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View Poll Results: Is 5.56 inadequate for personal protection?
Absolutely, it's an overrated varmint cartridge unfit for duty. 2 2.74%
Certainly not, it offers the best balance of range, power, and controlability. 3 4.11%
No, it's effective within its defined parameters. 63 86.30%
Somewhat, it's better than a sharp stick, but there are much better options available. 5 6.85%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 15, 2023, 09:20 AM   #26
oldmanFCSA
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Any cartridge relies upon BULLET PLACEMENT on target.
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Old November 15, 2023, 11:02 AM   #27
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As I understand it, the issue isn't penetration at greater distances - US military doctrine and actual combat engagement distances haven't changed. What has changed is China and China is working hard to equip their soldiers with Star Wars Stormtrooper - style body armor.
I.e. the 6.8 is not because the US wants to drop jihadis at longer distances, rather it is the reality of a new military peer - China.

Russia, with it's $1.8 trillion GDP is no match for the $27 trillion US or the $18 trillion Chinese. US military planners do not worry about Russia - the Ukraine war has shown us they are a paper tiger (~120,000 Russian troops dead in 18 months). The planners are preparing for the future where the much higher power level of the 6.8 will be necessary against a new peer - China.

Regarding the 5.56: it was the right cartridge at the right time which is why it has been the longest serving infantry round.
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Old November 15, 2023, 11:15 AM   #28
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Quote:
China and China is working hard to equip their soldiers
with Star Wars Stormtrooper - style body armor.
Okay . . .
I can understand that.
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Old November 15, 2023, 11:35 AM   #29
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.223

As a military cartridge, I am of the opinion it is a bit weak. The change in the 5.56mm projectile over the years to add range and penetration I think is indicative of the same stance by the military, as well as the supposed upcoming change.

I have read accounts of engagements in the mountains of the middle east where the 5.56 mm just did not have the reach. I have also read of the lack of stopping power of green tip ammo in Somalia where distances were short. A military cartridge needs the ability to penetrate barriers, web gear, perhaps even multiple advesaries, yet still incapacitate up close....a tall order.

That said, under 300 yds, with expanding ammo, I think it is an ideal LE and SD cartridge
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Old November 15, 2023, 11:55 AM   #30
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The history of the choice to go to 5.56 really soured me, not to mention it's basically a .22 caliber bullet.
After WWII it was realized an intermediate caliber would be the most practical type of small arm munition. The U.S. had been offered the .276 Pedersen, the Germans developed the 7.92 Kurz, the Brits came out with their .280 British, etc., etc.
The U.S. rejected all these offerings citing the lack of power, adopted the 7.62x51 NATO round which effectively duplicated the performance of the .30-06 Springfield, then created and adopted the 5.56 and forced it down NATO's throat.
I mean talk about wishy washy. Either way, there are much better performers out there that will fit into an AR platform with little modifications required. This also I find trivial as we somehow have to "stick" with the AR platform. Consider the switch from the 1903 to the Garand, from the Garand to the M-14, the M-14 to the M-16. It's been done before, but somehow it can't be done now. Cost and muscle memory are always the excuses I hear about switching small arms and caliber. Considering how much and F-22 or F-35 costs I call B.S. on all that, and how much muscle memory retention is considered in switching from an F-16 or F-15 to a F-22 or F-35, that excuse is bunk too.
So, is the 5.56 weak or ineffective? No. Are there better intermediate caliber options out there that have more power and range? Yes.
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Old November 15, 2023, 12:00 PM   #31
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The Joint Service Weapons Board-Integrated Product Team said it themselves in 2006.
The best performing systems emphasizing tissue damage, on the average, in this study were of larger caliber than 5.56 mm.
(After all of their study and analysis, they came to the same conclusions as previous teams had in 1952, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1993, and later.)

Quote:
I do wonder why the focus on the .223's performance (and lack of) at long range. No, its not great at 5,6,7,8, 900 yards and beyond. It wasn't made to be. Why is this even brought up??
Because that is what I have been watching.
It wasn't meant to be a treatise on the overall effectiveness of the cartridge, just a point of observation prompted by my recent interests, with some relevance to the subject.

