M1_Garand_competition

Reader BrokenEight writes:

A few weeks back there was a quote of the day that basically called out the M4 as a bad infantry weapon, and much of the comments section was devoted to a debate over why the military will not (or should not) move to a different platform. I found a lot of the debate very interesting, but my question is, if you could build the ultimate main infantry weapon, what would it be? Also, because we are going all-out here, assume that both cost and influence from our allies are not issues.

 

 

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241 Responses to Question of the Day: What’s the Ultimate Infantry Rifle?

    • I was going to say the DC17 interchangeable weapon system, but orbital bombardment is a sure way to get the job done. 😀

      And you don’t even need nukes. Just drop large rocks (or kinetic harpoons) on target.

      BOOM.

      And points for first in with an Alien’s reference.

      Game over man. Game over.

  1. There is no “best rifle”.

    It’s like asking what the best hammer is. Application and personal preference matter.

  2. A military version, select fire version of the MK 47 Mutant rifle with M4 butstock would be a good idea imo for American military, as a

  3. I think we are meant to assume more of a ‘one size fits all’ scenario here, as in Army, Marines, and other branches infantry-type units.

    And for reasons of weight, experience with the platform, advances in accessories, ammo, etc. and the ‘better the devil we know’ department, I’d be inclined to stick with the M-16/M-4 variants. Shorter carbines for some units, heavier, .308 for others. but in the main, yeah, stick with what they know, but perhaps not love that much.

  4. I’m a big fan of the Russian pattern of standard infantry rifles reaching out to 300m and DMRs out to 600m. Ideally, they would be cross compatible in ammunition, with the DMR having access to “match” ammo.

    I’m a big fan of everything about the SIG550 series except the magazine well. Slap a SIG-556 lower onto it and your 553 / 550 will serve optimally as the DMR / Standard Rifle platforms.

    I honestly think that the 5.56×45 chambering is almost ideal as it offers plenty of loading options for different mission profiles. The Mk-262 and the Mk-318 being my two favorite examples.

  5. The M1a you show is awesome, but ammo is heavy to hump as is the platform. Maybe an M4 in 300 Blackout, 6.5, or 6.8? Just depends on the mission…

    • That is an M1 Garand to be exact. It does not have a magazine nor a flashhider. That is generally the easiest way to tell other than the handguard differences, etc.

    • Don’t forget that every magazine loaded with 300AAC weighs about a 1/4 lb more than an equivalent 5.56×45 magazine (even with heavy match loads). That may not sound like a lot, but as you multiply that across multiple magazines, it add up quick. There’s also the abysmal performance of the 300AAC past 400 meters compared against equivalent high grade 5.56 ammo.

      • The standard 5.56 62 grain M855, M855A1, and Mk 318 Mod 0 rounds have lousy ballistc coefficients. The 55 grain M193 is even worse. Figure a G1 BC of around .243 for the 55s, .302-.323 ish for the 62s, and .350-.375 for the 75 and 77 grain 5.56 projectiles loaded similarly to the Mk 262. The 300 BLK with 125 grain balliatic tips run around .366. The 147 grain FMJs are even higher.

        While the 300 BLK has much more bullet drop than the 5.56, it certainly has the ability to beat the 5.56 in energy and momentum across all ranges. The added bullet mass also means the 300 BLK is superior to the 5.56 at penetrating and degrading cover such as a concrete masonry unit. And the 300 BLK, launching 208-240 subsonic bullets, absolutely destroys the 5.56 in terms of suppressed and subsonic performance.

        • Again… Equivalent grade ammo. The m855 has no place in this discussion. As you mentioned, the mk-262 has an equivalent ballistic coefficient to a “long range” 300 load. However, the higher velocity and kinetic energy of the 5.56 round makes it much more suitable as a 600 yard DMR round. Properly designed OTM 5.56×45 rounds are rather effective at extended ranges, and avoid the mess of having different soldiers within a basic infantry squad lug around different ammo.

          300 AAC is a good specialty round. It’s designed to give you a sub-sonic option out of an AR platform that does not suck. However, as a general purpose round, it leaves a lot to be desired. The restriction in case volume, overall cartridge length, and heavier bullets means that the round will never be as effective at long range as quality 5.56×45 ammo.

    • Yeah… You can carry your 10lb sledgehammer with the even more absurdly heavy ammo. I’m a much bigger fan of 5.56 after I got to carry a basic load in heavier calibers.

      • The weight of the rifle can be reduced with modern materials. As far as the weight of the ammo is concerned, I’ll be sure to tell the WW2 veterans that their .30-06 loadouts were far too heavy and the poor dears should have surrendered immediately.

        • How many rounds were in a typical WW2 loadout, though? I’m pretty sure that when your main weapon is an 8-round semi-auto rifle, and your opponents mainly have bolt actions, it’s a wholly different proposition from the reality of the battlefield today.

        • To give you an idea… I have more 5.56×45 ammo on my basic rig than a WWII era fire team had between them. (Not that they operated in four man fire teams back then, but you get the point.) Automatic fire makes a huge difference in consumption rates and I would much rather have twice as much ammo that’s designed for things I might reasonably expect to do with it than half as much ammo designed to go through light buildings at 500 yards. We all like to think in terms of optimal performance, but the reality is that you have to look at total system environment (including mass and corresponding reduction or increase in weight of fire and mobility.)

        • @Avid Reader…

          Nah, I’m just a squat fireplug looking (5’10”, 250lbs) bastard who hates running out of ammo. I can’t count the number of times I caught boots and some non-boots who should know better skimping on their ammo loads to shave a couple pounds off their gear. I’m well aware that there are two schools of thought on the matter, but I’m squarely in the “more is more gooder” camp.

        • It’s also worth reminding that infantry carries a lot more other heavy gear these days compared to WW2. Body armor, optics, grenade launchers, targeting devices and all that. Since the overall “weight budget” is ultimately fixed, all this inevitably cuts into the amount of ammo carried, too.

        • It’s also worth pointing out that rounds expended per enemy killed by small arms has skyrocketed since WWII and the adoption of lighter rounds…self-justifying the ‘need more ammo’ mantra.

          Food for thought…

        • @JR
          It’s all about the drastic change in philosophy of use. When you give every basic infantryman an automatic weapon, ammunition consumption goes way up. When you develop infantry doctrine based around suppressive fire and maneuver, you need to carry more ammo to make that possible.

        • When they weighed us at JRTC I was a Javelin gunner carrying 240 lbs. of gear. I had to march with that shit too.

          @Ralph with the WWII vet quip… ::eye roll:: The modern US infantry soldier is bigger, stronger, and carries far more gear than the WWII infantry soldier.

          That is not to disparage any WWII vet … the shit they went through was hell on earth. But trying to compare the gear is like Apples and Broccoli. There is no comparison.

        • So..it was the best option then so we should use it now? Even though there’s other, better options?

          I love the M1 Garand. Great rifle for the time. But you can carry about 2x as much ammo for the same weight with .223 as you could with 30-06 or .308. That really kind of matters.

        • I am not saying do away with the units machine guns , each has a role to fill. the 556 NATO is the most piss ass round ever… it’s does not do the JOB , I have seen Marines die because the M16 and 556 did not stop the enemy…and I will stand by that till I die.

        • There is no such thing as “the 5.56 round”. There’s M193, M855, M855A1, Mk318 SOST, Mk262 and many others, all with different performance. Have you seen what Mk262 does to targets at 200 yards?

          Furthermore, the choice isn’t between 5.56 and 7.62×51 or .30-06. There are many other rounds that fill the gap between these, and sometimes do more for less – e.g. 6.8 SPC.

          Relying solely on machine guns for suppression doesn’t work. Germans found that the hard way in WW2. Every infantryman needs to be able to suppress efficiently.

        • I spoked with a WW2 vet at a local museum over their BAR display. He carried one in Europe. He hated the magazines and ammmo for it. Too big and heavy.

          How much .30-06 have you carried in combat conditions?

        • @JR_in_NC, ammo expenditure also went up after we went from using muskets to repeating rifles. The’s the evolving battlefield.

        • “ammo expenditure also went up after we went from using muskets to repeating rifles.”

          Except I wasn’t talking about ammo expenditure as an absolute. I was talking about expenditure PER enemy KIA by small arms.

          Do you have historical numbers on that? I only remember ever reading comparison including WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

          The data I saw was atrociously and drastically skewed in the direction of an alarming decrease in marksmanship “efficiency.” Carrying 10x the ammo is no net plus if the miss rate is greater than 10x (in the case of the data I saw, it was orders of magnitude different between WWII and Vietnam, not a factor of 2 or 7 or some such).

          I’d like to see more data on it going back further in history.

        • However, the same decrease also paralleled a massive drop in friendly casualties. Let’s be honest, the major killer of troops on the battlefield has not been the basic infantry rifle since before WWI. Fire and maneuver tactics at the squad and fire team level have advanced immeasurably since WWII. Combine that with an ever increasing emphasis on combined arms, and the actual killing power of the individual rifle becomes almost irrelevant compared the its ability to provide suppression and not inhibit a unit’s ability to maneuver.

        • As already noted, the increased ratio between bullets fired and bullets hit does not indicate any lack of marksmanship, but rather a shift in the doctrine towards more suppressive fire. With a bolt action, if you need to do it, you shoot off one round and pray that it’s enough to force the enemy to keep their head down. With an assault rifle, you douse them with lead and know that they’ll stay low (and let your squad mates advance meanwhile).

        • Guys, I do understand the reasons behind the numbers, especially in terms of operational doctrine changes.

          Where has it been objectively shown in battlefield results that those changes in doctrine have been advantageous and beneficial?

          I’m not meaning to be argumentative, but there sometimes seems to be a lot of assumptions made that “this is how it is now” is “better” without objective analysis.

          “With a bolt action, if you need to do it, you shoot off one round and pray that it’s enough to force the enemy to keep their head down. “

          I’d say this is incorrect. You don’t shoot a bolt action with a prayer that he keeps his head down. You shoot with a rifle like that with the intent that you kill him, once and for all, so that his raising his head in the future is not an issue.

          This is what I’m talking about. Changes in tactical doctrine alone cannot explain why one is ‘better’ than another.

        • Simple… Infantry combat casualties have been dropping like a rock since WWII despite gigantic numbers of small unit engagements. Simple fact is that pulling a Sergeant York on a modern battlefield is just plain stupid.

        • We actually have a very interesting experiment going on in Ukraine right now where two relatively modern armies are unloading on each other, but without air support on either side (which really skews the numbers). The number of fatalities is still in the thousands, despite almost a year of fighting by now, and most of those are from artillery (esp. rocket artillery), not small arms.

