Marines Magazine

The Official Magazine of the United States Marine Corps

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Green Bullets

According to Marine Corps Systems Command the Corps expends about 100 million 5.56 mm rifle cartridges in live-fire training each year. Taking an eco-friendly approach, the Corps is looking into a new round that does away with the use of lead, which pollutes soil and water when expended.

Along with removing the toxic lead, the M855A1 round is more deadly. The copper penetrator makes the round more accurate, gives it better fragmentation at long and close-range and reduces muzzle flash, among other benefits.

“Test data has shown that the new enhanced performance round is more effective than the current ammunition against both personal targets as well as intermediate barriers, like windshields, light armored vehicles and concrete masonry,” said Jerry Mazza, the program manager for ammunition, Marine Corps Systems Command.
According to a June 23 Army press release, the green bullet is set to eliminate 2,000 tons of lead in the manufacturing process.

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7 Responses

  1. Harleyburmester says:

    I’m with you!

  2. AmmoTech says:

    Fielding new weapons for everyone would cost way more than changing the round characteristics. As it is, the Marines get hand me downs from the Army. That means if they fielded all new weapons for the whole army, we should see them around 2050—SSgt 2311

  3. Jea7242000 says:

    The Remington ACR would solve everyone’s personal preference for calibers since it can vary IAW your mission and commands requirements for 5.56mm, 6.8mm and 7.62 (both Russian or American). It has easily interchangeable parts also, there’s the Medusa Model 47 which, as-is, can fire over 25 different calibers and the Springfield Armory XD 45. Anyway, please take a close look at the New Remington 6.8 X 43 SPC bullets which can easily reach out and touch someone at 1000 yards with better perfoemance than a .308 round.

    And if you want the Army’s new XM25 then the Marines should talk to some of their girlfriends in the South Korean Military and buy some K-11s which are identical to the XM25 but fires a 20mm instead of the 25mm rounds at less than half the cost. Our U.S. Army only has 5 hand built XM25s which aren’t enough to go around; however, South Korea has already sold over 50 K-11s for less than $16,000 each. This weapon would turn those 20-60 minute fire fights into a 2 minute fire fights which is the time to get authorization from your commander then load, aim and fire either the K-11 or XM25. This weapon would actually save money since a Marine Corps platoon would fire more 5.56mm rounds in 30 minutes than the cost of a 2 minute fire fight with firing a dozen of these 20mm rounds. The South Koreans are distributing their K-11s at a rate of one or two per squad and have already field those weapons to their Marine Recon Units, go figure. Since a Marine’s life expendency is about 2 minutes after hitting the beach then this K-11 would conceivably save everyone’s life.

    Read Them and Reap Them

    Semper FI

  4. Anonymous says:

    Alot of it has to do with the twist of the rifle. The 1 in 7″ twist stabilizes the round to the point that it goes completely through a the target without it expending any explosive energy, hydrostatic shock, on the intended target. It’s a great combination for longer range target matches and extending the maximum effect range from what we had been using (M16A1) when I enlisted in 1982. The M-16A1 was using a 1 in 12″ twist. It had replaced the M16 which had a 1 in 14″ twist. From reports that I had read later on, the N.V.A. and V.C. had standing orders, when the original M16 had been fielded, to “avoid the American troops carrying the balck rifle”. The reason being that the original M-16, with the 1 in 14″ twist, was devastating the enemy, because it was dumping all of it’s energy on the target. The resulting hydrostatic shock was blowing huge exit holes in the enemy’s body. The bad press, which was true, about the jammings and shearing off of cartridge heads is the result of the army demanding a different powder be used. Eugene Stoner designed that rifle/twist/powder combination to work. Using a different combination is what caused all the problems. Congress held Congressional hearings, and from what I understand people where retired quickly thereafter. Congress called it “Deliberate Sabotage”.

  5. LcplWinquist says:

    We are using a NATO approved round and it does not have enough stopping power. Even with the new design of the round will it be up to the same stopping power as the 7.62? We used to use the 7.62 round in WW2 why can’t we go back to using it? The 7.62 has good stopping power is just as accurate as the 5.56 in a engagment at all ranges. With the more styopping power we would be able to bring in more casuilties to the enemy and maybe even be able to gather more intel from wounded ones since they will be less likely to just get up and run away after taking a round. I belive NATO and the US should look into using the heavier round. I know the 5.56 is more “humane” but combat is not exactly the most humane thing we humans do.

  6. MIke Pettit says:

    I definitely agree with you Gunny03 i was in from sep 05 to sep 2009 and i can say the two to the chest and one to the head method is a time consumer and a ammo consumer. I also agree that a 7.62 mm would be a better round to have in that situation. I can think of the load of the 160 to 220 rounds of 5.56 round ammo could be lightened to a 100 to 150 round load of ammo when out side the wire. It might not see like it would make a difference in weight but it does we try to carry as little as possible to take a load off that couple of pounds could be a extra field stripped MRE or what ever is needed. Im glad to see the 5.56 round go its time that we start fighting with the same knock down power.

  7. Gunny03 says:

    It is about time the Corps got with the program of providing us ammo with more kill power. The 5.56 in its current format is short of useless half the time during heavy engagements. In Iraq I’ve shot several insurgents only to see them run away, because they were hopped up on drugs and adrenaline. A heavier round, or perhaps a new caliber should be thought about. Its great we can carry more ammo then in the old days, sadly you end-up expanding more of it trying to kill someone. One shot from an AK is enough to end anyone’s day, more than enough times it takes two or more shots to kill an insurgent with 5.56mm round. They’re light and fast and as a result go right through the skinny enemies most of the time. Hence we ended up with all those “shooting drills” ie. two in the chest one to the head. How about we just do one to the chest with a 7.62 or a 6.8 and stop wasting time and ammo? I’m open minded though, if we can start using BLENDED 5.56 ammunition, I’ll gladly stick to 5.56. But I’m sure the tree-huggers in the Corps and the bean-counters will cry foul because its TOO DEADLY of a round. XD