Question for Army Vets 1960-1970s...M16A1

Question for Army Vets 1960-1970s...M16A1

This is a discussion on Question for Army Vets 1960-1970s...M16A1 within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; The question that I have is for army persons during the Viet Nam era, I have been told by several sources that a move was ...

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Thread: Question for Army Vets 1960-1970s...M16A1

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    Question for Army Vets 1960-1970s...M16A1

    The question that I have is for army persons during the Viet Nam era, I have been told by several sources that a move was shown that had the M16 rounds tumbling as the bullet left the barrel. And that it was designed this way.

    I know this can’t be so or the odds of hitting something past 20yards would become quite random at best.

    I have tried to use logic to no avail! I have suggested that what they may have seen is the result of having shot the rifling out of the barrel but they won’t accept this.

    So the big question is has anyone ever seen this movie?


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    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    I never saw this movie, but given that I hit a man-sized target at 500 yards with the M16, I seriously doubt that the round tumbles at the muzzle. I was told that the round is designed to tumble once it hits flesh but I have no proof of that.
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    Member Array Hawker's Avatar
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    NTKB -That information is incorrect.
    225th SAC "Phantom Hawk" - US Army - Vietnam 1969-70

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    Although I was not Army, I was in the military during that time (AF). I heard the same BS. Just chalk it up as more urban legend. If your going to get a bullet tumbling it is most likely caused by deflecting off of something, not a design of the weapon. To the best of my knowledge the military never issued or intended to use "dum dum" ammo.
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    I spent years in country with MACV. 1964 thru 1969 with time off in between ....I Didnt use that weapon, but I was told on many occations that the round would tumble after hitting any thing solid. This is prob true. As the ones who told me were using that weapon.... johnsr

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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    As far as tumbling goes from what I can tell in tests that I have seen any FMJ will tumble to some degree, the longer the bullet is, the slower it swaps ends, but they do flip on every test that I have seen.

    Was there any movie with any tumbling bullets in it at all?

    Oh and thanks for your service!!!

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    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    ""As far as tumbling goes from what I can tell in tests that I have seen any FMJ will tumble to some degree, the longer the bullet is, the slower it swaps ends, but they do flip on every test that I have seen.""

    News to me. Never heard of tumbling FMJ's unless there was a serious crowning problem with the barrel or a bullet that was improperly made (rare).
    bosco

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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    I ment after it hit the media, not in the air.

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    5.56 or .223 (or any round, for that matter) is likely to tumble if the twist is too slow to get the mass of the round spinning (stabilized). A guy with a 1:12 or even a 1:9 twist on a 16" AR barrel wouldn't be able to reliably stabilize the heavy 75grain rounds that I use in my 1:7 barrel. Bottom line, if you have rounds keyholing paper from any gun, try switching to a lighter projectile.
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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Just another false "urban legend".

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    There are, I believe, two possibilities as to the source of this "idea."

    The first involves twist rates, as Cupcake mentioned. A rifle bullet that is too heavy/long for the rate of twist of the barrel will not be properly stabilized, and can in fact "tumble" in the air. This was not a problem in VN, as the 55gr bullets used were perfectly well stabilized by the 1:12 RoT barrels in the M16/M16A1. The newer, M855 "green tip" round is much longer and significantly heavier (at 62gr) than the old round, and is not stabilized by 1:12 RoT barrels - when you fire the M855 from an M16A1 you will see "tumbling," often as much as 90 degrees of yaw within 25m.

    The second possibility builds upon the first: all "spitzer" type bullets (i.e. those that are pointy at the front and thicker at the back) want to fly with their heavy (rear) ends to the front. This tendency is overcome by the artificial stability imparted by the spin of the bullet in flight, which is (of course) imparted by the rifling. When this artificial stability is defeated (usually when the bullet hits something), it is the natural tendency of ALL spitzer-type bullets to "tumble" (the correct term is "yaw") so that the round travels with the rear end leading. The 5.56/.223 round, being relatively fast and light, tends to yaw more quickly and more dramatically than heavier, slower rounds, but they will all do this given enough time.

    As an aside, if this yaw occurs while there is still enough velocity and (especially) rotational speed, the centrifugal forces can cause the round to rip itself apart (fragment), and creates a whole 'nother set of wound ballistics...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array Snakedriver's Avatar
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    Cool

    Had a Car-15 in Vietnam that you could thread a needle with at 300 yards and I doubt there was any tumbling involved. It would also empty a 20 rnd. mag. on "sprinkle" before you could get your finger off the trigger. I always used semi-auto because of this. One guy with 20 holes in him didn't work for me.

    I think the legend about tumbling was developed by the ground pounders who worked in the heavy jungle areas. The relatively light 55 grain bullet used in the M-16 at the time is easily deflected by objects it encounters on the way to the target such as grass, leaves and small tree limbs. The issue was very obvious to troops especially for the ones who made the switch to an M-16 from an M-14 or BAR. Nothing stopped those .308 and .30-06 bullets on the way to their targets.

    The M-16 bullet was also famous for deviating from a straight path after it struck it's target after being deflected by bones and such. I guess it probably did some tumbling there.
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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    I don't know where I heard this, but it was my understanding that the original 5.56 round was actually designed to wobble like a badly thrown football so you would get the tumbling effect. This was accomplished by simply moving the center of gravity of the bullet rearward.

    I guess whether its true not doesn't matter, because with modern designs like the ballistic tip and partition bullets the .223 is far deadlier than it ever was back then.
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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    Ok some of you are missing the point of the post. I know the 22cal 55gr is fine in a 1 in 12 twist, and all the things that could make it unstable. The point of this is, was there ever a movie on bullets tumbling. The reason I ask is because when I try to inject some ballistic logic into the conversation I am told since I wasn’t there I wouldn’t know, hence the question.

    I am going out on a limb here and say there was never one, and these people are just plain full of male cow poo.

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    BULL. But with bullit weight and twist it was a little un-stable and it deflect when it hit some thing. I hated the weapon.
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