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Just watched a blurb on one of the science channels about the desire for the military to move away from the .223/5.56mm round.

In the words of one of the spokesmen: "The 5.56mm nato round is far less effective a cartridge than we can realistically use. It does not inflict the damage nor does it have the weight to allow significant penetration on light targets at medium ranges. The United States is looking at adopting a round that will function in the M16 and M249 systems with minimum modifications. Several rounds have been examined including a 6mm, 6.8mm, and a 7mm cartridge."

When asked about the time frame of a turn over: "The sooner the better. Today, our enemies are not paid soldiers but fanatics willing to die while causing the most damage possible. This requires a cartridge that has much greater stopping power to overcome their extremist and possibly drug enduced resistance to incapacitation."

Opinions?

Mike
 

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I personally like the idea of a 7mm. Something like a 7-08 would be ideal. Low recoil, plenty of oomph.

But, the 6.8 (.270) has potential too, though I'd rather see a little more power behind it.

I see model1sales has uppers in 6.8 for sale at about $350. If the ammo becomes more readily available, I may get one, but I am of the wait and see attitude right now.

:devil:
 

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Over all, the 5.56 from a 20 inch barrel still leaves something to be desired in the penetration department (no not helmuts, but obsticals and cover the enemy hides behind.) What is worse, when you take the barrel down to 10 or 12 inches, you lose so much it isn't worth shit.

Yes, a 6.8 or 7mm sounds about right. The very thing the Brits developed before WW2!
 

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Aslan, just out of curiosity, why does everyone claim the 7mm-08 has such light recoil? I can't see how a 140-gr bullet at a hair over a .308's velocity, recoils appreciably less than a 150-gr .308.


As to the original question, the .223 is lacking at anything but close range (yes, 200 yards is close range), and the .308 has SOME maneuverability problems at close range (more platform problem, not a cartridge problem with the .308). The 6.8 would fall right in the middle. I think it'd be an effective round to say, 500 yards or so. It'd be interesting to see a squad with one DM with a 24" rifle, maybe two guys with 16" rifles as the "entry" guys, the rest with 20" rifles, one with underslung grenade launcher.
 

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Maybe we need to remember the reason we changed from .30 caliber to .22 caliber in the first place. Soldiers are able to carry many more of the latter rounds. Put the .223 in the hands of a trianed shooter and it is very effective.
 

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Magnum88C said:
Aslan, just out of curiosity, why does everyone claim the 7mm-08 has such light recoil? I can't see how a 140-gr bullet at a hair over a .308's velocity, recoils appreciably less than a 150-gr .308.
My deer rifle is a 7mm-08 Remington 788 with a 16 1/2 inch barrel. The recoil is noticable but not significant. The main problem I'd see with a military rifle chambered for it would be muzzle jump. That little rifle of mine jumps about 8 inches when I shoot it.
 

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Flinter said:
My deer rifle is a 7mm-08 Remington 788 with a 16 1/2 inch barrel. The recoil is noticable but not significant. The main problem I'd see with a military rifle chambered for it would be muzzle jump. That little rifle of mine jumps about 8 inches when I shoot it.
Yeah, IMHO the .308 doesn't kick much. But either way, the point is, the same rifle will not recoil appreciably more or less firing rounds that are within 10 grains of each other at nearly the same velocity. Yet, I keep reading people on the net swearing the 7mm-08 recoils noticably less. I just don't get it.
 

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jimmy_b said:
Maybe we need to remember the reason we changed from .30 caliber to .22 caliber in the first place. Soldiers are able to carry many more of the latter rounds. Put the .223 in the hands of a trianed shooter and it is very effective.
The .223 is effective within its fragmentation range. I think Mrostov posted a chart of that range with reference to different barrel lengths. As I recall, the full-length 20" barrel fell short (with the original 55-gr load) just short of 300 meters. Now, everyone wants shorties, 16:, 14" or less. This cuts the effective range below 200 meters. The newer, heavier ammo has even less of an effective range, yet doesn't penetrate hard cover well.

