An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Rien
BRFite
Posts: 267
Joined: 24 Oct 2004 07:17
Location: Brisbane, Oz

An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rien » 03 Jul 2009 18:07

There have been over two decades of sustained complaints about the 5.56 mm round. It's lethality, range and penetration power have all been suspect. It has become ubiquitous solely through NATO standardization.There have been multiple documented instances, from war veterans, in conflicts from Mogadishu to Iraq and Afghanistan of enemies taking up to 5 hits from 5.56 calibre M4/M16's, and continuing to fight. These results are from close quarters combat(0-100m), which has previously been claimed as a strong point of 5.56 NATO.

Comparison of 5.56mm versus 7.62mm NATO

Cartridge Cartridge size Bullet weight Velocity Energy Momentum
5.56 mm NATO 5.56x45mm 3.95–5.18 g 772–930 m/s 1,177–1,708 J 3.049-4.8174
7.62mm NATO 7.62x51mm 9.33 g 838 m/s 3,275 J 7.818

Even the heaviest 5.56 round has around half the energy of 7.62 NATO. The same goes for momentum. Yawing and fragmentation are inconsistent and unreliable in terms of quickly incapacitating a target. In recent lab testing of M855, it has been shown that the bullets do not fragment or yaw consistently from round-to-round, displaying widely variable performance. In several cases, yawing did not begin until 7"-10" of penetration. This was with all rounds coming from the same manufacturer.

The lab testing is also corrobated by evaluation of combat reports. The article about the anecdotal reports of lacklustre performance was addressed by two majors for the US Army. Small Caliber Lethality: 5.56mm Performance in Close Quarters Battle by Major Glenn Dean and Major David LaFontaine.

"Field reports are accurate and can be explained by the phenomenon of bullet yaw. Shot placement aside, why is it that some Soldiers report “through-and-through” hits while others report no such problems, despite using the same weapons and ammunition? The phenomenon of bullet yaw can explain such differences in performance."

The field reports referred to are the documented reports of combat veterans that multiple hits of 5.56 mm failed to incapacitate opponents. Opponents were mobile even after taking 4-5 hits at under 100m!

"Combat operations the past few months have again highlighted terminal performance deficiencies with 5.56x45mm 62 gr. M855 FMJ. These problems have primarily been manifested as inadequate incapacitation of enemy forces despite their being hit multiple times by M855 bullets. These failures appear to be associated with the bullets exiting the body of the enemy soldier without yawing or fragmenting. This failure to yaw and fragment can be caused by reduced impact velocities as when fired from short barrel weapons or when the range increases. It can also occur when the bullets pass through only minimal tissue, such as a limb or the chest of a thin, malnourished individual, as the bullet may exit the body before it has a chance to yaw and fragment. In addition, bullets of the SS109/M855 type are manufactured by many countries in numerous production plants. Although all SS109/M855 types must be 62 gr. FMJ bullets constructed with a steel penetrator in the nose, the composition, thickness, and relative weights of the jackets, penetrators, and cores are quite variable, as are the types and position of the cannelures. Because of the significant differences in construction between bullets within the SS109/M855 category, terminal performance is quite variable—with differences noted in yaw, fragmentation, and penetration depths. Luke Haag’s papers in the AFTE Journal (33(1):11-28, Winter 2001) describe this problem." However, if the bullet is moving too slowly to reliably fragment on impact, the wound size and potential to incapacitate a person is greatly reduced. Several alternate cartridges have been developed in an attempt to address the perceived shortcomings of 5.56mm ammunition including the 6.5 mm Grendel and the 6.8 mm Remington SPC."

The US army itself recommends using more than one aimed shot(double tap in US jargon), totally negating the advantage of 5.56 ammunition. It weighs half as much as 7.62, but if it takes two shots to duplicate the same lethality as one round of 7.62, there is no benefit. Indeed, two aimed shots is far harder than placing one aimed shot in the same target. The only remaining benefit of 5.56, light recoil is negated by the removal of full automatic fire from m16's. 5.56 also has well documented poor long range performance.

Even the Special forces of the US has sought a higher performing alternative. The 5th Special Forces group at Ft. Campbell, together with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Ft. Benning, evaluated alternative calibers and concluded that the 6.8 SPC provided the best combination of accuracy, velocity and transferred energy, delivering twice the kinetic energy at longer ranges than the 5.56 NATO.

The US special forces has comprehensively rejected 5.56 caliber, attempting to replace it with a more powerful cartridge, and replacing m4's/m16's with the dual caliber capable SCAR-H rifle. If 5.56 caliber was adequate for close combat, it would be odd to switch to 7.62 with its proven weight drawbacks. Indeed, the dual caliber system introduces considerable logistic headaches.

The best of the available alternatives is a 6-6.5 mm round. The Chinese military also evaluated 5.56 millimeter before rejecting it in favour of 5.8 mm, which is very similar to the 6 mm recommendation. The Chinese study found that 5.6, 6 and 6.25 mm were the ideal calibers for a rifle cartridge. This study is in good agreement with the recommendations for a replacement caliber, and other similar studies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.8x42mm_DBP87

http://www.enemyforces.net/firearms/qbz95.htm

These rounds are the best selection because they are lethal out to 500 metres, out to 1000 for 6.5, without weighing as much as 7.62. Rounds of these caliber have reliably been used in hunting to drop mammals(pigs and deer) of the same mass as humans. The 5.56 has only been reliably used to hunt rabbits. The size differential between rabbits and humans may be one reason why this caliber has performed so poorly.

I will outline two competing proposals for standardization, that have their own advantages and disadvantages. Both 6m and 6.5 mm have accuracy at long range, less bullet drop, far better energy, while still having manageable recoil. The 6.8 SPC can be rejected out of hand, because it was only necessary because of a backwards compatibility requirement with the m16 rifle. Indeed, the US Special Forces wanted 6mm, as documented in their development program.

http://demigodllc.com/articles/6.8-mm-s ... s-carbine/

They had M16 specific problems, that forced them into using a 6.8mm round. They had originally intended to use 6mm instead. 6mm is the perfect choice for an assault rifle. It has excellent aerodynamic drag, a proven track record of dropping mammals that mass around 80 kg, such as sheep, pigs and deer. Precisely powerful enough to kill a human. This avoids the problem of being too powerful with high recoil like 7.62. Modern 6 mm bullets have an additional advantage over both NATO standards in that most accuracy records at distances between 100m-1000m are set by them. Neither of the NATO rounds is competitive in accuracy.

The 6mmDasher holds the NBRSA 6-target 1000-yard world record. The long distance records for accuracy are held by 6 or 6.5mm bullets for distances under 1 km. One particular cartridge, the 6PPC, holds all the *world* accuracy records for 300 meters.

http://www.6mmbr.com/6BRImproved01.html
http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/
http://www.freewebs.com/precisionrifle/ ... ridges.htm

A disabled shooter was able to set a 600 meter record with a 6mm. This demonstrates conclusively that 6mm has very manageable recoil. A Universal Military Cartridge replacing both 7.62 and 5.56 should use either 6 or 6.5 mm. These are the requirements that a replacement cartridge must meet.

