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AR-15s: small ammunition, big impact

The bullet casing on the left is for a .223-caliber round fired from an AR-15 in South Georgia a few years ago. The casing on the right is one picked up in a mountain bunker in rebel-held Eritrea in the 1980s. Not exactly sure of the caliber. The markings aren’t clear (not sure where it was made either), but it’s at least 50-caliber. People not familiar with guns think AR-15s fire large rounds — but the gun was designed in the 1950s by Eugene Stoner to fire these small rounds (at the request of a U.S. Army general). Smaller rounds allowed soldiers to carry more ammunition into battle. And military observers in Vietnam found the smaller bullets fired at high velocity actually caused large internal wounds when they hit enemy fighters. How could a small bullet cause so much damage? We explain the science behind this phenomenon in American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15.

American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 .223 casing and a casing from larger caliber ammunition.


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