing and let the other troops keep fighting.

A wounded solider is still a threat. He can shoot back, he can still relay information to his mates, he can still be useful to them. Bandage him up, set him in a corner, and have him watch their flank, man the radio, serve as a guide for reinforcements.

When we shoot at a tank, we don't shoot to disable it. When we shoot at a fighter jet, we don't shoot it so the pilot can make an emergency landing. We shoot it until it is of no possible use to the enemy.

The only time the "wounding" theory is useful to any great degree is with landmines. You won't be around when it goes off so it doesn't matter if the solider is killed or wounded. Except they have to carry back a wounded one, they can leave a dead one for later.
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Old March 13, 2010, 11:31 PM   #14
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The currant verson of the Hague Convention that the US has sighed on to does not ban hollow points or any expanding type of bullets. It just states any bullets that cause "unnessasary suffering". In my book that would include FMJ as it just wounds vs killing.
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Old March 14, 2010, 01:02 AM   #15
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It just states any bullets that cause "unnessasary suffering". In my book that would include FMJ as it just wounds vs killing.
That has beenmy thought for the longest time. If anything, we should load our bullets up with cores of pure THC.
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Old March 14, 2010, 10:16 PM   #16
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Newton, that is a rather unique viewpoint I have not heard before:

Quote:
governments have never been interested in the welfare of the soldier since standing armies first appeared
Considering the DoDs largest cost increases have been in personnel related areas, the big push for privatized housing to improve the quality of the homes, and the enormous effort the gov't is putting into MRAPs and MATVs to protect our soldiers, I think I have to quite disagree, at least with our government during this time in history.
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Old March 14, 2010, 10:40 PM   #17
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The answer is yes.
I am glad somebody finally brought up the SOST rounds.

Quote:
3. FMJ is illegal for hunting for a good reason, FMJ has horrible terminal ballistics vs expanding rounds.
Laws vary by state on this. FMJ is not universally illegal for hunting.

Quote:
what's the purpose of hollow point ammo that would further reduce the already inadequate penetration of the 5.56 NATO?
Inadequate penetration of the M855? Do you mean on materials or people? The M855 will penetrate 15-20" of tissue. In Somalia, the problem with the ammo was overpenetration of people, not under penetration.

If you are talking about materials, the M855 isn't great. However, the new SOST rounds that are hollowpoint and are supposed to penetrate better than the M855 through materials such as windshields, car doors, and other such lessor barriers.
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Old March 14, 2010, 10:42 PM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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Quite frankly, the armies on both sides don't care about the "inhumane" effects of hollow point bullets. The pacifists are concerned. The war fighters are not. The pacifists were the squeaky wheel.
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Old March 15, 2010, 10:02 AM   #19
JohnH1963
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The question of the day is what does the SOST round look like after it gets through that bowl full of jelly?
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Old March 15, 2010, 12:12 PM   #20
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I'm shocked that nobody has brought up reliability. FMJ is more reliable from a functional standpoint. Although recent advances in firearms and bullet design have closed the gap somewhat, FMJ is still superior when your weapon Must Cycle No Matter What.

A gun that goes BANG is far more useful than a gun that goes (click), even if the end result to the enemy soldier is marginally less desirable. IMHO this is far more critical in a military situation than a hunting or civilian SD situation. If the gun doesn't work during the hunt, the only risk is that the game may run away. If the gun fails in a civilian SD situation, it may be bad, but the shooter is more likely to notice and and take action to remedy the situation, whereas a soldier in the heat of battle may not notice that his weapon isn't working amidst all the other distractions (machine gun fire, artillery shell impacts, jet fighters flying overhead, etc.)
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Old March 15, 2010, 12:38 PM   #21
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I'm shocked that nobody has brought up reliability. FMJ is more reliable from a functional standpoint.
It was mentioned in post #4.

With today's guns, if a rifle doesn't feed a HP round reliably, it doesn't belong serving in "serious" duty. A rifle that malfs with a basic HP is going to malf with FMJ. I shoot Wolf HP out of my Saiga AK all the time and have never had a jam that was caused by the hollow point jamming things up. I've had jams for diffent reasons, but not because of the HP.

Handguns are a different matter, but police across the US use HP by and large..
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Old March 15, 2010, 03:14 PM   #22
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The question of the day is what does the SOST round look like after it gets through that bowl full of jelly?
Here is an image of an expanded Speer Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, a bullet the article linked to by motorep says is very similar to the SOST round.
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Old March 15, 2010, 04:01 PM   #23
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Quote:
I'm shocked that nobody has brought up reliability. FMJ is more reliable from a functional standpoint.
Quote:
A rifle that malfs with a basic HP is going to malf with FMJ.
Yep.

I am not sure than tiny hole hollowpoint ammo such as in 5.56 makes a hill of beans difference on feeding when compared to fmj in the AR15 platform. The hollowpoint doesn't really change the profile of the tip, hence no problem. I have shot a whole variety of hollowpoint ammo through many AR15s and never noticed a hollowpoint/fmj difference. I have noticed differences with particular makes or models of ammo, differences with reloads, and differences with some "special" target loads (custom loaded factory rounds), but not on the basis of hollowpoint and fmj.
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Old March 15, 2010, 04:24 PM   #24
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Here is an image of an expanded Speer Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, a bullet the article linked to by motorep says is very similar to the SOST round.
SOST is an open-tipped match round, not a traditional hollowpoint or soft point like the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. With these rounds the bullet is jacketed from the base to the nose and the tip of the remaining metal is cut off, leaving a tiny pinhole. This is a more expensive process; but provides better accuracy by making for a more uniform jacket.

When the articles describe it as similar to TBBC, I think they are referring to the copper shank/lead core construction since Federal/ATK designed the SOST and the nearest commercial Federal/ATK offering using something similar would be the TBBC. I imagine it serves the same purpose on the SOST as it does on the TBBC (the copper shank stays together and penetrates).

The SOST also has a higher ballistic coefficient typical of match-style bullets. On the other hand, the ATK info for SOST says it "does not rely on yaw for performance", so it may be closer to a TBBC than I think.

Quote:
The question of the day is what does the SOST round look like after it gets through that bowl full of jelly?
Based on the one and only 77gr SOST gel shot I've seen, it looks like a big mess of fragments with the copper shank being the only part left. No mushrooming apparent.
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Old March 15, 2010, 05:53 PM   #25
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This is a more expensive process; but provides better accuracy by making for a more uniform jacket.
I thought the purpose of hollow tipped rifle bullets was to shift the center of gravity rearwards and that improved accuracy.
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