          Also notable that even for a country as poor as Ukraine, most of is soldiers on the frontline are equipped with body armor. Separatists have found means to procure it, as well. It probably also helps to keep the small arms casualties lower than they would have otherwise been. I actually wonder if widespread deployment of body armor would make full auto capability more important… on one hand, it’s not all that hard to make armor that stops .308 or .30-06 (since AP is mostly a function of velocity, not bullet weight). On the other, if you hit center mass and hit the plate, it’ll knock out the enemy for a minute, maybe break some ribs, but won’t incapacitate them to the point where they’re unable to fire back. Would bursts be more efficient just on account of causing structural failure in the armor plates faster (seeing how they’re usually ceramic, not steel), and/or increasing the chance of hitting the head or the limbs?

        • Doctrinally we are still fighting a war in europe and our weapons reflect it. After the first gulf war we had to immediately paint all of our vehicle back to green camo colors even though we knew our wars for the foreseeable future would be in the middle east.

      • Doesnt appear that our soldiers as a group do much humping of anything anymore. They ride around a lot.

        If only there was a rifle that you could easily change barrels to match the mission parameters……………….

        • Do you really want grunts switching barrels mid deployment? Don’t forget, every barrel you add is another 2-4 lb piece of metal that you have to carry, take care of, and avoid losing.

          As for not humping anywhere… Yeah… Tell that to the several sets of ICBs and Jungle Boots on which I wore out the soles.

        • Why is it that whenever someone tries to compare modern war techniques with “the old ways” they conveniently leave out evolving technology, changing enemy tactics, and the vast differences in the environments?

        • Iraq and Afghanistan wasnt modern warfare. Our new technology didnt do us a lot of good because we failed to change our tactics and our weapons to meet the low tech environment we fought in. We also failed to perform as leaders and soldiers. It was beginning to look like vietnam all over again. Body counts over actual victory.

        • To be fair, we won tactically, but lost politically. There’s nothing that a change in a basic infantry load out can do about the latter. (Just like in Vietnam where we won every major engagement, but lost the political war.)

        • We won both wars swiftly and overwhelmingly, due to our technological superiority. Our occupation has been a failure not due to the soldier or his equipment, but due to terrible leadership on national level.

        • It went lower than that. My opinion of course. And we were far from winning the war. High technology weapons don’t hold up well in primitive conditions.

        • Probably Call of Duty and reading Soldier of Fortune.

          All my stuff worked just fine while I was deployed.

        • Old infantry, Ordnance Officer and contractor that goes just about everywhere theres a soldier. I’ve met a few soldiers that took care of their equipment but a ton more that didnt care. My favorite was vehicles running out of fuel just outside the gates cause the soldiers were to lazy to get their vehicles refueled after the last mission.

          I blame that on poor leadership.

        • @DMB did you work with infantry soldiers?

          You can’t judge the entirety of the military by what POGs do.

        • @The Bear

          Hey… As a the POGiest POG that ever POGed, I resent that comment. We do plenty of humping. I mean seriously, some of the FOBs I was at didn’t even have internet or cable TV… I mean seriously… [/sarc]

          But in all seriousness, quite a few non-03s did quite a lot of patrolling and fighting over the past fifteen years or so.

        • Well gunny, it’s all well and good until you run dry in the middle of an engagement because you rifle requires you to carry half as much ammo for a given unit weight. I prefer slinging slightly less effective bullets to slinging rocks and harsh language.

        • Problem is that you have bought into the suppression fire group instead of learning to actually shoot at the enemy.

        • I have a rifle expert badge that says otherwise. In any case, fire and maneuver tactics have been proven to work. However, they require you to put out a sufficient volume of fire to keep your enemy’s head down while you execute them. Hence the fully automatic infantry rifle. Nothing keeps you hugging dirt like a stream of lead impacting around your position.

        • Your expert infantry badge and buck will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds. Yes you do have to use suppressive fire but unfortunately its all a lot of people want to do.

        • RIFLE expert bro… You know… the part where the USMC used to make you engage targets at 500 meters with iron sights. I still think using an ACOG for qualifications constitutes cheating. I know how to hit targets, the point is that in a modern environment they rarely present themselves.

        • The people who didn’t buy into it, bought themselves a plot in the ground.

          You want to play marksman with an infantry rifle, fine. Until the moment that someone on the other side of the battlefield wants to play one, too, and is a hair better than you are. It only takes one.

        • Shaking my head. If all you are going to do is spray and pray youre a dead man anyway. In Vietnam our soldiers expended an average of 1,000,000 rounds per enemy casualty (small arms casualty) Someone has to actually be shooting at the enemy and that doesnt mean standing up or silhouetting yourself.

        • Yes, of course. That someone is the guy who flanked the OBSCENITY DELETED while you were spraying them.

          Who cares how many rounds the soldiers have spent? What matters is how many enemies they’ve got on target in the end out of those millions, vs how many enemy rounds scored a hit on them. If it takes 10x ammunition to score a hit that does not expose you to an enemy hit in return, it’s a worthy trade-off.

          Have you ever heard of the Four Fs?

        • @int19h

          I think our buddy here forgot that shooting insurgents is not nearly the same as shooting paper. They don’t tend to line up in nice orderly lines at 500 meters and wait for your to check wind, and walk your rounds in. Most if the time, you’ll get a rough idea where they are at, pour lead into their general area to keep them down, and send a squad or fire team around to flank them and clear out their position. (Or more likely in heavy combat, range their position and call in mortars / arty / air strikes / etc) When your long range objective is to keep the enemy’s head down, you could be shooting .22LR for all the difference it makes. At short range, a 5.56 will put someone down just as well as 7.62.

        • Until/unless we go to war with an actual country again (and maybe even not then), 500m shots are a thing of the past.

          Most of the stuff I did while deployed was MOUT-esque, the only real exception being patrols and moving onto objective. The thing is, since the local people looked like the enemy and carried the same weapons, we couldn’t just tear into anything that moved. The result was that we had to attack using intel or when were were close enough to identify the enemy.

          This is why an infantry rifle team has a mix of red dot and ACOG sights, light machines guns, and 203s. There has to be a good mix of tools for different situations.

        • “This is why an infantry rifle team has a mix of red dot and ACOG sights, light machines guns, and 203s. There has to be a good mix of tools for different situations.”

          Which makes the ‘ultimate infantry rifle’ kind of questions a little silly. Clickbait, perhaps, but silly.

          As I thought about this discussion last night, I thought…”What if you pitted a platoon of Scout/Snipers against a platoon a ‘normally trained and outfitted’ infantry. Who would win?”

          Well, of course, the answer depends on a LOT of other variables: terrain, objective, etc. This means the auto/burst/semi/bolt debate has no single “correct” answer (like many things).

          Tool for the job. The only way to ask “best rifle for x” is to specify what x is. “Infantry” itself is a pretty broad term in the sense of specific mission requirements.

          (Musings and thoughts from the warmth and safety of a living room inside US borders….thanks for the discussion guys).

  6. The tricky bit is getting a rifle that works for not-quite-mechanized infantry as both cqb and dmr roles. Hot-swapping an upper to 6.5 Grendel is an option, but a platform that keeps the magwell integral with the upper while retaining most other parts compatibility with current M4 parts would allow a 7.62×51 DMR without using the wrong mag load.

  7. A.) Oh look! A dead horse. Who wants to beat on it?

    B.) The one in your hand.

    C.) It comes out Fall 2017 and it is made by GLOCK.

  8. I would say any of the currently available battle-rifles chambered in .243 Winchester. Significant increase in power over 5.56 but less recoil that 7.62. A heavy 6mm or 6.5mm round would also possess a high ballistic coefficient and sectional density for long range accuracy

    • I think I read somewhere that the Brits had actually considered that for a new rifle after ww2 until the US pushed 5.56 and 7.62x51mm. Or something to that nature.

      Maybe it was the FAL in Belgium. Either way, you get the point.

      • No, the Brits considered a true intermediate cartridge, .280 British (7x43mm), in their Enfield EM2 rifle. Though it wasn’t that far from .243 Win performance-wise.

      • There was too much red tape required for the Brits to make a cartridge of their own – it was much easier just to accept the NATO round. You can’t bake, cut, or eat a meat pie over there without filling out the appropriate paperwork and paying the appropriate fees. But then again, the Brits wouldn’t have it any other way.

        • The Brits dropped it because US forced them (and everyone else in NATO) to converge on a single standard, and basically said that this standard is going to be 7.62×51, no discussion, end of story.

  9. .308, long piston semi auto, light as possible.

    That’s my dream rifle anyway. :p Probably a .223 version for the weight savings would be good. If they share parts, great, if not. Who cares?

    My current dream rifle is an ACE in .308, but I could be persuaded into an m1a or other ak variant. 🙂

  10. The M4 is an excellent anti-personnel weapon, is reasonably reliable, compact, accurate, relatively lightweight, and spare parts/mags/ammo are common.

  11. Well, it really depends on the AO, what role infantry are being assigned in the conflict, what type of war its going to be (crush a 3rd world army/local resistance or all out world war). On top of that there are an almost infinite number of other factors that would influence the final product. So I’ll divide my answer in into two parts.

    RIFLE 1:
    Assuming we are starting from scratch developing a brand new infantry weapon system, it would seem that by far the “best” would be a design similar to the (H&K G11: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_G11). However it would obviously be modernized, a LOT of improvements have been made in just about every field since the 1980s, so it would remain similar to the Bullpup G11, but with all modern parts/frame/chasis etc.

    -The optic wouldn’t be integrated, instead a crossbreeding of the RAZAR adaptive scope (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45uGxJ9K7XU) and the tracking point tech (http://tracking-point.com/). For CQB it would be something similar to the Mepro Tru-Dot (https://www.themakogroup.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=1042659&CAT=8637)
    -There would be the standard picatinny rails in the stand places for mounting every accessory desired etc. -The barrel would be free floated, custom quality (think Krieger etc.) and then have a very light weight barrel jacket placed around it to aid cooling and increase rigidity like teludynetech’s (http://www.teludynetech.com/technology/), but there are other similar designs that work. They should be easily changed, allowing for different lengths to be swapped for different missions etc.
    -It would be suppressed using a crossbred suppressor that takes the best qualities of the OSS (http://www.oss-online.com/), namely minimizing back-pressure & mirage, and combining it with the best qualities of the Surefire SOCOM (http://www.surefire.com/tactical-equipment/sound-suppressors/rifle-carbine-suppressors.html), namely flash elimination, recoil & muzzle rise reduction, and concussions/dust-up elimination.
    -The ammunition it would use is debatable, but I would argue for caseless ammo utilizing a bullet in the 6mm-7mm range to maximize the BC of the round. In addition it should utilize the newest powder technology similar to Hornady’s superformance, which allows for a better, cleaner, more efficient burn with a better curve and more velocity. In addition there are supposedly some better smokeless ammo options on the horizon, so we can add that to the wishlist.
    -As for the bullet itself, there should be a few varieties available off the bat. A round similar to the Sierra TMK’s either fragmenting or expanding. A version should also be made with a tungsten core for an AP type.
    -The trigger should be combat safe (4-8 pounds adjustable), similar to a tuned geissele trigger married to a Desert Tech DTA trigger, as the G11 is a bullpup.
    -Last but not least it should be tested and refined for years in a wide variety of conditions from desert to artic to jungle etc, and should go through many iterations of prototypes in large enough batches to be field tested to ensure total reliability prior to final deployment.

