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db_zero

The Main Battle Rifle for the US Army

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db zero i seem to recall reading an article in a magazine about a .22lr weapon that someone had hucked at the military as a suppressive weapon, it had 2 barrels and was a belt fed.

and that tidbit of stopping most pistol and rifle ammo doesn't make sense, if you mean .22lr could penetrate it. Do you mean a .22 caliber round like 5.56?

It was 22lr. Sounds very counter intuitive. Ill see this person in a month or 2 and see if I can find out more. He may have been referring to the one particular area. Some kevlar will be penetrated by .22 and a knife, while other grades stops both iirc.

At the time I wasn't paying too much attention and was already labeled a smart*** for mentioning 50 cal and being stopped by the armor on this vehicle.

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Yeah, most rebuilt Euro construction is pre-stressed concrete slabs. Strong stuff. Nothing like the wide variety of US construction types. (I had a buddy, in cheap a development house; A big storm came, near hurricane strength. (Coastal Carolina, about 5 miles in-shore.) Anyway, his spare bedroom door banged shut. Odd. He went to check the window. It was still shut while the storm raged outside. Yet, there was a draft in the room. The storm had peeled off the corner vinyl trim piece, ripped off some more siding, soaked the exposed insulation and drywall, and blew a hole in his wall. It's never good when a wolf can huff and puff and blow the walls in. Or, if a guy can get a running start and tackle his way into your house.)

Sorry. Carry on...

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on the 5.56 vs 7.62 debate, data I had seen showed only about a 100 meters advantage, i.e., most 5.56 ammo flies fairly level but after 300 meters drops off rapidly while with the 7.62 the cutoff is around 400 meters.

Is the 33% or so increased effective range worth the trade off, i.e. twice as heavy so you can only carry half as much, lower sustained ROF.

Also note that the 7.62 round, despite being heavier, does not cause more damage to a human than a 5.56 round, except maybe at longer ranges. Both rounds show roughly similar wound patterns. The lighter round tends to fragment more frequently, although the data is contradictory.

Also remember that both the Russians (i.e. AK-74) and recently the Chinese (QBZ-95) have moved to lighter ammo.

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more food for thought:

Q. Isn't 7.62 NATO much better for long range penetration than 5.56 anyhow? Why would I want to use 5.56 when I could send 7.62 downrange instead?

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Well, yes and no. For some penetration mediums like mild steel, M855 is actually superior. Consider a recent research report:

They certainly behave in a similar way when they encounter tissue at the right velocities, but they aren't exactly the same.

The SS-109 can penetrate the 3.45mm standard NATO steel plate to 640 meters, while the 7.62mm ball can only penetrate it to 620 meters. The U. S. steel helmet penetration results are even more impressive as the SS-109 can penetrate it up to 1,300 meters, while the 7.62mm ball cannot penetrate it beyond 800 meters.

The current production 7.62�51mm NATO ball cartridge has remained unchanged since its adoption by NATO in 1953. As typified by the U. S. M80 ball and the Belgian M77 ball, this cartridge propels a 147-grain cupronickel-jacketed lead bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps (848 mps). Total cartridge length and weight are 2.80 inches and 386 grains, respectively. Utilizing a standard 22-inch barrel with a rifling twist of one turn in twelve inches (M14 rifle), the maximum effective range of the 7.62�51mm ball cartridge is listed as 620 meters (682 yards). The U. S. M80 and the Belgian M77 ball projectiles can penetrate the standard NATO 3.45 mm (.14 inch) thick steel plate up to a range of 620 meters and can penetrate one side of the U. S. steel helmet up to a range of 800 meters (880 yards). In barrier and fortification penetration tests, the 147 grain ball projectile can consistently penetrate two test building blocks.

The new SS-109 cartridge propels a heavier 62-grain semi-armor piercing projectile at an initial velocity of 3,050 fps (924 mps). The improved projectile contains a 10-grain .182 caliber hardened steel penetrator that ensures penetration at longer ranges.

