• Edward

    Easy then make the Army adopt the USMC Mk-318 round M-855A1 is dirtier and is over pressure. Mk-318 is a far better round. Though like the uniform debate I doubt we will see a common round like a BDU camo pattern adopted any more.

    • guest

      But the Mk-318 contains that devil lead and is not green and earth friendly.

      • ‘rah!

        That’s why you make sure they all enter the target, and get put back in the ground with said target!

    • M855A1 has equal or better terminal effects and better penetration than ball 7.62. Mk-318 might be great shooting unarmored insurgents.

      A round which is more effective against a variety of situations might be a wiser choice.

  • Yellow Devil

    “I just think it looks bad. It makes us all look bad. It appears very wasteful from the outside to have the Marines and the Army not buying the same bullet,” Sanchez said.

    Appears very wasteful? We can argue over the merits of different 5.56 bullets, or the logistical issues this may cause, but for a congresswomen to bring in appearance of waste? Apparently mirrors are not allowed on Capitol Hill.

  • IAC

    IIRC the Marine Corps ammo doesn’t have the best barrier penetration capability, but the Army stuff is too high in pressure and will lead to premature weapon wear out.

    • Joshua

      Maintenance schedules are still 10,000 rounds for the bolt and barrel on the M4A1 even with M855A1.

      • Allan

        hahahaha yeah right

    • Mike S.

      Lets face one fact that the 5.56 is never going to have great penetration. The military messed up when it went to a bullet for best wounding ability. The old 7.62×51 Nato may be over kill but there is no argument that a 30 caliber round has better penetration, wounding ability and most of all can stop someone from advancing with one hit. Maybe a redesigned of the 7.62 beyond the 300 Blackout would met the militarys needs and most of all protect our service men and women better.

      • seans

        Please tell me by wounding ability you don’t actually mean the old myth of “5.56 was designed not kill but to wound”.

      • Mike, M855A1 has better penetration than 7.62 ball.

        M855A1 is so good in fact they are going to field a version of M855A1 in 7.62…

    • guest

      Are we designing rifle/carbine ammo for shooting people or barriers? If you want to shoot through cars and barriers use the medium machine gun in 7.62, not a little 22 caliber bullet.

  • JCitizen

    I would think the M855A1 to be more accurate in the right length of barrel and rifling twist rate. But it has been a while since I read the comparisons between the two with 20″ vs 14″ barrel with I assume a 1 in 9 to 1 in 7 twist respectively. That steel tip should result in better penetration also, which was the whole idea in adopting a new round in the 1st place. For wide open country like Afghanistan, it would seem a longer range weapon would be preferred like the M16A3/A4. I’d prefer the M4 for urban warfare. The velocity difference in the two lengths of rifle barrel, can be significant as well. Oddly enough, even if the M855A1 round were to keyhole because of instability issues, from the A4 shorty barrel, that could actually be an advantage in knock down wound effect. Accuracy may not be as much a problem then.

    • seans

      The entire M16/M4 family as issued have 1 in 7 twist currently. And what are you talking about when you say the A4 is a shorty barrel.

      • JCitizen

        Apologizes, that should have been the M4 “shorty”. My typo, I guess I’ll leave it be. Back in the Nam, all my bud’s called it the “shorty”. It was the predecessor to the M4 in my opinion. I’ve been calling it that every since the Colt XM177 sub-machine gun became a prototype. Kids in the ’70s called them “Shorty Commandos” because if the belief that the Seal Teams all used them, true or not, the name stuck.

        • seans

          You realize that “Commandos” was the actual name Colt gave the gun. It had nothing to do with the Seal Teams using them. Its the name Colt assigned to that particular rifle.

  • TinCup

    The Marines and SOCOM ARE SMART NOT TO FIELD EPR. The US Army 5.56mm M855A1 EPR round is tragically flawed.
    -Excessive Chamber pressures cause premature failures of bolt, barrels, even in the M4 carbine
    -The exposed tip projectile damages (gouges during feeding) M4 receivers. To prevent that it requires a special magazine that is not compatible with other DoD 5.56mm service weapons. This magazine is still not available for troop use.
    -The compacted powder charge causes both excessive pressures and 2X the fouling compared to the round it replaced (M855) thus reducing reliability and increasing operator maintenance issues and life cycle system cost for parts replacement
    -The trajectory of the round does not match the sights issued to our troops resulting in gross aiming errors beyond 300 meters
    -The US Army directly infringed on the Liberty Ammunition Company patent for the EPR projectile. Liberty sued the US Army and won recently, damages and royalties for the 1B 5.56mm EPR rounds produced to date (@ $15M thus far) plus all future rounds produced in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm M80A1.

