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The Case Against A General-Purpose Cartridge


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#61 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2144 PM

Lots of other factors dealing with penetration of things in an urban area.  Your GPMG's typically aren't going to be doing much past the initial breach into the edge of the city, they're simply too unwieldy in most cases.  They may be advanced to cover avenues of approach and so forth, but if the USMC went IAR because they thought SAW was too big, no way for M240G+tripod and so forth in the patrol. 

 

If the basic rifle and SAW(Mk46) went to an intermediate caliber, say 6.8, then this usurps the need to use 7.62 weapons for barrier pen/target reduction.  Besides, HE works better there IME. Which leaves range, where the M80 ball sucks ass.  Now, if we were smart(which we're not) we could extend our effective range quite a bit by going back in time to issue a heavy ball load, which we moved away from, largely due to training issues post-WW1.  The ammo outshot the range fans on US training facilities and recoil beat up the shooters(steel butt stocks suck, the 1903 "C" stock helped)  This would improve things for all the coax guns and other situations where modern sensors grossly exceed the range of the weapons they utilize.  Such as in A-stan, and the last time we were in Korea.  S/F....Ken M        



#62 BabyOlifant

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2226 PM

7.62 could be replaced with something ballistically similar to 8x63 Swedish, dontcha think?



#63 Panzermann

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2234 PM

yep a heavy boat tailed bullet would be it for belted MG ammunition. The German DM11 is a cheap flat ended bullet, too. And not really fun for long range shooting with the coax. I mean what's full stabilisation and a laser range finder for if you cannot make effective use of it? The neglected shooting from tripod would benefit as well. Turning the MG3 into a little artillery piece to reach out and touch someone indirectly. Especially in Afghanistan that would be an edge over the opposition me thinks. I doubt that the enemy has the time and opportunity to train in the art of finely applied machine gun fire. Too bad mostly all WW1 machine gunners are dead already.


@ babyolifant: Isn't that the point of the. 338 Norma MG? giving better performance than .308 but not much increase in weight? But which calibre exactly one uses will be a long discussion as well.

#64 BabyOlifant

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2246 PM

Yeah, the Norma could work, but I'm not sure you'd need or want something that powerful.


Edited by BabyOlifant, 09 December 2013 - 1028 AM.


#65 GregShaw

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2250 PM

7.62 could be replaced with something ballistically similar to 8x63 Swedish, dontcha think?

Or better yet, 7.62x63 with a 173 gr FMJBT @ 2640 fps, otherwise known as M1 ball circa 1926. But as E5M mentioned we ditched that in 1940 and intentionally went to a shorter ranged 152 gr flat based FMJ, which M80 ball nearly duplicates.

 

Greg Shaw



#66 BabyOlifant

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2257 PM

 

7.62 could be replaced with something ballistically similar to 8x63 Swedish, dontcha think?

Or better yet, 7.62x63 with a 173 gr FMJBT @ 2640 fps, otherwise known as M1 ball circa 1926. But as E5M mentioned we ditched that in 1940 and intentionally went to a shorter ranged 152 gr flat based FMJ, which M80 ball nearly duplicates.

 

Greg Shaw

 

 

That would be an improvement of course, but if you don't need it to be a rifle cartridge, you could go a bit bigger.



#67 BabyOlifant

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2257 PM

Tony, would it be possible for us to see those AARs you mentioned?



#68 Tony Evans

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2308 PM

 

 

1. No argument that a bigger and more energetic bullet will have a greater destructive effect, but I was addressing the specific term you used, which was "penetration". 

 

 

2. I think that you are playing with semantics over the terms used for the weapons. Whether a machine gun is called a machine gun or a SAW (machine gun being what it is, SAW being a particular function which some machine guns get used for) is irrelevant to the point I was making. It is a belt-fed gun with a quick-change barrel which is intended to put out a higher volume of fire than rifles can manage, and therefore tends to get through a lot of ammo in a fire-fight. If a squad carries both a 5.56mm and a 7.62mm  MG (as a British Army section does) and there is an intensive engagement at long range, only the 7.62mm MG will be able to make a useful contribution. If that runs out of ammo, it can't get any more except by resupply. If it suffers a major stoppage, the gunner can't pass his ammo belts onto the 5.56mm MG gunner. That was the point I was making.