Infantry rifle: The weapon and ammunition should weigh as little as possible, consistent with a maximum effective range of at least 600 meters. Indian troops fight in mountainous terrain and they hold the high ground(Kargil, Siachen, NEFA). Indian troops also fight in desert terrain(Thar desert), where it is possible to shoot opponents at such long ranges. If they can shoot them with accuracy at higher ranges than opponents armed with only 5.8, 5.56 or 7.62 can accurately return fire, this will be a decisive advantage. Both 6 and 6.5 outrange any caliber except 7.62, and they are far more accurate. 6mm allows for more rounds than either 6.5 or 7.62. A 6mm assault rifle will be able to outgun opponents at ranges 600m and under. Ek Gholi Ek Dhushman is possible with 6mm.

Machine gun: Same weight considerations as for the infantry rifle, but with maximum effective range of 1100-1200 meters. Ball ammunition should be able to defeat “hard” targets at least as well as 7.62 NATO rounds. Tracers should be visible to over 800 meters during daylight. This requirement is a clear advantage for 6.5 mm, since it is a round with more momentum and energy, and similar accuracy. Armour piercing rounds may be necessary for this role. 6mm can perform this role, but more poorly.

Sniper rifle: Weight of weapon and ammunition is not as important as accuracy and effective range, which should be greater than 800 meters, with a flat trajectory.

Both 6.5 and 6 mm can fulfill this role, but 6.5 will have more kinetic energy at long range to kill enemies. Alternatively 6mm is more accurate. 6.5 mm was selected as a military cartridge for Russia, Japan and Great Britain in the 1930-45 time period. 6mm was only selected by the US Navy very briefly. Either choice can be justified, because 6 mm is the perfect round for an assault rifle, but 6.5 is far better for a machine gun. And they both offer weight and accuracy advantages over 7.62. 5.56's ammunition capacity is meaningless because twice the ammunition means nothing if you need to shoot twice the ammunition. I will note the combat reports referred to malnourished Somali soldiers sustaining up to 5 hits. More lethality for 5.56 is being assumed in this recommendation than facts support. Level IV body armour can defeat 5.56. Even heavy clothing can adversely affect fragmentation and yaw that 5.56 is so heavily reliant on.

The ideal replacement would be a non lead, possibly copper very low drag bullet. It would have a ballistic coefficient far higher than .496(7.62 NATO), which both 6 and 6.5mm conventional bullets already exceed. Although existing 6 & 6.5 already attain BC's of .587 and higher, monolithic bullets can attain incredible BC's of 1.1. As a comparison, NATO 5.56 has a pathetic BC of .340. BC is important because a bullet with high BC is quicker at long range, and has far more energy. It is very hard to kill opponents with 5.56 ammunition at ranges of 400 meters.

http://www.techfund.co.za/GSCBulletBasics.asp

Monolithic bullets are composed of one solid metal or alloy on CNC lathes. These bullets are far superior in range, and are already used by military snipers. Besides far superior long range performance, these bullets improve accuracy at any range. The reason is simple, the already quoted

"Although all SS109/M855 types must be 62 gr. FMJ bullets constructed with a steel penetrator in the nose, the composition, thickness, and relative weights of the jackets, penetrators, and cores are quite variable, as are the types and position of the cannelures. Because of the significant differences in construction between bullets within the SS109/M855 category, terminal performance is quite variable—with differences noted in yaw, fragmentation, and penetration depths. "

Monolithic bullets, instead of using the traditional bullet manufacturing techniques, are manufactured on Computer controlled Machines that are capable of vastly tighter tolerances. The composition is very tightly specified. The issues with variable terminal performance cannot occur with a monolithic bullet.

http://longrangeshooter.com/2008/06/18/ ... -shooting/

This manufacturing advantage of monolithic bullets, and a non toxic alternative to lead(brass,bronze and copper are common alternatives), are compelling reasons to switch from NATO standards. A NATO standard bullet is something of a misnomer, because when these NATO standards were formulated manufacturing tolerances were far less exact. One 5.56 mm cartridge is *NOT* the same as another, even from the same manufacturer. Creating a monolithic 5.56 mm round is pointless, because interoperability will be lost. All the advantages of 5.56(cheap availability of ammunition and low weight) are offset by unpredictable variance in lethality.

A rifle designed for very low drag monolithic bullets will be consistently lethal, and deliver better long range performance. Predictable lethality is far better than variable lethality, even if the variable lethal round had a better average. 6mm & 6.5mm both have a better track record in gelatin, higher energy/momentum, better BC, and better record against animals of human and greater mass. And this is only for bullets of conventional construction. If a 6 or 6.5mm bullet of monolithic construction is fired from a rifle chambered to take advantage of its higher accuracy, these rounds can successfully replace even 7.62 NATO at long range.

The selection of 6 over 6.5 is the better decision if the infantry section mostly kills enemies with assault rifles. If instead infantry sections kill enemies mostly with sniper rifles, and machineguns 6.5mm is better. Other arguments put forward for 6mm calibers, ranging from 6 to 6.5.

6.5mm as the optimum cartridge

http://www.65grendel.com/65g_unifiedmilitaryround.htm

6 mm as the optimum cartridge

http://www.g2mil.com/6mm_optimum_cartridge.htm
http://www.defensereview.com/why-isnt-o ... vid-crane/
http://www.chuckhawks.com/6mm_military_cartridge.htm
http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/terminal.htm

Rien
BRFite
Posts: 267
Joined: 24 Oct 2004 07:17
Location: Brisbane, Oz

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rien » 03 Jul 2009 18:47

It should not be part of the small arms thread, because this is a very specific but important topic. Right now the Indian army is transitioning to the 5.56 caliber system. But they are not aware there is current scientific evidence backed up by action reports from the US army about how 5.56 mm caliber has failed in combat.

This is documented proof, instead of idle internet chit chat, and the Small Arms Thread is already 10 pages. It might be worthy of being archived. Before the Indian army becomes locked into a 2nd best caliber, just like the US already is, it might be possible to influence a change.

ArmenT
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 4239
Joined: 10 Sep 2007 05:57
Location: Loud, Proud, Ugly American

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby ArmenT » 03 Jul 2009 21:20

Rien wrote:This is documented proof, instead of idle internet chit chat, and the Small Arms Thread is already 10 pages. It might be worthy of being archived. Before the Indian army becomes locked into a 2nd best caliber, just like the US already is, it might be possible to influence a change.

I guess you've been off the forum for a while. The policy has changed and this forum no longer locks threads after 10 pages. Good post though. Thank you for the effort.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 34982
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby shiv » 03 Jul 2009 21:30

Wasn't there a news item in the last 2-3 months of a new design (DRDO) 6 point something mm for the Indian Army?

Kanson
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2982
Joined: 20 Oct 2006 21:00

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Kanson » 03 Jul 2009 21:54

Whats the board members feel abt the 5.56 vs 7.62 mm debate ?

Hitesh
BRFite
Posts: 793
Joined: 04 Jul 1999 11:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Hitesh » 03 Jul 2009 23:12

This thread should be allowed to live. It is a specific topic with great value towards discussion. NO IB4TL!!

