‘Green Bullet’ As Effective As M855 Round—Consistently

‘Green Bullet’ As Effective As M855 Round—Consistently

By Dialogo
May 11, 2011

Its great that even during war protecting the environment is a priority. Is it possible to create weapons of mass destruction without considerably affecting the environment? I loved learning about this new kind of ammunition. The Brazilian Army should adopt it since the Brazilian Cartridge Company (CBC) is manufacturing the same kind.
Since June, the Army has fielded about 30 million of its new 5.56mm M855A1 “Enhanced Performance Rounds” in Afghanistan.

The cartridge, sometimes called the “green bullet” because it has an environmentally-friendly copper core instead of the traditional lead, has been getting mostly good reviews in the 11 months since it first deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom.

During a “media day” at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, reporters learned the benefits of the new cartridge, witnessed a demonstration of the round, compared to the round it is designed to replace, and had the opportunity to fire the round from both an M16 and M4 rifle.

Perhaps the biggest plus of the M855A1 “enhanced performance round” is the consistency it brings to the fight — more so than the 5.56mm M822 round it
is designed to replace.

The M855 is a good round, Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods said, but it is “yaw dependant.” Like all bullets, it wobbles when it travels along its trajectory. Its effectiveness depends on its yaw angle when it hits a target. Not so with the M855A1. The new Enhanced Performance Round, or EPR, is not yaw-dependant — it delivers the same effectiveness in a soft target no matter its yaw angle.

The EPR cartridge is the same length as the M855 that it’s designed to replace, though the bullet it contains is about 1/8 of an inch longer. The
weight and shape of the EPR is also the same as the M855, so it fits anything an M855 fits — including the M16 and the M4 it was designed for.

The bullet itself has been redesigned completely. It features a larger steel “penetrator” on its tip, that is both sharper than what is on the M855 and
is also exposed. Both bullets feature a copper jacket, but the EPR’s jacket is “reverse drawn” — part of its manufacturing. Perhaps the most notable
feature of the EPR is that its bullet features a copper core, verses the M855’s lead core.

There’s also a new propellant in the EPR, designed to enhance its performance in the M4 Carbine rifle — what most Soldiers are carrying today
in Afghanistan.

The M4 has a shorter barrel than the M16 rifle, and barrel length is directly related to a bullet’s velocity.

The new round is also “superior to 7.62mm M80 against soft targets,” Woods said. But at the same time the new “green round” is more Earth-friendly than both the M855 and the M80 — it is also more effective than either of them against hard targets.

In all test firings against a sheet of 3/8-inch mild steel plate at 300 meters, the M855A1 came out on top.