 

 

1. Thus my point about not quite understanding how this stuff works in practice. If every round penetrates the "cover", then it's not cover, by definition. It's concealment. Penetrating cover, at least to somebody trained in US terminology, means breaking through the cover first, to get at what's behind it. Now that's not exactly something you want to have to do with small arms, but whether it's a concrete wall or a pile of sandbags,* sometimes ya gotta chip away at the hard candy crust before ya get to the gooey center.

 

*Real life machine gun range exercise, ca. 1986 -- pile up five or six sandbags a hundred meters or so out in the impact area, and see who takes the fewest bursts to knock the pile down.

 

2. It is not at all semantic where in the your organization you concentrate machine guns, or types of machine guns, or what their doctrinal purpose is. Call the M249 whatever you want, even a bouquet of petunias, it's doctrinal roll is squad automatic weapon. It may in fact be a belt-fed machine gun, but that's beside the point. It's purpose is to provide the fire team (not, in fact, the squad, despite common nomenclature) its primary firepower. Machine guns at the platoon or company level have a different purpose, which is to provide a solid base in the defense and suppressive fire in the offense, for the platoon or company.



#69 Tony Evans

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2340 PM

 

It's not that one is right and the other wrong, but rather that similar terminology is used to refer to doctrinal roles and physical composition, which are not perfectly congruent, and people make different assumptions.  I think something similar is happening here with the "SAW" vs "Machine Gun" terminology.

 

Well, from my point of view, the issue has a lot to do with thinking that the machine gun is only a technological artifact, and not a doctrinal element in infantry tactics. Using the old doctrinal terminology of "light", "medium", and "heavy" machine guns is fraught with possibility for misapprehension and misunderstanding. But doctrinal roles still exist. The doctrinal role of the platoon/company machine gun still definitely exists in the US and a lot of other services. It may just be my personal opinion though I'd be willing to bet a lot that it's far from mine alone -- but the platoon/company role is not going to be served by the same round that will serve rifles, and machine guns in the doctrinal role of the SAW.



#70 GregShaw

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2345 PM

 

 

7.62 could be replaced with something ballistically similar to 8x63 Swedish, dontcha think?

Or better yet, 7.62x63 with a 173 gr FMJBT @ 2640 fps, otherwise known as M1 ball circa 1926. But as E5M mentioned we ditched that in 1940 and intentionally went to a shorter ranged 152 gr flat based FMJ, which M80 ball nearly duplicates.

 

Greg Shaw

 

 

That would be an improvement of course, but if you don't need it to be a rifle cartridge, you could go a bit bigger.

 

True, but the 8x63 is a pretty minimal improvement over M1 ball, a hair over 500 yds maximum range, 6015 yds to 5500 yds. If you aren't limiting yourself to 1940s IMR-4895 and 4064, then the old .30-06 can manage 2450 fps with a 220 gr BTHP, while staying within 50,000 cup. I'm not espousing the .30-06 as the next generation mg round, I happen to think the .260 Rem would be about perfect for that, or take the 101 year old .250 Savage, bump it up to 55,000 psi and push a .257 125 gr out at 2650 fps. As Tony has pointed out before, small arms are a mature technology, my addendum would be that ballistically there is nothing new under the sun for the last century.

 

Greg


Edited by GregShaw, 30 November 2013 - 2348 PM.


#71 Tony Evans

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 2352 PM

Lots of other factors dealing with penetration of things in an urban area.  Your GPMG's typically aren't going to be doing much past the initial breach into the edge of the city, they're simply too unwieldy in most cases.  They may be advanced to cover avenues of approach and so forth, but if the USMC went IAR because they thought SAW was too big, no way for M240G+tripod and so forth in the patrol. 