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16834
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: Skies over BRFATA
Contact:

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rahul M » 04 Jul 2009 02:25

Rien has clearly done some research on this and what's more he has gone through the pains of creating a decent write up. Why not use this opportunity to re-hash this topic and compile the most relevant literature on this issue in one thread for future reference ??

let's try and make this an archivable thread. Comments are welcome.

P.S. I'll be removing the IB4TLs.

Rien
BRFite
Posts: 267
Joined: 24 Oct 2004 07:17
Location: Brisbane, Oz

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rien » 04 Jul 2009 08:08

There are some questions I have which hopefully can be answered. Firstly, as Shiv mentioned, is it true that the DRDO has done evaluation of 6mm cartridges? Google has failed, so if anyone has details please post. The other two questions relate to what weapons do the killing for a modern infantry section. I have heard it claimed that Light Machine Guns, not assault rifles, are the true killers in combat. The same is claimed for sniper rifles.

What are the percentages on this? That would affect whether 6.5 is better, but if assault rifles produce the majority of kills, then 6mm would win. The other question unfortunately requires someone with both materials and supersonic aerodynamic modelling experience.
Ballistics would be ideal but not 100% necessary. Which monolothic bullet 6 or 6.5 mm produces a better BC, and by how much?

I only have a rule of thumb that longer is better, but how much longer and how much better ?

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 34982
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby shiv » 04 Jul 2009 08:15

I have been unable to find the news item I read on BR. It may stll exist on one of the threads. It was about a new infantry weapn for India with a 6 point something bullet and UBGL plus added features. Does no one remember?

SGupta
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 38
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 16:46

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby SGupta » 04 Jul 2009 10:10

I had the opportunity to speak with a friend of mine who is a reserve officer in the Canadian forces. In general, machine guns do most of the killing .... assault rifles are deployed to protect the MG's .....

Gaur
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2009
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 23:19

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Gaur » 04 Jul 2009 10:15

shiv wrote:I have been unable to find the news item I read on BR. It may stll exist on one of the threads. It was about a new infantry weapn for India with a 6 point something bullet and UBGL plus added features. Does no one remember?

http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/mar/050309-Defense-Research-Development-Organisation-news-Pune-weapon-systems-mordern-warfare.htm
In the embedded video, the DRDO guy mentions 6.8mm caliber being developed for the multi-caliber rifle.

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 20616
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby chetak » 04 Jul 2009 11:11

Rien wrote:There are some questions I have which hopefully can be answered. Firstly, as Shiv mentioned, is it true that the DRDO has done evaluation of 6mm cartridges? Google has failed, so if anyone has details please post. The other two questions relate to what weapons do the killing for a modern infantry section. I have heard it claimed that Light Machine Guns, not assault rifles, are the true killers in combat. The same is claimed for sniper rifles.

What are the percentages on this? That would affect whether 6.5 is better, but if assault rifles produce the majority of kills, then 6mm would win. The other question unfortunately requires someone with both materials and supersonic aerodynamic modelling experience.
Ballistics would be ideal but not 100% necessary. Which monolothic bullet 6 or 6.5 mm produces a better BC, and by how much?

I only have a rule of thumb that longer is better, but how much longer and how much better ?



Why advocate non standard ammo?

Why not standard ammo that can also be imported in en emergency, if required.

Also easier to match newer weapons if we need them later.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 04 Jul 2009 11:14

There is only one aspect I would like to mention.

If one has the same ammunition as the adversary, then it helps when one captures the adversay's post and uses his ammunition in the interim.

Exotic ammunition size deprives one of this advantage.

7.62 and 5.56 is the most popular amongst most countries.

ArmenT
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 4239
Joined: 10 Sep 2007 05:57
Location: Loud, Proud, Ugly American

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby ArmenT » 04 Jul 2009 11:16

Rien wrote:The other two questions relate to what weapons do the killing for a modern infantry section. I have heard it claimed that Light Machine Guns, not assault rifles, are the true killers in combat. The same is claimed for sniper rifles.

I've heard the same thing too (LMG and MMG over assault rifles), but don't have stats to back it up. This was more true during WW-I though, when people were still using human waves to assault positions and MMGs were a big killer. Artillery is generally a bigger killer than everything else though. The problem with MMGs is that they aren't lugged around as easily as assault rifles, so in cases like Iwo Jima, Guam etc. where a lot of fighting involved hand to hand combat at close ranges, most of the casualties came from artillery, followed by rifles and grenades.

For the record, one reason that the US went with 5.56mm was that the round was designed to wound, not kill. This isn't because of humane reasons either. The idea is that a wounded person is going to scream and thrash around and generally demoralize people on his side. Then they need to administer medical treatment to the wounded person, which means at least one less person who's shooting back, since he's busy administering treatment instead. Then they need at least one to three people to carry the wounded person back to their rear, which again reduces the number of people who are shooting back.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 04 Jul 2009 11:31

ArmenT wrote:
Rien wrote:The other two questions relate to what weapons do the killing for a modern infantry section. I have heard it claimed that Light Machine Guns, not assault rifles, are the true killers in combat. The same is claimed for sniper rifles.

I've heard the same thing too (LMG and MMG over assault rifles), but don't have stats to back it up. This was more true during WW-I though, when people were still using human waves to assault positions and MMGs were a big killer. Artillery is generally a bigger killer than everything else though. The problem with MMGs is that they aren't lugged around as easily as assault rifles, so in cases like Iwo Jima, Guam etc. where a lot of fighting involved hand to hand combat at close ranges, most of the casualties came from artillery, followed by rifles and grenades.

For the record, one reason that the US went with 5.56mm was that the round was designed to wound, not kill. This isn't because of humane reasons either. The idea is that a wounded person is going to scream and thrash around and generally demoralize people on his side. Then they need to administer medical treatment to the wounded person, which means at least one less person who's shooting back, since he's busy administering treatment instead. Then they need at least one to three people to carry the wounded person back to their rear, which again reduces the number of people who are shooting back.


Armen is right.

The 5.56 can kill, but at longer ranges, it decapacitates. This affects the will of the person next to the one injured and that is a very important factor when the battle is ensuing, be it in defence or attack.

It also adds to the logistic problem as Armen has mentioned, but casualties are given first aid during battle and are evacuated after the battle. In attack, one cannot halt to give first aid. It is possible in defence.

When the person is evacuated to the rear, those who observe this wounded man, are also affected psychologically and hence the fear factor in them is instilled and their will affected.

As the wounded man is evacuated through the various medical echelons, more people see the wounded man and are similarly affected.

That is why there are different routes prescribed for the reinforcement and for those who are being evacuated being wounded. This ensures that there is no demoralisation.

Finally, if the casualties are many and the civilians see them on their way, the nation's will is affected.

A case in point of the nation's will is the constant questioning as to why there was so many casualties during the Kar War.

However, if a weapon kills a man dead, then he is buried or cremated and none is the wiser or affected, except those who do the last rites.

The debate on the pros and cons go on and the defence industry conjures new theories so that they can sell the idea and make a killing!

Gaur
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2009
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 23:19

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Gaur » 04 Jul 2009 11:36

ArmenT wrote:For the record, one reason that the US went with 5.56mm was that the round was designed to wound, not kill. This isn't because of humane reasons either. The idea is that a wounded person is going to scream and thrash around and generally demoralize people on his side. Then they need to administer medical treatment to the wounded person, which means at least one less person who's shooting back, since he's busy administering treatment instead. Then they need at least one to three people to carry the wounded person back to their rear, which again reduces the number of people who are shooting back.