    Rifle 2: SO this is assuming we take an almost off the shelf approach, with a lot less R&D, and a lot more take what works now or close to now approach. In which case I’d say just take the Desert Tech MDR, chamber it in something close to 6.5 Creedmoore with Siera TMKs (or similar), give it a teludyne tech barrel and a surefire socom suppressor, throw an S&B shortdot on top and you’d be GTG.

  12. What ever weapon you went to sleep with cold, wet, and hungry. The one you cleaned more than you cleaned your body, The weapon that has a signature sound that you will always remember. Each Generation has a different one or if they never served they were introduced to it by a fan touting it as the greatest weapon ever. It boils down to the one you have used so much it became a part of you.

    Mine just happens to be an AR… When I got out I upgraded to an AR-10 including the stupid carry handle (because iron sight never fail) but I know it inside and out. I can hear when things don’t sound right or feel right. And that SCHIIIINNNGGG in the buffer tube and the rasp it makes when you pull it out are sounds I’ll never forget.

    Hopefully my daughter will learn to enjoy it just as much.

    • “I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine. This is an M41A Pulse Rifle. Ten millimeter, with over-and-under thirty millimeter pump action grenade launcher.”

      -Corporal D. Hicks, US Colonial Marine Corps

  13. I say modify the existing M4 to properly run true 6.8SPC II, that means mags that can accept 2.3″ COAL and barrels with proper throat length and 3 groove 1:11 twist rifling to maximize the use of 95 and 100 grain projectiles.

    This would be the optimum balance of power and weight of the platform, 6.8 SPC loaded to true Spec2 pressures and dimensions would be an awesome battle rifle. It would suppress as well or better than supersonic 300BLK and would beat the piss out of the BLK on downrange ballistics and trajectory.

    If I cant have that, then give us an AR10 like should have done in the first place.

    • The power difference of my 6.8 SPC over my 300 BLK and 5.56 is noteworthy. A .50 Beowulf would be sweet for checkpoints and degrading cover.

      • Yeah, I am in the process of building a 6.8SPC2 at which point I may have to change my handle for commenting on here as this round is fast the 300 as my favorite AR15 based round.

        Ballistics out of 14.5-16 barrels for the 95-100 grain bullets is awesome and very closely matches something hot like 62gr M855 for the 5.56Nato out of 16-18″ barrels with nearly 40% more mass downrange. The key is loading out to 2.3″ max COAL and having the chamber and rifling done properly (not so hard to do now, but was an issue a few years ago when people were producing both the spec1 and spec2 chambers). Most people hate the 6.8 because they load the COAL too short, or they use Spec1 load data, or they push bullet weight too heavy, or some combination of all three which yields less than spectacular downrange performance.

        • I don’t know of any magazines that will allow a 6.8 SPC II to 2.3 OAL.
          Some of the PRI will reach 2.95 but 2.85 is more common. The tolerance is so tight that you can get binding simply being in higher temps.

        • This test http://68forums.com/forums/showthread.php?14420-6-8-SPC-Magazine-Review is where I got my info on the 2.3 COAL thing, looks like the newer (waffle print) PRI’s take 2.3″ COAL as do bushmasters.

          Either way, most SPCII load data I have seen uses 2.9-2.95 COAL for 95-100gr bullets so should be good, and my original point given the question wasnt, “try to find the best way to use existing hardware to field 6.8SPC” it was “if we are building a new gun, tweak the AR15 to effectively utilize proper 6.8SPC2 loads” so one can assume that means developing mags that fit 6.8SPC2 spec ammo properly.

        • is where I got my info on the 2.3 COAL thing, looks like the newer (waffle print) PRI’s take 2.3″ COAL as do bushmasters.
          —————————–
          I haven’t tried the Bushmasters, but the longest COAL I’ve gotten in the PRI waffle print is 2.95.
          I have two AR in 6.5 Grendel and two in 6.8 SPC. I’ve tested them both extensively with reloads as well.
          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Either way, most SPCII load data I have seen uses 2.9-2.95 COAL for 95-100gr bullets so should be good, and my original point given the question wasnt, “try to find the best way to use existing hardware to field 6.8SPC” it was “if we are building a new gun, tweak the AR15 to effectively utilize proper 6.8SPC2 loads” so one can assume that means developing mags that fit 6.8SPC2 spec ammo properly.
          —————-
          An entire new rifle would have to be developed, as the MilSpec AR-15 lower won’t really take a magazine that allows a 2.3 COAL reliably.
          One thing I haven’t tested is how destructive each round is at range. The 6.5 Grendel will hit something at 1200 meters, but I’ve only shot targets, not ballistic gel. One of my goals this year is to test both the 6.5 and 6.8 round effectiveness at 1000 meters.
          Also, combat rifles are legally allowed to use the same bullets we use, so much of their utility is lost.

    • I renew my objections based on weight. Doubling the weight of the projectile means you get 25% less ammo for the same load weight. That may not seem like a significant issue, but given the adequate performance of modern 5.56 rounds, I think switching up to a heavier cartridge may be a significant mistake. (It’s one of the primary reasons why the Russians switched to the 5.45×39 round from the older 7.62×39.)

        • I’m not a huge fan of the round either. (Especially now that mil-sup is impossible to get in the US, thanks Obama) However, I will admit that the logistical and tactical advantages of the increased weight of fire justify a slight drop in performance.

      • see my response above to Accur81, the biggest mistake people make when evaluating 6.8SPC is they fall for the classic “heavier is better” mentality when evaluating bullet weight. 95-100grain SPC out of carbine length barrels is going to have nearly identical muzzle velocity to M855 5.56Nato from similar barrel lengths, and weighs 40% more. So you get a noticeable tick up in energy, as well as higher sectional density and ballistic coefficient for a negligible reduction in ammo capacity (5 rounds)/ increase in load weight. The 115-120 grain loads for 6.8SPC make a decent hunting round assuming you have the skill to range properly and account for increased drop out past 150-200yds or so, but you take a huge hit on maximum point blank range which is fine when the target isn’t going to shoot back at you if you miss. So I would say the gains in downrange energy are well negated by the less than flat trajectory given by the 2400-2500 fps muzzle velocity you get with that round.

        • I’m not debating that you can build a round with superior overall performance, the question I have for you is much more fundamental. A 300AAC magazine weighs 1/4 lb more than a 5.56×45 magazine. That means for the same weight you can carry 5 magazines of 5.56 or 4 of 300AAC. Does the decrease in weight of fire justify the increased performance. This question becomes even more critical when you realize that in modern combat the primary use of 99.9% of your ammo will be suppressive fire.

        • “A 300AAC magazine weighs 1/4 lb more than a 5.56×45 magazine”

          Which would be relevant if I was arguing for adopting the 300AAC… which I wasnt.

          I dont have the numbers, but I wager the difference between the weight of a full magazine of 95grain 6.8SPC (which is what I was advocating), would be negligible… you make a good point about the suppressive fire thing, although one could argue that the enemy might feel a lot more amenable to keeping their head down if the unlucky ones who do catch a round don’t get back up 😉

        • A lot of skinny, underfed insurgents seem to be able to lug 7.62 x 39. But I get your point. (When I want to carry less weight I cut out the cheeseburgers and switch to salads.) Given up close, barrier penetration, intermediate range, and suppression capability, the 300 BLK would still get the nod from me. I just like as much nastiness I can get in a gun / mag combo if I’m taking it into harms way. For longer range a 6.8 SPC or 6.5 Grendel or legit .308.

          Except I have no choice, so my patrol rifle is a Sig M400 loaded with Winchester PDX 60 grain split core .223 and a 20 round mag. I’ve got 2 -20 round spares in the buttstock and 2 more 20 round spares in my go bag, along with spare .40 cal mags.

          Thankfully I’m in the LA area and not Afghanistan.

        • 6.8 SPCII is actually worse. The rounds individually weigh about the same as the 300AAC (correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t have a handy SPCII round to throw on my scale) and you get less of them per magazine increasing your overall load weight with extra magazines.

      • The 7.62×39 AKMs still in service in Russia are beloved. Especially for urban fighting and suppressed use. They are a bit hard to find/get issued one and everyone wants one. That’s at least what I heard from Russian soldiers.

        • 7.62×39 AKs are not officially in service in Russian army, but they are in the ministry of internal affairs (i.e. police, OMON etc). They do seem to prefer them for stronger punch and fewer ricochets in urban combat, while not caring for the increased range that 5.45 brings. They are also not concerned about ammo weight because they don’t have to hump those magazines for many hours on foot.

  14. I’d say a 300 BLK long stroke piston AR with 3 shot burst for grunts, and a .308 or .338 of choice for snipers and DMR / over watch.

  15. I have commented before that supply lines are important in that decision, if you can count on access to additional ammo whenever and wherever you need it, so you don’t have to carry it (!), I could get down with a piston AR-10. If you have to carry ammo anywhere past a few hundred yards, I think we will be a very long time coming up with better than the M16/M4. To check it out, just pick up a can of 400 .308 milspec ammo in one hand, and a can of 820 5.56 ammo in the other, then think how much fun it would be to run out of ammo while in combat.

    • The Desert Tech MDR in .308 would just need a barrel swap and its already looking 100% better than the Tavor (if they deliver).

    • That would be my vote as well. I think regardless of caliber the bullpup design keeps best of both worlds in terms of size and velocity of rounds due to barrel length. If cost is the issue, 300BLK would suffice if they are dead set on changing everything over. Modularity of the Tavor in particular, gives it the boost in rating for me, but everyone has their own opinion.