    • joshua

      How is it gouging receivers? The bullet tip touches only the barrel extension and its tool steel. Sounds like horseshit.. Never had issues in my rifle.

    • Joseph

      Having been a Unit Armorer for an additional duty,. I believe the over pressured rounds were the cause of so many of the warped/bent barrels that had to be replaced on my rifles.

      • Joe – When, where and what unit were you a unit armorer for? If you didn’t serve in Afghanistan after 2010 you likely weren’t even looking at weapons that fired M855A1.

        There are a lot of bent, warped barrels at Benning. It’s not the ammo.

    • TinCup – WHERE are you getting these observations?

      I haven’t seen, heard or read about anything close to what you are describing and a rash of weapon failures because of M855A1 would be hard to hide.

      Special magazine?

      Firing blanks creates more fouling than any live round and is fired exponentially more in units conducting combat training. Should we stop training with blanks?

      According to the ammo representatives at the Maneuver Conference the round is very accurate. So much so that designated marksman are getting one round stops at 600m. BTW, all sights are aligned with the strike of the round in only two places along the ballistic trajectory. An experienced shooter knows where to “hold” understanding a bullet’s trajectory in relation to his sightline given a certain range.

      Telling, you don’t discuss M885A1’s terminal performance or superior penetrating capabilities or the decision making required to not be interested in such a round…

  • guest

    Just one single persons opinion, but the Marine Mk-318 round is the superior of the two, not that you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and the 5.56 is definitely a pig.

    • Why?

      M855A1 has as good if not better terminal effects and has better penetration.

      • seans

        The MK-318 has better terminal effects. I will give the 855A1 better penetration. But I have done enough live tissue labs, seen enough people shot with both rounds, and read enough of the AARs of the two rounds to place way more faith in the 318 for terminal effects.

        • Interesting!!! I didn’t realize M855A1 was being used in live tissue labs by any branch. From what I understood it was being reserved for war stocks only.

          You travel in very select circles to have seen so much in only the five years that M855A1 has been fielded. Marines and Army troops operate in the same areas uncommonly and then to have done live fire labs to boot makes one exceedingly rare.

          If you have the AARs feel free to share. I haven’t seen any that compare the two rounds or quantify their performance in a way that one could compare. I love first hand documentation.

          • seans

            Our live tissue labs were all stateside. For our live tissue labs we used MK318, MK255, MK262, M855, M193, M855A1, and a couple of COTS rounds for 5.56. Used 10.5 and 14.5 inch barrels with 1 and 7 twist. The clear winner for 5.56 was MK255, followed by one of the COTS rounds, then 318, 262, A1, 193, then finally the M855.

          • Very informative! Thanks.

            Now if we could count on our future enemies to wear as much body armor as the goats there may be reason to reassess what we issue in bulk. ;)

          • seans

            They were pigs, and even then its not like 5.56 is going to be doing anything against modern body armor anytime soon. We tried to shoot thru the standalone plates we gave to our partner force with the 855A1 to see if the rounds would be good for defense against green on blue, and the rounds were stopped by the armor at 25 yards all day. Maybe M955 could do something reliably against modern armor, but I would be surprised if it did.

          • seans

            Its not like M855A1 is capable of piecing standalone plates.

          • Pigs don’t wear body armor either or seek cover when they get shot at. :)

            2nd, 3rd world militaries and most insurgents (those who don’t get captured vests) don’t field modern plate based body armor. China isn’t really issuing their troops body armor(before folks say we aren’t fighting China tomorrow I’d remind them China is a big military supplier). http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2015/01/are-chi

            Russia is catching up and fielding some good stuff but are relative newcomers to modern ceramic armor manufacturing techniques.

            Further, one has to evaluate ones ammo’s ability to penetrate soft armor because almost all vests even plate based armor is held together by soft armor. In this area M855A1 has superior penetration performance.

            Yes we train to shoot center mass and the “T” box. That training is largely based on the assumption that your enemy is unarmored. We cannot continue to follow the age old trend of fighting the next war like the last one especially in light of the growing use of body armor.

            All that said, the ability to have superior barrier penetration (because the enemy takes cover when he gets shot at and body armor has soft parts to it) AND better soft tissue capability in the SAME round is a significant advantage. Some can’t admit that (not that it applies to you) because it doesn’t come from their BFF branch.

  • Stormcharger

    It’s a good thing we have a congress to ask these sort of questions. It would be much more efficient if everything were the same. That worked out so well during the 1960’s, it’s not like the different services have different equipment requirements or anything.

