AA40 5.56mm frangible ammunition


See: defense-aerospace.com/articl … rders.html

[quote]ANOKA, Minn. — ATK announced that it is being awarded a $46.5 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for AA40 5.56mm frangible ammunition by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, Ind. The AA40 5.56mm frangible ammunition is a commercial product that will be used by the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard in rifles and carbines chambered for this caliber without modification.

The rounds are ideal for training purposes because they reduce the risk of personal injury and collateral damage during training exercises for military operations in urban terrain and close quarters battle. The frangible ammunition is designed to disintegrate into small fragments on impact, minimizing over-penetration and ricochet hazards. The polymer compound round produces limited splash back, which vastly decreases ricochets.

“This contract is a great example of how ATK is taking its industry-leading products and technologies into multiple markets,” said Ron Johnson, President of ATK’s Security and Sporting group. “ATK frangible training ammunition has been recognized as the best in the business by law enforcement agencies, and we’re proud that it will help prepare U.S. military personnel as well. Our team continues to work closely with customers like the Navy to provide the right product technology for their needs.”

Production will be performed by ATK in Anoka, MN and is expected to be completed by August 2016. The new AA40 5.56mm ammunition adds to ATK’s portfolio of specialized ammunition for military applications. (ends)

Does anyone have more information about this?



I posted in a thread about the AA40 not too long ago; one of the forum pillars was instrumental in the development of the AA40, DennisK I think.

USMIL also has a ‘white-tip’ frangible, heavier grain weight for better longer-range accuracy, Black Hills has gotten contracts for it.

I don’t have any specific info on the contract, but there’s heaps of stuff on AA40.


Yep, I am the AA40 guy. I don’t have any information about the contract, but the USAF has always worked through NSWC Crane for technical and contracting support in purchasing lead-free frangible ammunition. At one time, Olin-Winchester made a similar version of AA40 for the Navy, but packed in 10 round stripper clips, 3 clips to a container. The USAF ammunition is in 20 round boxes, and could also be linked for use in the M249 SAR (AF terminology), but I don’t know if that is part of the contract or not. FEDBIZOPPS website should provide more details on exactly what the contract covers. I’ll try to look it up later today.

By the way, frangibility is not the only reason for its use - also, it is lead-free and has a lesser extreme range. USAF uses it only for training, usually on 25 meter ranges.


Thanks for that, I’ve managed to track it down.


Just for people who don’t know, this is the same as the Federal stuff that has been around, and Federal is owned by ATK:

I noticed that on ATK’s website their listing for 5.56 does not show the AA40 though, just M193, M855, M856, blanks, and the M855A1


That’s interesting, the USMC Technical Data Sheets on Less Than Lethal Munitions lists the AA40 bullet weight as 45 grains. See: scribd.com/doc/55435064/USMC … s-USA-2007

5.56x45 RRLP - Black Hills Ammunition?

When I was digging up stuff on the AA40 for a local LE range, I found the same discrepancy. “AA40” and “R2LP” get switched, and there are multiple R2LP COTS products.

USMC and others did buy/use 45gr frangible (Winchester Ranger if memory serves) during the time period when AA40 and other R2LP cartridges were in down-select.

The 62gr ‘white-tip’ frangible is also listed in FedBizOps as R2LP/frangible 5.56 with little or no further description, adding to the confusion. That’s how I initially thought Black Hills got an AA40 contract in addition to ATK.


This may be nothing to do with it but at the recent ECRA meeting I picked up what I was told was a 5.56mm USMC experimental non-ricochet round with a grey-tipped bullet (hstp W C C 0 4)


The AA40 does have what looks like a grey-ish synthetic tip; all the stuff I have is Federal stamped FC 05.

Since the AA40 is listed as a commercial product and more than one entity has been given manufacturing contracts, I s’pose there could be an AA40 in a WCC case.

Or you may have one of the COTS Winchester Ranger frangible products that USMC has used. Any pics? Esp of a pulled bullet?


The USMC did purchase the AA40 (actually 5.56mm lead-free frangible) as a COTS item some time ago, and made several purchases. To the best of my remembrance, there was a fairly large 5.56mm frangible order for the USMC procured through Dahlgren in the late 1990s, and some other orders placed through Crane later. I think all was from Winchester, and used DFA bullets (which at that time contained some Tungsten). DFA did not have the loading capacity for the ammunition, so Winchester did the loading and packing. In the early days, USAF also used the same ammunition on a COTS basis, but it was initially purchased through FLETC’s IDIQ contract, and there was later also a direct USAF COTS purchase of linked AA40 through Winchester. That was fun, as Winchester could not obtain M27 links domestically, and had to get them from SIPR Defense in France - a real goat rope, as it turned out. The first shipment received was just crates of loose links that Winchester could not handle.