  16. The M4 in 5.56mm is an excellent rifle. Issues arise when its used outside its wheelhouse (like sustained long range (>300m) suppressive fire).
    An improved rifle might have a piston action and/or a longer barrel (at costs in weight).
    An improved rifle platoon might have 2+ 7.62 rifles for long range engagements (at costs in weight).
    An improved rifle company might have 2+ 60mm mortar teams moving with lead platoons (at costs in weight & mobility).
    An improved infantry unit in a defensive position should employ sophisticated land mines to channel enemy approaches. But from what I’ve heard from returning Afghan war vets, use of land mines (by our side) is the moral equivalent of gang raping a village pre-school. Welcome to today’s PC military…

  17. Obviously, it would be a rifle, chambered in an intermediate cartridge, firing from a closed bolt, and capable of fully automatic fire.

    Overall layout, I’m not sure about. Bullpups have their advantages and disadvantages, and I don’t think we have that debate fully settled yet. This is something that could use some extensive trials to compare all the practical differences between the two. I suspect that a well-designed bullpup will probably win, but not by a large margin. If not a bullpup, it has to have a folding stock.

    In terms of action, I’d say go with the best proven one, which is rotating bolt with a piston. I don’t think that short-stroke vs long-stroke matters much. Gas regulator doesn’t add much complexity but is good for suppressed use, and also allows to run the rifle better when dirty, which can come in handy.

    For ammunition, I’d say something in 6-7mm range, probably around 6.5mm, and designed from ground up to: 1) have a good BC and a flat trajectory for a good viable battlesight zero – at least as good as 5.56; 2) be designed to fragment reliably with enough velocity, but still retain enough punch on longer ranges; 3) still have recoil low enough to be controllable in burst fire; and 4) be designed for shorter barrels from the get-go, like .300 BLK (so that 12 inch barrel or so could be made standard on all infantry rifles). 6.8 SPC is probably the closest existing option, with 6.5 Grendel being a close second, but this may require more research.

    For magazines, I’d just stick with the AR system, but move on to modern, more sturdy and reliable designs (like Magpul and Lancer). Good AR mags are plenty reliable these days, and can be swapped much faster than AK-style.

    For sights, design the rifle around red dot / optic use, preferably with a single monolithic rail on top, and with integrated folding basic backup sights, a la Tavor. Something like a red dot should basically be standard issue for every infantryman. Might want to look into scaling it down compared to current military systems, e.g. look into Aimpoint Micro, just for the sake of weight reduction. Look into 1-4x scopes as well.

  18. The AK and M16/M4 rifles have been used for 50+ years, and will likely be used far into the future. I’d have to go with one of those.

    If I had to choose, I’d say AK, simply because of their widespread use throughout the world.

  19. The best rifle would weight 2lbs (loaded), hold 500 rds minimum, of 50. cal with a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps, and a recoil of less than .22lr. I think these are reasonable requirements!

    In all seriousness, is building an army from scratch, I would take a serious look at the Colt 703 (offered to the army as the “M16A2” though not accepted), and then I would take Jim Sullivan and Arms West and incorporate his improvements to the M4. (the man who actually designed the AR-15… Eugene Stoner was the inventor insofar as he designed the AR-10, but Sullivan was the engineer that fixed the AR-10 and did the AR-15)

    The comments on the other thread were thick with misinformation (e.g. Mcnamara was not in charge of picking powders for ammunition, that is like blaming Walmart because Apple stopped making iPods).

    Anyhow, Jim Sullivan’s improvements look awesome. The Constant Recoil system, the heavier bolt, etc.

    I would take the Colt 703, Sullivan’s improved M4 and a necked up cartridge, like 25-45 Sharps or 7mm, something in that range which is still fairly light but has better energy at range.

  20. Let’s see:

    From the early 18th Century through the first third of the 19th Century it was the Brown Bess
    During the mid 19th Century it was the Minie rifle.
    For the first third of the 20th Century it was some form of the Mauser 98
    For a short time it was the M-1 Garand
    For another short time it was the FN-FAL
    The only candidate for the ultimate infantry rifle today is the M-16 since virtually everything else is a carbine.

  21. Bullpup with something like 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC. If money is no object, then use plenty of lightweight & strong materials (titanium, carbon fiber) in the arm and mags (and maybe even ammo) to lower the weight. Ideally it would be modular so it could be easily changed for the particular mission (in which case bullpup would just be one configuration).
    And, finally, all of it tested for millions of rounds in a wide variety of conditions for reliability BEFORE giving it to the troops.

  22. A select-fire version of the Noreen BN36 would be nice. Ergonomics of an M16, with the punch and range of .30-06.

  23. Pointless discussion, but I’d say something like a Tavor in 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC, for general purposes.

  24. Well as it’s been said by other here you’ll end up getting as many answers here as you would in the great caliber debates.

    But I’m going to step back and look at some of the people who have to fight the most in the worst conditions. I’m going to go with the Israeli TAVOR.

  25. The problem with “ideal” is that you’ll never get a whole new rifle now. The cost of replacement will be too high. The DOD would rather throw money down a rat-hole like the F-35 than spend on anything like an infantry weapon.

    So accept the fact that you’re constrained by the M-156/M-4 system for right now.

    If you want a better bullet with better Bc’s and better delivered energy, and want to keep the BCG, magazines, etc, we’re looking at a barrel change and 6.5mm pills (.264) and probably 105gr and under. You’ll need a new barrel for every rifle converted.

    But wait, there’s more. See, gunsmiths and gunmakers have been down this road before – the “we want to minimize investment, so we’re going to riff off an existing case design, use heavier bullets and keep it relatively inexpensive.” And the result is inevitably that someone screws up, loads the new hotness into the old gun, and blows stuff up. Much shouting ensues.

    The gunsmiths/gunmakers reasonably point out that if the shooter had been paying attention and hadn’t been the product of the lowest IQ sperm that his father could produce, he would have never had this problem.

    Lawyers get involved and, invariably, the result is that the new cartridge needs to be set up in such a way that it cannot be loaded into the old chamber(s). Hence you get the .357 Mag, the .44 Mag, the .444 Marlin, etc.

    OK, so we need to insure that the new 6 or 6.5mm cartridge cannot be loaded into the M-16 or M-4 rifles/carbines. There’s only two ways to make sure that can’t happen:

    1. Make the cartridge long enough that the bolt can’t close on it.
    2. Make the case larger in diameter so it won’t fit into the chamber at all.

    (1) we could accomplish by blowing the shoulder forward, eg, as is done with the Ackley Improved mods to chambers. We could keep the same case head.
    (2) might require giving up compatibility with existing magazines.

    See how this goes? You start pulling on one thread, and the whole blanket unravels.

    The most probable option I could see going forward is that the 77gr pill is adopted as the new standard round for the rifles we already have. After that, I don’t see much happening.

    • Great comment. Most people don’t know about the US military flubbing the FAL and .280 British cartridge. The two designs as a unit were perhaps one of the greatest contenders for the perfect combat rifle of the mid/late 20th century, but never saw service, and it was entirely our fault.

      It cost us millions in R&D wasted on comparatively poor designs such as the M14 and M16/M4. Neither design would have seen the light of day if NATO and the US had adopted the FAL, as the US had promised the UK and NATO it would – but only if the FAL were rechambered to 7.62 NATO, and .280 British thrown out

      .280 British was a great compromise between weight, stopping power, and ballistics. The tapered cartridge also aided in extraction and was supposedly inspired by the Soviet M43 and 7.92 Kurz cartridges, both of which were known to be extremely reliable due to their heavily tapered case walls.

      Instead, we battled through years of difficulty with several designs, one of which got many men in Vietnam killed due to a combination of teething pains and penny-pinching DoD design/spec modifications never intended by the designers of the M16, and the adoption of a cartridge that was never designed with military use and operation in harsh environments in mind.

      Basically all boils down to, again, Not Invented Here – to both the FAL and .280 British cartridge, and especially to the test samples of FAL rifles which were chambered in .280.

      • I didn’t mean to reply to your comment, but I did. Huh. Well, this reply is in the spirit of others who made mention of the .280 British cartridge.

  26. AK-47. The M16/M4 platform has two major problems that keep it from being anywhere close to being in the running: 5.56 is an ineffective round for modern combat and the tight design is not reliable in a desert environment. The M16’s one saving grace is that it is accurate to an exceptional distance, but current policies prevent us from being able to actually make use of that advantage. The AK-47 has neither of these deficiencies. It fires a very effective 7.62mm round, it incredibly reliable and the limited range is not a problem with current the current rules. All that being said, the Kel Tec RFB carbine looks promising on paper.

  27. I liked the rifles they had in Starship Troopers….they never ran out of ammo…or lazer juice or whatever…

  28. Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

    It isn’t NATO / Warsaw Pact approved, but it’s use extends beyond their jurisdiction.

  29. Ruger Mini-14 in .223. Cheap, rugged, reliable, low maintenance, accurate enough since the 2005 upgrade. A better rifle than the M4 in every way. Put a select-fire switch on it and a CQB optic and you have plenty of short-range firepower. One or two designated marksmen per squad with M-14’s in .308 with fancier scopes, or better yet XM-25s. That gives you a balance between CQB and long-range firepower.

    Seriously, I don’t understand why the Pentagon keeps the M-4’s. 50 years of tinkering has improved them from gawdawful all the way up to aggravating. They are somewhat reliable now, in a forgiving environment, with lots of maintenance. Which easily fits into the soldiers’ bountiful free time. The M-4 is fundamentally flawed by making the bolt carrier double as a gas piston. That dictates tight tolerances in the receiver and no way to expel foreign matter. The M-1 action tends to expel foreign matter as the bolt cycles, and there are very few tight-tolerance places where it can jam. The AK-47 designers understood this and copied it shamelessly. The Mini-14 is the same – it keeps everything about the M-1 except for a box magazine and a simplified gas system that is even more reliable.

  30. I would want a select fire AR-10 rifle chambered in .243 Winchester with a 20 inch barrel. That increases the probability of “one shot stops” out to 200 yards and greatly increases stopping power at 200 to 400 yards — compared to the current 5.56 x 45mm NATO round.

    Why .243 Winchester instead of .308? The .243 Winchester cartridges will weigh less than .308 Winchester (100 grain bullets instead of 150 grain bullets … although the brass casings are almost the same) and even more importantly, will recoil less. All of that without sacrificing much in terms of stopping power compared to .308 Winchester.

      • 243 is my favorite hunting caliber and if Remington could get their quality right then they already make the rifle. It’s called the R-25.

        • This makes sense to me, too.

          Interesting that the .243 and .308 started out at same retail $1699, but trade used now at $900 for .308, vs $1300 for .243.

