The Army plan on switching to the leadless M80A1 7.62x51mm in 2014, after having gone “green” with the 5.56mm M855A1 EPR (Enhanced Performance Round) which they switch to from the M855 in 2010.
“The EPR replaces the lead slug with a copper slug,” said Lt. Col. Phil Clark, Product Manager 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.”
The round’s new bullet design features a copper jacket and exposed hardened steel penetrator.
The switch has prompted a number of significant performance enhancements over the M855A1′s predecessor which was fielded in the early 1980s. Similar improvements are expected from the 7.62 version.