The fact that it's often taking 4-5 rounds to drop the guys we're fighting kind of negates the ability to carry twice the ammo.
Add to that fact that our guys often have to engage at 400+ meters, especially in Afganistan, and yes, the .223 is ineffective.

The 6.8 makes sense in that all it requires is an upper change on current rifles to work. More power would be nice, but it'd necessitate a new rifle.

Honestly, I don't see the benefit in adopting the XM-8 either. It's no more modular than an AR-series. As it stands with the AR, we can have a 24" DM rifle, 20" infantry rifle, 16" or 14" "entry" rifles, and underslung grenade launchers, as well as any optic that can be mounted to a picatinny rail.

I don't see the reason to go to a new rifle unless it's going to to go a seriously more powerful round, and can mount optics, etc well. That would necessitate a heavier, larger rifle though. We had a shot at such a rifle, it's called a FAL. We ditched it for the M14 design that we ditched for the M16, so I don't see such a rifle ever being adopted for general issue.
 

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The pundits in the media who say that a 5.56mm "isn't effective" have obviously never seen a human hit with one at normal combat encounter ranges (<100m). The ability to carry a whopping snotload of ammo is also a serious advantage in combat.

As for modern body armor, even the vaunted .30/7.62mmNATO has a hard time with boron carbide SAPI plates, but few people are using American style ceramic body armor.

If they go to a bigger round, I'd vote for something like a 7.62x39mm necked down to 5.56mm, 6mm, or 6.5 mm.

Interesting that the new 6.8mmSPC round is actually a modified, shortened and necked down .30 Remington. The .30 Remington is actually just a .30-30 Winchester that is rimless for use in autoloaders. When I was a kid, one of teh rifles we had around was a custom M98 Venezuelan Mauser chambered for .219 Zipper, which is a .30-30 case necked down to .224". It was a ferocious round.

During the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya in the 1950's, a local big game hunter was hired to hunt down and kill Mau Mau. He said that of all of the rounds he tried, the very best mankiller he ever used was the .220 Swift, which is ballistically rather similar to the modern .22-250. He said that it dropped them like they had been hit by a thunderbolt.
 

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Please no one take this wrong, but maybe we need to train our troops better at accuracy instead of spray and pray. During WW2 our soliders were called riflemen, but now days most recruits haven't even fired a weapon before they join up.
 

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Actually many captured Iraqis thought that our soldiers were all sniper trained by how far out they've been getting hits, and the number of head shots that are taken.

Our boys are shooting fine. In fact the Army has adopted the Marine Corps "every man's a rifleman first" outlook and trained the rear-echelon guys to shoot as well as the front-liners (good for occupations where there are no front lines).

Problem is, our guys are complaining at having to hit the friggin guys 4 and 5 times to put them down. I think it's time to stop blaming everything BUT the cartridge, pony up and give our guys what they need. For cryin out loud they need new UPPERS, it's not like they'll need new ammo pouches/vests, new optics, etc.
 

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From what I've heard from the USMC after action feedback is that the 5.56mm is doing just fine. Their average encounter with small arms is under 100m. In a long, drawn out urban fight in places like Fallujah you need all of the ammo you can carry and the lighter the ammo the better for carrying huge amounts of it.

You shoot someone with a solid 5.56mm hit in the torso at typical urban encounter ranges and he'll drop (your typical Muslim insurgent is NOT wearing nterceptor body armor). A lot of 'hits' are really not hits or solid hits. Lots of people have walked away from .30cal 'hits'. In Somalia, for example, the entire population was cranked out on Qat. One Ranger hit an old Somali with an AKM at least 12 times with a 7.62mm M60 before he dropped.

The average encounter range is well within the optimum frag range of the M855 round fired out of the M4A1. The Marines are talking about giving everyone in the field an M4A1 and giving one man per squad a 20" flattop scoped HBAR style target rifle.

What guys are saying that they really need is a weapon like the RPG-7. It's from the RPG-7 that a great many of our direct fire casualties come from. However, there is some cool stuff getting to the front, such as a new 40mm 'thermobaric' grenade round.

There's been some feedback from Afghanistan for a longer range round where the fighting is atypical to just about everywhere else in the world - high, cold, barren mountains with long shots across and down valleys and ridges.

