Indian Army Debates New Gun: Kill (7.62) or Wound (5.56)?

Indian rifle (courtesy indiandxefencereview.com)

“Should it be a rifle that ‘kills’  the enemy soldier or terrorist?” timesofindia.indiatimes.com asks. “Or, should it merely ‘wound’? With the decade-long hunt for a new-generation assault rifle still nowhere near finalization, the Army’s top generals will discuss this basic but critical weapon for infantry soldiers next week. The debate is about the ‘quantum of lethality’ required . . .

As per the Army’s experience, the 5.56mm rifle is considered better for conventional war since it generally injures an enemy soldier, which ties down at least two of his colleagues to carry him as well as hits general morale in the opposing force. The 7.62mm rifle is preferred for counter-insurgency since the aim is to kill a terrorist at the first instance before he can unleash mayhem. “There are different arguments for each side. The lethality, of course, also depends on where a bullet hits,” said an officer.

“The fact remains that all soldiers prefer the rugged 7.62mm AK-47s, which also have a higher rate of fire, than the indigenous 5.56mm INSAS (Indian small arms system) rifles for counterterrorism in J&K,” he added.

Not go all Hannah Montana, but the Indian Army tried to get the best of both worlds. That didn’t work out so well . . .

The Army’s “over-ambitious” experiment to induct rifles with interchangeable barrels, with a 5.56 x 45mm primary barrel for conventional warfare and a 7.62 x 39mm secondary one for counter-terrorism, failed miserably.

(courtesy telegraphindia.com)

As first reported by TOI in May last year, the proposed mega project was junked since the rifles on offer by armament firms like Colt (US), Beretta (Italy), Ceska (Czech Republic) and Israel Weapon Industries were not found suitable and cost-effective after extensive trials.

Keep in mind this is a MASSIVE contract. (According to wikipedia.org, the Indian Army boasts 1,129,900 active personnel, 960,000 reserve personnel and 136 aircraft. Wait. What?) And if you think America’s military procurement process is corrupt, just imagine how this rifle choice thing is playing out in India.

comments

  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Jesus tap dancing Christ, is this myth about 5.56 still being perpetuated? Don’t they have arfcom in India?

    1. avatar cloud_1911 says:

      It’s not a myth if you’re forced to use FMJ. Each one of those bullets is a roll of the dice. Remember, these guys aren’t going to use Hornady T.A.P. or Speer.

      If anyone pledges for the instant lethality of 5.56, ask what was the last living thing they killed with non-HP 5.56, and how fast it died.

      Yeah, yeah, I’ve been hog hunting. 5.56 can drop them in their tracks, but it usually doesn’t…a problematic development if the hog is shooting back.

      What is the most suspicious part of this claim? 1. that 7.62×39 is SOOOO much better than 5.56, and 2. that soldiers in the armies of India’s enemies will stop to help fallen comrades.

      1. avatar Ozzallos says:

        Can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of 5.56 cavitation black magic, either; at least not by itself. Give me a heavy bullet with a hollow point and I’m happy.

        1. avatar Sunshine_Shooter (formerly WedelJ) says:

          Considering we are talking about warfare, no. You cannot have a hollowpoint.

        2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

          It’s not magic. It’s internal ballistics. FMJ Rifle calibers are meant to wound by the bullet traveling very fast, and tumbling on the way in. This transfers deadly amounts of energy and stretches tissue beyond it’s elastic limit. 5.56, 7.62×51, 7.62×39, 30-06, .270, 243, etc,etc they all do that, and do it well.

          The issue with 5.56 is that it tends not to tumble at short ranges. Most of the new bullet constructions have solved this issue (boat tails, hollow tips (not like a handgun HP), weight distribution towards the rear end of the bullet).

        3. avatar ozzallos says:

          “Considering we are talking about warfare, no. You cannot have a hollowpoint.”

          No, they can’t. We can, never being a signatory to the particular treaty you’re alluding to.

          And while cativation and bullet tumble is 5.56 science, it relies on very exacting circumstance you can’t always be guaranteed to recreate. HPs are much, much more forgiving. Did I meet the velocity/range/targetmass/barrel length/twist required to cativate 5.56 on target? Maybe?

          You go ahead and rely on that if you want.

