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I consider myself a student of ballistics and I have been reloading on-and-off for decades.

I am starting to reload a new round for me - the .223/5.56.

To me, it is a very different concept when compared to almost every other rifle round that I know about. Specifically:

* It is a very small rifle round with very limited case capacity
* Bullets are tiny - 55 grains seems to be the most popular
* The velocity is extremely high - over 3,000 FPS

There has been controversy about this round since it was first used in Vietnam. Back then it was common for the guns to jam the bullets were said to spin and tumble and loose accuracy after they hit leaves or bushes, etc.

When it was designed, what was were the features they were seeking to achieve?

Was it designed to spray lots of bullets quickly?
Why does it have a low bullet weight and high bullet speed?
Is this better for longer distance shots?
Is it less expensive and more effective to spray smaller bullets?

As a contrast, the rounds used in the AK, for example, are completely different in their design.

Why did our military adopt this concept as opposed to the AK design?
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