Yes, 5.56mm was was designed keeping in mind the philosophy of "shoot to incapacitate" instead of "shoot to kill". As you mentioned, the idea was to make more people scarce by shooting a single person (It may take up to 8 men to evacuate a single injured person in mountains, thus the idea is sound). However, the problem is that, when a person is hit with a 5.56mm round, he is not necessarily at one incapacitated. The hit person may continue to fight for some more time. This is undesirable, specially at shorter ranges. Consider yourself shooting your enemy successfully at short range only to be shot back by the same person. This is not a problem with 7.62mm round. This is one of the major reason that troops prefer ak47 over insas in counter insurgency operations.
I do not have much knowledge regarding 6mm round. However, I would guess that it should incapacitate the the target (as soon as the person is hit as opposed to 5.56mm round) without killing him at the spot. If it is so, then it would be very desirable.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 04 Jul 2009 11:55

At short range, 5.56 kills and not incapcitates.

In CI, INSAS is preferred since it is lighter and it kills because of the short ranges of engagement.

In conventional combat, AKs are preferred, it having the advantages of a 7.62.

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 20616
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby chetak » 04 Jul 2009 12:04

The average soldier may nor be able to shoot well enough to justify fancy ammo!

Most targets are covered or obscured, and move unpredictably, and a consequence are exposed to hostile fire for limited periods of time. When coupled with the level of marksmanship training provided the average soldier and the stress of combat, a soldier's aiming errors are large and hit probability is correspondingly low. While a rifle may be capable of acceptable accuracy out to six hundred meters, the probability of an average soldier hitting an enemy at three hundred meters is ten per cent.


A myriad of factors enter into the effect a bullet has upon striking its target, to include bullet weight, bullet mass, range, velocity on impact, portion of the body struck (e.g., arm, leg, torso, head), portions affected by the permanent wound cavity (e.g., soft tissue or bone, vital organs, etc.), entry angle into the body, distance traveled point-forward before yawing, degree of bullet yaw on impact, deformation or deflection of the bullet caused by the soldier's equipment prior to the bullet's entry into the body, degree of bullet penetration, tissue disruption, the physical condition of the soldier, number of wounds inflicted, and delay prior to treatment of the wound.

Rien
BRFite
Posts: 267
Joined: 24 Oct 2004 07:17
Location: Brisbane, Oz

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rien » 04 Jul 2009 12:39

Why advocate non standard ammo? Why not standard ammo that can also be imported in en emergency, if required.
Also easier to match newer weapons if we need them later.


I already answered this question in the very first post on this thread.

Small Caliber Lethality: 5.56mm Performance in Close Quarters Battle by Major Glenn Dean and Major David LaFontaine.

"Field reports are accurate and can be explained by the phenomenon of bullet yaw. Shot placement aside, why is it that some Soldiers report “through-and-through” hits while others report no such problems, despite using the same weapons and ammunition? The phenomenon of bullet yaw can explain such differences in performance."

The field reports referred to are the documented reports of combat veterans that multiple hits of 5.56 mm failed to incapacitate opponents. Opponents were mobile even after taking 4-5 hits at under 100m!

6mm and 6.5 mm have a proven track record of stopping and killing quickly game animals that are man sized. 6.5 mm has been used against elephants. In contrast to 5.56 mm, which could not stop emaciated Somalian "soldiers". They were not even wearing body armour. Would you prefer firing 4-5 shots of standard ammunition or one shot of non standard ammunition? While neither caliber is any more lethal than 7.62 NATO, they are lighter. So you can carry more rounds at the ranges that are relevant to infantry combat, 1000 meters and under. They are also more accurate, so you can hit what you are aiming at far better. Shot placement is the key to killing someone quickly, and either of these rounds is far better at that.

6mm is the exact amount of energy required to kill a man at ranges of 600m and under, while 6.5 can do it at a 1000m. 7.62 is too powerful, being more than what is needed for an assault rifle. You can fire an assault rifle at full auto with 6 and 6.5, and carry more rounds. [This may be an oversimplification, it is possible to design 6mm bullets that *can* kill at a 1000 meters, but Indian PSU's are not capable. Better performance can be achieved for both rounds that what I have stated, but you need to consider limited capacity and poor metallurgy in Indian PSU's.]

As an aside, here is a list of 6mm and 6.5 mm manufacturers.

http://www.65grendel.com, Remington and Winchester, and many European companies manufacture these rounds as well. Though that is irrelevant, because I do not recommend any of these rounds, but rather a Very Low Drag bullet made in CNC machines in India. You can get these bullets imported, but I would prefer for it to be manufactured in India. Otherwise the Chinese or the Pakistanis can just as easily replace their ammunition and rifles and negate the advantage India will have switching to 6 or 6.5 mm.
Do you understand the concept of India having a better assault rifle, or Light Machine Gun than other countries? And why it would be better not to share that with foreign manufacturers, even though they could execute it far better than the DRDO or a PSU.

Also, what is standard ammunition? There is 5.45, 5.56, 7.62, 5.8, and 6.5 all used as standard ammunition. Did the Chinese and the Russians not understand the advantages of importing "standard" ammunition? If you want standard ammunition, the 7.62 x39 mm is the most easily available ammunition in the world.

The US special forces also developed a 6.8 mm cartridge for their rifles. Are they too, so incompetent they don't understand the advantages of "standard" ammunition? No country has more 5.56 ammunition than the USA, yet their special forces went to the effort of getting new 7.62 rifles and developing a 6.8 mm round.

6 or 6.5 mm should be selected as the new cartridge for Indian forces because it would be a true standard ammunition. It would replace *both* 7.62 and 5.56, and do a better job. All the world records for accuracy are held by rounds of these caliber. An Indian soldier firing either of these rounds could hit what he was aiming at further away than 5.56, and a better chance of hitting and more ammunition than 7.62.

putnanja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4432
Joined: 26 Mar 2002 12:31
Location: searching for the next al-qaida #3

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby putnanja » 04 Jul 2009 22:17

RayC wrote:At short range, 5.56 kills and not incapcitates.

In CI, INSAS is preferred since it is lighter and it kills because of the short ranges of engagement.

In conventional combat, AKs are preferred, it having the advantages of a 7.62.


Ray, but isn't the opposite happening? the CI folks get Aks while the others get the INSAS?

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 04 Jul 2009 23:05

There is no dearth of AKs that have recovered from terrorists.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 34982
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby shiv » 05 Jul 2009 07:18

Question: 600 meters is one heck of a long way off. If you pick up a rifle for sport and try looking a man sized target even at 200 meters - it is very small. The chances of hitting him in one shot are miniscule even for a relaxed shooter in non combat conditions with the man immobile.

I suspect this has a bearing on training and weapon use philosophy. If you give a man a weapon that can kill at 1000 meters he is welcome to use up all his ammunition shooting at targets 1000 meters away. He will only be putting of a temporary spray of bullets that may or may not hit anyone.

