Over the last couple years, the U.S. Army has been holding the Individual Carbine competition — a program designed to evaluate if the M4A1 rifle is still the best firearm for our soldiers over 50 years after its introduction, or if there is anything better out there. The project has been under fire from the start, and they canned the competition back in June of last year claiming that everyone failed to meet the specifications. According to new information acquired by the Washington Times, it sounds like that decision to cancel the project may have been for other reasons . . .
A competing rifle outperformed the Army’s favored M4A1 carbine in key firings during a competition last year before the service abruptly called off the tests and stuck with its gun, according to a new confidential report.
The report also says the Army changed the ammunition midstream to a round “tailored” for the M4A1 rifle. It quoted competing companies as saying the switch was unfair because they did not have enough time to fire the new ammo and redesign their rifles before the tests began.
Exactly how the eight challengers — and the M4 — performed in a shootout to replace the M4, a soldier’s most important personal defense, has been shrouded in secrecy.
But an “official use only report” by the Center for Naval Analyses shows that one of the eight unidentified weapons outperformed the M4 on reliability and on the number of rounds fired before the most common type of failures, or stoppages, occurred, according to data obtained by The Washington Times.
There’s little doubt that the Army is reluctant to switch to another platform. The sheer cost of transitioning the armed forces to a new firearm platform would be astronomical, not to mention the training requirements for both the individual soldiers and the armorers. But the more that comes out about how the competition is being run, the more it sounds like the Army set the bar so high that it was impossible for anyone to meet — and even then, one gun came close.
As for the manufacturer of the rifle that came closest to passing, there is no official word and no one is willing to talk about it. But I think I have a pretty good idea who it is.
Bring back the Garand.
The Johnson was better!
Okay, bring the Johnson back too.
To justify ALL of the replacement costs, a new rifle will have to be SIGNIFICANTLY better in EVERY area, no exceptions, before it will be considered for adoption. It’s not just the cost of the weapon; that’s only a tiny portion of it, when you look at the TOTAL cost of things like new parts, new part numbers and storage locations for EVERY part at EVERY post/base, new training for individual soldiers, training the trainers, armorer training, arms room storage racks, field and/or vehicle storage racks, publication changes, changes to other weapons that have to directly interface with it (such as grenade launchers), the cost of needing to support BOTH systems during a changeover period that will take years, and other related expenses.
The article I read stated that the “winner” beat the M4 in reliability in the area of most-common-and-easily-cleared-by-the-user stoppages, but FAILED to match the M4 in the area of the more serious assistance-required-to-clear stoppages. So, you’re in combat, and the good news is your gun jams less often; but the bad news is, when it DOES jam, you might not be able to get it back in operation by yourself. What kind of a trade-off is that? A damn poor one.
Until a rifle/carbine comes along that beats the M4A1 in every tested area, every time, there will be no replacing the M4-series weapons.
Excerpt from the CNA report:
“A third graphic shows the M4A1 performed best for Class 3 stoppages, which are more significant failures that require a specialist, or armorer, to clear.
It achieved 6,000 mean rounds between failure. Gun ‘C’ achieved about 4,500 rounds.”
Always $ for BS, crap, and trash though. Diversity, sensitivity etc.
Take care of grunts and everyone else can keep the standard stuff. Optimal performing rifle, radio, and boots. Doesn’t much matter what the REMFs and ass/trash/support have. For the price of annual DOD Breast Cancer research funding (I kid you not) we can afford the equip the very few infantrymen we possess.
For the amount of money that US spends on its military, it could probably issue service rifles made out of solid gold. If you cut back useless pork like F-35, there’s plenty of money to make the perfect rifle, and it’s no less than a soldiers of one of the few militaries in the world that are actually likely to use it in combat deserve.
Done a lot of COIN deployments? So, by your yardstick the cav, armor, artillery, MPs, THTs, and even the truck drivers get second rate equipment? Brilliant in a COIN environment…NOT. The cav, armor, and Arty guys all ended up, at some point, working as infantry units. The others ran convoys, prowled for sources, or did RACO missions. All of those, at some point, end up needing lethal long-arms.
Know anything about friggin’ logistics? What you propose are TWO supply systems, in theory. Added expense, added complications. KISS.
How about training? Why create two carbines for the armorers and small arms repairs guys to deal with. Yes, they can do it, but it takes more time and more $$ to do so. Same-same for basic/IET and unit level training.
Sorry, but that idea is a dog with fleas.
. . .Plus, uniformity in arms ain’t “uniformity”. I was issued an M-16/M203 in Iraq, and was supposed to have instead received an M-4/M203 (they were issued approximately 3 months into deployment). Upon leaving Iraq I ran into some AF tower dudes that had wheeled Pelican Cased 727’s that hadn’t been opened/used.
Pedersen in 276 even more so…
I’m hoping it was the Mini-14 tactical that won!
it passed all the other subjects in reliability but came in last for accuracy
Sounds legit to me. My buddy’s Mini-14 was about minute-of-pie-plate precise at 25 yards. About first time pistol-shooter precise. I think it was more consistent with the brass thrown 50 ft than with the bullets travelling at 3100 fps.
Mini-14s are cool but accurate/precise they are not.
That explains why nobody ever got shot by the A-Team.
Not sure if serious.
Ever fire a Garand type in the rain? I was lucky, I wore glasses. I could just wipe, or smear, the oil and water off my lens. The 20/20 types? I imagine they caught it right in the eyeball! Other than than, loved my sweet 14.
Thanks for the memory. Thankfully I wore glasses and in basic had the right advice to take a washcloth with me to wipe my glasses when I qualified in snow. More than a half century ago now. Missed a few shots while wiping, but did better overall. Still love the Garand and M-14 (and I’ve learned to love the ARs, though less than the former).
I wouldn’t want to be stuck with only 8 rounds if 10 angry dudes charged me all at once. I would not be surprised if more than just a couple of soldiers died, in WW2 because of that. That being said, the Garand is a great rifle.
From what I’ve read, there was a an original design option to have the Garand with a removable 20 round magazine similar to the BAR; but that the Powers That Be turned it down because they thought the soldiers would lose the magazines, among a couple of other silly reasons.
So the Italians redesigned the M1 Garand with a removable 20 round mag shooting the 7.62×51. The BM-59.
That design was approved in late 44 if memory serves me correctly but was killed because the war was all but over and their were plenty of M-1’s in storage. The design was dusted off in the mid-50s and rechambered from 30-06 to 7.62×51. The result was the M-14.
On Iwo Jima 8 marines killed 52 japanese that were attacking them. Quickly. That was when Americans armed with a semi auto rifle routinely faced opponents armed with bolt actions.
Now the American armed with an m4 with a 30 round mag faces enemies armed with ak’s also with 30 round mags. In the day of the m1 the individual American could could on superior firepower to his enemies. No more.
M4 is okish, far from the best battle assault rifle but you guys seem to like it, the problem IMHO is the 5.56 cartridge after 200 yards and in a machine gun, we need more range and a heavier bullet but not as much as the 7.62, so a new gas piston upper for say Grendel or similar on the M4 lower would fix the rifle issue at least and improve the ability to use a machine gun to suppress OPFOR out to 500+ yards.
Nah, not the Garand an m1a or an m14 would be awesome… cause they fixed the only two major problems of the m1 (capacity, and mounting an optic)….
and select fire is also kinda groovy if a bit pointless.
Ever heard of the Noreen BN36? Yeah, the Garand ain’t got nothing on that.
You are right. The Garand didn’t have “Holy shit you might die if you shoot this piece of shit rifle” warnings.
Any weapon that our Uncle asked you to carry around for a year (even if not your favorite), I bet would be hard to part with anyway. Very hard to turn one in before coming back. Bring back the M-4, the M-9, the M-16 A2, the M203. . . 🙂
wow…. price is NOT the issue
special ops csn use what they want. troops can buy what they want. near all use military versions of AR15, AR10 for a reason. they are the same and seconds to replace uppers. you can change calibers or if one fails get a replacement from a buddy in seconds. The SCAR cant do that. None of the “new” rifles can. only variants on the M4 platform can.
ammo and caliber range are unrivaled in sny other system. Ruger, HK, Colt, FN, nearly every manufacturer has an M4 variant. their lower may change, their upper may change, but all sre compatible with maybe a couple that are not.
why change when you have a system thus flexible, upgradible, and interchangeable?
show how any “new” system can do better. 30 year old rifles are made like new, upgraded, or used for parts all usable in new systems.
unless they make sonething radically superior it will not happen.
Nothing wrong with the M4A1. Unless of course you want to lump in the mediocre individual training the Army provides to non-spec ops types.
The cost of the guns is not the driving factor here. Money is at the root of it, but it has more to do with entrenched special interests than with the cost of a simple rifle. For the price of one cruise missile, you could replace all of the rifles for two entire battalions. The reason this program was killed isn’t simply because the guns are ‘too expensive.’ It is far more insidious.
Another “Colt stomps feet, holds breath”?
Colt no longer supplies M4/M4A1’s, FN does
which is ironic as I think Foghorn was referring to FN’s SCAR as the rifle that likely “came close”
Only problem I can see is that even at “government pricing” the SCAR has got to be twice the cost of the M4. The 16S is easily twice as expensive as the average DI AR-15 so it stands to reason the same would hold true of the select fire versions
@JB, not only that, the SCAR “ain’t all that and a bag o’chips”… It’s a good rifle, but it has it’s share of issues LIKE ANY OTHER RIFLE EVER MADE.
I’ve sold to the military, complete with filling out contracts. Several businesses in my past I was intimate with all the goings on. IT is about WHERE THE MONEY IS SPENT!
Special Interests….aka the Military Industrial Machine….complete with their ‘bought’ politicians are more powerful than ever!
Why does the army need rifles? Are we in a ground war?
I’ve had friends in every branch of the service, and naturally we wind up talking about equipment a lot. The overwhelming gist of these conversations is that the equipment we use is never sourced for a reason resembling common sense.
The following seems true for just about everything:
It’s not the cheapest.
It’s not even “average” priced in its class.
It doesn’t perform the best.
The soldiers in the field don’t like it.
We’re getting Kraft Singles at Parmesiano Reggiano prices.
The only explanation is special interests that heavily influence the decisions.
