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Should the 5.56 be replaced?

This is a discussion on Should the 5.56 be replaced? within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by F-15 Eagle What if you take a M82/M107 .50 cal sniper rifle and take off the scope ...


View Poll Results: Should the 5.56 be replaced?
No the 5.56 is good enough. 43 28.29%
Replace it with 6.5mm or 6.8mm. 76 50.00%
Just go back to the 7.62mm. 27 17.76%
Unsure. 7 4.61%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 152. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 7th, 2008   #76
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What if you take a M82/M107 .50 cal sniper rifle and take off the scope and use only the iron sights for an infantry assault rifle?
I think i have a better idea. Let's give everyone a HS.820. Or, for that matter, maybe a B-10? It's not like you'd need any other equipment with a B-10 on you.
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Old September 7th, 2008   #77
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I've just been this website. It's very informative and presents the pros and cons of each rifle round. The 6.8 might actually be better than I used to think (see the first update at the bottom of the page).

EDIT: Okay, I've done some digging around, and I think that I may have come up with one or two interesting ideas.

This document shows that the size of the 5.56 cartridge could be drastically reduced. In fact, you could fit 58 rounds into a standard magazine, maybe even 60. It weighs about 30 % less, so you could have a 40 round mag for approximately the same weight as a 30 round mag, or you could have a 50 round mag, or you could just make the mags smaller.

Secondly, with their new propellant, you could easily get a 90 grain bullet to go at the same speed as a 62 grain round, which would greatly increase the hitting power of the 5.56. In fact, with the help of a ballistics calculator, I worked out that, while a 90 grain 5.56 (assuming a BC of 0.483, which is roughly the same as a .224 Sierra MatchKing, and a speed of 3000 ft/s) would still lack 72.6 foot pounds out of the barrel, has less drop and windage than a 120 grain 6.5 Grendel (fired at the standard speed of 2650 ft/s). If you could get a 120 grain bullet into a 5.56 mm case, you would still get better performance than the 6.5 (assuming that the 5.56 had a BC of 0.510 and was fired at 2700 ft/s. Fired at 2850, which might just be possible with this new powder, the bullet beats the Grendel hands down).

The only problem that I could see with this new powder/case (for those who don't like the photo in my second link, a better picture is here) that you would probably have to modify the chamber of the gun. However, if the powers to be did think that the increased mag size was an acceptable trade off have to rebuild the chamber of each and every gun, they could always use the powder to improve the 6.5 MPC so that it fired a 90 grain round at 3100 ft/s or even a 120 grain projectile at, say, 2800. This way, they would keep magazine capacity, the size of the chamber and would only need to change the barrel. In return, they get a heavier, harder hitting round, probably with around about the same recoil as the 6.5 Grendel. In fact, because you have a 6.5 round, you could also use heavier rounds, about 160 grains, for special missions where a silencer is required, a bit like the 6.5 Whisper or Russian 9x39 mm round.

Then again, none of this will probably even happen, what with the LSAT project (they're developing caseless and polymer cased ammo, a LMG and now an assault rifle) going so strongly. Then again, with caseless ammo it might be easier to have heavier 5.56 bullets which, when combined with what the Know Engineering Company and ARDEC came up with, could leader to a much improved 5.56 round.

Last edited by Cadeyrn; September 8th, 2008 at 04:26 AM. Reason: I got more information
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Old September 8th, 2008   #78
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EDIT: Okay, I've done some digging around, and I think that I may have come up with one or two interesting ideas.

This document shows that the size of the 5.56 cartridge could be drastically reduced. In fact, you could fit 58 rounds into a standard magazine, maybe even 60. It weighs about 30 % less, so you could have a 40 round mag for approximately the same weight as a 30 round mag, or you could have a 50 round mag, or you could just make the mags smaller.
Cadeyrn, If it need chamber and mag replacement, why not to start a new cartrige development from the scratch? And if it's a new cartrige, let it be a new rifle too, no? They allready use more heavy bullets in A-stan with success. Moving further is bit hard. The problem with 5.56 mm bullets is that it hardly can have better BC. You need longer bullet and shorter case for that, like Grendel or 5.45 have.
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Old September 8th, 2008   #79
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I believe that the 6.5mm would easily penetrate Level III, since it penetratred a reinforced glass that was supposed to resist a .308 shot.
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Old September 8th, 2008   #80
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Cadeyrn, If it need chamber and mag replacement, why not to start a new cartrige development from the scratch? And if it's a new cartrige, let it be a new rifle too, no? They allready use more heavy bullets in A-stan with success. Moving further is bit hard. The problem with 5.56 mm bullets is that it hardly can have better BC. You need longer bullet and shorter case for that, like Grendel or 5.45 have.
Or you could just use the 6.5 MPC and use the new powder technology to increase the muzzle velocity. That way, all you need to change is the barrel. You'd have a good (I think that it's around 0.421, for a 120 grain bullet) BC, lots of energy, a long range and the same mag capacity as that of the 5.56. There's a minimum of change and thus the change is far easier and the government will be less likely to resist it.

