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Rocky C
07-12-10, 11:44 AM
By Dan Lamothe and Matthew Cox - Staff writers
Posted : Monday Jul 12, 2010 9:10:56 EDT
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The Marine Corps intends to purchase 1.8 million rounds of the Army’s new green bullet in addition to the millions of U.S. Special Operations Command cartridges already downrange as the service looks to find the best replacement for its Cold War-era ammo.

The new environmentally friendly M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round is on the way to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, Army officials said, with about 1 million rounds arriving soon. The updated 5.56mm round is touted as more effective than old M855 ammunition and, in some cases, 7.62mm rounds currently in use.

The new M855A1 will be used by the Army to replace the Cold War-era M855 round, which was developed in the 1970s and approved as an official NATO round in 1980. In recent years, troops have widely criticized it, saying it is ineffective against barriers such as car windshields and often travels right through unarmored insurgents, with less-than-lethal effects.

The Army plans to buy about 200 million rounds of the new ammunition over the next 12 to 15 months, Army officials said late last month. The announcement came 11 months after the service had to halt the program when the M855A1 lead-free slug failed to perform under high temperatures.

The lead-free M855A1 is more dependable than the current M855 and delivers consistent performance at all distances, Army officials said. It performed better than the current-issue 7.62mm round against hardened steel targets in testing, penetrating -inch-thick steel at ranges approaching 400 meters, tripling the performance of the M855, Army officials said.

“For hardened steel, it is definitely better than the 7.62mm round,” said Chris Grassano, who runs the Army’s Project Manager Maneuver Ammunition Systems.

The Corps had planned to field the Army’s M855A1 until the program suffered a major setback in August 2009, when testing revealed that some of the bullets did not follow their trajectory or intended flight path. The bismuth-tin slug proved to be sensitive to heat, prompting Marine officials to choose the enhanced Special Operations Science and Technology round developed by U.S. Special Operations Command instead. Commonly known as SOST ammo, the bullet isn’t environmentally friendly, but it offered the Corps a better bullet after the Army’s M855A1 round failed.

Marine infantrymen began using it in Afghanistan this spring.

The Army has replaced the bismuth-tin slug in its new round with a copper one, solving the bullet’s problems, Army officials said. More than 500,000 rounds have been fired in testing.

With the improvements to the lead-free round, the Corps is again considering it as a long-term replacement for the old M855 bullet, said Capt. Geraldine Carey, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command, based at Quantico, Va. The Corps already has bought 4.5 million cartridges of SOST ammo as “interim enhanced capability,” but also will receive 1.8 million rounds of the new Army bullet in July, she said. A decision to field the new M855A1 bullet will be based on how well it does in additional testing. Either way, the Corps plans to continue replacing the older M855 round.

The SOST bullet weighs 62 grains and has a lead core with a solid copper shank. It is considered a variation of Federal Cartridge Co.’s Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round, which was developed for big-game hunting and is touted in a company news release for its ability to crush bone. It uses an open-tip match round design common with sniper ammunition, provides Marines deadlier ammunition with more stopping power, and stays on target through windshields and car doors better than conventional M855 ammo.

The new Army round also weighs 62 grains and has a 19-grain steel penetrator tip, 9 grains heavier than the tip on old M855 ammo. Seated behind the penetrator is a solid copper slug.

Unlike the old M855 round, the M855A1 is designed for use in the M4 carbine, which has a 14.5-inch barrel, compared with the M16’s 20-inch barrel. The propellant has been tailored to reduce the muzzle flash of the M4, but it also works in the M16A4 and other rifles chambered for 5.56mm ammunition.

Zulu 36
07-12-10, 12:29 PM
It's about time they did something with the M855 round. It just wasn't meant for short barrels.

As far as the new M855A1, I haven't been able to find much on the terminal ballistics testing of this round. I don't care how much it reduces muzzle flash, or that it has better mid-flight ballistics stability. I care first what it does to a bad guy when it hits.