No, the simple explanation is that the “general user” doesn’t understand the lifecycle sustainment costs for procurement of a capability. Without doing a whole Acquisition 101 or Acquisition Logistics 101 class, the actual purchase price of a capability (rifle) that meets the requirements (things that go pew), is a small factor. The lifecycle sustainment costs that are associated with that initial purchase, are a large factor. If the capability procured is cheap on initial purchase, but requires a lifecycle sustainment (and eventual disposal) costs that far exceed competitors of a higher initial purchase cost, the least overall lifecycle cost capability is selected (provided all meet the requirement).
What Charlie Kilo said.
Gunshop commandos think that it’s just a matter of buying the newest n’ bestest rifle that they saw in a video game or on the cover of some moronic gun magazine. How many times has some window-licker announced that what the US military “really needs and deserves” is something like the Robinson Arms abortion or some pimped-over AK from Red Jacket? And let’s not even get started on the stupidity that is the bullpup.
They ignore the troublesome little things like current production capacity, durability, training of soldiers, training of armorers and depot-level repairmen, provision of spare parts, availability of tooling for war-time expansion of production….
There’s nothing wrong with the M4. Is it the greatest carbine ever made? No. But it’s more than adequate for what American troops need and it’s a system that we can support now and in the future.
None of the options to the M4 system offer anything near the improvement in performance that would justify the huge expense in both money and training resources.
The only thing the M-4 needs is true dedicated gas piston. Colt designed a gas piston M-4 but won’t proliferate it because it would mean giving up trade secrets since multiple manufacturers are chosen for producing said weapon. When the first carbine contest was cancelled HK had offered it’s 416, but kept it’s lobbying so the M320 could go into production for the army. At 3,200 dollars a pop, this thing is 3-4 times more expensive than the M203 and heavier and the troops despise it over the 203.
The M4 needs no such thing.
It’s another gunshop commando “improvement” that adds weight and expense, at the cost of accuracy and reliability. (Spare us the fanboi nonsense about the HK416 being “more reliable” — it’s “demonstration” of such was by a handful of brand-new hand-fitted HK416s competing against used rack-grade M4s.)
I have heard many reasonable arguments as to why piston doesn’t add reliability, but this is the first time I’ve seen a claim that it makes things less reliable. Care to explain?
More parts. More things to get damaged or lost. Making a weapon more complex has never made it more reliable. The glowing reports about piston systems are coming from manufacturers and their carefully hand-built test samples. Not from weapons that have been used by a dozen soldiers over as many years worth of training and deployment.
The alleged “25% improvement in reliability” that the piston fanbois like to quote was in the context of 98% baseline reliability of direct impingement M4s. Taking piston-equipped rifles all the way up to 98.5% reliability.
Really worth the costs in money and training resources?
A long-stroke piston design doesn’t really have any more parts (or, at least, any more separately moving parts). I mean, AK has a piston, but it’s clearly a far simpler design compared to AR, so it’s not a given that piston automatically means more complicated.
I would also dispute the assessment that piston designs are more complicated in principle. If they were, then DI would have come first, and pistons later, but it was the other way around. In truth, while piston is “one extra part”, the basic principle of operation there is simpler, and allows for more crude manufacturing methods, then the kind of DI that the AR platform uses (which requires fairly tight tolerances in the receiver so that the bolt carrier itself acts as a piston).
The reason why AR piston systems in particular don’t do much is because pretty much none of them actually use the opportunities presented by adding said piston to improve the reliability of other components, most notably the BCG. So yes, pretty much all you get there is dead weight. The only exception I know of is Faxon Arms ARAK-21, but then it diverged so far that it’s not really an AR at all, it just happens to use the same lower. OTOH, if you take a design that’s built around the piston – like, say SIG SG550, or FN FNC, or really any other modern Garand/AK descendant – the benefits there are much more evident, IMO.
When you add that long piston, you add a considerable amount of weight to the whole system.
Again, to what real world gain? You go from 98% to 98.5% reliability. And that’s with the apples to oranges comparison of carefully groomed manufacturers’ samples to rack-grade M4s.
Piston ARs are a solution searching for a problem.
I wouldn’t say that about the 320, its the best system that has been fielded in over 100 years. Its 4 times more accurate in stable platform, untrained and trained fire. Its really a huge success in a pool of huge failures. I carried one for 8 months and carried a 203 for 13 months all in Combat, the 320 is the better system by far.
I’m all for replacing the M4A1, we just need to repeal the NFA first, then CMP’ed M4’s for all!
I with you on that one.
gotta admit – the image of Gabby Giffords’, Shannon Watts’s, & Mike Bloomberg’s heads exploding at the thought of the CMP handing out “fully automatic assault rifles” to every Tom, Dick, and Harry makes me smile
You forgot Kalifornia’s “Dear Leader” Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiz Feinstein baby!
Seeing as they could sell even semi-auto neutered ‘veteran’ guns for like 600$ to operator-wannabes and the nostalgic, they could darn near pay off the new-issue arms (and pocket some on the side).
And I’m pretty sure the Army has the clout to tell the ATF to go screw if they really wanted to. They just don’t want to.
Swiss Militia veterans have the option of keeping their issue SIG SG 550; aka: Stgw 90 (Sturmgewehr 90) & Fass 90 (Fusil d’assaut 90/Fucile d’assalto 90); assault rifles when their military obligation is fulfilled. 🙂
These select-fire assault rifles are, however, converted to semi-auto only before they are released to the veteran; despite the fact that this very same rifle, in select-fire, spent its whole “military career” in that same militia members home while he/she was on active and reserve status. 😐
So, unlike the ATF’s insistence here, the Swiss government does not consider “once a machine gun, _always_ a machine gun!” to be the case with “retired” SG 550s.
The CMP does not have access to non-.30 caliber military weapons. That is black-letter law in the legislation that created the CMP and gave it access to surplus military arms. There is not much likelihood that any legislation expanding the CMP’s reach to include 5.56mm rifles would pass Congress and be signed into law under this administration. Even with the changes wrought by the 2014 election there would not be the votes to get it through the Senate, let alone to over-ride a certain veto.
On the other hand, there is nothing preventing the CMP from building semi-auto ARs chambered for .300 Blackout and selling them. They are already engaged in “manufacturing” work as defined by the BATF (fitting parts, stocks, etc, to guns prior to sale), so that should not be an obstacle,
“…this administration…” would do away with the CMP in a heartbeat given half a chance. Unless, of course, the CMP could show that they are preparing women for 11Bravo deployment.
The Army fixing the trials to arrive at a pre-determined outcome gets filed under the ‘water is wet’ category. The funny thing is this is pretty much how we arrived at both the M-14 and M-16 in the first place.
There is no point at all in replacing the M4 until they replace the 5.56mm round. Spending the probably billions to replace all those rifles and still have ammo that zips straight through terrorists in close quarters and doesn’t drop them at long range. 6.5, 300BLK, 6.8SPII, I don’t really care which. Though we likely wouldn’t even need those at all if they’d just let us use some quality copper hollow point 5.56 ammo.
Funny thing that Geneva Convention
Don’t you mean Hague?
Yep, “Rules of Land Warfare.” Geneva Convention is for treatment of POWs.
You mean the Hague Convention of 1899.
Which only applies to signatories.
And only if they’re fighting other signatories.
We’re not signatories.
This is why SF gets to use hollow-points and bonded bullets. Some MPs do as well.
I believe the U.S. ratified some of the proposals in the Hague Convention, but not all (expanding bullets being one of them). But like most other international agreements we don’t ratify, we usually adhere to them in principle.
Except that the Geneva convention doesn’t cover expanding ammunition, it’s the hogue convention.
And the funny thing is, the United States never signed on to it.
We can use whatever type of ammunition we like.
I thought the Hogue convention was that all handguns were required to have rubber grip sleeves.
It was the Hague Convention, not the Geneva Convention, that banned expanding bullets in warfare.
Mk 318 Mod 0 and Mk 262. That’s about as good as it gets for 5.56. I wouldn’t want to stake my like on M855 or M855a1.
Dirk, it’s time we start fight our enemies, by their rules !!
This practice began to change subsequent to a 23 September 1985 opinion issued by the Judge Advocate General2, authored3 by W. Hays Parks4, Chief of the JAG’s International Law Branch, for the signature of Major General Hugh R. Overholt, which stated:
“…expanding point ammunition is legally permissible in counterterrorist operations not involving the engagement of the armed forces of another State.”
The Geneva/Hague Convention discussion again!!! Kidding. I like gun nerd talk. Continue.
This. The M4 is a great weapon, and the M4A1 is even better. Replacing the burst trigger with full auto is great, and the heavier barrel is a bonus.
Mostly my experience is with the M4, and mine went through a ton of sh!t and never let me down…water, mud, dust, it just worked.
Now, if you are considering a different round, then by all means have a real contest to see what works best. And I still wouldn’t count out an M4A1 if the new round worked in it.
Bring back the 45-70!
They did with the .458 SOCOM
Your jib. I like the cut of it.
The money the army has wasted on this farce could have bought new rifles for everyone. Part of the problem is the army is still fighting a European war. High mobility with short engagement ranges. The problem is we will be fighting in the ME for the foreseeable future which means we need to switch to a better rifle with a larger caliber bullet. The only good thing about the M-4A1 is the heavier barrel. THE SAME BARREL THEY REMOVED AND REJECTED ON THE M-16A2 30 YEARS AGO BECAUSE THEY DIDNT WANT TO HAVE TO CHANGE THE M-203 MOUNTING HARDWARE!
Most of fighting in the ME is in built-up areas. We need 800m-capable non-carbines there like we need lead weights in our body armor.
There were enough long distance firefights in Afghanistan that e.g. Germans started to re-issue G3.
To deal with those situations we have 7.62mm machineguns, .50 caliber machineguns, snipers with 7.62mm rifles, mortars, artillery and tactical air.
The average rifleman does not need the capabilities of an 800m rifle for the vast majority of the targets he faces. And he does not need to be burdened with the weight of such a rifle or its ammunition on top of all the other gear he is already hauling.
ARMY: “We don’t want a new rifle, but we need a new pistol and different pistol caliber!”
Uh… Mike. As much as I’d like to replace the oversized, underpowered M9 at my side I’d much rather have a more effective battle rifle. Soldiers who value their ass can carry more effective drop pistols if they don’t want to stake their life on an M9, but a SCAR 17S or an AR-10 in violation of General Order #1 is much harder to conceal when you get back to the FOB and are eating in the chow hall.
Same for pistols no point in replacing the M-9 with another 9mm pistol thats why this competition died.
