6mm U.S. Navy

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

The 6mm Lee Navy (6x60mmSR), also known as the 6mm U.S.N., or .236 Navy was adapted by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 1895. It was the first small bore high velocity smokeless cartridge used by the Navy and Marines and replaced the .45-70 Government. Other militaries around the world were beginning to adopt smaller caliber rifles with high velocities and this spurred the Naval department development of the 6mm Lee Navy. A Bureau of Naval Ordnance report in 1897 on Small Arms listed the advantages and disadvantages of this caliber. Some of the advantages include greatly increase velocity, flatness of bullet trajectory, reduced recoil, a 100% increase in penetration compared to the .45-70 Government, and the ability to carry twice the amount of ammo. The report listed two distinct disadvantages. Being a small caliber the 6mm bullet would not sufficiently wound an enemy to put them out of action and the second was the stopping power would not stop the onset of excited men at short range. Objections to the disadvantages stated that the “battles of the future” would be fought at long range and men will not live to come to close quarters and 99% of wounded enemy were likely to retire once wounded.

The 6mm Lee Navy saw action in the Spanish American War in Cuba, the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines and Boxer Rebellion in China. The Marines in the Moro Rebellion complained about stopping power at close range, but no other complaints were issued elsewhere. Winchester was the initial ammunition manufacture and a secondary contract was placed with U.M.C. Both companies had difficulties manufacturing the ammo and the military ceased use in 1901.

The 6mm Lee Navy was able to propel a .244 dia., 112 grain bullet at 2,550 fps with 1,617 ft.-lbs. of energy. It had an effective range of 700 yards, after which the ballistics diminished.

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