Of course, you could always use this new powder technology to shorten the narrow cartridge suggested by the company, get a bullet with a better BC and still retain that high mag capacity, but that would still require a new gun, which I get the feeling that the US army is trying to avoid doing.

I do agree that a new rifle is needed, but that's neither here nor there for the purpose of this discussion. My entire point about this new powder is that you can have 60 rounds of ammo in a mag compared to the 30 rounds that you can currently have. Whack the weight of the bullet up to 90 grains (shorten the case or something) and you have an assault rifle with 429 rounds for the same weight as an assault rifle with 330 rounds. That is, I think, a far better solution than having a mag with only 26 rounds and being able to carry only 175 rounds for the same weights as 300 5.56 (assuming that the Grendel weighs roughly the same as the 6.8 SPC).

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I believe that the 6.5mm would easily penetrate Level III, since it penetratred a reinforced glass that was supposed to resist a .308 shot.
I disagree. Reinforced glass is hard but brittle. I'm pretty sure that if you fired a 6.5 Grendel at most Level III body armours, especially Dragon Skin body armour, or even at Level III Stop Shot glass, you would find that the Grendel would be stopped.
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Old September 8th, 2008   #81
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How many FN SCAR and HK 416/417 are being procured by the US and when will they be standardized? Will it be a general issue rifle or only spec ops? A combo of 5.56 and 7.62 setup is deadly but leaves no room for experimental 6.5 and 6.8 rounds.
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Old September 8th, 2008   #82
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Dragon Skin

Frankly, I've heard the fans of 6.8mm bitching about the 6.5 having too much penetration and "little punch", but everybody recognizes how a good piercing ammo it is. Im pretty sure a 123 grain or heavier 6.5 would pierce level III
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Old September 8th, 2008   #83
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The HK416 is used by the Detal Force, FN SCAR is used by other special force that i dont recall right now. I doubt any of them will replace the Colt M4, Colt has a strong lobby, what allows them to sell sub par weapons. And the Army claim that gas piston system is not a great improvement,and that they wait for "something really revolutinary".

It seems that only laser guns will replace M16/M4
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Old September 9th, 2008   #84
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Okay, so I was only using Dragon skin because A) I saw it survive a detonation and B) I was too lasy to look up another brand of Level III armour. I'll agree to disagree with you over whether or not the 6.5 Grendel will penetrate Level III armour, because there's no way for us to test it (unless you just so happen to be buddies with someone who makes Level III armour ).

And I agree with you that the M4 probably won't get replaced anytime soon. Personally, while I think that caseless ammo would be great and that it's the next logical step, I'm not entirely convinced that it will be any more reliable than the M4, because it has more moving parts, which provides more area for dirt to cling to. But, having said that, the LSAT project's probably going to produce a LMG/rifle that can rival the AK-47 for reliability.
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Old September 9th, 2008   #85
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Does the U.S. Military still use the M60 Machine gun or has that been completely replaced by the M240?
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Old September 9th, 2008   #86
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From what I can find out, almost all of the M60s have been replaced, but some still remain in the co-axial role and will be phased out when they wear out.
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Old September 23rd, 2008   #87
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Every forum I go, they will discuss about this.

So after replace the our 5.56x45 where the hell are we going to dump the ten or hundred of millions round of bullets to? What is the cost to set up the factory to remachine all the tools. So for how long will one country need to build up their surplus of ammo reserved?

What is the tactical advantage of all the rifles mentioned over M16 or M4? Is American soliders which using M16 and M4 all dead in the Iraq desert war? Solider that complained about the rifle jammed etc etc have we questioned them yet? Why only question the rifle? Why the SEAL rifle don't jammed often despite they goes to the sea and land...?

