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Thread: a military commanders take on the .223 platform..

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    a military commanders take on the .223 platform..

    and if the target has unfashionable kevlar, at ranges greater than 200m you can only hope to accomplish a wound that my or may not incapacitate or kill..

    this is an article written by "Major Thomas P. Ehrhart" a commanding officer in the United States Army. this is his take on the AR platform chambered in the standard .223/5.56 caliber.

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf

    i happen to agree with a lot of what he says, that the .223 starts to become ineffective for killing after about 200m. the reason being that the .223 relies heavily upon the super high velocity of the round and its fragmentation to create the devastating wound cavities required to kill or incapacitate the target. at ranges further than 200m the velocity has dropped below the threshold to cause fragmentation and capability to inflict these wound cavities is greatly diminished. at ranges greater than 200m it has been found that shot placement becomes critical and that anything short of vital shots will not kill and can sometimes leave the enemy combat effective.

    but at the greater ranges, being the velocity has dropped to below the critical velocity for fragmentation, the projectile then must rely on hitting vital spots and the transference of energy into the target. the problem with this is that being the standard m855 round deforms little or if at all when a certain velocity has been reached the round is more likely to just pass on through with little transference of energy to the target..

    but these are one of the main reasons that for my rifle/caliber selection i do not have a .223 rifle. while the .223 was ok for what it was originally adopted for (close range jungle warfare within 200m or less) it is not ideal for a country that has ranges of upwards of 500m-1,000m. why the .223 is forced as the best and only choice by a lot of survivalist organizations despite its limitations in open country environments is a mystery. there is just too much terrain inside of the US for the .223 to be an effective combat round consideration for survival. and this is what has been found out in Afghanistan with the mountainous and open terrain. most of the time all they can hope to do is keep the insurgents pinned down till CAS or artillery arrives when faced with targets at 300m and beyond. i for one would much rather have an SKS in 7.62x39mm than the .223 for ranges up to 300m. the reason is that even though the 7.62x39mm is traveling slower than the .223, the M43 7.62x39mm at 300m has over 200FtLbs of kinetic energy over the .223. also the larger cross section of the heavier 30cal round ensures that more energy is transferred into the target at those longer ranges.

    but i know this post is going to stir up a lot of feelings in people who think the .223 is the end all of calibers. im not here to poop on anyone choice of calibers, nor am i here to poop on the AR platform. if i was given an AR-10 id be a happy camper. im just pointing out the serious limitation to the AR chambered in .223 as a killing round for a SHTF situation. the limitations have been proven in warfare and are well documented.. now if your AO is all wooded area and MOUT where you are within 200m then the .223 would probably shine, as that is what it was intended for when it was adopted during Vietnam. but if your AO has mountainous terrain or ranges greater than 200m, something with more poop downrange should be taken into consideration.
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 05-05-2018 at 06:18 AM.

  2. #2
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    You are correct and the reason a lot of 7.62x51 rifles are being put into battlefield action
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Put the 223 back in its original 20" barrel and it gains some range . I agree the 223 has its plus and minuses there are better rounds for combat but the US and its allies aren't gonna change any time soon.
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I believe Jeff Cooper called them "Poodle Shooters"
    So when is this "Old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?

  5. #5
    Boolit Man 458mag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauser 98K View Post
    and if the target has unfashionable kevlar, at ranges greater than 200m you can only hope to accomplish a wound that my or may not incapacitate or kill..

    this is an article written by "Major Thomas P. Ehrhart" a commanding officer in the United States Army. this is his take on the AR platform chambered in the standard .223/5.56 caliber.