 

Since you shouldn't be sending your 7.62mm machine guns along on patrols anyway, what's your point? Their doctrinal roll in urban areas is to cover avenues of approach and open areas. This gives them plenty of opportunity to have to do cover chewing, especially at ranges where SMAWs and AT4s aren't exactly precision engagement tools.


Edited by Tony Evans, 01 December 2013 - 0037 AM.


#72 rmgill

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0011 AM

[

 
[citation needed]


Conservation of momentum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum

Heavier bullets retain energy through their flight longer. Greater mass sheds velocity slower than a lighter mass. This is standard exterior ballistics.


And

Big game hunting needs big bullets. You don't hunt Cape buffalo with .22 caliber. You go for big heavy, penetrating bullets.

What does one define as performance?

#73 BabyOlifant

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0028 AM

 

[

 
[citation needed]


Conservation of momentum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum

Heavier bullets retain energy through their flight longer. Greater mass sheds velocity slower than a lighter mass. This is standard exterior ballistics.


And

Big game hunting needs big bullets. You don't hunt Cape buffalo with .22 caliber. You go for big heavy, penetrating bullets.

What does one define as performance?

 

 

Evidence that momentum is the prime agent in wounding? "Knockdown power" is an expression; human targets and medium game do not literally get knocked down when hit.

Misleading. Slower bullets retain their energy better than faster ones do (because the increase in drag as you go up in velocity above the sound barrier is ridiculous). Heavier bullets retain velocity better due to inertia, but this is accounted for by the BC function. A heavier bullet with the same BC and initial velocity as a lighter one will not retain any more of its energy as a percentage of its initial energy than a lighter one.

 

Dubious. Big game hunting requires a stable bullet with high sectional density and a lot of energy. The weight, except insofar as it affects the energy and sectional density, is irrelevant so far as we know.

 

Please explain why a heavier or larger caliber bullet of the same energy at the target will be more effective than a lighter or smaller caliber one. I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for that claim.


Edited by BabyOlifant, 01 December 2013 - 0058 AM.


#74 rmgill

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0152 AM

 
Evidence that momentum is the prime agent in wounding? "Knockdown power" is an expression; human targets and medium game do not literally get knocked down when hit.


I said nothing about knockdown power. Nothing at all. Larger bullets will have a larger wound channel. This is why defensive handguns have a recommended minimum for caliber in the range of .380 and above.

A larger temporary and permanent wound channel will cause more shock and blood loss and more incapacitation. A larger bullet will make a larger wound channel.


Misleading. Slower bullets retain their energy better than faster ones do (because the increase in drag as you go up in velocity above the sound barrier is ridiculous). Heavier bullets retain velocity better due to inertia, but this is accounted for by the BC function. A heavier bullet with the same BC and initial velocity as a lighter one will not retain any more of its energy as a percentage of its initial energy than a lighter one.[


Unless I mistake, the larger, longer bullets suggested by Tony Williams will have a very good BC and will thus retain energy longer and bus further than a smaller lighter bullet. A larger, heavier bullet will also be less subject to cross winds.

Dubious. Big game hunting requires a stable bullet with high sectional density and a lot of energy. The weight, except insofar as it affects the energy and sectional density, is irrelevant so far as we know.


Bullet size for small things is a small bullet. Bullet sizes for larger things is a bigger heavier bullet for more penetration and wound creation. A big heavy bullet in a small critter is a waste and destroys meat. A small bullet In a big critter wounds it but doesn't incapacitate it.

At long ranges what is the .22 caliber bullet doing? Does it have enough energy to incapacitate a man? Evidence suggests otherwise. We can look at shootings on in crime incidents for some examples and compare weapon types/target effects.

Please explain why a heavier or larger caliber bullet of the same energy at the target will be more effective than a lighter or smaller caliber one. I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for that claim.