Until somebody can invented a method a rifle can at one shot firing out 3 round in a single line, oh it also must be as cheap and less maintanence than the existing rifle - AN 94 (??? 2 round burst Russian made is too expensive and too complicated) then will somebody replace all those rifle.

It is cheaper to give all service men a (whether 9mm or .45 ACP)pistol in close combat then to replace all the bullets in the world for close combat.
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Old September 23rd, 2008   #88
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Getting rid of surplus 5.56mmx45 would be fairly easy. A US change in caliber would not automatically mean a similar change in caliber by other 5.56mm users - I doubt many NATO countries would be in a hurry to change at all, especially to a somewhat esoteric US caliber like 6.5mm Grendel or 6.8mm SPC. That leave a large market for surplus US 5.56mm. In addition there would be a huge civilian market within the US for inexpensive surplus milspec 5.56mm. The cost of switching to a new caliber, and what do do with the 5.56mm that we currently have is certainly a factor in influencing any decision to change, and will probably ultimately prevent any changes for the forseeable future.

I do think the US military needs to serioulsy consider a caliber change despite cost issues. We are increasingly fighting in urban enviornments and at closer ranges, and we will eventually begin to face enemy combatants equiped with body armor. A heavier round with greater energy and better penetration would be very valuable in those conditions. Also having an "intermediate" round between 5.56mm & 7.62mm could be useful in simplifying logistics, allowing a return to one rifle caliber cartridge for infantry weapons. A 6.5mm or 6.8mm M240E6 or Mk48 Mod 0 could replace both the 7.62mm M240B and the 5.56mm M249 SAW.

The M16 & M4 are both excellent systems (now that they have matured) but there are some legitmate concerns about their reliability in hot, dusty enviornments. The direct gas system is very dirty, runs hot and requires fairly dilligent maintainance. If the US keeps the M16/M4 system they should upgrade it to a gas-piston operating system (like the HK 416) which would significantly reduce those problems. I have a POF 416-16 gas piston M4 upper and it runs far cleaner, and cooler than a regular M4.

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Originally Posted by o4r View Post
Every forum I go, they will discuss about this.

So after replace the our 5.56x45 where the hell are we going to dump the ten or hundred of millions round of bullets to? What is the cost to set up the factory to remachine all the tools. So for how long will one country need to build up their surplus of ammo reserved?

What is the tactical advantage of all the rifles mentioned over M16 or M4? Is American soliders which using M16 and M4 all dead in the Iraq desert war? Solider that complained about the rifle jammed etc etc have we questioned them yet? Why only question the rifle? Why the SEAL rifle don't jammed often despite they goes to the sea and land...?

Until somebody can invented a method a rifle can at one shot firing out 3 round in a single line, oh it also must be as cheap and less maintanence than the existing rifle - AN 94 (??? 2 round burst Russian made is too expensive and too complicated) then will somebody replace all those rifle.

It is cheaper to give all service men a (whether 9mm or .45 ACP)pistol in close combat then to replace all the bullets in the world for close combat.
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Old September 23rd, 2008   #89
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A 6.5mm or 6.8mm M240E6 or Mk48 Mod 0 could replace both the 7.62mm M240B and the 5.56mm M249 SAW.

Adrian
What replace the 7.62 with the 6.5 or 6.8? Sorry but thats not going to happen, they just don't have the range or power that the 7.62 has. Plus the 6.8 or 6.5 were meant to replace the 5.56 not the 7.62.
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Old September 24th, 2008   #90
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Every forum I go, they will discuss about this.

So after replace the our 5.56x45 where the hell are we going to dump the ten or hundred of millions round of bullets to? What is the cost to set up the factory to remachine all the tools. So for how long will one country need to build up their surplus of ammo reserved?
It would seem that every forum you go you will rehash this argument about surplus stock of ammo.

Let me ask you, what happened to the 7.62 surplus when USSR switched to 5.45?

What happened to the 7.62 NATO when NATO switched to 5.56?

Did this issue of existing ammo stock stopped people from switching calibres back then?

No.

So why now?

And newsflash for you: the US had to import 5.56 rounds for its WOT.

"Hundreds of millions of rounds?" Where did you hear that?

And strangely, the last thing you should be concerned only about the ammo but not the weapons being replaced. The weapons costs more. But in the end, both can be sold off or given away as aid.

Whether or not 5.56 should be replaced would depend on many factors, the existent of ammo stock is one consideration, but hardly the most important.

The switch from 7.62 to 5.56 took place during the Vietnam War, but that little inconvenience didn't stop the US from switching.
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