The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal is working on a “green” version of the M80A1 7.62 mm bullet, which troops are supposed to start being issued in 2014, according to an Army press release.Oh no, no, no. We already know that the 5.56mm is iffy as an infantry round. It is already limited in what it can do, especially in the ranges we have been fighting as of late. There is a reason the M-14 was brought back. There is a reason - until the burocrats killed it - last decade a move was under foot to more to something between 6.5-6.8mm.
The Army has been looking to “green” small caliber ammo for some time now. In 2010, the Army switched to the greener 5.56 mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round.
“The EPR replaces the lead slug with a copper slug,” said Lt. Col. Phil Clark, product manager for small caliber ammunition in the Program Executive Officer Ammunition. “This makes the projectile environmentally-friendly, while still giving soldiers the performance capabilities they need on the battlefield. So far we have eliminated 1,994 metric tons of lead from 5.56 ammunition production.”
“Thirty-two grains of lead are eliminated per M855A1 projectile, and 114.5 grains of lead will be eliminated per M80A1 projectile,” according to the Army.
Could this be as bad as it seems? Could it make the Big Green Navy push seem sane?
In times of woe, as all good Sailors do, I turn to the USMC. Three years ago they decided that the Marines in the field were more important that the PPT on the Potomac, it seems;
Special Operations Command and now the Marine Corps are fielding a deadlier 5.56mm round, but the Army says soldiers can't have it. Instead, the service is holding on to its dream of environmentally friendly ammunition.I see nothing that shows me the Marines have changed their mind either.
Army ammunition officials are on their third attempt at redesigning the Cold War-era M855 5.56mm round by adding a better-performing, lead-free bullet. The service had to halt the M855A1 Lead-Free Slug program in July when the new bullet failed to perform under high temperatures. The setback delayed fielding by nearly a year.
The newest version of the green round is in the live-fire test phase, and Army officials said they are confident it will be ready for combat use by June.
The Marine Corps, however, doesn't share this confidence. The Corps has dropped its plans to field the Army's M855A1 and approved the new SOST round for Marines to use in Afghanistan. SOST, short for Special Operations Science and Technology, is SOCom's enhanced 5.56mm round. It isn't green, but it is deadlier than the current M855 round and it's available now, Marine officials say.
A few more things come to mind - first of all cost. Copper is a lot more expensive than lead. For 29JUL the London cash price for copper is $6,860 a ton. Lead is $2,504 per ton. I'll let you do the rest of the math.
So, let us try to find a neutral party to look at the "green" bullet designed to make the battlefield friendly enough to turn humans in to pink mist.
Guns & Ammo, over to you;
... the reason it shoots flatter is because they’ve juiced the round up so that it will fly at 3,100 fps. This would be a great achievement except for the fact that they did it by increasing the chamber pressure from 55,000 psi to 63,000 psi. That’s a number closely approaching proof-load pressures. So are new M4s being constructed using stronger materials to handle this hot round? No, of course not. The M4 is being manufactured to the same Technical Data Package (TDP) that they have always been. This means that not only are parts going to wear out at a much higher rate (which is already is an issue with the M4), but if, God forbid, there is any bullet set-back, the number of M4s reportedly going “high order” (i.e., blowing up) should increase exponentially.Read the whole thing if you must ... but do we need to do any more?
While on the subject of the effect of the M855A1 on service weapons, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the new round cuts barrel life by almost 50 percent (information sourced by Individual Carbine contenders recently supplied 10,080 rounds of the M855A1 EPR so that they could tune their submission for this new load).
But no amount of tuning is going to alter the fact that the EPR has a 5.5 MOA accuracy standard. 5.5 MOA? Seriously? The Mk 318 SOST round that the USMC has fielded in Afghanistan is held to a 2 MOA standard, but the latest and greatest round that it’s being replaced by is held to a 5.5 MOA standard? Additionally, the Mk 318 has better terminal ballistics against soft targets, holds together better through intermediate barriers and costs half what the M855A1 costs.
Someone, anyone, please tell me where this is a better solution for our infantry. Where does this better do the job of killing the enemy before he kills you?
Is this just another case of a desire to look "green" we are willing to sacrifice our young men and women and put our battlefield success at risk?
Where is everyone from the USMC to G&A wrong? Why are the rank and file Army types silent?
I was having a little trouble thinking that this much stupid could stay for this long, so I bounced this off and Army type who gave me his six ohbytheways about this mess. The stupid is real. Only 1 of the 6 isn't a red mark. #6 is what will get us killed more than any other.
1. While both are in the inventory, you'll need two zeros. Because they'll fly different.
2. You get to die knowing the bullet that hit you won't pollute the environment.
3. Sure, it's better for ranges, until you look at the megatons of lead we've already shot there (not to mention the DU... An issue anywhere the davy crocket was fired, including the spotting round).
4. Copper is harder, meaning more penetration, at low velocity. At high velocity, if it hits hard stuff, it shatters.
5. Barrel/chamber/parts wear doesn't hunt, most rifles never live to see their wear-out date before being replaced.
6. Greater cost per round=less shooting or less $ for training.