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blended metal bullets

The above is an article I saw some time ago in the Army Times, an independent periodical for and about the United States Army. Allow me to paraphrase it:

"This contract security guy in Afghanistan shot an insurgent there in the butt with a 5.56mm blended metal bullet at about 100 yards and it ripped a quarter of the target's guts out."

The idea here is these bullets are heat-activated, as in they become soft and expand violently when they come in contact with something wwarm, like human flesh. They pierce straight through cool objects like body armor. This was interesting to me for two reasons...

1.) The Hague Convention of 1899 specifically banned hollow-point or expanding (dum dum) bullets, pursuant to some St. Petersburg agreement from 30-something years prior that forbid exploding bullets of less than a certain mass, and generally those which cause certain death. It was agreed that it is enough to 'disable' a soldier, and the intent was to reduce the calamity of war. NOTE: This is NOT a Geneva Conventions issue. Bottom line? Expanding bullets are illegal in war. Most of us know that already.

2.) The individual firing the round was not a SOLDIER per se, but a contracted civilian (and does NOT meet the Geneva definition of a mercenary as he is a citizen of a country engaged in the war, though being a non-soldier he MAY be tried for murder as he is not afforded the same protections). NOT bound to UCMJ nor the guidelines of conduct for soldiers set forth by Geneva and Hague in their various conventions.

Now, while the specific language of 'blended metal' bullets is never seen in the texts of any Geneva or Hague convention, the intent of such bullets is clearly the same as that forbidden by the St. Petersburg text. They are expanding bullets which (clearly, if you read the article) make death inevitable, or at least vastly more likely, should one be struck by such bullets.

It's important to keep in mind at this point that the INSURGENTS operating in Afghanistan and Iraq are protected by Geneva, contrary to what may have been previously publicized. Read it for yourself. And even if they weren't, they'd then be subject to local national laws and the appropriate enforcement procedures and authorities, and not wholesale conventional warfare techniques courtesy of a foreign nation. Anyhow...

So the article states quite plainly that the civilian dude who blew a man's guts out with a 5.56mm M4 round would have been court-martialed had he been a soldier. BUT, it makes that distinction based on the fact the United States (who he works for) Department of Defense has yet to properly test, evaluate and approve of these munitions.

Another long-winded note: I watched a cool video of these things being fired at various targets. They're SILLY effective. They're also manufactured in limited quantities in a variety of calibers, such as 9mm, .45 ACP, and 7.62mm that I recall seeing.

There is little mention of the lawfulness of these rounds in warfare versus the Hague. Given the opportunity to do so legally, I have no doubt that conventional US troops would be glad to use these out there in the sandboxes. Since there's been no international discussion of these rounds' legality in war yet, the US DoD would be able to issue tens of thousands of them to the field once they meet with whatever other approval processes are required.

Now imagine this: the war eventually moves on to Iran, Syria, North Korea or wherever. Tons of US Marines and Soldiers are running about plugging these rounds off at their enemies on the battlefield. Some abstinent country (let's say, Russia) with interests on the other side of the conflict sees this. They go to the Hague and immediate plead for war crimes charges against thousands of US and British troops on the ground who've used these rounds to inflict fatal wounds to the buttocks of their targets. Joe Soldier is in deep kim chee...

So my point is this- I'm already pretty fed-up with the growing US civilian population that travels alongside us when we go to war. Now I've got them running around using bullets that I can't, which might also be illegal as all holy hell (likely they ARE), while I'm still stuck with a barely-serviceable rifle pea-shooting 5.56mm FMJ downrange through iron sights when the proverbial dookie hits the fan.

Anyone understand any of that?

Discuss, please...

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Yeah, the article goes on to say that SOCOM is looking into new M4 uppers that would use a 6.8 X 43 mm round, I think. And it states there's still money set aside waiting for SOCOM to test those frangible rounds.

And to be perfectly clear, those rounds are NOT available to the public. So far they're restricted to law enforcement and military use, and as far as I've been able to read they've not been produced in significant quantity. Just enough to distribute for testing. It seems they tried to give their own chances at a lucrative military contract a boost by slipping a couple hundred of them to these contract guys.

It's really a fascinating article if you read it completely.

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It's BS on the blended metal stuff. We have been doing things like this for ages in the industry with very-light bullets. Pick almost any handgun you want, make a bullet extremely light for the caliber and drive it really fast. Not only can you defeat light armor with it, but when it hits a target (if hollowpoint) it expands rapidly and violently fragmenting. We also have bullets for range work that are encased tin powder, to prevent backsplash from hard backstops at ranges. They would have similar results if the jacket was thin enough.