Want truth how USA test weapons issue troops than all you have do rent movie
The Pentagon Wars. Yes movie was made in 1998 has Kelsey Grammer in it. Story line is about Air Force Lt. Col. John Burton was assigned to evaluate the usefulness of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, an Army troop carrier/scout vehicle that, in its final redesign, was effectively a deathtrap for its occupants. Burton keeps trying to execute a proper live-fire armor test on it but is constantly subverted by his temporary commanding officer, Army Maj. Gen. Partridge, in order to get it under construction and in the field.
I work in a program office and I see that same crap every day.
I loved that movie.
Good call. I had totally forgotten about that movie!
And yet after years of actual use in combat. the Bradley is yet to burst into flames upon a trivial hit the way LtCol Burton kept insisting it would.
If you are expecting to see Hollywood provide anything approaching honest criticism of the military, I want some of what you’re drinking or smoking.
A “black humor” made-for-tv version of Col. Burton’s book, ‘The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard’.
The whole “competition” was a complete sham from the get-go. It was just something to keep the higher echelons off their asses for a few more years. It was in all likelihood rigged in favor of one or two of the Pentagon’s running favorites anyway, and I’m willing to bet that every competitor’s rifle soundly beat the M4A1 in every category except for one: and that is that they weren’t made by any current contract holders (Colt I’m looking at you), who probably buttered someone’s bread rather generously with some under-the-table kick-backs and convinced them that a clearly inferior product was still GTG.
As far as I know Colt does not have the contract for M4A1’s
It did at the time of the competition.
Excedrine, if you made that bet you referenced in the message three posts above this one, you’d lose. Check the second page of the Washington Times article, and you’ll see this:
“A third graphic shows the M4A1 performed best for Class 3 stoppages, which are more significant failures that require a specialist, or armorer, to clear.
It achieved 6,000 mean rounds between failure. Gun ‘C’ achieved about 4,500 rounds.”
So, gun ‘C’ did better in the easy-to-clear Class 1/Class 2 stoppages categories, but far worse in the more serious Class 3 stoppages category. These are the stoppages that take your weapon, and therefore YOU, completely out of the fight. This is NOT an improvement, and I think that most folks who would have to use this weapon to complete a mission and/or protect their own lives would agree with me (retired military armorer, here).
Nick – What is your best guess on the weapon that came close?!
Well judging by the FN SCAR-L that he used as the cover picture for the article…
I wonder if the USAF can spare someone with the persona of the late General Curtis Lemay. He had a way of circumventing the entrenched old timers in the Army.
@Bob72, really? LeMay gave us the AR15 which led to the M16.
We can debate M-14 versus M-16 all night, but the point was that General Lemay always marched forward with what he thought was best for his command regardless if the entrenched military old timers didn’t like it.
@Bob72, I have no problem with LeMay. I just wanted to point out that he was the one that wanted the AR15 for his security forces that ultimately led to McNamara forcing the M16 on the Army.
LeMay was a bad ass. Like a General Patton, he saw what needed to be done and he did it. Sadly, we don’t have those type of commanders anymore.
Gen. LeMay left two powerful legacies: the strategic bomber, embodied by the B-52; and the strategic missile, embodied by the Minuteman missile. Both are still around, keeping our enemies awake at night.
The M16/M4 series of rifles have been the standard issue rifle for 50 years, and I can guarantee it will the standard issue rifle 50 years from now. The military, like the rest of the government, is ran by business and politics, not effectiveness. In fact, I would argue that the m16/m4 series will be used up until the point that firearms become outdated, and the military is forced (still kicking and screaming) to adapt energy weapons at some point in the distant future. Militaries don’t change when they should, they change when they absolutely have to.
i highly doubt fifty years from now the us will be using the ar15 platform
I’m sure there were people saying the same thing about flying B-52’s in the 70’s. The B-1 and B-2 were going to replace all those aged-out BUFFs.
Well, guess what is still flying today? And will still be flying 20 years from now?
The brutal truth is, the M4/M16 is what our guys are going to be using for decades to come. Same as the M9, and for the same reason: the defense procurement process is well and truly broken, completely rigged by the last successful bidders.
Or, more to the point, both the M16/M4 and the M9 work well enough that none of the potential replacements justify the huge costs in money and training resources that would be needed if a replacement was selected.
Whats wrong with the 7.62? It’s a proven round.
It’s heavy! The weapon that fires it is HEAVY….IN WWII it took 3 men behind the lines to supply ONE in combat! Many died because of not being supplied with ammo.
In ‘Nam it took 2.
Most combat encounters are within 100 yards.
You come to the conclusion and research this to your satisfaction.
What do you think of keeping the basic cartridge, but upping the caliber a bit to maybe 6.5. obviously the weight of the bullet would need to be a little heavier, but it could be seated a hair deeper in the case to keep the OAL the same. Just an idea.
The problem would be in the magazines, i.e. making a reliable one. Fat cartridges like the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8MM SPC require a pretty generously sized box to stack properly and hold 30 rounds, compared to a 5.56MM STANAG. An example of this is LWRC’s new SIX8 line, wherein they had to blow out the magwell and redimension the inside of the upper to match the lower. Sure, they got a new 6.8 P-Mag to work with it (and allows a COAL of up to 2.32″), but it’s not backwards compatible with any legacy lower and no legacy magazine (or upper receiver) will work with a SIX8 lower. Since the 6.5 Grendel is also fatter than the 6.8 SPC, the change would have to be even more pronounced, and you’d have the same exact problems.
SSK industries has their 6.5 MPC, though, which is basically a 5.56 NATO case shortened and necked up to .264. It’s bullet weights are more limited than the Grendel (85-120 grains according to SSK), but literally all you would have to do is change out the barrel and you’re all set. Can even use all current 5.56 magazines.
With modern ammo, 5.56 is perfectly adequate, even out to long ranges. Long, heavy 70+ gr bullets, like Mk 262 or Barnes 70gr TSX, give you flat trajectory for a nice long “straight shot” distance, still expand and/or fragment within that distance, and retain enough velocity that they still hurt even out to 700m. And they are still light to carry, and controllable in full auto. What more can you ask of an infantry rifle?
Chris wrote on August 21, 2014 at 09:04 hours:
“Why not an M4-style gas-piston upper from Sig Sauer or LWRC chambered in 6.8 SPC?”
Not So Special: A Critical View Of The 6.8mm SPC
It’s also damned hard to control in automatic fire. That was the problem with the M-14/FAL/G3 battle rifles.
The ideal round seems to require:
1. Similar terminal ballistics to the 7.62 x 39
2. The range and barrier penetration of the 7.62 x 51
3. The weight and flat trajectory of the 5.56
I’m no expert, but I would guess that the physics of it means you can get two out of the three, max. Heck, all assault rifle rounds were meant to be a compromise between range, recoil, weight, and power.
Time to take another look at the EM2?
Today I think it takes four Government and ten contractors from three different companies.
The numbers you sited are BS. Not your fault because they were compiled by people who didnt know what they were talking about. The 5 people behind one war fighter is called the logistics tail. That tail includes chaplains, Drill SGTs, trainees, well diggers etc. In other words everyone not pulling a trigger. The number is down to 3 to 1 now but that not accurate either because all of those support jobs are now filled by contractors. Someone has to do the job. Blame clinton for the contractors.
As far as the soldiers in WW2 running out of ammo that was caused by the breakneck speed of the gains of land, high combat tempo, poor commo and the rear just not knowing where the hell the people were. In the Pacific it was the opposite problem. Due to the intense combat and speed, they had to make a decision of what had priority ammo or food. My grandfather went in a 6’ 3”, 235 lbs of very fit young man and came home 135 lbs.
Do we really expect anything positive from the institution that gave us ACU camo?
I wonder if any of the above commenters have actually carried a rifle in combat.
Most of the tales I’ve heard of the M16/M4’s inadequacy come second or third hand, while those that have carried it hold it in high regard.
Consider that Navy SEALs have the latitude to carry almost any rifle they can lay hands on into combat, yet still, overwhelmingly choose an M16 variant.
Operation Neptune Spear used ( according to Norfolk VA located members of DEVGRU) a wide selection of M16/M4 type rifles, and in fact, the rifle that killed Bin Laden was not an HK 416, but a M4.
I’ve carried the M4A1 in combat as well as the MK17. The issue with the M4 is the 556 round. Devgru can get away with it because if you can shoot a guy once in a room it’s just as easy to shoot him 10 times. This shocks the body and destroys the tissues in between each wound as the shock waves collide. If a guy is more than a few meters away follow up shots get tougher and 556 doesn’t kill dudes outright. You have to put one through the brain stem to get guys to stop trying to get away or engage.
My last rotation I carried the MK17 and was the only one on my team doing so. This rotation we are 12 out of 12 MK 17. Generally one round of 762 through the pelvis area drops a guy and one more through the chest kills him.
As for reliability I’d say the M4 has the same amount of issues as the SCAR-H.
Yes 762 is heavier but I’d rather more weight and less ammo as long as it puts guys out in one or two shots. Also suppressing fire is very effective with the larger round.
Just my 2 cents.
Did you carry the standard issue M855 ammo, or one of the fancier kinds?
By all accounts, it’s not 5.56 that’s the problem, it’s the specific bullet designs standardized on by NATO that are.
NATO didnt design anything. The SS109 projectile was the invention of the US Army.
Incorrect. We designed/developed the cartridge, but the SS109 steel-core projectile was developed later by Belgium.
I stand corrected.
Well, and US is a founding NATO member.
In any case, the point rather was that SS109 is adopted as a standard round by NATO. So far as I know, most countries do actually use it, or something equivalent to it, with a few exceptions.
The NATO countries know that in the event of hostile actions all ammo resupply will be from the US. They have to use what we use.
Sure. The problem is that once that was adopted as a standard, there was that much less incentive to upgrade to anything else.
Also, while NATO did standardize on the round, they did not standardize on the twist rate For example, Polish use 1:9 in their Beryls, and so do the French in FAMAS G2, and Swedes with their Ak 5 (FN FNC), and Austrians with AUG. And Swiss (who are not in NATO, but aligned with it in practice) use 1:10 in SG550 – though they are probably not going to need any foreign ammo with their reserves.
So all these countries can use the 62gr M855, but if US will upgrade to something heavier in the future, they’ll need to upgrade their rifles as well to fire it.
No the M-16A2 and M-16A4 both have 1 in 7 twists which is faster than the 1 in 10 the European guns use so the M-16s can handle more rounds than the SIG, AUG, or AK-5 uses.
Have you read the comment that you’re replying to, Lance? I have not said anything about M16 twist rate.
