Is the 5.56/.223 more to blame?
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Is the 5.56/.223 more to blame?


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Old 12-01-2013, 11:36 PM   #1
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I still haven't experienced a stuck case in my AR. I've been thinking about the shape of the case as compared to the 7.62 x 39. If you compare the two there's an obvious difference in taper. This leads to the banana looking AK mag vs the straighter AR mag. Also, the chamber contact area seems smaller(haven't actually measured this). Common sense would tell me that the 7.62 x39 would lend to easier extraction due to more taper and less surface area in contact with the chamber.

AR15's are extremely reliable In their current form. Should the 5.56/.223 round itself be blamed for some of the earlier reliability issues?
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CamoToe1 View Post
I still haven't experienced a stuck case in my AR. I've been thinking about the shape of the case as compared to the 7.62 x 39. If you compare the two there's an obvious difference in taper. This leads to the banana looking AK mag vs the straighter AR mag. Also, the chamber contact area seems smaller(haven't actually measured this). Common sense would tell me that the 7.62 x39 would lend to easier extraction due to a more taper and less surface are in contact with the chamber.

AR15's are extremely reliable In their current form. Should the 5.56/.223 round itself be blamed for some of the earlier reliability issues?
IIRC, it was because the barrel and chamber were not chrome lined back then (not a good thing if you are in a humid place like Vietnam), and ball powder (dirty) was used in the ammo vs the log powders (less dirty) we use today.

So in a way, it was partially the ammo's fault, but not for the reasons you asked about.

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In May of 1967, after numerous complaints had been received by members of the United States Congress regarding the malfunctioning of the M-16 rifle in Vietnam, a special subcommittee of the Congressional Armed Forces Committee, began to investigate the allegations.
In Vietnam, when the malfunction started to make its appearance and the combat soldier started asking why, he was told that it was his fault because he was not keeping his weapon clean. A further complication at the time was that there were two types of ammunition available. The IMR and the Ball Propellent became mixed as the Ball Propellent was being introduced and the IMR was being used up. Then it was said that the weapon needed a new buffer and that would cure the problem. With the new buffer the malfunction continued, and again the soldier was told it was his fault because he was not properly cleaning his rifle. The Army tried to blame him and the rifle. As it turns out, the blame for the malfunction rested with neither the soldier nor the M-16 rifle. It rested with the manufacture of 5.56 mm. ammunition with ball propellant, because it was cheaper than using IMR extruded propellant, and there was a huge surplus of old artillery powder from which ball propellant was manufactured.

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Old 12-01-2013, 11:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by texaswoodworker
IIRC, it was because the barrel and chamber were not chrome lined back then (not a good thing if you are in a humid place like Vietnam), and ball powder (dirty) was used in the ammo vs the log powders (less dirty) we use today.
I'm sure there were many factors early on, such as:
1. Rough chambers(non chrome lined)
2. Incorrect powder
3. Lack of cleaning kit issued
4. Improper training
5. No lube or insufficient lube

But all things equal:

Do you think the case design leads to a more difficult round to extract?

Does anyone have a 7.62 x 39 upper?

Any extraction issues?
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CamoToe1 View Post
I'm sure there were many factors early on, such as:
1. Rough chambers(non chrome lined)
2. Incorrect powder
3. Lack of cleaning kit issued
4. Improper training
5. No lube or insufficient lube

But all things equal:

Do you think the case design leads to a more difficult round to extract?

Does anyone have a 7.62 x 39 upper?

Any extraction issues?
No, I don't. The fact that ARs are so reliable today is proof of that. It might just a little harder to extract, but not enough to matter. Definitely not enough to say that's what caused the reliability issues in Vietnam.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:03 AM   #5
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I think you're onto something. It does seem to me that the design of the 7.62 round would be an easier one to extract.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:06 AM   #6
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Didn't Vietnam era 5.56 ammunition use stick powder?
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by texaswoodworker
Definitely not enough to say that's what caused the reliability issues in Vietnam.
Completely agree that it wasn't the only reason, but haven't ruled it out as a minor contributing factor.

Consider the steel case vs brass case issues we see on here from time to time. AK's seem to run steel pretty easily, however some AR's can be picky eaters. I know.... looser chambers and overgassed piston systems can be cited... But what about the design of the case itself?

Has anyone on here ran an 7.62 x 39 DI AR upper with a large sample size of steel cased ammo?
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:21 AM   #8
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Didn't Vietnam era 5.56 ammunition use stick powder?
They were supposed to. Ball powder was cheaper though, so some dumbass politicians decided to use it instead. A lot of American soldiers died as a result.

Once they figured out they effed up, they went back to stick powders like they should have done from the beginning.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterMcCool View Post
Didn't Vietnam era 5.56 ammunition use stick powder?
only for a short bit and intermittantly

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Originally Posted by trip286 View Post
I think you're onto something. It does seem to me that the design of the 7.62 round would be an easier one to extract.
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Originally Posted by CamoToe1 View Post
Completely agree that it wasn't the only reason, but haven't ruled it out as a minor contributing factor.

Consider the steel case vs brass case issues we see on here from time to time. AK's seem to run steel pretty easily, however some AR's can be picky eaters. I know.... looser chambers and overgassed piston systems can be cited... But what about the design of the case itself?

Has anyone on here ran an 7.62 x 39 DI AR upper with a large sample size of steel cased ammo?
case design leads to easier extraction but only so much. long as it has some taper which the 556/223 has thats enough. so there isnt any real diff tween the two in that respect. what makes the ak easier to extract is its extremely overgassed and ripping the cartridge out by brute force and the chambers are larger than they need to be

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They were supposed to. Ball powder was cheaper though, so some dumbass politicians decided to use it instead. A lot of American soldiers died as a result.

Once they figured out they effed up, they went back to stick powders like they should have done from the beginning.
they used a poor form of ball powder. as it turns out ball powder burns better under all conditions than stick does. it also burns better in a semi auto.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:48 AM   #10
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Yes all the above reasons were the answer to issues in the past. I have never had a failure to extract! As of late the only significant issues I have seen with extraction and feed have been due to shooting cheap ammunition with the laquer coating which builds up in the barrel over a short period of time. A good simple chemical for furniture stripping will clean it out the best.

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