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf

    i happen to agree with a lot of what he says, that the .223 starts to become ineffective for killing after about 200m. the reason being that the .223 relies heavily upon the super high velocity of the round and its fragmentation to create the devastating wound cavities required to kill or incapacitate the target. at ranges further than 200m the velocity has dropped below the threshold to cause fragmentation and capability to inflict these wound cavities is greatly diminished. at ranges greater than 200m it has been found that shot placement becomes critical and that anything short of vital shots will not kill and can sometimes leave the enemy combat effective.

    but at the greater ranges, being the velocity has dropped to below the critical velocity for fragmentation, the projectile then must rely on hitting vital spots and the transference of energy into the target. the problem with this is that being the standard m855 round deforms little or if at all when a certain velocity has been reached the round is more likely to just pass on through with little transference of energy to the target..

    but these are one of the main reasons that for my rifle/caliber selection i do not have a .223 rifle. while the .223 was ok for what it was originally adopted for (close range jungle warfare within 200m or less) it is not ideal for a country that has ranges of upwards of 500m-1,000m. why the .223 is forced as the best and only choice by a lot of survivalist organizations despite its limitations in open country environments is a mystery. there is just too much terrain inside of the US for the .223 to be an effective combat round consideration for survival. and this is what has been found out in Afghanistan with the mountainous and open terrain. most of the time all they can hope to do is keep the insurgents pinned down till CAS or artillery arrives when faced with targets at 300m and beyond. i for one would much rather have an SKS in 7.62x39mm than the .223 for ranges up to 300m. the reason is that even though the 7.62x39mm is traveling slower than the .223, the M43 7.62x39mm at 300m has over 200FtLbs of kinetic energy over the .223. also the larger cross section of the heavier 30cal round ensures that more energy is transferred into the target at those longer ranges.

    but i know this post is going to stir up a lot of feelings in people who think the .223 is the end all of calibers. im not here to poop on anyone choice of calibers, nor am i here to poop on the AR platform. if i was given an AR-10 id be a happy camper. im just pointing out the serious limitation to the AR chambered in .223 as a killing round for a SHTF situation. the limitations have been proven in warfare and are well documented.. now if your AO is all wooded area and MOUT where you are within 200m then the .223 would probably shine, as that is what it was intended for when it was adopted during Vietnam. but if your AO has mountainous terrain or ranges greater than 200m, something with more poop downrange should be taken into consideration.
    OK I'll poop on em. I hate the **** things. I don't know who decided that a varmint rifle would be a great battle weapon and when we started calling the enemy varments, but I think their thinking was, is, flawed. And nothing ruins a good range day faster than one of the zombie appocolyps prep rednecks parking right next to you with his super whiz bang varmint rifle blasting away as fast as he can pull the trigger spraying bullets down range at a target set up at pistol range targets and dumping his hot cases all over you and your station. Give the punk something that actually has some recoil and he would probably be dangerous. Sorry for my rant but it seems that a lot of youngins shooting the military VARMENT rifles don't have any range etticut what so ever.
    Most folks see a firearm as rifle, pistol, shotgun, ect.... I see a canvas.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I don't know, I'd much prefer a 5.56 vs a 7.62x39. Everything else being equal, shot placement is key, and I can put steel on target much better with the 5.56. The 7.62x39 is nothing better than a 30-30, and while it has it's place it is not the end all. But, this is America, and we have choices and I chose to have a .270 or .308 instead of those two.
    "Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
    ~Pericles~

  7. #7
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    It's always been my understanding, that killing wasn't the desired effect. A wounded adversary, that requires labor intensive treatment, was thought to be prefered.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 458mag View Post
    OK I'll poop on em. I hate the **** things. I don't know who decided that a varmint rifle would be a great battle weapon and when we started calling the enemy varments, but I think their thinking was, is, flawed. And nothing ruins a good range day faster than one of the zombie appocolyps prep rednecks parking right next to you with his super whiz bang varmint rifle blasting away as fast as he can pull the trigger spraying bullets down range at a target set up at pistol range targets and dumping his hot cases all over you and your station. Give the punk something that actually has some recoil and he would probably be dangerous. Sorry for my rant but it seems that a lot of youngins shooting the military VARMENT rifles don't have any range etticut what so ever.
    What he said^^^^
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  9. #9
    i was in the US Army and nowhere was it found that you can use 223 rem ammo. you can use 5.56x45 ammo, and no, its not the same thing. a 62gr ball (m855a1) goes in, then it tumbles the whole way out. a 55-62 gr hornady, speer..... goes in and splinters itself.

