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#1
Old 06-01-2015, 03:49 PM
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why does our military use fmj (ball) 223 ammo?

we never signed the Hague Convention about "dumdum" bullets, and the Geneva protocols don't mention any such things. Neither one of those treaties applies to non-declared wars, nor to nations that are not signatories to those treaties. The 223, especially with the short barreled M4, lacks reliable stopping power with non-expanding full-metal Jacket" FMJ "ball" ammo, and the hollowpoint bullets significantly add to that power/effect. We dont give a damn about "excessive" wounding, or we would not use mines, grenades, etc. So that is NOT a 'reason".

The bottlenecked shape of the 223 rd means that the guns and magazines will feed the holowpoint ammo just fine. The HP ammo will pierce soft body armor and our enemies are not armored in the first place. The HP ammo will pierce vehicles, walls, treeds, etc, almost as "well" as 223 ball ammo (ie, not very well) and the troops could either mix every other rd in the mag as hp with ball, or carry the ammo, each in its own mag, for use where appropriate. So there's no reason there, either.

The troops MISS with thousands of rds for each hit that they get (with their rifles) and 90+% of all hitting is done at ranges under 100 meters. There's only about 1" difference in POI, point of impact between 62 gr HP ammo and the 62 gr "ball", non-expanding ammo. So any differences between the 2 types of ammo don't matter, as to accuracy. So, that's not a reason, either.

The mushrooming (in the man) hp ammo is far more likely to stop an enemy, and to give him a humane death. We INSIST upon the latter for hunting animals, but not for men! That's ridiculous. So why are they not using hollowpoint 223 ammo, hmm? does the (very tiny) increase in cost of such bullets mean more than the US lives that are lost because of the 223 ball rd's failure to stop guys (with good chest hits)?

Last edited by ufel; 06-01-2015 at 03:53 PM.
#2
Old 06-01-2015, 03:52 PM
Isaiah 1:15 Screw the NRA.
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Hollowpoint .223 is a joke. Expansion is minimal and the PR hit would be enormous. So zero reason for it, substantial reasons against it.
#3
Old 06-01-2015, 04:25 PM
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Countries sometimes choose to voluntarily comply with a treaty limitation even if they haven't signed the treaty. This encourages other countries to also follow the limitations if they're fighting against them. But it leaves open the legal option of disregarding the limitation if it appears useful to do so.
#4
Old 06-01-2015, 04:26 PM
Isaiah 1:15 Screw the NRA.
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As the US does quite a bit with the use of chemical weaponry.
#5
Old 06-01-2015, 04:38 PM
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Probably most important of all, especially to the guys pulling the triggers, FMJ is the most reliably feeding ammunition type out there.

Beyond that, the 5.56 and 5.45 bullets currently in use have a tendency to yaw and tumble earlier than the heavier 7.62 bullets that preceded them, due to the colossal difference in momentum (7.62= 10g bullet @ 833 m/s = 8.330 kg m/s, versus 5.56= 4 g bullet @ 940 m/s = 3.76 kg m/s), and in general, tend to do as much or more damage.

Of course, this is all dependent on the muzzle velocity and weight of the bullet- below a certain velocity, they don't yaw at all.
#6
Old 06-01-2015, 05:18 PM
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All the above in addition to the need for maximum penetration. Militaries aren't looking for a clean quick kill like a deer hunter who possibly will lose a quarry that was punctured but ran away. Military personnel need the ability to poke holes through humans that might be sitting in a vehicle, or standing on the other side of a wooden door. Your enemy might be wearing a backpack full of gear. Green tip will go right through the backpack to puncture the soft bits inside the ribcage.

If you follow developments in military small arms ammunition you will see most research focusing on improving penetration. See the M855A1 lead free ammunition as an example.
#7
Old 06-01-2015, 05:29 PM
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you're very provably wrong.

maybe SOME of the hps (designed for match shooting) don't expand, but Sierra's GameKing design certainly does. The effects are VERY demonstrable, with coyotes and feral dogs, not small stuff like prairie dogs. SOME of the hp's, in fact, expand so violently that they dont penetrate well (on purpose). They actuall DO vaporize most of a crow.