    • I actually was thinking along the same lines, but with the original prototype barrel perfected.
      Unfortunately for ArmaLite, the rifle’s aluminum/steel composite barrel (an untried prototype design specified for the tests by ArmaLite’s president, George Sullivan, over Stoner’s vehement objections) burst in a torture test conducted by Springfield Armory in early 1957.[15] This barrel needs further investigation with modern materials.

  31. 6.5 out of af 51 or 55 size case would provide awesome range and ballistics. Fat cases are bulkier so it would be a small trade off. With the reduced recoil the rifle could loose a few pounds. I like the bullpup design but have never had to use one or any gun to save my life. So I’m just an armchair qb

  32. There is not such thing as an “ultimate” infantry rifle. Considering there are different roles played in a infantry squad. If you are machine gunner you are going to want something that spits out rounds at a medium to high cyclic rate to maintain suppressive fire on the enemy. If you are squad / fire team leader you may or may not having a M203 mounted on the bottom of your weapon to provide fire support in the defilade. Lets not forget the rifleman and the A gunner as well. Additionally there the special weapons systems like the DMR ie M110 SASS or the Mk 14 EBR, Heavy Machine Gun ie M240G. (I know there are more roles I am missing but I don’t want dig too deep in the weeds)

    Considering the US adheres to the NATO standard when selecting their TO weapon. So as much as we love those 6.5’s, 6.8’s, and 50 Beowulf until they become a NATO standard or it really tickles Uncle Sam’s beard it won’t make it past testing. Something else to consider is modular capacity of the weapon system, and how it can survive as a infantryman’s rifle (they beat the hell out their rifles). The only gun I think even comes close to fit all of these requirements is the HK 416/M27 IAR.

    Another thing you should consider when selecting the ultimate infantry weapon is how user friendly the weapon is, meaning how fast can the average grunt pick up the weapon, play with it, train with it until he or she is as lethal if not better than his/her old TO weapon. Since the military has been training on a M16 style platform since 1962 (according to Wikipedia) it would be safe to that whatever weapons system replaces or is adopted as the “ultimate” infantry rifle mimics some of those characteristics.

  33. the best is one that works. In 1968 they took my M-14 that worked and gave me an M-16a1 that didn’t. I think Macnamaria made alot of money on that deal, if not him someone did. the 03 would have been better than the m-16. not the platform is better, but i hear from friend now that said what they have now is poor. I’m starting to see M-14’s back in use mostly spec ops. The piston rifles are looking better (M416). But the 7.62 nato needs to be the standard round for grunts

  34. Here we go again…

    Look, this post is a symptom of the same basic problem we’ve got here in the US with our entire military. We buy the toys, and then we figure out how to use them. It’s like we’ve institutionalized putting the cart before the horse.

    First step, figure out how the hell you want to fight. Your weapons should support your doctrine, tactics, and operational techniques. The Soviets did this, and did this very well–The AK47 was the perfect weapon for a mass-conscripted and poorly trained force that relied on mass to win its fights. We, on the other hand? Christ… First, we rejected the British .280 and the intermediate assault rifle cartridge concept, because we wanted to have a service rifle that would win at Camp Perry, and then when that didn’t work out so well when it encountered the Soviet intermediate cartridge family in Vietnam, we jumped to the SCHV concept. And, when you look at the way we did things, the tactics that we were teaching and training in the 1960s weren’t that much different than what we were doing in WWII. Despite the fact that a hell of a lot had changed.

    Want a new rifle? Tell me how the hell you intend to fight with it. Then, develop a cartridge that delivers the ballistics necessary to support that, followed by a weapon that does the same.

    We’re constantly doing this crap: Build the toy, then figure out how to use it. We did it with the Bradley, as another classic example. That was a brilliant idea–Cram so much stuff onto the platform that the Infantry squad that has to fight off of it has to be reduced down to around 6-7 dismounts, in the real world. Fucking brilliant–Now, we’re assigning platoons to missions that we once calculated for squads, because we let the vehicle drive the manpower train that determines how we fight. Tell that to the guys in Iraq who showed up without enough men to assault and clear buildings, because they just plain didn’t have them on the MTOE anymore.

    The way this should work, in a sane fucking world is this: Doctrine drives tactics, which drives operational decisions. Cartridge ballistics need to support all three, which then drives weapons design, followed by validation testing, evaluation of the battlefield for changes, and then right back to doctrine in an ever-evolving helical path into the future.

    Instead, we treat every procurement as though it was in a damn vacuum, and never to be repeated, looking for the “perfect weapon”, instead of “better than what we’ve got right now for how and who we’re fighting”. The weapon we took into Vietnam was not appropriate to the theater. We changed it. It worked in Europe, because of all the supporting arms we added in. It ceased to work when we took it into a high-altitude desert, and created ROE that made all those nice supporting weapons useless. The fact that we’re still in denial about this is pretty much the way we do business. When enough dead bodies get tagged to the inadequacies of the small arms we have on issue, there will be a huge scandal, and we’ll finally do something else, just in time to encounter a different reality in another theater or another war.

    This is what we do, and it doesn’t fucking work.

    By all means, keep picking out the perfect toy for some undefined ideal situation. You’ll feel good, but you’re still going at the issue ass-backwards. Doctrine, tactics, then weapon. Reevaluate as needed.

    • Kirk,
      Well said and on the mark. You did however make one small mistake. We have been training our infantry the same way since WW1. One of the guys who I went to IOBC with eons ago had his great grandfathers infantrymans handbook he was given in basic training during WW1! Except for the weapons hand higher maneuver tempo because of the use of vehicles all of the tactics are the same.

    • We chose the M-16 because it was available to do what SLA Marshall’s research said needed to be done, i.e., spray and pray because the average infantryman wouldn’t fire his weapon unless he felt he was having an impact. Since the chosen rifle, the M-14 was too powerful for select fire this would lead to non-participation by too many soldiers. It made sense until the Army figured out that spray and pray doesn’t work. Then in the 1990s researchers looked again at Marshall’s work and discovered his analysis did not stand up to scrutiny. So we chose a weapon based on faulty research. You can still argue for the AR platform based on total weapon rate (platform + ammunition) but the requirement for fully automatic fire was not based on good analysis. In fact fully automatic fire consumed so much ammunition that any weight savings were made moot.

      • There is so much wrong with your post that I can’t even begin to refute it without having to write out a ten-page dissertation. You’ve got maybe one or two facts, and the rest? Fairy tales.

        • Can you elaborate on what exactly is wrong with his post? It meshes well with other sources that I’ve read on the subject (Project SALVO etc).

        • @int19h–

          Well, for one thing S.L.A. Marshall’s “research” didn’t exist, because not one bit of the crap he came up with was based on reality. You go looking for some basis to what he wrote about WWII combat in Northern Europe, and you can’t find one damn bit of actual verifiable documentation. That whole thing was based on his highly subjective opinions, and did not reflect what he was actually told (per his assistants and participants in his little after-action soirees). He basically made all that shit up, and then took responsibility for what the Army Research Laboratories came up with that was developed into Trainfire.

          The whole idea of “combat non-participation” that’s been bandied about is so much bullshit that it’s not even funny. They go on and on about how it’s been “proven”, and they can’t “prove” a damn thing about it. I’ve been a combat leader, and the idea that I’d somehow miss that the three guys in my fire team weren’t firing at the enemy, or tolerate it? Fucking ludicrous.

          I catch your ass not slinging lead while I’m firing and moving forward, do you think I’m going to let that slide? I’m going to come back, find your ass hiding behind that log, kick the living shit out of you for being a POS coward, and then drag you by your little ear up to where you can get shot at with the rest of us. An 80% non-participation rate? Yeah, right–We’d still be bottled up on the Normandy beaches if that were true. Peer pressure alone would make that impossible–Your battle buddy is going to know, and he’s going to a.) kick your ass for not doing your share, b.) narc you out to me, and c.) probably shoot you himself if your cowardly ass doesn’t get with the program. You’re a threat to his life, my life, and everyone else on the team.

          And, it ain’t like I’m doing ammo checks after every engagement we’re in, either. Marshall and Grossman are both so ignorant of what goes on down at the lowest levels that it’s not even funny. Which is not surprising–They’re both officers writing about shit they know nothing about.

          The idea that you’d be hiding your non-participation in combat from your buddies and immediate first-line leaders, and then surviving to tell either of those idiots about it? That you’d admit to it, in front of your buddies at these little get-togethers Marshall held? And, then go back into combat with the rest of them, knowing full well you weren’t doing shit to help keep them alive? Ooooooh, yeah… I can see that happening. There must have been a pile of fucking bodies laid out on the way back up from the lines after all those guys got done talking to Marshall. Either that, or he lied his ass off. I’m voting for “Lied his ass off…”.

          It. Ain’t. Happening.

          ‘Course, that could also explain that rather unpleasantly high casualty rate among replacements…

          You believe anything Marshall or that other dipshit Grossman wrote, and I’ve got a lovely friend of mine to introduce you to–He sells bridges, and I get a finder’s fee from him.

          You want to know more about Trainfire, Google it up. There are scads of published papers and old manuals on it. The basic idea stemmed from the guys at the Army Research Laboratories realizing that the old-school marksmanship training where the troops were conditioned to look for bullseye targets when training on their rifles, which led to a minor problem of conditioning the eye and mind of the Soldier. They changed to using the “E”-type silhouette and pop-up targets, and all of a sudden, the rate of fire improved because the troops were no longer looking for big black and white circles, they were looking for what they’d shot at in training–Man-shaped silhouettes against brush and random backgrounds. And, you’ll be like me, if you read all that shit through, looking for where there is some documented contribution to it by Marshall, as he claimed on numerous separate occasions. There are none, and you’d think that he being this big field-grade muckety-muck in the Army Historical field, he’d have been mentioned. Instead, there’s a short sentence thanking some unnamed civilian for pointing ARL in this direction. And, I seriously doubt that that civilian was anyone named “Marshall”. For one thing, his ego wouldn’t have allowed that, and for another, I seriously doubt that ARL would have failed to give him credit, either–They live for naming names, with the brass, ‘cos that helps with the budget. Marshall was such a well-known guy that I’m pretty damn sure that they would have mentioned it, had he actually had anything to do with it.

