5.56/.223 penetrator ammo

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by homeshow, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. homeshow

    homeshow Monkey++

    anyone know about this stuff? they did not cover different types of ammo in the Army. as uncle Sam only supplied nato.

    Broken link removed - melbo
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Bullets have a steel core
    While the 5.56x45 and the .223 are interchangeable, the 5.56 is a military round that runs at higher pressures than its .223 counterpart

    Some sources indicate law enforcement only, but I have not confirmed that.
  3. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    The M855 is the standard issue round for the M16A2-M4 rifle since the mid '80's. The official data says that this round can penatrate up to 1/4" of standard steel plate at 100 meters. I never fired my M4 in retaliation while deployed so I cannot vouch for the officail claims. What I can say about this round is that if the steel core is off center of the entire projectile, then it will "key hole" upon leaving the muzzle. Now this may not bode well for accuracy, but termimal ballistics can be quite devastating on soft targets.
    I also would say that the price is resonable due to the fact that Ammunitiontogo was able to procure such a new lot of anything out of Lake City. You could also reload the same thing for a lot cheaper, M885 milsurp projectiles are widely available.
  4. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The M855 was developed as a light armor piercing round. the M855 round is loaded with the SS109 bullet. It weighs 62 gr. and takes a faster twist to properly stabilize, hence the 1:7 twist of the newer A2s. The older M193 is 55gr and was designed to be shot in a 1:12 twist for stabilization. Many people will compromise with a 1:9 twist to fire both rounds. the Army manual on ammunition indicates that M193 can be fire accebtably in the 1:7 with little accuaracy issues. If the M855 is fired in 1:12, it will not be stablized sufficiently and you will begin to get keyhole groups as @RouteClearence mentioned.

    The SS109 bullet has a cone shaped penetrator in the nose made of tungsten with a lead core behind the penetrator. Tungsten is a relatively light weight metal and on it's own, doesn't have the kinetic energy to penetrate armor, so the lead core give the kinetic energy that the tungsten penetrator needs to cut through armor. Because the bullet is an "armor piercing" round, people expect magic qualities from it and become dismayed when the round can't perform to 7.62 or .50 cal capabilities. If you realize that the bullet is a .22 caliber round and it can only do .22 caliber damage, then the M855 is a good round.
    I shoot M855 in my A2's and M193 in my A1's. The stuff does exactly what it was designed to do.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
    Brokor likes this.
  5. NVBeav

    NVBeav Monkey+++

    Sniper -- thanks for the explanation on the rifling twist. Sounds like 1:7 will be good if I can ever get my AR going.

    Also, I wanted to mention that Martin97 has (had?) some M855 in lots of 2,000 if you plan to do any reloading. Great product and it was great dealing with him.
  6. Grey Wolf

    Grey Wolf Monkey+++

    Hi all, there seems to be some misconception here.
    This is from the site Ammo Oracle and this is the information I remember receiving while I was in the Army on the various type of rounds and can be verified independently;

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  7. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Greywolf, instead of posting a copy from the often quoted oracle novel, why don't you paraphrase for us what is being misconceived here.
    In Iraq, I saw lots and lots of dead insurgents that can show otherwise, and there were a lot of wounded insurgents being treated with horrific wound channels that the guys would argue the opposite position on the lack of bullet tumbling.
    This oracle article is several years old and it was produced about the same time that there was a big push for the 6.8 SPC by the SF community. Political sides played a big part in the M855 bashing. I know a guy working for Lake City who is in the "know", I asked him about the M855 going away and his answer, "Are you kidding? not in my lifetime"

    Whoa, hey, just noticed, new to the board, welcome. Not jumping on here, just good discussion.
  8. Grey Wolf

    Grey Wolf Monkey+++

    I knew this would be the reaction. I am posting the facts as they are known from the time the M855 was adopted by the Military. And these are the facts. I won't banter with you on what you believe but many times when someone posts they don't back it up with information. Ammo Oracle was the most convenient place to find this info, however a search will show these same truths in US military lit to include USAMU.
    I can name more and post links to studies done buy the US military if need be. :eek:

    There is no one here that can deny why this round was created, The Former Soviet Union wearing their version of armor which consisted of "Plates of metal hardened" against the M198 round. I did not say the M855 could not do the job only what the article stated.

    He may not be in the know as politics changes with the wind.
    He only knows what the last decision past to him was.

    No on can deny the demand for MK262 has risen and the troops are asking for it as well as the commanders.

    I didn't come here to start a flame war and I'm not trolling.