Because at medium and longer ranges that large bullet will still have more energy than the small fast bullet, because the smaller fast bullet will have lost more energy, due to drag. Are we comparing muzzle velocities and muzzle energy or are we comparing terminal velocity and energy where the combat range targets are?

What's the energy of .223 at 400 meters? What about Tony's suggested cartridge at same? I'll bet it retains more energy at 400 meters and substantially more at 600.

Then there's shooting through barriers.

#75 BabyOlifant

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0313 AM

 

 

You continue to avoid addressing my query: Can you provide a satisfactory source that shows that larger calibers and/or heavier bullets alone produce significantly more grievous wounds than smaller calibers and/or lighter bullets, especially for through-and-through shots? This is a keystone of the GPC theory, and I've not seen a shred of evidence to support it.

 

So far, you have shown nothing to back up these claims, and when pressed you divert to topic to external ballistics and handgun cartridge choice.


Edited by BabyOlifant, 01 December 2013 - 0317 AM.


#76 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0451 AM

Since you shouldn't be sending your 7.62mm machine guns along on patrols anyway, what's your point? Their doctrinal roll in urban areas is to cover avenues of approach and open areas. This gives them plenty of opportunity to have to do cover chewing, especially at ranges where SMAWs and AT4s aren't exactly precision engagement tools.

 

My point is that if you're wanting to eliminate a caliber in the infantry small arms, you'd be better off consolidating the machine guns in the Euro model and eliminating 50cal, which really doesn't bring much to the table anymore.  Unless you believe in the voodoo of "more noise is better" like some 3rd world primitive.  We've already done the 7.62 rifle thing and found it lacking, a 7.62mm SAW doesn't do it either, we tried that with the M60.  I would prefer a larger caliber than 7.62 to cover more of the 50cal spectrum for machine guns, but a heavy bullet 7.62 load, a proper MG loading, is a good enough solution for the near term.  S/F....Ken M



#77 BabyOlifant

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0516 AM

Honest question, why do you think .50 caliber doesn't bring much to the table, Echo?



#78 rmgill

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0526 AM

You continue to avoid addressing my query: Can you provide a satisfactory source that shows that larger calibers and/or heavier bullets alone produce significantly more grievous wounds than smaller calibers and/or lighter bullets, especially for through-and-through shots? This is a keystone of the GPC theory, and I've not seen a shred of evidence to support it.


Alone? No, because nothing in ballistics and wound mechanisms works alone.

Shot placement. Angle of incidence. Target size. Target physique. Target cover. Target clothing/armor. Impact velocity. Bullet construction. Bullet size. Bullet weight. Sectional density. Bullet shape. Gilding material. Tissue structure. Tissue density. 

All are percentages. I would have assumed that would have been clear, I'm not sure why you're asking for citations on this because it's basic internal ballistics is wound mechanism. Larger bullets make larger wound cavities, this is basic physics. Period.
 
Since you want some citations to this effect, I'll direct you to Hollerman, Fackler, Coldwell and Ben-Menachem's work on the subject.

http://www.ajronline...r.155.4.2119095

"Two major mechanisms of wounding occur: the crushing of the tissue struck by the projectile (forming the permanent cavity), and the radial stretching of the projectile path walls (forming a temporary cavity)."


"Crushing of Tissue
A missile crushes the tissue it strikes, thereby creating a permanent wound channel (permanent cavity). Yaw is theangle between the long axis of the bullet and its path of flight. If the bullet is traveling with its pointed end forward and its long axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of flight (0° of yaw), it crushes a tube of tissue no greater than its approximate diameter. When the bullet yaws to 90°,e entire long axis of the bullet strikes tissue, and the amount crushed may be three times greater than at 0° of yaw.

Temporary Cavitation (Tissue Stretch)
"The maximal size of the temporary cavity occurs several milliseconds after the bullet has passed through the tissue [1 1]. Because forces follow paths of least resistance, tern- porary cavitation is likely to be asymmetric and spread out through tissue planes [4].
The temporary cavity caused by common handgun bullets is too small to be a significant wounding factor in all but the most sensitive tissues (brain and liver) [4]. Center-fire rifle bullets and large handgun bullets (e.g., .44 magnum) often induce a large temporary cavity (10-25 cm [4-10 in.] diame- ter) in tissue. This can be a significant wounding factor, depending on the characteristics of the tissue in which it forms [4, 13]."