You could do almost the same with with a rifle bullet by making it light for weight, yet making the jacket extremely thin from the midsection forward. Bullets have a tendency to tumble in liquid substances anyway, but the thinner jacket allows the bullet to fall apart easier. I would even wager that a method could be utilized that in swaging three or four shorter lead slugs in the jacket during manufacture (instead of one lone one), then scoring the jacket around where they meet, would have similar devistating results. If anyone has a Corbin swaging setup for bullets and a their cannelure tool, we could test this theory. Even modern military bullets usually break apart at the cannelure anyway.

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I read about this story a while back, and there is no question that this round would not be "legal" for combat purposes.

I also question the whole small high velocity round concept as I have seen first hand rounds that have failed to meet their claims. Even if it is effective on soft tissue, often there is "hard cover" you have to get through (car doors, body armour, etc...)

I have personally seen first hand Kevlar vests with a 1/8 in plate being shot with various pistol rounds. 9mm, .357SIG, 9X23, .40S&W, .45ACP, and 10mm. The 10mm rounds were able to punch through, Remington .45+P were close, and so were Speer .45s. The smaller high velocity rounds barely dented the plate, and this was done at 25yards. I was shocked, but the .45+P Corbons not only failed to dent the plate as much as the Speer and Remingtons, but the hollowpoint collasped on itself whereas the others opened up on the plate.

Also, 1/4 in steel plates at 40yards were able to stop 5.56mm rounds dead while 7.62mm rounds would punch straight through. I have not tried this with 6.8mm yet, but look forward to trying it out.

I have also shot BP glass with a 5.56mm and it did NOT break. Yes, a rifle cartridge WAS stopped by BP glass. It took three shots in the same spot to break it apart. The 7.62X39mm broke the BP glass on the first shot, and the .308, and 7.62X54 literally shattered the glass into a million pieces.

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Hmm....as for legality purposes, I would have to say that these rules were put in place for a very good reason, and I would hesitate to break them.

As for those civies running around on the battlefield with their bubba guns, that ###### me off as well. I understand the need for some of these guys, because most are professionally trained ex spec ops guys, making a WHOLE lot more money though. But they should defenately be bound by the same laws as regular soldiers.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no problems blowing the guts out of a hairy insurgent, but I would rather do it by the rules. If anything, to keep them from justifying using such weapons on US. Of course, there are always ways to "bend" the rules.

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Rules are nothing more than a set of guildlines followed for a facade to the world. What happens when it's not in the public eye is fair game.

I hate to say it, but if I was a contractor in Iraq, I'd want to use whatever I could get my hands on that could increase my chance of survival. I feel for the guys in the military, but that's bureaucracy. Sad, but true.

jchung, what 10mm loads where you using? Modern squibs? Full-power? 135, 155, 165, 180, or 200gr? One of my uncles works in bank security and brings home goodies from time to time. Once he brought home some of the bullet-proof lexan glass they put in teller windows. It had to be around 2" thick. We shot it with a .44 magnum at about 10 yards. Bad idea. Good thing we were behind cover because it sent the stuff showering everywhere... um, the .44 defeated it. :P

Edited by RooK
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Rules are nothing more than a set of guildlines followed for a facade to the world. What happens when it's not in the public eye is fair game.

I hate to say it, but if I was a contractor in Iraq, I'd want to use whatever I could get my hands on that could increase my chance of survival. I feel for the guys in the military, but that's bureaucracy. Sad, but true.

jchung, what 10mm loads where you using? Modern squibs? Full-power? 135, 155, 165, 180, or 200gr? One of my uncles works in bank security and brings home goodies from time to time. Once he brought home some of the bullet-proof lexan glass they put in teller windows. It had to be around 2" thick. We shot it with a .44 magnum at about 10 yards. Bad idea. Good thing we were behind cover because it sent the stuff showering everywhere... um, the .44 defeated it. :P

This (the italicised portion), my friend, is simply untrue. You will find out sooner or later that everything you do has the potential to become public knowledge. Everything. Anything you say or do, can and quite possibly will make its way to someone you'd rather not have know about it. God. Help. You. if you ever go into any kind of public service with that attitude.

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jchung, what 10mm loads where you using? Modern squibs? Full-power? 135, 155, 165, 180, or 200gr? One of my uncles works in bank security and brings home goodies from time to time. Once he brought home some of the bullet-proof lexan glass they put in teller windows. It had to be around 2" thick. We shot it with a .44 magnum at about 10 yards. Bad idea. Good thing we were behind cover because it sent the stuff showering everywhere... um, the .44 defeated it. :P

We were just testing "off the shelf" rounds. The 10mm Corbons were 180gr, and the WInchester 10mm were 175gr.

LOL, We shot the BP glass from about 25 yards, and we also used .454s on it too. Pretty potent stuff.

