Just wondering
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:36 AM   #1
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Default Just wondering

Ok I got talking to a guy about the M16's, about why is the military still using the 5.56. After a bit of number crunching I found that the 5.56 pretty much sucks past 500 yards.

At 500 yards with a 5.56 using a 55gr bullet it hits with about 350 ft-ib. Where a 30-30 theoretically hits with around 400 ft-ibs using a 170gr bullet. I know the diameter and the weight of the bullets are different but it's just a comparison.

Now the military says the M16 is effective for a point target out to 550 meters and an area target out to 800 meters?

I can see the 500 meter mark possible but what the 800 meter is just to give people the impression that someone is shooting at them?

Why are we using the 5.56 when the 30-30 or even a 270 win has more power and about the same recoil?

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Old 08-21-2013, 09:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by unclebear
Ok I got talking to a guy about the M16's, about why is the military still using the 5.56. After a bit of number crunching I found that the 5.56 pretty much sucks past 500 yards.

At 500 yards with a 5.56 using a 55gr bullet it hits with about 350 ft-ib. Where a 30-30 theoretically hits with around 400 ft-ibs using a 170gr bullet. I know the diameter and the weight of the bullets are different but it's just a comparison.

Now the military says the M16 is effective for a point target out to 550 meters and an area target out to 800 meters?

I can see the 500 meter mark possible but what the 800 meter is just to give people the impression that someone is shooting at them?

Why are we using the 5.56 when the 30-30 or even a 270 win has more power and about the same recoil?
I don't remember what we use in our C7 rifles, but I want to say its a 57gr or something, it's a little heavier then the 55, I know that much. But at 800meters, it basically means that at least one guy is going to land a hit on the target, the rounds that miss will do a damned good job of keeping the targets head down.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:11 AM   #3
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But even if the round actually lands a hit it would hit with about as much force as a 22 long rifle in theory. While someone in plain cloths it would still suck either way but a target wearing even light armor without plates it wouldn't do much. I can see how it would keep the targets head down even with rounds landing around the target but I'm still confused about why we would keep using this round

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Old 08-21-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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But even if the round actually lands a hit it would hit with about as much force as a 22 long rifle in theory. While someone in plain cloths it would still suck either way but a target wearing even light armor without plates it wouldn't do much. I can see how it would keep the targets head down even with rounds landing around the target but I'm still confused about why we would keep using this round
But the goal of the 5.56 it's self it's not to kill. It's to mane. So if it hit like a .22LR, it causes the target to freak out still which intern takes his friends attention off of you for a period of time while they do what ever they need to in order to treat him.

As far as us still using this round, it's probably more weight then anything. A single round of 5.56x45mm compared to a single round of say 30-06.....well the projectile of the 30-06 probably weighs the same as the case, powder and bullet of the NATO round. Basically it boils down to how much ammunition a single man can carry. I know for a member of the Canadian forces, we carry 150 rounds, or five magazines. Now add in the weight of everything else that'd be carried on a patrol and its easy to see why they went with a lighter round.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:03 PM   #5
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So pretty much they chose to carry more of less effective rounds then more effective rounds that could stop a threat quicker. I can understand the weight when your carrying 100 rounds of ammo plus other gear during a 20 mile hike every ounce counts. But if your going against an enemy with no concern for there fellow soldiers and they just leave the wounded to die then soldiers would burn through more ammunition actually putting down threats with the 5.56 then the old 30-06. Also when shooting at long range and you have to put down a serious threat with the 5.56 your most likely going to have to use multiple rounds.

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Old 08-21-2013, 12:05 PM   #6
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Something else to keep in mind, most of the targets that a 5.56 will be used on are 300 meters or closer. If you look at the carbines that they are using, 300 meters is about it. And keep in mind, nobody has volentired to be hit with a 22 at any range, or a 5.56 at 800 meters. At this point, I don't want to be hit by a bb. Paint balls are statting to hurt too!

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Old 08-21-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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So pretty much they chose to carry more of less effective rounds then more effective rounds that could stop a threat quicker. I can understand the weight when your carrying 100 rounds of ammo plus other gear during a 20 mile hike every ounce counts. But if your going against an enemy with no concern for there fellow soldiers and they just leave the wounded to die then soldiers would burn through more ammunition actually putting down threats with the 5.56 then the old 30-06. Also when shooting at long range and you have to put down a serious threat with the 5.56 your most likely going to have to use multiple rounds.
That's the thing, most guys don't burn through their ammunition. Even doing rapid fire drills at the range with the C7s, it took around 20 seconds to go through a magazine. That's firing as fast as you can get back on target at 200meters. You've also got to think though, at 800, you more then likely don't HAVE to engage the threat as they wouldn't be that big of a threat from that far. If you truly had to do something about a target at that distance and for what ever reason couldn't get closer, there are higher caliber weapons carried while on patrol so they could be utilized.


Should also state that we only loaded our mags to ten rounds each, we had to get through everyone in a short amount of time.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:11 PM   #8
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Last I checked (I am a bit out of date) a platoon of Marines carried more than just M-16s. If 5.56 aint enough, how about 7.62, or maybe 50 cal. I would rather just do a call for fire and let arty party. The problem is, its been so long, I would call for them to blow my location off the map!

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Old 08-21-2013, 01:41 PM   #9
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I got reading this book and that's what spurred this before the cease fire with North Korea when we were fighting, our guys carried the good ol M1 garand shot heavy hitting 30-06 they would run the rifles without any oil or lube because it would freeze the gun shut. They had a rugged reliable rifle that could kill a man pretty much as far as the rifle man could see the target and hit it, back when one shot pretty much did the job but two sealed the deal.

Now our guys are using rifles that have to be lubed and cleaned and need to be treated like a prom queen. The ammo they use to is a lot less effective compared to the old 30-06. So if we get back into active combat with North Korea I'm wondering how our weapon systems are going to hold up.

But even outside Korea it just seems to me like the round our guys are using are really under powered compared to even the 6.5 rounds and esp even a .270 WIN.

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Old 08-21-2013, 05:58 PM   #10
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It's an interesting thought but I can tell you exactly why we use the 5.56 still.

1) Cost. It is cheaper to use and train on then the 30-06, for example.
2) Light weight. Someone else covered this.
3) Yes, all Marines are trained how to engage targets at 500 yards, but even that is uncommon in combat. Generally they don't need to, and won't, engage targets farther than 200-300 yards. Anything at 800 yards, yes the M16 is capable of hitting if needed, but anything at that distance, a trained sniper on a better weapons platform, shooting a better caliber, is called in.
4) 5.56x45mm is a NATO round. It allows for compatibility of ammo amongst some of our allies. 30-06, or 7.62x63mm in its metric designation, is not a NATO round. 7.62x51mm is a NATO round, and grunts use that caliber also, in many various platforms.

The bottom line is, the average grunt doesn't need a better caliber or rifle platform than an M16 with 5.56x45.

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