The Russians are doing just fine with their 5.45mm bullet technology.

The NWO crowd has gotten just about every country execpt for Russia and China standardized on the 5.56mm round. Hence, I'm not holding my breath for a caliber switch, which would involve a huge logistical turnover. The huge logistics may not be justified when the most potent weapon in the infantry platoon is still the radio and the fire missions and airstrikes it can call in.

All in all, the .30cal 'bullet hole size is everything' crowd that has been trying since 1965 to fight the changeover to lighter calibers and it's essentially that momentum that birthed the 6.8mm SPC.

There might be a caliber switch when the military goes to a new rifle, such as the new M8 assault rifle.

Regardless of the caliber, the key to the future of small arms will be bullet technology. The FMJ 7.62mm NATO would itself be far more lethal if the USA built it's military ammo the way the Germans do - highly fragmentary like the M193 5.56mm round. The newer bullets for the 5.56mm are pretty good, such as the 77gr cannelured Sierra Matchking which will frag at velocities as low as 2100fps.
 

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My personal opinion is that we screwed up huge when we went toward the “short-barrel / heavier-fmj-bullet” combination. If stuck with fmj, the 5.56 needs velocity to work and shorter barrels and heavier bullets both hurt velocity.

If we’d go back to the 55-grain bullets (even in the 20-inch guns), our guys would be better armed, imo. Obviously, non-fmj bullets like the OTM they’re trying, or a very tail-heavy fmj (to help yawing) would probably be even better.
 

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John in AR said:
My personal opinion is that we screwed up huge when we went toward the “short-barrel / heavier-fmj-bullet” combination. If stuck with fmj, the 5.56 needs velocity to work and shorter barrels and heavier bullets both hurt velocity.

If we’d go back to the 55-grain bullets (even in the 20-inch guns), our guys would be better armed, imo. Obviously, non-fmj bullets like the OTM they’re trying, or a very tail-heavy fmj (to help yawing) would probably be even better.
Hi all,

New guy here, but I agree. The 55-grain (M193, I think) was a lot more effective than the 62 (?) grain 5.56. If you ever get a chance, peel the jacket off of a 62 grain 5.56 NATO and see how much of it is the steel penetrator.

I believe the Marines are issuing a 77-grain bullet in-country. Also, last I heard, the XM-8 project was "on hold" while the pentagon re-examines what it wants in a rifle.

I myself don't think the problem is so much the bullet or the rifle as it is lack of productive trigger time.
 

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In my experience, the 55gr bullets are a better stopper
than the 62 gr SS-109.
The 55 gr bullets fragment and transfer more energy into
the target than the SS-109 does. The SS-109 tends to
act like an icepick and just punch right through.

The rights to manufacture the XM-8 wre sold to General Dynamics
a while back, and the Army has put the entire program on hold.
Guess they got tired of beating a dead horse. I have held and shot a XM-8
and I was less than impressed.
The forerunner last I heard was the SCAR from FN.

Regards,

Scott
 

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The Israeli standard infantry weapon is a CAR-15 built upon an M-16A1 with a lightweight 14.5" barrel. They seem to be quite happy with it.

Last I heard they were still predominantly using M193 spec 55gr ammo.
 

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I would be; that's a very good setup.
 

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Mike, based on the information that I have seen through the media, the internet, etc, I have not heard of thermobaric RPG round being used in Iraq. And I am VERY well informed. Being that there are over 60 plus models of RPG rockets manufactured in over a dozen countries in numerous natures, I'm curious to your source?
 

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They are shooting far more in practice than they ever did back in Vietnam! http://www.strategypage.com/default.asp

points out that we now shoot three times as much ammo, most of it in practice. Even the non-combat troups shoot quite a bit of ammo now before going to Iraq.

Spray and pray is dead.
 

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Forget it. Study after study shows that the rifle accounts for less than 10% of battlefield casulties. In the first Gulf war, it wasn't even 1%. Trigger time means virtually nothing when most guys cant/won't kill, panic, won't wear ear plugs, can't be bothered to bring their own cleaning gear from home, etc.
 
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