          Additional issues I have with that post? The allusions to “spray-and-pray” he’s making. I’ve been up and down the training material and field manuals going back to the 1950s, and you’ll find very little in there where they trained the troops on even limited full-auto fire. The emphasis was on aimed, deliberate semi-auto, and the full-auto option was clearly trained as being “emergency use, only”. Most of that crap comes from a couple of incidents which got filmed, and then spread around like it was an everyday thing. Anyone who talks about “spray-and-pray” probably wasn’t there–I’ve talked to a fair number of Vietnam vets about this very issue, and the majority of them told me that it just wasn’t that common. You’d better have a good reason for going full-auto, just like the guys at Wanat, or you were going to have a pair of NCO-size boots up your ass. Most of the verified combat troops I talked to were all of the opinion that full-auto “spray-and-pray” was the hallmark of an undisciplined unit. And, oddly enough, they always talked about it being “somebody else” that did it, over there… I surmise that it actually was probably about as prevalent as it is now–You use full-auto when you need it.

          Hell, to be quite truthful, the POI and actual training that was done with the M16 back in those days was actually a bit more involved and stringent. I’ve got a footlocker full of crap from the old pre-deployment jungle school they ran out at Fort Lewis for troops going over, and there was a lot of stuff in there I wish I could have done for training today, but the safety regs prevented it. I’ve been all over the bluffs overlooking the Puget Sound where those ranges and training areas were at, and I have to say that if every guy going over there got the actual training that they were supposed to… They might have actually been a bit better prepared than the troops of today. Of course, most of that stuff was from the period after Herbert and Hackworth had done their thing with the pre-deployment training regimen, so I can’t say what the guys were getting before about ’68-’69.

          Additionally, there was no “re-look” at Marshall’s bullshit in the 1990s. One, he was never that much of an influence–He said he was, but I’ll be damned if I can find anywhere he actually made a contribution to things like Trainfire. And, two, there was no major “re-look” at marksmanship doctrine in that period. I was on active duty then, doing a shit-load of training with weapons, and I’d have noticed something like that. A couple of manuals were revised, there was some discussion of how to do some details of things better, but there was no major “re-look”. If anything, it was more of the same, and a bit of a return to basics.

          Big changes didn’t really happen until after they digested the implications of Force XXI, and started issuing out optics, red dot sights, and lasers to all and sundry after the first few years of ye olde Warre on Terrore. Other than that, I can show you a damn near continuous line of standards and similar training from about 1965 to 2000. None of which stemmed from anything identifiable that Marshall did, at least for the Army. And, since the Marines never implemented anything like Trainfire, he didn’t have much influence over there, either.

          The rest of the crap he says about ammo weight vs. automatic fire is also bullshit, and clearly indicates a near-total misunderstanding of what goes on when people shoot at each other. Probably 90% of what happens in a meeting-engagement firefight, where both parties simply encounter each other by design or misadventure, happens because of human psychology. Dominating and winning a firefight, especially for average participants, not highly trained and experienced elites, depends on the first few crucial minutes of the encounter, and who manages to dominate the fight by making the most noise and sending bullets downrange. That’s where the M14 failed us in Vietnam, especially in the compartmented jungle terrain. Put a bunch of draftees out there, and have a firefight start. What does the average kid hear and see? US rifles going “Bang… Bang… Bang…”, while a bunch of equally (perhaps) inexperienced VC or NVA are ripping off full-auto “BRRRRRP….BRRRRRP….BRRRRP”. To a neophyte troop, that sounds an awful lot like your own unit is getting overwhelmed, whether it is or not. So, it becomes really easy to do two things: React to that fact less than optimally, and then when you get back to base, tell people you were outmatched firepower-wise. That’s the big root of why the M14 didn’t satisfy the need in Vietnam, and a good deal of it was purely based on perceptions. Which got back to the US, and resulted in the hurried adoption of the M16, which was supposed to be this quick-and-dirty, off-the-shelf thing to get us through to the real wunderwaffe, the SPIW. Which never materialized.

          When you stop and think about it, the whole post-WWII fiasco that is US small-arms procurement is such a tangled mess that it’s a miracle that we even got something as workable as the M16/M4 out of it. By rights, we really deserve to be flinging chipped stones and poo at our adversaries, while jumping up and down and hooting like a troop of mentally-deficient baboons…

        • Really?

          The AR-15 was chosen by the Air Force to replace the M-2 Carbine and M-2 Grease gun used by Security Police. It was used by Army Special Forces advisers in the early days of Vietnam. Everybody else used the M-14. When the Army went to Vietnam they didn’t like M-14 and the only thing available to do what they wanted to do, i.e., select fire, was the AR-15 platform which was already under contract to the Air Force

          Read SLA Marshall’s Men Against Fire. That was the bible on infantry in combat from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s. He claimed, and it was accepted through mid-1970s, that only a small percentage of US infantrymen in WWII and Korea fired the weapons in any particular engagement. He attributed that “fact” to the individual soldier feeling that he rifle contributed little to the battle. Soldiers armed with automatic weapons like the BAR, Thompson and M-2 Grease Gun had higher participation rates because they were able to put a large volume of fire at the enemy. Marshall also claimed that conscript army could not be effectively trained in marksmanship. The Army relooked at Marshall’s research and found that it was largely BS. The Center for Army Analysis, their OA organization, examined Vietnam era conflict for lessons learned and one of the lessons learned was that automatic fire was largely a waste of ammunition and that semiautomatic fire + plus tactics wins most of the fights. Why do you thing the Army switched to a semiauto fire doctrine in the 1980s?

          So go ahead and write your 10 page paper. Trust me a dissertation is considerably longer.

        • Comment is still in moderation.

          Most of your “facts” aren’t actually, y’know, “factual”.

          Marshall had very limited impact, at all on actual doctrine and/or training. He claimed he did, but you’re not going to find his name anywhere on the actual documents describing the development of Trainfire, which was the basis for much of the Army’s modern rifle training.

          Your information is just wrong. Men Against Fire was never any such thing as a “bible” for infantry combat. Even at the time it was popular, there were plenty of people who knew it was bullshit. Marshall was a consummate publicist, and constantly worked to get his name in front of the media. Review David Hackworth’s description of his time in Vietnam as an escort officer for Marshall, and you’ll get a good clue for why the idea that his work was ever taken seriously is risible. Civilians talked about it, and people new to the Army and combat thought it was good stuff, just like I did before I really figured out why it was so much fluff. The idea that the people who were in charge of anything significant took Marshall at all seriously is pretty much a figment of his imagination. As I said–Go look at the source documents for the Trainfire system. His name is mentioned nowhere.

          Marshall is another in a long line of frauds who’ve made money off writing about things they knew jack-diddly squat about. After having been a NCO all the way from Corporal to Sergeant First Class, I’m really kind of embarrassed to say that I ever took his bullshit at all seriously. On the face of it, it’s simply ludicrous. Marshall describes an 80% combat non-participation rate, which when somebody actually listened to him and then did actual research during Vietnam, could not replicate. Marshall then claimed that his ideas had contributed to “solving the (non-existent) problem”, and tried to take credit for the changes made with Trainfire. For which, I repeat, you can’t find a shred of corroborating evidence.

          Actual point of fact is, when you stop and think about it from the standpoint of the team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant, if 80% of the troops are not actually participating in combat… What the hell have you been doing as a leader? If that were actual, y’know, truth? That would mean that we were looking the other way as 80% of our combat power did nothing, while the other 20% took all the risk and did all the work. How long do you think that would last, once the completely impossible-to-hide facts were noticed by the 20%? Think they’re going to just look the other way, while they’re taking all the risks, just for the 80% to trail along like a bunch of little kids on a picnic?

          Doesn’t happen now, and I seriously doubt that it happened in WWII. I could buy a certain small percentage of the troops having problems pulling the trigger during their first exposure to the kill-or-be-killed world of combat, but to say that 80% them consistently and persistently failed to participate in combat? Yeah, right–I know who’s got the ammo left when I cross-level after an engagement, and even if I wasn’t having eyes on my guys all the time, I can damn well tell when they’re doing their jobs or not. Or, I’m not doing mine, as a leader.

          When I was a junior leader, I was actually stupid enough to be kinda proud that we’d “fixed things” since WWII. Then, I had a couple of conversations with actual, verified WWII combat veterans, and made the mistake of mentioning this fact. Biggest. Embarrassment. Of. My. Life. To. That. Moment. Both of those guys set my stupid young ass straight, one of them commenting “I bet you’ve been reading that dumbass Marshall, haven’t you?”. Gentleman in question had been an actual replacement sent into Normandy as an individual replacement in a rifle company. His take on “Men Against Fire”? The whole book was bullshit, according to him. After a little reflection, I have come to agree with him. People simply don’t react like that, or if they did, the vast majority of our infantry would have died hiding in their foxholes when the Japanese Banzai charges rolled over them in the Pacific theater. With only about 20% of the troops actually, y’know, engaging the Japanese, they’d have won every one of those dumbass charges they were so in love with. Instead, they were chopped to shit every time they tried them. Does that square with Marshall’s “wisdom”? Gee, I wonder if the same sort of majority “combat participation” actually took place in Europe, and Marshall was just generating controversy to sell books–Which, I point out, he was damn good at.

          And, about all he was good at. Most of his work is rehashed crap, now that I read it with a more mature, experienced eye. There is some value in “The Combat Load”, but that’s about all I’m willing to concede. The rest of his work is purest, unrefined bullshit. Had the actual “combat participation rate” actually been 20%, we’d have lost WWII. Period. And, the reason that we don’t see similar “problems” today is that they never existed in the real world in the first place.

  35. I would have to say the best the USA had was the 1903A3 Springfield ,30 cal. (3006) the point being to kill the enemy hits not firepower…. and it was great in two world wars…

    • Before you kill the enemy, you have to flank and suppress the enemy. It’s not very easy to do so with a bolt action. That’s why everyone went to magazine-fed full auto rifles in an intermediate cartridge.

      • Sgt. York and the 03 Springfield , he did flak and took hundreds Germans , Like I said it’s hits that count ….Errors from the French military was forts, firepower, and the mass wave attack… it killed millions of their man ….and never worked. Like Patton SAID make the other side die for his country………

        • Hits count both way. The reason why you want to suppress them is so that THEY don’t score a hit on YOU, as you get into position to get a good shoot at them.

          Don’t they teach the Four Fs in USMC these days?

        • I believe the SGT York used a 1917 Enfield which was chambered in 30-06 and not a ’03 Springfield. The ’03 Springfield itself was a Mauser 98 variant.

        • I read that Sgt. York was issued the 1917 Enfield , but in after war news report York stated he traded for the 03 Springfield rifle ….but my point is still hits made American troops a big difference on the battlefield , the Marines would sling up like on the range and were a hell to deal with ….The Germans used the term Devil Dogs in WW1 because of their rifle use…

        • And York’s Enfield held 6 rounds in the mag. Not 5 like his enemies. Firepower, you gotta love it.

