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Concern Growing Over U.S. Troops' Ammo
CBS News ^ | June 7 2006

Posted on 06/07/2006 5:42:42 PM PDT by jmc1969

As American troop casualties in Iraq continue to mount, concern is growing they may be outgunned. That includes new questions about the stopping power of the ammunition that is used by the standard-issue M-16 rifle.

Shortly after the U.N. headquarters was bombed in Baghdad in August 2003, a Special Forces unit went to Ramadi to capture those responsible.

In a fierce exchange of gunfire, one insurgent was hit seven times by 5.56 mm bullets, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. It took a shot to the head with a pistol to finally bring him down. But before he died, he killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded seven more.

"The lack of the lethality of that bullet has caused United States soldiers to die," says Maj. Anthony Milavic.

Milavic is a retired Marine major who saw three tours of duty in Vietnam. He says the small-caliber 5.56, essentially a .22-caliber civilian bullet, is far better suited for shooting squirrels than the enemy, and contends that urban warfare in Iraq demands a bigger bullet. "A bullet that knocks the man down with one shot," he says. "And keeps him down."

Milavic is not alone. In a confidential report to Congress last year, active Marine commanders complained that: "5.56 was the most worthless round," "we were shooting them five times or so," and "torso shots were not lethal."

In last week's Marine Corps Times, a squad leader said his Marines carried and used "found" enemy AK-47s because that weapon's 7.62 mm bullets packed "more stopping power."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 556; m1; m14; m16; marines; milavic; rifle; usmc
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To: Antoninus II

I have a M-1 Carbine as well. Cheap ammo, fun to shoot.

41 posted on 06/07/2006 6:17:21 PM PDT by Mikey_1962 (If you build it, they won't come...)
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To: jmc1969
On ballistic fetish lists I was on many years ago, there were real world cases posted of people taking multiple .40 and .45 bullets to the torso and head(!) without going down. Their is no Hammer of God(tm) cartridge that comes in a convenient infantry package. The DC sniper managed to kill most of his victims with a single 5.56mm bullets. Ironically, the 7.62x39 is a ballistically inferior round almost anyway you slice it, so I am not sure why anyone would want to use it over the .223 even with its perceived inadequacies.

Humans just don't kill that easily. We can take a lot of damage outside of a few critical spots on the body. It has less to do with the specific cartridge and more to do with finding those spots.

42 posted on 06/07/2006 6:17:37 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: fso301

Yes, I am aware of this and also aware of the B-52s he had destroyed also!

43 posted on 06/07/2006 6:17:45 PM PDT by calex59 (The '86 amensty put us in the toilet, now the senate wants to flush it!)
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To: Cobra64

Basically, hollow points.

44 posted on 06/07/2006 6:18:47 PM PDT by ButThreeLeftsDo (Carry Daily, Apply Sparingly.)
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To: Cobra64
What, exactly is a dum-dum bullet?

The 'dum-dum' was a British military bullet developed for use in India - at the Dum-Dum Arsenal - on the North West Frontier in the late 1890s.

The dum-dum comprised a jacketed .303 bullet with the jacket nose open to expose its lead core. The aim was to improve the bullet's effectiveness by increasing its expansion upon impact.

The phrase 'dum-dum' was later taken to include any soft-nosed or hollow pointed bullet. The Hague Convention of 1899 outlawed the use of dum-dum bullets during warfare.


45 posted on 06/07/2006 6:18:51 PM PDT by fso301
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To: Flavius

"But, being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya punk?"

46 posted on 06/07/2006 6:19:10 PM PDT by phil1750 (Love like you've never been hurt;Dance like nobody's watching;PRAY like it's your last prayer)
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To: Cobra64

Goes back to the Boer War. Esentially a hollow tip round. Back then it was the .303.

The were outlawed and replaced by the full metal jacketed round.

47 posted on 06/07/2006 6:20:26 PM PDT by Mikey_1962 (If you build it, they won't come...)
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To: jmc1969
As American troop casualties in Iraq continue to mount,

They just had to include that subliminal message, didn't they? Get the infants who have no knowledge of history or warfare to believe that Iraq is a holocaust.

48 posted on 06/07/2006 6:20:42 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Build the fence. Sí, Se Puede!)
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To: redgolum
.223 is an excellent varmint round, but illegal to use on deer sized game in most states. I have often wondered about that.

That is because they restrict cartridges by caliber. They do not want someone using a .22LR (though I have seen deer killed with it, and always one shot). For example, the 64gr PowerPoint load in .223 will work on almost anything a .308 will, and is plenty of cartridge for deer. Bullet construction makes a difference.

To put it in perspective, we are talking differences in diameter of a few hundredths of an inch -- other factors will dominate.

49 posted on 06/07/2006 6:22:16 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: Marius3188
History often repeats itself when fighting Muslims or fanatics. The .45 round was created to put down people like that.

Yep, it was to put down Moro muslims in the Philippine War.

50 posted on 06/07/2006 6:22:38 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Build the fence. Sí, Se Puede!)
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To: montomike
I like Ruger's Mini's. A good, tried and true Garand action. Their problem is the thin barrel. Just takes a couple of rounds to get super hot.

I think this whole issue boils down to training and shooting discipline. Practice, practice, practice. A well placed shot, even 22 rimfire, is deadly. The old "spray and pray" method just doesn't get it.

51 posted on 06/07/2006 6:22:47 PM PDT by Antoninus II
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To: Firefigher NC
".308 would be my caliber of choice."