now, what are your "several reason" not to use a HP, hmm? Bet you don't post any.
#8
Old 06-01-2015, 05:36 PM
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223 aint much on penetration anyway. Even with the steel capped ball ammo, it doesn't reliably shoot thru both sides of a car, even at 90 degree impact angles, with enough power remaining to do much to an enemy. I favor the 223 highly, especially with an M4 and sound suppressor, but it's no penetrator. Shooting at what you can't SEE (ie, enemies using cover) is a really STUPID tactic for civilans. Unlike soldiiers, you don't get help into and out of the combat zone. You wont get ammo replaced, nor is anyone coming to your aid when shtf. You'll not have a safe base to flee back to, either. I favor the deep penetrating, but animal-proven 60 gr Nosler Partition sp's, but they're quite expensive and if you shoot the things much, little frags of lead build up. I dont carry a lot of ammo and I DO have a cleaning kit in my BOB, bugout bag. I don't favor full auto and my suppressor helps me be far more effective, while firing far fewer rds. I want the hits that I DO get to be maximally effective.

The "yawing" and "fragmenting' bullet thing doesn't work with 62 gr ball and short barrels. They found that out in Somalia. it DOES work fairly well, to 100m of range, with a 20" barrel and the older 55 gr ball ammo (as was used in Nam).

ragheads and rice farmers aint GOT backpacks, so how would they be wearing any, hmm? Attackers tend to be shot from the front, too.

Last edited by ufel; 06-01-2015 at 05:38 PM.
#9
Old 06-01-2015, 05:40 PM
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What?
#10
Old 06-01-2015, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufel View Post
maybe SOME of the hps (designed for match shooting) don't expand, but Sierra's GameKing design certainly does. The effects are VERY demonstrable, with coyotes and feral dogs, not small stuff like prairie dogs. SOME of the hp's, in fact, expand so violently that they dont penetrate well (on purpose). They actuall DO vaporize most of a crow.

now, what are your "several reason" not to use a HP, hmm? Bet you don't post any.
The United States has always had good relations with Crowtopia and it's unlikely we'll ever fight a war with them.

Seriously, hunting animals and fighting a war are two different things. For military purposes, you're better off not using bullets that give "a humane death". It's generally felt that wounding people is preferable to killing people from a moral viewpoint. And from a strategic viewpoint - a wounded opponent uses up more enemy resources than a dead opponent does.
#11
Old 06-01-2015, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufel View Post
The 223, especially with the short barreled M4, lacks reliable stopping power with non-expanding full-metal Jacket" FMJ "ball" ammo, and the hollowpoint bullets significantly add to that power/effect.

Why do they use FMJ ? So the bullet can continue on after it goes through something else, like glass, perspex, door,wall, tree, another person...


FMJ also reduces fragmentation and therefore hitting the wrong target, and ricochets..

Its fairly easy to reduce the chance of ricochets in a forest,
but what if its a built up area ? Well if the fragmenting bullet takes a new path, the fragment can then ricochet off a hard surface and come back toward oneself or friends..
The less fragments the better, the bullet that does not fragment keeps going relatively straight, fragments go off at greater angles...

Last edited by Isilder; 06-01-2015 at 06:34 PM.
#12
Old 06-01-2015, 06:37 PM
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They do use hollowpoint ammunition, sometimes. Look at the specs for Mk 262. Or Mk 318. Or XM118 if we want to go back in the day. And though the Sierra 77 grain MatchKing used in Mk 262 isn't officially an expanding bullet, and the 'hollow point' is really just a tiny hollow tip, and an artifact of the jacket swaging process, it has reputedly tremendous terminal effects on people, close range or not.

I have not shot it, at people or anything else, so I don't know how that Sierra MatchKing holds up on flesh. I have shot other MatchKings on deer, and they blow up like a grenade within Coastal Blacktail deer. Usually after going nearly all the way through the animal, but still. Not sure how barrier-blind the bullet is, as my deer weren't hiding behind logs, and barrier-blindness / ability to defeat body armor is an important characteristic for military small arms ammunition.

I have wondered why something like the Nosler Partition design hasn't been used. Or something similar within a FMJ architecture, where you can have violent (unintended, of course) initial expansion along with a hardened penetrator to defeat armor.
#13
Old 06-01-2015, 06:39 PM
Isaiah 1:15 Screw the NRA.
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Originally Posted by ufel View Post
ragheads and rice farmers aint GOT backpacks, so how would they be wearing any, hmm? Attackers tend to be shot from the front, too.
I feel no need to respond to someone who will not be here by Friday.
#14
Old 06-01-2015, 07:29 PM
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As others have said, warfighting is different from varmint hunting (and Og keep me from thinking of taking out another fighter before he does it to me as varmint hunting). For all their customary public-servant/government-contractor foibles, I'll let the guys actually having to equip an army evaluate the OP's position on what ammo to make standard issue. For all we know the next gen ammo will be something else altogether (though we've been using Ball FMJ for over a century now).

