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Friday, November 21. 2008
The "beloved" M-14 gets a new lease on life, for "designated marksmen."
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It's a little heavier, but well worth it in the majority of conditions. Reliable, as the man says.
The 5.56 mm is a small round. Troops can carry more ammunition to the fight for suppression. Also, the round tumbles after hitting a target wounding wounding an enemy--this is a burden on the enemy forces.
The 7.62 NATO offers a better ballistics package for long range, knock-down power, but it's a heavy round and troops are limited in how much they can carry.
The idea of a designated marksman makes sense to me. I have no experience to qualify my remarks, but it seems using the 5.56 for suppression, and augmenting the firepower of a unit with the long range, accurate knock-down power of a M-14 is a no brainer.
If my finances were in order, I would have opted for a Socom II or an M1A rather than the 5.56--the 7.62 makes more sense as a last ditch survival weapon, but the 5.56 is a better plinker. And all told, I'd rather be plinking.
Jephnol, double tap an aggressor.
Luther, a.22 to the tear duct.
Damn good advice as far as I'm concerned.
I told my daughter, she understood.
Double tap! Hell, if the devil's at my door I might just feed the nasty a whole magazine.
You know man, I'm a pacifist (did I spell that right? I never wrote that before). But of course, that whole notion is going to hell if someone bent on my gruesome demise sets foot en mi casa. The the only thing that matters then is I didn't die for not trying.
Pray for peace armed to the teeth. Double tap. Triple tap. Many, many taps. God forbid that kind of trouble ever steps up to greet me, but on that day I hope to tap that fool into the arms of Jesus. May God let the good guys win. Amen.
The original 49 grain 5.56 round fired out of a barrel with a 1 in 12 twist - making a very fast unstable round that tumbled.
The M16A2/A4 and M4 have a 1 in 7 twist and troops are now issued ammo ranging from 55 to 68 grains. The new rifles and ammo is more accurate and better penetrates body armor, but it does NOT tumble. It's too stable.
From what I've read recently the 'twist' in the military M-16 was changed a great while after my experience with the weapon. The rounds no longer tumble. One of many reasons perhaps that it has not received good reviews since that change was made. Also, the 'old' M-16 was quite capable of bringing down a target at 500 yards. I succeeded at 400, though the tumbling action may have contributed to that outcome and one might not achieve the same results today with that new 'twist' or unless it is a 'kill' shot.
For jungle warfare the M-16 was a better carry, lighter, and less likely to tangle up in undergrowth. And it is true that a person could carry substantially more rounds. The largest drawback at the time was the unreliability of the weapon due to carbon blockage of the gas chamber and debris contamination of the receiver and bolt area. Daily, thorough and consistent cleaning was essential for reliability.
The two largest advantages of the M-14 are, one, stopping power, practically any hit causing an enemy to go down, and two... reliability. The quoted piece was correct in that you could/can quite literally drop a handful of sand in the open receiver of a M-14 and the damn thing will still fire.
So, all in all, my original comment was based on reliability. Which, when your asshole is puckered up somewhere in the general vicinity of your ears is a very important consideration.
Jappy... you're a good man. And you've got a smart daughter there, by the way. So, after all, as the ol' saying goes, it ain't the size of the tool but how you use it that counts.
Luther, I think the military is using a 1:7 twist, which is good for heavier bullet weights like the M855 which has a 62 grain round. I don't understand all of the ballistics, but a slow twist rate vs a fast twist rate has a big effect on bullet stability.
A 1:8 or 1:9 twist is cool for 55 grain to 69 grain bullet stability but to stabilize a larger bullet requires a 1:7 twist. I've shot 34 grain .223 rounds out of my AR with no tumbling.
Possibly the military was using heavier rounds with a 1:12 twist early on in the adoption of the M16, but I don't know the history of the weapon. To my thinking it doesn't matter if the bullet keyholes when it hits an enemy, but it's harder to hit a combatant with a tumbling bullet.
The tumbling I was refering to earlier in the comments is the action of the bullet on entering a body. It has a tendency to tumble in flesh. I have heard green tipped M855's will through and through, but I'm assuming this is under certain set of circumstnces, like the difference between a 16" barrel and a 14" barrel, or at specific ranges. The M855 is an AP round, so the least you would expect penetration to be significant.