What I said is that if US upgrades to heavier bullets (like the 77gr Mk262) – which it can, precisely because M16A2 and above all have 1:7 twist rate – then half of all other NATO members won’t be able to use that ammunition, because it won’t stabilize in their rifles.
This actually happened before, when US “upgraded” from M193 to M855. The original version of FAMAS, for example, had 1:12 twist, and was designed to be used with 55gr. They had to change that for G2. There were some other rifles that were originally 1:12 or 1:10 also, for the same reasons – I think FNC?
No 1 in 12 cannot be used with any 62gr ammo it can only hold 55gr and lighter bullets. SO most rifle in Europe must be 1 in 9 or 1 in 10 then.
*sigh* Once again you are not reading the comment that you’re responding to.
Some European rifles used to be 1:12 or 1:10 twist (Swiss ones still are, but they don’t care because they use their own ammo, GP90). When NATO adopted SS109/M855 as a standard, several countries had to upgrade their rifles to handle it, most notably France (it usually coincided with the adoption of STANAG magazines, so it wasn’t so bad). So for the time being, all NATO countries can use each others’ standard issue ammunition, because it’s all 62gr.
Now, there are still some countries that use 1:9 twist. These are the ones that I have listed in my earlier comment. If US decides to upgrade to heavier 77gr bullets, then those countries will have to upgrade their weapons once again.
NO I do not see 77gr ammo being ever adopted the military just adopted a new 62gr round don’t see that they will ditch that soon.
Mk262 is already adopted by the armed forces, just not for general use.
As for the new stuff, you never know. Suppose that whole ISIS thing blows up and US needs to put boots on the ground again. They do, and find out that the new thing is as shitty as the old thing (because, let’s admit it, it is). This just might start another round of talk about the rifles and the ammo, and if Congress writes a check…
After the 75th received the new green bullets the report was they were the best thing since sliced bread. However rumors from the field said bullets were coming apart. Being partially made of cold pressed powder I can see how that could happen. Maybe its because I have seen so much shitty equipment pushed onto soldiers I am inclined to believe there is some truth to the rumors.
Yes but for SOCOM only and is use the Special Purpose sniper AR rifle not the M-4 or M-16. I doubt they will go service wide with it. Face it Corps went with Federal Mk 316 round Army is going M-855A1 both 62gr ammo both apart from crappy powder have good reviews. I do not see the US changing to slower twist to please the Euros either since most still use SS109 which is the same as plain M-855 ammo was. .
PS I wouldn’t under estimate Russia either they have modern T-80 tanks air defenses and properly trained infantry it not a Ghost recon push over lie you predict.
You over estimate Russia’s capabilities. The T-80 tanks are over rated. The Russians were never able to build a reliable turbine engine the chassis and turret have too many weak points. The Russians had to pull them out of Chechnya and replace them with T-72’s because they were to easy to destroy and the engines aren’t reliable. Soviets took them into Afghanistan and had to take them all back out because thier suspensions are to delicate to be used in rough terrain. They have AD missile systems that are pretty good as long as they are maintained which my guess is the majority are not. After the fall of the USSR and the departure of Russian forces from east Germany we found (they took all of the equipment but left records) that since the late 50’s no more than 50% of the Soviets equipment we faced was operational. They were moving takes around with tractors at night to make it look as though the tanks were operational. All of that was done when the soviets were at their peak.
No it was the T-72 that was brefly used in Afghanistan and was pulled due to bad tracks. Overall in CHechniya it was crappy tactics which lead tanks w/o infantry to Grozny which lead to the heavy losses. T-72 can duel easily with a M-1A2 tank. Face it your beloved Germany has too few Leopard 2s to tank Russia there Liberal governments have slashed there armys to nothing. There Luftwaffe is so small Ukraine air force out number s them. The MiG-29 and Su-27 can still take on the Tornado’s and Typhoons they use. Im not overestimating them im being real your going to war against a real enemy not some Arab idiots like Iraq was. Face it Russia and Chinese have made radars that detect Stealth tech and for the F-22 becomes a slow lesser armed version of the F-15 w/o its steal use. Russian crews and pilot have exceptional skills in some exercises done with the US pre-2008 many western military men still regarded them as top notch solder airmen and sailors..
Dot be caught up that the USA and Britain cannot be stopped by anyone. I’d put Russia’s weapons and men over China’s any day. And I say any one who wants to goto war with Russia over Ukraine is a idiot and crazy.
And really you want to argue over this??? Off topic my friend this is gun blog not defense blog. Stay on target and don’t get into arguments. We agree to disagree.
I don’t know where you get your info from but the Russian AF is worthless. They had to use instructor pilots to perform combat missions in Georgia and they failed miserably failing to hit most of their targets. Until recently the Russian AF has barely gotten enough fuel for the pilots to practice take offs and landings.
Please read the following but remember as bad as the details are were actually much worse. 20% of their tanks had to be towed in, no operational radios to speak of, poor intelligence etc etc etc.
Yes the Russians used really bad tactics I the invasion of Chechnya and they lost a lot of armor of all types because of it.
The Russians learned nothing between Chechnya and Georgia so its hard for me to believe that in the last 5-6 years they could improve that much.
I can totally believe that some lessons were learned (esp. after Georgia, which after all was entirely on Putin’s watch, so he had to follow up). What lessons is another question. Judging by the handling of Crimea, it seems that what they did is created a smaller, entirely contract force within the army that is actually paid well, trained well and equipped well. That one is formidable, but not large – basically, large enough to handle Georgia or Crimea or even a full-on Ukrainian invasion (as a spearhead), but not an all-out European war. For that, they will have to resort to conscripts, and I already described how conscripts are trained. Morale is better now that they try to at least clamp down on the more severe hazing in conscript units (it used to be that male rape was not uncommon, for example, and suicides were depressingly common), and they also fixed the food issues and such, but the lack of training still means that those conscripts are cannon fodder. In a traditional Russian-style defensive war – i.e. fighting retreat to slow down the invader until fall renders roads unusable (and with them, mobile warfare), and then winter to take its toll on the enemy’s manpower – cannon fodder is exactly what you need. But in an invasion, it doesn’t work so well.
Regarding military tech… USSR had a lot of interesting things in development, and Russia still retains some that are on par with modern Western equivalents, but these are the remains of former glory. There haven’t been any significant developments pretty much since the dissolution of the USSR – oh, some are touted, but if you look at them, they are all old Soviet project that were mothballed in the 90s in various degrees of completeness, and reinvigorated under Putin. Given the severe brain drain that the country has suffered since late 80s – Jews leaving for Israel, everyone else leaving for US, Canada, Germany, and recently Australia etc – and very meager perspectives for engineers and scientists in government employ (the pay is still beyond shitty), I don’t expect this to change anytime soon.
All true but one thing good has happened. All of the americans that have lusted for an AK can get one!
No Russia learned alot form its Chechnya experience. Its AF has improved since the bad days of Boris Yeltsin of the early and mid 1990. Most Pilots now go threw training and they do practice air combat alot more than our own dilapidated USAF and Navy who closed Top Gun and gutted Red Flag for more money for stealth tech that is becoming obsolete and more funding for GPS guided bombs. Apart from F-15C crews most Navy and USAF crew get no real air to air training any more. Hence poor combat reviews seven years ago in a US/Indian air exercise.
I say don’t have the dumb Nazi mindset that the Russians will be pushover bet you be surprise if you got your way and attacked Russia. Yes its no longer the USSR. BUT its not the wreak of 1990s either. Dont forget we lost planes in the mid east as well and our forces are not invincible. The Navy in particular is very vulnerable heck it lacks any real fleet defense fighters any more. The Hornet is a A-7 replacement not a fleet defender.
Put your vodka down Lance. I never advocated attacking Russia. Eventually they will implode on their own again. There is literally no profit in attacking Russia directly. There falling demographics and the poor overall health of the ethnic Russian people are changing dynamics of the military as no over half of the military are non-ethnic Russians. The Russians have been selling all of their equipment to enemies of ours that are also no friend of Russia’s. Iran, one of their largest customers stated about 25 years ago that the stan regions of the old soviet union was part of ancient Persia and they would be taking them back. Look for the large scale insurgencies in the next 10 years if no one grows some manhood.
Russian equipment is too maintenance intensive to have sustained training operations. Their jet engine wear out 20 times faster than western engines, helicopter engines 6-9 times faster, Their planes have to have intermediate level work every year to replace all of the rubber on the plane.
If you didnt get my message because of this dumb websit here it is Russia is fixing there population probklem last few years, still a problem but nat as sever as it was a few years ago. Also Japan Germany and UK and Farnce have a larger problem there population is not making enought babies and so there dying off at a higher rate than Russia and Muslims are out breeding htem. Face it ISIS in a generation can rule Fance UK and Germany. This isnt a Russia problem its a Europe problem.
Russian demographics are not particularly impressive in absolute terms. Better than most European countries, sure, but still well below the replenishment rate.
Oh, and you know which regions have the highest birth rates (to the extent that they have positive local population growth)? Chechnya, Dagestan etc.
How does president Kadyrov sound to you? Cuz it may well be reality in 20 years or so.
Lance, Put down the vodka bottle. Russia has lost population every year since the collapse of the soviet union except for the first 2 years when ethnic russians moved back in mass from other soviet dominated countries. Ethnic Russian public health is in the tanks. They have the highest rate of Heroine abuse in the western world, TB, Heterosexual AIDs transmission, ½ of all ethnic Russian young men are in to poor of health to serve in the military (we are there now), 1.54 birth rate (average of 10 abortions per live birth) and is being driven up by a high muslims etc. Lets not forget the rampant corruption that prevents anything meaningfull getting done. My wife is ethnic russian and she has no desire to go back to that area of the world even to vist family.
Sorry your ignoring the fact others and myself made. Your love affair of Germany France and UK all have worse population problems and ALOT larger Muslim population out breeding them face it. NATO will die and ISIS will take over in a generation. Russia is a bit better than what France faces in a short time. Besides there militaries have shrunk to such a small level Ukraine could kick there but.
Just FYI Lance, Russia is the European country with the largest Muslim population – it’s at least 14% according to the official data, but that is widely believed to underreport the number; some other estimates put it at 20%.
In Moscow – the capital! – out of 14 million people (this includes temporary workers and estimated number of illegal immigrants), anywhere from 2 to 4 million are Muslim.
Yes but most are not in areas of interest of Russia most reside in Chechnya which lacks important strategic value. Yes I know Russia fought two wars over it, mostly to keep Russia together after the break up of 1991.
