Progress on Army M855A1 use CONUS?

It's been awhile since it's been adopted to replace Green Tip and I wonder how many units are training and qualing with it stateside. I know it now requires upgraded mags (Enhanced Performance Mags or Gen 3 Pmags) and possibly new ranges, so those are other factors aside from using up our M855 stockpiles first. 

Anyone have an experience or knowledge on when it'll start being used with most Army units / bases?

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SSG Kevin Roberts KIA 7-May-08         SPC Peter Courcy KIA 10-Feb-09

1Lt Nick Dewhirst KIA 20-July-08          PFC Jason Watson KIA 10-Feb-09

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Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

Original Post

No knowledge of its use service wide in training.  

I shot it at Bragg in 2015 when we did the M4A1 conversion.  Just flat range zero type stuff.  Used regular old mags.  I PCSed soon after.

Pretty sure Drum has it as well, as it has turned up in magazines at JRTC mixed in among some blanks.   Given the unit at the time, it likely rode down from Drum.

 

Peace has always been the realm of mediocrities, and pacifism the bleating of a herd of sheep which allow themselves to be led to the slaughterhouse without defending themselves . -Larteguy The Centurions

The last four or five ammo draws my current battalion has made from the regional Texas Army National Guard Mobilization and Training Site has been M855A1.

It seems to shoot very, very fast and straight through 300 yards from the M16A2, A4, and M4 Carbine, pointed with both irons and ACOGs.  Performance starts to get wobbly at 400, and at 500 it's definitely not match ammo -- but still groups tighter than Green Tip.

We're shooting it through standard GI magazines.

The Match Bulletin says everyone's going to shoot it at Benning for the 2018 Army Championships.

Wow, lots of good info. It seems the mag issues were way overblown, which is good to hear. We've been rocking M4A1's and M240L's for awhile, hope to see it pushed out to us sooner than later. I like everything else I've been hearing about the round. 

PRAISE THE FALLEN

SSG Kevin Roberts KIA 7-May-08         SPC Peter Courcy KIA 10-Feb-09

1Lt Nick Dewhirst KIA 20-July-08          PFC Jason Watson KIA 10-Feb-09

CPL Charles Gaffney KIA 24-Dec-08

 

Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

I can't comment on CONUS, but I've had it in Germany for qual for at least the last year.  We got new in the box FN M4A1s that came with magazines with blue followers, but we used the old green follower mags for qual.  I can't comment on 855A1s performance at distance, but it did zero tighter than M855.  I'm also involved with the outdoor MWR so I wind up walking the entire range (it's really small, 1 25 yard zero and alt-C bay, 1 pistol qual pop up range, 1 300 yard rifle qual range with pop ups and an unused bay)  I've detected no changes to the rifle berms. 

___________________________________________________________________

I'm either dead right, or horribly wrong. Either way the results should be entertaining.

 

"Shoot the MOTHERF$%^ER until he changes shape or catches fire"  the PAT ROGERS

Did a medic coverage at a zero range on Jackson a couple months ago. Ammo was 855a1.  They (a Reserve unit) were shooting brand new heavy barrel M4A1’s with flip up sights and ancient gray mags. The guns were still slathered in packing grease. I observed very few stoppages, but did stop a Soldier from rechambering a very set-back round after a malf. I imagine that’s the sort of thing that can cause a KB like posted above. 

My bet is the majority of issues were from crappy / beat up mags and lack of proper lube than the weapon or ammo. 

And it looks like the new Army mag designed for it is, surprise surprise, a shit show.  So hold on to your old mags until you pick up Gen 3 Pmags...