"Shooting a man to kill" I suspect becomes realistic only at ranges less than 400 meters, and let me guess the number of bullets needed on average to ensure a 100% probability of hit at various distances. (I am guessing wildly here - am willing to be corrected by any real or self styled gurus)

  • At 400 meters, relaxed shooter, moving but clearly visible target: 8-10 bullets will be needed to kill/injure
  • At 200 meters , relaxed shooter, moving but clearly visible target 4-5 bullets
  • At 100 meters - relaxed shooter, moving but clearly visible target - 2-3 bullets
  • At 50 meters - relaxed shooter, moving but clearly visible target - 1-2 bullets

The point I am trying to make is that aside from "filling the air with a wall of lead" - the actual probability of hitting a man increases with decrease in distance. Presumably this is the factor that is taken into account with the legendary order "Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes".

What is required is to stop the man and put him put of action. "Killing" cannot be guaranteed under such imprecise conditions. A man who is hit is likely to fall and lie still, increasing the possibility of killing him with another shot later. Even if he does a Hollywood and rolls over and keeps shooting - he makes a still target, and he will be in pain and keep on losing blood making his own effectiveness fade over ten minutes till he goes into shock.

Even the idea of filling the air with a wall of lead works better at closer ranges. If you want to put one bullet per square meter at a distance of 200 meters, the number you require at 400 meters is proportional to the square of the previous number. But that is beside the point here. We are talking of individuals with weapons.

7.62 can kill/maim at 1000 meters - but the shot is unlikely to be a deliberate one.
5.56 will kill/maim at 200 meters as well as a 7.62. A man is just as likely to die from a smaller wound as he is to die from half his head being blown off.

What matters is the individual soldier's ability to wait until he is within aiming range before shooting. If the soldier waits until a target is within aiming range - he is more likely to hit the target. Since the highest probability of hitting a man with a single shot or two shots requires a target to be less than 200 meters away , the actual caliber of the bullet does not make a difference.

What could make a difference is the number of bullets a man can carry with him. Clearly, that goes in favor of the lighter munition.

In other words I have no doubt that a 6 mm bullet falls between 7.62 and 5.56 in "stopping power" at distance. But for realistic "shooting to kill" anything over 400 meters makes every shot a random shot in the air. Unless a soldier has been trained not to shoot till he can hit a target, it matters little whether you give him a 5.56 or even a 30 mm cannon.

Just my guess as I quickly change uniform from armchair Marshal to armchair General.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 05 Jul 2009 10:11

The range for engagement for a rifle is not based on Visibility, but on the ability to Identify and hit. This is corroborated in Janes.

At 600m, an individual is but a speck.

At this range, what one can achieve is suppressive fire. A kill would be incidental. Automatic weapons like the LMG and MMG are the ideal weapons for suppressive fire and dispersing the enemy wherein the enemy’s command and control is disrupted. At this range, in addition the 51mm Mortar which has a maximum range of 750m would be fired with HE and Smoke, so as to kill and confuse (smoke). There is no requirement for a rifle being used in suppressive role, since ammunition would be expended wastefully.

The rifle is a weapon that is used when you can figuratively see ‘the whites of the eye’. The rationale is simple since replenishment would be cumbersome even in defence and it would reduce the ‘bayonet strength’ as the person of the section (in defence) would be busy replenishing ammunition being expended instead of adding to the firepower. In an attack, the question of replenishment does not arise till the F echelon fetches up.

Therefore, Fire Control is essential and the rifle used when a hit is ‘guaranteed’.

That is the rationale of the Indian Army.

A rifle is not used to overcome fear, but to kill. A killing at shorter ranges is more or less guaranteed.

At 300 yds, the targets ‘visibility’ is more discernable for identification and the hit probability increases.

It maybe mentioned that killing is dependent on the ability of the firer. A poor shot would not kill and may only cause a wound wherein the mobility of the target is not affected no matter what weapon and calibre is used. A clean wound by 7.62 that has gone through without affecting the vital organs has been reported to not having killed the adversary. It does not go to prove that the 7.62 cannot kill.

The probability to ‘kill’ has many intangibles. In combat, the ability of the firer, the atmospheric prevailing at that time, the climate, the tolerance limit of the ammunition when manufactured, the wear and tear of the weapon, the zeroing (which can be affected if there is rough use), the state of the firer’s mind (combat isolation and fear) et al. Therefore, without knowing all these parameters, the fact that 5.56 did not kill at 100m is but a generalisation.

Combat is not based merely on the rifle. It is a part of the weapon mix that is designed to disrupt and destroy the enemy as he progresses through the battle.

Raj Malhotra
BRFite
Posts: 997
Joined: 26 Jun 2000 11:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Raj Malhotra » 05 Jul 2009 10:36

5.56mm round has been further improved with 77 grain avtar called Mark262 round by USA and it seems 100 grain variants are also under development.


It must not be forgotten that an important criterial of any rifle is that one must hit the target. A lighter rifle, easier to carry and easier to handle, helps!

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 05 Jul 2009 10:45

The military industrial complex always brings in new controversies to sell their weapons and ammuntion. This is nothing new.

The AK series is the best. It is lightweight, lethal, and easy on the maintainability.

INSAS was manufactured to indicate India has come of age! And the weapon meets the requirement as per the tactics.

The issue that must be understood is that the US is not yet conversant with the issues of high altitude warfare and its logistic problems. However, they are in a position to use helicopter replenishment, which India cannot afford in the same manner as the US. We have to have lighter weapons, conserve ammuntion and not wastefully fire as if there is no tommorrow.

Therefore, our requirements cannot be equated with the US.

Raj Malhotra
BRFite
Posts: 997
Joined: 26 Jun 2000 11:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Raj Malhotra » 05 Jul 2009 11:42

Re Ray


INSAS is no doubt a good rifle but now time has come to upgrade its design concept. INSAS is based on 1970s thinking where lot of nations adapted the AK-47/74 with western engineering. In theory it is ok but the difficulty is that all these designs like (FNC, Galik, AK-5) placed the sights on hinged cover which brought in its own problems.

Even INSAS designers seem to have ignored the Sig design which adoped AK mechanism with AR layout i.e. to say that lower receiver opens away. This gives a major benefit that butt, upper receiver, barrel & sights are rigidly attached to each other with no hinges beteen them.

This layout is now been adopted by all major designs like SCAR, G-36, HK416 etc.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 05 Jul 2009 12:28

The cost of retooling and manufacture has to be considered.

Ideally, AK 47 is the answer for those who feel that INSAS is not good enough.

AK meets all the requirement.

I hope the lobby that cries foul for any non Indian eqpt will accept it.

Rien
BRFite
Posts: 267
Joined: 24 Oct 2004 07:17
Location: Brisbane, Oz

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rien » 05 Jul 2009 19:44

At any range above 200 meters, the 5.56 NATO cannot kill. It is a light round. It has neither the energy nor power to kill through brute force like 7.62 does. If you google for it, this round cannot reliably fragment or yaw, and this round is *entirely* dependent on fragmentation and yaw to kill.