This (the italicised portion), my friend, is simply untrue. You will find out sooner or later that everything you do has the potential to become public knowledge. Everything. Anything you say or do, can and quite possibly will make its way to someone you'd rather not have know about it. God. Help. You. if you ever go into any kind of public service with that attitude.

I have to agree with this, some may get away with "murder", but god help the one that is caught, and frankly I would not want to be part of that statistic.

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Rules are nothing more than a set of guildlines followed for a facade to the world. What happens when it's not in the public eye is fair game.

This (the italicised portion), my friend, is simply untrue. You will find out sooner or later that everything you do has the potential to become public knowledge. Everything. Anything you say or do, can and quite possibly will make its way to someone you'd rather not have know about it. God. Help. You. if you ever go into any kind of public service with that attitude.

I posted it because it has truth to it. We usually never find out about it until decades later, but it happens. I'm quite an ethical person and have never even got so much as a warning while driving, never been in trouble with the law or anything. I stick to the rules (even if I slightly bend them sometimes). No need to worry about me actually following the second part of the statement. Just because I post it, doesn't mean I reflect it in my behavior. Call me cynical if you wish.

Jchung, you picked the more potent stuff of the factory fodder. Winchester Silvertips are one of the few you can get loaded above .40 S&W spec, about 1250fps for the 175gr bullet. Yeah, my reloads of 200gr XTPs at 1200fps shouldn't have a problem with light armor. :)

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Jchung, you picked the more potent stuff of the factory fodder. Winchester Silvertips are one of the few you can get loaded above .40 S&W spec, about 1250fps for the 175gr bullet. Yeah, my reloads of 200gr XTPs at 1200fps shouldn't have a problem with light armor. :)

Yeah, we pretty much picked the cream of the crop for all the rounds. The .40S&W rounds were Winchester 155gr Silver Tips, and Speer 165gr, the .45s were 200gr Speer +P, Remington Golder Saber 185gr +P, and Corbon 165gr +P, etc... We wanted to see what the "best of the best" factory loads could do.

Now handloads are a completely different story.

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blended metal bullets

The above is an article I saw some time ago in the Army Times, an independent periodical for and about the United States Army. Allow me to paraphrase it:

"This contract security guy in Afghanistan shot an insurgent there in the butt with a 5.56mm blended metal bullet at about 100 yards and it ripped a quarter of the target's guts out."

The idea here is these bullets are heat-activated, as in they become soft and expand violently when they come in contact with something wwarm, like human flesh. They pierce straight through cool objects like body armor. This was interesting to me for two reasons...

1.) The Hague Convention of 1899 specifically banned hollow-point or expanding (dum dum) bullets, pursuant to some St. Petersburg agreement from 30-something years prior that forbid exploding bullets of less than a certain mass, and generally those which cause certain death. It was agreed that it is enough to 'disable' a soldier, and the intent was to reduce the calamity of war. NOTE: This is NOT a Geneva Conventions issue. Bottom line? Expanding bullets are illegal in war. Most of us know that already.

2.) The individual firing the round was not a SOLDIER per se, but a contracted civilian (and does NOT meet the Geneva definition of a mercenary as he is a citizen of a country engaged in the war, though being a non-soldier he MAY be tried for murder as he is not afforded the same protections). NOT bound to UCMJ nor the guidelines of conduct for soldiers set forth by Geneva and Hague in their various conventions.

Now, while the specific language of 'blended metal' bullets is never seen in the texts of any Geneva or Hague convention, the intent of such bullets is clearly the same as that forbidden by the St. Petersburg text. They are expanding bullets which (clearly, if you read the article) make death inevitable, or at least vastly more likely, should one be struck by such bullets.

It's important to keep in mind at this point that the INSURGENTS operating in Afghanistan and Iraq are protected by Geneva, contrary to what may have been previously publicized. Read it for yourself. And even if they weren't, they'd then be subject to local national laws and the appropriate enforcement procedures and authorities, and not wholesale conventional warfare techniques courtesy of a foreign nation. Anyhow...

So the article states quite plainly that the civilian dude who blew a man's guts out with a 5.56mm M4 round would have been court-martialed had he been a soldier. BUT, it makes that distinction based on the fact the United States (who he works for) Department of Defense has yet to properly test, evaluate and approve of these munitions.

Another long-winded note: I watched a cool video of these things being fired at various targets. They're SILLY effective. They're also manufactured in limited quantities in a variety of calibers, such as 9mm, .45 ACP, and 7.62mm that I recall seeing.

There is little mention of the lawfulness of these rounds in warfare versus the Hague. Given the opportunity to do so legally, I have no doubt that conventional US troops would be glad to use these out there in the sandboxes. Since there's been no international discussion of these rounds' legality in war yet, the US DoD would be able to issue tens of thousands of them to the field once they meet with whatever other approval processes are required.