  36. Close quarters, urban interiors and jungle; Thompson. Defense; M-14. Assault (and all-around); M-16/M-4.
    Different strokes.

  37. I’m in two camps here.

    For a bolt-action rifle, a No4 Lee-Enfield in 7.62 (or one of my .223 conversions). Slick and smooth cycling, large capacity magazine, good trigger, and good sights. Bonus points for the fitting of a Central target sight.

    On something more modern, the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, but in 6.8 SPC. More punch than 5.56 but more manageable than 7.62. Optics are optional as iron sights have no batteries to go flat, no glass to scratch or break, and no mounts to get loose.

    • and Chris Kyle did very good with a updated Springfield (bolt) rifle , hits win wars…Our military still thinks like the Dumb French Military … A. Hitler saw the value of the K98 bolt. HITS WIN WARS………….the French view is Forts, Firepower, and mass attacks they all fail.. that’s one reason we keep losing in our no win wars….We no longer fight to WIN.

      • You mix up forts and firepower as if they always go together. Those are two different things.

        Germans kept bolts because they assumed that firepower would be supplied by MG (and they had more MGs than any other army in that war, and invented the GPMG concept). It didn’t really work out well for them, which is why they enthusiastically embraced the assault rifle concept with StG 44. They were also very unpleasantly surprised when facing Russians with SVT (which prompted G41 and G43).

        On the modern battlefield, semi-auto is a must, and full auto capability is highly desirable. Every single army in the world uses an assault rifle or battle rifle of some kind. The argument that you’re pushing for has been lost a long time ago, for purely practical reasons.

        • +1

          It can be said that the US had the right rifle for mid century mobile warfare but the wrong machinegun while the Germans had the right machinegun but the wrong rifle.

        • I’m going to have to disagree with the idea that the US had the right rifle for mid-century warfare in the M1 Garand. The sad reality is, they had the ideal rifle to refight WWI with, because the M1 was designed to support the same flawed pre-war doctrine that the US fought WWI with in the first place, which came from the French. You know, the guys who got wiped out by the Germans, that thought Elan and the bayonet would triumph over the machine gun and barbed wire? The M1 was the weapon we should have had to fight WWI with, and reflected practically none of the post-war “lessons learned” from WWI.

          The handwriting was on the wall about the unsuitability of the full-power rifle cartridge as far back as 1916. Discussions about intermediate cartridges were going on, even as the war progressed. That’s why there were various procurements of civilian rifles like the Remington Model 8, and the various Winchester semi-autos. It’s also why Fedorov developed his Avtomat in 6.5mm Japanese. After the war was over, many careful analysts in multiple countries argued that the full-power rifle in either a bolt action or semi-auto were obsolescent, and needed to be replaced by an intermediate-sized rifle cartridge, preferably fired by a semi-auto action. That’s why the .276 Pedersen was developed here in the US, and it is just too damn bad that Garand had a .30-06 version waiting in the wings, or we might have seen something like the BM-59 modifications performed on a US Garand during WWII, as the facts of life became clear.

          The handwriting was on the wall as long ago as 1916; the problem was that the responsible parties were in denial, and that’s why the US went to war in WWII with the ideal service rifle for pre-WWI conditions. Even during the war, with what little exposure we had to it, we knew better–Which was why the Pedersen Device was developed and procured, and why we had such things as the M1897 Shotgun on mass issue. After the war, we did the traditional US thing, and promptly forgot everything we learned in the war. Did the same damn thing in WWII, as well–If you interview the guys that fought that war, none of them were going “by the book” by the end of the European or Pacific campaigns. None of that was ever fed back uphill to the boys writing the manuals, however, so we fought the Korean and Vietnamese wars having trained the troops on minor tactics that would have been familiar to any WWI Doughboy. Said minor tactics were generally immediately thrown out and then modified as soon as we made contact with the enemy in both of those conflicts, yet again proving the adage that you can’t go wrong underestimating the institutional stupidity of the US Army.

          It’s absolutely amazing to me that we fought WWII with a rifle we failed to incorporate any “lessons learned” from WWI in, and then compounded the error by replacing that with another weapon designed to virtually the same set of specifications. Until Vietnam finally taught us otherwise, we were on the wrong track from 1918 up until about 1962.

          The comment about the Germans having the best machine gun isn’t too far off the mark, but then we have to remember that the Germans were the people who lost WWI, and thus had a great motivation to try and understand why. They came out of the war having copied the French Army’s proposed assault tactics, and refining them into what we now refer to as “Storm Troop Tactics”. From that base, they realized that the key thing was not maneuvering troops on the battlefield, but maneuvering firepower. Which was why they spent all of the 1920s and 1930s trying to develop the ideal machine gun for those tactics, finally culminating in the MG34 and MG42, all the while essentially ignoring substantial improvements to the individual weapon. It was a measure of economy, in that they knew that they’d be better served by something like the eventual Sturmgewehr, but didn’t have the money to put into it until too late in the war to do any good. Had the Germans actually kept to their planned timetable for a general European war, odds are pretty good that they’d have fought it with rifle more like the StG44 than the Kar98k–The work was being done, but the arguments were still going on over characteristics.

          And, it’s kind of ironic, in that the US started the war with a concept of combat that centered on the individual rifleman and primitive mid-WWI French tactics, and the Germans started from a “maneuver the firepower” idea–But, by the end of the war, both armies had pretty much converged on essentially the same mix of weapons. The Americans were forced to put more belt-fed firepower down into the squads, and the Germans had discovered that the StG44 made it possible to consolidate the MGs up at the platoon level, to be doled out as the situation required. By the end of the war, a real-world US squad looked a lot more like a German squad of the mid-war period than it did what an American squad had looked like during the early war years. The German Volksgrenadier units with the StG also resembled the American squad more than anything else, with the firepower distributed across the entire squad, supplemented by machine guns.

          Unfortunately, the US failed to get these lessons really digested, and still wanted to issue the penultimate WWI rifle. Which we did, in the M14–At least, until the inherent idiocy of the concept ran up against reality.

          Even after serving in it for 25 years, and having been thoroughly acculturated to it even to this day, the sheer inertia of the US Army just makes me want to scream, sometimes. We have what is called the “Center for Army Lessons Learned”, but the problem with that organizations name is that we just don’t learn. British RSM I met and worked with for a short period quipped something to me about the whole thing–“You really can’t call it the “Center for Army Lessons Learned”, if you haven’t really implemented anything you supposedly learned, now can you? The place ought to be called the “Center for Army Lessons Identified, and Then Bloody Well Ignored”.

          Considering the grief that my bosses and I had trying to get the Engineer Branch to procure and deploy the armored route clearance vehicles developed by the South Africans, back in the 1990s, and the total lack of attention paid to our similar entreaties over doing better prep and training for rear-area battle…? I find that I have to sadly agree with that guy. We just don’t learn very well, and we sure as hell don’t do anything about what we learned until the last possible minute.

  38. Keep the M4 for rear-echelon personnel and adopt a reliable version of the AR-10 in .308 for combat arms units, problem solved.

  39. There is such a thing as the perfect infantryman rifle. Once we determine what the perfect infantryman looks like. I was an Army Infantryman for 5 years. My brothers were of all shapes, sizes and craziness. Infantry fulfill many jobs and uses. They don’t just run into battle all gung-ho and kill everything. That’s what drones are for. By many observations, infantryman probably span the largest cross section of human beings of any other job profile in the military, save for gender. There’s tall ones and short ones, big ones and little ones, smart ones and dumb ones, and strong ones and weaker ones. Those are the four categories by which any outside source manufacturing equipment need take into account when creating new concepts. There are missions in which all four of those categories will make a difference to the outcome. There are many military manufacturers who have already got their merchandise combat ready, truly combat ready. Clothing manufacturers have adopted the military M.O.L.L.E. systems into most of their outer wear. Firearm manufacturers haven’t really looked into creating firearms that can be mission adaptive yet. But, believe it or not, the M4 platform is closer to that goal than any other single design I’ve currently seen. Why the M4?!

    1) It is a lightweight platform at it’s basic design. There are missions when weight will be the limiting factor. Nobody wakes up in the jungle with 45 lbs of weapon system and says to themselves, “Man, I hope we get to hump 20 miles today.” Been there. The remedy we had at that time was to pass the heavier machine guns around between squad members while the gunners got to catch their breaths. Not really a good thing if we run into an ambush, but better that than having an exhausted gunner when “Nuts” happens.

    2) Modular. The benefits of this platform start with some of the comments made earlier in here. This rifle can be easily adapted to make it hit harder, shoot farther, or even penetrate better. So, a basic rifleman can use the same lower and with minimal changes and additions, he can switch out his kit and become a back up marksman to the designated marksman or sniper support. Need to kick in some doors, no worry, the M4’s 50 Beowulf goes through most things. And it’s just an upper swap out. And the opportunities just keep coming with civilian creativity. There are many, many dreamers out there who keep the M4’s relevance alive, but one of my favs is Alexander Arms. They really seem to be looking from an infantryman’s perspective. But, I love all kinds of innovators.

    3) Repeatability. The receivers are really the only part that needs to stay constant. So long as they maintain a standard like ‘MILSPEC,’ they can avoid some confusion on the battlefield should the grunt need to change out his mission specific equipment. Infantry leaders will be able to fine tune their mission parameters by having more than one option available when they are prepping their teams for mission readiness. Without adding too much weight, the grunt can carry three different rifle platforms and ammo. They can also change missions in the hot without taking more than a couple of seconds to get ready.

    As for some of the comments about shooting long range. Not really something that can be made adaptable to the four rules I stated earlier. Not all people have the ability to shoot that far, even with training. But, the ones that do, should have the ability to swap out a combat load (5.56) to the 6.5 or 6.8 with an upper change and magazine. I agree completely with some of the thoughts about Blackout. It is a better round in almost every aspect. I believe it should be the adopted round for grunts everywhere. Yes, there is a little weight added, but nowhere near enough to make a grunt slow down or complain. Grunts will carry more weight farther than anyone else in the military. Especially if a fellow grunt says that they can’t do it. Grunts are far more resilient and defiant than just about any other job field in the military.

    • It’s not really about increased weight. It’s about decreased firepower for the same weight. My personal load had twelve magazines ready to go and another in the rifle. Would you rather have nine magazines for the same weight, even if the rounds pack a bit more punch in the sub-400 meter bracket? The 300 AAC is a great specialty round that does things that 5.56 can’t. The 5.56 is a better jack of all trades round. I don’t need to switch uppers, switch calibers, etc… It’s not as good as specialist rounds at anything, but it’s also decent at everything.

