Discussion in 'Infantry' started by cmaj, May 18, 2009.

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  1. hey all,

    Wasn’t sure where to put this Q, so thought this would probably be best.

    Im sure this is a stupid question, but why do we (ie NATO) use a 5.56 round, instead of the bigger 7.62. The round is still fairly accurate, maybe not to the same distances, but most fighting is about 100m anyway (so I’ve heard) and I just thought that it would be better to have a round that has more stopping power.

    thanks in advance!
  2. Because the 7.62 round will not fit in either the M-16 or SA-80.

    CMinus, CMaj.
  3. Obviously, so why not when we got the new rifles get new ammo too. Its standard across NATO, so surely at some point they all said “lets use this round”. Besides, we were using 7.62 before.
  4. Hmm, so 5.56 doesn't have stopping power? Yeh, I'm sure plenty of people get hit by a 5.56 and just laugh it off later that day in the bar with their mates.

    5.56 is still going to kill people and you can carry more 5.56 for the same weight. You can also be more accurate with it (APWT revised when SA80 came out) and who really uses 7.62 in a service rifle anymore? Even the Russkies have gone to 5.45.
  5. I would suggest the following are some reasons why we use 5.56mm:

    1. 5.56mm are smaller than 7.62mm therefore you can carry more
    2. I would suggest in most cases the 5.56mm round is far more accurate than a 7.62mm(except sniper ammo)
    3. Being NATO standard means that in theroy other NATO countries use the same ammo
    4. It has been argued that the 5.56mm offers more flesh penetrating power than the 7.62mm, however one would assume that the 7.62mm would cause more impact damage.
  6. Indeed. Let's banish the myth that you get hit by a 5.56mm and then just keep going as if nothing has happened (unless anybody has some good - and GENUINE - war stories to this effect). Generally being hit by a 5.56mm round tends to make you feel really quite unwell, with the probability that you will lose interest in fighting for a while...
  7. alright thanks, cleared that one up, and i shall do my best to avoid either round! question was largely raised as i' heard a few of those myths that Hobo has now banished!
  8. A 5.56mm will upon entering the body tumble and potentially rebound off bone etc therefore causing massive internal damage, in my current job i unfortunatley see this most days.
  9. An incapacitating round causes a larger drain on enemy resources than a round that kills an enemy outright.
    7.62 = body bag
    5.56 = medics+ medicine+surgery+ casevac+rehabilitation+compensation.
  10. You missed the most important reason for the change to 5.56mm. It gave all of us Cold War fogies a chance for a good moan about how we miss the old SLR and how 7.62mm was a real round!!
  11. Don't, you will get the .303 johnies going :wink:
  12. Assuming it was a serious question.

    The BA had planned to change form the 303 but war started and the plans were put to one side. It was know for a long time that 303 was too large for the job and a smaller rd would be better. 7mm was the preferred size and following the war a rifle to fire it was built. It out performed all others and was adopted by BA. Unfortunately the US wanted a larger rd for big boys and forced the 7.62 onto NATO. This rd was totally unsuitable for assault weapons and the EM2 could only be adapted with difficulty if at all. The FN FAL was the next best thing and so followed 30 years of an assault rifle that wasn’t. In the mean time the US went to 223 (the rat rd) after forcing us to go to 7.62.

    In the late 70s a NATO competition for a new rd was launched. The UK offered up the 4.85 and FN (I think) the 5.56. Do not confuse the 223 with the 5.56 they are different. Eventually the SS109 won and became NATO standard.

    Although those who used the elephant gun loved it the ammo load was small (150 if memory serves). You can carry twice that + for the 5.56.

    Move are afoot to move from 5.56 to a new rd probably in the area of 6/7mm.

    7.62 is over kill and very difficult to fire accurately on auto.

    edited to add - if you want a better more informed explanation go to
  13. The original poster had probably heard of US M4s not doing so well, or bad ammo in US service (Blackhawk Down, AP rounds on drugged up fighters?)

    Remember the SA80 has a barrel longer than the M16 in a package shorter than the M4. Yes its nice and handy but it still does the business.

    That said, I imagine being shot from an M4 or CAR15 or some sort of really-short-barrelled 5.56 rifle still would really mess up your day!
  14. I think the only reason 5.56 is the standard, is that you can carry an awful lot of it, whilst still be effect at stopping people.
  15. i thought the british army were usin bb pellets , that must have ben the americans lolol :D