One aimed 7.62 bullet at 400 m - kills one person dead. 20,30 aimed rounds of 5.56 out of an assault rifle at 400m cannot kill someone. At 300 meters, it is better, you only need 5-6 shots of 5.56mm. At 200 meters and under, the US army officially claims 2 shots, but US combat reports show up to 4 or 5. Let's be generous and believe the US army.

http://www.military.com/news/article/ar ... 10&wh=news
Current and former Soldiers interviewed by The Associated Press said the military's M855 rifle rounds are not powerful enough for close-in fighting in cities and towns in Iraq and Afghanistan
.

So where does the advantage of 5.56 in being lightweight go, if you need to shoot 2 times as much to kill someone? 2 5.56 bullets weight as much, if not more than one 7.62 bullet. The advantage of 6 and 6.5 mm is:

1.) Far more accurate. If you can aim, you can put your bullets in the vital organs. All world records for up to a 1000m are held by 6mm and 6.5mm. The average soldier may in fact be quite a poor shot. But 50% of soldiers are above average. In a 10 man section, one man who can shoot straight, with a rifle that outranges an enemy armed with 5.56, will have the chance to kill all of them before they even get in effective range. Likewise, the 6.8 SPC delivers 44% greater energy than the 5.56 mm NATO (M4 configuration) at 100-300 meters.

If 5 out of those 10 men can shoot straight, what will happen again? To make it even more simple, the Chinese have a 5.8mm round, which is very close to 6mm, and much of what is said for 6mm can be said for 5.8. 7.62 NATO is Pakistan's round. What will happen when these guys, in mountain warfare, go up against 5.56 mm weapons?

Another note between the difference between Indian and Chinese military officers. The Chinese decided, what do we need that is the most lethal cartridge? They decided the best was 5.8,6 or 6.2, and went with 5.8. They can use indian ammunition, but indians cannot use Chinese ammo. Unless India decides on a 6mm rifle. This is what you want, and another good point for 6/6.5. There is nothing that the Chinese and the Pakistanis can do with either ammunition. But a 6mm barrel can still fire 5.8 ammo, even if poorly.
A new barrel, and the rifle can shoot 5.8mm well.

2.) Lethal Range, you can effectively shoot at twice the range of 5.56. With 6.5, you can go the same range as 7.62 NATO. Every section also has a light machine gun, and a 6/6.5mm machine gun can kill a 5.56 before it can even fire back. 6 mm can shoot a 5.56mm section dead.

This of course is why I asked the question of whether machine guns or assault rifles do the most killing in a combat section. Also why you want a bullet that can shoot straight and is powerful enough to go 1000 meters. Machine guns do shoot, using the same ammunition as the rest of the section, at very long ranges. So what 6 or 6.5 gives you is more effective lethal shots. Even at the best case for 5.56, under 100 meters(Actually 5.56 does not fragment at ranges of 10 meters), 6/6.5 take one shot. All rounds, 7.62, 6 and 6.5 outperform it at any greater range.

6 and 6.5 work out to the best tradeoff of lethality vs range. 6 mm kills, accurately and with more energy than 5.56 at any range. And it barely weighs any more. 6.5 weighs 30% more, but it can kill out to to a 1000 meters.

Basically 6 mm outperforms 7.62 and 5.56 at ranges under 600 meters with more ammunition. It has got 7.62 lethality uptil 600 meters and more rounds of ammunition. 6.5 can match 7.62 up to a 1000 meters, but is heavier than 6mm. How much is the 400 extra meters worth? The only drawback with 7.62 is that is heavier. Thus the idea of having an intermediate cartridge between 7.62 and 5.56 that is more lightweight, yet just as lethal.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 05 Jul 2009 22:15

One has to just read 'Men Against Fire' to understand how mindsets can be changed.

And then debunked!

ArmenT
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 4239
Joined: 10 Sep 2007 05:57
Location: Loud, Proud, Ugly American

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby ArmenT » 05 Jul 2009 22:56

Rien wrote:Another note between the difference between Indian and Chinese military officers. The Chinese decided, what do we need that is the most lethal cartridge? They decided the best was 5.8,6 or 6.2, and went with 5.8. They can use indian ammunition, but indians cannot use Chinese ammo. Unless India decides on a 6mm rifle. This is what you want, and another good point for 6/6.5. There is nothing that the Chinese and the Pakistanis can do with either ammunition. But a 6mm barrel can still fire 5.8 ammo, even if poorly.
A new barrel, and the rifle can shoot 5.8mm well.

Where do you get this assumption from? You can't just switch barrels around and expect it to work. By your logic, an AK-47 can fire FN-FAL ammo, since they're both 7.62 mm caliber. In practice, this is impossible (since AK cartridge is 7.62x39 mm, FN-FAL is 7.62x51 mm). The overall shape of the cartridge determines whether it fits into the chamber or not, not the caliber.

Gaur
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2009
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 23:19

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Gaur » 06 Jul 2009 01:14

shiv wrote:Question: 600 meters is one heck of a long way off. If you pick up a rifle for sport and try looking a man sized target even at 200 meters - it is very small. The chances of hitting him in one shot are miniscule even for a relaxed shooter in non combat conditions with the man immobile.

[list][*]At 400 meters, relaxed shooter, moving but clearly visible target: 8-10 bullets will be needed to kill/injure
[*]At 200 meters , relaxed shooter, moving but clearly visible target 4-5 bullets

Are you confident about the stats? I had once seen AMC(army medical core) jawans(including a cook) engaged in target practice using SLRs. The jawans fired 20 rounds and all of them successfully hit the target on more than 10 occasions. Most had around 14 successful attempts with one even scoring a hit of 16 out the 20 rounds. The target was around 300-400 meters away. Obviously the target was stationary, but even then it looks unlikely that those jawans would have taken 5 bullets to hit a moving target 200mts away. And if an average jawan from medical core can shoot with this success at such distances, I would imagine that an average infantrymen, with his superior training and practice, would be a better shot.

A lot has been discussed on this forum about the improbability of hitting a target 600mts away. I would guess that the chances of success would improve considerably when using a scopes. This made me curious. In IA only handful of soldiers use scopes. My understanding is that only marksmen and snipers are provided with scope. What is the scenario with US army? Nearly every other western soldier that we see on TV seems to be using scope.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 34982
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby shiv » 06 Jul 2009 06:10

Parijat Gaur wrote:
Are you confident about the stats? I had once seen AMC(army medical core) jawans(including a cook) engaged in target practice using SLRs. The jawans fired 20 rounds and all of them successfully hit the target on more than 10 occasions. Most had around 14 successful attempts with one even scoring a hit of 16 out the 20 rounds. The target was around 300-400 meters away. Obviously the target was stationary, but even then it looks unlikely that those jawans would have taken 5 bullets to hit a moving target 200mts away. And if an average jawan from medical core can shoot with this success at such distances, I would imagine that an average infantrymen, with his superior training and practice, would be a better shot.


No just guessing the stats.

Rien
BRFite
Posts: 267
Joined: 24 Oct 2004 07:17
Location: Brisbane, Oz

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Rien » 06 Jul 2009 06:18

ArmenT wrote:
Rien wrote:Another note between the difference between Indian and Chinese military officers. The Chinese decided, what do we need that is the most lethal cartridge? They decided the best was 5.8,6 or 6.2, and went with 5.8. They can use indian ammunition, but indians cannot use Chinese ammo. Unless India decides on a 6mm rifle. This is what you want, and another good point for 6/6.5. There is nothing that the Chinese and the Pakistanis can do with either ammunition. But a 6mm barrel can still fire 5.8 ammo, even if poorly.
A new barrel, and the rifle can shoot 5.8mm well.