Us armchair warriors home were discussing this over dinner (I am interested but ignorant and mainly concerned which weapon is easiest for the kid and other mom's kids to learn to use effectively). One advantage to M16 I was informed (because light and ammo light) is for soldiers who are either female or from less gigantic stock than linebacker types. I'm told by more expert male relatives that M-14 is better at getting thru bullet proof vests worn by Saddam's former troops.
On a cheerier note, here is an unexpected (if a tad effusive) testimonial by, of all things, a Frenchman. No, not a Monty Python snotty one. An appreciative soldier observing our forces in action. Will copy the French version and an English translation
And an English translation of the same remarks http://serendipity.ruwenzori.net/index.php/2008/09/21/american-troops-in-afghanistan-through-the-eyes-of-a-french-omlt-infantryman
Luther, in the interest of being better educated and because I appreciate what you put out here, I fished around a little.
Information galore on twist rates and bullet weights. I just know at the end of the day I'll end up doing math. But this is not the new stuff.
I seem to recall reading the original M16 twist rate was 1:14 and there was an idea around that a tumbling bullet was a good thing. When the military went to the 1:12 twist some considered it a bad thing. The military now uses a 1:7 twist.
Accuracy improves with an appropriate twist rate/bullet weight ratio.
Most bullets tumble when they hit a body--7.62 included. 55 grain 5.56mm rounds will create an impressive wound channel and are effective on enemy combatants.
Trouble for the 5.56mm starts with body armor and windshield glass. Heavier, AP rounds are favorable. The 7.62 even more so...
Manufacturing issues with M855 AP rounds cause spotty performance. I don't know if this is still true.
The maximum kill range with a 5.56mm is 1000 yards, and 1300 yards is wounding range. (But good luck hitting your target without a sniper rifle).
More learned... More to learn. Have to go and play with wife. It's Friday night.
I appreciate your research, Jephnol. But indeed I just shot what they gave me. And speak only to practical application and experience in the field. A field who's grass long ago browned, died and has been replaced with strong new shoots of growth.
I will say though that those numbers on kill and wound range with 5.56 are with magnification I suspect, and on a static target. I was speaking of iron sights used by a decent shooter on a moving target.
You and the wife have a good night.
My wife is out the door and I have to meet her in a minute. I'm taking that minute here.
Anything I throw up here is a moving target until I do the math. But all of that falls off into the realm of the absurd when I consider a man being brought to the point of "your asshole is puckered up somewhere in the general vicinity of your ears." And I hear that with startling clarity. I shit you not.
Luther, I know I've said this before, but many considered thanks for your time spent in the grass. I'll put my money on your practical experience. Thanks. And I mean that in a way that makes me want to go out and smack a protester.
We'll have a good night. You have one, too.
I'm just an old reminiscing fart Jephnol. It is the young bloods such as yourself that will carry on. And well, I think. Hope you had a very nice evening.
In November '90 I was transferred from a regimental to a battalion headquarters to go to the Persian Gulf. When I got to the company armorer, he tried to issue me a pistol. I shoved it back through the hole and requested an M-14. Most Marine Reserve units had them for occasions such as funerals.
He looked around for a while then found that a couple of old Gunnies had drawn them. So I got a M-16A2 Jam-o-matic instead. That thing hated sand - which really sucks when you're in the Saudi Desert.
In the '60s I'd tag along with my father, who was on the U.S. Army Reserve marksmanship team, at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. They used M-14s.
I was there one day when the M-16 was introduced to the soldiers, and I quite clearly remember them saying "should have 'Made by Mattel' stamped on it." Troops in Vietnam didn't like it because it wasn't as good a rifle as the AK-47, it didn't have the stopping power or range.
My father explained that in jungle warfare, a la Vietnam, the idea was to design a rifle accurate for short distances, with lightness at a premium. Still, the AK-47 was a superior weapon all around.
The 7.62x51mm (aka, .308, with slightly different loadings/pressures) isn't alone in having doubled in price. EVERY kind of ammo has essentially doubled in price in the past couple of years. The 525-round packs of .22 LR that I used to get for $11 are now selling for $21. .45 ACP that I used to get for $7.99 a box (50 rounds) are now selling for $15.99 (if you can find 'em in stock).
A major problem with the mil-spec 5.56 (aka, .223 with different pressures/loads) ammo is that a larger and larger number of soldiers are being equipped with the "shorty" M4 variants, with extremely short barrels. The lighter projectiles just don't have any velocity coming out of these shorties, and are essentially a stubby .22 past 200 yards. The number of "one-shot-stops" with them are essentially zero.