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Brits Getting into the 7.62 vs 5.56 debate

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 10:29 AM
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Brits Getting into the 7.62 vs 5.56 debate

Brits Getting into the 7.62 vs 5.56 debate

Military​.com sister site HM Forces has an interesting story today on the debate raging across the pond over effective calibers for long range engagements in Afghanistan.

It looks as if the UK MOD has issued what the US calls a designated marksman rifle for its forces there.

The Ministry of Defence has spent 1.6million on 440 semi-​​automatic rifles, which use 7.62mm ammunition.

The order from U.S based company Law Enforcement International followed concern that UK forces 5.56mm rounds were unsuitable for battle in Afghanistan.

Because the 5.56mm bullets used in the standard-​​issue SA80A2 assault rifle are smaller and lighter, they are less effective from 300 yards or further away.

Rest of article at:
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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-31-10 11:39 AM
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1. 7.62 vs 5.56 should never be debated while sober
But ...

The article claims that the bad guys, with AK47's shooting 7.62, simply back off beyond 300 yards to engage our (or British) troops. The AK47 round, 7.62x39, doesn't have the same effective range as the NATO 7.62x51 (longer case, more propellant, more power), so this supposed tactic doesn't make any sense. Even the NATO 5.56x45 round should outperform the AK round at longer range, it seems to be more accurate.

Throwing in my two cents, I'd say the Brits chose wisely, with the 7.62x51 round.

On another point, the Brits paid 1.6 million pounds for 440 rifles, which seems excessive. 3600 pounds, or $7000 per gun? Wow.


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PavePusher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-01-10 10:08 AM
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2. Don't forget ancillary costs...
Ammo, spare parts, tools, manuals, accsesory devices (lights, scopes, sights, lasers, slings, grenade launchers, etc), training costs...

It would all add up very quickly.
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rakeeb Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-09-10 08:27 AM
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3. Closer to $5,600 per weapon
Bear in mind that a match-grade barrel is a tad bit more expensive than a mass-produced barrel.
Even with that, the majority of the per unit cost is the scope.

20 years ago the U.S. was paying $5,000 each for the M-24, and that's just a Remington 700 chambered for 7.62 and a Leupold Stevens 10x scope.
Most of that cost was the scope.
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Old Troop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-27-10 05:59 PM
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4. Why the Debate?
It seems that anyone who has engaged at long distances favors the 7.62 round. It's more substantial and is less likely to be deflected by underbrush at long ranges.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-28-10 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. For long-range sniping, it's a no-brainer. For general issue to infantry, it's not so simple.
Edited on Sun Mar-28-10 11:48 AM by benEzra
7.62x51mm is considerably heavier on a per-round basis than 5.56x45mm is, the guns that fire it are heavier and bulkier, and recoil and muzzle blast are worse, all else being equal. Soldiers are already maxed out as far as how much weight can be carried, so a switch to heavier rifles and ammunition will simply mean that each soldier is going to carry significantly fewer rounds. That's the big tradeoff when you're looking at general issue of 7.62x51mm, as opposed to niche designated-marksman use.

Moving to 5.56x45mm loads with better ballistics (like the heavier OTM's, up to 77gr or so) is a pretty good compromise for general issue, giving you better performance at range without adding a lot of weight, and I suspect that's the direction that the USA is going to go. I don't know what barrel twist rates the Brits are running in their general issue 5.56's, though, so they may be limited to 62-68gr loads.
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