But as to the reasons the military sticks to FMJ Ball for the general mass issue, among other reasons, as mentioned, the military tends to place firing reliability above wound mechanics -- a majority of soldiers do NOT train for one-shot-one-kill anyway and many combat situations don't give you the chance to even try; many of our Allies DO observe legal/treaty restrictions on ammunition and at least within NATO you want a good deal of standardized commonality (and sales opportunities) with them; plus we want ammunition that we can use against the broadest possible range of potential adversaries.
#15
Old 06-01-2015, 07:36 PM
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Welcome to the SDMB, ufel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ufel View Post
ragheads and rice farmers aint GOT backpacks, so how would they be wearing any, hmm? Attackers tend to be shot from the front, too.
Racially offensive terms like raghead are not permitted here, and while "rice farmer" could just be a profession, using it as a slur as you have done here is also not permitted. Since you are new and don't have a feel yet for what is or is not acceptable, I am going to make this a mod note instead of a warning. But do not do this again.
#16
Old 06-02-2015, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufel View Post
The mushrooming (in the man) hp ammo is far more likely to stop an enemy, and to give him a humane death. We INSIST upon the latter for hunting animals, but not for men! That's ridiculous.
As my grandfather once explained to me, when you kill an enemy soldier then you have one less person shooting at you. When you wound him, you eliminate three (the one you hit, plus two more to carry him to safety). There is no analogous scenario for hunting.

However, that rule of thumb may not work so well in urban, close range combat situations.
#17
Old 06-02-2015, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufel View Post
The HP ammo will pierce soft body armor and our enemies are not armored in the first place. The HP ammo will pierce vehicles, walls, treeds, etc, almost as "well" as 223 ball ammo (ie, not very well) and the troops could either mix every other rd in the mag as hp with ball, or carry the ammo, each in its own mag, for use where appropriate. So there's no reason there, either.
You are going in the wrong direction for your solution to the problem. The problem, as you sort of pointed out, is that the M855 had less than superior performance penetrating vehicles and glass. The solution is not to go ahead and accept it and start using a round that has even less ability at punching through windshields and hard targets. The solution is to improve the round so that it can punch through car doors and windows and still produce ideal effects in soft targets and body tissue. That was the whole purpose behind the development of the M855A1, which is currently in use. Your gripe is about half a decade too late.

As you also sort of pointed out, we could probably use hollow point 5.56 if we wanted to. The fact that we don't use it should be an indicator that we don't want to! We want something that is going to punch through hard objects on the way to the target and then still have enough energy left over to kill the target. "Knock-down power" is useless against the side of a truck or a windshield.

Quote:
The mushrooming (in the man) hp ammo is far more likely to stop an enemy, and to give him a humane death. We INSIST upon the latter for hunting animals, but not for men! That's ridiculous.
No it's not. Animals deserve a humane death. My enemies do not.

Quote:
So why are they not using hollowpoint 223 ammo, hmm? does the (very tiny) increase in cost of such bullets mean more than the US lives that are lost because of the 223 ball rd's failure to stop guys (with good chest hits)?
The increase in cost of bullets? You do realize that the military spent almost $40 MILLION just to design the M855A1 EPR. That doesn't even factor in the cost of purchasing the rounds, just developing them. This is not about cost-cutting and penny pinching. This is about getting the best round for the job, which obviously is not what you think it is.
#18
Old 06-02-2015, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isilder View Post
Why do they use FMJ ? So the bullet can continue on after it goes through something else, like glass, perspex, door,wall, tree, another person...


FMJ also reduces fragmentation and therefore hitting the wrong target, and ricochets..

Its fairly easy to reduce the chance of ricochets in a forest,
but what if its a built up area ? Well if the fragmenting bullet takes a new path, the fragment can then ricochet off a hard surface and come back toward oneself or friends..
The less fragments the better, the bullet that does not fragment keeps going relatively straight, fragments go off at greater angles...
I'll have to disagree with the point that you make about fmj being used to prevent richochets. If anything fmj increases the chance of just that. For those of us that carry concealed you will generally find that most of us carry hollow point ammunition. We do this for two specific reasons. The first being that the hollow point round offers a huge advantage in stopping power. The second is to prevent the chances of a richocet or over penatration. When a hollow point hits a hard target the most likely reaction is that it will shatter apart and not ricochet. When a hollow point hits a soft target like flesh it will expand, using most of its energy inside the target lessening the chance of penetrating through and endangering anything behind.