Now imagine this: the war eventually moves on to Iran, Syria, North Korea or wherever. Tons of US Marines and Soldiers are running about plugging these rounds off at their enemies on the battlefield. Some abstinent country (let's say, Russia) with interests on the other side of the conflict sees this. They go to the Hague and immediate plead for war crimes charges against thousands of US and British troops on the ground who've used these rounds to inflict fatal wounds to the buttocks of their targets. Joe Soldier is in deep kim chee...

So my point is this- I'm already pretty fed-up with the growing US civilian population that travels alongside us when we go to war. Now I've got them running around using bullets that I can't, which might also be illegal as all holy hell (likely they ARE), while I'm still stuck with a barely-serviceable rifle pea-shooting 5.56mm FMJ downrange through iron sights when the proverbial dookie hits the fan.

Anyone understand any of that?

Discuss, please...

The videos you mention, can you provide some links?

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Try This Video...

You'll notice A. J. Piscitelli in the background, too.... A premiere maker of ballistic armored glass. There was another video I found of some rounds fired from .408 and .499 rifles against sample panes of that glass, along with an explanation of how the glass works. Fascinating stuff. It's another example of building a better mouse....

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Also, 1/4 in steel plates at 40 yards were able to stop 5.56mm rounds dead . . .

What inch barrel were you firing the 5.56 x 45 out of and what was the grain of the 5.56 bullet? Also what brand were the 5.56 x 45 rounds?

The bullets were 62gr surplus ammo, and we shot them out of several guns. One was a 20" AR15, 20"A2 M16, 16" AR15, 14.5" M4, and a 16" Ruger 5.56ACR.

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Also, 1/4 in steel plates at 40 yards were able to stop 5.56mm rounds dead . . .

What inch barrel were you firing the 5.56 x 45 out of and what was the grain of the 5.56 bullet? Also what brand were the 5.56 x 45 rounds?

The bullets were 62gr surplus ammo, and we shot them out of several guns. One was a 20" AR15, 20"A2 M16, 16" AR15, 14.5" M4, and a 16" Ruger 5.56ACR.

I am not a real big fan of the 5.56 x 45. If only Eugene Stoner had gone with a round that was a little heavier. A 100 grain bullet fired at a muzzle velocity of at least 2700 feet per second would have been adequate.

I know 5.56 x 45 is generally very adequate for ranges out to around 125 meters with a 368 millimeter barrel length. The 6.8 x 43 round was about the right balance between stopping power and longer ranges. It's too bad it doesn't look like the 6.8 SPC is going anywhere in the future of the United States military currently.

I hope the troops are at least issued 77 grain bullets with the 5.56 x 45 in the future. I hear out of 508 millimeter barrels the Mark 262 ammunition is very effective out to around 275 meters.

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Don't blame Stoner on the 5.56. He disliked the cartridge as well. He developed the AR-10 in 7.62 and tried to sell it to the military without much success. Armalite, who owned the AR-10 design since he did it for them as an employee, had another person scale it down to the 5.56 under Stoner's supervision. Once the military started trying to sabotage his gun design (AR-15) with complaints of failures to keep the army from adopting it, he did step in to prove them wrong.

The gun works when you don't have an idiot at the controls. It works even better in it's original caliber.

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EVERYTHING I have read about the 6.5mm Grendel supersedes the 6.8-has anyone here shot this?

Yes, it is a very nice round, but there is one downside.

The 6.5mm has a very flat trajectory, and it is acheived through having a VERY streamlined bullet profile. This gives the 6.5mm a superior ballistic coeficent, but it also means that it is much more likely to overpenetrate.

I have not had a chance to go out hunting with the 6.8mm, but from what I hear it is less likely to punch straight through flesh than the 6.5mm. At close range, it seems that hunters that have used this round prefer it. I would imagine that this would make the 6.8mm a better round in CQB situations.

I have not had a chance to shoot both cartridges out of the same platform, so I can't really say for certain, but my impression was that the 6.8mm was a much more controllable round. The 6.8mm does not kick much more than the 5.56mm round, but the 6.5mm was much more like the 7.62X39mm.

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The 6.5 is almost just a 7.62x39 necked down. I remember getting in a heated argument on ARFCOM with devs and their distributor at the time. Can't even remember who. Anyway, I was mad that they wouldn't offer a 6.5 barrel for people to put on a 7.62x39 bolt (same case head). They whined on about cartridge differences and blah blah blah... fact is they wanted to rip you a new one ($1000) for a whole upper with crap you don't need and not just $200 for a barrel.

The 6.5 is a superior round, but the company can shove it where the sun don't shine imo. I'll stick with the 6.8, mainly due to wider availability (in comparison) and the larger bullet diameter. I've wanted an AR for the longest time... maybe I should act on that impulse.

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