But, I'll lightly touch the point real quick:
Long range engagements seem to have been uncommon in Iraq - with some studies suggesting 20-30 meters being average. (From what I saw [2002-2007], I believe it.)
It was, however, a major issue in Afghanistan, where 50% or more of the engagements were 300+ meters. That is why there was a sudden, urgent need to return a bunch of M14s (and M21s and M25s) to DMR roles in the early years of the GWOT. (Again, I was there [2002-2004]. Close quarters engagements were rare outside of villages, and I don't think I was ever shot at from less than 700 yards.)

From an analysis published in 2016 (J. A. Wesolowski):
(...) enemy combatants appear to have discovered a “zone” of operation that is within the maximum effective range of their 7.62 mm weapons but outside the maximum effectiveness of the US’s 5.56 mm weapons (Ehrhart, 2009).
The enemy combatants then implemented doctrine to stay outside of the effective range of the 5.56 mm M4 whilst remaining inside the capabilities range of their own weapons, namely rifles of caliber 7.62x39 mm and 7.62x54 mm.
Actual ranges are not mentioned specifically in reference to the above, but are discussed earlier in the analysis and inferred to be approximately 400-900 meters.


Quote:
Any cartridge relies upon BULLET PLACEMENT on target.
And a bigger bullet makes a bigger hole in that place on the target.
In fairness, the JSWB-IPT report does say the same thing: Bullet placement is more critical than any other factor, for taking an enemy out of the fight (not requiring lethality).


Now, if we weren't using FMJs, my opinion would be a little different. But as long as the US military is sticking with FMJs as the standard bullet type, I consider 5.56x45 to be inappropriate.
Need bigger boolit.
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Old November 15, 2023, 01:12 PM   #32
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I was in the weeds from '69 until early '70. It worked fine.
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Old November 15, 2023, 01:39 PM   #33
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..as we somehow have to "stick" with the AR platform.
Quote:
Regarding the 5.56: it was the right cartridge at the right time which is why it has been the longest serving infantry round.
Everyone has their own opinion of what the "right" round is, and some even think there is no one "right" round for everything.

I don't think the 5.56 was the right round, but top brass did, and we made it work acceptably well, eventually.

I don't think it has been our longest serving infantry round because of how well it works, but simply because none of the alternatives have shown themselves to be enough better to overcome institutional inertia, and the cost (and bad feelings) of making a change not universally believed to be necessary.

Always remember that changing the small arms calibers and the arms themselves is not JUST a military decision, it is also a political decision, and economics figures into the political side as much or more than the military side.
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Old November 16, 2023, 09:06 PM   #34
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Quote:
OOC:
How many of the good folks here (or their sons/daughters) have actually been to war with the M16/M4/5.56 family ?
Of those, how many have been in actual firefights w/ those weapons ?

Just curious . . . .
5 1/2 years 11B in Bco 2nd Plt 1/75th at HAAF
Went to Selection and took a long walk
21 years 18 series with 4 tours in Afghanistan

We averaged 8 round to get an immediate stop in the house that first tour. 77 grain went a long way to correcting that. The short range of 5.56mm was frustrating and detrimental in combat. Weak penetration against threat body armor.

Personal Home defense is not the same animal. For the experienced, a shotgun with 00 buck beats an AR15 IMHO. A lightweight rifle with 30 rounds that is reasonably easy to operate and much lighter recoil is not far behind. It is a very good option. My wife will grab her AR15 before she will grab a 12 gauge. Just make sure you are not using 55 grain out of barrel less than 16 inches at CQB distances and you will be fine.
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Old November 16, 2023, 10:47 PM   #35
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I have one, but my M1A is the choice with my hide on the line.
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Old November 17, 2023, 07:34 PM   #36
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Let’s hope the future Chinese “stormtrooper” marksmanship is equal to the movie version.
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Old November 18, 2023, 02:22 PM   #37
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i have what I have, I'll use what I have - at this point in time, I think it's too late to completely switch over a rifle and caliber, especially one with limited availability. The only one I would consider is 6.5 Grendel, as I have all the reloading items for it. But brass is hard to come by, loaded ammo is expensive and difficult to find locally. I think my lowly Frankengun of an AR will do the job I ask of it, which is within 300 yards, (probably within 50 yards, most likely!), and with a common round that is easy to find/load for.
I'm not Rambo - I'm a tired fat old man and I'll be stubborn and stay with what I know.