If this round has such good penetration ability through intermediate targets and through steel plate, what makes it a better round as far as terminal target ballistics go? If one went on just the information in this article, and applied some practical knowledge of terminal ballistics, one would surmise that the M855A1 would also just zip through an unarmored terminal target.

The SOST round sounds like it might have better terminal ballistics. I wonder what the Marines using think about it? That's where the bread is buttered.

FoxtrotOscar
07-12-10, 03:00 PM
By Dan Lamothe and Matthew Cox - Staff writers
Posted : Monday Jul 12, 2010 9:10:56 EDT
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The new environmentally friendly M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round is on the way to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, Army officials said, with about 1 million rounds arriving soon. The updated 5.56mm round is touted as more effective than old M855 ammunition and, in some cases, 7.62mm rounds currently in use.


Unlike the old M855 round, the M855A1 is designed for use in the M4 carbine, which has a 14.5-inch barrel, compared with the M16s 20-inch barrel. The propellant has been tailored to reduce the muzzle flash of the M4, but it also works in the M16A4 and other rifles chambered for 5.56mm ammunition.

How do they even attempt to campare a 5.56 with a 7.62..???

Rocky C
07-12-10, 03:14 PM
How do they even attempt to campare a 5.56 with a 7.62..???

There not saying much about the comparison and the DoD website isn't releasing much info either.



In June 2010, the United States Army announced it began shipping its new 5.56mm cartridge, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round. During testing, the M855A1 performed better than current 7.62x51mm NATO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7.62x51mm_NATO) ball ammunition against certain types of targets, blurring the performance differences that previously separated the two cartridges. The US Army Picatinny Arsenal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picatinny_Arsenal) stated that the new M855A1 offers improved hard target capability, more consistent performance at all distances, enhanced dependability, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash, and higher velocity compared to the M855 round. Further the Army stated the new M855A1 ammunition is tailored for use in M4 carbines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_carbine) but should also give enhanced performance in M16 rifles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M16_rifle) and M249 light machine guns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M249_light_machine_gun). The new 62-grain (4 g) projectile or bullet used in the M855A1 round has a bismuth-tin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismuth) alloy core with a steel “stacked-cone” penetrating tip. The M855A1 cartridge is sometimes referred to as "green ammo" because it fires a lead free projectile.

The M855A1 was put on hold in August 2009 due to the bismuth-tin alloy core exhibiting undependable ballistics at high temperatures. The Army has since replaced the bismuth tin alloy core with one of solid copper eliminating the heat issue and the rounds are currently being shipped to active combat zones. The United States Marine Corps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps) purchased 1.8 million rounds in 2010, with plans to adopt the round to replace the interim MK318 SOST rounds used in Afghanistan when the M855A1 project was delayed

Rocky C
07-12-10, 03:36 PM
It's about time they did something with the M855 round. It just wasn't meant for short barrels.

As far as the new M855A1, I haven't been able to find much on the terminal ballistics testing of this round. I don't care how much it reduces muzzle flash, or that it has better mid-flight ballistics stability. I care first what it does to a bad guy when it hits.

If this round has such good penetration ability through intermediate targets and through steel plate, what makes it a better round as far as terminal target ballistics go? If one went on just the information in this article, and applied some practical knowledge of terminal ballistics, one would surmise that the M855A1 would also just zip through an unarmored terminal target.

The SOST round sounds like it might have better terminal ballistics. I wonder what the Marines using think about it? That's where the bread is buttered.

Can't find much on it yet Chris.


It is considered a variation of Federal Cartridge Co.s Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round, which was developed for big-game hunting and is touted in a company news release for its ability to crush bone. It uses an open-tip match round design common with sniper ammunition, provides Marines deadlier ammunition with more stopping power, and stays on target through windshields and car doors better than conventional M855 ammo.

sdk87to91
07-12-10, 06:16 PM
Lead free bullets that perform could be a good thing for big game hunting in some regions where the birds of prey are being killed by eating lead from carcasses.

Apparently some countries are treating sick birds who ingest lead for $millions of dollars each.

Of course straight shooting Marines who go big game hunting probably dont leave many carcasses around un-recovered, but the general public does unfortunately.