    The M855 isn't going to go anywhere because there will always be a requirement for it. It does what it was designed to do but when using against enemy it was not designed for marksmanship becomes very important and thankfully the US Military is some of the best in the world.

    I've carried the M16 A1 and A2, the 90mm Recoilless rifle, the M21 sniper system, M60 and M249 SAW, The M24, the .45 and 9MM. I was there when these transitions took place and the reasons the M855 came to be are what was posted.
    During the same time the M60 and Ma Duce had SLAP rounds come out for them to deal with soldiers and vehicles wearing armor.
    If you follow the scientists who work on this stuff, sometime in my lifetime advances in body armor will require a redesigned round or heavier armor. Search for Liquid Armor on Google and you will see just one possibility.

    These are just the facts.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2014
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    So, OK. We have

    M193 - 55gr JSP 1:12 will stabilize, can be used in 1:9 (What happens with 1:7?)
    M855 - 62gr steel penetrator core Wants 1:9 to stabilize, may work with 1:7 or the rare 1:6 Bad ballistics with 1:12

    There are other heavier bullets and loadings out there that the military is playing with, but not currently available to us preppers. Very few of us can do the care and feeding of a SAW, so academic interest only.

    So homeshow's original question is answered? Suitable for practice but not a precision round?

    (Welcome aboard, Grey Wolf.)
  10. JohnJ_5114

    JohnJ_5114 Monkey++

    Hello! Some pretty good info but just to clarify that the 855 is not a tungsten penetrator and as for the interchanging of .233 and 5.56, I wouldn't fire 5.56 out of a .223 chambered weapon.
  11. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

  12. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    I always thought it was the other way around. Not to shoot a .223 out of a 5.56 x 45 chambered receiver. Something about the 5.56 not shooting as hot or as high pressred as a .223. Also the receiver in a .223 is a much tighter fit if I recall correctly. where as the mil-standard was a bot looser and had a bit more head space.

    If John is right what about shooting a .308 out of a 7.62 x 51? whats the problem there?
  13. JohnJ_5114

    JohnJ_5114 Monkey++

    From http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m855.htm

    The 5.56-mm ball M855 (A059) cartridge has a gilding, metal-jacketed, lead alloy core bullet with a steel penetrator. The primer and case are waterproof. The ammunition is linked by a disintegrating metallic split-linked belt for firing from the ammunition box. In an emergency, the M855 round can also be loaded and fired from the M16 20or 30-round magazine. It is identified by a green tip, has a projectile weight of 62 grains, and is 2.3 cm long. This is the NATO standard round. It is effective against personnel and light materials, not vehicles.

    from http://www.saami.org/Unsafe_Combinations.cfm

    In Rifle Chambered For:
    223 Remington
    Do Not Use These Cartridges
    5.56mm Military
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
  14. Grey Wolf

    Grey Wolf Monkey+++

    So homeshow's original question is answered? Suitable for practice but not a precision round?

    The Question;
    anyone know about this stuff? they did not cover different types of ammo in the Army. as uncle Sam only supplied nato.

    Answered by my post above with the history of the round.

    There are other heavier bullets and loadings out there that the military is playing with, but not currently available to us preppers. Very few of us can do the care and feeding of a SAW, so academic interest only.

    Wrong civies can use 55 grain up to 80 grain if their weapon can handle it. All of it is off the shelf stuff to. Anything more and you hand load.

    Very few of us can do the care and feeding of a SAW, so academic interest only.

    Againg answered on the history of the round and how the M855 came about. Had it not been for this requirement we'd still be using 55 grain.
  15. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    Ah I see. You souldn't Shoot M-855 from a mag fed weapon. Fair enough, makes enough sense. Still... Might be kinda fun...
  16. JohnJ_5114

    JohnJ_5114 Monkey++

    if you're weapon is marked for 5.56 or wylde then you can fire it. You just can't fire 5.56 ammo out of a .223 weapon.

