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Discussion Starter #1
I was perusing the ammo oracle again, and it struck me...Why aren't there any comprehensive data collections on the 7.62 NATO round? Specifically, I was looking for info on what rounds (surplus, in particular) fragment, and at what velocities. The vast majority of data that I have found uses the M14 as the test rifle. This is all well and good, but certainly outdated as the shorter barrel is really the "in" thing now. Does anyone have charts/data on external and terminal ballistics of various ball rounds and out of different barrel lengths?
 

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Ball rounds are designed to not fragment. Fragmenting rounds are considered against the rules of war per the Hague Convention, because they are considered inhumane for a couple of reasons. The "sniper" rounds, like the M118LR, are hollow points, and thus fragment, but they are allowed for some reason, I believe it's because the hollow point increases accuracy in this case, I'm not 100% certain, it might be because they are used in limited quantity. That said, we (the US) do not follow all rules of war. As for the ballistics of the rounds. I'm sure you could find some information online of what people are reporting with 16" M1A socoms and AR10s.
 

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Ball rounds are designed to not fragment.
They may not be designed to, but in a great many cases, they do. The West German surplus (DAG in particular) is known to fragment readily, and the LC M80 also fragments with some regularity, based on the gel tests I've seen. M193 fragments above 2550 fps some of the time, and 100% of the time when impact velocity is above 2700 fps. M855 fragments typically above 2700 fps, although not reliably. It has to do with the physical properties of the spitzer shape, and the lateral force applied to the bullet as it yaws, coupled with jacket construction (weaker/thinner jackets lead to disintegration of the round).

With regard to barrel length, I'm looking for the length to range at which velocity drops below the fragmentation threshold.
 

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That is a very interesting and thorough writeup on the available rounds/bullets for .308. A lot of their findings match the testing that I have done with my FNAR very closely. I think the 20" barrel of the FNAR limits the velocities even on hand loads, but it is still an effective hunting rifle. I used my FNAR to take 2 black bears in PA last month. One was field dressed to 345 pounds, and was taken with a single shot to the neck at about 230 yards from the tree stand. I was using the 168 gr. AMAX, behind 42.4 grains of Varget. Being a neck shot I did not recover the bullet as it came out the back side of the neck, but the damage to the spinal area was devastating. I did not find any fragments, so I think the bullet stayed pretty much intact as it passed through. The bear did not take even a single step after being hit. Shot placement is key when trying to take larger animals. I use the same bullet/load for my target rounds, and can keep 5 shots within an inch at 100 yards.
 
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