    I think congress should prioritize which program they want to be efficient. I think it’s far more important to have a universal camouflage than worry about ammunition. Let your representatives know that fixing the embarrassing Navy camo is better than politicians trying to understand basic ballistics and military firearms.

    • guest

      The Navy has a compelling reason for their aquaflage, or they would not have it. The reason my be classified.

      • seans

        Yeah, they really don’t. Its well documented that the camo was some pretty asinine reasons.

    • guest

      The Navy primarily fights on the ocean. For the ocean their blue camouflage makes perfect sense.

      • KLP

        Agreed. Especially with the underwater demolitions guys who are swimming up to enemy boats in their NWU’s, and the boarding parties where sailors charge across the ocean surface. These people who knock the aquaflage have obviously never tried to duck enemy fire while crouched behind a wave wearing khakis and wishing they had something to blend into the water.

        The military or government otherwise might do something that seems odd, but makes sense for “classified” reasons, but that’s usually not the case. One ought to look at things through the lens of common sense first. The “compelling” reason for the NWU I is that the blues and greys of the uniform match up with blue and grey paint with which sailors might come in contact. It has nothing to do with combat. I do like the image of sailors mounting an ambush in a kelp forest though.

  • Robbie

    Take a look at the linked presentation below as it debunks the hearsay gripes about the M855A1. What’s not mentioned is that the A1 round, unlike the M855, is optimized for the M4, in that its powder burn is designed to complete within carbine’s shorter barrel length, increasing deliverable energy, decreasing night flash and reducing powder residue–there has been no uptick in over-pressure or fouling reports with the M4A1’s strengthened barrel. But if the SOST can also deliver these benefits in a carbine, then maybe there is one round that equally suits the Marine’s M16s and the Army’s M4s…….

    • That’s a great find and very informative.

      A heck of lot more reliable than those that criticize the round because their BFF branch/organization doesn’t use it. They let blind fandom substitute for knowledge.

  • Keith Rockefeller

    Whichever round they use, there is no need for the Marines to use different cartridges for their basic combat loads than the Army does. It would be better to see them using a 7.62 diameter round like the 300 Blackout, but that likely will not happen.

    • guest

      The Blackout is a short range round, more suited to a sub gun than a rifle.

  • JohnD

    If the main weapons has a 20″ barrel and the other uses the 14.5″ yes, you may need a different round! The M16 is a highly technical piece of work and small changes can really screw it up! Remember the change in the early 1960s from 14″ twist to 12″ to keep the AF happy in Alaska? The weapon went from a real killer to a lesser being! then the great change the powder fiasco to save money costing how many lives in Viet Nam? The cheap workable compromise is the 6x45mm round, you use the same mags, links and only have to change barrels. It is a great compromise between the 5.56 and the 6.8. Remember when you make changes much ancillary items must change too! This was the only thing Robert McNamara did well! Why do all the services have different low quarters, make everyone have the same item to save money! If the task is service immaterial, great!!

    • guest

      Agreed all services should wear the same low quarters. Feet are feet, and the shoe is for dress or semi-dress uniform.

  • dennis barrett

    The House Armed Services Committee is comprised of just what kind of people? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    • guest

      Composed of elected lawmakers and watchdogs.

  • Todd Dort

    This is easy to solveThe marines need 2 quit usein old crap!! (i.e.: m16, Huey Helo, Cobra Helo) They need 2 upgrade so we don’t send money on out dated shit!!!! HOOAH!!!!

    • Christopher

      Indeed. Both branches should just upgrade to the M27 to the as their primary rifle. It isn’t a very good replacement for the M249 due to only having a closed bolt. Also copy the Europeans do and use a machine gun optimized bullet for your 5.56 caliber weapons. No issues with penetration when you do that.

    • Zspoiler

      The Marines uses what works and does more with less.

  • Juanito Grande

    What can be expected from a DoD which can’t even design a field uniform for use by all Branches?

  • Robbie

    I guess no one even bothered to read this, not wanting facts to get in the way of their opinion:

  • Scott

    This is one example of why people in cubicles, non warfighters, should not make warfighter decision and policy. The only people who suffer these idiot decisions are the warfighters, the people who should have an opinion. We really should put lawmakers out of the loop on warfighter issues.

  • Eric B.

    One bullet style/weight is nice but only stopgap.

    What is needed is a NEW CARTRIDGE, like a 6.5 Grendel or whatever, that will fit an AR magazine well.

    Clearly our current round is greatly handicapped in an M4 length barrel. The lower velocity from the short barrel is bad for lethality in an already challenged round.