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View Full Version : The future of 5.56 as our main service cartridge


czfan
04-20-2008, 23:57
Hello, I am a civilian and avid shooter of AR's (and many others), and am looking for some feedback here on the future of the 5.56 as the main service cartridge. I'm interested in this question for several reasons, including that I'm interested in military history/small arms, and I'd like to keep my defensive ammo and rifles aligned to the main service cartridge.

Here's the main question: Do you think the 5.56 is still among the very most effective combat cartridges available, and does it still have a long future (say at least 8 to 10 years) as our main service cartridge?


Here's some background behind this question.


Armchair criticism. Personally I like the 5.56 and believe it is devastatingly effective when used with a good load and within reasonable range; I've seen what it does to deer. And, a large majority of service members I've run into say it performs just fine, especially those who can get the newer Mk 262 ammo, though it sounds like not everyone can. But here's what amazes me: the amount of criticism of the 5.56 by folks out there who have not only never used the round in combat (which includes me), but have never even fired 5.56 at all, hunting or anywhere else! They haven't experienced up close what this round does when it hits living tissue, and yet they base their criticism on paper-based ballistics tests, or on bore-size preferences, or whatever. The most common criticisms I hear, in order, are of these types: (1) Anecdotes from unnamed sources about some guy who was shot 5 times or whatever, and kept firing back, (2) Snooty reports from the "jello boys" at various ballistics labs, and (3) Civilian AR shooters and others on gun forums who just KNOW that bigger bullets leave bigger holes, so they are absolutely certain that a .22 caliber combat cartridge cannot be effective.
Alternative calibers. Some new calibers like the 6.8 (I have looked through the past discussions here) are being offered. My perception is that most experienced tactical shooters, are not seeing the 6.8 as a huge or revolutionary leap forward compared to 5.56, and therefore as not really worth the effort to upgrade as a service caliber. Seems like the 6.8 is kind of a dead horse now in the service, though it does seem to be gaining popularity with civilian shooters and hunters. Is that true, or is there more interest recently? I don't have anything against it personally for sporting use, in fact I may even try it as a way to use my existing AR's for deer hunting, since in my current state you can't hunt deer with .223. In addition to the 6.8, another alternative is obviously the good old 7.62 (.308). I run into a few service folks who would really love to return to the concept of a "battle rifle", be it a revived M14, or one of the newfangled rifles such as the SCAR-H heavy model, in 7.62, or the H&K equivalent, or whatever. Bottom line, I'm not sure where we stand on this. Do you hear a lot of call for people/units wanting to carry 7.62 rifles as their primary, instead of 5.56?



Thanks in advance for any feedback.

czfan
04-25-2008, 15:38
Thanks to the individual who replied via PM, very interesting comments.

Just a quick question: Would you folks rather not have civilians make posts on this forum, or at least in this area? I tried to research my question here first, search old threads and not ask something totally redundant, but I'm not getting a lot of feedback.

I want to respect your forum, so if you'd rather not have civilian posts here, I'll bow out and just move on. I do tend to find the information at this site about service calibers and weapons a lot more useful than on most gun forums (like Ar15.com), though.

Thanks!

--CZFAN

Team Sergeant
04-25-2008, 16:37
Thanks to the individual who replied via PM, very interesting comments.

Just a quick question: Would you folks rather not have civilians make posts on this forum, or at least in this area? I tried to research my question here first, search old threads and not ask something totally redundant, but I'm not getting a lot of feedback.

I want to respect your forum, so if you'd rather not have civilian posts here, I'll bow out and just move on. I do tend to find the information at this site about service calibers and weapons a lot more useful than on most gun forums (like Ar15.com), though.

Thanks!

--CZFAN


We don't mind civilian posts on here hence this forum being open to civilians.

We do like intelligent questions/discussions. If your question has not been addressed by a Special Forces soldier then you might want to re-think your question.

Here's some food for thought, Special Forces does not make policy concerning the choice of rounds procured by mother Army. As end users its our job to make them work as efficently as possible.

Also your "Armchair criticism" smacks of amateur third person "stories", we don't deal in stories.

You should take your question concerning the 5.56 to AR15.com. I'm sure you'll get all the feedback you can stomach.

Team Sergeant

czfan
04-25-2008, 18:55
Ok, thanks. Sorry to have wasted your time.