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Subject: 5,56 FMC vs. dumdum?
KlausJ    12/25/2006 9:29:44 AM
I am doing a medic course in the Danish Home Guard. Under gunshot wounds there are drawings showing the effects of various rounds going through balistics gell. The text says that the 5,56 mm FMC has a 36% Fragmentation. Now I would say that is a dumdum effect - which is illigal. So apparently there is a difference between dumdum and fragmentation. Can anyone explain that difference to me in plain English?
 
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Yimmy       12/25/2006 10:03:14 AM
Dum-Dum bullet = First made in the Dum Dum munitions factory in India, to improve on the killing power of the British .303 round, which at the time using black powder had very modest velocities.  It consists of exposing the lead core at the tip of the round, and so causing the bullet to expand in flesh, much like a soft-point or hollow-point bullet.

Fragmentation is different.  It is caused by a thin bullet copper jacket and high velocity.  All bullets that are rear-heavy and stabilised by rifling lose their stability in flesh, and so start to tumble arse over head - while bullets going very fast with a thin jacket wall will break up as they yaw, and so fragment causing greater damage.  The West German 7.62mm NATO round also does this to a high degree.

Other rounds work differently.  For instance the Russian 5.45x39mm round as fired by the AK74 has a small air space in the bullet.  When the bullet strikes flesh, the bullet head is compacted back into this hollow, and so drastically changing the bullets centre-of-gravity, causing increased yawing.  Hence why the Afghans called it the "poison bullet".

This is while a bullet with a boat-tail to the rear of the round, will remain more accurate at long ranges due to better handling the transition to sub-sonic speeds, while flat base bullets will yaw faster in flesh, due to having a heavier rear.

I am far from an expert, but that is what I gather through light reading.


 
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Yimmy       12/25/2006 10:05:24 AM
I should probaby add that basically, expanding rounds (and explosive rounds) are banned by the Hague Convention, while fragmenting rounds are not.


 
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Horsesoldier       12/25/2006 3:03:23 PM
I'd say Yimmy is pretty much dead on.
 
In terms of the laws of land warfare, etc., a full metal jacket round is universally considered legal and outside the scope of restrictions on dum-dum bullets and other projectiles intended to increase suffering.  If the law were truly interested in providing the most limited trauma we'd all still be shooting round-nosed, 1900-era technology projectiles, which do not tumble like spitzers.
 
In 5.56mm specifically, the round is not guaranteed to fragment.  There are velocity issues (below certain speeds neither M193 55 grain or SS109 62 grain will fragment), and simple issues of quality control (some batches fragment better than others, especially with SS109 pattern ammo, due to the complicated construction).  I would say all this has something to do with the legality question, but I doubt it, really, as the full-metal jacket construction is deemed by all users I am aware of to adequately address the law.
 
 
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KlausJ       12/26/2006 8:22:54 AM
A few years ago the Danish army found out their 7,62 was behaving in conflict with the conventions. So a new model was made and the older one reduced to training purpuses. And they had been in use for at least 30 years! Some engeneer aparantly was not doing his job!?

Basicly:
Dum-dum will expand but stay whole - illigal.
Modern round will expand to the point that they dissintegrate - legal.
Hmm... sound to me as if the conventions are due for a make over???

 
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doggtag       12/26/2006 10:48:06 AM
That's what happens when lawyers get together and try retaining as much "gentlemanly" nature governing warfare as they can get away with.
 
There was a time that, established (and, ideally, upheld) military doctrine made it incomprehensible and unforgiveable for the lowly enlisted ranks to shoot/engage officers in combat (something about a loss of honor and dignity when the high and mighty are felled by the pawns and peons).
 
To me,
a very small round that fragments would cause more suffering (if its victim lived) that a solid slug type that retained all its mass: wasn't there some hype back in WW1-WW2 about the Germans using wooden (frangible) bullets that, although they only worked at closer ranges, splintered terribly upon entering the body?
But at least, in time, the human body can remove organic contaminants such as wood splinters (key word- organic): metal fragments won't decay or "rust out" from inside the body.
 
Hell, for all the safety concerns and legality hype, I'm surprised they haven't banned lead projectiles (I know a handful of states here in the US have various limitations on lead bullets, especially in the vicinities of watershed areas. Hence hunters in some areas have switched to steel shot or bismuth pellets, as these are more "eco-friendly").
 
God forbid a new breed of lawyers and legal "experts" get together and try re-writing the laws of land warfare to suit modern-day pacifistic ideals.
 
Warfare is designed to kill, conquer, subdue, and/or subjugate one's adversaries when all diplomacy has failed.
You cannot civilize murder by suggesting only certain types of weapons are "humane".
No weapons ever invented for the intent of warfare were created with "humane killing" purposes in mind.
 
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Herald1234    Has anybody worked on a FMJ frangible [ceramic?] bullet?   12/26/2006 2:01:12 PM
Herald
 
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Yimmy       12/26/2006 2:44:29 PM
The Hague and Geneva conventions only apply when both sides signed the agreements in any case, so in the "Waro on Terrorism", they are not relevant (or shouldn't be).


 
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Horsesoldier       12/26/2006 5:44:17 PM

To me,

a very small round that fragments would cause more suffering (if its victim lived) that a solid slug type that retained all its mass: wasn't there some hype back in WW1-WW2 about the Germans using wooden (frangible) bullets that, although they only worked at closer ranges, splintered terribly upon entering the body?

But at least, in time, the human body can remove organic contaminants such as wood splinters (key word- organic): metal fragments won't decay or "rust out" from inside the body.

 
There are some myths concerning German small arms ammunition floating around.  One is the wooden bullet story.  The short version of that being that a number of various Mauser rifles were set up to fire blank wooden ammunition with a fitted barrel cap to splinter and shred the projectile, making it relatively safe for training use beyond very close range.  The Germans used this approach, as did the Swedes with their 6.5mm Mausers and I'm not sure who else.  When training ammo was discovered by Allied troops during WW2 they assumed something sneaky and evil was going on.  I'd personally be very surprised to find out the wooden bullets were ever fired in anger, though I suppose such is possible if folks were in a very tight spot, logistically, as the Germans sometimes were late in the war.
Another myth was that German snipers would pull the bullets from their ammunition and turn them around to increase wounding potential.  The notion that anyone interested in long range shooting would try this is just silly, as is the idea that being hit by a spitzer bullet travelling base forward would increase wounding potential.  But you still see it discussed occasionally, often by people who should know better.

 
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Horsesoldier       12/26/2006 5:47:53 PM

The Hague and Geneva conventions only apply when both sides signed the agreements in any case, so in the "Waro on Terrorism", they are not relevant (or shouldn't be).




I'd agree with you that they should not be, but they remain relevant.  I'm quite certain that they are held in place purely for political reasons, though I could see an economic perspective.  Good hollow point ammo is pricier than FMJ ball out in the civilian world, and even with economies of scale, I'm quite certain that JHP or ballistic tip or even OTM format such as is used in US sniper ammunition would be quite a bit costlier than ball.  (Could be some technical issues as well, particularly with automatic fire, though those could be sorted out if there was a will to do so.)
 
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Yimmy       12/27/2006 8:27:24 PM
The only argument I could buy in the matter, is our following "civilised" rules of warfare makes us better than the terrorists, and gives us the moral high ground.

I would still sooner a quality 5.56x45mm hollow-point round found its way to the troops however.

 
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