Lance you are correct. Moscow is not a place of interest
No, most don’t reside in Chechnya. Did you miss the numbers that I’ve quoted for Moscow? Does Moscow sound like it’s in Chechnya?
Also, about half of that total figure comes from Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. Which, again, have nothing to do with Chechnya or Caucasus in general, and are heavily industrialized and populated areas with advanced development and a significant contribution to country as a whole.
Most important part is that, like everywhere else, the birth rate for Russian Muslims is much higher than everyone else (and this is especially true for Caucasian republics). And because they are citizens, they can move around the country freely, and many move to Moscow etc.
Muslim immigration into Russia is also significantly larger than any other European country, with the possible exception of Germany. Whereas most European countries take in “refugees”, Russia imports labor. Immigrants from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan etc – almost all of them Muslims – play a role similar to what Mexican immigrants play in US economy. There’s also a very large illegal immigration stream (though legal is also huge).
Here’s a celebration of Kurban-Bayram in Moscow:
Tell me which other European country has anything even remotely approaching this in scale.
All three of you want to argue about oranges when I talked about apples. Main point is while Russia has problems your NATO nations are having the SAME crisis and so going to war wouldn’t help either side. Russia is no push over niter would Germany ect. Main problem is Europeans are too liberal brainwashed idiots and want to be 20 for there lives and not make a family and continue making a new generations of Russians Germans Brits ect. Don’t matter your NATO nations will end up like Russia. And so you can say Russia is a push over DBM but your love with Europe makes you blind that all those nations are heading to the same fate.
Lance are you drunk or stoned. I have already stated that western Europe is basically defenseless.
No Im not one keep saying Russia is a push over and arguing over it.
Last post on this subject Lance. The Russians are a paper tiger and are really good at bullying smaller countries. Ukraine is doing a good job kicking the Russians butts and the whole Ukrainian mess will blow up in putins face. It won’t be long before Isal starts in causing problems in Russia and also Iran will join in when they begin to gain nothing from continuing a relationship with russia , Putin will turn into a modern day napoleon destroying Russia the way napoleon destroyed france.
Unless NATO intervenes, Russia will steamroll over Ukraine (in fact, it has just begun, if you are reading the hottest news on the stories – the rebels have got sudden “reinforcements” and are counter-attacking and capturing ground; they have already taken Novoazovsk, and locals are reporting UAVs over Mariupol…). Ukraine’s military is in a far worse shape – it’s kinda like where Russia was in mid-90s, except Russia got several wake-up calls in Chechnya, Georgia etc, while Ukraine hasn’t got any.
NATO is a paper Tiger too. They have no militaries and no ammunition. The US could help at least with equipment that would stop the Russians in their tracks (example MLRS Launchers with Brilliant munitions) would take out all of their armor. Unfortunately all that would do is escalate the war. The question then is how far do we take it and is it worth it to us. If we didn’t have such a wimpy weasel in the White House this situation in the first place.
Or the Russian can just take out what older crap we send them. If its used by US Army at one time doesn’t mean its unstoppable.
Drop it lance. Russia will ultimately prevail in Ukraine not because they are the jaggernaught you believe them to be but because they have more men and equipment. Russia still likes to fight using WW2 tactics that if they fought a country with a real army would result in their being completely destroyed in the first battle. If you had ever been in the army you would know massed armor is a disaster in todays world. And since they aren’t using Israeli made tanks they aren’t capable of conducting independent combat operations.
Sorry Buckoo your the one who wont shut up you drop it first. Russia has already damaged US cyber networks when we began this sanction crap. Our military is being purged by Obama and we have more wimps, and women in than real worriers Id say almost Syria can kick our butts. Quit thinking your god and you know every thing about the world your a gun nut. im one too keep it guns on this site pal. Besides unless your a drone moron we haven’t changed from WW2 look at Desert Storm 1st year of Iraqi Freedom pretty WW2 like.
They are no paper tiger they been kicking Ukraine’s butt the last few days. Never underestimate your opponent.
For some more numbers. Russia has an estimated 4 million of illegal immigrants currently, vast majority of them from Central Asia and Muslim. On the legal immigration front, it takes in about 300,000 people every year, and more than half of those are from the same region.
Lance I go to Germany a lot but I see all of their problems are self inflicted. They tax people to such a point few can actually afford to have kids. Ditto france, Italy and England.
Lance you have your facts wrong or you simply did not fully explain yourself. Modern firearms will fire either the 55 or 62 grain bullet with no problems except for accuracy. The SS-109 needs the faster twist rate to stabilize the longer heavier bullet.
The French and the poles don’t depend on us to resupply them like the rest of Europe does. They can use whatever ammo their countries produce. The 1:10 twist is fine for slower rounds and lighter rounds.
Bottom line is it isn’t our problem. The euros have disarmed themselves to ridiculous levels so they could plow more money into their self destructive socialist welfare systems, When they aren’t disarming they are putting ridiculous rules of engagement onto them to lower their chance of actually having to engage in combat. We will end up paying for the new rifles anyway.
Europe has disarmed itself to levels that are reasonable for countries that don’t expect to run the world, and that don’t have an enemy of USSR scale and capacity along the border, which is perfectly reasonable. They are still more than capable to take on, say, Russia on their own – in a defensive war. Compared to US, which keeps wasting trillions of dollars on its defense to, basically, shoot up some camels in a desert halfway across the world – well, and to get to waive the longest dick around in the international competition of who gets the biggest one (with a lot of overkill, to get one that’s as long as four next guys’ combined).
Anyway, what I’m saying is that right now NATO standardization on 62gr hinders adoption of more innovative ammo designs, which is what is holding 5.56 back and prevents it from truly unfolding its full potential on the battlefield. If US decides to ignore the standard and just move on, it’s good, because it will break the lock. Even better is that it would probably also push European countries away from the standard, and they will also innovate in the ammo department – and if you know your history, they had a lot of nice stuff in the pipeline before US basically told them that it’ll be running NATO its own way, and if anyone wants to stay they toe the line or else (first on 7.62×51, the adoption of which killed a bunch of intermediate cartridges and associated assault rifle prototypes then developed by Brits and French; and later on 5.56).
I think everyone will realize the wisdom of going to heavier bullets and increase the twist correspondingly, so in the end interoperability will still remain.
Germany take on Russia.? Set the vodka down. They have a grand total of 450 tanks! They have to share a Combat BDE because they don’t have enough troops! There AF is probably just as bad. And they are the top of the pack. If they are to damned cheap to by new rifles or by buy their own ammo that’s their problem. They don’t pull their own weight anyway. Its time the US stopped subsidizing all of these welfare states. In Iraq we gave the brits $10,000,000,000 to build bases and when we took them over all that was there was triple strand concertina wire. They embezzled the money! They got hundreds of millions of dollars worth of missiles from us in the 1st Gulf War and they didn’t fire a shot. They took all of the missiles home with them!
We cant change ammo because of personalities and probably pay offs. It won’t happen over night and the idiots in AMC will screw it up like they always do but ultimately we will have to give our guys better ammo. The 5.56 can be made better but the army refuses to do it. A round I wish I could get is a South African round:
“.223 THV which in French means “Tres Haute Vittesse” or very high velocity in English, Brass spire tipped projectile, from South Africa headstamp 13/87. A short lived armor piercing round that was ruined by the anti pistol caliber AP laws back in 1986. With its negative parabolic ogive, the projectile has long range, high velocity, high penetration, and also causes serious wound channel.”
Other rounds are out there but no one in the army will look at them.
Take my word as a Russian on it. Russia likes to talk big, but aside from nukes and special forces (that you’ve seen in Crimea), the army as a whole is meh. Again, it looks grand on paper, just based on the sheer numbers, but it’s still a conscript army, and those aren’t well-treated or well-motivated conscripts. Marksmanship training is basically nonexistent (I’ve personally talked to people who shot a grand total of two times, one mag each, during their 1-year service – it seems to be a fairly typical experience).
I’m not saying that Germany could successfully invade Russia, mind you (and I’d hope they learned that lesson by now!) – just because one resource that Russia always had is extreme determination from the entire populace in the face of an invasion. But if Russia were to take on Germany, or really any other Western European state, it would fail miserably, and soon.
I know what you say about the Russian military to be true. Look at their Georgia fiasco 5 years ago. The Germans, French, Italians and Brits couldn’t defend themselves against any attack or civil insurrection. They have a limited conscription military that are barely capable for anything. Most have maintained a robust SF type force but not enough to be meaningful. Besides why should they spend money on National Defense when the US will do it. Defense spending goes fare beyond national security. It funds pure research and instills national pride/cohesion. Often times it gives people the needed allusion they are safe from all of the bad people in the world.
I hope Putin was able to get Lance’s poo out from under his fingernails. Should have worn a glove if you were going to play with your Lance McCarthy doll, Vlad.
I know I’m late to this party, but somebody has to defend the F22. Assuming China and/or Russia does have stealth defeating radar tech, that takes waaaay more electrical power than will be available to an enemy aircraft. The F22 is an air superiority fighter, designed to defeat at least four F-15s simultaneously and be gone before a counter attack, so besides stealthy, it is incredibly fast. The F22 isn’t a next generation fighter, it is a next next generation fighter and the chances of anything developed for the next 20 years even coming close to matching it is negligible.
Lance wrote on August 22, 2014 at 14:09 hours:
“No the M-16A2 and M-16A4 both have 1 in 7 twists which is faster than the 1 in 10 the European guns use so the M-16s can handle more rounds than the SIG, AUG, or AK-5 uses.”
Back during Colt’s development of the M16A2 for the Marine Corps, I was a federally licensed Title II, Class 2 machine gun manufacturer, specializing in converting AR-15s into select-fire. [Came to a screeching halt with the Hughes Amendment on 19 May 1986 🙁 ]
During that time I had several occassions to discuss the A2 development with Colt’s famed arms engineer, Rob Roy.
He related to me that the _only_ reason for the 1-in-7″ twist rate was to comply with the NATO standard for accuracy of the L110 tracer round’s long projectile length, which was itself necessitated by NATO’s mandated “length of trace” requirement.
He said that the optimum twist rate for the 62 grain SS109/M855 round was 1-in-9″: a rate adopted by many of the “cloners” in the “Best AR Rifle Race” for use with the 5.56x45mm NATO-type cartridge.
“But I think I have a pretty good idea who it is.”
@Kris, well said.
