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According to The Marine Times, the head of Joint Forces Command was trying to get his troops a better rifle with more powerful bullets well before the Corps deployed in Afghanistan. Pre-theater, General James Mattis’ lobbied for a 6.8mm round. Yes, well, the Marines recently “settled” for partial deployment of 5.56mm Special Operations Science and Technology (a.k.a. SOST) ammunition, to fit existing weapons. “The Corps is still considering a swap to larger calibers, but if SOST continues to show promise, it may not be necessary, said Chief Warrant Officer-5 Jeffrey Eby, the Corps’ senior gunner. Marine officials ‘100 percent trust’ the new round, he said, and are awaiting feedback from operating forces who are beginning to use it.” (Never mind the AA-12, of course. Or the 416.) Question: why are the Marines so reticent about switching to larger, more powerful and accurate ammo? Recoil. More specifically, not-so-strapping Marines. “Fielding 6.8mm ammo also would result in new marksmanship challenges. Much like the 7.62mm M14, a 6.8mm rifle produces larger recoil than an M16A4 or M4, making it difficult for smaller Marines to keep the weapon on target, Eby said.”

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  1. I have a 6.8 SPC AR-15, and the difference in recoil between it and my .223 AR-15 is hardly noticeable. Even for a female shooter (probably the implied reason), it shouldn't be a big deal.

    I think the holdup is just the commonality/logistics/supply chain issues; also, nobody will mistake a 5.56 gun for a 7.62 gun, but because 6.8 SPC AR differs from a 5.56 one only in the bolt, barrel, and magazines, the chance for confusion is much greater.

  2. My 9 year old daughter and 6 year old son have already fired my 6.8mm AR. They can lie all they want. I simply chose to accknowledge reality.

    Had the Marine reps simply said that there is no money to switch at this time I would have been satisfied with the response. But lying to me and assuming I will believe it is a useless endeavor.

  3. It sounds like what The Corps is looking for is the 300 Blackout. And while they are replacing the barrel they might as well replace the direct gas impingement with what we all really want a piston system.

  4. What do the rounds weigh? How many rounds can the jarhead/grunt carry? How many attackers will there be in the average assult?

    The change to the 5.56 round was to increase the battle pack ammo load.

    Think before you hit the enter button…

    • Coming in very late here. I agree with Gen Mattis. Vietnam was my war, did two tours with the 3rdMarDiv.

      I was there in 1967 when they dumped that black POS on us, the XM16E3. A lot of buddies and fellow Marines were wounded and killed because of THAT rifle.

      As to ammo weight. I carried 16 M14 magazines with 20 rounds in each magazine, for a total of 32o rounds. When they finally forced me to give up my M14, and I fought and struggled mightily to keep it.

      For the XM16E3 I carried 32 20rd magazines which were only somewhat reliable with 16 rounds in them. I also carried a pair of slip joint pliers to bend the flimsy magazines square again so they would fit into the magazine well of the weapon. Total round count was 52.

      It is not about how many rounds, the question is how many effective rounds. For years I felt we needed two rifles, one for urban type warfare, one for non-urban warfare. Based on what we presently had in inventory it boiled down to the 7.62 & 5.56 NATO rounds.

      FNH gives us an interesting option with the SCAR(H) Mk 17s in 7.62 but with a quick change barrel, and kit it can be adapted to 5.56 from 7.62. Giving us with essentially one rifle. Does it make more sense than the compromise 6.8? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else, who is honest.

      One last question. Why are we still looking for an effective round for a rifle we placed in duty almost 50 years ago?

      Go figure.

      Semper Fi

  5. Us old timers had no problems with the M-14 in 7.62×51, even carrying more than our basic load of 100 rds. (5 x 20 round magazines) or the M-60 (pig) with its basic load. If these current service members can not carry heavier ammunition it is time to go to the gym (as the NOCIC would say, besides we only had our leather personnel carriers (LPCs), for transportation), as well as for management to look at lightening the load they carry. But that was in earlier times when “MEN WERE MEN AND “SHEEP” WERE SCARED”.

    Remember even when we lightened the weapon and ammo (M-16 & 5.56) for the grunt, management made sure that we carried the same weight as before, usually by increasing the ammo load per man. (eg. 100 rds. was he basic load with the M-14, with the M-16 is 180 to 300 rds. 30 rd. magazine x 6 or 10 magazines) 7.62 bandoliers carried 60 additional rounds (generally given 2 to carry for reloads or and either a 7 pocket bandoliers (20 rds. per pocket =140 rds.) or a 4 pocket bandoliers. (30 per pocket = 120 rds.) on stripper clips with 1 stripper clip attachment tool.

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