Remember, the saying is every fired bullet has a lawyer attached to it. We want to make sure the ammo we use is a "safe" as we can possibly get.

Last edited by obbn; 06-02-2015 at 02:23 PM.
#19
Old 06-02-2015, 04:07 PM
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The first being that the hollow point round offers a huge advantage in stopping power.
I'll just go on and point out that there's a huge velocity difference (as much as 3x-4x) between rifle and pistol rounds, and that hollowpoints are more or less required to get consistent stopping power out of handguns, while due to the higher rifle bullet velocities, they tend to have greater stopping power even with FMJ.

I also suspect, but have no citations, that 5.56 HP might not penetrate deep enough to be as consistently effective as FMJ would be. With pistol rounds, something like 16-18" of penetration into gelatin is required to show that the round has enough oomph to go through clothes and enough body at funny angles to ensure a stop. I sort of doubt that a 5.56 FMJ is going to penetrate that deep- they're typically varmint loads meant to expand fast and completely.

Soft points... maybe, but hollowpoints? Unlikely to be useful.
#20
Old 06-02-2015, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
I'll just go on and point out that there's a huge velocity difference (as much as 3x-4x) between rifle and pistol rounds, and that hollowpoints are more or less required to get consistent stopping power out of handguns, while due to the higher rifle bullet velocities, they tend to have greater stopping power even with FMJ.

I also suspect, but have no citations, that 5.56 HP might not penetrate deep enough to be as consistently effective as FMJ would be. With pistol rounds, something like 16-18" of penetration into gelatin is required to show that the round has enough oomph to go through clothes and enough body at funny angles to ensure a stop. I sort of doubt that a 5.56 FMJ is going to penetrate that deep- they're typically varmint loads meant to expand fast and completely.

Soft points... maybe, but hollowpoints? Unlikely to be useful.
Yes, you are correct. The velocity that a rifle spits out a bullet provides so much more sipping power than a pistol.
#21
Old 06-03-2015, 12:17 AM
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Just enjoying the ride here...but where is Babby come from why/what is the "ball" in "ball ammunition?" An etymological ghost of the good old days with muskets?
#22
Old 06-03-2015, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Just enjoying the ride here...but where is Babby come from why/what is the "ball" in "ball ammunition?" An etymological ghost of the good old days with muskets?
Sort of, but more recent than muskets. Prior to the invention of the spitzer style bullet in 1898, military cartridges had round 'ball' tips, and adoption took a while. For military handguns, fmjs are still round nosed.
#23
Old 06-03-2015, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obbn View Post
Yes, you are correct. The velocity that a rifle spits out a bullet provides so much more sipping power than a pistol.
Bolding mine. Interesting typo.
#24
Old 06-03-2015, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ufel View Post
we never signed the Hague Convention about "dumdum" bullets, and the Geneva protocols don't mention any such things. Neither one of those treaties applies to non-declared wars, nor to nations that are not signatories to those treaties.
It is debatable on the applicability of the Hague Conventions to non-signatories as the verbiage allows for non-signatories to agree to abide by the terms, in which case the signatories are bound to abide by the conventions. How long the non-signatory has to declare their intentions to abide by the conventions isn't spelled out anywhere, so what's debatable is if the non-signatory is abiding by the conventions but hasn't formally declared its intention to do so is the signatory bound and for how long.

Regarding the Geneva Protocols, you are 100% completely dead wrong. I would think you actually mean the Geneva Conventions, in which case you are still 100% dead wrong. What is generally known as the Geneva Protocol is the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating Gas, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare 8 February 1928 which has nothing to do with the topic. The Geneva Protocols I, II and III are all supplements to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and specifically apply to non-declared wars. Protocol I:
Quote:
Article 1(4) provides that armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes are to be considered international conflicts.
Protocol II, the name kind of gives it away: Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977. Assuming you mean the Geneva Conventions of 1949, all four of them open with the following verbiage:
Quote:
Article 1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.

Art. 2. In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.

Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
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