Where do you get this assumption from? You can't just switch barrels around and expect it to work. By your logic, an AK-47 can fire FN-FAL ammo, since they're both 7.62 mm caliber. In practice, this is impossible (since AK cartridge is 7.62x39 mm, FN-FAL is 7.62x51 mm). The overall shape of the cartridge determines whether it fits into the chamber or not, not the caliber.


Even though I supplied the link, I guess clicking a mouse may be too much trouble for you. Any larger caliber rifle can fire a smaller caliber round. Not very well, but they can.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QBZ-95

QBZ-97 (5.56 mm Assault Rifle)

The Chinese have constructed an export version, the QBZ-97, which is similar to the QBZ-95 in all respects except that it is chambered for 5.56 mm NATO instead of the original Chinese 5.8 mm cartridge and has a deep magazine well designed to accept STANAG magazines. This weapon is the only QBZ-95 variant to have seen commercial success and military use outside of China; QBZ-97 are in use by 911 Special Forces of Cambodia Special Operations personnel.

You stick the barrel of the 97 on the 95, and you have a gun that can fire 5.56. It is that simple! There is also the DRDO's effort to create a system that can fire 7.62, 5.56, and 6.8. The Special forces have a rifle that can fire both Russian and NATO 7.62 full size round. Simply put:

A 5.56 rifle cannot fire any round bigger than itself, and almost all rounds *ARE* bigger. Imagine an Indian army battalion in mountain warfare. They have Chinese ammo. Can you fire a 5.8 round out of a 5.56 gun? The reverse, is only possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6_mm_caliber

Here is a list of 6mm caliber manufacturers. Almost every single one, in all dimensions, is bigger than a 5.8mm round. I also never specified the dimensions of the 6 or 6.5mm round. If compatability with Chinese ammo is a major design concern, it is easy enough to make your cartridge the right design. However, I'm more interested in a high BC bullet. The exact dimensions is something that should be established by computer modelling and wind tunnel tests.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 34982
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby shiv » 06 Jul 2009 06:56

I have some experience in shooting at targets with various things because I used to love doing that.

If you are a good marksman, you can hit a stationary target with just one glance at it when it is within close range. The further it gets, the smaller your chances of hitting it with one shot. If the target is far way and moving laterally (sideways) your chances of hitting it in one drop to very low levels.

It takes 2 to 4 seconds to get a bead on a stationary target that is far away. Even the slightest movement that you make, breathing, gripping you rifle more tightly, or loosening the grip, turning your neck ever so slightly takes your aim off and it takes a further 2-4 seconds to get your aim.

When the same target is much closer and stationary, the target occupies that many more degrees of arc in front of your sights and even after slight involuntary movements you find that your bead is still on some part of the target - so your aim is less likely to go off.

If a target is moving steadily in one direction, you can possibly aim to hit in one shot if it is close enough, but the difficulty rapidly rises with distance.

If the target is moving erratically and does not keep still for more than a second, your chances of hitting that target in one shot are virtually zero. If an erratically moving target is hiding behind topography and is visible only for a fraction of a second - your chances of hitting that target in one shot are essentially zero.

These physical constraints remain true for every human being no matter what weapon he carries and what ammunition he carries. The chances of a man hitting a target under such conditions are not improved by changing your weapon or ammunition.

Naturally - if you can fire off two shots quickly - you chances of hitting the target are increased. If you fire a burst of 10 rounds in the general direction of the target you have a better chance of actually getting one on target.

Given these physical constraints, and applying hem to a battle situation, how much ammunition should you carry (assuming that you cannot replenish your ammunition at will) for a battle that may last 8 hours

When should you start firing?

While it may seem "cruel" to the soldier in action - what RayC says is the only option - i.e to shoot only when you can identify and hit

The range for engagement for a rifle is not based on Visibility, but on the ability to Identify and hit. This is corroborated in Janes.

At 600m, an individual is but a speck.

At this range, what one can achieve is suppressive fire. A kill would be incidental. Automatic weapons like the LMG and MMG are the ideal weapons for suppressive fire and dispersing the enemy wherein the enemy’s command and control is disrupted. At this range, in addition the 51mm Mortar which has a maximum range of 750m would be fired with HE and Smoke, so as to kill and confuse (smoke). There is no requirement for a rifle being used in suppressive role, since ammunition would be expended wastefully.

The rifle is a weapon that is used when you can figuratively see ‘the whites of the eye’. The rationale is simple since replenishment would be cumbersome even in defence and it would reduce the ‘bayonet strength’ as the person of the section (in defence) would be busy replenishing ammunition being expended instead of adding to the firepower. In an attack, the question of replenishment does not arise till the F echelon fetches up.


"identify and hit" is the problem. It's the "AND"

Because of all the constraints - hitting is improbable at long ranges and more likely at short ranges. if a soldier is able to identify and hit best at 150 meters, he would merely be expending ammunition wastefully if he fires at ranges of 400 or 600 meters, because chances of achieving a hit are low. He has to wait till the target is closer.

But remember, at 150 meters 5.56 is as effective as 6 or 7.62 and it does not matter what he is carrying. I will put a caveat on that. When target is visible and close - it is easier to move a lighter weapon and shoot off a round than a heavier one.

A soldier who carries 6mm or 7.62 mm who imagines that he can achieve useful hits at 400 or 600 meters just because the bullet is effective at those ranges is forgetting that it is the the bullet that is effective at such ranges, but his aim is not effective at such ranges. The heavier the ammunition, the less the soldier will be able to carry and the more he will have expended if he wastefully shoots off everything at long ranges.

There are two separate and independent factors needed to kill/wound a target
a) Ammunition that is effective in doing the job
b) An ability to make the ammunition actually strike the target

You can improve factor "a" to infinity, but you will not be changing "b".

In military/civilian industry serious research studies are done to achieve even 5% improvement. For example research to reduce weights by 5% or fuel burn by 5% are commonly cited with regard to aircraft and engines.

If I can see some serious research papers that can show that change from 5.56 to 6 can achieve a significant gain for any army I would be willing to believe what is being pushed on this thread. So far I have seen no counters to what I have said or what Ray has said.

I have only seen statistics of effectiveness of the ammunition at long ranges coupled with emotional blackmail of what "Chinese or Pakistanis" might to. That is not an argument in favor of 6 mm ammunition. Let us stick to hard, verifiable facts and not vague anxieties about who is doing what.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 06 Jul 2009 07:33

The Chinese have constructed an export version, the QBZ-97, which is similar to the QBZ-95 in all respects except that it is chambered for 5.56 mm NATO instead of the original Chinese 5.8 mm cartridge and has a deep magazine well designed to accept STANAG magazines. This weapon is the only QBZ-95 variant to have seen commercial success and military use outside of China; QBZ-97 are in use by 911 Special Forces of Cambodia Special Operations personnel.

