More Controversey over The 5.56x45mm

AP article on the ineffectiveness of the M855 round.

Dr. Martin Fackler, a former combat surgeon and a leading authority on bullet injuries, said the problem is the gun, not the bullet. The M4 rifle has a 14.5 inch barrel — too short to create the velocity needed for an M855 bullet to do maximum damage to the body.

My understanding is that the 5.56×45 needs to be doing over 2800 fps to do serious tissue damage, which it achieves being fired out of an M16, but not an M4.

Rules of war limit the type of ammunition conventional military units can shoot. The Hague Convention of 1899 bars hollow point bullets that expand in the body and cause injuries that someone is less likely to survive. The United States was not a party to that agreement. Yet, as most countries do, it adheres to the treaty, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

I would argue if our adversaries can behead people, we can use effective ammunition.  To me, this is the real problem.  With the right kind of ammo, I think the M4 would be much more effective than it is with M855.

“One of the things I’ve discovered in guns is that damned near everyone is an expert,” he says. “And they all have opinions.”

No doubt.

10 thoughts on “More Controversey over The 5.56x45mm”

  1. Yes. Read this and the links inside for more information….much more.

    Generally for 5.56, and depending on your rate of rifling twist, it’s recommended to stick to heavier, open tip match type projectiles loaded to NATO pressures.

    1 turn in 7 or 8 inches:

    Hornady 75 gr TAP OTM
    Black Hills 77 gr Nosler OTM
    Sierra 77 gr Match King OTM

    1 turn in 9 inches:

    Sierra 69 gr Match King OTM
    Hornady 68 gr OTM
    Black Hills 68 gr OTM

    In a nut-shell, 5.56 performs by fragmentation, and the longer, heavier bullets have greater fragmentation distance thresholds. All things being equal, the shorter your barrel, the lower the velocity and hence, frag range threshold.

  2. Both the Mk262 Mod 1 and the M193 are considered more effective than the M855 and are approved for military use. Most of the 1/7’s above aren’t currently approved, although I agree that the NATO Hornady BTHP T2 TAP (8126N) is just about the best round currently in production for that application.

  3. Off on a bit of a tangent here, but can anyone tell me the difference, if any, between 5.56×45 and regular, commercial-variety .223 caliber? I have a buddy who insists that they’re different, in some way.

  4. My understanding is that the difference is in case thickness, and power load. I think the NATO spec rounds generate more chamber pressure, and produce higher velocity than the civilian counterpart.

  5. Basically, you can shoot .223 in a NATO Spec chamber… but you should never shoot NATO spec ammunition in a rifle chambered for .223

  6. I tried to post a link to no avail.

    B. Smith, google “ammo oracle” for a detailed answer to your question.

    www dot ammo-oracle dot com

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