  2. avatar DaveL says:

    It positively tickles me that the full-auto military version of a weapon described as “having no other purpose than to kill a large number of people quickly” in the context of civilian disarmament is described in a military context as “tending to wound, rather than kill.”

    1. avatar Sunshine_Shooter (formerly WedelJ) says:

      Just goes to show how much framing an argument matters. The detractors will frame an argument against you, and different enemies with different goals can make a single issue a bad choice in contradictory ways, as you mentioned above.

  3. avatar Phrederick says:

    Kill or wound? Jesus, do journalists anywhere know what they’re talking about?

    1. avatar inchester, holds supersonic says:

      No, they do not. That M-16 kills much more often than the AK-47 , but it does require more care than the AK. Personally.’d like to see it in .270 Winchester , holds supersonic bullet velocity longer.

      1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

        With fmj rounds mandated, 5.56 probably kills just as well as even that other 7.62.

        In addition to all the other benefits of a somewhat armed populace, the simple fact that Hollywood(Bollywood) nonsense wrt arms aren’t universally believed, counts as yet another.

        1. avatar malikknows says:

          Not through concrete block, it doesn’t.

        2. avatar Stuki Moi says:

          Depends on how thick the blocks are. Very few gunsights work well through concrete either, and even .308 doesn’t work well unless you score hits.

      2. avatar mark s. says:

        Notwithstanding all the international military mandates and rules and hand tying that goes on in our upside down universe we’re in , I load all my magazines one short of max , alternating every other round between FMJ and some form of HPSV , from my Kel-Tec 22 WMR to my 9mm’s , 5.62 – 7.62 and even my BAR and Noreen BN 36 get the same treatment . The only magazines I have loaded different are my FMJ practice mags. for range work .
        I am under the whacko impression that war is about killing , I guess I’m just old school but when I shoot something I actually want it to die .

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Are you in the military? If you use those in combat you’re committing a war crime. In any case, IMO it’s foolish to candy cane load magazines. It’s bother with no payback at best.

        2. avatar Randy Taylor says:

          Man, there sure have been a bunch of ignorance out of Oregon lately.

          We are not bound by the “rules” of The Hague Convention.

        3. avatar mark s. says:

          I haven’t heard the term ‘ candy caning ‘ in a long time , even though that is basically what I am referring to by alternating ammo types in my magazines , and I do recall more than one argument back in the day on this issue but it is a practice I will stake my life on having practiced in real life scenarios many times . I have a couple old vehicles in my practice field on my farm and can attest to the fact that solid projectiles penetrate auto steel with cleaner lines than HP’s consistently . I am not arguing that a HP will not penetrate a car door or similar obstruction but consistently a ball will preform cleaner and maintain it’s kill factor better overall and the variety is worth the trouble in my humble opinion . If I experienced feed issues , as used to be the most common argument against the alternating load , I would curtail it’s use only to the weapons that didn’t experience issues but I have found no noticeable variations in FTF or FTE using this practice . I believe the term candy caning magazines goes back to a time when a lot of the HP ammo was poorly manufactured or the magazines were designed a little tighter on the lip and feeding issues were more prevalent overall , I don’t really know , but 40-50 years ago things were , well 40 – 50 years ago , and I simply have not experienced any negatives in my 25 plus years of loading this way .
          I estimate I have ran about 150,000 rounds of various brass over my shooting life span and have had my share of issues with certain guns and ammo but ‘ candy caning ‘ has never caused me one moment of strife .

  4. avatar Jimbo says:

    .300blk, nice balance between the two – dilemma solved.

    1. avatar TruthTellers says:

      7.62×39 with a quality bullet and clean burning powder. The Russian’s got it right, but they took the cheap route figuring any firefight beyond 200 yards wasn’t worth considering.

      1. avatar =BCE56= says:

        I agree,TT.
        I built my AR around the X39. It required some adjustments, as you are no doubt aware.
        Seemed like a good compromise between 5.56 and 7.62 NATO. Price per pop is right, and I reckon it thumps harder than 5.56. (.223 is hell on gophers, though.)

        But why did the russkies adopt the 5.45?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Our soldiers had 20 round mags for their rifles. The reds had 30 rounders so our guys had to have them also.

          Our guys had lighter, higher velocity ammo for that magic 300 yard engagement zone. The reds wanted the same.

          I just wander why we haven’t mass produced the RPG for our guys.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      How is the 300BLK any kind of middle between the 556NATO and the 7.62X39?

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        Muzzle energy:-)

      2. avatar 4Rescue says:

        Yeah I don’t really see that either… 300blk is, IMO, like 7.62×39 improved but not really an intermediate cartridge between the two…

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          There’s not opinion to be made. Math is math. The 7.62X39 supersonic ballistics are slightly better than the 300blackout. But only so slightly better as to make the argument academic.

    3. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      I would love for some large military forces to adopt .300 blackout as the primary choice, and wait for the surplus to roll in. I’m enjoying the $14.99 a box cheap stuff at Wal-Mart. Would love to see it $9.99 a box. Maybe reloading in my future.

  5. avatar Paul53 says:

    So a 9mm will, what, just make him faint?

    1. avatar HP says:

      You should see .380, it makes him giggle.

      1. avatar =BCE56= says:

        To build up immunity to bullet wounds:
        Start small- BB gun, paintball gun, pellet gun etc.
        Then you can step up to .22, .25ACP, .380 and so on.
        Stick with it! The pain is worth the gain.

        Be aware however there is no way to inoculate yourself against the incredibly effective .45ACP.

  6. avatar The Dude Abides says:

    Hardly a new discussion. One of the reasons the green tip was kept in service was to clog up the Russian military system if the cold war ever got hot. Much more expensive in manpower, equipment and money to tend to a wounded soldier than a dead one.

    1. avatar Jason Lynch says:

      The Red Army used to do its graduation exercises for chemical-warfare training with real nerve gas, and considered a few deaths in each (large) class to be a valuable lesson to others in the importance of caring for your equipment and following the correct drills.

      If, during the Big Mistake 3 that thankfully never happened, their medical services were clogging up with wounded soldiers during their drive to the French coast, while they were reducing determined pockets of resistance with anything from mustard and nerve gases to nuclear warheads (and we’re lobbing every sort of grid-square removal system we’ve got available back at them), do you think they’d slow down out of consideration for the casualties they’d taken from 5.56mm bullets? Or just tell them to slap on a field dressing and either die quietly, or catch up when they’re fit to fight again?

  7. avatar Dr Brainwash says:

    Much of the combat India faces is in Kasmir, which is quite open and mountainous. I’d perefer a .308 battle rifle.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Not only that, they are facing Islamic terrorists as well who really don’t give two $h!ts if one of their comrades are wounded. I say go with .308 … or at least .243 Winchester.

      1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

        With standard fmj rounds, the only thing “hit harder” by .308 than 5.56, is the backstop behind the target. I doubt the Indians will bother equipping their million man army with exotic, police marksman, type rounds.

        The Marines are/were making mincemeat out of close relatives of those hardened Kashmiri mountain warriors with their 5.56 ARs. Out to ranges way beyond anything a regular one-in-a-million Indian soldier is likely to be very effective at.

        When you have a million soldiers, the rifle that is the easiest to learn to shoot, and that allows for the most training, is the best. And, since I highly doubt each of those million guys are mechanized, the less each round (not to mention the gun) weighs, the better. Just the thought of humping around at Himalayan foothill altitude with a .308 loadout, makes me sweat and breathe heavy…..

        For killing people efficiently, 5.56, in modern ARs and variants, are a work of finely honed, chiseled close-to-perfection. AKs were great back when technology and general manufacturing precision didn’t allow the extra 100 yards of point blank 5.56 allows for, to shine as bright as today. But to equip your armed forces with an AK today, is a pretty good indicator you just have too many damned soldiers available, to care all that much about them individually.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          “With standard fmj rounds, the only thing “hit harder” by .308 than 5.56, is the backstop behind the target.”

          Hah! Good point.

          (Thanks for the morning chuckle.)

        2. avatar malikknows says:

          I want the round that kills the guy behind your backstop.

        3. avatar Stuki Moi says:

          The Russians are supposedly playing with infantry carried lightweight drones, which could presumably get behind backstops 🙂 I’m sure “we” are as well, we’re just better at keeping it a secret.

    2. avatar mark s. says:

      Great point and one seldom mentioned in these discourses . What I use when I hunt in the hills of WV will obviously be different than what I take to the mountains of Montana . This is the one size fits all argument I often have with my buds on these discussions . I know we have to consider weapon weights and magazine quantities along with bullet weights and velocities and the fact that multiple caliber weapon training is expensive and probably not in the field practical so someone along the line of procurement must make choices not everyone will ever agree on . When it comes to me and mine , in caliber wars , whether I’m in WV or Montana or even Africa for that matter . I will take my accurate , reliable , favorite , long time friend , my BAR in 30.06 , and a variety of ammo .
      I am gradually and begrudgingly leaning a little more on my newer acquisition , the Benelli R1 , also in 30.06 and have been tinkering a little more with some of my older formulas with real nice results , but I don’t really hunt anymore so it’s all school work and range time , which I do enjoy a lot .

  8. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    I love me some 7.62, but come on now.

    The 5.56 is plenty deadly. It’s the shorter barrel and penetrator round that are ruining its reputation.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Not even the barrel. mk262 out of a mk18 is deadly as hell.

      1. avatar int19h says:

        What is the fragmentation velocity threshold for Mk262?

        1. avatar James in AZ says:

          Mostly black magic

          Depends on what the projectile hit that day and how the stars are aligned.

          Fragmentation is like tumbling, sometimes it’s there sometimes not. Sometimes it’s effective sometimes not. You can *design* it, but it not nearly as reliable as what we’ve come to with expanding hollowpoints.

        2. avatar int19h says:

          Any particular bullet, perhaps. But you can still fire lots of them, and get the statistically defined threshold – i.e. the range at which, say, more than 90% bullets fragmented.

        3. avatar pwrserge says:

          ~2100 fps… You should be easily able to get that out of a 10.3″ barrel out to typical CQB ranges.

  9. avatar ATTAGReader says:

    Do the Pakistani (Muslim) military retrieve their wounded or not? The answer to this should answer the kill vs. wound question.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      Noone designs military weapons, or builds military marksmanship training programs, around just wounding, but not killing, the enemy. That whole story is just complete crazy talk by someone completely clueless.

  10. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Silly rabbits signed the Hague convention of 1899 or else they could just use the 5.56 and vary the bullet construction more.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Why doesn’t India buy American guns? We can solve any technical problems the Indians might have by opening a call center in, say, North Dakota. Then we could enjoy the Indians squirming when they try to get help from someone they can’t understand.

    Win-win!

    1. avatar =BCE56= says:

      Heh. Good one.

      Speaking of tech support:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmD_8cBqhW0

      salty language warning

    2. avatar jwm says:

      Naw, put the call center in Pakistan. Fun times will be had.

    3. avatar int19h says:

      On the oft chance it’s more than a joke, US has historically supported Pakistan, and USSR has historically supported India during the Cold War. Which is why they have a lot of Soviet (and now Russian) military tech, and even their current assault rifle is basically an indigenous AK variant. Although they just buy the licenses and manufacture it locally when they can – even tanks and such.

    4. avatar HP says:

      Imagine the phone calls..some guy in Bismarck, “Hello, my name is Balwinder, how can I help you?”

      1. avatar mark s. says:

        Ole and Ansgar were out hunting last November when Ansgar began to have chest pains , Ole suggested they head back home and Ansgar agreed and they headed back to the truck . Half way back Ansgar doubled over in severe pain , clutching his chest he cried out to Ole to call 911 and then gasp a seemingly last breath . Ole acted quickly , running about thirty yards to a hill crest and clearing where he could get a clear cell signal he called 911 and explained his dilemma and ask the responder what he should do . The 911 operator told Ole to go back and make sure he was dead and then the phone went quiet . The operator loudly tried to get Ole back to the phone to no avail and suddenly there was a loud blast to be heard over the phone and moments later Ole was back on line . OK , said Ole , he’s dead , now what do I do ?

  12. avatar MeRp says:

    Or they could go all cray-cray and do something like 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC; very similar (25 vs 30 rnds per mag, and similar weight) realistic individual load-out capability and recoil, nice heavy projectile (like their, apparently preferred 7.62×39), but with extremely excellent max range.
    If they are really considering the question of “assault rifle or battle rifle.” Then the original impetus for moving to intermediate rounds should be re-visited. Is it worth having the extra power vs much fewer rounds.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      Their current standard-issue assault rifle and LMG, INSAS, is 5.56; and 7.62×51 is the standard round for general-purpose MGs, as well as marksman and sniper weapons. And then a bunch of legacy 7.62×39 AKs with ammo. I doubt they would be seriously considering switching to anything other than one of those – logistics headache is not worth it.

      1. avatar Chier DuChien says:

        They still have thousands of their counterfeit L1A1s that can be used for long distance work. I can’t imagine the Indian Army would have allowed their soldiers to have fired too many rounds through those rifles, just to save money, if for no other reason. They are a frugal bunch.

  13. avatar anon24 says:

    If a 5.56 round fragments properly the effects are devastating.

    1. avatar Ozzallos says:

      “If”

  14. avatar Ragnar says:

    That whole “wound him and two of his buddies will have to carry him off” thing is BS in the real world. Back in the day, Soviet troops were trained to keep going and leave the wounded to the 2nd line. And these days, the people we’re fighting barely have any medical infrastructure, much less a battlefield care doctrine.

    Shoot them with something that will kill them right proper.

  15. avatar Surivordude says:

    I live, breathe, eat, shoot, and sh^t 7.62 caliber rifle rounds personally, but honestly, 5.56 is plenty fine and more cost effective.

    My two cents.

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      I hope your doctor uses proper safety gear during your prostate exams.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Out to 200 yards or so and using 20 inch barrels, 5.56 x 45 mm NATO rounds are quite deadly with proper bullet selection … such as 75 grain boat tail, hollowpoints. (At 200 yards such a bullet would still have a velocity of 2,452 feet per second and 1,001 foot-pounds of energy. Heck, even at 300 yards that same bullet would still be moving at 2,240 feet per second and have 836 foot-pounds of energy — which is greater than full power .357 Magnum at the muzzle.)

      What I would NOT want are the short barrels (especially the 14.5 inch barrels) shooting 55 grain full metal jacket bullets. That combination sucks in my book.

      1. avatar int19h says:

        If you’re getting into hollow-points, it’s waaaay more than 200 yards for optimal terminal ballistics range (meaning that bullet fragments and/or expands). To give an example, Barnes TSX 62gr has expansion threshold of ~1800 FPS. Out of a 20″ barrel, the bullet would slow down to that velocity at ~430 yards. From 14.5″ barrel, ~370 yards. Plenty for an assault rifle.

  16. avatar Mk10108 says:

    To kill or wound is a laughable statement. Likewise wounding to take two additional men out of a fight. No solider or Marine goes into a fight thinking about wounding the enemy, I’ve never received instruction either as an officer or enlisted to wound the enemy.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      No kidding!

      I guess India Times, is about as clued in about gun and martial matters, as the New York Times.

      1. avatar AJ187 says:

        And apparently most of these comments are too. Please someone volunteer to be target from my 14.5″ middy upper.

  17. avatar James in AZ says:

    My dream cartridge in an auto rifle for general purpose for military use:

    264, 277 or 308 cal

    308win case length but with the case/rim diameter of 223. This gives the capacity of 223 in the length&thickness of a STANAG mag, albeit a bit longer horizontally (may reduce the number of mags carried in one layer on the LBE by 1, but that depends on the design and the wearer)

    Light projectile (below 100gr), preferably tungsten core for even greater case capacity, and projectile hardness. Hardened steel penetrator at least. Enclosed flat base for maximum manufacturing precision.

    Pressure, neck length and propellent type combined give a barrel life of about that of 65creedmoor (maybe a bit less but depends on the precision requirement of the user)

    Bucks the wind with velocity instead of BC, within intended range, that is.

    High energy density and hardness for armor penetration

    High velocity at close range for violent temporary cavity, larger diameter for a solid permanent cavity when the projectile is slowed down. If tumbling happens perchance even better.

    Hopefully the formula can be done with a 13″ bbl, but that’s kinda optimistic.

    Suggestions, ballisticians?

    1. avatar MD_Firefighter says:

      .264 is the way to go. High BC bullets with great sectional density. Bucks the wind better, retains energy better. What more could you ask for? I’m not pushing the Grendel and I’m not overly excited with my 6.8 SPC ii. Definitely like the Grendel better but the magazines are less than spectacular. Going to a 260 or 6.5 Creed adds weight, less ammo, but definitely everything better down range. 1000 yard gun. I am working on the 129 Nosler Accubond LR’s and pushing them 2450-2500 in a 20″ shilen barrel. That’s very hot. But groups are outstanding. Brass and primers look good but pockets are loosening up. .277 and 30 Cal really have to add weight to get a decent BC. Again Sierra hit it out of the park with the 69 Tipped Match Kings in .224.

  18. avatar PooperScooper says:

    You said…136 aircraft?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Might be fixed wing aircraft for their army. May not be counting helicopters and the air force or their navy.

      Or it could be a typo.

    2. avatar Ozzallos says:

      Do you think 5.56 would wound an aircraft just enough to tie down two more aircraft?

  19. avatar MD_Firefighter says:

    I’m loading 69 Tipped Match Kings with 24.5 grains of 8208 XBR. At the oal that’s most accurate in my barrel I’m getting over 2900 FPS with a Magnetospeed chronograph. 1/2-3/4″ 5 shot groups and under an inch 10 shot groups. Brass and primers look good. That’s supersonic out to 860 yards at my elevation. Pretty fricking awesome! And impressive as hell on deer. Not personal experience yet but will tag a doe to test the waters. Autopsy of deer is dramatic from the hunters using them. Pass through with nice exit and mush between. Our men should be using them. The 77’s are nice also.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      MD_Firefighter,

      See my comment above …

      I basically stated the same conclusion: 5.56 x 45 mm NATO is serious killing power when you shoot 75 grain boat tail hollow point bullets out of a 20 inch barrel.

      1. avatar MD_Firefighter says:

        Yep, agreed. Was reinforcing the higher BC fragmenting bullets.

  20. avatar Priest of the center mass says:

    All seriousness aside, nothing beats Jesus with a Thompson sub machine gun.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      Jesus with an MG-42? An AGS-30? A holy hand grenade?

    2. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      Now, that would put the fear of God into those Kashmiri Islamists!

  21. avatar AR says:

    .45 ACP, kills the terrorist; and three generations….one bullet.

  22. avatar Kap says:

    first used in Vietnam by the Air force then all the other military procurement officers, and Politicians in whose home state factories were voted for the change (Lots of Kick backs) then issued to all grunts as the super duper pooper scooper do all end all, no cleaning kits issued, then powder changed because it was cheaper, no forward assists, cheap junk got a lot of military personnel killed when the junk Mal functioned, the M-14 was a serviceable weapon but done away with because of Kickbacks and greed! fast forward 40 years and back to same argument that took place then, wounding is fine except moving through, them especially those who want to die killing you! now because of the Pussy rules of engagement you can be charged if you make them dead even for your own safety! its the same persons just wanting more money in their own back pocket and justify they are more Humanitarian, Gee now we got to fight PC wars

  23. avatar petru sova says:

    Don’t any of these Morons in the military ever bother to actually test various calibers. Contrary to popular myth India still has a lot of wild game especially deer. Here locally I have seen white tail deer in years past killed deader than hell with the full metal jacketed 55 grain .223 at a measured 225 yards. The newer .5.56 ammo has much more penetration as well. History has proven the smaller calibers with high sectional density (very long bullet in relation to its diameter) have tremendous penetration and usually out penetrate larger calibers. Case in point, the 6.5mm rifle that W.D.M. Bell used was the only caliber he used that he said would always shoot right through an elephants head while calibers as big as his .45 cal. elephant rifle failed. Bill Judd was killed by an elephant after he and his son shot it 6 times with two .577 Nitro Express rifles which validates W.D.M. Bell’s findings as well i.e. that bigger calibers often have less penetration than smaller calibers. Agnes Herbert who hunted on 3 continents in the years of 1900 found out the exact same thing. She shot more game that men today could even dream about and she preferred the same 6.5 mm caliber Bell used. She also used a .45 caliber elephant rifle and found no superiority in using it.

    In Nam the .55 grain 5.56 bullet was often noted for creating horrendous wounds when it tumbled because of its velocity when striking bone.

    The inception of FN’s new 5.56 mm pistol caliber was born out of the need to penetrate body armor. They could have attempted to use a bigger pistol caliber but did not because the smaller caliber penetrated better. They had to learn the same lesson Herbert, Bell and other old time hunters knew 100 years ago. If they had read their history books first they could have saved themselves a lot of time and money instead of screwing around experimenting with inferior bigger pistol calibers.

    The Neanderthals of the U.S. Military 34 years after adopting the .45acp finally go around to testing the .45acp and the 9mm in 1945 and were shocked when they found the .45acp bounced off of a military helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9×19 penetrated it at an astonishing 125 yards.

    The German Military adopted the .32 acp over the .380 acp because the .32 acp would penetrate a helmet while the .380 would not.

    And Eskimos for years have liked the .223 and shot even Polar Bears with it.

    In the early 1900’s the Savage .22 High Power shooting a 70 grain bullet was used to kill Moose and Grizzly bears. Since the Bears never read Gun Magazines they did not know they were not supposed to fall down dead. To bad they did not know how to read gun magazines or they would be alive today. Elmer Keith I blame you for not telling the bears they should not have dropped dead from small calibers. At least a bed time you could have read them some of your bullshitting gun articles.

    Just a few examples of how ridiculous the big bore myth has always been.

    1. avatar MD_Firefighter says:

      Great reply and 100% agree. 6.5 is the sweetspot and while the 5.56 seems anemic to some of the other heavy hitters, she performs fantastic with a better bullet design.

    2. avatar James in AZ says:

      This is giving me deja vu

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Yeah it was ridiculous bullshit back then too.

    3. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      When you shoot people, unless you’re at war with the backstop behind them, you don’t want much penetration. People present to you with very little depth. The only exception being a soldier shooting prone. But in that case, his entire frontal area, is one big CNS target zone. People are very, very different than almost all larger animals that way.

      If you are going to shoot people with small caliber bullets traveling at velocities that enable reasonable point blank rifle ranges, said bullets need to be either highly frangible or rapidly expanding, or very light. So that they don’t just zip on though with little effect. Long, slow, high SD/BC solids shot out of a Swede being perhaps the least people optimized round ever devised. Nice for scoring brain hits on moose, and perhaps elephant, shot “up the poop chute”, but totally ridiculous for anti personnel use.

      5.56 is ideal for shooting people. The ammo is light and small enough that a soldier can carry more of it. The bullet is fast enough for a 300 yard point blank, yet light enough to deliver it’s payload to the target, rather than some dirt berm behind it. The recoil is light enough that rifles can be made lightweight, without harming accuracy nor ability to rapid fire. While it is quite possible that some 5.57, 5.75 or 5.49 caliber round may in fact have been even more ideal, until caseless ammo or such allows for a truly meaningful reduction in weight while remaining functional, 5.56 in modern weapons is good enough that dicking around with weird “improvements” is going to yield very little of practical value.

      Out of an infantry rifle, that is. The ever more popular, short barrel carbines, seriously DO need a less overbore round to become more useful. 300BLK seems like the winner so far, but that field is still lots more open.

    4. avatar Kaban says:

      You do understand that the cause of powerful “african calibers” proliferating is not dumb hunters, but gradual change in behaviour of elephants?

      Bell’s exploits are well known. He hunted in days when elephants were not easily spooked, and took full advantage of ability to choose target area (infamous earshot).

  24. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Give them AK’s in 7.62×39 with polymer mags and upgraded furniture and be done with it.

  25. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Oh -boy. I think the world may get an Indian atomic war before the hindu/moose-lim lunatics settle their eons long beef with rifles. Jus’ sayin’…simmering for 70 years.

  26. avatar Mudshark says:

    India is full of indians, indians are better off with bows and arrows.

  27. avatar Hannibal says:

    “The Army’s “over-ambitious” experiment to induct rifles with interchangeable barrels, with a 5.56 x 45mm primary barrel for conventional warfare and a 7.62 x 39mm secondary one for counter-terrorism, failed miserably.”

    Of course it did. Geez, sounds like they have some logistics people over there who could do great in our Army.

  28. avatar Pro2Aguy says:

    Always LOVE the caliber debates…For me, when I just decided to make the “assault-rifle’ plunge I went 7.62 x 39 for many reasons but one key variable was its inexpensive costs relatively speaking…God Bless.

  29. avatar Chier DuChien says:

    I like the photo of their Prime Minister holding a rifle.

    Obama might be considered much less of a wimp if he did some Putinesque posing with some of our military hardware or drove a tank occasionally..

    1. avatar Kaban says:

      Except the flabby dwar…I mean, a man with unusual degree of vertical challenge (c) posing with military hardware never got an elbow in his face during his term. Not to mention ridiculous “judo practice” videos.

  30. 300BLK projectile loaded backwards in the case FTW!