The new projectile can penetrate the standard NATO 3.45mm steel plate up to a range of 640 meters (704 yards) and one side of the U. S. steel helmet up to a range of 1,300 meters (1430 yards). In tests of barrier and fortification penetration however, the steel penetrator of the SS-109 could not pierce any of the test building blocks.The primary advantages of the intermediate power 5.56�45mm NATO cartridge are summarized as follows: (1) the penetration and power of the SS-109 version are superior to the 7.62mm NATO and more than adequate for the 300-meter average combat range documented in actual battle (ORO studies): (2) the lower recoil generated by the 5.56mm cartridge allows more control during full automatic fire and therefore provides greater firepower to the individual soldier; (3) the lesser weight of the 5.56mm ammunition allows the individual soldier to carry more ammunition and other equipment; (4) the smaller size of the 5.56mm ammunition allows the use of smaller, lighter and more compact rifles and squad automatic weapons and; (5) the lethality of the 5.56mm projectile is greater than the 7.62mm projectile at normal combat ranges, due to the tendency of the lighter projectile to tumble or shatter on impact. In summary, the 5.56mm NATO provides greater firepower and effectiveness than the larger and heavier 7.62mm NATO. 5.56-mm NATO ammunition weight only 47% as much as 7.62 mm NATO ammunition.

However:

These comparisons however, do not consider the fact that the SS-109 uses a semi-armor piercing, steel-cored projectile, while the 7.62mm ball uses a relatively soft antipersonnel, lead-cored projectile. A semi-armor piercing 7.62mm caliber projectile, using second generation technology as the SS-109, would easily outperform the smaller SS-109 projectile in penetration tests at all ranges. With respect to barrier and fortification penetration tests, the 7.62mm ball projectile can consistently penetrate two test building blocks, while the SS-109 semi-armor piercing projectile cannot penetrate a single block.

http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/term_762.html

now a modernized 7.62 round might achieve better results, as discussed at the end, but the question remains, is the investment worth it vs the potential returns.

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I'm curious if the 5.56 case less project is a success and a usable weapon comes out of it will the 7.62 go away and the 5.56 will be standard across the board.

The 7.62/7.62×39 vs 5.56 has been debated to death. Some say something in between like 6.5 or 7mm cartridge could be the answer, that is appearing to be unlikely.

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Meanwhile, the flat trajectory is very beneficial. No .300 Blackout will ever be accepted for line issue. It's too loopy.

Carry on...

Correct me if I'm wrong but the 7.62x39 is loopy.

Kalashnikov in later interviews said it was a mistake to abandon the 7.62x39 in favor of the smaller 5.45x39. He said it would be better to further develop the 7.62x39.

A design based on the reliability of the AK using the .300 Blackout, with modern sighting systems and redesigned quick change magazine.

Throw in the ability to barbie doll it out like a M4 and use case less ammo? That might get interesting.

Get even more creative and figure out how to take the heat generated from the ammo and recycle that into powering up/recharging powered sighting systems and an outlet for the myriad of battery powered devices the younger generation grew up with? Heck why not also follow the Israelis and throw in a bottle opener and wire cutter when they took the best features of the AK and 5.56 when developing the Galil.

The .300 in its current form may be loopy, but that can be corrected. Perhaps look into a 6.5 or 7mm and use cold forged heavy barrels.

Where there is a will there is a way...

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Its a bit of a rigged test testing penetration performance of a 5.56 steel penetrator core round against 7.62 ball ammo. They could have compared it to the armor-piercing M993which is capable of penetrating a 7mm thick high hardness armor (HHA) plate at a distance of 500 meters

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Its a bit of a rigged test testing penetration performance of a 5.56 steel penetrator core round against 7.62 ball ammo. They could have compared it to the armor-piercing M993which is capable of penetrating a 7mm thick high hardness armor (HHA) plate at a distance of 500 meters

the quote is from a 1986 test. Yes, a better designed round could perform better, but the question is always what we are trying to achieve. Bigger is not necessarily better.

Designing a round involves a tradeoff between range and damage. Basically, a softer round will shatter more reliably, but will have less range. A harder round will have more range, but will shatter less frequently. Early wounding studies found that a 5.56 round which shatters will produce a much more severe wound then a 7.62 round which does not. You could probably design a 7.62 round with an effective range of 450-500 meters, but the tradeoff will probably be less shatter/tumble, more through-and-through wounds, therefore less damage.

