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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My AR's have 1:9 twists and I have a Stevens bolt action that shoots .223 as well. So, I primarily stick to 55gr when it comes to 5.56/.223. Usually the good ol' XM193. I've done searches but can't really find the answer I'm looking for. I know .223 and 5.56 have different pressures, but I'm curious if the .223 55gr FMJ's fragment like the Nato 5.56. I have some M855, but with the steel core penetrator, it's has more of a tendency to "ice pick". Does anyone know if the .223 55gr will tumble/fragment like the 5.56?
 

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No they come in both .223 and 5.56 the 5.56 is a hotter load In your case you add another factor to the question the 1 in 9 twist. The 1 in 9 while ok for defense is more of a paper puncher . While many will try to say heavy rounds are ok with a 1 in 9 they are at their best with lighter rounds. Use to be some sand beggars around would show up on range with a 1 in 9 and some custom loaded rounds and walk away top shooter till busted.

Want to see some nice holes load up some 45gr for that 1 in 9
 

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My AR's have 1:9 twists and I have a Stevens bolt action that shoots .223 as well. So, I primarily stick to 55gr when it comes to 5.56/.223. Usually the good ol' XM193. I've done searches but can't really find the answer I'm looking for. I know .223 and 5.56 have different pressures, but I'm curious if the .223 55gr FMJ's fragment like the Nato 5.56. I have some M855, but with the steel core penetrator, it's has more of a tendency to "ice pick". Does anyone know if the .223 55gr will tumble/fragment like the 5.56?
Sounds like you've got a question in need of a lot of backyard fun testing... ;) Most bullets will become unstable and tumble in flight at some point. Same bullet fired from a different gun (barrel length, thread twist, action, chamber) will behave differently, environmental conditions will change the results to.

The Boat Tail bullet is designed for aerodynamic efficiency. So by design should fly further, flatter, and be more stable. That's the theory in concept anyway. You'll find quiet a lot of rounds developed for long distance shooting are boat tails. The theoretical loss in using a boat tail is also from it's aerodynamic efficiency, causing it to leave a smaller wound cavity. Having more of the aforementioned "ice pick" effect.
 

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fmj ammo is not designed to expand or do anything but punch a hole really, that being said some bullets are better than others, I am a fan of Sierra bullets while you will find others may be partial to Barnes or Hornady. Two rifles with the same twist may like two different bullets best, that's one of the interesting things about reloading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. I have Federal M193 as well as PMC X-TAC XM193, was trying to figure out if I could expect the same performance when the bullet hits it's target. As BigCheeseStick said, looks like I'm going to have to do some backyard testing. Now to get some ballistic gel.
 

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Thanks for the replies. I have Federal M193 as well as PMC X-TAC XM193, was trying to figure out if I could expect the same performance when the bullet hits it's target. As BigCheeseStick said, looks like I'm going to have to do some backyard testing. Now to get some ballistic gel.
I think you will probably find those two loads to be nearly identical.
 
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Thanks for the replies. I have Federal M193 as well as PMC X-TAC XM193, was trying to figure out if I could expect the same performance when the bullet hits it's target. As BigCheeseStick said, looks like I'm going to have to do some backyard testing. Now to get some ballistic gel.
I think you will probably find those two loads to be nearly identical.
Agreed. Federal is Lake City, and PMC is a South Korean made company that loads their stuff to NATO/US specs. Typically, I've found their 5.56 to be virtually interchangeable. Now, if you were to test PMC .223 vs Privi .223, or PMC .223 vs PMC 5.56 the results might be different.
 

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I've been having a blast with "Independence" brand 5.56 bought at Wally World lately - they've got plenty of it for $10 a box and it's Israeli-made ammo. It's much cleaner than Winchester white box and it shoots great.
IMI probably makes some of the best FMJ 5.56 in the world. The Independence brand you mention is probably one of the best on the market right now. Most people that have chronographed it have it coming out slightly hotter than most other M193 ball loads; just what you'd want for a round to properly fragment.
 

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The M193 55 gr FMJ load will readily tumble and frequently break into two large pieces usually at the canelclure (sp?). This is provided the bullet is shot from the 20 inch barrel at about 3200 fps muzzle velocity. On impact at ranges to about 300 yards it will some what flatten out a bit and become "banana" shaped and tumble through the target and if the velocity is still high it will break in half at the caneclure more times than not. This gave great performance on soft targets out in the open. The soft tissue wounds caused by this load were all out of proportion to the tiny 22 caliber bullet. In fact at the time many favored the Belgian made SS109 load as it was felt the M193 load was too "inhumane". But this same characteristic gave it very poor performance against targets hiding behind objects and often failed to give decent results or even penetrate a barrier. Performance was often lacking after 400 yards even on soft targets out in the open.

The SS109 (M855)is a slightly heavier, slightly lower velocity load that is more stable. It was designed to penetrate better and designed to be more accurate at longer ranges. Due to its construction it is still prone to yawing and its still capable of breaking into large fragments like the M193 load, it will just be limited to about 200 yards for the most part unlike the M193 that will still readily break up at 300 yards. This is even more of a problem when used in the shorter barreled M4 that is currently being issued, especially in guns with the faster twist rate that over stabilizes the bullets which is required to stabilize the much longer 69 gr tracer rounds used as well. From what I have seen with the M855 round is that when it has enough velocity to break up, the steel core penetrator will drill pretty much straight through while the soft lead nose of the bullet will have a tendency to yaw off to the side of the wound channel created by the steel core penetrator portion of the bullet creating a smaller but still fairly substantial wound channel as well. While the wound channels from the M855 are still substantial they aren't nearly as severe as those created by the M193.