  17. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    A059 is belted for the SAW, A063 is single rounds for the M-16A2. Here are the characteristics for the M855
    5.56mm M855
    Height (max) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2.260 in
    Weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190-14 grains
    Muzzle Velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3000 ± 40 f/s at 78 ft
    Chamber Pressure (typical) . . . . . .55,000 psi
    Accuracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ind targets horiz and vert
    sd = 7.8 in. at 600 yd
    Action Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 ms
    The 5.56mm M855 has a green bullet tip. Adopted by NATO in
    1980, the new load has a spitzer boattail bullet. It also has
    much improved penetration characteristics over the old M193
    55-grain projectile at all ranges, resulting in higher retained
    velocity and greater accuracy at long range. The 5.56mm M855
    is ideal for use in rifle M16A2, M4, and machine gun M249.​

    Greywolf, you sumarily dismiss the guy who manufactures and test fires M855 for a living to accept as undeniable facts a scientist that you don't know the real credentials of. Just because the "convenient" Oracle or you state that they are facts don't make them facts. Above is "Facts" as printed by one of the prime vendors manufacturing M855​

    Johnj, you are correct, I was doing a write up yesterday on another round and had tungsten on the brain, the penetrator on M855 is hardened carbon steel.

    CBMS, yes, you can shoot M855 out of mag fed weapons, that is what is issued for the M-16 and M4 as stated above.​
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
  18. Grey Wolf

    Grey Wolf Monkey+++

    Your scientist friend I have never meet and now lets talk credentials.
    I carried the M193 and the M855 in combat, in Grenada, Panama, Iraq and places inbetween, I have seen what both will do. By the way the Ammo Oracle predated the 6.8 SPC debate.

    Lets start with;

    “Initially designed for M249 SAW (Machine-gun); very broad specification. Allows for broad lot to lot performance variation and poor accuracy.
    Designed to defeat well equipped, Soviet type threat, at distances of 300-500 meters, fired from a 20” barreled M16.
    M855 does very well when used against the type of threat is was designed to defeat.
    M855 does not consistently do well against thin, non -armored threats at close range when fired from the M4A1 carbine.”


    “SEPTEMBER 11, 2001- Events lead to Emergency Combat Mission Need Statement for SPR’s and ammo. Reports from SOF operators of M855 being ineffective, specifically in CQB operations. Ordnance Gelatin tests show improvements in depth of initial yaw and consistency over the M855 cartridge Work began for incorporation of Mil-SPEC primer and cartridge case, packaging and specification. Initial SPR weapons and AA53 field reports very positive”

    "M855 does not consistently do well against thin, non -armored threats at close range when fired from the M4A1 carbine." and "Reports from SOF operators of M855 being ineffective, specifically in CQB operations."


    "After Action Reports from Operation Enduring Freedom, reports that Effectiveness of M855 is Inadequate Close Quarter Battle Operations (CQB). Multiple Rounds Are Being Required for Adequate Effect" and "However, the Threat Target has Changed, As Well As the Role of Ground Combatant, therefore M855 Was Not Optimized for Current Operations and M4."

    "It was observed that the M855 has not been providing the "stopping power" the user would like at engagement ranges less than 150 yards."

    M855 fired through level IIIa body armor at 100 yards
    M855 was designed over 20 years ago as machine gun ammunition to be
    ffired from
    tthe M249 SAW at distances of several hundred yards,, while engaging enemy troops
    wearing body armor during conventional
    iinfantry combatt----iitt is adequate fortthis role..

    Unfortunately, recent combat operations have again highlighted
    terminal performance deficiencies with M855 fired from the M4
    carbine during CQB and unconventional warfare
    .. These problems
    have primarily been manifested as inadequate incapacitation of
    enemy forces despite their being hit multiple times by M855 bullets

    Target Definition
    (Anthropometrical Dimensions)
    l Target is a Malnourished Southwest
    Asian or Middle Eastern male.
    l Definition of “malnourished" is a
    Body Mass Index (BMI) < 20.
    Chakrabarty's "5th Percentile
    Indian Male" BMI = 17.8
    l Target “thickness” dimensions of the
    5th percentile from Chakraborty
    –Chest: 186 mm (7.32 inch).
    –Waist: 191mm (7.52 inch).

    Unfortunately, with
    decreased wounding effects,
    rapid incapacitation is
    unlikely and enemy soldiers
    may continue to pose a threat

    • Reduced impact velocities when
    the range increases or when fired
    from short barrel weapons.
    • When the bullet passes through
    only minimal tissue, such as a
    limb or the chest of a thin,
    malnourished individual.
    Manufacturing variations in the

    composition, thickness, and
    relative weights of the jackets,
    penetrators, and cores, as well as
    the types and position of the

    Your scientist friend manufactures this stuff, right?

    Now what do we not understand?