SOCOM dropped the SCAR-L Mk 16, and more the word on the street was that the guys who carried it in combat just didn’t take to it (but the Mk 17, on the other hand, has been very well received from the get-go and continues in service). Now, some of that is due to standard military conservatism from men with decades of experience on M16-variant platforms, but if the Mk 16 failed to impress, is it that plausible that the FNAC is really so much better?
I would have expected more than one of the tested rifles to have exceeded the M4A1’s reliability. If I had to guess the most reliable design from the contenders I might place my bet on the FNAC, but that doesn’t mean it’s really that much better than an M4A1. The Mk 16 and the 16S have been available for years and undergone extensive military and civilian evaluation, and while it’s generally considered a worthy competitor few users of the rifle have come to the conclusion “abandon all M16s, M4s, and AR-15s, the SCAR is king of 5.56mm NATO”.
Its 50+ years old! There are far more better weapon systems out there and I know that even as a civilian. So its time I do my civil duty. I started a petition. I doubt I will even get 1,000 signatures but I wanted to try and do something about it!
With what your SCAR is a piece of crap and face it there nothing super better age doesn’t mean better. Face the AK you lover is alot older than the Stoner system. 1947 need I remind you. Face 90+ percent of troops like it leave what they want alone SCAR lover.
Can you retype your comment but with punctuation and a little more clarity?
Sorry have old computer has no spell check.
If you do a survey you would find that the 90% that are happy with the M-4/16 have probably never fired any other weapon. I’m a fan of the SCAR(17). It could use a few tweeks but nothing like putting 150 grains of Forien Policy down range that can reliably take a taget down out to 800 meters.
No most troops have had a chance to both see the SCAR in use with SOCOM in the sand box and even by now many have played with them, no real lover affair apart from the SCAR lovers. M-4 has still a 98% troop support in the system.
I’ll have to disagree with you. All I have is talking to soldiers and military experience to know that most have never shot anything other than an AR. I’d also like to seee the actual survey wording if one exists. Really easy to get the answer you want on surveys with the right wording.
You may check the local Military news they had surveys on weapons for decades. guess you don’t read the local mil blogs and the Stars and Stripes. You may been in the service but your love for the SCAR is your opinion and no offense not every one in there service gets to meet SOCOM personnel and shoots a lot. Many in combat areas have, Some may have not. face it SCAR lost its not going to replace anything in service and only in its H model supplement current weapons.
PS don’t turn this comments into a argument you may love your SCAR but leave our opinion to agree to disagree many SCAR lover want to argue forever on this. its not worth it so drop it.
You’re right about everyone loving a certain rifle and that’s not the point here. I stopped reading the Stars and Stripes in about 1991 when they ran an article which called pictures of a guy with the “handle of a bull whip shoved up his anus” art. Soldiers who have never fired a weapon other than the current one always pick it. I have an uncle who was a marine in the Korean War. He carried a Thompson and he still swears by it. My dad carried the M-1 and loved it. A Drill Sgt of mine swore by the M-14 and cursed the day the Army went to the M-16. Ditto a coworker.
I have a feeling that the brass are holding out for a weapon that has hyper-burst capability like the next rifle the Russians are supposed to get. We got the M-16 because of the AK, the Bradley because of the BMP , the Stryker because of the BTRs and other things. Currently, Metal Storm is the only company I know of producing a weapon (a pistol) that is hyper burst that actually works.
No I agree if hyper burst or caseless ammo comes along then the need to advance is needed and something new should come. The Russian are not going to hyper burst for a while the AN-94 that developed hyper burst was cancelled due to cost and high maintenance, fact like the M-16 is in America the AKs in Russia are so plentiful and really world standard there no need to replace them at the moment hence AK-74M stays standard in Russian armed forces. Same here the SCAR has fans fine but it offer nothing really better than the M-4 there both 5.56mm peashooters unless we went with a 6.5/6.8mm cartridge or developed caseless ammo there is not need to replace the M-4.
I know about the Russian hyperburst problems but they have so damned good engineers working on the problems. People short sell the Russians equipment and much of it is deserved. They design first rate stuff and build garbage.
They will have the same problem we have to overcome- a doctrine that teaches suppressive fire over accurate fire.
The problem with AN-94 was not an engineering problem per se. As engineered, it works just fine. The problem is that it is also an extremely complicated system that’s a pain in the ass to maintain in the field.
So far as I know, there’s no further work in this direction, either. Rather, more attention is placed at the balanced automatics concept, as in AEK-971. In particular, in the ongoing competition for the AK replacement, the forerunner is A-545, which is a direct derivative of AEK and developed by the same people.
@DBM, 75th Ranger Rgt. had ’em in the box and to put it mildly, they weren’t impressed with the SCAR-L. They could have whatever they wanted, they went back to the M4A1 largely minus a few specialized weapons. Despite the bullshit articles re the M4A1, many Tier 1 operators prefer it, even over the HK416. Why? Weight. Pistons are heavier.
Once again based on my work with SOCOM many decision are made because of logistical reasons. I haven’t fired the SCAR 16 or handled one so I don’t know what was bad about them. Mt SCAR-17 is a keeper but I’ve had to replace the trigger. The factory original sucked. I also replaced the lower with an aluminum one for better ergonomics and being able to use standard mags instead of FN mags. With the new trigger I shoot well sub MOA with off the shelf ammo. If the SCAR 16s trigger is as bad as the original 17s was I can see why they didn’t like it.
DBM wrote on August 21, 2014 at 16:26 hours:
“I have a feeling that the brass are holding out for a weapon that has hyper-burst capability like the next rifle the Russians are supposed to get.”
The Russians “shit-canned” the AN-94 project in 2006 as being too complicated and too expensive for mass adoption (some are in service, though).
Interesting concept, though: getting the thing to fire so fast (1,800 rpm) that the send round of its two-shot burst had exited the barrel before recoil kicked in.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
The colt single action wasn’t broke, but the 1911 was more modern, and offered some improvements in a sidearms…. and so on etc.
Single action revolver —-> Semi-auto pistol
Is a much bigger jump than
Assault rifle ————> Slightly better assault rifle.
The propaganda machine has a very hard time with losing to a reconfigured AK!
A camel is a horse designed by a committee. The m16/m4 is a camel of a rifle. It is not a bad rifle, but in the same token it is also not a good rifle. iI would love to see some m16/m4’s m4’s, even if you have to remove the giggle switch, come to my local CMP office. Of course if his Highness won’t let a bunch of 30+ year old garands and carbines come home for an honorable retiretirement what are the odds he would let a modern battle rifle come in even if it is modified to semi auto only
Soooo Nick, you have a pretty good idea-yet you state nothing. Enquiring minds want to know………..myself included. So what gives?
I thought it was pretty obvious what he thought with the pic and all….
I’m guessing it was the Adcor, why else would Adcor would they release a statement that they weren’t mad about the death of the program. Of course you could go to the other end of the spectrum and the rifle did terrible.
I would agree with you as to it being the adcor. I have one myself and it’s truly superior.
Nope… Too heavy… My current favorite is the AR100, although tavor comes close second… Give our troops tavors!
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the M-16 or the M4 if you’re going to keep the 5.56mm. It’s worked fine for 50 years and will continue ot work fine.
Rifle technology has not improved enough to justify replacing it. The so-called better rifles are, if at all, only slightly better.
If I had my way, we’d use the 7.62mm, though.
And yet another post of Nick gargling FN’s nuts everytime he gets the chance.
Obviously the mystery gun is the HK416; after all, it’s the spawn of our last boon-doggle weapons development program, OICW, and is therefore most likely to be configured to meet DoD’s idiotic reliability standards (really? 1 or 2 mean stoppages over the likely service life of the weapon? Asinine.) They also say “it’s the greatest,” lol.
FNH gets the M16 contract anyway, and I’ll bet the SCARs cost a lot more to make, so it’s a net win for them. The truly funny part of this is if “Gun C” stands for CZ 805BREN… wouldn’t that be embarrassing for us westerners.
Very disappointing article-learned nothing after reading. Could have provided some original insight or cited existing reports, instead of plugging the scar-l
I’m not an AR fanboy, but the modern rifle is very good, having owned or shot most of the modern stuff I can’t think of anything that’s hands down better. Some are better in some areas but generally were comparing Accords to Camry’s here. What the Scar has going for it, is that its simply more modern, as a result it has another 50 years of R&D and engineering behind it. Its a bit better shooting rifle, especially chambered in 7.62.
Having said that I don’t see why the US military has to be a one rifle, one caliber force. It never was in the past.
They should just buy enough MK17’s to issue them in enough numbers as the situation calls for.
I do not see the US military changing any of its calibers anytime soon, including pistol. NATO isn’t going to change because the Europeans have no military budgets, so we won’t.
The only thing we learned from this was that it was never a competition in the first place; there was never any intention of adopting a new weapon, and when one offering got dangerously close to meeting their moronically stringent arbitrary reliability standards, the program was abandoned instead of built upon. ‘Nuff said.
Maybe we should consider having different caliber weapons for different battlefields. In the middle east and across the desert mountains to the east, a longer range, heavier caliber for the type of 300-600 yard engagements we are fighting is appropriate, while in a European battlefield, or an urban battlefield, a smaller, short barreled high capacity carbine in 5.56 is to be preferred.
I thought 5.56 was better for distance + it loses a lot of velocity going to a short barrel? Wouldn’t 7.62×39 be way better for urban combat + short barrels?
Yes. Perhaps we could also issue a suitably camouflaged pull-behind golf cart w/bag, so the soldier could choose the most appropriate club…er…firearm, for any situation.
If you go down that route, then .300 BLK is better still – trajectory slightly better than 7.62×39, identical terminal ballistics, and it is specifically optimized for really short (like 8″) barrels. And, of course, compatibility with all existing AR hardware, only requiring a barrel change.
But there are modern 5.56 loads which also do fairly well at short ranges and from short barrels. LWRC reported that Barnes TSX 55gr, fired out of one of their 8″ carbines, still fully expands (to 2x diameter) and penetrates 17″ of gel at 100 yards.
My understanding is that the M855 5.56 round is optimal to a range of 300 meters, and troops are not trained to shoot beyond that range because of military training doctrine designed around a war against the Warsaw Pact, a doctrine that assumed mostly urban, close range shooting between 0 and 300 meters. The improved rounds with the open tips are good to 600 meters, and are popular in Afghanistan because the Taliban have developed a stand-off form of fighting that keeps them out of effective range of the M855 but the enemy within range of their 7.62s. The .308 is still optimal out to 800 meters and can shoot reasonably accurately and with sufficient energy to kill out to 1000, even without intensive specialized training. AFAIK.