My first thoughts exactly. Fighting with a higher grain faster .22 has always seemed illogical to me. .308 is a far superior caliber to the 5.56

52 posted on 06/07/2006 6:24:54 PM PDT by KoRn
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To: Mikey_1962
I have a M-1 Carbine as well. Cheap ammo, fun to shoot.

Not as cheap as it used to be. And I don't know about you, but I find the sight picture on the carbine aperture to be much easier to shoot accurately. I'm a much better shot with the 30.

53 posted on 06/07/2006 6:26:12 PM PDT by Antoninus II
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To: frankiep
On another note, the M16 would be the perfect weapon for our enemies to use against us. The premise is that the M16 will not kill, but rather wound and incapacitate a combatant. The result is that you take out two soldiers for every one hit - the second one being taken out of the fray to attend to his wounded comrade. Like I said, it would be a perfect tactic to use against us since those in the US military do all they can to never leave a wounded man behind. However, the enemies we face today have no problems purposely blowing themselves up. Frankly, the two for one tactic will not work against people who don't care for human life and are eager to die.

Worse: They can take advantage of the US adhering to the Geneva Convention. If one of theirs is wounded, they can simply leave him behind, and let the US care for him, further straining US resources.

54 posted on 06/07/2006 6:27:09 PM PDT by SauronOfMordor (A planned society is most appealing to those with the arrogance to think they will be the planners)
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To: calex59
Stoopid gun n00b question: if I wanted to purchase a M-14, what is the closest I can get legally? Make, models, and availability please.
55 posted on 06/07/2006 6:27:30 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: jmc1969
If you get shot in the torso with a 5.56, and you don't go into surgery, you're going to die. On soft tissue, which is %99 percent water, the 5.56, and others rounds like it, produces two distinct holes or tracts. The first is the rip of the path of the bullet. You can carefully follow this with a soft wire probe. In one end, out the other. But what does you in is the speed of the round through the fluid of the flesh leaving a about a 1 and a half diameter tube, that follows the bullet path. All that flesh has the texture of strawberry jam. Muscle, organs, blood vessels are goop, trash, debris and on their way to cell death. They can not be saved. This tissue is mechanically removed, gooped, spooned, scraped, cut out.

In a phrase, it isn't the bullet, it's the speed that gets you.

As far as stopping, only a shot to the upper spine or brain pan is certain. Maybe a shot to the hart, or carotid artery, producing violet blood pressure spike and drop such that the brain feels as if it was hit by a baseball bat. Maybe. A lot of what is thought as knock down is due to the bullet shock wave passing or distroying a major nerve, and/or that nerve sending a major jolt to the brain causing the body to spass often on the run. Hence a tumble fall. Hunters know this from deer dropping and recovering and getting up again. The actual physics energy/force imparted by a bullet into the mass of a 150lb person is minimal. There are no/none/zero 'knock downs' by bullets a la bowling ball to bowling pins.

Sniper biographies are full of reports of clear shots to the upper body with 7.72 type rounds and the subject continuing along, seemingly untouched. Vietnam biographies are full of guys fighting for their lives and once they make it into a helicopter, they found they've been shot by SKS/AK rounds five or more times and thought they got hit once.

Other than the .50, I don't know of a rifle round in common military use that will "knock down" consistently a young male on adrenaline.

The military can get a new round, but the reports will continue coming in. I'd rather see the money spent on each soldier/marine shooting thousands of rounds on moving targets on realistic ranges with their full kit, hot, sweating, tired, pulse rate up, after they have been up for a day or so.
56 posted on 06/07/2006 6:27:37 PM PDT by Leisler (Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.)
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To: jmc1969

Bump for later reading. I have heard a lot of grunts and former grunts complaining about the stopping power of the M-16.

57 posted on 06/07/2006 6:28:06 PM PDT by Ronin (Ut iusta esse, lex noblis severus necesse est.)
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To: calex59
"Bring back the M-14 with 3 round fire capability! 7.62 will put them down to stay!"

I have an HK-91 that can hold 30 rounds of .308 and beats the sh1t out of the M16 or any M4 variant. Heaven forbid a soldier is firing on an enemy who is behind thin glass or standing behind a small tree when they are plinking at them with what is essentially a .22 on steroids lol

58 posted on 06/07/2006 6:28:28 PM PDT by KoRn
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To: jmc1969
"News" it isn't, and if CBS doesn't know that they're entirely uninformed on firearms iss...

Oh, yeah. Never mind.

One of the biggest impediments to effective engagement of enemy combatants in various states of armor, cover, and concealment, is that no matter which caliber we select we are stuck with full metal jacket ammunition. I think it's time to revisit that issue. Certainly there is inhumane ammo - during the Civil War some of it had glass embedded - but expanding ammunition is not inherently inhumane and for the shooter is much safer than boring little holes in a doped-up jihadi who continues to come at you.

A new caliber will help as well, IMHO. We stuck with the 30-06 for a half-century and the 5.56 is nearly that long in the tooth. Warfare has changed and "one size fits all" isn't, given the sophistication of modern-day logistics, necessarily the right answer even for main-line troopers, and certainly not for special operations types.

It pains me to say it, but perhaps some of the funding currently given over to Palestinian aid and sex-change operations for imprisoned felons might be directed toward a decent research program on this topic. We aren't looking at beating the swords into plowshares anytime soon.

59 posted on 06/07/2006 6:29:19 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Mikey_1962
You can get an M1 Garand from ODCMP and match ammo to.
60 posted on 06/07/2006 6:29:45 PM PDT by mountainlyons (Hard core conservative)
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