The U.S. Army is taking the expression “get the lead out” quite literally and switching to lead-free, environmentally-friendly bullets.
The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal is working on a “green” version of the M80A1 7.62 mm bullet, which troops are supposed to start being issued in 2014, according to an Army press release.
The Army has been looking to “green” small caliber ammo for some time now. In 2010, the Army switched to the greener 5.56 mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round.
“The EPR replaces the lead slug with a copper slug,” said Lt. Col. Phil Clark, product manager for small caliber ammunition in the Program Executive Officer Ammunition. “This makes the projectile environmentally-friendly, while still giving soldiers the performance capabilities they need on the battlefield. So far we have eliminated 1,994 metric tons of lead from 5.56 ammunition production.”
Yet, Army command admits that the M855A1 “has not been providing the ‘stopping power’ the user would like at engagement ranges less than 150 yards,” according to a 2005 briefing.