Originally posted by TheRedneck
.223 (like the Mini-14, which is what I have) is an extremely accurate round with good power and penetration.
Pro tip: you are mistaken. I have shot men and animals both with the 5.56 round from an M-4 and the .308 from a 240B. Short of a head shot the 5.56
round is often not immediately incapacitating. The problem is that the 5.56 does its dirty work by fragmenting into several pieces, creating several
small wound channels and increasing the odds of damage to major organs. This action is unpredictable, however; it only fragments 70% of the time and
takes 13 centimeters (?) to do it, which is problematic when shooting small malnourished targets you are likely to see during a survival situation.
The 7.62x39 (ak and sks) and 7.62x51 NATO (.308, more or less) work differently, tumbling head of heels after impact with fleshy tissue. This action
creates an exaggerated wound channel and happens about 90% of the time. Also, the round begins to tumble at closer to 3 centimeters, proving more
effective on those skinny targets. As a bonus, these tumbling rounds tend to exit the body backwards, creating massive exit wounds that are difficult
So far as accuracy the 5.56 is inferior to the .308 and better than the 7.62x39 round. The round is very accurate, MOA wise, but does experience
extreme drop at ranges beyond 300 meters. Out to 500 meters the round is nearly useless due to it being underpowered. compare this to a reliable
performance of the 7.62x39 at 300 meters and the .308 at around 800-1000 meters, all based on the distance the round is likely to generate 1000 ft-lbs
of energy, the limit for reliable one shot drop ratios on both deer and men.
So far as penetration goes, this is again relative to its only real competitor, the ak-47. The 7.62x39 round of the ak is notoriously underpowered and
not likely to penetrate modern body armor worn by combat troops. Unfortunately, the 5.56 round is also unlikely to penetrate modern SAPI (small arms
protective insert) plates used in level four body armor worn by modern military forces. The .308 and '06 are also unlikely to penetrate level 4,
however they pack enough energy to cause massive damage (deep bruising and broken ribs) even though the round does not penetrate the armor and skin.
Another problem with penetration argument is that in order to achieve even modest penetration from the 5.56 you have to fire the tungsten steel core
penetrater rounds. Problem is that these rounds are even LESS likely to fragment and create multiple wound channels.
Basically, if you want to be trendy and think you will do most of your fighting in hallways but don’t like shotguns, choose a .223 round. Also, if
most of your hunting will be for small to medium game and will do all of your fighting within 100 yard, the 5.56 will serve you well.
If you want a cheaper, more reliable firearm, get the 7.62x39 eating ak-47 or sks.
If you want a great all around riffle that is chambered for modern military rounds and packs enough punch to take any North American game animal,
double up as a sniper riffle, and comes in configurations small enough to swing around in hallways with the best m-4s and AKs, get a modernized M1-A
new from a major manufacturer.
In the end though, shoot a few rounds through some different calibers and see which one you are most comfortable with. That will be your best
Best advice to give a new firearms owner! Does it matter how big of caliber you pack if you cant hit anything with it?
[edit on 15-12-2009 by cavscout]