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Old June 8, 2009, 06:46 AM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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NSWC Crane releases info on new 5.56 Barrier Blind ammunition

Federal/ATK has developed a new 5.56 "barrier blind" ammunition with enhanced terminal performance overall, optimized for short barrel (14") use, and producing impressive wound cavities in gel.

The design is basically a non-bonded version of the 5.56mm Federal 77gr bonded OTM used for the USMC Barrier-Blind test. This round almost duplicated the wound cavity of the 110gr 6.8mm SPC; and had enhanced penetration through barriers; but could still be fired through normal USGI rifles with no modification.

The new round is 62gr (presumably so the military can continue to use the same sights) and non-bonded; but has been designed with an eye towards terminal performance. It has great accuracy (extreme spread of around 3" at 300yds) and uses a powder designed to maximize efficiency in shorter barrels (2,925fps out of a 14" barrel).

The round was announced at the 2009 NDIA conference along with other improvements in 7.62x51 and .300 Win Mag ammunition.

If the Army can be convinced to drop its new M855 Lead-Free round and go with the Mk318 Mod 0 (5.56mm 62gr Barrier), it should provide a good performance boost to the M16 family in general and especially to the shorter barrelled ARs.

Last edited by Bartholomew Roberts; June 8, 2009 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Correct bad link
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Old June 9, 2009, 07:24 AM   #2
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Nobody is excited about 5.56mm ammunition that performs like 6.8mm and can be mass-produced at low prices? Or that Uncle Sam is going to buy 250,000 rounds for further testing and evaluation?
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Old June 9, 2009, 07:34 AM   #3
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Of course we're excited. Just waiting for one of those fantastic ballistic gel test pics.
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Old June 9, 2009, 07:57 AM   #4
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What surprised me with the .308 Match ammo was that they went with the old-tech 175 instead of the new 155 Palma bullet. The Palma has a nearly identical BC as the old 175 (.504 vs. .505), yet of course can be driven faster for even better 1,000 yard performance. You can get about 200 more fps out of the 155.
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Old June 9, 2009, 10:52 AM   #5
Al Thompson
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Looks like a Trophy Bonded bullet to me. I too would like to see some jello tests.
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Old June 9, 2009, 04:27 PM   #6
Bartholomew Roberts
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I haven't seen any of the 62gr gel tests yet; but a picture of the 77gr gel tests (pg. 12) can be found in this very informative briefing:
http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf

My understanding is that the 62gr version here (being called the SOST round for Special Operations Science and Technology) is just a smaller version of the 77gr without the bonded bullet.

It sure looks like the bullet design is similar to the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw; but considering it isn't bonded and has to comply with the Hague Conventions, I am guessing there are some important differences (for one, no soft point or anything like it).
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Old June 9, 2009, 05:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
What surprised me with the .308 Match ammo was that they went with the old-tech 175 instead of the new 155 Palma bullet. The Palma has a nearly identical BC as the old 175 (.504 vs. .505), yet of course can be driven faster for even better 1,000 yard performance. You can get about 200 more fps out of the 155.
Palma match could extend the range by a couple hundred yards. 12 to 1300 yards.

At one time it was the only way to go to get a 1000+ yards for the .308.

The M118LR can only stay above the sound barrier at 1000 in hot climates like Iraq. In an artic enviroment at low altitude I guarantee it would never be able to hack supersonic at a 1000yds.

New propellents are changing things however. I am sure this latest version will stay supersonic in all climates at the K range.

On the new .223 round, I don't understand how a hollow point is allowed. Is it because the bullet is designed to keep from fragmenting? Of course at the same time it looks like it would mushroom.

All that copper in the core will probably make the cartridge more expensive to make won't it?
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Old June 9, 2009, 05:44 PM   #8
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I don't understand how a hollow point is allowed.
It isn't a hollow point. It is an Open-Tip Match round much like the M118LR. The jacket is drawn from the base (instead of the cheaper method of jacket drawn from the nose and an exposed lead base) to the tip of the bullet. The tiny little hole there is just a remnant from jacketing the bullet that way. It isn't designed for expansion or calculated to cause unnecessary suffering, so it doesn't violate the Hague conventions
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Old June 9, 2009, 11:38 PM   #9
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Palma match could extend the range by a couple hundred yards. 12 to 1300 yards.

At one time it was the only way to go to get a 1000+ yards for the .308.

The M118LR can only stay above the sound barrier at 1000 in hot climates like Iraq. In an artic enviroment at low altitude I guarantee it would never be able to hack supersonic at a 1000yds.
My sniper team has data out to 1200 meters using the m24 shooting m118lr. This data was gathered at Yakima Training Center which is not terribly high altitude wise.

The guys I know who have tried to get the 155 bullets to perform at long range from tactical rifles have always gone back to the 175's (or 178 gr AMAX) because the 155's don't buck wind as well. Most Palma rifles have a significantly longer barrel to push those 155's as fast as possible, 30 inches isn't out of the ordinary. The average tactical rifle has a barrel somewhere between 20 and 26 inches.

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Old June 10, 2009, 11:40 PM   #10
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Nobody is excited about 5.56mm ammunition that performs like 6.8mm and can be mass-produced at low prices?
I'm excited, just somehow missed this thread yesterday.

Quote:
It isn't designed for expansion or calculated to cause unnecessary suffering, so it doesn't violate the Hague conventions
You are of course 100% correct, though a certain part of me feels like the world is slightly schizophrenic when we have to make sure there's no hollow point on a bullet designed to catastrophically fail and blow all to hell in human tissue lest that hollow point cause anyone any unnecessary suffering . . .

(Note before anyone flames me: I'd be more than happy to take cases of the new stuff downrange and use them on the battlefield, just think we're possibly overpaying lawyers somewhere along the way to parse and tweak wording until honesty is way past optional in the debate.)
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Old June 11, 2009, 08:34 AM   #11
Bartholomew Roberts
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Yes, it is pretty silly. Especially considering we have never even signed the Hague convention that prohibits the use of expanding ammunition; but you have to give all the lawyers something semi-productive to do or they would be out devouring the crops like locusts
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Old June 11, 2009, 01:17 PM   #12
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How much "better" is this ammo on penetrating barriers? Barrier penetration on .223 is nothing to write home about so the word "better" needs to be quantified.

So does this stuff take .223 from "stopped cold by many building materials" to "knocks a few flecks of paint off the opposite side of the wall?

Sorry for being snarky, but if ammo was always as good as the advertising and manufacturing claims, "Extreme Shock" ammo would be flying off the shelves.
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Old June 22, 2010, 01:00 PM   #13
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I've shot Extreme Shock and outside of being pricey as all get out, It was an excellent round for what they say it does.
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Old June 23, 2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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If the new round is running at the claimed speed out of a 14 inch barrel, then of course it will perform better in the tests than the old ammo that wasn't making the MV because of the short barrel. Hyperbole aside, the guys at NSWC Crane do an honest job of evaluating contract submissions against the criteria provided. There is a high probability that the criteria have been provided by the contractor through political channels in the first place but still, unless we are prepared to reopen Frankford Arsenal and go back into the business of making our own gunpowder and cartridges we are more or less dependent on the contractors to demonstrate what they consider to be possible at the time. It's unlikely that anyone familiar with the subject really believes that 5.56 is "Barrier Blind" if the barrier is much more than concealment but at some point .50BMG rounds can be stopped too so the Devil is once again found in the details.
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