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Old August 2, 2021, 12:23 PM   #18
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 24,336
The other version is that the heavier bullets had objectionably heavy recoil and they went back to 150s for less kick. Which sounds a little weak, considering all the 165 gr armor piercing that was being shot.
Both reasons sound "a bit weak" to me. Especially the first one about the heavy bullet overshooting the impact area.

The bullet might well have been "a problem" on certain ranges, but I cannot conceive of the US military changing the bullet weight of the ammo for that reason alone. Its just not the way they do things. IF SOME of their ranges have a problem with the ammo, they will restrict use of the ammo on THOSE ranges, they won't spend the effort (and MONEY) to change the bullet.

Likewise, I doubt complaints about "heavy recoil" were a factor, either. First of all, because (really want to shout here...) It's a .30-06! there isn't that much difference in the recoil! Quit whining, shut up and soldier!, Soldier!
(aka "continue to march!!!")

The one case I know of where the Army did change the bullet, AND powder charge due to "recoil" was the .45-70. But, they didn't change it for everyone! The original load was .45-70-500, a 500gr bullet and 70gr powder. What is reported in the histories is that they changed because of complaints of heavy recoil, BUT, personally I think the reason was something else, and the recoil level was simply an acceptable "excuse" to put in the histories.

They changed the load to a 405gr bullet and lightened the powder charge in the ammo used by the Cavalry. Only the Cavalry, they kept the 500gr bullet load in the Infantry ammunition! Over time, the 405gr load became the more popular and became the civilian commercial standard weight.

If you look at the larger picture, in the era when we went to the 150gr bullet, the major European nations were also changing to lighter bullets. The British, Germans and Russians all went to lighter bullets around that time. And, if you look enough you'll see that while the lighter bullets do have advantages, and the idea was to replace the heavy bullet loads, they never really did. IN anyone's army. BOTH classes of bullets were used in service, together, through WWII, and some are still in use today.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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