There is a good bit of variance in the various made 55 gr FMJ bullets out there on the market and as such a wide range of performance results. Any bullet in this weight with similar construction of the M855 should readily yaw and tumble and if the velocities are kept high, fragment and break up in soft tissue with regularity out to 300 or there abouts range.

I never really thought that highly of the 5.56 and always preferred the 7.62 when I had a choice. But after seeing one of the Marines on my gun range take a M193 round through the thigh at a fan fire and seeing the horrendous damage it did and the fact that despite the latest and greatest medical care available at a civilian trauma center just out side the base front gate, all the Kings men and all the Kings horse couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together and he lost his fight less than 24 hours later. The thing I noticed about the M855 load in 'Stan while I was on vacation there...we were able to make a lot of nice long range hits on targets feeing after an ambush, it didn't effectively put them down or take them out of the fight quickly. When looking over the fallen insurgents most had nice neat little holes drilled all the way through them about the size of a pencil. I got a M14 from the ship and that quit being a problem!
 

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the SS 109 is 62 gr full metal jacket boat tail with a penetrator core (green tip) and are quite accurate at long range.
 

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LunaticFringeInc, good write up. Both M193 and M855 can be effective rounds, but they both an have issues. Here's an excerpt I found a few years ago about a M193 round that didn't cause the massive damage people associate with it.

"In 1980, I treated a soldier shot accidentally with an M16 M193 bullet from a distance of about ten feet. The bullet entered his left thigh and traveled obliquely upward. It exited after passing through about 11 inches of muscle. The man walked in to my clinic with no limp whatsoever: the entrance and exit holes were about 4 mm across, and punctate. X-ray films showed intact bones, no bullet fragments, and no evidence of significant tissue disruption caused by the bullet's temporary cavity. The bullet path passed well lateral to the femoral vessels. He was back on duty in a few days. Devastating? Hardly. The wound profile of the M193 bullet (page 29 of the Emergency War Surgery-NATO Handbook, GPO, Washington, D.C., 1988) shows that most often the bullet travels about five inches through flesh before beginning significant yaw. But about 15% of the time, it travels much farther than that before yawing-in which case it causes even milder wounds, if it missed bones, guts, lung, and major blood vessels. In my experience and research, at least as many M16 users in Vietnam concluded that it produced unacceptably minimal, rather than "massive", wounds. After viewing the wound profile, recall that the Vietnamese were small people, and generally very slim. Many M16 bullets passed through their torsos traveling mostly point forward, and caused minimal damage. Most shots piercing an extremity, even in the heavier-built Americans, unless they hit bone, caused no more damage than a 22 caliber rimfire bullet."

Fackler, ML: "Literature Review". Wound Ballistics Review; 5(2):40, Fall 2001
 

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That exception to the rule could be a result of the bullet being overly stabilized by the twist rate of the gun it was shot from as well as the up close distance of the impact although velocities were very high. I wished the Marine shot on my gun range would have been that lucky! Not a scientist or engineer of course, but I have spent a lot of time shooting guns, playing with ballistics and have learned a whole lot in the process. A side from the instances where "it" happens where despite all the research some times thing just don't add up and go the way of predictions, there will always be a few of those. The time I did some testing on real flesh with 12 guage slugs reveled a few surprises to me, the results were backed up on live animals as well, and supported the revelations would be one example. Fackler has some great research papers out there that are a very interesting read and inspired a lot of the testing of things I have done over the years.

Ballistics is a really interesting area of work. There are so many things that go into predicting what a particular load will do or not do, what it will do in the "real" world where the rubber meets the road as well. Often they can be quiet different, between the two. One thing I discovered a long time ago though is this...the performance of a load is almost always a compromise to one degree or another. That point was driven home in no uncertain terms with an exclaimation point when I was building a custom bolt action off a surplus Mauser action in .224 TTH, that sends a 80 grain 224 bullet down range starting at 3600-3700 fps at the muzzle!
 

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You do realize that you can build the same equipment the Fackler used in his studies, right? It's called a Fackler box and they are simple devices that hold 1 gallon zip-lock bags of water at two inch intervals. The bags end up pressing against each other and you can measure the penetration and view the expansion of any bullet you test.
The water test have a direct correlation to ballistics gel (I would have to look it up to be sure) of about 1.4:1 which means if you get 14 inches of penetration in your water test then it would be 10 inches in ballistics gel. I have used several (I learned they had to be stronger than I thought) through the years to test my own ammo and found it enlightening to say the least. My tests are why I use 140 JHP bullets in my 357 and 165 grain bullets in my 3006. I used my data to build a formula with which like bullets can be compared ballistically on a computer before firing through the gun. The terminal ballistics routine that I wrote predicts the "expansion quotient", "pentration quotient" and a "hunting index" based on a one shot kill when fired into the vitals of the animal. (if you shoot head and neck shots then it has little value - so my brother likes to remind me)

The problem is that I wrote the software in the "original" C language for an IBM DOS computer and it won't run on anything past Win-98. I have a DOS computer that I still use all the software I wrote. My exterior ballistics software was well ahead of its time and I am so accustomed to it that I still use it. (I also have seven others that I routinely use and compare to my actual results. None of them are exact and some come closer for a particular caliber but it is still necessary to fire at the actual distance to get true adjustments for doping)
 
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