M855A1 “green” ammo shipped to Afghanistan.

A new round replaces the current M855 5.56mm cartridge that…

A new round replaces the current M855 5.56mm cartridge that has been used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s. The M855A1 offers a number of significant enhancements: improved hard target capability, increased dependability, consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash and a higher velocity. It’s tailored for use in the M-4 but also improves the performance of the M-16 and M-249 families of weapons. (U.S. Army)

This summer soldiers will start fighting with a new, “green” bullet that Army ballistics officials are touting as “the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever.”

The Army has begun shipping the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round to soldiers serving in Afghanistan, according to a June 23 press release from Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Source: Matthew Cox for Military Times.

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  • Aaron B.

    There is much secrecy surrounding the M855A1 round. Although I’m sure the penetrator portion and propellent technology used in the round is improved, I am absolutely positive that the round will not offer fast incapacitation. Firstly, the round cannot expand. Optimally, it will split into two .22 caliber fragments. While that is potentially an improvement over the current M855 (which was itself the product of much publicity and hype when I was in the Corps), it is a step back from the Mk 318 Mod O in a close – quarters situation. The Mk 318 can expand and penetrate soft body armor. Its barrier penetration capability is excellent for a 5.56, and mediocre compared to the 6.8 SPC or 7.62 x 51 NATO.

    If the M855A1 was in fact a miracle round, there would be a host of ballistic gel data documenting its superiority to other rounds after penetrating common battlefield barriers (loaded AK magazines, car doors, cinder blocks, etc.). There isn’t.

    There is good reason why elephant are hunted with a .458 Winchester Magnum, and deer and other big game are taken with .30 caliber rounds, and the .223 / 556 is a varmint gun. Those in the know, if they can, will use a 6.8 SPC or 7.62 for CQB.

  • robert

    The environmentally safe feature of the ammo is to help us out stateside. When you consider the generations of soldiers that have qualified on US bases the amount of lead that builds up is considerable. These ranges are being cleaned up at considerable expense and the Army doesnt want to clean them up again. You just cant have lead laying around without causing problems. i could care less about using lead against our enemies.

  • Bammo

    The old time big game hunters tried using solid copper bullets but they found that they would penetrate quite deeply into a rhino or cape buffalo however without the expassion of the bullet to transfer the enegy into gross tissue trauma the animal was not significantly injured and required multiple vital organ shots to kill it.

  • Robert

    Face the facts, the 55gr original bullet from a 1 in 14 twist bbl was devastating. They didn’t look at you after a body hit with it.
    The brains took a great short range jungle carbine & have morfed it into a 500 yd tack driver that just zipps thru without much damage.
    I promise you my old SP1 Colt 16″ 1 in 12 barrel shoots 0.475″ 100 yd groups with 55gr FMJ and will bowl over living targets like you wont believe.
    They have eliminated the tumbling effect that made the black rifle so deadly.
    Yea for progress.

  • WyoRifleman

    It seems to me that some of you folks don’t know about the new advancements in rifle propellants curenntly being used by companies such as Hornady in their Superformance line of ammunition. The U.S. Army knows well of these advancements and surely they are using these advancements in this new ammo. The steel penetrator on the new M855A1 ammo is twice as large as in the old M855 and it’s exposed at the tip of the projectile. The old steel penetrator was very small and was encased in the body of the projectile. The other factor is that this bullet has a significantly higher ballistic coefficient due to it’s all copper contruction in the body. Copper is lighter than lead so a bullet weighing an equal 62 grains would be longer than the old lead bullet. This length and sharper nose equals a higher ballistic coefficient which equals higher down range velocity. The very large steel tip penetrates hard targets much better than the old M855. The steel tip will also push back upon impact intiating expansion of the jacket and body of the bullet. This translates into more energy being transferred into the soft target increasing lethality. It seems to me that the US Army is on to a good thing here. It will be interesting to see how it performs next to the the Marines Corps.
    MK 318 Mod 0 which should be proving to be a real game changer. I commend our forces for giving our troops the best new ammo available. I hope the army’s new green ammo causes more red to flow from our enemies. God Bless our Troops

  • Sausage

    The last paragraph say it all, sorry to say. “The Enhanced Performance Round contains an environmentally friendly projectile that eliminates up to 2,000 tons of lead from the manufacturing process each year in direct support of Army commitment to environmental stewardship, the release states.” Who gives a damn if we’re environmentally friendly with people who want to kill us! How Warped a mental state must our army be to think or care of such non-sensical trivia.

  • Jason

    The tip is NOT ballistic, it’s hardened steel, the chamber pressure is high (The M855 uses a mild steel tip). Also the tip is exposed so one might confuse it with a ballistic tip.

  • man

    I agree with “that guy”. The 77g mk 262 mod1 is far more superior. it is a more “flexible round” in terms of barrel length and twist configuration adaptability. The only problem is these rounds are only issued to special operations units in the US armed forces.

  • That Guy

    Brad, The military does not use frangible ammunition like ballistic tips. It would not be effective in punching through vehicles, doors, light armor, etc. These rounds are designed to penetrate. Don’t let the green tip confuse you. I will also add that the 77grn round is still far superior to the any M855 ammo.

  • Brad

    All they did was make it a ballistic tip like Hornady has been doing for hunting ammo.

  • Tony

    Montanabulldog- chamber pressure has to do with both mass of the round and the mass of the charge. If the round is lighter, the charge is the same, lower pressure and higher speed. Think high speed steel birdshot. The M-4 was used in design. Its made of stronger material than a 1970’s M-16 as is a 21st century M-16. Also, velocities were not stated at what distance it was tested. So one must assume that you don’t know what your talking about at all, anyone knowing ballistics knows a better BC holds velocity longer. It could very well start off slower but at 100 yards be going faster than the old round. That factor alone is reinforced by the statement that it is more accurate. As a slowing bullet looses accuracy once within a few hundred feet a second to the speed of sound.

  • lug1

    6.8 spc would have been a better choice. 6.5 grendel a good option too.

  • The SARG

    All this blab! The most valid argument is by Montanabulldog, it is impossible to have it both ways. Velocity, temp and chamber pressure. Has anyone checked on the testing the Army used to field this round? Maybe they know something we don’t know (or maybe they don’t give a damn). GSB

  • Montanabulldog

    As someone who KNOWS Weapons, Ballistics, I feel that this is nothing but a CROCK of SH_T. You CAN’T have it BOTH ways, your NOT going to get HIGHER velocities for this NEW bullet, from a SHORT barrel, if you TRY to, your CHAMBER Pressure is going to go thru the roof, along with chamber TEMP. Its like I said, you CAN’T have it BOTH WAYS.They MIGHT get this, when weapons start EXPLODING . . . FROM those Pressures, which i’m sure their NOT going to be talking about, but something, or someONE ELSE will be BLAMED, i’m sure.

  • Mike

    I pray it works for our people in harms way. We need only the best for our troops! God Bless and Protect them

  • Dave

    Funny the Marine Corps is not adapting this new round because of its failure in high temperatures. They’re using the SOCOM 5.56 lead round. LOL

    Semper Fi

  • Bill

    Wonder if they solved the heat problem that this round was having a few months ago, or are they just shipping it out anyway? The Army has known about the problems with the M855 for a long time -go back and read Blackhawk Down. It is borderline criminal that the bureaucacy has taken this long to address the problems.

  • Not You

    >>”Larry Says:
    June 28th, 2010 at 11:47 pm
    The M855A1 round is a 62-grain lead-free vs. 55-grain FMJ projectile.”>>

    Actually the old M855 that this is replacing is also a 62gr bullet with a steel core.

  • Larry

    The M855A1 round is a 62-grain lead-free vs. 55-grain FMJ projectile. It is supposed to have higher velocity, less muzzle flash and perform ballistically better than the FMJ.

  • william

    its still a steelcore bullet.it just zips threw people. my squad and i dumped on a iraqi who was shooting at us. thats 4 30rd magazines.when we got to him, he looked like he was attacked buy a swarm of bee’s. but , you know what, the dude was still breathing and looking right at us.

  • Mark

    “Better performance than current 7.62 ball ammunition against ccertain types of targets”. I find that hard to believe. What type? I have to raise the BS flag on that one.

  • Edward

    The press release is claiming better ballistic performance, wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a heavier round, seeing the claim that it’s higher-velocity yet optimized for the 14.5 inch barrel.

  • Kevin

    I find it amusing that we are shooting people with environmentally safe ammo. Hopefully it is more lethal then the current round in general use. God bless and protect our Armed Forces!