Why do you think a .223 is going to be better at making wounds at it's longer ranges than a heavier bullet?

Is .223 even effective to the ranges we're talking about here? 

"Ballistic Properties and the Wound Produced

Recent controlled animal experiments with military rifle bullets [18] have clearly disproved the assertion that all tissue exposed to temporary cavitation is destroyed. These studies also show that not only does the 14-cm-diameter temporary cavity produced by the AK-74 assault rifle not destroy a great amount of muscle, but the sizable stellate exit wound it causes in the uncomplicated thigh wound ensures excellent wound drainage, which assists healing [1 4, 18, 19]. This is consistent with the pathophysiology of wound healing and the history of the treatment of wounds received in war [18, 19]. A history that the wound was caused by a “high-velocity bullet” does not mandate radical excision of the wound path.

 The characteristics of the wounded tissue, the thickness of the body part, the point in the path of the bullet at which yaw or fragmentation occurs, and other factors strongly influence the wound produced. Bullets of equal wounding potential may produce wounds of quite different severity, depending on which tissues they traverse. Teh heavier, slower bullet crushes more tissue but induces less temporary cavitation. Most of the wounding potential of the lighter, faster bullet is likely to be used up forming a larger temporary cavity, but this bullet leaves a smaller permanent cavity. The heavier, slower bullet causes a more severe wound in elastic tissue than the lighter, faster bullet which uses up more if its potential producing tissue stretch (temporary cavitation). This tissue stretch may be absorbed with little of no ill effect by elastic tissue such as lung or muscle. In nonelastic tissue, such as liver or brain, the temporary cavity produced by the lighter faster bullet can produce a more severe wound."

 

So far, you have shown nothing to back up these claims, and when pressed you divert to topic to external ballistics and handgun cartridge choice.

 
Handgun bullet choice? Sorry, no, I've been talking about bullet wounding mechanisms. It's the same mechanisms across the board with differences based upon the differences involved. Handgun cartridge choice in some respects is specialized but overall it's the same mechanism. Rifle bullets that expand are going to create larger wound channels due to greater energy and penetration depth. Rifle bullets are going to be more effective because you can reliably hit targets with the faster bullets than with even injury optimized pistol bullets. This is why pistol caliber sub machine guns are poor weapons for ranged combat. You have a great wounding capability but a poor hitting capability. 

Hitting the target is the first step in making a wound. Getting good terminal effects is next. If you're firing 5.56 at long range and it's not yawing because of typical target profiles and it's certainly not fragmenting due to insufficient velocity then it's not working is it? A larger bullet, fired at the same target at longer range which hits will create a larger wound profile.


Hey, E5M, when you guys went out sniping did you prefer 7.62mm or 5.56 for your sniping? Why?

Edited by rmgill, 01 December 2013 - 0533 AM.


#79 rmgill

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0542 AM

http://www.hsj.gr/vo.../issue4/445.pdf

Wound Ballistics: Analysis of Blunt and Penetrating Trauma Mechanisms
Christina–Athanasia Alexandropoulou1, Elias Panagiotopoulos2