You stick the barrel of the 97 on the 95, and you have a gun that can fire 5.56. It is that simple! There is also the DRDO's effort to create a system that can fire 7.62, 5.56, and 6.8. The Special forces have a rifle that can fire both Russian and NATO 7.62 full size round. Simply put:

A 5.56 rifle cannot fire any round bigger than itself, and almost all rounds *ARE* bigger. Imagine an Indian army battalion in mountain warfare. They have Chinese ammo. Can you fire a 5.8 round out of a 5.56 gun? The reverse, is only possible.


A weapon can fire different calibre with a barrel and magazine change with the design such that there is no leakage.

I have not understood 'reverse is possible'.

It would mean that the Chinese would have to carry barrels and magazines of both calibre!

The aim is to make all types of equipment carried by the Infantry soldier lighter without losing efficiency. However, if I have understood you right, the Chinese would have to carry barrels and magazines of both the calibre. That would be counterproductive since it would be only adding to the weight being carried by the soldier. In mountain warefare, weight is a major factor.

Surya
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5034
Joined: 05 Mar 2001 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Surya » 06 Jul 2009 07:46

If ammo was this easily interchangeable - why would NATO spend all this time and money to have a darn standard.

Whats a few mm here and there if they all could work. :P


And I did not know that the decision to equip my forces was decided by what my enemy has??? :eek:

imagine if one extended that theory a tad bit more..

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 06 Jul 2009 08:28

The field of wound ballistics largely comprises the study of the physiology and medical effects of projectile weapons (chiefly, but not exclusively, bullets) on humans or animals. It can be considered the intersection of medicine and terminal ballistics.

Here is an interesting write up on wound ballistics:
http://www.firearmstactical.com/wound.htm

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 06 Jul 2009 09:18

While weapons and their characteristics are important, let’s analyse the paradigm in which a battle is conducted.

The aim is to defeat the enemy, be it in defence or in an attack.

This is achieved by a weapon mix and tactics, and is done by a graduated destruction of the enemy. No single weapon alone can defeat the enemy. By graduated destruction, it means, first the artillery engages at long ranges and continues to do so throughout the battle as per the Fire Plan. The MMGs then superimposes when in range, followed by the LMG, then the rifles, carbines, grenades etc. The MMGs and LMGs are automatic weapons since they require bringing down a heavy volume of fire so as to disrupt, degrade and destroy (to the extent feasible).

In this context, defeating the enemy cannot be achieved by killing the stray individual soldiers. It is the attacking or defending echelon has to be degraded to defeat in detail.

Therefore, a rifle that kills an enemy soldier at 400 or 600m, while helpful would not degrade the enemy echelon, who will ingenuous use of fire and move, tactics and gainfully using terrain, will close in. In such a scenario, even if all the rifles are being fired at 400 to 600m (let’s imagine there is endless ammunition available for debate’s sake), and everyone is a marksman, it would be an exaggeration to feel that the enemy echelon can be destroyed.

It must be remembered that, in defence, at these long ranges, the target i.e. the individual is but a speck. Compare that with say 200m. Which gives a better chance of a hit? Another point to consider is that if all soldiers had the capability to be marksmen, then why have different gradations of skill in the official records. In the IA, is it Marksman, First Class shot and Standard shot. Thus, where is the reason to open up at 600m when even a Standard Shot may not effect a kill at 200m? The only aspect that may not be in favour of such ranges (200m) is the element of ‘fear’, but then when in a group, fear is less palpable and can be overcome. It must also be remembered that at this range, the attacker is in the minefield and hence is cautious. This reduces his speed and manoeuvrability and hence becomes an easier target than at 600m where there is no minefield in most cases.

Taking the case of the attacker, the defender is in bunkers and in the communication trenches. Therefore, they are protected and not visible. Hence, where is the need for a rifle that can effect a kill at 600m.

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby RayC » 06 Jul 2009 13:23

Even the Special forces of the US has sought a higher performing alternative. The 5th Special Forces group at Ft. Campbell, together with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Ft. Benning, evaluated alternative calibers and concluded that the 6.8 SPC provided the best combination of accuracy, velocity and transferred energy, delivering twice the kinetic energy at longer ranges than the 5.56 NATO.

The US special forces has comprehensively rejected 5.56 caliber, attempting to replace it with a more powerful cartridge, and replacing m4's/m16's with the dual caliber capable SCAR-H rifle. If 5.56 caliber was adequate for close combat, it would be odd to switch to 7.62 with its proven weight drawbacks. Indeed, the dual caliber system introduces considerable logistic headaches.

The best of the available alternatives is a 6-6.5 mm round. The Chinese military also evaluated 5.56 millimeter before rejecting it in favour of 5.8 mm, which is very similar to the 6 mm recommendation. The Chinese study found that 5.6, 6 and 6.25 mm were the ideal calibers for a rifle cartridge. This study is in good agreement with the recommendations for a replacement caliber, and other similar studies.


It is interesting that the US Special Forces discarded the 5.56mm and opted for a calibre in between.

Yet, throughout 2001 and 2002, the Tavor underwent operational testing against the US M4 carbine within the Givati Infantry brigade and emerged as the preferred choice. The replacement of M16s with Tavor was scheduled for the first infantry brigades for mid-2003. In December 2002, it was announced that India had ordered the Tavor rifle. The agreement was for an initial USD20 million, although the exact quantity of rifles involved was not disclosed. The agreement also included 5.56 mm ammunition, night sights, laser range-finders and other targeting equipment. India is also considering the acquisition of 'several thousand' Tavor rifles to equip units currently armed with 7.62 mm AKM assault rifles.
http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Inf ... srael.html

The Indians are equipped with Tavor which is 5.56mm.

The IDF plans to equip all of its infantry units with Tavor. The estimated initial procurement batch of 15,000 assault rifles is expected to be budgeted. Armies and special forces of India, Thailand, and most probably Georgia, as well as other European nations have already selected Tavor for special forces.
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/de ... c49812de5e

Israeli-Made Tavor Assault Rifle to Replace M-16 Among Infantry

(IsraelNN.com) After several years of trial usage by the IDF’s Givati Brigade, the Israeli-made Tavor assault rifle will be deployed among infantry units throughout Judea and Samaria in the near future.

Soldiers who enlisted November, 2006 and later are now being deployed as the first batch of recruits to be trained with the lightweight, futuristic weapon.

The Tavor is specially designed for urban combat. Its center of gravity is located in the rear and is much lighter and shorter-barreled than the US-made M-16, currently the weapon of choice in most of the IDF.
http://www.youtube.com/watch

It is conceded that a heavier calibre will have a greater 'stopping power', but is the 5.56 calibre a failure in combat and thus requires a change?

Or is it another hype to ensure that the US militaray industrial complex has a fresh life!

Tanaji
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3251
Joined: 21 Jun 2000 11:31

Re: An alternative to NATO 5.56mm cartridges

Postby Tanaji » 06 Jul 2009 14:28

I thought there were rules against using captured ammunition in battle for fear that it may be sabotaged. Distinctly remember this happening in Africa.

I am aware that IA has AK stocks captured from terrorists, but say in a pitched battle against the Chinese, its unlikely the IA will start replenishing from chinese captured stocks?


Return to “Military Issues Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests