M855 5.56mm NATO Cartridge
The 5.56-mm ball M855 (A059) cartridge has a gilding, metal-jacketed, lead alloy core bullet with a steel penetrator. The primer and case are waterproof. The ammunition is linked by a disintegrating metallic split-linked belt for firing from the ammunition box. In an emergency, the M855 round can also be loaded and fired from the M16 20or 30-round magazine. It is identified by a green tip, has a projectile weight of 62 grains, and is 2.3 cm long. This is the NATO standard round. It is effective against personnel and light materials, not vehicles.
The high light of this line is the 5.56mm ball round. The Marine Corps shoots over 70 million rounds of M16 ball in training annually. Efforts are on going to transition over from the traditional lead projectile M855 ball round to a new green round. As increased environmental concerns grow with lead the time is right for this transition. Earlier efforts to field the green round were unsuccessful due to issues with ballistic stability. But the successful transition to green will come at a price. The round will almost double in cost.
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