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Old November 19, 2023, 01:54 AM   #38
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Quote:
How many of the good folks here (or their sons/daughters) have actually been to war with the M16/M4/5.56 family ?
Of those, how many have been in actual firefights w/ those weapons ?
Guilty. I've seen a few Muj drop DRT with a few rounds of m855 center mass. I also share frankenmausers view that the round is far less viable from "mountain to mountain" distances observed in Afghanistan. My few engagements there did show me that M4s were at least as effective as AKs were at 500 yards. M240Gs and knee mortars reigned Supreme in those engagements.

I'm gonna read up on the Chinese body armor angle. I DO think we can do better than 5.56. Heck I think 6×45 would be a worthwhile improvement.
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Old November 19, 2023, 02:40 AM   #39
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If the OP actually anticipates battlefield engagements--then by all means get an upgrade to 5.56--but also make sure you have high density body armor, night vision optics...a spare Abrams tank and F-15 would be a good ideas as well just in case the need arises.
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Old November 19, 2023, 03:07 PM   #40
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Quote:
I think my lowly Frankengun of an AR will do the job I ask of it, which is within 300 yards, (probably within 50 yards, most likely!), and with a common round that is easy to find/load for.
I agree. I have plenty of ARs and they work well enough within the intended applications.
For most of us, especially inside 300 yards, .223/5.56 will do plenty.

But stretching the distance in a battlefield engagement begins to show its weaknesses against targets larger than a coyote. Or, where I want to shoot long range with obvious target impacts and the flattest reasonable trajectory, it really falls on its face.


Quote:
Heck I think 6×45 would be a worthwhile improvement.
Having a 6x45mm in my AR assortment, I'd have to suggest a shorter and maybe fatter case body. Something like 6x42mm, or even 6x40mm. Otherwise, you're stuck with sucky bullets. 6x45mm is really restricted by the AR-15/M16 magazine COAL limit. Makes it really difficult to use 80+ gr bullets, and even more difficult to use 85+ gr bullets with a decent (not even "good") ballistic coefficient.
Or, just bump the mag well length and use a new magazine that can handle a longer COAL. (I think 2.380" would be enough to make a big difference, but 2.500" allowance would be great.)
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Old November 19, 2023, 03:54 PM   #41
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Having a 6x45mm in my AR assortment, I'd have to suggest a shorter and maybe fatter case body. Something like 6x42mm, or even 6x40mm. Otherwise, you're stuck with sucky bullets. 6x45mm is really restricted by the AR-15/M16 magazine COAL limit. Makes it really difficult to use 80+ gr bullets, and even more difficult to use 85+ gr bullets with a decent (not even "good") ballistic coefficient.
Or, just bump the mag well length and use a new magazine that can handle a longer COAL. (I think 2.380" would be enough to make a big difference, but 2.500" allowance would be great.)
Even drilling a channel in the front of the magwell to accomodate a magazine that allows COL's well beyond 2.26 I've found you'll hit the wall--literally--somewhere around 2.34 because that's where the extension's feed ramps will extend to roughly. I suppose you could grind out the bottom feed ramps a bit, but that doesn't lower the step up the bullet has to make to make into the chamber. That's what I experienced trying to hotrod the 224 valk.
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Old November 19, 2023, 04:14 PM   #42
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Now I'm no genius, but why are they coming up with new rounds in the first place? I've never even HEARD of a .277 Fury until I read this thread. If they wanted a larger, more powerful round than the .223, why didn't they jump on the more recent 6.5 Creedmore bandwagon when they were so hot? Granted, many of our more popular hunting rounds started out as a military staple, (along with wildcatting that IMPROVED others) but is newer really better compared to what we already have currently available? I may be old-fashioned, but if it works, don't monkey with it...
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Old November 19, 2023, 04:19 PM   #43
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I’ve fired .223 inside a room, and it’s quite the loud smoky affair.

As I’ve repeatedly stated, at self defense range that will keep you out of prison in civilized society, it’s beyond effective.

Off topic, but I’ve tested the round out on any type of building material you could think of and it penetrates everything.
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Old November 19, 2023, 04:23 PM   #44
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I'm not stuck in some rut over the M-4 and 5.56.

If we can field a better battle instrument to our troops,great!

I do consider the combat load and the troop being able to carry many,many rounds of ammo.

Mogadishu is a case in point.

One other thought has occurred to me. Chaos.