    By the way these are "Facts" from end users in the SpecOps community who use this stuff every day like I use too. Not punching paper at a range.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
  19. Grey Wolf

    Grey Wolf Monkey+++

    And lets not forget;

    Quoting someone else's quote:
    "In the mid 1990s, US special operations began replacing their submachine guns with 5.56 mm caliber NATO M4 and M4A1 carbines, in part because their pistol caliber submachine guns did not achieve the desired terminal effects. The M4 and M4A1 carbines are essentially versions of the M16A2 with shorter (14 1/2 inch) barrels and collapsible buttstocks. While the terminal ballistics of the M855 (SS109) bullet are equivalent to those of the M193, which fragments shortly after entering tissue at velocities above approximately 760 m/s (2500 f/s) (2) and causes a relatively large permanent wound cavity, anecdotal evidence is beginning to emerge that both the M855 and the M193 may suffer degraded wounding effects when fired from short barreled carbines. In the definitive account of the October 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, Black Hawk Down, it is noted that the Delta Force and Ranger soldiers would shoot Somali militiamen repeatedly using their M4 carbines loaded with M855 (SS109) cartridges with little immediate result. The following quote relating to the actions of one of the Delta Force sergeants is typical. 'When the Sammies were close enough, he could see when he hit them. Their shirts would lift up at the point of impact, as if someone had pinched and plucked up the fabric. But with the green tip round it was like sticking somebody with an ice pick. The bullet made a small, clean hole, and unless it happened to hit near the heart or spine, it wasn't enough to stop a man in his tracks.' (3) Neither the M855 nor the older M193 bullet fragments at velocities below about 760 m/s (2500 f/s). (4) This equates to approximately 200 meters using ammunition in rifles with 20 inch barrels. Testing of SS109 bullets in the reference cited at Footnote 3 produced results similar to those of the M193 when the round is fired from a 20 inch barrel. The engagements in Mogadishu were at ranges of less than 100 meters. The lack of M855 performance was possibly attributable to the bullets being fired from M4 carbines with 14 1/2 inch barrels. (5) The velocities would have been insufficient to cause bullet fragmentation at typical combat ranges, as the M855's muzzle velocity from a 14 1/2 inch barreled carbine is approximately equivalent to the bullet's velocity at 150 yards when fired from a 20 inch barreled rifle. At 50 yards from the muzzle, therefore, the M855's velocity would have dropped to the point where it very likely would be insufficient to cause bullet breakup upon hitting the target. It should be stressed that anecdotal data such as this cannot be considered definitive. However, the fact that highly trained elite soldiers found their weapons less than satisfactory in combat should be cause for an examination of the terminal ballistics of the M855 (SS109) fired from the M4 carbine at various ranges. Recent testing of short barreled 5.56 mm NATO carbines in the United States has confirmed that penetration of M855 bullets in ten percent ordnance gelatin was greater than from a rifle because reduced velocities resulted in failure of the bullet to fragment, producing deeper penetration and a smaller permanent wound channel. (6) We mention the terminal ballistics of the current 5.56 mm NATO cartridge because it is the baseline against which we shall compare PDW cartridges." -- "Hayes, Charles M.:"Personal Defense Weapons -- Answer in Search of a Question?," Wound Balistics Review, 5(1); pp. 31-32; 2001.
  20. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I aquiece to your superior skills, by reading your bio you provided, I can't compete. One question though? Is a 90mm recoilless rifle really recoilless when fired from the shoulder? I've only seen them fired from a vehicle mount or tripod, never knew anyone that "carried" one. When I used to carry the 105mm main gun off a M-60 tank, I can tell you it damn near broke my back and it was a MF to fire, really hard to balance. I was glad to give it up for the pulse rifle when I was assigned on a Galactic Cruiser.
    Been around just as long and have been to many of the same places, still doing it, carried most all the weapons you described, fired the same rounds. I'll let you believe your dick is bigger, I can care less. By the way, congratulations, five of your six post on this board have been establishing your superior intellect with everyone! Now that is an achievement to be proud of! Word up.

    P.S. Correction, six of seven posts, you slipped another in while I was typing.
  1. T. Riley
  2. duane
  3. OldDude49
  4. oil pan 4
  5. Oddcaliber
  6. OldDude49
  7. Big Ron
  8. deMolay
  9. Grandpa Patch
  10. Bishop

    Socket mold

    Here is how I make my slingshot ammo with a socket. [MEDIA]
    Thread by: Bishop, Dec 2, 2018, 6 replies, in forum: Bushcraft
  11. Bishop
  12. Bishop
  13. Bishop
  14. Bandit99
  15. arleigh
  16. Oddcaliber
  17. hot diggity
  18. Oddcaliber
  19. Asia-Off-Grid
  20. Tackleberry
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary