Military testing new 5.56 projectile
Story here. The new projectile replaces the lead core with copper. (Heckuva situation when soldiers training for kill or be killed are expected to be environmentally conscious in the process).
I'm a bit skeptical, in that the article doesn't give any ballistics data. With a longer bullet, but needing to keep the same overall cartridge length, there will be less room for powder. A smaller charge and a faster burn would suggest that muzzle energy will fall.
Both this and the Mk318mod0 round seem to push the 5.56 case to the limits, far beyond what we reloaders would consider prudent. Then again, the military isn't interested in reloading :-)
Having seen what a solid copper Barnes TSX can do, I have no doubt this cartridge would be devastating.
Posted by: Mike at May 12, 2011 10:09 AM
I thought they already had a non-lead (tungsten?) ammunition issued?
Posted by: SPQR at May 12, 2011 10:36 AM
I believe the ammuition industry has already worked out most of the bugs with the copper ammo (e.g. Barnes), so I expect the 5.56 rounds will work well.
If I understand it correctly, the lead free is primarily for training, as the millions of rounds sent into the ground at some military ranges have leached into groundwater over time (it requires a specific chemistry in the ground, and doesn't appear to happen everywhere). However, given the penetration and punch of the copper ammo, it seems like it would be a good combat round as well.
The tungsten turned out to be a carcinogen that actually leached into groundwater even faster than lead. They bagged that program PDQ.
Posted by: Phillip at May 12, 2011 02:22 PM
Phillip, I thought it a stupid idea myself born of the Fed's paranoia about lead but did not realize it had been cancelled.
Posted by: SPQR at May 12, 2011 05:41 PM
Barnes all copper bullets ROCK.
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at May 12, 2011 07:27 PM
Expensive as Hell. Takes all the fun out of varmint hunting here in CA Condor country.
Posted by: Jim D. at May 12, 2011 09:02 PM
Wasn't it just a few years ago they were compalining about the shortage of copper which was affecting the production of brass. I remember the price of wire and copper pipe went through the roof. So now they want copper bullets?
Posted by: Rich at May 13, 2011 05:26 AM