    gnostic,
    you right. its desired effect is to wound, not kill.


    if you use commercial ammo(like hornady, federal, speer...) , you are in violation of the Geneva and Hague Accords.

    personally, i despise the 5.56. i would go with 6.8mm spc to be my primary arm. i would also go with the 45acp to be my secondary. the squad automatic weapon would be 7.62x51.


    the guy, major whateverhisname is, has to be a REMF.
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    You'll be one year older when you do

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master Walkingwolf's Avatar
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    If I had a choice between 5.56, and 30-30, I would take the 30-30 every time. In fact it was my choice of carry in the trunk of my patrol car when I first started as a LEO, Marlin 336. But then I am not into the AR platform, though I will fight tooth, and nail for others to have them.

    I can understand the military choice of a varmint round, it is easy to learn compared to higher recoiling rounds. The slender round in hardball can penetrate body armor, but for two legged varmints it is a wounding round, unless you train soldiers to primarily shoot for the noggin. In the proper platform I can see no reason the 7.62x39 cannot achieve the same accuracy at similar ranges.

    A good look at shootings where the 5.56 was used will show more wounded than killed, and many wounded not incapacitated. Also the fatalities are usually multiple hits for the victim to go down. The 5.56 is good at spraying ammo due to the low recoil, but a slow larger caliber would probably be more devastating with less rounds, AKA 12 gauge shotgun.
    Last edited by Walkingwolf; 05-05-2018 at 06:42 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    For civilians you could use soft point (Non FMJ) ammo, making the round more effective; I am a big guy so I chose the 7.62x51 instead of 5.56x45 for myself.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    lol, 458mag..

    but my choice for long range is the .308. it has been proven to 800m to be effective in first round kills.. for the shorter ranges or 300m and below i use the 7.62x39mm.. i load mine with 130gr Hollow Point ammo that i swage myself. they will transfer all energy into the target and create flat disk inside the body. id much rather be able to transfer 700Ft/Lbs into the target at 300m Vs 500Ft/Lbs of the M855 that will transfer less than that in reality as at that range it will not fragment...
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 05-05-2018 at 09:02 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    I don't know about some of the options some of you guys would have rather than a m16 i.e. 7:62 Russian and 30-30 think about it for a minute . At 500-600 or so yard what's your hit potential with a marlin 30-30 or SKS ? I've shot that range before with the AR15 with open sights and have have high confidence of hits on human size targets . Food for thought ,hits in a lesser caliber is better than misses With something better , marksmanship comes into play also in all this
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I can only judge by what I myself have seen.

    A Most guys I have seen shoot AR platform rifles in .223/5.56 are doing good to hit a fruit box 30 inches high by 18 inches wide at 25 yards with more than 50% of their rounds.

    B To be fair and honest most AK shooters I've seen had similar issues.

    C On the flip side I saw a guy shooting single aimed shots from an AR-10 in what appeared to be .308 and was printing less than 2 inch groups at 200 yards. And those single aimed shots were at least 2 minutes apart.

    D I don't try to shoot beyond 100 yards anymore, yeah I am over 65, getting fat, slow, nothing works as good as it used to. But I have a .30-30 single shot that will shoot MOA out to 100. Beyond that I don't know as I have not tried.

    I think the average person would have difficulty hitting a human sized target at that range in outdoor conditions. On the other hand I used to regularly pop crows at 3-400 yards. And that crow vital area is a lot smaller than a human. But I did not miss many.

    And while I did not shoot them with a .223 or a .30-30 my own preference would lean towards a larger caliber.

    You going to stand a quarter mile away and let me pop at ya with a .357 mag or .444Marlin single shot?

    Somehow I doubt it.

    Everyone has their preferences, yes even the military.
    I understand some of the reasons behind their thinking.
    And I disagree with some of it.

    I'd rather see a soldier that can place 10 killing shots in a row at 300 than a soldier that can pack 300 rounds and burn through them all in a minute or two without killing anything.

    Call me old fashioned.