Designing a new standard infantry rifle to use a 7.62 round will most likely produce a weapon which is bigger/longer/heavier with more recoil, carrying less ammo, all for a marginal increase in range.

IMHO, we are better off using a M4/5.56 type weapon which is perfectly fine out to 300 meters and use more specialised weapons for farther out. For example, a M249 SAW LMG with a bipod/ACOG sight can already reliably engage targets at 600+ meters with 5.56 ammo.

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You would think that in that sort of situation against an adversary with a huge manpower advantage and in a region of conflict where they will be able to take advantage of their manpower advantage, having a battle rifle that is very hard hitting and can be fired to excess without reliability issues would be a very desirable tool to have.

The PLA isn't particularly deployable outside of a handful of light units, since they don't have the sealift necessary to move very many ground forces to the hotspots and keep them supplied. The one scenario where they would have a manpower advantage -- an actual land invasion of China -- nukes would fly long before that advantage could tell. North Korea's army, as near as any can tell, is in even worse straits, along with South Korea being able to contribute nearly as many men once their reserves are activated, atop whatever the US military can feed in.

At any rate, I can't imagine a single conflict in the modern era that was decided by the choice of rifle.

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Little Bighorn?

(Not quite the modern era, I'll grant you.)

What? Reno was tooled by natives using similar firearms, but with a (his estimate) four or five to one advantage in numbers. In spite of this, relief or reinforcement from Custer didn't come and his force was eventually routed, forming a defensive position with another officer's detachment (Benteen) and hastily digging rifle pits. They survived.

631px-Www-cgsc.army.mil_MAP21_Defense_of_Reno-Benteen_Hill.GIF

Meanwhile, other, more famous segment of the battle was going down elsewhere. But nobody really knows what happened with Custer's fight for a very straight-forward reason.

They all died.

I'm not sure how or where a different contemporary rifle would have helped Reno or Benteen, especially given that natives had access to broadly similar weapons along with a substantial numerical advantage.

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China is already and can easily increase its sea lift and power projection capabilities-probably in a faster time frame that the US can develop and field a new battle rifle.

The thinking that China has this and can only do so much is the same as the US thinking towards Japan before Dec 7. Japanese pilots have poor eyesight, lack combat skills, their planes and other weapons are not nearly as capable as those of the West, so on and so forth.

The notion they would send a carrier battle group off Oahu and launch a surprise air attack along with a coordinated attack in the Pacific, East Indies and elsewhere was considered preposterous.

The War plan was for the Philippines to hold out and the US Pacific fleet to engage the Japanese Navy in a massive Jutland like battle and reinforce the Philippines.

That whole war plan as well as many other assumptions when out the window on Dec 7th.

China is active in the African continent. You could easily see a small number of western/American units engaging a much larger number of opposing forces and a situation like the one in Afghanistan where survival will depend on a rifle where you may be forced to use it in a way not prescribed by the manual or training.

North Korea has hundreds of thousands well trained special forces soldiers who will launch surprise attacks on key infrastructure targets in any opening phase of a conflict in Korea. They will have the element of surprise, the initiative and will be able to mass superior numbers at a chosen point of attack. It will be a come as you are battle and the South Korean army will require time to mobilize reserves. It would not be hard to envision a situation where for some time the battle could be even if not in favor of the North.

There are many other possibilities, where it could be possible for things to not go the way you thought it would and things go to the lowest common denominator-the infantryman and his rifle.

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But nobody really knows what happened with Custer's fight for a very straight-forward reason.

They all died.

Not meaning to highjack the thread, but modern archeological research of the battlefield has produced a very revealing picture of how the battle went. And one factor in the Indians victory was the fact that they had better rifles than the Cavalry.

Michael

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Not meaning to highjack the thread, but modern archeological research of the battlefield has produced a very revealing picture of how the battle went. And one factor in the Indians victory was the fact that they had better rifles than the Cavalry.