      You mention carrying extra uppers, etc… That’s weight that I would much rather assign to more ammo and other gear. Our experience is going to be different as I was a 1371, not an 0311, but to me a “jack of all trades” setup seems to be much better than being able to customize. It avoids the demon Murphy and applies the KISS principle.

      Can the rifle be improved? Definitely. I think a full length piston setup like the SIG-550 series would do lots to improve reliability and simplify maintenance. However, I think keeping the same caliber for all platoon level weapons is a great idea. LMGs should feed from STANAG compatible drums, DMRs and standard rifles should use the same caliber, with differences in barrel length and specific ammo loads. (That way, if I need to, I can hand a spare magazine to the marksman and still have him be able to contribute to the fight when he runs out of his long range loads.) Ever since I got to play with my cousin’s militia issue SIG-552, I have been in love with everything about the platform except the magazine system.

      The real bottom line is that the “perfect” rifle is not about making the best rifle possible for any particular circumstance. It’s about making a rifle that can do anything passably and minimizes logistics issues. Or at least, that’s my opinion.

      • Well, you can’t indefinitely decrease the caliber to increase capacity, either. I mean, going with that logic to the extreme, why not scale down from 5.56 to, say, 4mm? You could carry 15 mags then…

        Ultimately, it’s a question of balance of two things that are both important. And it’s not really a given that 5.56 is the right spot in that balance; it’s just something that we happen to have today, but it was originally chosen with something very different in mind (pervasive full auto use). To properly determine the best balance point, we need to do extensive testing to figure out how much an average infantryman can carry, and how much ammo can we expend them to go through before resupplies depending on the tactics (and also which tactics are more efficient – it may be that our current tactics are defined by ammo choice, and aren’t the best if that choice is not fixed anymore).

        And maybe the testing will show that 5.56 is indeed in the sweet spot, or close enough that it doesn’t matter. Or maybe something like 6.8 is better. Or maybe even the suggestion that I made in jest, of scaling down to 4mm, is actually the way to go. There’s no way to tell until more extensive research is done.

        • You’re not wrong, but ultimately, I’m a big fan of broad scale ammunition compatibility. In my opinion, ammo cross-compatibility for everything at the platoon level is a critical variable to keep in mind. That’s really my major problem with all the snowflake rounds. None of them have the same broad base of capability that the 5.56×45 chambering delivers. I personally love the latest USMC brainstorm on the topic of LMGs, where they designed the new platform to feed exclusively from STANAG compatible magazines. That seems like a minor detail until you realize that every magazine in the squad is now potentially extra LMG ammo.

        • The M16/556 NATO started out with the Air Force , as a support/guard firearm… a replacement for the M1/M2 carbine.. it was not planned to be used as a battle rifle.. the AR10/M14/FNAL/G3 were build as battle rifles….the battle rifle has it’s roll, the unit machinegun has it’s roll, and the submachine gun has it’s roll…..the M16 NEVER filled any roll or area of battle…correctly….the M16 was a matter money over the battle field needs.

        • I’m going to have to disagree with you there. The M16A4 I shlepped through my career was a more than adequate rifle. Was it the pinnacle of any given task? No. A SMG is better in CQB, a bolt gun is better at range, an M249 is better for suppression. However, the M16A4 or even an M4 can provide an adequate substitute that won’t leave me severely disadvantaged in any situation. As for stopping power… Well, I’ve seen hajis take much more than a 5.56 round and still fight. It’s not so much a deficiency in the round as it is an inherent resiliency in the human body driven by 150lbs of crazy and adrenaline.

  40. Anything made of (or originally designed in) wood and steel that launches something thirty caliber, and as reliable as the sunrise. Something from the Kalashnikov or Garand/M14 bloodlines

    “{whines} Too heavy” – said some pantywaist

    My great grandfather fought under Patton in North Africa. He was a skinny little bastard. Guess what he carried? A M1 Garand. With ammo. In the desert! If my great grandfather could do it so can you.

    P.S. Man The F*** Up!!

    • It’s not that it’s “too heavy” it’s that ultimately I can only carry so much weight. Given that fixed ceiling, I would rather have more firepower for the same mass than less. Given that 90% of my rounds are going to be used for suppression rather than directed fire, I’d say give me the extra ammo.

      To get the point across compare the AKM magazines to AK-74. For the same weight of ammo, you get about 50% more firepower. That’s not a minor improvement.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-74#Magazines

    • How much ammo did he carry?

      How well would he fare with that type of firearm and that ammo quantity against a modern adversary (even with something as old as AK-47), instead of the typical foe of his day armed with a bolt-action stripper-clip-loaded rifle?

      • … or without armor, comms, NODs, or the thirty pounds of extra stuff that the DOD decided in their great wisdom should be standard issue to all combat troops.

        • Left overs from Land Warrior?

          I groaned watching Restrepo, seeing the over-large and heavy rucks those guys had to haul up steep slopes on patrol.

  41. Whatever goes bang when you need it to.

    We’ve been killing each other with sticks and such beyond memory. As science progresses, our methods of killing other humans changes. There will never be an “ultimate” weapon. Even our nuclear weapons have gotten bigger and bigger.

  42. If Obama and the anti-gunners keep pushing their agenda we all will be infantry!

    I have four rifles. One 7.62×51 called an M&P-10, and my primary is a 7.62×39 LAR-47. And 2 22LR’s, a 10/22 takedown and a S&W 15-22. No pistols mentioned!

    Hope they work for me. Wish me luck.

  43. Lots of great rifles and cartridges out there, but, if at the end of the day, I can’t use it to buttstroke some heathen or drunk into submission rather than shooting them, it’s not the ultimate. I’m just sayin’.

    • David,
      A big problem in making a durable weapon is all of the women and weenie armed men who bitch because a 6.5 lb weapon is too heavy.

      • Or those of us who don’t want to carry a 28lb pig when an M16A4 or M4 is a better all around tool for the job.

  44. In my mind modularity is the future of military weapons. A desert tech MDR in a 6.8 would have enought punch and distance to allow for almost every infantryman to have the capacity of a dmr. Aditionally, the lower should have the capacity for several caliber uppers (7.62×51, 260Rem, 6.8SPC, 300BLK, 5.56,etc). That way units could configure the rifle to the mission specifics such as short barrel for room clearing, long barrel for distance engagements, and mid barrel for everything else. A bull pup that is modular just makes sense for the future of infantry weapons… Unless a laser gun has been made. I really hope that happens.

  45. The semi-disposable Kel-Tec SU-16C and SU16D in .204 Ruger. Each soldier, marine, airman, sailor, or coastie would be issued one of each. Designated marksmen and marines would be issued depleted uranium rounds.

  46. Semi-Auto
    .50 BMG
    16″ Barrel
    10rd Mags

    Full-Auto Sidearm (7.62×25 loaded hot would be nice)

    Have teams of combined Suppression and Marksman training.

    The enemy now has to deal with the reality of only tanks and select other vehicals being cover…. everything else becomes consealment.

    The enemy will also have to deal with the phycological effects of their buds exploding into chunks and pink mist.

    Whatever body armor the enemy has becomes nearly irrelivent.

    The war then returns to the battle of Longistics, one we have the knowledge and ability to win…

    • 50 bmg and 40 cm barrel (16 inch)!? Are you crazy?

      Though I like your idea about the 7.62×25 sidearm. Double stack mag with 20 round capacity, front grip (folding to fit in holster) and a rate reducer to reduce the ROF as much as possible would make for a good sidearm that could hold its own as a PDW/SMG type of deal.

      • Only someone who has never fired a 50 BMG weapon would think that it’s in any way a good idea to make that a standard round for small arms.

        • I have fired 3 different .50 BMG weapons.

          one Belt-Fed MG
          one Bolt action Rifle
          one Semi-Auto Rifle

          The Semi-Auto reduces the felt recoil to a very bearable level, also standing while firing reduces the stresses on the body with a proper stance.

          I would like to reduce the weight and so 16″ does not compromise the effectiveness of the .50BMG significantly as far as I am aware. It also will not need the weight of fluting and other such accuracy increasing touches that are put into the long distance .50BMG Rifles that we know.

          I am not saying everyone will be equipped with such a load out, but a significant portion should be armed in such a devastatingly effective way. The weight of ammo is workable when its effectiveness and abilities greatly out weigh that of any conventional ammo you are comparing it to, or any of that you can compare it to.

          There is even a Bull-pup .50 that appears to be getting close to what I would be looking for in a field-able weapon for a soldier.

          Also the battle rifle performance ability of the Barrett has been demonstrated by Jerry Miculek

          Since it is demonstratively NOT impossible for a weapon that is designed for a use very different of that of a battle rifle to be used as such. A purpose built platform reinforced with proper training should be a very doable proposition.

        • Your 16″ barrel suggestion for the .50 cal reminded me of a storey an old WW2 Seabee told me. After beach landings were made one of the Seabees jobs was perimeter security for the temporary bases. The M-2’s issued to the Seabees had a short barrel so during attacks a lot of unburned powder collected in front of his firing position. After enough built up it would flash and blind him. When he complained he was given a small broom to reach over his sandbags and brush it away (typical military thinking) so instead he went to the mess tent and got a box of kitchen matches and he would occasionally strike one and through it over the sand bags instead.

        • To DMB

          (it did not give me the option to rely to you directly)

          That is interesting, I think it must have been shorter than 16″ or there was something different about the ammo at the time. I will try to look into it.
          Would really suck to flash yourself blind and give the enemy a clear maker of your location at the same time.

        • I would be lying if I said the length but seems like it he said their barrels were was 36″ long. The prob;lem stopped when they got the 45″ barrels. The rounds were different. Back circa 1987 when I was an LT. we got a truck load of old .50 cal one day and was told to shoot it up cause other wise EOD was going to blow it up. It was so smoky after a burst you had to wait for the wind to blow the smoke away so you could see the target again. I grabbed a data sheet out of a can and saw it was loaded in 1939!

          Your probably not old enough to remember the old LAWs subcal devices. They were little rockets shot out of a LAWs tube for simulated training. They looked like a rocket made of pipe. When you fired the law a lot of the powder would be thrown out the back unburned. It looked like burned pine needles so everyone ignored it until one day an SFC decided he needed a smoke even though it was a no smoking area I saw him lighte up and went to stop him but he threw the lit match to the ground. The powder flashed and left him with half a mustache, no eyebrows, no arm hair and black smudges all over. I was laughing so hard I couldnt even talk:-) When could talk I just said to him “I told you this was a no smoking area” and walked off.

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