    Make the one you have in the chamber count. Then worry about the next one.
    That is my preference, YMMV.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    well RU. you gotta take into account what the Major said in the article. it is not if you can hit the person at 400m-500m with the 5.56, it is that the power has dropped so far that it will most likely not even incapacitate unless it was a direct hit to a vital organ. and if they are wearing armor then you might as well hang it up at 500m with the 5.56. at that range even a PASGT vest like i got would offer some protection against the 5.56, as it has dropped to around 1,400fps and has 284Ft/Lbs of energy left.. the 7.62x39 M43 would be going a bit slower at 1,263fps, but it would still have 438Ft/Lbs of force left to transfer to the target. and being the cross section of the 30cal is larger, the energy transfer would automatically be greater than the small cross section 5.56.. the 5.56 was never meant as a long range cartridge, it was developed and adopted for a jungle environment where most targets were under 200m. most of the time 50m was as far as you could see in the dense vegetation, sometimes it was shorter ranges which is why there was a lot of hand to hand in Nam. so there was never an issue with the round not having enough poop to put into the target. while it was effective at the shorter ranges, when they dropped it in the open country on Afghanistan is where the thing fell on its ****, as the insurgents were using everything from the AKM in 7.62x39 to the larger PK in 7.62x54R. this US is the same in regards to ranges encountered. here in the US the range can vary upwards of 1,000m on a regular basis.. you always pick the weapon for the environment. if you stick with heavily wooded areas or MOUT operations where ranges stay under 200m then the 5.56 is in its element. but once you start stretching to 300m and beyond, it is a **** shoot at best as to what the 5.56 is going to do to the target.

    but as for the 7.62x39mm not being effective at that range. here is a Russian feller with an AK47 at 500m. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qiq3szgZgjI

    i think the 7.62x39 would eat the 5.56 at those ranges as far as retained energy and energy transferred to the target. would do a lot more damage anyway.

    but the article also said that you also got to take into account that just shooting the 5.56 on flat terrain on targets that never move are totally different.. a lot of people might be able to hit a milk jug at 500m when it stays still on a flat range with little to no wind, but that is never the battlefield environment. 99% of those who could hit the jug at 500m would probably be lucky to be able to hit it at 200m if they were shooting angled shots, had a 10mph full value wind, or the target was moving.
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 05-05-2018 at 11:14 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I scratched my head when they came out with the AR15...Still scratching it.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Well, not a Major, just a former SFC, so take that for what you will. First, I'd have a hard time identifying a target as friend or foe at 500 yards, specially with iron or the EOTech sights. At that range, I would need a scope, higher than a 4x some of the M4s had. Now, let's say I identify the target as foe, I'd probably have it engaged with the crew-serve, with the ARs in the support role. Second, we were already laden down with 60-80lbs of gear, some more than that, so the extra weight would not be welcome. And lastly, our current weapons have been taking care of business against the AKs, take Somalia for instance, we lost 18, vs what some estimate from 100 to over 1k. You can also check body counts from Iraq and Afghanistan, they fall along the same lines. I know the M4 doesn't account for those numbers entirely, but I'd say we have a good mix of weapons and tactics at the moment.
    "Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
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  18. #18
    Boolit Mold


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    Unless you’ve personally carried and used one in combat, I don’t much care about your opinion.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    Omega is correct. at that range with irons it is hard to establish who or what they are. at beyond 200m id most likely switch to my .308 Mauser or my 8mm Hakim. my .308 has a 4-16x scope on it and would be no problem identifying the target.

    but the thing about Somalia was that the goofs there were total idiots with no real organized leadership and no real training. we was more or less fighting gangs of savages rather than military. it was more or less the same with Afghanistan.. instead of one large organized military force, we were fighting groups that also had a habit of fighting each other. but watching a lot of these Afghan and Somalia guys fight, it was no wonder a lot could not hit the side of a barn if it fell on them.. some would just bounce out from behind a wall with a gun they could not control and fire a barrage down the street b4 diving back behind the wall. no attempts to do aimed fire was present a lot of the time.
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 05-06-2018 at 01:46 AM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Religious belief there, "If Allah wills it, my bullets will hit the enemy." Though the statistics seem NOT to fall in their favor, for some reason...

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