I wonder if human carcasses in warzones ever get eaten by sensitive birds of prey.....

FoxtrotOscar
07-12-10, 06:41 PM
Lead free bullets that perform could be a good thing for big game hunting in some regions where the birds of prey are being killed by eating lead from carcasses.

Apparently some countries are treating sick birds who ingest lead for $millions of dollars each.

Of course straight shooting Marines who go big game hunting probably dont leave many carcasses around un-recovered, but the general public does unfortunately.

I wonder if human carcasses in warzones ever get eaten by sensitive birds of prey.....

I would assume you wouldnt have to worry about that one anymore...

The M855A1 cartridge is sometimes referred to as "green ammo" because it fires a lead free projectile. ;)

Zulu 36
07-12-10, 06:55 PM
Can't find much on it yet Chris.




Don't worry about it Rocky. I don't expect you to dig for the information.

ggyoung
07-12-10, 08:03 PM
The only reason they are looking at this green bullet is there is no lead to give the rag heads lead poisoning.

irpat54
07-12-10, 08:42 PM
does anyone no if, and when the millitary is going to go to the 6.8 round? or has that idea been scarpt.

sparkie
07-12-10, 08:53 PM
Does that mean after 58 years,,, I gotta start closin my split shot with my teeth? Lucky trout.

hbharrison
07-12-10, 09:04 PM
Sparkie that would be a YEP! ;)and ggyoung nope :evilgrin:they they don't but I still say they should nukes in them and call them the "Nuke a Puke" bullet:D

hbharrison
07-12-10, 09:58 PM
Can not find anything on this new round so I asked some guys I know that deal directly with Federal and ask if they could find some thing out on balistics of this new round we'll see

Zulu 36
07-12-10, 10:23 PM
Can not find anything on this new round so I asked some guys I know that deal directly with Federal and ask if they could find some thing out on balistics of this new round we'll see


I doubt if we will get any serious ballistic data until some civilian expert conducts a study (like Martin Fackler).

I'm most interested in terminal ballistics in human tissue, with and without intermediate targets. Almost anyone can make a bullet that flies straight, but not everyone makes a bullet that tears **** up when it hits.

hbharrison
07-12-10, 10:40 PM
Point taken when all is said and done it has to do is job and tear the other guy a new a** like in the middle of his chest and blow his heart out the back.

June 1975
07-13-10, 02:27 PM
In general, if the round is made to penetrate armor and hard targets, it will just pass through soft tissue with minimal effect. I think the Marines in harms way would prefer to stay with a proven lethal round.

ggyoung
07-13-10, 04:51 PM
Sparkie that would be a YEP! ;)and ggyoung nope :evilgrin:they they don't but I still say they should nukes in them and call them the "Nuke a Puke" bullet:D

Then what you need for the nuke is myself and Sgt. Thrasher and our crew from 29 Palms.

ggyoung
07-13-10, 04:58 PM
Can not find anything on this new round so I asked some guys I know that deal directly with Federal and ask if they could find some thing out on balistics of this new round we'll see

Barns bullets just built a big new built manufacturing plant at Mona, Utah. Barns has lead the way in solid copper bullets and they just got a big contract from the government for millions of bullets.

Big Jim
07-13-10, 05:08 PM
Well it just makes sense that they will get away from a lead ball round....afterall lead is heavy and it takes more propellant to send that projectile downrange. While a steel ball round is light and sleek and maintains its shape better than the softer lead round, giving it better ballistics especially for special operations command tasks. I'd like to see those ballistics tests too though......and yes....its about damn time they did something about this.

hbharrison
07-13-10, 06:29 PM
Barns bullets just built a big new built manufacturing plant at Mona, Utah. Barns has lead the way in solid copper bullets and they just got a big contract from the government for millions of bullets.

Yes I forgot all about them i have been using the Barns bullet for some time when I do reloading of both the .357 and 9mm great bullets good balistics on both they load easy and what I have seen using them they don't have a whole lot of lead in them. Al else 29 stumps sounds good to.:D