  31. avatar Dan l says:

    I’m a huge 6.5 grendel fan, even built a pistol sbr upper. Loved it till I got my cans and found out its a real high pressure catridge, and most lightweight cans that will handle 10 inch 223 barrels and 8 inch 300 bo, can’t handle short 6.5 grendel barrels. If an army was to have just one catridge the 6.5 grendel with 123 gr with .5 g1 bc is the way to go. In a sniper rifle with 24 inch barrel it will run with a 308. It would be good in a saw rifle too. Only downside is if you build some short barrels rifles your commandos will go deaf, or u would rapidly go thru cans… a caliber between 22 and 308 makes total sense, but the entire world has basically ran 22 or 308 for military since ww2, it would be hard to stop those trains.

    1. avatar MeRp says:

      Yeah, 6.5 Grendel is for range, not suppression, I think. But your main infantry weapon doesn’t need suppression. It also doesn’t ALWAYS need range, but that is a space where it is better to have and not need than need and not have, especially if the weapon meets all the other requirements. Commandos can use whatever suits them; .300BLK and .45ACP are good if they are going suppressed, but if they need range more than suppression, then they may want a proper sniper rifle; all depends on the mission. As everywhere, one shouldn’t make a decision for the general infantry equipment based on the needs of the special forces.
      The response to me above is not wrong though; trying to use 6.5 Grendel WOULD be a logistical complication, since they would have to rework the entire supply chain from manufacture to individual soldier to standardize on a relatively obscure round. The changeover time would be sucky, too; if anything happened while you still had a mix of 5.56, .308, 7.62×39, AND 6.5 Grendel all over the place then you would really increase the chances of logistics falling on its face, losing for you the conflict.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      “In a sniper rifle with 24 inch barrel it will run with a 308″
      At 300 yards the .308 has about 600flbs of energy more than the 6.5grendel, and about 400 more at 500 yards. And that’s out of a 24” 6.5mm barrel. The difference in energy between the two rounds at 300 yards is as much as the total muzzle energy generated by the .45ACP. It’s a great round, but the 6.5grendel is not on part with the .308.

  32. avatar guest says:

    ————a lot of interesting info in these replies——————most of it above my head————–just one thought,–didn’t the English a harder hitting bullet when in india,—-and had a hollow point developed near a small indian town by the name if Dum Dum?

  33. avatar Kaban says:

    The whole article reads like a bad joke. Maybe some argument could be made against fifty-year-old loadings of 5.56, but this gem!

    “…The Army, on its part, wants a rifle that weighs around 3.5kg and has an effective range of almost 1 km…”

    Mr.Pandit refrains from clarifying what “effective range” means to him or Indian Army, but neither 5.56 nor almighty 7.62×39 will do. Frankly, the piece cited above made me suspicious that millenia-old tradition of consuming hashish has been upheld.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      How many basic riflemen are effective out to 1000m, regardless of the round?

      1. avatar Kaban says:

        With typical gear (irons/low power optics, possibly bipod)? About zero percent, I suspect. Even with some definitions of effective range being comparatively lax (e.g. googling yields “area target effective range” as 50% hits on car-sized target), range estimation is a killer. IIRC, most every infantry-relevant round will drop at least 6 inches per 10y after 900 yards (and this is in 6.5 wondercalibers, with NATO stuff having far worser drop). All that before potentially huge human error in shot execution.

        But there are requirements and there are requirements. Who knows how those Indians suppose to “test” the rifles? Jesus, the Germans had adopted G36, and supposedly tested them in a fashion that should send medieval torturers running for psychologic counseling. Strict Army requirements and all. But then sandbox happened, and suddenly there was no way to hide design deficiency under careful wording and pretending that prolonged strings of fire is artificial scenario.

  34. avatar Rambeast says:

    Gotta love the myth of 5.56 “wounding”. Most civilians won’t see 5.56 cavitate if they are overstabilizing the bullets. Spin them too fast (too fast of a twist in the rifling) and they’ll zip right through their target.

  35. avatar Goodacre says:

    The solution is so simple it’s laughable. Just use soft points! If anyone mentions Hague just ask them what the Hague convention has to say about strapping bombs to children or beheading whole communities. Nah, there needs to be more of an energy dump to knock the wind out of them on the spot, just like with hunting.

  36. avatar Sakil says:

    The Indian military screws up every procurement program they run.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      This makes them different from every other military….how?

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