Michael

I vaguely remember this too. Didn't the Indians have lever action repeating rifles, while Custer's men had single shot rifles that had to be manually re-loaded after each shot?

iirc Custer could have brought along some Gatling guns, but opted not to.

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I vaguely remember this too. Didn't the Indians have lever action repeating rifles, while Custer's men had single shot rifles that had to be manually re-loaded after each shot?

That's what I remember.

iirc Custer could have brought along some Gatling guns, but opted not to.

That too. Custer was a bozo.

Michael

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Thank you Mr. Emrys, that's where I was meaning to go.

Albeit a pre-modern conflict, and that there were many more rifles among the native warriors is not in doubt, there is some evidence that Custer was not only outnumbered but out-gunned.

Was there not also some battles (or A battle) between the British and the Zulu wherein a choice of rifle was disastrous? Or was it an ammunition problem. Can't recall...

It's an interesting topic you pointed out, Apocal. "At any rate, I can't imagine a single conflict in the modern era that was decided by the choice of rifle."

I'd be curious to know where else that might be a factor.

I think for small scale engagements there would be many. Like the Wagon Box fight

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon_Box_Fight

or the Fetterman massacre:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cloud%27s_War#Battle_of_the_Hundred_Slain.2FFetterman_Fight

Gpig

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Was there not also some battles (or A battle) between the British and the Zulu wherein a choice of rifle was disastrous? Or was it an ammunition problem. Can't recall...

Isandlwana. I am a little hazier on that one, but what I seem to recall is that the ammo was there, but the troops had difficulty breaking open the boxes and getting at it.

Michael

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But nobody really knows what happened with Custer's fight for a very straight-forward reason.

They all died.

All the Indians too? Wow. That must've been some fight!

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At any rate, I can't imagine a single conflict in the modern era that was decided by the choice of rifle.

By the by, Apocal said 'conflict', not 'battle'. I assume he knows what the words mean, even if you lot chose not to.

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I agree that Apocal knows what he's talking about. I took care to differentiate between "conflict" and small scale engagements in my blatherings. :)

How about the Spanish American war for a conflict?

From Wikkipeida:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1892-99

"According to contemporary, perhaps sensationalized accounts, the Krag's complex design was outclassed[1] by the Spanish Mauser during the Spanish American War, and proved ill-suited for use in tropical locales such as Cuba and the Philippines. American soldiers found themselves unable to match the volume of fire displayed by the Spanish 1893 Mauser rifle, with its box magazine that could be fully reloaded with clips, and a high-velocity, flat-shooting 7mm cartridge which was quickly dubbed the 'Spanish Hornet'. During the American assault on the strategic Cuban city of Santiago, a small force of 750 Spanish troops armed with Model 1893 Mauser rifles defended positions on San Juan and Kettle hills. The attacking force consisted of approximately 6,600 American soldiers, most of them regulars, armed with the then-new smokeless-powder Krag-Jorgensen rifle and supported by artillery and Gatling gun fire. Though the assault was successful, the Americans soon realized that they had suffered more than 1,400 casualties in the assault. A U.S board of investigation pinned the blame on the superior firepower of the Spanish Model 1893 Mauser rifles, although modern analysis has determined that many of the casualties were due to superior Spanish fortifications on the high ground. With the Krag's replacement with the Mauser-derived M1903, the rifle is tied for the shortest service life of any standard-issue firearm in US military history (1892–1903)."

Gattling guns usually make up for any differences, I imagine.

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I agree that Apocal knows what he's talking about. I took care to differentiate between "conflict" and small scale engagements in my blatherings. :)

How about the Spanish American war for a conflict?

