View Full Version : Marines considering new 5.56 round

08-17-2009, 11:21 AM
The Corps is considering fielding a new 5.56mm round developed by U.S. Special Operations Command to all Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marine officials said.
Senior Marine leaders will decide whether the Corps should replace its 5.56mm ammunition with the new AB49 5.56mm round developed by the Special Operations Support Team, or SOST, after they are briefed this month, officials with Marine Corps Systems Command told the Marine gunner community Aug. 4.
The Corps was interested in buying another new bullet, the M855A1 Lead Free Slug under development by the Army, but the fielding of that round will be delayed at least a year, Marine officials said. The Army stopped production of the slug in July after tests showed it had trajectory problems when used in hot weather, said Army Lt. Col. Jeff Woods, product manager for the Army’s small-caliber ammunition program.
As a short-term solution, SysCom recommended that the Corps purchase the new SOST round, which is expected to perform better than the existing 5.56mm rounds commonly used in Iraq and Afghanistan now, Marine officials said.
Testing shows the new round performs consistently from shot to shot, and lot to lot, and is more accurate than the existing rounds, both in flight and when traveling through barriers, such as walls, doors and automobile glass.
The Army’s lead-free round was expected to be fielded this month, with 20 million rounds rolled out initially. Designed with a bismuth-tin alloy beneath a steel penetrating tip, the bullet did not regularly follow its planned trajectory in testing, Woods said, but ballistic officials would not disclose the temperatures at which the problems were discovered.
Marine officials said that while the development of the new SOST round was launched by SOCom, ballistics experts at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Ind., incorporated needs the Corps expressed into the program three years ago. The needs communicated to SOCom were not shared at the gunner symposium.
If the Corps adopts the new round, it also will need to coordinate an effort to remove all existing rounds from combat zones. While there are some identifying markers, they look similar enough to the new SOST round that they could be easily confused, Marine officials said.
Ultimately, the Corps is still interested in the Army’s new M855A1 round, Marine officials said. If development hurdles can be cleared, the Corps will evaluatehe SOCom round against the lead-free slug and decide which one suits Marine needs better, officials said.
The Corps is looking at two options to replace its current 5.56mm rounds. One candidate the Army’s M855A1, has demonstrated problems with it trajectory during tests. The other, the AB49, is preferred by U.S. Special Operations Command and may be adopted by all Marine units in Afghanistan and Iraq

Marine Corps Times

08-17-2009, 12:12 PM
Hmmm. Nice. So more stopping power, and same accuracy? How many grains?

08-18-2009, 12:32 AM
Help me out here, is there a reason why we are committed to 5.56mm caliber instead of something new? I understand the logistical reasons - we already have magazines, millions of weapons chambered for the old caliber, etc; but I was led to understand that there were cartridges that could use existing magazines and require only barrel changes to existing systems.

08-19-2009, 08:45 AM
Newer is not always better. Better would have been staying with the 7.62 brush buster in the jungles, instead we went with the fickle 5.56 that that would change it's mind at the touch of a straw. Made no sense then, makes no sense to worry about lead poisoning now.
Only that it's PC to not use lead. I give a big BS on that one.