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/...se-predecessor-pmag/

PRAISE THE FALLEN

SSG Kevin Roberts KIA 7-May-08         SPC Peter Courcy KIA 10-Feb-09

1Lt Nick Dewhirst KIA 20-July-08          PFC Jason Watson KIA 10-Feb-09

CPL Charles Gaffney KIA 24-Dec-08

 

Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

Kaltershez, I agree about the cause of the stoppages. But there were surprisingly few. The stoppage that caused the setback round was caused by a tiny (~3mm) rock that was in the mag between rounds. It had gotten caught between the feed lip and the thicker straight part of the case, causing it to go pointy-end below the feed ramps and seat the bullet deeper. Nobody had any idea how the rock had gotten into the stack of rounds in her mag, of course. 

On Bragg in 2015, we were using it on all ranges except for shoot houses. We were still shooting M855 and M80 ball in machine guns.

No issues with green or tan follower USGI or PMAGs. I never had a problem with A1, with my first experiences being deployed with it in 2011-2012. I really liked it.

kaltesherz posted:

My bet is the majority of issues were from crappy / beat up mags and lack of proper lube than the weapon or ammo. 

And it looks like the new Army mag designed for it is, surprise surprise, a shit show.  So hold on to your old mags until you pick up Gen 3 Pmags...

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/...se-predecessor-pmag/

The delta between M27 Class 1 failures and failures in the M4/M4A1 and M16A4 series-due to light strikes and bolt over base—is significant.

I would have to dig deeper, but I want to say that reliability like shown in the M27 (across all magazines) was one of the factor in its adoption.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

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jcustisredux posted:
kaltesherz posted:

My bet is the majority of issues were from crappy / beat up mags and lack of proper lube than the weapon or ammo. 

And it looks like the new Army mag designed for it is, surprise surprise, a shit show.  So hold on to your old mags until you pick up Gen 3 Pmags...

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/...se-predecessor-pmag/

The delta between M27 Class 1 failures and failures in the M4/M4A1 and M16A4 series-due to light strikes and bolt over base—is significant.

I would have to dig deeper, but I want to say that reliability like shown in the M27 (across all magazines) was one of the factor in its adoption.

The M27 and M855A1 decisions were made independently of each other; the 416 has had significant feed ramp issues with A1.  Differing opinions based on the agency I have talked to about magazines solving it, but it is still worse than standard M16FOW wear.  Interesting the units that use 416s and the ones that use A1...  

Tracking, and good point about A1 which I wasn’t aware of.  But during early experimentation and testing, I imagine reliability was at a scale better in the M27—regardless of DODIC—than other AR pattern weapons.  I wasn’t factoring in A1.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

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Got it issued at Bragg back in 2014, then unit went back to M855 for training due to the shoot house restrictions and the fact it destroys steel plates.   

No issues in any mags.... and despite the stories of excessive wear on guns (feed ramps getting torn up, Gas ports in barrels damaged) never saw it, Now that it has been used a lot I wonder if there is data on amount of increased broken bolts or the rumored feed ramp damage.   

kaltesherz posted:

Wow, lots of good info. It seems the mag issues were way overblown, which is good to hear.

I’m not aware of any feed issues caused by magazines and M855A1 - the magazine issue has always been the concern that the lower feed angle of pre-EPM / M3 PMAG magazines causes excessive wear around the chamber when the tip of the round hits below the bore.

When I first got to my unit (Stryker battalion) in late 2016, we were using a mix of M855 and A1 in training. Over the past year, we seem to have done a shift to where all the loose 5.56 we get is A1 now. I’ll have to check on linked 5.56 - I hadn’t thought to look at that (haven’t even thought to ask if it’s available).

We were issuing EPMs this time last year, and I pushed for an order of about 10 coyote M3 PMAGs per Soldier once they were introduced with a new NSN. I would estimate that about 2/3 of those PMAGs have arrived so far, to the point that most of our riflemen are using them now. I still see guys with old, beat up mags (even spotted a couple black followers), and I’ve been telling them to swap them out.

Dave

We've been seeing M855A1 for about 4 years now and I've seen excessive feed ramp wear, broken bolts and barrels shot out in a quicker time period than they have been from other ammo we use.  I think most of the issues are going to be seen by units shooting higher round counts (in the realm of 15-20k rounds a year).  They have recently cleared it in the shoot houses but we typically stick to flat range work with it or actual work load outs. 

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Sandman307 posted:

We've been seeing M855A1 for about 4 years now and I've seen excessive feed ramp wear, broken bolts and barrels shot out in a quicker time period than they have been from other ammo we use.  I think most of the issues are going to be seen by units shooting higher round counts (in the realm of 15-20k rounds a year).  They have recently cleared it in the shoot houses but we typically stick to flat range work with it or actual work load outs. 

Should be using Pmags or EPMs. Only two mags that work properly with M855A1.

Should be using Pmags or EPMs. Only two mags that work properly with M855A1.

Is this an anecdotal/experience based statement or something based in the literature somewhere?  For what it’s worth, my platoon ran it for a year deployed back in 2010 out of new production standard aluminum mags with tan followers. No magazine related issues that I can recall. 

--Dave

 

"Do not touch anything unnecessarily. Beware of pretty girls in dance halls and parks who may be spies, as well as bicycles, revolvers, uniforms, arms, dead horses, and men lying on roads -- they are not there accidentally."

drh2687 posted:
Should be using Pmags or EPMs. Only two mags that work properly with M855A1.

Is this an anecdotal/experience based statement or something based in the literature somewhere?  For what it’s worth, my platoon ran it for a year deployed back in 2010 out of new production standard aluminum mags with tan followers. No magazine related issues that I can recall. 

Based on the 2015 M855A1 conformance testing on commercial magazines.

You can get away with standard mags for a while but they do lead to excessive feed ramp and barrel extension forcing cone damage long term. Pmags we're the best, followed by the EPMs at negating the wear.

drh2687 posted:
Should be using Pmags or EPMs. Only two mags that work properly with M855A1.

Is this an anecdotal/experience based statement or something based in the literature somewhere?  For what it’s worth, my platoon ran it for a year deployed back in 2010 out of new production standard aluminum mags with tan followers. No magazine related issues that I can recall. 

Here's an article about the issues with M855A1 and has some info about the problems with prolonged high count use in older USGI mags.

http://smallarmssolutions.com/...7/11/the-m855a1.html

PRAISE THE FALLEN

SSG Kevin Roberts KIA 7-May-08         SPC Peter Courcy KIA 10-Feb-09

1Lt Nick Dewhirst KIA 20-July-08          PFC Jason Watson KIA 10-Feb-09

CPL Charles Gaffney KIA 24-Dec-08

 

Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

Good to know.  Thanks for the info gents.  Maintaining the Lightfighter Standard, as usual.

--Dave

 

"Do not touch anything unnecessarily. Beware of pretty girls in dance halls and parks who may be spies, as well as bicycles, revolvers, uniforms, arms, dead horses, and men lying on roads -- they are not there accidentally."

kaltesherz posted:
drh2687 posted:
Should be using Pmags or EPMs. Only two mags that work properly with M855A1.

Is this an anecdotal/experience based statement or something based in the literature somewhere?  For what it’s worth, my platoon ran it for a year deployed back in 2010 out of new production standard aluminum mags with tan followers. No magazine related issues that I can recall. 

Here's an article about the issues with M855A1 and has some info about the problems with prolonged high count use in older USGI mags.

http://smallarmssolutions.com/...7/11/the-m855a1.html

Article is wrong on a lot of things, as well as using pictures I took myself and another person I know did. Both were used incorrectly.

On top of this the papers I reported about a post up disprove everything he said about parts life.

It's an older article- I just posted it because I had a hard time finding info about why the feed lips of USGI mags was tweeked for M855A1. It has a lot of the original concerns many had with the round when it first came out.

PRAISE THE FALLEN

SSG Kevin Roberts KIA 7-May-08         SPC Peter Courcy KIA 10-Feb-09

1Lt Nick Dewhirst KIA 20-July-08          PFC Jason Watson KIA 10-Feb-09

CPL Charles Gaffney KIA 24-Dec-08

 

Joined: 2/21/04          Location: Seattle,  WA

Zeroed and qualed with it a few days ago with a M16A2 as part of a competition. I fired an incredibly small sample of 55rounds through a gun I had never seen before.  Used green and tan follower mags, that I had also never seen before. I had zero malfunctions, but I did note that the anodizing was missing from the upper just below the feed ramps. I’m not sure if this is related to the ammo, or if it was pre-existing. Bullets shot straight, and triggered the pop-ups. It did feel like it might be a little hotter than M855, based solely on recoil, and my own piss poor memory.

One of the other competitors had boatloads of malfunctions that appeared to be related to maintenance, not ammo. 

Without going into specifics:

M855A1 features significant improved terminal performance over M855.

M855 tends to penetrate through & through with no bullet tumble in body (icepicking, in laymans terms).

M855A1 will feature multiple rotations in body, even at medium to long distances. I cannot state enough how important this is for wounding / incapacitating / killing the enemy.

I will choose M855A1 over M855 every day of the week. It is more accurate and features improved lethality over M855. at the expense of being a hotter ammunition. Adjust weapon maintenance TACSOP's as needed, it is worth it.

Those with access, there is a classified report of M855A1 Terminal Ballistics.

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MickFury posted:

 

Those with access, there is a classified report of M855A1 Terminal Ballistics.

I hope I can read it some day when it gets unclassified.

Joined: 30DEC08      Location: SPAIN

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Me too. Doesn't seem like shooting bullets into gel would be classified, since anyone who's willing to spend the time and money on gel blocks and buy the ammo can do so - but hey - secret squirrels and stuff. 

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SPDSNYPR posted:

Me too. Doesn't seem like shooting bullets into gel would be classified, since anyone who's willing to spend the time and money on gel blocks and buy the ammo can do so - but hey - secret squirrels and stuff. 

I would suspect it references actual real world use, based on surveys and studies in the field. It’s understandable that people wouldn’t want that released to the general public. I haven’t seen it myself (or other similar reports), but I’ve seen the classified other side of the coin, in reference to how our armor and other protective equipment performed against threats in the real world.

Dave

stukas87 posted:

M855A1... two articles; First my thoughts on M855A1 causing feed ramp damage

http://www.defensereview.com/m...e-or-just-overblown/

Second my accuracy findings shooting M855A1 out of Mil-Spec barrel out to 500 yards

http://www.defensereview.com/m...w-good-is-it-really/

Good write ups.  I appreciate them.  Also, I really appreciate your articles in SWAT magazine.

___________________________________________________________________

I'm either dead right, or horribly wrong. Either way the results should be entertaining.

 

"Shoot the MOTHERF$%^ER until he changes shape or catches fire"  the PAT ROGERS

Jeff, in your feed ramp damage article the Army's photos stink of something bad.

The photo with the ripped-up left-hand side ramp and lower left quadrant locking surfaces shows the right ramp apparently undamaged:

This photo shows what appears to be a barrel with M16 rifle barrel extension fitted into an upper receiver with what looks to be M4 carbine ramps.  Damn near ANY ammunition would show/make the same damage if all rounds came out of new OR modified feed angle magazines:

Yes you are correct

Looking at photos I just assumed the M4 feed ramps were hard to see in pic but you could be right could not even be there at all. In which case yes any ammo could do that.  

I think still goes back to the unit that reported this. Perhaps they have no clue what they are doing. I would not be surprised.

 

What got me first interested in the M855A1 causing feed ramp damage. I was talking with owner of Barnes Precision (he makes complete ARs in house to include barrels and all metal parts) a couple years back.

He had tested M855A1 with his barrels and called bullshit on M855A1 being hard enough to cause damage.  Plus the lack of seeing any damage with guns from my unit.  Still talking to active duty buddies still no issues with M855A1 causing damage.

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