Nick, You’re FN’ing right on! May the memory of their cancelation SCAR them forevermore.
I’d bet money the winner was a KAC or Adcor.
Ever see the ADCOR promo where the guy blows out a a 30 rd mag on full auto and he’s holding the M-4 with one hand? And the rifle stays on target!
I have nothing to say about the AR-15, the M4, the M16, or any of the newer styles, because I’ve never had the pleasure. That being said, I’ve heard good things about this .300 BLK the kids are talking about now. Most of what I’ve heard about 5.56 (starting with Mark Bowden’s book about the Battle of Mog) is that it’s an “ice pick” round, in and out. Again, since I’m a civilian, I can’t comment, but if that were the most common experience, maybe they should switch that up a bit. .300 BLK means you can keep the magazines and a lot of the hardware. I wish I had a poll that was Army- and USMC-wide to hear their opinions. I could care less about what the damn brass thinks, with them it’s the $$$ that decides.
Yes, the 5.56 is a small round, to compensate for which it was designed–in theory at least–to tumble upon penetration, and indeed to break in two to create two separate wound channels, thus having the effect of a larger round. The problem has been that it does not do so reliably: sometimes it tumbles, sometimes it doesn’t. The article I perused about this issue, which has been intensively studied–was technically way above my knowledge and understanding.
Im no expert, nor a former/current military serviceman, but i hope they make the right decision. In my opinion, if we need to spend billions to give our brave men/women an advantage on the battlefield (however slight), so be it. They’re the ones doing the fighting, they’re lives depend on it.
Adopting 300 AAC BLK would be the least expensive option. Every GI standard part is kept the same except the barrel. Brass is the same too, just trimmed down. And ballistically it’s superior to 556 at anything under 300m….and with shorter barrels! Imagine standard issue rifles with 9″ barrels that can dish out 30cal ammo.
The problem is all of our expected engagement ranges do and will for the forseeable future be beyond 300 meters.
The M4A1 is more than 50 years old? Hard to believe….
No the M-4 came to service in 1997 and the prototype was in use (XM-4) from 1987-94 so its close to 30 years but not that old. The M-4 uses same gas system but NOT the same system as the 50 year old M-16A1.
Google colt commando. Be amazed
Yes. USAF was using short, telescoping-stocked M16/M16A1s in the mid 70s; Army had them before that. List of USAF models:
Barrel lengths were 10.5″, 11.5″, and 14.5″ (not necessarily in that order). I carried and used a 10.5″ GAU in 1984; it was a handy little tool.
@Lance, “The M-4 uses same gas system but NOT the same system as the 50 year old M-16A1.”
Huh? Say again all after ‘The M4’…
I don’t know were someof these people get this stuff. The M-4 is almost the same weapon as the M-16 shorty some people had in vietnam.
Face it its Nick stopping and holding his breath he is a SCAR lover and gets money from FN. From most Ive heard the SCAR wasn’t as close as the HK416 was. But face even if one was slightly better it wasn’t too much better to warrant a replacement. In many ways the M-4 is still better than most rifles on the market and is far more durable than the junky SCAR ever was. Face it SOCOM ditched the SCAR L it sucked compared tho the M-4A1s in use. The SCAR H stayed in use but constant complaints about crappy plastic parts persists and the M-110 get president popular backing and support. Face it the M-14 gets threaten to be axed by the brass every time BUT the grunts still go for the M-14 hands down.
I would be willing to bet the SCAR was dropped for 2 reasons. 1st logistic Support. No one but SOF support could fix the weapon and 2 The SCAR would immediaely identify them as SOF.
No the reason was SOCOM operative didn’t care for the cost and performance of the SCR L it offered nothing over them-4A1 already in use. The CSAR crappy stock was one major complaint it brakes easily.
Why would they be concerned about cost? They have unlimited stolen tax money to play with. And if they spend more, next years budget is bigger. I doubt that’s a real factor.
I’ve worked in acquisition for eight years and I’m sad to say, this is typical. Once you’re “in” you have an insurmountable advantage over everyone else. You make friends with the GS-14 and a handful of here-and-gone-in-a-year green-suiters, you work the DA drones, and you make the big money. Oh, and the icing on the scam is make sure you advertise how your company’s “taking care of soldiers” whilst playing patriotic music with flags waving behind you…
i do wish they did replace it. that way the AR because a civilian market gun. refered to as formerly used as a military gun
The rifle that came in second was none other than the fabled Mosin Nagant.
I thought it was common knowledge that at least one rifle and possibly several performed better than the M4? The problem was that that the small gains weren’t enough to justify the billions of dollars it would cost to switch the entire army over to a new weapons system.
Why not an M4-style gas-piston upper from Sig Sauer or LWRC chambered in 6.8 SPC?
Because odd-ball cartridges would require a redux of the internal dimensions of the upper and lower receivers as well as new magazines, a la LWRC’s own SIX8 series, in order to work reliably. It’d be even worse for the 6.5 Grendel being that it’s a fatter case. While you have a ballistically superior cartridge in every category to the 5.56MM NATO (regardless of bullet choice), you basically have a completely new rifle inside even though it’s dimensionally identical on the outside to the old platform.
Trust me, they could have made it work or buy new ones to go with the improved barrel. The Marines would have.
Is this news? The industry built around Stoner’s rifle is so entrenched that the rest of the world will be fielding blaster rifles and the US military will still hike the requirements up so they have to be 1000%, 10,000%, 100,000% better…
Regardless of what design ended up being better, I have to say that I doubt the cost to replace the M4s already in circulation plus the logistical support costs were a legitimate factor except maybe as an excuse. If cost was a factor the government wouldn’t be approaching 18 trillion in debt.
It’s not just the cost, it’s the cost vs. benefit(s). You don’t take on that kind of cost for little benefit, and right now, the BEST of the contenders is only slightly better than the M4A1 in SOME categories.
Tavor + 5.56 JHP = Job Done.
Until the moment you need to shoot around the left side of your cover, and find it necessary to expose your entire head and left upper torso to incoming fire in order to do so.
And there are those who actually think the military is going to abandon the 9mm and go back to .45ACP
To be fair, the U.S. Military historically viewed firearm procurement (particularly Army) as the last leg on the totem pole of funding. Not surprising since, pound for pound, the nation as a whole probable gets more from a fully funded Navy (and later Air Force) than an Army. During the Spanish American war, infantry were issued a wide hodgepodge of different rifles. Some units were issued the newest Springfield Model 1892-99 (Krag rifle), some still had the (Trapdoor) Model 1873, some had a mixture of lever action rifles and the Marines used M1895 Lee Navy (which had quite an excellent track record). As a result, the Spanish troops armed with Mauser rifles delivered a serious mauling to U.S. troops, even though they still lost the War. Meanwhile the U.S. Navy was better trained and better prepared for the war with more up to date ships and equipment. The M1 Garand is probable the few issued rifles that was put into production “ahead of it’s time” and not so much as a response to the enemy. However, it was still in service in some units up till the earliest stages of the Vietnam War, simply because the procurement process of the M14 was mired in so many political and technical issues. So really, the M4/M16 platform being issued 50 years after being introduced should come to little surprise.
There’s a bigger issue here than rifles. The fact of the matter is that supporting fires from artillery, drones, helicopters, fixed wing, ships at sea, etc… kill far more enemy than rifles do.
I’m pretty sure the bean counters probably look at some kind of “kill per dollar” ratio somewhere along the line.
I like my AR15s, but I wouldn’t mind owning a SCAR, 416, ARX160, or Colt APC.
I don’t think we’ll see a new rifle until they are ready to field something like the LSAT carbine, probably with a CT round, probably intermediate in nature like around 6.5mm. But that’s just pure speculation on my part.
Watching gun companies offer up rifles for the carbine replacement program is like watching Charlie Brown go after Lucy’s football.
You know Lucy will always take the football away, and you know Charlie Brown will keep going back. Every. Time.
Probably the M-4 was cheap to buy compared to the competitors and while the current rifle is maybe not the best; it does work good enough for what the military wants.
From my perspective as a freshly minted force manager, the discussion of life cycle costs vs benefits is what is most relevant to the discussion.
Given the following regarding reliability:
And this regarding effectiveness:
It should not be difficult to see why there’s little reason to adopt a new system/caliber – there’s just too little, if any, benefit to be had over the current variant M4 chambered in 5.56.
If anything, people should be more concerned with the “green ammo” silliness. We’ve gone from a cartridge designed to meet a rather arbitrary criteria — the M855 and its ability to penetrate metal test plates — to one that is concerned not with lethality, but rather with being lead-free, the M855A1. With lethality on the battlefield as a distant second thought.
We would be better served by making the old M193 (55 grain FMJ bullet) the standard round for the M4 (and M16) and relegating the M855A1 and other 62 grain loadings to the SAW. We already provide linked 5.56mm ammo under a different DODAC than loose or clipped ball for a rifle, so it would have no impact on the logistics trail.
M193 retains a useful velocity (fast enough to fragment with regularity) out to 200m or more from an M4, better than the M855 can do, while placing less stress on the carbine and costing considerably less per round.
Does it really have to be the cheapest round? I mean, we’re talking about infantry service rifle here, pretty much the cornerstone of it all. If there’s better, even if more expensive, ammo that can significantly improve performance, especially with the same exact rifles that are already issued and don’t have to be upgraded, surely it’s worth it? And I’m not talking about M855 or M855A1 here, but rather more advanced rounds like Mk 262 or SOST.
Think about it this way. All the money they pissed away on F-35 – how many rounds of Mk 262 could it buy? And which one is better bang for the buck at the end of the day?
The reality of boutique ammo is that instead of getting enough ammo to train and fight, we get enough ammo to do bare-minimum training, and hope that we have enough on hand to fight with.
It doesn’t do any good to complain about the F35. That money is gone. Maybe we’ll actually get some F35s out of it, and they’ll be as amazing and unbeatable as the salesmen claim. But that won’t make any difference in the money that is available for Army and Marine Corps ammo purchases. Those budgets are being cut, and deeply.
Let’s take M193, for example. Just about anyone in the ammo business can make it. We can afford enough that infantry and even non-infantry can do a lot of live-fire training. Soldiers can shoot enough that they have both skill and confidence in their skill. Last time I checked, the government cost for M193 was about $0.12/round.
Mk318 SOST is closer to $1/round.