In the first 12 cm of a soft tissue wound path (the average thickness of an adult human thigh), there often is little or no difference between the wounding effect of low- and high- velocity bullets if the high- velocity bullet is of the military full-metal- jacket type14. This is particularly true of the relatively heavier military rifle bullets such as those fired by the AK-47 and NATO 7.62 mm rifles. A wound of an extremity caused by an AK-47 bullet, which does not hit bone, is often similar to a handgun bullet wound15. If a high-velocity, heavy bullet does not deform, fragment or hit a bone it may exit an extremity with much of its wounding potential unspent. These same bullets are often lethal in chest or abdominal wounds, because the trunk is thicker than an extremity and allows the bullet a sufficiently long path through tissue to yaw10, 13. Maximal temporary cavitation induced by the full- metal-jacket AK-47 bullet usually occurs at a tissue depth around 28 cm, much greater than the diameter of a human extremity. In fact, this depth is even greater than the diameter of the human torso from most projections. This is why most torso wounds made by the AK-47, when firing the common nondeforming military bullet, resemble wounds made by much lower-velocity handgun bullets. Civilian soft-point or hollow-point rifle bullets deform soon after entering tissue and usually produce a much more severe extremity wound than do low- velocity handgun bullets15.

Also note this video. Pay particular attention to 5:30-6:30




Dr. Grabinsky talks about rifle wounding mechanisms and effects. Incidence through torsos, especially longitudinally are usually very lethal. The reason being a longitudinal injury has more tissue for the bullet to begin yawing. If there is no yaw, then the major wounding effect (aside from striking bone) is going to be the wound cavity, permanent and temporary.

So, a larger bullet means larger wound cavity, temporary and permanent aka crush injury and stretch injury.

Edited by rmgill, 01 December 2013 - 0548 AM.


#80 BabyOlifant

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 0552 AM

rmgill, you seem intent on missing the point of my original question. I will quote it here for your benefit:
 

 

These claims have not been proven to my satisfaction:


1. That 5.56 has insufficient terminal effectiveness past a certain range or velocity threshold.

 

2. That a larger caliber projectile with the same energy and bullet construction would greatly improve on its terminal effectiveness, especially when both bullets fail to dump their energy through tumbling, fragmentation, or expansion.

 

Never did I say that .223 would be better at making wounds at longer ranges than a heavier bullet.

 

Fackler is the first real source you've cited. It is satisfactory as a medical document, but it does not answer the questions I posed, as he does not examine either circumstance. A wound may knock someone out cold, but require no more treatment than bed rest. A wound may prove eventually lethal, but leave the target standing and fighting for minutes on end. Fackler's research is important, but it does not address the relevant characteristics of terminal effectiveness. It is best viewed as a source most relevant to emergency medical care, NOT to how good a weapon is at stopping a target.

Neither do your diversions of asking E5M if he preferred 7.62 to 5.56 address my query. Do 5.56 and 7.62 have the same energy? No. Do M855 and M80 have the same bullet construction? No.

You brought up handgun cartridges. Handgun cartridges typically fire very short round-nosed bullets, very different in shape to the spitzer bullets fired by rifles. Their wounding effects are not the same. It is perfectly reasonable to hypothesize that, due to its shape, a spitzer projectile that passes through the body may do so easily, without crushing a great amount of tissue. Given the small differences in diameter between .22 and .30 caliber projectiles, a through-and-through wound made by a .22 caliber spitzer bullet may be much the same as one made by a .30 caliber bullet. It is entirely possible that if neither caliber performs as intended, both will create comparable wounds. This possibility has, of yet, not been eliminated, but the "when all else fails, bigger caliber is better" mantra remains a cornerstone of the GPC argument.

 

Even if spitzer projectiles create permanent cavities proportional to their caliber, why would it matter significantly if a through-and-through shot were .22 or .30 caliber? The target has been penetrated, and unless the shot nicks something important, the result will likely be very similar in either case. There seems to be an awful lot of faith riding on that extra eighty thousandths of an inch.

 

Thus, neither of my queries have been satisfied. No parameters for terminal effectiveness at a given range have been set, and so no evaluation of 5.56's performance at those ranges can be made. Sufficient terminal effectiveness at 500m might be complete penetration of the target. Perhaps that is enough. Perhaps a greater effect is needed. No one has quantified this.

Likewise, no one has done the requisite studies showing that there is a significant difference in stopping effect between a through-and-through wound made by a .22 caliber or .30 caliber bullet. It's possible there is, but I've never seen such an examination.






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