Consider the state of the World. I don't know if we produce enough steel to replenish the pantry with 155 mm projectiles. OK,maybe we do but consider overall supply chains.
The videos of Ukraine hosing Russian aircraft out of the sky leave me thinking "Wow! Thats a lot of ammo!" (Where they get that?)

Israel may be shooting lots of bullets soon.

I'm hearing noise that we are looking at the bottom of the ammo barrel.

So who led NATO to re-tool and re-stock to 5.56 NATO?

How likely is the rest of NATO to be enthusiastic about spending money on arms and ammo? Is the USA going to pay for it?

What happens if China rolls into Taiwan as the Middle East blows up while Ukraine and Russia are still hot?

Chaos, and being issued 23 rounds for today's operation.

Maybe China or Tula will sell us some. We can always print the money.
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Old November 19, 2023, 04:25 PM   #45
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Quote:
If they wanted a larger, more powerful round than the .223, why didn't they jump on the more recent 6.5 Creedmore bandwagon
Well, to replace the 5.56, they needed a LOT more power, more power than current intermediate cartridges available have.

Larger cartridges become a logistical issue. If overall cartridge size wasn’t a problem, then they could just use 30.06 or even one of the magnum rifle cartridges.

They need something that can punch through body armor at a distance in a compact package.
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Old November 19, 2023, 06:10 PM   #46
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Israel may be shooting lots of bullets soon.

I'm hearing noise that we are looking at the bottom of the ammo barrel.

So who led NATO to re-tool and re-stock to 5.56 NATO?

How likely is the rest of NATO to be enthusiastic about spending money on arms and ammo? Is the USA going to pay for it?

What happens if China rolls into Taiwan as the Middle East blows up while Ukraine and Russia are still hot?

Chaos, and being issued 23 rounds for today's operation.

Maybe China or Tula will sell us some. We can always print the money.
Strictly in terms of giving the grunts what is needed to make war, logistics plays a major role. For SD use (which i think is the point of the thread), you are not outgunned if you have a MSR carbine in .223 if you use good ammo. There ARE better options, should you chose to spend the money on them. But .223 is established and economical. Heck it's economical BECAUSE it's established, but we are where we are in terms of ammo markets.

Back to the logistics of war, I suggested the 6x45 because it is the least obtrusive upgrade to the millions of current M4s, M16s, and M249s currently in the arsenal. All it requires to convert an AR design to 6x45 is a barrel swap. The round is somewhat handicapped by the COAL availability in the magazine. In that case, as frankenmauser suggested, bump the case back to 6x42. An AI or WSSM shoulder profile may also help some (though probably not much).

Alas, I believe the military has a lot of things it needs to consider. Ramping up production of 155 shells, mortars, javelin missiles, and other crew serve and supporting weapons probably ranks pretty high on the list of needs. Likely to be much higher, at this point, than rifle upgrades. At least from my reading on the reserve depletion undergone by arming Ukraine. That should be a MAJOR eye opener... but at least it did happen without American troops being committed.
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Old November 20, 2023, 01:32 PM   #47
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I suggested the 6x45
If you're changing nothing at all other than necking it up, I suspect you'll run into the performance wall and limited selection of appropriate bullets problem much as the 25 x 45 sharps has to really get significant performance gains. Hence the ARC.
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Old November 20, 2023, 05:28 PM   #48
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Okay, can someone please direct me to some articles I can read in regards to this "Chinese Stormtrooper Armor" which has been repeatedly referred to in this thread?

I'm curious and wish to learn more about it!
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Old November 21, 2023, 12:49 AM   #49
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I think the Chinese adoption Star Wars Stormtrooper armor would be a fine thing, for us.

I've worn the helmet (shell, anyway) you can't see squat.

It doesn't stop blasters, it doesn't stop lightsabers, and a blind guy with a stick can take out a dozen stormtroopers....

The counter to armor in the middle ages was the longbow, and later, the crossbow. If they Chinese (or anyone) comes up with a viable Star Wars Stormtrooper type armor, someone will come up with a counter for that.

The only thing you can count on for sure, is that our govt will try very hard to make civilian ownership of that counter difficult or outright illegal.
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Old November 21, 2023, 01:35 PM   #50
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Oh Nooooo.... I can imagine all the dirt cheap AR's available from the lemmings that follow such things :-)
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