From Wikkipeida:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1892-99

"According to contemporary, perhaps sensationalized accounts, the Krag's complex design was outclassed[1] by the Spanish Mauser during the Spanish American War, and proved ill-suited for use in tropical locales such as Cuba and the Philippines. American soldiers found themselves unable to match the volume of fire displayed by the Spanish 1893 Mauser rifle, with its box magazine that could be fully reloaded with clips, and a high-velocity, flat-shooting 7mm cartridge which was quickly dubbed the 'Spanish Hornet'. During the American assault on the strategic Cuban city of Santiago, a small force of 750 Spanish troops armed with Model 1893 Mauser rifles defended positions on San Juan and Kettle hills. The attacking force consisted of approximately 6,600 American soldiers, most of them regulars, armed with the then-new smokeless-powder Krag-Jorgensen rifle and supported by artillery and Gatling gun fire. Though the assault was successful, the Americans soon realized that they had suffered more than 1,400 casualties in the assault. A U.S board of investigation pinned the blame on the superior firepower of the Spanish Model 1893 Mauser rifles, although modern analysis has determined that many of the casualties were due to superior Spanish fortifications on the high ground. With the Krag's replacement with the Mauser-derived M1903, the rifle is tied for the shortest service life of any standard-issue firearm in US military history (1892–1903)."

Gattling guns usually make up for any differences, I imagine.

If the Army could find/engineer/afford something that provided that level of superiority it would probably do it. There are a laundry list of proposed weapons that land in a different spot on the triangle of range, penetration, and combined weight of rifle and ammo. None of them are anywhere close the gap described above.

They just did field the XM-25,

I am very curios to see how its modeled in game.

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Gpig and Michael Emrys,

I read an article 20+ years ago in Infantry magazine about Islandlwana. According to the article, the British lost because they couldn't generate enough firepower to keep the impi at bay. Ammo supply broke down, so only a trickle of cartridges reached the soldiers in the fight. And why did that happen.? There was but a single screwdriver with which to remove the many long wooden screws holding on the ammo box lids. As if that wasn't enough of a problem, the QM issuing the ammo insisted on peacetime bureaucratic procedures. The result of this is that what little ammo was actually acquirable took much longer than necessary to reach the firing line. One screwdriver and an idiot QM apparently did in the British at Islandlwana.

db_zero,

Outnumbered, outgunned, outfought. Archaeology of the battle at first link.

Archaeology of Little Bighorn

http://www.nps.gov/MWAC/libi/index.html

Weapons at Little Bighorn (Have personally held an 1873 Springfield carbine, the long arm of Custer's men; carbine's single shot).

http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-little-bighorn-were-the-weapons-the-deciding-factor.htm

Little Bighorn as seen by the Lakota and Cheyenne

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-the-battle-of-little-bighorn-was-won-63880188/?no-ist

When I was in military aerospace, NK had a terrifying 400 AN-2s with which to parachute insert commandos behind ROK lines. That was bad enough by itself, but the AN-2 was practically radar invisible, having pretty much just the engine as a radar reflective surface. Even the prop was wood.

Returning to the primary discussion, the reason for going to reworked M14s is less to do with cover penetration and more to do with reach. AK-47s outranged M4s, meaning US troops were getting hit from above but couldn't hit back directly. Nor could they chase the Taliban because the weight of body armor made it all but impossible to fight a very lightly laden, nimble foe used to operating at high altitudes. This is part of the reason why so many telescopic sights started appearing on M4s. This allowed the effective range of the M4 to be extended.

The Kurds' Peshmerga, thanks to arms deliveries from Turkey's ancient stocks, have fundamentally inverted the basic weapon mismatch equation. M1 Garands, firing the full power .30 06 cartridge, have twice the range of the AK. I've seen video of Peshmerga armed with M14s, too.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Returning to the primary discussion, the reason for going to reworked M14s is less to do with cover penetration and more to do with reach. AK-47s outranged M4s, meaning US troops were getting hit from above but couldn't hit back directly. Nor could they chase the Taliban because the weight of body armor made it all but impossible to fight a very lightly laden, nimble foe used to operating at high altitudes. This is part of the reason why so many telescopic sights started appearing on M4s. This allowed the effective range of the M4 to be extended.

The weapon that raises range concerns in Afghanistan is the RPG, not the AK-47, since the former is the Taliban's preferred method of initiating serious contact. If an AK round smacks a few inches away, you're still good to go, but if an RPG lands a few inches away, you're probably hurting.

There are also RRs they occasionally use as well, for much the same purpose.

edit: when I was getting out they were starting to replace the EBRs (modernized M14s) with the M110.

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