Indeed, the COTS non-linked AA40 was packed in Winchester Ranger 20 round boxes, and I have some of those. The current AA40 from Federal was the result of a competitive bid process through Crane in , I think, 2001, which resulted in an official type classification of the round. All this is from memory, as I am not close to my records to look up the details. I have some fairly complete notes on the downselection process at Crane, as I was present, but finding the notes is a different question. I’m away from home now, but when I return late next week, I will take pictures of some of what I have and post them.

It’s probably safest to just say there have been several flavors of AA40 over the years, and there may even still be. I’ve been away from all that for over 5 years, so I have no idea what is going on now with AA40 other than it is still in wide use with the USAF.


Following up on my earlier information, here is some additional information about the AA40 and its variations.

This is, as of about 2006, the latest AA40 packaging:

These two pictures show the original Winchester pre-AA40 round, packaged in commercial Winchester Ranger boxes, and using the 45 grain Delta Frangible Ammunition bullet. These were the first such rounds used by the USAF, starting in about 1998, procured through the FLETC IDIQ contract.

The next picture shows essentially the same Winchester 45 grain bullet round, as packaged for the U. S. Navy, containing three 10-round clips (30 rounds). I do not know what packaging was used for the original Navy purchases, but this particular style was used at least from the early 2000s.

The next pictures show boxes of some of the rounds tested at NSWC-Crane under the original USAF solicitation. These tests, which led to eventual type classification and purchase, occurred in early October 2002. I was able to find some partial information on these tests. I believe there were 12 or possibly 13 different rounds submitted as a result of this solicitation. Four or five submissions were eliminated immediately from further consideration as a result of dimensional and defect inspection and preliminary testing. About 2000 rounds of each were tested using standard protocols, including grouping, velocity, chamber pressure, port pressure, functioning in semi- and full-automatic modes in the M4 carbine, M16A2 rifle, and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. and a number of other transportation tests and environmental tests (testing at low and high temperatures). An addition to the test program was frangibility testing, i.e., complete bullet breakup upon impact with a steel surface at an acute angle.

The rounds making it to the final tests included:

  1. ATK (Alliant Techsystems, Lake City AAP) – Cesaroni 50 grain jacketed bullet with copper-polymer core and CCI lead-free primer.
  2. IMI – 42 grain West Coast sintered copper bullet, St.Marks WC732 propellant, Dynamit Nobel lead-free primer. (Note spelling of “Frangible," also, while marked as 30 rounds, it is actually a 20 round box.)
  3. Olin-Winchester (2) – 45 grain Delta Frangible bullet and 45 grain Sinterfire (Cu/Sn) bullet, lead-free primers.
  4. SNC (Simunition) – 36 grain Cu-polymer bullet, PB Clement double-base propellant, Toxfree primer.
  5. Federal Cartridge (3) - WC747 propellant (containing a small amount to Bismuth for bore lubrication) was used in all three cartridges, along with lead-free Federal primers. Bullets submitted were: 50 grain Cesaroni jacketed bullet with Cu-polymer core; 62 grain jacketed bullet with sintered Cu-Sn core; 42 grain sintered Cu-Sn bullet.

All primer compositions were similar in their use of Diazodinitrophenol (DDNP) as the impact-sensitive explosive, replacing lead styphnate, along with various other ingredients as fuels, binders, and sensitizers which were variable by manufacturer.

As a result of a combination of both pricing and performance, the Federal submission with the 50 grain Cesaroni bullet was the winner.


This is a photo (at last!).

Anyone recognise it?


Dennis, excellent information! I am envious of your collection and knowledge base (as I am of many IAA members).

Never seen that one before. It’d be easier (for me) to ID with the paint removed from the tip, but unless you got a handful I don’t expect anyone to screw up items from their collection. The flat-ish tip and amount of unjacketed bullet does resemble it the Federal AA40 I have.

The the 62gr AA-series frangible has a ‘white’ tip so maybe a shade away? To the best of my knowledge only Black Hills makes it; unsure of case or headstamp used. When I was shooting it I was not careful enough to pocket brass or inspect the case.