Now I’m sure the price I’m remembering for M193 is too low for the present, and the price of Mk318 is likely to come down. But there will always be a substantial difference in cost between the two. Which means the not-unlimited (in fact, far too limited) budget for training ammunition will not go as far.
Can cheaper ammo be used for training? Certainly. But training with less effective ammo means troops will not be learning how to use their weapons to their full effect.
And even more time will be needed to conduct training if they have to constantly re-zero rifles for different types of ammo. Needed, but probably not available, since ranges are a limited resource and training time is a limited resource. The near certain outcome is less actual training, and more bare-bones “meets the minimum required standard” training so everything looks OK on paper.
Lake City Army Ammunition Plant was — may still be? — running 24/7/365 to provide ammo for Iraq and Afghanistan. And we still had to buy commercial and foreign 5.56mm to have enough to train with. Now slow things down by standardizing on something like the Mk318 SOST which uses a complicated and expensive copper bullet rather than a simple lead-core and brass-jacket bullet. In a crisis, we can find dozens of sources for 55 grain FMJ bullets. How many places can produce hundreds of millions of the SOST’s copper bullets? Brass and copper were in such short supply that the US made steel pennies in 1943, and that was at a time when much of the world’s copper was mined and refined in the US. Will we have unlimited access to copper in the next conflict?
SOST is the more expensive kind, and was really only an example. But e.g. Mk 262 is actually not all that expensive when it’s mass produced. To give an example, Israelis are now making it for commercial markets and selling it at $375 for a box of 500 – i.e. 75c/round. The cheapest commercial M193 that I can find is around 32c/round currently. So basically we’re looking at just slightly over 2x price (I’d imagine that DoD pays different prices for these, but I expect the ratio to remain roughly the same).
Now note that this is Mk 262, which is expensive because it is match ammo. Your average rifleman doesn’t need that kind of precision. What he does need is an ammo that fragments more reliably and at greater distances, and has more punch. While those things weren’t the original design goals of Mk 262, it nevertheless achieves them – because a heavier, longer bullet is inherently more unstable and more likely to tumble (and when it tumbles, it’s more likely to fragment), and because open tip inherent in the match design also aids said fragmentation even when it doesn’t tumble. Now suppose we make the same kind of ammo – 77 grain, open tip, no penetrator – but ditch the “match” requirement. I bet it would only be marginally more expensive then M193 to produce, while having that much more impressive terminal ballistics (let’s face it, M193 doesn’t really fragment all that reliably either out of 1:7 barrels, other than really close up).
For training, you could make an even cheaper variety by ditching open tip, and just leaving it at 77 grain. It’s still the same ballistics for all practical purposes other than sniping, so it’s perfectly good for training.
Mk262 has been dropped because it doesn’t perform adequately against barriers. Thus the Mk318 SOST.
Merely adopting a 77 grain bullet isn’t going to magically fix things. As bullet weight goes up, achievable muzzle velocities go down, as a result both of more bullet mass to accelerate and less cartridge case volume (due to the heavier and thus longer bullet). This would only reduce even further the range at which velocities are high enough to create reliable bullet fragmentation.
The Mk318 is already operating at pressures much higher than M855, which makes maintenance and durability issues with weapons even more of a problem. That would be just as true in the case of a 77 grain FMJ ball round.
M193 fragments just fine out of 1 in 7″ barrels. Yaw and fragmentation in tissue has little to do with a bullet’s rate of spin. It is a result of the bullet’s center of gravity and the reduction in velocity upon hitting a denser substance like flesh, gelatin or water.
We should be looking at designs that have a proven track record of working, while being simple and cheap to manufacture. The M193 with cannelure is one such. The MkVII ball bullet used in British .303 ammunition was another, using a lightweight filler in the nose and a lead core in the rear to cause rapid and reliable yaw and fragmentation. The Soviets tried to duplicate this with their 5.45mm ball, but not as reliably.
We could have had something like that in 5.56mm, but we have worried about things like long-range penetration, lack of lead and other irrelevant matters instead.
Unfortunately, the Army is committed to the “green bullet” nonsense which is only going to make things worse in all ways. More expensive ammunition, less effective terminal ballistics, fewer potential manufacturers (no one is going to invest in the equipment to make “green bullets” unless there is a market for them — we nearly found ourselves with no domestic source for 5.56mm and 7.62mm machinegun links because of this) and probably more dependence on “strategic materials” that may be in short supply.
Why would it be dropped in favor of SOST, if they are designed for two completely different things? Mk262 is a long-range, DMR round, designed to be accurate out to 600 meters and beyond, and still pack enough punch. Mk318, so far as I know, is specifically tuned for SBRs and close up work. Of course the latter would also need to be barrier blind.
There’s no magic in adopting a 77gr bullet. It’s not the weight that matters here, it’s the length. The longer the bullet is relative to its diameter, the more unstable it is, and the more likely it is to tumble. And tumbling is by far the most reliable way to induce fragmentation – and even when that doesn’t happen, tumbling improves terminal ballistics by itself alone.
Twist rate does matter because it also affects stability. Faster twist -> more stable bullet -> reduced chance of tumbling -> reduced chance of fragmentation. The original Stoner design actually used 1:14 twist rate for a 55gr bullet. When that was increased to 1:12 for the sake of better accuracy, they noticed reduced terminal performance. Needless to say, 1:7 reduces it further. When you increase the bullet length, you basically just compensate for that twist increase. Increasing the weight is just a coincident of increasing the length in the usual bullet design, and has a nice side effect of producing more (and/or larger) fragments, but at a cost of velocity.
Velocity matters as well, of course, but longer bullets do fragment at lower velocity – Mk262 in particular fragments more reliably at longer distances than M193, and extremely reliably close up, despite the reduced velocity.
You have a point though in that the ideal design would probably not be 77gr. It’d be a bullet that’s just as long, but lighter (62gr? that would give nice backwards compatibility), allowing for faster velocities. It would sacrifice long range performance, but not to the extent that a rifleman would care about (and marksmen would always have Mk262, or better yet, 7.62×51).
The problem is that such a bullet design, if you don’t go into the realm of expensive mostly- or all-copper bullets, effectively requires a JHP design. And then there is all this bullshit about conventions. The existing OTM designs are legal (or claimed legal, at least) because their improved terminal performance due to fragmentation is coincidental to their design, and the purpose of that design is something else (e.g. increased accuracy in case of Mk262). But if a bullet is intentionally constructed to fragment, and there’s no way to explain that design by other reasons, it would run afoul of Hague.
Personally, I think they should just stop the ongoing “voluntarily compliance” bullshit with Hague, admit that, yes, bullets are designed to kill people, and better designs are needed to kill them better and more reliably – and adopt a new design that does just that.
Just add a Adams Piston System to the rifles the Military has now and presto the biggest problem with the M4 is fixed. Should cost about $300.00 per rifle for the system at full retail value without any discount for a bulk purchase. Now, add the Government waste and Black project funding and it should only cost about $900.00 per rifle. In Government spending terms that is a bargain. 🙂
“As for the manufacturer of the rifle that came closest to passing, there is no official word and no one is willing to talk about it. But I think I have a pretty good idea who it is.”
The Remington ACR? 😀
I own an ACR and its a pretty robust platform,maybe even “bomb proof” so to speak.Its ergos are far better than an M4/M16 and so are the operator controls.Not knocking the M16/4 but its old and its time has come id say,or make some sensible changes to the platform like put the CH in a sensible spot,say on the left side like an FAL or ACR,or better yet completly ambi like mine is.The civie ACR recieves no backing from BM but fourtantly the is a strong user aftermarket demand for accessiories and for the most part they have been met by other ACR oweners and smiths.
More like Adcor A556 Elite 😉
No offense to anyone, but I will take my current SCAR 17 over my old M4, ANY day…..hell, even when I was using SCAR 16, I was way more satisfied than the M4.
Hi there, its nice article concerning media print, we all understand media is a great source of facts.
Sounds like the XM-8 debacle all over again.
How about sharing your suspicions on who topped the competition? Name it, please!
Remington: Adaptive Combat Rifle won the competition. It’s a modified conversion of the winning xm8 rifle and G36. And when chambered for the 6.5mm Grendel has better range and accuracy than any M4A1. http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.de/ has some very Good Scientific information about Bullets and Bullet designs and can attest to the 6.5mm rounds. Also, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XM8_rifle and realize the Remington ACR is an XM8 modified. And [the XM8 recorded only 127 stoppages in 60,000 total rounds while the M4 carbine had 882. The FN SCAR had 226 stoppages and the HK416 had 233] also, In 1986/7, the United States Army Infantry School had published a report asserting that the rifle, as a weapon, had already reached its peak, and the only way to really improve matters was to use an exploding warhead. This led to the ending of the ACR program. Hence, I would suggest the US Army adopt the Remington ACR and the 6.5mm and 6.8mm which have 44% more knock-down and mount a light fiber-carbon version of the AA12 Shotgun MG onto it with exploding HE shotgun shells. Then our soldiers will have something more lethal and accurate which will not jam and meet all of the Army War Colleges requirements. Also, refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_Combat_Rifle
Remington ACR – adaptive combat rifle 2011-2014
I hope all you people never get on the same elevator.
I cannot describe incredibly hilarious this comment was to me. What I’m trying to say is your right, none of us probably should get on an elevator, but I do think that a selection for any weapon should be made available to those whom might not be competent with the current, .. rifle. Lol I absolutely despise the M4, because I’m not comfortable with it. Personally, I prefer (or will take) any European rifle over the M4a1, because I understand much of the countries that my ancestor’s hail from, (U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Hungary, etc.) and I just envy subtle differences between these rifles. I understand that you might just want to call me a broken record, but I really want the opportunity for the use of these other rifles. I’m only 5ft 6in, and I know my capabilities. I can say one thing for sure, and that is the current standard issue pistol is not my cup of tea. The M9 Beretta is like 8.5 inches, and I mean you do the math bro. lol I wish God could have made me taller, and bigger .. but he didn’t. Guys in Blackwater get to pick their own shit (slug slingers) .. so why can’t I? and they get paid way more. I’m no idiot, my BMI is 20.0 on the dot. This morning when I weighed myself, my scale just told me I’ve shrunk my body fat to just “16 pounds.” I just think that if your worth your weight, then maybe they should just give you a weapon that is right for you. I dunno, I’m not even a gun expert, but I am not stupid, either. :3 I wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts, because I think I’ve heard enough from the others. I’m little, should get special treatment.